Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spaghetti Pie





Spaghetti Pie exceeded all my expectations. It is the best parts of lasagna and spaghetti. We loved it, the family I shared it with loved it and so did my mom. That is a lot of love. It does have a few steps but came together quickly. Next time I make it I will make the meat sauce in the morning. Then cook the noodles and assemble the 'pie' in the evening. Doing a bit of dinner prep in the morning is so helpful.

Spaghetti Pie
12 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
16 ounce tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Lightly coat a deep 9 or 10 inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cook the noodles until al dente according to package.  While the noodles boil brown ground beef. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is cooked through.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil and oregano.  Simmer the sauce over medium-low head for 10 minutes.
3. When the noodles are done, drain and return to the pot.  Immediately stir in the softened cream cheese and toss the noodles by lightly lifting them up and over with tongs until the cream cheese is mostly incorporated. Stir in the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella cheese.  Toss until the noodles are evenly coated.  Stir in 3 cups of the red sauce.  Keep the remainder of the sauce warm on the stove.
4. Scrape the noodles into the prepared pie plate and using a flat spatula press the noodles evenly into the dish so they are tightly pressed together and evenly flat across the top. Sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup of Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top.
5. Bake the spaghetti pie for 20-22 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese is golden on top.  Let the dish rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into slices and serve with remaining red sauce.
--This makes 6-8 generous servings. Which is way to much for 2! It does reheat well so leftovers are great. I made 2 smaller pies and have one in the freezer for another day.
--The meat sauce was excellent on its own. It is easy to make and would be yummy on spaghetti.
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe





Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Almond Chocolate Cherry Cookies



I am well aware that I have 80 cookie recipes on my blog--all excellent. But I think I have a New Favorite Cookie! I saw a recipe for an almond chocolate cookie in the new Taste of Home Fall Baking magazine. I was sure it would be yummy as it had so many fun flavors. I had just purchased some Almond Flavoring from Penzeys. I have been ordering spices from Penzeys for several years, they are fresh and delicious. When a Penzey's store opened just 10 miles from home I was thrilled. Girls weekend included a field trip to Penzeys. I entered the store and felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Heaven will smell like a Penzeys store I am sure.
Anyway--back to these amazing cookies. Chocolate, white chocolate, chopped almonds, almond flavoring--these had to be excellent. I'm sure the recipe in the magazine is good, but I made it better. What goes perfect with almonds and chocolate? Dried cherries do. They added the perfect contrast of sweet/sour. Please add this to your holiday cookie platter.

Almond Chocolate Cherry Cookies (aka favorite cookie)
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (150 grams--I always weigh brown sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract--use Penzeys
2 cups flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
3/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
Cream butter and sugars together till light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, don't over mix. Stir in chocolate, nuts and cherries.
Using a medium size scoop drop dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Printable Recipe
Recipe adapted from a recipe in Taste of Home Fall Baking--this is a great magazine.  My magazine is full of sticky notes!



Monday, November 2, 2015

Caramel Apples







I'm going to let Jill talk about Caramel Apples--she is the authority! I've made a few with success but Jill has made hundreds. She often makes them for craft fairs in her area. They are a coveted item, ladies wait in line for them, yes they are that good. So here is what Jill has to say:

****

Well hello! My mom is right, I have made a several {hundred!} caramel apples in my day.  I began making 4-5  for our craft shows, but those few quickly turned into 10, which turned into 25, and sometimes up to 40 per show! I've retired from the craft show scene, and run Jill's Sweet Shoppe on Facebook. Caramel apples are a lot of fun to make and can be a great gift for teachers, neighbors, or yourself!

So, let's get started! First, let's talk about what you'll need. When making caramel apples, it's important to have all your ingredients ready to go.  Once you begin the process, you won't be able to stop in the middle to chop nuts or crush Oreo's!


You will need:
*Apples - I prefer Granny Smith.  They provide the tart flavor that you need to counteract the sweetness of the caramel and other toppings.

*Caramel - If you are making more than 5-10 apples you will want to get a 5 pound brick of Peter's Caramel...it will cost you around $20, but the quality is great and it will store for several months in your pantry. You can also just buy the individually wrapped caramels and trick your kiddos into a race to unwrap them.


* Chocolate for drizzling - Use good quality dipping chocolate for this. Ghirardelli and Guittard make great apeels that melt beautifully.  You can find them here, or your local Winco will have them in their bulk food section.  DON'T (yes, I just capitalized that) use Wilton melts from the craft store. Their waxy texture and overly sweet taste will most likely ruin your apple and make it not worth eating. Ok I'm teasing, but seriously folks, don't use them if you can avoid it...the taste is nothing like Guittard!

*Toppings - crushed Oreo's, crushed peanuts, mini M&M's, cinnamon sugar, etc

*Popsicle or craft sticks. Sticks with pointed ends (my preference) are typically found in the produce section of the grocery store.


Supplies are gathered - time to dip some apples!

1. First, wash and dry your apples then chill them in the fridge for 15 minutes. Chilling will help the caramel set faster so you don't have a gooey caramel puddle at the bottom of your apple, although I doubt anyone would complain! You'll also want to prep for the apples by laying out parchment paper, or tin foil coated with a light layer of Pam cooking spay.

2. Insert sticks in the top of the apple. You'll want to insert them about halfway down the core, being careful not to force the stick through the other end of your apple.

3. Melt your caramel. The ideal dipping temperature is 160 degrees, and there are several good methods you can use depending on how many apples you're making. The first method (and my preference) is to use a crock pot. Throw a brick of caramel in there on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Be sure to stir the caramel gently, but or  it will produce air bubbles in your finished product. Another way to melt your caramel is to use the microwave to heat and stir in 1 minute increments until you've reached your desired temperature and consistency.

I prefer the crock pot because it continues to keep your caramel warm while dipping...if you use the microwave, you'll have a much smaller dipping window to work with. As a rule of thumb, if I am making more than 5 apples, I'll use the crock pot. If I'm just making a few, I'll use the microwave.

4. Dip the apples! Tilt the apple on its side while holding the stick and dip in the caramel, rolling the apples to coat all the sides. After rolling the apple in the caramel, turn it back upright and let the caramel drip off.  When the it stops dripping, take a spoon and run it along the bottom of the apple to scrape off the excess.

5. Next comes the fun part: "Accessorizing" your apple! you can dip, drizzle, and roll your chosen toppings.  If you are going to roll your apple in nuts, M&M's or crushed Oreos, make sure you do it while the caramel is still warm.

If you are drizzling chocolate, I find the best method is to hold the apple over the sink, and use a spoon (for a thicker drizzle) or fork (for a fine drizzle). This will take a little practice...if it doesn't look that great, you can just say you were going for the "rustic" look. People like rustic, right? I promise, no one will complain.  This is where having good chocolate really pays off.  If you have decided to use the Wilton Melts, your drizzle will not be nearly as fluid and beautiful. trust me.

6. You made it! Now let your apples set then package them up with some cellophane, ribbon, and tags. Remember, presentation is everything. A not-so-perfect apple can easily be revived with pretty ribbon - trust me!










A final note: Apples best eaten within 24 hours, but can be kept at room temperature for a couple of days. Don't allow them to get too cold or the apple will "sweat" and your caramel will sluff off and produce watery mess at the bottom of your packaging.

Thanks for letting me visit, mama! If you fabulous readers have any questions, visit Jill's Sweet Shoppe and send me a message!





Monday, October 19, 2015

Oven Meatballs





These really are not beautiful, is it possible to take a good photo of meat?? But don't worry about looks because these are delicious. I am not a big meat eater, I have pretty high standards when it comes to ground meat. These come highly recommended from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I am so glad I tried them--they are perfect for my meat eating boys and I enjoyed them too.
These little babies are very versatile. They make a killer Meatball Sub (recipe to come), we just enjoyed them with some fresh pasta and sauce. Just good food. They freeze well and it is easy to make a large batch. What's not to love?

Oven Meatballs
1 cup Panko crumbs
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (I do love options)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth (options again)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds ground beef
In a large bowl mix together all ingredients but the beef. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Add the beef and mix gently. Yes, you need to use your hands. I love my disposable kitchen gloves. I can do more with these on!
Line rimed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil. Form into golf ball sized meatballs--I use a cookie scoop, easy. You might need two baking sheets. Place meatballs an inch apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. 
Be creative--use in most anything. Extra meatballs freeze well. Put in a freezer bag. Label and date. Most important--don't forget to use them!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Simply Fresh Tomato Sauce



We have had beautiful fall weather in my little part of the world. Temperatures in the 70's and lots of sun mean that our gardens continue to produce. Our neighbor was kind enough to share his bounty. I have a bumper crop of parsley and basil, so this was the perfect dish I just had to make it. This was amazing over pasta, I added a few meatballs and we had a delicious meal.

Simply Fresh Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion. finely chopped
1 small stalk celery including the green top, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  or 2 teaspoons dried
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled I would also squeeze the seeds out or use a large can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat, add onion, carrot, celery and parsley. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover skillet and cook for 15-20 stirring occasionally. Add garlic, increase heat and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until thickened about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta, top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is one fresh meal!
Printable Recipe



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Plum Cake


This delicious dish could be called a cake, pie or cobbler. I'm sure this is a dessert my grandmother made, it is old fashioned goodness. It is simple, it is ordinary, it is perfect.
It comes from Dorie Greenspan's, Baking From My Home to Yours (my all time favorite cookbook). 
Jess requests this for her birthday every year. It really needs to be enjoyed more than once a year!

Plum Cake
2 pounds ripe but firm plums, pitted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 stick butter cut in 4 pieces
Heat oven to 350.
Cut each plum into 6-8 pieces and toss into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger and coriander. Stir to combine. Let sit while you prepare the batter. The plums will give up a bit of juice and form a syrup.
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar in a bowl. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Add the milk and extracts and whisk till you have a smooth batter.
Put the butter in a 9x13 Pyrex or Stoneware baking dish. Put in oven and let  the butter melt--about 5 minutes. Remove hot pan from oven, whisk batter one more time and pour over melted butter. It will probably set around the edges. Scatter the plums evenly over the batter and drizzle any remaining syrup. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes, or let cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream. This dessert is best if eaten the day it is prepared--but I must say that a leftover piece tasted very good for breakfast. I just look at it as fruit and milk. Perfect way to start a day!
Printable Recipe


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Salsa Verde

 


This salsa is so tasty that I would feel guilty if I didn't share it. I also don't want to forget about it--that is why it appears on my blog. Here is how my life goes. It is time to make menus, I really do this. It is empowering to walk in a grocery store and actually know what you want.  Anyway as I ponder food somewhere in the back of my mind I remember making a delicious salsa, the main ingredient being tomatillos. First I look on my blog, then my Pinterest boards--I spend way to much time looking. I start checking my favorite blogs looking for this familiar recipe. It comes back to me--it is on Kevin's Closet Cooking, he has about 50 salsa recipes (all look enticing). I scroll through them and finally find what I am looking for. Looking for a recipe can be quite the journey. Long story short, keeping a blog is the best way for me to keep track of the recipes I make and love. I also love sharing recipes that have proven to be winners in my book. My blog contains only recipes that I really make and share with others. Enjoy! Please excuse the bold italics (I really am not shouting at you). Sometimes blogger has a mind of its own--I'm not smart enough to fix it! 
Wow, that was quite the ramble for a salsa that is simply delicious! roasting the ingredients really adds flavor. This beautiful bright salsa is good with chips, on tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, etc. Mix it with equal parts chicken broth and a bit of cumin and you create the best tomatillo sauce--perfect in green enchiladas. I don't have photos of this but trust me they are delicious. Sometimes one is hungry--there is no time for photos!
 
Salsa Verde
1 pound tomatillos-husks removed and cut in half
1 small onion cut into wedges
2 jalapenos, seeded and cut in half (wear gloves when working with peppers)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup cilantro
1 lime, zest and juice 
salt and pepper
Put tomatillos, onion and jalapenos cut sides down on cookie sheet. Put under broiler until the skins blackened. You may have to remove the peppers first--it is easy to take the skins off the jalapenos. don't worry about the tomatillos. Put all the veggies in the food processor, give it a ride until everything is chopped up nice. Add lime zest and juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
Excellent served with chips--it is also an excellent sauce on tacos, enchiladas, fajitas.
Printable Recipe
From Kevin's Closet Cooking
 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

S 'more Bars



When my kids visit I like to make their favorite meals, treats or goodies. Chersten said this was a Harris Family favorite. I'm glad she recommended it because now I have another favorite treat. It is good to have options!
Summer is winding down, soon roasting marshmallows will be replaced with pumpkin cookies and hot chocolate. Now this is not a bad thing but if you begin to crave a S'more these bars will fit the bill. Like I said--it is good to have options.

S'more Bars
2 cups flour
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff or Crème (7 ounce jar)
2 cups chocolate chips--I like a combination of milk and semi-sweet chips
Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Combine softened butter and sugar, mix for 2 minutes until light. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Divide the dough in half. Press half of the dough in a 9x13 pan that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with Pam. Press to flatten. Put dollops of the marshmallow crème on top of the cookie base and gently spread. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Scatter the remaining dough over the top. Don't be too concerned here, the marshmallow and chocolate chips should just peek through. Bake the bars until golden brown 30 minutes at 350. Cool completely. Remove from pan and cut in squares. Now you can enjoy a S'more without smelling like a campfire.
Printable Recipe
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Café





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Disappearing Chocolate Chip Cookies



Do I really need another chocolate chip cookie? I think so because these are just amazing. I would feel guilty if I didn't share this treasure. I had to name them the Disappearing Chocolate Chip Cookies--they will be gone before you know it.
This is a basic chocolate chip cookie with just a few small differences.  A very small amount of cinnamon and toasting the pecans both add to the extra flavor. Melting the butter makes them super easy. How many times have you over micro'd butter? Room temperature is hard to achieve, I am speaking from experience here. You make the cookies in the pan you melted the butter in. Ingenious I say. Try this recipe, be prepared they do disappear quickly.

Disappearing Chocolate Chip Cookie
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips--I like 60% Cocoa Chips by Ghirdelli
1 cup white chocolate chips--I like to take a bar of white chocolate and cut it into chunks
1 cup toasted pecans--toast pecans on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for 7 minutes or till fragrant

In a medium saucepan melt butter. Remove from heat and add sugars. Stir until incorporated and smooth. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.
Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla,.
Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oatmeal. Mix well.
Add chips and coarsely chopped pecans.
Using a medium cookie scoop place cookies on a parchment lined sheet--chill for 30 minutes.
Bake at 325 for 14 minutes. Cool the cookie a few minutes then slide on a cooling rack.
Watch out these delicious cookies will disappear quickly!
Printable Recipe


Recipe inspired by the Cooking Channel

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blueberry Crumb Cake



Do you purchase those big baskets of Blueberries at Costco? I do and I seem to forget just how much they contain! We had berries on our cereal, berries as snacks and we still had blueberries. This recipe proved to be a winner. It is just what a breakfast cake should be--moist, not to sweet, full of fruit and plenty of streusel topping.
You could top with ice cream and call this a dessert. But since it is full of healthy blueberries I'll probably enjoy it for breakfast. Tis the season for berries. I can't wait to make it again.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
5 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

For the cake--Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with butter or Pam.
Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, add the egg and vanilla--mix until combined. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour the batter in the prepared pan.
For the topping--Combine the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Cut together using two knifes or a pastry cutter. Sprinkle topping on top of the batter. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake--no one likes dry cake!
Serve warm with a little softened butter. I personally like a dollop of  whipped cream on top.
Printable recipe
I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's Blog.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Breakfast Burritos

 
Breakfast burritos are a favorite at our house and are a perfect quick meal any time of the day.  The filling can be made ahead of time and reheated for a quick delicious breakfast after a late night with family!
 
They are very versatile and can easily be altered to satisfy your preferences.  We have done a lot of experimenting - and this is currently our favorite breakfast burrito!
 
Breakfast Burritos
1 bag frozen shredded hash browns
1-1/2 lb Hot and Spicy Sausage, cooked. diced ham or cooked crumbled bacon would also work
4-6 eggs
1/2 cup salsa
cheese--shredded
sour cream
tortillas-flour or corn
Cooking frozen hashbrowns is somewhat of an art - one that requires patience and time! A 2lb bag needs to be cooked on a very large electric griddle, or in two batches in your largest stovetop skillet.  Spray the surface and drizzle with oil or butter.  With the griddle/skillet on medium heat add the frozen hash browns and DON'T TOUCH for 8-10 minutes. This is difficult, I know, but they will be so much better in the long run.  Season with salt and pepper. After 8 minutes check a small area, they should be lightly browned.  If you'd like them cooked more leave for a couple more minutes.  When cooked to your satisfaction carefully turn and the once again DON'T TOUCH, this time for 6-8 minutes.  You will end up with wonderfully cooked hash browns that aren't reduced to a mess of mushy potatoes (admit it, it's happened to you!).
Brown sausage.
Scramble eggs.
In a large bowl mix together the cooked potatoes, meat and scrambled egg. Add salsa. Mix gently. Heat either corn or flour tortillas, sprinkle on grated cheese to melt. Add mix, garnish with sour cream, hot sauce, more salsa etc. Roll up and serve hungry guests!
This is a perfect camping meal. If you are really lazy cook at home and bring mix ready to heat to your event. Just warm tortillas and serve. But if you love to cook out doors and don't mind the bugs, heat, dirt etc. by all means heat up a big griddle. This really comes together easily.
However you make it just enjoy the time you spend with loved ones!



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hummus--The Best Ever!


I do not like chickpeas, they are big and beany. At the salad bar I eat my way around them. So why do I like Hummus? I think something amazing happens when they take a ride in my trusty food processor. Just add a few simple ingredients and in just seconds a wonderful dip is born! Serve Hummus with pita chips, veggies or crusty bread, it is delicious!

Hummus
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 (15.5 ounce can) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Add garlic, lemon juice and tahini to food processor. Pulse for about a minute until smooth. Add beans, salt and pepper, cumin, red pepper and 3 tablespoons water. Process until smooth. With processor running slowly add the olive oil, process until just combined. Add additional water to reach desired consistency. Store covered in refrigerator. Refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Just before serving drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley.
Printable Recipe

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rice Krispie Squares--for Quilt Group





 It was my turn to bring goodies for the 20 ladies in my applique class. I always appreciate an assignment to bring treats. I get to make a delicious treat and get rid of them quickly, best of both worlds! Time was short so I made a batch of rice krispie treats--on steroids. These are not the treat that you buy in a package of 20 at Costco. You probably don't want to take them to your child's kindergarten class.
These will certainly be appreciated by your book club, quilt class or girls night. It really is just a simple rice krispie treat with a bit more butter, a little peanut butter and of course plenty of chocolate. I put each treat in a cute bag which makes them easy to hand out. They can be eaten on site or dropped in your bag for later (most were eaten quickly).
This is a simple treat that looks like you went to a lot of work--but you didn't. Make them often and share. Bonus--they are gluten free!


Rice Krispie Treats--for Quilt Group
16 ounces marshmallows
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (or melting wafers)
9 cups rice krispies (almost all of a 12 ounce box)
1/2 cup milk, dark or white chocolate chips
Melt butter, add peanut butter and stir. add marshmallows. Microwave stirring every 30 seconds until marshmallow are melted. Add rice krispies and  3/4 cup white chocolate chips, stir gently. Press into a buttered 9x13 inch pan. For a thin treat use a sheet pan. Melt chocolate chips--drizzle over top of treats. Refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. Cut into squares. Makes 20 treats.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mint Brownies for Graduation Day




My sweet niece graduated from high school this week. She invited all her aunt, uncles and cousins to a party to help her celebrate. We had a delicious dinner in my brothers beautiful yard. It was the perfect evening for a party. Christina request Mint Brownies for dessert.
 I have a number of delicious brownie recipes--but it is always fun to try something new. I found a recipe in Our Best Bites Cookbook that looked promising and it was a winner. This recipe uses unsweetened chocolate in the base. It came together quickly. Brownies are usually better made the day before you want to serve them. I made them one evening and just had to sample them the next morning for breakfast (quality control). They were not yet frosted but they were amazing. When I added mint frosting and a very simple chocolate glaze they were perfect. This could be my favorite new brownie recipe!
Mint Brownies for Graduation Day
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate--chopped
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Melt chocolate and butter, stir and cool slightly. With a mixer beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 2 minutes. Slowly add the melted chocolate. Combine flour, baking powder and salt--stir. Gently stir in the flour mixture until just blended.  Line a 9x13 pan with foil or parchment paper and then spray with Pam. Pour mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely. Turn out onto a cutting board. Set aside.

Frosting
2-3 tablespoons cream or milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 cup softened butter
food coloring
Combing ingredients and mix until smooth. Using an offset spatula spread frosting on brownies.
Refrigerate until cool.

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
Gently melt chocolate chips and butter, stir. Let the glaze cool for 15-30 minutes.
Spread glaze on chilled frosting layer. Return brownies to refrigerator. When cool cut into squares and serve. If you rinse your knife in hot water and dry between cuts your brownies will look amazing.
Printable Recipe

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mother's Day Quilt


Just a quick quilting post today. I decided my sweet Mother-In-Law needed a quilt for Mother's Day. I picked some happy colors and went to work. I love how a quilt evolves. I started with a pattern in mind but quickly realized that to get the most out of my fabric choices I needed to adjust. A two inch squared just didn't do justice to the fun prints I wanted to showcase. So, I added some larger pieces and was very happy with the results.
Happy Mother's Day Geneel--this quilt was stitched with love!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick Cilantro Lime Chicken


Nothing better than a quick main dish that turns simple flavors into something amazing. This is certainly a 30-Minute Meal. To keep the meal really under 30 minutes add you favorite salad kit and some pre-cooked rice. Dinner doesn't get much easier.
 
Quick Cilantro Lime Chicken
2 chicken breasts--cubed
2-3 limes--zest one and juice all
4 cloves garlic--pressed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
salt
pepper
cumin
chili powder
cayenne pepper
Season chicken cubes liberally with seasonings--I would go lighter on the cayenne! Heat some olive oil in a pan until very hot. Add seasoned chicken, cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, when brown turn. Cook another few minutes until chicken reaches about 165 degrees. Add garlic and lime zest, cook for 30 seconds. Add lime juice and stir to release all the yummy goodness from the bottom of the pan. Top with cilantro.
Inspired by a recipe on this blog.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Singapore Chicken Salad



What is a Singapore Chicken Salad anyway??
I started with one of my favorite Asian Chicken Salads, made popular by my daughter Amber. This same sweet daughter introduced me to the wonderful world of Penzys Spices. They are fresh and have some of the most amazing seasoning blends. Actually in the near future I will do a post about some of my most used Penzys Spices.

Back to the 'Singapore Chicken Salad'. I purchased a small jar of Singapore seasoning. I knew it would be awesome because it contains some of my favorite spices--pepper, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, nutmeg, cardamom etc. It worked miracles with the ever popular chicken tenders. These seasoned tenders added a wonderful flavor to a weeknight salad.
The homemade dressing makes up in just a minute from ingredients that are pantry essentials.
This salad is a little different each time I make it--depending upon what is in the fridge.
Have fun with this tasty salad!

Singapore Chicken Salad
I use Costco Chicken Tenders, 8 tenders fit well in my skillet and is enough for 2-3 servings. Thaw tenders, rinse and pat dry. Generously sprinkle chicken with Penzys Singapore Seasoning. Cook in a small amount of hot of hot oil for about 4 minutes per side or 165 degrees. Dice cooked chicken
Salad
Any mix of crisp veggies works.  I like Dole's Chopped! Asian Blend which contains green cabbage, red cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, kale and snap peas. There are so many fun salad blends available--it makes eating salad much easier. This hearty blend will also last a bit longer in the fridge than spring greens. Am I the only one that forgets what is in the fridge??
I might also add--
chopped romaine
Napa cabbage
diced cucumber
diced red pepper
green onions
bean sprouts
cilantro (a must)
orange sections
chopped peanuts or almonds
Won Ton Strips

Dressing
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix together--this dressing keeps for several days
Printable Recipe


 
 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's a Quilt--for Henry.

This fun quilt was perfect for 7 year old Henry. He is full of spunk and a joy to be around. We love Henry! I stated a quilt for him before he was born--7 years later I finished the quilt. It was sweet but not the right quilt for a seven year old!
Hopefully this suits him a little better.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bahama Chicken Soup and Tortilla Strips


I have never been to the Bahamas but I can see myself sitting under a coconut tree enjoying this flavorful soup. I found the recipe in a 30 Minute Meal cookbook by a local Utah author Shauna Evans.  I marked several recipes that look interesting.
The trick to making this meal in 30 minutes is to have a Rotisserie chicken on hand. I didn't have one but quickly cooked some frozen chicken tenders (that I always have). I added more veggies and cut the recipe down so we only ate it for 3 meals.
I had my doubts about the Tortilla Strips--I usually purchase packaged Wonton or Tortilla Strips but I didn't have any on hand and I did have some close to date tortillas in the fridge. The garlic butter gave them a great flavor and they really did get crispy.
I was happy with the final dish and quickly wrote the recipe down so I could share it with you.
Here is my version of:
Bahama Chicken Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red or yellow pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 can petite diced tomatoes--or 2 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 can diced green chilies
2 cups diced cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
juice from 1 lime
In a stockpot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, red peppers, garlic and jalapeño. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk, tomatoes, green chilies, carrots, salt and pepper. Cook on medium low heat until carrots are crisp tender.
Add cilantro and lime juice.
Garnish with Tortilla Strips.


Tortilla Strips
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
flour tortillas
Mix melted butter, garlic and salt. Brush on both sided of tortillas. With a pizza cutter, cut in 1/2 inch strips. Spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, turning once.
Printable Recipe




Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015 Books List--1st Quarter


I enjoyed sharing the books I read in 2014. Many good reads but the post was certainly too long. I decided a quarterly book post would be better. Here is just a little about each book and why I liked it.
More detailed information on each book can be found on Amazon.
Books read the first quarter of 2015 include:

Still Alice--B+
For some reason I assumed this book was true. I finished it before I realized it is a work of fiction. I hate it when that happens! Still Alice by Lisa Genova was a book club read.  Alice is a brilliant professor at Harvard (a fact that is repeated over and over). As a Linguistics professor she travels and speaks all over the world. In her later 40's Alice begins forgetting things--she blames it on the stress of a very busy life. While on her daily jog she forgets where she is at and how to get home. She seeks medical helps and is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.
As an almost 60 year-old I found myself making armchair diagnosis to almost all I know! A bit scary I admit. This book was believable--the author does have credentials, I assume she knows what she is talking about.
Alice deteriorates rather rapidly and soon she has to resign from teaching. I thought it was very interesting how others treated her. Some thought if she just tried harder she could remember, a few family members were compassionate and still others just ignored her.
I came away from this book with a heightened awareness. How would I treat someone with EOA? How would I help them maintain their dignity. Would I be content to be their friend knowing their limitations? I certainly hope so. This book made a great discussion. I think it scratched the surface of a condition we may all be exposed too. Knowledge is good when it helps us be more aware.
Still Alice was worth reading, it does include a few words that I do not care to read. I would give it a solid B+.

An Invisible Thread--A
This was my choice for Book Club this year. It is the true story of a remarkable relationship between a busy New York Sales Rep and a homeless 11 year old panhandler. He was asking for spare change, she kept walking. Something stopped her in her tracks and she went back. She continued to go back again and again. They met up weekly for years and built a life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost 3 decades.
This was an excellent book to discuss. Are we compassionate? How do we reach out to others, could we be a little kinder? You never know when a simple kindness will change a life. Excellent book, it just might be my favorite book this year--but the year is still young!

Boys on the Boat--A
A very interesting, true story about the US Rowing Team of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I don't think I really knew that rowing was a sport until I read this book. Coming from land locked Utah I don't know much about water sports. This 8-man team of underdogs originated from the University of Washington. Eight amazing young men each with a unique background.
I do love a good true story. I like to learn about real people and their real lives. If you liked Unbroken you will most likely enjoy Boys on the Boat. I enjoyed listening to this book on Audible.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks--A
Another true story (do you see a pattern) that I read with disbelief. A poor black tobacco farmer has cancer. Henrietta Lacks is known in the scientific world as HeLa. Her cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951 These cells were to become a very important tool in the medical world. They were vital in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and more. Her cells have been bought and sold by the billions.
I read this book with so many questions about ethics, race and medicine. This was a common practice in 1951. Was it right--I don't think so, but was it beneficial--yes. I hope we have learned from the mistakes of the past.
I listened to this on Audible--it is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, she is the best. This would be a great book club read. There is so much to discuss.

Divergent--B+
Divergent is labeled as Young Adult Fiction. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games you will probably like Divergent. The is the first book in a series of three, it has also been made into a movie (which I have not yet viewed). This is the story of a futuristic society that is divided into five factions. I listened to the Audible version and quite enjoyed it--but not enough to finish the series. I will listen to the rest of the series--just not now.

A Year on Ladybug Farm--B-
This is the light hearted story of three friends that leave their comfortable lives in the suburbs and buy a run down mansion in the middle of nowhere. I want to think most women are smarter than these three friends. But this is a work of fiction after all! It is somewhat amusing. It is the kind of book I have on my phone to read at the Drs. office or while I am waiting in line at Sonic for my half price Fresh Lime Diet Coke.
This book is not life changing nor is it a book club read. It is an airplane or beach read. Enjoy it for what it is. This is the first book in a series, I bought the second one for 1 cent as a used book. It is in my bag waiting for my next trip to the beach!!

The Deer Hunter's Oath--A+
This delightful memoir is written by my brother Jeff Lindstrom. If you love a good deer hunting story this will make you smile. Jeff started writing his history in a way his grandchildren would love to read. That is just a good story. 98% true, and 2% writers license.
 I am a non hunter by choice but I know the location--I lived at the farm, the end of civilization for two years. I also know the players so this book really came to life for me. Jeff has the ability to describe people in such a way that if I saw them at the Fruitland Store I would certainly know them.

 Jeff describes this as a collection of light-hearted and entertaining stories. Tales of family, friends and deer hunting from the perspective of a young boy growing up in the 60's - his first deer camp at age eight, the competitive teen years, antics with his brothers, and concluding with the ramblings of an old man. A humorous look at the education of a young and impressionable outdoorsman by the older, more experienced deer hunters, who administer the deer hunters oath.
You will laugh as you read this, if you are a hunter you can see yourself over and over. It is fun my 23 year old was laughing out laud and our 10 year old granddaughter said she loved it.
Any outdoors man would love this.

Outlander--D
I read a good review on this book but I didn't study it near enough. It began as a fun romance, I do like a good romance. But it wasn't long before the fun left. Bad language was common and the story line just went down from there. I classify this book as something I could not share with my mother or daughters.....if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy we seek after these things...

Well friends there are my read for the first 3 months of 2015. Please let me know what you are reading. I'm always looking for a new read.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Creamy Chicken Picasso




I have had this delicious looking chicken dish pinned for ages. I found it on Let's Dish--one of my favorite blogs, Dani has some awesome recipes. This chicken dish was no exception. Candise was visiting and we made this for Easter dinner. It might not be your typical Easter Dinner, but it was colorful and fresh. Perfect for a spring meal.
The chicken was tender, the onions and peppers were yummy. We spooned the tomato cream sauce over angel hair pasta. And we tried not to lick our plates because it was Easter. Please don't wait till next Easter to make this dish. I will add it to the 'make often' recipe list.


Creamy Chicken Picasso
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, sliced
2 peppers (red, orange or yellow), cut into rings
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, melt  2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and brown the chicken lightly on each side. Transfer to a greased 9x13 pan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet, add the onions, season lightly, and cook until soft and browned.  Arrange the onions over the chicken.  If needed add the last tablespoon of butter to the skillet, add the peppers, season lightly, and cook until softened.  Add to the 9x13 with the chicken and onions. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  To the garlic add the tomatoes, broth, cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.  Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove foil.  Top with grated cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until cheese is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta if desired.
Printable Recipe




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce



Can I just tell you right now that this is the best meat I have ever eaten! I made it three times in March and it will probably go on the menu again this week. It is tender and delicious. The pan sauce is what dreams are made of! Please make it soon.
Pork tenderloin is usually sold in a package of two, each tenderloin weighs close to a pound.  You can figure 4 ounces per serving so each tenderloin serves 4. This is a perfect weeknight meal for hubby and I. Leftovers make a gourmet lunch--the only way to 'brown bag'. 
Don't be tempted to over cook the tenderloin. It will cook in 20 minutes or less. I love my quick read thermometer. Your meat will be tender and delicious cooked to 145 degrees. Tent with foil and let is rest for five minutes.
So I just might make this again tomorrow!

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

Marinade
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1-2 Tbps chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp dried mustard
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 lb pork tenderloin, silver skin removed

Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 3 tablespoons. Place pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziploc baggie and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat sear each side of the tenderloin for 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until meat has reached 145 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Pan Sauce
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. reserved marinade
1-2 Tbsp. butter

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove on medium heat. Add the chicken broth and whisk to de-glaze the pan of all the yummy bits left after you browned the tenderloin. Add the marinade, bring it to a boil and reduce 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the butter.  Stir until the butter has melted. Pour over the tenderloin and serve.
Printable Recipe
Thank you Chef Mommy for this delicious dish!