Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fun website

This is a really fun food website that is simply pictures of food. Click on the picture and it takes you to the blog or website where it is featured!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I need inspiration.

I've been trying to make a grocery list for the last two days, but i can't seem to make a plan for dinners for the next couple weeks. Maybe its because I'm pregnant, but nothing sounds good. I've made tons of stuff on here that is super yummy...but I need more new stuff. This weather is throwing me for a loop too. We got a couple good BBQ nights in...but now with the rain, I'm just not motivated to cook in the kitchen. I want to cook 'summer' but it doesn't feel like summer!!!

Bring on some new stuff!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

One of our prized Christmas gifts from Alex's folks is our electric ice cream maker. It's tradition to make homemade vanilla ice cream for birthdays around our neck of the woods (even if that means making it at 11 pm the night before). You'll be surprised by how easy it really is, it's just time consuming. I've had a few friends ask me for the recipe, so here it is girlfriends! Oh and BTW, we don't skimp on the calories when it comes to homemade ice cream.

Ingredients for my 4 quart maker:
2 cups milk (I use whole organic milk)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups of half & half
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
4 cups of whipping cream
3 cups of ROCK salt
Lots of ice

Add the two cups of milk into large saucepan. Put your burner on between low and medium. Scald milk until bubbles form around edge of pan. Keep an eye on milk while preparing the rest of the ingredients. It takes a bit but when it's ready, it's ready quickly.
Once milk is scalded, remove pan from heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in half and half, vanilla extract & whipping cream. Cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. Freeze.
Freezing Process: I'll take more pictures next time.
  • Pour chilled ice cream mixture into ice cream can (see my can in picture?). Fill can 3/4 full (it will expand).
  • Insert dasher (see the white thing-ma-jig in picture?), place cover on ice cream can.
  • Place filled can in ice cream bucket.
  • Place motor over can.
  • Layer an inch of ice, then sprinkle 1/4 cup of ROCK salt. Alternate layers of ice and rock salt to top of can.
  • Place ice cream bucket into another bucket, cooler, sink (to catch all the melted water as the ice will melt as the machine churns)
  • Turn on machine (I often put mine in the garage or bathroom because it is so loud especially at 11 pm).
  • Churn 20-40 minutes.
  • Scrape ice cream mixture from can and dasher into a freezer container. I'm not a huge Tupperware fan (because of my thriftiness), but love this container for my ice cream.
  • Place ice cream in freezer.
  • My helper from beginning to end gets to lick the dasher and scrape the can.

For strawberry ice cream: Add 4 cups of pureed strawberries to chilled mixture prior to freezing. I don't always have strawberries, but I do have lots of strawberry freezer jam. I've added 12 oz of strawberry jam before.
For Peach ice cream: Add 4 cups of peaches to chilled mixture prior to freezing.
Add any type of fruit to chilled mixture prior to freezing: just add 4 cups with the exception of bananas only add 3 cups. I have also done marionberry, blackberry, raspberries without seeds.
Well try these, and then I'll post you my Rocky Road recipe.
I'm so looking foward to summer,
PS Oh, another freezing option would be to see my friend Lee Ann

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chicken Bow Tie Pasta

After eating Kelly's bowtie sausage pasta last night for dinner (which I HIGHLY reccommend!), I thought I should post this recipe. This is one of my family's favorite pasta dishes (I got it from my Southern Living Magazine). It has a few similar ingredients to Kelly's dish, but it's different enough that you should definitely try them both :). I have served this to company a couple of times and it always gets great reviews! Enjoy!

1 16oz. package bow tie pasta
3 skinned and boned cicken breasts ( I use 2 if they are really large)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 (8.5 oz.) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine (I have used savaniogn blanc and chardonnay)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I use 1 Tablespoon dried)
4 cloves garlic, minced or just use a garlic press like I do
1tsp. dried italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1 (12oz.) package fresh broccoli florets
Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm. I place it back in the pot and put the lid on it.

2. Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Saute chicken in the hot olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat 5 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Do not drain the oil from the skillet. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm while it drains on paper towels.

3. Add sun dried tomatoes and next 6 ingredients to skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in broccoli and cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Stir occasionally.

4. Place warm chicken and pasta in very large serving dish. Pour skillet ingredients over the pasta and chicken and mix together evenly. Top with parmesan cheese. Serve with extra parmesan on the table.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

For all of you TRADER JOES fans. This recipe is great with the Trader Joes brand products.
I have tried it with others and it's too salty or simply not as good.
I am all about easy recipes so here is another.

1 enchilada sauce (in the bottle)
1 can of chicken
1 box of organic range free chicken broth
1/2 cup of chopped red and yellow peppers
2 cans of black beans drained
Add all ingredients in a pot and cook over medium flame to heat up.

The rest is just for taste.
sour cream, cheese, avocado, and absolutely the tortilla chips.
Pour soup over and enjoy!

Blogger Challenge # 2

Quick and Easy Pierogies

This is in response to Lee Ann's convenience food challenge...finally :). I found out about pierogies from a co-worker way back when we were living in NY. For those who don't know what they are...they're kind of like big raviolis filled with mashed potatoes and cheese! I use these on nights when I need a quick meal that everyone will eat. Hope you like them too!

Buy only Mrs. T's potato and cheddar pierogies (they are the best!) in the frozen food section. I buy the huge 2lb. bag because I know I'll eventually use them, but they also come in boxes of 12. You'll need a large frying pan in order to cook them all at once. I use my electric frying pan on medium temperature. It's the only one I have that's large enough.

- Mrs. T's pierogies (count out the number that you think your family will eat (my family of 4 can eat 15).
- About a tablespoon of butter, just enough to spread around in the pan
- chopped onion to add flavor (as much as you want, I use about 1/4 cup)
- Cheddar cheese to melt over the top (as much as you want)
- top with salsa and sour cream

In a large saucepan bring some water to a boil. Place your frozen Piergogies in the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until they start to float to the top and are tender). Remove from heat and drain. Meanwhile, chop your onion and preheat your frying pan to medium. Add butter to the pan and spread around. Add onion and saute just a bit to soften them up. Then add the pierogies to the frying pan so that they are all lying flat and not on top of each other. Cook on one side until lightly brown and then flip and lightly brown the other side. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover so the cheese will melt and serve! We top ours with sour cream and salsa, yummy. Well, the kids actually like to pick theirs up and dip them in sour cream ;). Whatever it takes to get them to eat, right ladies?? The whole meal takes about 15 minutes! Serve with salad or a favorite vegetable. Enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Overnight Egg Casserole

Okay, I had this last year at MOMs group and Lynne Paulus brought it. So I made it for Moms last thursday and Julie asked me to post it for everyone so here you go.
I will give you my variation but you can get really wild and do just about anything with different ingredients it.

1 loaf of French Bread with crusts cut off
1 pkg of bacon, (heres a trick! Cook it in the oven on broil on top of a cooling rack in a cookie sheet for the grease to drop through. This will keep the fat separate from the bacon. Works great for less grease!
4 cups of cheese. I used 2cps of colby and 2cps of pepperjack.
1 red pepper
1 green onion
10 eggs
2 1/2 cps of milk
1 cp of half and half or cream

Use a 9x13 pan
You will layer ingredients with
bread, cheese, bacon, peppers and onion and repeat again.
Mix eggs with the milk and cream and pour on top.
Make sure all layers are covered and milk goes to the top of dish.

Put in the refrigerator for overnight and pull it out in the morning and bake it at 375 for about and 1 hour or more until cooked through.

This dish makes it possible to bring eggs to Moms group and still have time to get ready.
So no more excuses ladies...hehehehe.

Foccacia Pesto Sandwhich

Another favorite that is super easy and seems fancy enough to do when entertaining. I have made this with a yummy salad for many showers and parties. Louette just asked me to post this, so here it is. I wish I had a picture because it looks as good as it tastes.

1 loaf of foccacia bread, ( they sell them at Winco, Freddies and in 2 packs at Costco)
1 small container of prepared pesto
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 really good tomato
olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Cut the bread in half like you would a big burger bun and lay it open. Drizzle a little olive oil on each side, spread the pesto over both sides, slice the tomato and spread it on the bottom, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over both sides, ( the one with the tomatoes and the one with just pesto) and then sprinkle just a little Parmesan on both sides. Place on cookie sheet, open faced and bake at 350 for 5 min or until the cheese melts. Then very carefully put the top on the side with the tomatoes so it looks like one big sandwich. Return to the oven for 10 min or so until everything is melted and the bread is golden. Remove and cut in pieces and serve.

Optional... you can add chicken to this recipe to make it more of a meal. This is what I do. Boil a breast of chicken, then chop it up and saute it for a few minutes in about 1 tablespoon of the pesto. Then sprinkle it on the tomato side (the bottom of the sandwich) before you add the cheeses.


Quick and Easy Tortellini

So I have many less than 15 min meals and they are all family favorites, mostly because mom is not stressed out at dinner time. I am a pasta, bread and tomato lover so most of my recipes include these things.

1 pkg frozen cheese tortellini ( I get the Rosetta brand at Winco for $2.75)
1 pkg Knorr 4 cheese sauce (made as directed but I use skim milk and butter)
1 chicken breast, boiled and then shredded (I usually buy the frozen breasts at Winco and then I always have some when I need it, one chicken breast goes a long way when it is shredded)
10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
grated Parmesan

I make the tortellini as directed, only takes about 3-5 min, and the Knorr sauce (about 5-7 min), and boil one chicken breast. I shred the chicken, slice the tomatoes and add them with the tortellini and sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. It serves 2 adults and 2-3 kids. You can add a salad and bread if you like. This is my comfort food, I make it at least once a week and sometimes even for lunch. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great Spring Party Idea.

Pioneer Woman Cooks, has a great spring party dessert idea. Take a look...

Honey-Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

I got this recipe when I was in a freezer cooking group last year. We still eat it a lot.

1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 to 4 tsp soy sauce (I use light)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into pieces (I like dark meat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs oil
16 0z frozen stir fry veggies
4-6 cups cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine the honey, soy sauce, lemon juice and ginger; set aside. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, stir-fry chicken in oil for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add veggies; stir-fry 3-4 minutes longer or until veggies are crisp-tender. (This usually takes longer than that for me.) Stir honey mixture and stir into chicken/veggie mixture. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

For the ladies in my small group who have trouble getting dinner on the table (me included!), cut the chicken and make the sauce while your kids are napping. Then, all you have to do is throw it in the pan.