Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zoupa Toscana

I guess this is from the Olive Garden. We had this on Christmas Eve for dinner and loved it.

1 pound hot Italian Sausage- cut into slices
6 slices bacon, diced and cooked
3/4 C diced onion

Cook all these ingredients in a pan and drain the extra grease.

1 1/2 tsp mince garlic and simmer for 1 minute.
1 giant can of chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, diced to 1/4 inch.

Simmer for 15 minutes

Add: 2C chopped kale leaves and 1/2 C heavy whipping cream. Simmer for 4 minutes. Serve with grated parmesean cheese.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our FAVORITE treat at the holidays

It's become a Christmas Tradition for my sweet hubby to make his most requested recipe...Creme Brulee. This is the recipe we like best...and FYI the best place to buy fresh vanilla beans is at Costco...SO MUCH CHEAPER and better beans. They are 10 beans for $11.99 vs. The Spice Islands grocery store version, One bean for about $9.

Creme Brulee (recipe from food network, Alton Brown)
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My favorites

Julie asked awhile back what our favorite recipes from this blog are...I"m a little obsessed with soups right now, these are my faves of the season!

1. We LOVE the White Bean Chili Recipe (from Kelly Dean that LeeAnn posted) I make this pretty often. I have substitued cilantro for the green chiles in a pinch and that was so good also. I love to munch it with Lime Tostitos and a dollop of sour cream. YUM!

2. I also love Mere's tomato Soup

3. Julie's baked potato Soup

I also love, love, love Mere's Orzo Salad it is SO good!

also like Jen's Balsamic Penne Pasta

Keep those recipes coming! I love to come here to find something new when I'm planning my meals. Eryn

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pork Chops and Apples

This is a yummy one. I haven't made it in a long time but a friend asked for the recipe and it reminded me of it. How many of us have that great recipe that we just forget about? Organizational system for recipes is needed!!

Pork Chops and Apples

6 pork chops (1/2” thick. About 1 ½ lbs.)
3-4 apples, unpeeled and sliced
¼ c packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter

Heat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 pan.
Brown chops on medium heat about 5 minutes, turning once.

Place apples in baking dish. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter. Top with pork.

Cover and bake 1 hour or until pork is slightly pink in center and apples are done.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Noodle or Rice Soup

This is a super delish soup recipe.

Chicken Noodle or Rice Soup

8 c chicken broth
1 c milk
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 c carrots, chopped (I usually add more)
1/2 c celery, chopped(I usually add more)
1/2 c onion, chopped(I usually add more)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp salt to taste
2 c cooked chicken, diced
6 oz. egg noodles or 1/2 c rice
1 tsp or more Better Than Bullion chicken flavor

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c flour
1/2 c milk

In large stock pot, cook carrot, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper in 1 Tbsp butter, for a few minutes. Add broth, 1 c milk. Cook 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken and dry noodles or rice. Cook 10 -12 minutes or until done. Mix 1/2 c milk, flour and butter and add to soup to thicken.

One secret to making this extra good is a jar of Better Than Bullion. They sell this at Costco, winco, etc. It is a paste rather than cube or granules. I think it tastes "better than bullion." Just add 1 tsp at a time until it tastes more chickeny. This is especially nice to use if you have your own broth that maybe isn't as strong as the canned.

Also my absolute favorite noodles for this soup are Vita Spelt Extra Wide White Spelt Noodles. There is white and whole wheat. I prefer the white for this soup. Fred Meyer's Natural section and Whole Foods sell these. They are by far the best. Just creamy and good. I first started using them since my husband can't have wheat but now I use them even when I make this for others.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cheddar-topped Shepherd's Pie

Aaaah....good comfort food for a cold night. I only make 1/2 of this for my family with plenty of left-overs. Does anyone know if you could freeze this?

2 pounds potatoes, peeled
6 carrots, diced small
6 celery stalks, diced small
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tomato paste
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Heat 1 T. oil in skillet. Add carrot, celery, onion. Cook 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add flour and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute longer. Add beef. Cook until no longer pink. Drain off fat. Add 1 cup water. Bring to boil then simmer 1 minute.

Drain potatoes. Return to pan. Add milk and 1 cup of cheese. Mash.

Pour beef filling into 9x13 pan. Top with mashed potatoes. Then top with remaining cheese. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So sorry

Genius me. Sorry about the elf post... while trying to post it on my blog, I lost it. Apparently the good people at office max sent it on over here. Again, my apologies!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sourcream Sugar Cookies

While I can't eat these anymore (flour), these were always my favorite FROSTED sugar cookie. Yes, I have another favorite recipe to eat un-frosted. I'll share that one another time.

Cream together:
1 c. butter
3 eggs
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Sift together in large bowl:
5 c. flour
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder

Mix together in small bowl:
1 c. sour cream
1 t. baking soda
(they will react and "foam" up.)

Alternate adding portions of dry mixture and sour cream mixture into butter mixture.
The dough is very soft. Chill for several hours or put in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Keep unused dough in the fridge while rolling out dough.

Bake @ 400 for 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Peanut Clusters

This is my extended family's favorite candy. It's also the easiest!

Peanut Clusters

12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz of almond bark
1 jar dry roasted peanuts (salted)

Coarsely chop almond bark so that it will melt evenly with chocolate chips. Microwave chips and almond bark together, stirring frequently until melted. Add peanuts. Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Favorite Holiday Treats

I love baking, especially for Christmas. I would love to see new postings of your favorite Holiday treats. I love to try new treats and would love some new inspirations.

Peppermint Bark

The kids and I whipped this out this afternoon. One of many batches to be made this holiday season.

1 bag of white chocolate chips
6 candy canes, crushed plus more for topping
peppermint flavoring, optional
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

Melt white chocolate chips according to package directions. Once melted, add crushed candy canes and pepperming flavoring to your liking. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper spread with a spatula to about a quarter inch thick. Sprinkle with the extra crushed candy canes. If desired, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave and drizzle on top.