Thursday, March 26, 2009

Triple-Chocolate Quick Bread

I am 4 days past my due-date and today, I needed some serious chocolate. I found this recipe, and lets just say... it did the job. (Not the baby part, but it at least made me feel better about waiting for the baby. :)

Triple-Chocolate Quick Bread
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cip packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips (about 40 seconds and stir); set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and cooled chocolate; mix well. Add applesauce and vanilla; set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the remaing chocolate chips.

Spoon into four greased mini loaf pans (I think it would probably fill about 2 of the regular). Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 T butter
2-3 T half-and-half cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan; stir in cream. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Drizzle over warm breads. Cool completely.
Amberlee says she "prefers" the batter... and can you blaim her?
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Home-made Egg Rolls

I had to take a picture of the mixture just because I though the colors were to beautiful. I love the color of the red cabbage!

I have never made egg rolls, so this was a fun new (messy/greasy) thing for me! :) I thought they were delicious too. It you are an egg roll fan, I think it is definitely more cost effective to make them yourself. Plus they are pretty tasty and you can put what ever you want in them really. It is kind of silly for me to be posting this recipe, because it was just the one of the wrapper package, but hey... I was trying something new. :)

Egg Rolls
1 lb ground beef, pork, chicken, or 1 pkg tofu, drained and crumbled
1 tsp minced ginger (I only had the powder and it worked)
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/4 lb bean sprouts (I just put in a whole 14 oz can drained)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 T oyster sauce (I could not find this anywhere, so I substituted clam juice.)
1 pkg large square wrappers
oil for deep-frying
sweet and sour sauce for dipping

Stir-fry meat or tofu and ginger in a wide skillet over high heat until lightly browned. Add cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot and green onions. Stir in Oyster sauce. Let mixture cool.

Use two tablespoons of the filling for each egg roll. (The package of wrappers will probably have directions for folding). Deep fry at 350 a few at a time, turning occasionally, until golden. (I don't have a deep-fryer, so I had it on about medium high just over the stove.) Drain on a paper towel. Serve warm with dipping sauce and rice.
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French Cream Fruit Dip

I came across good old Paula Dean's recipe for fruit dip and found it was divine! Thought I would pass it on... fruit is already so good, but you put this stuff on it and you are in heaven for sure!

French Cream Fruit Dip:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Pineapple Juice
I also added just a few drops of yellow food coloring to give it a little color.

Soften cream cheese and then whip with powdered sugar. Whip cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks. Combine beaten cream cheese, whipped cream, lemon juice and zest; continue to beat, adding just enough pineapple juice to achieve desired consistency. Serve with fresh fruit tray or fruit salad.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Oat Muffins

This last summer, I was on a really long road trip, and one of the things I did to keep myself sain was pick up this great Muffins and Quick Breads recipe book to pour over a long the way. It really helped! This is a yummy recipe I found in it. The lady said some students in her Home Ec. class created it- which I thought was pretty cool. Anyway- I doubled the batch and I've been enjoying these little "peanut-buttery" gems for breakfast all week!

Peanut Butter Oat Muffins (Makes 1 dozen)
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Dash ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1-1/4 cups milk
1.2 cup chopped peanuts
Whipped topping and additional peanuts, optional

In a large bowl, beat egg, peanut butter and milk until smooth. Mix in flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon until moistened. Fold in peanuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three fourths full.

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Serve with whipped topping and peanuts if desired.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Short Order Home Fries

I recently came across a new cooking show/website on public television (since that is all I have :) that I really liked called Cook's Country. On the episode I watched, they made these home fries and they just looked so good and easy to make, so I thought I would post them.

Short Order Home Fries

Although we prefer the sweetness of Yukon Gold potatoes, other medium-starch or waxy potatoes, such as all-purpose or red-skinned potatoes, can be substituted. If you want to spice things up, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Serves 4.


1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Ground black pepper


  1. Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl, top with 1 tablespoon butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until edges of potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.

  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

  3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula. Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty, 9 to 12 minutes. Stir in onion, garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve.

Marvelous Meatloaf

This is a recipe I combined from a crockpot meatloaf and Ellie Krieger's Turkey Meatloaf. It turns out really flavorful and it is so nice to throw it in the crockpot! I usually only dirty one dish and that is the crockpot! :) I also love the way the veggies turn out- it is always nice to have a good side dish without too much hassle!

Marvelous Meatloaf (Crockpot Style)
2 eggs beaten
2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
1 chopped green or red bell pepper
1 chopped onions
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
4-6 potatoes and carrots cubed (optional)

Combine all ingredients (except potatoes and carrots) in a large bowl, or the actual crock pot. Shape into a loaf in slow cooker. Place Veggies along the side of loaf. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flat Tire Cake... Got a Spare? Mmmm...

We showed up to church with a flat tire this last weekend, and that night, my friend stopped by with this awesome "Flat Tire" Cake. I thought it was such a great idea. It sure cheered us up after a long day! (Not to mention it was delicious- very chocolaty!!!) She said it worked out great too, because she got a sample. :) Maybe all cakes should look like this! :)
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Slow-Cooked Loaded Vegetable Pork Stew

This is my version of another good one I found in Taste of Home. (A little simplified.) They used beef, and I was just using what I had, so sadly I didn't have the squash or cabbage, which I think both would be great. I also thougth zucchini would be really good in it.

Loaded Vegetable Pork Stew
8 bacon strips, diced
2-3 pork pork loin chops, sliced into 1 in cubes
1 large onion, diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and caut into 1 in pieces
2 cans whole tomatoes
4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups cubed peeled butternit squash
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp celery salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans of beef broth or about 3-4 cups of water and one package of beef stew seasoning mix
6 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon, pork and onion. (Not crispy or even completely cooked through, just closed to cooked through.) Pour contents into crockpot. (You don't have to cook the pork, but it sped up the process a lot. If you don't, you may want to add some cooking time.)

In a crockpot or slow-cooker, combine all other ingredients. Stir and cook on high for 3-5 hours (until veggies are done) or low 8 hours.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sailor Sandwiches with Caesar Mayo

Big thanks going out to Mom for the subscription she gave me to "Taste of Home" magazine! I have had a lot of fun. This was a yummy one I found in the last one. Hope you like it as much as I did!

Sailor Sandwiches with Caesar Mayo
1/4 c milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 T flour
1 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cod or haddock fillets (6 oz each)
1 T melted butter

Place milk in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, cheese, and seasonings.

Dip fish in milk, then cornmeal mixture. Place on a greased broiler pan; drizzle with butter. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. (If I were to do it again, I don't think I would broil it. I think I would either grill or just fry them up on a skillet.)

Caesar Mayo
4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
4 tsp mayo
4 tsp olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard (I didn't have that so I substituted about 1 tsp mustard)
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

Combine the mayo ingredients. Spread over the rolls. On the bottom, layer fish, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

2 kaiser rolls, split and toasted (I used french bread)
2 lettuce leaves
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
2 slices of sweet onion
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

I found this one in my "101 Things to do with a Casserole" cookbook. It was very yummy! I loved the blueberries the most I think. It was nice though, because it could feed a big crew- just remember to think of it the night before, so you can put it in the fridge then.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole
1 loaf (20 oz) bread, cubed
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
I also sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over the top before I cooked it.
powdered sugar

Place half the bread cubes in a greased 9x13 pan. Layer cream cheese cubes evenly over bread. Sprinkle blueberries over the top. Cover with the remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup. Drizzle egg mixture evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 25-30 minutes more, or until center is firm and top is golden brown. Lightly dust with powdered sugar. Serve with blueberry or maple syrup. (Makes at least 6 servings)
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Momma's Little Baby Loves Sho'nin' Bread....

My In-laws gave me this great cookbook for Christmas and I've had fun looking through it and finding some fun recipes to try out. I came across this fun "Scottish/Irish" one that seemed appropriate for the up-coming holiday. :)

Holiday Shortbread
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cold butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pat into an ungreased 15-10 baking pan. Prick all over with a fork.

Bake at 325 for 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into small squares. Continue to cool to room temperature.

*Then is just seemed to need something, so I had to add the cherry pie filling. :)

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Orecchiette with Bacon & Tomatoes

A few years back, my little sister got me this cool pasta cook book, and every time I open it, I find some new recipe that is so fun. It is just such a tiny cookbook that I sometime forget I have it. So I'm always pleasantly surprised when I come across it. I could not for the life of me find orecchiette noodles... they look so cool, but these are good old "large shells" and I'm sure any pasta would work great. This was a really tasty, fast dish. In the original recipe, they blanch and chop about 2 lbs of fresh tomatoes (which I think would make it really flavorful and delicious when tomatoes are in season and cheap abundance :) but I just used two cans of diced tomatoes as a substitute and it sure make things go fast. All in all, I think you'll enjoy this one.

Italian Orecchiette with Bacon & Tomatoes
2 can diced tomatoes
6 (or more) slices smoked bacon, chopped or cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tsp dried oregano (4 fresh sprigs, finely chopped)
4 cups dried orecchiette (or other pasta)
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Fry bacon onion and garlic over medium heat until it starts to get crispy. Add tomatoes and oregano. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pan on salted water to boil. Add noodles and a bit of olive oil. Cook and Drain. Pour noodle minute into sauce mixture and stir until pasta is coated. Serve with cheese.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A sad story...

Ok... so I saw this amazing looking soup on the Noble Pig website. It was just calling to me, so I decided I would make a batch. I got all the way through the recipe and was just adding the cream at the end. (This is about an hour into the whole process.) After I added the cream- I noticed a funny smell... I tasted it and sure enough, the cream was sour and the whole batch of soup was ruined. I was pretty sad about. It sat on my counter for a whole day before I had the heart to throw it out. The recipe still looks delicious and maybe I'll recover sometime and make a second attempt... but until then...

Moral of the story: Always check your cream before putting it in... even if it is well within the due date. :(

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Parsley Croûtons
Adapted from Tomatoes, A Country Garden Cookbook

2 pounds large ripe tomatoes
Olive oil to coat tomatoes
8 shallots
1 small carrot
1 small fennel bulb
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 sprigs fresh tarragon
6 sprigs fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

Parsley Croûtons:
12 thin slices baguette
Olive oil to generously coat both sides of each piece of baguette
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
Teleme cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half, seed them and coat with olive oil. Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the skins begin to darken and blister.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the skins and reserve pulp and all the juices.

Coarsely chop shallots, carrot and fennel bulb. Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté the vegetables until they are very soft.

Add chicken stock and sprigs of both fresh parsley and fresh tarragon. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

While this is cooking make the croûtons.

Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Slice the bread into 12 thin slices, brushing each side generously with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Rub one side of the bread with garlic and place a dollop of Teleme cheese or a sprinkle of Parmesan on top. Sprinkle with parsley and bake until brown.

Once the soup is done simmering, remove the herb sprigs and add the reserved tomato pulp and tomato juices. Puree the soup in several batches in a blender. I tried using an immersion blender but it was unable to get the soup to the proper consistency.

Return soup to the pan and stir in heavy cream, heating until warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Ladle soup into warm bowls and float parsley croûtons on top of each bowl.
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Pizza Pizza...

This is a great recipe for pizza crust. I discovered it a while back and it really works well. I have also made it with whole wheat flour and it turns out great- sometimes I wonder why that isn't catching on because I think a whole wheat crust is delicious.

Homemade Pizza Crust
2 teaspoons yeast (not dry active)
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar. Add oil, salt, and flour. Mix and knead. Let rise; roll out. *I usually bake my crust for about 5-6 minutes at 350 before putting all the toppings on- then it isn't all soggy in the middle. Then load up the toppings! Here is a list of what we like:
(I just use spaghetti sauce)
pizza seasoning
sliced olives
sliced ham
sliced and chopped green peppers
green onions, sliced
lots of cheese
...and whatever else suits your fancy!
Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 or until crust is turning golden brown (check it occasionally).
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Perfect Pancakes

I found a great pancake recipe! I even made them "whole wheat" to make my momma proud! We also like to sprinkle chocolate chips or blueberries on them while they are cooking- that always makes them tasty. Also- when I was little we would pour homemade applesauce on our pancakes instead of syrup (surprise? :) and it was always really good. (After making homemade applesauce, I'm not sure if that would be considered "cutting back" on the sugar or not. :) But hey- your getting your "fruits" in right? :)

Perfect Pancakes
(Annette Green)
2 eggs
2 c flour (I subbed the whole wheat)
2 c milk
3 T oil
3 T sugar
1/3 c potato flakes (which really do make a difference I have decided)
2 T baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs until fluffy. Add all other ingredients. Beat until smooth, and fry up on a skillet.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jerk Chicken Drumsticks

I don't know why they call it "jerk" chicken. That seems kind of rude to me, but this was a fun way to cook chicken. It is just a variation on Rachel Ray's "Jerk" Chicken. I added and subtracted a couple things. It was pretty good.

Jerk Chicken Drumsticks
1 red onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
3 T vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice (I used pineapple juice)
1 T paprika
1 T cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch of chyenne pepper
2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
About 16 drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)

Place all ingredients but the chicken in a food processor (or I have one of those blender wands and it worked really well in a bowl) and pulse to combine. Should make a thick paste.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on a roasting pan or rack with dripping pan. Cover with paste by spooning mixture over chicken and turning so both sides are covered. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour. (Mine wasn't done at 45 so you might want to leave it in a little longer.) Half way through, spoon more paste mixture over and turn the chicken.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Maize Corn Bread

I sampled some amazing corn bread a while back, and my Brazillian friend shared her fun twist on a typical corn bread recipe. It was pretty tasty, so I thought I would pass it on. I made it in this round dish, and it didn't quite finish cooking in the middle, so I would recomend using a casserole baking dish.

Maize Corn Bread

1 stick butter or margarine (room temperature)

2 eggs (room temperature)

½ cup sugar (can add more if you like it really sweet!)

1-2 tsp cinnamon

½-1 tsp nutmeg (it depends on how spicy you like)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup maize flour

3 tsp baking powder (or 2 tsp baking powder + ¼ tsp baking soda)

1 cup shredded cheese (optional, i used cheddar)

grease a pan (if you use a 13x9, it will be pretty short; if you want a taller bread, use a 9x9 or 10x10 casserole dish)

preheat oven to 375F

cream together the eggs, butter or margarine, add the spices, vanilla, salt, parmesan cheese and mix well.

add milk, flour and maize. Mixture should be about sweet-bread consistency (thicker than cake batter). If too thin, add some more maize, like a 1/4 cup.

last, add the baking powder, and if desired, cheese.

pour in prepared pan and bake 375F until toothpick comes out clean, about 15-20 min.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pina Colada Cake

I found this recipe in my little "101 Things To Do With A Cake Mix" cook book. It was really yummy and easy, and it was fun to make it in a bunt cake pan to dress it up a little.

Pina Colada Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 can crushed pinapple, drained
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
8 oz whipped topping
2/3 cup coconut

Prepare cake mix as directed on the back of package.

Mix 1/2 can of pinapple into batter. Bake according to directions on the package.

With a fork, poke holes in the cake at 1-inch intercals. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the cake. Allow cake to cool. (which I didn't and you can see I sort of melted the whipped topping- but heavens it was still good! :)

Spread whipped topping ober the cake. Sprinkle the top with cocnut and remaing pinapple.
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Perfect Brown Rice

Mom- you would be proud of me- I am making brown rice. (Just as white bread- white rice was almost not allowed in the house growing up! :) I have been meaning to try this recipe from my friend Natalie for a long time, and I finally got around to it yesterday. I was very pleased with the results. You may be looking at the amount of time it takes to cook, but don't let that scare you off! It is well worth it! This made a great batch of soft brown rice. It makes a really big batch. Natalie said she likes to freeze some of hers and use it for other meals- which I think is a great idea. The only thing I think I would add is some salt- everything is better with a bit of salt' even cookies. :)

Perfect Brown Rice

3 cups brown rice (not instant)
2 eggs
4 cups of water
1 can (about 2 cups) chicken broth (or you can just use 6 cups water, but the chicken broth adds more flavor)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute brown rice with 2 eggs, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture is dry. Pour into 9 X 13 baking dish. Add water, chicken broth, and oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Do not stir! Do not poke! Do not disturb! Just look at rice after 45 minutes and cover with foil at that time. Cook for about another 30 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.