Saturday, October 29, 2011


Naan ~ Chicken Makhani ~ Indian Cauliflower



  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.               

From, submitted by Mic

This is a Really Yummy naan recipe and MUCH cheaper than buying it!  Give it a try!

Indian Cauliflower

Naan ~ Chicken Makhani ~ Indian Cauliflower

Indian Cauliflower

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala (optional)--recipe included with Chicken Makhani
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 head lettuce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cut off most of the cauliflower's stem and place the whole head in a baking dish.
  2. Heat two tablespoons of oil and turmeric together in a small frying pan. Brush the cauliflower head with the oil and turmeric mixture.
  3. Bake the cauliflower for 30 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, mix in the minced onions and saute until the are a medium brown color. Add the pureed tomatoes, garlic powder, garam masala and salt. Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving plate. Place the cauliflower on top of the lettuce. Pour the tomato curry over the cauliflower. Serve hot.               

From, submitted by Hetal

Chicken Makhani

Pictured:  Naan, Chicken Makhani over Rice, and Indian Cauliflower over Lettuce

Chicken Makhani
(Indian Butter Chicken)

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste--recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala--recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.               

Ginger Garlic Paste:
  • 4 ounces garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed


  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic and ginger. Pulse to blend, adding small amounts of olive oil to facilitate the blending, until it makes a smooth paste. Refrigerate or freeze.               

Garam Masala Spice Blend:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.

All recipes from

If you are wanting to try an Indian dish and don't know where to start, this is an excellent place to start.  We thought it was really yummy!  I did make the change of decreasing the Ginger-Garlic Paste and the Garam Masala ammounts down to 2 teaspoons of Ginger-Garlic Paste and 2/3 teaspoon Garam Masala.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Polish Rice Cake

Polish Rice Cake

Prep Time:  1 hour
Cook Time:  1 hour
Serves:  24

2  Cups  Long Grain White Rice, uncooked
6  Cups  Skim Milk
1  teaspoon  Salt
1  Cup  Butter
1  8-oz.  Cream Cheese
3  Eggs
1  Cup  Half-and-Half
1  teaspoon  Vanilla Extract
1  Cup  Self-Rising Flour
1/2  Cup  Golden Raisins

Combine the Rice, Milk, and Salt in a saucepan and cook slowly until liquid is absorbed.  Stir frequently.

Preheat oven to 175*C (350*).  Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the Butter and Cream Cheese.  Cream well with wooden spoon.

In another bowl combine Eggs, Half-and-Half, and Vanilla.  Add to creamed mixture and blend well.

Stir in the cooled Rice mixture and mix well.  Add the Self-Rising Flour and blend well.  Stir in the Golden Raisins.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, pat top to avoid any air bubbles.  Bake at 175*C (350*) for one hour.  Let cake stand for one hour before turning out of pan.

"An old Polish recipe made with Cream Cheese and Rice."  From, submitted by shirleyo.

And a note from me:  This is good.  I think next time I will either add some Cinnamon to the batter, or serve the cake with a good spoon-full of tart Berry or Cherry jam.

Polish Cabbage Rolls

Polish Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time:  45 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes
Serves:  6

2/3  Cup  uncooked white Rice
1 1/3  Cups  Water
1  large  Cabbage
2  Tablespoons  Butter
1  Onion, finely chopped
1 1/2  lbs  Ground Chicken
2  Eggs
4  cloves  Garlic, pressed
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
1  pinch  Dried Marjoram
2  8-oz.  Tomato Sauce

Preheat oven to 190* C  (375*).  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Bring the Rice and Water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until Rice is tender and the Water has been absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Allow Rice to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Remove the core from the Cabbage, and place the Cabbage in the boiling water.  Remove the outer leaves as they soften.  Set leaves aside.

Heat Butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the Onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir together the cooked Onion, Ground Chicken, Cooked Rice, Eggs, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and Marjoram in a bowl.

Place about 1/4-cup of the Chicken/Rice mixture in the center of each Cabbage leaf.  Roll leaf and tuck ends in to enclose filling.  Secure each roll with a toothpick if necessary.  Place rolls into prepared baking dish.  Pour Tomato Sauce over the rolls.

Bake, covered, in the preheated oven until the meat in the rolls is no longer pink, 45 to 50 minutes.  An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the casserole should read at least 70* C (160*).

"A simplified cabbage roll recipe, made here with ground chicken, tastes great with less work."

From, submitted by MommyCook

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brazilian Collards

Brazilian Collards

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  2 hours
Servings:  6

1/2  lb  Peppered Bacon, diced
1  Onion, chopped
2  lbs  Collard Greens-rinsed, stemmed and torn into 3x6 inch pieces
1  Cup  Chicken Stock
1/2 to 1  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
2  Tablespoons  Red Wine Vinegar

Place the Bacon in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Cook until browned and most of the grease has been released.  Stir in Onion and cook until tender and glistening, about 4 minutes.

Place Collards into the pot and stir to coat with Bacon drippings.  Pour in the Chicken Stock.  Season with Cayenne Pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Stir Red Wine Vinegar into the pot.  Continue cooking 15 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half.

"Spicy, tangy Collard Greens accented with Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Vinegar are a big deal in Brazil.  Here is my recipe.  Since Bacon fat is an essential part of this recipe don't drain it during any of the steps!  I say that if your veggies are fattening then eat a lighter main dish!"

From, submitted by Javagoddess

Stovetop Pork Ribs

Stovetop Pork Ribs

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  6

10  Pork  Spareribs
1/2  Cup  Soy Sauce
10  cloves  Garlic, crushed
1  Tablespoon  Dried Rosemary
1  Tablespoon  Dried Oregano
2  Bay Leaves
1  Lime, juiced
10  sprigs  Fresh Parsley
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
2  Limes, cut into wedges

Place the Spareribs into a large pot, and fill it with just enough water to cover.  Add the Soy Sauce, Garlic, Rosemary, Oregano, Bay Leaves, Lime Juice, and 3/4 of the Parsley.  Bring to a boil, them simmer uncovered over medium heat until the water has completely evaporated, about 25 minutes.

When all the water is gone, remove the Bay Leaves and allow the meat to brown, turning occasionally.  Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits and softened garlic from the bottom of the pot, and toss them with the Spareribs.  The Garlic will dissolve onto the meat.  Remove the meat, and drain on paper towels.  Season with Black Pepper and garnish with Lime Wedges and remaining Parsley.

"This is how my Brazilian mom prepares pork ribs.  Boiling the ribs with the seasonings ensures that the meat will remain moist and juicy, and that the flavors will fully penetrate the meat.  I hope you like these as much as I always have!  Serve with Lime Wedges, Rice and a Fresh Green Salad."

From, submitted by THELMALU99

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken Picadillo Pie

Chicken Picadillo Pie

1 15-oz. pkg.  Refrigerated Pie Crusts  -OR-  Your favorite Double-Crust pie crust

3  Tablespoons Butter
1  Tablespoon  Cornstarch
1/8  teaspoon  Ginger
Dash  Pepper
1  Tablespoon  Prepared Mustard
1  Tablespoon  Soy Sauce, optional
1  Tablespoon  Worcestershire Sauce
1  Cup  Orange Juice

2  Tablespoons  Butter
2  Large Whole  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1  Cup  Finely Chopped  Onion
1/4  Cup  Finely Chopped  Green Bell Pepper
2  cloves  Garlic, minced
1/2  Cup  Coconut
1/2  Cup  Slivered Almonds
1/4  Cup  Raisins
1/4 to 1/2  Cup  Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives
2  Tablespoons  Capers, optional

Prepare Pie Crust according to package directions for two-crust pie using 9-inch pan.  Heat oven to 400*.

Melt 1 tablespoon Butter in small saucepan.  Blend in Cornstarch, Ginger, Pepper, Mustard, Soy Sauce (optional), and Worcestershire Sauce.  Gradually add Orange Juice.  Bring to a boil; cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.  Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons Butter in large skillet.  Cook Chicken, Onions, Bell Pepper, and Garlic over medium heat until Chicken is completely cooked.  Stir in remaining ingredients and the Orange Sauce.  Continue to cook until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.  Spoon into pie crust-lined pan.  Top with second crust and flute; cut slits in several places.

Bake at 400* for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cover edge of crust with strips of foil after 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Picadillo has been called Cuba's national dish.  Picadillo is a special dish, almost like barbecue or chili, in that every cook prides herself on her own version, with many variations.  Some cooks use beef, eggs, wine, peppers, raisins or almonds; others wrap their Picadillo with a yeast bread instead of a pastry crust.

From Pillsbury:  Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook, recipe by Nina Reyes of Miami, Florida in the 1986 Bake-Off Contest.

---OK, I thought this was really weird.  I had hopes when it was in the oven that it would be good; it smelled like Hawaiian Meal.  But eating it?  That was a different story.  Eldest Daughter loved it, though.  I guess we tried it and that's what counts. :)---

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

West African Groundnut Stew

West African Groundnut Stew

2  whole  Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1  Tablespoon  Oil
1  medium  Onion, chopped
1  clove  Garlic, minced
1  28-oz. can  Whole Tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1  15.5-oz. can  Great Northern Beans, undrained
1 1/2  Cups  Corn, well drained
1  small Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
3/4  Cup  Water
1/4  Cup  Peanut Butter
1  Tablespoon  Tomato Paste
1  teaspoon  Salt
1  teaspoon  Chili Powder
1/2  teaspoon  Ginger
1/2  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
3  Cups  Hot Cooked Rice

In a 4-qt. pan over medium-high heat, cook Chicken in Oil until Chicken is lightly browned and no longer pink, stirring frequently.  Add Onion and Garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until Onion is tender.  Add remaining ingredients except Rice; mix well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 30 minutes, or until Sweet Potato is tender, stirring occasionally.  If stew becomes too thick, add additional water.  Serve stew over Hot Rice.
Yield:  8 (1-1/2 Cup) Servings

On the western coast of Africa, the peanut is referred to as a groundnut.  The combinations of Chicken and Peanut Butter Sauce is popular in the Ivory Coast.

I plan to make this and transfer to my Crockpot to complete the cooking process.

From Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook, 1994 Prize Winner by Joyce Bowman of Raleigh, North Carolina

Monday, October 24, 2011

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Biscuits

2  Cups  Old Fashioned Oats
2  Cups  Flour
2  Cups  Sugar
1 1/2  Cups  Coconut
1  Cup  Butter
2  Tablespoons  Golden Syrup  -OR-  1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup and 1 Tablespoon Honey
2  teaspoons  Baking Soda
1/4  Cup  Boiling Water

Preheat oven to 300*.

Combine Oats, Flour, Sugar, and Coconut in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

Combine Butter and Golden Syrup in a pan.  Stir over low heat until Butter is melted; remove from heat.  Combine Baking Soda and Boiling Water in a small bowl, add to Butter mixture.  Stir into dry ingredients while mixture is still warm.  Place 1 heaping Tablespoon cookie dough about two inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 300* for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Loosen cookies while still warm and cool on racks.  Store in airtight container.  These freeze well.  Makes about 60 Biscuits.

ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia on April 25.  On this day in 1915, the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli and suffered the worse defeat in Australian military history.  One story suggests that these cookies were made at home and sent to ANZAC soldiers during World War I.  Another story says  they were made and sold at fund-raisers for returning soldiers.  These cookies are as popular in Australia as the chocolate chip cookie is in the USA.

Note:  Golden Syrup can be found in some supermarkets and import stores such as World Market and is the 'secret ingredient' for this cookie.  These are 'supposed-to-be' Starbucks Aussie cookie.

Aussie Apricot Chicken

Aussie Apricot Chicken

Prep Time:  10 min
Total Time:  50 min
Servings:  4

1  Tablespoon  Oil
1  medium  Onion, sliced
1  clove  Garlic, crushed
2  Tablespoons  Flour
2  teaspoons  Curry Powder
600g  (1.5 lbs)  boneless, skinless  Chicken Thighs, cut into 3 or 4 pieces each
1  40g pkt (1.4-oz)  French Onion Soup (dry)
1  415g can (11.5-oz) Apricot Nectar
2  Tablespoons  Chopped Fresh Parsley

Preheat oven to 190c (375*).

Heat the Oil in an oven-proof pan (with lid) and cook Onion and Garlic over medium heat on the stove until Onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir.

Mix the Curry Powder and Flour together in a bag; add the Chicken pieces and toss well.

Add the Chicken to the pan and cook until it changes colour.  Add the dry Onion Soup mix and stir to coat all the Chicken, then add the Apricot Nectar stirring really well.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the mix thickens.

Put the lid on and place in the preheated oven.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the Chicken is cooked through.

Remove from oven, stir in the Parsley, then serve over plenty of mash or rice (mash is my favourite).

*You can add in dried or canned Apricots, but we prefer it without.


***Note from me:  I have not edited this recipe other than to convert the weights and temperatures to US measurements.***

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seven Continents Challenge

Seven Continents Challenge

I was planning my weekly menu and asked my husband "What would you like to have for dinner this week?"
"Food,"  he replied.

"Yes, but what kind of food?!"

"Well, there's seven continents and seven days of the week, so let's have something from a different continent each day!" was his jesting retort.

Well, I took him up on it.  Here's where we're going this week:

Monday:  Australia  --  Aussie Apricot Chicken and ANZAC Biscuits
Tuesday:  Africa  --  West African Chicken and Groundnut Stew
Wednesday:  North America  --  Cuban Picadillo Pie
Thursday:  South America  --  Brazilian Pork Ribs and Collards
Friday:  Europe  --  Polish Cabbage Rolls and Polish Rice Cake
Saturday:  Asia  --  Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken), Indian Cauliflower, and Naan
(Yes, I know, that's only six continents.  I couldn't find recipes for Antarctica)

These are all new recipes to me (except for the ANZAC Biscuits and the Naan, and they are both yummy).  I tried to research these recipes, first searching web sites written by folks from these countries, and interestingly enough, kept getting directed to 

I'm posting my Grocery List today, and will post the Recipe of the Day each morning.  I'll try to add a photo after I've made each dish.  I will convert the instructions from Metric to English measurements (600 g Chicken, baked at 190*C, anyone?)  Join me in trying some new recipes.

3 Garlic Heads
1 Sweet Potato
2  lbs  Collard Greens
3 Limes
1  lg Cabbage
1  lg  Cauliflower
2 Shallots
1/4  C  Slivered Almonds
1/4  C  Raisins
1/2  C  Golden Raisins
White & Brown Rice
1 28-oz. Whole Tomatoes
2 8-oz. Tomato Sauce
Fresh Tomatoes
1 can Apricot Nectar
1/4 C Pimiento Green Olives
1 15.5-oz Great Northern Beans
1 pkt. dry French Onion Soup
1 C Self-Rising Flour
3 lb Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs
4  Boneless-skinless Chicken Breasts
1.5 lb  Ground Chicken
10 Pork Spareribs
1 C Half-and-Half
8 oz.  Plain Yogurt
Orange Juice
4 oz Fresh Ginger Root
2 Green Bell Peppers
8 Onions
1 1/2 C Corn
1/2 Head Lettuce
4 1/2 C Bread Flour
Check your Spice Cupboard for the following:
Curry Powder
Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper
Soy Sauce
Red Wine Vinegar
Lemon Juice
You will also need Pie Crust for a double-crust pie; homemade or boughten will work.

Join me, and let me know how it goes for you.  I'm looking forward to this interesting week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cheap Eats >> Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice

Use a Crock Pot
Low 10 hours -or- High 8 hours

1 16-oz. bag dried Small Red Beans or Kidney Beans
2 16-oz Tomato Sauce
1 16-oz Whole Tomatoes (I use diced, if you like it spicier use the Mexi-Tomatoes)
1-2 cans low sodium Beef Broth (Make this cheaper by using Water & Beef Bullion)
1 Ham Hock or Ham Bone
1 C Diced Ham
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Thyme
2 Bay Leaves

Soak beans overnight and then rinse thoroughly and drain. Add to Crock Pot. Add all ingredients (except Bell Pepper and Celery -- I even add these). Add seasonings to taste. If you want a spicy batch add extra Cumin and Chili Powder. In the last hour add Bell Pepper and Celery. Serve in bowls over cooked White or Brown Rice. Great with Cornbread!

It's Walnut Harvest time, and believe me, I sure was glad I that had started this in my crockpot this morning!  You see, I got a call from my husband at 1 pm, requesting that the boys head over to the Orchard just as soon as they could after school, as he needed them to help pick sticks out of the windrows before the nuts could be picked up with the harvester.  So I made a quick call to the school, requesting that their homework be completed in the free period before PE (not often that the boys get the Principal popping in to tell them that Mom called, wanting them to be prepared to go straight to work!).  2:30 came, I picked up the children and we ran home, grabbed a snack and changed clothes, then off to the Orchard.  I ran back home, started the Brown Rice, mixed up and baked the Cornbread, grabbed the left-over Melon from the night before and the girls and I were back in the van and off to the Field with supper.  I tell ya, I'm sure loving that Crockpot of mine!  What a time-saver!  Here are a few snapshots from the Field and Dinner.

My hard-working Husband!

Nice, neat Windrows

Dinner's Over!  Back to Work!

What is your busiest season, and how do you prepare for it, meal-wise?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Honey, you and I have a date with Cornbread!

Favorite Cornbread

1  Cup  Flour
1  Cup  Cornmeal (and don't get mixed up and grab the Grits, please)
1/4  Cup  Sugar
4  teaspoons  Baking Powder
3/4  teaspoon  Salt
2  Eggs
1/4  Cup  Butter, softened
1  Cup  Buttermilk

Mix together the dry ingredients.  Gently beat in the Eggs, Butter, and Buttermilk; stir until just incorporated.  Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.  Bake at 425* for 25 minutes.  Cut into 9 squares.  Serve hot with plenty of Butter and Honey.

Oh, Honey, you and I have a date with Butter and Cornbread!

Take it one step further for a yummy Corn Spoon Bread:  Double the recipe, add 2  Cups  Corn, (drain well if using home-froze Corn or canned Corn) and 1  Cup  Sour Cream.  Bake in a greased 9 x 13 at 350* until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fake It >> Zuppa Toscana, THE Olive Garden Soup

Fake It  >>  Zuppa Toscana
or, The Olive Garden Soup
Prep: 35 min
Serves: 6

1 lb Spicy Italian Sausage, crumbled
1/2 lb Bacon, diced
4 C Water
2 14.5-oz cans (about 3 2/3 C) Chicken Broth
2 Large Russet Potatoes (we like more, I use 4)
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Med Onion, chopped
2 C Kale or Swiss Chard, chopped fine
1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt, Black Pepper, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

1} In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage; drain, set aside.

2} Repeat with bacon.

3} Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a 4-qt pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.

4} Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer 10 minutes.

5} Add kale and cream; season with salt and peppers; heat through.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Uses Crockpot

3-4  lbs  Beef  (Use a small, chunky cut; my preference is Carne Asada.  Chili Grind Hamburger, small chunk Stew Meat, or Beef Tips will also work well)
1/4  Cup  Flour
4  Cups  Beef Broth, divided
1  teaspoon  Worcestershire Sauce
1  can  Cream of Chicken Soup
2-3  teaspoons  Dried Basil
2-3  teaspoons  Dried Minced Onion
Dash Cayenne
Black Pepper to taste
1  Cup  Sour Cream
Cooked Rice or Egg Noodles for serving

Brown Beef in a skillet until browned and slightly 'crusty'.  Drain off fat, stir in Flour until well coated.  Transfer to Crockpot; add 3 Cups Beef Broth, Worcestershire Sauce, Cream of Chicken Soup, Basil, Onion, and Cayenne.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 hours.  If the Stroganoff seems too thick, add in the remaining 1 Cup Beef Broth; if too thin, cook for 30 minutes with the lid slightly cracked open.  Stir in Sour Cream and Black Pepper to taste 30 minutes before serving.  Spoon over hot cooked Rice or Egg Noodles and serve with love.

Serves 10-12

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maple-Oat Scones with Dried Cherries

Maple-Oat Scones with Dried Cherries

3/4  Cup  Dried Cherries (if whole, cut in half)
3/4  Cup  Buttermilk
1  Egg
3/4  teaspoon  Vanilla
2  Tablespoons  Real Maple Syrup
1/2  teaspoon  Maple Extract
3  Cups  Flour
1/2  Cup  Old Fashioned Oats
1  Tablespoon  Cornstarch
2 1/2  teaspoons  Baking Powder
1/2  teaspoon  Baking Soda
Scant 1/2  teaspoon  Salt
3/4  Cup  Sugar
3/4  Cup  Butter, well chilled
1  Egg  White
Turbinado (Raw) Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425*.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  To rehydrate Dried Cherries, cover with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes.  Drain and dry on paper towel.

In a two-cup measure, stir together Buttermilk, Egg, Vanilla, Maple Syrup and Maple Extract.

In a large work bowl, combine the Flour, Oats, Cornstarch, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Sugar.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the chilled Butter until it resembles small peas.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Stir in the Buttermilk-Egg mixture.  Gently blend in the rehydrated Cherries.  Stir with a fork to make a soft dough, until just cohesive.

Divide the dough into 3 equal size parts.  Pat each piece into an 8- to 10-inch circle, about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.  Cut each circle into 8 wedges.  Paint the tops with beaten Egg White, sprinkle with Turbinado Sugar.

Bake at 425* for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 24 Scones.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Didn't Have...

I Didn't Have . . .

I didn't have Potatoes, so I substituted Rice.
I didn't have Paprika, so I used another Spice.
I didn't have Tomato Sauce, I used Tomato Paste;
A whole can, not a half can--I don't believe in waste.
A friend gave me the recipe; she said you couldn't beat it.
There must be something wrong with her--I couldn't even eat it!
--Author Unknown

Hoping this doesn't happen to you!

And on another note, what's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?

This summer I was so proud of my children: they all tasted Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar.  It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fake It >> Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey-Basil Dressing

Fake It >> Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Salad
with Honey-Basil Dressing

Actually, I have to admit that I can't remember the name of Trader Joe's salad; it's one of the little pre-packaged lunch salads (with the dressing on the side) in the clam-shell containers in their deli section.  I happened on to it one summer day in 2010 when I was all by my lonesome at lunchtime--and that's a dangerous thing!  I immediately fell in love with the crunch of the Salad and the flavor of the Dressing.  I think I all but licked out the container when I was finished!  Then I went to work to recreate the Salad and Dressing.  The Salad was easy--I could see what was in it and it was clearly posted on the ingredient label in order of weight.  The Dressing was a little bit harder, but thankfully TJ's doesn't use all the un-pronounceable things that I wouldn't have a clue how to replicate.  I think this is pretty close to the Original Salad.

For the Salad (and you can vary the amounts to suit your taste):
Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Grilled Chicken
Israeli Couscous (I use about 3 dry Tablespoons, cooked in about 1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water until al dente, then drain the water.  Orzo or Acini de Pepe would work if you can't find Israeli Couscous)
Fresh Corn
Red Cabbage
Asiago Cheese
Sliced Green Onion
Dried Currants (I use dried blueberries)
Diced Red Bell Pepper

For the Honey-Basil Dressing:
2  Cloves  Garlic
2  Cups  packed fresh Basil
1 1/2  Tablespoons  Chopped Shallot
1/4  Cup  Balsamic Vinegar (use White Balsamic if you can, regular will make the Dressing dark-colored)
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/4  teaspoon  Black Pepper
Dash  Cayenne Pepper
1/3  Cup  Mayonnaise
1/4  Cup  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3  Tablespoons  Honey

Blend all in blender or food processor until smooth.  Makes about 1-1/4  Cups.

There wasn't much left to photograph.
Oh well, make more next time!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Warm Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Gingerbread
with Warm Caramel Sauce

3 1/4  Cups  Flour
3/4  Cup  Sugar
1  Cup  Butter, softened
1  Cup  coarsely chopped Pecans
1 1/2  teaspoon  Baking Soda
2 1/4  teaspoon  Ground Ginger
3/4  teaspoon  Ground Cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/4  teaspoon  Ground Cloves
1  Cup  Buttermilk
3/4  Cup  Molasses
3/4  Cup  Canned Pumpkin
2  Eggs

Caramel Sauce:
3/4  Cup  Butter
1 3/4  Cups  Brown Sugar
3  Tablespoons  Light Corn Syrup
3/4  Cup  Heavy Whipping Cream

Whipped Cream for serving

For the Gingerbread:
Preheat oven to 350*.  In a large bowl combine Flour and Sugar.  Cut in Butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in Pecans.  Press 1-3/4  Cups  Crumb Mixture into bottom of 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray.  To remaining crumb mixture, add remaining Gingerbread ingredients.  Pour evenly over crust-lined pan.  Bake at 350* for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For the Warm Caramel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt Butter.  Stir in Brown Sugar and Corn Syrup.  Boil until Brown Sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.  Stir in Heavy Whipping Cream.  Return to boil.  Remove from heat.

Serve Gingerbread with Warm Caramel Sauce and additional Whipped Cream.
Serves 15

From the "Far Above Rubies" cookbook, page 132.

***If you make any of my recipes with your own substitutions or additions, feel free to leave a comment.  I'm always interested in making things better!***

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hamburger Cornbread Casserole

Hamburger Cornbread Casserole

1  lb  Ground Beef or Turkey
1  small  Onion
1  (15-oz)  Ranch-Style Beans
1  (14.5-oz)  Tomatoes with Green Chilies (Ro-Tel)
1  teaspoon  Chili Powder

1/2  Cup  Flour
1/2  Cup  Cornmeal
2  Tablespoons  Sugar
2  teaspoons  Baking Powder
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1  Egg, beaten
1/2  Cup  Milk
1  Tablespoon  Canola Oil

In a large skillet, cook Ground Beef and Onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add the Ranch-Style Beans, Tomatoes and Chili Powder; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a 11 x 7 coated with non-stick spray.

For Topping, in a small bowl, combine the Flour, Cornmeal, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.  Combine the Egg, Milk and Oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Spoon over filling; gently spread to cover the top.

Bake, uncovered, at 425* for 14-18 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.  Serves 6.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Creamy White Chili

Creamy White Chili

1  lb  boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1  medium  Onion, chopped
2  cloves  Garlic
1  Tablespoon  Olive Oil
2  cans (15.5-oz each)  Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1  can  (14.5-oz)  Chicken Broth
1-2  cans (4-oz. each)  Diced Green Chilies
1  teaspoon  Salt
1  teaspoon  Ground Cumin
1  teaspoon  Dried Oregano
1/2  teaspoon  White (or Black) Pepper
1/4  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
1  Cup  Sour Cream
1/2  Cup Whole Milk or Half-and-Half

Monterrey Jack Cheese and Diced Jalapenos, for garnish as desired

In a large saucepan, saute Chicken, Onion and Garlic until Chicken is no longer pink.  Add Beans, Broth, Green Chilies and Seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in Sour Cream and Milk.  Serve immediately, top with garnishes as desired.  Serves 7.

Oh, I have such funny memories of the first time I made this:  Our neighbor knocked at the door at dinner time and came into the kitchen to find my husband and our eldest two children (who were toddlers at the time) sitting at the table with tears just streaming from their eyes!  I'm sure she wondered what was the matter.  (Nothing.  Nothing at all is wrong.  The Chili is just super spicy.)   

You might want to tone the spices down for children, or let them put extra Sour Cream and Cheese in their bowls.

Adapted from Taste of Home, Feb/March 2001

Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon

1  8-oz  Cream Cheese
1  6-oz  can  Crab, well drained
1/4  teaspoon  Sesame Oil
dash  Garlic Powder
Wonton Wrappers

Oil for Frying

In a medium bowl, cream together the Cream Cheese, Crab, Sesame Oil and Garlic Powder.
Gently separate several Wonton Wraps and set on work surface.  With a finger dipped in water, carefully outline two edges of the square wrappers.

Carefully place 1 teaspoon of the Cream Cheese-Crab mixture in the center of the Wonton.  Be careful not to get too much!

Gently fold over the Wonton Wrapper to form a triangle, completely sealing the wet edges to the dry edges.  Make certain that all of the Crab mixture is sealed inside the Wonton or it will leak out while frying.  Set aside and complete forming the remaining Wontons (do not overlap; they can stick to each other).

Heat a small amount of Oil in a medium skillet until hot; carefully add a few Wontons and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 30 seconds total.  Drain on paper towel.  Serve warm and enjoy! 

(Children, have your parents help you with this step!)

Makes about 30 yummy Crab Rangoon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Nut Bread

Pumpkin Nut Bread

Prep:  20 minutes
Bake:  60 minutes
Yield:  2 loaves

1  15-oz. can  Pumpkin
1 1/2   Cups  Sugar
1/2  Cup  Milk
4  Egg Whites
1/3  Cup  Canola Oil
1/3  Cup  Unsweetened Applesauce
3 1/3  Cups  Whole Wheat Flour
2  teaspoons  Baking Soda
2  teaspoons  Cinnamon
1  teaspoon  Baking Powder
3/4  teaspoon  Allspice
1/2  teaspoon  Salt
1  Cup  Chopped Pecans

In a large bowl, beat the Pumpkin, Sugar, Milk, Egg Whites, Oil and Applesauce until well blended.  In a small bowl, combine the Whole Wheat Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, Allspice and Salt; gradually beat into Pumpkin mixture until blended.  Stir in Pecans.

Transfer batter to two greased 9 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Makes 2 loaves, 16 slices each.  Perfect for sharing!

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice equals 135 calories, 5 g fat (trace saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 138 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein.  Diabetic Exchange:  1 1/2 starch, 1 fat.
From Healthy Cooking, Oct/Nov 2009

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bacon-Apple Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Bacon-Apple Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Uses a Slow Cooker

1  lb  Bacon
1  Onion, diced
Uncooked Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, about 1 breast for every 2 people
1-2  Apples, peeled and grated
2  cloves  Garlic
Black Pepper, to taste
1  12- to 16-oz  BBQ Sauce

Hamburger Buns or Tortillas

Cook Bacon until the fat has been rendered off but is not crisp.  Line Slow-Cooker with Bacon, top with diced Onion:

Place the Chicken Breasts over Bacon and Onion:

Top with Grated Apple, Garlic Cloves, and Black Pepper:

Smother it all with your favorite BBQ Sauce:

Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours.  Using 2 forks, shred the Chicken.  Place in Buns or Tortillas for an awesome, easy, BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

Adapted from a post on The Crockpot Girls' Facebook site.