Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Real World Wednesday - The Deacon's Wife's Pasta

A few months ago, we were invited to a liturgical minister's appreciation dinner at church.  I thought the food was delicious, but I like most food, so no surprise there.  It wasn't until Philip said "If you made dinner's where the vegetables actually tasted good, like this one, I'd eat it all the time!," that I knew I HAD to have this recipe.  This is so easy to make, and is definitely a crowd pleaser.  It also makes a lot!  I would halve this if you are making it just for your family.  Otherwise, this would freeze well if you want to freeze half and then reheat in a casserole dish in the oven.

16 oz penne, cooked according to package directions
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in half lenthwise and then cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lenghtwise and then cut in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 c corn
italian seasonings of choice, to taste
1 24oz jar marinara sauce (or equal of homemade)
Shredded parmesan

Brown the sausage in a skillet and set aside.  Saute onion, bell pepper, and zucchini in same skillet, adding olive oil if needed, until onion is translucent and veggies are crisp tender.  Return the sausage to the pan, add the corn, seasonings and marinara sauce and toss all.  Top with shredded parmesan and serve!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread Waffles

Yum.  That's all I can say about these.  The texture was the best of any waffles I've ever made, and the taste was right on.  Slightly gingerbready without being super overwhelming.  Even my husband, who is not a gingerbread fan, said these "weren't too bad," which is high praise coming from him.  And there is nothing like waffles and eggs for dinner to make children sigh in contentment.  A+ all around. :)

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
3 T unsulfured molasses

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Combine wet and dry until just incorporated and cook on your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Annie's Eats

If you want to make it a bit healthier, I saw an idea in the comments sections on the sources blog to switch the 2 cups of flour for 1 c wheat flour and 1 c cake flour to keep the same texture.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Teriyaki Beef Lettuce Wraps

I have never given Michaela lettuce before, so I was pretty impressed that she ate this.  I think that since she is used to eating burritos, this was a little bit more appealing to her than it would have been otherwise.  Rafael loved it too, but he just ate a bowl of rice and meat.

1 c long grain rice, prepared according to package directions
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c teriyaki sauce
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 carrots, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
2 green onions, sliced
juice from 1/2 lemon
8 leaves Romaine lettuce

Brown the ground beef in a skillet.  Drain grease.  Add milk, teriyaki sauce, cornstarch, carrots, garlic, and ginger.  Simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Add onions and lemon juice.  To serve, put some rice on each leave and top with the meat mixture.

The smaller leaves near the center of the head of Romaine are perfect for kids!  They are more rigid and curved so they hold the food in more easily.

Adapted slightly from Dairy Goodness

Monday, October 25, 2010

Muffin Monday - Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Another pumpkin recipe this morning!  I made these to go with our Pumpkin Chili, and they were just perfect!  Sweet yet cornbready, I could easily eat these alone for breakfast as well.

1 1/4 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal
2/3 c light brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c pumpkin
3/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs, room temperature
2 T honey
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin tins with cooking spray or muffin liners.  Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Combine wet ingredients in a second mixing bowl.  Combine wet and dry until just moistened and pour into prepared muffin tins.  Sprinkle sugar over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes (12-15 if using mini tins) or until edges have just begun to color.

The Motherload

If you don't have buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to every 1 cup of regular milk and let sit for 5 minutes.

*Edited 9/30/11 to add: I've linked up to CreateLive's pumpkin recipe linky!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Chili

This was a delicious recipe that we really enjoyed on our Pumpkin Family Night.  I didn't think it tasted very pumpkin-y, but it's nice to know that it's there, imparting all of it's nutritious yumminess on our bodies.

1 c onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground meat (I used chicken)
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5oz) can black beans
1 1/2 c corn
2 c pumpkin puree
1-2 c chicken broth (to desired consistency)
2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste
cheddar cheese, shredded

Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add meat and cook through.  Add the rest and simmer about 20 minutes or until tastes are melded.  Top with cheese and serve.

All Recipes via 2 Teaching Mommies

*Edited 10/28 to add: I've linked this up to Family Food Fridays at Get Healthy Cheap.  Check it out to see more healthy family recipes!

I've also linked up to Susieqtpies Scraps of Life's Halloween Linky Party.  Check her out for more fun Halloween recipes and ideas!

*Edited 9/30/11 to add: I've linked up to CreateLive's pumpkin recipe linky party!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spicy Pumpkin Pinwheels

I love these!  They are so tasty and cute, I'm pretty sure these will become one of my staples for my annual Halloween party.

1 package jalapeno cheddar wraps
cream cheese
green chile dip
cilantro leaves
toothpicks cut in half

Mix cream cheese and green chile dip to desired consistency and taste.  I didn't really measure but it looked to be about a 2:1 dip to cream cheese ratio.  Spread on wraps, roll up, and slice.  Place a leaf of cilantro on top of each slice and secure with half a toothpick to create the stem.

Adapted from Little Family Fun

Green chile dip is probably a regional dip, but if you are looking for a similar taste you can try mixing canned green chile into sour cream.

*Edited 9/30/11 to add: I'm linking up to CreateLive's pumpkin recipe linky!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Muffin Monday - Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Have you ever had the kind of morning where there is just no time for breakfast at all?  Yeah, me too.  One of my new goals is to make a batch of muffins once a week to have on hand for the times where we need to eat breakfast or snacks on the run.  First up is a seasonal recipe that indulges my deep love for pumpkin!

1 1/3 c flour

2/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
3 T applesauce
1/4 c honey
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 medium Apple, peeled and grated

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Then mix the dry ingredients with the wet and pour into greased muffin tins.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes if making mini muffins and 18-20 minutes for full size muffins.


*This is not a super sweet recipe.  Again, I wanted to be able to use it as a relatively healthy breakfast or snack.  If you want to sweeten it up a little bit, I would reccomend adding another 1/4c of sugar or some chocolate chips (like I did for the one above!).

*Edited 10/21 to add: I've linked this up to Family Food Fridays at Get Healthy Cheap.  Check it out to see more healthy family recipes!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Frito Pie

I know what you're thinking, but this isn't your idea of frito pie. New Mexican frito pie uses real red chile, not Texas chili. This is so delicious, in my family it is a staple party food. It goes a long way and is a definite crowd pleaser, so give it a try! Halve or quarter the recipe if you are making this for a small family. There are variations at the bottom of the recipe that make the recipe a bit easier.

1 lb beans, prepared according to package directions
12 dried red chile pods, rinsed & stems and seeds removed
36 oz water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
2 T flour
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic
1/4 c onion, chopped
vegetable oil
1-2 bags frito chips
16 oz cheese, shredded (cheddar, mexican blend, etc)
1 head lettuce, shredded
1-2 tomatoes, diced

1. Soak chile pods in warm water until soft (~3 minutes). Rinse of remaining seeds, remove veins, and bring to boil in a saucepan of water. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Place the pods in a blender with half of the cooking liquid. Reserve the rest of the liquid. Add salt, garlic, oregano, and flour. Blend until smooth and set aside.

2. Cook onion and garlic in a skillet with vegetable oil until clear. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly. Drain. Place chile back in saucepan with cooked meat and simmer about 10 minutes or until it becomes a tomato sauce consistency. Add water (or reserved chile liquid if using pods) if needed to reach desired consistency. To assemble frito pies, place chips in a bowl and top with beans, chile, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Easier Variation: Instead of preparing chile as in step one, prepare chile using chile powder according to package instruction.

Easiest Variation: Instead of using chile pods or powder, use frozen prepared red chile sauce. If you are not in an area that sells this, stick to the pods or powder. Whatever you do, DO NOT use enchilada sauce. That is not the same at all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fresh Peach Salsa

When I saw that peaches were on sale this week, I knew I had to make this. This is the first time I've made a fruit salsa and I loved it!

4 firm ripe yellow peaches, chopped
2 T green onions
1 jalapeno, minced with ribs, stem and seeds removed
juice from 1 lemon
3 T fresh mint, chopped
1 T ginger, fresh grated
1 T sugar

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. (7 times was perfect for me).
Adapted from Simply Recipes*
*Their server is temporarily unavailable, I'll update link when it is corrected

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lemon White Chocolate Mousse Berry Parfait

I made this in July for our Independence Day themed cooking club and boy was it delicious! I realize that summer is quickly coming to a close but if you have a little bit of warm weather for a BBQ left in your neck of the woods, this is the perfect light dessert. You are basically layering a lemon mousse and a white chocolate mousse with berries.

5 large egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
juice from 1 lemon
zest from 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1/4 c + 2 2/3 c heavy whipping cream divided
3.5 ounce white chocolate chips, or bars finely chopped
4-5 c assorted berries (I used raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice & zest, and salt constantly in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to thicken. It should read about 170 on an instant read thermometer. Place in a separate bowl to cool to room temperature, covering with plastic wrap that touches the surface so that a skin doesn't form. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate and 1/4 c heavy cream together until incorporated, and remove to a separate bowl to cool to room temperature.

When both mixtures have cooled, whip the remaining whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks and divide between the two bowls. Fold until well incorporated in each. Layer the lemon mousse, berries, and white chocolate mousse in your serving containers and serve immediately, or refrigerated until ready to serve.
Source: Minimally adapted from Annies Eats

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Avocado & Cucumber Salad

Remember those Quesaninis I made a while back that were inspired by a friend? Well she struck gold again with this delicious salad she made for dinner on the night of our choir practice. I ended up making a dressing out of pureed avocados, which while quite yummy, didn't quite pair as well with this particular salad as the simple vinaigrette that my friend used. Experiment with a dressing of your choice, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Avocados, sliced
cucumbers, sliced
dressing of choice

Toss all ingredients together and serve!

A friend

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Bacon & Spinach Beans

This is a delicious side dish that my grandma used to make. I wasn't sure if it would be too spicy for Michaela, but at a friends house earlier that week she had become addicted to salsa so I thought it was worth a try. Apparently she takes after her mama because she loved it!

4 c Pinto Beans, cooked
1/2 c Onions, diced
1/2 package Bacon
2 c Spinach, steamed
1 T Red Chile Powder

Fry the bacon until crispy, then drain it, crumble it and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Saute the onion in the drippings, then add spinach, chile, and beans, mixing together. Sprinkle the top with bacon and serve.

Family Recipe

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blackberry & Strawberry Cobbler

I had my sister over for dinner last week and had wanted to make an apple pie or cobbler for dessert. I didn't have any apples and didn't have time to go to the store so I used the fruit I already had in my refrigerator. I topped it off with homemade whipped cream, but this would be great with ice cream too. This was super quick to make and so amazingly delicious! I ended up taking the leftovers to my Picnic themed Cooking Club the next day, otherwise I knew I would have finished off the whole thing myself!

1 c flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c sugar
1 c milk
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
1 c blackberries
1 c strawberries, sliced

Put the stick of butter in a 8x8 baking dish or a 10 inch pie plate. Put the dish in a 350 degree oven until melted. Meanwhile mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and milk to create a slightly lumpy batter. Pour the batter over the melted butter and top with berries. Return dish to oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the top is browned and the edges are started to pull away from the dish.

Adapted from Mommy's Kitchen

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lemon & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

This is a light pasta dish, perfect for summer. It would pair well with chicken or steak and a light side salad. This is quite lemony, so if you want a more subtle flavor, add the lemon juice to taste (or none at all).

1/4 c garlic, lemon and basil infused olive oil
1/2 box spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, julienned
juice from 1 lemon (optional)
parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Inspired by The Entertaining Kitchen

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lemon, Garlic, and Basil Infused Olive Oil

This is a wonderful way to add an extra depth of flavor to olive oil. I have so many variations on this recipe tumbling around in my head!

1 c oil
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon skin
handfull of basil

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Once it starts boiling, turn heat off and let sit for 1 hour. At this point it is ready to be used or stored.

The Entertaining Kitchen

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chicken Piccata

I've been wanting to experiment with the "classic" Italian methods of cooking chicken, and I figured this would be a good one to start with. It's simple, quick, and the light breading makes it look like chicken nuggets, which never hurts when you are trying to get kids to eat.

2-4 Chicken breast cutlets
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c flour
salt & pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup white wine (can substitute chicken broth)
3 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup brined capers
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

If cutlets are too thick, place them between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound with meat hammer (or rolling pin in my case) until they reach 1/4 inch thickness. Dredge chicken in a bowl filled with the combined flour, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Prepare a skillet by heating olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. When thoroughly heated add the chicken and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and add wine, lemon juice and capers to the pan, scraping up the brown bits from the chicken. Reduce the sauce by half, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve the sauce over the chicken and top with chopped parsley.

Simply Recipes

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Nutella Crepe Stackers

I had never had Nutella until about a year ago. Some good friends invited us over for dinner and dessert was warm french bread spread with some Nutella. I was instantly smitten. In fact I may have consumed an entire jar and loaf of french bread the following week. I've learned to temper my addiction since then, but there is always a jar in my pantry, and when I see a Nutella inspired recipe my heart beats just a little bit faster.
This was my dish for this month's cooking club. The theme this month was strawberries, and this was a real winner! I wanted something that was small enough to eat without utensils, and while this was good, I think next time I might try to bake the cooked crepes in a muffin tin to make sturdy little cups. I also think that I would toast the hazelnut before grinding next time so that it brings out the flavor a little more.

Strawberry Nutella Crepes
1/2 c flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts (use a food processor)
1 tablespoon pureed strawberries
1 egg
3/4 c milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Mix everything together & pour batter in small 1 inch rounds on a skillet heated on medium. Cook on both sides until lightly browned.

Strawberry sauce
1 c strawberries
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon corn starch

Puree everything together in a small food processor. Pour into a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until sauce is bubbling and has thickened.

Strawberry Nutella Crepe Stackers
Strawberry Nutella Crepes
Strawberry sauce
sliced strawberries
ground hazelnuts

Place a strawberry slice on each crepe. Top with a dollop of Nutella. Pour a bit of strawberry sauce over it. Top with a tiny sprinkle of ground hazelnuts.

Inspired by Closet Cooking

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zucchini "Cookies"

These were really good. I really enjoyed the way these tasted even though Philip said they weren't his favorite. Michaela absolutely loooooved these little things. Shhh, come close and I'll tell you why.
I may have told her they were cookies.
Yeah, I know that tricking your kids into eating vegetable by telling them they are something else isn't the best idea. But she ate them. 'Nuf said.
I may have also coerced her into eating the rest of dinner by telling her she could have more cookies if she finished. Don't judge, she actually ate meat because of this!

1 zucchini, shredded finely
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup cheese, shredded
Mix all ingredients together, then form into patties. Fry the patties in a skillet in a scant amount of canola oil until browned.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Calabazitas

This is one of my favorite side dishes to make whenever we have enchiladas. I love squash and that taste mixed with corn and green chile is oh so delicious. Not to mention this is super easy to put together!

1/4 c onion
1 clove garlic
1 zuchinni
1 yellow crookneck squash
1/2 c corn (frozen or stripped from the cob)
1/4 c green chile, roasted, peeled, and chopped
1/8 c milk
1/2 c cheese (cheddar or pepperjack)

Saute the onion, garlic, squashes and green chile in a little bit of olive oil. When tender, add corn & stir. Put in a casserole dish or pyrex bowl, add milk, cover with cheese, and place in 350 oven just until cheese is melted.

*Measurements in this recipe are approximate. I just do it to taste, and adjust the measurements based on how many I'm serving, their tolerance for green chile, etc. Trust me, there's not much you can do too mess up this dish. Any combination of the ingredients would be tasty!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Strawberry Mousse

Strawberries were on sale for .97/lb last week, so I've been on a pretty big strawberry kick. This was the perfect light dessert and tasted great served with graham crackers for dipping. I think this would be yummy atop pound cake too.

1lb strawberries, rinsed & hulled
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c whipping cream
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
Puree strawberries, lemon juice & sugar. In a seperate bowl whip cream until stiff, then mix gently with strawberry mixture. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff in a seperate bowl. Fold gently into berry mixture. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blackberry Fauxjito

One of my favorite drinks back before I was a full-time breeder/nurser was a mojito. In fact, every time I smell fresh mint, I am instantly transported back to our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta where I lay by the ocean and sipped a continuous stream of refreshing Mojitos. Yum. I was looking for ways to use up some blackberries when I ran across this recipe and I couldn't resist! This was delicious, and was almost as good as a real one. :)
1/4 c blackberries
6 large mint leaves or equivalent smaller
2 teaspoons sugar
juice from 1/2 lime
crushed ice, enough to fill glass 3/4 full
lime sparkling water
Muddle blackberries, mint leaves, sugar & lime juice in a glass. Add crushed ice. Pour sparkling water over ice, stir a bit, and serve!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crab Fondue

The theme this month for my cooking club was fondue. I was afraid everyone would be bringing a sweet dish, so I decided to try a savory one. This was pretty good, but it tasted a bit tangy. I think I put too much lemon in it, and also I probably should have used regular mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. I think with these changes it would be fantastic.

18 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 c white wine
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3/4lb lump crab meat, fresh or canned
1/4 c chives, chopped
day old french bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
pears, sliced

Mix all ingredients and place in an electric fondue pot or double broiler on medium-low heat, except bread and pears. Stir continuously until everything is melted and well combined. Serve with bread and pear slices.

I don't have a double broiler, so I boiled water in a saucepan, and placed the ingredients in a metal bowl placed over the boiling water.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry Banana Bites

I woke up yesterday morning and realized that every single skillet in my house was dirty. Iusually make scrambled eggs for Michaela's breakfast, but ever since we got our new dishwasher, I try as hard as possible not to wash dishes by hand. I immediately thought of this recipe, and whipped up a quick batch. I made some "normal" ones, then added some pureed strawberries to the batter to make these Strawberry Banana versions. I imagine this would be delicious with any type of pancake batter. These are so yummy and easy to make. The banana caramelizes a bit and they are the perfect size for little hands. Michaela couldn't put them down!
pancake mix, boxed or homemade
strawberries, pureed
bananas, sliced
syrup (optional)
Prepare pancake batter as normal, exept replace 1/2 liquid with pureed strawberries. Pour pancake batter onto hot greased griddle about the size of a banana slice. Put a banana slice on top, then cover with more batter, flipping when bubbles start to appear. Alternately, you could coat the banana slices in batter, then cook on griddle. You could serve with syrup, but they were pretty sweet as is, so I didn't bother.
Adapted from Weelicious

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Hot Dogs

Loosen your belts folks and forget about the word "cholesterol" until after you've prepared this meal. Sure, this may be a heart attack waiting to happen, but isn't cheese wrapped in meat, wrapped in meat worth it? This is a very rough recipe, because it is so adaptable to your particular tastes. For mine I used cheddar cheese w/ bbq sauce & pepperjack cheese w/ leftovers from a roast.
Hot dogs
cheese, cut in long thin strips
filling or sauce of your choice
Slice a hot dog open and add your cheese & filling. Wrap with uncooked bacon tightly, but not so tight as to break when it cooks and shrinks. If necessary, hold the bacon in place with toothpicks. Cook on the grill or bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Inspired by Simply Recipes

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bacon & Spinach Pasta Carbonara

8 oz pasta (I used Rotini)
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 c onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 tbsp white wine
2-3 c spinach
1/4 c cilantro
parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Brown bacon in a skillet, then add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Mix the eggs with the wine, salt, and pepper. Add the drained pasta, egg mixture, spinach and cilantro and cook for just a little bit more, stirring constantly, until spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Adapted from Tiny Morsels

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Fried Pineapple Rice

This was one of those "clean your fridge and pantry out" type of meals. I just started throwing things together and hoping they would come out allright. I'm quite proud of how this dish turned out, considering I am usually lost without a recipe. I think the sausage may have been a little out of place, but other than that, this was the perfect middle-of-the-week meal. This would also be a good side dish without the meat.
2 turkey sausage links, sliced
1 chicken breast, diced
1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 c onion
1 1/2 c rice, cooked
2 eggs
1/2 c toasted almonds
1/2 c peas
1 c pineapple, chopped
Slice and brown the sausage and chicken breast in a skillet. Add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry until cooked through and all flavors are nicely mingled.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Steak Bites

I'm not very good at making steaks. I always seem to either over or under cook them to a ridiculous degree. These little steak bites are perfect because the size makes it easy to control the level of done-ness. They're also a nice kid-friendly size (though my red meat phobic child didn't touch them)!
sirloin steak
garlic powder
2 tbsp butter
Trim all visible fat and gristle off the steak and cut into bite size pieces. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder on your meat and let sit for 20-30 minutes. The salt needs this amount of time to season the meat. If you leave it on any shorter, it may simply dry it out. Heat up butter in a skillet over high heat (the pan needs to be HOT!) until it starts to turn brown. Dump enough of the meat so that there is only a single layer in the pan. Cook for 30-45 seconds, flip and cook another 30-45 seconds. Remove to a plate, add more butter to the pan and repeat process until the rest of the meat is cooked. Use the leftover butter as a gravy for mashed potatoes or pour over the served steak.
  • I know it sounds like an incredibly short time to cook the meat, but remember that it will continue cooking after you remove it to the pan. Cook it as directed and it will be perfect medium rare deliciousness. (Trust me, I cooked it longer and some of the pieces were overcooked!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Black Tie Mousse Cake

Along with the breadsticks and Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden, this is my most ordered and most looked-forward-to part of my meal. When I heard that this month's Cooking Club theme with my MOMS Club was Chocolate Iron Chef, I knew that this dessert would be my dish. This is so good it's not even funny. I try to ignore the fact that one slice is an entire daily allowance of fat.

If you're looking for an easy recipe, this is the wrong one for you. This is a 4 layer cake and takes quite a bit of work. If you are willing to put in 4 or 5 hours, this is so so worth it!

Cake layer
1 box deviled food cake mix
Mousse layer
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp boiling water
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
4oz cream cheese, cubed
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp sugar

Custard layer
3 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing layer
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
18 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Cake layer
Prepare cake according to package directions. Let cool and cut in half. Press into the bottom of a springform pan.

Mousse layer
Melt chocolate and cream cheese together, then let cool. Add cold water to gelatin and let sit for 1 minute before adding boiling water. Stir until dissolved and clear, the let cool. Whip cream and sugar together. Once the cream starts to thicken, add the gelatin and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 of the cream to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Fold in the remaining cream, spread over the cake layer, and put in the freezer to set while you prepare the custard layer.

Custard layer
Beat egg yolks until pale. Beat in sugar, flour and gelatin until well mixed. Bring cream and vanilla extract to a boil. (Be careful not to burn!) Slowly add cream mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Pour entire mixture through a strainer back into the pan and cook until custard begins to thicken. Cool slightly, pour over the mousse layer, and return to freezer to set while you prepare the icing layer.

Icing layer
Bring butter and cream to a boil, pour over chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, and let cool and harden a bit. Remove the cake from the freezer, and remove the collar from the springform pan. Cover top & sides with icing and sprinkle the top with extra chocolate chips. Refrigerate until set and then serve. Enjoy!

  • Eat this responsibly. Friends don't let friends eat half a cake in less than a week!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Meatloaf

I know that everyone has their own special family recipe for meatloaf, but this is mine. It's simple, straightforward, fast, and relatively likeable due to it's use of barbecue sauce instead of ketchup and it's lack of vegetables. I personally don't like veggies in my meatloaf, it's like having veggies in a hamburger. Yuck. If you are looking for ways to sneak veggies in, I think substituting some sort of pureed veggie for the ketchup would do the trick.


1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)

1 egg

3/4 c breadcrumbs

1/4 c ketchup

1/2 c barbecue sauce


Mix all ingredients together except barbecue sauce, put in a loaf pan, and cover with barbecue sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. To make it more kid friendly, set apart a small amount and cut shapes using cookie cutters. Bake these on a baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

So Good They Taste Like They're Deep Fried Oven Fries

Whew! Yes that's a long title, but it is completely accurate. Every time I've made oven fries before they have been just ok. They're always a little mushy and they taste nothing like the deep fried sticks of artery clogging yumminess that you get at fast food joints. Not these. I followed this recipe and they came out perfectly golden and slightly crispy. These were a hit with the entire family!

russet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries or wedges
olive oil
cooking spray
salt and pepper

Soak potatoes in hot water for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with a small amount of olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 475 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes. Flip the fries over and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden and crisp. When finished, place on a paper towel to drain any additional grease and serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I decided to try my hand at homemade chicken nuggets for Michaela's birthday dinner. I've seen this on several different blogs, but my recipe is most like this one from Itty Bitty Bistro. It's rare that I make a meal that everyone in the family likes, so I was super happy when Michaela munched these down and Philip said they were as good as McDonalds. :)
2 chicken breasts
1 egg
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
Cut off all visible fat from chicken and cut into strips. Place chicken in food processor and grind until the texture is that of ground meat. Meanwhile, mix the bread crumbs, flaxseed, and parmesan in a bowl. Put the egg in a seperate bowl and whisk. Roll the ground chicken into balls, dip them in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mix. Place on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Cups

My little one turned two yesterday, so in honor of her birthday, I made her these oatmeal cups for breakfast. They were a big hit! Don't expect these to be a muffin like consistency. It's basically baked oatmeal, but it is a really really yummy breakfast, and the chocolate chips just makes you feel like you are eating dessert for breakfast. This would be a great snack too!

3 over ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chocolate soy milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups old fashioned or rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together and put in lightly sprayed or lined muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on wire racks. Makes 12-15 cups.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Breakfast Casserole

Every once in a while I like to make breakfast for dinner. It's usually less work than dinner, and is something I always know my family will like. I adapted this recipe from one given to me by a friend's mom. She had made this for a brunch baby shower and I instantly fell in love!
15 oz frozen country style hash browns (or fresh grated)
1 lb sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 eggs
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
10 oz cheese, grated & divided (I use cheddar and either Monterrey or Pepper jack)
1/2 cup green chile, roasted, peeled & chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together, except 5 oz of cheese. Pour into an 8 x 8 casserole dish that has lightly been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • I always have leftovers, and that's OK! Spend an extra couple minutes after dinner putting together burritos with the leftovers and you'll have breakfast for the rest of the week!
  • I love making this meal for new moms. Take this, along with some fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls for dessert and this is the perfect meal!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thinking Outside of the...Orange?

This isn't really a recipe post. I just wanted to show how sometimes when you are trying to get food into a toddler, you have to think a little bit outside of the box.

Michaela regularly eats yogurt for a snack, so I decided to punch it up a little and make this Banana Avocado Mousse for her snack yesterday. I was too lazy to actually blend it, so it didn't look quite as appetizing as I was expecting. After taking one look at it, I knew I would have to be creative in getting her to eat it. Luckily, I had just juiced an orange for her to drink, so I scooped a little bit into a used orange cup and served it to her with a spoon.

It worked! After staring at it for a few minutes in interest, she finally took a bite.

"Num num owange mama!"

"No baby, it's in an orange cup, but it's banana and avocado."

*Looking at me in confusion*

"Num num banana mama! Num num owange!"

This post is participating in the Big Words, Little Foodies meme. Head on over to Food with Kid Appeal to hear more funny stories of what kids say when trying new foods.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thin Mint Cupcakes

I have an unhealthy obsession with Girl Scout cookies. Given the chance, I would eat en entire box of Thin Mints in one sitting. I can eat half a container of Samoa ice cream before I finally force myself to stop and save some for later. So you can see how when I saw this recipe for Thin Mint cupcakes, I had no chance. I had to make them. These were quite good. I made the mistake of forgetting to add the crumbled cookies to the batter until it was already in the cupcake liners. I did my best adding them in, but I think this would have a much more consistent taste if I had done it from the beginning.

3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 sleeve Thin Mint cookies or 1/2 package Keebler Grasshopper cookies, crushed

Sift together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix together until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed cookies and scrape down the sides of the bowl until all batter is well mixed. Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Makes 20-26.

  • In the original post, there is a recipe for mint frosting. I just used half a container of store-bought cream cheese frosting and added 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract.
  • I think you could achieve a similar taste by adding crushed Thin Mints to a boxed chocolate cake mix.

*Sorry for the previous messed up entries in your feed reader. Blogger was freaking out on me!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Mac N Cheese

Here's another entry in my quest for the perfect mac n cheese recipe. This packs a nice nutritional punch with pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and beans hidden in the cheese sauce. Apologies for the picture, this dish just does not photograph well. As Philip so eloquently put it: "That photo looks like cat vomit! Fortunately it tastes significantly better than that!" So there you have it. Enjoy! ;)

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb mixed vegetables, frozen
1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 lb sausage, cooked
8oz sharp cheddar cheese

Boil the sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and garlic in just enough water to cover them. When they are soft, transfer in batches to a blender and puree with a little bit of the water they have been boiled in. Return puree to a pan and add beans, veggies, pasta, sausage, and cheese. Stir until combined and cheese has melted.


  • This recipe makes a lot, maybe 15-20 servings. I didn't realize this and ended up freezing half the batch.
  • I used frozen peas and carrots instead of mixed veggies. You can probably use whatever you have available and it would taste fine.
  • My family tends to dislike visible vegetables so I pureed everything again after I added the beans and frozen veggies. I think there's nothing wrong with a little trickery if it gets your family to eat something healthy.
  • You might want to use more meat. I only used enough for half the batch so that we could eat the other half on Lenten Fridays if we needed to.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Partially Clothed Chicken Parmesan

A while back I ran across this recipe for Naked Chicken Parmesan; essentially chicken parm without any breading. I was intrigued by the idea, but quite frankly, I really really love the traditional breading. I don't, however, like the extra calories it brings to the dish. So for my version I basically only cover half of the chicken which is enough to give me my breading fix and still remain a healthier version of the classic approach.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Salt and pepper
1 can tomato sauce
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
onion powder
mozzarella cheese

Place your chicken between two pieces of Saran wrap and pound to 1/2 " thin with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and then cook in a skillet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray for about 3 minutes on each side. Place the chicken in a casserole dish or baking sheet that has been either covered in foil or sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Top with enough breadcrumbs to cover most of the surface and spray very lightly with cooking spray. Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan and season to taste with dried seasonings. Add sauce to top of chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through with no more pink in the middle.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sweet Pea Risotto

I've never had risotto, but it sounded really fancy, so I wanted to try making it. The only changes I made to this recipe is in the proportions of ingredients. I liked the flavor combination of the rice with the sweet peas, and I loooooved the texture. Michaela didn't eat it on it's own, but when I put it in a tortilla with cheese she ate a few bites. I wonder how long I'll have to make quesadillas to get her to eat what I make?

4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
1 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup peas
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil. Add the rice and stir until nicely browned. Add the vegetable stock 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the liquid has absorbed before adding the next cup. This process should take about a half an hour. When all the liquid is absorbed, the texture should be moist and creamy. Add butter, peas, and parmesan and stir to combine.

  • On Hell's Kitchen they always make a green risotto, but I'm not sure what vegetable it is. I think next time I would puree the peas so that the whole dish is green, then maybe I could add some fresh herbs into the puree as well.
  • I 'm sure you could make this with any type of rice, you just wouldn't get the same creamy texture.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Quesaninis

A few weeks ago we ate delicious gourmet quesadillas made with a George Foreman grill at a friends house. They looked like paninis, so I named them Quesaninis and vowed to recreate them at home. These are so quick and easy to put together, and you can use whatever ingredients you already have on hand.

tortillas or wraps (I used spinach herb wraps)
Sliced turkey breast, or any other meat
Sliced cheddar, or any other cheese
Sliced tomato
Sliced avocado
Sliced mushrooms
Any toppings of your choice (Salsa, green chile, and bacon are a few other toppings I want to try.)

Lay out your tortilla or wrap and place ingredients on one half. Fold the other half over the ingredients and cook in a lightly greased George Foreman for 5 minutes or until warmed through and cheese has melted. If you don't have a George Foreman, cook for 5 minutes on each side in a non-stick skillet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Aussie Turkey

There is a honey mustard chicken dish that I love making but Philip isn't too fond of it. This recipe for Aussie Chicken, which is a copycat of Outback Steakhouse's version, looks just like my dish but is much more man friendly because it adds bacon, mayonaise and cheese. For Michaela, my little meat hater, I shredded the turkey after it was cooked and added it to her mashed potatoes along with some corn.

4 turkey tenders
8 slices bacon, cooked and cut in half
1/4 cup mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon mayonaisse
1/2 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 cup cheddar cheese

Mix honey, mustard, mayonaise, and onion flakes in a bowl. Place the turkey in a 8x8 casserole dish that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover with the honey mustard mix and top with bacon and cheese. Bake in a 350 degree for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

*The original recipe adds mushrooms. I didn't have any, but next time I would definitely try this.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Salmon Sticks

Looking for a quick Friday Lenten meal that is a bit more complex than grilled cheese sandwiches, but still something my family would enjoy, I came across this recipe for salmon fish sticks. Philip ate seconds and Michaela ate almost two, which is way more than she usually eats for dinner, so it was definitely a success.
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
2 medium skinless salmon fillets

Mix bread crumbs, spices, flaxseed and Parmesan together in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk egg and honey together. Cut salmon into sticks of your desired size. Dip the salmon into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture. Lay out on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.
*Although we enjoyed these, both Philip and I thought they could be better. Perhaps next time I would pulse the bread crumbs in a food processor so that they coated the fish more evenly, or maybe I would use molasses instead of honey. If you experiment with this recipe with success, let me know so that I can try out your version!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Date Pastilla

Every month my Mom's Club hosts a potluck cooking club with various themes. I knew as soon as I heard that this month's theme was International Foods that I wanted to make something Moroccan. Have I ever had Moroccan food? No. In fact I had no idea if Moroccan food was even good, the name just popped into my head and I couldn't think of anything else. I googled Moroccan food (how would we survive without Google?!?) and found this dish that sounded oh so yummy and relatively kid friendly. I don't know why, but I have a thing for dishes that mix the savory and the sweet, and boy does this fit the bill. I realllly enjoyed this, and the other mommies seemed to also. Michaela didn't eat any because there was chocolate mousse and whipped cream in the room, which completely clouded her desire to eat anything else. I have a feeling that she would enjoy this, so I'll have to try feeding her the leftovers for lunch.

1 onion, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon + 1 pinch turmeric
2 lbs chicken breast
2 cups chicken stock
3 eggs
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped coarsley
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets phyllo dough
olive oil
powdered sugar and cinnamon

Saute onions in a bit of olive oil for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chicken and chicken stock. Cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pan along with the eggs, dates, raisins, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper. Incorporate all the ingredients together.

Prepare your phyllo dough on a flat work surface. Lay out one sheet and brush with olive oil until the whole sheet is moistened. Lay another sheet tilted 45 degrees on top of the first and brush with olive oil. Repeat with 4 more sheets (6 total) tilting each 45 degrees from the previous one. Lay the phyllo dough in a 9 inch springform pan and fill with the chicken mixture. Fold the overhanging dough over the top to seal the pie. Brush olive oil on the top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until brown. When cooled, top with powdered sugar and cinnamon and serve.

*To toast the almonds, spread them in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. You can use untoasted almonds, but toasting them releases their flavor.
*If you don't have a springform pan, a regular pie pan would be fine, you would just have to scoop out the servings.
*If you are using a larger pan (I used a 10 inch), your phyllo dough won't close over the top. Simply prepare another 6 pieces of dough as above and cover the top, tucking in the extra around the sides of the bottom crust.
*The original recipe calls for saffron, but this is not an ingredient readily available in my area. If you are using saffron, use a pinch in place of the extra pinch of tumeric.
*Tumeric stains! I didn't wipe up the juice from the chicken that fell on my counter until several hours later, and by then it had already left quite a stain. I managed to remove most of it with the magic eraser, but please be careful with this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mardi Gras Meal - Turkey Jambalaya & Cranberries Jubilee

In college, Philip and I went to a church on campus that used to feed the students dinner after every Sunday evening Mass. Every year on the Sunday before Lent began, a certain parishioner used to make a delicious Mardi Gras dinner complete with Jambalaya and flaming Cherries Jubilee. This was one of Philip's favorite meals of the year, so since I happened to have turkey tenders and sausage in the freezer this year, I decided I would attempt to recreate that meal. The recipes these are based on can be found here and here. I didn't have cherries but I did have cranberries. I figured it was similar enough so I used those instead. I also tried to whip up some ice cream with Michaela using these instructions, but it didn't really turn out. There were some small chunk of ice cream, so I think it would have if we had shaken longer. Oh well, we enjoyed our ice cream soup! Also, since Michaela is not a huge fan of soups, I shredded some of the chicken and turkey and put it in a tortilla, along with some of the rice and some shredded cheese. She loved her jambalaya quesadilla!

Turkey Jambalaya
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 lb Turkey tenders, diced
1lb turkey sausage, diced and casings removed
1/2 red, yellow, and green bell pepper each, finely diced
1 jar salsa
1 can tomatoes, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 c rice


Saute onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add chicken to the pan and brown. Add sausage and cook thoroughly. Add bell peppers, salsa, tomatoes, chicken broth & spices and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions. When cooked, add rice to the turkey mixture and serve.

Cranberries Jubilee
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup juice from jar of maraschino cherries
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 cup brandy
vanilla ice cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add water and juice a little at a time and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add cranberries and cook 3-5 more minutes or until soft, stirring constantly. Pour into a flame-proof dish. Add brandy to the top and set on fire. Before serving, blow out the flames and pour over vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Chicken Soup with Rice

This is my staple dish whenever I have a leftover turkey or chicken carcass. What I really call it is Carcass Soup, but that doesn't sound very appetizing. If I start this in the morning after breakfast, it is the perfect amount of time to have it finished for dinner. What a perfect meal for a cold day!
Chicken carcass
1 cup rice (I use a wild rice blend)
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup spinach, torn into small pieces
Place carcass in a crockpot and cover with water. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until meat is falling off the bones. Pour through sieve into a bowl and remove all skin, bones and cartilage from the broth, leaving only the meat. Return the broth and meat to the crockpot. Add rice, carrots, spinach and any other desired vegetables. Cook on high for another 3-4 hours.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

I've been trying to find a good copycat recipe of my favorite Olive Garden soup for awhile now. This recipe is adapted from Annie's Eats and Copykat Recipes. Although it's been awhile since I've had this at the restaurant, I thought it tasted exactly the same as I remembered. So creamy and delicious! Philip thought it was a little bland but said he would enjoy eating it over and over again. Michaela ate the potato bits and tried to eat the liquid, but it's still a little hard for her. Considering how easy this was, this is definitely being added to my rotation of dinner regulars.

3 links sausage, cooked & crumbled
1/4 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 potatoes, diced
1 cup kale, chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until onion is translucent. Add the white wine and swirl it around a bit to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken broth, water, and potatoes. Simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add the kale and cook until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.
  • I don't think it matters too much what type of wine you use. I used a fruity Pinot Grigio, but I'm guessing a dry wine would work well too.
  • I'm guessing this could be adapted fairly easily to the crockpot. If I were to try it, I would saute the onions and garlic, then brown the sausage in the same pan. Then I would put all the ingredients in the crockpot except the cream and cook on low for 3-4 hours, adding the cream right before serving. If anyone tries it this way, please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Baked Potato Bar

Back in my working days, when I wouldn't get home until 7 at night, I used to make a potato bar for dinner quite often. I hadn't made this in awhile but remembered about it last week when I was short on dinner prep time. It's so easy to pull together, and you mostly use ingredients that you already have on hand.

Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream (I use plain yogurt)
Bacon bits
Flax Seed
Shredded Chicken
anything else you have on hand

Clean the potatoes, poke holes in them with a fork and rub them lightly with olive oil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1-1.5 hours. When finished, let cool and top with desired toppings.

  • This is a great way to get kids involved in meal prep. They'll love choosing their own toppings and making the potatoes to their liking.