Winter Soup: Bean and Barley

January 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 7 Comments
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I stumbled upon this soup last year while searching for something for a ham bone to go into.  It was a happy little discovery, perfect to take the chill off of these cold winter nights.

Bean & Barley Soup (Recipe adapted from the 17 Bean & Barely Mix at Trader Joe’s)

Ingredients:

  • 17 Bean & Barely Mix
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
  • 1 can tomatoes with basil
  • ham, 1 cup cubed (if desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Soak beans overnight in a large pot of water*, then rinse and drain.  Pour 1 quart vegetable broth into a pot with the beans.  In a separate pan, cook onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in olive oil until soft.  Combine this mixture and remaining ingredients into the bean pot and cover with more broth.  Simmer covered for about 1 hour to desired tenderness.  Be sure to occasionally check liquid level and add more broth if necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste.

*To quick soak dried beans:  In a large stock pan, cover dried beans with triple their volume of cold water.  Bring water to a boil, then lower heat and cook uncovered beans over moderate heat for 2 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and soak beans for 1 hour.

Kid Friendly Shepherds Pie

January 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 7 Comments
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I knew my kids would turn their noses up and fold their arms in out-right defiance to eating this Shepherds Pie.

I also knew that if I remained calm, encouraged them to try, and threatened no dinner, they would eventually take a bite.

I also knew that the biscuit layer was irresistible, so I directed them to the top….and after one bite of that familiar layer they were sold!  My son actually asked for seconds.

Yes, it is true, my son (the reformed white eater) actually ate this and asked for more!

We’ll be having this Shepherds Pie again.  I kept the flavor profiles low so there was nothing unfamiliar here.  But that biscuit layer was the true secret to the success of this dish.  I’ll happily make it again, and I know my kids will happily eat it again.

Shepherds Pie (adapted from this recipe by Paula Deen)

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 cup milk, nonfat
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cups instant biscuit mix

Directions

Ground Turkey Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground turkey. After turkey is browned, add tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Mash with a potato masher. Add 1/4 cup heated milk, 1/4 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste.  Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1/2 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables. Then add a layer of the meat.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly, serve warm.

Skillet Cornbread and Chili

November 13, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Family Meals, kitchen tools | 4 Comments
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I took Deborah‘s advice and made skillet cornbread in my new cast iron skillet.  AMAZING results!  Seriously, the corn bread baked beautifully.  It was perfectly cooked, had an amazing color, didn’t stick to the pan, and washed up in a breeze.

How could I have gone so long without a cast iron skillet?!!!  I’m hooked, totally sold, and will probably return to the flea market next month to pick up a 10 inch skillet.

cornbread

I used this recipe for the cornbread.  Next time I will add some jalapenos because I like some zip in my food.  Plus the spicy jalapenos with some sweet honey would be amazing.

We ate it up with a nice bowl of turkey chili.  Perfect for this crisp fall night!

cornbread and chili

Turkey Chili

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 tsp chili powder

Cook the onion, garlic, green bell pepper and jalapeno in a large pot.  Once they have become soft, remove them from the pot and set aside.  Cook the ground turkey in the same pot.  Return the vegetables to the ground turkey and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and chili powder.  Bring to a boil then set on low until ready to serve.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro…and cornbread.

Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls

November 11, 2009 at 9:36 am | Posted in breakfast | 4 Comments
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I don’t know who Stephanie is, but I know that she is an amazing baker.  Stephanie, (hello Sue’s friend in Michigan!), thank you for sharing your recipe with California.  These have graced my Christmas morning table, began quiet Saturday’s at home, and delivered each and every time.

cr side

But I must admit, the kneading and rising time of the original recipe (below)…well, let’s just say I wanted an easier way, so I turned to my faithful bread maker (circa my 1997 wedding).  The results are amazing!

cr open

Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls (bread maker adaptation)

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup crisco
  • 4 cups flour (divided)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup cinnamon sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature

Mix water, yeast, sugar and salt in a small bowl, set aside.  In your bread maker, mix egg, crisco and 2 cups of the flour.  Add the water mixture to the bread maker.  Then add 1 more cup of flour.

Turn your bread maker on the dough setting and let it mix for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup of flour as it is mixing.  After another minute, add the last 1/2 cup of flour (make sure your flour is all in before your bread maker gets to the kneeding stage, for mine it’s minute 6).  Now just leave it alone until it has risen, 1 1/2 hours in total.

Once the dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly dusted smooth surface and shape into a 5″ x 18 ” rectangle.  Spread with butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Roll lengthwise.  Pinch the seam so it stays closed.  Slice into 12 equal pieces.  Place spirals into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  (Don’t worry if they look whimpy at this point, they raise again in the oven while baking).

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly before frosting.

Sour Cream Frosting

  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix and spread on warm cinnamon rolls.  Enjoy!

Continue Reading Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls…

Ebelskivers

November 1, 2009 at 11:00 am | Posted in breakfast | 7 Comments
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ebelskivers 2

These Ebelskivers are a chore to make…three mixing bowls, a whip, beater, measuring tools, brush, pan, individual servings…but totally worth it!

The pan is from Williams-Sonoma Cookware.  Don’t bother with their packaged mix, not worth it.  But the recipe included on the pan is fool-proof.  I’ve made these so many different times this past year, each time with perfect results.

ebelskivers

My favorite filling/topping combo has got to be fresh banana with cinnamon-sugar.  A close second is boysenberry preserves with powdered sugar.

Continue Reading Ebelskivers…

Chicken (and spaghetti squash) Enchiladas

October 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Posted in spaghetti squash | 3 Comments
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In an effort to re-invent the left over chicken and spaghetti squash, I decided to make enchiladas.  The spaghetti squash extended the chicken, making this a budget friendly meal.

enchaladas ssquash

Chicken (and spaghetti squash) Enchiladas

  • 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • corn tortillas
  • prepared enchilada sauce

Pour 3/4 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 11×13 baking dish.

In a bowl mix spaghetti squash, chicken and most of the cheese.  Heat tortillas in the microwave or dip them in hot oil (you want them to be bendable so they don’t crack when you roll them).  Scoop chicken mixture onto the middle of one tortilla.  Roll and place seam side down in baking dish.  Continue until you have used all of your filling (I got 9).  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy!

This enchilada sauce from Trader Joe’s is pretty good.  A real time saver!

enchalada sauce

Spaghetti Squash Quiche

October 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in spaghetti squash | 2 Comments
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There’s a reason why it’s called spaghetti squash…

spaghetti squash

Just cut in half and bake at 400 degrees for an hour. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to remove the flesh and you’ve got spaghetti squash.  The possibilities are endless with this versatile vegetable.  Here’s how I used it today…

Spaghetti Squash Quiche

  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 3/4 cup spaghetti squash
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup ground chicken sausage
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups non-fat milk

Bake pie crust.  Combine squash, cheese, sausage, and onions with flour.  Scoop into bottom of still warm pie shell.  Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl and pour over squash mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.quiche 3

Fall Harvest: Butternut Squash

October 11, 2009 at 9:38 am | Posted in butternut squash puree | 2 Comments

fall harvest long sm

It’s true that Butternut Squash tops my family’s list of favorite winter squashes.  Here’s my no-fail, even-my-pickiest-eater-will-like-it Butternut Squash recipe.

Butternut Squash Bake

  • Butternut Squash Puree (from 1 whole squash, about 2 cups)
  • 3 T melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Prepare an 8X8 baking dish with Pam.

Mix all of the ingredients well (I use a hand whip).  Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  Cool to room temp.  Enjoy!

*** Fall Harvest Basket compliments of my dear friend M.  Thanks You!  This was a wonderful surprise!

fruit kabobs

February 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Posted in fruit | 12 Comments
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I don’t know which is more embarrassing, Christmas cookies up until Valentine’s Day, or the fruit kabobs replacing them.  fruit-kabob-heart

We have been invited to a friend’s house for spaghetti dinner.  I know fruit kabobs don’t really go with spaghetti, but they are fun, and the kids will like them…plus, if this post stays up until summer, this blog won’t look so outdated.  Yes, I’ve learned to be very efficient since going back to work.

fruit-kabob-tall

I know I don’t need to explain, but for the sake of a recipe I used chunks of fresh pineapple, then a grape, a section of clementine, two more grapes, a huge strawberry, then a heart shape of watermelon….it is, after all, Valentine’s Day!

Daring Bakers Danish Braids

June 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Posted in breakfast, Daring Bakers, Dessert | 34 Comments
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I’m back home after a week long training in Sacramento and I just pulled my Danish Braids out of the oven, whew!

I’ll post prettier photos, the recipes and reviews later. For now, here’s what I’ve got sitting on my counter.

One Danish Braid filled with an apple filling:

One Danish Braid filled with a cream cheese filling and chocolate chips:

Be sure to check back later. And check out all of the other Daring Baker‘s Danish Braids…yum!

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Okay, it’s later…first of all, my family loved these! What a way to start a Sunday morning! My thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for hosting such a fun challenge.

After doing this recipe, I learned that you have to allow time for the dough to rise. For me, it was late and I was tired. I gave my dough just one hour to rise. As you can see by my photos I didn’t get the great rise that others did. That being said, when pressed for time, it can work. I will try these again. And am trying a cream cheese with blackberry topping next.

Also, next time I will make the dough a day ahead. Then do my fillings, braiding, and final proof on my baking day. It will be much easier and I won’t be rushed for time.

My daughter and I agree that the apple filling braid was the best. The filling was the perfect compliment to the dough. Oh and the dough, the orange and vanilla bean were perfect and made this a tasty treat. I saved my $10 and skipped the cardamon spice…didn’t miss it at all.

My hubby and son agreed that the cream cheese with chocolate chip filling was the best braid. For the cream cheese filling I consulted The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard (yes, the book the danish braid recipe hails) and found her recipe for Cream Cheese Filling.

Here’s a look at some of those chocolate chips sprinkled on the cream cheese filling, yes I could have used more…live and learn.

Cream Cheese Filling

The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

  • 3/4 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together until smooth. Spoon onto the danish and bake.

The Daring Bakers recipes…

Continue Reading Daring Bakers Danish Braids…

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