Monday, October 26, 2009

New Mexico-style pot roast

This was absolutely delicious!!  Just a twist on a classic, and we really enjoyed it.  This serves 6, but I made a double recipe so the picture is more accurate for a larger group.  :-) 

1 3 lb beef chuck roast
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz jar red enchilada sauce
2 cups low sodium beef broth (I used the meijer naturals beef broth concentrate)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small chayote squash, also cut into chunks  (meijer does carry this mexican squash, but I have yet to see it there.  They are always out, so you can use summer squash in it's place)
1 15 oz can hominy, drained

Rub the roast with olive oil, salt and pepper.  place in a roasting pan, or stock pot.  Add the broth and enchilada sauce.  Cover and cook at 250 for 8 or 9 hours.  At this time add the sweet potatoes, squash and hominy and continue cooking for another 3-4 hours.  I cook my roasts this long to make them fork tender.  You can adjust cooking time if you want. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Award Winning White Chicken Chili

This is an awesome easy chili recipe passed on to me from "Mom Dyk".  Mom Dyk is my husbands 2nd mom so to speak.  When he moved here from the other side of the state and became friends with Scott, she sort of took him in too.  He doesn't have any family in the area, so he ate Sunday dinners there, and holidays, etc.  Once we met, she let me into the circle too.  :-)  I love this recipe because you really just put it all together and let it go in the crock pot.  I now call this "award winning" because it recently won a chili cook-off!  I really couldn't believe it.  If I was trying to win, I would have done some super special chili with a secret ingredient, but it was a fundraiser for the Porch Steps, which is a clothing closet at our church.  We were raising money to buy winter coats and accessories.  Everyone got to eat lots of chili, and then pay to vote for the winner.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

2 lbs chicken cooked and cut into bite sized pieces or shredded
48 oz great northern beans
16 oz salsa (mild, med. or hot--your choice)
2 tsp cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 oz can of chopped green chilis
1/2-1 lb of cheese.  (I like to use a blend, but whatever your favorite is)
oregano (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Put it all in the crock pot and let it go!  You can start it in the morning before work and cook it on low.  Or, start it later in the day and put it on high to get it simmering. 

Sloppy Joes

This is a fabulous home-made sloppy joe recipe I got off of zaar.  It has a ton of flavor, and natural ingredients that most ppl already have in the house. 

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs mustard
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 small onion

1.  Cook meat slowly inskillet with salt and onion.
2.  Meanwhile, make sauce by mixing together all other ingredients and cooking slowly over low heat for 15 minutes.
3.  Drain, and add meat
4.  Let simmer for at least an hour, stirring from time to time, to let meat absorb the sauce. 
5.  Serve on hamburger buns.

Puffed Oven Pancake

My husband can cook and bake really well. He attempts things that I find intimidating, like bagels. I think he's especially great at breakfast. He's much better than me at pancakes, for example, and he can do the perfect eggs. Here's a recipe we like alot, but I've never made it, it's always him. And, it's delish!!

2 TBS margarine or butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
apple raisin sauce
powdered sugar

Place butter in a 10 inch ovenproof skillet. Place in a 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes or butter melts. In a bowl beat eggs with a rotary beater till combined. Add flour, milk and salt. Beat till smooth. Immediately pour into the hot skillet. Bake about 25 minutes or till puffed and well browned.

Meanwhile prepare the apple-raisin sauce. Sprinkle pancake with powderedsugar and cut into wedges. Serve with sauce. Serves 6.

Apple Raisin Sauce: In a skillet combine 2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly silecd; 3/4 cup apple juice or water, 1/3 cup raisins, 2 tbs sugar and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. Simmer, covered, till apples are just tender. Stir together 2 tbs cornstarch and 2 tbs cold water. Add to apple mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Stir in 1 tsp butter. Keep warm. Makes 2 cups.


Chicken Stock

One blogger friend has inquired about how to make your own chicken stock. I use alot of whole chickens for my cooking group, so everytime I have that opportunity, I make stock, then freeze it for future uses. There are lots of recipes, but here's how I do it:

Put 1 whole roaster chicken in a stock pot and cover with water. Add a carrot, celery stalk, and half an onion as well as salt and pepper to taste. The veggies are pretty much in a couple pieces, not chopped. Bring the water to a boil, and let the chicken simmer until done. Remove the veggies and chicken. After cooling and skimming the fat I bag it up. I usually bag it in 2 cup portions. Most recipe's call for 1 can of chicken broth which is about the equivalent.

You can also make stock using a left over chicken. Use the bones and what's left. Make sure there's at least some meat left on the bones. Let it simmer for a few hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beef Roast

This was my favorite meal growing up. Whenever I asked my mom for the recipe she always told me something different, so I wasnt' quite sure how she did it so good, or maybe that was the secret that it was different each time. Being single at the time, I really didn't make this very often as it feeds alot. That would explain why I couldn't remember the recipe. My mom passed away right before I got married, so again, the recipe is something I didn't take with me into the marriage. Luckily for my family I've come a long way from then.

I still experiment with spices and flavoring, but basically the secret to a fork tender, fall apart kind of roast is to cook it for a really long time on a low temp. This was SO delicious!! You can do roast in the crock pot, but I have had much better results in the oven. And it really is low maintenance, just put it together and let it go in the oven. I don't ever make them in the crockpot anymore.

1 (2 1/2-3 1/2) chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 packet meijer naturals beef base concentrate
1 tsp dried basil crushed
2-3 medium onions (1/2 cup chopped, rest in wedges)
8 potatoes
1 lb carrots

Preheat oven to 250.

1. place chopped onions in the bottom of a dutch oven or roasting pan
2. place meat on top.
3. mix worcestershire sauce, beef base, salt and pepper, and basil with 3/4 cups water and pour over roast.
4. Place the rest of the onions on top of roast and on sides.
5. Place potatoes around roast and carrots on top. (or however you can fit it all in)

Bake for 12 hours. DELICIOUS!!

Drumsticks with Sesame and Ginger

4 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs honey
4 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger (you can use ground ginger, just use a little less)
8 chicken drumsticks, skinned
sesame seeds
1. Combine the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and ginger in a zip lock bag; add the chicken. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Turn to coat the chicken. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, 2 hours before using, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 400. Line a roasting pan or shallow baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the excess marinade. Sprinkle the drumsticks with sesame seeds. bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
I like to serve these with rice. I use a short grain brown rice which has alot more nutrients than a white rice, but because it's short grain it's sticky like the chinese restaurant type. Yummy!!
2 drumsticks is 4 ww points. This comes from a ww cookbook called 5 and under. I've used quite a few recipe's from it and have been pleased.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a total comfort meal. It was inspired by another recipe I saw on a blog called Come have a Peace. Of course, all the tweaking is what makes a recipe your own. I hope you enjoy this one, I think it would be good with wild rice in place of the noodles also.

8 cups chicken stock (I used home-made, but cans will do)
3 cups shredded chicken breast
1 small bag mixed vegetables
12 oz bag of egg noodles
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cups flour
4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste.

1. cook chicken breasts. You can boil, bake, grill, poach. This time I boiled for about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and shred with 2 forks
2. Bring your broth to a boil and add noodles
3. Once the noodles are tender, add your chicken.
4. In a seperate pan, melt the butter til bubbly and add flour, stir until thick. Gradually add the
milk and mix well. Stir until thick. You'll need to bring it to a boil to get thickened, but be careful because milk burns easily.
5. Add the milk mixture to your soup
6. Add the vegetables.

Instead of making your own creamy sauce, you could use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. I just prefer the homemade option. This is wonderful with warm bread and a fresh salad. mmmm.

Garlic Herb Bread

There's nothing like home made bread with some comforting soup.
This recipe makes a small or 1 lb loaf. I used my bread machine on the dough cycle. I don't like the shape the bread machine makes, so I shape it, and bake it myself.

3/4 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I use a nine grain all purpose, it bakes like white)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1/8 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp dried basil leaves
1 3/4 tsp regular active dry yeast.

Put it in your breadmaker in the order listed and set it on the dough cycle. When it's finished, remove and place on a lightly floured surface, shape to a loaf, and put in a loaf pan. Turn oven on the lowest setting and just let it start to warm up, then turn it off. Place the bread in the oven for 30 minutes or so to rise. Remove, preheat oven to 350. The bake for about 30 minutes.

If you dont' have a bread maker, start with your water, olive oil and yeast, mix well, then add the remaining ingredients. After the dough forms you can knead, and then shape it before you start the rising process.

Monday, October 12, 2009

potato boats

These next 2 posts were inspired by the food Network. It was a show on 'fun food' for kids.

4 baking potatoes
1 8oz pkg shredded mozzerella (or use mozzeralla balls for even more flavor)
2 TBS ketchup

Prick the potatoes in several places and bake them right on the oven rack at 450 degrees until they're done, about 1 hour -1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the potatoes

Put the mozzarella in a bowl. Let potatoes cool a bit so you can handle them. Slice in half and scoop out the soft insides into the cheese. Add ketchup and mash with a masher. Once combined, scoop the filling back into the potato skins. Bake for another 15 minutes. Squirt with ketchup and serve.

The food network host, Nigella called these blood and guts potatoes... sort of a Halloween theme. We are'nt really into halloween at my house, but if you are have fun with that. It sort of took away the desire for me personally to want to eat something called blood and guts... eww! Anyway, again, the kids loved this one, and it was super easy!

Sorry I don't have pictures of these or the chicken fingers, my family ate them before I could get the camera out!!

chicken fingers

4 chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups Crackers (I used ritz)

flatten the chicken breasts with a mallet to about 1/4 inch thick. Slice into smaller pieces. I got about 8 fingers or nuggets per chicken breast. Marinate in the buttermilk for up to 2 days. I think the longer you marinate the better it will be.
Meanwhile, crush the crakers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin until they are pretty fine. You could use bread crumbs instead, or even panko.

coat the chicken in the crushed crackers and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for about 15-20 minutes.

Make it even more fun by adding some dipping sauces. When I told my kids they were going to have chicken nuggets, my daughter said "from McDonalds?" I try not to make McDonalds a habit, but it only takes once and it seems they're hooked. The good thing was she liked my nuggets just as much, and this is my picky eater. :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baked Rigatoni with 3 cheeses

Do any of you stay at home moms ever feel like you spend all your time in the kitchen? It seems like as soon as you prepare and clean up breakfast, the kids are asking for a snack, after that it's lunch, then snack, then dinner, and then even sometimes a bedtime snack. It's like our 'work' is never finished. I've been reading "Professionalizing Motherhood" by Jill Savage, and was encouraged to look at my kitchen duties in another way. I do love to cook and prepare meals, but the cleaning is definitely my least favorite part. Yesterday I made meals for my cooking group as well as someone from church, so I really was in the kitchen all day. Jill challenges us to look at our task with a long term goal in mind. She says to revise your to do list so it looks something like this:

Prepare breakfast to give my family a good start to the day
Clean up the kitchen to take care of the home I've been given
Prepare lunch to provide for the nutritional needs of my family
Clean up kitchen to model the value of taking care of what's been given
Prepare dinner to give our family time to sit and talk and be refreshed

We rethink what we do and why we do it.

Now on to the rigatoni...
12 oz rigatoni
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
2 TBS part skim ricotta
2 TBS crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1. Cook the asta according to the package directions; drain and keep warm
2. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500. Spray baking dish w/non-stick spray or oil
3. combine the tomato sauce, half and half, and cheeses. Add the hot pasta and toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake until bubbly and browned on top, about 7 minutes.

If you use fat free half and half, and part skim mozzarella cheese, 1 cup is 5 points in WW.

hands on prep 15 min
cook 17 min
serves 6

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 Onion sliced
1-2 TBS butter
BBQ sauce
2 pizza crusts (home made or store bought)
2 cups chicken in bite size pieces. (left over chicken is a great option)
1 bell pepper sliced (color of your choice)
mozzerella and colby jack cheese
1 tomato chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Carmelize onions in butter over medium heat. (saute' until carmel color)
3. spread bbq sauce over pizza crusts
4. place a thin layer of mozzerella cheese, followed by chicken, carmelized onions, peppers, and more cheese. Top with tomato.
5. Bake for 6-9 minutes

Taco Seasoning Mix and Refried beans

Taco's are always a great standby, and so versatile. I'm sure everyone knows how to make tacos, so today I'm posting my home made taco seasoning mix. Have you ever read the back of those seasoning packets? Many years ago I started being an ingredient reader. I'm certainly not perfect and still eat things that are bad for me. But overall I try to choose food that is not only flavorful, but good for me and natural. Sometimes when reading the back of a package it will say "natural flavorings" I suppose that's good, but what exactly does it mean? My goal in reading ingredients is to be able to recognize what they are. If I can't pronounce it, I for sure know I don't want it. Don't even get me started on High Fructose Corn Syrup. There are several items I can't recognize on the back of taco seasoning packet, and the list is really long.

So that was my inspiration for a home made taco seasoning. I'm also including a recipe for refried beans--not from the can, but starting with dry beans. This is a crockpot one and I got it off a book site of all places. A group of us chat about random things in life and we've been sharing recipes as of late. I've changed it a bit, but it was inspired from someone on that site. Also the taco seasoning mix was inspired by a recipe I found on recipezaar.

I hope you will find these useful:

Taco Seasoning Mix:
2 1/2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tbs paprika
2 tbs cumin
2 tsp oregano, preferably mexican oregano
1 tbs tastefully simple garlic garlic (or garlic powder
1 1/2 tbs tastefully simple onion onion (or onion powder)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, omit if you like it mild and increase if you like it spicier
1 tsp salt

Mix all spices together and store in an airtaight container. Will keep for 6-12 months

7 tsp of this spice mix is the equivalent of one 1.25 oz packet of store bought taco seasoning. This recipe makes the equivalent of 4 spice packets

Refried beans:
2 cups dried beans
coarsley chopped sm/md onion
1-2 bell peppers color of choice
2 jalepenos (remove seeds and ribs if you like it mild)
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic crushed
1 tsp cumin
6 cups water

Put all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Drain, reserving some of the liquid. You can use your food processor, blender, or potato masher. Adding some liquid will make them a bit creamier. Add a tsp of salt, and your favorite hot sauce for more flavor. Don't add salt when cooking as it makes the skins tough.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Italian Chicken

Tonight was one of those nights where I knew I had food, but no real plans for dinner. So this is one of my quick and easy recipes, but very flavorful. As a side I served pasta with my home made pasta sauce (which I retrieved from my freezer) and I will include that recipe as well. Often times in cooking, I go by smell or taste, so sometimes you will find I have no measurements. That is the case with today's post. Just remember, baking is a science, but cooking is an art.

bone in chicken breast
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Italian seasoning

Pasta sauce
10-12 tomatoes
basil, oregano, and/or any blend of Italian seasonings
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
grated carrots (3-4)
grated zucchini (1)
grated summer squash (1)
1 large can (28oz) of tomato sauce (I prefer something w/no sugar)
1 16 oz can of tomato paste

You can use vegetables of your choice. I happen to have alot of carrots, zucchini and squash from my garden this summer. The tomatoes also came from my garden

Preheat the oven to 350. spread e.v.o.o. over the chicken and under the skin. coat heavily with Italian seasoning over and under the skin. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Bone in breasts always take longer, I usually start checking it at 30 minutes just to be safe.

For the sauce:
chop the onion and saute in evoo until tender, 5-6 min. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Blend the tomatoes in a food processor, and add to the pot. add the remaining ingredients and simmer. The longer you simmer, the more flavor will come out. cool completely and place in jars or containers and freeze. You can also add meat at the time of making the sauce or when you decide to serve it. You'll get about 6 quarts or so of sauce if you use the estimated amounts. This is so easy to customize and always very flavorful. Plus it's good for you with all the extra veggies, and if you grate them, or throw them in your food processor as well, no one will even know they're in there! Great for picky eaters. :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

let them eat cake!

Welcome to my blog. Today is my official first post. I'm looking forward to posting lots about my cooking, but today happens to be about cake. It's birthday season at our house, we have 4 birthdays between sep 28 and nov. 25. My daughter just turned 3 and wanted a "flip-flop cake". I was pretty excited about this one because last year I made a dollhouse cake and that was quite the challenge. The flip flop cake went quite well.

I typically make my cakes from scratch, but since it was a busy time I decided to resort to a box cake. This is very normal for most people, but not for me. I was feeling guilty about it before I even went to the store. Once I got there, I happen to find a Meijer brand all natural cake mix... and it was on sale! I had my doubts, but thought, really, how bad could an all natural cake be... that's what I usually make. Well, I am now a fan. It was very moist and delicious!

To make the flip flops I took a pair of my daughters flip flops from this summer and traced them on a piece of cardboard. Now I had my template. I was able to get 2 pairs of flip flops. You could do an adult size and get 1 pair. I used a 9x13 pan and 2 of the boxedcake mixes. Again, due to my circumstances I went for store bought frosting. After adding food coloring of my choice I had some great summer colors. Yes, even though it's fall, it was 80 degrees in some parts of September.

The first coat of frosting was a 'crumb coat'. It just seals everything together. Then I put it in the freezer so the rest of the frosting would go even easier. Frost the sides of the flip flops first. Don't worry about getting some of the purple frosting over the top edge, you'll cover that up. Next frost the tops. For the border of yellow, I just used a smaller tip and zig zagged or squiqqled along the edge. You can use the frosting that comes in a tube, or make your own and put it in a pastry bag.

Now you're ready to decorate. I used Skittles for the 'polka-dots', and fruit roll ups for the straps and just a silk flower.