Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

wow this sure was delicious! and seriously easy too. i've had this recipe tucked away for FOREVER. look at that date! 4 years ago people. sad that i've been living this long without trying this recipe. now i don't want you to suffer the same fate! so try this soon. you won't regret it. (unless you don't like sausage, or broccoli, or pasta, or parmesan cheese, in which case you are very strange.)

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
from Real Simple Magazine Sept 05 issue

1 pound pasta (would work with any type, i think!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Mean while in a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the brother and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Then add the broccoli, cover, and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the butter and parmesan and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta, season with salt and black pepper, and toss to combine.

Polynesian Glazed Meatballs

i love a good meatball. seriously we eat them like once a week at least. swedish style (ish), with the traditional spaghetti and sauce, and one of my faves, these polynesian glazed meatballs. it's one of the easiest meals, and i love to make it over and over. rory likes it too, he just picks out all the red peppers so all i get for my leftovers is red peppers and rice. good thing they're delectable.

i love using frozen meatballs, cause, for $5 a bag, you can't beat that. plus a bag usually lasts us three meatball meals. although it's getting tight with sadie eating "regular food" now. she loves her some meatballs.

Polynesian Glazed Meatballs
from Kraft Foods

1 tsp. oil
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce (or, rebel and don't use the name brand!)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (8 oz. each) pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
12 oz. (3/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) frozen cooked meatballs
2 cups white rice, uncooked
HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions; cook 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
STIR in barbecue sauce, ginger, garlic powder and reserved pineapple liquid. Add meatballs; mix lightly until evenly coated. Cook 10 min. or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook rice as directed on package.
STIR pineapple into meatball mixture. Serve over the rice.

Strawberry Pretzel Squares

these delicious little treats are so fun! the pretzel "crust" makes for a delicious salty and sweet treat. and, if you take it to a church function or large party, it will probably get devoured quickly. so make sure you get a picture before there are only three left. seriously, 5 minutes after cutting them up, and they were gone! (sorry about the not in focus picture. as i said i was in a hurry to get out of the way of the ravenous people)

Strawberry Pretzel Squares
from Kraft Foods

2 cups finely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (although i only used one and it turned out fine, i think!)
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (6 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1-1/2 cups cold water
1 qt. (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
HEAT oven to 350°F.
MIX pretzel crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter. Press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 min. Cool.
BEAT cream cheese, remaining sugar and milk until blended. Stir in COOL WHIP; spread over crust. Refrigerate.
ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression). Stir in strawberries; spoon over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Noodles

yum. rory raved about this, which is funny cause i wasn't sure how he'd like the peanut sauce. turns out, he likes peanut butter in just about anything! also, the leftovers are delish! of course, i had to cook the mushrooms separately and add them into my portion. rory hates mushrooms. he has a big book of grievances against many foods. (name the TV show character who has one of those-minus the food part!) i also left out the carrots cause i thought we didn't have any. then i found a bag under the parsley. grr.

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Noodles
from Pillsbury One Dish cookbook

1/2 box of spaghetti
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
t tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1/2 lb cooked diced chicken

Cook noodles according to package directions. In a small bowl, beat peanut butter, ginger, pepper flakes, and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce with wire whisk until blended. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce and the water until smooth. Set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Cook broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots in oil 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chicken; cook and stir until hot. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in sauce and cooked noodles until coated. Cook and stir until hot.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

peanut butter fudge with chocolate glaze

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge adapted from Recipe Zaar 1¼ hours | 15 min prep

Peanut Butter Fudge Layer

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 lb powdered sugar

Chocolate Fudge Layer

  • 2/3 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter
  1. Line an 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan with waxed paper. Make sure there is a bit of overlap so you can release the fudge from the pan later.
  2. Peanut Butter Fudge Layer:.
  3. Place butter and peanut butter in a 1 quart microwave safe bowl.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  5. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add pure vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar to peanut butter mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  7. Press into the bottom of the lined pan.
  8. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and set aside.
  9. Chocolate Fudge Layer:.
  10. Sift confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and salt into a 1 quart microwave safe bowl. (I use the same bowl with the peanut butter remnants wiped out).
  11. Mix in milk and pure vanilla extract.
  12. Place butter on top of the mixture.
  13. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
  14. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  15. Remove the waxed paper from the Peanut Butter Fudge layer and discard.
  16. Pour Chocolate Fudge over the Peanut Butter Fudge layer.
  17. Chill uncovered until firm (about 1 hour).
  18. Remove the fudge from the pan by pulling up on the waxed paper.
  19. Place on a flat surface and cut into 36 pieces.
  20. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
*this was rich and i loved the peanut butter layer especially. i would not make this the same way next time though. the chocolate layer never set up and was too gooey. next time i will make a glaze for the chocolate part. Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

if you try it this way, let me know! though i will definitely make this again soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

lemon cranberry scones

wow. these were so good even rory ate two. (he's not a fan of cranberries OR lemons) i'm not gonna say how many i ate...for reals..try them. they'd be great with orange zest too, i just had lemons on hand. anyways, perfect saturday morning breakfast or brunch item!

Lemon Cranberry Scones-adapted from The Joy of Cooking (aka food bible)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

drop in:

6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, tossing the pieces with the flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble breadcrumbs. Do not allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour.

Stir in:

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Whisk together, then add all at once:

1 cup heavy cream (i used the rest of our half and half)
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Mix with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, or fork just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the side and bottom of the bowl until loose pieces of dough adhere and the bowl is fairly clean. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 or 12 wedges and place at least 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with 2-3 tsp cream or milk. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack or serve warm.

Friday, September 11, 2009

beachcomber chicken and risotto

Beachcomber chicken adapted from an old ward cookbook

1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme

Mix all ingredients for marinade. Marinate chicken breasts for several hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Basic Risotto adapted from Joy of Cooking

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, simmer 6-8 cups chicken stock. (I heated it in the microwave a bit at a time, and only ended up using 6 1/2 cups)

Stir into the butter: 2 cups rice. Stir the rice and cook about 3 minutes.

Then start stirring in the stock, 1 cup at a time. Each cup must be absorbed before the next is added. Stir the risotto continuously to keep it from sticking. When 6 cups stock have been absorbed, add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and start tasting the rice. It should be tender but still a little firm to the bits, never mushy. Take the risotto off the heat when the rice still has a little more resistance than you would like.

Fold in 1 tbsp butter and 2/3 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the risotto stand for a moment or two. Serve mmediately.

*both were delicious...the risotto didn't need much salt...but pretty much i was just proud of myself for making risotto.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

cafe rio

what can i say about the cafe rio salads that hasn't already been said a thousand times? that i pine for them, and dream about the day when i will go back to utah for a visit and eat a dozen of them?

ok, that might seem a bit extreme, but i seriously miss these salads.
i'm sure all of you that have had one will agree/commiserate with me. yes?

we used to eat there at least two times a month, more if i could convince rory. so, since we don't have them here in cali, i tried the knockoff recipes circling the web. it was soo good. the dressing was spot on. it tasted just like i'd remembered it. the thing you must do with this salad is layer. layer layer layer. first a tortilla (we love the ones you cook yourself from costco), melt some cheese on top of that too, yum. then comes the black beans, lime cilantro rice, and meat. then the lettuce, tomatoes (or pico de gallo), avocado if you have it, more cheese...and tortilla strips. i forgot those, but it was still delish! next time i won't forget them!

now, i know you can't see the good stuff, and it just looks like some lettuce with dressing. but what lurks underneath that healthy stuff is the deliciousness.

now on to the recipes.

Creamy cilantro tomatillo salad dressing adapted from Becky Higgins

1 packet dry hidden valley ranch dressing
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 c. mayo or sour cream
2-3 tomatillos (peel off outer leaf/shell)
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.

Cafe Rio Lime Cilantro Rice adapted from various recipes on the web

2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups water (mixed with 3-4 tsp chicken bouillion)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter

Saute garlic and butter until soft, don't let it burn! Add rice and cook for a minute or two, on medium heat. Add water and bouillion mixture, and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. After it begins to boil rapidly, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Stir occasionally, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Lime Chicken from The "I don't cook" syndrome cookbook (so not really a "cafe rio" recipe, but it was very tasty!)

1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients and let chicken marinade in the fridge for several hours. Cook chicken however you like, grill, stovetop, or oven.

Or try it with some pork barbacoa!

Pork Barbacoa
from Wonder Mom Envy

2 pounds pork
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can RED enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours.

pesto pasta salad

Pesto Pasta Salad 
from My Kitchen cafe

1 12 oz. package Pasta Rotini, tri colored, cooked and drained
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black olives, sliced
¼ cups red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
4 tablespoons basil pesto
2/3 cup creamy Caesar dressing
2 teaspoons sauté spice (equal parts black pepper, salt, and garlic powder)
½-1 cup toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta and coat with Caesar dressing while warm. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the pine nuts) and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts.

***I obviously didn't use the tri color pasta cause I couldn't find it at Safeway, weird! I also left out the pine nuts. I think this would be fabulous with some chopped artichoke hearts, and/or chunks of cheese! cause, anything is better with a little cheese!

magic in the middle cookies

Magic in the Middle Cookies from King Arthur Flour Blog via My Kitchen Cafe

Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.
12. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

***these were a hit! everyone was surprised at the yummy peanut butter neighbor was a fan too. i took a few over to say thank you for lending me the powdered sugar. i was craving these again today, so that goes to show how addicting they are!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

peach cobbler

YUmmm dessert.

ok this was hands down, delicious. rory likes his cobbler sweet, so this fit the bill.

Easy peach cobbler from

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

*** i poured the batter on top of the fruit (since that seemed weird to have fruit on top) and just added the butter, diced up, to the batter. seemed to work just fine, and came out yummy. everything else i did as the recipe says.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

crockpot chicken

i know this is not the most appetizing photo, but trust me, it's good.

i got this out of an old recipe book called "The ...something... for the I don't cook symdrome". (I added the "something" part, it's falling apart so the cover is AWOL)

Crock Pot Chicken

3 tbsp butter or margarine
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 envelope good seasons italian salad dressing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of cream cheese, cubed
rice or noodles

Melt butter in a slow cooker. Coat chicken breasts with butter on both sides and place in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then dry salad dressing mix. (don't add water) Cover and cook on low heat 5 to 6 hours.

About 45 minutes before serving, mix soup and cream cheese, pour over chicken. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and sauce is heated thoroughly. Serve over cooked rice or noodles. Serves 6.