Sunday, December 26, 2010

Categorical List of Recipes

Officially released: a categorical listing of all the recipes on our blog thus far, broken down into Main Dishes, Desserts, and Sides and Sauces.

It can be accessed here or by selecting "Categorical Index" on the right column, directly below our Alphabetical Index. Let us know if you try one of our recipes out, if you have suggestions for the site, and/or if you have any tips for future readers!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Simple Mexican crowd-pleasers

 Several months ago we had the privilege of having dinner at Thomas' cousin Ryan's home. His lovely wife Amanda prepared a Mexican food feast that was muy bueno. Earlier this week, we tried out the main dish from this party, "New Mexico Style Carnitas," at our own dinner party with some friends - our dinner contest winners, in fact. It was pretty simple to put together and tasted fantastic.

2.5 lbs carnitas (pork shoulder) cut into bite-sized pieces
5 roasted/peeled anaheim chiles, or 1 can green chiles in a pinch
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 c water
2 tbsp cooking oil
**I altered this a little and added about 1/3 a medium-sized yellow onion. The package of meat we got was a little larger than this recipe called for, so I added more garlic (close to a full "head" of garlic).
  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add garlic (and onions if you choose to do so) and salt; then add pork and sauté until pork is cooked (about 7 min). 
  2. Transfer to a crock pot and add chile and water. Stir together and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 
  3. Transfer to oven safe dish and finish at 400°F in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

We served our carnitas on warm corn tortillas with guacamole (also homemade - mash up an avocado or two, add sour cream, salt, pepper, and some chili powder) and salsa. We had this Mexican rice as a side.

Mexican rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup (or more) chopped onion
a few cloves minced garlic OR garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
  1. Heat oil in saucepan large enough to cook rice. Add onion, garlic, salt, and cumin; sauté until transparent. Add uncooked rice and coat with oil.
  2. After a few minutes, stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  3. Turn down heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Let us know what you think!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Molasses Cookies

Today we release another delicious dessert. These are a bit like moist gingersnaps, only better. Make sure to taste-test the dough as well...this is always a necessity when making cookies.

Stack of Molasses Cookies we made at Lisa's parents' house summer 2009
Molasses Cookies
yields about 5 dozen cookies
2 cups oil
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
A little more sugar, in which to roll cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine ingredients above. We add flour last. The recipe we have suggests adding the molasses last.
  3. Roll cookie dough into 1.5" balls; roll these in sugar. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 9 minutes.
  4. Let cool; enjoy; share with your neighbors!
ingredients, minus flour
ingredients, mixed, plus flour
yummy cookie dough!
rolling balls of cookie dough in sugar
Ready to cook!
Ready to eat!
Ready to give away so we don't eat all 5 dozen alone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

La soupe delicieuse

What can you make that is fast, easy, delicious, and will satisfy your appetite for things French?

French Onion Soup, of course!

French Onion Soup
1 packet onion soup mix
1 loaf French bread, sliced
Swiss cheese, sliced, enough to cover the slices of French bread you plan to eat (or, if you can find it, use French Gruyère cheese)
  1. Prepare onion soup as directed on package.
  2. Slice French bread into thick slices that will fit into the bowls you are planning to eat from.
  3. Put bread slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven at about 350°F for about 10 minutes, or until hot.
  4. Place bread into bowls. Lay cheese slices on top.
  5. Pour HOT soup over bread and cheese. The cheese will melt (in theory).
  6. Serve soup by itself for a light but filling meal, or enjoy as an appetizer with your favorite French entrée.
French bread ready to go into the oven... with some garlic bread in the back, too
Walmart brand even makes onion soup mix!
Soup, simmering
French bread with Swiss cheese
Pouring soup over bread & cheese
Cheese, melted onto bread

Birthday Cake 2010

For Thomas' birthday this year, I put together this fancy little cake, the recipe for which I originally found here.

Although it looks beautiful, my opinion on the first day was that the cake was too dry. This may have something to do with the fact that I baked it in the morning before work, left it out to cool, and completed the assembly several hours later. However, letting it sit in the fridge for a few days (covered) has improved it. At any rate, if you love chocolate and, more importantly, peanut butter, this cake is for you!

Reese's Cake

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
 (I used margarine)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1 3/4 Tbsp cream of tartar with 1 cup of milk)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional) (I used chocolate chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & flour two round cake pans using shortening and then dusting with flour.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt). Set aside.
  3. Mix the other ingredients (butter through vanilla) in a large mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately. Fold in melted chocolate last.
  4. Pour into cake pans.
  5. Bake for 26-30 minutes. Use the toothpick test to ensure they are done before removing them from the oven.
  6. Tip out onto wire racks. The original recipe suggests using a knife to loosen the edges; mine were very loose already so I did not bother.
  7. Cool before decorating.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
(The original recipe as found on the website referenced above says to use 1 1/2 to 2 batches of the frosting. I made 1 1/2 just in case, but ended up with too much. You should have plenty with just one batch)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used margarine)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
  1. Mix ingredients from powdered sugar through salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add cream and mix until frosting is "light and smooth" - or, in other words, it looks like something you would want to use to frost a cake.... 
  1. Place one cake round on a plate, cake tray, or whatever you want it to remain on.
  2. Cover the top with frosting.
  3. I used some crushed Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as a filling in the center; after mashing them with a potato masher, I sprinkled the pieces on top of this layer.
  4. Put a little bit of frosting on the surface of the other cake that you want to face the center. Place it frosting side down onto the other cake, making sure it is centered.
  5. Continue frosting the cake by covering all exposed surfaces of the cakes with your peanut butter frosting.
  6. To finish, you can cut some more Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in half and arrange them on the cake. I also crushed some more candies and sprinkled them on the top of the cake.
  7. Serve with ice cream of your choice.... or not :o)
using a paper towel to grease cake pan
cake pans, greased & floured
Cream of Tartar + Milk = substitution for buttermilk
Everything for the cake!
Melted chocolate chips and cake batter
Cakes cooling
Frosting ingredients
Frosting... not mixed yet
Peanut Butter Frosting
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
A potato masher works very well to mash Reese's
Cake 2 ready to be placed on top of Cake 1
Finished Product.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Great casserole for a cold day

Thomas' family has some pretty great recipes that he has introduced me to. When we tried this one for the first time together a while back, I knew it was a winner. We recently made it again so we could share it with our readers!

This Chicken Broccoli Casserole has a rich, creamy sauce that is a great compliment to the broccoli, especially. Take this to a potluck or serve it up at home as a meal all by itself. My bet is, even picky eaters will like it!

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
frozen broccoli (1-2 small packages, depending on the size of your baking dish)
either 2 cans cooked chicken OR 4-6 chicken breasts (again, dependent on the size of your baking dish)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp curry powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. If you are using chicken breasts, cook by boiling. Then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Defrost the broccoli you will be using in the microwave. Add a little bit of water, but do not fully cook it. The idea is to remove the ice.
  4. Make the sauce by combining the cream of chicken soup (we had a larger-than-normal can, so we just used one), evaporated milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder. Whisk until the ingredients are mixed well.
  5. Begin layering your ingredients in a casserole dish or other baking dish. Start with broccoli, then add chicken, then pour on a layer of sauce. Keep adding layers until you run out of room or ingredients.
  6. Bake your casserole for about 45 minutes, or until it starts to brown slightly. 
  7. Let cool and enjoy!
boiling chicken breasts
broccoli, thawed in the microwave
sauce ingredients
sauce ingredients, about to be combined
sauce, whisked until adequately combined
chicken breasts, chopped, and broccoli being layered in baking dish
adding sauce
ready for the oven!
ready to eat!
Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Variation on a Theme

In case you have not already noticed, we have two recipes for chocolate chip cookies (Chocolate Chip Cookies and Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies). Why shouldn't we add a third?

I got this recipe from a packet of recipe cards I received in the mail. I like the texture and the toned-down sweetness.

"Secret Recipe" Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or quick)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Put oats in a food-processor, chopper, or blender. Process until finely ground. You will basically end up with an oat flour.
  3. Combine list items from oats to cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream butter (softened) through eggs. Beat until fluffy with a hand mixer.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients, blending well. Add chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Scoop out small portions onto baking sheet. We lightly greased ours; the original recipe suggests using parchment paper. The original recipe also calls for making each cookie from 1/4 cup dough; I used less. 
  7. Bake until cookies are lightly browned. Makes about 45 cookies. Enjoy!