Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grasshopper Ice Cream Cake

For Thomas' birthday earlier this month, I (for the first time ever) made an ice cream cake. I adapted a recipe found in Fabulous Freezer Meals. The original recipe used 2 kinds of ice cream and was made to fill a 9x13" baking dish, but I wanted a smaller cake (8x8") and I used only 1 ice cream flavor. It was a hit at our household!

 Grasshopper Ice Cream Cake
1 bag (32 oz) Oreos or other cream-filled chocolate cookies (the Great Value brand at Walmart is a great substitute choice)
1/4 c butter, melted
~4 c mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened (I used most of a 1/2 gallon container)
chocolate syrup
  1. Reserve 1/3 of cookies. Crush rest of cookies in a Ziploc bag or food processor. Reserve 1/4 c crushed cookies for topping.
  2. Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press into bottom of an 8x8" glass baking dish. Freeze for 15 minutes to firm up.
  3. Spread some chocolate syrup on top of frozen cookie crust and place several whole cookies around sides of pan. Freeze for another 15 minutes.
  4. Spread mint chocolate chip ice cream over cookie crust. Pour on some more chocolate syrup and sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
  5. Freeze until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

A while back, Thomas and I got a second-hand craft/idea/cook-book called "Homespun Christmas". We decided since it is the season, after all, that we would try out some of the recipes.

One success we have had is a recipe (p. 78) for sausage stuffed acorn squash. We had never had acorn squash before, so it was an interesting experiment for that reason alone! We learned that acorn squash looks and smells a lot like pumpkin. It seems sweeter if the outside has some orange spots. To really get all the squash meat out you will need a spoon to eat this dish, or perhaps it would be helpful to peel the squash before baking.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 lb. pork sausage meat
3 medium acorn squash
1/4 c butter/margarine (melted)
10-oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
1 c cheddar cheese, cubed (we did not use this much... more like 1/4 c shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Brown sausage on stove. Drain and discard fat.
  3. Cut squash in half length-wise and remove seeds. Place halves, cut side up, in baking dish (we actually only used 2 squash and they fit in a 9x13" pan... but there was too much filling for just the 4 halves).
  4. Brush insides with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.
  5. In a medium bowl (or the pan you used to brown sausage), combine sausage, vegetables, cheese, and salt to taste.
  6. Divide mixture among squash halves. Brush with remaining butter.
  7. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 1-1 1/2 hours, or until squash is fork tender.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spinach stuffed pasta

This is our new favorite dish:

I altered this recipe I found for spinach stuffed shells. Although this dish is a little bit time consuming because of the various steps, it's easy enough for us to put together, even on a busy weekday.

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
                   yields about 4 servings, or the equivalent of a 9*13 baking dish
6 oz. Jumbo shells (we buy the 12 oz. Great Value brand at Walmart and use half a box)
1 jar (about 2 cups?) Marinara/pasta sauce of your choice (we like Del Monte Sweet Basil, but lately Thomas has been making his own pasta sauce starting with a can of stewed tomatoes)
1 c ricotta cheese OR cottage cheese (whatever's cheaper!)
~1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
grated Parmesan to taste
6-8 oz. frozen spinach, rinsed to thaw and drained (either one box or 1/2 a 16 oz. bag) (I imagine you could use fresh spinach too, but we haven't tried this)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Boil pasta per package directions. You'll want it cooked, but not mushy; maybe a little past al dente.
  3. In the meantime, combine ricotta, mozzarella, egg, Parmesan, and spinach. This will be your pasta filling. 
  4. Spread a little bit of your pasta sauce around the bottom of a glass baking dish (9x9 works, but 9x13 is easier).
  5. Once pasta is cooked, drain in a colander. Rinse lightly to cool (but take care not to break the pasta).
  6. Spoon cheese/egg mixture into each shell pasta, roughly 3 Tbsp per pasta. Place stuffed pasta into baking dish, on top of the sauce in the bottom. 
  7. Once all pasta shells are stuffed and placed into baking dish, pour remainder of pasta sauce over shells. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Serve hot!
Line your baking dish with foil, so you can remove the food to a freezer bag once solid. Freeze prior to baking. Thaw overnight IN THE BAKING DISH, after removing from freezer bag/plastic wrap, before baking at 375°F for about 40 minutes.

If making a large batch to freeze, these ratios work for 3, 9*13 baking dishes:
24 oz Jumbo shells
about 2, 24-oz jars sauce
24 oz (1 ½ c) cottage cheese/ricotta
1 ½ lbs mozzarella cheese, grated
3 eggs
Parmesan to taste
18-20 oz frozen spinach, rinsed to thaw and drained

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

"It's Conference once again!" The first weekend of every April and October, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosts General Conference, a meeting where our present-day prophet and apostles address the world.

Last Conference, we enjoyed these yummy cinnamon rolls, found here at By Common Consent. They were very tasty and warm and perfect for a day at home, especially considering it snowed that morning.

Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding powder
1 c warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 tsp salt
5-6 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon mixture
1 cup melted butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Optional: raisins (say, 1/4 cup?), chopped nuts

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk
(As I recall this made way too much icing so if you can, go ahead and halve this)
  1. Dissolve yeast in the 1/2 c warm water with the 2 Tbsp sugar and let rise/froth.
  2. In another bowl, combine pudding and water; mix well. Add butter, eggs, and salt; mix well.
  3. Add flour; once mixed, knead until smooth.
  4. The original recipe says to let rise for 2 hours. We probably let it rise for only half an hour and it turned out well.
  5. Once approximately doubled in size (or less if you're impatient like we were!), roll out into a large rectangle. Pour melted butter from "cinnamon mixture" heading over dough rectangle. Combine cinnamon and brown sugar and crumble over the top.
  6. Roll rectangle into a nice cylinder. 
  7. Slice cylinder into rolls. Ours were probably too tall which made them doughy in the middle when we baked them. The original recipe recommends 2-inch heights.
  8. Place in baking dish... leave space in between since they will rise.
  9. Let rise. Again, the original recipe says 2 hours, but we skimped on this and it worked out.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes.
  11. Combine icing ingredients and spread over the top of rolls when they are out of the oven.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

For our wedding, we actually had some Italian soup... but it wasn't this. It was minestrone... delicious minestrone made by my family's former neighbor Julie. ;o)

Anyway, we tried this recipe a while back for Stracciatella. I found the recipe in a cookbook I got from my mom for Christmas 2008 called Eating Better. It's a cool book because the recipes have been submitted by Home Economics & Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teachers. Thus you can trust them to be pretty doable and usually tasty.

This is a nice light soup that would be best served as an appetizer. If I were to make it again, I would probably try to stir more while adding the egg, as the egg in our soup was pretty chunky.

Stracciatella (Italian Wedding Soup)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I think I upped this to 4 cups, so I could use 4 bouillon cubes)
1 lb fresh spinach, washed and chopped (I had a pre-washed bag of spinach and I dumped the whole thing in as is)
1 egg
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (you can probably cut down on this if I recall correctly)
1 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring 1 c of chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add spinach and cook down until soft but still bright green. The spinach will look like a lot at first but after a few minutes you will wonder where it went!
  3. Remove spinach with a slotted spoon and set aside. I put all of it in a bowl - you will add it back later.
  4. Add the remaining 2 1/2 - 3 cups broth to pot and bring to boil. 
  5. Beat egg lightly, add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and flour.
    When broth is boiling, pour in egg mixture, stirring constantly until egg "cooks into rags" as the book says... I pictured egg drop soup from a Chinese restaurant but this is not what mine looked like; again, I probably should have stirred faster or something.
  6. Add the spinach back in. Season to your liking (including with the additional Parmesan cheese)
Serves 4-6 according to the book, but I think we finished this much on our own for dinner. If you are serving it with something else (pasta?) you could stretch it further.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Recipe for a home"

We spent last weekend at Thomas' family's cabin. This has been on the fridge for some time:

Recipe for a home
 1/2 c friendship
add 1 c thoughtfulness
Cream together with a pinch of tenderness
Very lightly beat in a bowl of loyalty
1 c faith, 1 c hope, 1 c charity
Be sure to add a spoonful of each:
gaiety that sings
the ability laugh at little things.
Moisten with sudden tears of heartfelt sympathy
Bake in good-natured pan and serve repeatedly!

A happy home is such a blessing. Good family life improves other aspects of our lives, too. Check out Lisa's blog inspired by The Family: A Proclamation to the World for her thoughts about these things :o)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mango Chicken

Oops, it looks like we have been lax in posting recipes lately! Our excuse is that since we last posted, it has been too hot to cook! I have some recipe posts started in our queue, but they require heating up the oven, which I don't even want to think about right now!

Last week, though, we had a yummy Mango Chicken dish that used up some of the mangoes, green onions, and limes we got in a Bountiful Basket recently. I found the recipe here and changed only a few things about it. It's not all that sweet, but makes for a nice, light-feeling summer dinner.

Although comments on the original recipe mentioned serving it with potatoes, I found that plain strange, so we ate ours with white rice. I won't judge you if you eat it with potatoes though. ;o)

**update 7/31/2011 : I noticed in some of the comments on the original recipe that people suggested adding more of the spices. It does improve it to double the spices listed below!!**

Mango Chicken
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne (we did not have cayenne pepper, so I used chili pepper)
4 (boneless, skinless) chicken breasts, diced
2 tsp margarine, butter, or oil of your choice
2 ripe mangoes, diced**
2 green onions, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
  1. Stir together spices and sprinkle over chicken pieces.
  2. Melt margarine/butter or heat oil in a large frying pan. Add chicken, stirring while cooking.
  3. Once chicken is close to "done" (=white all the way through), add mangoes and onions. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through. 
  4. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
  5. Serve hot! Again, I recommend this with rice.
**You can find great instructions for cutting up a mango here. I used the recipe there for a delicious peach-mango pie last week as well, which I will not be posting because that site was so detailed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

According to the calendar, it is mid June, but the weather we're having today sure doesn't feel like it! With a high of 60°F, this hot harvest-time recipe is sure sounding yummy...

I found this recipe for pumpkin soup a few months ago on a blog called A Little Tipsy. You can see the original recipe and some fun Halloween ideas here. I altered the original recipe just a bit to match the ingredients I had on hand and make it a touch less fattening. This soup is not sweet as pumpkin recipes tend to be; it uses the vegetable more like the squash it is!

Pumpkin Soup
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
~1/3 cup flour
1 medium onion, grated or diced
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (or the equivalent in bouillon powder, to make 4 c broth)
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/3 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 2/3 cups milk
  1. In a large pot, melt 2 Tbsp butter/margarine. Stir in flour, making it almost doughy.
  2. Add onion, bouillon, and water.
  3. Stir mixture until smooth and thick - you will need to mash up your doughy flour-butter mixture to combine it with the other ingredients.
  4. Add pumpkin, salt, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine - try to break up the pumpkin so your soup has a smooth consistency.
  5. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  6. Let simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Add milk and heat through but not to boiling.
  8. Serve hot! A Little Tipsy has a recipe for pumpkin-shaped bread bowls that would be oh-so-cute as a "dish" for this soup.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bread Pudding

We frequently scout the Walmart bargain rack when we go shopping - and usually, if there is French bread, we get it! The problem with French bread is that it gets stale really fast - that is just the nature of the stuff.

A couple weeks ago, we tried out this recipe for bread pudding, using the remainder of a loaf of French bread we had in our fridge. The original recipe can be found here; we altered it a bit so we could use ingredients we had on hand.

Bread Pudding
2 cups milk (the original recipe calls for whole milk)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Tear bread and place in a lightly greased baking dish (I used a 9*9 square pan). If you like raisins, put them in the baking dish as well. You might need to hand-mix them so they are evenly distributed.
  2. Heat milk and butter in a medium saucepan, stirring so it does not scorch. Let butter melt completely. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Combine sugar, eggs, spices, and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer. Add milk/butter mixture; combine well.
  4. Pour this mixture on the bread and raisins in the baking dish. Try to get all of the bread wet with the batter.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until set.
We enjoyed it warm, with ice cream!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Danish Dumplings

I feel weird posting soup recipes at the end of May, but with the cool weather we've been having, that's what we've been eating a lot of! We've tried out several delicious soups lately.

This recipe for Danish Dumplings came to the Bradshaw family through Thomas' dad's mission cookbook. It's a pretty simple recipe, but kind of fattening, especially if you use actual butter (we've been using margarine). So, while I'd like to eat it every day, I've had to hold back ;o)

When we make this, we usually have leftovers, so it could easily serve 3-4.

Danish Dumplings
1 c milk
1/2 c (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 packet dry chicken noodle soup (such as Lipton), prepared according to package directions
  1. Prepare chicken soup, letting simmer on stovetop.
  2. Combine milk and butter in skillet or large frying pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, stir in flour and salt. Stir, cooking until mixture slips away from sides of pan.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes (until not hot enough to cook eggs on contact).
  5. Beat in the eggs.
  6. You will now form dumplings from this mixture, and drop them into the hot soup. Do this by dipping two spoons into the broth, and then using the spoons to scoop out and shape a spoonful of the mixture. Drop into the still-simmering broth and repeat until all of the mixture is in the pot of soup. 
  7. Simmer for a few more minutes, until dumplings are cooked through.
  8. Serve hot!