Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup and Pumpkin Cookies

This soup is very good. It has a nice and thick consistancy, good broccoli flavor and it's easy to make. Can't beat that huh. Now the cookies, in my opinion, are absolutely delicious. They are light and fluffy yet very, very moist. Mmmmmm. If you don't like broccoli then try the cookies!

Cream of Broccoli Soup
2T butter
1 onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
4c chicken broth
6-8c broccoli (stalks, leaves, florets, the whole shebang)
3T butter
3T flour
2c milk
1/4c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 pieces cooked bacon crumbled (optional)

Saute onion and celery in 2T butter until translucent. Add broccoli and broth and simmer 15-20 min. Puree 1/2, 3/4, or all the soup, depending on how chunky you like it (a submersible blender works well here). Return to med-low heat.
In a small saucepan over med-high heat melt 3T butter. (If using bacon, add crumbles here, also add up to a tablespoon of bacon grease, this enriches the bacon flavor, not necessary, but good). Stir in flour for 1 min then add milk. Wisk until thick, creamy, and bubbling (careful not to burn). Add to broccoli soup with parmesan. Stir and season to taste. Top with more parm if desired.
*Variation of Best Cream of Broccoli Soup on Allrecipes

Pumpkin Cookies
2 1/2c flour
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
2t ground cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1/4t ground clove
1/2t salt
1/2c butter softened
1 1/2c brown sugar
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 egg
1t vanilla extract

Cream sugar, butter, and pumpkin. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed. In another bowl mix flour, b. powder, b. soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Combine mixes in one bowl. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet. You may want to tap them down a little because they won't spread very much. Bake 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool and drizzle with honey, apple butter, or a light glaze if desired.

I made a soft glaze of 4oz cream cheese 1/4c brown sugar, 1T honey, and a splash of milk. I think adding butter to this would allow the glaze to harden more but I didn't want it to.
*Variation of Iced Pumpkin Cookies from Allrecipes

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Ever Delicious Homemade Pizza

I love love love homemade pizza. I especially love it when you've found the right crust to make and for me I have found one. I am still a sucker for the Chef Boyardee pizza sauce (one of the few canned items I still buy), but I do make my own when I'm in a pinch. I found this recipe on of course, and I've only tweeked it a tiny bit because it's really great as is. Here it is:

Jays Signature Pizza Crust (tweeked)
2.25t. yeast or 1 pk dry active yeast
1t honey
1.5c. warm water (110 degrees)
1t. salt
2T. olive oil
3.5-5c flour
3-4T melted butter

1. In a large bowl disolve yeast and honey in warm water. Let sit 10 min.
2. Stir in salt and oil and add 2.5c flour
3. Turn dough out on well floured surface and knead in additional flour until no longer sticky (I find this takes about 10 min and about 2 more cups of flour)
4. Place in well oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. When ready, punch down and form a tight ball. Let relax 5 min or so before you roll out. *This is when you can divide the dough and freeze half if you want. This recipe makes two bar pan size handtossed quality crusts, one very large, very thick crust, or I guess however you like it.
5. I do recommend baking on a stone if you have one, it crisps the bottom very nicely. If you do not, then oil your pan well, let rise another 15 min then prebake 10 min without your toppings. Remove from oven and top as usual.
6. Before you top your crust, brush exposed crust with melted butter. Now proceed with your toppings. (this part isn't necessary, but it adds more flavor)
7. Bake in a hot oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 min.

If you do not have any pizza sauce on hand there are many many recipes on the web. I make a very simple one using tomato sauce, garlic salt & powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil, all to taste.

So one of these days when I get organized and find my memory, I'll take pictures of these recipes to post for you until then you'll just have to use your imagination!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Pasta Casserole

I've made this a couple times now and we REALLY like it alot! I got it from pioneer woman Ree Drummond she has some really great recipes on her website.

Here it is for you:

2c. cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom/chicken soup
2c. shredded sharp cheddar
1/4c. finely diced green pepper
1/2c. finely diced onion
1 4oz jar pimentos drained
3c. spaghetti broken into 2" pieces
2c. chicken broth (reserved if you cooked a fryer)
1t. seasoned salt
1/8 to 1/4t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 additional cup shredded cheese

One fryer will yield approx. 2c. chicken. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do no overcook. When cooked combine with remaining ingredients except the 1c. cheese. Place in casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 350 for 45 min, if cheese browns too much cover with foil. This freezes well before you bake it, (I put the mixture in a gallon ziplock and freeze it flat) or you can refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grilled Cheese on Homemade Bread with Homemade Tomato Soup

Yesterday I finished my soaked bread recipe (if your not familiar with soaking your grains, in short, it makes them more digestible and vitamins are more readily absorbed) here's a link to the recipe I followed. Seriously it was like Aunt Millie stopped and dropped off a couple loaves!

Once the bread was made the rest was easy. I just made regular grilled cheese, nothing fancy. I used sharp cheddar because that's what I had on hand.

For the Tomato Soup, it's super easy. I used:
4 8oz cans of tomato sauce
2T butter
1/4-1/2t onion powder
1/4-1/2t garlic powder
1/4c milk
1/2c water
salt to taste

There you have it. An easy (once the bread is made), healthy, delicious, homemade meal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican Rice Bowls

Are you tired of making the same meals every week? Every month? I was to so I decided to make a change. I made a list of everything we like to eat and I mean everything, at home or out at a restaurant. I came up with a chart of approximately 40 or so meals to be made on a monthly basis. If there's something I don't know how to make, I just look up a recipe for it. My meals can change by what I have on hand, or what's on sale in the weekly ads. Anyway this has been working for me and it's been curbing our desire to eat out as often since I'm making a lot of those foods here at home now.

Since I am making these meals at home I can make them as healthy as I want. For example, I made a very delicious chicken pot pie for dinner the other night. I made the crust and the creamy soup inside. I used a free-range chicken and frozen veggies. No cans, nothing artificial, just healthy goodness. So I'll be sharing my recipes with you, daily if possible.

Here's what we had for dinner last night: Mexican Rice Bowl. Taco bell has something similar to this and my sister-in-law makes something close to this as well. Here's my spin:

Rice (I made spanish style using brown, but any rice will do)
Pinto or Black beans
taco style beef (or chicken I only used 1/2 lb for our meal and had some left over)
shredded cheese
sour cream
chopped tomatoes, green onions, black olives, lettuce, whatever...
taco sauce
doritos (optional)

On a nice large plate place a scoop of rice, top with following desired ingredients (i've found that whole beans make the meal less "mushy" than using refried beans, but to each their own) beans, beef, cheese, toppings, and if you like a little crunch then crush some doritos or tortilla chips on top. My kids loved this meal as did my husband.

If you keep a fairly stocked pantry you should only have to buy a couple items to make this meal. I had to purchase an avocado ($1.50), a tomato (.22), green onions (.50), and a can of diced tomatoes & green chilis ($1.00) I added to my rice. My weekly out of pocket for this meal was $3.22. I already had beef, rice, whole beans, lettuce, chips, sour cream, olives, and cheese.

So there you go, easy and delicious Mexican Rice Bowls. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm A Racist and You Could Be Too!

It has come to my attention that I must be a racist. You see I listen to one on the radio at least 3-4 times a week. I support him by tuning in. And you know what's astonishing to me? I usually agree with him 99% of the time (it's usually his food topics I disagree with him about, not his politics).

Rush Limbaugh, for those of you who are not familiar with the story, was rejected as a potential buyer for the Saint Louis Rams. It's being said the rejection was due to racist remarks and his controversial show. Since when did 'truth' and 'racism' start carrying the same definition?

It absolutely infuriates me to hear that the people that care for this country, should we disagree with the liberal flow, are now concidered racist. Rush doesn't have the listener support he has because what he's saying is malicious, slanderous, crude, or improper. He has the support of Americans who do not want to live in a Europe, or a Canada, or anywhere else in this world for that matter. We want to live here in our free country.

So the NFL wants to call me and millions of other Americans racist? Ok, I see. Then they don't need my money or my tv viewing time. That's my turned cheek. I wouldn't want them to receive support from a racist such as myself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keep Your Lettuce Longer

This summer we had a small garden. We had several different vegetables including a very abundant amount of lettuce. I usually picked it fresh but sometimes when I picked too much I'd put it in a bag and stick it in the fridge. Well one day I didn't have a ziplock to put it in so I used a different bag and oh my gosh did that lettuce last forever (which I know because I had 'found' it in the fridge quite a long time later).

It was a Meijer bag. I know, I know, but I really couldn't believe how long it kept my lettuce fresh and crisp. I mean no slimy goo, no strong or strange smells, no brown or black lettuce, just nice green, crisp, beautiful, lettuce. So since then I've been keeping my lettuce in the Meijer bag. I usually buy a head of green leaf lettuce and when I get home I chop the end off, rinse it, spin it dry, and toss it back in the Meijer bag. While it certainly doesn't keep indefinitely, it will (or seems to) keep longer than in a ziplock and it certainly is cheaper.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh So Yummy Sushi Bowls!!

I love sushi! The 'straight-to-the-brain' effect that too much wasabi can produce can be so very addicting. My cloudy, ginger infused soy sauce mixture just begs for another delicious maki roll to take a quick dip. Oh yeah.
This type of dining however can be a bit expensive. Scott and I can easily spend $50 for the 2 of us a Japanese restaurant (if not more). So here's a way to quench that craving and I can tell you, it's pretty darn near close to being there. Here's what I did:

I like the raw fish rolls and Scott likes the California rolls. This is what you'll need to have on hand. Now if you have to purchase a lot of these items for the first time you might think it's a bit expensive, but you won't have to make these purchases everytime. Trust me that that little tube of wasabi will take you far!

bag of short-med grain white rice
soy sauce
prepared wasabi mix (tubes can be found with the soy sauce)
avocado/cucumber whatever you like in your rolls (I prefer avocado and some california rolls have both)
crab (imitation is used most often, but get what you like)
sesame seeds
tuna steak, or a salmon filet (for you raw fish lovers!)
fresh ginger root (optional)

So there's the list and here's what you do. Cook your rice a little early so you can allow it time to cool. By adding a tablespoon of a sugar/vinegar mix this helps to make your rice more sticky, more sushi like. I personally didn't do this since I was eating it out of a bowl and not rolling it up. If you like the california rolls then just mix your crab meat with some mayo, enough to make it moist but not overpowering. If you're using a raw cut of fish well just cut off how much you like and put the rest back in the freezer. A $4 tuna steak from Kroger will give me 3 sushi bowls. That's not too bad. So now you're ready to assemble!

It doesn't really matter because you'll probably stir it all up anyway but...
we did rice first
then I topped with my raw tuna and Scott his crab/mayo mix
then avocado
sprinkle sesame seeds (you can toast these in a skillet first if you like, I was too hungry to)
and a nice dollop of wasabi
next a generous amount soy sauce
and last but not least I grated fresh ginger over the top of mine (you can also buy the pickled ginger like what they serve there if you like but this works just as well. you can put the gingerroot in a baggie and throw it in your freezer until the next time too!)

So there you have it. Sushi easily made in your own kitchen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm back.

Ok so here I go again. I keep trying this blogging thing and maybe this time it will stick. I've had a rough one these past 6 months, but I think I'm ready to take this on once again. So quick recap, my mother passed away in April from the horrible beast of breast cancer (I hate you breast cancer), but more on the positive side I am expecting another baby!! Due to arrive sometime in February. So I survived the first trimester woes and I'm approaching the half way point. Thank you Lord!

Well that's good for today, I don't want to over do it :) I'll be back with more I promise and maybe someone out there will read it!