Monday, August 31, 2009

Ruby's Oatmeal Muffins

Since I have no idea who Ruby is, and since I got this recipe from my niece Aislynn, we should probably rename it. I love these muffins as is; Steven would have preferred them with chocolate chips added to the batter! Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg

Combine oats with buttermilk and let stand for a few minutes. Combine flour with salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside. Add oil, sugar and egg to oatmeal mixture. Stir in dry ingredients. Spoon into buttered muffin tins and bake at 400° for 15 minutes.

It wasn't chocolate chips, but I did add about 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and they turned out just fine.

Chicken Fajitas

Do you ever find that you get creative as the end of the month nears and the grocery budget has disappeared? The menu said "chicken fajitas" and we were out of tortillas, so that's why I dusted off my old recipe. Fortunately, everything else was in the freezer.This is another "no-recipe" recipe. We just sauté chopped peppers, onions, garlic and either chicken or beef strips in a little olive oil. Then drizzle with lime juice and toss in a little salsa if desired. When everything's cooked, place a spoonful on a tortilla, fold over, and dollop with sour cream and more salsa. That's it!

Flour Tortillas

This recipe was given to me by my first friend in high school. It's actually quite simple, although my tortillas usually turn out to be quite oddly shaped.

Flour Tortillas

3 cups flour (I used 1 cup wheat and 2 cups white)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup cold water
Combine the dry ingredients and cut in the shortening.
Stir in the water until dough holds together.
Knead a little bit and divide into 12 portions.
Form each portion into a ball and let stand for 10 minutes. Thin roll out very thinly and cook on an ungreased griddle, flipping lightly to brown second side. (This really doesn't take very long. If you forget what you're doing, they'll turn into crackers - still delicious but impossible to roll into a wrap or burrito.)

Twice-Baked Potatoes

This is one of our favorite side dishes. There really isn't a recipe, although I'm sure you could google one. We just bake the potatoes and, while they're still warm, cut them in half and scoop out the insides. We mash the potatoes with milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, green onions, Ranch dressing, bacon bits, etc. (whatever we feel like, and until it looks right) and then scoop the mixture back into the shells. At this point they freeze quite nicely. Then, just before serving, pop them back into the oven until they're heated through again. A sprinkle of paprika looks pretty.

Potato & Onion Omelette

Time for another Saturday morning breakfast treat!Tortilla de Papas y Cebollas

1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, mashed
4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a 9" pan. Sauté garlic until golden and then discard. Add the potato slices and cook for five minutes; add the onions and cook until potatoes are tender. Beat the eggs, salt & pepper in a large bowl until foamy. Add the potatoes and onions to the eggs, using a slotted spoon. Return the egg and potato mixture to the same skillet. Spread evenly and cook over medium heat. When the eggs leave the sides of the pan, invert a plate over the pan and flip omelette onto the plate. Then slide the omelette back into the pan to brown the other side. Repeat this process one more time. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4. (Delicious with salsa on top.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Curried Pork

Curried Pork

1 pound lean boneless pork, cubed
1 cup chopped onion
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 can (16 oz) tomatoes
3 cups zucchini, sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 cups hot cooked riceIn a non-stick skillet, brown the pork. Stir in the onions and cook until tender. Add the curry, garlic salt, tomatoes and zucchini and simmer for a few minutes. Combine the flour and yogurt and stir into the mixture until it thickens. (Don't let it boil or it will curdle.) Serve over the rice.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I've previously posted a recipe for pasta shells that we liked. To make the filling for those I used a manicotti recipe. Today Michelle made the original recipe and I thought I'd share some pictures. So, here you go:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strawberry Chiffon Squares

We had some friends over for a barbecue the other day, and that gave me the motivation to plan ahead for dessert. I added a layer of sliced bananas to a recipe I've tried before, and also used the cookie crumbs in the freezer instead of making a graham cracker crust. It was yummy, but it needs a better name - any ideas? (Note: Thanks to Megan, the name has been changed from the boring Strawberry Gelatin Dessert!)Strawberry Chiffon Squares

2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ounce package strawberry jello
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces Cool Whip
graham cracker crust (for 9x13" pan)

Combine strawberries and sugar. let stand 20 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid, and add water to liquid to make one cup. Dissolve jello in 1 cup boiling water. Stir in juice mixture and berries. Chill. Melt marshmallows in milk. Cool. Fold cool whip into marshmallow mixture, then gelatin. Pour into crust. (I added a layer of sliced bananas to the crust before pouring the strawberry mixture over.) Chill until firm.

Uses for Stale Marshmallows

Turtle Brownies

Somewhere I heard of the idea for Turtle Brownies (I think Michelle tried them somewhere) and it just sounded too good not to try. So we did! It was the perfect way to use up the leftover dulce de leche from the alfajores we made a while ago.
We started by making our usual brownie batter, adding the optional pecans, and then dolloped the caramel on top before baking as usual.This is what it looked like after coming out of the oven.They were delicious, and definitely worth having again.

Nacho Cheese Dip

The other day the kids wanted to munch on nacho chips and cheese. That's not something we normally have on hand, so I went searching for something similar that used ingredients already in our kitchen, and had success.

Nacho Cheese Dip

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cups grated Jack and/or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 teaspoons of taco seasoning, optional

Combine cheeses and microwave until melted together and smooth. Then stir in salsa and seasoning. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Michelle also tried it dolloped on top of her quesadilla.

Pisto Manchego

It's time for another one of Wayne's creations. This one uses his new recipe book AND the Dutch oven. He needed a BIG pot. It took a lot of ingredients, but everything was easily found at the local grocery store.Pisto Manchego
or Eggs with Vegetables, Shrimp, and Ham

1/2 pound pork loin, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 green pepers, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3/4 to 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked
1/4 pound ham, diced
2 potatoes, peeled, diced, and fried

3 roasted red peppers, chopped
1 (10 oz.) package petite peas, cooked
12 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Brown pork in peanut oil; add 1/2 cup water and cook until tender. Drain. Sauté onions, green peppers, and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes and sauté until liquid has evaporated (very important). Add red peppers, shrimp, pork, ham, peas, and potatoes. Beat eggs with salt and pepper. Add to contents in skillet and scramble until eggs are cooked. Serves 8.

Fresh Salsa

The co-op basket came with a lot of onions and peppers and tomatoes, and even a couple of limes, so we decided to make some fresh salsa. Here's the recipe I had in my files:

Fresh Tomato Salsa

3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving.

We didn't have green onions, jalapeño peppers or cilantro, so we substituted white onions, Tabasco sauce and parsley. It wasn't quite as good as the salsa Michelle made with her Young Women leaders (she's still waiting for that recipe), but it was still pretty good.

White Chicken Chili

This recipe was adapted from a crock-pot cook book - one of the best places to find Dutch oven recipes. I made a couple of changes to take advantage of using food storage items.
White Chicken Chili

3 cups dried navy beans
2 chopped onions
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 diced jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (12 oz.) chicken or turkey
Soak the beans in water overnight. Then cook on low until soft. Prepare charcoal, or use your stovetop. In Dutch oven, sauté onions and garlic in the oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat through. Serves 8.

Dutch Oven Pizza

The first time we tried Dutch Oven Pizza, we were camping at Yosemite National Park. We had several people come and ask us where we found a place to deliver out in the middle of nowhere! Nope, it was just us. That first time I made the dough from scratch, but now I usually buy a pre-baked crust. Just know that you can do it the hard way if you want.This is more of a process than a recipe. Place the crust on the bottom of your Dutch oven (parbake it a few minutes first if it's not pre-cooked), top with pizza sauce, cheese and any toppings you desire. Put on the lid and place in the hot coals. To cook pizza, you want more coals on top than on bottom so the cheese will melt before the crust burns. We tried this to show that you can stack Dutch ovens to conserve space and briquettes. I forgot to take picture, but fortunately, it was easy to find someone else's.

Cooking with Dutch Ovens

One of the things on this week's schedule was a Dutch oven cooking demonstration. And our reliable stand-by recipe is Peach Cobbler, so that's what we started with.The first step is to prepare charcoal so it will be hot when you want it. We love our "charcoal chimney" because it makes this step so easy. Simply place a couple of pieces of newspaper in the bottom, fill the top with charcoal briquettes, light the paper, and wait for 20-30 minutes until the coals are no longer black. While you're waiting, you can prepare the recipe.
1-2-3- Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler
1 yellow cake mix
2 quarts peaches, undrained
3 eggs

To prevent having a huge, sticky mess to clean up, line your dutch oven with aluminum foil and lightly grease it. Combine the cake mix, liquid from the peaches and eggs and mix well. Place the peaches on the bottom of the pan and pour the cake batter over top. "Bake" with charcoal, or even in the oven at 350°, for about 30 minutes. It's done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. Serves 12-16.

Here are a few of the things we've learned over the years:

1. Be sure to season your Dutch oven before you use it the first time. To do this coat it generously with shortening and place in a 200° oven for several hours (until it stops smoking). Then wipe it out and keep it in a dry storage place.

2. To determine how many charcoal briquettes you'll need, you need to know the diameter of your Dutch oven. Then prepare twice that many coals. When it's time to cook, place a few more on the lid than there are below. For example, if you have a 12" pan, put 10 below (12-2) and 14 above (12+2) for a total of 24 (12x2). This is supposed to create the equivalent of a 350° oven. If you use more it will be hotter.

3. Don't use soap when cleaning, otherwise you'll have to re-season your pan. Just wash with water, and use salt if it needs scrubbing. When it's dry, re-coat very lightly with vegetable oil and it will be ready to use the next time you want.

4. We love our Dutch oven stand, but it's absolutely not necessary. Before we got it, we'd use the fire pits at our campgrounds, or just place a piece of aluminum foil on the dirt. We also love our lid holders, but a rock works just as well. Just don't put a hot lid on a plastic tablecloth. And if you don't have a special Dutch-oven-lid-lifter, that's okay. You can use pliers or a hammer, just make sure you are using oven mitts as well.


Steven's been doing some cooking as well. Here he is making one of his favorite desserts: Molten Chocolate Cakes, or Volcanoes.
Molten Chocolate Cakes

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/8 cup flour

Heat oven to 425°. Butter 4 custard cups and place on a baking sheet. Heat chocolate and butter together until both are melted. Stir until smooth. Whisk in sugar, then eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Pour into custard cups. Bake 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges and invert onto plate. Top with whipped cream or ice cream and serve warm.

The original recipe says this serves 8 (2 per custard cup), but that doesn't work at our house. It really serves 4. If there are six people at home, we'll divide the batter into six custard cups and bake for a couple minutes less, but that's not an ideal situation!