Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pear Salad

There wasn't enough lettuce in the fridge to make four green salads, so we went with Plan B for dinner today. Nobody complained. Pear Salad

Place a couple of pear halves (we use canned pears 99% of the time) on a lettuce leaf. Top with a dab of Miracle Whip and sprinkle with some grated cheddar cheese. Serve cold.

Hot Smashed Potatoes

Yesterday while web-surfing I came across a description of Marlboro Man's Birthday Dinner. Since at the time I was trying to decide what to serve with our Black Bean Burgers for dinner, the idea of Crash Hot Potatoes sounded perfect, so we gave them a try. They were delicious, although they didn't turn out looking as beautiful as Pioneer Woman's did. Go to her site to get the pretty pictures (along with a step-by-step tutorial). Just know that even the "ugly" version tasted scrumptious! Hot Smashed Potatoes
(I couldn't remember the name from the computer room to the kitchen, so we renamed the recipe!)

Small potatoes
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, herbs

Boil however many potatoes you desire until fork tender. Drizzle olive oil on a cookie sheet and spread around to coat it. Place the potatoes on the cookie sheet and gently smash with a potato masher. Drizzle with more olive oil and season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and whatever herb you desire. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes until hot and crispy around the edges.

Rich Chocolate Pudding

This isn't your typical pudding, but it is delicious. And it's super easy to make. I spent about five minutes on it before church this morning, and it was set up and ready for dinner dessert when we came home. We decided that the next time I make it, we'll try milk, or even mint, chocolate chips.

Rich Chocolate Pudding

2 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Place chocolate chips and sugar in the blender.
Bring milk and butter to a boil and then pour over chocolate.
Blend until smooth.
Pour into six dessert dishes.
Chill and serve with whipped cream.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers

1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups cooked black beans, drained
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
salt and pepper
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped
4-6 lettuce leaves
4-6 hamburger buns, toasted
4-6 slices ripe tomato

Combine bread crumbs, cumin, 2 cups of the beans, 1/2 of the mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining beans and celery and mix until well combined. Form into 4-6 patties. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat for one minute. Add patties and cook for 10-12 minutes or until browned on both sides, carefully turning once. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chipotle chile and remaining 2 tablespoons mayonnaise until well mixed. Spread on hamburger buns and top with burger, lettuce and tomato to serve.

These were a touch fragile, but still delicious. Even the family members who don't care for celery said it worked well in this recipe. We decided that this would be a good "we're living on our food storage" recipe, but we won't even wait for that day to arrive to have it again.

Smothered Chicken

We tried a new recipe for dinner today (from the latest issue of Kraftfoods Magazine). It was easy and yummy, and even company appropriate - all qualities that mean it will be staying in the family recipe binder.
Smothered Chicken

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound)
4 large carrots (1 pound), thinkly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2-4 ounces cream cheese
3 cups hot cooked rice

Cook and stir bacon in large nonstick skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Discard drippings from skillet. (Or skip this step and use bacon bits at the end.) Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden brown and done. Transfer to a plate and keep ward. Add onions, carrots and chicken broth to skillet; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and cook uncovered until sauce is thickened. Return chicken to skillet and heat through. Serve over rice and garnish with crumbled bacon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reject Eggs

Here's another recipe with a story behind it, and it's not for the faint of heart. But motherhood is not for the squeamish! Anyway, after serving eggs for breakfast, this is often what the kids' plates looked like: They would dip the toast in the yolk and leave the whites. Unfortunately I was raised with the "starving kids in Africa" mentality and couldn't handle throwing out perfectly good food. Besides, aren't the yolks the "bad" part of the egg? So, often MY breakfast would be Reject Eggs. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese and/or bacon bits on top, reheat in the microwave (doesn't that kill any lingering germs?), cook another piece of toast, and enjoy.

It's really quite delicious!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cranberry Clusters

I first saw these in a Christmas magazine years ago and thought they would be fun to try. They're delightfully different, and very easy to make, and it was a no-brainer to add them to our annual Christmas Candy list. Give them a try yourself sometime. (And go here for more pictures and here for a fun story.)

Cranberry Clusters
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips with the corn syrup in the microwave. (This takes 30 seconds.) Add the water and other 1/3 cup chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Dollop onto waxed paper. Chill until firm.

Note: I made a version using half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips (1/3 cup each), along with 1/3 cup pecans (instead of 1/4 cup) and they turned out well. I just prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate and this seemed like a nice compromise.