Friday, March 19, 2010

No-Bake Granola Bars

These granola bars, which could also be known as Glorified Rice Krispy Treats, are a favorite of Jeff. It's too bad he's not around to have any this week.No-Bake Granola Bars

1/4 cup butter or margarine or oil or combination
6 cups mini marshmallows
2-4 Tablespoons honey
2-4 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 1/2 cups regular oats
2 1/4 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup coconut, optional (or dried fruit)
1/2 cup crushed peanuts (or other nuts)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Melt butter and marshmallows together. Stir in everything else, except the chocolate chips. (You could, but they'll melt.) Press into lightly greased 9x13" pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press in. Let set for a bit before cutting into rectangles.

Delicious Green Fluff Salad

Every time it was Allison's turn to cook, we'd have this salad. But that's okay, because everyone in our apartment liked it. (At least, that's what I remember!) Green Fluff

Combine a large package (6 oz.) of jello (any flavor works) with a can (20 oz.) of crushed pineapple. (I don't recall ever draining the pineapple first, but this time the end result was a little soft, so I think next time I'll drain it.) Stir in a carton (16 oz.) of cottage cheese and some cool whip (1-2 cups). Serve.It added a nice touch of green to our St. Patrick's Day meal.

And the next day I added some sliced bananas to the leftover jello and that was delicious.

Green Enchiladas

We didn't have your typical St. Patrick's Day dinner this year, mainly because we really don't care for corned beef. Instead, we tried something new -

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Tomatilla Sauce.

It was actually pretty good. And I learned how to use tomatillos. Although I looked at a couple of recipes to get some ideas, I really didn't measure ingredients. This is one of those dishes that doesn't need to be exact.Here are the tomatillos after being cooked. The recipe said to boil them, but since we discovered the joys of roasting, that's what I did. If we had had a spare onion, I would have roasted that as well. Instead, we used dehydrated onions. And the recipe called for a couple jalapeño peppers. We had some poblano peppers that needed to be used, so that was another substitution (only one and it was plenty spicy!). I puréed all the vegetables (tomatillos, onions, pepper and garlic) and then added some chicken broth to make the sauce.
The filling was cooked chicken, some cheddar cheese, little diced onion (dehydrated), sour cream (about 1/4 cup), and some of the sauce (another 1/4 cup).
Put a generous spoonful on the tortilla, roll up, and place in the lightly greased baking dish. Technically you'd dip the tortillas in the sauce first, but I like the short-cut method.
Cover with the sauce (not quite as green as I wanted because poblano peppers are red!) and pop in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes.
Top with some more cheese and you're done. Yummy!

I decided to make these again today, and after seven years, I needed a little bit more guidance on actual amounts, so here they are. 

1 cup chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1 lb tomatillo, washed and cut in halves
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
4 ounces canned, diced green chilies
about 2 cups chicken broth (can add more if it's too thick)
1 teaspoon salt

This was more than enough for a panful of eight enchiladas. I also added some leftover corn to the filling. We'll see how it tastes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The San Francisco Treat

Here's a filling dinner that's quick and easy. We hadn't had it in awhile, and so it was time to try it again. It's on the plain side, and I guess I discovered it when we had young children that didn't like "fancy" food. You could dress it up with various vegetables, or add some salsa or gravy if you want, but I actually like it plain. Because it uses simple ingredients from the fridge and pantry, you shouldn't have to make a trip to the store!"Rice-a-Roni"

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup rice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
8 oz. spaghetti, broken into small pieces
4 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
First, brown the ground beef and onion and set aside. Or, take some already cooked out of the freezer and thaw. Then melt the butter in a large pan and stir in the rice. Let it cook a few minutes to turn golden and then add the spaghetti. Stir in the beef broth and hamburger mixture.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is soft. That's it. Serves 6-8.I actually don't recall ever having the boxed "rice-a-roni" but I imagine it's pretty similar to this. We'll be using the leftovers in a "fried rice" concoction in a couple of days. I haven't quite yet figured out how that will work :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Roly Poly

Time for someone to make dessert for us! And we took advantage of rhubarb being in season to try something we haven't had in six years.Strawberry-Rhubarb Roly Poly

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
2 cups biscuit mix
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup cream
1 egg white
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Put the berries, rhubarb and 1 cup sugar in a bowl and stir gently until well mixed. Combine the biscuit mix, 2 tablespoons sugar and cream to make a shortcake dough. Roll out on a floured surface to an 8x12" rectangle and brush with egg white. Spread the fruit mixture over the dough and dot the fruit with the butter. Starting on a long side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 8 slices and place, cut side down, in a well greased 9" square pan. Bake at 450° for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or cold with pour or whipped cream.

This time around it was warm with whipped cream. Delicious! In fact, the "picky eater" even had seconds!!
We're so grateful someone likes to try new recipes :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lemon Chicken

This is a recipe that we adapted from one in a Taste of Home magazine. It was pretty good and we'll have it again.

Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken

4 chicken leg quarters (or any chicken pieces)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
2-3 tablespoons flour (Wondra works best)
hot cooked rice Heat the butter in a frying pan and brown the chicken pieces. Rub them with a mixture of the dried spices first, or just sprinkle them on in the pan.
Place the browned chicken in a crock pot. Add the water, lemon juice, chicken bouillon and garlic to the frying pan and bring to a boil, stirring to get all the little bits left in the pan. Then pour over the chicken Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Remove the chicken to a platter. Thicken the juices with the flour and serve the chicken and gravy with hot cooked rice. We didn't get a picture of that, but the rice and sauce combination was delicious, even as leftovers!

Crustless Mini Quiches

This is a quiche recipe that turned out well enough to merit praise from the non-quiche-loving teenage son. That's pretty good! (He said the key was lots of cheese.)

Crustless Broccoli and Cheddar Mini Quiches

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped broccoli (either frozen and thawed, or fresh and cooked)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Grease and lightly flour 12 regular muffin cups. Whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, salt and pepper until blended.
Stir in broccoli, bell pepper and cheese. Spoon into muffin cups, almost to the rim, stirring frequently to keep ingredients evenly distributed. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Run knife around edges and carefully remove.

Note: I used our 6-muffin tin and cooked them for a bit longer. Also, since we had some cream that needed to be used, I substituted that (mixed with regular milk to equal 1 1/2 cups) for the evaporated milk. Next time I do this, I'll fill the muffin cups with the vegie/cheese mixture and then pour the liquid over it. I think that will be easier and less messy.

Another note: Trying to scale this down for two, and using this post as inspiration, I used 1/3 of the above liquid mixture, but added Swiss cheese, chopped turkey and a bit of bacon bits to give it a Quiche Lorraine flavor. I'll serve vegetables on the side this time. And I baked it in a large ramekin.

California Chicken

The other day we came home from church hungry, yet I hadn't quite decided what to have, although I had defrosted some chicken breasts. The only requirement was that it be quick! So, as I stood at the fridge and realized we had Monterey Jack cheese and avocados that needed to be used up, the inspiration came. California Chicken goes together quickly, and it's delicious!
Just sauté the chicken until not quite done, then place them on a broiler rack. Top with tomato slices and Jack cheese and broil until the cheese melts. Then add some sliced avocados. Salt and pepper to taste along the way, and you're done!

Cutting a Pepper

Since I actually took a few pictures, I figured I'd go ahead and post them. Here's the way I cut a pepper, boys. Now you can't say that you don't know how. Wash them first, and then, holding it upside-down, cut in half lengthwise. Stop just before you reach the stem and break the pepper in half.
Then pull off the stem, and the majority of the seeds will come off as well. If the membranes bother you, you can scrape them off with your fingers as well.
Then slice lengthwise and you have pepper strips.

If you want diced pepper, cut again at 90°. There you go!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Football Snacks

Time to get caught up on some unpublished posts. Let's see if I can still remember the recipes! Here's some experimenting with low-calorie options for football watching snacks.

For these mushrooms, I think I just chopped the mushroom stems and mixed them with some cheese and parsley, maybe a little bread crumbs and then stuck them under the broiler until they were hot. The zucchini sticks were a big hit, and we made them many times during football season!
Zucchini Sticks
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmensan cheese
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites or one egg, beaten
2 medium zucchini, halved crosswise and then cut lengthwise into 1" wedges
1/2 cup marinara sauce, warmed

Lightly brush a cookie sheet with some oil. Combine bread crumbs, cheese and seasonings. Dip zucchini in egg and roll in the crumbs and place on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little more oil. Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve with sauce for dipping.

Note: sometimes I would omit the egg, but they taste better when you don't. And the crumbs stick on better too.

8/28/2017: The above method is a bit time intensive, so this time I tried cutting them just in regular slices (circles), mixing them all together in a bowl with the beaten egg, then the crumb mixture (draining off the extra egg first) and dumping them in a greased baking pan. They turned out just fine and made a great accompaniment to our spaghetti for dinner.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mourning Muffins

We tried this versatile recipe for the very first time on September 12, 2001. When the kids asked what they were called I said "Morning Muffins" but they heard "Mourning Muffins" and that's how the recipe got its name.

Fill lightly greased muffin tins 1/2 full with whatever ingredients you want - bacon, hame, cheese, mushrooms, spinach, etc. Combine 1 cup biscuit mix and 8 eggs and pour over until 3/4 full. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 6 large muffins.These are a cross between a popover and a quiche, and are actually quite delicious. This version was made with crumbled bacon and mozarella cheese.

Chicken "Marsala"

Here's a delicious, low-fat recipe that our family loves.
Chicken Marsala

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry Marsala or sherry

Place chicken between plastic wrap and pound lightly to about 1/4" thickness. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray coating and preheat. Cook chicken over medium heat until no pink remains. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Carefully add mushrooms, green onion, water, and salt to the skillet. Cook until mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 3 minutes). Add Marsala and heat through. Spoon over chicken. Serves 4.

Note: Since we don't use wine, and we rarely have fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator, I usually make this recipe with canned mushrooms. I was told once that the liquid in canned mushrooms makes a great wine substitute, and since I wouldn't know any better, that's what we use instead of the Marsala.

Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs

Last summer Michelle cooked dinner for us several times, using recipes from Better Homes & Garden's New Dieter's Cookbook. We substituted some ingredients, but they still turned out well. Here's another one that she made. Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

1 beaten egg
1 cup bran flakes cereal (although I'm sure you could use any cracker/bread crumbs)
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound ground meat (any combination of veal, beef, ham, pork, or turkey)
1 can (15 oz) pineapple chunks
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen pea pods, thawed

Combine egg, bran flakes, milk and ginger. Let stand 5 minutes. Add meat and mix well. Shape into 24 meatballs. Arrange in a baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Spoon off fat.

Drain pineapple, reserving juice and set both aside. Cook carrots in chicken broth just until tender. Do not drain. Combine vinegar, cornstarch, honey and soy sauce. Stir into carrot mixture with reserved pineapple juice. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in peapods and cooke 2 minutes more. Stir in pineapple; heat through. Gently stir in meatballs to coast with sauce. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Fool-Proof Whole Wheat Bread

It was time to try baking some bread again the other day. And now that it's all gone, I guess it's time to do it again!

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

2 1/2 cups hot water
4 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 tablespoon gluten
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
4-5 cups white flour

Combine hot water, wheat flour, and gluten. Mix for 10 minutes. Soften yeast in warm water with sugar, then add to flour mixture and continue beating. Stir in salt, oil, honey and brown sugar. Mix in 4-5 cups white flour until of good consistency. Knead for 10 more minutes. Allow to raise until double.Punch down and divide dough into 4 pans. Let rise for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes.This recipe turned out to be quite light, which is the way we like it.
And with more practice, maybe the loaves will be more symmetrical as well.