Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wintertime Peach Pie

We had this pie over the weekend (although not with a lattice crust) and when I went to add the link to the menu plan post, I discovered that I had never finished this post.  Look at the pictures of our old pink countertop!  Anyway, here's the recipe
Wintertime Peach Pie

pastry for a double crust pie
3 to 4 cups canned (or frozen) peach slices, drained (save a bit of the syrup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peach syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter

Line 9" pie plate with bottom crust.  Gently combine peach slices, sugar, flour and salt and pour over crust.  Combine peach syrup and almond extract and pour over.  Dot with butter.  Place top crust over and crimp edges.  Cut a couple of slits in top.  Bake at 400° for 40-50 minutes.  Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pasta Creation, in honor of Chef Jef

The menu plan ran out on Monday, so Tuesday when it was time to fix dinner I turned to the internet. I had sweet potatoes that needed to be used and I was tired of chicken and beef, so I googled "recipe sweet potatotes sausage" and discovered several recipes that included pasta!  I just couldn't imagine our family liking that combination, but I knew they'd like sausage and pasta, so I googled again and found this
Sausage Pasta Recipe

and this
Makeover Sweet Potato Sausage Skillet Recipe

and this.
Sausage Pasta Recipe

Then I cooked the sweet potatoes separately, and came up with this combination of pasta, sausage, spinach, garlic, onions, olives, red pepper, Parmesan cheese and leftover chicken gravy/sauce from Sunday.
For lunch I put the pasta casserole on top of the sweet potatoes, just to see how the combination tastes.  Keep them separated!
At dinner Wayne asked if I had tried a new recipe.  My reply was "I looked at three different ones and created my own."  He then said that's one of the differences between us; he would have chosen one recipe and followed it exactly.  Which type of a cook are you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Korean Dinner

It's taken us many years to get around to it, but in honor of Wayne's childhood, we decided to try some Korean cooking.  Thank you Google and for the help.  In case you want to try it yourself, here's the review.  I thought the salad was too spicy, but it was perfect for Wayne - adjust the red pepper accordingly.  We all loved the carrots.  The Bulgogi was delicious, although not quite as sweet as Wayne remembers and this recipe is missing some spice.  Unfortunately, he couldn't figure out which one.  Fortunately, we won't mind a bit experimenting until we get it correct!  


3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
Combine everything in a ziploc bag.  Marinate for several hours.
Broil for a few minutes until done, and serve with rice.

Korean Cucumber Salad

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1 carrot, julienned

Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.  Add sesame seeds, reduce heat, and cook until seeds are brown, about 5 minutes.  Combine with remaining ingredients and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Gingery Glazed Carrots

6-8 carrots, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Cook carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, until mostly soft; drain.  Sauté garlic in butter until golden.  Add carrots and remaining ingredients to the pan and heat through.  Before serving, sprinkle with some cilantro or parsley if desired.

Avocado Bean Wrap

This was a Pinterest find that I adapted to what was in our cupboards, and I thought it turned out great.  Those who got it in their lunch weren't quite as pleased.  So, I guess it needs to be eaten right after assembling.

Avocado Bean Dip

2 cups white beans
1 ripe avocado
2 teaspoons chipotle chile in adobe sauce
2 tablespoons minced onions
salt to taste

Combine everything in food processor until blended.  Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.
To turn into a wrap, slather a generous amount of the dip onto a tortilla, top with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, or even coleslaw.  Roll up and eat.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here's a simple way to serve potatoes.  It's basically a fancy form of oven fries, and since this particular batch didn't stick together as well as I remember previous times, they really were fries - healthy, oven-baked ones!  Next time I guess I need to make the slices thinner and do a better job of brushing them with oil so they stick together better.
Potato Galettes

potatoes, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt & pepper

Layer the potato slices in a circle on a greased baking sheet.  (Use about one potato per mound.)  Carefully brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chocolate Sponge Cake

After rediscovering my little heart-shaped pans while looking for something else, I decided it would be a good idea to actually use them.  Valentine's Day provided the perfect opportunity.  I cut my Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe into thirds, because we didn't want a lot of leftovers, and it turned out perfectly for three little cakes.
 First, prepare the pans.  Go here to see how I do it.
Beat one egg until thick, then mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon water, a drop of vanilla and a pinch of salt.
 Sift together 1/4 cup flour and 4 teaspoons cocoa powder.
Mix that in gently.
 Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 375° for about 12 minutes.
Wait five minutes, then remove from pans and cool thoroughly.  To serve, dust with powdered sugar.
You don't get a picture of the finished presentation, because along with these beautiful flowers, Wayne brought home a mini chocolate cake from the bakery.  We think alike!
So, I stuck our little cakes in the freezer, and since we really liked this ganache-type frosting, I'll make some of our own when I serve them later!

Here's the original recipe:

Chocolate Sponge Cake
(serves 8 - 146 calories per serving)

2/3 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Lightly grease a 9" cake pan and line with wax paper.  Grease the paper. Heat oven to 375°.  Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.  Beat the eggs until thick.  Gradually beat in the sugar.  Add the salt, vanilla and water.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold it in.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.  Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Biscuits Supreme (with Valentine's Variation)

This recipe came from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook we received as a wedding gift.  It's gotten a lot of use over the years!  Since I didn't have time to do cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning, I pulled it out again for cinnamon biscuits.  And because it is Valentine's Day, I added some leftover sprinkles (from decorating dipped pretzels yesterday) just to make them a bit more festive. They taste just fine, and maybe even better, without them!

Biscuits Supreme

2 cups flour
2-3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Stir in milk just until dough combines, then knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 10-12 strokes.  Roll or pat to 1/2" thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm, with as much butter and jam as your heart desires.

To make Cinnamon Biscuits, prepare as directed and roll the dough into a rectangle.  Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Roll up, slice, and bake.  Drizzle with glaze while warm.

And to make Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Biscuits, once the cinnamon topping is in place, roll up one long side, but only half-way.  Start rolling the other long side so they meet in the center.  After slicing the individual rolls, pinch the center to make the heart point.  Place on pan and bake as normal.

Note: I tried the sour cream variation this week and didn't particularly care for it. I had to add extra flour just to be able to pat out the dough, and then the actual biscuits were too tangy. This is just a note to myself that I don't need to try that again!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

English Trifle

The other day we had some Jello Cake that had been sitting in the fridge for a while (where's Steven when you need him?!) along with some blueberries that were going soft.  The inspiration came to make an English Trifle, something that I haven't done in years because my husband doesn't really care for it.  However, it brings back fond memories of my childhood, so I made it anyway.  Wayne said it actually wasn't too bad; the pudding hadn't turned the cake into mush yet.  I remember my grandmother's trifle having chunks of cake and cubes of jello; maybe combining the two beforehand helped with the "mushy" factor.
There's really no recipe, just a process: Layer cake chunks (and jello bits), fruit pieces, pudding and whipped cream in a bowl.  Chill and serve.  See, isn't that simple?  This version actually looked quite patriotic.  Maybe I'll make another one for my birthday some year!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Creamy Italian Chicken (with salad dressing mix)

A couple of years ago I posted a recipe for Italian Crockpot Chicken after a Relief Society meeting where it was shared.  Today we're having my mother-in-law's version, so I thought I'd post that variation as well. Although there are a couple of differences in how it's put together, the end result is just as delicious!

Creamy Italian Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts (Can you tell I doubled the recipe?)
1 packet dry Italian salad dressing mix (see below)
8 oz. cream cheese, cut in chunks
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Serve over cooked rice or noodles.
Oven variation: Place chicken breasts in a 9x13" pan.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.
Note:  I don't buy salad dressing mixes.  Here's the combination of spices and herbs that I used instead:

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

To turn this into salad dressing combine with 2/3 cup oil, 1/3 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons water.