Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ham and Swiss Rosti

Remember I bought more Swiss cheese than I needed for the 1905 Salad?  Well, here's another recipe we tried to use it up - Ham and Swiss Rosti.  Although it didn't turn out quite as nicely as I expected it to, it was definitely delicious, and I loved the leftovers.  They work well for breakfast OR lunch!

Combine a beaten egg, 1 cup chopped ham, 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, some chopped onions and rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in 4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10" non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Pat the potato mixture into an even round in the pan.  Cook until golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat.  Place a non-rimmed cookie sheet on top and, using potholders, flip the rosti onto the cookie sheet.
As you can see, for some reason it stuck to the pan.  Maybe a non-stick skillet would work better.  Return the skillet to the stove and heat another tablespoon of oil.  Then carefully slide the rosti back in and cook for a couple more minutes.
Top with another 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese and cover for a couple of minutes until it melts.  Then serve!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pink Pasta

Technically, this really isn't pink, although this version has shrimp in it, but for some reason that's the name we gave this recipe.  One day years ago we couldn't decide between a creamy Alfredo sauce or regular marinara sauce for our pasta dinner, so we did both.  And it was delicious!
It was time to have it again, and this time take a picture.  Basically combine equal parts of your favorite spaghetti sauce (with or without meat - this one's without because I added cooked shrimp) and either cream (the choice this time, and the actual inspiration for dinner since there was some sitting in the fridge that needed to be used) or an actual white sauce.  Toss over your hot cooked pasta (whatever shape you feel like) and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.  Just think of all the possibilities!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fay's Flan

I didn't make this dessert, but I did get to eat it, so I vouch for its deliciousness.  And I hope I have the recipe correct, because this is definitely something Wayne's going to want again.
Fay's Flan

2 cups whole milk
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
12 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9x13" pan.  Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.  Chill for several hours or overnight.  Serves 12-15.

Note: We tried this with some Dulce de Leche and decided we liked it plain better.  You could also halve all the ingredients and bake it in a smaller 8x8" pan.

Another note: I don't have whole milk in the refrigerator, but I do occasionally have cream. Here are the substitutes I use.

Skim milk has no fat. 
1% milk has 2.5 grams of fat per cup
2% milk had 5 grams of fat per cup
Whole Milk [3.2%] has 8 grams of fat per cup.
Half & Half has 28 grams of fat per cup or 1.75 grams per tablespoon
Whipping Cream has 88 grams of fat per cup or 5.5 grams per tablespoon

To make whole milk out of skim milk and Half & Half: Use 2 ounces of half and half and six ounces of skim milk to make one cup. 

To make whole milk out of 1% milk and Half & Half: Use 3 Tablespoons of half and half and the balance 1% milk to make one cup. 

To make whole milk out of skim milk and heavy cream: Use 1½ Tablespoons of heavy cream and the balance skim milk to make one cup. 

To make whole milk out of 1% milk and Whipping Cream: Use 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and the balance 1% milk to make one cup.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu

There was some Swiss cheese in the refrigerator, left over from making 1905 Salad, so we decided it could help make a special Sunday dinner - Chicken Cordon Bleu.  Here's our version.
Flatten one boneless chicken breast per person, season with salt and pepper, top with thin slices of ham and Swiss cheese.  Roll up and secure with toothpicks.  (Note: if you use colored toothpicks, the dye will transfer to the chicken.  Just so you know.)  Roll in some bread/cracker/corn flake crumbs and place in a buttered casserole dish.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through.  Add a few more cheese slices on top for the last five minutes if desired.  Remove the toothpicks (carefully!) and serve.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Smothered Ground Round Steaks

Time for another Dutch oven recipe!  This particular one is not quick and easy, and it's not very healthy, either, but it is super delicious! There are twelve variations, so it's a good thing it's a yummy recipe, but it's also a good thing that there are usually several weeks between cooking sessions.
This recipe calls for 3/4 pound of high quality ground beef per person.  Form that into two patties and brown them each on one side.
Place 1/4 cup of prepared stuffing on one of the halves and top with the other - browned sides together - then carefully try pinching them together, and brown them again on both sides.
Mix one can of cream of mushroom soup with one can of milk for each two servings; pour over the patties, cover and cook until done, about 30 minutes.
The different variations include various combinations of filling (stuffing, mushrooms, and/or cheese) with different types of soup (Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, Cheddar Cheese) and cooked either on top of the stove or in the oven.  We figure it will be a couple of years before we move on to the next recipe in the book!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Garlic Chicken - A Pinterest Experiment

I'm always on the look-out for quick and easy meals, so when Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken showed up on my Pinterest feed (or whatever it's called), I added it to my "Main Dishes to Try" board.  This week we finally had a chance to try it and it IS quick and easy.
As suggested by one of the reviewers, I started by browning the chicken breasts in a touch of olive oil before transferring them to a foil-lined baking pan. I also seasoned them with salt and pepper at that point.  Once the chicken was removed (I did it in two batches because I was making enough for company), I added a little bit more oil, and sautéed some chopped onion, and several minced garlic cloves.  I also added some grated fresh ginger, since Wayne wanted something Oriental to go over rice for dinner that day. Then I mixed in some brown sugar and a little bit of soy sauce.  Sorry I don't have measurements, but this is a "just do what looks right" recipe.
Then I spread the sauce on the chicken and popped the pan into a 450° oven, checking them after 20 minutes, and cooking until they were done.  (These were giant, thick chicken breasts, so they took about 35 minutes to cook through.)
From the pictures I had seen, I was expecting these to be fairly dry (which is why we had a plum sauce on the side ready to serve).  However, the chicken must not have been thoroughly thawed, or I did something else wrong, because there was quite a bit of liquid in the pan.
Don't worry.  I chopped up the leftover chicken, thickened that delicious broth, stirred in the leftover plum sauce and we had it for dinner (on the leftover rice!) a couple of days later.  That was pretty yummy, too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spinach Salad - A Pinterest Experiment

The doctor said my lab results showed I was anemic, so I figured I should eat more spinach.  We gave Jamie's Spinach Cranberry Salad a try and it was delicious.  If you eat this often enough, maybe you can avoid that diagnosis for yourself.
Jamie's Spinach Cranberry Salad
Serves 8
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar  (Note: I used half this amount and it was just fine.)
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.  (Note: I omitted the butter and just toasted the almonds in a non-stick skillet.)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil.  Toss with spinach, almonds and cranberries just before serving.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Cookies - A Pinterest Experiment

What's the point of having a Pinterest account if you don't do anything with it?  So, I'm trying to actual try some of the things I pin, and I'll let you know how they turn out, just in case you decide you want to try them as well, or not!  Besides, if I'm going through the extra step of taking pictures, I ought to do something with them.

This first recipe caught my attention as I was trying to come up with something to share with my early-morning seminary class.  I wanted something that was simple to make, easy to eat (i.e. finger food), tasty yet healthy, and inexpensive too.  I also have a student with a very long list of foods to which she's allergic, and was hoping to have something that she could eat as well.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Anyway, since this cookie only had two ingredients - bananas and oatmeal - I figured H would be able to eat them.  They were also easy, healthy, and inexpensive.  So, I decided to see if they fit the "tasty" requirement as well.
You need two ripe bananas and one cup of quick oats.
 Mash them together.  At this point I formed a couple of cookies for H.
But then I added two tablespoons of chopped nuts and two tablespoons of mini chocolate chips to the mixture in the bowl before forming the rest of the cookies.  This recipe makes about 15.
I read on one of the reviews that these keep their shape while baking, so I "smooshed" them just a bit to help them look more like cookies.
Bake them for 15 minutes at 350° on a greased cookie sheet, and you're done!

The verdict: the seminary students ate them.  They will never take the place of a "real" chocolate chip cookie, with or without oats, but they weren't bad at all.  It's nice to have another option when it's time to use up the over-ripe bananas.  And even with the nuts and chocolate, they're only 50 calories a piece!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Healthy Superbowl Treat

We don't watch the Superbowl here, but we're always looking for healthy "television watching" snacks.  Today we found a new one and figured we'd share it with you.  We want you to be healthy too!

The idea came when trying to come up with something low-calorie for our picnic lunch, and we settled on cucumber sandwiches, the type without any bread.  The pictures we saw all had something white peeking out between the cucumber slices, so I went looking for what that might be.  Hummus was one of the options, but we don't have any.  Then I found this recipe for Cucumber Bites at Annie's Eats.  Since her cupcakes were so delicious, I figured maybe this would be as well.  Unfortunately, I don't stock Boursin Cheese in my fridge (although now I'm intrigued and I think I'll buy some soon).  It sounded close to cream cheese, so that's what we used.

I combined 2 ounces of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of cream, and added a dash each of dill weed, parsley, garlic powder and salt.  Then I sliced up some cucumber and tomatoes.  I learned that the cucumbers needed to be dried off (a paper towel worked well) in order for the cheese mixture to stick.  I ran out of tomatoes before cucumbers, but I actually preferred the ones without tomato slices.  Wayne preferred the ones with tomatoes, and also decided that adding a slice of pickle would make them even better.  We brought home a couple from our picnic to test that theory, and he really liked the "kick" they added.

So, when you're in the mood for something to munch on without eating a lot of calories, give these a try!