Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Anniversary Chicken

One of Jeff's roommates liked to make Anniversary Chicken on a regular basis, and since we'd never had it, one day he fixed it for us. It was pretty good!
Basically you top chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, Ranch dressing, grated cheese and bacon bits, then bake it at 350° for 30-40 minutes until it's done. Jeff likes serving it with rice, so that's what we did. Yummy!

Salmon Cups with Creamed Peas

Here's another recipe from the New Dieter's Cookbook. I really like it; Wayne not so much.

Salmon Cups with Creamed Peas

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
1 7-oz can skinless and boneless salmon or tuna, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen or canned peas, heated and drained
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, optional

Combine egg, onion, bread crumbs and salmon. Mix well and divide between 3 6-oz custard cups. Press onto bottom and up sides of the cups. Combine milk, cornstarch, bouillon and lemon peel and cook in microwave until thickened and bubbly. Check and stir after every 30 seconds. Stir in peas and set aside. Cook salmon cups, covered with vented plastic wrap, in microwave on high for 2 - 4 minutes or until set. Spoon peas into salmon cups and serve. Makes 3 servings.

Turkey Paprikash

After our vacation, it was time to once again get serious about eating more healthily. So I turned to our New Dieter's Cookbook and Turkey Paprikash caught my eye. 

It gave me a chance to use some "it's really from Hungary" paprika that had been sitting in the cupboard for a while. I was also able to use a carton of plain Greek yogurt that had been languishing in the refrigerator. Since I didn't feel like going to the store, I also used spaghetti instead of noodles and chopped turkey instead of turkey slices. 

So, it may not look as pretty as the picture in the book, but it definitely tasted great, and we'll be having it again some day.

Turkey Paprikash

1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
1 cup chopped, cooked turkey or chicken
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
3/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour (I usually use Wondra flour in instances like this.)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 oz. plain low-fat yogurt
3 cups hot cooked noodles (or spaghetti)

Cook onion in a non-stick frying pan until soft. Stir in turkey, paprika, bouillon, water, pepper, flour and tomato paste and heat through. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in yogurt for a minute, then serve over noodles. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Broccoli Salad

The idea for this broccoli salad came from here, but of course I had to make a few changes. Here's what we did, and it turned out quite nicely. We may even have it again!

Broccoli Salad

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup light Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 broccoli crown, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup craisins
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cooked, crumbled bacon

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar and ginger. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss the remaining ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat all the ingredients with the sauce. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Right before serving, give the salad another good toss to recombine any dressing that may have settled at the bottom. Serves 4-6.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cookie Crumb Torte

Cookie Crumb Torte

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1/3 cup half & half
3 cups cookie crumbs
1/2 cup flour
2 cups toasted almonds, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla and half & half.  Fold in crumbs, flour and almonds.  Pour into greased (and wax-paper lined) 10" tube pan.  Bake at 300° for one hour and forty minutes.  Cool thoroughly and dust with powdered sugar.

We've had some sugar cookie crumbs sitting in the freezer for a while, and I was looking for a way to use them, something other than a variation of a graham cracker pie crust.  This was the answer.

A Taste of the Tropics

Wayne wanted to try a real coconut. The one we got in Hawaii was a dud, so we picked up an ordinary one at the local grocery store. Here are the tutorials I used as I figured out how to make it edible.

Using the Oven to Crack the Shell - It actually worked! First you preheat the oven to 400° and pierce the "eye" of the coconut to drain out the water. Then bake it for 15 minutes until it cracks on its own. Let it cool for another 15 minutes or so, and then you can separate the "flesh" from the hard shell. You'll also need to use a vegetable peeler to get the other brown "skin" separated from the white flesh. It's easier to do that with larger pieces as opposed to tiny ones, just so you know.

Using the Blender to Make Coconut Milk - This worked too! I only used the flesh from 1/2 a coconut and one cup of water. Put those two ingredients in the blender and pulverize the coconut. Then line a strainer with some cheese cloth (over another bowl), pour the mixture from the blender into it, and twist the cheese cloth. Out comes about a cup of coconut milk. The surprise to me was all the dry, flaked coconut inside the cheese cloth. Now I get to figure out what to do with that!

I used the coconut milk as the base for our Chicken Curry for dinner.

Indian Curry Chicken


Indian Curry Chicken

3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (Wondra works nicely here)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato juice (or use tomato sauce)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced cooked chicken breasts (or turkey)
4 cups hot cooked rice
Toppings (mandarin orange segments, chopped bananas, raisins, peanuts, shredded coconut, and/or mango chutney), if desired

Cook onion and celery in a little bit of hot oil until crisp-tender. Stir in flour until coated. Gradually stir in broth and tomato juice and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and starts to thicken. Stir in seasonings and chicken and heat through. Serve with rice and assorted toppings.
It looks a bit different in the pan!

Cody's Family's Salad

Cranberry Salad (Thanksgiving)

1 pkg. cherry Jell-O
1 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
2 c. cranberries
4 apples, cored
1 large orange (without seeds)--leave the peel on

Put the fruit in a food processor until it is chopped up REALLY well (you don't want to eat even small chunks of cranberry or orange peel). Dissolve Jello-O in water. Add sugar. Add fruit when cool. Let set in fridge for several hours before serving.

Korean Tacos with Asian Slaw

Korean Tacos with Asian Slaw

Brown together:
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 small onion, chopped

1 pound cabbage, sliced
1 carrot, cut in match sticks
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Serve in tortillas (a spoonful of each mixture, then rolled up).

Salted Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I pinned this recipe a while ago, and today was the day to try it. It's the perfect recipe to use up the last bit of pretzels in the bag! The original author wasn't too enamored of the dough, so I used my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe for that. I did halve it, though, just in case we didn't like this combination of flavors. So this recipe is for about 2 dozen cookies - the perfect amount if you don't want temptation around. However, it's easily doubled, and doubled again, if you need a bunch for a Mutual activity or family reunion picnic.

Salted Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup broken pretzels
coarse salt

Combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips and pretzels. Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Note: Although the original recipe said to sprinkle with the coarse salt before baking, I found that it dissolved in the oven. Next time I'll try sprinkling it on the hot cookies, immediately after removing them from the oven.

Chewy Granola Bars

This is supposedly a no-bake recipe, but you toast the oats and nuts, so if your goal is to avoid heating the kitchen, choose a different recipe!

Chewy Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups regular oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Place oats and almonds on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350° for 8-10 minutes, stirring once. Set aside.

Combine honey, butter, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, then mix with the oats and nuts.

Cool for five minutes. Stir in the cranberries and half of the chocolate chips. Press mixture VERY firmly into a foil-lined 9" square pan. Top with the remaining chocolate chips. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Remove from pan and cut into bars. Makes 16.

As you can imagine, this is a recipe well-suited to variations. Try different combinations of nuts and dried fruit. I imagine adding some peanut butter would be delicious. I also imagine the chocolate chips could be optional, but why would anyone want to omit them?

Salmon with Cream Sauce

I just realized this would probably be really good with mushrooms added. We'll have to try it again someday.

Here's the inspiration: Salmon with Mustard Cream Sauce
Pan-Crisped Salmon with Light Dijon Cream and Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs I
(photo from the website)

Baked Mahi Mahi

Baked Mahi Mahi

Place mahi mahi in lightly greased or oiled baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Combine diced onions and mayonnaise and spread on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes.

Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

I came across this recipe while reading a magazine in the auto repair shop. Lemon oil is something I had never heard of before, so I figured it was worth trying. This recipe was actually quite good; however, I think I'll just stick with olive oil and lemon juice; cleaning up the mess from making the lemon oil was kind of time consuming.

Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

4 chicken legs (2#)
3 tablespoons lemon oil, divided (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper
8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
4 small zucchini (1 1/4#), sliced
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

First make the lemon oil by combining 1/2 cup olive oil with one lemon, washed and quartered, in the blender. Pulse until chopped finely, then strain.

Heat oven to 425°. Place chicken in baking dish and brush with two tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme (I used dried thyme and it worked just fine), salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic around the chicken. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Cook the zucchini in the remaining one tablespoon lemon oil (the remainder will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks so you can try it in another recipe). Toss with the spinach and red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Serve with the chicken.

Fried Plantains

We're in the "appetizer" section of the Columbia Restaurant Cookbook now, and Fried Plantains are considered an appetizer. This was a two ingredient recipe, which is unusual for this cookbook, but it was nice to try something simple for a change.

Just peel the ripe plantains, using a knife. (Note: You can't peel them by hand like a banana, and the yellower they are, the sweeter they are.) Slice diagonally (about 3/4" thick) and then fry in hot oil. They're done when they're golden brown.

If you have any leftovers, freeze them. Then when you're ready to serve them again, just heat them for a few seconds in the microwave.

Edited: We did have some in the freezer, and when I came across a recipe for Costa Rican Breakfast, I knew it would be the perfect side dish. We actually had it for dinner, and Wayne thought it would be better without the added scrambled eggs, but I liked the combination.
Basically, layer rice, seasoned black beans, scrambled eggs, salsa and avocado and serve with fried plantains on the side. Yummy!

Creamy Garlic Pasta

One of my friends shared the link to this recipe and we decided to try it. It was absolutely delicious! We did stir in some leftover salmon (shrimp or chicken would work as well), but it would have been just as yummy without it.

Creamy Garlic Pasta

2 teaspoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth, plus a little extra
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Add butter and melt, stirring constantly.  Add salt, pepper, and 3 cups chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to box directions.  Add a little more chicken broth if the noodles start to stick to the bottom and burn.  Add the cheese, cream, and parsley when the pasta is cooked to your desired tenderness and mix thoroughly.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grandmother's Peach Pie

This is my grandmother's recipe and I remember it being my dad's favorite pie, at least in the summer. Try it with strawberries instead of peaches and it's just as delicious. It was pie #6 in our Thanksgiving Countdown a few years ago. Now that peaches are in season and I'm ready to make it for dinner today, I realized I'd never posted it in the recipe blog. So, here you go!

Mother Beckstrand’s Peach Pie

1 baked pie shell
2 cups sliced peaches, plus more (about 6 total)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
pinch salt

Mash peaches. Add sugar, cornstarch, butter and salt and cook until thick. Cool. Slice some uncooked peaches into the bottom of pie shell. Pour cooled mixture over. Chill until set. Top with whipped cream.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A New Cookie Recipe

Here's another picture I found. Go ahead and give 

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

a try. You won't be disappointed! They're the perfect cookie for when you can't decide between peanut butter, oatmeal, or chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Bread

The inspiration recipe called this Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread, but I'd rather leave the garbage out when serving it to my family. So, this is just Buffalo Chicken Bread. It turned out to be quite delicious, and not too spicy for my taste. Let me know what you think when you try it.

Buffalo Chicken Bread

1 pizza dough (Find our recipe in this post.)
1/3 cup of ranch (or blue cheese) dressing
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 cup of Franks Wing Sauce
8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese
3 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese

Roll pizza dough into a large rectangle. Spread with the ranch dressing. Combine chicken and 1/4 cup Franks Wing Sauce and sprinkle over dough. Top with cheeses and remaining sauce. Roll up pinwheel style, tuck ends under, and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 425° for about 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into slices and serving.


Pita Bread

Here are the pictures from our pita bread experiment. Maybe two of the dozen I made actually puffed up and separated, but they still tasted great. This is the recipe I had pinned, but I'm not sure it's the one I used. This one seems closer to what I remember actually using. This is my reminder to try again. After all, practice makes perfect!

Pita Bread

1-1/2 cups warm water  (you may need more or less)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 package dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp.)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oil

Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water.  Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Mix to ensure all yeast is dissolved. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast mixture. Mix with a spatula and slowly add more water until flour is incorporated.

Once a ball of dough is formed, knead the oil into the dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is elastic and no longer sticky (approximately 10 minutes.)

Coat the inside of a mixing bowl with oil and place dough in bowl to rest. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise until it has doubled in size (1-2 hours.)

Punch down dough and pinch off 8 sections. Roll each piece into a ball and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500°. Also preheat un-greased baking tray or pizza stone.

Roll out dough on a floured surface until about ½ cm thick. When rolling, don’t let the rolling pin go over the edge of the pita, always keep at least ½ cm in front of the pin.

Transfer pita to baking tray and bake for approx 5 min (or until puffed up and golden on top).  In the first few minutes in the oven (before the pita puffs up) it is important not to open the oven.

Remove pita from oven and immediately cover with a damp tea towel and then in storage bag to prevent them from drying out.

Oven Roasted Barbecued Chicken

I'm trying to clean out my camera's memory card, which means getting the pictures of food I took off of it and into this blog, which is why I took the pictures in the first place! Anyway, a few months ago we tried Pioneer Woman's Oven Barbecued Chicken. It was delicious. Sorry I didn't get this posted before the 4th of July, but at least you'll be ready for next year, with lots time to practice.
Oven Roasted Barbecued Chicken

3 cups barbecue sauce (we usually use Original KC Masterpiece)
1/2 cup peach preserves (this time it was pear jam, and that worked great)
1 clove garlic
hot sauce to taste (optional)
12 chicken thighs
olive oil for brushing

Combine barbecue sauce, peach preserves, garlic, and hot sauce in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until nice and hot. Set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on 2 rimmed baking sheets (I lined them with foil first for easy clean up) and place chicken thighs skin side down in the pans. Roast at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove from oven briefly, brush sauce all over the thighs, then use a spatula to flip them over to the other side, being careful not to tear the skin. Brush the tops with more sauce and return to the oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, brush on more sauce, and return to the oven for another 7 minutes. Remove from oven, brush on sauce, and turn up the temperature to 425 degrees. Continue roasting for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce is starting to brown around the edges and the thighs are totally cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Fried Rice

I don't normally follow a recipe when I'm making fried rice. Usually, it's a way to use up a bunch of leftovers in the fridge. However, I figured I could at least give some guidelines for making it in case our college students have a desire to do so someday. Besides, I came across a delicious "Fried Rice Sauce" that I want to be able to find again.

So, what I do first depends on what leftovers I'm trying to use up. If everything's already cooked, then I start by heating some butter or oil in the frying pan and cooking the rice. (Using cold, cooked rice gets much better results than using freshly cooked, warm rice.) Then I add in whatever chopped meat and vegetables and sprinkle it with some soy sauce. The last step is to push everything to the outer edge of the pan, add a bit more butter, and then cook some beaten egg in the center. I pour it in, let it set, flip it once, and then stir everything up.

If something's not cooked, then cooking it is the first step, using the same pan to which I'll eventually add the rice and everything else. Sautéing some fresh ginger and garlic in the oil first adds a nice touch and makes the kitchen smell great.

Now, this is the way my mom made it, and I like it just fine. However, it's too dry for some members of my family now and they always want to add teriyaki sauce to it. Since I don't always have teriyaki sauce available, when this was on the menu last week, I decided I should look for some ideas to spice it up a bit. And I was successful!

I followed the regular routine, but instead of sprinkling the mixture with soy sauce, I used this combination of ingredients. The end result was delicious, and we'll definitely be serving it this way again. In addition, the original plan was to take some ham from the freezer to put in this dish, but when I went to do that I saw a small bag of shrimp. Let's just say that shrimp is MUCH better than ham in fried rice. And you'll notice that the picture is taken when we tried it with chicken.

Fried Rice Sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
dash of pepper
dash of sugar

Combine all ingredients and stir to mix well.
This was enough for 3-4 cups of fried rice. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza

When asked what type of pizza he wanted for dinner, Jeff suggested Bacon Chicken Ranch, which sounded like a good idea. I found this recipe to use as a starting point, and the end result was quite delicious. Here it is so we can try it again some time.

Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza

1⁄4 cup butter
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pizza dough crust
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1⁄4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1⁄2 cup ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Mix in the cream cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the cream and garlic powder. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer, stirring often. If sauce seems too thin, sprinkle in some flour 1 teaspoon at a time. Cook and stir for desired consistency. Stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. You should have a nice creamy alfredo sauce for the pizza.

Bake the pizza crust for 6 minutes and remove from oven. Spread most of the ranch dressing on the crust, then spread with half of the alfredo sauce. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Add the shredded chicken, bacon, onion, tomatoes and mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and alfredo sauce. Bake for 10 minutes more until done. Drizzle with a bit more ranch dressing and serve.

Wayne suggested leaving out the bacon (because he couldn't really taste it) and adding black olives instead. That would be yummy, but then it wouldn't be Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza!

Twix Cookies

I came across this recipe today, and since I was thinking it was time to try a new cookie recipe, it was just perfect. I'm sorry Steven isn't here to taste test them for me. Because he isn't here, I decided to only do 1/3 of the batch, and that was easily done (although these are amounts for the entire batch). As you can see, there are three different recipes to make, and then you combine them.
Twix Cookies - makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Shortbread Cookies
1½ cups butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar together, then add vanilla, flour and salt and mix well. Wrap in wax paper and chill for a bit. Then roll out to 1/4" (the original recipe said 1/2", so thicker is better than thinner) and cut out with 2" round cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool

Caramel Layer
15 oz of caramel
2 tablespoons evaporated milk

Melt caramel according to package directions. (I didn't have package directions, but I did have 17 individual Kraft caramels in my pantry, which was close to the 5 ounces required for 1/3 of the recipe. Rather than opening a can of evaporated milk, I used a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream. It seemed to work, although there was only enough for 15 cookies. The original recipe suggested using Peter's caramel that comes in a 5 pound block. I've never heard of that before, so maybe I'll look into it further.) Once melted, spread on the cooled shortbread cookie and let harden. You have to work fast or it will set up in the bowl. And don't touch it with your fingers unless you want to get burned!

Chocolate Layer
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening

Combine and melt in the microwave (only 30 seconds or less at a time) until smooth. Spread over caramel on the cookies. Pop in freezer for a few minutes to set up. Then enjoy them!