2/25/07

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices ham
4 oz. cream cheese (plain or with chives)
4 slices bacon


Pound the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. Lay a slice of ham over it, top with a tablespoon of cream cheese. Roll up and wrap a slice of bacon around it. Place on a baking sheet or pan, seam side down. Continue with all four (or 6 or 8, as many as you want to make).

Bake at 375 approximately 45 minutes until the chicken is done. Turn on the broiler and broil 6 inches under to finish cooking and crisp the bacon.
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2/24/07

Buttermilk Cornbread

I just made a pan of buttermilk cornbread to go with the homemade vegetable soup and bread tonight for dinner, except it smelled and looked so so good I had to dig in. Two pieces later I'm sufficiently full and happy.




Buttermilk Cornbread

1 c cornmeal
1 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c oil
1/3 c sugar
2 lg. eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Grease (spray) a 9X9X2 inch pan or 8" pan. Mix the first 5 dry ingredients together with a whisk and then add the rest. Stir just until blended. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
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I'm Craving Quiche


Say what you will about it, ("it's so passe'!") I don't care. Yesterday I woke with a craving for bacon and eggs (which I didn't feel like making so I didn't). And today I woke with the craving for the bacon and eggs but also cheese and spinach. Rather than spend another day munching on things I really didn't even want trying to quell the craving for what my body really did want, I decided to list what I craved;

spinach
cheese
bacon
eggs

Hello? My body was all but screaming out for a quiche!

So I just whipped this up this morning. Since I used what I had on hand, and didn't measure, the ingredient size is approximate and I fully expect you to use what you have on hand, as much as you want to make it your 'taste' and feel free to add and/or delete.


Quiche


1 - 9" deep dish pie shell
4 eggs
1 c half and half
1/2 c cottage cheese
1 cup cooked (microwaved) frozen spinach
1/2 c smoked provolone cheese (I used sliced, so I julienned it and then cross sliced for tiny squares)
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 T finely diced onion
1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt
pepper



Prebake the pie shell for about 8 minutes in a 450 degree oven. In the meantime whisk the eggs and add the spinach, salt and pepper and cottage cheese. Pour this into the pie shell and turn the oven down to 350. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients onto the egg mixture. Bake approximately 45-60 minutes until set in the center. Let the quiche set 10 minutes (at least) before slicing to allow it time to set up.
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2/23/07

Cream of Spinach Soup

My Cream of Spinach Soup

1 - 10 oz. box of chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 lg. onion
3 T butter
5-6 c chicken broth
1 c cream
1/4 t lemon juice
2 oz. Velveeta
3 oz. smoked cheddar
tabasco suace




Cook spinach in microwave or pan with 1/2 c water Remove from pan when tender. Cook chopped onion in butter. Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and tabasco sauce (to taste - just a dash or two). Add spinach. At this point you *can* process it in a blender or food processor or you can leave the bits of spinach whole. My kids like it smooth and my husband likes the tiny bits of spinach left. You decide. Then add cream and heat through but DO NOT BOIL. Add the cheese and stir until it melts and then serve!
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Asparagus Soup

My husband and I love a nice hot bowl of homemade soup and a hunk of hearty homemade bread for a good cold weather meal. Because I've never caterred to the whims of children who insist they will only eat macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, our children also eat all the meals I make and this is one of their favorites, right up there with Cream of Spinach soup too. (We implement the 'three bite rule' from toddler days... believe me it works).

Asparagus Soup

2 lb. asparagus
1 lg. onion
3 T butter
5-6 cups chicken broth
1/2 c cream
1/4 t lemon juice


Dice and cook the onion in butter in a pan. Add the diced asparagus and cook about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Cook for 20 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Puree' in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan or soup pot and add the cream. Season to taste. Heat through and serve.
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2/13/07

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

For my husbands birthday I threw together a sinfully chocolately ice cream cake. I didn't use a recipe but I'll walk you through it. Layers, from the bottom up;


Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

9" chocolate fudge cake prepared as directed on box
1/4 cup strong coffee poured over the cake layer
Hot fudge sauce
Crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs
French Vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge sauce
Chocolate graham crumbs
Caramel
Chocolate ice cream with tiny caramel pieces and a fudge swirl
9" chocolate fudge cake prepared as directed
1 tub chocolate fudge frosting with mini chocolate chips
crushed peanuts
caramel

and on the sides;
fudge covered sugar wafer cookies
more chocolate graham crumbs


I started by baking 2, 9" cakes as directed. I put them in the freezer to cool faster while I gathered the rest of the ingredients and let the ice creams sit out to thaw and get soft enough to spread.

In a 10 inch Leakproof Springform Pan place one of the cold 9" cakes. Around the edge of the cake place chocolate covered sugar wafers, lady fingers or any other cookie all around the edge of the cake. They will be held in place by the cake and the edge of the Leakproof Springform Pan.

Layer the cake with the coffee and everything else as directed above. When you get to the cake on the top, stop at this point and freeze until solid or until the day you need to serve it. At this point remove the cake from the freezer and dip the bottom and sides in hot water briefly to remove the side portion of the springform pan, leaving just the cake and the bottom pan. Microwave the frosting until it's soft enough to pour out of the can, but not liquid. Pour on top of the frozen cake and spread smooth, letting some drip down the sides. The frozen cake will thicken the frosting quickly and hold it in place.

Top with crushed peanuts, drizzle with caramel and more chocolate graham crumbs.

Refreeze at least 40 minutes to stop the ice cream from melting and then let stand 10 minutes before serving.


I worked over aluminum foil to catch the caramel drips
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2/9/07

Wheat Blend Biscuits

I posted this recipe last July, but I wanted to make note of it again because you can change the ratio of white/wheat flour and make them just a little bit healthier than an all white flour biscuit. I don't measure my flour ratio's - I'll admit that right off the bat. Instead I have a 'flour container' in the cupboard that I pour my flour into. I like to use unbleached white flour and then pour in about 1/5 of an organic wheat flour, a bit of soy flour and sometimes some wheat germ as well. I make sure the mixture is 'mostly' white, this way I don't have to worry about changing the recipe because it has a high ratio of wheat. You can see in the photo from dinner the other night that my biscuits are a healthy wheat blend.

Recipe for biscuits here.

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Boiled Potatoes and Onions



This doesn't really need a recipe, but perhaps just a 'reminder' to make it on a cold snowy day.

Boiled Potatoes and Onions


4-6 large potatoes or about a pound or 2 of tiny (I like baby reds)
1-2 onions, chopped in large chunks
1 stick butter
salt and pepper


Wash and scrub potatoes and cut them in 1-1/2 inch chunks and pieces. Put the onions and potatoes in a pot of water on the stove and boil until very tender. Carefully drain and return the potatoes and onions to a bowl. Cut up 1 stick of butter (yes, a whole stick, I don't care if you think it's too fattening... I'm going for good, cold weather, comfort food here!), add and stir into the potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Some of the potatoes will mash a little and make this a very thick and creamy side dish. Delish!
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Sausage Gravy for Biscuits

One of my all time favorite comfort foods. I will make this and eat it for every single meal for 2 days until it's gone.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits


1 lb. country pork sausage, (meaning; breakfast sausage, not Italian!)
Flour (about 4-6 Tablespoons)
Milk (about 2 cups)
Garlic Salt
Black pepper


Brown the breakfast sausage in a pan over medium hight heat. When it's done remove the sausage from the pan but leave enough drippings to equal at least 2-3 tablespoons. Sprinkle the drippings with 4-6 tablespoons of flour and stir and cook for about 2 minutes to brown. Do not burn. Add the milk all at once and stir quickly (or whisk) until smooth. Simmer until thick. Add the reserved sausage crumbles, garlic salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over homemade biscuits .






The finished product... which is making my mouth water right now.


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Homemade English Toffee

English Toffee



1 c almonds, chopped and briefly toasted in a hot pan
1 c Butter
1 1/2 c Sugar
3 Tbs. corn syrup
3 Tbs. water
1 1/2 c milk chocolate chips (use semi-sweet if you prefer but milk chocolate will taste similar to a Heath bar or Skor bar)



Be sure to toast your chopped almonds. This cannot and should not be skipped unless you leave them out altogether. Do not use them raw though, the flavor is not good in the finished product.

First prepare your pan. I like to use a 9X13 inch pan, lined with heavy foil and lightly sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle about half of the chopped toasted almonds into the bottom of the pan.

Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and water in a
heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to 300F on candy thermometer or with a cold water test; a teaspoon of syrup will separate into brittle threads when dropped in cold water. If you don't have a candy thermometer (I never have owned one) and you don't want to do the cold water test, the best advice is that this will take about 15 minutes of cook time to get to this point and it will be the color of a penny. Not a shiny new penny, but one that has been in circulation. *wink* A dark caramel color. (Picture the inside of the Heath and Skor bars you have eaten).
Remove from heat; pour and spread quickly and evenly in the prepared pan. Wait about 3-4 minutes and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top of the toffee but do not spread. Let the chips sit on the hot toffee for about 5 minutes and then use a spatula to spread the melted chips on the semi-hard toffee. Sprinkle with the rest of the almonds; let set for about 20 minutes until hard. Break into pieces.



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2/4/07

Fried Rice with Tofu

This is one of my all time favorite foods. If I had to pick a top ten this would probably be in it. Because of the steps involved and the ingredients I use, it's usually made a day or two after we have a certain santa fe salad because I use the same marinade for both. Kel, this one is for you since I know you like vegetarian meals.

Marinade:

1 cup water
2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T rice wine vinegar (or white is fine)
1 t powdered chipotle pepper
1 t hickory smoke flavoring
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t round black pepper

Mix and add;

1 block firm tofu that has been frozen solid previously, (can be frozen or thawed when you add it to the marinade)

Marinate the tofu for at least 1 day either in the freezer or refrigerator


Fried Rice:

2 packages Sun Bird Fried Rice seasoning mix
oil
6 cups cooked, cold rice
6 green onions, sliced on diagonal
4 t soy sauce
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c frozen peas


Get out your tofu and hopefully, by the freezing process it is now more firm and can be cut with a knife. Certain brands work better than others so if it's not firm enough to cube, then just leave it a whole block the best you can even if it's mushy that is ok. If you CAN slice it, cube it gently. Throw away the extra marinade or use it for chicken if you are not a vegetarian.

In a skillet add a little oil and over medium high heat add the tofu. Fry it without stirring or moving it more than you have to to give it a golden brown color and to make it 'crisp'. If you had to fry the whole block because it was too soft to cut, just gently break it apart into large chucks and fry them to make them crisp and golden.

Remove to a warming plate and try not to snack on them too much or they will be gone and you will have none for your fried rice! (Yes, I'm serious. I've ate an entire block of tofu cubes this way while making the rest of this recipe).

In a very large skillet add more oil and stir fry the rice and green onions. Add the seasoning packets and the soy sauce. Stir fry about 1 minute and then push the rice to the side of the pan and pour in the beaten eggs. Scramble and mix into the rice. Add the pea's and cook until heated through. Add the tofu last as you don't want to stir much after the tofu has been added.

Serve.
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Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

You will need an ice cream maker for this. If you don't have one.

2 large eggs
3/4 c sugar
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 cup milk
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate bars that you have shaved curls off with a potato peeler
1/4 c fresh bing cherries, halved and pitted (if you use canned please drain and rinse them)

Refrigerate the chocolate curls and cherries so they get cold. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy and then whisk in the sugar, a little at a time until it's all incorporated. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Transfer this mixture to your ice cream maker and make per your ice cream maker's directions but just as the ice cream begins to stiffen, but isn't quite yet frozen or 'done' add the cherries and chocolate then finish the freezing process.
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Fonduta Gamberi - (a Spinach and Artichoke Dip)

This isn't one of our 'typical' spinach and artichoke dips, (we love this stuff so I have two or three versions I keep on hand and whip up regularly). This is a newer one that has a few more ingredients. Variety is good!



2 c half and half
1 T clam juice
2 T dry white wine
2 T butter
1 small green onion, chopped fine
2 T flour
10 oz. package chopped spinach
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
8 large shrimp, cleaned and chopped
cayenne pepper, dash
fresh ground black pepper, dash
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the half and half, clam juice and wine. In a different pan melt the butter and add the green onion. Saute' until just translucent but not brown. Add flour to this mixture and stir or whisk. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the warm half and half mixture all at once, whisking until smooth. Add the spinach, artichokes, shrimp and the seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer about 3 minutes, stir so the bottom doesn't scorch. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Pour into the serving bowl to serve hot.
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2/3/07

Cream of Spinach Soup

With as many homemade soups as I make, I'm surprised I've not posted more of them on this board. This one is for Jen... Three Shades of Blue.

Cream of Spinach Soup

10 oz. frozen spinach
1 lg. onion
3 T butter
5-6 c chicken broth
1 c cream
1/4 t lemon juice
2 oz. velveeta cheese, cubed
3 oz. smoked cheddar or Gouda
tabasco sauce

Cook the spinach in the microwave or a pan with water - remove when done. Cook onion in butter on the stove. Add broth, lemon juice and tabasco to taste (just a dash). Add spinach and then add the cream. Heat through. When hot add cheese until it melts and then serve. Be sure NOT TO BOIL after the cream is added.

(note: Before you add the cream you can run this through your food processor if you want it to be smoother and not have bits of spinach in it. Do it in 2 or 3 batches and then continue with the recipe).
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Blackened Catfish

I usually open the cupboard and just start grabbing spices and herbs to put on the fish before either grilling, broiling or pan blackening it. Our family loves catfish... I hope yours will too!


2 T paprika
2 t salt
2 t lemon pepper
1 t onion powder
dash thyme, crumbled between your fingers
dash of dried basil
dash of garlic salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 t ground red pepper


Dredge olive oiled catfish fillets into a mixture of the above spices. Either grill them, broil them under your stove broiler, or blacken them in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat for about 2-4 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over each.
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Homemade Coffee Cake (very similar to Entenmann's)

I'm sitting here wondering what I could possibly say to force people to make this coffee cake... and I realized that other than telling you just how delicious this coffee cake is, there is nothing. Either you make it or you don't.




Entenmann's Style Coffee Cake Loaf

3 3/4 c flour
1 3/4 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Mix in a large mixing bowl and then remove 2 cups of the dry mix to reserve for later.

Now to the rest of the flour in the mixing bowl add;

1 stick butter (not margarine)
2 eggs
2/3 milk


The batter will be thick, spread this into a greased and floured pan (I use a little of the reserved flour topping mix to flour the pan). Now, you are wondering what size aren't you? Any size you want. If you use a 9X13 pan, you will have a thin cake, a 14 inch square would be nice, a 9X9" square will be a thick cake. I personally like to use a bread loaf pan. I like mine as a 'pound cake'. Spread the batter into your pan.

Now, to the reserved flour mixture add;

1 stick butter
1/4 c brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
dash of salt

Mix this together with your finger tips until it forms pea sized crumbles. Cover the entire cake with this topping. If you chose to use a loaf pan you will only use half the topping. Freeze the rest in a baggy to use on muffins at a later date!

Bake at 350 degrees - a 9X13" pan approximately 30 minutes or a loaf pan it will have to bake at least 60 minutes. I bake mine about 1 hour and 15 minutes until a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.


You might be interested in these loaf pans available through Amazon;

 Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Loaf Pan, 1.5 Pound
Farberware Bakeware 9 x 5-Inch Nonstick Loaf Pan, Gray
Wilton Recipe Right Medium Loaf Pan
 



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Super Plate, err Super Glass? Oh! Super Bowl! That's it!

I think there is something called "Superbowl" on this weekend. Don't ask me, I'll be sipping a diet Coke while I read a book or surf online... after I make my family some yummy "football food" as we call it.

Some regulars we have while our families two biggest NFL fans; my husband and daughter, regularly watch and root 'our' team (the Minnesota Vikings) are Nacho Dip, a meat and cheese platter, hot wings, sesame wings, stuffed mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, Spinach Artichoke Dip with tortilla chips, tortilla roll ups, etc. I'll make similar this weekend during the SuperPlate... errr, SuperBowl... *snicker* and I'll share a few recipes with you. Enjoy!


NACHO DIP

1 lb. ground beef, browned
1/2 pkg. taco mix
4 oz. cream cheese
1 c cheddar
4 oz. Velveeta
1 jar salsa
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 can rinsed and drained black beans

Cook in a small crock pot and serve with tortillas - the scoopable kind are perfect






HOT WINGS

2 lbs. chicken wings and drummies
1 - 8 oz. bottle italian dressing
3/4 c hot pepper sauce (Franks, Louisiana or as hot as you like!)
2 T butter, melted


Mix the dressing and hot sauce together and marinate the wings overnight, saving out 1/2 cup of the sauce beforehand for basting later. Grill or broil the wings covered about 15-20 minutes. Add the melted butter to the reserved sauce and baste the wings, grilling another 10 minutes until done. Baste them alot for the best flavor.

*Note* To make it easier for me tomorrow I'm actually cooking all my wings and drummies today in the crockpot. After a 6-8 hour cook time I'll pop them into the fridge and finish them off under the broiler tomorrow. Quick and easy!




Here is a Bleu Cheese Dressing to dip your wings in... (already posted previously but I want to keep a copy with the wings to make it easy for you!)

BLEU CHEESE DIP

1/2 c mayonnaise
1 c sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T rice wine vinegar (or regular if you please)
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c bleu cheese crumbled

salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Mix and chill.




Are you serving a homemade onion blossom, or onion rings or onion petals? Dip them in this.... no, really. Make it and serve it... do not pass go do not collect $100.

Onion Blossom Sauce

1/2 c mayonnaise
2 t ketchup
2 T kraft horseradish sauce
heavy dash of paprika, salt, dried oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper


Combine all this and chill at least 2 hours.
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Mexican Chili

Originally a lot of similar recipes are called "White Chili" which irked me because they seemed like a mexican stew to me. So I named 'mine' a Mexican Chili. Call it whatever you want, just make it!

10 oz. white northern beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 t cumin
heavy dash of oregano
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 T fresh minced garlic
3-4 cups chicken broth
2 c diced cooked chicken
salt to taste

Combine everything in a crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours in an older crockpot or 6 in a newer (newer crocks are much much hotter!). Serve with a sprinkling of cheese, some cilantro, crushed tortilla chips and sour cream and salsa.
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