Monday, February 27, 2012

Hot Mushroom Dip

Who doesn't love a good dip?!  This was delicious.  I first served it with crackers and then again with fresh veggies.  Both worked well to get the tasty dip where I really wanted it - in my mouth!

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped mushrooms
8 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I used Lowerys)
1/2 tsp dried dill
pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pan, melt butter on medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook about 10 minutes, or until liquid is gone and mushrooms are beginning to brown.  Remove from heat.

Into the pan, add cream cheese, salt, dill and pepper.  Stir until cheese is melted and thoroughly mixed in.

Finally, add pepperjack cheese and mayo.  Mix well until cheese is melted.  Spread into an ungreased pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, fresh veggies, or spoons!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bacon and Chicken Ranch-flavored Mac and Cheese

I didn't end up getting my own picture of this, but didn't want to wait to share it with you because it was so deliciously yummy!  I made this for my family on Valentine's Day.  It was an act of love: extra bacon for my daughter, no onions for my son, and didn't skimp on the cheese for my husband.  Be careful who you make it for - they'll love you forever!

  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • slices bacon, chopped
  • 1-2 chicken breasts,  cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (I used onion salt and omitted the salt below)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill (I used 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain.
  2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Gradually add milk and soup to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand about five minutes. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta, chicken, and bacon.
  4. Preheat broiler.
  5. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coconut Chicken Tenders

My family loved this!  Everyone had second helpings . . . what's not to love about chicken dipped in sweet flavorings and fried to give it some crisp?!  I've actually made something very similar and would probably go the baked route next time - not only for the health factor, but also to avoid the lingering smell that frying leaves!

2 lbs of chicken tenders
1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
1 egg
1/2 can of condensed milk
1/2 cup of orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying 

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.  

In a medium bowl, mix orange juice, condensed milk, and a beaten egg until your “wet” mixture is well incorporated.  In another bowl, mix coconut and panko crumbs.

Heat oil in a medium pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Fill pan to about 1/2″ of oil. Dip and fully coat each tender in the egg mixture first and then the panko/coconut mix.  Fry each tender for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. 

Serve with Honey Mustard dipping sauce (see below). I think Thai chili sauce would also be a yummy dip for these.

Honey Mustard: I only used about 1/2 cup mayo and just eyeballed adding the other stuff without using horseradish or orange juice.  I also didn't chill.  The result was still delicious.  

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon
Horseradish, to taste (I didn't use any)
2 tablespoons orange juice (more or less as needed)

Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Rosemary Biscuits

We loved these!  They are best warm and went well with a hot bowl of chili.  I thought they were just as good toasted again the next day.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup diced roasted sweet potatoes (I threw the raw bites in a skillet with some olive oil and tossed for about ten minutes)
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450.  
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the minced garlic and fresh rosemary. Mix in cold butter with your fingertips or use a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add roasted sweet potatoes and gently stir. Pour buttermilk over all of the ingredients and stir with a spatula until just combined.
Drop round spoonfuls of dough, about four tablespoons, onto baking sheet. Brush biscuits with melted butter. Bake 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brownie Cupcakes

I made these delicious little treats for Valentine's Day.  I guess it would have been more fun to share the idea if I mentioned it before the day had already passed.  But you could do so many different color and flavor combinations with this recipe (St. Patrick's Day is coming up!), so get creative and give it a try because they were super yummy!

  • 1 package brownie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package white cake mix* 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 egg whites
  • frosting

*or any flavor of cake mix . . . I saw the idea on pinterest to use strawberry . . . you could also just use food coloring if you're going for a certain color scheme.

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin cups with paper liners.  I ended up having enough batter to make 24.

  • Whisk together the brownie mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Stir just until fully incorporated, about 50 strokes; set aside.

  • Mix the cake mix, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 1/3 cup water, and 3 egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Even if you read the amount wrong like I did and end up adding two cups of water, it will still turn out!

  • Spoon the brownie batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 1/3 full. Spoon the cake batter over the brownie batter, until muffin cups are each 2/3 full.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes.  Let cool then top with frosting.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Salmon and Feta Quiche

I love quiche and this did not disappoint.  The flavors are strong, so you wouldn't want to serve it to just anybody.  But I thought it was yummy and could be enjoyed for any meal.

adapted from this recipe
1 pie crust
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium purple onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces cooked salmon (I used a pouch of boneless, skinless meat that will probably be found where the tuna is located)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp dried dill (I would use more next time)
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper, to your liking

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil in a small skillet.  Add onions and cook a couple minutes.  Remove from heat.  Whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  Whisk in milk, cream, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Start filling the pie crust with the onions covering the bottom.  Next put down half the salmon and feta.  Pour half of the egg mixture over the salmon and cheese.  Lay down the remaining salmon and cheese and pour the remaining egg mixture over that.  Transfer to oven.  Bake until just set in the center, 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes to let settle before serving.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

My parents were visiting this weekend and as much as I knew my Dad would want me to make this, I tried out another crock pot sandwich that he said he liked even better!  The meat was tender and delicious with strong italian flavoring and a nice kick from the cayenne.

3 to 4 pound beef rump roast
1 onion, sliced in rings
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon anise (I don't like anise, so I didn't use this)
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes (undrained)
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer 
8 hoagie rolls 
8 slices of mozzarella cheese

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the meat into your cooker (frozen is okay). Top with sliced onion, and all the dried herbs and spices. It will seem like there are way too many herbs—try not to worry. Add the entire can of tomatoes and bottle of beer. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat shreds easily with two large forks. Shred the meat completely, and stir well.

Serve on toasted rolls with melted mozzarella cheese.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mushroom Barley Soup

I really like barley and I've been on a bit of a mushroom kick lately, so I loved this soup!  I made a few changes from the original recipe to work with what I had on hand.  It was a delicious hearty soup for a cold day that was just as good for lunch the next day.

1 cup barley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp fresh minced thyme or 1 tsp dried
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pan, bring 4 cups of water to boil.  Stir in the barley.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the barley is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft, about five minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften, another 5 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley and simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until ready to serve.
Remove the bay leaves before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mocha Chiffon Cake

This cake had great potential.  I mean, anything that uses 7 eggs has to be good, right?!  I snagged the recipe from a magazine several years ago and made it to take to dinner with friends.  I always enjoy a good excuse to bake a real cake, but this one ended up being pretty dry.  I should have started checking after just 50 minutes.  The glaze was delicious and a dollop of ice cream made up for some of the dryness.  

3/4 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp instant coffee
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 large eggs, yolks and whites separated (you'll need 5 yolks and 7 whites)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising . . . look up how to add cornstarch to make your own)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp light corn syrup or sugar
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1 Tbsp coffee liqueur or coffee

Heat oven to 325.  You'll need a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom and tube.  I used a bundt pan.  In large bowl, whisk water and espresso powder until dissolved; whisk in cocoa powder until blended and smooth.  Whisk in 5 egg yolks, oil, vanilla, baking powder and salt until smooth.  Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, and then the flour; whisk 1 minute until batter is smooth.

In large bowl of stand mixer, beat the 7 egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat on high speed until stiff yet billowy peaks form when beaters are lifted.  This took me a long time, just so you know.  Stir about 2 cups of the whites into the cocoa mixture to loosen.  Gently fold in the remaining whites until batter is evenly mocha-colored.  Pour batter into pan.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes (that was too long for my cake), or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Turn pan upside down onto a wire rack.  Cool completely.

Using a long, thin knife, release edges of cake and around the middle tube.  Lift cake from sides of pan.  Release cake away from bottom of pan.  Invert onto wire rack.  I didn't do any of this since I used a bundt pan.  

Glaze:  Heat cream, butter and corn syrup in a medium saucepan until simmering; remove from heat and add chocolate.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in liqueur.  Pour glaze into a glass measure.  Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes or until cool and slightly thickened.  Slowly pour and spread over top of cake, easing glaze over edges and letting it drip down sides and center hole of cake.  Refrigerate to set.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
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