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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Danish Rice Pudding!

I cannot believe I forgot to post about the Danish rice pudding with our Christmas Eve dinner!!! Once my mom saw that posting, she emailed me and told me I forgot the best part!

So for Christmas Eve (or sometimes New Years Eve), we make Danish rice pudding for dessert. What makes it special on Christmas Eve is that we hide one blanched almond in the pudding (or just put it in one of the bowls—so we don't have to eat it all), and whoever gets the almond gets a prize! If you get the almond, you're supposed to hide it in your mouth until everyone is done eating. This year Stew got the almond! He quickly put it in my bowl and told everyone I got it. Silly. A box of chocolates and a card game was the prize this year!

I don't have a picture of the rice pudding (which I think is why I forgot to post about it), but it looks like...rice pudding. So use your imagination or Google if you need to.

Danish Rice Pudding
(or Porridge, but I think that sounds gross)

Ingredients:
2 cups rice
6 cups milk (my mom uses skim and it turns out just as good)
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Cook rice and milk together in a heavy pan, about one hour (taste it to see if the rice is done, sometimes it takes longer, just be patient). Add more milk if it gets too stiff.
When rice is done, add the cream and salt. Stir together.
Serve HOT (it gets really stiff when it's cool) with cinnamon and sugar, and butter if desired.

*We like to eat the leftovers for breakfast, just add a little milk and microwave it!

How to blanch an almond:
Put a few almonds in a cup of very hot tap water (I say a few because sometimes one doesn't work). In a few minutes, you'll be able to slip the skin right off!

It's not too late to make this for New Years Eve!! Well, maybe it is a little late...but make it soon, you'll love it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Caramel Potatoes and Danish Christmas Eve Dinner

My grandpa is part Danish, so we make a Danish Christmas Eve dinner. My mom has modified it over the years, taking out the dishes she didn't like (like the pickled cabbage). We always include Danish Browned Potatoes (caramel potatoes—recipe follows), a nice tender pork roast (my mom puts it in the oven the night before around 200º), green beans, applesauce (with red or green sugar sprinkled on it for festivity), and a sparkling drink. The caramel potatoes are a family favorite! I was glad to be able to share the tradition with Stew this year. He absolutely loved the potatoes! He took pictures of the steps, so I will share the recipe! I need to make these more than once a year!

Danish Caramel Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 large can of whole potatoes, drained (we've found the store-brand potatoes aren't as high-quality)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
* We ALWAYS use at LEAST four cans, so just multiply the recipe. We used seven cans this year!

Directions:
Brown sugar and butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. This may take awhile.

See the dark runny caramel in the middle of the pan? It should all look like this before you add the potatoes.

Once the caramel is browned, add the potatoes (careful- they splatter! Don't burn yourself!).

After the potatoes are added, it looks like it won't work and the caramel clumps, but just be patient, the caramel eventually spreads. Stir the potatoes until hot and brown and covered completely in caramel. This is what they will look like when they're almost done.
* These potatoes don't make great leftovers, so eat up!

As usual, let us know if you make these! We'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

This recipe has been staring at me for months and last night I finally decided to make it. I'm SO glad I did! It tastes like it came straight from a restaurant, but better! I think I could eat this every day! Too bad there are no leftovers for me for lunch! And this recipe was so easy, especially because I used leftover spaghetti (just stick the noodles with a little olive oil in the freezer)! It's peanut-y, but Stew (who doesn't really like peanut-y things) loved it! Plus it's healthy, with wheat spaghetti noodles and all the veggies, and I omitted the oils called for in the other recipe.
Here is the recipe with my modifications:

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

Ingredients
1 pound whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled (I didn't have this and just used 1 tsp of ground ginger, but I think the fresh would be fantastic!)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but next time will use smooth)
1/4 cup soy sauce, or more to taste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2–1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used just under 1 tsp and it was the perfect amount of heat)
1/2–1 cup hot water (depending on how thick you like the sauce, I did about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper (the original recipe called for red or orange, but I used green)
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
Water chestnuts (we decided these would be good as well)
2–4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I say 2–4 because I did 2, but I think I used less pasta as well)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Sesame seeds for garnish
Salt to taste

Directions
Place garlic and ginger in a food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water (I only added 1/2 cup here, I did the other 1/4 at the end to thin it out). Set aside.
Saute onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery in a hot skillet over medium heat (with a small amount of vegetable oil, if needed) for about five minutes, or until soft. Stir in chicken breast and noodles. Then add cilantro and chopped peanuts. Garnish with sesame seeds.


Give it a try, it won't disappoint!!

: : Update: This recipe also works with thin strips of beef instead of chicken. : :

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Treats

I've been baking up a storm lately! I think all the festive cookie recipes I see on blogs makes me feel like I have to bake them during the holidays, so I have to hurry. I made three batches of dough on Friday and two more on Sunday that I baked for Stew's coworkers. So far I've made:
Andes Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies
Lime Meltaway Cookies
World Peace Cookies
Soft Gingersnaps (Stew's boss said these were some of the best cookies he'd ever had!)
Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

For the Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies, I used the Chocolate Rolo Cookie recipe, adding 1/2 tsp salt to the dough. Then I rolled them in crushed candycanes. These cookies are amazing. We're making them a Christmas tradition now. They taste like mint Oreos, but better!

Stew wanted to take his coworkers a small Christmas gift. He thought sugar cookies (cut out and frosted) was too much work, so we did gingersnaps and chocolate peppermint crunch cookies. When he found out we didn't have paper plates, he thought he would have to wait to take the cookies to work. I said we could just wrap them in cellophane. After I wrapped the first batch he thought I was so creative and crafty that he took a bunch of pictures, so here they are. [By the way, I don't think this is such a creative idea...these pictures are for him]

Place small stack of cookies in the center of a square of cellophane.

Gather four corners up and pinch above the cookies.

Tie a knot with ribbon where you're pinching the cellophane.

Curl the ribbon. Cute simple gift!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crunchy Mexican Chicken

I found this recipe on a blog and thought, “why haven't I thought of that before?”. Chicken coated in tortilla chips, baked and topped with a little cheese, and salsa. YUM! [Sorry for the bad picture, it was steamy!]


Ingredients for chicken:
3 Tbsp. lime juice (I was out of lime and used lemon)
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp chili powder
1/2–1 tsp cayenne (my addition)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup crushed tortilla strips
1/4 cup cheese (pepper jack or cheddar)

Directions:
Mix lime juice, honey, chili powder and cayenne in a bowl and pour it over chicken. Marinate at least ten minutes (I did ten minutes, but if I would have thought ahead would have done one hour). Roll chicken in crushed chips. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese is melted. If tortilla chips get too dark, cover with foil.

Ingredients for salsa:
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano

Directions:

Blend together. Bring to a boil.

Place chicken on a plate, top with sauce, and garnish with cilantro.

*This salsa was so good!! We ate it with chips too!

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

I saw this recipe on The Sisters Dish and had to try it, because I've made Rolo cookies before, but not with chocolate dough!!!

I don't think there was anything I would change about the recipe, except maybe reduce the sugar a little (almost as much sugar as flour!). The dough recipe is really easy and fast to make, and it is really tasty and would be good for other recipes too!

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
13 oz. bag of Rolos, unwrapped
sugar to roll cookies in

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º. Blend sugar, brown sugar and butter together in a bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and blend well. Add flour, soda, cocoa and blend well. Take a spoonful of cookie dough and wrap around a rolo. Roll into a ball, making sure the Rolo is covered. Roll in sugar. Bake for 7–10 minutes.
* Make sure to let them cool a little bit, or the hot melted Rolo will burn your mouth!
* You can pop them in the microwave for about 15 seconds to eat them warm again! But they're super delicious room temperature, too.

By the way, these were gone the next day (we shared). I think we were eating them instead of meals. SO GOOD!

Pepper Jack Chicken Pizza


Last Saturday I wanted to make Liz's BBQ Chicken Pizza. To my dismay I didn't have any mozzarella or monterey jack cheese, so I just made up a new pizza. It turned out really good! It's spicy, but not too spicy (you can vary the heat with cayenne).

Pepper Jack Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:
Pizza dough (recipe follows)
1–2 cans of tomato sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
2–3 Tbsp hot sauce (I didn't have this, I used a spicy spice mix I had, but I would do hot sauce next time)
cayenne pepper (might not be needed if you do hot sauce)
Chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded (I used canned chicken)
1–2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
Green pepper, diced
Onion, diced
Other toppings: red pepper, jalepe
ño (if you wanted to go spicier), etc.
Cilantro

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425º. Make pizza dough and roll out on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Combine tomato sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, cayenne. To half of this, coat the chicken. Spread sauce on top of dough with a big spoon, top with coated chicken. Sprinkle most of the cheese evenly over the pizza. Top with peppers, onions, etc. Bake for 15 minutes on the lowest oven rack. Sprinkle with cilantro and bake another five minutes. Top with more cilantro before serving, if desired.

Liz's Basic Pizza Dough
1 Tbsp active dry yeast (I like to use fast-acting yeast)
1 cup warm (105–115 degrees) water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
3–4 cups flour (I like using half white and half whole wheat!)

Mix yeast and water in bowl. Cover and let stand until foamy, about five to ten minutes. Mix in the oil, honey and salt to the yeast mixture. If using a KitchenAid or Bosch mixer, add one cup of flour at a time. If mixing by hand with a wooden spoon, add all three cups at once. If the dough seems too wet, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is moderately stiff and somewhat firm to the touch. Lightly grease pizza pan(s) or cookie sheet(s). I like to sprinkle the pan with cornmeal, I think it adds a lot! Using a rolling pin, roll our the dough to fit the pans. Let the dough rise (it won't rise very much) while you make the sauce.

Let us know if you make this, and what changes/alterations you make!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Chicken


This is a great crock pot chicken recipe! You can never have enough of those! I love coming home to a hot meal that's ready to eat!

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2–4 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1 (16 oz) can of whole cranberry sauce
1 cup barbecue sauce

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3–4 hours or low for 6–10 hours.
You can strain some of the sauce and and flour or corn starch to thicken it (always add corn starch to cold water before adding to hot liquid!), the gravy is good over mashed potatoes.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pecan pie just got a lot more exciting.
I made this for Thanksgiving this year and it was a hit. Pecan pie lovers loved it, and pecan pie haters loved it! Thanksgiving's over, but give it a try!

Ingredients:
4–8 oz. good-quality 60–70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chips)
Pastry dough (my mom's recipe follows)
2 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled (toasting brings out flavor: 350° for 10–15 minutes)
3 eggs
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (I used dark because I didn't have dark corn syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark corn syrup (I used light)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° with rack in middle. Melt most of the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a small pot of barely simmering water, stirring (this went way faster than I thought it would). Remove from heat.
Roll out dough on waxed paper and put in pie pan (a little trick: put the pie pan on the dough, then flip them over together). My edges aren't very decorative, but you can make yours festive.
Spread chocolate in bottom of pie shell with back of spoon and let it set for a few minutes.
Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl, then whisk in corn syrup.
Cover chocolate with pecans. Pour mixture over pecans.

Bake pie until filling is puffed and crust is golden, about 50–60 minutes (if the crust is browning too fast, wrap edges loosely with foil). Melt the rest of the chocolate and drizzle over the pie. Serve warm or room temperature.

Pumpkin Blondies


I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while. I'm not in “pumpkin mode” anymore, but it's still a delicious recipe! Although, if I were making it again I think I'd try cutting the butter in HALF! It probably wouldn't turn out as good, but I'd rather have it a little healthier...that's just so much butter!

PUMPKIN BLONDIES

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have this so I mixed cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature (or maybe half the butter and 1/4 cup applesauce or more pumpkin? If anyone tries this let me know)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of 9x13 baking pan with foil, leaving overhang on all sides. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (the batter looks lumpy after this). Reduce speed to low and mix in flour, spices, soda, and salt until just combined. Fold in chips.

Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 30–40 minutes (if I remember right, mine took closer to 40 minutes), until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely in pan (do I ever do this? No. But I did let them cool a little, they are really soft).

Lift cake from pan, using foil. Peel off foil and use a serrated knife to cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey Rolls

I was just going through my pictures and saw these from Thanksgiving 2008, and although it might be a little late notice for those of you who have been baking today, I wanted to post this recipe and idea before I forgot.
My mom has made these rolls for Thanksgiving the past five years or so (maybe longer...whenever she is in charge of the rolls for dinner). I just love how festive and cute these rolls are!! I've made them with her before, and they're even easier than crescent rolls.
Try them with your favorite roll recipe for Thanksgiving tomorrow! Don't have a favorite roll recipe? Here's mine:

Dissolve:
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water

In a separate bowl, blend:
3 eggs

Add:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup scalded milk (microwave a little longer than you would for hot chocolate, but don't boil), cooled a bit

Stir in:
Yeast Mixture
2 tsp. salt

Gradually add:
5 cups white flour- more or less

Dough will be sticky. Let rise until double, two to three hours. Then split dough in half and roll out into a circle, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Then with a pizza cutter, cut dough like a pizza, with slices about three inches at the thick end. This is the fun part: place a triangle of dough in a greased muffin tin cup and using scissors, cut “feathers” at wide end of dough (about 1/2 inch to 1 inch down), like so:
Then using a toothpick, poke two eyes at the skinny end of the dough.

Bake at 400° for about ten minutes, until golden brown. Watch them closely, as “feathers” can burn easily.

Final product:
Aren't they so cute?? A simple and great way to add a festive touch!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

I made these cookies when I didn't have enough brown sugar to make my mom's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Except the recipe I went off of was halved (that's why I had enough brown sugar). Boy am I glad I made these!! These cookies are so moist and flavorful you won't want to put them down! I'm changing the name of these cookies from “Pumpkin Cookies” to “Pumpkin Ginger Cookies.” I just think it describes them better.
On Martha Stewart's site, she says, “These pillowy spice cookies transform pumpkin pie flavors into portable treats.” Besides the cheese-factor, it's kind of true. These cookies have evaporated milk in them, just like pumpkin pie. I don't think they taste just like pumpkin pie though. They're better. And my favorite part of the cookie is the browned butter icing! I've never heard of it before, and I've never “browned” butter either...but it wasn't hard and it definitely added dimension to the cookies.
Don't be intimidated by the long directions. These cookies aren't hard to make, and they're so delicious!

Cookie Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg so I substituted cloves and it was so good!)
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin (14 oz.)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Icing Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
10 tbsp butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375°. Cream butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer until pale and puffy, about three minutes (I don't think I did this long enough). Mix in eggs. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk and vanilla; mix until well blended, about two minutes. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

[Now this is where Martha Stewart gets all “Martha Stewart” on us. She tells us we have to put the batter into a pastry bag and pipe them onto the cookie sheets. Puh-lease! None of that uppity baking for me! So here are MY directions.] Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and using 1/4 measuring cup, spoon batter onto cookie sheets (she says 1 1/2 inches round, but I say just on the smaller side). Bake cookies two pans at a time, rotating sheets halfway through, for about 12 minutes until the top springs back to the touch.

[This is again a “Martha Stewart” moment when she says to let the cookies cool completely before making the frosting. I say what's better than warm cookies?!] So while cookies are baking, make icing: Put powdered sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl pan occasionally, and cook until golden brown, about three minutes. Immediately add butter to powdered sugar, scraping any browned bits from the sides and bottom of the pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla, stir until smooth (I did it in my KitchenAid). If icing gets too stiff, add a little evaporated milk.

When cookies have cooled slightly, peel them off the parchment paper (mine stuck a little). Spread icing on cookies (this icing is very flavorful, so a little goes a long way!). If you want to add a nice touch, sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Let us know how you like them! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crock Pot Italian Cream Cheese Chicken

Made this for dinner tonight. Super easy and super good! Stew even said, “Lindsey. This is so good!” I know he likes it when he says my name. I went off a basic recipe found here on my friend's blog, and then added some things. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients:
3–4 chicken breasts (I only used two today, but there was plenty of extra sauce)
4 oz. cream cheese (I used low-fat, that's why there are little bits of cream cheese that didn't blend)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I used fat-free)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
Red pepper, chopped
Celery, chopped (I did two stalks, but it was really good so I'll probably add more next time)
Garlic powder (a few shakes)
Cayenne pepper (if you like a little kick)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a Crock Pot and cook on high for 3–4 hours or on low for 6–8 hours. Serve over rice (maybe over noodles?? If anyone tries this let us know!).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Crunch Cake...or Cobbler...or Pumpkin Crisp...something that sounds as good as this tastes...

I've been in a pumpkin mood lately. This weekend I made black bean tomato pumpkin soup (really tasty, although I did make some changes, but click for the original recipe), pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (my mom's recipe that I've been meaning to post), AND this (the picture doesn't do it justice):

What is this cakey-moist-crunchy-pumkinny-nutty goodness?

I'm not sure what to call it. Help me come up with a name if you make it! The recipe I started from was called Pumpkin Crunch, but I don't think “crunch” is the first word that pops into my head when I take a bite of this. What pops into my head is how good and rich and salty-sweet and moist melt-in-your-mouth-best-of-pumpkin-pie-and-apple-crisp-put-together-with-the-added-dimension-of-cold-ice-cream-melting-on-top-as-you-take-a-bite.


Hope I didn't raise your expectations too high. But it's good. If you like pumpkin pie and warm apple crisp/peach cobbler you will LOVE this. Here's my version:

Ingredients:
1 Package Yellow Cake Mix (butter recipe yellow) [I didn't have a cake mix, so I made my own with 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla. It was just as good!]
1 Can (15oz) pumpkin
1 Can (12oz) evaporated milk (I used fat free to cut some calories)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Cup (1 stick) melted butter (I halved the butter from the original recipe!)
1 Cup (about) chopped Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters, or chopped almonds or pecans (I actually did a combination of all three...the original recipe just called for chopped pecans, but the granola nut clusters made it SO good! I'd suggest using the Roasted Almond variety)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with nut/granola mix and drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

We just had this tonight and haven't had the chance to try it cool, but the original recipe suggested to serve it cool with whipped cream or Cool Whip.*

Give it a try and let me know what you think!


*Chamberlain family be warned, if this is good cool, I might bring it to Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rice Krispie COOKIES?!

Recently I bought a big box of Rice Krispies for the sole purpose of making Rice Krispies Treats. {Here's a hint for the treats: if you add 1 tsp. of vanilla after you've melted the mallows it will make it even more delicious} After I made the Rice Krispies treats, I saw a blog posting somewhere about Rice Krispies cookies! I got excited and searched for other Rice Krispies cookie recipes. I found one from a Kellogg's Rice Krispies site and decided that would be my best bet. They turned out totally delicious, and they're a nice variation of regular chocolate chip cookies. The Rice Krispies and a crispy crunch to the dough (which is delicious, but sadly Stew doesn't eat cookie dough with me), but once they are cooked (and especially after they cool), the Rice Krispies become chewy. Also note that these cookies aren't the soft and chewy kind, they're light, crispy and somewhat chewy (so they weren't Stew's favorite cookies). But definitely give them a try!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Rice Krispies (I wouldn't use the store brand)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
In a large electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing until combined. By hand, stir in Rice Krispies and chocolate chips. It will look really crumbly, but keep stirring (gently so you don't crush the cereal) until it looks like this:
Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten slightly.
Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes (mine took a little longer) or until lightly browned (these cookies turn out really light). Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on wire racks (this is important for the texture).

Zoom in on this picture: do you see the Rice Krispies?! Yum!

Makes me wonder what other goodies I can make using other cereals?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crock Pot Pulled-Pork Tacos

You need to try these tacos. They are so good! The chili powder makes the dish (the cocoa powder is a must!) and the pork gets super tender in the crock pot. They are so flavorful! I found the recipe from Real Simple, here.

I forgot to take a picture when I made them, and this picture is from Real Simple. Here's the recipe:

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos

2 cups salsa, plus more for serving (make sure it's like Pace or something, not the fresh stuff)
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Coarse salt
2 1/2 pounds of pork (I used pork chops and halved the recipe when I made them)

For serving:
Tortillas
Cilantro
Sour cream
Fresh lime (to squirt on top)
Salsa

Directions:
Combine salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the pork and coat with the sauce. Cook on high for four to five hours or on low for seven to eight hours. Shred meat with two forks before serving. Serve on warm tortillas and top with whatever you like.

Zucchini Soup

I had another huge zucchini from Gram's garden and saw this soup recipe and thought I'd try it. It was so so so delicious! As good or better than Zupas! I modified mine a little, so here's my recipe:

Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp butter
3 cups sliced zucchini (seeded if it has large seeds)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (I threw this in at the last minute, but if I could do it over again I'd just do a couple cloves with the onion)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you want a little spice)
1/2 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
Bacon bits (or cooked and crumbled bacon)

Directions:
In a large pot cook onions (and minced garlic if adding) in melted butter until tender. Add sliced zucchini and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender (10–15 minutes). Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder (if wanted). Cool slightly. Puree mixture (I did mine with a hand blender, but you can pour it in a blender). Stir in evaporated milk. Return to pot and reheat, but don't boil. Add grated cheese (I didn't do a full cup) and sour cream (I didn't add all of it). In serving bowls, garnish with more cheese and sour cream (if desired) and bacon bits (this makes it really yummy!). Serve with warm crispy bread.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rating: Our Little Secret

Stew discovered Our Little Secret: Breads and Desserts, when a sampling of items was brought into his work one day. Our Little Secret specializes in mini bundt cakes and fresh baked bread. They also cater. At work, Stew got an order form for us. We called Michelle and she was so friendly! She even delivered the bundt cakes to Lindsey's work! So here's the rundown:















That's right, 100 points! There were no negatives about this place. The atmosphere was just based on presentation and packaging, since we had them delivered. Michelle put them in a gift bag with a cute “thank you” card attached. They were packaged in cute, perfect sized, plastic containers. The service was great, seeing as Michelle went out of her way to deliver them to Lindsey's work, even though she was also catering a wedding that day! At only $2.65 each, they're a steal!

The first bundt cake (we ordered all three flavors) we tried was the Luscious Lemon (sorry, the pictures don't do these babies justice!).As you bite into this cake, tangy sweet lemon puffs out of the cake, enveloping your mouth with flavor. The frosting is light and fluffy, not hardened at all (Lindsey wants to learn how to make frosting like this). The cake itself is extremely moist and dense, but not too heavy.

Next was the Cinnamon Swirl. This was Lindsey's favorite. It tasted like a moist coffee cake, or a snickerdoodle cookie in cake form. The frosting was creamy and light (like the lemon frosting) and complemented the cake very well.

We saved the Triple Chocolate bundt for last.The chocolate was Stew's favorite. It was chocolate overload—wait, there's no such thing as chocolate overload! This was decadent, without being overly rich.

Yes, we ate all three bundt cakes in one night.

It was so worth it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Italian Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta Bread


I made this sandwich a while ago and just found the picture when I uploaded from Stew's camera. It's something I just threw together because we had some ciabatta bread left over. It was DELICIOUS! The sandwich was almost to big to bite, and was plenty for the two of us to share. I've made different versions of this with leftover loaves and they're all tasty! Here's what I did:

Italian Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta Bread:

Cook chicken tenders in a skillet with Italian dressing and tear into chunks. Slice loaf in half lengthwise. Put cut-side down on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven until slightly toasted (watch carefully!). Flip over and on the bottom cut-side, spread mayonnaise (or whatever you like), and then layer chicken, sliced tomatoes (take the seeds out for less mess), Italian seasoning (or whatever spice you prefer), and sliced cheese (I used Mozzarella, but we like Pepper Jack too). Drizzle the top half with olive oil and put the sandwich back in the broiler for just a couple minutes (again, watching carefully). I topped it off with lettuce, sprouts, sliced avocado, and balsamic vinegar on the top bun. Slice and serve (carefully, it's huge and MESSY)!

Wish I had the ingredients to make this sandwich again right now!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pepper Jack Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce

This is what I made for Stew's birthday dinner. Thanks to Liz Edmunds!

Easy, delicious, you must get her book so you can try these! We also like the green chile sauce baked over chicken, poured over rice. Yum!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

We don't like regular banana bread with chocolate chips. But we DO like (love actually) chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips. It tastes like a decadent cake! Kind of embarrassed to show the picture. I should have taken the picture BEFORE I turned it over and it fell apart as it came out of the pan. I probably should have let it cool longer. But here's the picture anyway.
Haha. This picture makes me laugh. But we seriously ate it just like this because it was so tasty. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk, Guittard)

Heat oven to 350°. Spray bottom of loaf pan with cooking spray (apparently use a lot—haha). Beat sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl at medium speed until combined. Beat in banana (I blended mine separately) and vanilla on low speed. Beat flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into mixture on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into pan. Bake 60–70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes (maybe this is what went wrong with mine!). Remove from pan and cool on wire rack (but how can you resist warm chocolate bread?!).
*You could leave out the chocolate chips to make it a little healthier. But why?!



**UPDATED April 1, 2010**


I made this again using DARK chocolate cocoa, and in mini loaf pans. It was SO good! I put bittersweet chocolate chips in one loaf, and it took it over the top!
Wrapped in colored cellophane, these mini loaves were the perfect little treat for our cute nieces! Just their size!

Chicken Roll-Ups (aka Chicken Pillows)

Another recipe from Lindsey's mom. These little pockets of creamy chicken goodness are too easy to pass up! Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
(I've used canned chicken before and it makes it even easier! CostCo's is the best I've found)
6–8 ounces cream cheese (can use low-fat)

1/8 tsp pepper (I usually don't measure this, but we like pepper)

2 packages crescent rolls (can also use low-fat)

Butter for dipping (melted)

Cornflake crumbs
(I didn't have any this time and used Panko bread crumbs, but I think the Cornflake crumbs hold up better to the sauce)

Sauce Ingredients:

1 can of cream of chicken soup (I used low-fat)

1/4 cup sour cream (I used low-fat)

1/2 can of milk (measure it in the soup can)


Mix together the chicken, cream cheese, and pepper. Open the two packages of crescent rolls. Roll spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the rolls, starting at the pointed end. Dip in melted butter, then roll in crushed corn flakes. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 20–25 minutes. While they are cooking, prepare the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Spoon sauce over the roll-ups to serve.


*You could also modify this recipe to make it more like chicken cordon bleu by using a chopped ham and swiss mixture instead of chicken.

Creamy Chicken Soup

One day when we both were feeling a little “blah,” I (Lindsey) decided to make Liz Edmunds' Creamy Chicken Soup (page 51 if you have her cookbook) for dinner. I am not a huge fan of chicken soup...-gasp- I know, terrible, right? Growing up, when I was sick I liked tomato soup...but that's beside the point. This chicken soup, however, is phenomenal! If you have her book you should give it a try!

And how cute is this in the bread bowl?? If you don't have bread bowls, you can serve the soup in big rolls, which is a smaller portion (but just enough for Lindsey).

Delish!

Hot Fudge Cake

Sorry for the absence! With school starting up again we've been really busy! This recipe is quick and easy chocolate-y goodness! You don't even need a bowl to mix it in. Thanks to Lindsey's mom for the recipe.
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts—if desired (I've never put nuts in)

You will also need:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup very hot tap water

Heat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients in ungreased 9x9 square pan with fork. Spread in pan.

Sprinkle with 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Pour the hot water over the top (it will look like it's not going to work out, but it will).

Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm topped with ice cream (this is a must!). Spoon sauce from pan over the top.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pineapple Coconut Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry there's no picture for this post! The cake was gobbled up too fast!

If you've got a lot of garden zucchini around, you've definitely got to make this cake! I'd make it even if I had to buy the zucchini! It's delicious! I found the recipe on Taste and Tell (there's a picture of it on that blog).

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch ginger, optional
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 whole large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini* (see note)
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained (reserve juice in case you need it for the cake batter or frosting)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.
Combine oil, eggs, and vanilla; stir well. Stir egg mixture, grated zucchini, and pineapple into flour mixture. Batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together (I had no problem with it being too dry, it was very wet—I wasn't sure it would work out but it did). If it still seems too dry, just add a little splash of the pineapple juice.
Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (I used a jelly-roll pan, so they were thinner, more like brownies). Bake at 350° for about 33-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs and cake is pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar (approx)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
splash of milk or pineapple juice, if necessary
chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Add a splash of milk or pineapple juice if necessary. Spread frosting over top of cake. You can garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired.

*NOTES : I had a large zucchini, so I scraped out the seeds before shredding it. Try to squeeze or drain out most of the liquid.
This recipe can be turned into a Carrot Cake just by substituting carrots for the zucchini.

Give it a try—it's delicious!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rating: Pho + Noodle House

We went to Pho Plus on their fourth day of business. We had seen the banner out front and thought it looked good and somewhat stalked them. Lindsey was happy when she saw the open sign driving home from work. After a little research, we learned “Pho” is pronounced “fuh,” and is a Vietnamese beef broth based soup (with various additives).It's hard to spot from State Street and doesn't look like much on the outside, but we were impressed when we walked in. It is small, but feels upscale.
Highest rating to-date!














You could tell the servers were a little inexperienced, as they needed to look at the menu to see what we wanted to order, but they made up for it with friendliness.

Stew ordered the Spicy Orange Chicken Combination Platter. It was $10 and there was so much food!
He loved the soup that came with it (Pho soup, top of the picture), they were really nice and even brought him another bowl (free food=bonus points!). Next time we want to order a bowl of pho for dinner (we saw people around us eating it—huge bowls of deliciousness!). The one thing he thought could have improved the dish was less breading on the chicken.

Lindsey ordered the BBQ Chicken Vermicelli (extra fine noodles) bowl.So good. The spring rolls that came with it were phenomenal! The texture and flavor was incredible and fresh. Next time we go we are getting the spring roll appetizer.

We ordered the Tempura (fried) Ice Cream for dessert.
It was the best fried ice cream we can remember eating. Way better than Blue Iguana's or Los Hermanos' fried ice cream. It tasted fresh, and there was a carmel-y coating on the outside.

Pho Plus was a great dining experience, food-wise and culturally (we ate our meals with chopsticks, go us!). If you are in Northern Utah, you have to try Pho Plus!