Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankgiving Roll

So I was calling this Thanksgiving Sushi, but Jana said that was misleading because the only thing sushi about this is the fact that it's round. So she renamed it Thanksgiving in a bite :).

Anyway, it was a hit and really easy.

Thanksgiving Roll

1 chicken breast (yeah, that's right. Chicken. I couldn't find a turkey breast cheap enough)
1 tsp rubbed sage
2/3 cup craisens
pie crust
1 pkg Stovetop Stuffing appetizer

Boil chicken breast in a small pan with the sage until cooked through. Remove from water, let cool and shred. Meanwhile prepare stovetop according to directions. Mix craisens in with chicken with a little water and microwave for 30 sec.

Roll pie crust out to 3x9 inch square. Put a layer of stuffing down on the pie crust and press until flat, leaving a about 1/4 inch on the long edges. Place shredded chicken and craisens down the center. Gently roll the crust so that the stuffing folds around the chicken. Gently press the edges of the crust closed and place on a baking pan seam down. Bake @350F for about 25min, or until crust is golden brown. Slice in to rounds with a sharp serrated blade and serve.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey a la Christopher

With me stuck at home this year I will be attempting to recreate Chris's fantastic turkey from the Sib Thanksgiving dinner last year. In order to do this right Chris recommended you have the following tools at your disposal:

An injector
A meat thermometer
Heavy fin foil
A turkey roaster

Make sure your turkey is completely thawed out by the night before. Clean out the turkey and remove the plastic ties on the legs. Chris recommended going to the food network and learning how to properly truss a turkey. I tried to make the link but couldn't get it to work so here is the address.

Now that the bird is ready to go, we can get ready to do the injecting. You will need:

A bundle of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
1 stick of butter
1 bottle of dark beer (he recommended using a Belgian White like New Moon)

Simmer these all together for 1/2 hour. Cool. Inject all over the bird until the solution is gone. Cover and let the turkey rest overnight.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Give the bird a good rubdown with canola oil. Take a large piece of tinfoil and fold into a triangle. With the tip towards the legs, mold it to the turkey making sure you completely cover the breast. Remove it and set aside. Make sure the rack is in the lowest possible position. Put the turkey in the roasting pan with the breast toward you and cook for 30 minutes. This will seal up all those puncture holes that were made during the injection and help keep the juices inside the turkey while it cooks. Recover the turkey with the shield. Lower the heat to 350 degrees. Cook until the thermometer inserted in the breast reads 160 degrees and inserted in the leg reads 180 degrees. This can be anywhere from 2 1/2-3 hours for a 20 bird, but he stressed you shouldn't be relying on time, you should only have that be a guideline and check with the thermometer. Let the bird rest for AT LEAST 30 minutes before carving. He recommended giving yourself an extra 20 minutes just in case you need more time to cook. Delicious.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chris's French Bread Stuffing

Chris made this stuffing last year for our sibling Thanksgiving (best eva!) We all loved it and I'm hoping to do it justice for Jana's family this year.

French Bread Stuffing
Three loaves of French bread cubed and dried (maybe even slightly toasted)
3 quarts chicken stock
9 eggs
3 bundles parsley chopped
1 celery bundle cleaned and trimed. and chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter
fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme bundled together
3 medium onions diced

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions. Add spice bundle when onions begin to soften. Remove spices when you can smell them strongly. Add half parsley. Add celery when onions translucent. Meanwhile, mix stock and eggs together.

Pour butter and stock over bread and then add the other half of the parsley. Gently fold together so bread and stock and parsley are mixed, but preserving the integrity of the bread cubes. Bake 25 min or so @350F. Serves 20 (or so)

Chris made it clear that this stuffing could stand on its own, or as a base for other ingredients. We talked about adding currents, cranberries, sausage, pecans, etc. (ooooo... Sun-dried tomatoes...)

Raspberry Butter

I just gave myself quite a scare thinking I had lost I am blogging it. This is the Carriage Court's recipe for Raspberry Butter. Even though the restaurant is closed I believe the recipe is still being served in either the Lion House or The Roof. So it is kind of secret (except for the fact that I published this on the family blog)! ;)My source recommended whipping the butter with a paddle if you have one. I don't, so I just use beaters.

Raspberry Butter

1 lb butter (at room temperature)
8 oz honey
8 oz raspberry preserves (I use frozen raspberry jam)
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the honey and whip again. Add the raspberry jam and vanilla and whip again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Totally easy (and totally boring) chicken noodle soup

So my kids love Cambell's Chicken Noodle, but it's too expensive to go through 4 or 5 cans every time we have it for dinner (didn't soup used to be cheap?) so I created my not quite as boring substitute.

Chicken Noodle Soup

4-6 cups water
chicken bouillon to taste (I use the powder, not the cubes, so I just estimate)
chicken (canned, precooked and diced or shredded... whatever)

Boil the water with the chicken bouillon. Add the noodles. I used garden rotini pasta and added angel hair that I had broken into 4 pieces after the rotini was al dente. I added the chicken last. The amount of water you use is up to you. If you want more broth, just add more water.

For some reason, my kids love this. If it was just me, I would do more. Maybe add some veggies. But Erika begged for more of this for days. I think my taste and my kids' tastes are different on a very fundamental level.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hawaiian Pork

I made this last week and kept meaning to post it. It is a recipe of my friend's and was not only easy, but it turned out amazing!

5 lbs boneless pork butt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 pieces fresh ginger, grated
liquid smoke, a few drops
1/4 C soy sauce (I would use the low sodium)
1 clove garlic crushed

Spray the inside of your crock pot and put the pork inside. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the meat. Cook on high for 5 hours. If using an oven, wrap up tightly in tin foil and bake at 350 for 5 hours. NO PEEKING!!! Shred and mix into the remaining liquid. Serve with rice.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Two nights ago I decided to make a ham & cheese strata. I overheard from the other room Megan saying in what I am certain she thought was a quiet voice, "I didn't like mine...where did you put yours?". Brian the good man, just ate it in silence. So all day yesterday the dogs have been snacking on it. I informed Bri of this and he reminded me that they will also eat their own throw up. Ahem. Anyway. I made this last night to redeem myself.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cans chicken broth
3 C cooked wild rice
1 package cream cheese, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
Tony Chachere's seasoning to taste
pepper to taste

To begin, I cooked the rice in the rice cooker and used the steamer to take care of the chicken at the same time. Then I sauteed the onions and celery together in chicken broth. From there, I just added it all together and simmered until the cream cheese was melted. Very yummy. I think my family's faith in me is restored! ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So I didn't make dinner tonight

Kendra did! She did a great job making pancakes. She didn't even need any parental help at all. Way to go, Kendra!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies Ever

These cookies are a bit crumbly compared to cookies as a class, but they are also delicious and a far sight simpler to make than most cookies, so the sacrifice is more than worth it.

You'll need:

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375ish. Mix the ingredients up in a bowl. Spoon blobs of the stuff onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to make criss-crosses on the tops if you like. Cook for 17 or 18 minutes or until they are starting to be crispy on the bottoms and solid on the tops. Try not to burn the bottoms. EAT THEM ALL!!!

Edit: A few Tips: Make the cookie blobs really small. I just put 28 on one cookie sheet. Make them fairly round and then smoosh them down with the back of a fork to create the crosses. Serve with milk.

Orange Soda Pot Roast and Parmesan Encrusted Potatoes

I decided to make an effort for Sunday dinner this week. I've been blowing it off far too often.

Orange Soda Pot Roast

1 2 lb frozen roast
2 large onions
2 cans orange soda (not diet)
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Place roast in crock pot. Pour soda over the roast and add cinnamon, onions, and cloves. Sprinkle roast with salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The cloves are easier to handle later if you use a tea infuser.

When the roast was finished I used the liquid that was left to make a simple gravy. Just boil liquid in a medium sauce pan. Dissolve 2 tbs cornstarch in 1/3 cup cold water and then mix them together. Reduce heat and simmer until it has thickened.

Parmesan Encrusted Potatoes

6 medium potatoes, washed and cubed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tbs salt
1 tbs granulated garlic
1 tbs granulated onion

Combine all ingredients except potatoes in a bowl that has a tight lid. Shake to mix it all together. Add potatoes a cup or two at a time and shake the bowl to completely cover them. Place on a couple of baking pans and bake at 350F for 40 or so min.

I loved these potatoes. The roast was only so so. I only cooked it 6 hours, and I think 7 or 8 would have made it more fall apart tender. I love that I don't have to remember to thaw the roast first. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vietnamese Tofu Triangles

This CAN be gluten free, if you use GF soy sauce (sometimes hard to find) and make sure your other ingredients are GF (I mean, that's all obvious. I'm just sayin'.)

Keep an open mind here about the tofu. This is not a veggie-alternative to anything; this is the recipe for an actual (dare I say "authentic"?) Vietnamese dish. I first had it at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Salt Lake (Cafe Trang). I loved it so much I learned how to make it. We had it again for dinner tonight and Forrest commented that it is one of his favorite dishes that I make. Below are the complete instructions for the "real version." After the full recipe, I have included my extremely simplified, ketchup-based version. So quick and easy and it tastes Great! I suggest glancing through the full version, if only to get some perspective on how radically I tend to simplify things when I cook. I was recently told I think like an Australian: "Why do more work?" Dave, can you confirm or deny?

Vietnamese Tofu and Tomato Sauce (full version)
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 pkg firm tofu
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 200g chopped tomato, preferably fresh (but tinned is ok)
    • a Tbs water
    • 4 Tbs soy sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • White pepper, to taste
    • Spring onion
    • Groundnut / peanut oil, to deep fry
  1. Press the tofu so you can get as much water out as possible. Cut the tofu into triangles, slices, or cubes no more than about two inches long. I usually make right triangles with about a third of in an inch thick.
  2. To make the sauce, which you should probably do first, simply fry up the garlic in some oil, add the tomato, water, half of the lime juice, the soy sauce, the pepper, and the sugar. Leave to simmer over a medium-low heat while you prepare the tofu.
  3. Heat a wok with a a few inches of oil to a medium temperature and deep fry the tofu pieces until lightly browned. An alternative is of course to lightly fry in oil on a skillet or even to bake, but deep-fried tofu is a treat!
  4. Serve the deep-fried tofu with the tomato sauce on top (because, you know, that would have been a tricky concept for you to work out had I not given that particular instruction). Drizzle the remaining lime juice and some sliced spring onion over the dish, and go pig out.

Vietnamese Tofu Triangles (Quick and EASY)
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 pkg firm tofu
    • some garlic, crushed
    • some ketchup
    • some water
    • some soy sauce
    • some olive oil
    • some powdered ginger or some pepper, or both
  1. Slice the tofu into triangles about a centimeter thick.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and throw the tofu triangles and garlic in there. Let the triangles get brown on the bottom, flip them, brown the second side.
  3. When they are brown, pour some soy sauce on them. Sprinkle them liberally with ginger.
  4. Add a little water if it's all starting to dry up at any point.
  5. After about five minutes of cooking them in the soy sauce, quit adding water and let things almost dry.
  6. Squirt some ketchup on them, as though they were eggs (assuming you like ketchup on your eggs.) Use enough but not tons.
  7. Let them cook another minute or two, then serve them (possibly over rice).
  8. Yum.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BBQ Chicken Ramen

So one of our favorite cartoon characters, Naruto, is always talking about how much he loves BBQ pork ramen. I got some chicken tonight, so I figured I could try it with chicken.

BBQ Chicken Ramen

3 Pkgs Ramen noodles (discard spices)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup bbq sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 prebaked chicken breast

Cut chicken breast to little pieces. Prepare ramen like usual, adding salt to water. Drain most of the water from the pan. Add bbq sauce, Worcestershire, and chicken. Mix it all together. Serve and enjoy.

I was worried about this one, but it actually turned out pretty good. The bbq sauce I used was too spicey, however, so that kinda turned the kids off after a few bites. Next time, will try more mild.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tonights Dinner

Potato Bacon Cassarole

1 1/2 large onions
1 tbs olive oil
3 cups water
chicken bouillon
Some cornstarch
12 slices precooked bacon
5 large potatoes
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Dice onions. Cook onions in skillet with oil until soft and starting to brown. Meanwhile, boil water and bouillon. Mix cornstarch with a little cold water and add to boiling chicken broth while stirring. Reduce heat and add caramelized onions. Simmer until thickened. Slice potatoes nice and thin. Spread a thin layer of the chicken/onion gravy on the bottom of a retangular baking dish. Put a layer of potatoes in the pan. Spread another layer of gravy on the potatoes. Tear a few slices of bacon into pieces and spread evenly. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over it. Repeat this process a few times until it is at the desired thickness. Last layer of potatoes, sprinkle Parmesan directly on top. Cover with foil and bake @350F for 45 min. Remove foil and bake another 15 min. Let sit a few minutes and then serve.

I've got kind of mixed feelings about this meal. Jana really liked it, as did Erika. I thought it was ok. Kendra doesn't like potatoes, so this was a no go for her. Beckra said it was so-so (in spanish, no less). If I do it again, I'd like to make some changes. The potatoes would be better peeled, I think, but that adds prep time. I'd like to make it creamier without added a lot of calories. Maybe use a skim-milk-based sauce instead of the basic gravy. If anyone has ideas, I'd be happy to hear it. :)

Pasta with Greens (Easy!)

I use this recipe ALL THE TIME. I like to use red kale, arugula, collard greens, or whatever greens I have around at the time. If you are using tough greens and want to cook and soften the greens a bit more, put them in the colander and drain the pasta over them before putting everything back into the pot.

Pasta with Greens
Original recipe by E. Samara Watkiss (the friend who introduced me to R. Forrest Ethington)
Adapted for the page by Gretchen Krebs

Here’s an easy and delicious way to use bitter greens or slightly wilted lettuce without sacrificing nutrients. In this dish, the steam from hot pasta barely softens both the texture and taste of leafy greens. This recipe works well with chard, kale, and other bitter greens, as well as lettuces that have recently lost their crisp but have not begun to spoil. All of the ancillary ingredients are optional. Creative and curious chefs might want to try out other additions (such as cucumber or bell peppers) as well.

For four people (or two hungry folks) you will need:

8 oz. dried pasta, any shape
3 to 5 cups leafy greens
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
or 2 to 3 whole tomatoes
1 garlic clove
or about 2 inches of a garlic scape
4 oz. mozzarella cheese

A sprinkle of black pepper
A sprinkle of thyme

Boil or steam the pasta according to your usual methods.

As the pasta cooks, rinse the leafy greens and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Halve the grape or cherry tomatoes or, if you’re using whole tomatoes, chop them into small pieces. Chop, dice, or press the garlic according to your preference. Grate the mozzarella and set it aside.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return the hot pasta to the cooking pot. Immediately stir the tomatoes, garlic, and greens into the hot pasta. Wait just a few minutes as the leafy greens soften and the tomatoes warm up. Just before serving add the black pepper and thyme. Serve topped with grated mozzarella. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Swedish Almond Cake

Yeah, I know. I always make this one. It's my standby favorite because its so easy to make and I usually have all the ingredients. I usually double this one. I also recommend using a glass baking dish...

Swedish Almond Cake

1 cube butter, melted
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C flour
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp almond extract

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs until mixed in and then the flour. Add the extract last. Pour into a buttered pie pan (if you double this, use a 9 x 13 inch pan). Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until the edges are golden and it passes the toothpick test. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while it is still hot. Enjoy!!!

No Thought Needed Shepard's Pie

Most of what I make regularly is really flexible. Feel free to mix it up and do whatever. For the beef, we buy a big thing of ground beef and cook it up all at once. Then we separate it into ziplock bags that represent about a pound and freeze them. A lot of my meals use these as a foundation.

1lb browned ground beef (I just grab a bag from the freezer and nuke it for 2 min)
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
6 oz can of tomato paste
14 oz can of green beans drained
couple of cups of frozen corn
cheese (or not. depends on how healthy I'm making it)
a few cups of mashed potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Layer the ingredients pretty much in that order in a large pie dish or a square baking dish. I bake at 350F for about 20 min. Serve and eat.

Getting started

Hey everyone. I mentioned this to Jenny last night, but I thought it would be awesome to have a place where we can exchange recipes as a family. I know I could use some fresh ideas, and maybe some of you can too. I am not overly worried about format, or calories or how easy it is, etc. I know I have problems putting down amounts because I rely mostly on 'feel' (makes me not as good at baking :P). I figured I'd leave it to comments and replies if any clarification is needed.

I'll post the first recipe in a sec...