Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Favorites!

I have been a little AWOL lately. So sorry, busy full life. But I hope you all have an incredibly thankful Thanksgiving. This is my FAVORITE holiday!  Here are some of my FAVORITE Thanksgiving recipes! 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tomato Basil Bisque Soup

A great friend of mine made this UNBELIEVABLE soup for our Super Saturday last weekend and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Thanks Dalana!

1/2 c. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 c. leeks finely diced (white parts only)
1/4 c. carrots finely diced
1/4 c. celery finely diced
1/2 c. flour
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 c. cream
3/4 teas. worcestershire sauce
1-(15 ounce) can Italian style crushed tomatoes
1 Tblsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tblsp. basil, coursely chopped
3/4 teasp. rice wine vinegar
3 Tblsp. basil, julienned

In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add garlic, onions, carrots, leeks, and celery then cook until tender. Add flour to make roux, cook the flour for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add broth, cream, and worcestershire sauce. Return to heat add tomatoes, and honey, let simmer for 20 minutes. Mix in salt and pepper, basil and rice wine vinegar, then continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.  You can blend soup with a immersion blender or put it in a food processor for a creamy soup or leave chunky.  Serve with julienned basil.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Kill me now! because these are so darned yummy! Dangit, I hate it when I get one of those! HA HA I was sitting in an ortho appointment with Evan the other day and saw a recipe like this and thought I would give it a whirl. YUM! (Please do not hate me!)

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1/2 C butter soft
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 -10 oz package Reese Peanut Butter cups - coarsely chopped

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Cream egg, butter, vanilla and sugars together. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Fold in PBCups gently and scoop onto greased or lined baking sheet. Bake 350 10-11 minutes. I generally do 2 baking sheets at a time and it is literally 10.5 minutes. BUT DO NOT forget to shift racks 1/2 through your baking time if your makeing to trays at a time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Perfect Fall Pork Chops

6-8 pork chops
olive oil
3-4 fresh garlic cloves
3-4 shallots sliced into quarters
2 Cup baby carrots
3 red potatoes (sm-med)-cubed
1/2 - 1 small apple sliced
1/2 - 1 small pear sliced (remove skins optional)
fresh rosemary
fresh chives
fresh parsley
1/4 C butter
3/4 C brown sugar
4 Tlb dijon mustard
1-2 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper

Melt butter and brown sugar in a frying pan. Saute shallots, carrots, garlic, korsher salt and pepper approx 5 minutes then add potatoes, apples and pears and herbs for an additional 3-5 minutes until everything is well coated but not cooked tender.

Sear pork chops in a hot frying pan with 2 Tbl of olive oil and generous amounts seasoning salt and pepper until barely browned. Place in baking dish and pour vegetables and glaze over pork chops. Stir together 4Tbl Dijon mustard with a little apple cider vinegar (or water) just enough to make it thin enough to drizzle over pork chops and vegetables.  Snip fresh parsley and  rosemary on top and cover dish with 2 layers of foil.

Bake 400 for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 for 30-40 more minutes. Make sure pork chops are cooked throughout and are no longer pink.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lemon Herb Chicken Bake

I have been so busy lately that what I have been thinking about for meals are things I can put in one pan and run.... this is what I came up with and it was yum. I totally loved this. It is WAY easy, a no brainer. Sorry for the title, I am not in a very creative mood...

6-7 chicken breast thawed and trimmed
5-6 med red potatoes - quartered
1 C peas (frozen)

In a sauce pan combine the following and let simmer for 3-5 minutes
1/4 C butter
3 Tbl lemon juice
3 Tbl minced dried onion
1 Tbl Rosemary blend spice
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2+ tea lemon pepper
1 tea sugar
2/3 Cup 1/2&1/2

Sprinkle on right before baking
1/2 C fresh Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in baking dish, cover with red potatoes and peas and pour sauce over the chicken and vegetables and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered 400 approximately 40 minutes until bubbly and potatoes are browning.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Southwestern Lasagna

Southwestern egg rolls... lasagna style! Totally loved this!!! This is one to add to my SUPER FAVES for sure!

8 small flour tortillas
3-4 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (see tip here)
1/2 sweet onion (see tip here)
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
1 sm can diced green chilies (I puree these for the kids)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 C frozen corn
1 Can black beans
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 C water (as needed)
1/4 or less chopped cilantro (to taste for garnish)
3 C monterrey jack cheese - grated

Combine cooked chicken, onions, Rotel, green chilies and spices into a pan and saute. Let simmer until slightly bubbly. Then add corn, black beans and water if necessary to obtain a ever so slightly soupy consistency.

Lightly grease baking dish. Layer 2-3 tortillas on the bottom, cutting one in half if necessary to relatively cover the bottom of your pan. Scoop 1/2 chicken mixture on top of tortillas then with 1/2 monterrey jack cheese. REPEAT (tortillas, chicken mixture and cheese. Then with a pizza cutter slice 2 tortillas into little triangles, place on top of casserole and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with guacamole and sour cream or ranch dressing.

Preheat oven 350, bake 20 minutes covered and approx 20-30 more minutes uncovered.


Time Saving Cooking Tips

Buy a Extra Bag
When I am at Costco I like to buy an extra bag of chicken. Whne I get home I throw its entire contents in a large stock pot and boil the chicken. When it is cooked I remove it from the water, trim it, shred it and season it, then place it in Ziploc baggies to be placed in the freezer in 3-4 breast increments. I can not tell you how many times I have wanted to give myself a big hug for doing this. On days where I do not have very much time (most days), or an just tired (most days) I can whip something together. This is what I did today and was grateful I made the effort to do that in advance.

When onions are a good deal at the grocery store or if I just need a good cry, I will buy a big bag of sweet onions and come home and shred them all in my Cuisinart (food processor). I then bag them in 1/2 C to 1 C increments and freeze them. I LOVE THIS! I can kill two birds with one stone, kids love the flavor that onions bring and they cannot see them when they are shredded AND some days... I am not very motivated or have the time to finely chop an onion. It is ready when I want to throw it in to soups, sauces, or casseroles... This is a no brainer

Lemon Herb Rice

1 quart chicken stock
3 Tbl olive oil
1 C white rice
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 C chopped parsley
1 Tbl minced rosemary
1/4 tsp pure lemon extract
1/2 C grated fresh Parmesan cheese

In a medium sized frying pan heat oil until shimmering, add the rice and stir to coat. Gradually add a little chicken stock, stirring with a wooden spoon, until rice mixture leaves a clean trail in the pan after stirring, then add a little more stock. Continue that process until rice is thick and creamy and yields to a tender bite. Stir in herbs, lemon extract, 1/4 C Parmesan and the remaining stock to make a creamy consistency. Garnish with fresh chives and 1/4 C fresh Parmesan cheese.

Wonderfully served with grilled herb chicken.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cherry Almond Sugar Cookie

Some recipes I am reluctant to share... because they are SO good. This is one of those.We did these great cookies for a RS Visiting Teaching Conference and gave them as a gift to the sisters wrapped with ribbon in a cute cellophane bag and a quote. They turned out really good if I can say so myself :)

1 C Butter room temp (* see note)
1 C Sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 + tsp Mexican vanilla (**)
1/4 + tsp almond extract - high quality
4 C flour

Cream all liquids, add flour, do not over mix. Dough will be sticky. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on floured counter space and with cookie cutter cut in any shape you desire. Bake 375 for 9 minutes. These are intended to be thick gourmet cookies. You can roll them thinner if you would like, personally I prefer a big chunky cookie, then I can get away with heaping the frosting in them. Wait until cookies have cooled before piping frosting and best served chilled.

1 (+/-) bag of powdered sugar
2 sticks of butter - room temperature
1 1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla (**)
1/2 C milk
1/3 C pureed maraschino cherries with juices
1/2 tsp almond extract

(*) can also substitute with butter flavored shortening
(**) I am sorry here.... real vanilla is a must! If you do not have it, it is worth finding.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

These are wonderful and wonderfully easy cookies. Perfect for fall days ahead. Bonus there are low fat.

1 box spice cake mix
1 reg, size can pumpkin
2 Tbl water
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 Cup cinnamon chips (optional)
1/4 Cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 Cup chocolate chips (optional)
* I did all three chips.

Mix it all together, scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 350 for approx 20 minutes (depends on size of scoops) or until barely golden.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sodium Nitrate

Check this out.... very great information on sodium nitrate. I have always wondered about this and my sweet friend with a great blog wrote about it and I was glad she did.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

These are so simple and so tasty! My kids devour them. Whole wheat, no fat, no sugar, no salt, pure and simply yummy!

1 C Wheat (whole hard wheat)
1 C Milk
2 eggs
1/2 applesauce
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C buttermilk (1/2 C milk 1 tsp vinegar)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend on high and for 2 minutes. IF you do not have a "great" blender you will have to grind your wheat before putting the ingredients in blender. The batter will be thin but they puff up wonderfully. With these little yumminessess I never feel guilty smothering them with my Buttercream Syrup.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti

I was a little bored with the standard old spaghetti and this was what I came up with, it did the trick for me. It can also be done vegetarian style. Loved it!

Homemade Sauce
3-4 C whole crushed tomatoes (or 28oz can crushed tomatoes)
1 sml can tomato paste
1 can (4 oz) green chiles - mild
3/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp sage
pinch of bay leaves
1/2 tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
fresh basil to snip on top for garnish before serving
* place all ingredients in pan and let simmer on low for 1 hour. As with most sauces the longer it simmers the richer the flavor.

1lb natural ground turkey (optional)
1 med sized onion - finely chopped
* brown turkey with onion, drain and add to above sauce

1 small pkg whole wheat spaghetti noodles - boiled and rinsed

1 small zucchini - sliced
1/2 red bell pepper sliced
asparagus - not sure how to measure that one just, just do how ever much you like
* place sliced vegetables in one layer on cooking stone OR cookie sheet, drizzle olive oil on vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil on high for 7-10 minutes until slightly tender.

Serve spaghetti with sauce on top and garnish with vegetables, fresh basil and grated Parmesan.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peach Cobbler Trifle

This is a fun little creation. It was the perfect combination of trifle and cobbler. Perfect for summer.

2 sml pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 Cup sour cream
1 1/2 Cup milk
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
2 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 loaf pound cake
4 C Diced fresh peaches

1 C graham cracker crumbs
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C quick oats
1 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea nutmeg
dash of clove
6 Tbl melted butter
* stir together well and spread on cookie sheet and bake 350 until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cube cake into small bite size squares, set aside.

Whip heavy whipping cream until peaks. In a separate bowl whip milk, pudding and orange zest together until thick, fold in sour cream and once smooth fold in whipping cream.

Wash and slice peaches, stir in 1 Tbl lemon juice and 1+ Tbl sugar to keep them from browning. Set aside.

In Trifle dish layer cake, pudding,crumb mixture, peaches repeating until dish is full. Top with fresh peaches. Chill before serving. Peaches can brown easily so serve within a few hours of chilling.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Padang Salmon

We are not big fish eaters, we actually rather like fish I just do not especially like to cook it. This however... is WONDERFUL! A perfect summer time dish that is SO good for you too.

1 C Soy Sauce
1 C Padang Sauce
6 Tbl honey
1/4 tea cayenne pepper or Tabasco (optional, this will give it a kick)
sesame seeds

1/2 pkg whole wheat spaghetti noodles
2 romaine hearts chopped
1 handful of spring mix (optional)

Divide the marinade and reserve 1/2 for serving. Marinade the salmon over night in glass dish. When ready to grill, place fish in layered foil pour marinade juices over top and fold up tight to avoid leakage while on the grill or oven. Place in grill on med heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot over chilled lettuce and noodles. Drizzle sauce on top.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Chicken Salad

Thanks Mama for this goodie!

8 oz Pasta - boiled and drained
1-2 C chicken - cooked diced and well seasoned
1 -2 stalk celery - sliced
1 C red (crunchy) grapes - sliced into halves
1/2 C sweet onion - finely chopped
1/2 large apple - diced with or without peel

1 C Mayo
1 C Ranch dressing
1/2 tsp OR T.T. garlic salt/seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of dill
dash of parsley

Blend dressing well and pour over salad. Let chill min 2 hours before serving.

Favorite Dinner Toast

Unfortunately this is a perfect compliment to any meal :)

Store bought French Bread
Salad Supreme
melted butter
topped with fresh Parmesan

Broil until bubbly. Serve hot.

( I love Salad Supreme, it is my favorite spice for bread sticks. You can find it in the blended spices area at your grocery store.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

I previously posted this recipe but I adapted it just a smidgen and took a new and improved photo. These are great cookies! Soft and chewy with a little tiny crunch, one of my Favorites!

1 stick (soft) butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 (+) Tbl water (the amount of water will vary depending on the consistency/temperature of your butter and also the size(volume) of your egg.)

1/2 C Rice Crispy Cereal
1/2 C White Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Quick Oats
1 1/2 C Flour
3/4 tea Baking Soda
1/4 tea Salt
1/4 tea Baking Powder
3/4 C Chocolate Chips

In bowl combine and cream together sugar, butter, vanilla and egg then add dry ingredients and mix well. If you are doing a cookie jar layer in order (minus the wet ingredients of course). These are great gifts!

Preheat oven and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, don't over cook.

* NOTE - I have done these in advance and used my cookie scoop to place drops on a parchment lined cookie sheet and froze them. You can take them straight from the freezer and bake. My only word of caution is that when you freeze them they loose a little moisture and have a tendency to not flatten out so lean more towards the 3 Tbl water if you are going to freeze them. When frozen they are fantastic treats when you are in a hurry or have an urgent craving!

I love these!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Natty Cakes

I made this cake for one of my oldest and very best friends for her birthday. I even named it after her and it is almost as sweet as her. This is what she said was her favorite cake and this is what I came up with. It reminded me of one giant cupcake. I think it turned out great!

White Cake from Scratch

2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 handful of white chocolate chips (optional)


Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir wiht a fork until well mixed. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up to peaks. Cream butter, vanilla and almond extract gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add meringue, and fold thoroughly into batter. Spread batter into a WELL greased pan of choice. I prefer the deep 9" round pan but a bunt also works well. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 2 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack, wrap in saran wrap and let finish cooling. If you have time place cake in freezer until frozen, then remove and frost as desired.

White Chocolate Cake - Easy Version

1 pkg white chocolate pudding mix - instant
1 box white cake mix
1/2 C water
1/2 C applesauce (or oil)
4 large eggs
1 C sour cream
1 handful white chocolate chips (optional)

Bake 350 approx 40 min


2 packages chocolate pudding - instant
1 1/4 cup cold milk
Blend well and set aside


you can either use Cool Whip and real whipping cream
2 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/3 C powdered sugar (to taste)
1 tea vanilla
Blend until stiff

Top cake with thick layer of pudding and then a think layer of whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Pretty much one of my favorite things to munch on.

Baked with Parmesan cheese on top

Baked without Parmesan cheese on top

In a sauce pan, combine the following ingredients on med/low heat

8 oz cream cheese
2 Tbl dried onion
1/3 C light Mayo
1/3 C 1/2 & 1/2 (or milk)
1/2 tea lemon pepper
dash of sugar
dash of Tabasco
1/2 tea garlic salt (or to taste)
1+ C Parmesan cheese (fresh, grated)
10 oz package frozen spinach
1 C marinated artichoke hearts (optional)- pureed with an immersion blender then add to pan

Once all ingredients are warmed and smooth use your immersion blender to thin. You can blend this as much or as you like based on your preference. Personally I prefer it a little more on the smooth side. Bring to a slight boil and remove from stove. Pour into oven safe baking dish and top with more Parmesan cheese if you so desire. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden on top. Serve hot with dry seasoned baguettes, tortilla chips or crackers. Tasty!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tomato Basil Chicken with Parmesan Noodles

This was absolutely delightful. LOVED it! Will definitely do this little creation again.

Herb Chicken
4 Chicken breasts
1/4 C Dry herbs (rosemary, basil, oregano etc. - I have a few I really like I get at Costco that have combined herbs - anything like that will do)
sliced tomato

Basil Parmesan Sauce
1/3 C light Mayo
1/2 C fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic
fresh basil - 1 handful coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 C marinated artichoke - finely chopped (optional)

Thaw chicken, rinses and pat dry. Then roll chicken in herbs and place in lightly oiled pan. Place sliced tomato on chicken breast and scoop a dollop of basil parmesan sauce on top. Bake 350 covered 30 min and uncovered approx. 10 minutes. Serve on top of parmesan noodles (below).

Parmesan Noodles

Thin Spaghetti noodles
* once boiled and drained toss in
1 Tbl olive oil
garlic salt (to taste)
parmesan cheese (to taste)


Monday, May 4, 2009

Mini Cakes - Cinnamon and Chocolate

I did these a few weeks ago and loved them. I think it was the pan that made them so great. I am excited to do little min carrot cakes or zucchini cakes with a dollop of cream cheese frosting, YUM! Stay posted, I think this little pan will get its moneys worth.

1 1/2 stick soft butter
1 C sugar
3 eggs
2 C flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tea vanilla
3/4 C sour cream
1/4 tsp cardamon (heaping)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tea cinnamon


3/4 C flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
5 Tbl butter - cut into small pieces

Preheat oven 325. Mix streusel in bowl until crubly, no clumps of butter remain and set aside.

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add remaining ingredients and blend well, add sour cream last. Spoon batter into lightly greased pan (loaf pan, muffin pan or streusel pan shown below. Sprinkle streusel on top about 2 heaping tsp per cup. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick come out clean. Let cool in rack 10 minutes then remove from pan.

1 1/2 stick soft butter
1 C sugar
3 eggs
7 Tbl cocoa powder
2 C flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tea vanilla
3/4 C sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 handful of chocolate chips (you can even sprinkle s few on top for an added yummyness)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Café Rico Rice

After a little deliberation and a few trial and errors I decided to modify this rice recipe. I really like this one a lot. Tastes just like Café Rico rice... now if I could just figure out how to make their queso.

The original recipe called for 3 cups of rice and that makes A LOT of rice, however it does save well so I adapted that to make less rice. I also changed from using Japanese rice which was WAY to starchy to regular old Uncle Ben's rice or even the rice I had in my food storage from the dry pack worked great.

Café Rico Rice

* blend together in a small food processor
2 tsp garlic
3-4 sprigs of cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 can green chilies
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter
1/4 chopped onion
2 bouillon cubes

Blend all ingredients in blender then put in pan and add 3 cups water, bring to a boil add 1 1/2 cups rice, simmer covered 25 - 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Do not use the Japanese sticky rice, it gets TOO sticky. It works much better with plain old rice. Do not over cook.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pasta Salad

This is simple and easy. Pretty much the standard summer pasta salad except with homemade dressing.

red bell pepper
green onion
fresh basil
black olive
Parmesan (lots)

* Blend well
6 oz rice vinegar
4 oz veg oil
2 Tlb sugar
2 tea Italian seasoning
1/4 tea dill weed
1/4 tea pepper
1/2 tea dry mustard

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taco Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
1 sweet onion finely chopped
1 tea garlic
* saute until beef if browned and onions tender, drain if necessary, set aside.

1 can tomato paste
1 C water
1 sm can green chills (optional)
1 Tlb chili powder
1 Tlb taco sauce
1 Tlb dry ranch seasoning
1/2 tea sugar
1/2 tea pepper
1/2 tea garlic salt
1/4 tea cumin
* add to beef mixture and stir well

6 small flour tortillas
2-3 C monterrey jack cheese - colby jack will work ok too but prefer monterrey
1/2 can olives - thinly sliced
1 tomato - diced

In a round dish similar to a pie die but deeper or a rectangle glass Pyrex pan layer tortillas, meat sauce, cheese, olives tomatoes, repeat 3 times total. Bake covered at 350 for approx 30-40 minutes. Serve with sour cream, shredded lettuce, rice and chips.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Grilled Veggies

I could eat these everyday! Simple, easy, YUMMY!

Sweet onion
Yellow squash
Red bell pepper
olive oil
coarse salt
lemon pepper

Slice up into desired sizes and place in a large Ziploc bag. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper into the bag and toss around. If you are feeling fancy you can even do some rosemary (which I love).

Place in a 2 sided fish rack for the grill or on a Pampered Chef Stone and broil - 7 min - Thanks Natty for that idea. Don't over cook, watch closely so it doesn't burn.

VARIATIONS: Toss in a little teriyaki sauce and add pineapple... totally yummy!

Rosa Chicken and Pasta

This was a new spin on an old favorite. I had forgotten how yummy it was and I even made it simpler! As many of you know, life is busy for me right now and simplification seems to be a reoccurring theme but I am too stubborn and picky to compromise GOOD FOOD! This meal is the essence of simple yet delicious and very healthy for you. From walking in the door it was done and ready to eat in 15 minutes

2 Chicken breasts
(* HINT - I had previously boiled some frozen chicken breast, seasoned and diced it and put in freezer bags and froze for a busy day... it made this meal a snap!)
Pasta of choice - boiled and rinsed
1 can of organic marinara sauce
2 C organic spinach (I am a spinach girl!)
1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese
(season with salt, pepper and sugar if necessary)

Seriously... it can not get easier than this. Boil the noodles and set aside. In a sauce pan place marinara sauce and frozen chicken into sauce, bring to a slight boil, add cooked pasta and toss. Immediately before serving add fresh spinach and parmesen, serve with fresh french bread (it you have time :) Yummy!

Sour Cream Waffles

I love breakfast... If I can ever break away from my spinach shakes in the morning we love waffles. The other day I got Ratatouing (is that a word? If not is should be) in my kitchen and this is what I created, nothing fancy, quite simple actually but yummy. Did I mention we love breakfast?

2 1/2 C flour
1 tea salt (heaping)
4 tea baking powder
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs - separated, whip whites until fluffy and fold into batter
1 1/2 milk
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C butter (melted)
1 tea vanilla

Put all ingredients into blender and whip. Hold egg whites until very end and carefully fold in until well mixed. OF COURSE, serve with my Buttercream Syrup!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sweet BBQ Chicken

1 package dry Lipton Onion Soup mix
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tea pepper
1 tea garlic
2-3 C BBQ sauce
1/4 C honey

5-6 chicken breasts

Combine BBQ sauce, onion soup mix, pepper, garlic, honey together pour over raw chicken breasts and top with brown sugar. Bake 350 30-40 min until bubbly and chicken is cooked throughout. You can even do this with frozen chicken but bake time would be approx 60 minutes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cream Corn

Yummy, Nummy to my tummy!

1 C sour Cream
1 C 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 C milk
1/3 parmesan cheese
1 tea dried onion
1/2 tea lemon pepper (or pepper)
1/2 tea garlic salt
2 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl flour
1 Tbl butter (melted)

3-4 C frozen corn

Put all ingredients into blender and blend well then pour over frozen corn. Bake 350 for 30-40min until bubbly. You can also cook on the stove top, just bring to a boil on cook top only for a few minutes then serve! Corn should be a little soupy/runny. In the photo above the corn was a little over cooked so it was not as "soupy" but still tasted wonderful!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jens White Bread

Bread is my thing. I LOVE IT! It is tradition here at our house, every time I make jam which I have done a couple of times recently, homemade bread is a must.

1 C Water
1 1/2 C Milk
1 stick of butter
6 C flour
1 tea salt
1/2 C sugar
1 Tlb yeast

Melt butter and add water, milk butter and sugar together in microwave or stove top, heat until very warm but not hot. Add 4 C flour to mixer then pour liquid in and mix 1 minute then add yeast, let mix for 2 minutes add remaining flour and salt, let knead for 5-8 more minutes. Remove from mixer and let rise in a greased pan, cover with a damp cloth until dough doubles. Removed from pan onto a well floured counter space and make bread loaves as desired. Place loaves into greased bread pan and bake 325 until golden brown. Removed from oven and let cool slightly and remove from pan, let cool completely on wire rack until ready to bag.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Italian Chicken Stew

2-5pm church led to the creation of this yummy Crockpot delight.

3 frozen chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken
1 can milk
1/2 bottle lite zesty Italian dressing
3 potatoes - peeled and diced
1 1/2 C baby carrots
1 onion - sliced and diced
1/4 tea basil
1/4 tea thyme
1/8 tea oregano
1/2 tea pepper
1/2 tea seasoning salt
2 chicken bouillon cube

Toss all these ingredients in the Crockpot, pouring Italian dressing on top and run. Let stew for 5-6 hours on medium heat

Fabulous French Dip

This is a savory wonderful meal. I love it all loaded up but the virgin style sandwich at bottom is wonderful also, with or without Au Jus, is makes my mouth water.

1 Flank steak
1 okg Liptons Onion soup mix
1 cup water
* Bake flank steak at 250 covered for 3 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, shred with fork and let rest, it should virtually shred on its own.

In sauce pan combine the following:
1 pkg brown gravy mix
1 C water
1 C diced tomatoes slightly pureed (8 oz)
1 Tbl dried onion
1 tea sugar
1 garlic glove
dash of lemon pepper
dash of seasoning salt
1 beef bullion cube
* Bring to a slight boil then add shredded beef and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.

1 sweet onion - thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper - thinly sliced
2 tbl olive oil
* Saute in frying pan

Monterrey Jack cheese - shredded

Au Jus prepared as directed

Serve on soft hoggie roll, lightly buttered and toasted. Garnish with peppers, onions and cheese if desired and Au Jus on the side.


*** VARIATION - This can also be done in the Crockpot. Bake steak (can even be done the night before), shred and place all ingredients including raw peppers and onions in Crockpot, let stew for a minimum 2-3 hours.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mandarin Pasta Salad

This is an adapted recipe that came from an old friend years ago and for some of you old timers a similar version was in my Farkle recipe book also. I love it, it is a perfect combination of flavors, one of my favorite pasta salads.

1 tsp Fresh Ginger Root – peeled &finely chopped
1 Garlic clove - minced
1/3 – ½ C. Rice vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
¼ C. Orange Juice
¼ C. Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbl soy sauce
juice of one lime or lemon
1 pkg Lipton’s Onion Soup mix
2 tsp Sugar

Wisk or blend together ginger root, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soup mix and sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

8 oz. Bow Tie Pasta – Al Dante and cooled
½ Cucumber- scored and thinly sliced
½ C. Red Bell Pepper – diced
½ C. Red Onion – coarsely chopped
1 pkg (6oz) Baby Spinach leaves
1/2 C Chinese pea pods
2 Tbl cilantro (optional)
1 Can (11oz) Mandarin Orange
2 C. Chicken – Cooked and diced
½ C. Slivered almonds – toasted

Mix salad ingredients together and gentle toss, reserve the spinach, place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour chilled dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pretty Puff Balls

Thanks to my super friend Natalie C. who know how to throw a serious party, did these oh so cute puff balls for her sons birthday party last week and then gave me the great idea to do them too. I loved them and they were super easy to make and made the room look so festive. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her great party decor secrets.

Instructions for 1 puff ball

10 sheets of colored tissue paper
fold in 1 inch accordion style, length wise
tie tightly with wire in the middle
then fan our the tissue paper and
tie transparent string or ribbon in the middle and hand from ceiling.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

This is a WAY simple, not at all boring yet not too fancy either. Probably one that you have all done in some variety before but it is still one of our favorites. Great for busy days, prep early on in your day and eat when you can! We love it.

3-4 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken
2 1/2 C milk
1 C sour cream
1/2 tea garlic/seasoning salt
1/2 tea pepper
1 Tbl dried onion
2 bullion cubes

1 red bell pepper - finely chopped
3 celery stalks- finely chopped
5 green onion stalks- finely chopped
1 tomato - diced
1 can pineapple
1 can mandarin oranges
1 C Yoshidas Sauce
1 can crunchy chow mein noodles
2 C shredded cheese
coconut (optional)
slivered almonds (optional)

sticky rice

In a crock pot place frozen chicken, cream of chicken, sour cream, milk and spices together and mix, let cook slowly for several hours until chicken in cooked throughout and sauce is bubbly.

Serve over rice and chow mein noodles and top with garnishments of choice and drizzle with yoshidas sauce.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fresh Fruit Tart

This is one of my mothers recipes and is one of my FAVORITES! It is pretty much a summer dessert but in Austin, summer is right around the corner :)

3/4 C Butter soft
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C flour

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in flour and blend well. Press dough firmly into a round (12inch) pan or a 2 piece round pan with fluted sides. Bake 350 for 25 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and place pan on wire to cool.

1 10oz package vanilla milk chips
1/4 C heavy whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese - soft

Melt cream and vanilla chips together in microwave 1 minute, stir and add cream cheese heat again in microwave for 30 seconds. Beat well, until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled crust and let cool to set.


1/2 C pineapple juice
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 Tbl cornstarch
1/2 tea lemon juice

On stove top with medium heat, stir together sugar, cornstarch and juices, bring to slight boil and stir until thickened. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange fresh, thinly sliced, fruit on top of of filling then top with glaze. Place in refrigerator a minimum 1 hour and serve. YUM!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Super Soft Sugar Cookie

This great recipe came from my super friend Shelia. She is my go to "cookie lady" and I love her so. These are my favorite soft sugar cookies.

2 C sugar
1 C soft butter
2 eggs
1 tea vanilla
1 C sour cream
5 C flour
4 tea baking powder
1/2 tea soda
1/2 tea salt

Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Roll out dough on a floured counter top. Place cookie shapes on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 350 for 10 minutes then remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes and then remove from baking sheet to a wire rack, let cool before frosting.

Yields approximately 5 dozen

Cream Frosting
4 oz cream cheese
1/4-1/2 C butter
3 Tbl heavy cream/or milk
1 tea vanilla
powdered sugar (until desired thickness)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Mess Shish Kabob

Well marinated Shish Kabobs are about my favorite thing but the process is a little bit of a drag so years ago I came up with this tasty Shish Kabob without the stick and it is wonderful.

6 chicken breasts - boneless, skinless - OR - steak

1 1/2 C Yoshida sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tea garlic salt
1/2 tea pepper

1 bell pepper - thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion - thinly sliced
1 can pineapple chunks
2 tbl green onion - finely chopped
1 tbl olive oil

Marinate chicken breasts in 2/3 of marinate for minimum of 3 hours, reserve the remaining 1/3 to add to vegetables. Saute onions and peppers in olive oil when slightly tender pour in marinate, pineapples, green onion and mushrooms, let simmer for 5 minutes. On barbecue, grill chicken until cooked throughout and not longer pink. Remove from barbecue and place on a plate, garnish with vegetables and sauce.

VARIATION: chicken can be done in the broiler. Vegetables can also be grilled.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Favorite Panini

This is my most favorite Panini. It really is the BEST!

Multi Grain Bread
2 sliced of peppered turkey
2 slices of munster or havarti cheese
red bell pepper - thinly sliced
sweet onion - thinly sliced
1 tbl feta cheese
light mayo
dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Saute the bell peppers and onions on panini grill with salt and pepper. When tender remove and set aside. Lightly butter the outer sides of bread. Lightly spread mayo and mustard on insides and place on panini grill butter side down. Place a slice of cheese on each piec with cheese on and shut the panini grill on medium heat and let it sit until bread is slightly toasted.

VARIATIONS: These can also be done on a griddle.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Twice Baked Potato

This will make any steak dinner perfect. It is hard to beat a twice bake potato, yummers!

6 baked potatoes (makes 12 half's)
1+ C sour cream
4 oz cream cheese
4 Tbl butter
1/2 C parmasan
1/2 tea garlic salt (to taste)
1/2 tea pepper
1 C cheddar cheese
1/4 C green onion

Because you will not always be baking the same number of potatoes it is best to just tell you the ingredients and you can wing it "to taste". Adjust the measurements above depending on how many and what size of potatoes you are using.

Wash and scrub the raw potato throughly, pierce the skin, wrap in foil and bake the full potatoes at 425 until tender. Remove them from the oven, let cool. Once cooled down, slice length wise and with a spoon scoop out the flesh of the potato into a bowl, being very careful not to scrape too close to the skin. If you get too close to the skin it will cause tears in the pocket. Once all the flesh of the potatoes is in a bowl, add the above ingredients and mash together with a potato masher, mixture should be lumpy but creamy also. Spray the outer rim of the skins with water lightly and dip immediately into a shallow plate kosher coarse salt and refill the potato skin with the potato mixture. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese and a dash of garlic salt and bake 350 for 20--30 minutes until heated and cheese is melted and bubbly. These can also be prepared ahead and frozen. When ready to eat remove from freezer, let thaw and bake as directed above.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yukas Bread

This recipe came from a sweet friend in our ward, Yuka. She is famous for her bread and regularly drops off fresh loaves of homemade bread on members doorsteps. I think it is FABULOUS! Thanks Yuka for sharing!

2 1/2 C. Water
3 Tbl butter
3 Tbl milk
6 Tbl sugar
3 1/2 tea yeast
6 C flour (+)
3 tea salt

Combine the water, milk and melted butter in to mixer (Bosch). Add sugar, yeast and 1/2 of the flour, mix well then add remaining flour and salt for approximately 5-8 minutes. After kneading let rest until dough rises and doubles then transfer to flat surface and form into loaves. Let sire in loaf tins before baking. This particular dough is VERY wet so add a little flour as necessary especially when forming into loaves. Bake 325 for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Cranberry Beef Brisket

This is one of the fabulous recipes my mother made for all of us when we visited for New Years this year. It is fall apart moist with a zing of sweetness, it is pure wonderful!

2 C water
4 beef bouillon cubes
½ C frozen cranberry juice thawed (from concentrate)
1/4 C flour
* Use immersion blender to blend

1 onion – sliced
1 ½ T rosemary (fresh if available)
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 C dried cranberries
* Add to the above

Wait to add at the end (see below)
8 oz medium Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 C dried cranberries (in addition)

Place 1 or 2 beef brisket or London broil roast ( I have made it with both)– flat cut and trimmed into a large baking dish so that the meat can lay flat, salt and pepper both sides of brisket. Pour sauce over beef and cover tightly with heavy duty foil, bake 300 for 3 ½ hours. Baste with juices every hour. Remove from oven, transfer brisket to plate at let cool 1 hour at room temp. Strain debris and mushy cranberries from juices,  reserve stock and onion slices. Once cooled using an electric knife, thinly slice brisket across grain. If beef has not cooled completely you will not be as successful slicing, beef will likely shred. Once beef is sliced or shredded place onto a baking dish, pour juices and onions over meat. Top with mushrooms and cranberries and cover tightly. (Brisket can be prepared 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate.) Bake at 350 until brisket is heated throughout and mushrooms are tender, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if brisket has been refrigerated). Transfer sliced brisket and sauce to platter and serve.

VARIATIONS: You can use grape juice instead of cranberry and you can play with other kinds of dried fruit if preparing for a summer dish. Also you can substitute 1 C water and 2 bouillon cubes for 1 C dry red wine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sweet and Sour Pork

This is one of my favorite sweet and sour recipes. I got it from my sweet sis-in-law Natalie. She does it with meatballs below which are yummy but I like it with pork tenderloins too. I love it!

Marinate for pork
1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C honey
1 tea garlic
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tea pepper
Soak 2 pork tenderloins in marinate for 3 hours or over night. Place tenderloins in baking dish and pour marinate on top, sprinkle an additional 1/4 C brown sugar on top and bake 350 40-45 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 1/2 C brown sugar
3 Tbl corn starch
1 lg can pineapple chunks/tidbits
1 C vinegar
3 Tbl soy sauce
1 green & red bell pepper diced

Mix brown sugar & corn starch together, set aside. Mix pineapple, vinegar, soy sauce, heat to boil then add brown sugar & corn starch. Stir constantly, let thicken then diced bell peppers, let simmer for 5 minutes then garnish pork or add meatballs and serve with rice. NOTE: sometimes I double the sauce.

Meatballs (beef or turkey)
1 lb lean hamburger (or ground turkey)
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C milk
2 T onion
1 tea salt
1 egg

Mix together well and roll into 20 meatballs. Bake 350 for 20 minutes & turn over for another 20 min.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Perfect Chocolate Cake

This cake is reminiscent of a cake my mother use to make for me that I loved growing up. I love the whipped cream, it is moist, chocolaty but still light and fluffy.

Cake Batter
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 cups boiling water
* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 C applesauce
* 4 eggs
* 1 C chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Frosting
* 1 pint heavy whipping cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Buttercream Frosting
* 1/3 cup butter
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 or 3 (2 if you want a thicker cake) 9 inch round cake pans. Stir together the cocoa and boiling water from the first set of ingredients. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder) Mix only until combined. Divide evenly between the three prepared pans, and spread the batter out flat.
3. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool cakes on a wire rack. Remove only when cooled completely to avoid tearing of cake.

In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream and vanilla. When the cream becomes thick, add the confectioners' sugar and continue to whip until stiff but not too grainy. Divide into three parts and spread onto two of the cooled layers. Stack the layers onto a nice plate, putting the two creamed ones on the bottom. Place the plain layer on the top. If there is a hump on the top of the cake, trim it off with a long serrated knife. Frost the top with the remaining whipped cream (my favorite) or if you are in the mood for more chocolate you can frost the sides with chocolate buttercream frosting (direction below) and then top with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING with dollop of whipped cream
To make the frosting, beat the remaining ingredients, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and cocoa until light and fluffy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost sides of the cake, leaving a ridge that sticks up over the top edge. Spread the remaining cream filling over the top of the cake. Garnish with sprinkles, chocolate curls or seasonal fresh fruit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bread Making 101

I have been approached a few times recently about wanting some instruction and tips on making bread, so I thought I would publish a few thoughts pertaining to bread and bread making.

I have very fond memories of watching and occasionally helping my mother make bread. I have a deep rooted love for bread and bread making that most certainly stems from my mothers affection with such an art. We even now enjoy wonderful memories together making bread. My mothers technique is random and spontaneous however very intuitive. My childhood memories recall my mother just added “stuff” while making bread, she loosely measured (at best), never used a timer and rarely followed a recipe and did most everything by sight, smell and touch. So I guess by watching her, it embedded confidence in me at an early age that bread making was easy... which it really is.

I will preface this by stating that I am no "bread connoisseur" though I love bread and the process of making it, I am rather basic and have not ventured into more sophisticated breads thus the tips below are a few of the things I have learned and have shared during past bread making classes I have done.

Jens Basics of Bread Making

EXCESS FLOUR… The most common mistake in bread making is too much flour in the dough. Few recipes will say the exact amount of flour required because humidity and temperature will affect the amount you’ll need. With the exception of whole grains and stone ground flour which are reluctant to adsorb liquid (you must give them some time) and be conservative on the flour… you can always add more. My mother used to say when referring to dough "the wetter the better". This is possibly the most common mistake I find people make. Don't be afraid to get your hands messy.

INSUFFICIENT KNEADING… Kneading is very important because it starts activating the gluten in the flour. Gluten, when wet has the ability to stretch and make the elastic framework of dough. Any good “yeast risen” dough must be worked to elasticity. Properly kneaded dough (in addition to the other variables) will stretch like gum blown into a bubble. If the dough tears raggedly work it more.

LOW MOISTURE…. Avoid surface drying. Once the bread or dough has been shaped and set to rise, the surfaces must remain moist and soft. Moisture is a very important aspect in the rising of any dough. I oven use my wet hand and pat the top of the dough and then place a damp cheese cloth over the dough while it rises to facilitate proper rising.

LOW TEMPERATURE… There are 2 very important aspects to temperature while making bread, internal temp and external temp. When you heat your liquid, make sure it is very warm but NOT hot or it will kill your yeast. The heat will bring the internal temperature where it needs to be in order to rise properly. External temperature should also be warm. Yeast will respond best if external temperatures are approximately 85 degrees. If dough is kept from drafts and there is adequate heat and humility in your home it should abet rapid rising. You should see rising occur within 5-10 minutes.

RESERVE THE SALT FOR LAST... Salt will also kill the yeast and prevent the gluten from working the way it should. So knead your dough while it is very sticky and reserve the salt until the end when you knead in the remaining flour.

YEAST... Proof your yeast it you are insecure about it's activity, this will give you all the confidence you need to have beautiful, yummy bread. PROOF YEAST - 1/2 C warm water, 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbl yeast. Stir together and let sit for a few minutes, if the yeast is "good" it should get foamy and bubbly and can be added to your dough

DON’T BE AFRAID OF YOUR DOUGH .... Remember you’re the Boss!

Bread of every kind is a staple in our home. Someone once said "if you want your kids to talk to you… learn how to make homemade bread!" I am convinced that there is a physiological response to the smell of fresh baked bread and not only am I in love with the smell but the taste , texture and favor that explodes into my mouth with each bite. I am confident that one day, if my children are ever reluctant to come home (heaven forbid), they will certainly come back home for homemade cinnamon rolls, bread sticks and hot bread with homemade jam. It is a very effective and coercive tool... YES, manipulative but a very useful strategy indeed.
ADDITIONAL Tips for the discouraged bread maker.

Making yeast bread from wheat flour substitute sometimes causes trouble. The substitute flour lacks the gluten which makes the dough firm and elastic and the bread light and porous.

Two loaves of bread made from the same flour can be of a different color, taste and texture.

Good home made bread has a flavor and quality peculiar to itself. No baker has ever attained it.

To make good bread it is necessary to have good materials.

There is no single best way to make good bread.

Soft, pure water is best suited for bread making purposes. Hard water generally neutralizes to a certain extent the fermentation produced by the yeast.

Water makes a bread of good flavor and texture and white in color.

Milk makes a bread of good keeping quality, with a tender crumb, greater elasticity, and of a creamy color.

Buttermilk, Sour Milk, Whey, make a bread similar to bread made with milk, except that the bread has the characteristic flavor of the liquid used.

Potato or Barley Water give the same results as bread made with milk, with a slight difference in the texture (heavier).

Yeast should be fresh, live, growing and in clean condition.

Yeast must have a clean and acid odor.

Too much yeast gives an increase of volume in the bread and a more crumbly loaf with an inferior flavor.

If the quantity of yeast used is increased, the time required for rising is decreased; and as the quantity of yeast is decreased, the time required for rising is increased.

If too much time is consumed in the rising, the bread is apt to sour.

Too much baking powder will make a bread of insipid flavor.

Good results are obtained in bread making by using one tablespoon of sugar to each one pound loaf of bread.

Too much sugar in bread gives a toughness to both crumb and crust.

Cane sugar gives the most satisfactory results in bread making.

Good results are obtained in bread making by using twice as much sugar as salt.

Too much salt will increase the weight of the bread, make the loaf smaller, and the crust lose its golden brown color and become a dull gray.

Too much salt, even in slight quantities, interferes with the proper aeration of the dough.

Too much shortening in bread will make a heavy loaf.

Lightness of bread is determined by the size of the loaf in relation to its weight.

Elasticity in bread depends to a great extent upon thoroughness of baking.

Coarse grained bread is caused by over rising, insufficient kneading, or too much heat in the first period of baking.

Sour bread is the result of the overgrowth of the bacteria which cause fermentation.

Soggy bread may be due to a low grade of flour, dead or inactive yeast, old or moist baking powder, insufficient kneading, or improper raising or baking.

Streaky bread results when the dough is not properly kneaded, or when too much flour is used in handling or in shaping the dough and loaves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yahoo... I did it! I have been frustrated for years not being able to find a really good Chicken Tortilla Soup and so I made one up. I LOVE this one! Seriously!

3 chicken breast - boiled and shredded
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomato
1 can (10 oz) tomato w/ green chilies
1 can (7 oz0 Chilies
2 can cream of chicken
2 Tbl mesa flour (optional)
1 handful of tortilla chips
5 C water
4 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 tea pepper
1/2 tea garlic salt
1 1/2 tea cumin
1 Tbl chili powder
1 1/2 Tbl dried onion (or fresh equivalent)
1/4 tea lemon pepper
1 C apple juice
1 can (13 oz) black beans
1 can (11 oz) shoepeg corn
1 lime - juice
pinch of bay leaves
fresh cilantro

Combine the tomatoes, chilies, water, chips, flour and cream of chicken and use an immersion blender to puree the tomato chunks SLIGHTLY. Then add remaining ingredients and let simmer for at least 1 hour. I generally do this in my crock pot and let stew for many hours, the flavors mess and it is wonderful. Garnish with but not limited to; fresh tomatoes, avocados, cheese, olives, green onion, sour cream.

(VARIATION: I used my left over turkey in this and is was wonderful!)