Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Best Rice Pudding

I must admit that I am more of a cook than a baker. It's a weird thing that there's a difference, but I love cooking things. I love watching them change and become something different than the raw ingredients you start with. So even when it comes to desserts I love cooking them. I love eating baked goods, but when it comes to what I enjoying making myself - it's the cooking process I love. So anywho, cooking pudding is one of the most satisfying cooking experiences out there. In this recipe you start with 8 cups of liquid and during the process of making it it becomes thick, creamy, and gorgeous. Sure it takes some time, but all the best things take time and this is one of them. If you like classic rice pudding this the recipe for you! You can serve it warm or cold and you can certainly add raisins if that's your thing. It's really delicious and well to me it's the perfect dessert.

The Best Rice Pudding

6 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup uncooked medium grain rice (I used Calrose)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (if using regular salt use less)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large saucepan, add the milk, cream, rice, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender and the pudding has thickened, about 20 - 25 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and stir.

Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for 1 hour or overnight. Serve warm or chilled with a light sprinkle of cinnamon.

Makes 8, 1/2 cup servings

Monday, February 13, 2017

One-Pot American Goulash

This yummy, easy dinner is an American classic. And it's a one pot 30 minute meal. Yay! I have another recipe on here called macaroni and beef which is very close to this, but I love that you can cook this recipe so quickly all in one pot, so I make this one more often. I'm not sure were I got the original recipe, but I have seen so many on Pinterest. I served this with some cheese on top and homemade French bread and my family loved it.

One-Pot American Goulash

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups beef broth or water
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
2 cups elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep skillet brown the ground beef and onion until onion is tender and beef is cooked through. Drain excess fat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheese on top if desired.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Sweet & Saucy Meatballs

I got this recipe years ago from my friend Brenda. We made crockpots of these meatballs using her recipe for a church activity. Its a great recipe to make in bulk to feed a lot of people because it's so easy. The meatballs taste like a cross between sweet and sour and barbecue meatballs. It comes out super yummy. I used a bag of frozen Swedish style meatballs, but you can also use Italian style meatballs and it tastes great. I served the meatballs and sauce over rice with veggies on the side and it was an easy weeknight meal that my whole family enjoyed.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Saucy Meatballs

2 lbs frozen meatballs
12 oz bottle chili sauce
1 cup grape jelly
cooked rice, for serving

Place frozen meatballs in a non-stick sprayed slow cooker. In a bowl whisk together chili sauce and grape jelly; pour over the meatballs. Cook on low for about 5-6 hours or until hot. Serve meatballs and sauce over rice.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Candied Pecans, and Honey Vinaigrette

This is a simple and delicious salad. I love the combination of the pears, pecans, and feta. I made this salad for our Christmas Eve dinner. The vinaigrette is also a great sweet and sour dressing that would go well with any mixed greens salad. I got this recipe from The I Heart Naptime Cookbook - which is a fantastic cookbook.

Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Candied Pecans, and Honey Vinaigrette

1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups spring mix (about 1 reg size prewashed bag)
4 cups baby spinach (about 1 reg size prewashed bag)
1 large pear, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries and blueberries (or just 1/3 cup dried cranberries)
3-4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

In a non-stick skillet combine the pecans and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and coated the pecans. You want to cook it on medium low and make sure you remove from heat before the sugar burns.

In a mason jar with a tight lid combine oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Screw on the lid tightly and shake until all ingredients are fully combined.

In a large bowl mix together the salad greens. Pour dressing over and toss. Add pears and toss gently. Top with cranberries/blueberries and feta. Serve.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We've been having a lot of new chicken dishes lately! And fruity ones too! Any saucy chicken over rice is a hit at this house so I keep trying new recipes that have that basic theme. My family loves it. This pineapple chicken is fantastic. It is pretty much pineapple sweet and sour chicken. The recipe is again from Jamie Cooks It Up - I love her recipes. I served it with some humble green beans and everyone loved this dinner. This one is definitely worth a try if you need a new chicken recipe.

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken

5 chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
3 tablespoons oil (avocado, canola, etc.)
1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits
1 1/4 cup pineapple juice (the juice from the can plus enough water to equal 1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
sliced green onions, optional for topping

In a dish mix together the flour and lemon pepper. Cut the chicken breasts into strips. Dredge the chicken strips in the flour mixture and place on a plate.

In a hot skillet heat 3 tablespoons of oil. In batched brown the chicken in the oil on both sides. Place browned chicken strips in a non-stick sprayed 9x13 baking dish.

In a saucepan combine pineapple juice (set the pineapple chunks from can aside for now), apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, bouillon, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk until combined. Heat and bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour 2/3 of the sauce over the browned chicken in the baking dish.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and spread pineapple chunks evenly over the chicken. Pour the rest of the sauce over all and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced green onions if desired before serving over rice.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Amber's Breadsticks

These breadsticks are absolutely fantastic and really easy to make. They are baked in melted butter and wow does that make them delicious!! I have been making these for a number of years, but realized I never wrote the recipe down with pictures. I usually serve them with Italian dinners or soups. Please do give this recipe a try - it's pretty much fail proof!

Amber's Breadsticks

1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
garlic salt
grated Parmesan cheese

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast, sugar, and very warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to foam.

Add 2 cups of flour and salt and mix with dough hook for a minute. Add enough additional flour, a little at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer (I added 1 1/4  cups of additional flour). Knead with the dough hook on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Place 1/2 cup butter on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place in the oven as it preheats to 400 degrees, being sure to watch it so the butter doesn't brown. As soon as the butter is melted remove from oven and tip the pan back and forth to spread butter evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Punch down the dough and roll into a long rectangle on a floured surface. Cut dough into strips with a pizza cutter. Take a strip, fold in the middle and twist, pinching together the ends of the dough. Place the twisted dough pieces evenly onto the butter covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Skinny Orange Chicken

This delicious orange chicken recipe is from Gimme Some Oven and it's a lot healthier than the orange chicken at Panda Express and I think my kids liked it just as much (well maybe not my 12 year old who is obsessed with Panda Express). I thought the sauce was just a little too thick so I cut down the amount of cornstarch - if you like a thick sauce add another tablespoon. This was a fast dinner to get on the table if you cook your rice ahead. Yay for fast tastey recipes!

Skinny Orange Chicken

5 chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil (avocado, canola, olive oil...)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch red pepper flakes
sliced green onions, optional for topping
toasted sesame seeds, optional for topping

To make orange sauce: In a bowl whisk together garlic, orange juice, orange zest, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, pepper, ginger and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add chicken and stir fry for 4-6 minutes or until browned and nearly cooked through. Pour in the orange sauce and stir to combine. Let the sauce come to a boil, turn down heat to a simmer and let simmer, stirring, for a few minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.