Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cranberry Pork Roast

I got this recipe from Carolyn and it was the main dish at my Relief Society's Christmas dinner this month. It's a great recipe! And it's another crockpot recipe - yay! My family really enjoyed it tonight.

Cranberry Pork Roast

3 lb boneless pork loin roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1, 16 oz can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon orange zest (the zest from 1 orange)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

If necessary cut roast in half to fit into crockpot. Place in crockpot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Remove roast from crockpot and slice or break into serving size pieces. Serve with sauce made out of juices (directions below).

Strain juices from crockpot into a saucepan. Thicken strained juices with 1 tablespoon Ultra Gel or about a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with cold water and bring to a boil. Serve this with the pork.

My Potato Casserole

Tonight I came up with a "Funeral Potatoes" casserole that I really like. I used O'Brien Potatoes as the base and they are great because they already have the added flavor of onions and bell peppers mixed in with the potatoes. Wow, this casserole is rich though. Tonight we had it with Cranberry Pork Roast and it was a great side for pork.

My Potato Casserole

28 oz package frozen O'Brien Hashbrown Potatoes (cubed potatoes with peppers and onions), thawed
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups corn flakes, crushed

In a large bowl combine thawed O'Brien potatoes, sour cream, cheese, and soups. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a bowl combine crushed corn flakes and melted butter. Sprinkle corn flake mixture evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

Christmas Lunch

This really isn't a recipe, but I thought I'd share with you our traditional Christmas lunch. Every year we lay out a blanket in front of the Christmas tree and have a picnic with: sliced summer sausage (Hickory Farms of course, because it's SO good), crackers, a variety of cheeses, Hot Sweet Mustard (Hickory Farms too), and oranges. We all look forward to it. It is probably my favorite Christmas tradition.

This year's cheeses: Colby Jack, Butter Kasse (my favorite!), Gouda, and Brie

This year's Sausages: Beef Summer Sausage and Ham Sausage (ham sausage was a hit with the kids)

Christmas Morning Monkey Bread

I've tried a couple of different versions of this recipe, but this year I actually measured out everything the way we like it. These yummy pull-apart caramel rolls are one of my favorite things about Christmas morning. Since you make it the night before and it's ready to bake as soon as you wake up it's perfect for breakfast on Christmas and smells so good as it bakes. The rolls end up tasting almost like doughnuts. Mmmmm! Oh and of course you could make these during the day also, just let the rolls rise for about 8 hours before baking.

Christmas Morning Monkey Bread

15 frozen Rhodes Rolls dough balls
1 small package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

At about 11pm the night before:
Grease a bundt pan very well. Place frozen dough balls evenly around the inside of the pan (it doesn't look like enough rolls, but they rise a lot overnight). Sprinkle butterscotch pudding mix over the rolls. In a saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon if using and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the rolls. Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and place in a cold oven to rise overnight (rises for about 8 hours).

At about 7am the day of making:
Remove plastic wrap from pan. Turn the oven to 350 and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. (I put the rolls on the bottom rack for half the time to make sure the bottom browns.) Turn rolls out carefully onto a large plate or platter. Pull rolls off and enjoy.

*You can also make a glaze out of powdered sugar, a little melted butter, and milk to drizzle over the finished rolls. Makes them even more decadent and delicious.

Stained Glass Jello

Every Christmas Eve we seem to have a different Jello dish and this year was Stained Glass Jello. It looked so pretty on the plate! You can make it for different occasions with different flavors/colors of Jello.

Stained Glass Jello

4 small boxes of Jello (I used 2 lime and 2 cherry for Christmas)
1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 envelopes Knox gelatin

For each box of Jello, dissolve Jello mix in a bowl with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir for 2 minutes. Pour into a loaf pan to set (this helps get the right size of Jello cubes). Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 2 hours. Repeat with all boxes of Jello.

After Jello is set cut the Jello into small blocks. Carefully mix the blocks in a 9x13 baking dish. Place in the refrigerator.

In a medium bowl sprinkle the 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin into 1/2 cup of cold water. Let sit for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and dissolve gelatin in it by stirring. Add the can of condensed milk. Stir and allow to sit at room temperature until cooled. Pour cooled milk mixture over the blocks of jello in the 9x13 pan and chill until set or overnight.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Liz's Crescent Dinner Rolls

Oh man these rolls are SO good!! Tender and moist and fluffy and gorgeous. Seriously I love them. This recipe is my slightly modified version of "Liz's Crescent Dinner Rolls" from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner: Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week by Liz Edmunds. That is a really great cookbook full of great realistic home-cook recipes. My guess is that this dough would also make great pull-apart rolls if you just form it into 24 round rolls rather than crescents.

Liz's Crescent Dinner Rolls

5 - 5 1/2 cups bread flour (I used 5 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons SAF yeast or other instant yeast
1 cups milk, warmed
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter (for tops of finished rolls)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with dough hook, combine 5 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix briefly just to combine. Microwave milk for 1 minute to warm. Add warmed milk, warm water, canola oil, and eggs to the flour mixture and mix. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup more flour if needed to form a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (I used 1/4 cup more). Knead with dough hook on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Remove dough, form into a ball, and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Grease a 12-18 inch sheet pan and set aside.

Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a circle about the size of a dinner plate. With a pizza cutter cut dough into 8 equal wedges like a pizza. Roll up each dough triangle, starting at the wide end and tucking and pinching the end into the dough. Place the rolls point side down on the greased pan. Repeats with remaining dough. All rolls should fit onto the one sheet pan in 8 rows of 3 rolls.

Cover with a clean damp dish towel or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray. Let rise until doubled in size, about 35-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake rolls for 7 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven (this just helps the bottoms to brown). Move rolls to the middle rack and bake for 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden. Remove rolls from oven and brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Corn Flake Wreaths

I think these marshmallowy corn flake treats are super yummy! 2 of my children were not having anything covered in green goo, but the rest of us loved them. I hope someday they will be enjoyed at Christmas time by our whole family. At least everyone had fun making them and decorating them with red hots and mini m&ms.

Corn Flake Wreaths

8 cups mini marshmallows
6 tablespoons butter
green food coloring
5-6 cups corn flakes (I used 5 cups, but I think I'll use 6 next time)
non-stick cooking spray
red hots
mini m&ms

Set out a long sheet of wax paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large microwave safe bowl combine marshmallows and butter cut into small pieces. Microwave for 1 minutes. Stir. Microwave again for about a minute or until completely melted. Add about 15 drops of green food coloring. Stir in corn flakes until thoroughly coated.

Spray your hands with non-stick spray and plop large spoonfuls of corn flake mixture onto the wax paper. Put a hole in the middle of the mixture and stretch it out a little to form a wreath. Decorate with red hots and m&ms right away so they will stick. Let dry for about an hour and then eat. They store well for about 2 days before they get mushy.

My kids got a little crazy with the red hots and m&ms.:)

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend Carolyn's cooking blog and it was very yummy. It is a slightly different version of the Creamy Italian Chicken that I make a lot. I really liked this - the butter I think gives it great flavor! Thanks Carolyn for another great recipe!

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

4 chicken breasts
5 tablespoons butter
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4-5 oz cream cheese. softened

Combine chicken, Italian dressing mix, and butter in a crockpot. Cook on high for about 3 hours or low for 4-6 hours. An hour before serving remove chicken and shred it, then put it back in the crockpot and mix in with the seasonings in crockpot. In a bowl mix soup and cream cheese and add to the chicken in the crockpot. Heat through and serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

We are going to have ourselves a smallish Thanksgiving-like meal for our Christmas Eve dinner. My husband is brining a turkey again (yay!) and we're going to have our favorite sides and dessert. Should be yummy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This is a great creamy chicken soup. I really enjoyed it as did my whole family. I think we're having soup at least once a week these days so I was happy to come across this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe. Really really good!

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 cups chicken broth
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup milk (could use cream or half and half if you want a richer soup)
4 tablespoons flour
8 oz cream cheese
3 cups cooked and cubed chicken

In a soup pot melt butter. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook another minute or so. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In a bowl whisk together milk and flour. Add to soup, stirring well. Add chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until soup thickens.

Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 35 seconds. Add softened, nearly melted, cream cheese to the soup and mix it in well. Heat through and season with salt and pepper.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

My kids love this bread, especially for toast with a smear of butter. I will go a little easier on the cinnamon next time, but even as is it was wonderful. This bread would also be wonderful plain - it is a very moist light bread - I loved the texture.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

7 - 7 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 rounded tablespoons SAF yeast (or other instant yeast)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm milk (or 1/3 cup powdered milk added to 1 1/2 cups warm water)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup raisins
water in a spray bottle

In the bowl of an electric mixer (I use a Bosch) combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix to combine. Add milk, water, and shortening and mix well making sure shortening is incorporated completely. Add about 5 to 5 1/2 cups more of flour, until the dough comes away cleanly from the edge of mixing bowl, don't add too much flour as you want a nice moist dough. Add raisins and knead with dough hook on high for 5 minutes.

Place dough in a oiled or non-stick sprayed bowl and cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 30-40 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll out each part into a small rectangle and spray lightly with water. Sprinkle cinnamon onto wetted dough and roll up lengthwise pinching seams together and tucking in the ends to form a loaf. Place each loaf into a greased loaf pan and let raise until it comes up an inch or so over the pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden. Brush tops with melted butter if desired.

Mint Chocolate Covered Ritz Crackers

I know this sounds weird, but I love this little Christmasy treat! The mint and chocolate and crispy crackers all go together so well. Almost like Thin Mint cookies. Thanks to my friend Sadie who came up with this recipe!

Mint Chocolate Covered Ritz Crackers

14 oz bag dark candy coating chocolate (I used Wiltons Candy Melts Dark)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Ritz crackers
sprinkles (I used peppermint flavored sprinkles)

In a microwave safe bowl microwave candy coating chocolate and peppermint extract in 30 second intervals, stirring between times, until melted. Dip crackers in chocolate, using a fork or a candy coating tool, turning to cover. Tap off excess chocolate and place on waxed paper to let chocolate set. Sprinkle with sprinkles while chocolate is still wet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet Cherry Cheese Ball

Ooh oooh! This recipe is awesome! I think it's from The Sister's Cafe. We had it as an appetizer at Thanksgiving and it was actually my daughter's favorite Thanksgiving dish. It tastes kinda like cheesecake on a cracker. Mmmmm.

Sweet Cherry Cheese Ball

8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
8 maraschino cherries, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Place block of cream cheese on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds. In a bowl combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Blend well. Stir in chopped cherries and coconut. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Shape cream cheese mixture into a ball and roll in chopped pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Serve with crackers.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge

My search for the perfect fudge recipe has ended! Oh my this is the BEST fudge!! Sorry for shouting. It is just that this is the creamiest most wonderful fudge. I got the recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up. She has great recipes on her blog. I plan on putting this on my Christmas treat plates.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge

4 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup butter
2 large (4.4 oz each) Hershey Chocolate Bars, broken up
1, 11.5 oz package milk chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
1, 7 oz jar marshmallow cream

In a large saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate bars pieces, chocolate chips, and marshmallow cream. Mix well so all the ingredients are combined and smooth. Pour fudge into a well buttered 9x13 pan. Let fudge set and cool for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap touched the entire surface of the fudge. Cool completely, cut into squares and serve.

*Fudge is best within the first 2 days of making it as it dries out with time.

Good Eats Brined Turkey

This is the best turkey!! Seriously I am a huge fan of brining now. The recipe is from the Food Network show Good Eats. My husband did all the work - brining, washing, roasting. He did a great job. Really really good!

Good Eats Brined Turkey

14 pound frozen young turkey

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage leaves
canola oil


2-3 Days Before Roasting:
Begin thawing turkey in the refrigerator.

1 Day Before Roasting:
Combine vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from heat and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

16 Hours Before Roasting:
Combine the brine, and ice water in a 5 gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey, with innards removed, breast side down in the bucket with the brine. If necessary weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed. Cover and refrigerate for 8-16 hours (we did 16 hours), turning bird half way through brining.

At Roasting Time:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove bird from brine and rinse the inside and outside with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast. Set temperature alarm for 170 degrees (Alton Brown sets it for 161*, but we did 170*). Take bird out of oven when it reaches 170, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the sweet potato casserole recipe that we made for Thanksgiving and it turned out so well. I must admit I'm not usually a fan of candied yams or sweet potato casseroles but I liked this one a lot. It will be our go to sweet potato casserole from now on.

Sweet Potato Casserole

5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
pinch of cinnamon
1, 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.

Place sliced sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and mash.

Place mashed sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl and mix in butter, brown sugar, orange juice and cinnamon. Spread evenly into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with mini marshmallows. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through, and marshmallows are puffed and golden brown.

Green Bean Casserole

I love this ubiquitous Thanksgiving side dish. It is so good! I know it isn't exactly gourmet, but it's homey and creamy and crunchy.

Green Bean Casserole

1 big can (28 oz) cut green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/3 cups french fried onions

Combine soup, milk, and pepper in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, mix well. Stir in green beans and 2/3 cup french fried onions. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Stir. Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake for 5 minutes or until onions are golden.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

I did not make this on Thanksgiving. We are canned jellied cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving people. But, ironically, I did make it a short time after Thanksgiving to go with Swedish meatballs and it was super yummy. The tart orange flavor goes well with a mellow main dish like meatballs.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

3/4 cup water
1 orange, zested and juiced
2/3 cup sugar
12 oz fresh cranberries

Combine water, orange zest, orange juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cranberries and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, until cranberries have popped and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Sauce will thicken more as it cools. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

For the first time in my life I am going to be making a real Thanksgiving dinner this year. Shocking. I know. I love food and cooking, but for some reason this holiday has always been too intimidating for me. And I refuse to touch raw turkeys, so that also makes it kinda difficult. So. In years past we've eaten Thanksgiving with extended family on those years we lived near them, bought prepared meals from Boston Market and Safeway, gone out to restaurants, and for I think 3 years running, when we lived on the East Coast, we went to Medieval Times (that was awesome!). Well this year I decided to confront my fears and make a for really reals Thanksgiving dinner. (Although my husband will be the one handling the raw turkey.) Here's my menu:

  • Cherry Cheeseball with Assorted Crackers
  • Munchie Tray: Olives, Mini Pickles, Baby Carrots and Ranch Dip
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Turkey (Alton Brown's "Brined Turkey")
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • Corn
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (my hubby's favorite)
  • Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  • Manly Pasta Salad
  • Lion House Rolls and Butter
  • Cranberry Sauce (the jellied kind in the can - I love that stuff!)
Beverages: Apple Cider, Sprite, and Milk

  • Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
  • Chocolate Pie Bars (aka "Chocolate Delight")

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had a Pumpkin Pie Show Down to decide which pumpkin pie we would make for Thanksgiving and this is the one that won. It was 4 to 1 in favor of this pie and dang this pie is awesome. My 6 year old loved the mellow Double Layer No-bake Pumpkin Pie which is made with vanilla pudding, but the rest of us loved this rich pumpkin cheesecake. I love that it is baked in a pie pan - spring form pans are intimidating to me. And the graham cracker crust on this one is the best. Thanks to Sister's Cafe for this great recipe.

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

2, 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
dash allspice
whipped cream for topping

To Make Crust:
Mix all crust ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Press into a pie pan. Refrigerate for at last 1 hour before making the filling.

*You can make this graham cracker pie crust for other pies that require a prepared graham cracker pie crust - just bake it for 7 minutes at 375 and then let it cool completely before filling.

To Make the Cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer combine cream cheeses, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread in the bottom of crust; set aside. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice to the remaining batter and beat on low until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until center looks almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

Double Layer No-bake Pumpkin Pie

We had a little Pumpkin Pie Show Down between this pie and Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake and this one came in second. It isn't that this one is not tasty - it really is! - but the pumpkin cheesecake one is just so dreamy and delicious! This one is very puddingy and mellow. My 6 year old loved it! I think he'll request it in the future, but as for the rest of my family we are all for cheesecake.

Double Layer No-bake Pumpkin Pie

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
8 oz tub Cool Whip, thawed
graham cracker pie crust or baked pie shell
1 cup milk
15 oz can pumpkin
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Prepare graham cracker pie crust or bake a pie shell and let cool completely.

Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, and the sugar in a mixer until well blended. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread in the pie crust.

In a mixer combine 1 cup milk, pumpkin, dry pudding mixes, and spices. Beat well for 2 minutes or until well blended. Mixture will be thick. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Top with remaining Cool Whip just before serving. Store in fridge.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cheeseburger Quiche

Here's a super good freezer meal recipe. I received this freezer meal from Laurel in my swap and she got the recipe from The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy by Nanci Slagle. I use so many recipes from that cookbook and here's another winner. My whole family loved this one. We are big on breakfast-for-dinner.

Cheeseburger Quiche

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 1/2 cups cooked ground beef (that's about a pound)
1 unbaked pie shell

In a medium bowl blend mayo, milk, eggs, and cornstarch. Fold in cheese, onion, and cooked ground beef.

Pour filling into a 1 gallon freezer ziplock. Seal, label, and freeze. Keep the pie crust in the freezer with it.

Thaw the filling at least overnight in the refrigerator. Thaw the pie shell. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out wet but clean.

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Salsa

Oooh I love this dip!! I got the recipe from my friend Carolyn and it rocks. I took it to a Halloween party last weekend and it was received very well. I think it will be my go-to appetizer from now on. (I just have to remember to buy a couple bags of cranberries while they are in season and freeze them). Thanks for the great recipe Carolyn!

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Salsa

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz fresh cranberries
4 green onions, chopped in big pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 bunch of cilantro, long stems removed
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 2 limes (juiced at room temperature)
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped in big pieces
tortilla chips

Combine cream cheese and sour cream until smooth and spread in a thick layer on a large plate, pie plate, or small platter. Set aside while you make the salsa.

In a food processor or blender combine: cranberries, green onions, garlic, salt, cilantro, sugar, lime juice, and jalapeno. Process until combined and cranberry pieces are very small. Spread over the cream cheese layer. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Breakfast Casserole

This is my go-to breakfast casserole. I love it! You can use sausage, bacon, or diced ham for the meat or even sausage and bacon. yum. It's important to use 4% fat small curd cottage cheese to give it the right texture. I served it with a quick fruit salad. I just tossed together some halved strawberries, sliced Asian pear, and pomegranate seeds. My littlest loves pomegranate seeds or "granite seeds" as she calls them.

Breakfast Casserole

10 eggs, beaten
24 oz frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus a little more for topping
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 cup 4% fat small curd cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or a few drops of tabasco sauce)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (red or green)
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled sausage, bacon, or diced ham

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together eggs, hashbrowns, cheese, green onions, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, bell pepper, and sausage. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Top with some shredded cheddar and bake an additional 3 minutes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tortellini Sausage Soup

What a great fall soup this is! Yum! I got the recipe recently from my friend Jenny and I think it is great!! My whole family really liked it and I took secret pleasure watching all my children happily eating unrecognizable zucchini (its shredded and they never guessed!). Thanks Jenny for another great recipe!

Tortellini Sausage Soup

1/3 lb Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup water
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider
16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated
8-10 oz cheese tortellini (frozen or fresh)
1 tablespoon dried parsley

In a large saucepan or pot cook the sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add onion and garlic and add to the sausage. Continue cooking until onion are translucent and sausage is cooked. Add water, chicken broth, cider, tomatoes with juices, tomato sauce, carrots, basil, and oregano. Cover ad simmer for 30 minutes. Add zucchini, tortellini and parsley and cook for another 15 minutes or until tortellini is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan topping individual servings if desired.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

You may notice that this recipe is my pizza dough recipe. Yep. It is actually a bread dough recipe and I use it for pizza, scones (fry bread), donuts, cinnamon rolls... and well bread. It is so versatile and EASY. The dough does not require a first rising and the only rising time after you form the dough is 25 minutes. Isn't that amazing?! I got the recipe from my sister and love it. Oh and the cream cheese frosting for these is awesome (at least I think so).

Quick Cinnamon Rolls
-makes 2, 9x13 pans of rolls

5 1/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons SAF yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid lecithin (can buy at stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods etc.)
2 - 2 1/4 cups hot tap water

1 stick butter, softened and divided
1 cup brown sugar, divided
3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

Mix dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer (flour, sugar, salt, and yeast). Add lecithin and water. Mix for 1 minute with dough hook. Check consistency - should be like a stiff cookie dough - if it's too dry add more water, if the dough is too moist add more flour. Mix with a dough hook for 5 minutes on high. Do not add any water or flour to dough after is has finished mixing.

Spray counter or a flat surface with cooking spray, also spray your hands so you can handle the dough easily. Knead dough into a nice smooth ball. Cut in half. Roll out 1 half into a large rectangle. Spread 1/2 stick of softened butter over the rectangle. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and spread over the buttered rectangle. Roll up and slice into 15 slices. Place into a greases 9x13 baking dish, 5 rows with 3 rolls in each row. Repeat process with other half of dough. Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 25 minutes.

Heat oven to 375. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Allow rolls to cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then spread with cream cheese frosting, recipe below.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (microwaved for 30 seconds)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Vegetable Lasagna

This a wonderful, light, fresh tasting lasagna. So different from the regular carnivorous variety (which I also love!). I got this recipe a number of years ago from my friend Mendy (shout out to one of my favorite Maryland peeps!). It is a favorite dinner of mine and someday I'm going to remember to throw in some mushrooms and asparagus because I think those veggies would also be great in this.

Vegetable Lasagna

10 lasagna noodles
4 large carrots, sliced thin
4 medium zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 jar marinara sauce

Boil noodles and carrots. After 5 minutes, add the zucchini and boil 4 minutes. Drain the noodle and vegetables. Put a little marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and then lay 3 noodles across the long way. Put 2 noodles on top of the 2 seams. Spread half of the ricotta cheese all over the noodles. Spread half of the vegetables over the ricotta. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the mozzarella over the vegetables. Top with about 1/2 the sauce. Repeat the layering process one more time: noodles, ricotta, vegetables, salt and pepper, mozzarella, sauce, leaving a little mozzarella to top it off. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Taco Pie

I got this recipe from a cooking magazine. I wrote it down and now I can't remember which magazine it came from... Anywho, it's a nice quichey tasting taco casserole. My family liked it a lot and I like that it calls for ground turkey and is still quite flavorful. Nice easy dinner recipe.

Taco Pie

1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1/3 cup water
1, 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup Bisquick mix (I used the Heart Smart Bisquick mix)
1 cup milk (nonfat works fine)
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tomato, chopped

Heat oven to 400. Spray a 9" pie pan with cooking spray.

In a skillet cook turkey and onion for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until turkey is no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning and 1/3 cup water. Mix well and heat through. Spread turkey meat in pie pan. Top evenly with green chiles.

In a bowl combine Bisquick, milk, and eggs, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour over turkey mixture. Bake 25 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with chopped tomato.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend Corinne and I love it!! It is a great crockpot recipe! Almost like a stir fry. I served it over brown rice and my whole family (including all 3 kids) ate it up. Thanks Corinne!

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
16 oz package frozen stir fry vegetables
4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup cashews

In a crockpot combine chicken tenders and stir fry vegetables. In a bowl combine mushroom soup, soy sauce, and ginger. Pour over the chicken and vegetables. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in cashews and serve over hot rice.

Sloppy Joe Casserole

This is a great kid-pleasing casserole. The sloppy joe meat and cornbread go well together. I think I might make this next time with left over chili instead of sloppy joe meat, because I love chili and corn bread.

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1, 6.5 oz pouch Betty Crocker cornbread mix
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook beef and onion in a skillet until browned and cooked though; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and mustard. Cook 2-3 minutes until boiling; keep warm.

In a bowl combine cornbread mix, milk, oil, and egg just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Spoon hot beef mixture into an ungreased 8" square baking dish. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese. Spoon cornbread batter evenly over the top.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of topping comes out clean. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over hot casserole.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This is a wonderful creamy soup that tastes similar to the Chicken and Wild Rice Soup at Einstein's Bagels. It is one of my very favorite soups. We had it last night served in Italian Bread Bowls. Ultimate comfort food.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

6 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups water
2 1/2 - 3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 (6.2 oz) box of quick cooking long grain and wild rice mix (Uncle Ben's)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots mixture
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
extra chicken broth to thin soup to desired consistency

In a large pot combine 4 cups of chicken broth, water, and chicken. Bring to boiling and stir in the rice only from the rice mix (set the seasoning packet aside for now) and frozen peas and carrots. Turn heat down to low and simmer with cover on for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the rice seasoning packet. Reduce heat to low, then whisk in flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in cream and 2 cups of chicken broth until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook, stirring constantly for a minute, until slightly thickened.

Stir creamy roux mixture into the broth, chicken, and rice in the pot. Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If needed add more chicken broth to thin the soup to desired consistency.