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.

Italian Bread Bowls

Is there anything better than creamy soup in a bread bowl on a cold fall evening?? I don't think so! This is a great and really simple bread bowl recipe. We had Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup last night and these bread bowls were a total hit. Don't skip the egg wash part. It makes the sides of the bread bowls stable enough to hold the soup in as you eat.

Italian Bread Bowls

6 1/2 cups flour (a little more or less)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (SAF)
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups hot tap water
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of an electric mixer (I have a Bosch) combine 5 cups flour, yeast, and salt. Mix just to combine. Add hot water and oil and mix well. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough (for me it was all the remaining flour). Knead with dough hook at high speed for 6 minutes.

Turn out dough and form into a smooth ball with oiled hands. Place in a large well oiled bowl, turning to make sure dough is oiled on top. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball. Place dough balls on 2 greased baking sheets that have been sprinkled with cornmeal (4 dough portions per baking sheet). Cover baking sheets with damp kitchen towels and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Lightly brush this mixture on the risen dough rounds. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush again with egg mixture and bake 10 minutes more or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes

I took these to a fun Halloween lunch that I went to with my little 4 year old. She loved helping me decorate these cookies - especially putting the little chow mein noodle skeleton fingers in. I love Halloween so much!! Spooky yummy fun!

Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes

1 box cake mix, prepared as cupcakes as directed on box (or your favorite from scratch recipe)
1 tub white frosting (or your favorite homemade)
24 Milano cookies
1 cup chocolate chips
1 row of Oreo cookies from a package
1 row of Golden Oreo cookies from a package
pumpkin shaped candies (they are the ones that taste like candy corn)
1 bag chow mein noodles

Prepare 24 cupcakes with a box of cake mix or you can make them from scratch if you prefer. Allow cupcakes to completely cool before decorating.

Melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave. When melted pour into a freezer bag and snip the very tip off of one of the bottom corners. Use bag like a piping bag and pipe RIP onto each Milano cookie. Place finished cookies on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until chocolate writing has hardened.

Blend Oreo and Golden Oreo cookies in a blender. Place Oreo crumbs into a bowl. Frost cupcakes generously with white frosting. Dip the frosted cupcakes into the Oreo crumbs to make the "dirt" of the graveyard. Place a Milano cookie in the middle of each cupcake and press a candy pumpkin into the frosting. Take 5 chow mein noodles and press into the cupcake to make skeleton fingers coming out of the dirt. Do the same on the other side. You can leave the "fingers" off if you want a tamer graveyard.:)

Chicken Enchilada Soup (Freezer Meal and Crockpot Meal)

I made 6 batches of this soup recipe for my freezer meal swap this month. I really like this soup - kind of like taco soup, but more enchilada-y. As far as freezer meals go this one is very easy to put together. My kids love all the toppings that you can put on it; guac, sour cream, cheese, chips, etc.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

3-4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
10 oz can red enchilada sauce
4 oz can chopped green chiles
14 oz can chicken broth
14.5 oz can corn, undrained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves

Possible toppings: shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole, sliced olives, etc.

Freezer Meal Assembly:
Place chicken into a quart size freezer bag and freeze. In a bowl combine: chopped onion, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce, green chiles, chicken broth, corn, cumin, chili powder, dried cilantro, salt, pepper, and crushed bay leaves. Pour into a gallon size freezer bag and seal. Double bag in another freezer bag and freeze flat.

Heating Instructions:
Crockpot: Thaw chicken and soup bags. Pour both into crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve with toppings of choice.

Stove Top: Thaw chicken and soup bags. Pour into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with toppings of choice.

Baked Acorn Squash

This recipe come from Paula Deen so of course it was buttery and delicious. I think I might add a pinch of cinnamon next time too. It's a great fall side dish.

Baked Acorn Squash

1 large acorn squash, cut in half
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Scoop the seeds and stringy pulp out of the squash cavities and discard. In a small bowl combine butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Rub the squash cavities and cut sides of the squash with the butter mixture and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 1 hour until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Serve 1 half per person. Or pour melted butter/sugar mixture out of the middles into a serving dish, and cut squash halves into fourths and serve with melted butter/sugar mixture spooned over.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Easy Crockpot Beef Stew

My daughter had a very fun field trip to a local farm where you get to pick your own veggies. Oh she loved it! It was so neat to go with her and see how she loved digging and picking those vegetables. We decided to make beef stew with all the different veggies she picked and she loved the whole process of washing them, putting them in the crockpot, and eating them up at the end. I love this recipe. It is easy and tasty and perfect for a fall evening.

Easy Crockpot Beef Stew

2 - 2 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
6 - 7 red potatoes, cut into chunks
4-5 carrots, cut in thick slices
3 stalks celery, cut in thick slices
1 onion, chopped big
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1 packet onion soup mix
2 tablespoons Ultra Gel or quick cooking tapioca, optional
1 cup frozen peas, optional

In a large skillet brown meat in a little hot oil. Place meat and chopped vegetables (except frozen peas) into crockpot. In a bowl combine soups and onion soup mix and pour over meat and vegetables; stir it well to distribute soup mixture evenly. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. During last hour or so of cooking you can mix in Ultra Gel if you have that or tapioca to thicken the sauce up a little, but you can definitely skip this for a saucier stew. Also at this point you can add frozen peas and continue cooking until time is up.

Meatballs and Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This recipe is from the current edition of Betty Crocker Casseroles magazine. My family really liked this one and I love how easy casseroles are for busy days. I made this casserole earlier in the day and put it in the fridge until that evening when I was ready to bake it. I did adapt the recipe slightly from the original - I made the white sauce myself rather than using a package of white sauce mix (honestly I've never even seen white sauce mixes in the store and white sauce is so easy to make). It was a great twist on macaroni and cheese and because I usually have these ingredients on hand I have a feeling I'll be making this again soon.

Meatballs and Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

16 frozen Italian meatballs, thawed and cut in half (or you could use smoked or Italian sausage cut into slices)
3 cups rotini pasta
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons Italian style bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
2 green onions chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 8" square pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Add milk slowly, whisking, and heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheeses and stir until melted. Stir in pasta and meatballs. Spoon into baking dish.

In a bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, green onions and melted butter. Spread this mixture evenly over the pasta. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden.