Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beef Stew

This is a hearty and delicious stew. We typically get 1 wild game per year (last year we had 3!). This is my favorite dish to use with wild game because with all the flavors, you cannot detect any "game" flavor. I typically double this recipe and for a family of 5 will easily serve 2 meals with a tad left over. I like my sauce more "stew-y than soup-y, so I only add juice from one can of vegetables (looking to see which one has less sodium). If you like it a little thinner, go with both cans. I know some people may not like cooking with alcohol. With as long as this is simmered, all the alcohol gets cooked out. It just adds a dimension to the flavor. If you don't have the bourbon, you could probably substitute it with red wine, and if you'd rather not use any alcohol at all, it IS totally optional. My husband does not drink, but he cannot tell it is in this dish. Russets or red potatoes can be used interchangeably. We like to use the reds. Whichever you choose, please DO leave the skin on. This is a hearty recipe, besides most if the nutrition in the potato is in the skin! Feel free to add more potatoes, I never measure the amount, just keep tossing them in until it looks good! Each time you stir the pot after you have added the potatoes, just remember to poke the potatoes back into the liquid so they get cooked!

2 T olive oil, more as needed

3 lbs beef (or wild game!) cut in 1" cubes

Montreal Steak Seasoning (or salt, pepper, garlic powder) to taste

1 bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1/2 C bourbon, optional

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 C beef stock

1 can corn

1 can green beans

2 C diced potatoes

Cube the meat and season liberally. Brown the meat in the oil in a large stockpot, in several batches as necessary. Add more oil to pan for subsequent batches if necessary. When browned, remove meat with a slotted spoon, leaving drippings behind. Toss in bell pepper, onion and celery and saute until slightly tender. Stir in bourbon (if using) and add the meat, tomatoes and beef stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Add in corn, green beans and potatoes and cook, stirring periodically until the potatoes are tender (20-30 minutes)

Breakfast Enchiladas

I wanted to make something savory for my family today for breakfast. They have gotten so many sweet things this last couple of weeks, they didn't need any more of that for breakfast again. Now don't get me wrong... just because these aren't sweet doesn't mean these are low calorie! I used link sausage (that's what I had) that I snipped into 1/4" rounds, but you could use bulk sausage and make it easier! I measured the milk into my pyrex measuring cup and nuked it for a minute. I find that if you add warmed liquid to your roux, it blends in much faster and it doesn't seize up like an engine out of grease! I used a mexican blend preshredded cheese (don't tell Nathan... he hates the preshredded stuff ;-) but it was on sale and SOOOO convenient!), feel free to use whatever cheese you want! Everyone really enjoyed this dish, I will be making it again, but be forwarned it isn't something you whip up in 10 minutes!

Breakfast Casserole

20 corn tortillas

1 lb sausage

1 dozen eggs

1/2 C water

1/3 C butter

1/3 C flour

2 C milk, warmed

1 tsp salt

1 (7 oz) can diced green chilies

3 C mexican blend cheese, divided

1 1/2 - 2 cups of milk

Brown your sausage and in a separate saucepan make your roux. Melt the butter, add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes to cook the raw taste out of the flour. Add the milk and salt and whisk until smooth. Stir in the green chilies and 2 cups of cheese. When the sausage is browned, remove from pan and drain drippings. Whisk your eggs and water and scramble them until they are cooked but still a little wet. Add 1 C of the roux, and the sausage and mix well. Thin the roux down with the additional milk until it is the consistency you want to pour over the enchiladas. Warm the corn tortillas on a non stick pan or griddle. Place a spoonful of the egg mixture down the middle and roll up. Place seam side down on a lined jelly roll pan (for easy clean up!) Make 2 rows of 10. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Broiled Pesto Salmon

This is the easiest way to cook salmon (and yummy too!) My family requests salmon prepared this way every time I make salmon. Measurements are approximate. Depends on the size of your fillet. I just use enough pesto to get a nice even thin coat on the fish. I highly recommend you use aluminum foil on your baking pan (I use a jelly roll pan) for easy clean up. The foil isn't quite as wide as my pan, so I create "sides" by folding the aluminum foil up on the long sides. The wine isn't absolutely necessary, but adds more depth to the flavor. I LOVE my lemon juicer. You cut the lemon in half, place it cut side down into the bowl shaped side and squeeze the handles! It practically turns the lemon inside out and gets more juice out than any other method I've used. Homemade Pesto is FABULOUS, but Costco makes a real good one too!

Broiled Pesto Salmon

2 lb Salmon fillet
1/2 C white wine (or blush, or whatever you have on hand... but not red!)
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 C pesto sauce

Place salmon, skin side down on foil lined baking dish. Sprinkle with wine and lemon juice. Let marinate 15 minutes. Spoon on pesto and spread it evenly over the top of the whole fillet. Place fish on second from top level of the oven and broil 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. Flesh should be opaque and flake easily. Squeeze more lemon juice over fish if desired.

Blender Wheat Berry Pancakes

So you've bought wheat for your food storage "just in case", but haven't shelled out the big bucks for a grinder.... what do you do with that wheat! Make Blender Pancakes! I had heard about these but had never tried them before. I thought they would still have chewy bits of wheat that didn't get chopped fine enough. Well, was I ever wrong! This batter turns out quite thin, and didn't make real fluffy pancakes, (don't get me wrong, they weren't dense!) but the flavor was real nice. The most convenient thing was, you could pour the batter right from the blender! It makes a small batch, so you could either make two batches, or do as we did and serve it with bacon and fresh fruit!

Blender Wheat Berry Pancakes

1 C wheat berries

1 1/2 C milk, divided

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C oil

1 T Baking powder

2 T sugar

Blend wheat berries and 1 C milk for 3 minutes. Pour in remaining 1/2 C milk and blend an additional 2 minutes. Combine dry ingredients and with blender running, pour in oil and dry ingredients. Blend just until smooth and pour onto hot griddle. Flip when bubbles start to pop on top.

Glazed Pork Tenderloin

The grocery store had pork tenderloins on sale for 1.99 a lb. Since they are only about a pound a piece, this translated into a CHEAP dinner! I bought all they had at that price (discounted because they were a best buy before 3 days was up) They are already packaged in the heavy duty airtight plastic packaging, so in the freezer they go! I made a TON of apricot preserves a couple of years ago and still have quite a bit left. I used that in this glaze, but feel free to substitute peach (or any other flavor for that matter!) I used my digital thermometer for the oven work, if you don't have one, you may want to do a test cut after the allotted time.

Glazed Pork Tenderloin

2 T olive oil
2 pork tenderloins
seasoning to taste ( I used a Chicago Steak seasoning)
1 C apricot preserves
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T horseradish mustard (feel free to use any sort of spicy mustard here... or even plain)
2 T brown sugar

Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium heat. Season the pork as you may like. Sear on all sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Place in a 350* oven with a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Roast the pork for 12 minutes, brush generously with the glaze mixture, then continue roasting 5-10 minutes longer, or until the pork registers 165*. Let the meat rest for a few minutes then slice into thin medallions. Serve with the remaining glaze.

Gingerbread Popcorn

I found this recipe from Culinary in the Desert This popcorn is ADDICTIVE! I love that it is crunchy and not sticky. It does take a bit longer to make than chewy popcorn, but so worth it in the end that you don't have to wash your paws after every handful (unless you like finger lickin foods!) The ginger flavor is not an in your face flavor, but just gives a bit of heat to the popcorn. I like this more than the regular caramel baked popcorn. I use silicone liners in my jelly roll pans to speed the clean up time. I used my air popper and it took two batches of that to equal the 15 cups (about 2/3 C kernals) You could use microwave popcorn, but airpopped saves a bit on the calories (allowing you to eat a couple more handfuls!) The sauce covered the popcorn very well... you could use more popcorn, but may have trouble fitting more than that on your baking pans in the oven.

Gingerbread Popcorn

15 C popped popcorn (about 2/3 C kernals)
1 C butter
2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C molasses
1/4 C corn syrup
1 T ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Place popcorn in a large greased bowl. Combine butter, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large heavy bottom saucepan (nonstick works great for this!) Heat over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Pour over popcorn immediately and stir to coat evenly. Divide between two pans lined with silicone liners or aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250* for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely to set the glaze.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

French Toast Casserole

Who wants to spend Christmas morning cooking breakfast? Not I! I want to relish in the morning watching the kids play with their new toys (and the adults too!) I have made this casserole for more years than I can remember. It is assembled the night before. Then in the morning, after a brief stint on the counter is popped into the oven and while presents are being opened, breakfast is cooking itself! This year I did fry up some sausage links to go with it. I have made this with bulk sausage and added it into the casserole before the second layer of bread goes on. I have a shaker of cinnamon sugar that I keep on hand anytime someone wants some cinnamon toast. I don't really know how much of it I really use... just eyeball it and when it looks good to you it will be good!

French Toast Casserole

1 loaf french bread cut in 1" cubes
8 eggs
3 C milk
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
4 T butter, melted
6 T sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

In a blender, combine eggs, milk, 4 tsp sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix 6 T sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9X13 pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar. Place remaining bread cubes in pan and evenly pour on egg mixture. You may want to press down any dry pieces of bread so everything is evenly moistened. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle on remaining cinnamon sugar and drizzle with butter. Cover and bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve with Maple Syrup

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Santa was supposed to get these cookies this year. Unfortunately I was so busy on Christmas Eve, by the time I got around to making the dough, it was late. The longer the dough is chilled, the better (IMHO) the cookies bake up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE using silicone liners on my cookie sheets. You don't have to grease them and NOTHING sticks to them. Silpat and Tupperware are the two that I use. I use a #20 scoop (it holds 1/4 C) to make these cookies and I fit 8 on a cookie sheet ( :-:-: in that pattern) This gives you nice big satisfying cookies! With my oven and with that size of cookie it takes the full 16 minutes to cook. Just don't leave an 18 year old in charge of taking the last batch out of the oven while you go see a movie.... you will come home to hockey pucks ;-)
BTW... Santa doesn't mind Oreos :-)

Ginger Molasses Cookies

1/2 C butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
2 C whole wheat pastry flour (you could use AP flour, but you can't tell these have wheat flour in them)
1 T ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add all at once to creamed mixture and beat just until combined. Cover and chill dough at least 1 hour (overnight REALLY is best) Drop dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 12-16 minutes. Let rest on cookie sheet for several minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Today I had a WONDERFUL day. Started off with my kids NOT waking me up before I woke up on my own. We opened gifts, went to see Sherlock Holmes (can't say I would recommend this movie to anyone), then we went to my Mother In Laws house. It was a great evening filled with food and fun. I made several dishes I will post about in the next couple of days.
If you like Hot Wings, you will LOVE this dip! To me Franks Red Hot sauce is the epitome of Hot Wings... and this includes that ingredient! I plan on making this dip again for New Year's Eve. I can't rave enough about the Reynold's slow cooker liners. I used a smaller crock pot (but still bigger than the "Dipper" size) for this recipe that doesn't have a removable crock. I used the large Oven bag for this one. This crockpot doesn't have a keep warm setting, so some of the dip got a tad crusty and brown around the edges. After I put the leftovers away, it was just a matter of tossing the bag and doing a light wash on the inside of the crock! It also helps to transfer the leftovers!!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 (10 oz) cans chunk chicken, drained (I used the Costco cans that were 12.5 oz)
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 C Ranch dressing
3/4 C Franks Red Hot sauce
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese (I used a preshredded mexican cheese blend)

Heat chicken and Franks until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook stirring until well blended and warm(I will admit I didn't pre soften my cream cheese. It may have taken a tad longer to heat, but it worked) Mix in half of cheddar cheese and transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, cover and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with crackers and/or celery.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat and Flax Bread

Three of my most used accessories in the kitchen are my digital kitchen scale, wheat grinder, and coffee grinder. My wheat grinder gets used at least once a week and usually more often than that. Fresh ground wheat retains all the nutrition in the wheat berry. The whole wheat flour you buy at the store still has the germ removed to slow down the rancidity of the flour. Fresh ground wheat needs to be used quickly and any left over flour not used in recipes need to be stored in the freezer. I weigh my wheat berries before grinding since the process of grinding incorporates so much air that it impossible to use it cup for cup for store bought flour. 1 cup of flour weighs 4.75 oz. This is where my kitchen scale comes in so handy! My scale is just a basic one I bought at wally world. It has a gram/oz setting and also has a tare feature. Both of these are imperative if you are going to buy a scale. I use my coffee grinder to grind flax seeds more than anything, but I have also used it to grind whole spices and to create small amounts of bread crumbs. This bread recipe is a whole wheat recipe, but is soft like a white bread! I think the addition of the vital wheat gluten and liquid lecithin make the difference. I buy the liquid lecithin at the Bosch Kitchen store. I think any specialty cooking store may carry it, but if you can't find it, feel free to make this recipe without it. I have forgotten to use it many times and it has turned out fine. The flax seed I added to up the nutritional value of my bread. It is another optional ingredient. I weigh my flax seed and then grind it in a coffee grinder. If you have a high speed blender, you can use that to grind the seeds. Just don't put whole flax seed in your bread. Our intestinal systems are not strong enough to break down the shell of the seed. So while it will add fiber to your diet, whole flax seed will not increase your nutritional content. If you buy pre ground flax seeds, use 3/4 C. I use my large soup pot with a glass lid to raise my dough. I often double this recipe and the dough comes halfway up the side of the pot when I first put it in.

When the dough starts to raise the lid, I know it has doubled!

Honey Whole Wheat and Flax Bread

2 C warm water
1/3 C honey
1 T active dry yeast
1/3 C oil
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 oz (1/3 C) Vital Wheat Gluten
1 lb 13 oz (5-6 C) Whole Wheat Flour (I have used hard red wheat and hard white wheat... I think I prefer the white, but there isn't a huge difference)
1 1/2 oz (1/4 C) flax seed, ground
1 T liquid lecithin

Combine water, yeast and honey in mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy. Add salt, oil, gluten and flour 1 C at a time. When dough forms a ball that cleans the side of the mixing bowl, you have added enough flour. Knead 7-10 min. Place in a greased bowl turning dough over once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. (I turn my oven on briefly to barely warm it... maybe a minute, then raise my dough in the oven. Keeps the dough safe from little hands and makes it raise quicker!) Punch down and form into two loaves. Set in greased bread pans (I sometimes spray the tops with Pam), cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise until 1/2" above pan. (I also do this rise in the oven) Bake at 350* for 30 min. (If I time my bread rising carefully enough, I keep it in the oven while preheating.... If I've forgotten about it and it has already raised to the 1/2" above the pan, I will take the pans out to preheat the oven.) Remove from bread pans and brush tops with butter. Cool completely before cutting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fresh Cranberry Salad / Why am I doing this blog?!?

I started doing this as a family blog about a year and a half ago. Needless to say I only got one post written and then didn't return until now! I have an obsession with cookbooks, recipe blogs and cooking! I decided that I would turn this into a food blog, with updates on my family here and there. The first recipe I want to write about is one I got from a friend in the Utah Fox Trotter Horse Association. It is a layered cranberry salad and is a gorgeous dish that ALWAYS gets rave reviews and is a highly requested recipe.

Fresh Cranberry Salad

1 bag whole cranberries (12 oz)
1 cup sugar1 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
1 apple ( peeled, cored and grated )
3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (add water if needed to make 3/4 cup)
1 package (3 oz) Raspberry Jell-O (I have used strawberry too)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 package ( 8 oz ) cream cheese, softened
1 pint whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts (I have used both)

Grind cranberries in food processor
Pour sugar over cranberries and stir until melted
Boil pineapple juice and stir in Jell-O until dissolved, then add orange juice to mixture
Add Jell-O mixture to cranberries and mix well
Add grated apple and drained pineapple to cranberry mixture
Refrigerate cranberry / Jell-O mixture until thickened. (Overnight or at least 4 hours)
Whip whipping cream until it stands in peaks
Whip cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar , then mix whipped cream in to it
In a clear glass bowl, place alternate layers of cranberry mixture , whipping cream -
cream cheese mixture and chopped nuts until bowl is filled
Top with fluff of whipped cream - cream cheese and a sprinkle of nuts.