Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brookies (AKA Pillow Cookies)

This is another recipe I'm just going to link to, because I'm not trying to rip Bakerella off. We recently made Brookies. YUM. We had a ton of extra cookie dough, though, so we decided to bake a few batches of regular chocolate chip cookies. And let me tell you, Bakerella's recipe for chocolate chip cookies is the bomb. com. I think the secret may be the mini chocolate chips...Anyway, the recipe is here.


The other day, Ryan and I randomly watched one of Giada de Laurentis' shows. She made Fried and Stuffed Rice Balls, which we both decided looked awesome. We were going to try it...and bought all the ingredients. We made the risotto first and started eating it--and couldn't stop! We ended up just eating risotto, but plan to try the Fried and Stuffed Rice Balls in the future. The risotto recipe is here and is definitely worth trying. We didn't have wine, so we used chicken broth instead. We made the risotto again last night and added chicken and bacon, which was also delicious.

Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese (dolce or regular)

Heat a heavy bottomed pot or skillet over medium-low heat.  Melt the butter in the pan.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the garlic does not burn.  Add in the flour to create a roux and cook for a few minutes until the roux is a golden color and the flour has cooked.

Gradually whisk in the milk, continuing to whisk until the sauce is smooth and has no lumps.  Bring the sauce up to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly so that the sauce simmers.  Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Take the pan off of the heat and gradually whisk in the gorgonzola cheese until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

I tasted my sauce and did not think it needed any additional salt, but you could season to taste at this point.

Our variation: We increased the milk to 1 3/4 cup. We also added Parmesan cheese when we mixed in the gorgonzola--we used 1/3 cup of each cheese.

We served this sauce over egg noodles and it was SO good!

*There is a video of the process of making this sauce here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zucchini Bread

So it's obviously been a while...oops! I have still been trying new recipes, so perhaps now I will actually start posting a few! My friend gave me zucchini she grew in her garden, so I decided to try making zucchini bread. It was SO good...enjoy!

3 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp cinnamon

3 eggs 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups sugar

2 cups grated zucchini 1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chocolate chips (optional) 1 TBSP vanilla

*I used 1/2 cup oil and 1 cube butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 - med size loaf pans. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Add oil (and butter - I softened but not melted it) sugar, vanilla and zucchini and mix well. Fold in flour mixture, stirring just till moist; do not over mix. Add nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake 40-50 minutes. Turn loaves out on rack to cool.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 13: Pork Chops and Lemon Sauce!

Lemon Sauce:
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. flour
1/3 c. water
3 Tb. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper sauce

Heat butter and garlic in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Blend in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Baste chicken, fish, or pork during cooking period. Yield: 1 cup.

Season pork chops with ground black pepper, kosher salt, about 2 tsp. grated lemon peel. Baste with lemon sauce. Grill. Serve with more lemon sauce over the top.

My Review:
Yum! Yum! The lemon sauce wasn't sweet, which I was grateful for. It was delicious, which I was also grateful for. I didn't have poultry seasoning or red pepper sauce, so I left them out--but I didn't miss them. YUM!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 12: Buttercream Frosting

The other night, Ryan and I both wanted something sweet. Luckily, we had a chocolate cake mix, so we decided to make chocolate cupcakes. The only problem was that we didn't have any frosting. And what is a cupcake without frosting? So I went in search of a frosting recipe, and here is what I found:

1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter or another 1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. Wilton butter flavoring (only if using all shortening)
4 c. sifted confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 Tb. milk

Cream shortening and butter with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla. Add the butter flavoring (ONLY if you are using all shortening and no butter). Gradually add sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Gradually add 1 to 2 Tb. milk and beat on medium speed, until desired consistency.

The frosting can be stored in the refrigerator in an air0tight container for up to two weeks. Each time frosting is used, it must be brought to room temperature and beat again with the hand mixer for best results.

My Review:
Just so you know, I had zero shortening on hand so used all butter :) Ryan LOVED this frosting. I, however, who am the queen of frosting lovers (seriously...I love it), liked it, but wasn't a huge fan. So it's a toss-up. Personally, I'd rather just buy the frosting next time :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week 11: Red Beans & Rice

I used Alton Brown's recipe, courtesy of Click here to see it.

My Review:We wanted to tone this down a bit (I don't exactly have a high tolerance for spice) and we didn't have bell peppers, so we replaced the bell peppers, cayenne, and hot sauce with a can of chopped green chilies. Substition=success. I really liked this recipe, even though it took forever to make. My advice? Only make it if you have a lot of time and aren't hungry when you start. Because you get to smell its deliciousness for a full hour and a half before you can eat it--so if you are hungry, there is no way you are going to make it. Will I make it again? Definitely.

Week 10: Biscuits & Gravy (Catching up!)

Sausage Gravy:
1/2 lb. sausage (approximately)
3 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook sausage in a heavy skillet. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside for a later use
2. Remove all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of grease from the skillet.
3. Over medium heat, stir 3 tablespoons of flour into the grease. Stir constantly until browned, about 5 minutes.
4. Stirring constantly, pour in 1 cup of regular milk.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Continue stirring until the gravy is thick. (Add more milk if gravy is too thick)
7. If desired, add some or all of the sausage back into the gravy.
8. Serve over split biscuits, grits, or mashed potatoes, or pour into a bowl or gravy boat and serve on the side.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1.4 c. shortening or butter
2/3-3/4 c. milk

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. Cut shortening into flour.
3. Add milk. Stir quickly with fork until dough follows fork around bowl.
4. Knead gently 10-12 strokes on lightly floured surface.
5. Roll dough 1/2" thick. Use a cup to cut biscuits.
6. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 min. at 450* F.

Yield: 16 biscuits

My Review:
YUM! Oh how I love gravy. And biscuits. Especially when combined. Granted, this recipe isn't exactly healthy or diet-friendly, so should be made sparingly, but is delicious!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 9: S'more Brownies

1 package brownie mix
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. chocolate chips
5 (approx.) graham crackers, broken into quarters

1. Prepare and bake brownies according to recipe on box (or, if you are a more committed baker than I am, make brownies from scratch as you normally would.)
2. Upon removing brownies from the oven, immediately pour a layer of marshmallows a chocolate chips over the top of the warm brownies.
3. Return your pan to the oven for 2 more minutes.
4. Cover marshmallow layer with broken graham crackers.
5. Enjoy!!!

My Review:
I liked this recipe. I would have been a bigger fan if we had milk chocolate chips to put on top rather than dark chocolate chips (yuck...I hate dark chocolate), but despite the dark chocolate, it was good. If I was going to serve this to people beside my family (which I would), I would either take a lot of time arranging the graham crackers or break them into small pieces (instead of quarters) to sprinkle over the top. Overall, I think this recipe is a keeper--it's going into the recipe box :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week 8: Tomato Mozzarella Soup

I totally dropped the ball last week, so now tomato mozzarella soup is week eight instead of a bonus. Oops :)

1 can (26 oz) tomato puree
1 c. vegetable juice (such as V8)
1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 c. shredded fresh basil, plus 1 Tb. for serving
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 c. milk
Black pepper, to taste
1 c. shredded mozarella cheese

Place the tomato puree, vegetable juice, broth, 1/4 c. basil, and oregano in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally.

Add the milk to the soup and stir to combine. Continue simmering (don't boil) until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with pepper. Pour the soup into bowls and top each with 1/4 c. cheese and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

My Review:
This recipe was okay. The tomato taste was a little too overwhelming for my liking. I'm not sure how to remedy that--add a little cream, perhaps? Ryan felt the same way. On the other hand, our picky 15-month old LOVED this soup. He gobbled it right down when I was sure he would turn his nose up at it.

And I couldn't find a small can of vegetable juice, so now have a huge tupperware full of it. What should I do with that???

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 7: Favorite Muffins

Remember that Betty Crocker cookbook I mentioned? The one from 1973? Well here is another keeper from that cookbook...

1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 400*. Grease bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups. Beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

Yield: 12 muffins

And because I have a sweet tooth, I went for one of the variations in the cookbook:
Apple Muffins: Stir in 1 cup grated apple with the oil and add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with the flour.

My Review:
Yum! I didn't realize how easy it is to make muffins from scratch. I liked these muffins because they were not quite so sweet as the muffins you buy from the store or make from premixed packages. I would have loved a crumb time that will be a definite addition.

Week 6: Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

Our original plan was to make chicken cordon bleu. But when we pulled out our chicken, they were really small and would have been very problematic to roll up. So...we improvised and came up with something equally delicious but quite a bit easier (I think). So, without further ado, may I present....

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
1 egg
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 chicken breasts
4 slices sourdough bread (or any other bread that will hold up on a panini grill)
swiss cheese
butter or margarine

Crack the egg into a flat dish (big enough to dip your bread in) and scramble it with a fork. Pour the bread crumbs into a separate flat dish. Dip the chicken first into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Then place onto heated panini grill (you could also cook it in olive oil on the stove if you wanted to). Cook thoroughly. In the meantime, butter the backs of the slices of bread. Put mayo and mustard on the fronts of the slices of bread. Pile desired amount of ham and cheese onto one slice of bread. When chicken is done, place it atop ham and cheese and top with a second slice of bread. Place it onto the heated panini grill for approximately 2 minutes. Viola! You have a delicious sandwich.

My Review:
So I know that I am the person who made this recipe up, so it may seem a little presumptuous to give myself a good rating; but this sandwich was really good. I love sandwiches, so I really liked this interpretation of a classic chicken cordon bleu. I will definitely make it again!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 5 (aka the real week Orange Cake

This recipe has a story attached, as many recipes do.
It was Saturday night. Ryan and I were watching "Burn Notice" on (we don't have cable) (but at least we have CastTV and Hulu). I got the sudden urge to bake. But I didn't want to bake just anything--chocolate chip cookies or brownies or anything normal wouldn't do. I wanted to make something different. Ryan somehow came up with the idea of an orange cake (and he didn't even know we had oranges!). After a little searching, we found a ridiculously awesome looking recipe in our Betty Crocker Cookbook--the one printed in 1973. The recipes in 1973 were so much yummier than the recipes today because there is actually fat and calories (and a lot of it) in the recipes. Anyway, I made a quick trip to the store and got started on my first ever cake made from scratch. I didn't start it until 9:00 p.m., so we didn't get to eat any until about 10:30 or 11:00; but it was worth the wait. Here is the recipe:

2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. cake flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
Juice of one orange + enough milk to make one cup
Grated peal of one orange

Heat oven to 350*. Grease and flour baking pans (2 round layer pans). In small mixer bowl, beat egg whites until foamy (My note: Don't throw away the yolks! You need them later). Beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until very stiff and glossy. Set meringue aside. (My note: You have to beat it for a long time! Don't worry if it is taking a while.)

Measure remaining sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt into large mixer bowl. Add oil, orange juice + milk combo, and grated rind. Beat one minute on high speed, scraping bowl constantly. Add eggs yolks; beat 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally. Fold in meringue. Pour into pan(s).

Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (My note: my oven cooks very hot and fast, so it only took my cakes 23 minutes.) Split to make four layers. Fill layers with Orange filling (below). In chilled bowl, beat 1 cup chilled whipping cream until stiff. (My note: I definitely added powdered sugar and vanilla to my whipping cream--I like it sweet!) Frost side and top of cake.

Orange Filling:
Prepare 1 package (3 oz.) vanilla pudding and pie filling (My note: not instant pudding!) as directed on package except omit milk and add grated peel of 1 orange and juice of 1 orange plus enough water to measure 1 cup liquid. Cool. In chilled bowl, beat 1/2 c. chilled whipping cream until stiff. Fold in pudding.

My Review:
Oh. My. Goodness. Cake heaven. This cake was SO good. I think it is my favorite cake of all time and is definitely going to be my birthday cake this year. YUM. Ryan and I would have eaten it all on Saturday night, but decided that would be a bad plan so took it over to my parents' house to share on Sunday. YUM!!!

Go make an orange cake. You know you want to.

Week 4: Pasta Carbonatta

1- 16 oz. package pasta, any variety (I used mini shells)
12 oz. bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 pt. whipping cream
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add pasta to bowl with beaten eggs and mix well. Hot pasta will cook eggs. Fry bacon with chopped onion until bacon is crisp.  Pour whipping cream over  bacon and onion in skillet. Stir in peas. Pour half of cream and bacon mixture over pasta. Stir well. Add half of Parmesan cheese. Stir well. Add the rest of the cream and bacon mixture. Stir well. Add the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Stir well. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if desired.

-Jan Beutler

My Review:
I was kind of nervous to try this recipe because it sounded like it could be weird. Luckily, it was not weird--it was delicious! I would definitely add chicken next time, because chicken would taste so good with this pasta. The recipe is kind of vague on what to do once you put the cream into the skillet with the bacon, so I just heated it until it was just barely bubbling. I also halved this recipe, which made more than enough for the two of us--it made about 4 servings when halved, judging on the amount of leftovers we had. The final verdict: this one is definitely going in the recipe box.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 3: Circles and Squares Vegetable-Pasta Soup

1 32-oz. box vegetable broth
1 c. medium-size pata
2 c. frozen diced hash browns with onions and peppers
2 c. frozen peas and carrots
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
Snipped fresh parsley (opt.)
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained (opt.)

In a large covered saucepan, bring broth to boiling. Add pasta, potatoes, peas and carrots, beef, and undrained diced tomatoes. Return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10-15 min. or until pasta is tender. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4.

BHG Magazine

My Review:
Overall, the recipe was great. It tasted good and was very easy to make. I did think this soup was a little spicy, so would substitute the green chili diced tomatoes to a milder can of diced tomatoes next time I make it. (Ryan, however, thought it was fine...) The first thing Ryan said when he saw this recipe was, "It needs meat." Haha. So I added meat, which I thought was a good addition. I didn't have any parsley, so left that out, but think it would be a good addition, as well. I think this one is definitely going in the recipe box :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 2: Almost-Famous Breadsticks

I'm not sure how Food Network would feel about me posting their recipe here, so I will just send you to their website to get this recipe. Good luck :)

My Review:
Yum. These breadsticks were delicious and were relatively easy to make. I did have a few yeast issues (I'm not exactly a yeast expert), so my breadsticks didn't rise as much as they should have, but they were still tasty. I'm thinking they will be even better next time (assuming I learn how to use yeast properly before I make them again).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week 1: Ro-Tel Fiesta Chicken

1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. oil
2 cans Mexican festival Ro-Tel*
4 green onions
2 Tbsp. lime juice (optional)
Olives, cheese, sour cream, and cilantro (optional)

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Roll chicken in flour combination. Brown chicken in oil. Add Ro-Tel, onions, and lime juice. Heat to boiling. Simmer 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve chicken over rice. Top with sour cream, cheese, olives, and cilantro.

*I used a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies instead. I think a can of diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro would be delicious, as well!

(Recipe from Green Valley 14th Ward Cookbook)

My Review:
This recipe was great! One thing I really liked about it was how easy it was to put together. Prep time was minimal; I did the whole recipe (from gathering ingredients to eating dinner) in 30 minutes! Quick and easy are definite signs of a winner--especially for a mom who has a one year old underfoot while cooking. In addition to being easy, this recipe was delicious! Ryan and I were both big fans, and I will definitely be making this dish again.

Something New

I've neglected this blog--I'll admit it. But I want to try something new. I'm not sure I'll stick with it, but hopefully I will. My new purpose for this blog is to try one new recipe this week, then to review that recipe (what I liked or disliked, if I would make it again, etc.) I know I've already missed one week of 2010, but maybe I'll make two new recipes some week to make up for it. I don't think anyone actually looks at this blog, but I think this is more for me. A goal. An experiment. Something new. Wish me luck!