Saturday, January 31, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

This is a yummy homemade pudding that I had growing up. You are supposed to let it cool in the fridge, but we always ate it warm.

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

from: Mom aka Ruth Solter

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk (*Just Jenny adding my notes: I only use milk if I am desperate. This really turns out best if you use 1/2 milk and 1/2 heavy cream or even 1/2 and 1/2... the thicker, the better)
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbs butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in 2 quart saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve with peaches, pinapple, or some other fruit.

(*Just Jenny adding more notes: I put this in the comments, but thought that I would add it here as well. Sometimes if I'm feeling the need for chocolate I just sprinkle in some chocolate chips and swirl them around until they melt. It is divine.
* And how typical of mom. The recipe she gave me only calls for 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt. Obviously it is great either way. But I guess it is a tiny bit better for you with less sugar lol.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Herb Roasted Pork

Herb Roasted Pork

From: All Recipes

2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 clove garlic, minced
2 cloves garlic, slivered
olive oil
1 (5 lb.) boneless pork loin (I used 3 lbs. as that is all we needed for our family)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs. soy sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine, sage, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place several small slits in the top of the roast. Insert garlic slivers into the slits. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the roast, smoothing it over. This helps the spices to stick to it a little bit better. Thoroughly rub the spices all over the pork. Place the pork in an uncovered roasting pan on the middle oven rack. (I followed the recipe tips in the comments that said to cover the roast for the first two hours to keep it moist, and boy was it.) Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 3 hours (mine didn't take as long as it was only 3 lbs.)

Meanwhile, place sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, water and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Heat stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken slightly. Brush roast with glaze 3-4 times during the last 1/2 hour of cooking. Pour remaining glaze over roast and serve. (Next time I will double the glaze as we always like a lot of sauce.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gingerbread and Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

These were awesome. It is kind of hard to find biscotti without chocolate for my biscotti loving husband, and this recipe was perfect. Although, I do think that my father in law ate the vast majority of them. If I remember correctly, this picture is of my father in law eating the very last one. Gingerbread and Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

From: Picky Palate

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup pecan, coarsley chopped (I left these out)
1 bag of Herhey's Cinnamon Chips
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs

2 cups chips (chocolate or cinnamon)
Sugar Crystal Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, pecans, and cinnamon chips in a mixer. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs with the molasses. With your mixer on low speed, pour egg mixture into flour mixture until well combined.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and form into 10 " logs. Place 4" apart onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Each log should be about 2" wide. Bake for about 30 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut each log into 1/2" pieces on the diagonal. Place back onto the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until nice and crispy. Remove and let cool completely.

The recipe calls to have the biscotti dipped into melted chocolate but again we don't do the chocolate thing. Had I had enough cinnamon chips I would have dipped the biscotti in that.
Place chips into a double boiler over boiling water. Melt until smooth. Or you can melt them carefully in the microwave. Dip the top half of the biscotti into the melted chips and place onto wax paper to dry. Decorate with sugar crystal sprinkles if desired. Once they are dried feel free to gorge yourself or dip them into hot chocolate or whatever fits your fancy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

I guess you theoretically could make these with any type of jelly, but strawberry is my favorite.Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

From: Mom aka Ruth Solter

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam/jelly
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine sugar, butter and 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low and add flour. Beat until well mixed. Shape dough into 1" balls. Place 2" apart on a cookie sheet. With thumb, make indentation in center of each cookie. The edges may crack slightly. Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp. of jam. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute, remove from cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract and enough water to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over cookies. Cool completely.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Jason ate these all of the time when he was in Spain, so when I saw this recipe, I knew that I had to try them. The verdict is that these were the easiest cookies/pastries in the entire world to make.Palmiers

From: Epicurious

2 puff pastry sheets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle sugar on a counter or other work surface. Lay a thawed puff pastry square over top of the sugar. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with more sugar. Roll dough into a 10" square. Fold in the sides of the dough to meet in the center. Again fold the sides of the dough to meet in the center. Fold one half over the other at the center. Cut the pastry crosswise into 1/2" thick slices. Lightly roll each slice in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet. Bake in batches in a middle oven rack until golden on bottom, about 12 minutes. Turn over and bake until golden on bottom, about 5-7 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Melt Aways

These are a Christmas favorite at our house. I made these while visiting my inlaws this Christmas. I think others call these cookies Russian Teacakes.

From: Mom aka Ruth Solter

1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I use almonds)

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add remaining ingredients. Roll into 1" balls. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. The cookies should be set but not brown. While the cookies are still warm (not hot) roll in additional powdered sugar.

Sassy Spaghetti

This is a tasty southwest vegetarian spaghetti. It's delicious and incredibly easy to make.

Sassy Spaghetti


8 oz. spaghetti
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 tsp basil
2 dashes hot sauce
grated parmesan cheese
sour cream

Cook spaghetti and drain. In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add all other ingredients except for parmesan cheese and sour cream. Reduce heat and let simmer for about five minutes or until hot. Mix spaghetti into sauce and top with parmesan cheese.

I like to add sour cream to my spaghetti and sometimes salsa.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were divine. I loved the variety of flavors all combined into one cookie. Even my non chocolate eating hubby loved them. Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

From: Ocean Spray

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (6 oz.) pkg. sweetened craisins
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and sugar together in mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing well. In a small bowl combine oats flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in several batches, mixing well after each addition. Stir in craisins and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (um, yeah, I made mine much bigger than that.) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I hate bottled spaghetti sauce. Even the best store bought sauce is only eh. So, if we are going to have spaghetti for dinner, we have to have homemade sauce. This is a creation made over the years. This recipe, although not my mom's is true to mom's form it that I don't really measure my spices. So my spice measurements are a guesstimate.Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1-2 () cans tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 1/2-2 Tbs. dried basil
1 Tbs. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs. sugar
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional- sometimes I use this and sometimes I don't, just depends on my mood)

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic, drain. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine using a fork to break up the whole tomatoes. I often use a knife to assist in this. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour or more until sauce is of desired thickness. Remember to remove the bay leaves. I seem to remember my mom forgetting to do this in a sauce growing up and my dad choked on it, or something along those lines. Serve over a bed of hot pasta. And please DO NOT forget the cheese.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cocunut Curied Veggies and Rice

This is a great vegetarian dish with a lot of flavor. I've had this recipe for so long that I don't remember where it came from.Coconut Curried Veggies and Rice

2 cups water
2 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 tsp. lime juice
1 (1 lb.) pkg. frozen broccoli, carrots & cauliflower (I can never find the mix and buy a couple of bags and always use more than 1 lb.)
1 cup frozen peas

In a small bowl, combine flour, curry powder, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and lime juice. Set aside.

In a large saucepan/fry pan, combine the frozen veggies and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 6-8 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Drain and set aside. Pour coconut milk mixture into same pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in veggies. Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over prepared rice.

* Sometimes if we aren't feeling the vegetarian option I add in some diced, cooked chicken.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is now, hands down, my favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe. The carrot in it just gives it something totally amazing. I only added half the cheese stated in the recipe and it was plenty cheesey. Also, if you've got an immersion blender, now is the time to pull it out. I don't have one, but totally wish I did.

Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ozs. grated sharp cheddar

Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.
Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux).
Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now.

Pour in batches into blender and puree.

Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended.
Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

We liked it with some crusty rolls!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

I am, heaven forbid, posting this recipe without my own picture. The night I made this we were in a major hurry. My kids were starving, my husband was annoyed, so we just ate. And I regret it.

It was hands down my favorite thing I've made in MONTHS. I'd make it again right now if I had more sweet potatoes.

So, this is to say that the picture comes from REAL SIMPLE, which is where the recipe is from. And yes, it was really simple!

Some notes: I didn't use a whole cut up chicken. I'm not sure what it is about my makeup, but I dislike bone-in chicken. My husband and children love it, I don't. So, we used Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs.

Maple-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (I used way more)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme (*I only had rubbed... it worked fine!)

Heat oven to 400° F. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Arrange the chicken, onion, and sweet potatoes in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle the oil over the chicken and vegetables and season with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Drizzle with the maple syrup and top with the sprigs of thyme.

Roast, stirring the vegetables once, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: The maple glaze can also be used with a whole chicken or Cornish game hens.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

CALORIES 625.18(49% from fat); FAT 34.5g (sat 8.64g); CHOLESTEROL 222.91mg; CALCIUM 59.39mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19g; SODIUM 457.81mg; PROTEIN 56.66mg; FIBER 1.41g; IRON 3.98mg

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Perfect Winter Beef Stew

Perfect Winter Beef Stew
from Kraft

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min

Makes: 8 servings, 1-1/4 cups each

3/4 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
2 lb. beef for stew, such as beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions (about 1 large)
3 cups sliced carrots (about 6 medium)
1-1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 can (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth

POUR dressing over meat in large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; turn to evenly coat meat with dressing. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large saucepan on medium heat 5 min. or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from saucepan; drain drippings.

ADD mushrooms and onions to same saucepan; cook on medium-high heat 10 min. or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Add meat, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and bacon to saucepan; stir.

BRING to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour 15 min. Uncover; simmer an additional 15 min. or until meat is cooked through and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Jazz It Up: Add 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves with the broth for extra flavor.
Substitute: Prepare as directed, using KRAFT Light Italian Reduced Fat Dressing.
How to Prepare Stew in Slow Cooker: Marinate meat and cook bacon, onions and mushrooms as directed. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Add meat, onions, mushrooms and remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook 10 to 12 hours on LOW (or 5 to 6 hours on HIGH) or until meat is tender. Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour mixed with 2 Tbsp. water. Continue cooking an additional 15 min. or until sauce is thickened.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Black Bean Soup by Goya

I've been on a major soup kick lately. So, you'll see at least 3 new soups coming up here. They were all fabulous.

The reason that this particular recipe was awesome is that it was literally 30 minutes start to finish. Stuff like that makes me positively giddy. I have to admit that the recipe called for quite a few ingredients that I've never purchased before. But the good news is that this soup was so good that I'll definitely be making it again and get to use the the rest of the ingredients.

We ate it over rice in order to stretch it a little farther. While it says this serves 4, I think it's a very lean 4. Doubling it would definitely give you some good leftovers.

Goya's Black Bean Soup

2 cans Black Beans, undrained
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 rounded Tbsp Goya Recaito (Cilantro Cooking Base)
1 tsp Oregano or to taste
1 tsp Cumin or to taste
2 Bay Leaves
2 packets Sazón Goya without Annatto
2 Tbsp Goya Golden Cooking Wine (unintentionally omitted, oops!)
1 tsp White Vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Goya Adobo with Pepper or to taste
1 cup water
½ cup finely chopped onions for garnish

1. In saucepan on medium, combine all ingredients. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered until desired consistency, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with onions.
Serves 4

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tater Tot Casserole

This meal is the epitome of quick fix. My mom used to make this growing up. It is perfect when you are in a time crunch. My husband begs for this meal. I wouldn't say that it is good enough to beg for, but it is yummy... unless your Alissa who doesn't like cream soups, then it is nasty.
Tater Tot Casserole

From: Mom aka Ruth Solter

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 med. onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
garlic powder, to taste
1 package frozen tator tots, thawed...or not
1 can cream of mushroom soup
sour cream to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef with onion and fresh garlic. Drain fat. Add cream of mushroom soup and enough sour cream to make enough sauce for the tater tots. (I usually use a few good sized spoonfuls.) Add garlic powder if the mixture doesn't taste garlicy enough for you. (It never does for us)

Dump your tater tots into a casserole dish. Pour cream soup sauce over the top and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until everything is hot.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Crispy Yogurt Chicken

Crispy Yogurt Chicken

From: The Pioneer Woman

Chicken legs or thighs
2 cups plain yogurt
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
course (kosher salt)
parsley, chopped
2 cups Panko

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour yogurt into a mixing bowl. Add the garlic and a small amount of parsley. Add the juice of one lemon. Mix to combine.

Rinse chicken and pat it dry. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

Place bread crumbs in a bowl. Sprinkle with more salt and stir to combine.

Butter your baking dish. Place chicken pieces one at a time into the yogurt mixture turning to coat thoroughly. Then roll in the chicken in the Panko. Place into your baking dish. Top each piece of chicken with a small slice of butter. Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/4 hours, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Waikiki Meatballs

Another great one from my mom. Growing up we always got to pick what we ate for our birthday dinner. I ALWAYS picked this. It is now my husband's favorite thing for me to make.Waikiki Meatballs

From: Ruth Solter aka Mom

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2/3 cup saltine cracker crumbs
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple, drained, syrup reserved
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/3 cup green pepper, chopped (I usually use at least 1/2-1 whole pepper)

Mix together beef, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger, and milk. Shape into meatball and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile mix cornstarch and sugar. Stir in pineapple syrup, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Pour into a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 min. Add meatballs, pineapple and green peppers. Heat through.