Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tomato-Herb Focaccia

We got this one from taste of home magazine and absolutely LOVED it!

1 pkg active dry yeast (~1 Tbsp)
1 cup warm water (110-115F)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp dried basil
dash pepper
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose four
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 Tbsp oil, salt, sugar, garlic powder, herbs, pepper, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
(I actually used my bread machine and did steps 1 and 2 w/ it, just following the manufacturers instructions as to the order to put in the ingredients. Once the machine had kneaded my dough, I did the rest.)
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Punch dough down. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into a 13x9 rectangle; place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With fingertips, make several dimples over top of dough.
4. Brush dough with remaining oil; arrange tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin Cheese and Potato Soup

A friend of ours made this for us when we found out we would be moving to Wisconsin. We all fell in love with it! It is on our regular meal rotation now and we always look forward to when we get to eat it. :) It is perfect on a beautiful, snowy, winter day like today.

1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 T butter
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
Dash paprika
2 cups shredded cheddar
Chopped fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, sauté celery and onion in butter until tender. Add potatoes and broth. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 12-15 minutes. Smash potatoes with a potato masher (The original recipe said to let potatoes cool and to puree in a blender or a food processor. We like to have some potato chunks in ours so I like to make it this quicker way instead). Stir in milk and seasonings. Add the cheese and heat just until melted. Garnish with croutons and parsley.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Potato Packets

I tried another recipe from the website using those wonderful Crescent dinner rolls. We really liked these little guys. The recipe was easy and they were so tasty. Give them a try.
1 pouch (3.3 oz) Betty Crocker Cheddar and Sour Cream Instant mashed potatoes (don't tell Betty, but I used another brand that was on sale, and it worked just as well )
1 3/4 cup hot water (microwave it)
1 3oz pkg. cream cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped ham (I just used a few slices of ham lunch meat)
1/4 cup crumbled bacon (honestly, I don't think you need both the bacon and the ham, so if you don't have it, don't stress)
2 medium green onion, chopped
1/4 cup (more or less) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes and hot water. Add cream cheese. Beat well until blended. Stir in the ham, bacon, onions, and cheddar cheese.
Separate the crescent dough into 8 triangles. Spray a cookie sheet. Divide the potatoes onto the 8 eight crescents, then stretch dough to encase the potatoes in each one.
Mix together the butter and tabasco sauce and brush over the tops of the packets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lemon Onion Chicken

If you watch food network, I'm sure you've heard of Melissa d'Arabian's 4-step chicken. She won food network star last year, and I think it was because of this recipe. It is easy and absolutely delicious. It's one of those recipes that you can substitute what you and your family like, and it turns out great. There's more than one RIGHT way to make it. So here's the link to the original recipe, and posted below is how I make it:
4 chicken breast halves, cut into chunks
2/3 cup (or so) flour
1 tsp. (or so) Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tsp. (or so) thyme
Olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped (opt)
1 tsp. crushed garlic (more or less to taste)
1 cup chicken broth ( I actually use a little more than this, enough to make a nice gravy)
3 lemons, juiced (you can use less lemon if desired)
zest of 1 lemon
2 T. butter
Spinach bed (boil a bag of spinach with butter and lemon) (opt, but it is yummy and makes it more nutritous)

Cut up the chicken. Put the flour, steak seasoning and thyme in a gallon zip lock bag. Add the chicken pieces. Close the bag and mix well until all the chicken is coated. Let marinate at least while you chop the veggies. I like to put the bag in the fridge for awhile and let the chicken absorb the flavors in the flour mixture.
Put olive oil in a large skillet and heat. Add the chicken and cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink. Put chicken in a dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add more olive oil, then add the onions and pepper. Slowly cook the veggies until they caramalize- get browned, but not burned. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the zest of lemon and the lemon juice and the chicken broth. Whisk and cook until pan is deglazed. Whisk in the butter until melted and blended. Add back in the chicken and stir and cook until sauce thickens. Serve over a bed of cooked spinach if desired. Serve with rice cooked in chicken broth(I like to mix brown and white rice.) Good with roasted butternut squash (Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast until tender. Sprinkle with 2 T. Brown sugar when done. Mix well until all the squash is coated and sugar is dissolved and serve.) This is one tasty, yummy dinner!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Easy Black Bean Soup

This is so easy, yummy and packed w/ fiber. I actually put all ingredients in our crockpot for a couple of hours since I didn't have time right before we ate. It is yummy-enjoy!

2 cans black beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 cup beef broth

tortilla chips
sour cream

Put all ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until everything is warm and serve w/ toppings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rocky Road Fudge

This is the easiest fudge recipe ever! Well, really what do I know? It is the only one I have ever made. But it is SIMPLE which is why I felt comfortable making it. It is DEFINITELY worth a try.
1 pkg. milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 pkg peanut butter chips (peanut butter chips swirled with chocolate is also really good...I couldn't find those this time)
Line a 9x9 glass dish with waxed paper. In medium glass bowl, mix both types of chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave in increments of 15-20 seconds, stirring in between, until chocolate chips are all melted. Add marshmallows and peanut butter chips. Stir in really well. Pour into 9x9 dish. Let it set up for a couple of hours.
(I used a 13x9 dish and spread it about 3/4 full so that the fudge wasn't as thick.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mad Hatter Meatballs

My love of cooking started when I was a young girl. I had this cookbook and loved reading the recipes and looking at the pictures and then trying to make the food. I still have this book, though it's in terrible shape- the pages torn and stained. I love to get it out and look through it as it transports me back to my childhood. There is still one recipe I make from this book, or at least the idea was originally from the book.

It's called Mad Hatter Meatballs:

I don't make the meatballs the same as in the book (I've bumped up the taste and nutrition) but I make the sauce just as I did as a child. I've made this recipe for over fifty years, and it's still one of my favorite comfort food dinners. The book suggests serving the meatballs with mashed potatoes and carrots. I ALWAYS serve it with cooked carrots (sliced, put in a microwave bowl with a little water, honey and butter and cooked til soft), but I often serve it over rice rather than potatoes. Both are yummy.
Mad Hatter Meatballs
1 lb. lean ground beef
About 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I just put a couple of slices of bread in my food processor)( the original recipe called for two pieces of soft white bread broken into small pieces.  The whole wheat makes a tighter meatball that doesn't fall apart as easy)
1/4 cup evap. milk (regular is fine, too)
1 egg
1 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning (more or less to taste)
Tabasco sauce, few drops
Wheat germ, a sprinkle (opt.)
Ground flax seed, a sprinkle (opt.)
Mix all together and set aside while you make the sauce.
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can chicken with rice soup
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
In a large skillet, saute' the green pepper and onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add the soups and water. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Form the meat mixture into ping-pong sized balls. Drop into the simmering sauce. Cook slowly until meat is done and sauce is thickened.  You essentially are poaching the meatballs.  Serve over mashed potatoes or rice with cooked carrots. Can you say comfort?