Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolate Marbled Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Marbled Zucchini Bread
 Yield 1 loaf

1/3 cup butter
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan-I like to sprinkle the loaf pan lightly with cinnamon sugar after greasing.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs. Add zucchini,  and vanilla; stir. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour,baking soda, salt , baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice, then add to creamed mixture. (if dough seems dry, add a Tablespoon or two of water, usually the zucchini is moist enough that you won't need to) Stir in nuts.
Divide batter in half, and add cocoa powder and chocolate chips to one of the halves.
To marble, alternate dropping the plain batter and the chocolate batter by the tablespoon full into the loaf pan. Then run a knife throuth the dough, this makes a beautiful marbled effect.
Bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, and remove from pan. Store in refrigerator.

Black Bean Salsa

I was experimenting the other night when I made fish tacos. I came up with this Black Bean salsa recipe, I love Black Beans. It's great on tacos or on salad with chicken bites or just with chips!!!.  Hope I get the measurements right because when I made it, I just threw this and that into it. Yumm!

Black Bean Salsa

1-14 oz. can Black Beans, rinxed and drained
3 or 4 medium sized Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 green Bell pepper minced
2 serrano peppers, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Lime juice

Combine all ingredients in medium sized bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste--may want to add more sugar or lime juice. I didn't measure when I first made this, and kept adding a little more sugar to it, but I didn't put more than a teaspoon. Add more lime juice if you like.
Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serve on tacos or salads or where ever you use Salsa. Yum!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hamburger Gravy and mashed potatoes!

This is an easy recipe that I learned from my Mom and has been one of my kids favorites since they were way little. I think Sarah even picked it for a Birthday dinner once.! It's the ultimate comfort food for me. I put this on creamy mashed potatoes but you could put it on baked potatoes as well! You probably already know how to make mashed potatoes, but just in case you don't, I'm posting how I do that as well. Yum!!!

Hamburger Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth (or water with 2 boullion cubes)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch

In large skillet or pot, brown ground beef. Drain off the fat and add the onions, garlic, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and turn down to keep simmering, let cook for 1/2 hour or so. If you need more water to this after a half an hour of cooking, pour some of your potato water in or add hot water. You want a good amount of gravy. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Then dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup water, whisk, then add to hamburger. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve over cooked potatoes! Yum!!!

Mashed Potatoes

6 medium sized red potatoes (scrubbed, I leave most of the peel on)
salt and pepper
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (warmed)

Dice potatoes into large pieces. Place in pot and cover with water, and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook at a good simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Drain water, then add the butter and sour cream. Mash with potatoe masher until most of the lumps are out. Add 1/4 cup of the milk, and whip with an electric mixer until creamy, adding more milk as necessary. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve plain or with gravy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips

I love this recipe! I made them for Breakfast one Thanksgiving morning, they go great with Hot Chocolate! Of course what we call scones in Idaho is really fried bread... these are real Scones! Love them right out of the oven and freshly frosted......

Pumkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips

2 cups all purpose flour
7 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons Half and half or cream
1 large egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup Hershey's Cinnamon Chips

Plain Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons Milk

Spiced Icing:
3/4 cup Powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
dash of Allspice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in the bowl of a food processor or large bowl.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half and half, and egg. When thoroughly combined stir the cinnamon chips to this.
Cut butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse butter into dry ingredients until the butter is all incorporated and the texture is like cornmeal. OR you can use a pastry knife or fork and elbow grease to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients.
Then dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold to form dough into a ball. Don't worry if it looks like their is too much flour, gently mix together, after it's almost all incorporated I pat with my fingers to form a ball. (be gentle, too much mixing will make tough scones).
Lighty flour counter top, and place dough on it, and gently pat dough to form a 1 inch thick rectangle about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide. Then cut into 3 equal squares, and then cut each square in half to form a triangle. Should be 6 pieces of triangle shape dough now.
Place on a parchment lined or lightly grease cookie sheet. (I think they are easier to lift off pan if you use parchement paper). Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes or until scones are just starting to turn light brown.
While scones cool, prepare plain glaze by combining the powdered sugar and milk together in a bowl with an electric mixer. Mix until smooth add more milk if necessary, you want this to be slightly runny.
Glaze scones by brushing glaze onto each scone with a pastry brush, (or you can use your fingers).
While this glaze sets, make the spiced icing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. This should be just a bit thicker than the glaze so add a little more powdered sugar if necessary. Drizzle over the scones with a spoon or whisk. I like to use a pastry bag with a small tip, or you can use a zip lock bag with a small hole cut in one corner, and drizzle across each scone.
Eat while still warm with hot chocolate!! Yummmo!!!

** When making the icings, start with the smaller amount of milk, and add more if necessary. You can always add some but you can 't take it out. :o)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mom B's Fresh Peach Pie

Don't you love Autumn..... and all the yummy things you can make with the fruit and vegetables that are in season this time of year? Especially peaches...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nothing like my mom's peach pie. And it's not that hard to make. Here's her recipe. Enjoy!

Mom B's Fresh Peach Pie

For crust:
1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or I like vanilla wafer crumbs)
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a fork to mix together well. Pour ingredients into a 9 inch pie pan. With the sides of a measuring cup, pat the crumbs around the edges of pan, then with the bottom of the cup pat the rest of the crumbs onto the bottom of the pie pan so you have a good solid coverage of the pie pan. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Let cool completely before adding filling.

Peach filling:
Blend in blender:
2 really ripe peaches and approximately 1/2 cup water. (If peaches are really juicy, use a little less water)
Pour into saucepan and add:
1 cup granualted sugar and 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch.
Whisk together and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook until this thickens really well. (about 5 minutes or so.)
Remove from heat and add:
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Whisk together until butter has melted. Let cool**. (this is the glaze for your pie)

Peel and slice 4 to 5 peaches (depending on size) I put in a large strainer and toss with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Let peaches sit over a bowl (to catch juice) for about 1/2 an hour so the excess juice runs out of them.
When crust and glaze are cool, spread about 1/2 cup or so of glaze along the bottom of the crust, add peaches and pour remaining glaze over the top, may have to lift peaches here and there to let glaze seep down in between them. Let chill in fridge for about an hour or so before serving.
Garnish with whipped cream. YUMMMMO!!!

**Hint: After the glaze and pie crust have cooled for about 15 minutes, I put in the refrigerator to help them cool faster.
Sometimes I have a hard time with this pie not setting up too well, so it makes a mess when slicing... but if you don't mind that it always tastes really good!!

Caramel Apple Pie

I love apple pie and this time of year just makes me crave it!! This is my favorite recipe for Apple pie, I've tweaked it a bit from the original recipe because it was way sweet. This one is a nice mixture of sweet/tart with granny smith apples. My picture doesn't do it justice because the top of my pie isn't very pretty, my cinnamon sugar shaker was sabatoged, so when I opened it a big puff of cinnamon shot out onto my pie.... but it was still delicious!! I got the pie crust recipe from Ina(the barefoot Contessa) off of the food network. When I make apple pies I just can't seem to get the apples to cook all the way no matter how thin I slice them. So I tried sauteing for a few minutes before adding to the pie, it worked great!! Enjoy

Caramel Apple Pie


1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie (see pie crust recipe below)

1/4 cup butter, melted
6 cups thinly sliced apples ( I use Granny Smith apples, use your favorite)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

20 caramels, cut each carmel into fourths

2 tablespoons milk(for brushing on the top of pie before baking)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl combine brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and spices together and set aside.
In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add apple slices and saute for about 5 to 8 minutes or until apples are almost tender, toss gently while they cook. Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon lemon juice and toss to coat. Then add to the large bowl with the sugar, flour and spices, toss gently until the apples are thoroughly coated.
Spoon half of apple filling into pastry-lined deep-dish pan. Top with half of caramel pieces. Repeat process with remaining apple filling, and  caramels. Place top pastry over filling and seal well (this is very important--if edges are not sealed, caramel will leak out all over). Cut steam vents and brush top crust with milk and sprinkle the top of the pie with cinnamon sugar.
Cover pie edges  with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from pie and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve warm.


Perfect Pie Crust
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold  butter, diced into cubes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon  salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold butter flavored Crisco
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and Crisco. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the mixture is crumbly. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube (start with the smaller amount and add more if necessary) and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Divide into two pieces, and flatten into a round flat 1 inch thick disc shape and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll each piece out in between two pieces of wax paper, rolling from the center to the edge. When dough is big enough to fit your pie plate, peel top piece of wax paper off and flip over, placing in the pie plate. Carefully remove the other piece of wax paper. (I learned to use the wax paper when rolling out pie crust from Jim's mom, you use less flour and have a more tender crust that way) Add filling then repeat with the top crust.
Crimp the edges however you desire.
Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts

Sausage and Sundried Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

Well, I made my spaghetti sauce on Sunday, but I was bored with the regular recipe so I kicked it up a notch. It turned out way yummy, so I thought I'd share. We had Sarah and Dave over for dinner since Dave is in the National Guard and had to leave for a year to go to Iraq on Tues. It was nice to have them here, and they both said my sauce was way yummy!

Sausage and Sundried Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 package HOT italian sausage (1 1b.) remove casings
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes (I get the dried kind usually found in the produce dept. and slice them up with my kitchen scissors)
1- 4oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1- 14oz can diced tomatoes
1- 14oz can tomatoe sauce
1- 14oz can chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Combine hamburger and sausage in a large skillet or pot and brown over medium heat. While meat is browning, mince the onion and carrot in food processor. When meat is browned, drain the grease then add the onion and carrots to meat along with garlic and green pepper. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients to skillet or pot. **Mix the cornstarch into the chicken broth before adding to the pan, this way you won't get lumps. Stir all together and continue to cook over medium/low heat for about an hour to let all the flavors combine and sauce to thicken. (I half cover with the lid to help with the splattering, but you want the sauce to thicken, so I dont' cover all the way.)
Serve over hot cooked spaghetti noodles and Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Honey of a Whole Wheat Bread

I can't even remember where I found this recipe, but it's one of my very favorites for whole wheat bread. I've tried other recipes and always end up coming back to this one. This is good when it just comes out of the oven with butter and honey on it, or great for toast in the mornings!!  Nothing like homemade bread!!

Honey of a Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 2 loaves

3 1/2 to 4 cups white bread flour (or all purpose flour)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
6 Teaspoons vital wheat gluten (this is optional)
1 Tablespoon salt
2 packages yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup honey
3 Tablespoons butter
1 egg

In large mixing bowl, mix 2 cups white flour, 1 cup wheat flour, wheat gluten, and salt together. In another small bowl add the lukewarm water (110 degrees, not any warmer) then add the yeast and the tablespoon of sugar, whisk together and set aside.
In a small saucepan heat the milk and honey, when hot, remove from heat and add the butter, stir together so the butter starts to melt. Let this cool, it's important it's not hot when adding to the rest of the ingredients or it will kill the yeast, I put mine in the fridge or set the pan in a little cold water in the sink until it's luke warm.
When yeast is all bubbly, and the milk mixture is at room temperature, add to flour mixture along with the egg. Mix a low speed until combined, then turn mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Next, turn mixer speed back to low and gradually add in the rest of the wheat flour and enough white flour to make a firm dough (or add this stirring by hand if you don't have a big heavy duty mixer). Let continue mixing for 5 more minutes, or knead by hand for 5 minutes if you don't have a big mixer.
In a large mixing bowl, spread a little olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray, place dough in this, and turn over so top has oil on it. Cover with a cloth and let raise for about an hour, or until double in size.
Grease two loaf pans.
When dough is double in size, punch down and knead a time or two on floured surface. Divide dough into two pieces and shape into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Cover with towel, and let raise another 1//2 hour or so till the dough is barely domed over the top of the pan. **See hint below.
Heat oven to 375 and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool on baking rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and brush the entire outside of the loaves with butter.

**I always seem to have a hard time getting wheat dough to raise very fast. So I create proof box, by heating my oven to the lowest temperature possible then turn it off. I bring a pot of water to a boil and then set that in the oven. I leave the door open just a few seconds so most of the hot heat leaves, then I stick my dough pans in and let raise with the oven door shut. This just seems to keep the dough warm and moist and it seems to raise quicker. We had a proof box at the bakery I worked at that we let the bread raise in. BUT remember to remove the dough before heating the oven up to 375.

Asian Chicken Wings

Jim loves chicken wings! We had them at a little Teriyaki Grill in Walla Walla when we were there. They were yummy so I tried to create the sauce they were in here at home. I think it's pretty close. They were good anyway. Here's the recipe I came up with.

Asain Chicken Wings

3-4 lbs chicken wings (I usally buy a bag of Tyson frozen wings and use it all)
Cajun seasoning (your favorite, or see my recipe for Cajun seasoning with fish taco recipe)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1or 2 Tablespoons Louisianna Hot sauce (depends on how hot you like them)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
dash or two of jamaican allspice

Heat grill to medium high heat.
Rinse chicken wings, place on cookie sheet and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with cajun seasoning. When grill is hot, place chicken wings on grill evenly spaced. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes, or until juices run clear. I turn them after 10 minutes of cooking, let cook on that side for 10 minutes, and then I turn every 5. Watch them so they don't burn.
To make the sauce:
Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a small  saucepan. Then heat to boiling, and then turn down heat so the sauce is just at a simmer. Simmer and stir frequently for 10 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.
When wings are done put in a large bowl, pour sauce over them and toss to evenly coat each chicken wing. Serve on a platter garnished with diced green onion tops, or you can sprinkle a little parsley on the top like I did.  Enjoy!!

**remember, you can adjust the spicyness by adding more hot sauce or red pepperflakes. I did the 1 tablespoon hot sauce and the 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, but think I will add a little more hot sauce next time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fiesta Zucchinni Corn

I know I've posted this recipe before, but I had it with a taco recipe. Plus I made it again and tweaked it a bit, so I thought I would re-post. I used 3 roasted ears of corn because they were left over, but you can use canned or frozen corn.

Fiesta Zucchinni Corn
1/2 cup diced onion
1 medium size Zucchinni, diced (or two smaller ones)
3 roasted ears of corn (or frozen or 1 can will work)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 roma tomatos, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground corriander
Salt and pepper to taste
chipotle powder (if desired) just a dash, this can be spicy

Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium size fry pan. Saute onion for 2 or 3 minutes, then add zucchini and garlic, continue cooking over medium heat until veggetables are tender, add corn, black beans and tomatoes, cook 2 or 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper while cooking, and if you want to add a kick add a dash or two of chipotle powder.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mom B's Applesauce Cake

I love warm applesauce cake. You can tell I'm in the mood for autumnish food! My mom makes this cake quite often, so to me it's like having a little piece of home. Enjoy!!

Mom B's Applesauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together:
2/3 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar

2 small eggs (or one large)
Beat till combined

In a small bowl whisk together:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of allspice
Then add all but 1 Tablespoon of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix until the flour is all incorporated in the creamed mixture.

In a small bowl:
Add 2 cups applesauce (besure this is room temperature)
Add 2 teaspoons baking soda to the applesauce, stir to combine (this is awesome to watch, makes the applesauce bubble)
Then add to butter and flour mixture and stir to combine.
Add 1 to 2 cups chocolate chips to the Tablespoon of leftover flour mixture, and toss so chips are coated with flour (I learned this trick from a lady I worked with that owned a bed and breakfast, this keeps the chips from sinking to the bottom of the batter while baking.)
Then stir chips into your batter. Spread batter into a 13x9 in cake or brownie pan that you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. (I sprinkle my pan with a little cinnamon sugar as well)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touch in the center.
Let cool and frost with your favorite vanilla icing. See my recipe below.

Vanilla Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 drop of coconut extract (makes delicious frosting)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons milk

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and Beat with an electric mixture till smooth and creamy. Start with 2 Tablespoons of milk, if more milk is needed ad 1 tablespoon at a time. Just so you get a thinner, spreadable icing.

New England Clam Chowder

This is a great Clam Chowder recipe that I got from my sister Jan. It's my favorite recipe for Clam chowder. And since the weather is getting colder I've been in mood for soups and stews! Hope you like this one!

New England Clam Chowder

1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
4 cups diced potatoes
3 (6-1/2 oz) cans minced clams, drain off juice but save it, you will use the juice for cooking.
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley

1 quart half and half cream,  or milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar

Bacon Bits for Garnish

Heat  1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil to a large soup pot. Add Onions, celery, and carrots, and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, clam juice, parsley, and enough water to just barely cover the veggies.  Cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes or so. Do NOT drain.
While veggies are cooking, make a white sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, when butter is almost melted add the bacon bits and saute for a minute or two. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir for a minute until flour is incorporated. Then slowly whisk in the half and half. Stir constantly with whisk and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens.
When the veggies are tender add the clams and cook just a minute to warm clams, then add the white sauce, and stir to combine. Add red wine vinegar and stir well. Taste at this point add more salt and pepper if needed.
Servie in bowls with a little sprinkle of bacon bits on top for a garnish and toasted buttered bread! Yummo!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chunky Beef Stew

It's been chilly lately and really feeling like fall. I've been making lots of soups and stews. This is my favorite recipe for beef stew. I like to make baking powder biscuts and serve those along with it. And yes, I use the Bisquick recipe for biscuts ( I do have a recipe for homemade biscuts, but bisquick is good) Sometimes I cut the biscut dough in random piecs and lay overlapping on top of my stew and bake in the oven, kind of like a meat pie. Also, if I have left over corn that I need to use up, I put that in my stews as well. Anyway, bring on fall and comfort food!!

Chunky Beef Stew

1 onion, chopped
1 pound top round steak, cut into 1 inch chunks (**see note below)
2 1/2 cups beef broth (approx.)
4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1/4 cup  tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon parsley

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add beef chunks and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 more minutes.
Add beef broth, potato chunks, carrots, celery, tomato paste, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, red wine vinegar, and parsley. Add another cup of beef broth if it's not juicy enough. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to low, (or medium-low, you want this to keep simmering) Cover and simmer stirring occasionally, until the meat and veggies are tender, about an hour. Remove bay leaf and discard.
Spoon stew into bowls and enjoy!
**sometimes when I work, I put a roast in my crock pot with 2 1/2 cups water and a boullion cube or two. I cook on high for about 4 hours. Then I remove the roast and add the rest of the ingredients(usually when I come home for lunch) then I slice up the roast and put back in the crockpot. I allow this all to cook on high in the crock pot until I get home from work. It's good and done, then all I have to do is make the biscuts. If stew is thin, disolve 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch in a 1/4 cup of cold water, add to stew and let continue to cook on high until it thickens. Yummo!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chocolate Lover's Chocolate Malt Cake

This cake is amazing!!! It wasn't hard to make and it was so yummy!! Was quite rich, so you couldn't eat too big of a piece, (especially if you're like me and taste the batter, the frosting and the ganache!) I was on such a sugar rush the rest of the day!! :o) Anyway, this was yummo and I made it for my Dad's 84 birthday! It served at least 12 adults. I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs (can't remember which one exactly) but I cut the frosting recipes down just a tad cuz I had way too much frosting left over (I'e posted my downsized versions). Enjoy!!

Chocolate Malt Cake

2- 1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup malted milk powder (can be found by the nestles quick or instant breakfasts)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Malt Buttercream icing (recipe to follow)
Chocolate Ganache (recipe to follow
Malted Milk Balls (Whoppers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 -9 inch round cake pans with a nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle lightly with flour (I only have 8 inch cake pans, so I used my two 13x9 brownie pans that I sprayed with Pam and lined with parchement paper for easy cake removal) this makes a lot of batter so if using the 9 inch baking pans, you might need to make a cupcake or two.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, combine milk, and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add milk mixture, oil and eggs to flour mixture, beating at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combines. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in the center (or you can do the toothpick test) Let cake cool on cooling racks for about 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans (this is why I lined my pans with parchement paper, I leave a couple of inches hanging over the sides and you can lift cake right out of your pans) Let cool completely on cooling racks.

When cake is cool, Frost cakes with the Butter cream icing, I cut my rectangle cakes in half, and put a spoonful of butter cream in between each layer (If using round cake pans, slice through the middle of each layer and frost in between, either way, you should have 4 layers.)

Then frost the outside with a layer of buttercream all around and on top.Chill in fridge while making the chocolate Ganache. Then pour the ganache over the entire cake, it will run down the sides and pool on the pan you have your cake on, don't worry, just chill cake for about 15 minutes, then I took the cake out of fridge and with a spatula scooped up the ganache and spread around the sides of my cake. Then I let chill for about another 45 minutes. Then with the leftover buttercream that I put in a cake decorator bag, I did a trim around the bottom, and did big stars on the top and stuck my whoppers on each one. Decorate however you desire. Serve with icecream! yumm!!!

Chocolate Malt Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup malted milk powder
5 to 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar (approx. may need just a tad more)
In a large bowl, beat butter and cocoa powder at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. In a small bowl, combie cream and malted milk powder, stirring to dissovel Add cream mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed to combine. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until frosting is a smooth creamy, spreadable consistancy. Beat for a couple of minutes to make a fluffy frosting. (You might need to add just a spoonful or so more powdered sugar)

Chocolate Ganache
8 oz. bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate (can use chocolate chips or the bakers chocolate squares, chopped)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Place the chopped chocolate into a medium-sized bowl. Heat teh heavy cream in a microwavable container and microwave for a couple of minutes on high, or until it just begins to simmer: be careful not to allow cream to boil over. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds or so. Use a whisk, and stir until chocolate mixture is smooth. (If too think you can add a bit more cream) Use as is for glaze over cake.

Fish Tacos!!

Okay, I know I've said it before, but I love tacos!! I finally made a Yummo Fish taco so I thought I'd share!!! These turned out so good and the fish doesn't take long to make. I use my Cilantro Coleslaw and Mango Pineapple Salsa with these, see my earlier posts. These are good on both corn or snack size flour tortilla's, I did both because my family likes both. Enjoy!!

Fish Tacos

8 Talapia fillets, thawed (I used frozen Talapia cuz it's hard to get good fresh fish here in Idaho, unless you go fishing, but any firm fish will work) 1 fillet made about 2 tacos, so use more or less according to how many you need
Cajun Spice Mix (see my recipe below, or use your favorite cajun seasoning)
Corn or Flour Tortilla's
Mango Pineapple Salsa
Cilantro Coleslaw
Vegetable oil for frying fish and Tortilla's

Heat about 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a heavy skillet. While oil is heating lightly sprinkle cajun seasoning on both sides of each fish fillet. When oil is hot place 3 or 4 fillets in skillet and brown. Takes about 4 minutes. Flip and brown other side, about another 3 or 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. You just want your fish to be flaky. Remove from skillet and place on cookies sheet while cooking the rest of your fish.

While fish is cooking, Heat another heavy skillet, Then I drizzle about 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and brush around the bottom, and cook tortilla's till they start to bubble for the flour on each side, and about 45 seconds per side for the corn. Keep tortilla's warm in between dish towels on a plate.
When fish is done assemble tacos (make the salsa and coleslaw ahead, before cooking fish) I place about 1/2 a fish fillet on one side of a tortilla, and put a spoonful of coleslaw, and a spoonful of Mango salsa next. Fold in half like a taco and enjoy!!! Yummm!!
I served with fresh steamed vegies and Fiesta Zucchinni Corn (you can find that recipe with my Chipotle taco recipe look in vegetables)

Cajun Spice Mix

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspooon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and store in air tight container. This is better if you can blend with a mortar and pestle, or a spice blender. (I just crushed the oregano and thyme with my fingers) I recommend keeping in an old salt shaker or spice bottle that you may have laying around to sprinkle on the fish.

Cilantro Coleslaw

I came up with this recipe because I was trying to imitate the coleslaw that was put on our fish tacos in Walla Walla. It turned out Yummo!!

Cilantro ColeSlaw

1/2 cup mayonaise (Real Mayonaise)
1/2 of a bunch of fresh Cilantro (maybe a little less than half) chopped fine in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 clove)
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 regular size bag Coleslaw mix

Whisk the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl.  I taste the sauce to see if I need more sugar, or chipotle pepper. Add Colseslaw mix, and toss to coat.
Enjoy plain or on tacos !

Mango Pineapple Salsa

I finally made a Mango Salsa I like!! I had fish tacos on our trip to Walla Walla, and they were yummy ! They had a Mango Salsa on them that was yummo! I found a recipe for Pineapple Salsa and one for Mango salsa, so I took what sounded good from both and came up with my own recipe. I used frozen mango because I never know how to pick at good mango in the produce department. Frozen worked, just thaw before using. This is great on chips as a dip, but yumm-a-lishes on fish tacos!! Enjoy!

Mango Pineapple Salsa

 3 roma tomatoes
1 cup frozen mango, thawed and drained
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained (drink the juice on ice! yum!)
1/4 of a medium sized onion
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1/4 of a green bell pepper
2 jalapeno peppers (or less if you don't like spicy) add a serano pepper to it too if you like spicier
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
about 1/2 of a bunch of fresh cilantro (or just a bit less)
Salt and pepper to taste
dash of ground cayenne pepper
dash of ground chipotle pepper

Remove seeds from roma tomatoes, and cut into large chunks, place in food processor and pulse about 5 or 6 times until they are in quite small pieces but not pureed. Place in large bowl.
Then add mango pieces, and pineapple tidbits to the food processor, and pulse 5 or 6 times the same as you did with the tomatoes. Add to bowl.
Then chop the onions, red and green bell peppers, and jalapeno's and cilantro to food processor and pulse until they are in pretty small pieces. Add to tomatoes and fruit in bowl.
Then add the lime juice, lemon juice, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a dash of chipotle pepper, and a little salt and pepper to the mixture in the bowl. Stir to combine every thing. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This lets the flavors mingle. Serve with chips or on tacos or grilled meat! Yummo!
**you can chop the tomatoes by hand if you like, and leave the pineapple and mango in larger chunks, I just like my salsa less chunky, easier to get on a chip for me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is an old family recipe for Peanut Butter cookies. It's one of my favorites! Sometimes I add a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter chips for an extra Peanut Buttery cookie, or a cup of Peanut Butter chips and a cup of milk chocolate chips. But they are also good just plain, with the traditional criss-cross with fork tines over the top before baking! Yum! Bet ya can't eat just one!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12-oz. pkge. Peanut Butter chips or Milk chocolate chips or 1 cup of each
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter together. Then add eggs, and beat well. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl, and then add to creamed mixture slowly. Hand stir chips in at this point, if adding.
Next, drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. With the tines of a fork, make criss-cross on the top, (this helps flatten the cookies a little so I do even when adding chips) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let sit on cookies sheet for a minute or two, then remove to cooling rack. Enjoy while warm with a glass of milk! Yum-a - licious!

Green Chili Chicken Soup

This is a great soup recipe I got from a friend when we lived in Albuquerque, N.M. You could find fresh green chili's everywhere! They were roasting them just about on every street corner. Jim had a really bad head cold last week, so I made this for him to help knock the cold out of him! Yummo!

Green Chili Chicken Soup

4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
2 cubes Chicken boullion
1/2 a whole onion
1 stalk celery, broken in two
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
4  medium potatoes, washed and diced
1/2 medium sized onion diced
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
3 cans chopped green chili's (or 3 large fresh breen chili's) or if you like a lot of spice use 2 cans green chili's and 1 can chopped jalapeno peppers
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
old fashioned noodles (optional) (I use Country Pasta Homemade style wide egg noodles-they are in a clear plastic bag with green on the bottom, I find them at Walmart)

Bring a large pot filled about 1/2 full (or a little less) of water to a boil. Add chicken breasts,  bouliion cubes, the 1/2 whole onion, the stalk of celery, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. Turn to medium heat to keep the water simmering, and cook for about 1/2 an hour or until chicken is done.
Remove chicken from broth, and set aside. Strain broth to remove the cooked onion and celery. Place broth back in pot. Add  the diced potatoes, diced onion, garlic, green chili's, chopped celery and carrot to pot. Bring back up to a boil. While this is starting to cook, dice up cooked chicken and add to pot. If you need to add more water, or a can of chicken broth at this point go ahead. you want it to be like soup, and if adding noodles later, they soak up alot of the broth. Have heat at a medium heat to keep simmering and cover pot. Cook about 20 minutes. Then add about 2 cups uncooked noodles ( I use a couple of handfuls) Let cook another 15 minutes or until noodles and veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with toast! Yummo!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eggplant/ Zucchini Parmesan

This is one of my favorite things to do with zucchini, those that you accidently let get bigger than you like. I've made it with eggplant too, it's good with either one. I like to serve mine on top of spaghetti noodles. Yum!!

Eggplant / Zucchini Parmesan

1 large eggplant, or 2 medium size zucchini
1 cup italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 eggs
Oil for frying
Marinara sauce ( use bottled or see my recipe below)
1 cup grated Mozerella cheese (approx)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cooked spaghetti noodles

Heat about 1/2 to 1 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet. Meanwhile, peel eggplant and slice into about 1/4 inch thick slices. If using zucchini, you don't need to peel it unless it's bigger, (bigger zucchini's skin is tougher), just cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Whisk eggs in a medium size bowl with a tablespoon or two of water, and season with salt and pepper. Soak slices of eggplant/zucchini in egg. In another shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. When oil is hot, dredge slices of eggplant/zucchini in bread crumb mixture ( I lay mine flat and press into crumbs with my fingers, then flip and press the other side into the crumbs.) Then place in hot oil, and fry till golden brown, turn over and fry other side. Drain on cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. This lets the oil drip off without causing the eggplant/zucchini  to get too soggy. Fry in batches, takes a couple of minutes per side.
When eggplant/zucchini is all done frying, prepare a 13x9 casserole dish by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Then spread a spoonful of marinara sauce on the bottom. Shingle the eggplant/zucchini allong the bottom of the pan. I barely have the ends over lap. Then spread about a cup of marinara sauce over it. Just a thin layer of sauce is enough. Then sprinkle about 1/2 cup mozerella cheese over sauce, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of that. Then shingle another layer of eggplant, zucchini, then more sauce, then both cheeses. Keep layering until all the eggplant/zucchini is used, ending with the both cheeses.
Place in a 350 degree oven , and bake about 25 minutes till sauce is hot and bubbly, and cheese is melted and slightly browned on top. Serve over hot spaghetti noodles, garnish with more grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!!!
If I have sauce leftover I keep it warm in a sauce pan, you might want to add more sauce to individual servings if desired.

Marinara Sauce
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (1 1/2 cloves)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or 2-14 oz. cans)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil ( or  1/4 chopped fresh basil)
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 carrot, diced (see note**)

Head olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes or until the garlic begins to turn light brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and then add the remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring often. You can mash the sauce with a potatoe masher, or if you have one of those little hand held blenders use that, I dont' have one so sometimes I  spoon some of the  chunkier things into a blender and blend till smooth. Then add back with the rest of the sauce.
**I learned to add a carrot to marinara sauce from Tyler Florence on the Food Network. He says it helps with the acidity from the tomatoes, and it helps give a nice flavor and color to the sauce. I thought it was delicious. I added the red wine vingar, it added some extra yumminess to the sauce.

Portabella Mushroom Tacos

I love tacos. My hubby and I thought it would be awesome to see if we could do a meatless Monday  and Portabella mushrooms have a grea...