Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mushroom Parmesan Pasta AKA: home alone female meal

I went through a pasta craze a while back, while mike was away on one of his travels. Since it was just me, Nia and Mae were already in bed, I just had to come up with something for myself, and had already exhausted the cereal/sandwich/salad routine...so I tried a few different versions and this is my favorite. I don't usually have cream on hand, but it sure came in handy for these pastas..yum!
This is another one of those throw as you go recipes, so, just make according to your tastes.

salt, pepper
fresh parsley
pasta, whatever you have on hand
parm. cheese (I used the real stuff in the zipper bag)

Start by boiling water for pasta.
In separate pan, put a pat of butter, and a drizzle of olive oil. Heat over med-high and add a handful of onions and as much mushrooms as you like, sliced. Cook till onions are softened and mushrooms are golden. Stir in 1/4 c cream or so, and a small handful of cheese. Add un-rinsed pasta. (if you rinse the pasta, you rinse the starch off, and the sauce doesn't stick to the pasta, and the starch adds a creamier, thicker texture to your sauce)
Stir and if the sauce is too thick, add a little pasta water to thin. Top with fresh parsley chopped and a sprinkle or two of the cheese. Voila! Super easy and fast!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amazing Shrimp Tacos

I found this recipe on a food blog, and it looked good. Good enough to try. :) I was surprised by how much I loved it! It tasted fresh and is now one of my favorite meals. It took me 20 minutes to make, super easy.

Corn tortillas
Shrimp, peeled and de-veined (use 3 per taco, so as many as you'll need.)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat oil in pan over med-heat. I used pre-cooked frozen shrimp, so just defrost, put it in the pan, sprinkled on a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper, tossed them around, and turned off the heat. If using raw, cook till pink and start to curl up.

Drizzle a little bit of oil in pan/skillet and heat up the corn tortillas.

half head of cabbage, sliced thinly
1 lime, squeezed

1/2 avocado
1/4 c mayo
salt, pepper
3 T lime juice
cayenne, or spicy seasoning of your choice, per taste
1/2 c. cilantro

Blend in blender till smooth.

I serve this with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Fill tacos and enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tomato Penne Casserole

So I tried the pasta from Pioneer Woman Cooks, (when i first heard of her blog I thought it sounded totally lame, but I started looking through her recipes and now I think shes hilarious, and super talented) When I took the first bite I was all alone and said out loud "wow". Sometimes I talk to myself. Its really good. So I decided to switch it up since I'm picking mike up at the airport at 5 (YAYA!!) and I want to make it, but be able to have it in the oven cooking while we're gone. So I am putting it into a casserole form. Here we go:

2 cans tomatoe sauce (this is all we need for our little family)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/4 c. heavy cream

Sizzle up the onions in butter and oil till they are starting to get tender. Add garlic, and stir and cook for 1 minutes. Pour in sauce and add salt and pepper. (i added a little bit of dried basil) And a pinch of sugar.

Let it simmer for 15 mintues or so or till its thickened. Take off heat and stir in 1/4 cup cream. (more or less, depending on how creamy you like it)

Stir in boiled pasta (don't rinse!! ) and add some of the pasta water to thin it down a bit if its too thick. Pour into baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese and bake till bubbly and cheese is starting to turn golden. (i turned it to broil the last few minutes to get a nice, dark crust on the cheese)
*make sure to not overcook pasta since you'll be baking it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Lasagna

This was a really good twist on good ol lasagna! Mike even suggested next time I make it without the chicken. What?! I agree though, it really doesn't even need it. The vegetables are just yummy. I halved this recipe and baked it in a a smaller dish.

12 lasagna noodles
6 c. chicken broth
1/2 c flour
2 t. italian seasoning
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 med. onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c shredded carrot
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
2 c. chopped, frozen spinach
3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Place lasagna noodles in 9x13 pan. Fill pan with hot hot water and drizzle with olive oil and let noodles soak while preparing other ingredients. (omit this step if using oven-ready lasagna noodles). In a large sauce-pan, whisk together chicken broth, flour, half of italian seasoning. Bring to boil over med-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and allow sauce to simmer and thicken while preparing chicken and vegetables. Heat olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add cubed chicke, and the rest of italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. In the same skillet, melt butter, then add onion, garlic and carrots. Cook and stir until tender. Add chopped tomatoes and frozen spinach and cook until heated through. Return chicken to skillet with veggies.

Spread a scant cup of sauce in bottom of pan. Top with noodles and layer veggies and cheese and noodles and sauce. Top with parm. cheese.

Bake, uncovered for 45 mintues, until lasagna is bubbly and cheese is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Favorite Smoothies

I got on a smoothie kick a few months back, my friend Michelle introduced me to her whole foods shake, which actually can taste pretty good-and I feel sooo good every time I eat one. Using a bosch blender you can mix up pretty much anything! Whole apples, tons of spinach, grapes, peaches, anything you have on hand. Add a slice of citrus with the peel included and you have a pretty tasty way to get your 5 servings of fruits and veggies in one blast! I do this sometimes, but sometimes I just need a really tasty jamba-like smoothie. It changes depending on what fruit I have. I frequently buy the frozen fruit at wal-mart. Here are some of my favorite fruit to use:
Always bananas, frozen or not.It adds creaminess, and its a great way to use up those extra-ripe ones, you can't tell in the smoothie.
mangos and peaches
mixed berries
And my secret ingredient: doles frozen fruit juice concentrate! I find these on sale at broulims often, and stock up. Any frozen juice concentrate would work though. I add a couple tablespoons of this in and it sweetens it perfectly.
About 1/2-1 cup water depending how thick you like it, I like mine THick.
A tablespoon or two of pwd. dry milk. It adds calcium and makes it nice and creamy, like ice cream. mmmm.
A splash of vanilla
A pinch of salt.

Mix it all up, then once its smooth turn it on full blast and let it go for 30 seconds. This whips some air into it and makes it yummier!

Try it with toast for a delish breakfast!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Southwestern Cobb Salad

This salad has some interesting "salsas", that seem fairly similar, but trust me, follow the recipe and you won't be dissapointed. It was sooo good, tasted like a restaurant salad, and the leftovers were so easy to reassemble. I served this with my fav. chiz's ranch dressing. Oh, and I used less onion than called for, but please use at least a little bit, it adds so much.

Chicken Marinade:
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 boneless skinless chkn. breasts

Black Bean Salsa:
1 15-oz. can black beans
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 T olive oil

Yellow Pepper Salsa:
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion diced
1 can olives, chopped

Avocado Salsa:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2 " pieces
juice of 2 limes
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Boiled eggs
bacon slices (i didn't use, didn't miss it at all)
1 head romaine lettuce

For chicken marinade, combine ingredients and pour over chicken in ziploc bag. Refridgerate for at least an hour, or overnight is better.
Grill till done. (i used a george foreman, but would LOVE to have a grill to use)

In medium bowl, combine the yellow pepper, tomatoe, olives, and 1/2 of the sweet onion. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 c cilantro and onion. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl(don't worry, almost done with bowls!)combine avocado, cilantro, lime juice, cayenne, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a large platter arrange the salad, placing the ingredients in rows. I served individually, so I could save leftovers, cuz it made a lot. :)

French Bread Rolls

So this recipe seems pretty similar to the french bread recipe I recently tried and loved, but they turned out so good in roll form that I had to include this recipe in my cookbook as well. Oh, these are beautiful! I used them for hamburger buns, awesome sandwiches, sloppy joes, you name it! And inexpensive to bake. These can be a yummy dinner roll or made larger for buns. I brushed the top with butter to keep them soft and moist.

1 1/2 c warm water
1 T active dry yeast
2 T white sugar
2 T vegetable oil
1 t. salt
4 c all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 min.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 c flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 c at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 min. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hr.

Deflate the dough and turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 12-14 equal pieces, and from into round balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled , about 40 min. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake 12-13 min., or till golden brown.

Mindy's Sloppy Joes

I have never really liked sloppy joes. My friend Mindy made this for me one time, and it was sooo good, it's on my list of "make often". Really easy and inexpensive too.
I halve the recipe but still use a whole can of tomatoe soup, just make to your taste.
2 lbs. hamburger
1 med. onion
1/2 can tomatoe soup
1/2 c ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t. chili pwd.
1/2 t. worchestershire
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. mustard
1/2 t. curry pwd.

Brown onion and meat together. Add the rest. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve on rolls.

French Bread

I got this recipe from my friend Mindy, who got it from her Mother=in-law who is a great baker. It is so easy, and sooo yummy. I used it for sloppy joes and sandwiches, but it would be delish as garlic bread too. This is the first french bread I've made and liked.

2 c warm water
2 T sugar
1 T yeast

Stir the above together, let rest a few minutes till you see yeast working.
2 T oil
4-5 c flour (never more than 5)
1 t. salt

Mix together. It will be sticky. Put in a bowl with shortening. Let rise 1 hr. Shape into 2 loaves on cookie sheet and let rise 30 min. more.
Bake 20-25 min. at 400 degrees.

Oat Bread

I always bake my mom's whole wheat bread recipe, but last summer I was away and didn't have my wheat grinder, and when I used store-bought whole wheat it just was heavy and not the same. SO I tried this recipe and oh, it is sooo good! Its chewy and soft and so delicious as toast. So every now and again I have to switch it up and bake this.

1 c oats
2 c boiling water
1/3 c warm water (to activate yeast)
2 T yeast
1/2 c honey
1 T salt
2 T melted butter or oil
1 1/2 c wheat flour
3 c white flour

In mixing bowl, add oats and pour the boiling water over to soak and soften. Meanwhile, place yeast and 1/3 c water in a small bowl to allow yeast to activate. Once the oats have softened and cooled a little, but are still warm, add the honey, salt, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix together, then add flours. Continue mixing until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Let rise, covered, until doubled. Spray 2 loaf pans and dust with oatmeal. Shape dough and place in pans. Lightly drizzle loaves with honey and then sprinkle with oats. Let rise again until the dough reaches the top of the pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or till golden brown.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Em's Chicken Pot Pie

This is the recipe for how I make chicken pot-pie. I never use a recipe for it, just play it by ear, but the last couple times I made it, it turned out so delicious Mike was like, write this down! So I sat down and wrote it out. I've been getting better at making pie crust lately, and the main trick I've found is to roll out the dough between saran wrap, so you don't have to add more flour, which makes a tougher pastry: less flaky. You can just do a top crust, but I love as much pie crust as I can get. :)

Use your favorite pie crust recipe, (mine follows below) and roll out a bottom crust.

In a medium heat/size saucepan melt:
1/4 c butter
once its lightly sizzling add:
1/4 c flour
stir in a pinch of dried rosemary
1 t. garlic powder
pinch of pepper
1 heaping t. chicken bouillon or 2 cubes
pinch of parsley
salt to taste
dash of worchestershire sauce

Once the butter and flour have combined and are bubbling together slowly add enough evaporated milk or whole milk, or whatever milk you have on hand! Add enough to get a nice thick, soupy consistency.

I bake 1 large chicken breast @400 till done, 20 min. or so. Drizzle it with olive oil and salt and pepper. I cover my pan with foil so I don't have to clean up!
Once done, cut and add to sauce. (or use leftover chicken, canned chicken, this recipe is flexible)

I add in 1/2 bag of mixed veggies.

Simmer this all together while your rolling out the top crust. Assemble as you would a normal pie.

Bake 400 for 30-40 minutes, or till golden brown and fragrant.

*keep the sauce not too thick, still pourable off the spoon, but a nice thick soupy consistency.

Sandra Bond's Pie Crust:
I got this recipe from a lady in my ward. She is the "baking lady" but even more the "pie lady". People go crazy for her pies! She did an enrichment pie making class and gave away all her secrets. But shes still the best pie baker.
Anyways, this is the one I usually use.

Double Crust:

2 1/4 c flour
1 t. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 T shortening
1/3 c ice water

Combine flour, salt and shortening. Blend with pastry blender to a crumb texture. (just barely) Add ice water a little @ a time mixing it in w/a fork until the mixture is damp enough to form a smooth firm ball. Cut ball in half and press each half into a smooth, flat circle. Roll out.