Friday, May 3, 2013

Thai Coconut Soup

recipe slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

There is this little Thai restaurant that our friends introduced us to and at first, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Hello!  What was I thinking? Thai food is now something I crave.  And when we were there, we had some Coconut soup. The broth base has this rich coconut flavor that is just awesome. I always wondered how I could recreate this delicious soup at home and then I stumbled across this recipe from the girls at Our Best Bites and this soup is exactly what I was looking for.  So if you need something easy and a little different than your classic chicken noodle soup, try this. I hope you like it as much as I do.

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper (Make sure to remove the seeds)
1 1/2 Tablespoons *freshly minced ginger, or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground, dried ginger
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (13.5 ounce) can light coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages ramen noodles (don't use the seasoning packet)
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
3/4 cup carrots, julienned
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Sliced green onions and lime wedges, for garnish

*You can buy ginger root in the produce section of the grocery store. I usually buy mine and cut the skin off and then chop it into individual pieces roughly about the size of a teaspoon. Then I store the pieces in my freezer and have fresh ginger whenever it is called for in a recipe.

1. Heat medium-sized pot to medium-high heat on stove. Add oil, jalapeno, and ginger (if using fresh ginger). Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until jalapeno and ginger are softened and fragrant.  If using ground ginger, add to softened jalapeno and stir. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, carrots, and salt and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add noodles. Simmer 3-5 minutes, until noodles are softened. If using mushrooms, add them in the final 2-3 minutes of cooking the noodles.

2. Add chicken and simmer about 30 seconds to heat through.  Remove pot from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Ladle into serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges, if desired.

For vegetarian option, omit chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mom's Scones (A.K.A. Utah Scones) with Honey Butter

recipe from Make It Do via Pinterest

These scones are so delicious. I almost can't find the words to tell you. They are just the perfect amount of crunchy on the outside and warm and tender on the inside.  I remember eating scones similar to these when I was little, but haven't made them since I've been doing the cooking. Why?  I don't know. It's crazy!  They are so good.  This recipe is definitely a keeper. 

For those of you who are thinking that these don't look anything like the English scones you are used to seeing when hearing "scones," you are right. Where English scones are baked and more like a sweet biscuit, these scones are fried and made with yeast dough. Try them. They are wonderful!  You can top them with honey butter, honey, syrup, jam, powdered sugar, use them as a fry bread for Navajo tacos. The possibilities are seemingly endless!  Can you tell I am a fan!?

Okay, here's the recipe!

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 Tablespoon salt
5-6 cups bread flour
Canola oil for deep frying

Combine warm water and warm milk.  Stir in the sugar.  Add dry active yeast and stir lightly.  Allow yeast to activate, about 10 minutes.  In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, add milk mixture and cooled melted butter.  Add the salt.  Start the mixer and add the flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough should be slightly sticky but workable. Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel.  Set in a warm place and allow it to rise until double.

Pour your oil in a large saucepan (with sides deep enough to fully immerse the scones) or a deep fryer and heat slowly over medium to medium high heat.  While the oil is heating, roll the dough out onto the counter, without flour, into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. You may choose to butter the counter lightly.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares or triangles.  Heat oil to between 350-400 degrees and cook scones until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Honey butter (recipe from the Lion House Classics cookbook (25th anniversary edition):

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey

Whip softened butter.  Add vanilla and honey gradually.  Beat for 20 minutes.  Makes 1 cup.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Herb Crusted Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

recipe adapted slightly from my sister-in-law Kelly

If you are an Italian lover at all, then this recipe will definitely not disappoint.  I love how it takes the basic alfredo sauce and gives it a great new flavor with tomato and basil. So delicious!  

Serves 2-3

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Progresso Garlic & Herb Bread crumbs (or just Italian-style bread crumbs will work too)
2 tsp Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning
3 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 can of Italian diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half and it worked great)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons dried (or fresh) basil
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Place bread crumbs and garlic and bell pepper seasoning in a shallow bowl; mix thoroughly. Place milk in a separate shallow bowl.  In a skillet, heat butter on medium heat.  Meanwhile, pound chicken flat and thin for even cooking. Dip the chicken in the milk, and then coat with the crumb mixture.  Cook chicken in butter until browned and cooked through (about 10 minutes). Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet, add garlic and saute for approximately 1 minute.  Add 2 Tablespoons flour and whisk for about 1 minute over medium heat until golden.  Add chicken broth and bring to boil.  Stir occasionally to loosen browned parts from the pan.  Stir in cream and tomatoes; bring to a boil for one minute. Reduce heat to low; add Parmesan cheese, basil and dash of pepper.  Stir sauce and cook until heated through and thickened (about 5 minutes).  Serve by pouring the sauce over the chicken and cooked pasta (if desired).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Orange Rolls

recipe from my Mom

This was always a favorite roll recipe that my Mom made when I was growing up. I haven't made these forever and my sister recently brought them to a family gathering.  I was reminded of how much I love them and had to make them again.

Does anyone have an aunt like my Aunt Boni? Everything she makes is delicious and her recipes get passed throughout the entire family.  Such is the case with her basic roll recipe. So for these rolls, we start with Aunt Boni's basic roll dough.

First is the basic mix:

In the largest bowl or container you can find sift together:

 20 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups powdered milk

This mix can be stored in an airtight container and stored for about 8 months. It makes about 22 cups of basic mix.

Aunt Boni's Basic Roll Recipe

1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
5-6 cups mix
Sprinkle of sugar

Place warm water in mixer. Add a sprinkle of sugar and then mix in 1 Tablespoon of yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add oil and eggs and mix.  Slowly add 5-6 cups of basic mix one cup at a time and continue to mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl slightly. (You may not need to add the entire 6 cups) Try not to add too much flour mixture or your rolls will end up dense instead of light and fluffy. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes in stand mixer. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place dough in the bowl and turn over once. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).  After dough has risen, punch down and roll dough into desired shapes.

Orange Rolls

Boni's basic roll recipe

Mix together:
1/2 square butter
1/2 cup sugar
grated rind from 1 orange (set aside 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for glaze)

Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Spread orange mixture on dough and roll up. Cut with a sharp knife or circle with dental floss and cut into slices 1 inch thick.  Place rolls on greased cookie sheet and let rise for 10-15 minutes.  While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake rolls for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Orange Glaze

Mix together:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp water combined with 1/4 teaspoon orange extract or 3 Tbsp of orange juice
1/2 tsp grated orange rind

After taking rolls out of oven, spread glaze over warm rolls.

*In the rolls pictured, I went a little lighter on the glaze trying to keep these rolls a little bit healthier, but for use it generously for the delicious, sticky, lick-your-fingers good, original orange rolls.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

recipe from Six Sisters Stuff

I am a sucker for a great slow cooker recipe. I love that you can get it ready way in advance and then just let the day take its course and not be in stress mode around dinner time. This recipe gives the chicken a delicious flavor, but it is quite sweet, so when I try it again, I may decrease the honey a little and see how it turns out.  

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 tsp corn starch
6 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Season both sides of chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper.  Place in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 3-4 hours or high 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from cooker, leaving sauce in ceramic insert.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and pour into slow cooker. Stir to combine with sauce.  Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.  Makes 4-6 servings.

*For a freezer meal, let chicken and sauce cool a little and then place in a freezer bag/freezer-safe airtight container. Seal tightly. When ready to use, defrost in refrigerator overnight, or until you are able to remove it from your bag/container. Place chicken and sauce in medium saucepan and heat through. Serve over rice/noodles.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies

recipe from Averie Cooks via Pinterest

SUGAR COMA ALERT!  Okay. I saw these brownies on Pinterest and thought, "Oh my YUM!"  However, I must warn you. These are not for the sugary faint of heart. In fact, there are some ingredients in these that I am sure could be forgone and these would still be dreamy delicious. When I come down off of my sugar high, I will have to try them again omitting some of the ingredients I thought might be a little unnecessary. So here goes!

One 7 ounce jar of Marshmallow creme
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
8 drops + green food coloring
1 batch of brownies (brownie mix, water, oil, eggs)
One package of Cool Mint Oreo cookies
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (melted)
1 cup vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, stir together marshmallow creme, mint extract, and 4 drops of food coloring.

In a large bowl, prepare brownie mix as directed on box using water, oil, and eggs and fold in 12 hand-crumbled Oreos at the end.

Spread brownie batter in prepared pan.  Drop about 1/2 cup of minty marshmallow mixture onto brownie batter and reserve the remainder.  Gently pull a knife through the batter in S-shaped curves for a swirled design. Bake about 25 minutes or until brownies are set, taking care not to over bake. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

While brownies are cooling, make vanilla frosting by combining the following ingredients and beating until fluffy.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
splash of milk, if necessary for proper consistency

In another small microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips (microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and microwave 30 seconds longer taking care not to scorch the chocolate. Stir until smooth.  Add the melted white chocolate chips and the vanilla frosting to the minty marshmallow mixture. Stir in 4 drops green food coloring and carefully spread over cooled brownies.  Sprinkle with 18 hand-crumbled Oreo cookies, slightly pressing then into the green mixture. Allow top layer to set fully before slicing and serving. Averie said she prefers these bars chilled. She stores them in the refridgerator in an airtight container (or in the freezer for up to 3 months). 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches

recipe from Our Best Bites

I am really trying to bring on the summer vibes here. We're on our 3rd round of croup at our house and I have just decided it is definitely time for winter to be over!  So... enjoy a taste of summer barbeque at it's finest with these yummy and easy pulled pork sandwiches. 

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Smoked paprika or liquid smoke
About 12 oz. of your favorite BBQ sauce (Bullseye anyone?)
About 12 high-quality rolls

Thick-cut dill pickle slices

Rinse pork roast well in cold water and trim off excess fat.  Pat dry.  Sprinkle roast with liquid smoke and seasonings and place the meat in a disposable freezer-safe container or gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
When ready to cook, place the seasoned roast in a slow cooker and cook on low for 9-11 hours or on high for 6-8.  Shred and add BBQ sauce. Serve on rolls with coleslaw and pickle slices.

Side dish suggestions: French fries, baked potatoes, fresh fruit, etc.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Texas Sheet Cake

recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (12th ed.)

There are just some recipes that you have to enjoy just for the sheer pleasure of eating them.  Sometimes I try to tweak recipes to make them a little "healthier," but it is my opinion that there are some recipes that are just so classic that you can't mess with them.  This, my friends, is one of those.  I don't claim that it is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but delicious... oh yes!  So... if you have no self control (like me), make it for a party and I promise it will be so popular, that you will only be able to get one piece to yourself. (Where's the harm in that, right?) So here goes... the classic Texas Sheet Cake.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 recipe Chocolate-Buttermilk Frosting

Grease a 15x10x1 inch or 13x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside.  In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder, and 1 cup water.  Bring mixture just to boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add the cocoa mixture to flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 25 minutes for the 15x10 inch pan or about 35 minutes for the 13x9 inch pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

**Make the Chocolate-Buttermilk frosting in enough time that you will be able to pour it warm over the warm cake.

Pour warm Chocolate-Buttermilk frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly. (Use a very light touch when spreading the frosting, since the warm cake will easily stick to your utensil.)
Place cake in pan on wire rack; cool thoroughly.

Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons buttermilk
2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar (I used 2 cups unsifted and it worked great!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and buttermilk.  Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.  If desired, stir in 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans.

* If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute sour milk for the same amount of buttermilk called for in your recipe. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Sheet Cake
Prepare as above, except add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the flour mixture.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bean Curry with Naan (Indian Flatbread)

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

We love curry at our house and I stumbled across this recipe one day and thought I would try it. It did not disappoint. Besides being delicious, it fills your house with wonderful aromas from the different spices used. It is a great ethnic dish and is a great vegetarian option.

Bean Curry
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch cayenne, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Garam Masala*
3/4 cup half and half
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken broth
1 can black-eyed peas, lightly drained (I used black beans because that is what I had on hand)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

*Garam Masala is an Indian spice mixture.  I found my bottle at Whole Foods market.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned. Stir in garlic and grated ginger root; stir constantly for 30 seconds.  Add tomato; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in turmeric, cayenne, salt, paprika, and garam masala; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add half and half, stock, and black-eyed peas. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro.  Serve immediately with rice, chapati, or naan. 

Naan (Indian Flatbread) 
recipe slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Makes about 12 pieces of naan

3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons butter, melted

Pour milk into a liquid measure and heat in microwave until warm to the touch. (about 110 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer).  Pour milk into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Add the sugar, yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups flour.  Mix well to combine.  Continue adding flour gradually in small amounts until a soft dough is formed the cleans the sides of the bowl.  Knead the dough by mixer or hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest at room temperature, covered lightly with greased plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.

After the dough has rested, turn it onto a lightly floured surface or roul'pat and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rounding each into a ball shape. Cover the pieces with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes.  While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 475 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.  (If you don't have a pizza stone, try grilling the dough on a lightly oiled outdoor grill or use a hot griddle to bake the naan - you'll have to experiment with cooking times but either of those methods would work as well.)

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, one by one, roll each piece into a circle about 6-8 inches wide, depending on how thick you want your naan.  Lay the circle of dough on the hot pizza stone and spritz lightly with water.  Close the oven and bake the naan for 2-4 minutes, until it is lightly puffed (some pieces will puff more than others) and brown spots begin to appear on the top. Remove the naan from the baking stone and place on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with melted butter. Stack the hot naan on top of each other as it comes out of the oven. Cover with towel and let the naan cool completely or serve warm.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

recipe from Our Best Bites

These taquitos are a frequent request at our house. They make a great appetizer, party food, or combine them with some spanish rice and a green salad and you've got a meal!  Dip them in this creamy lime cilantro dressing and you will have tasted a little mouthful of Mexican heaven! 

1/3 cup (3 ounces) cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa (I like the La Costena brand ) 
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. 

Heat cream cheese in microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir.  Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions.   Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
 (You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep mixture in the fridge)

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking.  It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it.  If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keep it about 1/2 inch from the edges.  Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place the seam side down on the baking sheet.  Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Dip in salsa, sour cream, guacamole or this creamy lime cilantro dressing.