Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is a very versatile recipe. You can add anything you like, or omit anything you don't like. Just make sure the amount of cups called for in the baked part of the recipe remains the same.
If you're not familiar with cooking granola, you should know that it will harden as it cools, so don't try to bake it until it's crunchy. If you don't like your granola crunchy, you can bake for less time.
8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds (optional, I don't care for them)
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, 60 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, without stirring, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

Potato Boats

4 large or 8 small potatoes, baked
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled or real bacon bits like these.
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4 green onions, sliced
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell (save pulp for another use). Place potatoes skins on a greased baking sheet. Combine oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper; brush over both sides of skins. Bake right side up at 475 degrees F for 7 minutes; turn. Bake, upside down, until crisp, about 7 minutes more. Sprinkle bacon, cheddar cheese, and green onions inside skins. Bake 2 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream or ranch dressing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Banana Wheat Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mayonnaise*
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
In a bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and bananas; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs are really not that hard to make(unless you're making 180 of them to give away at Christmas-not really a good idea), but they make an impressive dessert. One recipe will make 25-30 small puffs.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
You can use any filling you'd like, but this is my favorite:
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons milk
To make filling: Prepare pudding according to instructions on package, but use only 1 1/4 cups milk. Fold in whipped cream, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. It should look similar to this:

Let it cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. When it's mixed enough, if should look like this:

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a very lightly greased baking sheet. I like to use a Tablespoon size cookie scoop. I can fit 20 onto a cookie sheet like this:

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry. Make sure not to under cook or they will fall. They should be a nice golden brown and look like this:

Immediately poke sides with a toothpick or a sharp knife to let the steam escape. Move to wire rack. When the shells are cool, carefully cut off the tops with a sharp bread or slicing knife. You can pull out any of the web like stuff inside if you prefer (this makes them easier to fill) and spoon the pudding mixture into them.
To make Glaze, melt the butter, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir until smooth. Let it cool some, so it's not so runny, then spoon some on top of each cream puff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oven Baked Jambalaya

Another favorite. I usually bake it in my dutch oven.
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup butter
1 pounds fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cups chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (or less, if you don't like spicy)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, saute the onions, green peppers, celery and garlic in butter until crisp-tender. Place in a very large bowl; stir in the remaining ingredients.
Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring twice.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lentil Tacos

Okay, these might sound kind of gross, but they're actually really tasty. I like to find ways to use my food storage; this is a good one for that.
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
12 taco shells
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons sour cream
In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
Stir in salsa. Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream.


We like to eat these for breakfast. We top them with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and syrup.
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease and flour popover pan or muffin tin.
In a medium bowl beat eggs slightly, Beat in flour, milk and salt until just smooth; being careful not to overbeat. Fill cups 1/2 full.
Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes more. Immediately remove from cups and serve piping hot.
Makes about 12 if using a muffin tin,

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic

I think it's a good idea to double the sauce on this one. As written, the sauce doesn't go very far.
4 thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mexican Rice

Similar to the rice in mexican resturants, this makes a good side dish for any mexican meal.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes or 2 tsp of chicken bullion

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.
Stir in garlic and onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce, water and bullion; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, without lifting the lid. Let stand another 5 to 10 minutes before uncovering. Fluff with a fork.

Enchiladas Suisas

This is one of my favorite dinners. Sometimes I like to use the whole roasted chicken you can buy in the deli at the grocery store. They have wonderful flavor and it also saves prep time.

2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup chopped Spanish onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 14 oz can chicken broth
2 4 oz cans chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cumin

16-18 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
1 cup heavy cream

Prepare salsa verde: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft Add garlic, saute a minute longer. Stir in the flour. Add the broth, then add the chiles, salt, and cumin. Simmer about 15 minutes to blend flavors, then set aside 1 cup for topping and add shredded chicken to remaining sauce. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.)
Spray both sides of tortilla with cooking spray and lightly fry tortillas, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll. Combine the cheeses and keep 1/2 cup aside for topping. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of chicken salsa verde mixture and about 2 tablespoons cheese down the center of each; roll and place seam side down in a shallow dish.
After all the rolled tortillas are in the dish, spoon additional salsa verde over them and then cover evenly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Rolls

I love this recipe because it uses a bread machine, so less work for me! And of course, they are delicious. It's a good idea to turn them out onto another pan when they come out of the oven so that all the filling doesn't end up on the bottom of your pan.
Keep in mind bread machines are not all created equal. A cheap bread machine may not produce a quality product. I use a Zojurushi and would recommend it to anyone.

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.