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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tupelo Honey-Glazed Carrots (one we almost forgot!)

We almost forgot to post this one! We used this recipe alongside the Zucchini Stuffed Chicken recipe. We had a bunch of baby carrots from the garden and wanted to use them, so this recipe came in handy! It comes from the "Tupelo Honey Cafe" Cookbook by Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonoskus page 177.

Here's what you need:

2 pounds young, slender carrots with the tops removed and peeled (Like I said above, we used baby carrots from the garden)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt (we kosher...)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 heaping tablespoons artisanal honey (such as tupelo honey or local honey)

Here's a picture of the carrots
(I don't know what happened to the other ingredients, but I'm sure you know what they look like)

Blanch the carrots in salted boiling water for about 7 minutes or just until tender.

Drain off the liquid and in a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the carrots, salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until heated through, before adding the honey.

Coat the carrots by stirring the mixture for 1-2 minutes and serve immediately.

These carrots come out sweet and tender. We totally recommend this side dish in place of everyday boring carrots. Easy? Yes, Jason gives it a 1 for ease.

Give them a try!


Hoosier Crumb Cake

The other day my mom invited us over for dinner and Jason decided he wanted to bake something simple to take over for dessert. He found this recipe for Hoosier Crumb Cake in "The Best of Country Cooking 2000" on page 111.

The Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I ALWAYS use real butter when baking, I kinda weird about it...)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (*see note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
whipped cream and fresh mint, optional

*If you don't have buttermilk, (and lets face it, who does?) you can sour the milk yourself. Just take 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a measuring cup and add milk (preferably whole) to measure 1 cup. The vinegar will "sour" the milk for you. Also, if you don't have white vinegar you can use lemon juice. The acid in lemon juice works just as well and it will give a very slight hint of lemon :)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-in X 13-in X 2-in baking pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar.

Add the flour and mix until blended.

Set aside 1/2 cup to be used as the topping.

To the remaining mixture in the bowl, add the egg, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Stir just until blended.

Pour into your greased pan. Sprinkle with the reserved flour mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Garnish with whipped cream and mint if desired. We didn't...

This is a VERY simple recipe. It's also a very good crumb cake. Jason took the liberty to add some cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe and it worked out very nicely. I didn't know this before, but apparently my mom loves crumb cake. So needless to say it didn't go to waste.

Jason gives it a 2 for ease. If you need something for company and coffee, this is a good idea.

Jason baked??? Who would have thought ;)

Until next time...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Poor Donald's Chicken Enchiladas"

Okay... I'm going to be straight forward and tell you that I did NOT like this recipe. I was so disgusted by the time I was done, I didn't even want to eat it. Not only was it confusing (and I'm pretty good at deciphering recipes), it had a typo! This is the second recipe we have tried from "The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook" and so far it's not been a good book. Granted the stories in it are quite hilarious, but that's about it...

Here is an exert  from the story:

"In the middle of the night, I woke to a warm pressure on my stomach. I looked down and gasped. Donald woke up and shouted, 'Don't move! Don't move! It's the kittens!' Donald's cat was giving birth on my midsection..."

Anyway, I personally did not care for this recipe but it was definitely edible. If you like enchiladas with more of a red sauce base, this isn't the one to try, I'll post my own personal recipe at a later date (that is very simple, I might add). If you like a more "cheesy" white sauce based enchilada, you will probably like this recipe. Don't let me decide for you though, you'll just have to try it for yourself. Hopefully our break down of it will make more sense than the book (since I can't post word for word, I'll present the recipe the way it should be. Typo free...).

This recipe can be found in "The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook" by Erin Ergenbright and Thisbe Nissen on pages 96-97.

Here's whats in it:

1/3 cup water
6 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup minced onion
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt, to taste
2 cups cooked chicken, diced (we use canned chicken, it makes it MUCH quicker [and easier])
1 cup sour cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (softened or at room temp)
1/2 cup chicken broth
12 tortillas (it doesn't specify, but we used flour tortillas)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

I have to say that when I got all the ingredients together, I was wondering how it would turn out...

Here's the recipe:

The parts that were "left out" or confusing I'll put in italics.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take a 9 X 13 or larger baking dish and coat the bottom with 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Heat the other 3 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan on medium to med-high heat, add the onion and cook for 4 minutes (the recipe says EXACTLY 4 minutes and I have no idea why).

Add 1 tablespoon of the flour and stir until browned (I stirred and waited and stirred. It never turned brown...).

Add the tomato sauce, water, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and salt to taste.

Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and sour cream, mix well and set aside.

Next, combine the half-and-half and chicken broth in a different saucepan and heat. I'm guessing on medium, it didn't specify.

Make a paste with the remaining flour (1 1/2 tablespoons) and the butter.

Add to the broth mixture and stir until thickened.

Dip the tortillas into the mixture.

Then spoon about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla.

Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.

Pour any remaining sauce over the enchiladas.

Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 20 minutes or broil until the cheese is melted.

While making this dish, I made a HUGE mess. And when I was done, I still had 3 tablespoons of oil left! It never told me what to do with it. I did figure it out though when I tried to remove the enchiladas from the pan... Hence why I tell you to use it at the beginning to grease the baking dish. I give this recipe a 9 for difficulty because I had to read it 3 times before I started to understand it. Even then I had to stop and start over because I got confused. That has NEVER happened to me before.

I really hope that our break down of this recipe makes it easier to understand. Like I said before, don't take my word about whether or not it tastes good. If you have kids they will probably like it, Jason thought it was okay, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

I think we are getting rid of this recipe book...

Happy cooking :)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sicilian Meat Roll

So, Jason decided to make me make a dinner for a change. He likes my meat loaf, so maybe that's why he chose this recipe. We invited my mom and her boyfriend over to try this dish. The results were surprising. My mom, who normally eats a few bites and is full, ate a full plate! Dave, her boyfriend, stuffed himself as well! I must say that this dinner is definitely going to be a good alternative to our normal meat loaf. The recipe can be found in "The Best of Country Cooking" a Taste of Home Book 2000 edition on page 146.

Here's what's in it:

2 eggs
1/2 cup tomato juice
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
8 thin slices of fully cooked ham
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 thin slices mozzarella cheese

(Sorry the picture is dark, I accidentally deleted the good one)
Directions for this yummy recipe:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. Take your sliced cheese and cut it diagonally and set aside for later.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, tomato juice, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the beef, bread crumbs and parsley; mix well. You can use your hands, but a wooden spoon worked just as well in this recipe.

On a piece of heavy-duty foil, pat the meat mixture into a 12 inch X 10 inch rectangle.

Place the ham and shredded cheese on the loaf to within 1/2 inch of the edges.

Next, roll it up jelly-roll style. Begin with the short end (10 inch side) and roll the the other, peeling the foil away as you go.

Place on a greased baking pan with the seam side down. I line mine with foil first to reduce some clean up.

Seal the ends.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove and top with the sliced cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Watch it or it will turn out like mine!

This is what it looks like when you slice it open.

I made garlic and herb mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini and onions to complete the meal.

The recipe says it yields 8 servings and it does. It was SO good and the leftovers were delicious as well. I would give this a 5-6 rating of ease. The construction of this loaf can be difficult if you don't know how to do a jelly-roll, other than that it's pretty simple. Next time I make this, I will probably flatten the meat mixture out thinner. I think it might make it easier to roll.

So the next time you have the in-laws over for dinner and want to impress them, use this recipe. It's sure to impress and please.

Happy cooking!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fiesta Lasagna

When I saw this I could not wait to try it. It's a Mexican spin on a dish we all love. It can be found on page 119 of "Taste of Home Best Loved Classics, All New Favorites".

1lb Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1(16 oz) Can Re fried Beans
1(15 oz) Can Chili Beans
1(14 oz) Can Stewed Tomatos
1 Cup Salsa
1(4 oz) Can Chopped Green Chilies
1 Envelope Reduced Sodium Taco Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 1/4 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 Cup Cottage Cheese
1 1/4 Cup Sour Cream Divided
9 Cooked Lasagna Noodles
1. Brown ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, then drain.
2. Transfer ground beef to a large pot, stir in re fried beans, chili beans, tomatoes, salsa, chillies, taco seasoning, oregano, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir until well mixed.

3. In large bowl, combine the Monterey Jack and Mozzarella cheeses; set aside 1 cup. Stir in cottage cheese and 3/4 cup sour cream into cheese mixture.

4. Spread 1 cup meat sauce into greased 13x9 baking dish. Layer with 3 noodles, and a third of the cheese mixture and meat sauce. Repeat the layers twice. (Dish Will Be Full)

5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover spread remaining sour cream on top and cover with reserved cheeses. Bake for 10 additional minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

So this was amazing! It's really hard to explain how good it tasted, it was like a burrito and enchilada all rolled into a neatly baked tasty dish. I will rate this a 6 on the skill level scale, just know that it takes a good 30 mins just to get this prepared for the oven. This made a lot and would be a good dish to bring to a pot luck, if you do everyone will be wanting to try it.

If you love someone, cook them tasty food. :)