Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Basic Meatball Soup

This recipe is so quick and easy and warms your tummy on a cool day.

1 box Swanson chicken broth
1/2 lb. ground beef, seasoned any way you like and formed into meatballs (I like garlic salt, dried minced onion flakes, chili powder, and rotisserie chicken seasoning)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 can Italian shelled green beans, drained
2 tblsp. milk
2 handfuls macaroni elbows
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
water, if necessary for volume

Put all ingredients in a large pot. Stir once. Bring to a boil. Cover and continue boiling 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Chewy Cookie Tips

I found these through Something Awful's subforum, Goons with Spoons. I haven't tried any of them but one so I can't give them my personal seal of approval, but I will definitely be trying some of them in the near future!

Melt you butter, use more brown sugar than white, and chill the dough before baking. I also tend to use a higher gluten flour and overmix it a bit when I want them super chewy.- tonedef131

It's very, very easy to overbake cookies because they never look done when you take them out. People are often worried that they're going to poison someone if their cookies are still chewy in the middle, but unless you bite into a freshly-baked cookie to find the dough still cool in the centre I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'm open to being corrected on that, though, because I'm going on "I've never gotten sick from my cookies and neither has anyone else" here.-bombhand

A note about chilling the dough. The reason for doing this is to solidify the melted butter. You can even freeze the cookie pucks and thaw them in the fridge before baking. At work we don't even use white sugar at all, just brown sugar. As for getting sick from eating a slightly underdone cookie, it's possible but unlikely. Using pasturized eggs will make even the raw dough totally safe to eat.-stphrz

An extra egg yolk can sometimes help, which is why a lot of these recipes call for one whole egg and one yolk. Substituting shortening for some of your butter, while not as tasty, helps to keep the cookies chewy by preventing spread in the oven. Make sure you're thoroughly creaming your butter and sugar. Again, echoing above, force yourself to pull them out of the oven when the middles still look pretty underdone. Don't worry about getting sick.-Lets Make Fudge

Try dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. -Isochronus

High moisture content is what makes cookies soft and chewy. From what I understand, the recipe, baking time, and temperature are what you need to adjust in order to retain moisture.

As for the recipe: Binding the water in butter, eggs, and brown sugar (as previously mentioned) with flour slows its evaporation. A little extra flour in your dough also means a stiffer mixture which will spread out less resulting in thicker cookies (and the moisture of which will evaporate slower). Also, bigger spoonfuls of dough will clearly make moister cookies than smaller spoonfuls of dough.

As for temp and baking time: Baking the cookies at a higher temp and for a shorter period of time will also help to keep them moist. Most imoportantly - don't overbake! Remove the cookies from the oven as soon as the cookies outter rim is browned and the center 1/4 or so is pale in comparison.

One of my favorite soft chocolate chip cookies reciepe also includes a box of vanilla pudding mix. I'm not sure if it's just for taste, but it seems to also really help in retaining the cookies chewiness.-Jayelle

This idea sounded crazy when my girlfriend suggested it, but it worked pretty well:

Instead of a cookie sheet, try baking your cookies in a muffin pan. In addition to being perfectly round, the resulting cookies have a smaller diameter but are much thicker, meaning that they retain more moisture. At least, I'm pretty sure that's hot it works. Regardless of the behind it, you do get soft, moist, delicious cookies.-Mogalike (Now THIS I actually HAVE tried, and they turned out delicious! My husband and I call these mookies.)

If you try the muffin tin idea (a good one btw) be sure to use a good non stick tin (or one lined with parchment, not baking cups) and no grease of any kind. Unlike muffin batter, dense cookie dough will not absorb much grease. Greasy cookies are gross :p-stphrz (True, my muffin pan is non-stick)

Lindsey's Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

2 medium-sized boneless skinless chicken breast halves
seasoning (Lindsey prefers Emeril's Chicken Rub!)
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 boxes of chicken broth
2 handfuls your choice of noodles
1 can of peas
Your choice of seasoning to taste
Water

Place chicken, seasoning, carrots and celery in a big pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Remove chicken and pull apart with a fork. Add the rest of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add noodles. Cook about 10 minutes. Add pulled chicken and peas. Add water until desired consistancy. Season to taste.

Lindsey's Grandmother's Beef Stroganoff

3/4 lb. cheap steak or stew beef
flour
1/2 small onion
garlic salt to taste
6 oz. jar mushrooms, drained, save liquid.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8-10 oz. sour cream
2 servings cooked pasta of your choice or rice (Lindsey prefers rice!)

Cut meat into bite-sized chunks, dust with flour and brown in pan. Remove meat from pan. Cook onion until transparent. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 min. Deglaze pan with liquid from mushrooms. Add cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Bring to a boil. Add cooked meat and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Pour over cooked pasta or rice.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gerri's Strawberry Cake

This recipe from Lindsey's friend's sister is fairly easy to make, and has been rated "The best strawberry cake EVER."

1/2 cup hot water
1 box strawberry Jello
1 box white cake mix
1 c. canola oil
4 eggs
1 c. strawberries, sliced

For glaze:
1 box confectioner's sugar
1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 stick of butter, melted

Bundt pan (Williams-Sonoma has some really cute ones! I have one from them that is rose-shaped.)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease bundt pan. Add hot water to Jello mix and completely dissolve (Fixed! Thanks for the heads-up Lindsey!). Mix with white cake mix, oil, eggs, and strawberry slices. Blend with a mixer until smooth and strawberry slices are well cut. Pour into bundt pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

For glaze: blend confectioner's sugar, strawberries, and butter until strawberries are cut. Now you have two options. You can either drizzle the glaze over a hot cake which will cause it to soak in, or you can allow the cake to cool and then drizzle the glaze over it. The first allows the glaze to soak into the cake, which is really good but not very pretty. The second is still good and makes for a more attractive cake. Enjoy!

Lindsey's Grandmother's Tuna Wiggle

This dish comes from my best friend Lindsey, she's been making it for years from her grandmother's recipe. It's super easy and delicious!

1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 can of peas, drained (Lindsey recommendsLesseure)
1 can of tuna, drained
about 3/4 bag of no yolk dumpling noodles
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare dumpling noodles according to package directions. Drain dumpling noodles. Mix all ingredients together. Bake for 30 min.

Lindsey's Tip: The more sour cream, the creamier it will be!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Texas Beef Dinner

This is a variation of an onion lover's recipe I found back when I still lived with my parents. I am not an onion lover, so I cut the amount of onion called for and added some spices. This is fast, fun, easy, and can feed a small army!

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium green or yellow bell pepper (I prefer green), diced
1/2 small onion, diced
chili powder
garlic salt
shredded American or Pepperjack cheese, sometimes I use a little of both!

Crumble ground beef into a large frying pan. Season heavily with garlic salt, sprinkle with chili powder. Very lightly brown. Add a little more garlic salt. Add onion, brown. Drain grease. Add peppers, cook just long enough to soften, stirring constantly with Cutco slotted turner to keep beef from sticking to pan. Sprinkle with enough cheese to almost cover beef mixture. Leave in pan just long enough for cheese to start to melt. Transfer to serving plate or bowl and mix well. Serve with baked or mashed potatoes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Well, I didn't get the job.

But I'm trying not to be upset about it. I know that just means that God must have something better for me somewhere else!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New link added

Hey everyone! I just found a new recipe site that I really like, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's www.goonswithspoons.com. I will also be adding it to my list of related websites to the left. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Chicken Stuff"

This is what my husband calls "chicken stuff." It's perfect for cold weather! It's also quick and easy.

1 box of Stovetop stuffing, chicken flavored, prepared according to package directions
1 can cream of anything soup: I usually use chicken, mushroom, or celery, but I think just about anything will do.
1 can or envelope of chopped chicken in water, any size you want but I usually just use a small can.
Leftover chicken broth, if desired.

8x8 baking dish or similar-sized serving dish of your choice.

While stuffing is cooking, open can of chicken and drain water. When stuffing is done, mix in cream of whatever soup and chicken. Spread evenly in baking dish, do not pat down. If stuffing looks dry or too fluffy, pour chicken broth over top until consistency is moist. Serve warm.

For a twist, substitute 1 cup of mild (or hot if you prefer) chunky salsa for cream of something soup!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tasty Poached Chicken

This is so easy to make, and you couldn't wish for juicier chicken!

2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
rotisserie chicken seasoning
salt and black pepper
garlic salt
1-2 cans of low sodium chicken broth
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into wedges (I prefer skin on)
1 can of green beans, or about a cup of fresh ones
about 2/3 cup scalloped carrots

Rub rotisserie chicken seasoning and garlic salt on both sides of chicken breasts. Place chicken in dutch oven or other large pot. Add vegetables. Cover all ingredients with chicken broth. If 2 cans isn't enough to cover everything completely, add water until everything is submerged. Lightly sprinkle with pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat, simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. I like to mash the potatoes, but they're nice and tender and can be served without mashing as well. Just add salt to taste.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Praise God!

I have an interview with a charity I've wanted to work for for years now! If I get the position, I will still be working with Cutco, but my husband and I just moved to a new area and I'm having trouble getting a new customer base started here, so I need something else to help pay the bills for awhile until we can get to know a few more people and get a second car. The interview will be sometime on Sunday or earlier, I will let you all know exactly when it is! Thank God for providing this opportunity for me and my husband, and please ask for His grace, and that He'll give the women who will be making the final decision wisdom and guidance as they make their choice. Thanks for all your prayers, new recipes coming soon just keep watching!

Edit: The interview is going to be Monday at 10 AM EST. Please pray for me!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Herb-crusted Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

This is a simple but yummy sandwich, very filling and perfect with my home made fries and some steamed corn or baked beans! Makes two.

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast half
2 Kaiser rolls
lettuce
1 small vine ripe tomato
2 slices of American cheese, I like Kraft Singles
mayonnaise
ketchup
garlic salt
rotisserie chicken seasoning
minced dried basil
minced dried onion flakes
chili powder

Equipment:
meat tenderizer
George Foreman grill or similar

1. Cut chicken into two pieces of roughly the same size. Pound both pieces to about 1/2 inch thickness. I don't have a meat tenderizer so I use a marble rolling pin for similar effect. This is great stress relief!
2. Season both sides of each piece of chicken with about 3 pinches of each seasoning, using slightly more garlic salt and only 1 pinch of chili powder.
3. Place both pieces of chicken on George Foreman grill and close. If yours has a bun warmer on top, place the Kaiser rolls on top to warm. Cook for about 7 minutes or until chicken is done. The herbs will form a slightly crispy brown crust on both sides of the chicken, and it will be so tender and juicy inside! Before removing from George Foreman grill, place a slice of American cheese on top of each piece of chicken and allow to melt slightly.
4. Place cheesy chicken on Kaiser rolls and top with lettuce, tomato, and condiments. Serve warm.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thanksgiving is coming

I'm feeling particularly thankful today and really getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd share some things that I'm thankful for with you. I'll start with a list of just ten, even though there are so many more.

1. My salvation through the blood of Christ!
2. My health, which I haven't always had
3. My loving husband
4. The rest of my family
5. The roof over my head and everything God has blessed me with beneath it
6. Our car
7. Our jobs
8. Our church
9. Our friends
10. Our upcoming vacation!

I hope that this has been a blessing for you. There's so much more that I'm thankful for, I might come back and make some more lists in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Jesso Special" Hot Chocolate


This is my husband's favorite treat to come home to when it's cold outside!

Any kind of hot chocolate mix, 1-2 servings' worth. I like the "Super Family Size" 32 oz. Swiss Miss milk chocolate because it's the best deal I've found. Their directions call for two rounded spoonfuls of mix, I like to use three to make it extra special. If you're using the kind of hot chocolate that comes in envelopes, use two envelopes for one serving. I wouldn't use specialty or gourmet hot chocolate for this recipe, like Godiva, because that is usually just right on its own in my opinion, but you can try it if you want.

2 pinches ground cinnamon
a splash of vanilla, less than 1/2 tsp is enough
whipped cream to top
optional: 2 drops of honey
8 oz. hot water, not boiling

Put hot chocolate mix in bottom of a cute mug. Add cinnamon. Add just enough hot water to cover. Mix with a spoon until the mixture is not powdery any more. Add vanilla, stir. Add the rest of the hot water, mix until you don't feel anything built up in the bottom of the mug anymore. Add honey, stir. Top with whipped cream. Mmm!

Home made french fries

OK I have a confession to make: these are not actually fried! But restaurants that serve baked potato wedges or slices often still call them "fries" so that is what I call mine.

3 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp rotisserie chicken seasoning (I use this stuff a lot!) or turmeric if you can't find R.C.S.
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion flakes or dried minced onions
gal. Ziplock bag
cookie sheet
Cutco slotted turner or other spatula
Ketchup and mayonnaise for dipping (hey don't knock it 'til you've tried it!) Honey mustard is also good.

1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut potatoes into wedges and place in bag. Add olive oil, R.C.S. or turmeric, garlic salt, chili powder, and onion flakes. Close bag and shake vigorously until potato wedges are evenly coated. You may have to turn the bag different ways a few times to accomplish this, the chili powder can be a little stubborn and clump up with the olive oil.
3. Place potato wedges on a cookie sheet
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until potato wedges are golden brown and tender. If you like crispier fries, use tongs or Cutco slotted turner to flip all wedges and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, being careful not to blacken the top sides.
5. Remove from cookie sheet immediately using slotted turner. Serve with ketchup and mayo or honey mustard for dipping.

Free Food!

Found this and thought I'd share it for all you wonderful folks! I know I love me some Hamburger Helper! http://www.startsampling.com/sm/24966/captureAddress.iphtml?item=24966&source=&p=

Apple Crisp

I love this fall dessert!

Ingredients:
4 c. sliced red apples (requries about 3 apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon
slightly less than 1/2 c. water
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or Shedd's Spread Country Crock, or similar spreadable buttery type thing. Those are my two preferences.
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
Vanilla ice cream to top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 baking dish.
2. Place apples in prepared dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Pour water over all. In a bowl, cream sugar & butter/margarine spread. Blend in flour. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
3. Bake 30-40 min, until apples are tender and crust is golden.
4. Use Cutco Ice Cream Scoop to top with vanilla ice cream.

Wife Soup

This is a variation of Bubble n' Squeak, which is what my british nanny used to call putting all your leftovers in a pot with some liquid and hoping for the best! I made Bubble n' Squeak one chilly fall day last year, and my husband liked this particular variation so much it got its own special name and a card in my recipe rolodex!

Ingredients:

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets onion soup mix, or any other brand you like
1 14.5 oz. can low sodium beef broth
1 c. plus a splash of water
1 lb. stew beef
1 c. green beans
1 c. corn
1 lg. baking potato, cut into wedges
1/2 c. carrots
pepper to taste

Put all ingredients except for pepper in crock pot, cover. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 8 hours. Season with pepper, serve with crusty french bread.

Edit 11-26-2007: These are my best friend Lindsey's variations:
Hey! So I tried wife soup out but I had to modify it a little bit since I dont use a crock pot and I dont have a dutch oven. I just sauteed some chopped onion in a pan. Set it aside. cut some steak into small cubes, dusted with flour and browned it (whatever was cheapest at Publix), Remove the meat. Deglaze the pan with a little beef stock. (I used the box kind) Moved the concoction to a pot. Added chopped potato, carrots, and celery, the cooked onion, the rest of the beef stock, Lipton's onion soup mix, and about 2 cups of water and let come to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Add half a bottle of dark beer. (I used Shiner Bock because it was lying around in the fridge) and then the browned steak. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so to cook off the alcohol. Pepper to taste, and that was it! It tasted just like this irish stew that I always get when I'm in CO. I loved it! mmm. Anyways, thanks for the recipe.

Red Rice

This is one of my favorite meals because it's quick, cheap, and easy, and it's a one-pot dinner that usually leaves us with leftovers for a day or two. It's also incredibly versatile, you can use almost any vegetables or meats with it. It's great for finishing off those last little awkwardly sized amounts of frozen or leftover veggies or meat. If you want to serve it as a side dish, simply omit the meat and/or veggies!

Ingredients:

2 c. chicken broth or beef broth (I prefer chicken broth if I'm serving it as a side dish)

1 c. uncooked long grain rice

2 tblsp. tomato sauce, your choice. I really like Classico Tomato and Basil.

1 tblsp. olive oil

salt & pepper

For meal: 2 veggies of your choice, frozen, fresh, or canned. I really like potatoes (I know that makes for a lot of starch but they really absorb the tomato sauce nicely) with broccoli. Peas and carrots are great too.

1 pound of ground beef OR 1 large boneless skinless half chicken breast, chopped. I like to use beef if I used chicken broth or chicken if I used beef broth, it just makes the flavor richer! Sausage is also really really good, and I like it with either kind of broth.

Optional for meal or side: 1 egg for protein and texture, 1 tsp. soy sauce or worcestershire sauce, 4 shakes of any seasoning you like. I occasionally like to use garlic salt, rotisserie chicken seasoning, chili powder, crushed basil, but not all together.

Equipment:

Dutch oven or large pot with lid

Serving spoon

In dutch oven, combine broth, rice, tomato sauce, & olive oil. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Add all other ingredients except for salt and pepper, stir once. Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6 for a meal, 8-10 as a side.

Edit added 11/17/07: Just tried this with baked beans, I wasn't sure if it would be any good but now I can say confidently that baked beans do not work well with this recipe.

World's Best Brownies

This is my favorite thing to make! Sooo yummy!

Duncan Hines Double Chocolate brownie mix, prepared according to directions. Any brownie mix may be used, but this is my personal favorite for this particular recipe.

8 mini Reeses peanut butter cups

rubber spatula

8x8 pan

Cutco Spatula Spreader, Trimmer, or Pizza Cutter

Optional: confectioner's sugar

1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions.

2. Spread brownie mix in 8X8 pan.

3. Push peanut butter cups into brownie mix so that the mix comes up over the edges, spaced evenly, so that when you cut the brownies into 8 squares the peanut butter cups should be in the center of each brownie.

4. If necessary, use a spatula to smooth brownie mix over the top of each peanut butter cup, so that they are completely hidden and batter looks smooth and even.

5. Set oven to approx. 5 degrees lower than requested on box, bake for shortest time mentioned.

6. Cool 5-10 minutes and serve immediately, covering any leftovers right away to preserve "fudginess." Use Cutco Spatula Spreader to cut and serve. Trimmer or Pizza Cutter will also cut well but are not as awesome for serving. For cakier brownies, leave uncovered and allow to cool completely. Optional: sprinkle tops of brownies with confectioner's sugar!