Thursday, December 2, 2010

New York - What I Ate

Started this post in December. Then I moved to India and forgot about it. Here are some of the delicious restaurants Leonard and I ate at in NYC. Doing this blog made me crave beef.
Red Sonja from Mundo

Thanksgiving with Leonard. We used the same recipes as last year except Leonard dry-brined the chicken. The chicken was SO good! He rubbed it with salt and put it in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight, rotating it once.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe is from my sister-in-law Erin and it is really good. The recipe makes a ton, though. I will half it next time.
1 pkg of red beans and rice
1 1/2 lbs diced chicken
2 cans diced tomatoes ( I like to use the mexican seasoned ones)
2 cans chicken broth
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
shredded cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream
Cook rice first, cook chicken if needed while rice is cooking. Add pepper and onion and any seasoning you wish with chicken. Then after rice is cooked just add everything to the rice and let simmer for at least 45 min. or until heated. Add cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips in bowl on top and serve.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicken a la King

1 can buttermilk biscuits
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 can chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 c. cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 c. sliced cooked carrots
1 can green beans
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Cook biscuits according to package directions. Melt butter with flour in a saucepan. Add milk and chicken broth and boil 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, carrots, green beans, salt and pepper and heat through. Serve over biscuits.

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

One of many great main dish recipes from my friend Tasha. Many of my often-made dishes are from her, so more to come.
1 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T. olive oil
1 pkg hot dogs, sliced
1 can chili
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 pkg cornbread mix, or recipe below

Mix cornbread mix per instructions. Spread half of the batter in a greased, 9x9 pan. Saute veggies in oil. Add hot dog and cook 3-4 minutes. Add chili and spices and heat through. Stir in 3/4 c. cheese. Pour mixture over batter in pan. Spread remaining batter on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 28-32 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes.

Cornbread recipe:
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornmeal
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T. milk
1 egg
2 T. and 2 t. oil
1 1/2 T. melted butter

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Blend together lightly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chocolate-Frosted Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

*Cook sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan until dissolved.
*Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.
*Stir in Rice Krispies.
*Press into a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper.
*Melt chocolate chips and spread on top.

Variations: You can substitute 3 c. mini marshmallows and 2 T. butter instead of the corn syrup and sugar. Also, you could mix some butterscotch chips in with the chocolate chips for the frosting.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homemade Fruit Snacks

I saw this on Skip to My Lou and knew it would be perfect for an activity with Maggie. We made them in a Jell-o Bean mold, or you can use candy molds or probably even silicone ice cube molds.

1 3 oz box flavored gelatin
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/3 c. water

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Heat over medium heat and stir until dissolved, 2-5 minutes. Pour into your molds (I used a plastic measuring cup with a spout) and let cool for 20 minutes. Pop out and eat!
They came out really easily, but were super sticky to themselves, our fingers... pretty much everything except the mold. So I did dust them with a bit of cornstarch.

Update: I made these again using fruit juice. I used 1/2 c. fruit juice and 3 1 oz packages of unflavored gelatin. I used apple juice, so they were kind of gross, but I think pineapple or a red juice would be yummy. They were not as sticky as the jell-o ones.
I made them in a rubber ice cube tray from the dollar store! They came out great once they cooled enough.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

John loves coconut and requested these for his birthday.

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
3 eggs
3/4 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. pure almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)
1 7-ounce package flaked sweetened coconut
cream cheese icing

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in only 1 1/3 cups of the coconut.

Fill each muffin cup almost full with batter. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cupcake tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. When cool, frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle remaining coconut on top.

For the frosting I did:

4 oz cream cheese
4 oz butter
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
3 drops food coloring
Beat until smooth. This generously frosted 24 cupcakes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Warm Potato Salad with Blue Cheese

(we ate this with fried okra)
This was a quick, flavorful salad - and I don't even like blue cheese!

4 pounds red potatoes, cubed
8 strips of bacon
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. vinegar (I used 2 T. red wine vinegar, 2 T. white vinegar, 1 T. balsamic vinegar)
1 T. sugar
1 c. crumbled blue cheese

Cook the potatoes until tender. Cook and crumble bacon. Remove all but 2 T bacon fat. Cook onion in bacon fat until tender. Add olive oil, vinegar and sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour over potatoes. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Add bacon and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with blue cheese.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I accidentally bought phyllo dough instead of pastry dough a while ago, and what better thing to use if for than learning to make baklava? It was a little time intensive, but not difficult, and very delicious! I actually made 1/2 the recipe in a 9x9 pan.

1 16 oz package phyllo dough
1 lb chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
1 c. butter
1 t. cinnamon
1 ½ c. water
1 ½ c. white sugar
1 ½ t. vanilla
¾ c. honey

Butter a 9x13 pan. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Melt butter Unroll phyllo dough. Cut stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth to keep from drying out. Place two sheets of dough in pan, brush thoroughly with butter. Repeat for 8 sheets. Sprinkle 2-3 T of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering. Top layer should be 6-8 sheets.
Cut into diamond shapes with a sharp knife. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes until golden and crisp.
For sauce, boil sugar and water. Add vanilla and honey and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool. Spoon cool sauce over warm baklava. Leave uncovered so it doesn’t get soggy.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I originally got this recipe from my cousins, Alyssa and Camilla. The recipe makes 25, but I don't recommend making that many without a tortilla press and a helper (over age 3). I usually make 1/4 the recipe.

Original Recipe (makes about 25)
8 c. flour
1 t. salt
4 t. baking powder
4 T. Crisco (or butter)
3 c. hot water

Here's how I make them: 1/4 recipe (makes about 6)
1 1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 T. oil
3/4 c. hot water

Mix dry ingredients. Cut Crisco/butter/oil into flour mixture. Add water. Knead. Let stand 3 minutes. Grease hands. Form Balls. Roll and cut into circles. Fry or cook on grill. I cooked them on the George Foreman this time and they turned out good. Usually I fry them in a little oil.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This is the cake I made for Maggie's birthday. The frosting is very lemon-y, but balances out the cake nicely. I added a couple drops of yellow food coloring to both the cake and the frosting. You need 3 total lemons. Recipe is from John's sister, Jamie.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

3 c. flour
1/4 c. poppy seeds
1 t. baking soda

Beat until fluffy:
1 c. softened butter
2 c. sugar

Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time.
Add juice from 1 lemon

Add 1 c. plain yogurt, alternating with dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time.

Blend in zest from two lemons.

Bake at 325 for 50-65 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on rack. Invert pan.

2 T. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
juice from 1 lemon
zest from 1 lemon

Melt butter. Blend in other ingredients. Spoon over cake while still warm.

Monday, February 15, 2010


There is a section in my recipe box titled "Misc." There are several rather wacky family recipes (or science experiments) and Maggie is a great age to start trying them. Maggie's playdough was dried out when we went to use it today, so we whipped up some of my mom's recipe. She picked two colors (blue and white) and I made 1/4 batch, or about 3/4 cup of each.
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
4 t. cream of tartar.
Combine in a saucepan. Add 2 c. colored water and 4 t. oil. Stir quickly and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until it forms a ball. Turn out and knead. cool. Store at room temperature in Tupperware.
I made 1/4 batch at a time because you add the color when you first mix it, not afterward. It was fast and easy, only about 5 minutes per batch.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sugar Cookies and Buttercream Frosting

This is the recipe my Mom used for Christmas cookies to decorate every year. I mixed it up by using almond flavoring in the frosting for Valentine's Day. One batch of each makes about 2 dozen medium rolled-out cookies. I am very good at saving money and time by leaving out ingredients. I used to make the cookies without the lemon rind, but I recently discovered they are much better with it. So don't leave it out!

Sugar Cookies
Blend together:
1/2 c. butter
1 t. grated lemon rind
1 c. sugar

Beat in:
1 egg
2 T. orange juice

Stir in:
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. nutmeg

Chill for a while to ease handling. Roll to 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 400 7-9 minutes. We rotate the dough in the freezer so it stays cool and easy to roll. Also, if you don't roll the dough thin enough, the cookies will spread and ruin your cookie cutter shape. And, if you keep the cookies in a sealed container, they will stay nice and soft. Just layer wax paper in between.

Buttercream Frosting (James Beard Cookbook)
1/3 c. butter
3-4 T. heavy cream
3 c. powdered sugar

Cream together butter and sugar and beat in the cream. Flavor with 1 t. vanilla, almond, or lemon extract. For chocolate frosting, add 1/2 c. dark cocoa sifted with the sugar.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cheese Ball

Here is a simple and quick-to-make appetizer that I get rave reviews about.

1 8 oz package of cream cheese
2 c. shredded cheese (any kind - I usually use colby jack because that's what I keep on hand).
dash of ground mustard or cayenne pepper
sliced green onions
chopped walnuts

Mix the cheeses, spices and onions thoroughly and shape into a ball. Roll in walnuts.

I have also made this into cheese truffles. I made one inch balls and rolled some in nuts, green onion, sesame seeds etc. You could use pecans instead, add in pimento or diced green chilies etc. It's very easy to mix up and almost impossible to mess up.

Twix Bars

These taste just like Twix bars, only better. They are absolutely delicious and simple to make.


1 ¼ c. flour

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter; room temp

½ c. butter

½ c. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. corn syrup

½ c. sweetened condensed milk

Crumble crust ingredients together. Pack into 9x9 inch pan lined with foil and sprayed.. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Combine caramel ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly as it burns easily. Remove from heat. Stir with spoon slowly until it shows signs of thickening. Pour over crust and let cool a little.

Top layer:

Melt approximately 1-2 c. chocolate chips over low heat. Pour over caramel layer and spread carefully. Chill. Cut into bars.