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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

When pumpkin and cream cheese come together, something magical happens...  this recipe.

3 eggs
1 2/3 c. white sugar
1 c. vegetable oil (or 1/2 c. oil and 1/2 c. applesauce)
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt

FROSTING:

4 1/2 oz. softened cream cheese (or 1/3 less fat variety)
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the batter evenly in to a greased 10x15" jellyroll pan.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  Cool before frosting.
4. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Stir in vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth.  Add more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.  Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars.  Cut into squares.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cranberry Sauce

If you've never made fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, this is the year to start.  If your idea of "cranberry sauce" involves opening can & dumping a gelatanous cranberry pile on a plate, then it's time to step it up.  This one came from Rachael Ray and is really good as a spread over leftover turkey on a sandwich!
1 c. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 t. finely chopped fresh ginger
2 t. grated orange peel
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. ground cloves
One 12 oz package fresh cranberries
1.    In a medium saucepan, combine 1 c. water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, fresh ginger, orange peel, salt and cloves.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.
2.    Transfer the mixture to a bowl and remove the cinnamon stick.  Let cool.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crumbly Apple Pie

I first made this pie when I was in 8th grade and have made it every year since.  I even made them when I was in college and brought them to the guys' dorm.  I didn't get many dates as a result, but I did get lots of requests for this pie.  It's a winner!

Pie:
1- 9" pie crust
5 medium apples (I like Spy if you can find them)
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. flour
3/4 t. cinnamon

Topping:
1/3 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. butter

Mix sliced apples with rest of pie ingredients.  Place in pie shell.  Mix topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle over pie.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 350 for 40 minutes or until apples are tender.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cooking Light for helping me become the foodie I am today.  In 1999, I started subscribing and thanks to CL, I have learned SO much about cooking.  I'm posting this (Cooking Light July 2011 recipe) in early August when gardeners are picking ripe tomatoes, cukes, cilantro & jalepeños each day.  What better use for them than a tasty gazpacho?  This one is spicy, so cut back on the jalepeños if you wish.  Grilling the veggies first gives this sopa (that's Spanish for soup!) a nice flavor.  ¡Buen provecho!

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut in half crosswise (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece French bread baguette, cut into 2 slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups thinly sliced, quartered English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • 2. Brush cut sides of tomatoes and onion slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Lightly coat bread with cooking spray. Place bread on grill rack, and grill 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until toasted. Remove from grill. Place peppers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 8 minutes or until blistered, turning peppers after 4 minutes. Remove peppers from grill. Place peppers in a small paper bag; fold tightly to seal. Let stand for 20 minutes. Arrange onion on grill rack; grill for 10 minutes. Turn onion over. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill onion and tomatoes 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers.
  • 3. Combine 2 tablespoons oil, bread, grilled vegetables, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and garlic in a blender; process until smooth. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cucumber, and remaining ingredients; toss. Ladle about 2/3 cup soup in each of 6 bowls, and top each serving with about 1/3 cup cucumber mixture.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sliced Steak Soft Taco Sliders with Guaca-Salsa


This one came from Rachael Ray.  She is one of my favorite cooks, and she doesn't let us down with this tasty & flavorful dish!  It's extra good with fresh veggies & herbs from the garden.

STEAKS:
  • 4 small flatiron steaks (6 to 7 oz. each) or 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lbs. flank steak, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for coating
  • 1 tsp. ancho (mild) or chipotle (hot) chile powder
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning or salt and pepper
SAUCE:
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, flesh scooped from the skin
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tomatillos (or one small red tomato), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • a sprinkle sugar
  • A generous sprinkle sea salt
  • A small handful cilantro leaves
  • A small handful fresh mint leaves
  • A few sprigs thyme
TACOS:
  • 8 flour tortillas (8 inch)
  • All-natural cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high. Rub the steaks with oil, the chile powder and steak seasoning. Grill the steaks, tented loosely with foil, turning once, for 15 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the heat and let rest.
  2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until almost smooth.
  3. Lightly spray the tortillas with cooking spray and char for a few seconds on each side on the grill or stovetop. To form each slider: Spread some sauce on each tortilla, top with very thinly sliced steak in an even layer and fold the tortilla into quarters.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brown Sugar Peach Pie with Coconut Streusel

I can't take credit for this tasty dessert.  It came from Cooking Light in July of 2000.  It is THE most delicious peach pie I've ever had.  But then, I'm a sucker for any dessert with a crumbly topping.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 cups sliced peeled ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 pounds or 12 peaches)
  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Remove pie weights and foil. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool crust on a wire rack.
  • Combine 1/3 cup sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over peaches. Toss gently. Spoon into prepared crust. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, oats, coconut, and butter; sprinkle over peach mixture. Shield edges of crust with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pie

This is the only blueberry pie I've known, since my mom made it every year.  We'd go pick the blueberries and then come home and she'd whip this up.  Now my husband with a July birthday requests it every year as his "birthday cake".

1 qt. fresh blueberries
1 c. sugar
2 rounded T. corn starch
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice
9" pie crust, baked

Clean and drain blueberries well.  In a saucepan, mix together well the sugar and cornstarch; add water and lemon juice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken.  Add about 3/4 c. of the cleaned and drained blueberries that have been slightly crushed.  Continue to cook a few minutes until mixture is clear, thick and transparent.  Cool slightly.  Put a layer of berries in pie shell, then syrup, etc.  Chill; serve with ice cream.

Caprese Salad

This is a perfect summer dish when basil & tomatoes can be picked from your garden.  This will make enough for 2 side salads, so double or triple depending on what you need.

3 roma tomatoes (or use grape, cherry or whatever you're growing!)
3 string cheese sticks
about 1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. balsamic
1/2 T. olive oil
salt to taste

Chop tomatoes, slice string cheese into small rounds and chop basil.  Toss with balsamic & olive oil and add salt to taste.  The key is fresh ingredients & a good quality balsamic and olive oil.  YUM.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

This recipe appeared in Cooking Light.  After coming home with a load of veggies from the farmer's market, I decided this looked like the PERFECT summer recipe.  Tell your kids it's mac & cheese with some colorful veggies and they'll love it.  I usually double the recipe so we have leftovers for lunch.

 Ingredients

  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 1 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (any cheese blend will work) 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  • 1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • 3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  • 4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 301
  • Fat: 12.1g
  • Saturated fat: 5.3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 16.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 32.8g
  • Fiber: 4.1g
  • Cholesterol: 65mg
  • Iron: 1.9mg
  • Sodium: 640mg
  • Calcium: 291mg

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken Kebabs with Orange Salsa and Herbed Couscous

This recipe is "company-worthy".  It is DELISH.  I adapted this from Cooking Light (they get the photo credit).  You don't need to marinate the chicken long, so this can be done last minute.  I served my 6 yr old his chicken on a skewer and he was thrilled.  Moms sometimes have to resort to these measures to get their kids to eat.   Enjoy!!

The original recipe called for nectarines, but peaches or oranges work great.  I also substituted pork and it was fabulous. 

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or boneless pork loin), cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped orange, nectarines or peaches 
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
 Preparation
  • 1. Preheat grill. Combine first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish; let stand 15 minutes.
  • 2. Thread 4 onion pieces and 3 chicken pieces alternately onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Grill until chicken is done, turning occasionally.
  • 3. Combine orange/nectarines/peaches and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a bowl. Gently stir in avocado right before serving. 
  • Serve over herbed couscous
Herbed Couscous
Heat 3/4 c. chicken broth & 1/2 c. water over high heat.
After it comes to boil, remove from heat.  Add in 1 pkg of couscous and let steam.
Fluff with fork and add 2 T. fresh chopped parsley and 2 T. fresh chopped chives.  Top with 1/4 t. kosher salt & mix.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Pasta

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 t. fresh oregano (or 1/2 t. dried)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, shredded
  • Shredded mozzarella or parmesan (to sprinkle on top)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in oil and saute garlic until golden. Stir in zucchini, oregano, salt and pepper. Saute 2 minutes, then mix in tomato and cook a few minutes more. Stir in feta until it melts. Chop basil and add to vegetables right before mixing with pasta.
  3. Combine pasta and vegetables. Serve topped with mozzarella or fresh parmesan if desired.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Dragon

This dessert is served at the last night of camp at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp.  I attended there as a kid and now go to Family Camp there with my family.  My husband and I always manage to sneak seconds on this one.
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
5 Butterfinger bars
1 pkg. Oreos
1 stick butter, melted

Combine Oreos, Butterfinger & butter and mix in food processor. Press one half of mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Freeze. Spread the ice cream over the Oreo mixture, then top with remaining mixture. Freeze again.

(The ingredients sound weird together, but trust me, it is a DELICIOUS dessert!!)

Ravioli Lasagna

This one came from my friend Stephanie Taylor.  Two great tastes that taste GREAT together... ravioli and lasagna.
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 (16 oz.) packages frozen ravioli – keep frozen
2 c. small curd cottage cheese
4 c. mozzarella
3 T. parmesan cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. dried parsley
1 c. water
1.       Combine cottage cheese, 3 c. mozzarella, 2 T. parmesan, beaten eggs and parsley.  Set aside.
2.       In a 9x13* pan, spread 1 c. spaghetti sauce on bottom of pan.  Over this, arrange 1 – 16 oz. package of ravioli.  Spread cheese mixture over this.  Add 2nd package of ravioli.  Cover with rest of spaghetti sauce and 1 c. water.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 c. mozzarella and 1 T. parmesan over top.
3.       Refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Let stand 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
*or… bake half and freeze half for another night!

Siam Peanut Slaw

I have to give credit to my friend Amanda Travis for this one.  WOW is it good... you'll never think of "slaw" the same way!
1 bag coleslaw mix
1 pkg Ramen noodles (do not use seasoning)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1/2 stick butter
3 scallions chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup olive oil (or sesame oil is even better if you have it)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
Peanut sauce (can come from a jar or see "Thai Chicken with Rice Noodles" recipe)

Break up Ramen Noodles and toss with chopped onions, cilantro, both types of nuts, and cabbage. drizzle with melted butter. Mix oil, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar to make dressing and keep separate until about 1-2 hours before serving and pour over salad. Mix occasionally to coat during hours leading up to serving. Just before serving drizzle with peanut sauce

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

Meatloaf was never my favorite meal as a kid.  When I was dating my husband, he asked me to make a meatloaf.  I got out the trusty church cookbook and gave this one a try.  We've never looked back.  My kids have actually requested this as a birthday meal, so that's saying something!  I call this "The Meatloaf Your Kids Will Eat" (and your hubby, too!)
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 c. dry bread crumbs
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 eggs
1 t. instant minced onion
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, divided

Topping:
Reserved tomato sauce
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. vinegar
1/4—1/2 c. sugar
2 t. prepared mustard


Mix together beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and eggs. Add onions and one-half of tomato sauce. Form into a loaf in 9 x 5 x 3” pan. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes.

In saucepan, combine topping ingredients; bring to a boil. Pour over meatloaf; bake 10 minutes more.

Makes 6 servings

Monday, April 4, 2011

Smoky Black Bean and Rice Soup

this was adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe.  It is thick & tasty and very filling.  It's only 4 Weight Watchers Points if you're counting!


2 T. Olive Oil
3 bacon slices, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 - 15 oz. black beans
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. chili powder (less if you don't want it too spicy)
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. hot sauce
coarse salt and coarse pepper
1 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes (these are key... look for the Muir Glen Organic brand)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 quart (4 c.) chicken stock or broth
1 c. white rice


Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat.  Add the oil, then add the bacon and cook 3 - 4 minutes to render the fat.  Add the bay leaf, onions and garlic and cook for 3 - 4 minutes to soften the veggies.  Add 1 can of the black beans and its juice.  Drain the other can, then add half the can of beans.  Mash the remaining half, then scrape it into the pot.  Season the veggies and beans with the coriander, chili, cumin, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock, then cover the pot and raise the heat to bring the soup to a boil.  Add the rice and cook the soup over a rolling simmer until the rice is tender but has a little bite left to it; 15 minutes.  Adjust the seasonings and serve.


The original recipe calls for a cup of frozen corn (add with black beans) and 2 celery ribs (add with onion).  I omitted them, but feel free to throw them in!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Swedish Pancakes

I think this was the first thing I learned to cook.  It was an exciting night in our house when my mom declared it a "Swedish Pancake Night"!  I love these smeared in lingonberries (or raspberry jam), dusted in powdered sugar and rolled up.  They're also tasty with good ole maple syrup.  Yum!  Enjoy.

3 c. milk (or more if the batter seems too thick)
2 c. flour
4 T. melted butter or canola oil
1 t. salt
4 eggs
4 T. sugar

Mix all ingredients well with a mixer.  This batter is much thinner than traditional pancakes.  Heat griddle to 325 degrees.  Use about 1/3 c. for each pancacke. 

Makes enough to feed a hungry family of 4

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

INGREDIENTS

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (you can also use a combo of diced tomatoes & tomato paste)
1 cup heavy cream (fat free half & half also works if you want to reduce the fat!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, black pepper, and ginger. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. You can also broil the chicken on a cookie sheet covered in foil.

Melt butter/heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, garam masala, paprika, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

NOTES: Delicious over rice (basmati is the best) and with Naan (Indian bread), which you can find in the deli department of most grocery stores. I found the garam masala at World Market.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

This one came from my friend Angel.  It's a winner!

Cilantro Lime Slaw
1 pkg cole slaw or whole shredded cabbage
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. cilantro, chopped
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. cayenne pepper or a dash of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 t. salt
2 T. lime juice
1/2 t. cumin

Combine all the slaw in a mini food processor or chop and combine yourself.  Mix desired amount of dressing with slaw mix no more than 30 minutes before serving.

Roasted Sweet Pork
6 (approx) lbs. pork butt/shoulder
1 -19 oz. can red enchilada sauce
1 - 20 oz. can Dr. Pepper
2 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 clove garlic or 1 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients for pork in your crockpot and cook on low 8 hrs or until meat is tender.  Shred meat.

Serve pork in tortillas topped with slaw and sliced avocados.

Nutty Pasta Sauce with Shrimp

(from Cooking Light)

Ingredients
  • 2  tablespoons  minced fresh cilantro
  • 2  tablespoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4  tablespoons  crunchy peanut butter
  • 2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  rice vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  hot sauce (or less if you have little people eating this!)
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 2  teaspoons  dark sesame oil
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1  cup  vertically sliced onion
  • 1  red bell pepper, cut into (1/4-inch) strips
  • 2  cups  bagged prewashed spinach
  • 4  cups  hot cooked rigatoni (about 1 1/4 cups uncooked pasta)

Preparation
Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, and sauté for 3 minutes or until done. Remove shrimp from pan. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture, shrimp, and spinach. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Serve shrimp mixture over pasta.

Thai Chicken Pizza

recipe adapted from Rachael Ray)  This is one of the best pizzas I've ever had!

1 pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1/2 c. plum sauce*
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 - 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. tamari* or soy sauce
1 rounded T. creamy peanut butter
2 t. hot sauce
2 t. grill seasoning (such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning)
4 chicken breast cutlets, 1/2 lb total
2 T. honey
2 T. cider or white vinegar
1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 green onions, white and green parts chopped
a palmful of chopped cilantro
1/4 c. chopped roasted peanuts


*plum sauce and tamari can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store

Preheat oven to 425.  Top pizza crust with plum sauce, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, then top with cheese & bell pepper.  Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 min.

In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, tamari/soy sauce, and peanut butter with the hot sauce and grill seasoning. Coat the chicken evenly with the mixture and let it stand for 10 minutes.  Preheat a grill pan or nonstick skillte over med-high heat.  Cook the chicken cutlets for 2 - 3 minutes on each side, or until firm.  Slice the chicken into very thin strips.

While the chicken cooks, mix the honey and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Add the cucumber and turn to coat in the dressing.

When the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the chicken, green onions and cilantro.  Drain the cucumbers and scatter then over the pziza.  Garnish the pizza with peanuts, cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

(from Rachael Ray's 30 min meals)
Ingredients
  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied along the grain
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces Asiago, shredded
  • 8 ounces curly loose spinach leaves, washed, patted dry, stems removed
  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, left whole
  • 8 to 10 wooden skewers, soaked in water
Directions
Preheat grill or grill pan to high.
To butterfly the flank steak, start with the meat grain running up and down in front of you. With your knife, begin cutting the meat in half. Essentially, you want a thinner, larger flank steak. Continue cutting the flank steak in half until you reach about 1 inch from completely cutting through. Lay the cut flank steak open and even out the middle so there is not a thicker piece in the center. Or just ask the butcher!
Spread the flank steak out so that the grain is running left to right. Begin layering the flank steak with salt and pepper, the Asiago, then the spinach, the Gorgonzola and scallions. Begin rolling the flank steak tightly and away from you. Evenly insert the skewers 1 to 2 inches along the seam of the pinwheel to hold it together on the grill. Cut in between each skewer but not against the skewer; you want the same amount of meat on either side of each skewer. Grill the pinwheels on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes or until your desired doneness.

Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas

Ingredients:

Roasted chicken (about 2 to 3 cups shredded - I use rotisserie chicken)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten with water, if desired, for egg wash

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, black beans, both cheeses, salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Mix well to combine.

Pour chicken filling into pie crust, then top with 2nd crust and crimp edges. Brush with egg wash and place into preheated oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

You may have extra filling, so you can make another smaller version or use the filling for quesdillas!

Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Garlic and Tomatoes

This recipe is from Panera Bread's website and is a winning appetizer.

1/2 medium Baguette
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet
2 Tablespoons fresh basil or mint, chopped (I've made it without and it is still good.)

Preheat the oven or grill to 400 degrees F.
Slice the bread on a 45-degree bias into 1/2 inch sections.
Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil, and toast on baking sheets in the oven, or grill, until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread goat cheese over toasts and arrange on baking sheet.
Spoon tomato-garlic mixture onto toasts, dividing equally.
Bake until heated through, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with basil or mint. Serve immediately.

Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie

2 cups chopped peaches or nectarines
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 Tbsp sugar
Dash of red pepper
4 oz chilled brie cheese cut into 24 pieces
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 French baguette cut into 24 slices

Combine first seven ingedients and set aside. Preheat broiler. Arrange bread slices in an even layer on a baking sheet. Top each bread with 1 piece of cheese; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Remove pan from oven. Top each bread slice with about 1 1/2 Tbsp salsa and serve immediately.

Thai Chicken with Rice Noodles in Peanut Sauce

At our house we call this "that Thai Chicken thing that Alex likes so much". It is probably my favorite recipe. Ever.

Ingredients: 1 carrot or 10 baby carrots, julienned
1 1/3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
10 oz. uncooked rice noodles
6 tablespoons sliced green onions
6 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation:
1. Slice carrots lengthwise into thin strips.
2. Combine 2/3 cup broth, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, pepper, and garlic; stir with a whisk until smooth.
3. Place chicken in a large saucepan; add 2/3 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Add carrots and peanut sauce to pan and cook about 5 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Toss with cooked noodles in a large bowl. Sprinkle with onions and peanuts.

NOTES: Rice noodles can be found in the Asian section of some grocery stores (also sometimes called "Stir Fry Noodles"). I also find them in Asian markets and have been told they can be found in some health food stores. To cook them, boil a pot of water. Remove from heat and add noodles. Cover and steam for 10 - 15 minute or until noodles are tender. Rinse and add to recipe.

Avocado Dip

Juice of half lime
1/2 tsp. cumin
Handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Italian dressing
2-3 avocados, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 med. sweet onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño pepper (no seeds), finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
4 oz feta cheese

Combine lime juice, cumin, cilantro, and dressing. Set aside. Chop everything else except the feta.

Marinade for Flank Steak (Grilled)

Credit for this goes to my neighbor, Laura Wiltz.

1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 t. celery salt
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. minced garlic 
2 green onions sliced
Black Pepper to taste (about 5-6 twists of my grinder)

Lay Flank Steak Flat and put in a Gallon Zip Lock. Pour in Marinade. Allow to marinade 2 hours at room temp, turning occasionally. Many times I've marinaded it overnight in fridge and it's great! Enjoy!

Cardamom Bread

It wouldn't be a Swedish blog without some Swedish Cardamom bread.  I have the best memories of coming home from school to smell this baking in the oven.  I love eating this with butter, or even better - toasted for breakfast!  Thanks to my friend Marny Danz for contributing her recipe:

Makes 4 loaves.
2 c. milk
2 slightly beaten eggs at room temperature
½ c. butter (1 stick)
1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 c. sugar 7-8 c. flour (I use King Arthur’s bread flour)
1 Tbs. salt
A few Tbs. of melted butter
3 pkg. yeast
Pearl sugar
¼ c. lukewarm water
Slivered almonds

Scald the milk (heat until there are bubbles around the edges). Then turn off the heat and add ½ cup butter, sugar and salt. Mix and cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Add yeast to cooled milk mixture. Add eggs and cardamom. Stir or mix in 6 cups flour and then knead the rest of the flour in (just as much as you need until it is elastic and smooth – about 8-10 minutes of kneading). Grease a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and then turn the dough over so the top has some of whatever you used to grease (Crisco or margarine) on it. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size (usually takes approximately 1 ½ hours). Punch down and form into four braided loaves (tuck ends of braids under each end of each loaf). Grease four 9X5 bread pans and place a loaf in each pan. Melt butter and brush on loaves. Sprinkle with pearl sugar and slivered almonds. Cover with cloth. Let rise until double (they should fill the pans-1 hour or more). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (may be a little less time if you have dark pans – cook until they are golden brown). Cool a few minutes and then take out of pans and cool on racks completely before bagging.

Outback Steakhouse Chopped Blue Cheese Salad Recipe

Thanks to my friend Jennifer Bruining for finding this tasty recipe online.

Candied cinnamon pecans:
1/3 cup pecans sliced-lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

Salad:
3 cups chopped butter or bibb lettuce
3 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1 green onion, chopped

Blue cheese vinaigrette dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice each pecan half into at least three lengthwise pieces.
Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Toss the pecans with the melted butter, then with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, making sure to coat them all evenly.
Put the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until sugar is caramelized. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the pecans off of the parchment to cool.
Chop all of the lettuce into small bite-sized pieces; and rinse them with cool water.
Slice the green onion.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
Place the chopped lettuce into a serving bowl large enough to allow you to toss the salad.
Add the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly.
Sprinkle with the chopped onion.

Pannekoeken (Dutch Pancakes)

My Dutch friend Michelle Knight contributed this family favorite.  It's not Swedish, but the Dutch & Swedes have a lot in common, especially when it comes to pancakes!

1. Fork together 1 cup flour and 2 tsp baking powder
2. Add 1 cup water
3. Add 3 eggs
4. Add 3/4 milk.
5. Add 2 tbsp melted butter

Heat a medium size non stick frying pan with butter on medium heat. Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Using a non stick type spatula, flip over when the top of the batter loses its runny look. Makes about 7-8 crepy pancakes. Serve with butter and sugar, fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar (a favorite), jam, fresh fruit, cheese, or the conventional syrup. Enjoy!

Blackened Baja Tilapia Tacos

1/4 c. reduced-fat sour cream
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 jalepeño, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. brown sugar
1 t. dried oregano
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground red pepper
4 - 6 oz. tilapia fillets
1 T. canola or olive oil
8 - 6" flour tortillas (or corn, but they fall apart easier)
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced OR fresh guacamole 4 lime wedges shredded red cabbage

1. Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
2. Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper); sprinkly evenly over fish. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desire degree of doneness.
3. Warm tortillas. Divide fish, sour cream sauce and avocado over tortillas. Top with red cabbage. Serve with lime wedges.

cal: 362 fat: 13.6g protein: 37g. carb: 27g fiber 4.7g chol: 79 mg

Pork Chops with (Michigan!) Dried Cherries

1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
4 boneless loin pork chops
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. finely chopped red onion
1/3 c. dried cherries
1 - 2" strip lemon peel
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

1. Mix the flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. pepper, allspice and cloves in a bowl.
2. Add the pork chops and coat well.
3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet.
4. Add the pork chops. Cook for 7 to 8 min or until cooked through, turning once
5. Remove the pork chops to a platter and keep warm.
6. Add the red wine, chicken broth, red onion, dried cherries, lemon peel, ginger, brown sugar, thyme, balsamic vinegar, 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper to the pan drippings in the skillet.
7. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
8. Discard the lemon peel. Pour sauce over the pork chops. Serve over rice or egg noodles.