Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chicken Chowder with Cheese

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Another recipe from the Channel 13 cookbook. My apartment now smells like a delicious soup shop. If only I had some amazing bread to go with this! Really easy soup to make, and the flavor is nice. The corn adds a nice crunch and sweetness to the soup. If you like these ingredients, then you’ll probably like this soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 (1o.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • Dash of pepper

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine broccoli, corn, water, onion and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Do not drain.
  2. Stir milk, chicken, potato soup, 3/4 cup of the cheese and pepper into vegetable mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until cheese melts and mixture is heated through. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese over soup.

My Notes…

I used more cheese to thicken the soup a bit. You could easily use a can of chicken instead of the 1 1/2 cups of chopped chicken. You might also want to put in a dash of salt as well. I had skim milk so that’s what I used, but I think it made the soup a little thin. If you have whole or 2% you will want to use that instead.

Mexican Lasagna

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I got this recipe from the local Channel 13 news cookbook. Each year they put one out, and I really enjoy them. In the book the recipe is called “Ranch King Chicken Casserole” but it’s totally Mexican lasagna. It was fairly easy to make and tasted good, but next time I will definitely make some adjustments to add some more flavor. If you’re going to make this, make sure you read my notes to make things a little easier on yourself. This makes 6 servings and can be frozen up to 1 month if desired. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomato and green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 (8 oz) block Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Chop onion and bell pepper. Shred cheese on large holes of a box grater.

    Onion, Green Pepper, Cheese, and Chicken

  2. Saute onion and bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spay over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender.
  3. Stir in chicken, cream of chicken soup, can of tomatoes and chilies, chili powder, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from heat.

    Chicken Mixture in Skillet

  4. Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one third of the tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third cheese. Repeat layer twice.
  5. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

    Finished Casserole

My Notes…

I went to Trader Joe’s to get the majority of the ingredients for this dish. The onion and peppers were great, but the tomatoes and chilies were not as spicy as I would have liked. I recommend using Rotel. They would add enough heat. Also I wouldn’t go to the trouble of buying a block of cheese and shredding it. I got a 9 ounce block of sharp cheddar from Trader Joe’s, and it was good cheese, but I couldn’t taste it in the lasagna. Next time I’m just going to use 2 cups of the the Mexican shredded blend you can find at most grocery stores. I like a lot of cheese, so I might even use four cups.

In regards to the chicken, I got some chicken breast tenders and cooked them in my toaster oven for about 15 minutes. Then I used two forks to shred the chicken. In Mexican dishes I really liked shredded chicken over chopped chicken. But you can do what every you prefer. In terms of spices, I used Cayenne pepper for the chili powder, and I couldn’t even taste it. Next time I’m going to try some ancho chili powder.

Banana Muffins

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This is my mom’s recipe. Not sure where she got it, but I think they’re moist and delicious. They are fairly easy to make if you have all the ingredients and some bananas that are ripe. Makes 18 muffins. They can also be frozen after baking.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cinnamon sugar (for sprinkling on muffin tops)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix, but don’t overstir
  4. Pour batter into liners in a muffin tin. Sprinkle top of muffins with cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from tin and cool on wire rack.

My Notes…

These are difficult to mess up, but definitely make sure the bananas are ripe or they will be difficult to mash. If you don’t have a supply of cinnamon sugar it’s easy to make and handy to have around. I keep mine in a little tupperware, but if you have an extra shaker you could fill it. It’s great on buttered toast or really anything. Just mix about a half of cup of sugar with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon. You can add more or less cinnamon depending on how you like it.

Pork Roast with Cabbage

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My family’s (and I’m sure others) New Year’s tradition is to have Pork and Cabbage on New Year’s day. In doing a little internet research the pork is eaten because it symbolizes moving forward (like a rooting pig??). I know it’s a stretch. But the cabbage is supposed to represent money. So if I eat this cabbage today I’ll have a prosperous 2012. Here’s hoping!! I’d never made a pork roast before, and this recipe is pretty intense, but I think it was worth it. Everything turned out really flavorful and the pork was cooked well.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 pounds freshly shredded cabbage
  • 1 can/bottle beer
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 potatoes, cooked and mashed

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds, garlic, salt, and ground black pepper. Rub the pork with the dry rub mixture, cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Pork Loin with the Rub

  2. Preheat oven to 350°
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of the caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 8 minutes. Transfer to 10 x 15 roasting pan.

    Carrots and Onions with Caraway Seeds

  4. In the same skillet over high heat, combine 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, half the cabbage, and 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds. Saute, stirring often, until this cooks down, 5 -10 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan and repeat with remaining cabbage.

    Cabbage!

  5. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Place pork loin in heated oil and brown on all sides. Set roast on top of vegetables in roasting pan. Add the beer and molasses to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Pour this and the broth over the pork and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

    Pork and Vegetables in Roasting Pan

  6. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Turn pork over and bake until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 150°F. At this point remove from oven and let pork sit on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Slice into serving size pieces. Discard bay leaves. Return sliced pork to the pan resting over the vegetables. Top off with mashed potatoes.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.

My Notes…

I didn’t want to make mashed potatoes, so I quartered the potatoes and threw them in the pan with the other vegetables. This worked well. When the pork reached 150° and was sliced it still looked a little pink. I put it in for the additional ten minutes and that worked well. The vegetables were cooked well. They weren’t mushy at all. I will say it was a lot of cabbage. A lot of cabbage. Not really sure if there’s a way to avoid that other than not putting so much in. If you’re wanting to cook a pork roast with veggies, this is a great way to do it.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

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Made these to go along with the pork and cabbage simply because they sounded good, and I like to have bread with my meals. Got this recipe from the Southern Living cookbook. Just a different flavor from regular biscuits, but I really liked them. This recipe makes about two dozen biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium potato)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine sweet potato, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well. Stir soda into butter milk. Combine sweet potato mixture, flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in a large bowl, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4 to 6 times.
  3. Roll dough to 1/2″ thickness, cut with a 1 1/2″ biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets; bake at 400° for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    Before baking

My notes…

I cooked the sweet potato in the oven for an hour before mashing it. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used milk mixed with lemon juice. Worked well, but I think you could also just use regular milk. Also I do not have a biscuit cutter. I used the top of a drinking glass. I probably rolled them out a bit then, but it’s all about preference I guess. They could have been higher. They didn’t fluff up as much as I thought.

Sausage-Chedder Balls

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Every year at Christmas my mother and my brother-in-law have a competition to see who can make the best sausage balls. Generally my mother burns my brother-in-law’s so she wins. I decided to try some for my Christmas party. I did not use my mother’s recipe, and perhaps I should have. Everyone at my party really enjoyed them, but when I took them to my family party they didn’t stand up in the competition. I think she under-cooked mine. But again I got this recipe from Martha, and I thought they were great when cooked properly. Also for some strange reason I find it strangely satisfying to mix up the meat with my hands. But they are fun and easy to make. You can also make them far in advance and freeze before cooking. This recipe makes about 45 sausage balls.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups grated cheddar (preferably sharp)
  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add cheddar and toss to coat. Add sausage, onion, and butter. With your hands, mix until well combined and roll mixture into 1 inch balls. Place balls, 1/2 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake until balls are golden and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

My Notes…

The better sausage you use, the better these will taste. Also I think sharp cheddar is definitely the way to go, but if you don’t want a strong cheddar flavor you can use mild or regular.

 

Pomegranate-Champagne Punch

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This is a really great recipe. It looks amazing (way better than my photo) and tastes great. Definitely not a kid-friendly recipe and it’s pretty strong, but it’s a great addition to any party. It does take a little work (you have to make simple syrup) but it’s worth it in my opinion.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 750ml bottles chilled brut Champagne
  • 1 1/2 cups white rum
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ice block

Directions

  1. Bring 1/2 cups water and sugar to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely.
  2. Combine champagne, rum, pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Add enough syrup to sweeten to taste. Mix in lemon slices, lime slices, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl.

My Notes…

I don’t have a punch bowl, so I prepared mine in a large glass pitcher. I also didn’t have mint leaves or the ice block. I put in all of the simply syrup, and it wasn’t too sweet. I think you could easily make this with different juice or without the fruit. Also you could use a flavored rum. Still would be delish.