Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Contest Winner is follower... Tammy!

The winner who won this beautiful pine cone arrangement is follower.... Tammy!  She commented on 4 posts, wow!  The posts were regarding the following food blogs:  Bean & Corn Burritos, Popovers, Not your Grandma's Apple Crisp and Basil Pesto!  Thank You Tammy we love when we get comments and questions!  Congratulations and enjoy the fall arrangement!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Risotto with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Yesterday I made basil pesto and froze it in ice cube trays.  I briefly explained how I use pesto in  many different recipes.  So today, I wanted to back up my claim and give you a reason to make some pesto of your own.  Here is one of those delicious recipes using basil pesto, enjoy!

5 cups warm chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 cup dry sherry (Sweeter taste) or white wine, (dryer taste) either will do!
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes with juice, diced(I purchase from Costco, keeps in refrigerator well)
3 cubes (tablespoons) pesto (I use right from the freezer)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste


1) Place olive oil in a medium sauce pan and add the onion.  Saute onion until it begins to turn translucent and add rice.  Stir constantly until the rice begins to turn opaque, about 3 minutes.  Then immediately add the wine or dry sherry (NOT both choose one)!

The rice and pesto I used!

 Onions and Rice just starting to cook, notice the amount of liquid!
2) Next, add the sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup of broth at a time.  Allow the broth to be completely absorbed  before adding another 1/2 cup and always remember to keep stirring (You don't want all the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan).  Cook the rice this way for 25 minutes or so.  The rice is finished when it is still firm to the bite, but not hard.  You might not need all the broth or you might need to add a little water, it just depends on how high of a temperature you are cooking the rice.
I used this broth!
3) When you think the rice is just about done add the pesto, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a side salad!

Risotto and side salad, yum!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Basil Pesto

Every year I go through the same process with the fresh basil I have growing in the garden!  I make pesto and then freeze it for the up coming winter months.  In the midst of winter it's wonderful to have something you normally only get in the summer.  Here is the recipe......

1 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh basil, packed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts


With a processor combine garlic, basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts in a processor.  Slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth.  It should be smooth and creamy if it seems to thick add more olive oil. To keep extra pesto place in ice cube trays and freeze.  Place in freezer bag and place in freezer until ready to use

1. Place minced Garlic in processor
2. Add 1 cup basil packed

3. Add pine nuts

4. Add grated Parmesan and pour olive oil

5. Place any extra pesto in ice cube trays to freeze

6. 1 cube of pesto = about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turkey Tortilla Salad

Last night, I made the Cranberry Turkey crock pot meal and ended up with leftover turkey.  So, tonight I thought I would shred the leftovers and make a quick refried bean and turn it into another meal.  It was not only wonderful but incredibly easy!

Serves 4
8-10 Tortilla chips
2 cups shredded turkey breast or legs (I used leftovers from last nights meal)
1 can drained and rinsed Pinto beans
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 green onions (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salsa (your choice)
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese/or a mix of Monterey jack and cheddar (what you have on hand)
1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 can black olives, sliced (Optional)
1 avocado, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon sour cream per plate (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the minced garlic clove and green onions.  When soft (2 minutes) add the can of pinto beans and 1 tablespoon of salsa and stir (2 more minutes).  When warm start mashing with a potato masher, for about 3 minutes.

1. Add Olive oil
2. Add garlic and green onion

3. Add Pinto beans and salsa
4. Mash all together

2. In a small bowl place the cold shredded turkey and stir in the 1 teaspoon cumin, place aside.

Turkey mixed with cumin

3. Shred lettuce and place in a bowl.  Drizzle on 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon lime juice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

4.  Lastly, place 8-10 tortilla chips on a plate, top with 1/4 of the turkey and pinto beans and place in microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Then promptly remove and top with 1/4 of the shredded cheese and put back in microwave for another 1 minute (until cheese is melted).  Repeat for the other 3 plates.
5.  Next, place the desired toppings such as lettuce, olives, salsa, sour cream, and avocado. If you have a cute boy around watch out he might eat all the olives:) Then serve at once!
My son eating all the olives!



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Cranberry Turkey Crock Pot with Dry Sherry Gravy

I love quick meals but something about Sunday's makes me long for the days my Grandma would make amazing Sunday dinners.  So... I thought to myself,"why not make an easy "Sunday" meal that has the feel of something that took forever, but actually doesn't!"  Oh...and I should mention this turned out fabulous, the house smelled wonderful and was so inexpensive.  What an extra bonus!
Crock pot Ingredients:
2 Turkey legs, bone in (purchased at Cub Foods $2.05)
2 Turkey thighs, bone in (purchased at Cub Foods $1.98)
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch chucks
1 tablespoon butter, or Earth Balance butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of rosemary sprigs tied together
1 pinch of chicken bouillon cube (picture below)
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional, you could use a little chicken broth or water this just adds more flavor)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1) Warm olive oil in saute pan and add chopped onion, brown slightly (4-5 minutes).

2) Place sauteed onions and can of cranberry sauce in crock pot and stir to mix together.

3) Next, salt and pepper the turkey legs and thighs.  Brown them in the same pan you sauteed the onions add the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed.  Once legs and thighs are browned on both sides place in the crock pot with the onion and cranberry mixture.  Place the sprigs of rosemary on top at this time.
4)Next deglaze the saute pan with the dry sherry (or your choice).  Then drizzle over the turkey legs and thighs in the crock pot.
5) Then add the pinch of chicken bouillon cube.  Just a pinch!
6)  Allow this to cook in the crock pot for 5 hours on high.  Meat will be so tender it will just fall off the bone!  Amazing!
The Turkey Leg served with garlic mashed potatoes and Dry Sherry Gravy!

The Turkey Thighs served with garlic mashed potatoes and Dry Sherry Gravy!

To Make the Gravy:

Drain as much of the liquid from the crock pot without removing the turkey (to keep it warm).  Place in a small saute pan (making sure you strained the large bits of onions and cranberries out).  Turn heat on medium-high and pour in 1/4 cup Dry Sherry.  Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 3 tablespoons cold water in small cup or container. When turkey liquid is beginning to boil pour the cornstarch mixture in and continue to stir until it thicken to your likeness!  Ready to place over the meat, potatoes or whatever else you want to serve.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baked Egg Ramekins

Tonight for dinner I thought I would try ramekins. I would normally make this for breakfast,  however, the boys had soccer and a bunch of other things going on.  So... this was something I could pre-make and place in the refrigerator until they were ready to eat.  Oh, and I could add something different to each depending on what they preferred! 

The Basic Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute (I like Earth Balance)
4 eggs
1 cup egg whites (I purchased organic egg whites, you don't need to do this it was just easier)
1-2 thick slices of ham, diced (I used deli ham and had them slice it thick)
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced
6 tablespoons cheddar cheese grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
My favorite butter substitute!
My favorite egg white substitute!
Deli Ham Sliced thick!
Cheeses:  Brie, Cheddar, Swiss, Goat, or Camembert (Any you like or have on hand)
If you are a vegetarian remove the ham and add a vegetable.  If you prefer a different herb and really do not care for chives use parsley or basil.


1)  Preheat oven to 375
2)  Fill baking pan with hot water half way up the sides
3)  In a ramekin dish place: 1 tablespoon butter, one egg cracked, diced ham divided between the 4 ramekin dishes, 2 tablespoons cheese of your choice, 1/4 cup egg white, chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.  Place ramekin in the baking pan with the water and cover with foil.  Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

(Ramekin in the baking pan with water)

(Serve with different whole wheat or seven grain breads)
(These are wonderful for dinner and would be equally good for breakfast1)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Warm Sage Chicken Crockpot

4 Chicken Breasts bone in
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 small bag carrots cut into chucks
8 small red potatoes
1/2 cup maple syrup
 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat a saute pan on stove top.  Rub olive oil on chicken breasts, salt, pepper and rub 1 tablespoon of the sage on the chicken breasts.  Place in saute pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown meat. Do not cook all the way through you only need to brown.  Once all chicken is browned move the meat to a crock pot with the cut carrots and potatoes.  After meat has been transferred out of the saute pan use the 1/4 cup white wine to deglaze the pan. Once it reduces to 2 tablespoons pour over meat in crock pot. Then add the 1/2 cup maple syrup and last tablespoon of chopped sage.
2) Next, cook on high for 6 hours.

3) Once finished, use the juice from the crock pot to make a gravy.  Move the juice to a small sauce pan and mix in corn starch or flour to thicken.  I use corn starch (2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water).

4)  Lastly, arrange meat, vegetables, potaotes, and if you want add you can always make egg noodles to accompany the meal.  They taste wonderful in the gravy! (My kids always request noodles)  Serve!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Substitution Solutions

Years ago I read an article which gave some basic substitutions for individuals who had allergies!  Here are some of them:  You should use any of these if you need to. Don't wait for just the right recipe to come by, chances are... it won't happen unless you make it happen!

Milk: (for a recipe that asks for 1 cup milk)
* use 1 cup soy
* 1 cup rice milk + 1 egg yolk
* 1 cup fruit juice
* 1 cup water + 1 egg yolk
* 1 cup coconut milk

Buttermilk: (for a recipe that requests 1 cup buttermilk)
* 1 cup soy + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar (let stand until it thickens)
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 7/8 cup rice milk
* 7/8 cup fruit juice
* 7/8 cup water

Yogurt: (for a recipe that requests 1 cup yogurt)
* 1 cup soy yogurt
* 1 cup soy sour cream
* 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 1 cup fruit puree

Butter: (Replace 1 stick of butter with one of the following)
* 1 stick fleischmann's unsalted margarine (NOT MY FAVORITE)
* 1 stick Earth Balance (Non dairy buttery spread)  LOVE IT!
* 8 tablespoons spectrum Organic Shortening
* 8 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (I also use Olive oil for substituting)
If you are trying to reduce fat try this:
* 6 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce + 2 tablespoons of your choice above

Eggs: (Replace 1 egg with 1 of the following)
NOTE:  don't ever replace more than 2 eggs in a recipe. I learned the hard way the recipes never seen to turn out.
* 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce + 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons hot water (Let stand to thicken)
* Egg replacer (according to directions...I use this one a lot)
* 4 tablespoons pureed silken tofu + 1 teaspoon baking powder

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not Your Grandma's Apple Crisp

So you looked at the title and thought, "What is she talking about?"  Well, this one is so simple and easy you can make it anytime, but it looks new and improved, not the same old thing we ate years ago! 
Helpful Hint: I find cute baking dishes at stores like T.J. Maxx, tag sales or church sales.  It's amazing how many people get rid of these.  They are really useful when you want to serve something but don't have time to fuss with creative design, it's the perfect solution!

Now to the recipe:

4 large green apples, cored and semi-peeled and cut into chucks
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1) Preheat oven to 375. Put cut apples in pan you are going to bake in and toss with lemon juice.

2) In separate bowl mix sugar, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  When mixed well toss with apples in the baking pan.

3) In a small food processor place flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and oats.  Pulse the mixture briefly and add the cold cubed butter.  When the mixture resembles a course meal its ready to place on top the apple mixture.  Stir in the walnuts if you wish before placing the mixture on top the apples!

 4) Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or so until the top is a golden brown.
Serve with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream on the side...YUM! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Graham's Buttered Noodles

My son Graham loves plain old buttered noodles!  He keeps requesting, "Something kids would 'normally' eat"!  So...for Graham I'm posting his favorite, and something so easy we sometimes just forget about making it for them!

1) First, find the kind of pasta your kid will eat.  This could be ziti, fusilli, orecchiette, penne, bow ties basic elbow macaroni or just plain egg noodles.  It seems all children prefer a certain shape!
2) Next, experiment to see if you are able to sneak some kind of vegetable in with the noodles (I have successfully put carrots and broccoli in my children's buttered noodles)!
3) Then, find a cheese (for protein) your kids like!  My kids like shredded Parmesan, but I have friends who's children like shredded cheddar!  You can always add diced chicken if you have it on hand as well!
4) Lastly, add butter, salt and pepper to taste!


This is an easy one!  Just boil the water and prepare pasta according to package directions.  If you're lucky enough to be able to slip in some vegetables with the pasta you can aways boil it in with the pasta.  Drain, and add butter, cheese, diced meat or whatever else you can dream up that your children will eat!  Enjoy!

Clean up the kitchen with...Bar Keeper's below!