Monday, March 31, 2008

The Bad Girl's Kitchen is on The Foodie Blogroll!

The Foodie Blogroll lists a community of over 1,000 food blogs, and now includes The Bad Girl's Kitchen! It is a great networking opportunity, and another way to discover new recipes. Being on the list will hopefully serve to increase visitation to our blog, so keep posting your fabulous recipes here! You'll find links to The Foodie Blogroll in the right-hand column of this blog.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fruit Fillings for Shortcakes

This recipe accompanies the Shortcakes recipe. I made strawberry shortcakes last night, fabulous! (also from the cookbook The Best Recipe)

Although the fruit used to fill a pie, crisp or cobbler is simply mixed together, shortcakes made with berries require an extra step--crushing 3 cups of the fruit with a potato masher. Once this fruit has been crushed, mix in the remaining 5 cups of fruit (sliced if using strawberries) and the sugar.

Stone fruits are merely sliced (without crushing) and sugared. With both berries and stone fruits, set the prepared filling aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to macerate.

8 cups blackberries (3 cups mashed, remaining berries whole)
6 tablespoons sugar

8 cups stemmed blueberries (3 cups mashed, remaining berries whole)
6 tablespoons sugar

8 cups mangoes (4 to 5 pounds), peeled, pitted and sliced thin
6 tablespoons sugar

8 cups fruit (3 to 4 pounds), pitted and sliced thin
6 tablespoons

8 cups plums (about 3 pounds), pitted and sliced thin
6 tablespoons sugar

8 cups hulled strawberries (3 cups mashed, remaining berries sliced)
6 tablespoons sugar

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I made Strawberry Shortcakes last night for a ranch dinner. They were delicious and received many complements. I like the fact that they can be prepared 2 hours in advance, and I just put them in the oven toward the end of dinner. I will definitely be making these again when we get more strawberries. These shortcakes are lovely, golden brown and sparkly with the sugar on top. An impressive dessert, despite the fact that they are so simple!

This recipe is from the cookbook The Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. They test each recipe different ways to come up with the best result, and explain their process before the recipes. It's a handy reference, and some of their recipes are truly the "best."

Serves 6

Start the recipe by preparing the fruit, then set the fruit aside while preparing biscuits to allow the juices to become syrupy.

1 recipe Fruit Fillings for Shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups Whipped Cream

1. Prepare fruit and set aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar in work bowl of food processor. Scatter butter pieces over mixture, tossing to coat butter with dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients with five 1-second pulses. (I don't know if it was just because I made a double batch, but it took me a lot more than 5 pulses). Continue cutting in butter until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses (again, it took me a lot more). Turn mixture into medium bowl.

3. Mix beaten egg with half-and-half; pour into bowl with flour mixture. Combine with rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn mixture onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.

4. Pat dough with fingertips into 9 by 6-inch rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, being careful not to overwork dough. Flour a 2-3/4-inch biscuit cutter; cut out 6 dough rounds. Place rounds 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush tops with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. (Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)

5. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm about 10 minutes.

6. When biscuits have cooled slightly, look for a natural crack around the circumference of the biscuits. Gently insert your fingers into the crack and split the biscuits in half crosswise. Place each cake bottom on individual serving plate (or bowl). Spoon portion of fruit and then dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with cake top and serve immediately.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

I made this banana bread this morning. I couldn't wait to take a bite, as you may have noticed in the picture! Another winner from Eating Out Loud, although I did make some changes. I used sour cream instead of yogurt (didn't have yogurt), and eggs instead of egg substitute (blech). Due to altitude, I'm sure, I had to bake mine for the full 1 hour and 15 minutes, although for the last 15 minutes I reduced the oven temperature to 300 to avoid burning.

Mine doesn't have the wonderful-looking swirl that Allen's did, but it tastes great. It does taste a little "lite" on my sensitive palate, so I think I will experiment using my favorite banana bread recipe (low-fat, schmo-fat, sorry Allen, ranch life keeps us active!) and adding the chocolate, which is delicious. I will work on my swirling technique as well. =)

For now, I'm off to eat another piece!

Spicy Country Pork Ribs

This is an excellent recipe from Real Simple magazine. In the magazine, they used a canned chipotle pepper, but on the website they used chipotle powder. I opted for the actual chipotle pepper because that's what we use. We use boneless ribs. The broiling at the end is a bit of a pain, but is worth it. We have also not broiled occasionally, but the ribs really are best when you finish them off by broiling. I would also suggest that using 4 pounds of ribs yields a bit more than 4 servings. =) These are delicious, easy to make, and not too spicy for the kids.

(photo by Susie Cushner)

Slow-Cooker Recipe: Spicy Country Ribs

These ribs are meatier than baby-backs and tend to have fewer bones. Serve them with biscuits and cole slaw on the side.

1 small onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 chipotle en adobo, minced (these peppers come in a can in the mexican aisle)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pounds pork country ribs

Combine the onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, Worcestershire, chili powder, and oregano in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the ribs. Cook on low heat for 6 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 hours. Using tongs, remove the ribs from the cooker and arrange on a broiler pan. Heat the broiler. Pour the juices from the cooker into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to hasten the separation of the fat. Remove and discard the fat. Pour the defatted juices into a saucepan; boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Broil the ribs about 6 inches from the heat until browned. Serve with the sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Orange Marmie Muffins with Cardamom Pine Nut Streusel

H-Bomb is the leader at preschool tomorrow, and when I asked him what he wanted to take for snack, he suggested muffins with pine nuts. Off on an internet search I was, and this is what I found on a blog called Eating Out Loud. The guy is from Michigan, so he can't be half bad, and this recipe sounds too delicious not to try! (he took better pictures than I did, but I was in a hurry. Go check his out) The recipe also fits in well with the preschool's "Foreign Friends" theme this week, as cardamom is a spice from India. Perfect.

These muffins sound so good that I am making a double batch from the start. Preschool kids can't have them all! **The muffins are excellent. The flavors are subtle and unexpected, yet all work well together. I will definitely be making these again. You should try them.

Update-Batch #2=I used a heaping 1/2 tsp. of cardamom, and then, just a bit too late, I had an excellent idea: chopped whole cardamom pods along with chopped pine nuts! Batch #3, here we come!

Orange marmie muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cardamom pine nut streusel
1/2 cup pine nuts, half of them chopped finely
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tablespoons butter, softened

When making muffins, I don't follow a lot of procedure. Muffin batter is pretty forgiving and I'm not one to fuss around. Add the dry muffin ingredients to a mixing bowl, add wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Simple! Pour into a greased muffin tin, filling each muffin cup 2/3 full.

For the streusel, use a fork (or your fingers) to mush the ingredients together. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon over the top of each muffin.

Bake the muffins in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins test done. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Annaley's Prairie Fire Beans

This is a family recipe from Number One's grandma, Annaley. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet her, I've heard she was quite a lady. And with recipes like this as her legacy, it's easy to believe.

Spring always brings these beans to mind, as we are lucky to eat them at least once at this time of year, at the annual Bull Sale. It's coming up this year on April 12. We just couldn't wait until then for Prairie Fire, we just had to make some!

2 quarts pinto beans
2 small or 1 large ham hock
2 cups grated onion
1/2 lb. butter
1 lb. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 large cans diced chili peppers
6 large garlic cloves, diced
1 Tbsp. diced jalapenos (more if you like it fiery)
salt and pepper to taste

Pick over and wash pinto beans.
Soak beans in cool water overnight. Drain.
Add ham hocks, and add water to cover beans. Cook until beans are soft and water reduced (pour off excess water). Remove ham hocks.
Add: onions, chili peppers, garlic, jalapenos, butter and salt to taste.
Cook slowly until onions are soft.
Turn off heat and add grated cheese.
Stir gently.
Keep warm, serve.

*This time, I did things a bit differently. First, I fried the onions in a bit of lard, perhaps 3 Tbsp. or so (I didn't measure). I gently fried them for about 10 minutes, until they were nice and browned. Then I added the beans, ham hocks and water. Then I did everything else the way it's listed up there. And they turned out perfectly.

**Note: this recipe makes a ton of beans. I mean it. I have a huge pot here, full of beans. Annaley used to feed herds of cowboys from her kitchen, you can tell that from this recipe. Good thing we love them!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Coconut Lime Cake

This picture and recipe come from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen. It would have been an excellent cake to make for Easter, but I just thought of it today, being Easter Sunday it's a bit late! I have made it before though, once when my parents were visiting, and it is amazing.

This cake is known as a butter cake, made by creaming butter with sugar until the mixture is soft, smooth and pale yellow in color. When adding the flour, eggs and other ingredients to the mixture, do not overwork it or you may destroy the air bubbles and the lightening effect of the creaming.

Serves 12


For the cake:
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 Tbs. finely chopped lime zest
4 eggs

For the frosting:
4 egg whites
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans; tap out excess flour.

To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and lime zest and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, spreading the batter evenly. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, using a handheld whisk, beat together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt just until combined, about 30 seconds. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Set the bowl on the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the outside of the bowl is cool and medium-firm peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 1 cup of the coconut just until incorporated.

Place one cake layer, top side down, on a serving plate. Using an icing spatula or a knife, spread some of the frosting evenly on top. Place a second layer, top side down, on the first layer and spread some of the frosting evenly on top. Place the remaining layer, top side down, on the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Press the remaining 1 1/2 cups coconut onto the top and sides. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes before serving to set the frosting.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Min's Irish Lamb Stew

Just for the record, virtually all of my ancestors are Irish. So I believe that gives me the right to call whatever I create "Irish." You know, because I'm Irish, and I created it, therefore, it's Irish. Incidentally, two different friends who have been to Ireland have told me that I look like the majority of Irish people. Marlow even told me she swore she saw me over there! But alas, I was here. She must have seen my evil Irish twin or something...

So, after searching in vain for a recipe for Irish Lamb Stew for Easter for which we had every ingredient or that wasn't something like "boil lamb with potatoes and carrots," I decided to create my own. I haven't even tasted it yet, but I know it will be fabulous and you will love it. I made it a day in advance to allow the flavors to develop. We will have it tomorrow for Easter dinner.

Irish Lamb Stew

Olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 package bacon (just cut about three or four 1/2-inch slices from the short side of a package of sliced bacon, and it will be the right size)
1 pound lamb (stew meat or bite-sized chunks)--feel free to substitute beef
1/4 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
2/3 cup white wine
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups beef broth (or equivalent water + beef bouillon cubes)
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat about 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven pan. Add bacon, and cook and stir until starting to brown, add onions, stirring. Add lamb and flour to a resealable plastic bag, shake to coat, and add lamb to pan with bacon and onions. Stir to brown lamb, then add garlic and stir.

Add carrots and potatoes, and stir. Add white wine, stir to combine. Add peas, broth, thyme and marjoram. You can add some salt and pepper at this point, but don't overdo it.

Heat to boiling, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are tender. (add more broth if necessary) Cool and refrigerate overnight in Dutch oven pan. Heat through before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with crusty bread.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New York Cheesecake

This is a recipe for a classic cheesecake. My secret? The cherry pie filling needs to be tart, not too sweet, so look for a "country-style" pie filling. I got this recipe from a booklet produced by Philadelphia Cream Cheese, called Ultimate Philly Cheesecakes. It was less than $5, and well worth every penny. Keep an eye out in your cream cheese packaging for a similar offer, and purchase one. You won't be disappointed!

The last time I made this, I was debating just eating the whole thing with our family. Then I decided, despite my initial selfish desire, to throw a last-minute cheesecake party. (the picture above is the actual cheesecake I made and served at the party). I printed up these little invitations (below) and invited everyone on the ranch. It was fun.

Prep time: 25 min
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

4 (8 oz.) pkgs. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened (**do not use anything less, no "low-fat," no off-brands**)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream

TOPPING (optional)
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling OR 3 cups whole strawberries, stems removed

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Mix crumbs, sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition, just until blended.
  • Blend in sour cream; pour over crust.
  • Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  • Top with pie filling or strawberries, stem-side down, just before serving.
12 servings

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pork Tenderloin

We just made this for a birthday celebration. It makes a meal special, yet it is super easy. The brinning is the key here. Also don't be tempted to buy the already seasoned tenderloins, you will be disappointed , besides it is easy enough to do your own seasoning. You can use any rub you like, be creative and try something different each time you cook these. Maybe I will add some of our other favorite rubs.
Pork Tenderloin
In a medium bowl dissolve 3 TBL Kosher salt and ¾ cup sugar in 2 cups hot water.
Then add 2 cups COLD water.
Add 2 pork tenderloins (1½-2 lbs total) *also trimmed of silver skin
Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Remove from brine and dry, then set aside.
Rub: 1 TBL orange zest
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 TBL chopped fresh sage leaves
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL orange marmalade
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp salt

Rub tenderloins with rub
Preheat grill on high
Put loins on grill-----3½ minutes on 3 sides,
then 4th side cook until 145 degrees , about 2½ minujtes
Transfer to cutting board cover loosely with foil and rest 5 minutes.
Slice and enjoy.
Serve with extra rub, or just mix some orange marmalade mixed with sage, garlic.

Crab Rangoon

Forget about any crab rangoon you've had in any Chinese restaurant anywhere. In case you've already forgotten, crab rangoon are crunchy little appetizers, filled with creamy crab. Or sometimes not. But they are supposed to be.

I learned how to make these in college, from my then-bff Spanish Tracy. (we took every Spanish class there was together. We studied together all the time. We did some other things that I won't ever admit to. It was college. She calls me Spanish Min too.) Anyway, these are better than any you've had. Trust me. They are also quite easy.

You'll need some won ton wrappers. If I can get them where I live, in the actual middle of nowhere, you can surely get them where you live. You'll find them in a refrigerated section, possibly even with the vegetables. Grocery stores are funny. I have also used egg roll wrappers, just cut in four pieces to approximate the size of won tons. It's the same stuff.

Bring an 8-oz. brick of cream cheese to room temperature in a medium bowl. While you're waiting for that to happen, finely chop some green onions (maybe half a bunch?) and drain and rinse and drain again a can of crab meat. I don't know exactly what kind of crab meat you should get, but it comes in a can, a bit bigger than a can of tuna. Perhaps go for the middle of the road priced can, or use what you like.

Mix the crab and onions in with the cream cheese, and mix them well.

Heat some vegetable oil in a pan, probably over medium-high heat. If you have a Fry Daddy or something like that, now would be the time to pull it out and plug it in.

Now comes the fun part: Assembly. First put some water in a small bowl. Place about a teaspoon or so of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of a won ton wrapper. With your finger, lightly wet two edges of the won ton wrapper. The won ton wrappers are square, so you would wet the two edges of the wrapper that face you, meeting at a point. You are going to turn your squares into filled triangles. If that makes sense.

Fold the dry edges of the wrapper over onto the wet edges to form a triangle. You want to press down lightly to remove extra air, but not to compress the filling. Smooth the edges together to seal them. This step is crucial to prevent them from bursting and leaking out.

So, as you are filling won tons, you will be frying them as well. You can make several and then fry several, but you don't want to make them all and then fry them all, because you don't want them to start to dry out. Put a couple filled won tons into the oil. If they don't quickly start to sound like they're frying? Your oil is not yet hot enough. If there is lots of noise and spattering and even smoking? Your oil is too hot. Be careful, I never said this wasn't treacherous.

Fry evenly, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, and remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain.

Eat them while they are still warm. We like to serve them with sweet and sour sauce. You won't be able to make them fast enough-if you are serving several people, you won't have to worry about them getting cold.

This recipe makes a lot of rangoons, so you probably won't run out before everyone has had enough. And, if you happen to have any leftover, the crab cream cheese is excellent on toasted bagels.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Convoluted Cake (puzzle cake)

Hi all, wish me luck - finals this week in my Advanced Cake class. I have to create this and opera torte petit fours.

Play Dough

Thought it might be fun to add some untraditional to the blog. Have fun. Instead of food coloring try kool-aid in the water or a vegetable puree for the water. It is edible (non toxic), but it taste like salt.

Traditional Play Dough
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
food coloring
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Will last for a long time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tempting Shredded Chicken Taquitos

Another hit from
I made these tonight for dinner...served with spanish rice and beans. I REALLY liked them. Instead of frying them, I baked them. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 cups cooked, then shredded chicken breast
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
burrito size flour tortillas

1. In 10-inch non stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, salt, cumin, pepper and tomatoes with green chilies; cook 5 minutes.

2. Place oil into large skillet over medium heat. Place about 2 large Tablespoons of chicken mixture into each tortilla. Tightly roll, securing ends with toothpicks. In batches, place taquitos into hot pan. Pan fry until nice and golden brown on each side. Remove, transfer to a paper towel lined plate to dry. Serve and enjoy!

**If you'd rather bake them instead of fry, bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning once. Also, baste them with some olive oil before baking and they turn out really nice!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore with Shiitake

I wish I had a picture to show you, but I forgot to take one. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the wine tonight. This recipe is off the back of the package of dried shiitake mushroom slices we got at Costco, for about $4. It's a huge bag, and this is a delicious recipe. We ate it with a nice Smoking Loon Merlot followed by an even nicer Merlot from Black Mountain, and some pasta of some sort. (I also had an excellent glass of Foley Syrah, but it was the last one. I didn't mention it, except to you. Shhhh.)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
3-3 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces, skin removed (I used boneless skinless thighs, it's what I had)
1 medium-size onion, chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped (I used red and a little yellow)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (I used 2 heaping teaspoons dried)
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I used wine, of course)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (8 oz. tomato sauce (I substituted 1/4 + 1/8 cups tomato paste plus 1/2 cup water)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. EACH marjoram, oregano, and thyme leaves
4 cups Dried Shiitake-Ya Slices

1. Heat oil and butter in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.

2. Add onion, green peppers, and garlic to pan. Cook over medium heat and stir until onion is soft. (H-Bomb and Sawed Off helped with this part)

3. Stir in parsley, water, wine, tomato paste, tomato sauce, salt, spices, and Shiitake slices. (and also with this part. They are the cutest little chefs you've ever seen)

4. Return chicken to pan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is no longer pink (about 45 minutes)

5. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (forgot the cheese; no one seemed to mind)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bread Sticks

I thought you might enjoy a very easy and delicious recipe for Bread Sticks. I just made a double batch of these for a church group of 19-30 year old kids. I doubled the recipe thinking we would have some left over for our family. Boy was I wrong, they ate up 4 large pans of these things along a basic tomato sauce for dipping in a matter of minutes. I was smart, I tasted a couple as they came out of the oven to make sure they were good, but my husband didn't get a one, poor baby!

Dissolve 2 TBL yeast in 3 cups warm water in a large bowl (or bread mixer or Kitchen Aid mixer bowl)
Add the following: 4 TBL melted butter, 2 TBL sugar or honey, 1 TBL salt and about 4 cups flour.
Mix well, then add about 4 more cups of flour. Mix well about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest.
*Punch down every 10 minutes ---5-6 times.
Then roll out and cut into strips. I roll it out about 1/2 thick and use a pizza cutter to quickly cut it into strips. Dip each strip in melted butter (about 1/2 cup) and roll in Parmesan Cheese and parsley (as much as you like). Place on baking sheet (if you line it with foil clean up will be a breeze) Let rise about 30 minutes. Bake 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
I usually do it this way but if you are in a hurry you can also divide dough in half and place in a well buttered baking pan (9X13) pat it out into the pan. Take a knife or bench scrapper and cut into desired sized strips. Then pour melted butter (about 1/4 cup per pan) over dough and then sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Let rise about 30 minutes. Bake 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.Then after baking take your knife again and cut apart where you had made the cuts.
The picture is the quick way in 9x13 pan.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Meat Sauce for Pasta

This recipe is actually the basis for a meat lasagne recipe from Classic Home Cooking by Mary Berry and Marlena Spieler. (I have the 1995 edition; I don't know what changes were made but there is a 2003 edition also available). It's a decent cookbook with some basic and not-so-basic recipes. I think what I like best is that the recipes in each section are listed with pictures by prep/cooking times, so you can look at pictures of dishes that will take under 30 minutes, over 60 minutes, etc. I like visuals.

The lasagne is delicious, but we love this meat sauce on spaghetti! And it's so easy! Tonight we made it with ground venison instead of beef. Delicious, with rave reviews from everyone on the ranch.

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds ground beef

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups beef stock

13 oz. canned chopped tomatoes

6 celery stalks, sliced (optional)

2 onions, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar

generous salt

black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the beef and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the stock, tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, tomato paste, sugar and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


Serves 6

2-3 cups grated aged Cheddar cheese
1 + cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 no-precook lasagne noodles
chopped parsley to garnish

Meat Sauce

White Sauce:
4 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt & pepper

1. Make meat sauce.

2. While meat sauce is simmering (1 hour), make the white sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon one-third of the meat sauce into a large shallow ovenproof dish; cover with one-third of the white sauce and 1/3 of the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Arrange half of the lasagne noodles in a single layer. Repeat the layers, finishing with the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the pasta is tender and the topping is a golden brown color. Serve the lasagne immediately, garnished with the parsley.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli Over Rice

This recipe is from
My family LOVED it, and so did I!!!

3-4 boneles chicken breasts
1 14oz can cream of chicken soup
1 14oz can cheddar soup
1 14oz can chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt seasoning
1 cup sour cream
6 cups broccoli flourets, lightly steamed, just fork tender
shredded cheese

1. Place soups, chicken broth, salt, cajun and garlic seasoning into a crockpot over low heat. whisk until smooth. Place chicken in, pressing to the bottom. Cover lid and cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3 hours.
2. when chicken is done, use 2 forks and shred into bite size pieces. stir in sour cream and brocolli.
3. serve over steamed rice (i used a mixture of brown/wild yummy!!!) and sprinkle with cheese. (i think it can do without the cheese on top, but thats just me!)

serves 4-6!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Avocado Reubens

Here's a nice vegetarian twist on the traditional Reuben sandwich! The recipe comes from the book, Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family by Ken Haedrich. This is a GREAT vegetarian cookbook., by the way. My copy is several years old and quite stained with numerous pages all folded down to mark my favorite recipes.

Here's what you'll need for 2 sandwiches...

1 ripe avocado (peeled, pitted and sliced)
a little lemon juice
approx 1 cup of sauerkraut (drained and heated a bit)
4 slices of Swiss cheese
4 big slices of good rye or pumpernickel bread
Dijon mustard
Russian or 1000 Island dressing

*** Sprinkle your sliced avocados with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.

How to assemble the sandwiches:

1) Spread a little Dijon mustard on one slice and a little Russian/1000 Island dressing on the other.

Take one slice of bread and start stacking in this order:
  1. One slice of Swiss cheese
  2. Avocado slices
  3. Salt/pepper
  4. Sauerkraut
  5. The other slice of cheese
  6. The other slice of bread

Brush the bread with olive oil or a little butter and place in a pan over medium heat.
Flip carefully (can be tricky without all the insides falling out... using 2 spatulas helps).  A Foreman Grill also works nicely if you have one.  

That's it! They're super easy to make and very tasty!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


It's been a while since I've posted and I really need to add a few recipes!  This one is actually more of a tip or "secret ingredient" than a recipe.  

Broccoli... you either love it or you hate it.  Me?  Well my mom was notorious for destroying vegetables by boiling them to a pulp so I never really liked the pale green mush placed before me as a child.  When I got older I discovered that broccoli can be good!  I eat it raw all the time in veggie sandwiches or with dip.  I also like it steamed.  And that's where the "secret ingredient" comes in...

After you steam your broccoli to a point where they are tender (but still firm and GREEN, mom!) add some salt and pepper to taste AND....  squeeze half a lemon over the broccoli.  Delicious!!!!   My son kept asking for more "trees"!  
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