Saturday, February 27, 2010

baked potato soup

this is another yummy stolen and adapted recipe from liz's family cookbook.

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
2/3 cup butter
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 tsp. salt
4 green onions, chopped
12 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp pepper

wash and poke potatoes with a fork. place directly on oven rack and bake until done (400 degrees for about an hour). cool and cut in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp. set aside.
melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. cook 1 minute, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. gradually add milk, stirring over medium heat until thick and bubbly. add potato pulp, salt and pepper, 2 TBS. of the green onions, 1/2 cup bacon and 1 cup cheese. cook until heated thoroughly and stir in sour cream. add more milk if necessary, but it should be served thick. serve with the remaining green onions, bacon and cheese on top. and of course you need some crusy white bread to dip!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rustic Tomato Soup

Here we go ladies, new recipe, it's even pretty colors diet approved....
3 lbs tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 handful baby carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 forkful garlic
salt, pepper, basil to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup orange juice
splash balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325.  Slice up tomatoes, toss in EVOO, salt and pepper and roast for 25 min, then broil for 10 more.  Meanwhile, chop and saute onion, carrot, celery and spices in EVOO in deep soup pot.  When onions start to get translucent add orange juice and balsamic vinegar.  Pulse in blender.  Return to pot and add chicken stock and roasted tomatoes.  Simmer 40 min.   Blend again until just chunky.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Yum!

Pineapple Beef

Couldn't find a picture of my dish, too hungry to take a one while it was still sizzling delish :)
15 oz can coconut milk
1 biggish can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved
1/2 package frozen broccoli
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 cups shredded beef (I used left over potroast)
1/2 forkful minced garlic
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 shake hot sauce
4 cups cooked rice

Marinate meat, veggies and pineapple in a mix of coconut milk, pineapple juice, garlic, soy sauce, paprika and hot sauce.  Dump it all in screaming hot wok (or skillet), saute and simmer until sauce thickens.  Serve over rice

Friday, February 12, 2010

crusty white bread

i love bread way too much. and this does NOT follow your new whole wheat regime jen, but i promise it's good for soup dipping!

No Knead French Bread
From Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (i've been coveting this book)

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. Just let that sit together for a while (you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve completely), then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.

Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for a few hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.

To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.

Put it on a cutting board that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking (i used flour and it worked fine), and let it rest for about an hour. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.

Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a pizza stone (or cast iron skillet) in the middle rack of your oven, and put a cookie sheet (or broiler pan) in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and slash the top, about 1/4-inch deep.

After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking stone(i put parchment between my bread and the pizza stone for the first ten minutes to prevent sticking and then pulled the parchment out), and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Remove and let cool completely, if you can wait that long.

The Pretty Colors Diet


This year, it's about eating more, not less!  Cholesterol is becoming a bit of a problem in this house, but a no---well, anything, diet is just gonna fail :)  So the plan is to do more of the good stuff, less of the bad.  More veggies, less meat.  More spices, less salt.  More fruit, less sugar.  More pretty colors, less dull fats....
Here's the specifics:
  1. Less meat, more produce, in every meal.   
  2. Adjust our food storage to include more ready to eat fruits and veggies so I can just toss it in a pan/bowl with out thinking prepping (Kri, you changed my life when you taught me about the pepper and onion frozen stir-fry mix, seriously!)
  3. One vegetarian meal per week......means I have to try some new stuff.
  4. More whole grains: brown rice, brown tortillas, brown bread.
Wish us luck, eh?  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

spinach tortellini

so, i didn't make it this week. i made it when kristen and landen were supposed to come eat dinner with us but got stuck because of the snow. you guys totally missed out--oh, and you still owe us...

this is from my family cookbook, too. i agree, my sisters and sisters-in-law are great cooks. thanks lizzie.

  • 1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • cherry tomatoes, halved

  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion; cook until soft and translucent. Mix in cream cheese, parmesan, milk, mushrooms, and spinach.
  3. Gently mix in tortellini and cherry tomatoes with skillet contents; warm through, and serve.

mexican lasagna

this recipe was stolen and adapted straight from liz's "christensen family cook book" so i hope her and her sister don't mind me posting! i give all the credit to alisa. i've been trying a bunch of their recipes and they are good cooks... i have more to share... or so do you liz!

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion
2 cups chunky salsa (i used the costco brand and it was delish)
1 can black beans, drained
1/4 cup zesty italian dressing
2 T. taco seasoning mix
4 flour tortillas (medium size)
1-2 cups sour cream
1 pkg. mexican style shredded four cheese (i only had cheddar and it was good)

brown meat with onions in large skillet; drain. add salsa, beans, dressing, taco seasoning; mix well. arrange 2 of the tortillas in a single layer on bottom of a 9x13 baking dish; cover with layers of half each of the meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. (i just kept adding sour cream until it covered in a thin layer). repeat all layers: tortillas, meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. cover with foil. preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake, covered, 30 min. remove foil and bake an additional 10 min. or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. let stand 5 minutes before cutting into.
top individually with tomatoes, lettuce, olives, and cilantro.

new year, new food

one of my goals for the new year was to be a better menu planner. every sunday i plan my menu for the week, which means finding a new recipe or two to try, entering all the meals into my schedule, making a list of the things i need for any of the recipes that i don't already have, and printing that menu out to hang on my fridge.

i think you all know i love to bake, but i really don't like to cook. dinner especially. why does that have to be the craziest time of day, when husbands have been gone all day and kids are crankiest, and we're expected to pull a dinner out of where? here is mine for this week...

so this is my solution to being a better cook. and honestly, when i have a menu, i actually kind of like cooking because i don't have to think of "what's for dinner?" it's just right there for me. we all like trying new meals and it means i get to put some creativity (which is what i need) into something i don't always like.

every time i see a recipe online that i want to try i print it out and stick it in my "recipes and menus binder." of course i had to make a cute cover to inspire me to keep things in it. everything is divided by subject and kept in those plastic sheet protectors i had laying around. super easy!

as the starter of this blog (like the queen right?) i'm challenging all of you to try at least one new recipe a week for the next month and share it on here. i promise i'll play along, hopefully we can inspire each other to become better cooks!

and yes liz... we still owe you from the last recipe voting challenge!