Tuesday, December 6, 2011

10 Minute Breakfast Casserole

There are so many versions of breakfast casseroles out there and I've tried quite a few. We love the overnight sweet versions like this, but sometimes want a savory one. The problem I've found up until now is they always turn out greasy or soggy and require too many steps. I was really surprised with this recipe because it was so quick and easy, but turned out as the best I have tried. Now for mine, I used all pre-made ingredients for a quick weeknight meal, but you can certainly use fresh ingredients if you want. Sometimes though we all just need something fast that can be thrown together! I loved this and have to say, it is still great as leftovers the next day!


What You Need:
4 cups shredded hashbrown potatoes {I used 1 bag Simply Potatoes}
8 ounces bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled {I used one package pre-cooked bacon, microwaved 1 minute and chopped up}. You could also use cubed ham!
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 {12 oz} can evaporated milk
1 large egg
1.5 teaspoons seasoned salt
onion powder
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Season the potatoes to taste with the onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Begin by layering 1/4 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer cooked crumbled bacon, cheese, and potato again until complete. In a separate bowl, combine the evaporated milk, egg and seasoned salt. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the layered ingredients in the baking dish. Bake 50-55 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil, and bake uncovered five additional minutes. {I put under the broiler to get a browned and crispy top}.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes

I'm sharing this recipe starting with a disclaimer. These are sooo not good for you. In fact, they are just about everything you are not supposed to have...potatoes, cheese, butter, cream....but if you want something comforting, delicious, and SO perfect for upcoming holiday meals, these are for you. I may have eaten more than my share...just sayin'.

Photo from Tasty Kitchen



What You Need:
2 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Block parmesan cheese
garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded cheese {blend or your choice}


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Scrub potatoes.
You need 2 wooden spoons with handles of the same width. Place a spoon on each side of the potato and start slicing the potato into thin slices. The spoons will stop the knife from cutting all the way through the potato.
Slice the butter into thin pieces. Alternate the butter and the parmesan, stuffing them in between the slices of the potato. Season the potato with garlic powder and salt. Drizzle the potato with olive oil.
Bake at 400ºF for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle heavy cream over the potatoes. Top with cheddar cheese.
Place back in the oven for 10-12 more minutes. Remove and serve!



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin


This is one of the best dinners we have had in a very long time and while I couldn't wait to share it, I can't seem to find the time to post anymore so it took awhile. Let me start by saying I had given up on pork tenderloin. I never liked the way it turned out so I stopped trying, but this. was. awesome. I can't say enough about how you have to try this. For one, it is incredibly fast and easy to put together. Two, it goes in the slow cooker (always a bonus for me) and three, it is so delicious, even without the glaze. I found this at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and adapted very slightly. You will love this!


*Printable Version*

What You Need:
2 pound boneless pork loin roast
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic 
1/2 cup water
Glaze: 
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the spices all over the roast. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Near the end of the cooking time for the roast, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping

These might be up there with my favorite muffin ever. Think of a pumpkin cream cheese roll but much easier. I had this recipe bookmarked off of Brown Eyed Baker for quite awhile and decided to make them on Sunday afternoon so my son would have them before school on Monday morning. Everyone loved them so much I am making a second batch this week for my husband to take camping. These are so perfect for chilly mornings or a snack anytime!

Photo from Brown Eyed Baker



For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped (My son doesn't like nuts so I used old fashioned oats instead)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Muffins:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Make the cream cheese filling: For the Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, and stir to combine. Form the mixture into a 12-inch log on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it, and freeze it for at least two hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
3. Make the Pecan Streusel: In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the flour, sugar, pecans (or oats), butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
6. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently combine the batter, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
7. Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, and divide it into 12 1-inch slices.
8. Scoop a small amount of batter into the muffin cups. Place 1 slice of the cream cheese log right in the center of each cup, then fill with the remaining batter.
9. Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top of each muffin. Press on the streusel lightly to make sure it adheres to the batter.
10. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then remove muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature before serving, or warm briefly in the microwave to take the chill off.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baked Brown Rice

Did you know you could bake brown rice in the oven? I didn't! Since I discovered this method of making brown rice, I have been making it every week. At this stage of my life I love dinners that I can prepare earlier in the day and not have to think about too much. Also, this method makes fluffy and flavorful rice every time. I like using brown rice for the health benefits, but always disliked how long it takes to make on the stovetop (I don't like tending it) and really disliked the way it turns out in the microwave. I bought the large, inexpensive bagged long grain rice, a nice container with wide mouth to store it in and just scoop out the amount I need. I also add lemon juice to mine but that is optional. This is one of my new favorite things thanks to Mels Kitchen Cafe!




{Makes about 3 1/2 cups cooked rice}
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water 
juice of one large lemon, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in the liquid. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. Enjoy!




Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomato and Basil

I am not a fan of pasta salads with a mayonnaise dressing, so the fact that I'm sharing this one means it is REALLY good. When I saw this recipe at Tasty Kitchen, I had a few doubts about the combination of ingredients but decided not to change anything major and I am so glad I didn't because it is so delicious! This is a refreshing twist on the regular summer bbq salads. The colors make it really pretty and I love that you could use fresh basil and tomatoes from a home garden. This comes just in time for the 4th of July holiday or other summer events for you to bring along. Just be sure to keep it cold since it does have mayonnaise. Trust me, you will love this! I cut the following recipe in half since I would be the only one eating it at my house. I am very glad to have this in my fridge for lunch all week! YUM!

Photo Used from Tasty Kitchen
*Printable Version*


What You Need:12 ounces mastaccioli pasta {I used whole wheat penne}
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk {or enough to make the dressing the consistency you want}
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from chipotle peppers {found canned in any grocery}
10 oz grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese cut into cubes
24 basil leaves cut chiffonade {my leaves were huge so I didn't use anywhere near 24- do it to taste}
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
To make the dressing, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, adobo sauce, and enough milk to thin to the consistency you like. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients and taste to determine if you need to add more salt and pepper. Next time, I would increase the adobo sauce for a little more spice. Let chill for a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy!







Monday, May 9, 2011

Citrus Poppyseed Scones with Glaze

So it is safe to say with a brand new baby at our house, posting here probably won't be happening too often but I did want to quickly share this recipe because its great for spring. I have about two seconds to tell you that these are delicious & pretty simple. Give them a try!

The citrus flavor is up to you. You can make these with orange, lemon or grapefruit.



Recipe source: Slighly adapted from Good Life Eats


What You Need: {Scones}
2 tablespoons zest {grapefruit, lemon, or orange}
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup cold butter
2 large eggs, plus an extra for the egg wash
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup citrus juice (grapefruit, lemon, or orange)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

{Glaze}:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons citrus juice

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and zest. Rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers to release the oils.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, zest, and poppy seeds. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine the 2 eggs, buttermilk, citrus juice, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the egg mixture and stir until it comes together. Whisk the additional egg in a small bowl combined with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
Turn out on a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it holds it's shape. Divide into two equal portions (a kitchen scale helps with this) and roll into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Dust the bottom of the circles with flour.
Cut each circle into 6 or 8 triangles. Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with the egg wash, then bake for 15-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until golden and cooked through.
Cool on a wire rack.

Make glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of citrus juice at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Drizzle over the scones & serve. Enjoy!











Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pretzel Bites

If you have been to purchase a big pretzel lately, you might have seen they are making little pretzel bites now that come in a cup. My son loves these little bite size snacks when we go to the mall. I made these  for Superbowl Sunday after coming across the recipe at My Kitchen Cafe. Yeast breads are my weakness in cooking, but these are really easy. We had them with an incredible hot chorizo dip that I will share the recipe for later. These turn out chewy on the outside, soft on the inside, warm and buttery. Very good and a fun and different snack, especially for kids!

*Note: if using active dry yeast, increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. Proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam  about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour and salt.
*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites
Dough:
2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water
Topping:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F. The high heat is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved.  You may not get the baking soda to dissolve. Just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.
Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. 

Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all.  Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lemon Chicken & Orzo Soup with Kale

So far our spring has consisted of snow, almost every day, with maybe a sunny day here and there. So for me, soup days are not over. This recipe I adapted slightly from Good Life Eats would still be great in warmer weather. It ends up being just slightly thickened, not too heavy, and has a nice light lemon flavor. If you've never tried it, orzo is my absolute favorite in soup, too. I thought this was an ultimate comfort food with the pasta, yummy vegetables and smooth broth.

This was the first time I have used kale and I have to say, I think I prefer it to spinach in a dish like this one. Have you ever felt like the flavor of spinach can overpower a dish? Kale is much more mild, one reason I think my boys ate it without complaining. It is super high in vitamins A & C and has endless other health benefits.

Tip: I never, never add my pasta to my soup. I always cook it separately and add it to our individual bowls. I do this because I always have leftovers and the pasta (or rice) soaks up all of the broth. This time I broke my rule and added the uncooked orzo to the cooking soup because I wanted to use the starch as a thickener. In two days when I wanted to use the leftovers, of course, there was no broth. So, all I did was recreate the broth part and it was no big deal. I made 6 more cups of chicken broth, added the 3 egg yolks {tempered}, the lemon juice, and added it back to the pasta and veggie mixture. It honestly tasted better the second time around.


Photo Used From Good Life Eats
*Printable Version*

What You Need:
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine {I used cooking wine}
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cups chicken broth
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded {or I used one whole rotisserie chicken}
3/4 cup orzo
3 egg yolks
zest and juice of 2 large lemons
1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme
2-3 handfuls of kale, ribs removed, chopped or torn into pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Sautee onion in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2-3 minutes and add garlic. Cook garlic one minute and add white wine. Let simmer 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme and carrot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow carrots to cook 10-15 minutes. Add cooked chicken.

In a separate bowl, combine 3 egg yolks and the juice of 2 large lemons. {I use this from Williams Sonoma to juice and love it}. Slowly whisk 1 cup of hot chicken broth into the egg and lemon mixture. Then, add this back into the soup mixture. This is how you temper your eggs and is the thickener for your soup.

Add the kale. It does not wilt as quickly as spinach so you'll need to give it a little extra time to wilt down.

Let simmer 5-10 more minutes or until your carrots are starting to become tender. Add uncooked orzo to the pot and cook until it is done and carrots and celery are cooked through. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

I have to say, this whole making- your -chocolate -candy- at -home thing is really growing on me. It started with these Peppermint Patties and then the Oreo Truffles, which turned into Nutter Butter Truffles and now Samoa Truffles are in the works...

I know. After this baby comes I am in serious trouble with the chocolate addiction. Its a wonder I didn't have insulin issues or gain ridiculous amounts of weight. {Not that I didn't gain plenty!} Too bad it didn't make me sick the entire time, like it did in the beginning.

And my husband is in crisis over the weight he has gained during this pregnancy-induced treat making spree.

I blame the internet. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't come across all these wonderful recipes and feel the need to try them, because I really do not come up with these ideas on my own. These homemade Twix bars come from Savory Sweet Life and I pretty much think she might be a food genius for this. 

The steps are going to sound like a lot of work, but I promise when you start it goes super quickly and is really easy. Plus, they are sooo good.



I have one tip about dipping chocolate. I really do not like the flavor of almond bark, which is what many people use to dip candies, pretzels, berries, etc. I also think its turns a funky color after it sets up. Spend the extra money and use baking chocolate or candy melts. It won't be worth the savings if the candy doesn't taste good!

I am sorry my pictures are terrible! It is so hard to cook & take pictures at the same time. I have so much respect for those food bloggers that document the entire process so beautifully with photos. If you want to see photos for this recipe done correctly, go visit the original post on Savory Sweet Life!


*Printable Version*

Yield: 12 Bars


What You Need:

{24} square caramel candies, cut in half
{24} 4 inch honey wheat pretzel sticks
1/3 cup Nutella {As an alternate idea, try peanut butter!}
2/3 cup baking chocolate or candy melts
Sea salt {optional}

Directions:

1. Spoon your Nutella into a plastic storage bag and cut the tip off of one corner.

2. Cut each caramel in half and lay them out in a single layer on a microwave safe dish. Soften them, starting with 8 seconds in the microwave, until they are pliable but do not melt.

3. Starting at one end, mold your caramel onto two pretzel sticks. Use 4 halves {2 full caramels per bar}, gently pressing the caramel inbetween,  using it to "glue" the pretzels together. If you are slow like me, you may have to re-warm your caramels during the process.


4. Now, flip your bars over and pipe the Nutella down the middle of the other side, between the two pretzel sticks. Use a knife or spreader to cover the sticks and push the Nutella down between the two.


Now you should have assembled bars.

Melt your baking chocolate or candy melts according to package directions. I start with one minute in the microwave, take them out to stir, and then add 30 second increments until fully melted.

Toss the bars into the melted chocolate, coating them, and lift out on a fork letting the excess chocolate drip off.


Place each on wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Once each bar is dipped, place the sheet into the fridge for 15 minutes to set. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cherry-Lemon Buttermilk Cake

This is a recipe I think would be perfect for a brunch, shower, or Easter get-together. It ends up light, not overly sweet but very fresh and fits the spring weather. The buttermilk and fruit create a super moist cake! The original recipe uses blueberries and I was planning on using only those until I saw whole cherries in the frozen fruit section. I prefer to use frozen berries for just about everything, so I purchase a lot of them. There is no race to finish them before they go bad and have to be wasted. They work beautifully in recipes like this because they "hold up". Anyway, I have been trying to find a way to include cherries in my son's diet. He won't try them, and I've been reading lately on their health benefits. Did you know that they work as an anti-inflammatory, more potent than aspirin? I didn't, but have read it several places lately. In the end, I decided to make two batches- one with cherries and one with blueberries.

I was skeptical about using tart cherries along with lemon. Usually blueberries go well with lemon because they are so overly sweet but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the cherries worked out. I ended up preferring the cherry one for taste, but not so much for appearance. So, here is the only catch with this recipe. If you use cherries, they are pretty large. I wanted to break mine up and so I threw them into the mixer and let them get completely incorporated. This results in a cake with kind of an odd purple color. If you fold them in whole (and gently) with a spoon, your cake won't discolor but you might have really big pieces of fruit. Finally, if you decide to use berries, it works to toss them with a bit of flour so they won't all sink to the bottom.  If anyone has a suggestion about how to improve this piece of the recipe, I'd love to hear from you!





What You Need:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
5 oz. pitted cherries {fresh or frozen} OR you can use blueberries, raspberries, your preference!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 or 9 inch round or square cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add egg and beat well.
At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches, mixing until just combined. Add cherries. You can either incorporate cherries with a mixer, which will break them up and make your batter a pink or purple color, OR you can add a bit of flour to your cherries and fold them in gently with a spoon to keep them whole and keep batter a cake color.  Pour batter into cake pan, spreading and smoothing the top. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar to create a crispy top. 
Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate and cut into 8 slices.
Serve plain or with whipped cream. Enjoy!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Kalua Pork

I am not sure why I have never tried this, as it seems pretty popular when I started researching recipes. This is NOT your boring, traditional pork roast. What got me started was the show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. I watched an episode where they first made the kalua pork, and then used it to make kalua pork egg rolls, which I ended up making with some of the leftovers. I will post that recipe soon!

Traditionally, kalua pork is made at luaus, using a whole pig, roasted in a ground pit. It is also generally wrapped in banana leaves to prevent it from drying out. I read that you can buy banana leaves at specialty markets but chose not to this time.

I have to tell you, I guarantee this is the most tender pork you will ever, ever have. I actually gave up doing pork roasts in the crock pot a while ago because they were just never turning out as tender as beef roasts. When I went to shred this pork, I barely had to touch it and it fell right apart. The flavor is great and you can use the leftovers for anything. Mexican dishes, bbq sandwiches, egg rolls, etc. Besides the fact that its delicious, my house smelled amazing while it was cooking and it was very inexpensive. It uses only a couple of ingredients and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It makes a TON if you are feeding a crowd. If not, you will have great freezable leftovers. If all of that isn't enough to convince you, nothing will!



I found a lot of variations out there and just sort of combined them.

*Printable Version*

What You Need:
4-5 pound pork butt roast {don't substitute a leaner cut- you need the fat}
2-3 tablespoons coarse salt {I used sea salt, you can also use Hawaiian salt}
2 tablespoons liquid smoke {Found at any grocery store near the condiments}
Water, Roasting pan with rack, and foil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used a deep roasting pan with a rack and put about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Prepare the roast by cutting slits all over and then rubbing the salt into the meat. Rub the liquid smoke over the roast and place on the rack. Tent the roasting pan with two layers of foil, very tightly. Place into the 350 degree oven for one hour, then reduce the heat to 325 for 4 more hours. I didn't peek at all during that time! Remove from oven about ten minutes before serving and let the roast rest. Shred and serve with rice, potatoes or whatever you like! Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mint Chip Brownies with Ganache

Here is a good brownie recipe if you like fudgy, thick brownies. {I know there are those who prefer cake-like and these are not for you}. We made these minty treats for St. Patricks Day. I enjoy a little frosting or thin ganache on top, but my husband does not so I just topped half. You can also choose to make the ganache with mint or without and I chose without wanting just a taste of mint. I have made mint brownies before where the mint can be too overpowering but it is all for your preference. Great brownie recipe!


*Printable Version*

What You Need: {Brownies}

12 tablespoons {1 1/2 sticks} unsalted butter
1.5 cups sugar
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder 
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  cup dark chocolate mint chips; divided use
{Ganache}: optional
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate OR mint chocolate chips
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.
2. Set a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and warm the butter until melted. Add the granulated sugar and stir well. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl and whisk in with the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Gently stir in the flour and salt; do not beat or over mix. Fold in 3/4 cup of mint chocolate chips.
4. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth top with an offset spatula. 
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Take care not to over bake. Cool completely.
6. While brownies are cooling, prepare your ganache. Place a heat-proof bowl over a simmering pan of water and add cream and chocolate to the bowl. Continue stirring until combined and chocolate is melted through. Let cool 15 minutes. Once brownies and ganache are cool, spread over brownies. Enjoy!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Creamy Herbed Potatoes

A couple of weeks ago I posted the recipe for Pioneer Woman's Hot & Sweet Drumsticks. The night I made those, I used another of her recipes for the side dish. While these are far, far from low fat, they are a nice variation on potato sides and go perfectly with a saucy chicken. Yum!


What You Need:

4-5 Whole Russet Potatoes

1 stick Butter

1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced

8 ounces cream cheese

¾ cups heavy cream

1 cup milk {whole or half and half}

1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Rosemary

1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Parsley

1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Chives

½ teaspoons Finely Chopped Sage


OR use any combination of fresh or dried herbs you like


Grated parmesan cheese


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes very thinly. Add butter to a large skillet over medium low heat. When melted, add diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt. Pour in cream and milk, stirring to combine. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add chopped herbs. Place potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour contents of skillet over the top. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I realize all of my main dish posts lately are chicken. I'm not sure if that is just coincidence or what but I apologize if you are looking for something else! I can tell you though, that this is probably the best sweet and sour chicken I have ever had. Besides the fact that it is delicious, it is much healthier than take-out or the frozen variety since it is baked rather than fried, does not contain MSG and would have significantly less sodium than anything out there. It is high in sugar. You could reduce that by using a low sugar ketchup or using a sugar substitute. Add whatever veggies you like and serve over rice. I like to combine half white and half brown. I also doubled the sauce because I like extra. I poured half over the chicken to bake and put half in a saucepan on the stovetop. I needed to thicken the stovetop half and just added 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water. One of my new favorite recipes!


*Printable Version*

What You Need: {Chicken}

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil {I prefer olive or canola}
Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. {I like to do mine while they are somewhat frozen. Makes them so much easier to cut!}  Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. I browned mine in a heavy bottomed, dutch oven style pot that could also be used in the oven, making this a one pan meal. If you do not have that kind of pot,  place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients {below} together and pour over chicken. You'll need to deglaze your pan a little to get all the good thickening cornstarch into the sauce.
Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar {I used white wine vinegar}
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Add veggies, serve over rice or noodles and enjoy!