Friday, February 27, 2015

MIchael Symon's Broccoli, Bacon and Cheddar Pasta

So although Aaron didn't like this, the rest of us really did.  I found this in 5 in 5 cookbook, and Michael Symon describes this as a take on broccoli with cheese sauce, and I agree that's what it tastes like.  Noah gave it a perfect 10, Owen and I gave it a 9, Jonah seemed to really like it, but Aaron gave it a 4, oh well.  Anyway, each serving, for 8 servings, was 497 calories.  Here's what to do:

13 oz penne (my box was that size and whole grain, use a full package of whatever kind you would like)
6 T bacon fat (reserved from cooking bacon)
8 slices bacon
1 bag steamed broccoli, about 3 cups
3/4 c pine nuts
8 oz shredded aged cheddar cheese
dash of red pepper flakes

Cook penne according to directions for al dente pasta.  Reserve 1 c pasta water, and set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp, then add in the pine nuts and broccoli, cooking about 2 minutes.  Add in the reserved pasta water and deglaze the pan, then add in the cheddar and red pepper flakes.  Stir in the pasta, then serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are ones I have made forever, and they are the ones from the back of the Craisins box/bag.  Here is a link to the recipe, I only add one thing in, 1 t vanilla or almond extract (I like almond the best), and otherwise I follow the recipe exactly.  I get about 35 cookies, and each cookie is 113 calories.  These are a perfect 10 at our house, and truthfully, they aren't that bad for you, what with the Craisins and oats, and the lower calorie count.  Try them, my kids love them!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Steak Fajita Bowls

So I got the idea for this recipe from the Family Favorite Recipes  cookbook (that is the cookbook you asked about Mother), but I kind of did my own thing.  I loved the Taco Bell steak bowls from a long time ago, these are kind of similar, I think I will make them more like that next time.  Each serving, the way I made it, was 422 calories, but there will be tons of rice left over.  Noah and I gave this a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave it an 8.  Here's what to do:

1 lb fajita meat (my grocery store has it all chopped up ready to go, I get it when it goes on sale)
1/2 can El Pato
1/2 lime, juiced or more to taste
1 T fajita seasoning
cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

1 recipe Pioneer Woman's rice casserole (more like 1/8 of the recipe, lots of rice leftovers :))
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

desired toppings, cheese avocado, etc.

Marinate the meat with the salsa, lime, fajita, salt, and spices to taste for a few hours.

Make the rice casserole according to the recipe instructions, but add in the beans along with the tomatoes and Rotel.  Cook an extra few mintues.

When ready to cook, cook the meat with the peppers and onions, then serve with the rice and eat.

Friday, February 20, 2015


I found this recipe in my Favorite Family Recipes cookbook, and you can find the original recipe here.  I made some changes, so I will post the recipe the way I made it.  The boys and Aaron gave it a perfect 10, Jonah didn't like it, and I gave it an 8.  Each serving with 3 meatballs and gravy was 441 calories.  Here's what to do:
1 lb ground beef (leanest possible)
1 lb ground pork
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 t onion powder (at least)
4 T flour
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1/4 t sage
1/2 t thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c milk
6 T butter

3-4 T flour
1 c whole milk
1 beef bullion cube
seasonings to taste

Mix together the beef, pork, bread crumbs, onion powder, flour, egg, salt, sage, thyme, garlic and milk.  Form into 24 meatballs, then smash them a little until they look like fat hamburgers.  Melt the butter in a large skillet, and cook until the meatballs are well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.  When all the meatballs have been cooked, using the same skillet, whisk in the flour to the drippings/remaining butter.  Stir in the milk and beef cube and whisk constantly.  Mine cooked extremely quickly, and I added quite a bit of water to get a thin enough gravy.  Season to taste and serve with the meatballs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Michael Symon's Bacon and Tomato Pasta

So the boys and I loved this, and the second day Aaron had it he also really enjoyed it.  Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, and Owen gave it a 9, and if the way Jonah gobbled it up was any indication, I would say he gave it a perfect 10 as well.  Aaron gave this a 7 the first night, but he said he really enjoyed it for lunch the next day.  I found this in Michael Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook, and it was so great.  I will be trying it again with Heirloom tomatoes in the summer time.  This comes together super quickly if you have everything prepared ahead of time, so a great weeknight meal!  Each serving was about 400 calories (it was hard to know exactly how much bacon fat there was) for eight servings, and here's what to do:

1 lb angel hair pasta
1 c diced bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c medium-diced tomatoes (I used around 6 roma tomatoes I think)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c torn fresh basil leaves
1 T extra-virgin olive oil for finisher

Cook the pasta in well salted water until al dente, reserving 1 c pasta water.  Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp, reserving all the drippings.  Add the garlic, then the tomatoes, and stir and cook for about 1 minute.  Add in the pasta and the reserved pasta water, then stir in the basil, Parmesan and olive oil.  Season and serve.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yammie's Noshery White Chocolate Mousse Truffle Cake

So this was a hit at our house, but I wish I hadn't followed the recipe as closely as I did.  Here is the original recipe, and it is delicious.  I will post it the way I wish I had made it, as well as incorporating the changes I made in the beginning.  I gave myself the first piece, so my picture is not great of the piece on my plate, but the next pieces came out well, so don't worry about your cake falling apart.  This received a perfect 10 from everyone at Owen's birthday party, it was really delicious, and I am glad it turned out as well as it did.  While I was making it, I was worried it wouldn't turn out, because cooking your eggs in a double boiler rather than tempering them never turns out well.  This would've been much less hassle and turned out with a smoother mousse if I hadn't cooked the eggs directly.  Anyway, each piece was 447 calories for 1/16 of the cake, and just follow the recipe for the chocolate cake found at the link, I didn't change anything there, except you can change the coffee to more cocoa powder.  Here's what I would do for the mousse:

6 oz good quality white chocolate
6 T butter
4 egg yolks
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c cream, plus 2 T cream

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks are thick and pale yellow in color.  In a pan, melt the white chocolate and butter, stirring until everything is melted.  Add in the 2 T cream, stirring well, and slowly add more cream if the mixture is too thick.  Temper the egg yolks, until half the chocolate is mixed into the egg yolks, then return the eggs to the pan with the cream.  When the eggs have gotten hot and cooked, set aside the chocolate mixture to cool.  When completely cool, whip the remaining cream into stiff peaks, then fold in the white chocolate mixture.  Top the cake layer in the spring form pan, then let cool for at least four hours before serving, preferably over night.

Try my way or the original recipe method, either one makes the eggs safe, and you can decide which works better for you!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Cheese Danishes

letter fold

folding the corners into a square

finished product

So here is my next difficult undertaking of pastries, and it turned out really well.  I think I could do better next time, they didn't rise quite as well as I think they should have, because I didn't let my yeast warm up before using it, but these were still the best danishes I have ever had, and they were so delicious.  Aaron gave them a 9, and the rest of us gave them a perfect 10.  I want to try them again with fruit, I think they will be better for a second go around, and they will taste better for Aaron with a different filling :).  Anyway, although these do take all day, they aren't really that difficult to make. I found these in my new Cook's Illustrated Baking cookbook, and I love how the instructions are so clear as to make everything work.  Each danish was 506 calories, and I have added some extra pictures to make the folding job easier.  Here's what to do:

1/3 c warm whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t instant yeast
3/4 t salt

12 T unsalted butter, cut into 3 equal pieces, chilled
1 T flour

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
5 t milk
1 t lemon juice

1 c powdered sugar
1 T milk

Mix milk and egg together.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 1 1/4 c flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed.  Slowly add the milk mixture and mix about 2 minutes more.  Knead the dough about 8 minutes more, checking to see if the dough needs flour after about five minutes, if it is too sticky or doesn't come together.  Grease a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Lay butter pieces side by side on parchment paper.  Sprinkle the 1 T flour over it, then cover with another parchment piece.  Gently pound the butter with a rolling pin until butter is softened and flour is fully incorporated, then roll it into a 5-inch square.  Wrap the square in plastic and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll the chilled dough into a nine inch square on a floured surface.  Place chilled butter square diagonally in center of dough.  Fold the corners of dough up over butter square so the corners meet in the middle and seal seams.  Gently tap the dough with your rolling pin, starting from the center and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften.  Gently roll dough into an 11-inch square.  Fold dough into thirds like a letter (first picture), then fold the rectangle into thirds to form a square (second picture).  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for two hours.  Repeat the rolling and folding another time and refrigerate another two hours before using.  When ready to make your individual danish, choose your filling, we made a cream cheese filling, and make it ahead of time so it cools.  Make the glaze by mixing all ingredients together.  Make the icing by mixing all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll danish into a 15 inch square and cut dough into 9 equal pieces.  Place cooled filling in the center of the dough, then fold the corners together.  Place the danishes on the parchment lined cookie sheet, then let rise in a warm place, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Bake danish about 15-20 minutes, then brush with glaze.  Let the danish cool completely, then drizzle with icing.  Let the icing set about 20 minutes, then serve.