Monday, December 30, 2013

Left Over Soup

This is a good way to use leftovers, but it wasn't an all out hit.  I call it left over soup because I used our left over Thanksgiving food to make it.  Aaron gave it a 6, Owen gave it a 7, I gave it an 8, and Noah gave it a 9.  The problem was the broth and the ham didn't go well together.  I don't know if I should've cut up the ham into smaller pieces, ours were bite size, or what, but it wasn't great together.  Aaron and I and the boys all loved the actual soup, it was delicious, it was just the ham that wasn't quite right.  Anyway, here's what I did.

2-3 c mashed potatoes and gravy
2-3 c ham, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
4 green onions
1 can creamed corn or left over corn
1/2 c or so cream
1 T tapioca

Put all ingredients except cream in a crockpot and cook on low for as long as you would like.  A half hour before serving, add the cream, stir it, turn temperature to high and remove the lid so the sauce can evaporate a little and thicken up.  Serve.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Peabody's Eggnog Cream Cheese Muffins

While these are posted a little late for the holidays, these were awesome muffins.  I grew up in Michigan, Ohio, spent some time in Germany, England, UT, Mexico, and now Arizona.  Of all those places, only UT and Flagstaff, where I live now, are anywhere near high elevation.  I was in college in UT and didn't cook very much, so it never affected me.  Now, in Flagstaff, I cook all the time, and I have been noticing a very bad trend in my baking.  My baked goods are tanking :(.  I thought it was my oven, and that may be part of it, but after a massive failure in Pioneer Woman's carrot cake, which everyone said worked really well, I researched and found out what my problem was.  I have to change recipes for high altitude.  This should not have come as a shock to me, but it did.  Anyway, I made a couple of changes to this recipe, very slight ones, and these were not hockey pucks, and they tasted great, and they didn't spread all over, all of which have happened to me since moving to Flagstaff ;).  Culinary Concoctions By Peabody's Eggnog Cream Cheese Muffins are moist, flavorful, and turned out really well.  Aaron, Noah and I gave them a 9, and Owen gave them an 8.  These were super delicious, and moist.  Because of the high altitude problem, I made the recipe into 24 muffins, rather than the 12 the recipe suggests.  The calories per muffin were 241.  As you can see from the picture, they still didn't rise correctly, but they did alright.  I need to mess with the leavening agents and liquid/dry ingredients some more to find the right proportion.  Here's what I did:
For Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c eggnog
2 T flour
For Muffins:
2 sticks butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1/4 c eggnog
2 eggs
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t cream of tartar
3/4 t cinnamon
2 1/4 c flour
1 c sour cream (I used mostly plain yogurt because I ran out of sour cream)
1/3 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
Line muffin tins with paper liners.  Mix together the cream cheese, cinnamon, sugar, eggnog, and flour.  Shape into a log and refrigerate.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tarter and cinnamon, and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and eggnog and then the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated.  Alternate adding in the flour and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.  Place covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. 
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, then roll the chilled muffin batter into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  After you have used up all the batter, cut little rounds of the cream cheese mixture and press into the muffins, then bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
I have changed the cooking temperature, and made the muffins smaller, both in an attempt to fix the high altitude problem.  I also used all cinnamon rather than nutmeg because I really don't like nutmeg very much :).  Try these, they are awesome!!! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cranberry Egg Nog Streusel Muffins

These are a great breakfast treat, something very festive and delicious.  Merry Christmas!!!  I found these in The Recipe Girl's cookbook, but you can also find them on her website.  Noah and I made them together because he wanted a cranberry pie, and I suggested he try something a little less cranberry first ;).  These are great, I followed the recipe exactly, so just click on the link to find out what I did.  This recipe is the first recipe I have overcooked in my oven.  I went for the higher time to cook them, since my oven always requires longer cooking, but these were just a little overcooked, so start with the 18 minutes, or even check earlier.  Sorry for the horrible picture, night time remembering doesn't lead to great pictures :). 
Each muffin, I made 24 muffins, was 248 calories, and Owen gave them a 7 while Noah and I gave them a 9.  Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

So I normally love the food I've tried from Lauren's Latest blog, but this salted caramel apple crumble, unfortunately, was a flop for me.  I gave it as high as I did because it wasn't terrible, but we were all severely disappointed.  This smelled and looked wonderful, and the caramel tasted great, but the salty apples just ruined this for us.  Also, the crumble topping was too salty too :(.  This was easy to put together, and I followed the recipe exactly except for putting less salt than it called for on the apples, but it just didn't work for our family.  1/8 of the total was 477 calories, and Oma and Opa gave it a 7, Aaron and Noah gave it a 6, I gave it a 5, and Owen gave it a 4.  Oh well, we won't make this again.

for the caramel sauce-
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
for the crumble-
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the apples-
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the caramel sauce- heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat to melt sugar. Continue cooking and swirling sugar until it turns amber in color. Whisk in sea salt and heavy cream. Mixture will bubble up violently briefly. Continue whisking until sauce is smooth in consistency. Stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside.
For the crumble- combine all ingredients together using a stand mixer. Mixture will be crumbly, but stay together when squeezed. Set aside.
Prepare apples and toss in lemon juice. Cook apples in a large cast iron skillet over medium low heat in butter to draw out moisture. Sprinkle with salt to draw out all the moisture possible. Drain apples and place back into skillet. This process should take about 5-7 minutes of cooking.
Pour 3/4 of prepared caramel sauce into the apples and stir gently. Top with the crumble topping. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and serve with remaining caramel sauce.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Curried Singapore Noodles

This is a good dish, although not fabulous.  I like that it is quick and easy, as are most of the recipes I have been featuring, but I would've liked a little different flavor.  Aaron and Owen gave this a 6, I gave it a 7, and Noah gave it an 8.  The calories for 1/6 of the total are 335, and it is ready in less than 30 minutes.  I found this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated family cookbook, I love those guys :). 

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 T oil, divided
2 1/2 t curry powder, divided
1/2 lb pasta (this is what I used, the recipe called for rice noodles)
1 red pepper, sliced (I used yellow because they were on sale, red would've been prettier :))
3 shallots, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can bean sprouts (the recipe called for 1 cup, I could only find canned so I used the whole can)
3/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T mirin
4 scallions, sliced thinly

Cook pasta according to directions, cooking 1-2 minutes less than called for.  Drain and reserve.
Stir 1/2 t curry powder with the shrimp.
Heat 1 T oil in the pan, add the shrimp, then cook until browned, about 2 minutes.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the other T oil in the pan, then add the shallots, and peppers and 2 t curry powder.  Cook until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook for about 15 seconds.
Add the reserved shrimp and juices, the reserved pasta, and the rest of the ingredients.  Toss together and let the noodles finish cooking, about 3 more minutes.  Serve!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Southwest Egg and Tater Tot Casserole

This was a fun breakfast for dinner casserole!  I found the recipe here, and it was easy and good.  I like the flavors, and I like that we could have dinner ready so quickly.  Noah helped me make it, and we loved the tater tots with it.  Noah gave it a 9, and the rest of us gave it an 8.  This is fun for kids and adults :).  The calories for 1/6 of the total were 325, but we ate less than that.  I also cut the recipe in half, because it was too much for our family.  Follow the link to find the recipe at Lauren's Latest since I made the recipe just like it says, just cut in half ;).

Monday, December 16, 2013

In Lunch Lady Land

Sloppy Joes, slop, sloppy Joes.  Thanks Adam Sandler :).  One of my favorite people in the world was a lunch lady, my husband's grandmother.  We love you GG!  I can't ever eat sloppy joes without that song running through my head.  Here is the recipe for these sloppy joes, which my family all really liked.  I didn't have any ketchup, so I had to make a few changes, but I'll put in the recipe the way I made it.  These are high in calories, and of course we had to add cheese because I can't have sloppy joes without cheese.  Without the bun, the meat was 285 calories.

1-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
1/2  whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 T vinegar
1 t sugar
1/4 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Chili Powder
Dry Mustard
Red Pepper Flakes
Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)

Brown ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.  Mix tomato sauce, vinegar, and sugar together, then add to the ground beef with the water.  Add in the brown sugar and spices, then allow to cook and reduce for about 20 minutes.  Serve!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pizza Rigatoni

Here is the original recipe for Pizza Rigatoni in the crockpot that I used, and I only made a few small changes.
I decided I wanted to cook the onions, so I mixed those in with the sausage, and I added the cream of mushroom soup to that mixture too, rather than giving it its own layer.  I like how it turned out, Aaron and I gave it a 7 because we both felt like the sausage needed more spice, I used sweet Italian sausage because it was on sale, rather than mild or spicy, and I would use either of those next time, Owen and Noah gave it a 9.  The calories for 1 cup, or 1/8 of the total were 528, and this was an easy weeknight meal.
Pizza Rigatoni
1/2 lb pasta
34 turkey pepperoni slices
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
3 c marinara sauce
4 c cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
black olives, sliced or chopped for garnish (I don't like having cooked olives very much)
Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.  Cook sausage and onions, then mix in the soup and put half of the mixture in the bottom.  Place 1/2 the pasta on top, then pour half the marinara then place 1 3/4 c cheese on top of that and then pepperoni.  Repeat the layers, then end with the remaining cheese.  Cook on low for 4 hours. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vicki's Experimental Green Bean Casserole :)

I made this the other day, because we have some canned green beans that need to be eaten, and I was trying to figure out something that would taste better than canned green beans by themselves.  Here's what I came up with, kind of a play on green bean casserole :)

36 oz canned green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 T soy sauce
1/2 c french fried onions
1 T prepared pesto
1/4 c cheddar cheese french fried onions
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together in a sprayed crockpot, and cook on low for about 3-5 hours.  Serve.

Aaron gave this a 7, Owen and I gave it an 8, and Noah gave it a 9.  He said they were the best green beans he had ever had, but he hates green beans so I'm not sure how helpful that is ;).  The calories for 1/10 of the total were 121.  I would call this a successful experiment.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Garlic Rosemary Fish and Potatoes

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe before, it is one of our very favorites, and definitely our favorite fish recipe.  It's also fairly simple.  Aaron gave it a 9, Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, and Owen gave it an 8, because he doesn't love fish.  This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan, and I love it.  Here's what I do.

1 lb tilapia
4 sprigs rosemary
4 garlic cloves, peels removed and smashed a little
4 gold potatoes, chopped
4 T olive oil
1 T bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large pan, mix together potatoes, garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 T olive oil, and salt to taste.  Make sure potatoes are covered with the oil.  Cook for 20 minutes, then stir potatoes to ensure even roasting.  Bake for another 15 minutes, then if potatoes are done, remove the pan from the oven, place the fish filets in the pan, then cover with the remaining rosemary sprigs, breadcrumbs, 2 T olive oil, and plenty of salt.  Return the dish to the oven and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.  If fish is done, let rest and serve.

This makes four servings, and each serving is 354 calories.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies

I found the recipe for these yummy cookie bars on, and here is the link.  These are tasty, easy to make, and my family really enjoyed them.  We actually made them for Aaron's work potluck, and so I don't know how everyone else liked them, but Aaron gave them an 8, and the rest of us gave them a 9.  This recipe made 24 cookies, and each cookie was 225 calories.  I followed this recipe exactly, so easy peasy :).

2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ teaspoons Salt
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1-¼ cup Granulated Sugar
1 whole Large Egg
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 cup White Chocolate Chips
1 cup Butterscotch Chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil (make sure there is extra foil hanging off at both ends – you’ll use this to pull the finished product out of the pan). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pumpkin and White Chocolate Mousse Parfait

So this is a recipe we tried out for Thanksgiving, and everyone except for Aaron really loved this.  Oma, Opa, Owen, Noah and I all gave it a 9, while Aaron gave it a 4 :).  White chocolate and pumpkin are both things he really dislikes.  Oh well :).  You have to have pumpkin on Thanksgiving.  This was unfortunately incredibly high in calories, but if you make the serving small enough, which we did, it's not too terrible.  The servings for 1/16 of the total are 460.
The white chocolate has a lot more subtle flavor than the pumpkin, so it's important to make the white chocolate layers thicker than the pumpkin ones.  I also made the choice to add more cinnamon graham cracker crumbs than ginger snap crumbs, because I don't love ginger or ginger snaps.  We also didn't add any caramel to this, as the recipe suggests, but it was delicious just the same.  Here's what we did:
1 c pumpkin puree
4 c whipping cream, divided
1/2 c sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
12 oz white chocolate chopped
1 T vanilla
15 ginger snap cookies, crushed
9 cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup of cream, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mixing until sugar dissolves. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
In another medium saucepan (or wash and reuse the same one) over low heat, combine white chocolate and 3/4 cup of cream until smooth. Transfer melted chocolate mixture to another large bowl and set aside.
As both of these mixtures are cooling to room temperature, prepare the whipped cream. Beat the remaining cream and the vanilla in a bowl using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture using a spatula. Then fold in another 1/4.
Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture using a spatula. Then fold in another 1/4. (All of the whipped cream should be worked into the mixtures by now.)
Cover each bowl and chill for at least 2 hours.
Assemble the parfait by transferring each mousse to a separate piping bag (OR use handy Ziplock bags and cut a small corner off of each) and layer the mousse and ginger snaps into the serving glasses in any order you like. Top with caramel sauce and more ginger snaps. Chill for another hour. Serve chilled.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Garlic Caesar Chicken

This is such an easy meal, but you have to be a little careful with the cooking of it.  This Garlic Caesar Chicken in the crockpot is one of my family's favorite meals, they want it all the time.  The boys give it a perfect 10, Aaron gives it a 9, and I give it an 8. 
I found this in the 365 Days Of Slow Cooking cookbook, and I follow the recipe exactly.  The only thing is you can't over cook this at all, the Caesar dressing separates if you let it go too long, so towards the end of cooking time you have to monitor to make sure you remove it from the heat as soon as possible.  We serve this over pasta as the recipe suggests, and it's great.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks and seasoned to taste
1/2 c Caesar dressing (the better the quality, the better your meal will taste, we really like Litehouse)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 lb pasta, cooked
Spray crock, then place chicken, dressing, green pepper, and garlic in the crockpot.  Cook on low four hours, and check to make sure it doesn't over cook.  Serve with the cooked pasta.
This makes six servings for us, and the calories per serving are 327.