Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The End

Well, this is the end of the blog, I won't be updating it any longer, but Oma, we will still send fun recipes we try to you.  

Bean and Ham Soup

Back when I was a kid, my mom would often serve us Campbell's Chunky soup, which I loved and still really enjoy.  They had this one kind, just called bean and ham, and my sister Andrea and I really liked it.  Then they changed the recipe on us, changed it to hearty bean and ham, and we lost all interest in it.  The heartiness was added by tomatoes apparently, and we just didn't love it.  I haven't ever seen the old fashioned version again, so I decided to make it myself.  This was an easy, delicious dinner, and the only thing that was hard was trying to keep the sodium down.  Noah and I gave this a perfect 10, and Aaron, Owen and Jonah gave it a 9.  This is very low in calories, about 260 for a large serving.  Anyway, here is the easy recipe:

1 lb navy beans, rinsed
1 ham steak, chopped
1 T oil, if needed
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 T flour
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 t poultry seasoning
4-8 c chicken broth
Seasonings to taste

Cook the navy beans in water in your crockpot over night.  Check the beans are tender, then reserve some of the bean cooking liquid, and drain the rest of the beans.  On the stove, brown the ham, then add in the carrots and onions, and oil if needed, seasoning as you go.  Stir in the flour, making sure to coat the veggies well.  Add in the herbs, then the chicken broth and reserved bean water and beans.  Cook on the stove until the soup has thickened and is very flavorful and the veggies are tender and the beans are soft, I let mine cook about 3 hours.  Serve.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Baklava

     I LOVE baklava, yes that strongly ;).  Here's the truth though, I hate nuts, so how can I love a nut pastry so much?  Part of it is memories, and part of it is just how delicious baklava is.  When I was a kid living in Michigan, we would sometimes take the Detroit People Mover into Trapper's Alley (it doesn't exist anymore :( ), and visit Greek Town.  I loved these trips, and Greek Town is awesome (or was 20-30 years ago, I haven't been there in about 20 years).  We would eat at Pegasus Taverna, see the waiters lighting the cheese on fire and yelling opa, and shopping in the cool little stores around us.  My dad, another of the sweet tooths (teeth?) in our family, bought us baklava as we went around Trapper's Alley shopping center.  Man, that was some good pastry, and I don't know that I've ever had baklava that good, but this one I made was pretty darn great.
     Baklava isn't a dessert that comes together quickly, but it is so worth the effort.  Aaron really enjoyed this, he said it was his favorite baklava ever, but then he hasn't ever been to Greek Town :).  I found this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated International Best Recipe cookbook, and Aaron and I gave this a perfect 10, and the boys gave this a 9.  Although my cuts didn't make nice diamond shapes like I wanted, they still came out great, and we had about 28 slices in our 9x13 pan.  Each slice was 247 calories, but I had to change the recipe a little to make up for my lack of almonds, so here's what to do:

1 lb of phyllo pastry (about 30 sheets or so), thawed
24 T unsalted butter

Sugar Syrup
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c water
1/3 c honey
3 2-inch strips lemon zest plus 1 T lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1/8 t salt

Nut Filling
1 c chopped, blanched almonds
1/4 c pine nuts
1 1/2 c walnuts
2 T sugar
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t salt

Bring all the sugar syrup ingredients to a boil together, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool then remove the spices and lemon zest.
Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped, add in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt and pulse quickly, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300.  Melt the butter slowly, about 10 minutes, until the milk solids have separated from the butter fat, about 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, allow it to cool about 10 minutes, then skim off the top.  Separate the butter fat from the liquid, toss out the fats, and have about 1 c clarified butter to use.  Grease your baking pan, then layer 8 phyllo sheets in the pan, brushing each one well with butter, then repeating for each of the eight sheets.  Gently spread 1 c of the nut mixture over the sheets.  Layer and butter six more phyllo sheets, then sprinkle with 1 more cup of the nut filling.  Repeat with six more sheets, then 1 more cup nut filling.  Layer remaining 8-10 phyllo sheets, brushing each layer except the final layer with butter, then press carefully with your hands to compress the layers.  Spoon the remaining butter over the top layer and brush to cover the entire surface.  Using a serrated knife tip, cut the pastry into diamond shapes (or try :)).  Bake about 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  Remove the pan from the oven, immediately pour all but 2 T of the syrup over the cut lines.  Drizzle the remaining syrup over the surface.  Garnish each piece with some of the nut filling.  Let baklava cool completely for about 3 hours, then cover with aluminum foil and let sit at room temperature for about 8 hours before serving, although it still tastes good after only three hours :).

Friday, October 16, 2015

Crock Pot Honey Mustard Chicken

Aaron really likes honey mustard, and I decided to make him some in the crock pot, because everything for me is better when it can be made in the slow cooker :).  Anyway, this is a quick, easy dinner, and we all liked it with our cheesy mashed potatoes.  Each serving was about 150 calories, and there were six servings.  This received an 8 from everyone except Noah, who gave it a 9.  Here's what I did:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1/4 c honey
2 T olive oil
2 T whole grain garlic mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 T tapioca

Spray the slow cooker with oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Mix together the honey, oil, and mustard.  Stir in the lemon juice, and then stir in the tapioca.  Pour over the chicken, and cook it on low about 4 hours, checking to make sure it doesn't over cook.  Serve.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Michael Symon's Pasta with Mushrooms and Sage (and Sausage)

So Michael Symon came out with a new 5 in 5 cookbook, so of course I bought it as soon as possible :).  This is one of the first recipes we tried out of his new cookbook, and although we made slight changes, this is pretty close to the original recipe.  We love us some 5 in 5 around here!  Obviously, we can't have a vegetarian meals around here, so we added Italian sausage to the mix, which was a huge hit.  Aaron gave this a perfect 10, Noah, Jonah and I gave it a 9, and Owen gave it an 8.  Each serving, with the sausage, was 558 for six servings.  Here's what we did:

12 oz Italian sausage, cooked and sliced and set aside

1 lb pasta
1 T olive oil
8 oz (more or less) mixed mushrooms, I used cremini, porcini and oyster
3 T unsalted butter
3 T chopped fresh sage
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Boil the pasta in well salted water until al dente, then reserve 1 c of the pasta water, drain the pasta and set aside.
Over medium high heat, heat the oil and cook the mushrooms, about 3 minutes.  Flip the mushrooms, add the butter, and cook until the butter melts.  Stir in the sage and season with salt and pepper.
Add the pasta and reserved pasta water and cook, stirring until blended.  Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and sausage, and serve with more cheese.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rachael Ray's Black bean and beef Chili

This was a great chili, and I found the recipe for it on food network's site again.  We gave this a 9, it was tasty, and we liked how there was a rich spice without being burning and overpowering.  I followed the recipe very closely, substituting the mushrooms for a can of drained kidney beans, using only one pound of beef, and I didn't use any oil.  Other than that follow the link to the great recipe!  Each serving, for six servings, was 488 calories.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies

I love sugar cookies, and so do our boys, so I knew these would be a hit.  The nice surprise was since they were made with brown sugar, Aaron also enjoyed them, so that was a great plus.  We all gave them a 9, and I had to change the recipe just a little because I ran out of brown sugar, so I added molasses, sigh :).  Anyway, these come together easily, and the molasses and brown sugar really added a nice rich flavor.  I found this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated Baking cookbook, and each cookie for 24 cookies was approximately 174 calories.  Here's what to do:

14 T unsalted butter
1 c packed brown sugar, plus 1/4 c for rolling
3/4 c white sugar mixed with 1-2 T molasses, plus 1/4 c sugar for rolling
2 c plus 2 T flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 T vanilla

Melt 10 T butter over medium-high heat.  Continue cookie, swirling pan constantly, until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes.  Transfer browned butter to a large heatproof bowl.  Add remaining 4 T butter and stir until completely melted.  Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mix 1/4 c brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined; set aside.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside.
Add remaining brown sugar and salt to the bowl with the cooled butter; mix about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix about 30 seconds.  Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Roll the dough into balls, roll them in the sugar, then place them on the lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.  Let cookies cool on the sheets five minutes, then let cool on racks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Noah's Fries Chicken Fried Cheeseburgers

Here's Noah's out of control cheeseburger idea, and it was a hit around here, as well as a hit to any diet ;).  Noah wanted an over the top cheeseburger, and he partly got the idea from one of our favorite restaurants around here, Mama Burger.  They put fries on their burgers, and Noah wanted to do that too.  Anyway, Aaron wanted another one of these, the boys and Aaron gave this a perfect 10, and I gave it a 9, because it was too much for me :).  Each burger is about 700 calories with everything on them.  We chicken fried the seasoned hamburger, topped it with cheese and fries, then made our burgers with toppings to taste.  Here's what we did:

1 lb hamburger meat
soy sauce, onion, powder, garlic salt and salt to taste

1 c flour
dash of cayenne
1/8 t baking soda

1/2 c buttermilk
1 egg

Oil for frying

curly fries, baked
sliced cheese

Toppings such as tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, hamburger buns, and condiments as desired

Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep fryer to 350.  In two separate bowls, mix together the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking soda, then the egg, buttermilk, and salt.  Make the hamburgers with seasonings to taste, then form them into patties.  We made six burgers.  Dip each patty into the flour, then the buttermilk mixture, then the flour again.  Fry for about 5 minutes, then flip to the other side.  Place each patty on a hamburger bun, then top with cheese, fries, and desired toppings.  Serve!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lauren's Latest Microwave Cinnamon Quinoa

Somehow, with changing out my Lumia phone back to an iphone, my pictures are not all there, sadly.   The good news is, I can now actually receive calls again at my house, so win!   Anyway, we tried out this breakfast quinoa from Lauren's Latest, and although we had to cook it longer than the recipe said, since I doubled the recipe, it was still a pretty fast and easy breakfast, and we all enjoyed it.  I didn't use maple syrup, I used brown sugar, but Owen and Noah both liked the syrup in it, and it was great with the bananas.  Each serving, with bananas and brown sugar, was 276 calories, but that will change based on how much or little brown sugar/syrup used.  Try this for breakfast, it's great!  We all gave it a 9.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Tacos (tostadas) al Pastor

Aaand once again we have no picture, I don't actually know what happened to them, but oh well, sigh :).  Tacos al pastor is a pretty traditional taco, and I've always shied away from making them because of the pineapple.  I don't love pineapple with meat, but I decided to go for it, because we are all about tacos in this family :).  I ran out of corn tortillas, and so we made these into tostadas, which worked out well.  This was a hit.  They were a little spicy, a little sweet, and the meat was tender and delicious.  It was also surprisingly simple to make, so a total win around here.  Owen and I gave these a 9, and Noah and Aaron gave them a perfect 10.  Calories are hard to figure out, depending on how many servings you want, but it is low, since the majority of the calories are from the rest of the ingredients, not the meat.  Plan for about 40-50 calories per serving.  I found this recipe from Cook's Illustrated's Best International Recipe cookbook, and here's the easy recipe the way I made it:

3 dried chilies
1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
6 oz pineapple juice
1-2 c cut up fresh pineapple
garlic salt, salt, cumin, and a pinch of ground cloves
around 2 lbs pork loin
1 T white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Toast the dried chilies for about 5 minutes, cool them and then stem and seed them.  Cover them with about 3 cups of hot water, and stir them intermittently until the chilies have softened.  Drain the chilies, transfer them to a food processor, then add the pineapple juice and spices, and chipotles and puree until smooth.
Lay the pineapple pieces in a greased square baking dish.  Place the pork on top of the pineapple, then cover it with half of the pureed mixture.  Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake it for about 2 hours.  Remove the pork from the oven and let it set.
Shred the meat with two forks, add in the vinegar, and more of the chili mixture if desired.  Serve.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tartine's Lemon Tart

This was a rich, deliciously tart, crispy dessert that we all really enjoyed.  I found this recipe in Tartine, and we liked that the tart wasn't too sour, as sometimes lemon tarts can be.  We all gave this a perfect 10, and the calories per serving were around 450, depending on the tart shell used.

1 recipe pate sablee (here is a link to one from Martha Stewart, I used the one in Tartine), cooked and cooled

1/2 c plus 2 T lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 sticks/1 cup butter

In a double boiler, combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt.  Whisk together constantly, allowing the mixture to become very thick, which could take quite a while.  Remove the bowl from the boiler and allow the mixture to cool a little.  Cut the butter into small pieces, and then place the butter piece by piece in the lemon mixture, and using an immersion blender, blend up the butter.  The cream will be opaque and quite thick.  Pour it into the tart pan, cover and let cool completely.  Serve with whipped cream.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Owen's Copycat Taco Bell Beefy 5 Layer Burrito

Well, here's another Taco Bell treat, and this turned out so well.  Everyone felt like these tasted just like Taco Bell's Beefy Five Layer Burrito, but with a better tortilla and a little more flavor, so all good things :).  Owen loves this burrito, and so we decided to recreate it at home, and hooray, everyone but Owen gave it a perfect 10, he only gave it a 9 because he doesn't like the spice in the nacho cheese (he gets his without nacho cheese at TB :)).  This isn't really that difficult, the only thing that is in any way difficult is the nacho cheese, and it is important to note that it uses some Velveeta, because nacho cheese isn't the same without processed plastic cheese ;).  Anyway, each serving is around 450 calories and here's what to do:

home made nacho cheese sauce 
1/2 c of 1 lb velveeta melted with 1 can Rotel or Rotel dip
1 lb hamburger
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 can refried beans (canned is better than homemade because of trying to taste like TB, homemade is better if you like food to taste delicious :))
grated cheese
sour cream

Mix together the Rotel dip with the homemade nacho cheese, stirring well, and keeping warm.
Brown the hamburger in a skillet and drain the fat from the pan.  Add in the spices to taste, and set aside.  Cook/warm the tortillas, then layer the tortillas with nacho cheese, hamburger meat, refried beans, grated cheese, then sour cream.  Roll and serve.

Thanks Owen for a fun dinner idea :)!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Anne Burrell's Roasted Pork Loin with Cider and Applesauce

While I wasn't sure we were going to love this, especially when things went south with my applesauce, we ended up really loving this.  I found this recipe on food network, and it is Anne Burrell's recipe.  Each serving was 267 calories for six servings, and the score was a 9 from everyone.  I didn't use nuts, and the apples ended up burning, so I supplemented with unsweetened apple sauce that I cooked down with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe, then followed the recipe normally.  This was a fun, easy to make recipe, and we enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Owen's Baked Mug Root Beer Donuts

So making baked donuts is similar to making muffins, you just get to use a fun pan :).  Anyway, these donuts Owen came up with were a hit with the boys, and they worked well.  I wanted my glaze to harden more, so I used the idea from Peabody for her glaze.  This will give you a nice frosting rather than the syrup we got :).  The calories are 311 per donut, and the boys gave them a perfect 10, and I gave them an 8.  We didn't have any root beer flavoring, this would be better with a root beer flavoring, but if you just like a sweet, semi-root beer donut, use vanilla extract like we did :).  Anyway, Owen loves root beer, so we made these donuts for him.  Here's what to do:

2 cans root beer, cooked to concentrate it  (it takes at least 20 minutes to cook it down to 1 1/3 cup)

2 1/4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
1 T vanilla (or vanilla and root beer extracts)
1 c concentrated root beer
2 T butter melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 c yogurt

1/3 c concentrated root beer
8 T butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a donut pan or line a muffin tin.
In one bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In another bowl, mix together the vanilla (root beer extract), concentrated root beer, melted butter, egg yolk, egg, and yogurt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir until just coming together, then place in the greased donut pan (or place in paper muffin cups) and cook for 10-12 minutes for the donuts.  Remove from the donut pan, let cool a few minutes, the dip in the glaze.

Cook the concentrated root beer and butter until the butter is melted, then stir in the powdered sugar.  Let cool a little then dip the donuts in it and let them cool.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Pot de Creme au Chocolat

Soooo crazy good :).  That's what I have to say about this recipe from Cook's Illustrated International Best Recipes cookbook.  It was really rich, it is imperative to let this chill completely, but man is it delicious.  Each ramekin was 553 calories, for 6 servings, and we all gave this a perfect 10.  It is smooth, luscious and so decadent.  The recipe calls for this to be split into eight portions, and it would be better if the servings were smaller than I made them.  Anyway, here's the great recipe:

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolks
5 T sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c cream
3/4 c half and half
1 T vanilla extract
1 T strongly brewed coffee

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set a strainer over the bowl and set aside.
Whisk the yolk, sugar, and salt together in a bowl until combined, then whisk in the heavy cream and half and half.  Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until thickened and silky.
Pour the custard through the sieve, let the mixture stand to melt the chocolate, about five minutes, then stir until smooth and whisk in the vanilla and coffee.  Divide the mixture between the eight ramekins, then cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Serve with whipped cream.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Aaron McCargo Jr.'s Chicken Taco Pizza

So these were a HUGE hit at our house, especially with Aaron.  This was an easy recipe I found here, but I made some changes.  The calories, the way I made it, were 620, and Aaron, Noah and I gave this a perfect 10, Jonah says he gave it a 9, and Owen gave it a 7 because he said it was too spicy :).  Here's what I did:

1 T onion powder
1/2 T chili powder
1/2 t dried oregano
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 t ground cumin

1/4 c oil
4 whole garlic cloves, minced
pinch of cumin
1 tube crescent roll dough
1 lb (I used a little more) chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with salt
2 c shredded Pepper Jack and Mexican blend cheeses
Pico de Gallo

Preheat the oven to 425.
Mix the spices together and set aside.
Mix the oil and garlic together with the cumin.  Roll the crescent roll dough out into 2 long strips on a cookie sheet, brush with the oil, sprinkle with a little of the spice mixture, then set it aside.  Mix about 2/3 of the remaining spice mixture with the remaining oil.
Place the chicken in the oil/spice mixture, turning to coat, and then leave it to marinate, around 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, place it on a broiler pan, and bake for about 10 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 375, then bake the crescent roll dough about 7 minutes.  Remove the dough, spread it with more seasoning, then top it with the chicken and the cheese.  Bake for another 5 minutes or so, maybe a little more, then cut into pieces and serve it with pico and guac.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Owen's Cherry Daiquiris

So, we didn't get a picture of this, but this is a fun smoothie to make together with kids :).  Owen loves the strawberry daiquiris in the freezer section, the Bacardi mixers, and we add Sprite to them so the kids can have virgin drinks.  Owen wanted to try to reproduce this using cherries, and it turned out really well.  We all gave this a 9, we felt like it needed more grenadine.  Here's what to do:

1 lb frozen, pitted sweet cherries
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 c sugar (more or less)
1/4 c grenadine

Blend together and serve.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dave Lieberman's Salmon with Three Bean Salad

I love this easy, fresh fish recipe, it really hit the spot for me, and everyone else seemed to enjoy it as well, just maybe not as much as me :).  I found this recipe on, and here is the actual link.  I used black beans instead of navy beans, and I baked the salmon in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, since Aaron likes his salmon well done.  Cook less time for a medium rare, about 10 minutes or so.  Each serving was 420 calories for six servings with the avocado on top.  Noah gave this a perfect 10, I gave it a 9, Owen and Aaron gave it a 7.  This is fresh and delicious!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Sticky Toffee Pudding

I know that often times English cooking is said to be less than delicious, but after spending time there, I have to heartily disagree.  English pub food, and English desserts, might be some of my favorite foods ever.  I found this recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding in my Cook's Illustrated International cookbook, and it was amazing.  Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, Owen gave it a 9, and Aaron gave it an 8, saying it's one of his favorite "cake" desserts he's ever had.  Each pudding, with the creme Anglaise was 832 calories, so ouch! but worth it ;).  Although called a pudding, it isn't like our pudding, rather it is more like bread pudding, a solid, cake-like steamed pudding that is so moist and delicious.  This has dates in it, and although I don't like to eat dates by themselves, I do love them in desserts.  This seems to have a lot of steps, but it is relatively easy to put together.

Creme Anglaise:

1 c cream
1 c half and half
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
4 egg yolks
1/2 t cornstarch (this isn't required, but makes it a little thicker)
pinch of salt

Bring the cream and half and half to a simmer, and keep it at medium-low after reaching a simmer.
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Slowly temper the eggs with the hot cream, then add the egg mixture to the pan and stir constantly until thickened a little and the temperature of the cream is 180 degrees.
Pour the creme anglaise through a fine mesh sieve, stir in the vanilla, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Pudding Cakes:

butter, flour and parchment for the ramekins
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
14 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 c water
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Toffee Sauce:

8 T unsalted butter
1 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c heavy cream
1 T rum (optional, use rum flavoring or more vanilla if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour the ramekins, then cut a parchment round to fit the bottom of each ramekin.  Place a kitchen towel in a large roasting pan, place the ramekins on top, and bring some water to a boil.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
Combine the water, half the dates, and the baking soda together and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.  Remove the dates and reserve the liquid.
Process the remaining dates in a food processor with the brown sugar until just blended.  Add in the reserved soaking liquid, the eggs, and vanilla and process until smooth.  With the food processor running, pour in the melted butter.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the rest of the dates.
Gently fold in the flour mixture until just combined, divide the batter between the ramekins, and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, with the towel there to keep things moist and securely in place.  Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, then bake about 40 minutes.

While the cakes bake, melt the butter for the toffee sauce in a pan, whisk in the brown sugar until smooth, about 3-4 minutes, then stir in the cream and rum.  When well combined, set aside and cover to keep warm.

When the cakes are done, transfer them to a rack immediately to cool for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, poke holes all over the top of the cakes, and spoon toffee sauce over them, allowing the sauce to soak in.  When ready to serve, unmold the cakes from the ramekins, invert them onto a plate with creme anglaise on it, then top the cake with more toffee sauce and serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Copy Cat Taco Bell's Seven Layer Burrito

Yay for Taco Bell!  I love Taco Bell, and anyone who knows me is prepared to have me vote for Taco Bell every time we go out to eat :).  I used to love Seven Layer Burritos from them, but they changed the recipe of their rice, probably to make it more healthy, but that changed the flavor and now I don't like the seven layer burritos anymore.  So I set out to make something similar, but since I like my beans to have more flavor, and be spicier, it wasn't the same.  It was a huge success here, since we all love burritos anyway, and this was a good one.  Aaron, Noah and I gave this a perfect 10, and Owen gave this a 9 because it was spicier than he liked.  This is highly dependent on how big your burrito is for calories, but count around 400.
Here's the fun and easy recipe:

My Favorite Refried Beans, using chorizo rather than bacon 
grated cheese, I used Pepper Jack and Monterey Jack
Wholly Guacamole (I wanted a Taco Bell Guacamole flavor)
Sour Cream
Shredded Lettuce (I used spinach, green onions, and cilantro mixed, ice burg is traditional)

Layer the ingredients on the tortillas, and serve

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flour, Too's Pork Loin with Mojo Sauce

So I wasn't sure I was going to feature this recipe, since I changed it a little, and didn't do all the recipe said to, but we really enjoyed this pork and sauce, all of us giving this a 9, except Noah who gave it a perfect 10, and it was relatively easy, so good things :).  Each serving was 292 calories for six servings.  Flour, Too, is where I found this recipe, and I was happy to be able to crockpot this and still have it turn out well.  I ended up leaving the pork in the brine for almost 48 hours in the fridge, and it was just so flavorful and tender.  Here's what to do:


1/4 c salt
1/2 c packed brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, halved
1 t dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 T fennel seeds
1 T coriander seeds
3 bay leaves
1-2 lb pork loin

Oregano Mojo:

1 cup (more or less) fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c freshly squeezed lime juice
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 t salt

onion powder, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to season the pork

Mix the brine ingredients in a large pot with 2 1/2 qt water, bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Let it cool completely, then place the pork in the brine and refrigerate at least over night.

Make the Mojo by mixing all the ingredients together, stirring well.  Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours.

When ready to cook the pork, season the pork, then place in a greased crockpot.  Allow the pork to cook for around 4-6 hours on low, making sure not to overcook.  Serve with the mojo sauce.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Picky Palate's Ultimate Queso Bean Dip

I found this fun recipe at Picky Palate's website, and although it was fun and easy, I would've liked more cheese.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, just using refried black beans rather than refried pinto beans, and milk rather than cream.  Each serving was 247 calories, and we gave this an 8.  Try it for a fun and easy dip!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vicki's Crockpot Beef Stew

This was a really good beef stew, but it didn't come out the way I wanted it to, which was more like beef borgignon.  Oh well, it was delicious anyway, and very beefy :).  I always love making things in the crockpot, because I have way more energy in the morning, and then when dinner rolls around, I am ready to go without any extra work.  This came to about 250 calories per serving, and we all gave this an 8.  Here's what to do:

3 slices thick cut pepper bacon, diced
2 lb beef stew meat, well seasoned
2 T flour
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 T tomato paste
1 T butter
1/2 c mushrooms, chopped
thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper
1-2 c red wine
3-4 c beef broth
2 T tapioca

In a pan, crisp the bacon, then set it aside.  Toss the beef with the flour, then in the same pan as the bacon, brown the meat on all sides.  Set it aside.  In the same pan, cook the carrots and onions, season them and allow them to soften, mix in the tomato paste, allow the tomato paste to cook a little, then pour the veggies into the crock.  Place the bacon and beef on top of the veggies.  Deglaze the bacon cooking pan with the red wine, allowing the wine to reduce a little, then add in the thyme and rosemary, and pour the wine over the beef.  Add in the beef broth and tapioca, just enough broth to cover the meat completely.  In the same pan, cook the butter and mushrooms, seasoning them and allowing them to soften.  Place them in the crock, turn it to low, then cook for at least 8 hours.  About 1/2 hour before serving, turn the heat to high, and take off the lid to allow the liquid to reduce a little.  Serve.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Flour, Too's Parmesan Polenta

I didn't grow up in a house where we ate any kind of southern food, so I didn't try grits until I stayed at a friend's house over night, and her mom made us grits for breakfast.  I loved them, promptly went home and told my mother that, and she just grimaced and said she wasn't going to make grits any time soon :).  I still don't have grits, or polenta, very often, but when I do I always enjoy them, and this is a delicious recipe from Flour, Too.  We had some short ribs along with the polenta, also from Flour, Too, but I am only going to feature the polenta.  It's an easy recipe, and we gave them a 9, and each serving was 155 calories for 9 servings.  Here's the easy recipe the way I did it:

3 c beef stock
2 c whole milk
3/4 t salt
1 c coarsely ground polenta
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the stock, milk and salt to a boil.  Whisk in the polenta in a slow, steady stream.  Reduce the heat to very low and simmer, about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan.  Season to taste and serve.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Picky Palate's Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cake Bars

Here is where we found this easy, delicious recipe from Picky Palate, and even Owen, who doesn't like pumpkin, gave this a 9, just like Noah, Jonah and I did.
Each bar, and we cut the pan into 16 servings, was 238 calories, and I used pumpkin spice chips rather than the cinnamon chips the recipe calls for, and we really enjoyed them.  It's a great, easy fall dessert, one I would enjoy making again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nacho Cheese Mac N Cheese

So this was one of Noah's ideas, he loves to think of fun foods.  We weren't sure how this would come out, but the end result was yummy and interesting.  It looks like mac n cheese, but it has a nice kick to it.  The sauce wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good, and we really liked it with chips, so that was a nice plus, because I love me some nacho cheese :).  We all gave this an 8, and each serving was 415 calories when divided into 8 servings, and that will leave some nacho cheese left over.

2 c elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente
1 T canola oil
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 t cumin
about 2 T Rotel
3 1/2 c milk
3 T cornstarch
6 c grated cheese, I used a mixture of pepper jack, cheddar, and Monterey Jack

Mix the cornstarch with the grated cheese.  Heat the oil, then add the jalapeno, tomato, cumin and onion.  Season the veggies and cook until they are tender, stirring often so they don't burn.  Add in the milk and Rotel, stir it well and make sure the milk is warm.  Remove the pan from the heat, add in the cheese, and stir well until the sauce comes together.  Use about 3 cups (more or less) of the sauce and mix it with the macaroni, then serve.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flour, Too's Oven Baked Potato and Red Pepper Tortilla

I loved this, even though it is eggs.  The flavors and smells were so enticing, I couldn't wait to dig into this.  We found this recipe for a Spanish tortilla in Flour, Too, and as always, the recipe turned out really well.  Each serving, for a total of eight servings, was 274 calories.  Noah gave this an 8, Owen and I gave this a 9, and Aaron gave it a 7 (no meat :)).  I like that this is Spanish, a tapas, and the fried potatoes really make this a delicious breakfast meal.  Here's what to do:

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes
6 eggs
3/4 c whole milk
1 c grated Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
4 scallions, minced
3 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t paprika

Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain, and remove the peels after they have cooled a little.  Slice them into slices 1/2 inch thick.
Preheat the oven to 450.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, green onions, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat 1 T of the oil in a large oven-proof skillet, then add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften.  Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat 3 T of the oil over high heat.  Add the sliced potatoes and reduce the heat to medium.  Sprinkle with the paprika and more salt, then let cook for about 3 minutes.  Flip the potatoes over, drizzle with the remaining 1 T olive oil, and sprinkle with salt if desired.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes or so, making sure to get some crispy potatoes in there, even if not all of them are browned or crispy.  Remove the skillet from the heat.
Spread the veggie mixture over the potatoes, then pour the egg mixture over everything.  Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the middle is just set and the egg puffs and browns.  Let cool a few minutes, then serve.

This was great for breakfast the next day as well, so it holds up well in the fridge.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Yammie's Noshery's Cheddar Bacon Stuffed Pretzel Buns

We found this cool idea at this website, and although I had to adjust the ingredients a little to make the recipe work for us, these were still a delicious, fun treat.  I always love how creative Yammie is, and I love her photography.  Anyway, this pretzel bun recipe was good, but I added way more flour to make the dough come together, like 6 cups at least rather than 4 1/2 c of flour, but other than that, this worked out well.  I would also place these on parchment paper rather than on greased sheets, but those are just my thoughts.

Follow the top link to this fun recipe, each bun is about 450 calories with the extra flour.  We gave these an 8.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vicki's Nico's Super Fries

During the many years we lived in Tucson, one of the things we most enjoyed was the amazing Pima library system (really just I did :)), the cost of living, but mostly the variety of things to do and places to eat.  I am definitely a city girl at heart, and although Tucson isn't my favorite city ever, I loved living there.  Aaron not so much...:)  Anyway, they had a chain of shops there called Nico's Taco Shop, and we loved it.  They had these super fries that Aaron and I would split, and it was delicious.  We started going there while we were without kids, and continued going after both of our first two.  The boys loved their beans and rice.  Anyway, we don't have a Nico's here, so I decided to recreate the recipe.
One of the important things is the amount of cheese used.  I always love cheese, but for these, there doesn't need to be too much cheese.  Aaron and I both felt like this was a really good take on one of our favorite take-out foods, we gave it a perfect 10, and so did Owen, and Noah gave it a 9.  Each serving, for 5 servings, was 583, but that includes LOTS of steak.  Here's the easy recipe

Pico de Gallo:

3 Roma tomatoes (or a little less), chopped
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
2 T chopped cilantro


1/4 recipe Pico de Gallo
2 Haas avocados


1/4 c tequila (or a balsamic vinegar and some soy sauce might be good too if you don't use alcohol)
1 lime, juiced
dash of coriander
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 large jalapeno, diced
1/4 c olive oil
1.5 lbs flank steak, trimmed of fat and seasoned

Fries-homemade or storebought
sour cream
1/2 c Mexican cheese

Mix together the ingredients for the pico and stir well, being sure to be generous with the salt.  Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Mix together the tequila, lime, coriander, garlic jalapeno and salt.  Drizzle in the olive oil, then pour over the flank steak.  Let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
When ready to prepare, cook the fries either in the oven, or if frying your own, in oil.  Mix together the guacamole, then portion the fries onto five plates.  Top each fry portion with cheese, then top with steak.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Flour, Too's Sausage and Lentil Soup

One of our most favorite soups ever, this stew from Flour, Too was amazing.  Aaron and I gave this a perfect 10, and the boys gave it a 9.  I made a couple of changes to make this more our style, and it was so flavorful and delicious.  Each serving, for 12 servings, was 189 calories the way I made it, and here's the recipe:

12 oz sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 T paprika
1/2 t thyme
1 t turmeric
1 t oregano
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/2 t curry powder
2 small potatoes, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
1 c tomato sauce
3/4 c green lentils, rinsed
2 c arugula

Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned, then with a slotted spoon remove the sausage to a plate.  In the left over grease, cook the onion, garlic, carrot, salt and celery until the onions are translucent, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add in the tomato paste and salt, then add in the bay leaves and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add in the spices, and toast the spices for 3-4 minutes.
Add the sausage back in, then stir well, add in the potatoes, parsnip, leeks, and turnip.  Add the broth and the tomato sauce, and stir in more salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add in the lentils and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Discard the bay leaves, then add in the arugula.  Serve.

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Gourmet Mediterranean Burger

My sister Sonia is sharing her recipe with us today, I'm so glad she is helping out on my blog :).

This isn't our picture, but I forgot to take one before we ate ours all up, so I borrowed one online from  This is what ours looked like before we cooked them (except theirs is more nicely formed).  

Anyway for the first time since we moved to Oregon my basil plant is thriving.  I had so much basil I didn't know what to do with it and I wanted to make something with it.  I was also in the mood for hamburgers.  So I asked my family what they thought of me incorporating basil in our hamburgers.  They all said it might be good so I went about making me some burgers.

I decided I wanted to go a different route than the traditional recipe that I usually make because of the basil so I opted for more Mediterranean ingredients.  Here's what I did: 
(All measurements are approximations because I didn't measure.  Sorry.)

1 lb hamburger
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp dried minced onions
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles
2 Tbsp oatmeal
salt and pepper to taste

Joe grilled them and then we topped them with mashed avocado, sliced tomatoes, mayo and/or ketchup, and some of us added pickles as well.  We tried brioche buns from the store as our bun.

I thought they were very yummy.  I really enjoyed the flavor.  My husband and younger daughter seemed to think they were good, but my older one thought that even though the flavor was good they should have been made into a different meal than hamburgers.  The combination of the American Burger and the flavors didn't wow her.

The only thing I would change is that I would add a little more salt and an egg.  The burgers didn't stay together as well as they should have and I like a little more saltiness in my burger.  I also think it might be fun to add some sun-dried tomatoes to the mix.

I will definitely be doing these again, but maybe after the kids leave home. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Simply Recipe's Shrimp, Bacon and Avocado Pasta Salad

This is a great summer salad, I loved having something easy and fresh to make for our family that was a great light dinner on a hot night.  I found this easy recipe here, but I will post the ingredients I used, which are a little different from the recipe.  Follow the link for instructions.  Each serving was 351 for six servings, Aaron and Noah gave it an 8, Jonah really liked it, I gave it a 9, and Owen gave it a 6 because he didn't like the peppery flavor.  Here are the ingredients I used:

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 oz tri-color rotini
1/2 t chipotle chili powder
1/4 t ground coriander (to also sprinkle on the shrimp)
3 slices thick cut pepper bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1/3 c diced red bell pepper
1/3 c diced green bell pepper
1 green onion, diced
1 avocado, chopped

1 1/2 t whole grain garlic mustard
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T white wine vinegar
2 T olive oil

Monday, August 10, 2015

Flour, Too's Cinnamon Cream Brioche

So although this isn't a beautiful picture, this is a beautiful pastry :).  Flour, Too, a great cookbook, came through for us again.  I have previously mentioned my love of pastry cream, and since this pastry uses that, I knew I would love this, and I did.  Owen and I gave this a perfect 10, and Noah and Aaron gave it a 9.  While high in calories, not surprisingly, this is so delicious and worth it.  Each pastry was 596 calories, and the recipe makes 8 pastries.  Here's what to do:

1/2 batch Joanne Chang's brioche dough
1 3/4 c pastry cream, or any recipe
3/4 c (or a little less) sour cream
1 1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon

Preheat the oven(s) to 350 and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
Shape the brioche into 8 rounds, similar to mini pizzas, making sure the center is quite thin.
Spread the pastry cream into the center, then top with about 1 T sour cream, or a little more.  Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to sprinkle the entire pastry with the mixture.  Bake the pastries for 25-30 minutes.  Let them cool and serve them warm.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chicken Cutlet Sandwiches

This was a really easy, delicious recipe, and I am happy at how much my family liked this.  I used toasted brioche, which made for a super delicious sandwich, but any good quality sandwich bread would work, just maybe not quite as well.  I used my basil cream chicken recipe, without making the sauce, and spread the bread with pesto, and topped the sandwich with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, arugula, and cucumbers.  This was a hit for us, and although each sandwich was around 600 calories, it was delicious, something we'll have again.  We all gave this a 9.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Owen's Fried Vanilla Bananas

So while this wasn't a huge hit at our house, it was still a fun idea.  We tried to make fries out of this, and it didn't really work, but we used my mother-in-law's egg batter recipe for frying, and we gave this an 8, because it really is tasty.
Owen loves bananas and vanilla, so this was his choice.  This egg batter is what my mother-in-law uses to make chile rellenos, and it is easy and delicious, so I just tweaked the recipe a little to make it a sweet egg batter, and we fried ourselves up some bananas :).  Each fried banana was around 250 calories, and here's what to do:

1 banana, halved and cut into thirds, so six banana pieces
2 eggs, separated
1 T vanilla
2 T flour
2 t sugar, divided
dash of salt

oil for frying

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat.  
Beat the egg whites and 1 t sugar until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks, 1 t sugar, and vanilla until well blended, then whisk in the flour and salt.  This should be quite thick, if it isn't add in some more flour.  Fold in the egg whites.
Spoon some egg batter into the hot oil, place a banana slice on the batter, then top with some more batter.  Fry for about 2 minutes, flip it, then let it fry for about a minute longer.  Keep an eye on this, it goes quickly.  Serve with whipped cream.

To make the egg batter savory, just eliminate the sugar, add a little more salt, and exchange the vanilla for water.  Top with a chili stuffed with cheese rather than the banana, and you have yourself a delicious chili relleno :).  Thanks Chris!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Noah's Fried Chicken Burritos

Isn't my Noah so cute?  This was his idea for a meal to have, and it was a hit around here, as most burrito recipes are, and when we fry things, people like them even better :).  I did the same thing as these chicken nuggets, just altering the spices and cutting the chicken up smaller.  We all gave this a 9, and the calories per burrito were about 450.  Here's the easy recipe:

oil for frying
12 oz chicken tenders, cut into small bite size pieces and seasoned

1/4 c flour
1 t chili powder
1 t garlic salt
1 t onion powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t coriander
pinch of baking soda
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg
1/2 c buttermilk

1/2 c bread crumbs
seasonings to taste (spices, salt and pepper)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  In one bowl mix together the flour and seasonings, the next bowl mix together the egg and buttermilk, and in the third bowl mix together the bread crumbs and additional seasonings.  Dredge the chicken in the first bowl, then the second, then finally the third.  Drop the nuggets into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown.  These cook very quickly, so just get them brown and serve them.  We like our burritos with refried beans, cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, and of course salsa :).

Friday, July 31, 2015

Chocolate Turnovers

Here I am going to give the filling for the turnovers, but I used the same dough featured on Wednesday.  These will probably cook for just a little less time, and I made 12 turnovers out of this.  I found the recipe for the chocolate filling in my The Golden Book of Chocolate cookbook, and we really liked it, everyone giving them a perfect 10.  Each turnover is 273 calories, and here is the filling:

1 c ricotta cheese
1/3 c sugar
2 egg yolks
1 T vanilla
2 T flour
1 T cocoa powder
2 T craisins (we used blueberry, because that's what I had, but I think cherry would've been better)
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together the ricotta, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, flour and cocoa powder in a food processor.  Fold in the craisins and the chocolate chips.  Fill the turnovers, fold them, then egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, vent the pastries, then bake in a 350 degree oven, checking at around 30 minutes.  Cool and then serve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flour's Apple Turnovers

I am super excited about these turnovers, they were such a success.  I have made these cheese danishes before with laminated dough, and I really liked how they turned out, but as you can see from the picture, the turnovers had that flaky dough that I was so happy to achieve.  I am only going to feature the dough today from Flour, Too, and Friday will have a filling for them from my chocolate cookbook.  The apple turnovers pictured here were just filled with a tart apple sauce filling.  Each apple turnover was 379 calories, and we gave these a perfect 10, although the chocolate ones were a bigger hit.  This dough is kind of a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it.  This recipe will make 20-22 turnovers, and I did 10 apple and 12 chocolate.  Here's what to do:

1 3/4 c flour, plus lots for dusting and folding, probably another cup
1/2 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, plus 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c ice water

1 egg, beaten
3 T sugar

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and 6 T of butter and beat on low speed for 6-8 minutes, or until the butter is completely mixed into the flour.  Add the water and mix on low for about 20-30 seconds more.  Shape the dough into a 5 inch square, transfer the dough to a cookie sheet, and cover it with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the dough for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a generously floured surface.  Press the dough into a rectangle about 8 inches wide and 5 inches tall.  Roll the remaining 2 sticks of butter out to cover 1/2 of the dough, so 4 inches wide by 5 inches tall.  Fold the bare half of the dough over the butter half of the dough and press to seal the butter between the dough.  Turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise so the dough is 5 inches wide and 4 inches from top to bottom.  Flour the dough on all sides.
Begin rolling the dough from side to side and top to bottom, ending with the rectangle about 15 inches wide and 10 inches tall.  Fold into thirds like a letter, right side coming in, then left side.  Rotate the dough clockwise 90 degrees, then repeat the rolling and folding process.  After the second rolling and folding, return the dough to the refrigerator and rest the dough in the fridge for an hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and place it on a well floured surface.  Have the long side facing you, and the folded seam on top.  Roll out the dough into a rectangle 27 inches wide and 8 inches tall.  Fold right side into thirds, then left side, then turn clockwise and repeat the rolling to 27 inches and folding.  Return the dough to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour more.
After the hour, roll it out to 27 x 8 inches again, fold into thirds again, rotate, then reroll it out to 27x8 inches again, refold, then cover and refrigerate for one more hour.  After this last fold, the dough can be refrigerated for up to five days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough into a rectangle 28 x 12 inches.  Cut the dough into 10 equal squares, then fill 1/2 half of the square diagonally with desired filling.   Brush the egg on the bare side of the square along the edges, then pinch the edges together and press them with a fork.  Brush the tops of the pastry with more egg, cut small slits in the tops to allow steam to escape, then sprinkle the tops with sugar.  Bake for about one hour, then let cool.  Serve.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chorizo Breakfast Pizzas

So we found a recipe for breakfast pizzas in our Flour, Too cookbook, but we didn't want to make them the way the recipe said :).  Instead, we made them using Flour's brioche recipe, which can be found here, or more easily here.  Anyway, I used half of this batch and made 8 pizzas out of this.  Each pizza was 530 calories, approximately, and Aaron gave this a perfect 10, Noah and I gave this a 9, and Owen gave it an 8 because he doesn't like chorizo :).  Here's what we did:

1/2 batch of Vicki's breakfast burrito meat, minus the egg (chorizo and potatoes)
2 onions, sliced very thinly
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 batch of brioche
1/4 c sour cream, divided (we used a little less)
2 oz grated Monterey Jack cheese

Toppings of choice, we used avocados and tomatoes

Follow the directions for the brioche, and after proofing it overnight, begin making the pizzas.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Melt the butter in a pan, and caramelize the onions for about 30 minutes, seasoning well.
Cook the chorizo and potatoes with the caramelized onions and the egg.
Cut the brioche into 8 segments, then shape them into circles with a rim, like little mini pizzas.  Cook for 10 minutes on parchment covered cookie sheets.  Remove the brioche from the oven, then place around 1 T of sour cream in the bottom (or less) of the brioche, then top with the chorizo mixture.  Top with grated cheese, and cook for about 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don't over bake.  Serve hot.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Owen's Apple Turkey Burgers

Here's the burger we had with our apples, and if you talk to Owen and Aaron, you should have those caramelized apples on top, although Noah and I just had our apples on the side.  These were easy to make, and surprisingly tasty.  I was a little uncertain about how well these would work, but Noah gave them a perfect 10, Owen and I gave them a 9, and Aaron gave them an 8.  Make sure to use the bread crumbs, because the apples and the turkey are quite wet without some help.  Owen loves apples, so he was super happy to create these with me :).  Each burger, and we made six, were 425 calories, and that included our buns.  Here's what to do:

6 slices thick cut bacon
2 oz cheese (we used colby Jack, but I would've rather had a different flavor), sliced
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 T bread crumbs
1/2 t thyme
1 t garlic salt
1 t onion powder

burger buns
whole grain mustard
caramelized apples

Cook the bacon in a large pan, and then set aside, reserving the bacon fat.
Mix the turkey, apple, bread crumbs, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, and salt to taste.  Form into six patties, and cook in the reserved bacon grease on both sides until cooked through.  Top with the cheese and bacon, let the cheese melt, then serve with the toppings, and the apples.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Caramelized Apples

So this is just a basic recipe for caramelized apples, the same as one would make for pie filling, or a side of apples, or even applesauce, but this is what I did, and each serving was 95 calories.  We gave this an 8 as a side dish, but again, it makes a great applesauce if allowed to cook down even more.  We had this with the burger featured on Friday, and it went really well with it.  Here's what I did:

1 1/2 peeled, cored and chopped Granny Smith apples
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T unsalted butter
dash of salt

Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the apples, lemon, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt.  Let cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer depending on the size of your apples, and let the sugar caramelize.  Serve.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cheesy Baked Fish

So we have a go to fish recipe which I shared years ago, and I decided to change things up a little.  We had some cod to use, and I didn't have any Parmesan, so here's my take on fish, just a little differently.  I would still recommend a firmer fish like tilapia, as I like the texture more, but Aaron and I still gave this a 9, and the boys gave it an 8, although Jonah gobbled his up, so he may have given it more than an 8 ;).  Anyway, the calories for this recipe for five servings was 145, and here's the easy peasy recipe.

12 oz cod (more or less)
salt and pepper
cooking spray
around 1 t ancho chili powder

3 T butter at room temperature
1/2-1 t garlic salt
1/4 c Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 t cumin
2 T cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, then season the cod with salt, pepper and ancho chili powder.  Bake the fish for 10 minutes.

While the fish is baking, mix together the butter, salt, cheese and cumin.

Remove the fish from the oven, turn on the broiler, and spread the butter mixture over each piece of fish.  Broil for about 2 minutes, then top with cilantro and serve.

Aaron says this tasted like chili, and I agree, it really did, and was great.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Culinary Concoction's By Peabody's Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Cupcakes

Here is where you can find this fun recipe, one I have been wanting to try for a while.  I hadn't been able to find Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float soda, and so I have held off making these, but when I found my store had the pop again, I made these.  They are cute, fun, easy and flavorful, but unfortunately, they didn't taste enough like a vanilla float to us :(.  Anyway, I followed Peabody's recipe exactly, so follow the link to the recipe, and for 24 cupcakes, each cupcake was 307 calories.  We all gave these an 8.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Crockpot Vegetable Lasagna

Here is my take on vegetable lasagna, made in the crockpot.  It is similar to my regular lasagna, but is meat free and is pretty good for us :).  Each serving, about 1/12 of the total, was 477 calories.  My Dad, Noah and I all gave this a 9, and my mom gave it an 8, because she liked my sausage lasagna better :).  Anyway, here's what I did:

15 oz ricotta cheese
6 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
2 T prepared pesto
salt and pepper

1 T olive oil
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 15 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1 t basil
1/2 t oregano
salt and pepper

1/2 c water
9 oven ready lasagna noodles
24 oz Italian cheeses, grated
1 bag baby spinach

Mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, pesto, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil, then add in the onions and carrots.  Cook for a little while, then add in the garlic and zucchini.  Stir and let the vegetables soften a little bit.  Add in the spices and the diced tomatoes, then season to taste, and let cook for a while, allowing the flavors to meld.
When the sauce is ready, pour some of it in the bottom of the slow cooker, then layer some lasagna noodles.  Top the noodles with half of the ricotta, 1/3 of the cheese, 1/2 of the spinach, and 1/2 of the red sauce.  Pour the water in, then repeat the layers.  Top with the remaining 1/3 of the cheese, and cook on low for about 8 hours, maybe a little less.  Let cool slightly, then serve.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Peach and Cookies Ice Cream

Noah loves fresh fruit, and he wanted to make some peach ice cream.  We thought it would be fun to make our own cookies and cream ice cream, but I didn't like the idea of peaches and Oreos, so we made our peach ice cream with golden Oreos, and this turned out so well.  Owen didn't like it, but the rest of us really did, Aaron especially.  He gave it a perfect 10, Noah and I gave it a 9, and Owen gave it a 6.  I followed the Cook's Illustrated recipe for peach ice cream featured in their America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, since I don't trust my ability to make up my own perfect ice cream recipe.  Anyway, each serving was 290 calories, for 12 servings.  Here's what we did:

1 1/3 c cream
1 1/4 c whole milk
1 c sugar, divided
3 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
6 egg yolks
1 t lemon juice (or a little more)
3 T peach Schnapps
1 t vanilla
around 15 golden Oreos, mashed into small pieces

Bring the cream and milk and 1/4 c sugar to a simmer.  While this is warming, mix together the egg yolks and 1/4 c sugar until thick and pale in color.  Temper the egg yolks, and cook the custard until slightly thickened.  Strain the custard into a bowl, let cool and then chill.
Cook the peaches with the remaining 1/2 c sugar, mashing them while cooking, until the peaches have released their juices.  Cool and chill.
When the custard has chilled for at least 3 hours, strain the peach juice from the peaches into the custard, and add in the vanilla and lemon juice.  Toss the peaches with the peach schnapps to prevent the fruit from crystallizing too much, then mix them all in the ice cream maker.  Towards the very end of churning, add in the Oreos.  Freeze.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Owen's Hot Vanilla

My Owen doesn't like strong flavors, and he doesn't really like chocolate all that much, so he wanted to make hot vanilla.  Luckily, although it is summer, the monsoons have started here, so the weather is nice, and on a day like this one when we have rain, it actually gets cool, so this hot vanilla was a real treat.  This was an easy recipe, and a nice change from hot chocolate.  We made it a little sweet for Aaron and me, but the boys thought it  was great.  Aaron says it has a white chocolatey flavor, and I agree, but mostly it is just vanilla, which is just what Owen wanted.  Owen gave it a perfect 10, Aaron and I gave this a 9, and Noah gave it an 8.  Here's the super simple recipe and it made four servings, with each serving being 205 calories.

3 c milk (we used 1%)
5 T sugar (use more or less depending on your desired sweetness)
1/4 c marshmallow fluff
1 T vanilla

1/2 c whipped cream
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla

Heat the milk, sugar and vanilla together in a saucepan, then when warm, add in the marshmallow fluff and stir until the fluff has dissolved in the milk.   Pour into cups and top with the whipped cream.

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Top the vanilla milk.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chicken Salad

I wanted a nice light salad while the weather is hot and my kitchen is super-duperty hot, and so I came up with this salad.  We all really liked it. and you could double the dressing to have a saucier salad if you desired, I just don't like a lot of dressing.  The guys all topped theirs with lime chicken, but I just ate mine with cheese and bacon and beans for protein :).  We all really liked this, we gave it a 9.  Here's what to do, and the calories depend on the dressing and what you put in:

1 bag (about 1 head) romaine lettuce, chopped
2 tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans beans, I used black and kidney
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, diced
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 avocado
1 can corn, rinsed, or even better 1 ear fresh corn, corn chopped off
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped

1/2 lime, juiced
2 T white wine vinegar
1/2 t honey
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 dash cumin
1/4 c olive oil

Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, honey, jalapeno, cumin and salt.  Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.
Mix together all the salad fixings and toss with the dressing.  Serve.