Monday, March 30, 2015

Southwest Steak Bowl

So the picture is terrible, but the meal is not.  Remember this post where I said I wanted to try to get a more Taco Bell like Southwest Steak bowl?  Well, here's my second attempt, and it was much more to our liking.  I give this a perfect 10, because it's the kind of food I would eat every day.  Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10 as well, and Aaron gave it a 9.  This is super delicious, and because the steak is just cooked really quickly seasoned with salt and pepper, then after cooking is sprinkled with lime juice, it tastes like steak, rather than fajita seasoning.  So, the calories all depend on which beans, enchilada sauce, and rice you use, but it isn't super high, because again no tortillas.  So here's what to do:

Pioneer Woman's Mexican Rice Casserole (remember I said this made a ton?  I used my frozen left overs :))
Our Favorite Refried Beans
Canned or Homemade Enchilada Sauce
1 lb steak, flank or skirt, well seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 lime
1 T vegetable oil
cheese and other desired toppings

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet, and cook the steak for just a couple of minutes per side.  Let rest, then sprinkle with the lime juice.  If using a whole steak, cut it against the grain, if using prechopped, then serve.

Place rice, then beans, then enchilada sauce then steak then cheese, and add some jalapenos if you would like more spice.  Yummy :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Michael Symon's Salisbury Steaks

So I found this recipe in Michael Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook, and it was easy and delicious, like everything out of that cookbook.  If you notice though, that picture looks like Salisbury mess, not Salisbury steaks :).  While it's not beautiful because my steaks fell apart, it still tastes great.  Each serving for 6 servings was 296 calories, because we used really lean hamburger, and we all really enjoyed this, giving it a 9.  I let everything cook longer than the recipe says, because I like my onions soft, but it is up to you.  Here's what I did:

2 T cornstarch
2 c beef broth
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 c plus 3 T tomato sauce
4 T Worcestershire sauce, divided
salt and pepper
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced

Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 c beef broth.
Put a large skillet over medium heat.
Combine the beef, bread crumbs, 3 T tomato sauce, 3 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper.  Mix thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper.
Add the olive oil to the pan, then place the beef in the pan.  Cook, then move the beef to the side when mostly browned.  Add the onion, and season it with salt and pepper.  When the beef is fully browned, move it to a plate, and add the beef broth, corn starch slurry, tomato sauce, and 1 T Worcestershire sauce to the pan, whisking well.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  Return the beef to the pan and let the sauce thicken.  Serve with rice or potatoes or noodles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Picky Palate's Cherry and Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

So here is the recipe we tried today, it was yummy and super easy, I love cookie bars :)  I followed the recipe exactly, so click on the link for the recipe.  We cut this into 16 bars, and each bar was 243 calories.  Easy peasy, Owen gave this a perfect 10, I gave it a 9, and Noah gave it an 8, because he wanted real cherries, not cherry chips :).  Jonah really liked them too!  I did have to cook them a little longer than the recipe says, but that is normal for me for Picky Palate recipes.  Check yours at 25 minutes, but plan on it being longer.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Michael Symon's Chicken Mozzarella and Basil Sandwiches

This is really just a fried chicken sandwich, but since that is something that is loved around here, I'm sure you can imagine it was a hit.  We all gave this a 9, and although it was a calorie bomb, it was great.  I found this in Michael Symon's 5 in 5, and each sandwich was 823 calories for 6 sandwiches because we used two slices of garlic bread for the bread, but it will be less if you use less calorific bread.  Anyway, this was a hit, and easy to make, so here's what I did:

1/4 c flour
salt and pepper
1 egg
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese cut into slices
12 slices garlic bread
1/2 c fresh basil leaves
1 tomato, sliced

Pour the flour in a bowl and season it well with salt and pepper.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, and in a third shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and season it well with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then dredge each piece in the three bowls in order, flour, eggs, then bread crumbs.  Pour the oil into the pan, and then place the chicken in the oil.  Cook until browned well on both sides, and cooked through.  Place the mozzarella on top of the chicken slices, place on the bread and top with basil and tomato, then top with the last piece of bread.  Serve.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bobby Flay's Pistachio Creme Caramel

So this was a delicious dessert from Bobby Flay's Bar Americain cookbook.  I received this cookbook years ago, but am only just now getting in to it, which is a shame, because there are lots of cool ideas to try.  This recipe for Pistachio Creme Caramel with Raspberry Cream was really yummy, but not perfect.  We all gave this a 9, because we didn't feel like the two complemented each other.  The pistachio creme was great, as was the Raspberry cream, but both together didn't work for us.  Anyway, this wasn't hard, it just took a few days because of letting the nuts steep.  Each serving was 610 calories, and here's what to do:

Pistachio Creme Caramel 

1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 c pistachios, shelled (I rinsed my salted nuts, and didn't add any extra salt)
1 1/2 c sugar
2 T pistachio paste 
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/4 t almond extract or 1 T amaretto

Combine the cream and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the pistachios, remove from the heat, and refrigerate, covered for at least four hours but up to 24.

Ready seven ramekins (6-8) in a baking dish.

Put 1 c sugar and 1/2 c water in a pan, dissolve the sugar by stirring, then let the syrup sit and darken to a light amber for about 5 minutes.  Pour the caramelized sugar into the ramekins.

Preheat the oven to 325.

Add 1/4 c sugar, and the pistachio paste to the cream mixture and bring the mixture to a simmer.  While the cream/milk is simmering, whisk the 1/4 c remaining sugar, eggs, and egg yolks together until thicker and lighter.  Temper the eggs with the milk mixture, then return to the stove and stir until all the cream is mixed together.  Remove it from the heat, and stir in the almond extract.  Strain the mixture through a sieve, then ladle the custard into the ramekins.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the centers jiggle a tiny bit.  Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Serve with the raspberry whipped cream.

Raspberry Whipped cream

1 c fresh raspberries
2 T sugar
1 c heavy cream
2 T powdered sugar
1/8 t almond extract or 2 t amaretto
1/2 t vanilla

Combine the raspberries and the sugar together over medium heat, and let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries have broken up and the sauce is thickened.  Cool.

When ready to serve, whip the cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract together until stiff peaks form.  Fold in the raspberry sauce and serve with the creme caramel.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Strawberry Red Velvet Cupcakes From Make It With A Cake Mix

This wasn't a fabulously new recipe, but it was yummy, and Noah especially liked it.  This starts with a cake mix, and I actually used this cupcake mix, so I didn't even make the frosting really.  This made 16 cupcakes, the boys gave them a perfect 10, and each cupcake was 277 calories.  Here's what to do:

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 T flour
3 eggs
1/2 c melted butter, cooled
1/3 c pureed strawberries
1/4 c milk
2/3 c sour cream
1 t vanilla

1/2 c butter, softened
frosting packet or
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 t vanilla
3-4 c powdered sugar
1/3 c pureed strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line your muffin tins.
Combine the eggs, butter, strawberries, milk, sour cream and vanilla, and beat.  Sift in the flour and cake mix.  Beat together, then fill the muffin cups and bake for around 17 minutes.  Let cool, then make the frosting by beating everything together and frosting the cupcakes.  Serve.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Guacamole Hummus

I found this recipe here , and it is such a great treat to have for lunch or to have with other food.  We had it for lunch, and we loved it.  We all gave it a perfect 10, except for Owen, who gave it a 9, he wanted less hummus taste and more avocado.  This is only about 100 calories per serving, plus the chips.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly, since I didn't have everything I needed, but here's what I did.

1/2 recipe hummus, substituting the lemon juice for a little less lime juice
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
dash of coriander
dash of cumin
1 avocado, mashed

Mix this all together and serve it with chips after letting it sit for around an hour.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Buttermilk Donuts

This is a simple donut recipe, since it isn't a yeasted donut, and it turned out really well.  The boys and I gave these a 9, and Aaron gave them a perfect 10.  He liked that they were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  I got over my shortening aversion to fry these in shortening, since I trust those Cook's Illustrated people, but I don't know how often I will make these again, since you know I loathe shortening :).  I found this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated Baking book, and they really are the easiest donuts ever :).  Each donut was 335 calories, and we had some donut holes which were 112 each.  Here's what to do:

3 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
3/4 c buttermilk
3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
a can of vegetable shortening for frying
1 c sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon

Beat 1 c flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon on low speed to combine.  In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and yolk together.  Add the wet ingredients to the mixer, and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Add in the additional flour gradually, until just combined.  Dough will be very moist.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness while you heat the shortening to 375 degrees.  Continue rolling out the dough over and over until all is used, I had about 20 donuts with 6-8 donut holes.  Slip the rings into the oil, and fry about 50 seconds per side.  Remove the doughnuts, and let them drain on paper towel.  Stir together the cinnamon and sugar, then toss the donuts into the mixture after they have drained and cooled about 1 minute.  Serve.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The American Diner Cookbook's Sea Captain's Chowder

This was a good, fast chowder that we found in the American Diner Cookbook, and I love fish chowder, so we really enjoyed it.  We all gave this a 9, but we wished it were thicker.  Each serving was 216 calories for 12 servings, and if it had been thicker, it would have been heavier and a lot more calories.  So good to be thin for that reason, right?  Anyway, this was easy and delicious.  I made some changes, here's what we did.

1 lb tilapia
2 c chicken broth
1 can minced clams plus the juice
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
5 medium potatoes, diced
1 quart milk
1/2 c white wine or chicken broth
1 c cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, fry the bacon until crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  In the same skillet, saute the onions and add the fish and potatoes.  Add the chicken broth and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.  Add the milk, cream, and wine/broth and bring to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and add the bacon back in.  Serve.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Yammie's Noshery's M & M Cheesecake

So I have to preface this by saying I was hesitant to share this, because it wasn't entirely successful.  However, everyone really enjoyed the taste, and it is a good cheesecake.  I feel like this could have been so much better, if the recipe were perfected a little.  I know this seems to have worked for the author, and also for another person that left a comment, so the fault with the recipe could be entirely my own.  That said, this was a frustrating experience.
Sorry about the blurry picture, I didn't notice it was blurry until I had deleted all the other ones :).  Anyway, this recipe can be found here, and I followed the recipe exactly.  Here were the problems I encountered.  The recipe says 2 c pretzel crumbs, or a little more, and I used just more than 2 c pretzel crumbs, and my crust came apart.  I would either use just under 2 c, and bake it first, then put the chocolate chips on top, or make less.  I felt that this cheesecake should NOT be made in a 9 inch springform pan, regardless of what the recipe says.  If the crust and the cheesecake were put in a 13 inch springform or even divided between two 9 inch ones, this recipe would have been so much more successful.  I had a sticky mess on the bottom of my oven, so not happy about that :(.  Also, the M&M's were super difficult to cut through, because of how packed together they were (again, I think this would be solved by halving the recipe or making two).  Now, enough of the negative, we really did love this cheesecake, because like every recipe we have tried from Yammie's Noshery, this was delicious.  Noah gave it a perfect 10, Owen gave it a 9, Aaron gave it an 8, and I gave it a 7, only because of my frustrations.  Each serving was 565 calories, for 16 slices.  The picture is of 2 slices, because it was so hard to cut it so that it looked good.  It fell apart because of the hard M&M's and crust that wouldn't stay together.  Anyway, try this and see if it works out, I love how delicious it is :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Granola Pancakes

Another link to a recipe, here's Pioneer Woman's pancake recipe.  This is a great way to use up granola :), which I seem to always need to do!
Depending on which pancake/muffin mix you use, your recipe and calorie count will be different, but I used Martha White's Strawberry Muffin Mix, and we only were able to make 10 pancakes out of that.  Each pancake was 133 calories.  We loved these, they are fast and delicious, and the strawberries give it a nice flavor.  Aaron and I gave these a 9, and the boys gave them a perfect 10.  We'll be having them again soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Culinary Concoctions By Peabody's Samoas Mascarpone Filled Layer Cake

Here is where I found this recipe, I love her site.

I followed the recipe above exactly, except I used Keebler cookies (Samoa knock-offs) instead of Samoas, and although this was a lot of work, it was so delicious.  Eat this in small doses though, it is very rich.  Each serving, for 1/16 of the cake, was 861 calories, ouch!  Still, like I said, a little goes a long way.  Owen and Noah and I gave this a perfect 10, and Aaron gave it a 9.  It's so delicious, try it out!

Monday, March 2, 2015

365 Days of Crockpot's Steel Cut Oats with Cranberries

So I found this recipe in the 365 Days of Slow Cooking cookbook, but you can find the same recipe here.  This is a great recipe, but I still am disbelieving that you can let this cook overnight.  I think if you have a small enough crock pot, and are willing to give up sleep (which I am not), you could maybe make this work for an overnight thing.  I let mine cook for 5-6 hours, and it was done and over cooking a little at the edges.  So yeah, no overnight thing for me.  If someone has luck cooking steel cut oats overnight, let me know, I would love to have hot oatmeal overnight without having to get up and make it in my morning fog.  Regardless, this is wonderful oatmeal, and still easy, just not in the morning.  We gave this a perfect 10, and each serving (5 servings) was 352 calories.  Here's what I did:

1 c steel cut oats
1 c Craisins
1/4 c brown sugar
3 1/2 c water
dash of salt

Spray your crock with cooking oil.  Add all the ingredients in, and cook for about 5 hours.  Serve with more brown sugar, milk, etc.