Sunday, November 28, 2010

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Another picture-less recipe, but another one I felt I just had to share.
I love Mexican food, whether it's eaten at home or out. I rarely order the rice because I have found very few that I actually like. If they have black beans, I get more than a little excited!
We needed a rice recipe to serve with our beef enchiladas for the fundraiser lunch and tried four different recipes. This one was awesome! After making a bunch, we put it in the crockpot, poured some hot chicken stock over it, and kept it warm until we needed it, which was really handy. It had the perfect combination of flavors--try it with your next Mexican meal!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Two giant batches later, I still don't have a picture of these beauties, but I'm posting anyway! Tasty Kitchen (PW's recipe site people can submit to) had a tutorial of these and once I showed them to my baking and pastry students, we had to try them! We wound up liking them so much that we made them a part of our meal for the teacher lunch fundraiser. One definitely does the trick since they are rich. And yes, we drizzled them with melted white chocolate--you should, too! I'll just link you to Tasty Kitchen for the recipe.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I found this recipe from Pennies on a Platter, and it's definitely a keeper! I served it with the pumpkin spice cheesecake brownie and I was in pumpkin heaven!!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, spices, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Warm until the edges begin to bubble.

While mixture warms, prepare an ice bath by placing a metal bowl insdie of another large bowl filled with ice and water. Set a mesh strainer on top of the inner bowl.

Off heat, gradually add half of the milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking constantly.

Turn heat to low and pour yolk mixture back into saucepan. Stir constantly, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 165F.

Work quickly and pour mthe mixture through the strainer into the bowl sitting in the ice bath. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

After the mixture is chilled, stir in the vanilla and pumpkin. Whisk together, then press through fine mesh strainer. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze for at least one hour before serving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Honey Glazed Steamed Carrots

These will add a little color and a sense of nutrition to your Thanksgiving table, although I plan to make them for dinners all year round. The first time I made these for the kids at school, they gobbled them up, which is always a good sign. After our Thanksgiving lunch, everyone wondered what the spice was on the carrots, and it's just honey! I think even non carrot lovers will enjoy this.

In the original recipe from Sunny Anderson, the carrots are cooked in the water, so if you don't have a steamer insert, you could do that. I prefer steamed carrots, so I steamed them. Up to you! Just don't over cook your carrots and wind up with mushy carrots!!
Honey Glazed Steamed Carrots
serves 4
salt and black pepper
1 lb baby carrots
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
parsley, for garnish
Steam carrots in a steamer insert over ~1 inch of boiling water for about 15 minutes, until carrots are tender but still have a bite. Drain the water and place the carrots in the pan. Add honey, butter, and lemon juice and combine. Cook until the ingredients have formed a glaze over the carrots, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Soy Glazed Sauteed Green Beans

When searching for a new recipe to use for our dry heat cooking labs, I came across this recipe for green beans. Teenagers are notorious for not eating their vegetables, so I try to present them in every way I can find to get them to enjoy them! After trying these, at least three said they were the best green beans they've ever had. I'd say that was a success! I also really love these and plan to bring them for Thanksgiving this year at my in-laws! Special thanks to my lovely mom for making them for our family feast:)

Soy Glazed Sauteed Green Beans

nonstick cooking spray
2 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb frozen green beans (no need to thaw)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
fresh ground black pepper

Spray a saute pan with cooking spray. Cook bacon over medium high heat until it begins to brown.
Add green beans and onions to pan and cook until beans are tender-crisp and onions have browned (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Combine honey and soy sauce and pour over beans. Stir mixture together, season with pepper, and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until sauce has thickened.

Make-Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes

It's a revelation! Mashed potatoes you can make ahead of time that don't turn mealy, starchy, and unappetizing upon reheating.

I knew I needed plenty of mashed potatoes for our family dinner, but also knew I'd have a full stove (which we most definitely did!). My grandma made some awesome mashed potatoes on Sunday, and we popped these in the oven while we were doing all the other prep. I really really loved the flavor of these taters. You'd never guess there was cream cheese in them, so don't shy away if you don't like cream cheese. You can make these up to two days ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, and reheat--how awesome is that???

I didn't get a slathered-in-gravy picture, but believe me, they were great even plain!

(click on recipe title for link to PW's recipe)
I followed her recipe with these special notes--
I used half Yukon Gold potatoes and half Russet potatoes. I also only used 5 oz of cream cheese and added in about five cloves of roasted garlic. I didn't use any seasoned salt--just plain salt and pepper.

Pomegranate Spritzer

We had a great afternoon early Thanksgiving meal with a lot of our family on Sunday. We won't get to see them on Thanksgiving day, so it was nice to be able to get everyone together. We had lots of great food, but the company was even better! Thanks to everyone for coming!
I wanted to make a drink using pomegranate (actually, I really wanted some pomegranate seeds/aryls to use for decoration and wanted to put them in a drink to make it pretty, so thought I'd find a drink using pom flavor...). I searched a little, just planning on something fizzy and pomegranate-y (nope, not a word!). Surprisingly, this recipe came from Paula Deen and there wasn't any butter in it!! It actually came from her daughter-in-law, so that's probably why:) I really enjoyed this! This would be really nice for a shower, also. If you want to make it pretty, throw in some pom seeds and a lemon twist. To sweeten it up, add a little more pomegranate.

Pomegranate Spritzer
2 parts diet ginger ale, chilled
1 part seltzer water, chilled
1 part pomegranate juice (I used a juice drink, not the concentrate--if you use the concentrate, don't use so much), chilled
Combine ingredients, garnish with pomegranate seeds and lemon twists, and serve!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

YUUUUUM!! If you're still contemplating Thanksgiving desserts, you should definitely consider this. I have never had chocolate and pumpkin together, but I love pumpkin in every form (except, as my sister pointed out today, the pumpkin pie poptart--yuck!). These have pumpkin, chocolate, AND cheesecake, so it's like three desserts in one. A small square will definitely do as they are very rich. I served them with a scoop of pumpkin ice cream--perfect combo! As a bonus, they're also really pretty!
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies
Brownie Batter
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Cheesecake Batter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves (instead, I used 1/4 tsp in place of the 1/2 tsp cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 8x8 baking pan.
Beat together melted butter, suar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients for brownie batter and stir into butter mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat cheesecake ingredients together.
Spread 2/3 of the brownie batter into the bottom of the pan. Pour cheesecake batter over the top and spread evenly. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer, then use a knife to swirl and even the top layer.
Bake 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely,t hen chill thoroughly before cutting and serving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Taco Soup

Another soup to add to my list of favorites! The best way to describe this is as a "taco chili". It's perfect with a little shredded cheese and a few crushed tortilla chips on top. Norris agrees that this is really great!

I used to make something similar to this in college, except with frozen chicken breasts and I would stick it in the crockpot before class and it would be ready by the evening. I would leave out the ranch seasoning and sometimes replace the tomato sauce with Rotel, which made a thick mixture that was perfect on tortillas, too. My college friends loved it!

Warning--this makes quite a bit (enough for our meal one night plus a whole week's worth of lunches). I'm sure it would freeze well if you wanted to make it all at once but not eat it all week! Just like most chilis and soups, the flavor develops more as it sits and it makes AWESOME leftovers!

Taco Soup

from Cook Like a Champion

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (we used turkey)
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans (all standard size cans)
1 can black beans
20 oz tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
1 can corn
1 chipotle in adobo, minced PLUS about 1 tbsp of adobo sauce from can (freeze the leftover chipotles if you don't have another use for them right then)
1 pkt ranch dressing mix
2 pkts taco seasoning
your choice of toppings

Brown meat and drain. Stir in one packet of taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine all other ingredients and begin to heat. Add cooked meat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Thin out with more water if desired.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Anybody watch Real Housewives of New York?? This recipe is from Bethenny Frankel, a "star" of that show who also had her own spin off. Yes, I am admitting that we watched both shows!! I also read her book Naturally Thin this summer and liked it for the most part--it was an interesting read at least.
We really liked this with the exception of the brand of whole wheat pasta I bought, which can easily be changed! This comes together so fast. I doubled the sauce and added 2 chopped chicken breasts. Great easy weeknight meal!

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Pasta
adapted from Bethenny Frankel via Stephanie Cooks

1/2 box whole wheat fettuccini or linguine
8 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 chopped chicken breasts (raw)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Parsley and crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

Bring water and salt to a boil.
In nonstick pan, over high heat spread out the mushrooms and the onion powder with 1 tablespoons of oil.
Sauté for approximately 5 minutes without touching or moving the mushrooms. Stir mushrooms, add chicken, and saute for another 5 minutes.
Add butter, sour cream, broth, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
Add pasta and toss. Top with parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

Yum!! This light cake is a great dessert option this fall. It has the goodness of pumpkin with only 120 calories per serving. Plus I got to use my mixer to beat egg whites for the first time and it was wonderful to let egg whites go while I cleaned everything up:)
I forgot to dust the cake with powdered sugar and I was one egg short of a full recipe (Granddad, I'm sure you'll come up with a clever retort to that statement:). I didn't have quite enough sugar, so I replaced about 1/4 of a cup with Splenda. I also used a bundt pan instead of a tube pan, and I still thought it was awesome! It would be a perfect dessert to bring to any fall gathering and noone would even notice that it's a light dessert.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake
Serves: 12
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated (save both the yolks and whites!)
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks and pumpkin puree.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the nine egg whites at medium speed until foamy (about 2 min).
With the machine on, gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar; increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Fold in just until no streaks remain. Do the same with the remaining egg white mixture.
Grease a tube or bundt pan and pour batter into ban. Bake until springy to the touch and tested done, about 55 minutes.
Let cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baked Parmesan Tilapia

This is a very simple and quick weeknight dinner that's also pretty good for you. I have to admit that it would probably be better sauteed or fried, but I just stuck with the baked since I don't like frying and I was trying to save a few calories. But, as we all know, fat=flavor, and a little fat added in this recipe would most likely result in an awesome dish! I really liked the crunchy exterior--I followed Bella's directions for the coating of the fish, then sprayed a 9x13 glass pan and placed the fish in it. I sprayed the top of the fish with cooking spray and baked it at 425 for about 8 minutes on each side. When I flipped it, I sprayed the other side of the fish, too.

(again, just click the recipe name for the link to the original, since I didn't change anything!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poached Peaches with Blackberry Sauce

I am always challenged in my ProStart class to come up with or find recipes that are a little different than the every day things the students eat, but something that is familiar enough that they will at least try it to realize they like it. Some of the students are more than a little out of the comfort zone food-wise, but I think that in the end they appreciate trying new things!

I needed a couple of recipes for our moist heat cooking section, and I decided a poached fruit would fit the bill, but knew I couldn't poach in wine at school, so I had to come up with a little different method. I looked around for a recipe, but wasn't finding one, so I just decided to use the information that I already knew to create something.

We have been working on presentation and plating lately also, and this was a really pretty presentation before the ice cream melted--oops! It would be just perfect with a sprig of mint on top!
As a bonus, the leftover poaching liquid can be used again for something else OR it tasted really great just heated as an apple cider!

Poached Peaches with Blackberry Sauce

Serves: 12 (1/2 peach with sauce each)

2 quarts apple juice
2 quarts water
1/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries
6 peaches, halved and pitted

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
~1/4 cup sugar

Combine juice, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. The poaching liquid should be a little sweet, but not overpowering (you still want to taste the fruit--not just the liquid!)
Reduce heat to simmer and add in cinnamon and allspice. Simmer for about five minutes.

When you poach, it should be around 180 degrees--bubbles a lot, but not simmering or boiling. You can check with the thermometer if you want! When your liquid is ready for poaching, place your peaches in the liquid. They should not be touching the bottom and they should be covered with liquid (they'll normally sit toward the top, which is fine, and you can push them down with a round parchment liner or lid if you want, but I don't worry about that).

Poach the peaches for about 20 minutes. You should be able to put a small sharp knife through it without any resistance, but it shouldn't fall apart--you don't want mushy peaches.

Once the peaches are done, remove the peaches from the liquid and set aside. Leave the poaching liquid over medium high heat to reduce by half.

While the liquid is reducing, combine 1 1/2 cups of blackberries and sugar in a blender. After liquid has reduced, add in 1/4 cup of the reduced poaching liquid. Taste and adjust the sugar as necessary.

Stir in the blackberry puree with the rest of the whole blackberries.

Slice peach halves in half and put two on a plate. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle blackberry sauce on top--be sure to get at least one whole blackberry on each plate! Garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Once I was on a roll with the mixer, I couldn't stop. Plus, I had an extra hour to work with!! (I loved the extra hour, but I HATE that it gets dark so early. I have pretty much no motivation to do anything after it gets dark except go to sleep.)
I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats a few weeks ago and knew I had to make it, immediately planning to make french toast from it! The goal is to make it last until Thursday since we have Veteran's Day off and make french toast for breakfast:) We love the gooey ribbon running through it, although I'm not sure why mine is stuck only on the very sides on the bottom! The bread itself has really great flavor. Norris thinks it looks like bakery "fake" bread because of the egg wash on top. I still am trying to figure out what bakery he's been to that has fake bread!!...

(click this to see recipe from Annie's Eats)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Heavenly Yeast Rolls

If you don't already have a dinner roll recipe for your Thanksgiving table, you should definitely consider this one!!

Can you believe I got my mixer Wednesday and didn't actually use it until Sunday?? I can't, either! I will admit that I walked by and turned it on a couple times just to make sure it worked and see it in action:) It has a perfect new home on our rearranged kitchen counter tops! It's SO nice to set the mixer to knead while I clean up everything else. Plus, I felt like I added less flour during the kneading process, which will result in a lighter product. I got a little anxious for the dough to rise--it looked perfect!! Obviously loving my new mixer:)

Our weekly menus have been pretty repetitive with all of our favorites lately. I was planning another double batch of loaded potato soup and decided to make some rolls to go with it. I went to Tasty Kitchen and found these Heavenly Yeast Rolls. They certainly smelled heavenly while they were baking, and they tasted heavenly, too!! Remember, use the bread flour to get a perfect result!

Heavenly Yeast Rolls(click the title for the link to recipe!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My awesome surprise!

I already knew that Norris is awesome, but today I came home to a wonderful surprise!! He has watched me knead a lot of dough and use my hand mixer a WHOLE lot (and heard me talk about entering every mixer giveaway out there!), and decided to surprise me with a Kitchenaid stand mixer!! Made for a nice weeknight surprise:)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Orange Pork

I always find great recipes in my AllRecipes cookbook, and this was definitely one of them. The only thing I would change for next time is to add in a bunch of veggies--julienned carrots for sure! I would also garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. I changed the recipe according to some suggestions I read--rather than whole chops, I cut them into cubes. I served over whole wheat noodles with steamed broccoli and we both really enjoyed it!

Orange Pork
adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 4 servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless pork chops, cut into cubes
1 cup julienned carrots
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp flour
Garnish: toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions

Place flour in ziploc bag and toss pork in it until evenly (very lightly) coated.
Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir fry pork and carrots until evenly browned on both sides, but pork is not done all the way through. Remove pork and carrots from skillet.
Add orange juice, soy sauce, and sugar to skillet and cook for 2 minutes, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Stir slurry into sauce. Return pork and carrots to skillet and simmer until pork is cooked all the way through, carrots are crisp-tender, and sauce is thickened.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Outrageous Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think the name of these is outrageous enough...
These were excellent--I love oats and peanut butter, and even though I'm not the biggest chocolate fan, I know other people like it a lot! We went to K-State homecoming this weekend and had a big tailgate with more than enough food. One of the things I brought were these cookies, which we loved!

I didn't change anything, so here's the link! If you want them to look more like the picture on All Recipe's website, chill the dough first--I think that makes a huge difference, but I didn't have the patience that particular evening!!