Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chili and Beer Bread

Another one of my favorite fall treats, Chili! Of course you can not serve chili with out some sort of bread, and around here we love beer bread. It is delicious and really really easy to make. If you're afraid of yeast, then this is the recipe for you.

For the chili I pretty much used the same recipe I used for my friend Katie when I froze some meals for her. This time I just used 2 cans of beans, turkey instead of beef and we added some macaroni noodles.

Beer Bread- get ready for the easiest bread recipe you'll ever see!

3 cups self rising flour
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 12 oz can or bottle of beer
Optional - 2 tbsp melted butter

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Top with melted butter before baking if you like.

Note: The richer the flavor of the beer the richer the flavor of the bread. We only had Bud Light tonight so that is what I used, but it is better with a fuller flavor beer.

Sorta S'mores

I received another package from my friend Annie this weekend! I was so excited because it was a fall themed package. Complete with the fixins for s'mores. To make things even more perfect, Saturday we had PERFECT bonfire weather. I was really in the mood for brownies so I decided that instead of regular s'mores I would make a brownie version. I made plain brownies but gave them a graham cracker crust. Then we roasted marshmallows over the bonfire and topped the brownies off. They were pretty darn good. Thanks again, Annie!

Jessica's S'more brownies

First make a graham cracker crust and press into 9 inch round pan (chop graham crackers in a food processor to equal about 1 cup, combine with 1/4 cup butter). Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 350 while preparing brownie batter (I used the Hershey's best recipe with half regular cocoa and half dark chocolate cocoa). Pour the brownie batter over the graham cracker crust and bake according to brownie recipe. Let cool for 15 minutes then top with roasted marshmallows!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Penne Rustica

So I probably gained 10 pounds eating this and you'll probably gain 2 pounds reading the recipe. But oh my was it delicious! I found this recipe on a message board that I frequent and it didn't source the original recipe, if you know where it came from please let me know so I can properly source it! I will say that I don't think the recipe is very well written, I will put my changes in italics. Even so, I will absolutely make this again! If you are making this for just two people definitely cut it in half!

Penne Rustica
(Source unknown)

1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Garlic (I used 4 cloves)
1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tspn Salt
1/2 tspn Chopped Rosemary
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1/8 tspn Cayenne Pepper
4 cups Heavy Cream (I used half and half and it was just fine)
I also used a tsp of red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Saute butter, garlic and rosemary until garlic begins to brown (DON'T burn your garlic, it will be bitter. I added the wine as soon as the edges of the garlic turned golden). Add Marsala wine and reduce by 1/3. Add remaining ingredients and reduce by half of original volume set aside. (I added parmesan cheese now)

1/2 oz pancetta or bacon
9 ea. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 oz. grilled chicken breast, sliced
16 oz. penne, pre-cooked
3 oz. butter (I used less than a tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp shallots,chopped
Pinch of Salt & pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
sprinkle of cayenne peppe

Saute pancetta until it begins to brown. Add butter, shallots and shrimp. (I first melted the butter, then cooked the pancetta, then added the shallots and shrimp)Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.(I used precooked so really I only warmed them) Add chicken, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (I had already added the parmesan cheese)and simmer until sauce thickens. In a large bowl(I added my cooked pasta to my skillet then just put it right in my casserole dish), combine shrimp and chicken mixture with precooked pasta. Place this mixture into single serving dishes or one large casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese (I'm not sure where the cheese was "remaining" from, but I did add little more to the top, LOL) and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 300*(400) for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken and Chilies Casserole

OK, so it's probably not the most healthy recipe I have posted on my blog. But it is delicious and super easy to prepare ahead of time. I originally found the recipe on, but because I never read through recipes properly and I always have to change things it became more of an inspiration recipe for me. Below is the recipe as I made it, if you would like the original recipe click here.

Chicken and Chilies Casserole

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 tbsp dry onion flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2-1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and chilies) OR 1 4 oz can diced chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 (2 pound) package frozen southern style hash brown potatoes
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed

In a large bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, onion flakes, garlic powder, cumin, Rotel, salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes, chicken and 1/2 of the cheese. Place in a casserole dish and top with tortilla chips and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Can be prepared a day ahead.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coriander and Cumin Rubbed Pork Chops

Tonight I had 2 pork chops thawed but no idea what to make. I've tried a lot of good pork chops recently but I wanted something new to post here. The problem is I hate fruit mixed with savory food. So pork chops and applesauce - ICK! Most of the pork chop recipes I have come across have some sort of nut or fruit in them. Finally I remember a meal I made a long time ago that I remember being really delicious. Coriander and Cumin rubbed pork chops. I am a huge fan of cumin so this was perfect for me. The added bonus was that I finally got to use the grill pan I purchased over a month ago! I served the pork chops with my own version of Spanish rice.

Coriander and Cumin Rubbed Pork Chops

* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon ground coriander (I used less)
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 2 boneless pork loin chops
* ground black pepper to taste
* I also used a little bit of cayenne pepper and chili powder, just a dash

Mix the salt, cumin, coriander, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to form a paste. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, and rub with the paste.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet (I used my grill pan) over medium heat, and cook the pork chops about 5 minutes on each side, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Spanish Rice
(Recipe courtesy of What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen)

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
Seasonings to taste : chili powder, onion flakes, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper

Start by heating the olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add the rice and lightly toast for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and seasonings. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat, add the crushed tomatoes and let sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

White Chicken Chili

This is one of my all time favorite meal. Don't get me wrong, I love regular chili, but there is just something about a chicken chili. Yum! This is Ava's recipe and it takes no time at all to put together.

White Chicken Chili
Recipe courtesy of Ava

4 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cups HOT chicken broth
2 tsp pepper
1 cup flour
7 tsp fresh cilantro (1-2 tsp dried)
1 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Tabasco
1 4oz can chopped green chilies
3 cans navy beans
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

In a large pot cook onion and garlic in oil until onions start to sweat.
Add chicken and cook together for 3 minutes.
Add HOT water.
Add flour slowly, stirring constantly (a whisk works best) until thick
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and simmer for 15-30 minutes.

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

I felt like doing some more fall baking today. These cookies fit the bill perfectly. I am very pleased with the way they turned out. Very moist and tender. Almost a cake like cookie. My only issue was with browning the butter, but that was my fault and not the recipe. Be patient when browning your butter! :)

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting
(Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker Fall Baking)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (from 15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Browned Butter Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine or spread; it will burn)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and eggs until well mixed. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
4. In medium bowl, place powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until light brown.
5. Pour browned butter over powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Gradually add just enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk to make frosting creamy and spreadable. Generously frost cooled cookies.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 12 to 14 minutes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cheesy Potato Soup

As you could probably tell from previous posts I am SO ready for fall. I have actually already decorated my house and I am transitioning into my fall cooking. Tonight felt like a soup night. What I really wanted was a nice rich potato soup. I searched online and found about a million recipes, of course none of them seemed to have all of the elements I was looking for. So I decided to just wing it. Here is what I came up with, I think it was pretty darn good.

Cheesy Potato Soup
Recipe courtesy of me :)

5-6 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 cloves of garlic
1 small-medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 big or 2 small celery stalks, cut into tiny pieces
1/2 stick butter
32 oz HOT reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 cup of flour, divided
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp dry rubbed sage
1-2 tsp dry parsley flakes

Start by boiling potatoes with one clove of garlic, roughly chopped. While the potatoes are cooking start preparing your veggies. In a big stock pot melt the butter. Then add the onions and one clove of chopped garlic to the butter and saute for 1 minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and celery tender. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, sage, and parsley. Add 1/8 cup of flour and create a paste. At this point the potatoes should be finished (about ten minutes) drain them and set aside. To the paste in the stock pot add the hot chicken broth. Next stir together 2 cups of milk and 1/8 cup of flour until no more flour chunks remain. Add the milk slowly to the stock pot and return to a simmer. After a few minutes add half of the drained potatoes. The other half of the potatoes should be lightly mashed then added to the pot. Finally add the cheese. Let the cheese melt and all of the ingredients simmer together for about 15 minutes then serve!

*I topped my soup with some crumbled bacon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sharing my love of cooking....

Some good friends of ours are getting married in October. Tomorrow is the bridal shower and the theme is Kitchen Gadgets. What could be more perfect ;) As part of my gift I put together a collection of must have recipes for newlyweds. Most of the recipes I chose were simple with not a lot of ingredients. Some of them were just must haves. This is the 3rd book like this that I have made and I think this is was the best one yet. Instead of using tabs or page numbers I color coded everything. I designed a template page in photo shop and then just c&ped the recipes in. The book is made from a 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 scrapbook. I bought the scrapbook at Target and the paper at Michaels (on a side note, why the heck is it so hard to find a pack of PRIMARY colors in 8x8?? I had to cut down 8 1/2 x 11 paper)Check it out!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I like to cook, but I LOVE to bake. It is weird because it is actually really theraputic to me. Something about shaping little cookies and watching things rise. I just love it. So this weekend I asked Jesse to take me to Barnes and Noble so I could find a new baking book. I was looking for something that would have more than just recipes. I wanted something that would have a lot of tips and some explanation of why things work the way they do. I found a book called The Cookie Bible. So far I really like this book a lot and the first cookie I tried was a huge success!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
(Recipe courtesy of The Cookie Bible)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter flavored crisco
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all- purpose flour (next time I will omit the extra 2 tbsp it was just a touch too crumbly)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts (I omitted these because I didn't have any)
36 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped (I used 28)
1 cup peanut butter chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies

Combine chocolate chips and chocolate squares in microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave at 50% power until smooth. Cool slightly.

Combine sugar and crisco in standing mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer). Beat at medium speed until blended and crumbly. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then salt and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add chocolate slowly. Mix until well blended. Stir in flour and baking soda on low until well blended. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll in nuts. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased aking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Press peanut butter cup into center of each cookie immediately. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet then transer to foil to cool completely.

Place peanut butter chips in heavy resealable sandwich bag and seal. Microwave in 30 seconds increments kneading bag periodically until smooth. Cut tiny tip off corner of bag. Squeeze out and drizzle over cookies.

It tastes like fall!!

With it being the first day of September I decided to make a roast. There are a few things that just scream fall to me; jeans, sweatshirts, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin anything, leaves, and a good pot roast! I pretty much look forward to fall starting January 1st. It's my favorite time of year. So many great things happen between labor day and Christmas. It makes me happy just thinking about it. Anyway, this post was about food right? This is a really basic roast that takes about 5 minutes to throw together and 6 hours to cook. The flavor is amazing and it pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes (then again I think everything pairs well with mashed potatoes ;))

1.5 pounds english cut roast (beef)
1 small onion cut into chunks
1 small package mushrooms, cleaned with a damp cloth
1/2 can chicken broth
1 packet onion-mushroom soup
1/2 cup white wine (although this time I forgot and left it out)

Lay out the onions and mushrooms in the bottom of your crock pot. Sprinkle with half of the soup packet. Lay the meat over top of the veggies, then sprinkle with the other half of the packet. Pour the wine and chicken broth over top of everything and cook on high for about 6 hours. You could cook it on low for longer.

Once the roast is finished I like to skim the fat off the remaining liquid and then use the liquid to make a gravy. Mmmm mmmm!