A few of my favorite recipes:
1-2 T olive or canola oil
1 large onion, chopped. No need to chop fine.
2-6 cloves fresh garlic, or 2 t dried diced garlic
6-8 medium potatoes, diced. Peel or not as you choose. I prefer to just wash red potatoes and leave the peels on.
1 cup evaporated milk or cream
Fresh or dried parsley, about 1 T.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Optional: bacon or ham chunks for even more flavor.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add chopped onion. Cook until tender, or caramelize if you prefer. Add garlic and cook a couple of minutes longer, but don’t burn the garlic! Add some salt and pepper.
Add potatoes and fry for just a few minutes and then add enough water to the pan to cover. Simmer on medium until the potatoes are done, about 30 minutes.
Drain off half the water and mash the potatoes if you want a creamier soup. I generally mash half of them and leave the other half in chunks. Add evaporated milk or cream – adjust amounts to make your soup as creamy as you like, but remember that if you want to dip some crusty bread in this soup it needs to be wet enough to do so 🙂
Add parsley and bacon or ham (the pot above shows ham) and heat on low until heated through.
Serve with a nice crusty wheat bread and a big glass of milk. This soup is even better after being in the fridge for a day or two.
Everything but the ham was local for the above recipe, and I wouldn’t have added the ham, but it had to be eaten or tossed and I really hate to throw out ham! I make this soup every week or two all through the Winter and love to take a bowl of it to work for a nice hot lunch. Just be careful it doesn’t make you a bit sleepy!
Originally from allrecipes.com. I’ve made this dish many times, altering the ingredients and it always turns out great!
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste
To this basic recipe you can add any variety of veggies. The original recipe calls for a pound of spinach, but I added broccoli and tomatoes this time.
Adjust oven rack to center and pre-heat to 400*
Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft (5 minutes) then stir in garlic and broccoli. Saute until fragrant and broccoli is beginning to get tender. Remove from heat.
Combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl and add veggie mixture. Stir well and pour into a 9″ round pie plate.
Add tomatoes to the top and bake until set – about 25 minutes.
Let stand a few minutes before cutting.
Makes a great breakfast, brunch, dinner or snack.
My eggs came from a local woman who loves her hens as pets and raises several different types, so the eggs (wish I’d taken a picture!) were all different colors and the yolks were rich orange and tasted wonderful! Believe it or not, I’m not an egg eater, but Charlotte has converted me 🙂 I could eat this quiche every week and not get tired of it.
Roasted Winter Veggies
There’s really no recipe, just some things to consider.
Olive oil, Potatoes, carrots, celery, whole garlic cloves, yams/sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, onion etc. cut into chunks roughly the same size – I like them about 3/4″ cubed, or thereabouts.
Cut the denser veggies, onion and garlic first. Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large bowl and mix the veggies in until they’re covered with oil. Spread them out evenly on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper and some thyme or basil if you like. Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and use a spatula to stir them up and get them unstuck if needed.
Cut the less dense veggies, like the broc and cauli and treat them with olive oil, and add them to the other veggies. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes.
Serve with soup, or bread or both. Easy and filling!
No-Bake Chocolate Cookies
The cookies are an old family recipe. The story goes that my Mom brought the recipe home from school, and I always thought it was a unique family treat, as none of the people I knew ever made anything like them, but now I know that the recipe has been widely circulated and almost everyone I talk to about it has fond memories. Here’s my version:
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1 cube butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 + cups quick oats
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cocoa. Add milk and butter and heat on medium heat to a full, rolling biol, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla (careful! it will bubble like mad.)
Add oats one cup at a time, stirring well until batter is thick and most of the liquid is taken up. It’s one of those things that takes practice to get perfect. The batter will use at least 3 cups of oats, up to 4 cups, depending.
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or foil on the counter top and let cool. Cookies will harden as they cool. If they don’t get totally hard, pop them into the fridge. If they remain gooey, they needed more oats, but soft cookies are good, too!
Quick oats work best for this recipe, but I’ve had good results with the old fashioned kind, too. These never last long – I have to hide them to keep them from disappearing overnight
Early Colonial Bread
The bread is a favorite recipe of mine from Betty Crocker’s recipe book, modified over time to suit me. I use my KitchenAid mixer for almost all of the process.
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup corn meal
1/3 cup brown sugar, or raw sugar, or honey or leave it out altogether
1/4 cup oil (not olive oil)
1/2 – 1 t salt
1 T yeast, or one yeast packet
1/2 cup rye flour
4-6 cups white and wheat flour in whatever proportions you prefer
Mix corn meal, sugar, oil and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add boiling water and let sit until mixture cools to room temperature, stirring occasionally. This usually takes 45 minutes in my house. Be sure the mixture is cool enough not to kill the yeast when you add it.
After the mixture is cool, add yeast, rye flour and a cup or so of white flour. Mix with the flat paddle until everything is well blended. I usually mix on level 1 for a minute or so, scrape with a spatula, then mix on level 2 for a couple of minutes. It’s not an exact science 😉
Add half a cup more wheat or white flour at a time until the paddle starts to have trouble with the dough thickness and then switch to the dough hook, being sure to stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula often.
When the dough is hanging on to the hook and the sides of the bowl are pretty clean, test for stickiness and put the dough onto a lightly floured surface when ready to start hand kneading. Since I use the mixer, there’s not much hand kneading to be done – it’s more a test to be sure there’s enough flour in and the dough is firm enough. Or maybe I just like to be obsessive.
Divide dough into two portions and shape into loaves. Put in greased bread pans and let rise as high as you like, about an hour. The original recipe calls for proofing the dough, but I generally don’t bother, as I like a very firm loaf for toasting.
Bake at 350* for 40 minutes or until done.
I made the bread a couple of days in advance, knowing that the long weekend was going to be busy and I wouldn’t want to expend that much energy, but I dearly love home-made toast. It will last about a week on the counter, longer in the fridge or freezer.
Easy Dinner Rolls
The smell of fresh baked bread is one that triggers happy memories for everyone that I’ve met. There’s just nothing that smells like Home the way bread does. Fresh baked rolls dress up any meal and make a great snack for later, if there are any left over. Add some butter and jam and you have a lovely tea time snack the next afternoon. Fry up an egg and slide it between two halves of yesterdays roll and you have breakfast on-the-go any day of the week.
The following recipe is quite easy, but it is not quick. Plan for 90 minutes from start to hot buttered goodness. The good news is that the hands-on time is only 15 minutes – you can prepare these rolls in the time between arriving home from work and dinner on any night of the week.
1 Tbsp or one package yeast – rapid rise, instant, quick – all work the same
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup very warm tap water – not boiling hot (you’ll kill the yeast) but quite warm
1 tsp salt
2 – 3 cups flour of your choice*
You will also need a medium bowl, a spoon for stirring and a 9″ non-stick baking pan with straight sides.
The first step is to proof the yeast – measure yeast and sugar into the bowl and add the water. Give it a good stir and walk away for 5 minutes or so. When you return, it should look something like this –
The surface of the water will be opaque and bubbles will be forming. How long this takes depends on temperature – if your kitchen is cool, it will take longer, while a hot Summer day will produce foamy yeast in no time. Give it another stir and wait until it reaches this point –
Lots of bubbles and foam will be floating on the surface and you can see more bubbles forming. It will smell yeasty, giving just a hint of the end product. If your yeast does not produce bubbles toss it out and start again. If you use packaged yeast, check the date – your yeast may be dead. The water may not have been warm enough if the room is chilly, or it may have been too hot – stick your finger into the water to test the temp.
If all goes well, stir in the salt and then start adding flour 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition, until a sticky dough starts to form –
When the dough sticks to the bowl and the spoon and becomes hard to stir, tip it out into a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until a smooth, firm ball can be formed. It should not be sticky at this point, but don’t work it any harder than you have to – the key to a good texture for these rolls is not over kneading the dough.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces that are roughly the same size, roll them into balls and place into the pan –
Let them rise somewhere warm-ish until they look like this-
Rising time will vary, depending on temperature and moisture in the air. Take note and start the next batch earlier or later to time them to arrive at the table with the rest of the meal.
Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn out onto a cutting board or somesuch right away or they will steam up in the pan and lose their slightly crunchy outer shell. Slather with butter or topping of your choice and enjoy!
* White flour will produce rolls with a lighter texture which will rise higher than WW rolls. Using all whole wheat flour will produce dense, heavy rolls that won’t rise as much. A mixture of white and wheat flours will give you the nutty flavor of the WW, but a lighter texture and larger rolls. Experiment to discover what suits you best.
Pizza at Home
Tonight’s dinner was chicken pizza. What? Of course chicken goes on pizza! Chicken was on sale at my local grocery and the other ingredients were already in the pantry or fridge, so it’s a no-brainer.
Pizza is too hard at home? Nonsense! It’s quick, easy, only uses one bowl, one frying pan and a pizza baking sheet (or a cookie sheet if that’s what you have on hand – pizzas don’t need to be round! Really.)
Let’s get to it! Update to follow with process pictures the next time we have pizza. Do read to the end before you get started…
First, preheat the oven to 420 degrees.
The crust –
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP hot water (tap is fine, but it should be very warm)
1 TBSP yeast (or one packet if you buy it that way)
1 TBSP sugar (use a regular large eating spoon – you don’t need special measuring spoons)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp each basil and oregano (optional)
2 + cups flour (whole wheat or white or a combination of the two)
1 tsp cornmeal for the baking surface
Put yeast and sugar into a medium bowl and pour the water over them. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes. Foam should form on the surface of the mixture. If it doesn’t, toss it out and start again with fresh yeast. This is called “proofing” the yeast, that is, making sure it’s still alive. If it’s not, the crust will taste of dead yeast and not bake properly. It should look something like this after 5-10 minutes –
If the yeast proofs properly, add salt, basil and oregano (if using) and 1/2 cup flour and stir well to incorporate the flour. Continue to add flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough forms and it becomes hard to stir. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead (adding flour as necessary) until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky. Form into a ball and let it rest for 10 minutes. DON’T LET THE DOUGH RISE! While the dough is resting, start on the meat filling.
The meat center –
2 TBSP olive oil (olive oil is the best, but you can use canola or vegetable oil if that’s what’s on hand)
Onion (to taste. 1/4 cup is enough for one pizza)
Garlic (the more the better! We like a whole head. You might like less. Roasting tutorial another day)
Mushrooms (if desired) Cut to whatever size you like best. Smaller pieces are easier to eat without falling out.
Black pepper (to taste)
Chicken (boneless, skinless breast is easiest, but you can use any cut. If there are bones, they must of course be removed and the meat shredded before adding to the pizza. This is a great opportunity to use up leftover chicken scraps.)
Put oil into a medium frying pan and heat on medium while you cut the onion as small as you like. Fry the onion for a few minutes while you cut up the garlic as small as you like. Add garlic to the pan, then the mushrooms and add a bit of black pepper and give the whole thing a stir.
Turn the heat under the frying pan down to low while you deal with the dough. Prepare the pizza pan by rubbing a bit of oil onto it and sprinkling some cornmeal evenly across the surface to help prevent sticking. If you don’t have cornmeal, spray with cooking spray and call it good until you stock up on cornmeal.
Give the dough a few kneads and then roll it out with a rolling pin to a uniform thickness on your floured surface. If you’re using a cookie sheet, any old shape will do. If you’re using a round pizza-type pan, roll it out approximating round, put it on the pan and then shape with your fingers to bring it out to the edges of the pan. It’s not critical and will taste just as good if it’s not perfectly round.
Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, or until it’s a bit brown around the edges. Watch it fairly closely and use a fork to pierce any air bubbles that form. When the crust is as done as you like, take it out of the oven and set aside until the filling is ready.
Meanwhile, cut/shred the chicken. The meat should be fairly small so it doesn’t fall of the pizza as you eat it. When the onion is clear, the mushrooms browned and the garlic is fragrant, add the chicken. If you’re using pre-cooked chicken, it will take only a couple of minutes to heat up and absorb the flavor from the onion and garlic – raw chicken will take longer, but do cook it until it is done through. Remove from the heat and prop the pan up so the juices run off to one side, away from the meat. If the meat mixture is too wet when it goes onto the crust, you’ll end up with a soggy mess that, while it tastes good, will have to be eaten with a fork.
The sauce – store bought pizza or pasta sauce tastes good and if you can find it on sale, all the better! We like all of the varieties Newman’s Own. If you prefer to make your own sauce, my favorite recipe follows.
Spoon the sauce onto the crust and spread it out to the edges. Too much sauce will make a soggy pizza, so go easy. Add the meat mixture next and spread it evenly out to the edges. Next comes mozzarella cheese – piles and piles 😉 On top of the cheese you can add whatever toppings to like best – more mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, onion rounds sliced thin, tomatoes, even fresh veggies.
When the pizza is topped to your heart’s content, put it in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a bit brown. Cut and enjoy!
I prefer to simmer mine in the crockpot all day, and it goes like this (more or less, depending on my mood) –
1 large onion, chopped
½ head garlic, finely chopped
1 T each of marjoram, oregano and basil
1 lb burger
2 (or 3 if you want leftovers) large cans of tomatoes
1 med can tomato paste
Sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, adding the spices when the onion is almost clear. Add the burger and cook until done. You don’t have to cook the burger (it will be simmering in the crockpot, after all) but I feel it gives it a better texture and much more flavor.
Chop the tomatoes (or not if you used cans of diced tomatoes) and dump the whole lot into the crockpot.
Simmer on low as long as you can stand it and then add the paste to thicken things up.
Ladle over pasta of any kind, rice, or use as the sauce portion of lasagna.
Recipe originally from the Moosewood cookbook with my own sauce.
12 half-cooked lasagna noodles
1 lb spinach, coarsely chopped
1 lb ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese to taste
Stir together the ricotta, spinach, egg and salt and pepper in a medium bowl to make the filling.
Spread a bit of sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13” baking dish and put 4 of the noodles on top. Spread half the filling over the noodles, followed by 1/3 the mozza cheese. Add 4 more noodles, more sauce, the rest of the filling and another 1/3 mozza. Then the remaining 4 needles, more sauce and the rest of the mozza and a good bit of parm cheese on the top.
Finish it off with some garlic bread and a salad, and there you have it!
Bake at 375* for 30 minutes covered with foil. Uncover and cook another 10 – 15 minutes or until the top is as brown as you like it.
Meaning my personal take on south of the border fare. Not authentic by any means, but I like it and so does everyone I’ve shared it with.
It’s all from scratch, a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort.
The refried beans recipe is also from the first Moosewood cookbook, but with my own tweaks to spice things up a bit:
Refried beans ingredients:
2 cups pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, finely chopped
Green and red pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T cumin
Soak the beans and cook as usual. Drain the water off and rinse them well.
Saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, adding the peppers and cumin after a bit, and lots of salt and pepper, too. Add hot sauce if you like.
I like to put beans and onion mixture into a blender to grind into a good texture, but you could also smash everything together with a potato masher. You may need to add a bit of water to get the right consistency.
Put the whole shebang back onto the stove to simmer while you cook the chicken.
The rice recipe is based on another (gee, I’m sure in a rut, aren’t I?) Moosewood recipe, adapted because I can never find annatto seeds.
This dish takes about 45 minutes to prepare, so get it started before the chicken.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas, in the pod, or not
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ cups brown rice
Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is clear, then add the rice and sauté for another 3 minutes or so. Add 3 cups water and salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Just before the rice is done, drop the peas in on top – the steam will cook them perfectly without smashing them.
Chicken fajitas ingredients:
Enough chicken (boneless thighs and/or breast makes this recipe faster and easier) to feed your hoard – you know how fat you like your burritos…Chop it into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Green and/or red peppers if desired
1 bottle tomatillo sauce, or green salsa (12 oz, I think)
Cheddar cheese, sour crème, guacamole, salsa, etc. for toppings
Tortillas for wrapping
Sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of oil until the onion is clear, adding peppers, too, if desired.
Add the chicken and cook until it’s almost done. Add the tomatillo sauce and cover to steam the chicken done. Uncover and let it simmer for awhile if it’s too runny.
Warm up the tortillas using your favorite method. Spoon ½ cup or so of the chicken mixture into the middle, add your favorite toppings (don’t get it too full!) and roll up.
Whew! I think it took longer to write it all up than it took to cook it! These two dinners are favorites around here – I could eat it three times a week.