Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lemon Linguine

You know, I've never actually made this dish with linguine. We always just buy the cheapest pasta, so I make this with spaghetti. It still tastes great, but I don't feel like I can change the name of the dish just because I use a different kind of noodle - Lemon Linguine sounds so much catchier than Lemon Spaghetti to me.

I got this recipe from my sister. We love it - it has a delicate lemon flavor that accents the whole thing but isn't overpowering. I'd talk more about how yummy this is, but I've got a migraine and am not feeling very wordy. So just make it and find out for yourself. :-)

Lemon Linguine
8 ounces uncooked linguine (or spaghetti noodles)
3 tbsp. butter or stick margarine
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried basil (I've used Italian seasoning too)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, cook linguine in boiling water for 8-10 minuets or until tender. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine butter, lemon juice, basil, garlic powder and lemon pepper, cook and stir until butter is melted. Drain linguine, add to butter mixture and toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese and toss. Serve.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fresh Salsa

I love making my own salsa - I never buy it anymore because it's really quick and easy! I posted a while back about making salsa in the blender with canned tomatoes. I love that recipe because, like I said, it's quick and easy and always turns out very yummy.

But sometimes I like a good fresh salsa as well. Tomatoes were on sale for $0.33 a pound when we did our grocery shopping this week, and we got a LOT of them! We also got jalapenos, because they were also on sale. I have a recipe for fresh salsa that my sister gave to me a long time ago. It uses essentially the same basic ingredients as the other salsa I make, except fresh tomatoes instead of canned and you just chop everything instead of using the blender. I hadn't made this salsa in quite a while, but decided that this would be the perfect time! Oh, it turned out so good! We ate the whole batch in one sitting.

Fresh Salsa
2 cups seeded and finely chopped tomatoes (about 4 to 5 small)
1 stalk green onion, finely chopped (I used about 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion)
1 to 2 hot peppers (green, red, serrano, jalapeno) seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice (or lemon)
2 to 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, snipped into small pieces (substituted dried parsley)
1 small green pepper, seeded and finely chopped (didn't have, didn't add)
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced

Stir all ingredients together and cover, then chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

We served this over Cheesy Chips: Spread tortilla chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with shredded cheddar, then sprinkle with chili powder. Heat in hot oven (about 450 degrees) until cheese is hot and melted.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sourdough without the Starter!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted! We spent all of last week in Idaho visiting family, just got back on Monday. I have a couple recipes that I'm planning posts for, but I have to do this one first because I'm so excited about it.

I started this bread yesterday evening and it was finally done this afternoon. It's so delicious! Yes, it takes a very long time from start to finish, but with very little hands-on time or effort. It's a set-it-and-forget-it kind of bread. And definitely worth the wait.

Speaking of wait, that's my little guy in the background, waiting for me to hurry up and finish taking pictures so he can have a slice!

This is a sourdough bread that really fascinated me because it doesn't use a starter! I don't have to start the starter, let it sit for 3 or 4 days, then store it in the fridge and make sure to use it or drain it every couple of weeks! I love sourdough bread, but I always end up letting the starter die and turn funny colors. So I was excited to be given this recipe. It just uses a tiny amount of yeast and rises for a very long time, and it gets that wonderful sourdough scent and flavor. I don't think it turned out quite as sour as the kind with a starter, but it's delicious nonetheless.

Starterless Sourdough
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 5/8 cups water

Mix ingredients in bowl. Dough will be sticky and shaggy. Cover and let sit for 18 hours. Drop dough on floured surface, put a little flour on top. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Mold the dough by folding, tucking, and/or shaping a bit. Drop on floured surface. Put towel over it and let sit for 2 hours.

Half an hour before the dough is done resting, put a big heavy pan with a lid into cold oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Take pan out. Plop dough into hot pan. Bake for 30 minutes with lid. Bake without lid for 15-30 minutes.

I used my ceramic 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish to bake the bread in, because it's the only pan I have that has a lid. It worked perfectly - I didn't grease the dish and the bread came out without sticking at all. It was crispy and crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. Yummmm....

***Update, I forgot to add something. You have to think ahead with this recipe. First off, you have to start it the day before you want to eat it. Also - that first rise will really get you if you're not careful! I decided that I don't want to be getting up before 8:00 in the morning to be working on bread, so I won't start the bread before 2:00 in the afternoon. You don't want to start it at 10 in the morning only to realize that the dough will finish its first rise at around 3 in the morning! So do the math before you do the mixing. :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

German Pizza

This was a really easy dinner to put together, and pretty quick too. It called for ingredients I keep on hand, always a plus. Add the fact that it was hearty and delicious, and we've got a real winner! I did adjust the recipe quite a bit, because it's just me and the kids tonight and I was using a smaller skillet than called for.

The recipe came from the same booklet that the turkey divan recipe came from. I always enjoy the dishes I try from that little book! I got it a few years ago free for previewing a different, larger cookbook from Taste of Home. I didn't keep the large book, but got to keep this little one and it has been so fun. This is the first time I've tried this particular recipe, and I wonder why it took me so darn long!

German Pizza
1 pound ground beef (reduced to 1/3 pound)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced (substituted celery)
1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
6 medium potatoes, peeled and finely shredded (used 3, didn't bother peeling)
3 eggs, beaten (used 2)
1/3 cup milk (used 1/4 cup)
2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (used about 1/2 cup mozzarella)

In a 12-inch stove-top or electric skillet over medium heat (I used a 9-inch skillet), brown beef with onion, green pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper. Remove meat mixture from skillet and drain fat.

Reduce heat to low. Melt butter in skillet; spread potatoes over butter and sprinkle with remaining salt. Top with beef mixture. Combine eggs and milk; pour over all. Cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Top with cheese; cover and heat until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares to serve.

Ketchup made a tasty addition!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Turkey Divan

This is such a delicious dish! Tender broccoli, big chunks of turkey, creamy and tangy sauce, yum! We had some broccoli that needed to be used, and yesterday Jeff brought a bag of cooked turkey down from the freezer to thaw. It seemed like a good idea to combine them, and I found this delicious recipe to do just that. It's one I've been wanting to try for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it. The recipe comes from a small Taste of Home recipe booklet I've had for a long time, and have tried several recipes from. It was originally for Chicken Divan, but since when do I follow a recipe word for word? ;-)

Turkey Divan
2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen broccoli or 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, washed, cut in spears, and lightly steamed (I boiled them, not wanting to bother getting out the steamer)
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces (or of course you could use chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I made a batch of white sauce instead)
1/2 cup mayonnainse
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan (I omitted this as we are out at the moment, but it would be good with it)

Arrange broccoli spears on bottom of 1 1/2 qt. buttered casserole; sprinkle turkey or chicken pieces over broccoli. Combine sauce ingredients; spoon over top of broccoli/turkey. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

This was so delicious served over rice.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chocolate Cobbler - or How to Give Yourself a Heart Attack and a Sugar Coma

I first saw this recipe a while ago on Southern Plate. It looked really good, but I never got around to making it. I really don't know why! Today I saw it again on Mommy's Kitchen. She had changed Southern Plate's recipe a little bit by adding lots of butter to the pan before putting in the batter. This time it immediately instilled a deep desire within me to make and eat this scrumptious dessert, and I knew that life as we know it would pretty much end if I didn't have it right away (it's also known as a pregnancy craving). I quickly copied down the recipe and headed for the kitchen. Here's the result:

This recipe is far from being healthy. It's loaded with chocolate, butter, and sugar. In other words - great for the taste buds and not so great for the arteries, heehee. I enjoyed every bite, serving it over strawberry swirl ice cream.

Chocolate Cobbler
6 tbsp. butter
1 cup self rising flour (1 cup regular flour plus 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder)
3/4 cup white sugar (I read the recipe wrong and added half this amount, it still turned out great)
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 - 3/4 cup brown Sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup hot tap water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 8×8 baking dish add the 6 tablespoons of butter. Place the dish into your preheated 350 degree oven. This will let the butter melt while we mix up the rest of the ingredients.

In a separate bowl add the self rising flour, 3/4 cup of white sugar, and 2 tbsp. of cocoa powder.. Stir the dry ingredients together. Add milk and vanilla. Stir together really well.

Remove your butter pan from the oven and add the chocolate mixture. The chocolate batter tends to be a bit thick and pretty difficult to spread out evenly, but spread it around as best as you can.

In a small bowl, add in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Mix well. Sprinkle the topping evenly all over the top of your chocolate mixture. Slowly, slowly, pour the hot water over the top of the cobbler.

Place the dish in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. You want it to still be a bit jiggly when you pull it out of the oven. Let cool a bit and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Here's the pan after several servings have been removed. Oh, so good! I'm gonna go have some more...

My Kitchen My World - Switzerland

I chose to do something super healthy for this edition of My Kitchen My World, and you really can't get much healthier than Birchermüesli. This cereal-like apple dish was invented by Dr. Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, a pioneer of biological health medicine in Zürich in the early 1900s. He believed that fruits, vegetables, and grains should be the staples of a healthy diet, which contradicted the popular public opinion of his day that meats were all-important and most healthy. Birchermüesli was born as a recipe to take advantage of what Bircher-Benner called "food of the sunlight."

Plus, at the time fruits and vegetables were considered to be poor people's food, so that fits right in with my blog, don't ya think?

4 tablespoons oat flakes (I took this to mean rolled oats?)
8 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons sweet evaporated milk or cream
Honey or sugar according to your own taste (use as little sugar as possible)
Juice of 2 lemons
8 apples

Put oat flakes, water, sweet evaporated milk and juice of lemon in a bowl.

Wash apples, cut in pieces, remove core (do not remove skin). Grind apples into the bowl and mix well (I wasn't sure exactly what this meant; I ended up chopping the apples roughly in the food processor. I probably could have processed them even further and made it into more of a puree).

Add sugar and honey according to your own taste and mix well again. Serve immediately.

We ate this for breakfast. It was actually pretty refreshing, a fun departure from our normal breakfast foods. The kids totally loved it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Banana Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

Zaylee and I were hanging out in my room, and she happened to find her little pint-sized apron on the floor. She immediately put it on and declared, "I will help you cook, Mommy!" Well, with a statement like that I had to obey! She had me put on my own apron and we started looking at recipes. She decided she wanted cake, and I decided I wanted to use up the three spotted bananas in the fridge. Hence this delicious banana cake!

My 9x13 pan was dirty though, so I did cupcakes instead. Zaylee didn't mind at all.

Banana Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 medium)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk (add 1/2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup milk)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners (24 cupcakes). Or grease bottom and sides of 9x13 pan and flour lightly.

Beat all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Spoon into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full, or pour into prepared pan.

Bake cupcakes 20-23 minutes, 9x13 pan 45-50 minutes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack, cool big cake in pan. Frost with Maple Buttercream.

Maple Buttercream
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup maple-flavored syrup

Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed. Stir in syrup, and beat until creamy.

Sweet and Sour Spam

Okay, let's just get this right out into the open - I am fully aware that some people don't like Spam. Well, I and my family happen to enjoy it so we do buy and use it on occasion. Deal with it. :-)

I've had this idea floating around in my head for a couple days. Call it a weird pregnancy craving or whatever, but I really wanted to try making a Hawaiian Haystack-like dish using Spam instead of chicken gravy, and cooking the Spam in a sweet and sour sauce. So today I did that for lunch. And we really liked it!

The sauce came from a recipe for something called Sweet-Sour Fish Bake. That actually sounds really gross to me, but the sauce itself is a fantastic basic sweet and sour sauce that can be used for a variety of things - s&s chicken, s&s pork, and this s&s Spam!

Sweet and Sour Spam
1 can Spam
1 can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Red and yellow food coloring, optional (This wasn't in the original recipe, but Jeff liked colorful food; he added 3 drops red and 1 drop yellow)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water

Dice Spam into bite-sized chunks. Saute in a small amount of oil until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 cup. Heat pineapple juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and garlic powder to boiling in same pan that you cooked Spam in. Mix cornstarch and water; stir into sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in pineapple chunks and Spam.

We served this kind of like Hawaiian Haystacks, by layering rice, the sweet and sour Spam, tomatoes, celery, peas, and cheese. Other additions that would have been nice if we had them on hand would include: bell peppers, chow mein noodles, olives, etc. The cheese is in chunks instead of shredded because it's fresh mozzarella - it was a manager's special, marked down to $1.50 per pound. Score!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tartar Sauce

I was just thinking today that it was about time to post another recipe. Then tonight as we were eating our delicious dinner of salmon patties and tartar sauce, it hit me that I had a great recipe to post! So here it is.

A few years ago, my sister Michelle gave me a binder full of some of her favorite recipes. I use several on a regular basis, and this is one of them. Before she gave me this recipe, I didn't realize how easy and inexpensive it can be to make your own tartar sauce. It turns out deliciously creamy, and perfectly compliments a variety of seafood dishes. We served it with the salmon patties that I have posted about previously.

Tartar Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
1/4 cup drained dill or sweet relish (if you don't have any relish, just finely chop a bunch of pickles like I did tonight)
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. parsley
2 tsp. capers, drained (I've never added these)

In a small bowl stir all ingredients together. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving. Cover and chill leftovers for up to one week.

See how simple that is? A few basic ingredients and some chilling time and you've got yourself some incredibly delicious tartar sauce. Yum!