Featured Chef -- March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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It's time again for a Featured Chef! Today's featured chef is E from A Seat In The Kitchen. E is fairly new to blogging but I'm here to tell you that you can not tell from her blog! It is well written and enjoyable and all of her recipes look absolutely delicious! Join me now in getting to know E and visit her blog as soon as you get a chance...

1. How long have you been cooking?

Well, this may show my age, but when I really started to cook, I was in my early 20’s (1990’s). Hard to remember exactly when. My first cooking experience was really about baking and that happened to be a cheesecake.


To make a long story short…It was my father’s birthday and he said to me and my stepmother at the time, he did not want anything special and did not want sweets( as he never ate sweets in general), but if we wanted to cook him something, the only sweet he would eat was cheesecake.


So my stepmother and I took him on the challenge on the sweet side and embarked on making him a cheesecake he may possibly eat. We ended up making one from the back of a graham cracker box- semi homemade-but thought we did a good job and would win him over…


Well, we lost. My father took a bite just to appease us (as we did provide the only dessert he would eat), but did have his major critiques.


Ever since then, I decided to take his issues of my baking and prove him wrong. Eventually, I did win, as he distributed my cheesecakes to all his coworkers and they fell in love with what I had created in my young life. My father then believed I could cook and really started guiding from that point on.

2. Where did you learn to cook? Do you have any formal training?

I learned initially from my father and my (father’s mother) grandmother and other family members. I have no formal training, yet when I cook, all comes natural to me. At first it was taste then observation of cooking methods. My father would show and explain certain techniques and ask me to work alongside him. As he observed my techniques, he would guide me along the way and eventually I understood and memorized recipes and cooking methods.


I will admit I am slow with the knife and probably should be better. I still cannot to this day properly hone a knife..It scares me!

3. Where do you get your recipes?

All over the place; Cookbooks, Family Recipes, My Own Recipes, Internet/TV. It’s important to review other methods and see what others are following. However, I have found that the internet is just so common in recipe methods. Most are stolen, yet no one recognizes the original recipe they stole from. With my blog, if I do copy a recipe, I try to state that and link to the originator I am taking from.


I find that with cooking and baking, it is hard to find those true original recipes. We are all “gutter” chefs/cooks that steal from each other.

4. How long have you been writing a cooking blog?

Just started in January 2010.

5. What is your favorite meal to cook? Least favorite?

My favorite? Hmmmm, that is a hard question to answer. I love to cook anything and everything I know or am learning. Although, I guess if someone had a gun to my temple to make sure I answered this question with conviction, I would say: “For a Meal I would make homemade spaghetti, homemade meatballs and homemade tomato sauce; topped with the best parm cheese and crusty bread to boot.”


For Desert, it definitely would be my cheesecake recipe.


My least favorite recipe is not a recipe at all. But again, if there were a gun, I would hate to commit to making a recipe for the “RAW” food movement. I recently learned; although “certain” raw foods are proven healthy, not all “RAW” foods give someone all the nutrients they need.

6. Do you endorse any products? Do you receive any compensation for your blog or items on it?

Currently I do not receive any endorsements or compensation for anything on my blog. I hope maybe in time that may change as I am currently unemployed and need monetary sustenance. Though, there are products I do believe in and would definitely recommend given a proper contract from those companies. (Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Al Clad, Marcato,Microplane,Calphalon, DeLonghi,amongst other brands)

7. Do you cook anywhere besides at home?

No. I am purely a home cook, unless you consider cooking at a family or friend’s home. I have catered, but for family or friends only to date. When I have catered, I’ve been privileged to have a decent budget at the time.

8. Where else can we find your blog?

No where but http://aseatinthekitchen.blogspot.com

9. We all know that food plays a huge role in peoples lives. Do you have a favorite memory that involved food?

Oh, I have many. Try all my life? I grew up with 2 parent artists in my life. My mother a musician and my father an artist; my father especially, kept up with food to keep his pride of Italian heritage alive and to try to bring family together. Unfortunately, his ideas backfired on him (food not the cause) and tore the family apart. I have so many memories of food from my parents, their parents and their parents, from my separate experiences. Some memorable food memories are from a sad outcome and some are from the best times of my life. Food has always been an integral part of my life. I cannot give one true example, but cherry crepes and pickled herring and lasagna always come to mind.

10. What are your future plans for your site?

Well, I hope that people will enjoy what I have to say and write and can get some good recipes out of it. I hope that folks can even take away other thoughts and ideas or suggestions. I will probably never be politically correct on my blog, but my intentions are to bring good food to the table and decent table conversation without bias (unless I admit it) and an open forum. I am not one to judge and know emphatically I am no moral conscience, as is the rest of the world. I will always try to state the truth and what I know and believe in.


To me, as stated in my header blog, great conversation always happens at the kitchen table. My fondest memories of any conversation where ever I am/was are always in the kitchen. It truly brings people together, even if there may be a disagreement along the way.

Isn't she wonderful? I just love her! Click here to visit E right now!

Waffles are on their way!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I gave you a recipe this morning for some super yummy pancakes which I love. I'm actually a very big fan of breakfast in general and could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! 

Knowing this about me, it should come to no surprise that I was super excited to find out that I was going to get to review a waffle maker! CSN Stores has offered me the chance to review the Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker! How exciting is that?!

CSN Stores have several sites that offer many items including cookware, tableware, furniture and home bars! I can't wait to tell you all about the waffle maker!

Special pancakes

These pancakes are good all year round but if you're making a breakfast on Easter they would be perfect!

What you'll need:
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 Tbl butter, melted
  • 1 c (1 - 2 large or 2 - 3 small) grated raw apple
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Mix the two mixtures together. Fold in apple. Cook on hot griddle, flipping only once. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Feeds 4 - 5.


Cost:
all purpose flour - $1.25
baking powder - $1.14
baking soda - $0.50
buttermilk - $1.89/half gallon
eggs (18 count) -$1.47
apples - $2.25/bag
Total - $2.81

Raisin sauce

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is an excellent sauce for ham. It is thin just so you know that's how it's supposed to be :)

What you'll need:
  • 10 ounce jar red currant jelly
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted and heated through. Makes about 2 cups sauce.

Cost:
jelly - $1.49 
raisins - $1.58
butter - $2.38
lemons - $1.99/4
Total - $2.92

Featured Chef Reminder

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I'd just like to remind everyone that my next Featured Chef post will be up on the 31st of this month. I think this is a great way for all of us food lovers and food bloggers to get to know each other and find other great food related blogs! 

If you'd like to have your food related blog featured here please either email me or leave me a comment here. I'd love to feature your site!

As an added note, please know that I totally respect you and your privacy and you do not have to use your name, photo or anything else that you don't want to use to be a Featured Chef here. All I want to do is promote your food related blog and introduce my readers to other great people :)

Little Peeper Cookies from Pillsbury


This recipe showed up in my email yesterday and I loved it! So simple and so cute! If you don't get newsletters from Pillsbury you are certainly missing out on some great recipes!

What you'll need:
  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1 cup fluffy white frosting (from 16 oz container)
  • Yellow gel food color
  • 18 semisweet chocolate chips, cut in half
  • Yellow candy-coated licorice
  • Orange candy slices
Heat oven to 350° F. Cut dough into 1/2-inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or unitl edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely. In medium bowl, stir frosting and 2 to 3 drops gel food color until well blended. Frost cookies. Decorate cookies using chocolate chip halves for eyes, yellow candy-coated licorice for feathers and pieces of orange candy slices for beak and feet. Makes 18 cookies.


Cost:
cookie dough - $2.25
frosting - $1.29
chocolate chips - $1.97
candy - $2.05
Total - $4.94

Bunny eggs

Saturday, March 27, 2010


This recipe came from my H-E-B newsletter and I just thought they were so darn cute that I couldn't pass up posting them as an Easter recipe!

What you'll need:
  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 Tbl mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbl mustard
  • 2 Tbl pickle relish
  • 1 Tbl chopped parsley
  • 2 pimento stuffed green olives, sliced into circles for bunny eyes
  • 1/4 c carrot matchsticks for bunny whiskers and nose
  • 1/4 c red bell pepper triangles for bunny ears
Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise like you do for deviled eggs. Place yolks in a bowl and whites on a serving plate. Add mayonnaise, mustard, relish, parsley and salt and pepper to taste to bowl of yolks and mash and stir until well mixed. Stuff egg whites with mixture either with a spoon or by filling a pastry bag or plastic baggie with the end cut off and piping it in. Decorate as seen in picture with remaining ingredients. 


Cost:
eggs (18 count) -$1.47
mayonnaise - $3.12
mustard - $1.28
relish - $1.99
olives - $2.25
carrots - $1.19
bell pepper – $0.90
Total - $3.13

Horseradish mashed potatoes

Friday, March 26, 2010

My friend Joni sent me a subscription to Bon Appetit and I got my first issue the day before yesterday. I was planning on making mashed potatoes with supper and then saw this recipe in the magazine. I'm a sucker for horseradish! If you are too then you'll love this!

What you'll need:
  • 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lbs medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 - 4 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbl prepared white horseradish
Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add 3 Tbl of the olive oil and mash until potatoes are smooth, adding more olive oil (up to 1 Tbl) and reserved liquid 1/4 cup at a time to moisten potatoes to desired consistency. Mix in horseradish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Cost:
potatoes - $2.84/5 lb bag
horseradish - $2.26/jar
Total - $1.98

Cooking Light -- April 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It's time again for my Cooking Light magazine review. The April 2010 issue is packed full of great Spring recipes that you'll love plus they have a section on food myths this month! Here are the highlights:

Nutrition Myths That Shouldn’t Keep You From Loving Food (p. 134) – Cooking Light reveals the truth about 10 nutrition myths so you can finally love food again. Myths include:
 
Myth:   The only heart-friendly alcohol is red wine
Truth:  Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits

Myth:   Fried foods are always fatty
Truth:  Healthy deep-fried food is not an oxymoron

Myth:   You should  always remove chicken skin before eating
Truth:  You can enjoy a skin-on chicken breast without blowing your saturated fat budget
 
Myth:   Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional
Truth:  There are many good reasons to choose organic, but nutrition isn’t one of them
 
Myth:   Eating eggs raises your cholesterol
Truth:  Dietary cholesterol in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in the body

The Secret to Healthy Frying (p. 104) – If you fry in the right oil and follow Cooking Light’s four easy steps carefully, fried foods do have a place in a healthy diet.
Tips include: 

  • Choose an oil that’s low in saturated fats like peanut, soybean or canola.
  • Watch the oil temperature like a hawk: If it’s not hot enough, the food will soak up extra oil.
  • All-purpose flour adheres well because it contains gluten, but too much flour causes the food to absorb too much oil.
 
The Salad Trap (p. 114) – Think you’re making a smart choice when ordering a restaurant salad? Think again. The editors analyze nutrition information for three popular salads at well-known American chains and offer tips to make smarter salad choices. The findings will surprise you.
 
An Easter Feast (p. 120) – Cooking Light offers a fresh and savory Easter menu that is really doable if you follow this simple make-ahead plan. Recipes include: Champagne Lemoncello Cocktails; Baked Ham Glazed with Vermouth; Asparagus Salad with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette; Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Baby Artichokes; and Lavender-Scented Strawberries with Honey Cream.
 
Feed 4 for Under $10 (p. 176) – In this monthly column, the editors offer recipes that will feed a family of four affordably, costing less than $2.50 per person. Recipes include: Shrimp Pasta; Pork Tenderloin Salad; Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken; and Chicken with Olives.
 
Dinner Tonight (p. 83) – Cooking Light offers recipes to get a healthy and delicious dinner on the table in 40 minutes or less. Recipes include: Spaghetti with Sausage and Simple Tomato Sauce; Shrimp and Okra Gumbo; Vietnamese Beef-Noodle Soup with Asian Greens; and Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce.

Yummy little almond sandwich cookies

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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I got this recipe off my Pillsbury calendar and fell in love with it instantly! I think they are so pretty and delicious and perfect for Easter! By the way, you can color the filling any color you want or do several different colors but I really like the pink :)

What you'll need:

For cookies:
  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbl sugar
For filling:
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c butter or margarine, softened
  • 4 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 drop red food coloring or whatever color you desire
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in flour and almond extract until well blended. Shape dough into 180 (1/2") balls. Place balls 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press bottom of glass dipped into sugar on each ball until 1/4" thick. Prick top of each with a fork. Bake 6 - 8 minutes until set but not brown. Cool 1 minute on pan and then remove to a wire rack and cool completely, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy. Spread about 1 teaspoon filling on bottoms of half the cookies. Top each with another cookie and press down gently. Store in refrigerator. Makes 7 1/2 dozen cookies.

Cost:
cookie dough - $2.25
all purpose flour - $1.25
almond extract - $1.96
sugar - $2.42
powdered sugar - $1.67
butter - $2.38
milk - $1.78
Total - $4.28

This one's for you Chris

Monday, March 22, 2010

The other day Chris over at Nibble Me This asked if anyone knew the trick to flipping eggs. I told him what I knew but I'm not sure if I was that helpful....was I Chris?

Anyway, I got to thinking about a show I watched on the Food Network called Good Eats with Alton Brown. I love that show! 

One day he showed us how to cook the perfect over easy egg and I searched and searched for the video of it but couldn't find it. I did however find the recipe with his instructions and thought that I would share that today. I hope this helps you out Chris! And the rest of you egg lovers too :)

Eggs Over Easy

Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs (the fresher the better)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat and add butter. As soon as the butter stops foaming, crack the eggs into the pan. Lift the handle about an inch so that the eggs pool in the far corner of the pan. Hold for 30 seconds or until the whites start to set, then lower the handle and give the pan a jiggle just to make sure there's no sticking. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue to cook over low heat until the whites become opaque. Jiggle to loosen the eggs, then lift the pan, holding it about a foot above the heat. Now, flip the eggs over by pushing the pan away and snapping upward simultaneously. Once the eggs start their somersault, raise the pan to meet them so that the exposed yolks experience the softest landing possible. The goal of course is to avoid breaking the yolks. If you succeed, count to 10 slowly then flip the eggs again, slide them onto a plate and serve. If the yolks do break, act like you meant them to, fry for another minute and serve. They'll still taste great.

Sweet and Spicy baked ham

If you're planning on making a ham for Easter and are feeling a little adventurous, you'll love this recipe! It has just the right amount of sweetness to balance the spicy :)

What you'll need:
  • 1 (5 lb) fully cooked ham
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 (16oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice (score) ham in a criss-cross pattern. Place cloves into cuts around the ham. Mix together remaining ingredients. Place ham in a deep baking dish lined with aluminum foil. Top with pineapple/salsa mixture. Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, spooning sauce from bottom of pan and pouring back over the ham about every half an hour. If ham is getting too dark cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. After slicing top with any remaining sauce from pan and serve. Feeds 6 - 8.


Cost:
ham - $6.81
cloves – $1.12
salsa - $2.08
crushed pineapple – $1.09
honey - $1.12
Total - $10.27

Easter poll

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I thought today I'd post a poll to find out all about your favorite Easter foods. After you take the poll please leave a comment either here or on the poll specifying why you answered the way you did or telling me a different food that I didn't include in the poll!


Also, I had a little issue with my work being copied and not attributed to me. You know that if I post someone's recipe I link back to them. I think that's the right thing to do. Please click here to read the specifics of what happened and to find out about copyrights, both what I expect for posts on my page and how to add it to your page.

Thank you :)


On with the poll:


What are your favorite Easter foods?





Have a great day everyone!

White chocolate almond bark

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I just adore white chocolate! I actually prefer it and dark chocolate over milk chocolate. This is such a simple recipe and it's totally delicious! 

What you'll need:
  • 1 lb white chocolate (or milk chocolate or dark chocolate). Large candy bars can be found on the candy aisle OR 1 (1 lb) pkg almond bark candy (can be found in the baking section)
  • 1/2 c chopped almonds
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly, until smooth. Add almonds. Immediately pour onto wax paper in a thin layer. Let cool. Break or cut into pieces. Makes 1 pound. Store in an airtight container.

Cost:
large candy bar - $1.25
almonds - $3.00/bag
Total - $2.75

Egg-Ceptional Easter cookies

Friday, March 19, 2010


I first got this recipe off the back of a Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Morsels package and made them a few years ago. I got to thinking about Easter and cookies and they just popped in my head! I dug through all my recipes but couldn't find it. I was so disappointed. But then, thanks to the wonderful internet, I found the recipe on Nestle's site and am able to share it with you today!

What you'll need:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1 container or more prepared vanilla frosting
  • 2 or more food coloring choices
 Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup morsels. Press enough dough into greased and floured tablespoon to make slightly rounded. Invert onto ungreased baking sheets. Continue with remaining dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or just until golden around edges. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

To color frosting:

Stir food coloring into small amounts of frosting until desired color. For deep colored frosting, use paste colors available in cake decorating shops.

To pipe frosting:

Use pastry bag fitted with small, plain or fluted tip, heavy-duty plastic bag with tiny corner snipped off or plastic squeeze bottle with small tip.

To decorate cookies:

Frost tops with white or colored frosting. Decorate as desired with remaining morsels, piped frosting and colored sugars.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Cost:
all purpose flour - $1.25
baking powder - $1.14
sugar - $2.42
butter - $2.38
vanilla (2 oz) - $1.96
eggs (18 count) -$1.47
chocolate chips - $1.97
frosting - $1.29
Total - $5.83

Just a tip

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leftovers? Eww right? Wrong. 

After cooking for 5 at home for 20 years (and cooking for sometimes 500 at work for over 20 years), I have trouble cooking for only 2. Because of that we always have leftovers and we eat one meal a week using those leftovers.

Here are some "leftovers" tips I've used for a long time:

  •  Freeze meal sized leftovers. If you made 20 meatballs but only use 5 per meal, divide them up into 3 freezer bags and you only have to set out one meals worth at a time. If you cook too much meat such as chicken or ground beef, do the same.
  • Choose the right sized container for your leftovers. Too much space between the lid and the food causes the food to spoil faster. If you are storing them in baggies, squeeze the air out of the bag before you put them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Always label your leftovers including the date. Don't keep anything in the refrigerator longer than 4 days.
  • Don't think that because something smells ok that it is ok. Sometimes that's just not true. Food can smell fine and still be spoiled. Look for signs of spoilage such as change of texture, color or a slimy feel. If you're not sure about it, throw it away.
  • Be creative with your leftovers. If you have a ton of BBQ chicken leftover make up a BBQ chicken pot pie or a BBQ chicken calzone. That way you're not eating the same meal twice in one week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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May you enjoy the four greatest blessings:
Honest work to occupy you.
A hearty appetite to sustain you.
A good woman to love you.
And a wink from the God above.
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone ♥

Barbecue beef and corn shepherd's pie

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Round up the family for a pie full of flavor that’s ready in 30 minutes! This skillet version features Cheddar-bacon mashed potatoes surrounded with corn chips on top a zesty beef mixture. This recipe comes from Betty Crocker's Dinner Made Easy site.

What you'll need:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Green Giant® Mexicorn® whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1/2 package (7-ounce size) Betty Crocker® Cheddar and bacon mashed potatoes (1 pouch)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup corn chips
Cook ground beef and 1/4 cup of the onions in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce, 3/4 cup of the corn and the chilies. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low to keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes as directed on package for 4 servings, using 1 pouch Potatoes and Seasoning, hot water, milk and butter. Stir in remaining onions and corn; let stand 5 minutes.

Spoon potatoes onto center of beef mixture, leaving 2 1/2- to 3-inch rim around edge of skillet; sprinkle cheese over potatoes and beef mixture. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle corn chips around edge of skillet. Feeds 6.
Make the Most of This Recipe

Substitution

Ground pork or ground turkey can be substituted for the ground beef.

Did You Know...

Barbecue sauces vary widely in flavor, from a manufacturer’s original flavor to hickory, mesquite, honey, spicy, honey-mustard, sweet, sassy and low-sodium varieties. This recipe was developed with an original-flavored sauce, but try it with your family’s favorite.


Cost:
ground beef -$1.25/lb
small onions – $1.50/bunch
BBQ sauce - $1.42
Mexicorn - $1.54
chilies – $1.19/can
potatoes - $2.12
milk - $1.78/gallon
butter - $2.38
shredded cheddar - $1.98
fritos - $3.58
Total - $8.20

Creamy Irish potato soup

Monday, March 15, 2010


Ireland and potatoes have a long history, so it's fitting to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with this intensely flavored soup. This recipe comes from Swanson.


What you'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 medium green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth   (Regular, Natural GoodnessTM or Certified Organic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
Heat the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until they're tender.

Stir the broth, black pepper and potatoes in the saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Place half of the broth mixture and half of the milk in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat with the remaining broth mixture and remaining milk. Return to the saucepan and heat through. Serves 5.

Cost:
butter - $2.38
small onions – $1.50/bunch
celery - $0.99
chicken broth - $1.89
potatoes - $3.77/5 lb bag
milk - $1.78/gallon
Total - $4.15

Irish colcannon and thyme leaf soup

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This recipe comes from Cooking Light and reinterprets an Irish classic: colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. Garnish with extra thyme and black pepper.

What you'll need:
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, divided
  • 2 1/2  cups  diced peeled baking potato (about 14 ounces)
  • 1  cup  diced onion (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  cups  water
  • 3  tablespoons  water
  • 8  cups  thinly sliced savoy cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme leaves

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potato is tender.

Combine 3 tablespoons water and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven; bring to a simmer. Add cabbage and thyme. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place half of potato mixture in blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Add potato mixture to cabbage mixture; cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated. Feeds 4 - 6.

Cost:
butter - $2.38
potatoes - $3.77/5 lb bag
yellow onions (3 lbs) - $0.99
bouillon cubes - $1.89/jar of 20
cabbage - $0.50/lb
Total - $2.35

Blarney Stone-KISSed Cookies

Saturday, March 13, 2010

These St. Patrick's Day treats come from Hershey's Kitchens and are just as delicious as they are pretty. They're sure to please any chocolate lover!

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • QUICK COOKIE GLAZE (recipe follows)
  • HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates or HERSHEY'S HUGS Brand Candies

1. Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Divide dough in half; place each half on separate sheet of wax paper.

2. Shape each half into log with squared sides, about 7 inches long and 2-1/4 inches wide. Wrap each log in wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.

3. Heat oven to 325°F. Cut logs into 3/8-inch thick slices. Place onto ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 15 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces.

5. Prepare QUICK COOKIE GLAZE; drizzle cookies. Immediately place a chocolate piece on each cookie. About 3 dozen cookies.


QUICK COOKIE GLAZE: Stir together 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 3 to 4 teaspoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 or 4 drops green food color, if desired, in small bowl until of drizzling consistency.

Cost:
butter - $2.38
sugar - $2.42
eggs (18 count) -$1.47
vanilla (2 oz) - $1.96
all purpose flour - $1.25
cocoa - $2.84
baking powder - $1.14
powdered sugar - $1.67
milk - $1.78/gallon
Hershey’s kisses - $3.15/bag
Total - $5.30

Lucky Charms® Cupcakes

Friday, March 12, 2010

With St. Patrick's Day coming up on March 17th, I thought I'd share some fun St. Patty's Day recipes with you over the next week. Today's recipe came from Betty Crocker and is very simple and so cute!

 
What you'll need:
  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow or devil's food cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
  • 3 cups Lucky Charms® cereal
  • Green edible glitter
1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, using water, oil and eggs. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

2. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons cereal; sprinkle with glitter.


Cost:
cake mix - $1.29
vegetable oil (regular) - $2.28
eggs (18 count) -$1.47
frosting - $1.29
cereal - $2.28
edible glitter - $1.89
Total - $3.79

Chops n' kraut

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I think sauerkraut is either something you love or hate. Tim could eat it day and night :)

What you'll need:
  • 6 - 8 thick cut pork chops
  • 2 lb sauerkraut
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • Dash of paprika
  • 2 c water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
In a skillet brown the pork chops well on both sides in a small amount of fat. Remove chops to a plate but do not discard what's in the pan. Place the sauerkraut in a dutch oven or crockpot. Scrape the pork drippings from the skillet over the top of the sauerkraut. Stir in the tomato paste and paprika. Top with chops and add the water and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the pork chops are tender. Feeds 4 - 6.

Cost:
pork chops - $3.50
sauerkraut - $1.89
tomato paste - $0.50
Total - $6.39

Crazy cake (a repost....kind of)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I said this was kind of a repost for Crazy Cake and it is...kind of. I've posted this recipe before but it's been quite a while and unless you are big for searching for recipes, you may have missed it.

This cake is awesome because it doesn't use any milk or eggs and is still moist and delicious. I just made it the night before last and it got me thinking about how much y'all would like it which is how this repost came to be :)

What you'll need:
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1 c + 2 Tbl sugar
  • 1/3 c + 1 Tbl cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c cold water
  • ¼ c vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbl vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients until completely blended together. Stir in remaining ingredients one at a time and stirring well after each addition. Pour into a greased and floured 8 x 8 inch pan or cupcake tins. Bake about 30 minutes for cake, about 22 minutes for cupcakes. It's done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost as desired.

This cake is good just sprinkled with powdered sugar or you can frost it. This time I made a simple buttercream frosting...

What you'll need:
  • 1/3 c butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c powdered sugar
Cream the butter and vanilla and gradually beat in sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add more sugar if it's too thin. Frost cupcakes or cake after it has cooled.


Cost:
all purpose flour - $1.25
sugar - $2.42
cocoa - $2.84
baking soda - $0.50
vegetable oil (regular) - $2.28
vinegar (small) - $0.92
vanilla (2 oz) - $1.96
cake - $1.89
butter - $2.38
powdered sugar - $1.67
vanilla (2 oz) - $1.96
frosting - $1.00
Total - $2.89

Puppy chow

Monday, March 8, 2010

Noooo, I'm not giving you a recipe for dog food :) Your kids will love this!

What you'll need:
  • 1 (1 lb) box powdered sugar
  • 1 regular sized box (16 oz) Crispix cereal
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 2 c chocolate chips
Pour sugar into a large paper bag and set aside. Place the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Pour immediately over the cereal and mix lightly with a wooden spoon. Dump the mixture into the bag of sugar and SHAKE LIKE CRAZY! That part can be really fun :) Pour out onto a cookie sheet and allow to cool. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container or Ziplock baggie. Makes about 1 pound of "candy".

Cost:
powdered sugar - $1.67
cereal - $2.28
butter - $2.38
peanut butter - $1.94
chocolate chips - $1.97
Total - $6.10

Spinach dip

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This recipe uses frozen spinach. Be sure to thaw your spinach out ahead of time.

What you'll need:
  • 1 (16 oz) sour cream
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 c (1 large) minced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c (1 small bunch) minced green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Chill for 1 hour before serving. This dip is excellent with whole wheat crackers but can be served with any cracker or with tortilla chips.

Cost:
sour cream (medium) - $1.00
frozen spinach - $1.89
bell pepper – $0.90
small onions – $1.50/bunch
garlic clove – $0.50/1 head 
Tabasco sauce - $1.59 Total - $5.49

Helpful tips

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I told you the other day that I had received my March issue of Cooking Light magazine. In it was a section called 3-Step Pantry Planner. Step 1 was called Take stock now and I found it very helpful and thought I would share those things with you today.

Good for 6 months

  • Baking soda and baking powder
  • Brown rice stored in an airtight container
  • Nuts stored in a cool, dark and dry place and in an airtight container
  • Oil if unopened; 3 months once opened
  • Peanut butter once opened
Good for 1 year
  • Flour stored in an airtight container. High fat flour such as whole-wheat flour is good for 6 months stored in an airtight container
  • Grains such as barley and rolled oats stored in an airtight container
Good for more than 1 year
  • Canned goods: High-acid items like fruits can be stored for 18 months and low-acid items like meats and vegetables can last 2 - 5 years if the cans are in good shape (no leaks, rust, cracks or large dents)
  • Dried beans stored at room temperature are good indefinitely
  • Honey is best used within 2 years. If it crystallizes just set it down into a pan of simmering water over low heat to decrystallize
  • Granulated sugar kept away from moisture will last up to 2 years. Brown sugar should be used within 6 months
  • Vinegar can be kept indefinitely unopened. Once opened it should be used withing 6 months

Roasted chicken

Friday, March 5, 2010

This recipe is more for the rub than the chicken :)

What you'll need:
  • 1 Tbl season salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 3 - 3 1/2 lb roasting chicken, washed and patted dry
Mix the salt, rosemary and thyme together and rub over the surface of chicken. Rub it in good! Place chicken on a rack over a pan and roast @ 375 degrees for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until done (juices run clear). Let rest for a few minutes and then serve. Feeds 4.

Cost:
whole chicken - $4.48
seasonings =- $1.00
Total - $5.48

Tuna Caesar salad for one

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This makes a great lunch or light dinner. I got this recipe off the back of a tuna pouch. It says it serves one but it's actually a pretty big portion to me so I had it serve two :)

What you'll need:
  • 1 (2.6 oz) pouch of tuna
  • 2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c (small handful) croutons
  • 2 c torn Romaine lettuce
  • 1 oz (1/8 c) Caesar dressing
Toss lettuce and tuna together. Add dressing and toss lightly. Top with croutons and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.


Cost:
tuna - $0.93
parmesan cheese - $2.88
croutons - $0.98
lettuce - $1.98
salad dressing - $1.50
Total - $2.54

Quick pickles

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

 
We eat a lot of pickles around here. And use them in a lot of recipes too. This recipe for making your own pickles is a lot of fun to me. I like making things from scratch :)

What you'll need:
  • 2 (1 quart) glass jars
  • 14 - 16 (3 1/2" long) cucumbers
  • 2 Tbl vinegar, divided
  • 4 cloves of garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp whole mixed pickling spice, divided
  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds or celery seeds, divided
  • 4 bay leaves, divided
  • 2 small bunches of fresh dill, divided
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 c coarse salt
Wash and drain the cucumbers and pack them into the two jars. Put half of each of the divided items above into each jar. Bring the water and salt to a boil and then pour it over the cucumbers to 1/2" of the top of the jars. Seal at once. Let stand in refrigerator for one week before opening the jars. After the initial one week the pickles will last for 3 weeks. Enjoy!!

Cost:
cucumbers - $1.00/2 lbs
vinegar (small) - $0.92
garlic clove – $0.50/1 head
pickling spice - $1.69
mustard seeds - $2.29/jar
bay leaves - $2.54/jar
dill - $1.20 in store/free from herb garden
Total - $5.31

Cooking Light - March 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

 
It's time once again for me to tell you about Cooking Light magazine. The March issue just arrived at my house and I am drooling! Here are the highlights:

The 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) (p. 108) – Cooking Light offers tips on how to avoid the 25 most common cooking mistakes, so you can breeze through every culinary adventure without fear. Common mistakes include overcrowding the sauté pan, turning food too often, slicing meat with the grain rather than against it, not tasting as you go, and more.

The Healthy Cook’s 3-Step Pantry Planner (p. 48-49) – This handy pull-out guide offers tips on keeping a well maintained pantry, stocked with healthy must-haves.  Tips include knowing what you have, upgrading your ingredients, and building a collection of essential spices.

Feed 4 for Under $10 (p. 162) – This month’s recipes for delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly eating include: Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles; Roast Leg of Lamb with Chile-Garlic Sauce; Bacon and Butternut Pasta; and Chicken Curry.

Less is More with Salt (p. 45) – Like sugar, salt is a common food additive used to enhance flavors. However, while sugar gets the third-degree for its contribution to obesity and poor health, salt seems to get away with, well, murder. Studies show that we consume 1.5 times more sodium than allotted by the Dietary Guidelines. This overconsumption can lead to high blood pressure, and in some cases heart disease.  Cooking Light’s Nutrition Editor Kathy Kitchens Downie explains why slashing sodium is crucial to our general health.

Guilt-Free Pizza in 20 Minutes (p. 102) – Making pizza nutritious is all about proportion and smart topping trade-offs.  Cooking Light offers recipes and tips on making a healthy, nutritious pie, ready in about 20 minutes.  Choose between Chicken Sausage, Sweet Onion, and Fennel Pizza; Pear and Prosciutto Pizza; or Manchego, Chorizo Pizza.

Taste Test: Cheddar Cheese (p. 66) – Whether you’re making a big pot of creamy mac n’ cheese, or just want a satisfying afternoon snack, Cooking Light offers the best blends to satisfy any cheesy craving.

Dinner Tonight (p. 77) – This month’s stopwatch-tested menu from Cooking Light features recipes for Maple and Soy-Glazed Flank Steak; Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts; Halibut with Caper Salsa Verde, Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto; and Farfalle with Lamb Ragu, Ricotta, and Mint.

Start with… a Can of Chickpeas (p. 95) – This versatile legume finds a home in many cuisines, from Spanish tapas to Moroccan tagines, and many dishes in between.  Cooking Light offers four great chickpea combinations to satisfy any craving.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner in Austin (p. 34) – In celebration of Austin ’s famous South by Southwest music festival, Cooking Light highlights the best in tex-mex, Southern cooking, and barbecue.  Find the best grocery stores and restaurants, or bring the taste of Austin home with the best breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.

The Perfect St. Patrick’s Day Menu (p. 138) – With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, Cooking Light enlisted the help of Margaret Johnson, a second-generation Irish-American and Irish food expert, for the perfect celebratory feast.  Her menu includes Brown Soda Bread; Beef and Guinness Stew; and Irish Coffee.

Don't forget to pick up your copy today plus you can click here to visit them online. Happy Cooking everyone!

Herb butter for meats

Monday, March 1, 2010

Plop a dollop of this awesome butter onto the top of a steak before serving for some yummmmmmy greatness!

What you'll need:
  • 2 Tbl finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped tarragon
  • 2 Tbl finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • Salt and Sherry to taste
Combine all ingredients and beat well with a fork. Chill slightly before using. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Cost:
herbs - $1.60 in store/free from herb garden
butter - $2.38
mustard - $0.79
sherry – $2.00
Total - $2.36

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