Sunday, April 27, 2008

Black bean soup

I really love the Vegetarian Black Bean Soup at Panera Bread, so when I came across a recipe for BBS on a can of beans, I had to try it. I'm not as concerned with the "vegetarian" part as others might be, but I'm thinking you could substitute a veggie broth for the chicken broth if you wanted to.

2 cans Black Beans (I used Bush's seasoned recipe, which is where this recipe came from. Do not drain the beans)
1 can low/reduced sodium chicken broth (or veg broth if you'd rather)
1/2 cup salsa (any kind you want, I used safeway brand mild, and put in 1cup total)
1/2 tsp chili powder (I didn't have any, so left it out. I am not that into the spicy stuff, so it worked well for me)

Mash contents of one can of beans with food processor or potato masher. Pour into saucepan with other can of beans and can of broth, and heat on stovetop. Add salsa and chili powder, and simmer until heated through. Serve as is, or add what we call "soup stuff" - sour cream, cheddar, onions, etc.

It was very tasty, IMO, and I'm looking forward to trying a bowl of leftovers cold as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cake batter ice cream

I like cake batter. I like ice cream. I don't eat it much, but. Yum. Decided I was going to try my own homemade version and see how it turned out. Worked pretty well. I have an ice cream maker. I know there are other ways to freeze ice cream even if you don't have an ice cream maker so if you don't have one you could tweak this recipe. I don't like making ice cream with full fat milk or heavy cream so I usually use 1 or 2% milk and half and half. That sometimes leads to a less-creamy ice cream but this one came out surprisingly soft and creamy.

1 C of 2% or 1% milk
2 C of half and half (or heavy cream if you desire)
3/4 cup sugar
about 1 1/4 t of taste
1 package of powdered cake mix. I used Duncan Hines "butter recipe golden". You could use whatever you want I suppose!

Whisk the sugar and milk together until the sugar has dissolved in the milk. Then add the half and half and the vanilla, whisk in. Add the cake mix and whisk until lumps are gone. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze per manufacturers directions.

I will say that this recipe never got really "frozen" in my ice cream maker. It thickened to slightly softer than the consistency of soft ice cream (and SOOOOOOOO creamy). We put it in containers in the freezer and it's a very pleasant consistency.

It's pretty sweet though I don't mind it but if you find you don't like it you might want to try lessening the amount of cake mix, maybe?

Being someone who loves cake batter (ahhh!)...this is a legal way to have it...heh. No raw eggs.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Kids' Favorite Chili

My boys (9 and 5) aren't big on anything spicier that super-mild salsa, so getting them to eat chili can be a challenge. After a lot of testing, this is the recipe we all like the best. It makes a LOT, but there's 6 of us in the house, so it works, and we have great leftovers too. Could definitely be easily cut in half though, for smaller batch.

2 -2.5lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 -1 onion (Vidalia or white), chopped
1 can white corn, drained and rinsed
2 cans kidney beans (we like 1 light, 1 dark for variety), drained and rinsed
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1C water
2 packets chili seasoning (generic Safeway brand is just perfect for my picky kids)

Brown ground beef till cooked through, adding onions to cook. Drain, then add all other ingredients to large pot (I think ours is a 5qt?). Mix thoroughly, and simmer up to 1 hour. Serve hot, with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla and/or corn chips, etc.

It tastes even better the next day, too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Apple chicken crockpot stew

I found this recipe online awhile ago and saved it. I decided to try it yesterday because my mother gave me about 2,385 gallons of homemade apple cider. It is very good.

5-7 red potatoes, cubed (I used I think four large yellow potatoes...they were wicked big)
2-3 medium parsnips or carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced (I used a yellow onion. Sue me!)
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1½ tsp salt
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp caraway seeds
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 TBS olive oil
2 tart apples, peeled and cubed
1¼ cups apple cider
1 TBS cider vinegar
1 bay leaf

1. In a slow cooker, layer potatoes, parsnips/carrots, onion, and celery.
2. Combine salt, thyme, pepper, and caraway; sprinkle half over vegetables.
3. In a skillet, sauté chicken in oil until browned; transfer to slow cooker.
4. Top with apple.
5. Combine apple cider and vinegar; pour over chicken and apples.
6. Sprinkle with remaining spice mixture; add bay leaf.
7. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender and chicken juices run clear; discard bay leaf and stir before serving.

This turned out to be wicked good. I generally cook things in my crockpot on low so I don't know if you might be able to cube the chicken then cook all on low without cooking it beforehand...the chicken was just marginally dry when the stew was reheated for lunch the next day...but otherwise wicked good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chicken Porta Potti (OK, really? It's Chicken Pot Pie)

This is my mother's chicken pot pie recipe. Carlos loves it and calls it "chicken porta potti" (don't ask me). It's a good way to use leftover chicken from a whole chicken that you have cooked.

I use my "smaller" pyrex dish for this...I think it's the 9x13 one? My mom's recipe says 6x10 but I don't think my dish is THAT small? Whatever.

OK so I'm transcribing this just how my mom sent it to me. Gotta love my mother.

Cover bottom of dish w/chicken. Add whatever veggies you like (Mommy generally added some frozen mixed ones, like peas/carrots/corn/beans and the like. I do that too but I also chop onion and garlic and put on top. Whatever floats your boat.)

Sauce: (Mommy indicates to make DOUBLE THIS RECIPE, for that pyrex dish that she and I use, and she reiterates this later on...) Melt 2 T margarine in a sauce pan. Add 2 T flour; mix. Slowly add 1 cup milk, whisking as you add it. Bring to a boil over med-med high heat. Be careful w/that med-high, kids, or else your milk will scald and your flour will adhere itself to your saucepan. Badbadbad! Add 1 buoillon cube (you can smash it before adding). I buy the powdered chicken buiollon, msg-free and all, these days. Screw smashing those cubes. If you have the powdered stuff, add 1 teaspoon. Let buillon cube dissolve. Pour white sauce over meat mixture and combine.

Recap I kid you not, this is what my mother wrote, and this is where you need to pay attention, because the following instructions are what you REALLY need to follow....for this size dish, you'd use 4 T marg, 4 T flour, 2 buillion cubes and 2 c milk. (Why didn't you just say that before, Ma???) For a larger dish, make source accordingly. (I'll get right on that) You don't have to use a buillion cube fore EVERY cup of milk, i.e, if making 4 cups of sauce, use 3 cubes. (Awesome! Less smashing!) NOTE FROM AMY: I add some curry powder to this white sauce to kick it up a notch. If you don't want to, it's still fine.

*You can use milk, lactaid, or try using water. (Love the helpful hints from Momma. I use lactaid.)

Crust: I (That would be Susan Elizabeth, my mother) "eyeball" the top crust. Mix a smallish amt of bisquick with water or milk to make biscuits. (Less is more, people. Less is more.) Roll our dough onto flour covered board and plot atop meat (dude, are we doing math problems here? Truth be told, I never roll and plot. I smush between my hands and then, I guess, plot?) mixture. It may break, that's OK. For a large pan, I make the crust in small pieces so I'm not handling too much at one time. (Amy then sprinkles caraway seeds on top of her crust. Feel free to ignore this part.)

Bake at 400 for about 20 mins. I ofen place the pot pie on a cookie sheet 'cause if it runs over, the oven won't be ruined! (I myself just wield a can of EZ-off fume free afterwards if need be.)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mediterranean Polenta

My midwife fed me this amazing polenta one day when she checked my blood glucose at a prenatal appointment and saw that it was 51. Well, she fed me after she yelled at me.

1 c cornmeal
1 c water
3 c stock (veg or chicken)
2 tsp dried basil
3 tomatoes, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
2 tbs olive oil
dash salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, combine cornmeal and water.
2. Combine the stock, herbs, salt and pepper in a nonstick pan. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and stir in cornmeal mixture slowly. Cooking, stirring constantly, for five minutes until the mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes more until thicker and smooth.
4. Add the diced veggies and oil and cook until veggies are soft. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand five minutes.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Jibne Wa Labneh

Feta cheese on sale at Meijer, three for five dollars yo!

1/2 lb feta
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 c olive oil

Crush the feta with a fork and blend the olive oil and yogurt. Serve with pitas or pita chips or whatever strikes your fancy.

Salatat Bathinjan

Because Amy needs more eggplant in her life, obviously. Hahaha.

1 lg. eggplant, peeled and sliced thick
8 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1-2 chopped jalepeno or other hot pepper
3 tbs lemon juice

1. Sprinkle eggplant with salt, allow to drain on paper towels for half hour.
2. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Fry both sides of slices until golden brown. Remove, dice, set aside.
3. Mash garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. Add to eggplant with peppers and lemon juice. Serve slightly chilled.

Branston Pickle

Oh, my parents eat this stuff on everything. Sandwiches and hot dogs or sausage. It's a Branston Pickle copycat recipe. My dad makes and jars it about twice a year.

9 oz carrots
1 medium rutabega
4 cloves garlic
4.5 oz dates
1 medium head cauliflower
2 onions
2 apples
2 zucchini (unpeeled)
15 sweet gherkins
1/2 lb dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 oz lemon juice
12 oz malt vinegar
1 tbs worcestershire
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cayenne pepper

I think my dad usually adds turmeric and also the recipe calls for Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce, but forget it.

Cube and/or chop all ingredients. Combine all in pot and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours (until the rutabega is cooked but firm). If you have the browning sauce, add that until it turns dark brown. Seal it in clean jars. Leave set for 3 weeks to let the flavor age.

Eat it on whatever. Ploughman's lunch includes cheese, bread, salad, apple, tomato, beets, pickled onion, etc.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Solution To Too Many Tomatoes Pasta Sauce

Oh my god! I have tomatoes coming out my ears! They are taking over my house! I have been eating tomato sandwiches for days! What do I dooooooo? Why, you make spaghetti sauce!!! I just kind of invented this one but it's gooood.

About six or so medium-large tomatoes, diced
1 can tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 t salt
some pepper
fresh basil snipped from your garden, to taste
pinch cloves
some oregano (remember, I don't measure things: do to taste.)
some rosemary

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium and saute the garlic and onion. Then add your diced tomatoes (don't forget to save the seeds from the heirloom tomatoes when you chop them up. They could be worth MONEY someday! At the very least, you can try to regrow them next year), the tomato paste, the sugar, salt, pepper, basil, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste from time to time (but don't burn your lip) and adjust any spices accordingly. I have no idea how long to simmer for. I'd say 45 minutes at the least but the longer you simmer it, the better it tastes. Sit down, relax, read your Surfer magazine or some Faulkner. When the house smells good, it's good. Serve over pasta of your choice or use in recipes like lasagna, etc. You can also put this in those freezer ziplocs and freeze for later use.