Sunday, January 25, 2009

Broccoli Potato Soup and Applesauce Raisin Bars

My Mother in Law treated us to lunch at Panera Bread, before leaving a few weeks ago. While there I picked up a few of their recipe cards. One was for Broccoli Potato Soup. The temperature had turned chilly once again, after teasing us with a few days of warmer weather. So I decided soup would be great for last night's dinner. Now one of my big problems is, I usually only read ingredients in a recipe, before deciding if I want to try it or not, LOL. I hadn't read the puree in a food processor part, and really didn't feel like going through all that trouble, so I improvised. I also wanted a creamy soup, so I used milk, for half the liquid in the recipe. So this is not the original Panera Bread recipe, but Cindy's version.


Broccoli Potato Soup

5 large russet potatoes, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 C chicken broth or stock
2 C milk
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb fresh broccoli, chopped

Cut peeled potatoes into 1 inch cubes. In a large pot, boil potatoes in chicken broth with garlic, until tender, about 15 minutes. Skim any froth off. Remove cooked potatoes with a slotted spoon. Add milk and broccoli. Bring to a boil and simmer until broccoli is tender, 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile mash potatoes. Once broccoli is tender, stir in mashed potatoes, Parmesan and Cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.


I was searching one of my dessert cook books, for a certain cookie, when I came upon this recipe. I had dog eared it, with intentions of making it, ages ago. Since it was a cold day, the kids were napping and we had no dessert in the house, I thought why not. This is more of a cake, than a bar, so I'm not sure why they titled it a Bar. Anyway, this is a really good dessert. It's so moist that it's hard to believe it is not a box mix. The raisins add a nice little surprise throughout and the spices are not over powering. Mr.B loved it, but then again, what child doesn't like cake with frosting, LOL.


Applesauce Raisin Bars


1 C sugar
1/3 C butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 C apple sauce, unsweetened
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C raisins


1/4 C butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer bowl combine sugar, 1/3 C butter and egg. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy ( 1-2 mins). Reduce speed to low; add flour, applesauce, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed ( 2-3 mins). By hand, stir in raisins. Spoon batter into greased 13X9 inch baking pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

In a small bowl combine all frosting ingredients, except the nuts. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth. By hand, stir in pecans. Frost cooled bars and cut into bars.
Yield:48 bars
Cindy's notes: I used Country Crock margarine, instead of butter in both the cake and frosting. I also cut the sugar in the bars to 3/4 C and it's still plenty sweet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BBQ Pork Pie

Last night's dinner was a big mystery to me. I woke up feeling sluggish and it stuck with me all day. All I kept thinking was, "what will I make for dinner?". I read a review for BBQ Spaghetti, on Baby Center, but we've had pasta 3 nights this week. Then I had seen Rachael Ray make a Chicken Thigh Pie, on her show Thursday and had thought that it was something to try. Well we have no chicken in the freezer, so that was out. I had leftover pork loin roast, so thought BBQ Pork Pie. Substitute pork for the chicken. So in the kitchen I went. I also used up the leftover sweet potato and squash from the pork roast, a few nights ago, so it was a double bonus there, LOL. I really enjoyed dinner. Finicky Mr.B begrudgingly ate half of his, but only because I told him he'd go hungry until breakfast, this morning. The pork seemed to be even more tender than before and the squash and sweet potatoes added a creaminess that went well with the crumble of the corn bread. This is a great way to use up leftover pork, chicken or even roast beef. I can't wait to try the Chicken Thigh Pie next.....


BBQ Pork Pie- inspired by Rachael Ray's Chicken Thigh Pie

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1C butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
2C leftover pork, chicken or roast beef
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup orange or pineapple juice
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 box cornbread mix,
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 C shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F (for Jiffy) for the cornbread. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with the sweet potatoes, squash and enough cold water to cover them. Bring the water up to a bubble, then reduce the heat to medium and boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and reserve. Melt butter in med sauce pot. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for about a minute. Whisk the stock and juice into the butter-flour mixture and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the barbecue sauce, corn, meat, squash and potatoes to the pan, and stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper and transfer to a casserole dish. Prepare cornbread batter according to package directions, adding cheese to the mix. Spread over the top of the casserole and bake until the bread is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pork Loin Roast with Root Vegetables and Holiday Bacon Appetizers

I'll start with the appetizers. I first saw these on the Pioneer Woman's blog, before Christmas. I had contemplated making them for my Cookie Party, but for some reason, I didn't. I had some thawed bacon the other day and I wasn't going anywhere, so I made some to snack on, while watching the Inauguration. Let me tell you how torturous these things are. I had to endure the smell of bacon and Parmesan for 2 hrs, before I could taste these little suckers. But it was worth the wait. They were crunchy, salty and crispy. I know they sound weird, gross even, but they are really oddly good.


Holiday Bacon Appetizers
The Pioneer Woman

Club Crackers,
Thin-Sliced Bacon,
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Begin by laying crackers on a cookie sheet, face up. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of cheese right out of the container… It can be slightly heaping. Now just spoon 1 teaspoon of cheese over each cracker. Repeat on each cracker… Until they’re all covered. Now take your package of bacon… Wrap 1/2 piece of bacon around each cracker… Being careful to completely cover the cracker. You want it to fit snugly, but don’t stretch it too tight as you wrap. Place the little delights on a baking sheet with a rack… And place the pan in a 250-degree oven for around 2 hours.


One of our big ways to save $$ on groceries, is to buy whole pork loins, when they come on sale. We then slice them into pork chops and roasts. Last night I made a roast in the oven with root vegetables. It was perfect for the weather we've been currently having. I seasoned the roast with spices, about 5 hrs before placing it in the oven. I roasted the pork and vegetables in the same pan. It came out really well. The vegetables were flavorful and the pork moist. I think next time I'll roast the veggies for a bit, before adding the meat, to get more caramelization.


Roast Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

1- 2 lb pork loin roast
2 T paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme in a small bowl. Rub mixture onto roast, until completely covered. Refrigerate roast at least 1 hr, before cooking. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and onion. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place vegetables into a baking dish. Place roast in center of vegetables and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2-2 hrs, or until internal temperature of pork is 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes, before slicing the roast.

Jambalya Pasta

Sorry no picture for this one. They were all too blurry. I really need one of those new Cannon cameras.....

This was this one of this weeks choices of Meal of the Week, on Baby Center's CFYF board. I figured I'd try it, for Hubby, cuz Lord knows I'm not a huge fan of sausage. Plus we had a coupon for a free package of sausage, from Kroger's, so that was a bonus, LOL. I went a tad crazy with the cayenne, a shake or two too many, so it was quite spicy. Hubby loved it and I enjoyed it with plenty of milk and garlic bread. I didn't even bother letting Mr.B try it, since it was so spicy, so he just had plain ole sauce with his linguini. Hubby commented that this dish would be a great date night dish. Next time I'll lighten up on the cayenne.

Jambalaya Pasta

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices or crumbled
2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
cayenne pepper to taste
8 ounces linguini fini, cooked

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add sausage; cook over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the chopped peppers, onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender.
Stir in the spaghetti sauce and remaining ingredients except pasta. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Spoon sauce over hot pasta.
Number Of Servings: about 4

Cindy's notes: I omitted the Balsamic, since we were out and I used Andouille sausage.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crescent Taco Bake and Cheesy Beans and Rice

I was in the mood for Mexican, so I decided to try these recipes I had copied from Baby Center's Cooking for your Family board. We had no tortillas or taco shells, so the Taco Bake was perfect, since I had crescent rolls in the fridge. These were really good and comforting. The rice was flavorful and I omitted the chilies, since I was hoping Mr.B would eat some. He however, did not, LOL. It was still too spicy. He turned his nose up at the Taco Bake before even tasting it, and even after our 1 bite rule, did not have any interest in it. My mother in law and I loved these dishes and were happy to eat the leftovers the next day. She even asked for the rice recipe, so that must account for something.


Cheesy Beans and Rice
LBsMom via Allrecipes.com

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained 2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided

Cook rice according to package directions. Transfer to a bowl; add the beans. In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Bring to a boil; remove from the heat.
In a 2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer a third of the rice mixture, cheese and tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining rice mixture and tomato mixture.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Cindy's notes: I used a 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes instead of tomatoes with chilies.


Rachel via Taste of Home Best Loved Casseroles

1 tube crescent rolls
2 cups crushed corn chips, divided
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream (used 2)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Unroll crescent rolls into a rectangle; press onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of a greased 13x9 baking dish. Seal the seams and perforations. Sprinkle with 1 cup of chips. Set aside.In a medium skillet, cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Spoon over chips. Top with sour cream, cheese and remaining chips.Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crockpot Black Eye Peas Soup and Dansk Galop Granskbread

Dansk Galop Granskbread, what the heck is she talking about??? Well, I thought the same thing when I saw this on Baby Center's CFYF board. It's a really quick, easy and delicious bread. It rises in the oven, so all you need to do is knead it the first time around. I tried this the other night, when I made soup, since I wanted fresh bread, but was too late on getting ingredients into the bread machine. I used Sandy's method and added some whole wheat flour and oatmeal to the dough. It was a really good bread. Not too dense, but not light and airy either. It was even really good toasted up the next morning.

So like I said, I had made the bread to go with Black Eyed Pea soup. This is a recipe from the Year of Crockpotting blog that I follow. I used some ham that I had in the freezer, since I'm not a big sausage fan. The soup was hearty and delicious. I wasn't too sure how the Italian seasoning would pair with the ham, but the flavors blended perfectly. Definitely a soup that I will be making again.

Dansk Galop Granskbread/ Danish Quick Yeast Bread

2 pkgs active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm milk (for yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 T butter, melted
4 cups flour
1 cup milk

Use large bowl. Dissolve yeast in half cup warm milk, stir a few minutes. Add salt, sugar and butter, mix well. Sift flour into bowl and add the rest of the milk, mix again.
Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth (5 to 10 minutes). Form loaf and place in greased loaf pan.
Place in COLD oven, set temperature on 350º and turn on heat. Bake 50-60 minutes. This is a very nutritious bread on account of the large amount of yeast. Because the oven is cold when bread is put in, the bread rises nicely.
Sandy’s Variation: In place of flour use 3 cups bread flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup oats.
Sally’s Variation: Use the regular beater on the Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix up the ingredients. When most of the flour is mixed it, switch to the dough hook and add the rest. Let it run for about 10 minutes.

Crockpot Black Eyed Pea Soup

1 pound dried black eyed peas
--1 pound spicy sausage (I used Aidells chicken habanero and green chile)
--6 cups chicken broth
--1 yellow onion, diced
--1 cup diced carrots
--1 cup diced celery
--4 cloves garlic, diced
--1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (not pictured. I didn't know I needed it at first. But I did.)
--1 tsp kosher salt
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--Tabasco sauce (to add at the end to taste)

The Directions.

Soak your beans overnight. Drain and pick out the undesirables (broken, discolored beans) in the morning.Use a 5 to 6 quart crockpot. This will serve about 8 people. Dice the veggies, and dump them into your crockpot with the pre-soaked beans. Add sliced sausage. Pour in broth, and stir in Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6. Before serving, use a stick blender to smash up about 1 cup of beans. If you don't have a stick blender, scoop out 1 cup of beans, blend them in a traditional blender, and add back to the soup. Don't blend too much---just enough to get the broth thicker and creamy-looking.Ladle into bowls, and add Tabasco sauce to taste.
Cindy's notes: I subbed about 1 lb of chopped ham for the sausage. Also, I don't have an immersion blender, so I just mashed up about half the bean/veggie mixture, with my trusty ole potato masher.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cheese Potato Crisps

Well, my Mother in law came down for Christmas and decided to stay, until the middle of this month, to sit for us, for my big concert. This time she came with a recipe in hand, that she thought I could try, one night for dinner. So I made these a few nights ago, to go with some breaded pork chops. The potatoes were good, but I thought they were missing something. Again maybe garlic, I don't know. They did taste better reheated the next day. Maybe if I would have followed the directions properly ( I just halved the potatoes instead of cutting them into 1/4 inch slices), they would have tasted better, LOL.


Cheese Potato Crisps

3 large baking potatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 C Kellogg's Corn Flakes, crushed to fine crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4C sliced green onion

Cut potatoes lengthwise, into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in single layer, in baking pan coated with cooking spray. Spray potatoes with cooking spray. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, then with cheese. Top with Corn Flakes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Serve hot garnished with green onion.
Cindy's notes: we were out of cooking spray, so I used olive oil, in the pan, and on drizzled on the potatoes. Also my potatoes were thicker, so it took more like 45 mins for mine to cook through.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chicken Diane and Armadillo Potatoes

We've been hit with a bad case of the crud in this house, which will explain my lack of posting, the past few weeks. My cold developed into Bronchitis, so I was pretty much out of commission. Thank goodness Hubby was home a few days and was able to feed us. Now that I am feeling better, it's time to get back into the kitchen.

Well as you all know I'm a regular on Baby Center's Cooking for your Family board. We have a Meal of the Week thread going, where someone post recipes they'd like to share with the rest of us. I've fallen far behind on making all the recipes and last night finally tried Chicken Diane, which had been on my meal plan for the past week or so. I decided to pair it with Armadillo Potatoes, which I had seen on the Family Fun website.

Dinner was good. The chicken was moist and flavorful. It was a tad salty, so next time I will skip the salt, before placing it into the pan. The mustard added a nice sharp tanginess that I really enjoyed. I skipped the Brandy, since we didn't have any ( not that I would use it anyway). The potatoes were OK. They seemed to lack something. I immediately thought garlic, so will try again, with the addition on either minced garlic or garlic powder, to the bread crumb mixture. Mr.B enjoyed dinner, which is a miracle now a days and my Mother in law agreed that the potatoes lacked a certain something. All in all it was a good dinner, but with a bit a tweaking, the recipes could be great.


Chicken Diane

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), pounded flat or cut into strips
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 t Dijon mustard
4 T minced onion
2 T butter
2 T lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ c chicken stock or broth
2 T chopped fresh chives or green onion
2 T Brandy
2 T minced fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Pound the chicken breasts or cut into strips to allow for faster cooking. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 T butter and 2 T olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add mustard and onion. Sauté over medium heat for a few minutes. Add chicken and cook until done, turning as needed. When chicken is cooked completely, remove to a plate and keep warm.
Add 2 T butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and chives or green onion to pan drippings. Cook for a few minutes. Add brandy and bring just to a boil, and flambé. If you don’t want to flambé, boil the sauce for a couple of minutes. Drizzle sauce over chicken, sprinkle parsley on top (optional), and serve.
Cindy's notes: I used white and dark meat. I seemed to prefer the dark meat, when eating the chicken. I omitted the Brandy, since we don't care for it.

Armadillo Potatoes

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

Step 1
Heat the oven to 450°. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set the mixture aside.
Step 2
Transform each potato half into an armadillo by cutting 9 or so notches 1/2 to 1 inch deep in the rounded top. For each armadillo, cut a square of aluminum foil big enough to loosely wrap around it, brush the center with olive oil, then place the potato on it, flat side down. Sprinkle the top with some of the crumb mixture, pressing it into the grooves, then seal the potato in the aluminum foil.
Step 3
Arrange all of the foil-covered potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them for 40 to 45 minutes. Open the pouches carefully they will be hot and full of steam. Makes 1 dozen armadillos.