Sunday, August 30, 2009

pasta with blank & blank

are you intrigued by the title? i called it that because really you can use whatever you want in this recipe. recently, i made this using leftover grilled chicken, onions, garlic, green peppers and crookneck squash. it's all about using what you have in the fridge and what is in season. i did NOT have to buy anything special for this recipe.

i used the following items from my pantry:

dried minced onion
chicken broth
parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

i used the following items in the pasta that i just had on hand:

fresh basil ( loooove growing it in the summer)
leftover grilled chicken
crookneck squash, halved, seeds removed and cut into slices
green bell pepper, sliced

heat water for the pasta you are using. cook according to package directions.

in a large skillet, heat some olive oil and stir fry the veggies you are going to use. i sliced up the leftover chicken and added it to the pan for heating. push all the veggies to the sides of the skillet and melt 2 T butter in the skillet. with a whisk, blend in 1 T cornstarch. add chicken stock to make a nice sauce. make it as thin or as thick as you'd like. when the pasta is done, drain and add it to the skillet with the chicken and vegetables. stir gently to combine. garnish with fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

green beans with browned butter and almonds

i have to give real credit for this recipe to erin, as she pointed me in this direction last thanksgiving when i was looking for recipes.

disclaimer: of COURSE i prefer fresh green beans to canned. however, my fabulous mother-in-law has a giant garden and i have quarts and quarts of canned green beans to use. i really enjoy cooking meals from my pantry and my freezer, because it makes life simple. i need simple, but as a foodie, i need delicious.

i'm not gonna kids don't really dig the almonds in this recipe, but i do, so they're stuck with them. and they do eat them. they would just prefer that i leave them out.

as usual, i'm a cook, not a baker, and measurements here aren't precise. i throw stuff in a pan and we eat it. sometimes i have an epic fail, but most of the time we love what i made. (i'll post a pasta recipe later that is a great example of using what i had on hand to make dinner.)

this recipe makes a large batch - but i have four hungry kids to feed. :)

green beans with browned butter and almonds

*2 quarts green beans, drained
*1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
*1/4-1/2 cup sliced almonds
*salt and pepper to taste

in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. when the butter is melted, add the almonds. continue to watch the butter closely, as you want it to brown. it will start to foam. stir the almonds well at this point and reduce the heat. you could burn the butter if you don't pay attention... and then you'd have to start over. after the butter foams, add the green beans and stir to coat. reduce the heat to low, cover and heat through.

ready in 10 minutes or less and super tasty. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

my new best friend

ladies and gentlemen, meet my new pal:

i bought the larger of the two knives - it's got a 7 inch blade. i am straight pimpin' with this knife. if you love to cook, you NEED a really great knife... i thought i had really good knives until i tried this one.

instant love.

i did buy the pearl handled knife, as i thought it looked elegant and classy. plus all my other knives have a boring old black handle.

you should have seen me cut pineapple with this baby - i sliced through three of them in no time at all. and if you've ever cut up a pineapple, you know it's not easy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

cake mix cinnamon rolls

wha??? who makes cinnamon rolls with a cake mix? i thought it sounded ridiculous, but dude.. they were really good! my kids really liked them and so did my husband.

cinnamon rolls

*1 pkg cake mix (yellow, white or spice. i used spice, cuz that's what i had)
*4-6 cups white flour (i snuck in 1 cup whole wheat)
*2 pkgs (or 4 1/2 tsp.) yeast
*2 1/2 cups warm water

put the dough hook on your kitchen aid and mix this all together. start with 4 cups of flour and gradually add UP to 2 cups more until the dough is smooth. it should stick to the dough hook and not to the bowl. continue to let the hook knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

remove the bowl from the mixer and oil the sides and bottom of the bowl and the top of the dough. i spray it with pam. cover and let rise until double. this could take up to 60-90 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.

*1/4 cup melted butter
*1/3 cup white sugar
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1 tsp. cinnamon

mix sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 14' by 10" rectangle. (yes, i really measured. you might want to, too. i had no idea how big (or small) that really is.)

brush the dough with butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. roll the dough, starting from the long side, like a jelly roll. cut into 12 pieces and place into a buttered 9x13 pan. to get even pieces, cut the dough roll in half, in half again, and then cut each piece into thirds. :) handy little tip there...

repeat this process for the other piece of dough. let both pans of dough rise until double (about 20-30 mins). i usually speed the process by placing the pans into a 170 degree oven for 20 minutes.

preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes. remove from oven and make frosting. let cool for 20 minutes before frosting.

*6 T butter, softened
*3 cups powdered sugar
*1 1/2 t. vanilla
*2-3 T milk

beat butter, sugar and vanilla together. add milk gradually until you get the desired consistency.

spread frosting on the cinnamon rolls and serve. these didn't last long at my house.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

twix salad

i knew it had been a while since i last blogged, but wow...i had NO idea it had been more than a month! now that's out of the way... i'm happy to share a recent recipe success with you. warning: this has UTAH and MORMON written all over it, but that certainly doesn't diminish the tastiness of it.

i like to make yummy things to take to our company potlucks, because they are actually appreciated there. my husband appreciates and enjoys my cooking, and i think my kids do, too, but they really take me for granted. we recently had a potluck for a coworker who was quitting. he has been commuting to logan from farmington for the last year while his house was on the market, and was never able to sell it, so he decided he needed to quit and take a job closer to home. can't say as i blame him; commuting that far would not be ideal for me, either. his favorite candy is twix and i knew i wanted to make a dessert, so i started looking on teh internetz for a recipe, but wasn't finding anything appealing. i didn't want to recreate the twix bar (it's already fairly perfect) as much as i wanted to incorporate it into a dessert. i asked a friend who used to be a pastry chef and he pointed me towards a great recipe for a snickers salad and i tweaked it a bit to make it the TWIX salad. i think you could use any candy bar, honestly... i made a double batch, since this was for potluck, and it fit nicely into a very large bowl. there was NONE left over and some people didn't even get any. did i mention i work with men with hollow legs? maybe i left that part out...

twix salad

*1 12-oz container of cool whip (i used western family brand, cuz i'm cheap frugal)
*1 large box instant vanilla pudding (i used jell-o brand, cuz the WF brand was sold out)
*3-4 granny smith apples, cored and diced, but NOT peeled
*3-4 pkgs of twix bars (or 2 king size bars)
*1 1/2 cups milk

the whipped topping needs to be thawed before you assemble this recipe, so factor that in when you decide to make it. i think if you wanted to whip up something quick and didn't have time for cool whip to thaw, you could whip cream (2 pints, probably) and sweeten it with sugar.

first, mix the pudding with the 1 1/2 cups of cold milk. it will be fairly thick. let the pudding sit for about 2 minutes, and then fold in the whipped topping.

now it's time to cut your apples. i have one of these:

at my house, we call it the ka-chonker. a friend told me this is what he called it, and my kids love that name, so it has stuck. that is the sound it makes when you use it on apples: KA-CHONK.

i used the ka-chonker to speed up the process. it really doesn't matter how big or small you cut up the apples - small enough to fit on a spoon. you'll want them to be about the same size as the twix bars when you cut the them.

stir the apple chunks into the pudding/whipped topping mixture.

cut up the twix bars and add them to the salad, mix well. refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

you'll be popular, i promise. :) enjoy.