Monday, July 12, 2010

spinach salad with poppy seed dressing

there is this local restaurant here in the valley O' cache that has a few salads to die for. one of them is a broccoli salad with golden raisins (would be better with the addition of bacon IMHO) and the other is a spinach salad.

both have an amazing poppy seed salad dressing on them. i think it's the same dressing. anyway. i spent an hour at my mother's house trying to recreate the dressing...and by jove, i think i figured it out. at least i came close.

you should make this salad tonight, because it's july and it's hot. and you don't need to cook anything.

poppy seed dressing

*2/3 cup sugar (experiment with the amount. 1/2 cup might be plenty.)
*1/3 cup warm water
*1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
*1 cup vegetable oil
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1-2 tsp. poppy seeds

whisk together water, sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved. add the salt and poppy seeds. slowly whisk in vegetable oil and mix well. makes about 2 1/2 cups.

spinach salad

i don't really have measurements for this salad, because i just toss it all into a bowl. it's a salad for heck's sake. so.. these are guesstimates, like all my cooking. sorry if this makes you crazy.

*2 lbs spinach (2 16 oz bags. i like to buy the prewashed organic baby spinach.)
*1/2-3/4 cup feta cheese
*1 cup sliced strawberries
*1/2 cup roasted almonds (roasted sweetened almonds are amazing!)
*poppy seed dressing to taste (about 1 cup)

don't mix this together until right before serving. i like to toss the salad together first, and then put the strawberries on top. otherwise, the feta cheese turns pink.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

rice oriental

ahhh....rice oriental. you were my favorite hamburger helper flavor, and then betty lame-o crocker discontinued you. as the only asian-inspired hamburger helper flavor, i think you should launch a complaint and request an investigation. or, maybe the asian community is happy to no longer have hamburger helper associated with them in any way, shape or form.

i am getting way off track. if you know me, you know i'd almost rather die than make any food that comes from a box. processed food is the devil, and you are supporting satan by buying, "preparing," and serving processed food to your family. disclaimer: we do eat kraft macaroni and cheese (rarely), suddenly salad, and ramen noodles. i'm not perfect, ok?? when i was growing up, my mom used to make us the rice oriental hamburger helper, and it was faaaaantastic. i loved it. for years, i have always kept a box or two of it in the pantry when i didn't have much time to cook dinner or just felt like having one of my favorite childhood meals. then they quit making it...and i had to figure out how to duplicate this on my own.

another thing you should know (if you don't already): i substitute ground turkey in almost EVERY single recipe that calls for hamburger. the first reason is that it's healthier. the second reason is that it is cheaper. also? you almost never have to drain ground turkey, which saves you an extra step. so. in this recipe, i'm going to tell you that i used ground turkey, but if you are a hamburger person, that is fine. use hamburger. i'll still love you.

rice oriental

*1 lb lean ground turkey (you can use 1.5 lbs, but it comes in 1 lb packages)
*1 pkg lipton onion soup mix
*1 pkg brown gravy mix (or onion gravy)
*1 cup raw rice (any kind is fine. but not minute rice. ick!)
*3 cups water
*2-3 T soy sauce

in a large skillet, brown the turkey. season with a bit of salt and pepper, but go super easy on the salt. the lipton soup mix has quite a bit of sodium in it already. if using hamburger, drain it first and return to pan. otherwise, add all the other ingredients, mix well  and bring to a boil. cover and simmer until rice is cooked, about 20-25 mins.

my kids and my husband love this - and it's pretty darn close to the hamburger helper i loved so much.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

yummy swiss chard

swiss chard? what the heck is that? and moreover, who the heck buys this stuff?

apparently, i do. i belong to a produce co-op and i've gotten this in my basket a few times. at first, i was totally overwhelmed with it, but this saturday i had to restrain myself from asking someone if they wanted to trade their swiss chard for my romaine lettuce. or the bunch of spinach that i got.

swiss chard is kind of like spinach - earthy, yet delicious. however, it has a stalk that is much like rhubarb. the best way to cook it is to remember that it's really TWO vegetables in one: the stalk and the leaves.

so i found this recipe on the internet...and i gave it a go. it turned out spectacular, and i'm sharing it with you today. it also uses one of my absolute favorite cooking techniques: roasting. i love roasting so much that i'll even do it in july, when having a hot oven going in the kitchen is one of the worst things ever.

best ever swiss chard

*1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned - remove the leaves from the stalks and chop the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. you can leave the leaves whole, or rip them into smaller pieces
*2 T extra virgin olive oil
*kosher salt
*1 T heavy cream (secret tip: milk works fine if you don't have cream or want to buy it.)
*1/4 to 1/2 C grated parmesan (please don't use that powdered crap)

preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. prepare the chard. it will look like a ton of chard, but it will shrink a bunch during cooking. put just the stems in a 9x13 baking dish (or whatever you have) and drizzle with half of the olive oil. sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. roast for about 20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven and place the leaves on top of the stems. drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and season again with kosher salt and pepper. roast until the leaves wilt - about 5 minutes.

remove the pan from the oven and toss the leaves with the stems with a pair of tongs. stir in the cream and test the seasonings. adjust as necessary. sprinkle with the parmesan and return to the oven until the cheese melts, about another 5 minutes.

this will serve 2-3 as a side dish. your kids will likely turn their nose up at it, but they make like it, especially if you make a contest out of it or something.

let me know if you make this...and if you like it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

asparagus with balsamic butter sauce

i can't believe i'm going to say this out loud, but i've got to get something off of my chest:

i am sick of asparagus.

whew. i feel better now.

that's really hard for me to say because it's such a weird thing to say... it's almost as bad as me saying i'm sick of diet mountain dew or reese's peanut butter cups, right?

i contribute to a produce co-op, and every week for the last 2 months or so, i've gotten 1-2 bunches of asparagus. this is my favorite recipe. preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

*1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
*1-2 T olive oil

place asparagus on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. roast for 10-12 minutes or until desired tenderness.

melt together:

*4 T butter
*2 T soy sauce
*2 t. balsamic vinegar

drizzle butter sauce over roasted asparagus and serve.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

my favorite chex mix

i don't know who to attribute this recipe to... but i think it's so widely known and redistributed that it won't matter if i publish it here. this is my favorite sweet chex mix, as it has some of my very favorite things in it.

when i say favorite, you all know that means "favorite at the moment," right? because i have SO many favorite things. pasta. butter. garlic. brown sugar. almonds. steel cut oats. ice cream. raspberries. diet ginger ale. cheese. horseradish. grilled steak. red peppers. onion salt. balsamic vinegar. alfredo sauce. david beckham. coconut. chex cereal. pistachios. ruby red grapefruit. granny smith apples. avocados. blah. blah. blah.

i could go on and on.

this year, i made this for my neighbors. this recipe makes 8 of the 5.2 cup rubbermaid take alongs.

*1 box rice chex (the big box)
*1 box golden grahams
*12 oz sliced almonds (you can use cashews, too)
*1 pkg coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, whatever you want.)

*2 sticks butter (do i really have to give you my "don't substitute margarine" speech?)
*1 1/2 c. light corn syrup (karo)
*1 1/2 c. sugar
*1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

mix the first four ingredients in a ginormous bowl. or 2 smaller bowls. i don't own a bowl that is large enough. in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar and the corn syrup. bring to a boil and and boil for 3 minutes, constantly stirring. remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pour over cereal. spread out to cool and place in containers. or horde it all for yourself, which is what i really wanted to do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

apron giveaway

a friend of a friend is giving away aprons - you have 1.5 hours left to enter (contest closes at 8 p.m. MST)...

here's the link:

good luck!

pork loin recipe later this week...potato pancake recipe below...

potato pancakes

last week when i was at sam's club, pork loin was on sale for $1.48 a pound. i don't know if you're a savvy shopper, but believe me when i tell you that's a screaming deal. i selected a nice 5.5 pound loin and brought it home.

as i was preparing the loin for roasting, i was trying to decide what would go well with it. i remembered my mom used to make potato pancakes when i was a kid...and i knew they'd go really well with the pork loin. they're kind of like hashbrowns, but have a little bit more substance due to the addition of egg and flour.

the most important part of this recipe? draining the potatoes well. they will darken a little bit if you just let them drain, so the best way to avoid this is to put them into a clean dishtowel and wring them out.

potato pancakes

*4-5 medium size russet potatoes (2 lbs-ish...), peeled and grated
*1/2 onion, chopped fine or grated
*1 T dried parsley
*1/4 cup flour
*2 eggs, beaten
*1-2 T milk
*salt and pepper to taste
*vegetable oil for frying

peel the potatoes and shred in the food processor. you can also grate them by hand. i like to use the food processor and toss in the onion, too. it's easy.

drain the potatoes well, either by placing in a colander in the sink or by wringing them out in a clean dishtowel. put the potatoes in a bowl and mix in all the other ingredients. mix until just combined.

if the mixture becomes too runny, just drain off the excess water.

heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. drop spoonfuls of potato pancake batter into hot oil, and spread out with the back of the spoon so the pancake isn't too thick. let cook until golden brown, flip over and cook on the other side. serve hot with pork loin (i'll post a recipe for that later this week or next! i have a kick A bbq sauce recipe!).

makes 4-5 pancakes. serves 4 (assuming there are no hollow legs in your family!)