These are recipes for simple, easy, homemade dishes. I make no promises about portion size or fat content, etc., but they are dishes that I have prepared and liked. I don't post pictures because I don't have fabulous lighting, nor a great camera. I can promise that I haven't just made things up without trying the recipe and this is all stuff other people have tried and no one spit anything out in disgust. Not yet, anyway! I don't take cool supporting photos of the steps along the way (but wait, are you telling me you are going to cook those nuts in the microwave in that METAL bowl?) but these are real recipes that a regular cook/baker should be able to figure out. I love the work of Deb at Smitten Kitchen - she provides the whole package!!! Good food, witty comments and lovely photos. If you want to see a REAL food blog, check her out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Browned Brussels Sprouts

I was reading an article from my mother (breast cancer survivor) just this morning about the benefits of eating cabbage-type food.  I thought with gladness about the big bag of Brussels Sprouts in my fridge, just waiting to be browned within an inch of their lives.

This recipe is all mine.  It doesn't work quite as well with frozen Brussels Sprouts, so I tend to make it when they go on sale for the holiday season.  If you like them softer, add a little more water so that they braise longer.  You could also add seasonings with the water such as cayenne, or a dollop of mustard.  You could also add thyme instead at the end...etc. etc. etc.

9 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut into quarters along the stem
1/2 T olive oil
1/4 c water
1 T butter
1 garlic
S&P to taste

Saute the sprouts in the olive oil for about 4 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the water and simmer until dry and the sprouts have softened.  Add the butter and saute, stirring constantly, until they are a deep brown color.  Add garlic toward the very end.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

There are lots of rules about bread puddings.  My least favorite is the one about using a Bain Marie to cook them.  This recipe is pretty hard to goof up, since there's a nice amount of chocolate, so I don't usually bother with the hot water bath.  You can do it if you want, but it is not necessary.  This also never seems to mix very well.  The chocolate just doesn't really mix into all the other stuff for me, so it tends to be chocolate-chunk pudding.  I've used a variety of things instead of the half and half, without any bad results.  Part milk, part yogurt (plain); part milk, part sour cream... you get the idea.  Also, the yummier the bread, the yummier the pudding - it would be great with brioche or croissants, but I tend to use leftover store-made french bread because that's what I have available.  If you get a chance to let the bread cubes dry out beforehand, that will help a little too.

1 c half-and-half
1 T dark rum
1 T vanilla
3 c bread cubes
1 large egg
1/4 c sugar
6 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 325-degrees.  Mix the first three ingredients and toss with the bread cubes.  Cream together the egg and sugar, then mix in the chocolate.  Toss everything, then put into two well-greased 2-cup dishes.  Put those two dishes into a large pan and fill halfway with boiling water.  Put all into the oven and bake 30-35 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes, then remove from oven.  Serve with whipped cream and grated chocolate (or just eat as-is!)

Sausage, Potato, Cheese Waffles

These can probably be cooked as pancakes, but since I have a waffle iron, I use that.  Reducing a recipe can sometimes yield silly-sounding ingredients.  This one calls for 1-1/2 oz Italian sausage.  Take my word for it that you can use any kind of sausage (or even bacon) and the amount is not that critical.  You want enough sausage to taste it, but not so much that it fills the waffle and overpowers the other flavors.  Maybe two brown-and-serves would work?

1-1/2 oz Italian Sausage
1/2 russet potato, grated and squeezed dry
2 T butter
1 c flour
1/2 T b powder
14 c shredded cheddar
2 t parsley, chopped
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 c milk
1 egg, beaten

Cook the sausage til browned, add potato and cook 2 more minutes.  Add butter to pan and cool 10 minutes.  Mix the dry ingredients, and mix the milk and egg together.  Combine all and stir just until mixed.  Cook as waffle iron directs.  (or cook on heated pan as pancakes)

Welsh Cakes

These are difficult to describe.  They are like pancakes, but only sort of.  There's a pretty hefty amount of butter in these, so they are yummy as they are - no need for a plate and syrup and stuff.  I think of them as also being like crumpets of English muffins, but that's because my mother sometimes made them from scratch and when they are fresh off the grill, they don't need to be toasted, just like these cakes.  They are wonderful the next day after being toasted...  Just TRY THEM!  And you will need to use currents, because raisins are just too big.

1-1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t b powder
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
1/2 c butter
1/3 c currents
1 egg beaten
2 T milk

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in butter to small pea size.  Stir in currents.  Mix egg and milk and add.  Mix just til ball of dough forms.  Knead briefly and roll to 1/4" thick.  Cut into wedges.  Heat an ungreased skillet over medium heat.  Add wedges and cook 2 minutes on the first side and 1-1/2 minutes on the second side.  They will turn golden brown and change consistency.  YUMMM!

Southwest Grilled Cheese

This was supposed to be cooked on a panini press, but I don't have room for something like that, so it's just a grilled cheese in my book.

1/2 c shredded cheddar
1/2 c shredded zucchini
1/4 c shredded carrot
2 T shredded red onion
2 T salsa
4 sliced bread

Mix first 5 ingredients.  Spread 2 slices with 1/2 mixture on each, add second slice to form sandwich. Butter outside of bread and then grill on each side until golden brown.

Vietnamese Sandwich

I finally bought a small George Foreman grill because of this sandwich.  The grill works great to cook the chop for this sandwich.  YUMMY!

1/4" boneless pork loin chop
lime juice
red onion
fresh cilantro
S&P to taste

Grill the chop, then make a sandwich.

Olive Pasta

2 T olive oil
2 chicken breast, diced
2 scallion, chopped
1/2 t basil
1/2 c kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 garlic
2 T Parmesan
10 sun-dried tomato, chopped
1 T minced parsley
4 oz fettuccine, cooked
Heat oil and saute chicken til no pink remains.  Add remaining ingredients, except pasta.  Saute 5 minutes, then toss with pasta and serve.

Potato Soup

This one calls for potato flakes - I have never bothered with them, mostly because I don't like my soup too thick, but it's also a nuisance for just 1 tablespoon.

2 potatoes, cubed
1/3 onion, roughly chopped
1-1/3 c milk
1/3 carrot, grated
1 t butter
1 T potato flakes
1 t parsley
S&P to taste
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
grated cheddar cheese
sour cream

Boil potato and onion until tender.  Drain.  Add milk, carrot, butter and flakes.  Bring to a boil, then simmer 2-3 minutes.  Garnish with remaining ingredients.

Loaded Spinach Salad

6 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
3 c baby spinach
1 cooked beet, chopped
1 c carrot, shredded
blue cheese dressing

Make a salad.  This is probably meant for two.  Bacon would be a nice addition.  There were also pecans in the original, that I left out...

Tuscan White Bean Stew

2 t oil
1 garlic
3 slices bread, cubed (use good hearty bread!)
1 T oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic
1 t rosemary
3/4 c stock
1/2 can cannellini
S&P to taste

Heat oil and saute garlic briefly.  Add bread and fry til crunchy and golden brown.  Set aside for garnish.  Heat oil and saute onion and carrot 6-7 minutes or until soft.  Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer 3-4 minutes.  Serve with bread as garnish.

Szechuan Braised Meatballs

1/8 lb ground beef
1 t cornstarch
1/4 t 5-spice powder
1/2 c broth
1/2 T cornstarch
2 t oil
1 t oil
1 garlic
1/4 t cayenne
2 T Hoisin sauce
2 c Napa, shredded
1/2 small can water chestnuts, sliced
1 scallion, chopped for garnish

Mix beef, cornstarch and 5-spice powder.  Shape 6 small patties.  Mix broth and cornstarch, set aside.  Heat 2 t oil, fry patties until browned.  Plate.  heat 1 t oil, briefly saute garlic and cayenne.  Add Hoisin, Napa, chestnuts and broth mixture.  Bring to a simmer.  Add patties, then simmer 8-10 minutes.  Top with scallions and serve.

Corn Bacon Chowder

2 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
1 T oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic
1/2 t thyme
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 T flour
14 oz broth
1/2 c milk
1 c corn (frozen)
1 c hash browns
1 t lemon juice
2 T fresh chives, chopped for garnish

Saute onion in oil 2-3 min until soft.  Add seasonings and saute briefly.  Add flour and cook 1 minute more.  Add broth and milk, heat til simmering, stirring all the while.  Add corn and potatoes, and bring back to simmer.  Simmer GENTLY 4-5 minutes.  Add lemon juice, bacon; stir.  Garnish with chives and serve.

Cherry Burgers

1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 c dried cherries, chopped
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/2 garlic
1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t Worcestershire
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Mix ingredients, shape burgers, grill, serve.

Orange Beef

My son likes this one also, probably because there is nothing but meat.  I usually serve this with couscous (I don't do rice very well.  It's difficult to make small amounts of rice, IMHO.)

1/2 lb sirloin or round, cut into thin strips
1 T tamari or soy
1/2 T cornstarch
1/4 t pepper
     mix the above together, then set aside to mix the following sauce:
zest of one orange
1" ginger, grated
1/4 c juice from orange
1/2 T tamari
1 t cornstarch
1 T sugar
1 T sherry
1/2 T Hoisin
2 t sesame oil
scallion, sliced for garnish

Saute the beef in a hot pan with oil.  Once most pink is gone, add the sauce and cook until thick and saucy,  Garnish with scallions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken and Corn Stew

This is a yummy stew/soup.  Hearty and throws together quickly.  If you add some more vegetables, you'll have a good one-dish meal.  (No, corn doesn't count as a vegetable!)

1 T oil
3/4 c chopped onion
1 garlic
2 chicken breast, diced
1/2 T cumin
1/4 t cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 t salt
1-1/2 c broth
5 oz (frozen) corn
1/2 of a 15oz can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c sour cream
2 T cilantro, chopped

Heat oil and saute onion til soft and starting to brown.  Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds.  Add chichken and saute til slightly browned.  Add cumin, cayenne, salt, broth and bring to a boil.  Add corn and beans, and return to a boil.  Simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

Alfredo Pasta with Vegetables

The original of this recipe called for tagliatelle, but when I saw the prices for that, I switched to regular ole egg noodles.  This can be made with any vegetables too, I think.  The key is to chop them real small - like 1/4" or less.  I'd also consider what vegetables to cook at what time - blanching carrots cut to 1/4" will take a lot more time than zucchini cut to 1/8".  I'd get the water boiling, then drop in the carrots for 2-3 minutes and then drop the zuchini in for maybe 45 seconds more before draining the whole thing through a seive and dropping it on the pasta and sauce.

2 T butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 c cream
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
4 oz ham, diced
9 oz cubed, blanched vegetables
9 oz pasta, cooked
chive, chopped

Melt the butter in a small pot and cook the onions just until tender.  Add the cream and cook until reduced into a creamy sauce consistency.  Add the  ham, cheese, vegetables and pasta and heat while stirring.  Adjust S&P, then garnish with chopped chive.

Posole with Corn Gorditas

This recipe is a little fussy.  I would certainly suggest forgetting the gorditas if you don't want to bother - some chewy bread might be good with the posole, or cornbread.  On the other hand, the gorditas went together quickly, so that's why I have them together here.  You could also substitute meats too, I'm sure, without really changing the soup too much.

1/4 c (frozen) corn
1/3 c masa or cornmeal
1 T flour
1/2 t b powder
1/8 t cayenne (or to taste)
1/8 t salt
1/2 T oil
1 t oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic
1-1/2 c stock
1 c water
1-1/2 c canned hominy (drained and rinsed a little)
1/2 T hot sauce (Sriracha) (or to taste)
1/4 lb pork, thinly sliced
2 T cilantro, chopped
1 radish, thinly sliced
2 T red onion, minced
1/4 c lettuce, shredded (Romaine or heartier)

Heat oven to 400-degrees.  Mix the ingredients for the gorditas with just enough water to form a medium-firm dough.  Form six balls and flatten on cookie sheet to 1/4" thick rounds.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until a nice golden brown.  Remove to rack to cool to keep them crisp.  Saute the 1/2 onion with the oil until the onion starts to brown.  Add the garlic and saute one minute more.  Add the stock, water and hominy.  Bring to a boil.  Add the hot sauce and pork.  Bring back to a boil, then simmer for four minutes.  Remove from heat.  Garnish with cilantro, radish, red onion and lettuce, and serve with the gorditas.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Chicken

All I can say is - even my son likes this one!  (probably because there are no vegetables or starches, just chicken.)

1/2 T b sugar
1 T honey
2 T tamari (soy sauce)
1 t gingerroot
1 t garlic
1T hot sauce (Sriracha) - to taste
2 chicken breasts
1/2 T oil

Mix the first 6 ingredients and set aside.  Salt and pepper the breast, and slice into very thin strips.  Heat the frying pan until quite hot, then quickly drizzle in the oil and add the chicken.  Saute briefly until only a little pink remains.  Drop the heat to medium, add the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until the sauce has reduced and the chicken is sticky.

Veggie Reubens

My most favorite bread is Lithuanian Rye from Racine Bakery in Chicago.  They carry it at the local market and I just love it.  It keeps beautifully in the freezer and makes a lovely sandwich.  The other key ingredient in this "dish" is pickled red cabbage.  I prefer it to using sauerkraut, since it has a milder flavor that pairs well with the vegetables.  Speaking of vegetables, I have used a wide variety of things inside these sandwiches.  The broccoli slaw mix or rainbow mix works really well: almost any vegetable slivered into matchsticks (mandolin!) works.  Baby spinach, onions, mushrooms, carrots...

    1 T mayo
    2 t katsup
    2 t capers
    2 t pickle relish
2 t oil
1 c raw slivered vegetables
2 slices rye bread
2 slices swiss cheese
1/4 c pickled red cabbage

Mix the relish and set aside.  Heat the oil and saute the vegetables until crisp-tender.  Transfer to a plate.  Assemble the sandwich: bread, cheese, veggies, cheese, bread.  Melt the butter, add the sandwich and cook til the bread is nice and brown.  Turn over and brown the second side.  Eat with relish!

Spicy Cioppino

I'm not a fan of fish - I usually overcook it.  This is a great way to get more fish in my diet.  I use the frozen fillets, and don't really defrost them.  I usually cut the vegetables, then put the frozen fillet on the cutting board while I get the soup going.  Then I chop it roughly into 1" chunks just before dropping it into the cooking soup.

2 small red potatoes, 1/4'd
2 t oil
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t cayenne (or to taste)
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 c white wine
1/4 c water
2 roma tomatoes, diced
3-6 oz tilapia
1 T capers
1 T fresh parsley, chopped

Cook the potatoes; either boil briefly, or microwave before roughly chopping.  Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onions 5 minutes or til soft and lightly browned.  Add the seasonings, wine and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add tomatoes and simmer 2 minutes.  Add the fish and simmer 8 minutes or til fish is just cooked.  Garnish with capers and parsley just before serving.

Mueseli from Mrs. King

How could I forget to post this first?  I eat this every single weekday and some weekends too.  As I prepared this morning's portion, it dawned on me that it should have been first.  Oh well.  Chocolate made sense too as a first.  I prepare this when I first get up, and eat it when I get to work, so it has time to absorb - about an hour.  I've eaten it right away too because I like chewy - not so chewy to make you feel like a wildman, but good and chewy.  I've tried various other oatmeals and even the Quaker multi grain mix, and have found that the Trader Joe's Multi Grain mix just beats them all.  Anyway...

1 c Rubbermaid container
1/3 c multi grain mix
2-3 T dried cranberries
7 dried cherries
1/4 - 1/3 Granny Smith apple, chopped fine
3-4 T plain Activia

I measure the grains into the bowl, then sprinkle a small handful of craisins on top.  I count the cherries on top (they are expensive!), then put lukewarm/warm tapwater until it just covers the mix.  Then I cut up the apple, put it on top, dollop some yogurt over the top (spreading it around a little to keep the apple from discoloring).  Pop on the lid and off to work I go.  I stir it just before eating.  (I'm enjoying a bowl right now!)  It's not too sweet although the dried cranberries have sugar on them.  I've tried flavored yogurts, and using juice, but the results are too sweet, to me, for breakfast everyday.  This has a nice tang from the yogurt, but not too overpowering.  I've tried other apple varieties, but I like the crunch of the Granny Smiths.  I'm trying to add flax seed for health benefits, but I love it the way it is.  (I would also add nuts to boost the protein profile, if they didn't give me hives!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Banana-Oatmeal Hotcakes

I'm not a huge fan of banana, nor pancakes, but these are tasty!  I prefer to eat them without syrup, so they're kind of sweet on their own.  I use Trader Joe's whole grain mix instead of oats because I like the chewiness.  If you prefer softer hotcakes, use instant oats.  They make about 12 tangerine-sized pancakes.

1/3 c oats
1/2 c water
3 T brown sugar
1T oil
1/2 c flour
3/4 t b powder
1/8 t b soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 c milk
2 T yogurt
1/2 banana, mashed
1 egg, beaten

Directions: Microwave the oats and water for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.  Add brown sugar and oil, then set aside to cool.  Mix the remaining dry ingredients.  Combine the remaining wet ingredients, add the dry mixture and then the oats.  Stir only until just mixed.  Cook on hot skillet in 2T measures, spreading the mixture.

Instructions: Measure the oats and then water into a microwave-safe bowl.  Be sure to use a large enough bowl as the oats will bubble up A LOT in the microwave. Cook, then take out using a mitt or towel as it will be hot.  Measure in the brown sugar and the oil, but don't bother mixing it; just leave the bowl to cool while you do the other steps.  Get a small mixing bowl and measure each of the remaining dry ingredients into it.  Use a fork to mix them pretty well.  Get a second mixing bowl and using that fork, smash the 1/2 banana against the side of the bowl.  Chunk size is a personal preference, I think.  Once done, move it to the side of the bowl.  break the egg into the other side and beat it gently until well mixed.  Add the yogurt and mix all three things pretty well with the fork.  Dump in the flour mixture and stir just a little bit.  Add the oats and make sure the whole thing is pretty well mixed, but don't over-do it or the flour gluten will start to form strands and the cakes will get tough.  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until you can feel that the surface is hot with your hand about an inch over the surface.  I use a non-stick skillet, but I still add a little butter to the pan because I don't add any butter or syrup when I eat them and I like the saltier edges with the extra almost-crunchiness from the frying action.  I use the fork to measure out the mixture - if I use a spoon I get carried away and make them too big.  Dollop the mixture and then spread it out pretty thin since they will not spread out on their own.  Put a few more on, but don't crowd the pan since the first turn will be gloppy and you'll need room.  You might get some bubbles that break and don't fill in (the classic pancake turning point) but this isn't likely.  I judge by the look of the batter (you can see it starting to change on the bottom half of the sides) and by sneaking a look at the underside using a spatula (keeping in mind that the edges tend to darken more than the middles and you don't want these undercooked).  I suggest doing a single pancake for the first one so that you can see how it cooks and expect it to be not quite right (think of it as the hafrashat challah?).  I don't know if these keep very well, since I usually snack them away during the day.

Chocolate Comfort Cookies

I must inaugurate my blog with my favorite recipe.  This is NOT for one or two, unless you pace yourself...  but the cookies are the best ever.  My mother got the recipe from a murder mystery many years ago.  I have tweaked it a bit, for example leaving out nuts (allergy).  I have forgotten to put the Fluff in several times and while they are denser, I almost like them better (less sweet)

1 c butter - room temp
3-oz cream cheese - room temp
1 c sugar
2 1-oz ChocoBake packets
1 egg
2 T milk
1-1/2 t vanilla
2 c + 2 T flour
1/2 t b powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c cocoa
3/4 c dried cranberries
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 c marshmallow Fluff

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  Cream the butter and cream cheese until mixed.  Add sugar, and cream together until well blended.  Add Chocobake, egg, milk and vanilla, mixing well.  Separately, combine flour, powder salt and cocoa, then add to wet mixture just until barely mixed.  Add cranberries and chips, just until barely mixed, then fold in Fluff until streaks are pretty small.  Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop to form balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Not too far apart, they don't spread too much.  Bake 13-15 minutes - they don't puff too much and are pretty dark, so you can't judge by color - they should spring back slightly when poked with a finger, but they won't be as springy as other cookies...