Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Eat A LOT of Pasta around here...

...because it's cheap, and its good, and usually pretty easy. This recipe is one I came up with the other day when trying to figure out two things: 1, what to do for dinner, and 2, what to do with the leftover ham we got from his parents after Christmas dinner. It was quick and easy (took me probably about 30 minutes at the most), and we both liked it. Hope you enjoy it too!

Pasta with Ham and Peas

1 c ham, diced finely
1/2 c milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c frozen peas
1 small to medium onion, chopped finely
1/4 tsp garlic powder, or 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed or chopped finely
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch chili powder
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 lb pasta of your choice (I used rotini)

Bring pot of water to a boil, salt water with about 1 tsp of salt. Add pasta, and cook to pkg directions. While pasta is cooking, in 1 tbsp oil, heat ham and onion and garlic, til onions are tender. Add flour and stir til ham and onions are coated, then add milk, and stir til thickened and everything is combined. Add cream cheese, and stir til combined and cream cheese is smooth. Add spices and then peas, and stir to combine (til peas are defrosted and bright green). Drain pasta, then add to sauce and stir til all pasta is coated. Makes about 6 servings.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Egg Nog... a bit late, but here it is.

Ok, this one is from one of the girls I visit with from church, and her husband's family makes this every year. She let us try some when we visited her in the beginning of December, and you would never know it wasn't store bought. I didnt have the official recipe when I made it just before Christmas to take it to the family members, but I think I got it pretty close. Super easy and tastes like you got it from the store, but it makes twice as much for half the price.

Egg Nog

1 gallon 2% milk
2 boxes of vanilla or eggnog flavored pudding (small boxes, and I used sugar free)
1 tbsp imitation rum flavoring
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pour half the gallon of milk into a large bowl. With whisk or stick/immersion blender (you can use a regular blender, but you have to do it in smaller batches which would make it thicker and harder to pour), blend pudding into milk, then add rum flavoring and nutmeg. Pour back into the milk bottle, using funnel. Shake bottle well, and then chill overnight in refrigerator. Best if you make at least one day in advance, flavors meld better over time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pumpkin CAN be good...I promise!

Because I have been lacking on the recipes lately, I am going to post two recipes at the same time that both have a similar theme. One is from my friend Rebecca, and one is from the Lion House Desserts recipe book (which you all should get if you can, its awesome!). The theme today is Pumpkin. With Chocolate Chips. Yep. Can we say tasty?? I love these recipes, and I am going to share them with you because I think they are so fantastic. I generally don't like pumpkin, mostly in pie because the texture is funny to me. But these are great, and the flavor is fantastic! The first one is for cookies, and the second is for bread or muffins (I modified it and instead of nuts I used chocolate chips)...enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (or Muffins)
1 1/3 c vegetable oil
5 eggs
1 16 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 c flour
2 c sugar (or one cup sugar, and one cup Splenda)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
2 3 oz pkgs vanilla pudding mix (sugar free pudding mix works well too)
1 c chopped nuts or chocolate chips (or half of each)
(sorry, not sure what happened to my spacing and I don't know how to fix it. I will get my husband to check that out today.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well 2 large 8x4 inch loaf pans (or 2 12 cup muffin pans), set aside. Mix oil, eggs, and pumpkin in mixing bowl or stand mixer and beat well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture in parts, scraping sides after each addition and blending well. Stir in pudding mix and chocolate chips or nuts. Pour into prepared pans. If making bread, bake for one hour. If making muffins, bake 18 minutes. Makes 2 loaves or about 30 muffins.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oriental Salad with a twist!

This one was an experiment my husband and I came up with a couple weeks ago, and it turned out great! We wanted pot stickers for dinner, but also felt we needed some vegetables in our meal, so it became a salad. We have since experimented again with the recipe and decided what we liked in the salad and what didn't work so well. You can try what ingredients you like, and change it if you want, this is just what worked for us. Oh, and you can substitute the pot stickers for chicken or beef too, we just thought they were tasty and fancy.

Asian Pot Sticker Salad

1 head romaine lettuce
1 head napa cabbage
2 scallions, or green onions
2 carrots, grated
1/4 c finely chopped celery
1 pkg dry ramen noodles, seasoning pkg removed
12 potstickers of your choice (we use chicken, but whatever you like)

Asian dressing

1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 c olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp honey mustard
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 drops of sesame oil
1/4 c white or rice wine vinegar

Whisk together all ingredients for dressing, then stream in oil as you whisk. Set aside. (You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.)

Cut head of lettuce into 1/2 inch slices, then place in bowl. Add sliced cabbage, celery, carrots, and scallions, toss together. Cook Potstickers according to pkg directions. Right before serving, break up ramen noodles and toss into salad, then add dressing and toss again. Serve salad with 3 potstickers on top of each salad serving. Makes approximately 4 servings.

One of these days it should be noted that I intend to get a real Chinese recipe for dumplings, but making them from scratch is kind of involved so I'm content buying them for now. caught up in the holidays!

Ok, so I know it has been awhile since the last one. I have been busy with the last minute things for the holidays and so this has been put on the back burner! I am happy I have so many readers from all over the place! Thanks for giving me your time and attention every once in awhile.

I plan on posting a couple recipes today, and this week I promise I will start posting some pictures. Being busy with the holidays means I have been cooking a lot, so I do have some things to post as far as pictures go.

Please note, I have corrected a recipe. My brother in law made me aware of the fact that I had posted the wrong measurement on the yeast for the cinnamon rolls--it's 2 teaspoons, NOT 2 tablespoons. Sorry about that mistake!

Until next time, Happy Cooking, and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

and because I missed yesterday...

Another family favorite, from my fantastic grandma, Marilyn. This one is a favorite for the holidays, and it's okay to have this much butter because sweet potatoes are so good for you...haha!
I love sweet potatoes any way, and I LOVE this is soooo good. A bit savory, but the salt and the sweetness of the potatoes balance nicely and taste fantastic.

Sweet Potatoes Anna

2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams
6 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 c butter, melted. (1 stick)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes, and using food processor or salad shooter, slice potatoes into 1/8 inch slices. Completely coat bottom of a 9 inch cake or spring form pan with 1 tbsp butter. Arrange 1/6 of the potato slices in an overlapping layer on bottom of the pan, pour one tbsp butter over top, then sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with pinch of salt. Repeat process til all of the ingredients are used, and then top with more butter and another sprinkle of cheese. Push down with hand to compress into pan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, til edges are brown and slightly crispy. Let stand for 5 minutes. Using spatula, drain off any extra butter. Use a butter knife to loosen potatoes around the edge of the pan, then invert onto platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

For Chili night, the best Cornbread ever!

I always make my own chili, but its mostly canned ingredients, nothing special. I do have this fantastic cornbread recipe that we got from my great grandma Clara, and I make it every time we have chili. Great stuff, and you can modify it by adding corn or cheese or whatever else. I can honestly say its award winning, because my mom has won first and second place at chili cook offs.


1 c corn meal
1 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar or splenda
1 tsp salt
1/4 c melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 c milk
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients into large bowl. Add milk and eggs, stirring with spatula. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Pour into greased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut and serve with butter, honey, or over chili.

And just in case you really want it...


1 lb ground beef
1 can corn, undrained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tbsp chili or taco seasoning (or one package)

Brown meat and break up into small pieces, transfer to large pot if using skillet to brown. In large pot, add tomatoes, corn, beans, and taco seasoning to the meat, stir to combine, if too thick, add 1/2 c to 1 c of water. Simmer 20 minutes on medium heat. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and cornbread (see recipe above).

Over-used Recipes Swap

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Want something new for your Pasta?

Try this great pesto recipe. My grandma makes this in large batches and freezes it in 1/2 pint portions which is about the right amount of pesto for 8 servings, or one pound, worth of pasta. I have to admit, I dont make this often because its hard to find fresh basil where I live. Eventually I will learn to grow my own basil and make it all of the time. This recipe is great for pasta on its own, or you can make a fantastic pasta salad too. Just pour it over hot pasta, let chill, and add sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and whatever else.


2 c fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 c olive oil (Grandma reduces this to 3/4 c and it's about the same, just thicker)
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except for pine nuts. If too thick, add more oil slowly. Sprinkle with pine nuts just before serving. (You can also put the pine nuts in, just make sure you do it last after everything else is combined, and just do a bit of a rough chop on them.)

Pour over hot pasta and stir til everything is coated nicely. Also good on fresh tomato slices, with mozzarella cheese, spread on toast, or pretty much anything.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ok, I am cheating a bit on this one. its an Alton Brown recipe.

His recipes are just too dang tempting to pass up, and so we are trying this one tonight.

To see full recipe for this dish, go here.
It's stuffed acorn squash, and after dinner, we'll tell you how it turned out.


Ok, so Jeff made this one, and though we havent eaten any of it yet, we have some pointers when you make this. Alton Brown kind of makes things somewhat complicated sometimes, so we made it a couple steps easier.

1. Cook the rice ahead of time, you'll need 1 1/2 cups, but its easier to just make a bunch and use the rest later.

2. Make sure you take your spinach out of the freezer about a day ahead and let it thaw in the fridge. If you forget this, you can thaw it under hot/warm water and then squeeze it dry (you'll have to do that either way).

3. Instead of removing the meat and then cooking the veggies, just add your veggies to your browned sausage. Cook the sausage completely before adding the carrots, celery and onion, then saute the veggies for a minute. Instead of wine, we used chicken stock. Add that after sauteing the veggies, and stir to combine, and let it simmer just a bit. Thhen add your spinach, pine nuts, oregano and rice.

4. We only had one acorn squash so we ended up just baking off the rest of the stuffing in the oven with some parmesan cheese on top.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who needs Pillsbury?

These cinnamon rolls will beat a store bought refrigerated version for sure. I got this recipe from a previous coworker, when she said she could make them for a party, but didnt really feel like making them. I offered to make them instead, and they are fantastic! I also include my grandma's recipe for cream cheese frosting because I love the flavor of cream cheese rather than normal frosting or glaze. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls

2 c warm water
2 tbsp yeast
2 eggs
1/3 c sugar
2 tsp salt
2/3 c vegetable oil
7 c all purpose flour

Proof yeast in water (see pizza dough recipe for instructions) for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a fork. With a mixer, using dough hook if you have one, mix sugar, eggs, and oil, and then yeast mixture. Add dry ingredients in parts, and mix until combined. Set in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out to 8x10" rectangle, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and white sugar. Roll into log, and slice into 1/2 inch slices, then place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz of cream cheese, softened.
12 oz powdered sugar (sorry, I don't have the volume measurement)

Blend all ingredients together til combined. If too thick, you can add a tsp of milk. Spread over the top of cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, or whatever else.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Better than Gingersnaps for sure!

Mom makes these every year for Christmas and I absolutely love them. Softer than ginger snaps and so tasty. They are on my rotating list for neighbor gifts (I made them last year, so this year I made fudge and toffee, as mentioned before), and loved by many of my friends and family. She got the recipe off the back of the bottle of "Grandma's Molasses" one year and they have been a hit ever since!

Molasses Cookies

3/4 c shortening
1 c sugar, plus extra (for rolling dough in later)
1/4 c molasses
1 egg
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together shortening and sugar, add molasses and then eggs, one at a time. Sift together dry ingredients and add in parts to wet ingredients. Let chill overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Roll into balls (like snickerdoodles) and roll in sugar, place on cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Biscotti? Gingerbread? how about both?

Everyone loves biscotti, and so far, I have found that most people like gingerbread for the holidays. This recipe puts the two of them together, and its fantastic. My grandma makes this each year as her neighbor gifts for her friends. Usually she makes enough to bring some to us for Christmas, and I loooove it! I usually beg for some leftovers to take home with me. So good, and perfect for the holidays.

Gingerbread Biscotti

1 c blanched almonds
1/2 c dark molasses
1/4 c fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
3/4 c sugar
1/2 butter (1 stick)
3 large eggs
3 c flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

Bake almonds in one layer in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool, coarsely chop and set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, molasses, and ginger, til smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, spices, and almonds. Add to egg mixture, stir to blend. On two greased 12x15 baking sheets, use well floured hands to shape and pat dough into 4 flat loaves. spacing them evenly on sheets. Each loaf whoudl be about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide, and the length of the baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until browned at edges and springy to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes; switch positions of pans halfway through baking. Let loaves stand on baking sheet til cool to the touch, then cut into long 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. On baking sheets, arrange slices close together with cut side down. Return to oven, and bake again at 350 degrees until brown, 15 to 18 minutes longer, switching positions of pans again halfway through baking. Transfer biscotti to racks and let cool completely.

Serve or store airtight for up to one month, or freeze for longer storage. Makes about 50 pieces.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lemon Sauce to Put on your Gingerbread

This one is from my cousin Catherine, and she says it's a tradition on the Obray side of the family to pour lemon sauce on your gingerbread. It sounds divine, so I thought I would post it. I might try it sometime...just a bit because it's loaded with sugar!

Thanks Catherine!

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind/zest (I leave out if I don't have it)
1 tsp butter or margarine
dash of salt

1/4 cup water
heaping tbsp corn starch

Combine first 6 ingredients and bring to boil. Mix cornstarch in water and stir into hot mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Cool and spoon over gingerbread.

Gingerbread--two ways.

So my mom made this fantastic gingerbread last night, and I had to ask where she got the recipe. She told me JOY of Cooking! I love that book! They have simple stuff, all the way up to totally complicated things no one would ever know you could pull off! Grandma has a copy, Mom does, and now the tradition goes on with me and my sister having it in our homes too. Now that I have pitched a commercial for their book... thanks to them, I have a couple of gingerbread recipes. Because we're in Utah, Mom made the high altitude version, but I also have some readers in California so I am including the regular version too.

This is not like gingerbread cookies, it's more like a cake, and sooooo good. you can glaze it or frost it if you like, but its perfectly fine with a sprinkling of powdered sugar

Source: Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. (go buy it, its worth the cost!)

Gingerbread, pg 724

2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c hot water
1/2 c light molasses
1/2 c honey
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1/2 c sugar (or 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c splenda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan, or line with wax paper or parchment. Whisk together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, whisk together water, molasses, and honey. In another large bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and sugar. Alternately, add dry ingredients and molasses honey mixture to the butter egg and sugar, whisking after each addition. If desired, you can add 3 tablespoons of crystallized ginger after everything is combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or til a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

High Altitude Gingerbread, pg 752
for 5000 feet

2 1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp black or white pepper
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c unsulphured molasses
1 c very hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare 9 inch baking pan with waxed paper, or grease and flour. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Dissolve molasses in hot water in a separate bowl. In separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugar and then eggs, one at a time; and then add sour cream. Add dry ingredients in 4 parts, alternating with the mixture of hot water and molasses mixture, beating well to combine, and scraping bowl each time you add water or flour mixture. The batter will be runny. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 38 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Chips To Die For!

I love these chips, and we got the idea from Alton Brown on Food Network. Jeff and I love to watch Good Eats, and this was something we decided to try out. On the show, Alton actually made these with parsnips, and we decided to mix the two vegetables up. Super simple and you'll be surprised how quickly they disappear!

3 sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
seasoning salt, or salt and pepper to taste.

Slice potatoes and parsnips very thin, using mandolin or "salad shooter" or similar tool. Fry in batches, 1 1/2 minutes in deep fryer (or on the stove using thermometer) at 375 degrees. Do not cover with lid! Season generously with salt and pepper.

If you don't have a deep fryer and are doing this on the stove, watch the pot very carefully and keep children out of the way. Also make sure you have a fire extinguisher for emergency.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Courtesy of Food Network, and I love this recipe. We found it online when I was just looking for a recipe for pizza dough and I wanted something a bit healthier than the normal run-of-the-mill pizza dough. Whole wheat has higher fiber content, and higher protein, and I just feel better eating it. This recipe is fantastic and I use it every time we have pizza now. Also makes great whole wheat scones (or fry bread if you don't live in Utah) for breakfast the next morning.

This recipe is the pizza dough, every pizza recipe ever posted will probably start here.

NOTE: This recipe uses yeast, but still pretty simple that anyone can make it. Make sure when you buy yeast you keep it in the fridge or freezer. Freezing it extends its shelf life if you bought it in bulk, but the fridge is just fine. You have to "proof" your yeast in WARM water, not HOT. Cold water won't bloom the yeast properly, and Hot water will kill it and you wont end up with soft dough.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 1/4 c warm water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Proof yeast in the warm water.

to proof your yeast: mix warm water (in any measurement the recipe calls for, in this case 1 1/4 cups) and yeast together with whisk or fork. Let stand 5 minutes.

In mixer using bread hook, add water to both kinds of flour, oil, honey, and salt. Let rise til double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour. Stretch to fit pizza stone or pan, and prebake dough at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Top with whatever toppings you like, and then bake again for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Pineapple Teryaki Chicken and Rice.

This one is another Crock Pot creation of mine. Kind of a cooking experiment that turned out really good. Probably isn't one of my low-carb options, but very tasty. I love it too, because I can toss everything in the Crock Pot and its done for me later. All I have to do is start the rice cooker. I have taken it to friends for dinner, and we like it at home. You can use it for wraps or Asian style "tacos" too.

Pineapple Chicken Teryaki

4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can crushed pineapple
1/4 c Teryaki sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
2 tbsp soy sauce

Put all ingredients in crock pot on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours. When done, shred chicken. Serve over steamed rice and veggies.

Over-used Recipes Swap

My Husband's Favorite.

I have been making these enchiladas for about 6 years. I learned the basics of enchiladas in a church activity when I was about 12 or 13, and after high school I decided to play around with a recipe and see if it worked. It did, and so far everyone who has eaten them has loved them. I have played with the recipe a bit more since making them the first time, but they are still delicious, and my husband asks for them for his birthday every year!

You can use the filling for them as chicken tacos too, so it can be a double use recipe. The quantity in this recipe makes two 9x13 pans of enchiladas, or one pan of enchiladas, and a batch of taco filling.

Chicken Enchiladas
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
1 large onion, sliced
2 lbs Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
3 large cans of chile verde enchilada sauce (the green stuff)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
30 small white corn tortillas (you can use yellow, but flour tends to get gummy)
vegetable oil for frying tortillas, about 3-4 tbsp.

In slow cooker or Crock Pot, pour in one can of enchilada sauce, and add chicken and sliced onion. Set on Low for 8 hours on low if you want overnight, or 4 hours on high if you are doing this in one day. When chicken is done, let cool, and then use two forks to shred it. you might need to move this to a bowl or something and you will also want to drain some of the sauce off because it can get pretty liquidy. After shredding chicken, add cans of beans and corn, and half of the cheese, stir to combine.

You can either fry the tortillas or just microwave them for about 30 seconds on high. What we are trying to achieve here is soft tortillas so they are easy to stuff and roll. I fry them, but if you are watching your diet, you can just heat them a bit in the microwave. Make sure if you fry them, you let them cool before you handle them to roll your enchiladas.

In a medium bowl, pour one of the cans of enchilada sauce. You will use this to dip your tortillas in before filling them. Pour some of the 3rd can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of each of your pans, thus creating a non stick surface.

You are now ready to stuff and roll your enchiladas. Dip each tortilla in the sauce, then fill with chicken mixture, and roll and place in pan. You can fit about 15 rolled enchiladas in the pan. Once filled, top the pan with more enchilada sauce and more cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake again for another 10 minutes.

I like these served with sour cream, guacamole, and a bit of lime juice, but they are good just by themselves. Great for taking dinner to friends, too.

My take on good Lasagna

This was personally created by me one day when I decided I had craved lasagna long enough, and I should just make some. I ended up loving it, and wrote down what I could remember from when I made it. Thankfully, Lasagna is forgiving, so you can do pretty much whatever fillings you like in it. If you don't like tomatoes or mushrooms just leave them out. I made this with whole wheat lasagna noodles, and an alfredo sauce. Try it if you like!


1 lb. pork sausage or Italian sausage
8 oz sliced mushrooms (about half a pkg.)
3 vine tomatoes, diced
White sauce, recipe below
2 eggs
32 oz ricotta cheese
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/3 c parmesan cheese
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles

Alfredo sauce

Melt 4 tbsp butter in saucepan, add 4 tbsp flour to create roux. Whisk in 2 cups milk, and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Mix til smooth consistency.

Cook pasta to pkg. directions, drain, rinse with cold water, and let dry.
Sauté sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes together in pan, let cool, set aside.
In large bowl, blend together ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, with egg, salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach to cheese mixture.

Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2 pan, add a layer of the noodles, then top with cheese mixture and sausage, alternating between noodle layers. (Noodles, sausage, noodles, cheese, noodles, sausage, noodles, cheese, noodles) then top the whole thing with more mozzarella, and bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. You might need to put a cookie sheet under the pan so you don’t get stuff all over your oven.

This recipe does take a bit of time, but I think it's worth it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Whole Wheat noodles that are the "no boil" kind. So it adds about 12 minutes to your cooking time. If you want to use regular no boil noodles, feel free, I just like the whole wheat pasta, and it's better for my diabetes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

That's definitely a start.

Ok, so I feel like I have posted a lot of recipes today, and I don't want to do so many every day. I wanted to get it started with a few recipes, and then build as I go along.

Jeff says I should post pictures of each item with each recipe, but I think I might have to go back and add the pictures after I make them, rather than making 10 different items because I posted a lot of things today. So I will make each of these items sometime in the near future (the next couple of weeks probably) and then post pictures when I make them.

Until then, enjoy the recipes and feel free to comment whether you liked them or not in the comment section.

For the holidays, I know a lot of families have traditional treats they like to make for their neighbors or whatever. I love sharing and getting new recipes, so it would be fantastic to exchange them here. If you are willing to share some of them, post them in the comments section and I'd love to try making them myself. I don't know how popular this thing will be, but hopefully it will be useful and fun for everyone involved!

Happy Cooking!


Who doesnt love Waffles?

This is another recipe from my great grandma Clara. We eat them for Christmas breakfast sometimes, but generally its whenever I feel like spending more time on waffles instead of using Bisquick. Let's be honest, people, we dont always feel like doing EVERYTHING from scratch. But THESE waffles are worth doing from scratch some of the time. They taste great and they're easy.

Spice Nut Waffles

2 c all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, separated
1 3/4 c milk
4 tbsp melted butter (half a stick)
1/3 c chopped pecans (or your choice)

whip egg whites stiff, set aside. Mix dry ingredients together, add milk, melted butter, and egg yolks. Fold in egg whites and nuts, then bake in hot waffle iron according to directions for machine.

Salad to go with that fantastic Mostaccioli.

Grandma came up with this salad dressing from I think Gourmet magazine. She might correct me on that, but I am pretty sure it's from Gourmet magazine. Either way its the best Caesar dressing I have ever had, and anyone who has had it. All you need is a blender and the ingredients listed, and you are done in about 5 minutes.

Caesar Salad dressing

3 cloves garlic
2 eggs
1 can of anchovies, squeezed dry in a paper towel
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
cayenne and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c parmesan cheese

add everything to blender or food processor except oil and cheese. Blend well. Add cheese, and stream oil in as you blend. Makes enough for 1 very large salad, or several small salads. Keeps up to 2 weeks in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serve over romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and croutons. If you like you can add grilled chicken, fish or thinly sliced steak if desired as a meal. Toss well, til lettuce is coated.

**this does have raw eggs in it, so if you are opposed to that, you can boil the eggs for one minute and they will be safe, and still liquid to the point you can use them in this dressing.**

The best baked pasta I have ever had.

My mom got this recipe years ago from her friend Leah, and our entire family loves it, and it has been given out since then to many others. It's a family favorite, and fantastic for when you take dinner to friends for any occasion. Easier than Lasagna, and super tasty. I always double it because we like it so much!

Traditional Mostaccioli

1- 10 oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
15 oz ricotta cheese
3 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 c parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 c mostaccioli or penne pasta (half lb.)
3 c. marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to pkg directions, drain. In large bowl, blend ricotta, eggs, spinach, half the mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper, and parsley; Set aside. Toss hot cooked pasta with tomato sauce. Place half the pasta in bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish, layer on top the cheese mixture, then cover with the rest of the pasta. Top with more mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 35 mins, until hot and bubbly.

Over-used Recipes Swap

John Wayne Casserole--Christmas Breakfast

This has been a tradition in my family as long as I can remember. Another contribution from Great Grandma Clara. Full of protein and lots of flavor, it's a hit among my whole family--even my little brother likes it! Easy, and definitely something you'll love. Might be a once a year item though because it has a lot of cheese and eggs in it. We're not sure where the name came from, but we LOVE it!!

John Wayne Casserole

2- 4 oz cans diced mild green chilies
1 lb monterey jack cheese, grated
1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
4 eggs, separated
2/3 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 medium tomatoes, sliced

Beat egg whites stiff, set aside, combine cheeses and chilies, put in greased 9x13 casserole pan. Combine egg yolks, beaten egg whites, milk, salt and pepper, and pour over cheese mixture. Use a fork to ooze the eggs into the cheese, and spread egg evenly. Bake at 325 for 30 mins. Top with sliced tomatoes, then bake again for another 30 mins. Let sit for a few (about 5-7) mins, if served immediately its a bit messy. Cooling helps it hold its shape.

Holiday Treats Part 2

Another family favorite, passed down from my other wonderful great grandma, Helen. Easy compared to other recipes I have seen, and just as rich and chocolatey. Full of sugar though, and in candy making, you cant really substitute the sugar because it is part of the chemistry. Like Baking, Candymaking is very scientific and can be tricky if you dont know what you are doing. So follow the recipe exactly and you will have lots of success!


3 c. semi sweet chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate, but it makes it really sweet)
1 stick butter
8 oz marshmallow creme
4 1/2 c sugar
2 can evaporated milk (do not use sweetened condensed, it will not work)
1 c chopped nuts of your choice

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring evaporated milk and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. After it boils, cook exactly 1o minutes, stirring occasionally, watching so it doesnt overboil onto the stove. Pour milk and sugar mixture over the other ingredients, stir to combine, and pour into a buttered pan, about 9x13. Chill til solid, cut and serve.

another great idea for neighbor gifts. Just an all around good holiday treat.

Holiday Treats part 1

The easiest and probably my favorite Christmas treat that's a tradition in the Bunas and Fink homes (my mother's family). Passed down from my Great Grandma Clara. Super easy and really tasty.

English Toffee

1 c sugar
1 c butter/ 2 sticks (not margarine--has to be butter)
3 Hershey bars
chopped dry roasted almonds (recipe below)

To roast the almonds, set oven to 250, place whole raw almonds on cookie sheet and roast for about 45 mins. You will smell them when they are ready. Chop finely. They should be a golden brown color, and if they are too light in color, you can carefully toast them again after chopping.

For Toffee, put a couple of handfuls of almonds on the bottom of a 10 x 8 pan (a small cake pan will work). Combine sugar and butter in heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, til mixture turns deep tan, caramelly colored. Remove from heat, pour over chopped almonds. let cool a couple of minutes, then place the hershey bars over the top of the toffee, let melt, spread the chocolate to coat top of toffee. Sprinkle more chopped almonds on top.

break into small pieces and serve. Great for neighbor gifts, or having out at Christmas parties, or just for the holidays. Very rich though, so you only need a few pieces. Enjoy!

Here Goes...

Welcome to my recipe blog! By popular demand, I have started a recipe blog for all of my friends (and family if you like) to view and use as you like. Some of them are family recipes, some of them are from other people, and some of them are things I have found online. I will source them as I have found them.

Also, you can request different things if you like. I do have a habit of posting what I am making that day on Facebook, so if you want it posted on here, just comment my status and I will post it.

My first few posts will probably be holiday stuff because right now I am making my holiday candy treats. I will also post main dishes and other things as well, so dont worry. Some of my recipes will be low carb and sugar free because I am diabetic and so is my mom and mother in law, but any of the recipes with Splenda can be done with sugar instead. I just prefer Splenda so I can enjoy treats along with everyone else.

Happy Holidays, and Enjoy!