For some reason Chex mix always reminds me of Fall, and I love it as a snack. Homemade is so much better than the stuff you can get at the store, and its so easy to make! I just picked whatever stuff I wanted to mix, along with Chex of course, and mixed it with the seasoning stuff they recommend. Here is my recipe, try some of your own!
Homemade Chex Mix
1/2 stick of butter
4 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 c rice chex
3 c corn chex
3 c wheat chex
1 1/2 c cashews
1 c white cheddar cheese-it crackers
1 c regular cheese-it crackers
1 c pretzels
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter and then add worchestershire sauce, garlic and onion powder, and salt. Mix well with a fork or whisk. In a large bowl combine and toss together cereal, crackers, nuts, and pretzels. Pour butter mixture over cereal mix, and toss together with hands. Spread on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, and bake for one hour, gently stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool, and then store in an airtight container or large ziplock bag.
I have been using leeks a lot lately for different recipes and my mother in law mentioned that she loved potato lee soup. So I thought I would try making it, and this is the recipe I found and tried. It's originally from food network, but I tweaked it a bit to make it my own and add something I love: sweet potatoes. Try it out, I think you'll like it.
Potato Leek Soup
6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into a medium dice
3 medium or small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and medium diced
5 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
8 leeks, whites only, divided in half
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 c flour
1 stick butter
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper
Cut 1st 4 leeks in half lengthwise, and then slice thin. Put these in a large bowl of water and gently break apart the layers. Set aside. Using your fingers, skim the leeks off the top of the bowl and place into stockpot. The dirt and grit that gets between the layers falls to the bottom, so you want to leave that behind. Shake them dry after skimming them.
In a large stock pot, combine potato, sweet potato, celery, onion, first half of leeks, bay leaf and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and continue to boil til the potatoes are soft. While cooking, prepare second half of leeks the same way as the first and Remove the bay leaf, add the other half of leeks and with a stick or immersion blender, blend everything til smooth. Melt butter over low heat on the stove in a separate pot, add flour and whisk til smooth to create roux to thicken the soup. Add the cream, roux, salt, pepper, and thyme. Serve with rolls or bread or whatever you like. :)
This was a way for us to use up the tomatoes from the garden and use the pineapple I got in my Bountiful Basket. I was going to have it ready yesterday for the shredded beef tacos I planned to make, but last night we had leftovers instead. So now we have the salsa made, and I plan to make the tacos either next week, or on Sunday night for Halloween. I love the sweetness pineapple adds to salsa to balance the spicy of the peppery cilantro and the jalapeño. I hope you find this as good as I do.
15 cups quartered tomatoes, any kind
2 c chopped pineapple
1 bunch cilantro
5 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, and finely chopped
Put all of the ingredients together in either a food processor or a blender (you might need to do this in batches). Pulse til combined and chunks are broken down. Pour into jars and refrigerate til ready for use. Great on corn chips, tacos, burritos, carne asada, and whatever else you enjoy with your salsa.
This was something I did on Monday after I made roast chicken for dinner. I had the chicken carcass anyway, why not use it? All I had to do was simmer a chicken carcass with some veggies for a few hours. Easy, right?It is! So don't be afraid! Here are some basic pointers when it comes to making your own homemade stock!
Tip #1 Use a chicken carcass you have roasted or have leftover from when you make a whole chicken dinner. Yes, you want to use the bones, thats where the flavor is. If you roast the chicken before hand, the leftover bits of meat still stuck to the bone will provide you with even more tasty flavor. And you'll be getting more out of that chicken dinner you made!
Tip #2 Use the leftover bits of vegetables like celery tops and hearts, onion peels, etc. You can throw the garlic in whole without taking off the skin, and just quarter your onions and cut your carrots and celery into manageable chunks. No need to chop finely or uniformly.
Tip #3 Don't add any salt to this stock. Stock is meant as a base to soups and other things like gravy and such. You can always add salt later, but this should be very neutral so you have some versatility.
Here is my recipe for a basic chicken stock. Of course, you can change these ingredients if you want just a veggie stock or you can make a beef or pork stock too.
carcass of one whole chicken, roasted preferably
celery hearts (the center light green stuff that's usually too soft to eat raw) and tops, and stalks if you like
carrots, washed and cut into chunks (dont need to be peeled)
onion, quartered, skins left on or not
3-4 cloves garlic, whole
bay leaf, about 3 of them
6 quarts water
Put everything into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer for about 3-4 hours, stirring every half hour or so. It will be reduce to about half the volume, and smell like thanksgiving in your house. Oh, and you can use a turkey for this too. Just substitute the chicken carcass for a turkey carcass, or beef bones, or pork bones. Or just the veggies. Or dehydrated mushrooms.
When done simmering, Drain off your veggies and bones and just toss them in the trash (all of the nutrients and flavor have been infused into the sauce and all you have left are the skeletons of what you tossed in the pot to begin with). You can keep this in the fridge for up to a week and use it for everything from gravy to soup to whatever else. You can also freeze it and keep it for up to 3 months.
Alright, for some reason I have been craving these for a bit, and they seem to be a famous comfort food. I remember Mom didn't make them very often when I was a kid, but I remember liking it a lot when she did. There are a couple of ways of making this recipe, and I chose to use the way Mom used to. The alternative way is to roll out your dough and cut it into squares and pour all of your chicken and veggies in a casserole pan and then place your biscuit dumplings on top of it all and bake it. My mom just makes basically a thickened chicken soup and then drops biscuit dough into the pot with the soup. So that's the approach I used this time. I hope you enjoy this tasty winter comfort food!
Chicken and Dumplings
3 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced fine
3 carrots, diced fine
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 quarts chicken STOCK (not broth, there's a bit of a difference, which I will go over at the bottom of this post)
1 tsp each of poultry seasoning, sage, and thyme
salt and pepper
2 1/4 c Bisquick or other biscuit mix
2/3 c milk
(you can also make homemade biscuit dough if you like. my recipe is posted here.)
Melt butter in a large saucepan or stock pot. Add onions and saute til translucent. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook. Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir till veggies are coated well. Pour in your chicken stock and then stir; add potatoes and chicken, and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes--till the chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. Add seasonings, and stir.
Mix your biscuit mix and milk together til you get a soft dough, but don't over mix. Roll lightly into balls, and drop dumplings into your soup mixture, and then let cook for 5-10 minutes. If you need to test them, take one out and cut it in half, it should look like bread inside but still have kind of a moist outside.
Serve warm. You don't need any side dishes or anything for this because its kind of a one pot meal. Makes it even better, not so many dishes to wash. :)
NOTE: When you see or hear the word stock versus the word broth, it basically means cooked down more. So the flavors of stock are more concentrated and have more depth. I am going to post my recipe for homemade chicken stock next, so check it out. You can also buy stock at the grocery store in quart sized containers. Yes, it is more expensive than broth because broth is faster to make and generally just made from chicken bones, rather than veggies too.
So last night we had scones, which in Utah is the term used for fried dough, usually stretched out like a pancake, but fried in oil. Some people might call it fry bread or whatever the local term is. Here we call them scones. Typically served hot with honey and butter on them, but also used for savory flavors too. Last night I made a caprese salad to go on top of them, and it was a pretty tasty combo. For the recipe for the dough we used, see the pizza dough recipe I posted here (referencing the "basic pizza dough"). Caprese is super easy to make and very tasty. Enjoy!
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, either sliced or wedged
10-12 fresh basil leaves (important to use fresh basil, not the dried)
about a cup of fresh mozzarella, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Roll the basil leaves together into a log shape, and slice thin. Toss tomatoes, basil, and diced FRESH mozzarella with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let stand in fridge for about 20 minutes minimum. Serve on the side of pasta, with garlic bread, or whatever else you like. You can also slice the tomatoes, slice the cheese and then place the tomato, cheese, and basil on a piece of toasted bread, and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper before eating...good open face sandwich for lunch! We put this on top of our scones and ate it like an open faced sandwich.
NOTE: It's important you use the fresh herbs and the fresh mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella is softer and says specifically on the package. Mostly the difference is more moisture and not aged at all. You might have to look in the special cheese kiosk in your grocery store, rather than just the cheese section near the lunch meat because its slightly more specialty than regular mozzarella.
Swedish Meatballs have to be my main reason for going to Ikea. Sometimes I go to look at dining tables and couches, but I generally always make my way to the restaurant on the second floor for a plate of those delicious meatballs and potatoes with extra lingonberry preserves. I mean really, what could be better? Maybe some of that yummy three layer chocolate mousse cake, or apple tart. Yep, heaven. So I found out this recipe online that's pretty close to what you can get at Ikea. Not quite as heavenly, but still delicious. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I made a 2 and a half sized batch and froze a couple sheet pans of them for later. :-)
P.S. You can go to Ikea and get a big bag of their frozen meatballs and a jar of lingonberry jam so you can enjoy them at home. I just grabbed a jar of the lingonberry jam so I could make my own meatballs. Remember to boil some red potatoes to go along with.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 c milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
1-10 oz can of beef broth or stock
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 c heavy cream
Saute onion in first tbsp of oil til translucent. Set aside and let cool. Combine milk and bread crumbs and let soak for 10 minutes. Combine both meats, breadcrumb mixture, salt, pepper, allspice, and onions in a large bowl. Use a tablespoon or one of those spring loaded scoops about the size of a tablespoon to measure into meatballs and fry in second tbsp of oil in a skillet on the stove, turning on to every side of the meatball so they are cooked on all sides and through the center. While you are frying all of them, you might want to keep the cooked ones warm in the oven. Make the gravy by creating a roux with the butter and flour (melt the butter in the bottom of a saucepan, then whisk in the flour) and then pour the beef stock into the roux and whisk to combine. Right before serving, whisk in the heavy cream and heat through.
Serve with Lingonberry Jam, and boiled red potatoes with the gravy on the meatballs and potatoes. Enjoy!!
Okay, so tonight was about using a chicken I bought a few days ago and the sweet potatoes and parsnips that came in my Bountiful Basket. It took twice as long as I expected, so next time I will start earlier. Anyway, it turned out well, so here is my recipe so you can try it too.
1 whole chicken
1 onion, peeled and cut into medium wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil, salt and pepper
1 can chicken broth
Rinse chicken well and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub with olive oil over whole thing and then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and maybe some sage if you have some. Place breast side up on a roasting pan rack, and then stuff the cavity with half the onion and all of the garlic. Spread the rest of the onion and the carrots onto the bottom of the pan and then pour the can of chicken broth over it. You'll use the broth to baste the chicken every 20 minutes. Set oven to 450 degrees, and place chicken in oven for 10 minutes; reduce heat in oven to 350. Bake for 50 minutes. Raise heat again to 450 and bake another 15 minutes.
Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
5 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Set oven to 450 degrees. Place parsnips, sweet potatoes, garlic, oil, butter, and salt and pepper in some aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Fold into packet and then bake for 1 hour.
Serve chicken with sweet potatoes and parsnips and carrots and onions. :)
Alright, so I have come up with a menu for the week. I am using what I can out of the Bountiful Basket and also some of the things I planned to make last week but need to use up because things were crazy last week. So here we go....
Monday: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips
Tuesday: Swedish Meatballs with Red Potatoes and Lingonberry Preserves
Wednesday: Scones with tomatoes from the garden (might make Caprese salad to go with this)
Thursday: Shredded Beef Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
Friday: Chicken and Dumplings
Saturday: Potato Leek Soup
So I will be posting the recipes I haven't already posted previously on here as we go through the week. I think I will also use the apples and pears for some sort of crisp or tart. I'll let you know. :)
Okay, so this morning I got up at 7am with my hubby to go get my first Bountiful Basket and put it in the fridge. yes, I sacrificed sleeping in on my Saturday for this basket....that's how much I was excited about it, and how much I am dedicated to this new blog experiment. Yes, I went to bed again when I got home, and yes, I was cranky the rest of the day, but that's beside the point. Anywho....here is the list of what we got.
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of broccoli
1 bag of grapes
2 pomegranates (the big ones)
about 8 small sweet potatoes
6 granny smith apples
6 Bartlett pears
4 beefsteak tomatoes on the vine
2 bunches of bananas
I am in the process of coming up with ways to use these ingredients in some creative way that I haven't already used on this blog. I will keep you posted how that goes and update the blog when I have made something new. If you have been following this blog, you will notice none of these ingredients are things I have not used before---I have used them each in some way or another. So this week shouldn't be too much of a challenge to get some recipes for. My mother in law already used half of the lettuce and half of the spinach, but we will be using the rest of everything else this week.
Happy Cooking! Go to www.bountifulbaskets.org if you would like to sign up for a bountiful basket or head up a location in your area. Trust me, you won't regret it. Did I mention I got all of the stuff listed above for one low contribution rate of $15?? I did. And there is at least $50 worth of fresh produce in that list. And they try to keep it as local as possible. So you get super fresh and ripe produce and you are also supporting your local economy! Good deal, huh? So go get started! You can thank me later.
I just signed up to get my first Bountiful Basket last night, and I am so excited. When I went to visit my cousin last weekend and saw everything she got in hers I was sold. I had been thinking about it for a long time, but this time I actually decided to do it.
Because of this new adventure and the wealth of bi-weekly produce I will be getting, I am going to start a new series of recipes that will be inspired by the produce I receive in my box every other week. I will be needing to find new recipes and new ways to use all kinds of fruits and vegetables, so I look forward to learning new things and trying new foods.
I hope you will follow me with my new adventure and try some new things too! If you would like to sign up for a Bountiful Basket, check out their website at www.bountifulbaskets.org and check it out!!
So Hubby and I decided it was time to use up the goat cheese we had leftover from when I made the tomato goat cheese tart awhile back. It had been in the fridge and I had been trying to figure out what to make with it for awhile and tonight I just decided to go out on a limb and try something new. I came up with this recipe on my own, and it turned out delicious, so I hope you like it as much as I do.
By the way, crostini is basically just Italian for toast. But when you get it at restaurants or see it in cookbooks, it generally is toasted bread with some sort of topping or spread on it. Tonight I made different types of toppings for some tasty crostini. :) There are 3 things we had with it, though I only made 2 of them (the other was some spinach artichoke dip we got at Sam's Club that needed to be used up).
2 long thin baguettes of crusty French or Italian bread
1 large whole clove garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Slice the bread at an angle into 1/4 inch slices, and then place on baking sheet. Brush with oil, and bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. When done baking, let cool slightly and then rub each slice with the garlic clove. Set aside. (You'll want to do this close to serving time so it's still warm when you serve)
Goat Cheese Topping
8 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp basil Pesto, homemade, or store bought
1/2 c pine nuts
In a mixing bowl, combine goat cheese and pesto, and beat with hand mixer on low til combined, then whip til smooth and fluffy. Toast pine nuts over medium heat, watching carefully and tossing occasionally so they don't burn. Let pine nuts cool, and then stir into goat cheese mixture. Refrigerate til ready to serve.
1 tbsp butter
1 medium zucchini, diced fine
1/2 onion, diced fine
1 eggplant, diced fine
4 oz white mushrooms, chopped fine
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 beefsteak tomato, or 4 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 c water
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté til almost caramelized over medium heat(takes about 10 minutes, once they are cooked through, if you continue to cook and stir consistently, they will turn a light yellow color and begin to caramelize). Add zucchini and a pinch of salt and continue to cook. Add garlic, and stir well to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add half the water, and cover for 5 minutes to let zucchini steam and become tender. Add eggplant and another pinch of salt, sauté into the mixture, and then add the rest of the water to steam the eggplant. When all water is evaporated again, add mushrooms, and then finally tomatoes. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, letting extra liquid evaporate and the flavors to blend together.
To serve: I spread some of the goat cheese on half of the bread slices, and then left the other slices free to be topped with other things, but we found when we ate it, we liked the goat cheese spread on the toast, and then to spoon on the veggies on top. Of course, the artichoke dip was good too. :)
We had this for dinner tonight when my sister and brother in law came for dinner. I took some ideas from Joy of Cooking, but mostly just inspiration and came up with my own filling. It will definitely be a repeat though, we all liked it. I will first give my pie crust recipe, also used in my Apple Pie recipe. Here goes...
(for pot pie recipe, you will need two batches of the below recipe. But just to be careful, I always do pie crust one batch at a time. Maybe I am paranoid, but pie crust is one of those finicky things that I am extra careful about.)
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold butter
3/4 c cold shortening
6-8 tbsp cold water
(Make sure the butter, shortening, and water are COLD. Very important.)
Sift flour and salt together (YES, this is important too. Helps keep it light and flaky) Add butter and shortening, and cut in with a pastry blender til butter and shortening and flour form small pea shaped lumps. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, but using half of them during the first addition (4 tbsp first, then mix lightly with a fork, and then add the rest one at a time til the dough forms and comes together just barely). Do not over mix, and once it combines, divide in half, and carefully form (DO NOT KNEAD) into 2 discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out.
2 lbs stew meat, but I would halve the pieces so they are smaller, and therefore mix into the veggies more evenly
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c worchestershire sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 c finely chopped carrots
1 c finely chopped onion
1/4 c flour
2 c diced potato
1 c finely chopped celery
other things you can add or substitute: sliced mushrooms, peas, corn, or whatever other veggies you like.
Marinate the beef in the balsamic vinegar, oil, worchestershire, and herbs for at least an hour, would be better if you did for 2 hours (right about the time you start making the pie crust). After marinating for a good amount of time, dump the meat and marinade into a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook til cooked all the way through, and then add onions, carrots, and celery. When carrots are tender (they are the crunchiest veggie in the mix), sprinkle flour over all of it, and stir to combine. Add potatoes and about a cup or so of water, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Potatoes do not need to be fully cooked, because they will finish in the oven, but you do need to take some of the edge off them so they are done at the same time as the pie crust.
Roll out your pie dough and place a layer of crust in the bottom of your pie dish or dishes (you can use these to make personal sized pies, or 2- 9 inch pies). I put a crust in the bottom and on the top because I LOVE pie crust. Fill the prepared pie dish with the stew mixture, and then top with another crust, and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour for 2 pies, or 25 minutes if you do personal sized pies.
Serve with your favorite veggie, or just by itself. One personal sized pot pie covers all of the major food groups, so you're good to go if you just eat that. Enjoy!!
Here in Utah we have a tradition of bringing a large casserole dish of cheesy potatoes to funerals. Thus the coined phrase "funeral potatoes." But you don't have to wait til someone dies to eat these! We also have them at church parties, for Christmas, for Thanksgiving, generally with our ham for Easter....pretty much whenever we feel like eating them. Everyone around here has their own recipe, and here is mine. I made them last night and they were a hit.
2 lbs frozen southern style hashbrowns (country fried potatoes)
1 1/2 c sour cream (you can use the light stuff if you want, I did)
1 lb shredded cheese (I used a mix of pepper jack and cheddar, but traditionally it's just cheddar), plus extra for the top
1 can cream of mushroom soup (one of the few recipes I use this for)
1/2 c milk
2 c finely diced ham
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chives, dried or fresh
1 c french fried onions (some people like to use corn flakes, but I like the flavor of this better)
In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and milk and spices. Mix well. Add potatoes and ham, and then combine til everything is coated and mixed well. Spray a 13x9 casserole pan or baking dish with cooking spray and then pour the whole thing into the dish, and spread evenly into the pan. Top with more cheese, the french fried onions, and then cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, removing the foil half way through (prevents burning the onions, but lets them stay crispy at the end).
Serve with ham, chicken, whatever you like, or just by itself. Generally I like to have a healthy serving of some green veggies to keep myself from eating piles of the potatoes--helps me keep my blood sugar in check!
**NOTE** I don't thaw the potatoes before I mix them with everything else. They defrost while cooking in the oven, and it turns out just fine. You can also use Potatoes O'Brien, which adds more flavor.
So I had all of the leftover pork from the night before sitting in the fridge and I needed to use it up in some creative way so the family would eat it, and so it wasn't like eating the same thing over and over again. So here is what I did....I added some veggies, diced up the pork, and stirred in all of the veggies, the apples, and the onions with some of the leftover rice I had served with it. Turned into sort of a stir fried rice thing...and it was pretty good. So enjoy!
Pork Fried Rice
1 1/2 c diced leftover pork tenderloin
Leftover juices and apples and onions from tenderloin
1/2 c carrots, diced fine
1/2 c corn
frozen peas would work in this too...whatever you have around.
3-4 c steamed rice, depending on how many people you are serving
In a skillet or wok, heat a bit of olive oil. Add the pork, and cook til warmed and slightly browned. Add carrots and apple/onion mixture, and keep cooking til carrots are tender. Add rice and corn and whatever other veggies, and keep stirring til all mixed well and rice is heated through. Serve warm.
This has to be one of my favorite ways to serve pork, and I thought since apples are in season right now, why not make it for dinner tonight? It's in the broiler right now...and while I still remember what I did, I will tell you how to make it.
Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions
1-2 pork tenderloins
1/2 tsp each of coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and cloves
1/4 c salt, plus a pinch
1 tsp pepper
1/4 c brown sugar
4-5 medium to small apples, cored and sliced very thin
1 large white onion, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
1/2 c apple juice or cider
About 2 hours before you plan to start cooking, mix together the spices, salt, pepper, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Once you have blended everything well, place pork tenderloins into the bowl and coat well with your rub mixture. Let sit in fridge for 2 hours.
Place tenderloins in a roasting pan and cover with all of the leftover rub (which will now be liquidy from the pork juices and sugar). Melt the butter in a large skillet, and then sweat your onions in the melted butter. Add a little salt and once your onions are tender, add your apples to the skillet. Add your apple juice after a bit of cooking and just cook the apples to barely tender. Dump this mixture over the top of your pork, and then broil pork for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping over halfway through.
Let the meat rest after taking it out of the oven and then slice into 1/4 inch slices. Serve with either potatoes or rice and your favorite vegetable.