Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creamed Green Beans from Scratch

Scratch the healthy option. These are not!
But they are a once a year type thing...and my goodness, you will re-think your opinion on green bean casserole.

I came up with these a week and a half ago. No recipe...just an experiment - I cannot believe how good they turned out.

Creamed Green Beans
4 cups fresh green beans, snapped
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, diced small
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cube butter
1/2 cup milk
3 tbslp wheat flour
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds

Bring beans to a boil and cook about 15 minutes till tender, but still rigid. When ready, drain hot water and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt 2/3rds of the butter. Stir in flour one tbslp at a time and continue stirring till the flour is "cooked" - it should be like melted play-dough.
Add the milk and stir till smooth with a whisk. Add the cream and keep stirring till it thickens up - thick enough that it does not easily run out of the pan when turned upside down. Season with salt and pepper.

In another saucepan melt the remaining butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes till mushrooms are soft.

Mix the sauteed mushrooms and garlic with the beans and place in a baking dish. Spoon the cream mixture over the beans and gently pat it down into the layers. Spread the almonds over top.

Bake at 375 till you see bubbles in the center - 30 to 40 minutes.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Tart Caramel Apple Cobbler

in fact, I blame it for my sugar coma that I came down with this afternoon.
But it is delicious and well worth a bake for a fall potluck.

This takes some time to make, give yourself at least 3 hours.

Tart Caramel Apple Cobbler

12 medium or 8 large granny smith apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tblsp butter

OR 2 cans apple pie filling.

1 can condensed milk
2 french vanilla or butter flavor cake mixes
3 cans sprite or, 7up, sierra mist or ginger ale

In a tall sided pot, fill with water and insert the can of condensed milk. The water should be at least 1/2 inch above the lid of the can and while cooking, the water level should NEVER go below the lid or you could risk an explosion. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to low/medium heat - whatever keeps a light boil going. Cover. Cook for at least 2 hours, add more water if you have to.

Remove can from heat use tap water to slowly bring the temp down - do not remove it from the water. After a few minutes, you can add ice to the water to cool it more quickly. Open the lid only when it is fully cooled. This is your caramel.

Peel and thinly slice (or dice) the apples. In the base of your baking dish, spread apples out and sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon. Place dabbles of butter evenly over the apples. Cover with tin foil and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

If you are using apple pie filling your cobbler will not be tart - and you can skip the step above.

Spread 1 box of dry cake mix over the apples. Pour 1 can of sprite over the cake mix. Drizzle 1/2 the can of caramel over that. Spread the second box of cake mix over that, then another can of sprite. Drizzle the other 1/2 of the caramel on top of that. Add more sprite if needed. The goal is to get all of the surface of the cake mix wet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the caramel starts to turn a little darker brown - it will be bubbly.

Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Prepare to have to take a nap within a few is devilishly rich.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Salmon and Curry Rice

Last nights delight:

Broiled Salmon
1 large fillet thawed salmon
Non-stick cooking spray
Lemmon Pepper
Mrs. Dash or No-Salt

Spray non-stick cooking spray on a vented boiler tray. Add a little water to the bottom tray. Sprinkle Mrs. Dash and Lemmon Pepper on top. Broil in oven on middle or top rack for approx 15-25 mins till cooked soft and tender. Let rest for approx 5 mins before cutting. Serve with lemon juice.

Curried Wild Rice
3/4 cup wild rice
5 cloves garlic minced
3 tblsp olive oil
2 medium carrots chopped small
2 celery stalks chopped small
salt, pepper, basil, curry

Cook rice till tender and dry.
In a wok, pour in olive oil. Heat on high.
Add garlic, carrots and celery
Fry for about 4 mins.
Add rice and keep stirring till coated evenly and rice is a bit fried.
Season with fresh ground sea salt, pepper, basil, and some dashes of curry (go light).

Parsnip Sauce
1 large parsnip
1 tsp butter
1 tsp flour
1/4 diced white or yellow onion
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
salt, lemon, pepper

Peel parsnip and boil in water till soft.
In sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir till even.
Add chopped onion and cook till soft.
Drain the parsnip and place it in a blender with the cooked onions, reserve as much butter in the pan as possible.
Add coconut milk and water to the blender and puree.
Pour the puree back into the sauce pan with the butter and heat on medium. Constantly stir and allow to boil for about 2 mins. Add salt to flavor. Lemon and Pepper if desired.

Drizzle the sauce over the fish and rice as desired.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mama's Potato Salad

This is my mother-in-law's Poatao Salad. I'm not sure if she got it from somewhere...but no-one makes it quite like her.

For those of you not fond of pickles, mustard, or the type of potato salad that you find in the store...this will be a refreshing bowl of yum - trust me.

Mama's Potato (Takes all day to make) Salad

6-8 russet potatoes
same number of eggs as potatoes, plus a few more for decoration
1/2 yellow or white onion, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
Best Foods original mayo
celery salt

Boil potatoes with the skins on until they are very soft…almost mushy. Cool completely in the fridge.
Boil eggs and cool completely.
(You may want to do this the evening before so they can cool all night.)

Gently remove the skins and dice the potatoes into approx 3/4 “ squares. Dice eggs a little smaller, leaving a few for d├ęcor.

Combine all veggies and eggs in large bowl.
Add mayo and spices till flavored as you like. Be careful with the mayo though, so that it’s not too mayo’ee.
Be generous with the celery salt.
Add only a little paprika to the mixture.
Mix well - the potatoes should be soft enough that they lose their rigid diced shape and become a little rounded on the edges...just rigid enough to hold their shape, but soft enough to be almost mushy. (Getting this texture may take a few tries.)

Top with sliced eggs, salt and paprika.

You may have to add salt after it stores in the fridge for a day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've moved...

I've moved over here, in case you're interested:

I will likely still post recipes here, since I am not the only person I cook for.
For example, I made an amazing sticky lemon fudge brownie bar the other day for my son's Kindergarten graduation...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doctored Campbell's

This was lunch today, paired with a tuna salad on toast. So rich and creamy!

Chunky & Creamy Tomato Soup

1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can italian diced tomatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 tblsp butter
1 tblsp sour cream
2 tblsp parmesan

Drain the diced tomatoes. Combine all in a pot and heat till hot and butter is melted. Serve with sprinkled parsley.

Move over Cool Whip

I've been making this version of homemade whipped cream for a while now and have had nothing but requests for seconds.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 small container of heavy cream - chilled
1 tsp vanilla
2 tblsp sugar
4-8 sprinkles of cinnamon

Combine in a bowl and mix till thickened, but stop before it turns into whipped butter.

Serve on top of fresh fruit, cake, egg nog, hot chocolate, you name it!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New potatoes - a new way

I am sure someone else somewhere has done this...but tonite it was an all me creation. And it was DELICIOUS! Here's what to do:

Take 4-6 medium sized red potatoes. Rinse and poke a few times. In a microwave safe bowl, add a little water and top with a dish towell (absorbs the steam). Nuke on high for 6+ minutes or until very soft. Remove from micro and drain water.

Turn oven to broil.
On a baking sheet, place potatoes and allow skins to dry. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of the potatoes and them sort of mush/hollow them to create puffy looking potato bombs.

Drizzle olive oil on and in them. Season with garlic salt, parsley and fresh ground pepper. (Parmesan is also good if you eat cheese.)

Place on top rack in oven and broil till lightly browned and the edges are crispy.

Remove from oven. Place on your plate. DEVOUR.
Fork not necessary, but recommended.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Odd...but surprisingly tasty!

This was my breakfast this morning - I am calling it:
(Seriously? Who eats a salad for breakfast - me, that's who.)
Health Freak Salad
Spring mix greens
thin sliced yellow onion
thin sliced bell peppers
leftover spaghetti squash (plain)
a Gala apple - chopped
black beans
kidney beans
sliced lunch meat
cooked barley
fresh squeezed lemon juice

I paired it with a salted cocktail size avocado.

The flavors are tart and sweet, crunchy and lite!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Basic Bean Soup

Another soup...I kinda like them. Why? I can put the excess in the fridge for lunches for the week...or in the freezer for later. I like bulk cooking .... with glitter on it like it. It makes my life easier and I spend less time standing over a hot stove.

Basic Bean Soup1.5 cups dry mixed beans (I prefer at least 6 different beans and some barley)
32 oz broth (vegetable or chicken/turkey)
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
5 cups water

Soak the beans/barley mix in three cups of cold water overnight, up to 24 hours. Stirring occasionally. Rinse and drain.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Set heat to low and simmer till beans reach desired tenderness. Check frequently to be sure there is enough broth. If the level is low, add water or more broth. Season to taste with Italian seasoning and salt/pepper.

Serves 8-10.

I usually have leftover chicken meat in the fridge. So I shred up some of it and add it to the soup on leftover days.

It's tasty, full of nutrients, and cheap. LOVE IT!

The Weekly Bean

Do you like beans? Even a little? Well, if you don't - you should.
Here's why: Click here

I've never been a fan of pinto beans until I tried my friends pinto bacon chilli. Wow...someday I'll track her down and steal the recipe for you.

But beans are AWESOME and they are a staple here in our home. So the question comes up...canned or fresh.

Pros for canned: convenient...saucy...pretty...quick
Cons for canned: more expensive...aluminum can = more waste...BPA

BPA you say? What is that? Read Here

Pros for fresh: no bpa...bigger know it's a clean food...super cheap
Cons for fresh: takes preparation and time...not as pretty

So here are the basics - there are two steps to preparing beans - soaking and cooking.

Beans can be purchased at the grocery store in baggies near the rice...or at your local health food market in bulk. Whichever way you buy them, sift through them a little before soaking just to make sure there are not rocks or debris in the mix.

1. Beans need to soak. I soak mine overnight and sometimes up to 24 hours. 1 to 3 ratio of beans and water. Just leave it in a bowl on the counter, stir occasionally.

2. Pour out the soak water and rinse them off. Fill a large enough pot with about four times as much water and bring the beans and water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for as long as it takes to get the beans soft enough.

Black beans take a long time to least two hours.

The white bubbles that appear on the top is actually protein and it will soak back into the beans, so don't scoop it off and dispose of it.

I prepare 1 cup of dry black, kidney, and garbanzos almost weekly. And just keep them in the fridge for up to 6 days. I add them to mexican bowls, soups, salads, quesadillas, etc. And little E loves loves loves kidney beans straight out of the bowl.

Because I use them for a variety of things during the week, I don't season my beans during cooking...but rather right before eating...usually just salt.

It's a bean good time I tell ya!