Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Turkey Leftovers

Friday, November 21st, 2008

This time of year, my mind starts wondering how to use up the leftover turkey even before there’s any turkey in sight.

Imagine sliced cooked turkey breast that is seasoned, coated with sesame seeds and sauteed in peanut oil.

This recipe will completely transform your leftovers, creating a feeling of “we aren’t eating plain old turkey anymore?”

With that here is the recipe…

  • Sesame Turkey
    • 4 slices turkey breast, cooked
    • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
    • 1 C. sesame seeds
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
    • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
    • Brush turkey with sesame oil and dredge in mixture of sesame seeds, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
    • In skillet, saute turkey slices in heated peanut oil until brown on both sides.
    • Remove turkey from skillet.
    • To the hot skillet add garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce.
    • Cook, stirring until hot and bubbly.
    • Pour sauce over turkey.

Chicken Breasts Baked In Sour Cream

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

There is always room in your recipe collection for another way to prepare a chicken breast. So here’s an easy, delicious and perhaps new way to make those chicken breasts exciting. This recipe takes a little longer to bake, but it is worth the wait.

    • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
    • 1 can (10-1/2 oz) cream of chicken soup, divided
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
    • 3 whole chicken breasts, cut in half
    • Brown chicken breasts in butter or margarine.
    • Place in baking dish with a cover.
    • Add 1/2 of the can of cream of chicken soup.
    • Bake at 350°, covered, for one hour.
    • Combine sour cream with remaining cream of chicken soup.
    • Add drained mushrooms.
    • Pour mixture over chicken.
    • Cover and continue baking at 325° for 25 minutes.

To start off, is the most tasking part of our mission here. Browning the chicken breasts in butter. Not so difficult. I decided not to cut the chicken breasts in half because all three were identically, cool shaped and fat. I just couldn’t. So they took a little longer to brown. (about 10 minutes on each side)

There’s not too many rules here. You could cut the chicken breasts into thirds or ooh pound them thin…stretch the chicken breasts any way you’d like depending on the number of people at the table.

Once browned, the chicken breasts went into a baking dish, and I spooned half of the cream of chicken soup over them, covered the dish and baked for an hour. After the hour, this is what they looked like…

Not that exciting yet? Here is where the goodness kicks in.

I mixed the remainder of the soup with sour cream and mushrooms.

Nope, it’s not dessert…

Spooned all that over the chicken breasts. It makes quite a heap.

Then covered the dish up and finished baking for 25 more minutes.

The outcome was spectacular.

I’d have to say the sauce was my favorite part, so don’t leave any in the pan! It was very rich, almost cream cheese-like, and the mushrooms rocked!

This picture doesn’t do these Chicken Breasts Baked in Sour Cream justice, so trust me and try the recipe for yourself. Yum!

Real Mashed Potatoes

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Making real mashed potatoes is not something to stress over. They are actually a simple and pleasing side dish that should be on the table more frequently than just Thanksgiving dinner.

The two key ingredients:  a Kitchen-Aid Mixer and semi overcooked potatoes.

I love my Kitchen-Aid Mixer. It whips, beats, churns…whatever you like, it will get the job done. Breads, cookies, dips, meringues…the list of possibilities are endless. Although a hefty little investment, every kitchen should have a Kitchen-Aid Mixer. It’s worth every penny.

On to the semi overcooked potatoes. How can you lose? Most of the skins just fall off when pulled on a bit. And the skins that stick? Well just psyche yourself up and dive in. Ooo, hot hot! Yes, but just for a few seconds. Now the potato chunks are ready to be tossed into the mixer.

Into the mixer they go, with already chopped pieces of butter inside the bowl. Instant butter melting action! Pour warmed milk over the potatoes and whip up some mashed potatoes in about a minute.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes
    • 5 large potatoes, cut into thirds and boiled
    • 1/2 C milk, heated
    • 3 Tbsp. margarine or butter
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • Peel potatoes.
    • Place hot potatoes in bowl.
    • Mix for 10 seconds to mash.
    • Add all other ingredients.
    • Beat for about 1 minute or until fluffy.

Plain old potatoes too bland for your tastes? Here are some simple variations.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Substitute 1 teaspoon garlic salt for salt.

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes – Increase milk to 3/4 cup. Add 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese with milk.

Sour Cream-Chive Mashed Potatoes – Substitute 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream for 1/4 cup milk. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives.

This can be as fast or as slow as you want it to be. Overcooked potatoes tend to peel and mash quicker. Adding sliced butter to the bowl before the hot potatoes go in it, further quickens the process. Leave some potato skins on the potato for appearance and/or fingertip appreciation.

Maple Salmon

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Besides being delicious, salmon is an exceptional source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish (salmon) is also a good source of protein and does not have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do.

So tonight I thought I would try baking Maple Salmon…

  • Maple Salmon
    • 1/4 C maple syrup
    • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper
    • 1 lb salmon
    • In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt and pepper.
    • Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish and coat with the maple syrup mixture.
    • Cover the dish and marinade salmon in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.
    • Preheat oven to 400°F
    • Place baking dish in oven and bake salmon uncovered for 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with fork.

The salmon fillets are marinaded now so into the oven they go…

And 20 minutes later out they come…

Maple Salmon was simple to prepare and quite tasty. The maple syrup adds a nice, sweet flavor to the salmon fillets, while the garlic is making them happy, happy happy! The crispy, dark edges were a bonus.

If I could do it again, I would have grilled the salmon instead of baking it. Mainly because the pan gets pretty crazy with baked on maple madness, not because the outcome wasn’t tasty.

Next sale on salmon I’m going for it…

Spaghetti Salad

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

A slight change to the average pasta salad makes a huge difference.

A key ingredient amongst all the other good stuff is Salad Supreme Seasoning

Let me introduce you to Spaghetti Salad…

  • Spaghetti Salad
    • 1 pkg. spaghettini
    • 16 oz. bottle Italian Dressing
    • 1/8 bottle Salad Supreme Seasoning*
    • any or all of the following:
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 1 cucumber, cut into pieces
    • 1 can mushrooms
    • celery
    • olives
    • green pepper
    • Cook spaghettini.
    • Drain and rinse with cold water.
    • Add all other ingredients.
    • Chill.

Very simple assembly. With a satisfying result.

Put all vegetables in a large bowl.

Pour some dressing over them.

Top with noodles, Salad Supreme Seasoning and the rest of the dressing. Mix it all together.

Shake a little Salad Supreme Seasoning on the top and chill.

Yum…Spaghetti Salad…

I tend to favor a cucumber, celery, mushroom and red onion combination. The red onion is almost a must for adding beautiful color to the salad. And the mushroom, mmm…self explanatory. Don’t get me started. All the other ingredients add a fresh, crisp crunch that no pasta salad should be without.

Tonight though, I absentmindedly forgot the celery. I think because I was on a Spaghetti Salad making marathon of some sort today, making it for my Grandpa’s 89th birthday party in the morning then running out of time, I set aside some of the cut-up vegetables to prepare another batch later for my own crew at home. Some. Poor neglected celery. Apparently I couldn’t be bothered to cut up a couple extra stalks this morning, nor could I be bothered with it tonight. D’oh. The Spaghetti Salad still tasted great, but it was lacking it’s crunch capacity.

* I’ve found that a good way to measure 1/8 of a bottle of McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning is to mark the side of the bottle with a Sharpie in 8 as equal as you can portions. This especially comes in handy if you’re an avid Spaghetti Salad maker.

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes.

So how do you like your pretzel?

Thick or thin?

Straight or twisted?

Crisp and crunchy, or soft?



With a dip? Mustard flavored, perhaps?

There is no shortage to types of pretzels and that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Chocolate and Vanilla Pretzel Rods
    • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 16 oz. pkg. vanilla flavored candy coating
    • 24 pretzel rods
    • Assorted sprinkles, if desired
    • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until melted. Do not overcook!
    • Dip half of the pretzel rods into the melted chocolate and lay on waxed paper to harden. Set remaining chocolate aside.
    • Add sprinkles (if desired) before the chocolate is set.
    • Meanwhile, melt vanilla candy coating in the microwave. (according to package directions) Cook 1 minute, stir, then cook 15 seconds at a time, until melted.
    • Dip the other half of the pretzel rods into the vanilla coating and lay on waxed paper to harden.
    • Dip a fork into the remaining vanilla candy coating and drizzle over the chocolate dipped pretzels.
    • Dip a clean fork into reserved chocolate (hopefully still melted) and drizzle over the vanilla candy coated pretzels.
    • Refrigerate the chocolate-dipped pretzels on a wax paper lined plate for about 20 minutes to harden. (The vanilla works like magic.)

Dipped pretzel rods are simple and fun to make. Depending on your preference, whether it be tons of colorful sprinkles or a cool opposite pattern effect…or straight up dipped with no messing around, you can’t lose. It’s trial and error time, people. And pretty much all errors win here.

But dang, this is a lot of topping…woops. Luckily I had some regular pretzels on hand. We mixed the remaining chocolate and vanilla together to make…um…chocolate-vanilla dipped pretzels…pretzels with a nice tan. I think the mix of the two flavors together tasted best, but all of the dips were good.

I was wishing I had some strawberries. This vanilla coating would be perfect for them. Not to mention, when the remaining levels of what’s left over get lower, you need smaller objects to dip. All simple physics. So if you’re out of pretzel rods, grab whatever you’ve got….cause this stuff is not flushable!

April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Did you know there is a National Day for Zucchini Bread? It’s true…and that day is today.

Which got me thinking about my son’s recent requests for some breads or muffins using orange juice. He told me you can substitute orange juice for the water or milk in any bread/muffin recipe. I asked how he found this out and he said he learned it from the reading portion of his AIMS test, our state’s standardized test. Ha! I know he seeks and retains a lot of info, but how funny is that? Pretty cool too, seeing as how reading comprehension was my least favorite thing to test on when I was in school, even though I loved to read.

How can you deny your loved ones asking for a slightly healthier alternative?! You can’t. And I won’t. Let’s have a go at this Zucchini Bread made with orange juice and applesauce…

  • Awesome Zucchini Bread
    • 2 C sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 C shredded zucchini
    • 1/2 C applesauce
    • 1/3 C orange juice
    • 3 C flour
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1-3/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 C chopped walnuts
    • Preheat oven to 350°
    • In large bowl mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
    • Add zucchini, applesauce and orange juice; stir well.
    • In another bowl, combine flour with dry ingredients; baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
    • Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture; stir well.
    • Add nuts; stir gently to combine.
    • Pour into 2 greased and floured 9″ loaf pans.
    • Bake for 60-70 minutes; until toothpick comes out clean.
    • Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire rack and cool completely.
    • Makes 2 loaves

I made a slight change to the recipe and used 1 cup wheat flour and 2 cups white flour.

To ensure even cooking, half way through the cooking time I moved the left pan to the right side of the oven and vice versa. This is always a good idea when baking 2 pans of anything.

The bread browned very early on in the cooking process, but it was a dark colored batter to begin with. I admit I was a little worried. Then when the zucchini bread was done baking my husband said, “That’s the best smelling bread I’ve ever smelled…it smells like *sniff sniff* pizza and pancakes at the same time.” Maybe the oddest kitchen compliment I’ve ever received.

Either way, my conclusion is that this recipe makes a really awesome, moist zucchini bread that will not disappoint.

Chocolate Milkshakes

Friday, April 25th, 2008

We’ve all got to indulge sometimes. What better way to indulge than a thick creamy chocolate milkshake?

I’ve found a way to cancel out the being bad part of a milkshake with a being good part. At least I like to pretend. It’s sort of similar to eating a really healthy vegetable and then smothering it with cheese or butter, but backwards.

The being good part involves wheat germ, so let’s talk about it.

Wheat germ is a very small part of the wheat kernel. Don’t be alarmed by the term germ. It has nothing to do with bacteria, it simply refers to germination. The germ is the reproductive part that germinates and forms the wheat grass.

The amount of nutrients that are contained in wheat germ seem endless. Wheat germ is very high in protein. It has riboflavin, calcium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins A, B1 and 3. Vitamins B1 and 3 are very important to maintain energy levels and maintain healthy muscles, organs, hair and skin. Another important vitamin found in wheat germ is vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. Vitamin E also helps prevent blood clots and is needed to strengthen the body’s immune system. Wheat germ contains 23 nutrients in all.

Oh, and wheat germ tastes really good too. It makes an awesome topping for ice cream, yogurt or milkshakes.

Here’s my version of a chocolate milkshake, Frosty-style, with a little extra on top…

  • Awesome Chocolate Milkshake (Frosty-style)
    • 1 C vanilla ice cream
    • 1/2 C milk
    • 2 Tbsp. Nesquik Powder
    • 2 Tbsp whipped cream
    • 2 tsp. wheat germ
    • Put ice cream in blender.
    • Top with Nesquik.
    • Pour milk in and blend well.
    • Pour into a glass and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with wheat germ.


Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

For many people, Tuna Noodle Casserole is like a childhood classic. Somehow though, my family never ate this when I was growing up. We had tuna. And we had casserole…but no Tuna Noodle Casserole.

So now I am thinking I better make this. See what all the fuss is about.

There’s a thousand fancy ways to make Tuna Noodle Casserole. Adding chopped celery and onion, pimiento, chopped parsley…cheddar, sliced mushrooms, even broccoli…the possibilities are endless and mouthwatering.

Oh well. I’m going to go about this the old skool way and only the the most basic ingredients are allowed!

I hear you can make Tuna Noodle Casserole with these simple ingredients…

And a really simple recipe, so let’s check it out.

  • Tuna Noodle Casserole
    • 1 large can tuna (drained)
    • 1 can cream of chicken soup
    • 1 small can peas
    • 4 C wide egg noodles, cooked
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 C milk
    • 1 C breadcrumbs
    • Grease an 8″ square casserole dish.
    • Flake tuna into the dish.
    • Mix soup with milk and salt then pour into casserole dish.
    • Add noodles and peas and mix all together.
    • Top evenly with breadcrumbs, sealing exposed noodles
    • Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes.

This casserole was really easy to assemble. All that was required was to pre-cook pasta, measure and stir. No knives needed, even. Good deal. Get the kids involved for some harmless, skill teaching fun.

I know you are on the edge of your seat wondering how was it?? Here’s how it looked…

It tasted alright. Tuna Noodle Casserole is what I expected it to be, although I had hoped it would taste better. If I were to bake this again the things I would change would be to use the small can of tuna, instead of large and I would use herb-flavored breadcrumbs, instead of plain breadcrumbs.

Tuna Noodle Casserole is the kind of thing a mom should bring to the table once in awhile. It’s all part of growing up…coming to the table and getting this warm casserole-type-thing on your plate and that’s what’s for dinner. I am proud to be a part of that. Go Tuna Noodle Casserole!

Bean & Cheese Chimichangas

Monday, April 21st, 2008

My version of the popular chimichanga involves frying them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Here’s why – It’s taste, nutrition, and integrity.

Taste is the most obvious difference between olive oil and vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, and canola. These oils are tasteless fats! I mean, you wouldn’t want to eat a piece of bread dipped in vegetable oil, so why add that tasteless fat to the food you prepare?

Nutritionally, olive oil contains more monounsaturated fat than any of the vegetable oils. A tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat and no cholesterol. Virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E.

Vegetable oils are industrial, processed foods. Vegetable oils are generally extracted by means of petroleum-based solvents, and then must be highly refined to remove impurities. Along with the impurities, refining removes taste, color and nutrients. Ew?

Extra virgin olive oils are not processed or refined. They are essentially “fresh squeezed” from the fruit of the olive tree, without alteration of color, taste or nutrients. Because of the integrity of olive oil, and it’s antioxidant components, olive oil will keep longer than all other vegetable oils.

Olive oil is more expensive than vegetable oil, but it is worth the extra cost to have a healthier frying method that tastes so much better.

So onto the chimichangas…my frying method doesn’t involve completely immersing the them into oil. I find using that much oil to be totally unnecessary. With the proper flipping method you can achieve a pleasing result with about 6 Tablespoons of olive oil and further pleasing, simple clean up after dinner!

  • Bean & Cheese Chimichangas
    • 1 Large (30 oz) can Refried Beans
    • 4 Extra Large Tortillas
    • 1 C Cheddar
    • 6 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Heat refried beans according to package directions.
    • Place tortillas on a plate, between 2 slightly moistened paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds.
    • Scoop 5-6 tablespoons beans onto a tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheddar.
    • Roll into a burrito shape, making sure the sides are sealed. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
    • Heat 6 tablespoon olive oil on med-high heat in a pan.
    • Place burritos, seam side down into pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes or until browned.
    • Place chimichangas onto a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil and serve.

How to roll a burrito and keep it rolled:

Scoop the beans onto lower edge of tortilla.

Top with cheese or any other fillings you may be using.

Fold outer edges towards the center.

Roll bottom edge up around the beans and tuck under a bit.

Fold the outer edges towards the center once again.

Continue rolling the burrito until you are out of tortilla to roll.

Pretty easy, right?

This recipe will make 4 very nice-sized chimichangas, but since we are a family of three I only make 3. Everyone is full after one. And since my son likes his chimichanga cheeseless, being the health-nut that I am, I upped the cheddar on my husband and I’s chimichanga for a cheesy good time.

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