Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Super Simple Cranberry Sauce

I had never eaten cranberry sauce in my life when I found this recipe in Real Simple magazine a few years ago. My family had always served the jellied canned cranberries and they just never appealed to me. But the photo of this sauce looked really good, so I thought I'd give it a try. I've made just a couple of adjustments from the original over the past couple of years, and this recipe is always a hit. We have quite a few people in our families with sugar restrictions and it's easy to make this a diet friendly dish. This is a great dish to make ahead, and actually tastes better if the flavors can combine overnight.

Super Simple Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 12 oz bag cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup orange marmalade (I use Smucker's sugar free made with Splenda)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • sugar or Splenda to taste

Combine cranberries, water and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop (I prefer more whole cranberries, you can cook it longer if you prefer more to pop). Remove from heat, stir in marmalade and nutmeg, cool. Add sweetener if desired. Cover and refrigerate.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cabbage Sausage Soup

A coworker gave me this recipe years ago when we had the world's largest cabbage to use up that we had bought at the farmer's market. It looked like the recipe came from a local fundraiser type cookbook, so I can't site a source here.

This recipe could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage and it would still be a delicious soup. But I prefer to make it with my favorite sausage, Bob Evans Zesty Hot.

Cabbage Sausage Soup
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 bay leaf

Combine carrots, onions and sausage in a frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and vegetables are crisply tender. Pour off fat. In a soup pot, combine remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Stir in sausage and veggies. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until stew is thickened.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This is a meal that I put together last minute. I wasn't going to blog it originally, but it turned out really well so I figured I'd go ahead and throw it up here. There's nothing fancy about it, but it was easy to make and tasted really good. Definitely a cold-weather comfort food.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed veggies, brought to room temperature
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
  • 1 package Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations
  • salt, pepper and thyme to taste

Spread mashed potatoes on the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Spread mixed veggies and shredded chicken over top. In a small saucepan, combine soup and milk and mix over medium-high heat until smooth and warmed through. Pour over top of chicken. Season with salt, pepper and thyme to taste. Unroll Recipe Creations and lay it over top of pot pie ingredients. Bake according to package directions (I think it was 350, but I don't recall exactly. I'll update this next time I make it) until golden brown, approximately 17-20 minutes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Molasses Cookies

About a year ago I set out to find a molasses cookie recipe that was similar to what my Grandma used to make. I read all sorts of reviews of cookies on Recipezaar and found this one that described the kind of cookie I was looking for. Chewy, soft, spicy, everything a good molasses cookie should be. I have to say, I was lucky in finding the perfect recipe my first try. If this is not the recipe my Grandma used, I know it has to be close.

When you make these cookies, make sure not to over-bake them. They might seem a little under-cooked when you first pull them out, but they firm up quite a bit as they cool. If you let them bake too long they will be rock hard the next day. They taste even better once they've cooled, so I try to resist eating any as they first come out.

Molasses Cookies
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • white sugar for rolling

Cream together shortening and brown sugar. Stir in egg and molasses and mix well. In a small bowl mix remaining ingredients. Fold into shortening mixture and stir. Cover and chill until firm (about 1 to 2 hours). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 9 to 10 minutes. Leave on sheet for 1 minute until set, then remove to cooling rack. Do not overcook, they will firm up as they cool.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

First off, I'm going to apologize again for the picture. I promise it looks more appetizing than this in person, but when it gets dark in Michigan at 5:30 at night, it's tough to get a decent shot.

On to your regularly scheduled blog post . . .

I had cabbbage rolls for the first time a few years ago and decided I needed to try to make them at home. Then I got to thinking about all the work involved and changed my mind. So I hit up Recipezaar and found this. With just a few tiny adjustments I got to my current recipe.

I usually use my favorite Bob Evan's Spicy Hot Sausage, but this time we had some sausage we bought from a fundraiser so we used that instead. I also usually use regular green cabbage, but switched in Nappa cabbage instead. I think that if I were to use Nappa again I would eliminate the water and reduce the oven time, as it was a bit soupier than normal.

Cabbage Roll Casserole
  • 1 pound ground sausage or beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 quart stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 6 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat in a sauce pan. Add onion and garlic, saute until tender. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, add rice. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Place half of cabbage in a greased casserole dish, cover with half of rice mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Could've had a V8

This is another recipe I found online years ago and have no idea where it came from. So again, if it's familiar, let me know so I can credit the source.

This is one of those recipes that's great because we generally have all the ingredients on hand to make a last minute supper. It's quick, easy, tasty, and full of your daily vegetable servings. It can be thrown in the crock pot in the morning or made quickly on the stove after work.

V8 Soup

  • 1 46 ounce bottle Spicy Hot V8
  • 1/2 to 1 pound ground beef, lightly cooked and drained
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetables (can be fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and simmer 6 to 8 hours. -OR- Combine all ingredients in soup pot and simmer on stove top for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Split Pea Sausage Soup

Bob Evans Hot sausage. Almost without fail, if I have a recipe that calls for any type of sausage, I will switch it to Bob Evans Hot sausage. It's the kind that comes in a one pound roll of ground sausage, and the hot variety is in the red package. It adds such good flavor to everything I use it in.

So many years ago when I was looking for a pea soup recipe and found one that called for cut up link sausage of some sort, I used my beloved Bob Evans Hot instead. And for 8+ years now I have never made pea soup any other way. I'm not sure exactly where I got this recipe, only that it was online, so if it looks familiar to anyone please let me know so I can give credit to the original.

Also, a little product rave. I am in love with mini saltine crackers. They are so good and so cute, and they get a cheapy like me to spring for name brand instead of generic (I'll even buy the store brand sausage if I don't have a Bob Evans coupon).

Split Pea and Spicy Sausage Soup
  • 1 16 ounce package dry split peas
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 5 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 onion, chopped

Brown sausage. Combine all ingredients. Cook in a slow cooker on high for 4 to 5 hours, or simmer in a stock pot over low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Costa Rican Rice

On our honeymoon in Costa Rica my husband and I ate a ton of great food. Many people will tell you that Costa Rica is not a good vacation destination for a foodie, but I think that if you enjoy good food you'll enjoy Costa Rica. The food we had there was all very simple, but so flavorful.

One of the activities we did on our trip was to go Canyoning with Pure Trek. This was an amazing experience doing waterfall rappels in gorgeous rain forest surroundings (that's me dangling from a rope up above). After our morning trip we were taken back to their headquarters for lunch. We were served a delicious and simple meal of a rice dish, some red beans, some fruit, and a fruit drink (I think I'm remembering this all correctly three years later).

Recently we were talking and both thought it would be great if we could try to recreate that rice dish we were served, so I contacted Pure Trek through their web page and asked for the recipe. I soon heard back from them, and the following recipe is what they sent back with just a few minor adjustments of my own. I'm not a really big fish fan, but this is a good way to eat it without it seeming like I am.

Costa Rican Rice
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups day old cold white rice
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 3 teaspoons powdered chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a deep sided pan, fry tilapia fillets in a little bit of olive oil until done (this took me just a few minutes on each side). Remove to a plate and flake. In the same pan saute garlic and onion. Add rice and stir together. Add carrots, peas and corn and heat through. Add back the tilapia flakes. Stir in chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

PB Chocolate Chip Muffins

I wasn't going to blog these anytime soon. I first made them before I started my blog, and even though I loved these muffins I was going to put off blogging them because they'd been done quite a bit and I figured I would try some new things first.

But we were taking Joey over to my Grandpa's for a quick visit on Halloween, and my Grandpa loves the chocolate/peanut butter combination. I knew he would love these muffins, so I made a batch that morning. And I figured, as long as they're here, I might as well blog them. :)

I originally got the recipe from Annie's Eats, and they are some of the best muffins I have ever tasted, let alone made myself. The only thing I might alter in the future is to try and incorporate some oats into them (I just couldn't try it this time in case it didn't turn out -- didn't want to leave Grandpa with no muffins; I'll blog it if it works when I try it).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (the two batches I've done have taken over 20 minutes). Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.