Thursday, November 25, 2010

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

We made like 10 lb.. of potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner for about 17 people and we have probably half of the bowl left over. I guess we are going to be eating mashed potatoes for like a month straight ...

My deluxe mashed-potato makin' tool.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes (serves 4-6)
2 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes (they are the best for mashed potatoes)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cold butter
Salt (I just keep adding salt at the end until it tastes good)

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks. You want the chunks uniform in size so the cooking time is even.
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan or pot. Cover potatoes with water.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer uncovered.
  4. Mix occasionally so the potatoes get evenly cooked.
  5. Cook until a knife or fork slips in easily about 20-30 min.
  6. Warm milk on stove over medium heat or in the microwave.
  7. Cut up butter into small pieces and place in serving bowl.
  8. I use a potato ricer so that they are extra smooth to mash them but you can use an electric mixer, hand masher, Kitchen-aid, etc.
  9. Mix potatoes with butter. Add milk in a slow stream and mix. Add salt until it reaches desired amount.
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Vanilla Bean Whip Cream

The yummiest whip cream ever. Once you have real whip cream you can never go back to store bought. So only make this if you are willing to accept the risks.
The Holy Grail of Vanilla extracts ... Vanilla bean PASTE. It is kinda like extract but is more syrupy and has vanilla bean specks in it. Trust me, you need it. I got mine from Williams Sonoma but I'm sure you could find it online or other places

Vanilla Bean Whip Cream
1 cup heaving whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (I use normal sugar because my mom always made it that way but most people use powdered sugar)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  1. Slowly add ingredients to whipping cream while you whip with electric mixer or beaters until fluffy.

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Pumpkin Dessert Squares

About to go in my tummy ... for baby of course ...
Fresh out of the oven.
The secret ingredient. I got mine at Williams Sonoma but you can probably find it other places too.

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs, large
1 jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" × 13" pan.
  3. Mix the jar of Muirhead Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter with two eggs and milk. Pour this result over the cake mix.
  4. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into squares. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream or whip cream!
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Cranberry Apple Creamy Fruit Salad

This is one of the recipes that I made for Thanksgiving this year but it is also yummy for Christmas. I know that it kinda looks like brains or something gross but it is sooooooo good. It has the tartness from cranberries, the crispy chunks of apples, the smoothness of the whip cream, and the chewiness of marshmallows. Just thought I would try to put things in perspective for you, your welcome.

Cranberry Apple Fruit Salad (Recipe from: Nicole Nielson)
5-6 Apples (the more apples you add the less tart it will be)
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 bag marshmallows

  1. Chop apples and cranberries in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  2. Add the sugar to the apples and cranberries. Mix and let sit over night in the fridge.
  3. Whip up 1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream and add it to the apples and cranberries.
  4. Then, add the bag of marshmallows and mix well.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I kinda just made this recipe up a while ago but it turned out super yummy so I hope you like it too!

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
1 box Rice-a-roni Wild & Long grain rice mix
Rotisserie Chicken (I usually will buy one and maybe use about 1/2 of it then use the rest for something else; you could use just normal chicken breasts too but I like the flavor that the rotisserie chicken adds)
2 T. butter, to saute vegetables
1/2-1 onion, chopped (depending on size and how much you like onion)
1-2 ribs of celery, sliced
1-2 carrots, shredded
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups water
1 cup milk
4 bouillon cubes

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile saute onion and celery in 2 T. butter for a few minutes over medium heat. I just do it in my soup pot so I don't have to clean a frying pan, I know I'm lazy! Then add shredded carrots for about 2 minutes since they are thin and small.
  3. Remove vegetables from soup pot and set aside on a plate or in a bowl.
  4. Melt 1/4 cup butter in pot over medium heat then add 1/4 cup flour. Whisk and let cook for a couple of minutes until it is light brown.
  5. Slowly add water and milk to butter/flour mixture, whisking while you add it to prevent lumps.
  6. Add bouillon cubes or flavoring (enough for 4 cups liquid). Allow the soup to thicken for a few minutes while stirring.
  7. Re-add vegetables to soup pot and rice once it is done cooking. The rice will help thicken the soup because it is a starch. Add chicken not long before serving because it only needs to be reheated not cooked.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Easy Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Since I feel like I have been posting a lot more complex recipes recently I decided to post an oldie but a goody. My mom used to make this a lot while we were growing up and it is super easy, super fast, and super yummy.

Pesto Pasta with Chicken
2-3 Chicken breasts (depending on size)
1 box pasta
Italian Dressing (I use Wishbone or Kraft)
1 jar Classico pesto sauce

  1. Cut up chicken into small chunks. Put chicken in a ziploc bag and add italian dressing until chicken is completely covered. Then, add 2 spoonfuls of pesto. Marinate for a couple of hours or overnight in fridge.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Cook chicken on "The George" (Forman grill) or saute in frying pan.
  4. Drain pasta and add cooked chicken and the rest of the jar of pesto. Mix until evenly covered with pesto sauce.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stir-Fried Asian Beef and Noodles

This is definitely one of my favorite dinner recipes. I got it while I worked in the BYU foods lab as a T.A.. It has a lot of prep but it is definitely worth it. Good thing I was so lucky to marry someone who likes to do a lot of chopping :-)

Stir-Fried Asian Beef and Noodles

Meat Marinade:
1 lb. beef boneless sirloin or round steak, cut into 2x1/4 inch strips
1 T. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. soy sauce

8 oz. spaghetti noodles (half box)

Stir-fry Vegetables:
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. finely grated ginger root
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Mixed frozen or fresh vegetables (broccoli and carrots works well)

1 T. vegetable oil (to sauté meat with)

¾ cup beef broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T. cornstarch

4 medium green onions, sliced (use the green and white parts)

1. In a large zip-loc bag, combine beef, 1 T. vegetable oil, cornstarch and 1 tsp. soy sauce.
2. Seal bag and refrigerate 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Combine broth, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch.
4. Bring pot of water to boil. Add spaghetti noodles and cook until tender (al dente). Drain.
5. Heat skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 T. oil.
6. Add ginger root and garlic. Cook 30 seconds.
7. Add vegetables. Cook until tender-crisp about 5-7 min.
8. Remove vegetables from skillet.
9. Add the second tablespoon of oil to skillet or wok.
10. Add beef. Stir-fry about 5 minutes, or until brown.
11. Remove meat from skillet.
12. Add noodles, prepared sauce, vegetables and meat to skillet.
13. Stir and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens about 2 minutes.
15. Stir in green onions. Cook and stir about 2 minutes.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas (Recipe from: Elizabeth Weight)
Steak (Your choice; I like to use a thin cut of NY strip steak because its tender but it's more expensive; flank steak would be good too)
Seasoning for Steak: chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper
1 Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
Handful of Cilantro
1-2 limes (if they are big limes you probably only want one)
Toppings (tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, etc.)

  1. Season steak with generous amounts of freshly ground salt & pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper (easy on the cayenne pepper and chili powder unless you like spicy!).
  2. Cook steak until desired doneness. (I usually cook the steak whole then slice it into strips once it is cooked)
  3. Slice onion and pepper. I like to season my onions and peppers with some salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder too. Sauté onion and pepper in vegetable oil until onions are lightly golden brown.
  4. Chop about a handful of cilantro.
  5. Combine steak, onion, and red pepper in a serving dish. Juice 1-2 limes over mixture. Throw in desired amount of cilantro.
  6. Mix and serve in tortillas with toppings.
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Brazilian Lemonade

I love Tucano's Brazilian Lemonade but I don't have cash money to go there all of the time (and there aren't any in Oregon) so this recipe is a good substitute for their yummy Brazilian Lemonade. Although I'm not really sure why they call it lemonade when it's made with limes ...

Brazilian Lemonade
3 limes
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups water
3 T. sweetened condensed milk (just trust me on this)

  1. Wash limes thoroughly. Cut off the ends and slice into eight wedges. Place limes in a blender with the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and water.
  2. Blend in an electric blender, pulsing 10 times. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove rinds. Serve over ice.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Basil Pasta with Sausage

I love this dish because it feels really light because it does't have a heavy sauce but it is also very flavorful. I wish I would have browned the meat a little bit better for this picture though ...

Basil Pasta with Sausage
1 lb. penne pasta
1 lb. Italian sausage (Recipe follows or you could use store bought)
2 cups thinly sliced or chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
1 T. minced fresh garlic (I don't like the jar stuff because I think it has less flavor but you could try it)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T. chopped FRESH basil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until evenly browned and fully cooked.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring until golden brown around the edges, about 8-10 min.
  4. Once pasta is done cooking, strain and add 1/4 cup olive oil and basil to the pasta. Toss to coat evenly.
  5. Add the sausage and onion mixture to the pasta.
  6. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Italian Sausage
1 lb. ground pork
1/2-1 tsp. fennel (depending on how much you like fennel; it can be strong)
1 tsp. ground bay leaves
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Mix ingredients and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls (Recipe from my brother's old roommate Kurt)
Rhodes Frozen Cinnamon Rolls (I know I'm lazy)

Cinnamon roll caramel sauce (this is the important part)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. water
5 T. butter

  1. Thaw cinnamon rolls (or make your own) according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven according to cinnamon roll package directions.
  3. Melt the sauce ingredients in microwave or on stovetop.
  4. Mix it all together until butter is all melted and caramel sauce is smooth and thoroughly mixed.
  5. Dump into greased 9x13 pan and spread evenly on the bottom.
  6. Place cinnamon rolls on top of sauce and bake according to package directions.
  7. Frost with desired frosting.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Football Cheese Dip

So good yet so bad for me ...

Sausage Cheese Dip (Recipe from Terry Cipriani)
(16 oz.) Mexican Velveeta cheese (or normal if you can't find mexican version)
1 lb. sausage (I use original but you could use spicy)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jar salsa (spiciness level that you prefer)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (weird I know but delicioso!)

  1. Brown sausage and onion in skillet on stove.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over low to medium low heat begin to melt cheese, salsa, and cream of mushroom soup. Mix ingredients while melting. Be sure to watch it because the cheese will burn easily.
  3. Once melted, combine sausage with cheese mixture.
  4. Transfer to crock pot and keep warm over low heat.
  5. Serve with chips.

*If you are patient enough you can melt the cheese, salsa and cream of mushroom soup together in a crock pot over low heat. Pin It

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Bestest Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin cookie (these looked the best)

Thick & Yummy

Aerial View (I didn't have black food coloring so it's kinda hard to tell what the witch is)
These are the sugar cookies that I grew up with and they aren't just the memories that make them good. They are favorite. They are so soft and scrumptious! Garrett even likes them and he doesn't like sugar cookies! I decided to make these sugar cookies for the kids in our sunday school class as a Halloween treat. If you make this recipe you have to promise not to use store bought frosting on these bad boys because in my opinion it ruins them ;-)
P.S. I'm not the best froster ...

*SECRET TIP: I make my sugar cookie dough 2 days before I want them and I bake and frost the cookies the night before I need them.  You have to store them in an air tight container though or they will dry out.  For some reason these cookies are softer the next day!

Sugar Cookies (Recipe from: Momma Weight)
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sour cream
5-6 cups flour (I usually use 5 because you add more flour when you roll them out)

  1. Cream together shortening, sugar, and eggs.
  2. Add vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, and sour cream until well mixed.
  3. Add the flour gradually. (If it seems sticky don't worry because you will add more flour when you roll it out)
  4. Refrigerate OVERNIGHT.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. Sprinkle countertop with flour so dough won't stick.
  7. Grab a hunk of dough and place it on the floured countertop (you will want to do this in batches because it makes a lot of cookies)
  8. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and around the edges so it won't stick to the rolling pin.
  9. The more you work with the dough and the more flour you add the tougher the cookies will be.
  10. Spread dough out to about 1/4 inch thick (because thick sugar cookies are the yummiest!)
  11. Cut your shapes out of the dough and place on cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for 9 minutes, let cool on a wire rack. (If cookies brown around the edges you may want to reduce the cooking time so they don't get overcooked and hard)
  13. Wait to frost the cookies until they are completely cool or else the frosting will melt.
  14. Frost with frosting and store in airtight container. (I don't like to leave the cookies out too long or else they will dry out)

1/3 cup softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (this is the secret ingredient)

  1. Whip ingredients together until fluffy. Add food coloring if desired.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

I got some great recipes from the teachers that I worked with when I did my student teaching. This one is from Nicole Wright when I student taught at South Jordan Middle School. Nicole had lots of yummy recipes which I will probably post more of them eventually. I miss you Nicole! By the way, I love how all of my recipes so far are extremely unhealthy ... oh well.

Baked Potato Soup

2 potatoes, already baked
1/3 c. butter (or bacon grease if you want to cook your own bacon; you may need to add some butter until you get 1/3 c. if there is not enough left over grease)
1/3 c. flour
3 c. milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 green onion, sliced
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
½ c. sour cream
3 Tbsp bacon crumbles (or 3 slices real bacon that you cook then chop)
1 c. chicken stock (You could add more bouillon to the soup if it needs more flavor)

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.
2. Add flour and stir until smooth making sure there are no flour lumps left. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and gradually add the milk while stirring. Return to heat and cook over medium-heat for 4-5 minutes. Mixture should thicken and be bubbly.
4. Meanwhile, cut potato in half, lengthwise. Remove peel from potato if desired. Cube insides of potato.
5. Add potato cubes to the soup.
6. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper, half of the green onion and half of the cheese.
7. Cook until it is heated through, about 1 minute. Turn off the stove and stir in sour cream. When mixed in, remove from heat.
8. Serve with remaining onions, cheese, and bacon crumbles on top as garnish. Pin It

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Red Velvet Sandwiches (Valentine's)

I just realized that 2 of the 3 recipes I have ever did a post about were red velvet ones ....

Red Velvet Sandwiches

1 Box red velvet cake mix (You could use any flavor)
1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 Eggs

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Mix ingredients until combined.
* Drop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto baking sheet about two inches apart.
* Bake for 10-12 minutes.
* Cool.

1 cup Marshmallow Creme
1 cup Cool Whip
*Mix well Pin It

Red Velvet Cupckaes


Red Velvet Cake (Recipe from Lexi DeBaltzo)
2 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 oz. red food coloring
3 T. cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups flour (regular flour because cake flour will make them flat)
1 t. salt (1/2 tsp. salt if you use salted butter)
1 t. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 T. vinegar

Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring. Add to butter mixture.
Combine flour, soda and salt in separate bowl.
Combine buttermilk with vinegar in separate bowl.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. *The batter will be thick* Pour into prepared cake pan (greased) or cupcake pan (with liners). Bake until done.

(I know its traditional to do cream cheese frosting with red velvet but I am a cream cheese hater so I vetoed that)
1/3 cup softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend until smooth.
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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

These pictures honestly don't do justice to the amazingness of this dish.

Dressed Up Mac & Cheese

• Butter, for greasing baking dish
• 8 oz. macaroni
• 2 1/2 cups cold milk
• 4 oz. mozzarella, coarsely grated
• 4 oz. aged parmesan, coarsely grated
• 2 large eggs
• 4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
• 3 slices white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
• 4 strips bacon (sometimes I do 6 if I'm feeling extra naughty)
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart shallow casserole dish. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the macaroni until al dente about 5 minutes. Drain; transfer the pasta to the prepared casserole dish along with 1/4 cup of the cold milk. (This will cool the pasta and prevent it from becoming gummy.)
2. Meanwhile, mix the cheeses together in a small bowl. In a separate medium sized bowl, beat the eggs with 1/4 cup of the milk. Add the scallions, bread and half of the cheese to the egg mixture; mix and set aside.
3. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain. Do NOT discard the bacon grease. Add the onion and garlic to the grease; cook, stirring, until just brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the remaining 1 3/4 cups milk and 3/4 cup water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, whisking until thick. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk to cool slightly. Whisk in the remaining cheese. Add the sauce to the macaroni; stir to combine.
4. Crumble up the bacon and add it to the egg/bread mixture. Spread evenly over the pasta. Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven; let sit 5 minutes before serving.
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