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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A treat idea...

One can't call this a recipe, after all-I made neither part.  However, tonight I had an idea.  I have Trefoils....I have Nutella....I have - a brilliant combination!  Just like the chocolate  topped shortbreads at the store, but w/ yummy Nutella instead. 

Tricia's Week 13 Recipe: Pepperoni Quiche Squares

I saw this recipe at and thought to myself:  Hrm - two foods I love:  Breakfast and Pizza!  I have no idea if pepperoni are good in eggs, I've never tried it...let's make this.  The original recipe can be found here.  I decided to change up the spices, and not add any onion.

1 can pillsbury crescent recipe creations - seamless
pepperoni slices (48 from the original recipe is Not Enough)
5 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 chopped green pepper
1.5 cups chredded mozzarella cheese (I did not measure, about two handfuls is what I used)
.5 teaspoons Penzey's Italian Herb mix
.5 teaspoons Essence (from weeks 9 and 10)
.5 teaspoons Penzey's Pizza Seasoning

1. Heat oven to 300, unroll dough into bottom of ungreased 13x9 in. pan (I used Pyrex).  Top w/ pepperoni.  Recipe calls for 24, I think I used about 30ish
2.  In medium bowl whisk together eggs, cream and seasonings til well blended
3.  In saucepan use oil or butter and cook bell pepper until that crisp/tender stage. 
4.  Add pepper to eggs and pour over pepperoni in pan.
5. Sprinkle cheese and add 24 more pepperoni (24 worked here).
6. Bake 35-45 minutes until edges are golden and center is set.  Cool 5 minutes. 

You have the option of serving with pizza sauce.

Would I make this again? Yes I would.  Trevor enjoyed it, and usually Quiche is not of his liking - texture, I think.  I would also like to try a version that included spicy italian sausage, peppers, and mushrooms, and perhaps a vegetarian spinach and roma tomato one, too!  Easy to put together after climbing, when one's fingers don't work well, and reasonably fast to bake :)

Jennifer's Week Thirteen Recipe - Awesome Enchiladas

I was organizing our freezer this morning, also looking for inspiration for dinner, when I discovered we had 2 pounds of chicken breast hidden in the depths of the freezer. Well, I'll something involving chicken for dinner! The question was what. A quick Google search turned up's list of its Top 25 Chicken Breast recipes. And this was one of them.

Angela's Awesome Enchiladas I have no clue who this Angela is, so I refer to them as simply Awesome Enchiladas


  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cut into chunks
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup (the "healthy request" version)
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream (low-fat, or light, whatever it is in our fridge!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I think it quadrupled or quintupled this)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package mild taco seasoning mix
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (skipped this. 2 other types of onion mentioned above and this seemed like overkill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (doubled this)
  • 5 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives


  1. Place the chicken in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken pieces are no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Shred chicken by placing two forks back to back and pulling meat apart. Set the shredded chicken aside. Meanwhile, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chili powder in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, chopped green chilies, taco seasoning, half of the bunch of chopped green onion, and water. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, onion powder, and garlic powder; simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stir 1 cup of the soup mixture into the skillet with the chicken mixture. Spread the remaining soup mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  4. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the chicken filling before folding the tortillas, reserving half of the shredded cheese for topping the enchiladas. Fold tortillas over the filling and place seam-side down in the prepared pan.
  5. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the reserved chopped green onions and the sliced olives on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until filling is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Will I make this again? Yes, Chad and Erik both loved it. I did too, however, i had a small problem with calling these beasts enchiladas. They were more like baked burritos smothered in enchilada sauce. Still, they were tasty!

Chris's BONUS Week Thirteen Recipe: Almost Beurre Blanc

This weekend I found myself the proud owner of a partial bottle of white wine and since there was no way I could finish it myself, I decided to make a wine sauce. Beurre blanc seemed unbelievably rich to me, but I found this recipe that I adapted.

Almost Beurre Blanc


3 T Penzey's dried shallots in

2 T water for about 5 minutes, meanwhile, melt

1/4 c butter.

Add the shallots and cook 2 or 3 minutes until tender. Whisk in

1/2 c white wine
1/2 c milk
1/2 c chicken broth
1 T lemon juice
pinch salt

Simmer & reduce about half. Because I used milk instead of heavy cream, I also whisked in

2 heaping teaspoons cornstarch

to get the sauce to thicken.

Would I make this recipe again? I certainly would like to try it sometime with heavy cream instead of milk and see how well the sauce thickens. It would also be quite good, I think, with chopped fresh rosemary as called for in the original recipe.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tricia's Week 12 Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Back in undergrad, a friend made chicken wild rice soup from a recipe at  He altered his a bit - most of that altering I don't remember except adding ham, and showed me where to find the recipe.  I went home that evening, printed the recipe...and never made the soup.  Sad, yes?  Thankfully I have rectified that oversight with my week 12 recipe, Chicken Wild Rice Soup.  I looked and looked, and managed to find the original recipe I had printed on 6/28/2003 at this link.

If you remember my Week 11 White Chicken Chili, you will recall I bought two rotisserie chickens and used only the breast meat from those to make the chili - thus reserving the rest of the two birds for my Week 12 recipe.  I found that I had on hand most of what I needed, including 'wild rice of dubious origin', (ziploc baggie full, came w/ me to the house, think Rachel and I bought it together and split it but do not recall -but it is rice and doesn't go bad if stored properly)...

Ingredients for my version:
1/2 cup butter
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium/largish carrots, chopped
1/2 container sliced fresh mushrooms
1.5 teaspoons granulated onion (recipe calls for a finely chopped small onion, but real onion is banned after a friday night adventure involving onion-mushroom omlets and salad w/ the salsa from week 10...but that is a different story)
3/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice (I like wild rice, a lot.  I also read this wrong originally...I saw two cups wild rice, cooked.  BIG difference, that!  So, I used 3.5 ish cups wild rice and still have some left over to make a week 13 recipe)
remainder of two rotisserie chickens (or one lb cubed chicken breasts, cooked if you prefer)
1/2 lb deli pit (or any deli ham you like as long as it's not processed) ham, cubed (if you ask nicely, you can have them take the pit ham and slice you a slice between a quarter and half inch thick - this is about 0.5 lbs and saves the trouble of buying a ham and having lots left.  However, if you have leftover ham, throw it in.  This is not in the original recipe but the friend from college did this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sweet vermouth and 2 tablespoons extra dry vermouth (the receipe calls for sherry which I did not have but some searching on the web mentioned that vermouth could be used.  It didn't say sweet or dry and since I had both, I mixed them!)
2 cubs half and half

1.  Add wild rice and water to rice cooker, or cook rice to make 2 cups cooked wild rice - keep warm. (As I LOVE wild rice, we went with 3.5 cups cooked wild rice.)  If you are like me and add two cups uncooked rice + water, you have the pleasure of having leftover wild rice with which to brainstorm the next week's new recipe!  
2. Melt butter in large sauce pan (make sure said pan can handle most of the ingredients above, especially 6 cups broth) stir in celery and carrots and saute for 5ish minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes (add granulated onion at this time).  Add flour and stir well.  Gradually pour in 6 cups chicken broth stirring constantly, until all is added.  Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer
3.  Add chicken, ham, salt, curry powder, ground mustard, parsley, ground black pepper, almonds and vermouth, and heat through, pour this into crock pot.
4.  Add wild rice to crockpot and stir.
5.  Add half and half to crock pot slowly, stirring the whole time.  Let simmer 1-2 hours.  Note: Do not boil or your roux will break!

I will be making this again, it was delicious!  I still have quite a bit in the crock pot.  Funny side story - I learned today the lesson of the Pillsbury Breadsticks and the Pressure Burst:  If one decides to enjoy Pillsbury Garlic Breadsticks with one's soup, please open the breadsticks fresh from the fridge and prepare onto your cookie sheet.  If, like me, you set them atop the oven (which is preheating) then your doorbell rings and you go talk to your visitor and then go downstairs for a few minutes to discuss the visitor...the pressure builds in the can of breadsticks as it warms.  This leads to the laws of physics in action, and the breadsticks launching themselves across the kitchen with an audible *POP* which is heard downstairs and scares your birds!  Luckily, most of the dough stayed on the oven (launching point), the other dough was safe in the can (at landing point) - allowing for the breadsticks to still be eaten, even if they looked slightly mangled. 

Chris's Week Thirteen Recipe: Raw Ice Cream

No, I am not turning into a raw foodie. I saw this recipe on The Happy Herbivore's vegan blog and I couldn't get it out of my head. Maybe it's because I gave up sweets for Lent. Maybe it's because, after a long cold winter, my body is missing some essential vitamins. In any event, I gave this a try today and it was fun!

Raw Ice Cream

Peel, separate into chunks, and freeze

2 very ripe medium-sized bananas

Put the bananas in your food processor or blender and add

1/4 c unsweetened Almond Breeze (or your favorite non-dairy drink of choice)
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cinnamon

Blend until smooth. (I left a few chunks just for fun, and because I was getting hungry!)

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, ma'am! It's perfect if you're tired of making banana bread with your over-ripe bananas. It's also very good if, like me, you don't really want to buy a full container of ice cream. Oh, and did I mention it's practically fat-free and has no added sugar?

Chris & Tricia's BONUS Week Twelve Recipe: Chicken & Chick Pea Crockpot Soup

Tricia came over last night for dinner and some serious project knitting. (No, I can't tell you what the project is! Go ask her....) She requested my Experimental Cornbread and I thought of chicken soup. I went over the list of proposed ingredients with her and she suggested one that put this soup right over the top in terms of sheer goodness. Without further adieu, here is our recipe:

Chicken & Chick Pea Crockpot Soup

Poach or boil:

2 skinless chicken breasts

Cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces.


1/2 medium onion, chopped
several cloves of garlic (quantity depending on taste), roughly minced

Peel and chop:

1 sweet potato
3 large carrots

Cook these in the microwave until tender (but not mushy).

Put all ingredients in a large crock pot and add

1-2 cartons chicken broth (I used about 1.5)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen green bean - chopped if necessary
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) - Tricia's suggestion!
salt & pepper to taste

Turn the crockpot on high and bring to a healthy simmer. (This took quite a long time in my crockpot. Although many of the ingredients were fairly warm, most were not.) Serve with a little grated parmesan.

Would I make this recipe again? Often! Speaking without any modesty whatsoever, this is the best chicken soup I've ever made.

Jennifer's Week Twelve Recipe - BBQ Pulled Chicken Breast Sandwiches

I hit up Trader Joe's for the first time on Tuesday and did purchase a few things that are more difficult to find at your typical suburban Cub or Rainbow or Super Target. (Orangina in the little orange-shaped bottle FTW!) The nice gentleman at the checkout gave me one of their little booklets with dinner ideas and whatnot. When I got out to my car, I flipped through it, trying to become inspired for dinner that evening. I found one that was talking about their BBQ pulled chicken for sandwiches (Buy a container for $4.99!) and I thought, "Why would I buy a container of that? I can make it!" So... I did. The recipe did not come from one set place, but I further modified the barbecue sauce recipe from Week 3. I added apple cider vinegar to it this time and did not measure any ingredients. I just poured and dumped this and that in the pot and let it cook. Next time I will measure so I can develop an actual recipe.

Ingredients in Barbecue Sauce

Apple cider vinegar
Soy sauce (low sodium)
Worcestershire sauce
Brown sugar
ground ginger
garlic cloves, crushed (I think I used 3)

Like I said above, I did not measure any of this other than the garlic. I threw it in a saucepan until I achieved my desired taste, and let it simmer while I took care of the chicken.

I boiled 4 chicken breasts and then shredded them with two forks. After dumping the water from boiling the chicken, I put a half onion, finely chopped, in the pan to saute. When the onions were done to my liking, I added the now shredded chicken to the pan and gradually added barbecue sauce to the chicken and onions. I did not want to make the chicken very saucy because I was not sure how Erik would like the flavor (turned out he liked it) and people can always add more if they want it. I served the chicken on kaiser rolls with the extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Would this be made again? Most definitely! It was quite yummy and next time I will make more so I can freeze some for a future meal. (Which is what I do when I make Karin's chicken mole - I'm the only one in the house that eats it and I think that is unfortunate!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Karin's Week Twelve Recipe: Black Bottom Cupcakes

We went for a visit to my sister-in-law's house and I was on task for dessert. Seeing as there are 2 small ones and 1 very wee one in this household, I decided to make cupcakes for a more portable and easy-to-eat dessert. I was going to make a really basic cupcake until I saw this recipe from the Joy of Cooking. And, I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, so no alterations.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
1 c chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

1.5 c flour
1 c sugar
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 T white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl until blended. Add wet ingredients and stir with rubber spatula just until smooth. Fill muffin cups about half full. Place heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each. Bake until toothpick inserted into cakey part of cupcake comes out clean, about 20-25 min. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack before frosting or sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Makes 17 cupcakes, plus 3 cupcake papers full of only white filling. (Says it makes 18 cupcakes.)

Results were most enjoyable. I used a Betty Crocker Dutch Chocolate frosting on top, as the white centers still show on the top of the cupcake, and I didn't have time to make frosting. I figured, why not add more chocolate? In fact, my 8-year-old nephew said they were possibly the best cupcakes he'd ever had, and could I please give his mom the recipe so that he could have them for his birthday next month. He reminded me of his request a few hours later as we left - so I think they were a big hit. Everyone, including all the adults present felt that 2 cupcakes per person was the minimum serving allowed!

Karin's Week Eleven Recipe: Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

Chicken was on sale - buy one, get one. This way I can freeze one and have one now. I've been wanting chicken for a while, but it's been pretty expensive. This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook had both chicken and gravy. I wanted an Oven-Fried Chicken recipe, so used the Oven Directions given.

Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy
2-2.5 lbs chicken parts (I used one 3lb chicken, cut up with skin removed)
1/4 c flour or 1/2 c bread crumbs (I used bread crumbs)
1 tsp paprika, curry powder, poultry seasoning, chili powder; or dried basil or marjoram, crushed; or 1/2 tsp garlic powder or onion powder (I used Bavarian Seasoning from Penzey's instead)
1/ tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T cooking oil

2 T flour
1/8 tsp pepper
1 2/3 c milk

1. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Combine dry ingredients in plastic bag. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.

2. In a 12-in skillet, heat oil. Brown chicken on all sides.

3. Place in ovenproof dish. Put into 375 deg oven and bake, uncovered, for 35-40 min or until chicken is no longer pink. Do not turn.

4. Pour off 2 T drippings into skillet. Add flour and pepper, stir until smooth. Add milk all at once and cook and stir over med heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 min more.

This recipe was quick, easy and tasty. And, since it went in the oven, I was able to use Bisquick and make biscuits to go along with it that got done at the same time. The chicken was nice and crispy, even without skin and without using an egg. Very flavorful and moist. There ended up being plenty of gravy leftover. I would definitely make this again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tricia's Week Eleven Recipe: White Chicken Chili

I almost feel guilty posting this recipe as a new recipe.  Not that it's not new, it is!  But, it's so deceptively simple!  Props to my mom for this recipe, as it's really hers, and I've eaten it at her house, but I've made some adjustments.

Original Recipe:
2-3 chicken breasts
1 jar great northern beans (this equals two cans)
1 lb jalepeno jack cheese, cubed
1 jar salsa

Put into crockpot on low.  When asked, mom says, keep the liquid in the beans.

Tricia's Version - doubled above w/ adjustments
Breasts of two rotisserie chickens (reserve rest of chickens for another use)
3 cans great northern beans, liquid included
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (mostly because the juice is black)
2 lbs jalepeno jack cheese, cubed
1 jar Pace brand chuncky salsa, medium
1 empty Pace jar filled w/ homemade salsa (mostly so I didn't add too much)

Place all this in the crock pot on low.  Stir occassionally so the melting cheese cubes are distributed evenly.  In case you are wondering I grabbed one rosemary garlic and one original rotisserie chicken.  Why rotisserie chickens?  Because I'm lazy and didn't feel like seasoning and baking 4-5 chicken breasts.  An added bonus is that I pulled the rest of the chickens (wings, thighs and legs) and will use this meat in a week 12 recipe, thus saving even MORE time!

Would I make this again?  Most definately!  I might not double it, if it's just Trev and I, but I made this for a work function so had to have the double batch.  I'd also likely use hotter salsa, or all home made salsa and add a green pepper and a jalepeno pepper to make it a trifle spicer if it were just us, we we love the hot foods!  I like the addition of the black beans both athetically and because I love love black beans!

Chris's Week Twelve Recipe: Shallot Wild Rice Blend

Sometimes an ingredient very clearly drives the search for a recipe. While at Penzeys this week I picked up a jar of their freeze-dried shallots just for fun. I searched their website for recipes and found this one. Here's my version:

Shallot Wild Rice Blend

1/4 c Penzeys freeze-dried shallots
2 T water

1/2 T butter
1/2 T olive oil

1 c brown basmati rice
3 T wild rice
2-1/4 c chicken broth
4 bay leaves

Rehydrate the shallots in 2 T water for 5 min. Put the butter & olive oil in a saucepan and heat. Add the shallots and saute until lightly browned. Add the rice, wild rice, broth & bay leaves. Bring to a roiling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 25 min or until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender. Fluff the rice, cover again, and let stand for and additional 5 min.

Salt and pepper to taste. This is excellent with some grated parmesan.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes! It makes me think of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mix, which I love. The next time I make it I think I'll add more wild rice and perhaps some of Penzeys Tuscan Sunset blend to give it a little more zip.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chris's Week 11 Recipe: Pie Crust Sausage Rolls

My current fridge is 25 years old and every time it fires up, the volume of the compressors rises to a crescendo that sounds as if the mothership is taking off. Fortunately, I managed to nab a Minnesota appliance rebate and I'm in the process of cleaning out my old fridge in anticipation of the delivery of a shiny, new and doubtlessly much more energy-efficient model. What to do with a package of pork sausages and an extra Pillsbury pie crust...?

Pie Crust Sausage Rolls

WARNING: this recipe should be considered experimental. Attempt at your own risk!

1 Pillsbury pie crust
package of pork breakfast sausages

1 egg
1 T water

Take your pie crust out of the fridge to thaw a little. Fry up the sausages. Beat up the egg and water to form an egg wash. Let the sausages cool and drain a bit while you cut the pie crust into 12 'pie-shaped' slices (or however many slices you need for the number and size of sausages on hand. I used a set of kitchen shears to do this, but a sharp knife would work as well.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Put a little egg wash on the inside 'tip' of a slice of pie crust and roll up the sausage in it, starting with the sausage at the wide end of the slice. Once all your rolls are artistically arranged on the pan, brush a little egg wash over the tops. Bake at 450F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, if only to improve on it. The pie crust was still a little doughy in spots even though the tops were very clearly done.

What do you think? Slightly lower temp and longer baking time?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jennifer's Week Eleven Recipe - Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Ok, I like brussels sprouts when they are cooked correctly. They can go horribly wrong if not prepared right. I find pickled brussels sprouts delicious; I will eat them right of the jar. I think it comes from the fact that I ate them for the first time voluntarily; they were never forced on me when I was growing up. (My mother's casserole is another story...) I'm also trying to get my family to eat a wider variety of foods, so this was an experiment. I found the recipe from - here.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (doubled this. It's bacon!)

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny pieces (I skipped this. With heavy cream and bacon involved, I figured this could be skipped)


  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook uncovered until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, then immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes until cold to stop the cooking process. Once the Brussels sprouts are cold, drain well, and cut in halves or quarters, depending on size. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until limp and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in the Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper then toss for about 1 minutes to evenly distribute the seasonings. Arrange bacon and Brussels sprouts on the prepared baking dish. Pour cream evenly over the Brussels sprouts, then sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on top. Distribute pieces of butter over the bread crumbs.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Well, I liked it. My guys could never have it again and be perfectly happy. So, I guess I need to find some other people who will enjoy this dish.

Jennifer's Week Ten Recipe - Banana Pound Cake With Caramel Glaze

For as often as I bake, it is surprising to me that this is only my second dessert. As far as Chad and Erik are concerned, I hit the jackpot with this one.

Recipe is from and can be found here.

Banana Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

4 ripe bananas, mashed

5 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped pecans

Pour le gla├žage:

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Grease and flour a fluted tube pan.
  2. Beat 1 cup of butter, shortening, 2 cups of brown sugar, and 1 cup of white sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the bananas, followed by the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract with the last egg. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the pecans; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Heat 1/2 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugars have dissolved, then gently simmer for 1 minute. Pour over baked cake while still in the pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Other than the cake not being dense enough to truly be called a pound cake, it is more dense than a regular cake and very moist. Chad said things like "You are not allowed to to make banana bread anymore, you need to make this," "I would kill a man for this." He also referred to it as ambrosia and I think he told Erik that he could not have a second piece because that meant there would be less for him to eat. Oh, "Curse you, woman, for making this" was also said. He said that while eating his second piece which was 3 times the size of the piece I had served him. So, yeah, I think I will be making this again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tricia's Week Ten Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Pineapple, Mango, Strawberry Salsa

For the Week Nine recipe, I made a creole spice and then tried yet another variation of stroganoff.  Since I had the spice, I used Food Network's website and searched creole and made salmon my secondary search.  I found this recipe.  Again, Grilled Salmon is nothing new for me, but this salsa is something I've never tried before. 

For the salmon:  brush with oil and coat healthily with the Essence seasoning.  Grill until cooked.

Pineapple, Mango, Strawberry Salsa

3/4 cup small diced pineapple
3/4 cup small diced mango
1/2 cup small diced strawberries
1/4 cup small diced red onion
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium non-reactive bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the salsa to macerate for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

In this case, I actually used the onion (it IS salsa)...and bought fresh mint at the store.  I got a minichopper for christmas, and might have gone a bit overboard w/ the mint, though it's good that way, but I have having fun using that to chop the onion, jalapeno, and mint.  I would make it again, but go lighter on the mint and onion.  I made a double batch (why waste 1/2 a mango).  I now have a challenge to find out what else this salsa goes with.  Chips, perhaps?  The remaining bits of mango, pineapple, and strawberries joined a banana in the blender w/ some of the pomegranate sorbet that was left and we had delicious smoothies with the salmon and salsa for dinner.  YUM!  

Tricia's Week Nine Recipe: Hamburger Stroganoff

I was looking for a few recipes, and found myself on the Food Network website.  They, like Pillsbury, have a good search engine.  You can search a word, for me it was 'creole' and then narrow by lots of different things.  Both week 9 and week 10's recipes are influenced by this search.  I've made stroganoff before, so that is not the new part of this recipe.  The new part of this recipe is actually the 'essence' seasoning which I mixed up.  You can find both the seasoning and the stroganoff here.

Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Dinner in a Skillet

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I skipped this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows (I doubled this, but skipped the salt above)
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onions (like most recipes, we skipped this. because the Essence had onion in it already, we added a scosh more Essence on top of the above and ignored the onion component)
  • 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 pound small elbow macaroni or wide egg noodles, cooked (we used 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Grated white Cheddar, optional
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
Season beef with Essence and salt and pepper. (I doubled the Essence and skipped the salt) In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the seasoned beef and cook, stirring, until well browned and all pink has disappeared. Drain off any excess oil in the skillet.
Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 2 minutes. Add the macaroni (or egg noodles), beef broth and sour cream. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the mixture onto 2 large plates. Sprinkle each portion with the cheese, if desired, and chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
 I would definitely make this version of stroganoff again.  I'm forever playing with stroganoff recipes, but this seasoning (especially doubling the amount and leaving out the salt) makes this a bit spicy and quite good.  I would make twice the sauce (though leave the meat the same) since we made twice the noodles to go with it.  I made my Essence with a bit extra cayenne pepper, and wasn't very exact w/ my measuring, but I'm quite happy with it.  You will see it again, in week 10's recipe. 

Tricia's Week Eight Recipe: Pork and Rice Casserole

My mom made something similar when we were small, involving cream of mushroom soup and rice and chicken. I found this recipe in a cookbook that was bought for me as part of a fundraiser.  It has lots of family recipes from my old hometown, and this looked like a good one for a chilly night.

Pork Chop & Rice Casserole

4 pork chops or chicken breasts
3/4 c. rice (not minute rice)
1/2 c. chopped celery (I ignored measuring and cut up 3 stalks)
1/2 c. chopped onion (we subbed onion powder)
1/2 c. chopped carrots (I ignored measuring again and cup up three sizable carrots)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cans water 
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chops or chicken in a skillet with a little oil or butter.  Place in greased 13X9 inch pan.  Brown rice in skillet w/ fat/oil from meat.  Add celery, carrots, onion, chicken soup, water, and Worcestershire sauce (and salt and pepper).  Heat through and stir and pour over meat in pan.  Cover w/ aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Serves 4.

I would definately make this again, I might add additional veggies to the rice like mushrooms and peppers, and I think I would season the pork chops with garlic.  Very tasty on a cold evening though.

Tricia's Week 7 Recipe: Southwestern Shepards Pie

It has been a while since I posted my recipes, because I've been traveling, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been making my recipes!  Week 7 was all about using up some canned things in my cupboard, and also about signing up for my free account at  Big fan of that website!  Lots of great recipes, a good search engine when wanting to make new things w/ 'x' ingredient, and good coupons. Also, you can save your recipes you like in your 'recipe box' for easy access later.  You can find the original recipe here.

1 & 1/2lb. lean ground beef round  (ground turkey works really well too, especially when it is on sale!)
1/2cup chopped onion  (as onion and I have a gastrointestinal disagreement, I used granulated onion powder from Penzey's, whatever is says for an equivalent, mixed into the ground beef)
2cups water
3tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2teaspoon salt
3/4cup milk
2cups Hungry Jack® Mashed Potato Flakes
1(4.5-oz.) can Old El Paso® Chopped Green Chiles
4oz. (1 cup) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1(10-oz.) can Old El Paso® Enchilada Sauce (love the spicey, so bought 'hot' enchilada sauce)
1-2canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 11-oz. can), drained, seeded and chopped (I used three cause I love the smokey flavor!)
1/2teaspoon cumin
1/2teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1(11-oz.) can Green Giant® Mexicorn® Whole Kernel Corn, Red and Green Peppers, drained
1/8teaspoon paprika
1/3cup sliced green onions
1small tomato, cut into 6 wedges (skipped this because all the tomatoes looked icky)

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In large skillet, brown ground beef round with onion over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.
2. Iin medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in milk and potato flakes. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in green chiles and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
3. Drain beef mixture. Add enchilada sauce, chipotle chiles, cumin and oregano; mix well. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Spread beef mixture in ungreased shallow 2-quart casserole. Top with corn. Spread potatoes evenly over corn. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
4. Bake at 400°F. for 13 to 17 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly. Sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Arrange tomato wedges in center of casserole. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I would definately make this again!  It was wonderfully tasty!  Very spicey, but if you keep the peppers to a minimum and don't use the hot enchilada sauce I think it would be just 'pleasantly' spicey.  (I like the very spicey!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Karin's Week Ten Recipe: Salmon with Rosemary Sauce

This week, salmon was on sale, and we haven't had fish in a bit, so I thought this would be a good week to look for a fish recipe. Interestingly enough, there is apparently not a huge call for doing things to salmon other than baking or pan-frying. After checking the Joy of Cooking, Julia Child (vol 1 & 2), Martha Stewart, and various ethnic cookbooks with little success, I ended up with a recipe from Betty Crocker again, this time from the 40th Anniversary Cookbook.

Salmon with Rosemary Sauce

1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
4 fresh parsley sprigs (I used dried, about 2 tsp)
3 peppercorns (I had a 4 peppercorn blend, so used 3 of 4 varieties)
1/4 lemon
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (I used the organic kind from a box, as it's much healthier)
1 lb salmon or other fatty fish
1/2 c half-and-half (Did not have this, so used 1/4c cream and 1/4c 1% milk)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt (I used 3 twists of the grinder)

**All spices in this recipe were from Penzey's, so an excellent substitute for fresh.

Place first 4 ingredients into a cheesecloth bag and tie securely. (I could not find my cheesecloth, even after excavating our basement storage, so didn't tie them up nicely.) Heat broth and cheesecloth bag to boiling in 10-inch skillet; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 min. If fish fillets are large, cut into 4 serving pieces. Place fish into skillet; add water to cover. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5-10 minutes until fish flakes easily with fork. Remove fish to warm serving platter. Reserve 1/3 c broth mixture. Discard cheesecloth bag and remaining broth.

Mix half-and-half and cornstarch. Heat mixture, reserved broth, 1 tsp rosemary and the salt to coiling in skillet over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute. Pour over fish.

This was a very quick and tasty way to cook fish. I hadn't really done a poached fish before. I also decided that the cheesecloth was not particularly necessary, as you put more spice leaves into the sauce anyways, so floaty things were not a big concern. I did remove the lemon and peppercorns when discarding the broth. This version of salmon got a thumbs up on taste and ease of prep. I will probably make this again sometime, as it's a nice change from my normal salmon prep methods.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Karin's Week Nine Recipe: Ground Beef/Venison Stroganoff

This week's recipe turned out rather interesting. Mostly because I decided to see what happened if I combined a few recipes to make one. Hamburger Stroganoff is a frequent visitor to our house in the winter months, as it's easy to make and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Generally, I make a quick recipe from the Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two Cookbook(circa 1964). This time, however, I decided to see what the Joy of Cooking(circa 2006) said about the same recipe.

True to form though, I decided to substitute ingredients for what I had on hand. So, what I decided to do was post the two original recipes, and the recipe for what I actually ended up making. All of these are served with cooked egg noodles and make 3 very generous helpings. Here goes:

Betty Crocker's Hamburger Stroganoff

1/2 c minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c butter
1 lb ground beef
2 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 c sour cream

Saute onion and garlic in butter over med heat. Stir in meat and brown. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook 5 min. Stir in soup. Simmer uncovered 10 min. Stir in sour cream. Heat through. I usually also add about 1/4 c of Worcestshire sauce, and about 1-2 T of sage with the soup.

Joy of Cooking's Beef Stroganoff

2 lb fillet of beef, top loin, or sirloin tip, cut into 2x 0.25" strips
salt & pepper
2 T olive oil
3 T butter
1 onion or 2 shallots, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 c beef broth or stock
(2 T Cognac)
1 c sour cream
1 T Dijon mustard
(2 T chopped dill)

Season meat with salt & pepper to taste. Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add meat in batches, cooking just until browned, about 2 min. Remove to a plate and melt the butter in the skillet. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 min. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the liquid the mushrooms released evaporates, about 8 min. Add the beef broth and Cognac, if using, and simmer for 10 min. Stir in the sour cream, mustard and the meat with its accumulated juices. Heat through. Stir in dill if desired.

Karin's Version of Stroganoff

1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic
1/2 c butter (as the venison is much leaner than hamburger)
1 lb ground venison
2 T flour
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1.5 c beef broth
2 T port (because we didn't have cognac)
2 T Worcestshire sauce
1 c sour cream
1 T spicy brown mustard (again, not having the Dijon)
2 tsp dried dill

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 3 min. Add ground venison and brown. Stir in flour and mushrooms, and about 3 twists of a salt grinder and 3 twists of pepper grinder. Cook until mushrooms look cooked. Add beef broth, port, and Worcestshire sauce. Simmer for about 10 min. Stir in sour cream and mustard. Cook until heated through. Stir in dill.

Verdict: We liked the consistency of the beef broth version better than the condensed soup version, more saucey and less coagulated. We did not like the dill, and would revert back to using sage, as originally stated. Also, neither of us noticed that the port added any real difference in flavor, maybe the cognac would? Or, maybe use a Stout beer? So, all in all, I might substitute the beef broth for the soup in the Betty Crocker recipe, but continue to use that one.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jennifer's Week Nine Recipe: Risotto with Asparagus

Chad has declared risotto to be his new favorite thing, so I have a feeling I will be exploring the Wide World of Risotto quite a bit. I also enjoy making it. I usually have my iPod on when I cook meals that require some supervision and it makes the time easier to pass. This recipe is from Rice: From Perfect Paella to Sensational Sushi. Since I made this on a Sunday, I needed to find a recipe that did not involve white wine. (Though I'm sure I could just use more stock if I do not have the required alcohol on hand.) For those whom have never resided in Minnesota, this is because Minnesota is a bit backwards with their liquor laws and you cannot buy alcohol on Sundays from liquor stores (which is where one has to buy wine). Also, Chad said "That's because you drank all the wine in the house." This is true.

Risotto with Asparagus

8 ounces fresh asparagus (I used frozen spears. Explanation below.)

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

5 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups risotto rice (Arborio)

1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a pan of water to a boil. Cut off any woody pieces on the butts of the asparagus stalks, peel the lower portions, then cook in the water for 5 minutes. Drain the asparagus, reserving the cooking water, refresh under cold water and drain again. Cut the asparagus diagonally into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Keep the bud and next-highest sections separate from the stalks.

Place the stock in a pan and add scant 2 cups of the asparagus cooking water. Heat to simmering point, and keep it hot.

Melt two-thirds of the butter in a large, heavy pan or deep skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and golden. Stir in all the asparagus except for the top two sections. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, mixing well to coat it with butter. Stir in a ladle-full of the hot liquid. using a wooden spoon, stir until the stock has been absorbed.

Gradually add the remaining stock a little at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more and stirring constantly.

After 10 minutes, add the remaining asparagus sections. Continue to cook as before, for about 15 minutes, until the rice is al dente and the risotto is creamy. Off the heat, stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Would I make this again? Yes. Erik liked this version better and I think it was the lack of wine that made the difference. Chad loves risotto, so it went over very well with him. The trick to getting a 5 year old to eat asparagus is to call it "broccoli beans" - broccoli is his favorite vegetable and the asparagus piece looked like green beans. As far as using frozen asparagus verses fresh, it was simply because there was no fresh asparagus to be found in Lakeville this Sunday! It was gone! Super Target was even out of frozen. I went to Rainbow and purchased the last bag of frozen asparagus spears. Huzzah!

Chris's Week Ten Recipe: Cherry-Berry Baked Oatmeal

I've never made baked oatmeal, and thought today was the day to give it a try. It took a while to track down a recipe that was low on sugar, but I found one here. This is my own version:

Cherry-Berry Baked Oatmeal

1 c old-fashioned oats
1 T brown sugar
dash cinnamon
2 c skim milk
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c frozen Trader Joe's Very Cherry Berry Blend

Combine dry ingredients. Add the almond extract to the milk. Add the milk and applesauce to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the frozen fruit, then pour the mixture into a greased 1 qt casserole dish. Bake for about 40 min at 350F or until set and just starting to turn brown on the top.

NB: any frozen fruit should work with this recipe. You don't have to thaw the fruit. In fact, I suspect that the fruit 'floats' better in the mixture when completely frozen.

Would I make this recipe again? Num, num, num... you bet I would! The result was creamier than regular oatmeal and had a nice, subtle flavor.

Chris's Week Nine Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie with Corn Bread Crust

I invited Erica over for dinner yesterday. Her mother, Marcie, is starring in the Woodbury Community Theatre Guild's production of Mame and Erica is acting as Marcie's dresser. (Great show, by the way! I saw it last night with Linda & Bruce.) Since Erica was going to be in the neighborhood, I saw an opportunity for culinary experimentation and a fresh batch of Stargate Atlantis episodes.

I found a recipe for Turkey Pie with Cornbread Crust in a little book by Beatrice Ojakangas from the University of Minnesota Press called Pot Pies. This is my adaption. It's reasonably faithful, but I halved the recipe for filling and kept the full recipe for the cornbread crust. I like cornbread.

Chicken Pie with Cornbread Crust

Cornbread Crust

Stir together:
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c medium grind cornmeal
  • 2 T turbinado sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
Beat together and mix with the dry ingredients until just combined:
  • 1 egg (beat up first)
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 T grapeseed (or vegetable) oil
Cover and chill.

Pie filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 T butter
Stir in:
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 c hot chicken broth
  • salt, pepper, and a few dashes of hot sauce to taste
Mix until a gravy is formed. Cook to thicken slightly.

In a 2 qt casserole dish (I used a rectangular dish), mix:
  • 2 c shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 c diced, cooked potatoes (skin-on is good)
  • 1 c diced, cooked carrots
  • 1 c frozen peas (doesn't matter if you thaw these)
Pour the gravy over the mixture in the pan. Spoon on the chilled cornbread mixture. Bake at 425F for about 30 min or until the cornbread is golden brown.

Would I make this recipe again? Most certainly! I think it would be even better with turkey. Erica said it was very good and different from other pot pie she'd had because it wasn't swimming in gravy. We agreed this was good because it meant less fat.