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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Three Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup

Last year for my birthday, Chad and Erik gave me an immersion blender as my gift. It was what I wanted! The poor thing spent 11 months in the box waiting to be used. I could never decide on a recipe! I wanted it to be something my guys would eat. This week, I was determined to put my newest kitchen device to use!

Potato and Leek Soup

1 large or 2 small leeks (about 1 pound)
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt (I omitted this. With the stock and the bacon, I felt it was salty enough)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Will I make this again? I actually doubled the recipe, so we have more for another meal in the future. Chad and I loved it and Erik liked it at first but then changed his mind. I think the boy will grow to like it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Three Recipe: Leftover Pork Loin Chili

My dad grilled up a couple pork loins before he tucked away the grill for the winter, and Mom gave me a small hunk 'for hash or something'. Sounded like an opportunity for a new recipe to me! And since I had these three roasted jalapeños, I created the following recipe:

Leftover Pork Loin Chili


1/3 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced


3 roasted jalapeños, chopped
26 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
25 oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 oz (or as much as you want!) pulled or chopped leftover pork loin.

NB: use crushed tomatoes if you want a thicker chili, or perhaps add a can of tomato paste. Despite the roasted jalapeños this is not a spicy chili, so add chili powder if you want to kick it up a notch!

Would I make this recipe again? I would! It's a good use for leftover pork loin or any other leftover meat for that matter. And maybe some nice tempeh would be good, too....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of Squash and Jalapeños

My week 41 recipe was going to be curried squash soup but when I attempted it, everything seemed to go wrong. The orange kabocha squash I got was partly green inside and didn't roast up well. Bacon from the local farmer's market was so tasteless and uninspired, I threw it away. (Yes, threw bacon away!) I even managed to scorch the onions.

This week, I thought, was going to be different! Conceiving of an idea for vegetable chili, I cut up a butternut squash and roasted it with carrots and parsnips. Bad move. Chunks of butternut squash do NOT roast at the same rate as equal-sized chunks of carrots and parsnips. Sigh.... I put the butternut squash in the freezer for a future pie and I set aside the carrots and parsnips for soup.

Determined, though, to get some kind of chili made this weekend, I contemplated three jalapeños that had made their way over from Tricia's house. Could I actually roast them?

"Pshaw!" exclaimed the jalapeños, or something equally pithy. "Of course you can! We'll show you how...." So this is what I did:

Wash the jalapeños and place them under the broiler , turning occasionally, until the skin is thoroughly blackened. Pop the jalapeños in a paper bag and let them cool. (The steam produced will make it much easier to peel off the blackened skins.) PUT ON A PAIR OF DISPOSABLE GLOVES and peel the jalapeños. Remove the seeds (and some of the inside 'rib' if you want less zippy peppers) and slice. Wash your knife and cutting board well with hot water & soap.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Karin's Week Forty-Two Recipe: Oktoberfest Beer Mustard

While reading through my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, I started marking recipes for things that sounded interesting to can. I generally tend to stick to commonly canned things like pasta sauce, salsa, juice, and jelly. Last fall I tried canning chili, which tasted great. This year I found these cute little half-pint jars that looked perfect for putting mustard in. And, in the Ball Home Preserving book, I found multiple recipes for mustard, including one entitled Oktoberfest Beer Mustard. How could I not try that one?

Oktoberfest Beer Mustard

1 - 12oz bottle beer, darker = more flavor*
1 c brown mustard seeds (available at Penzey's, where else?)
1 c water
1/2 c malt vinegar
1/2 c lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c dry mustard
1 T onion powder

*I used Capitol Brewing Company's Oktoberfest beer, as both Nate and I like its flavor

In medium stainless steel pan, combine beer and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 2 hrs until seeds have absorbed most of the moisture. In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree marinated seeds and any remaining liquid until blended and most seeds are well chopped - i.e. slightly grainy looking. (Note: I thought I would be clever and use my stick blender to just blend in the pan. Mustard seeds - 1, Karin - 0. Seeds went everywhere. Follow directions and put into blender. I also had to add a bit of the water to thin it out a bit to get it fully blended.)

Transfer mixture to a stainless steel pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by about 1/3, or 15 minutes. (Note: Must have a splatter screen at the ready! This stuff can spit at least 6 feet! Even with the splatter screen, my stove, counter and floor all had to be cleaned.)

Have jars, etc. ready for canning. Put hot mustard into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place lid and screwband on, then tighten. Place in boiling water canner, with water covering tops of jars. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Let cool and store.

Verdict is that this stuff will clean out your sinuses. It smelled great. We tried it on sandwiches, and decided that this is the type of mustard that one has with pretzels and possibly beer or cider. It overpowered the entire rest of the sandwich. Tasty though. Also, the recipe said it was supposed to make 5 jars of mustard. I got only 3. Maybe I'll try this again with a different beer to see if the flavor changes at all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Two Recipe - Hungarian Pork Chops

Pork chops are a pretty popular meat choice in our house (at least as far as Chad and I are concerned, Erik is still learning to like them), However, I was sick of preparing them more usual way, so I searched for a new recipe to maybe add to my repertoire (kind of the point of this blog, right?)

Hungarian Pork Chops

4 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sour cream used a light sour cream)
1/4 cup dry sherry (mine was not dry)
1/4 ketchup (I used less than this based on reviews)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika (fairly certain I used more than this)
1 bay leaf

Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge seasoned chops in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown seasoned chops in oil (covering skillet with lid if desired). Pour off fat.

In a medium bowl combine the sour cream, sherry, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and bay leaf. Mix together and pour mixture over chops in skillet. Cover and let simmer gently over low heat for about 1 hour, or until chops are tender and cooked through.

Would I make this again? Yep! The chops were very tender, didn't really need a knife to cut them. They probably also simmered for closer to and hour and a half since Chad was late getting home. Not Erik approved, however. He'll just have to learn to like them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Two Recipe: Mahnomin Porridge

Judy... yes, the same Judy who has graced us with so many wonderful guest recipes... gave me a copy of this recipe from the Minnesota Historical Society Press blog and said she was going to try it herself last weekend. She reported back that she and her husband loved it, but their children didn't care for it. I definitely wanted to try it myself, so made a half batch tonight:

Mahnomin Porridge

2 c cooked wild rice*
1/4 c roasted hazelnuts**
1/4 c dried blueberries
1/8 c dried cranberries
2 T maple syrup
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

Combine the rice, hazelnuts, blueberries, cranberries, and maple syrup in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the cream and heat through, stirring constantly about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

* Bring 1 c dried wild rice to a boil in 3 c water and simmer for about 45 min or until tender.

** Roast in a 275F oven for 15-25 min or until the skin cracks.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, it's quite good! You could make this out of all local ingredients, if you wanted.

I've also put the MHS Press blog on my RSS feed and will be scanning for more yummy recipes!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Update: Beer Cookies

I finally found the actual recipe for these cookies. For full recipe and review, see here: Karin's Week Thirty-five Recipe

Karin's Week Forty-One Recipe: Sheperd's Pie in a Bundt Pan

Recently I've had a hankering to bake something in my Bundt pan. It hasn't been used in a while, as I've been doing my baking either in cookie format, or in the more standard 8x8 or 9x13 format. While looking through my Bundt Classics cookbook, I found a section on savory recipes, including one for Shepherd's Pie. After mentioning this to Nate, he liked the idea so much that he made real mashed potatoes for it while I was at the store. I will warn you that this project is not for the faint of heart - it makes a LOT of shepherd's pie.

Shepherd's Pie in a Bundt Pan

3 c prepared mashed potatoes
1 egg

2lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion (or so)
1 (8oz) pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 c sour cream
1/2 c catsup (or tomato sauce with Worcestshire if you do not like catsup)
2 T prepared mustard (we used brown horseradish as that is what we had)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400deg. In large bowl, stir together mashed potatoes and egg; mix well. Using back of spoon, press 2.5c of potatoes in bottom and 3/4 way up sides of 10 or 12c Bundt pan; reserve remaining potatoes. In large skillet, over med high heat, cook ground beef, onion and mushrooms, just until meat is no longer pink; drain well. In same skillet, stir in reserved 1/2 c of potatoes and all other filling ingredients. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake at 400deg for 35-40min, or until hot in center. Cool upright in pan 10min. Invert onto serving plate. 10-12 servings.

Taste-wise this version of shepherd's pie tasted great. Very much like my stroganoff recipe in fact; although the serving size is a bit off as we ate about 40% of it between the two of us. The challenging part is getting the pan inverted onto the serving plate. I needed Nate to do this as my hands weren't big enough to handle 2+ lbs of meat and potatoes. Impressively, the potatoes really did make a crust, and I took a picture to prove it. Next time, however, I think we'll make more potatoes - 3c was really not enough to make a good crust all the way around the pan. I'll also grease the middle spindle, as the pie did not want to release from the middle. This could be an impressive dish for a family get-together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update #4: Olive Oil Cake

The success of my New Applesauce Cake this week got me wondering how the Olive Oil Cake recipe from Good from the Grain would taste as a spice cake. Unrelenting in my pursuit of culinary enlightenment, I made one tonight. I stuck to the recipe in the book, but instead of the chopped rosemary and bittersweet chocolate added:

1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg (Hi, Linda!)

Oddly enough, the cake doesn't taste 'spicy' enough to me. Any suggestions, gentle readers?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tricia's Week 41 Recipe: Hot Italian Sausage Sanwiches

Maybe these are called dago sandwiches elsewhere?  I don't know. I might be cheating a bit with this recipe, but I do know I had about a 1/2 pound of leftover spicy Italian sausage from making pizza that had to be used, 1/2 a homemade loaf of bread threatening to go stale, and some leftover pizza sauce.  Based on this, and my love of spicy food,  I made last night's dinner, and week 41's recipe:

spicy Italian sausage (about 1/4 lb per patty)
Penzey's Pizza Seasoning
Penzey's Garlic Salt
pepper jack cheese, cut into slices (enough to cover each patty)
Homemade bread (made from the leftover cloverleaf roll dough I had because I didn't want 24 rolls, so made 12 and 1 loaf bread - worked really well, actually!)

Make patties and season w/ pizza seasoning and garlic salt.  Place in greased skillet or pan on medium heat and cover.  Cook approximately 10 minutes on one side and 8 on the other (or however long it takes to make them completely cooked through).  Meanwhile, take bread and make toast. Coat each side of toast with leftover pizza sauce from Week 3's Recipe.  Place pepperjack cheese over sausage patties and melt.  Put patty on bread, cut in half (because it's a big sandwich) and enjoy.

I will definitely make this again., delicious, and easy at the end of a hard day!  We often have leftover pizza making ingredients, and I've been making a lot of fresh bread lately.  One could sub mild sausage and mozzarella cheese if one wanted a milder flavor, the pizza seasoning isn't spicy - it's more fennel/oregano-y.  If you didn't have fresh bread, you could use toasted bagels or hamburger buns too, I suppose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jennifer's Bonus Week Forty-One Recipe: Next Day Mac and Cheese Toast AKA Fried Mac and Cheese

So I did end up having quite a bit left over Baked Mac and Cheese after Erik turning his nose up at it last night. Having actually seen the episode of "Good Eats" where Alton Brown makes his Baked Mac and Cheese, I remembered that he did something with the leftovers: he fried them. I figured I would give it a try for lunch today.

Next Day Mac and Cheese "Toast"

Leftover baked mac and cheese, refrigerated at least overnight
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used less than this since I was just making it for myself)
1 teaspoon salt (used less)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (did not use less, wanted some bite!)
fresh ground black pepper
1 egg beaten with 2 ounces water
1 cup panko bread crumbs (used normal bread crumbs since I had those on hand)
Oil for frying, preheated to 375 degrees

Cut refrigerated mac and cheese into slices or bite sized pieces.

Season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Dredge each piece through the flour and gently tap off the excess. Dip in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumbs. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes so the crust can set. Very carefully drop into the oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a baking sheet fitted with a rack (or a plate with paper towel, which is what I did) and rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Would I make this again? Yep! I liked this even better than the straight up mac and cheese from last night. Of course, the frying would make it something that I don't do too often. Perhaps I could bake these bites as well for a healthier option?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chris's BONUS Week Forty-One Recipe: New Applesauce Cake with Maple Frosting

It was my turn to bring treats to RCIA this Tuesday. I knew I wanted to bring something fall-themed, but we had pumpkin bars last week. Hmmm.... After consulting with Jenni and Tricia, I decided on an applesauce cake with maple frosting. The cake recipe is from my beloved Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook (c. 1950). The frosting is my own variation on a standard buttercream frosting, or what the cookbook calls White Butter Icing.

New Applesauce Cake

Grease and flour a 9x13" pan. Whisk together:

2.5 c sifted flour
2 c sugar
1/4 t baking powder
1.5 t soda
1 t salt (original recipe calls for 1.5 t)
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t allspice

Beat in:

1/2 c soft shortening (I used Crisco)
1/2 c water


1.5 c unsweetened applesauce
1 very large egg (that's what the recipe says!)

and beat for two minutes.

Blend in:

1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c chopped raisins

Bake at 350F for 45-50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Maple Frosting

Beat together

4 T very soft butter
2 c powdered sugar

Slowly add in the maple syrup until the frosting reaches the desired consistency (probably about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, but I wasn't measuring).

Would I make this recipe again? I think I'll have to! We didn't have a big crowd tonight and all I salvaged to bring home was enough to make about three regular pieces.

Jennifer's Week Forty-One Recipe - Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This week, Erik and I are left to ourselves. Chad is off in San Francisco for training and I get to stay behind with the kid and the livestock. Le sigh... Erik loves noodles, so I decided to experiment on Erik with a new recipe. I was inspired by Chris's Week 39 recipe and Tricia's Week 5 recipe and decided to make my own homemade macaroni and cheese. Ok, not really my own. It's an Alton Brown recipe from the same episode as the one Chris doctored.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk (I used skim since that is what we have)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs (Ok, I did not have these specific bread crumbs on hand and I just used your everyday regular bread crumbs.)

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and the mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Would I make this again? Yes I would, however, Erik did not approve. His 6-year-old palette is used to the creamier texture of the boxed mac and cheeses and this was not that. I enjoyed it and thought it was quite good. Ah well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Karin's Week Forty Recipe: Skillet Cake

This recipe is actually one from Penzey's Summer 2010 Catalog. My mother and grandmother were visiting for a few days and both recently made this cake. It calls for a 10-inch cast iron skillet, which we have, and when they saw it hanging on the pot rack, wanted to know if I had the ingredients for this cake. I did, and off I was to bake a cake in a cast iron skillet.

Penzey's Skillet Cake

1.5 c flour
3 T cocoa powder
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 T vegetable oil
1 T vinegar*
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 c cold water

*I discovered that I currently have 6! kinds of vinegar for some reason, and chose the cider variety based on a recommendation of my grandma.

Preheat oven to 350. Sift (or stir) the dry ingredients together into a 10" cast iron skillet. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into the 1st well, the vinegar into the 2nd, and the vanilla into the 3rd well. Pour the cold water over the top. Stir with a fork until well blended. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Don't forget that the handle of the pan will be hot upon removal. Let cool, then frost.

1.5 c powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder
3 T butter, softened
dash salt
2 T brewed coffee, room temp (I used instant espresso, as we had drank up all of the coffee)

Cream everything but the coffee together until well blended. Add the coffee and mix well. Spread over cooled cake. Serve in wedges.

Other than cleaning the skillet, this recipe was extremely easy to make and very tasty. It will be made again, probably not only by me, seeing as it was requested. Beware that the coffee does add a mocha flavor. You could maybe substitute milk for the coffee and do a regular fudge frosting instead.

Tricia's Week 40 Recipe: Manwich Casserole

Last week I decided I wanted manwich, but didn't want it in the typical 'sloppy joe' or 'spanish hamburger' sense.  So I took myself to the store and purchased one can manwich, and for kicks - ground pork instead of ground beef or turkey, along with a few other staples (milk and butter) that were necessary.

I decided I would make a casserole of the Manwich, but when I looked at various cooking websites, the predominant recipe involved beef, manwich, cheese, and crescent rolls (which would please the meat and cheese and bread crowd), but I wanted vegetables!  So, I based it roughly on what one might do for a tater tot casserole:

Manwich Casserole
1 lb ground pork
Pizza Seasoning (from Penzey's)
1 can Manwich
1 cup green beans
1 cup whole kernal corn
some extra veg of whatever you have lying around
tater tots

Brown pork until no longer pink, sprinkling w/ Pizza Seasoning to taste.  Add Manwich and simmer 5 minutes.  Thaw veg (or drain if using canned) and add to pan and stir all together.  Grease a 2 quart casserole dish and pour in the mix, placing tater tots on top.  Bake at 400 for 30ish minutes, or until bubbling and tots are done.

I will make this again, but with a few changes.  It was delicious, but my main complaint from Chief Taster was that 'it looks spicy but it isn't'.  So next time I make it I'll likely jazz it up a bit w/ some chili seasonings or a jalapeno or two.  Also, it would be delicious with mashed potatoes on it, or even as a stew next to a baked potato.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-One Recipe: Southern Chicken Upside-Down Dinner

The best laid plans....

I was going to make chicken vegetable soup for lunch today with chicken & peppers I had gotten fresh at the Woodbury farmer's market. I put the chicken on to boil and started chopping peppers and every single one of them was moldy inside. Well, that put me right off vegetables for lunch! So, I grabbed my trusty Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook (c. 1950) and made the following. The recipe below is verbatim except for reduced salt in both the creamed chicken and cornbread mixture.

Southern Chicken Upside-Down Dinner

Creamed Chicken


6 T butter

Whisk in:

6 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Cook over low heat until bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in:

1.5 c chicken broth
1 cup milk (the original recipe calls for cream or top milk)

Bring to a boil and and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add:

1 cup cut-up cooked chicken (ok... I was generous with my chicken, call it 1.5 cups)


Whisk together in a bowl:

1 c sifted flour
1 c cornmeal
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

Cut in finely:

3 T shortening (I used Crisco)

Add, stirring just enough to blend:

1 c buttermilk or sour milk (I used lemon juice to make sour milk)

Put 2/3 of the creamed chicken mixture into a greased 2 qt baking dish and top with the cornbread mixture. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.

NB: The cookbook adds: "Serve hot, upside-down, cut into wedges, with rest of chicken mixture over it." I just scooped it out of the casserole, but you could definitely turn this over onto a platter. I also saved the rest of the creamed chicken for another meal.

Would I make this recipe again? Yeah, I would! Don't be discouraged if it looks like the cornmeal kind of sinks in and doesn't exactly cover the top of the creamed chicken. It will be ok when it bakes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chris's Week Forty BONUS Recipe: Oatmeal Muffins

What's so unique about oatmeal muffins? This recipe is from Food Will Win the War which Jenni discussed in a previous post. I highly recommend this book if you're interested in either history or cooking! I was curious to see how a low-wheat, low-fat, low-sugar recipe from the U of M's liberty breads collection would come out so I made these:

Oatmeal Muffins

2 c old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1.5 c milk
2 T melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T sugar
1 T baking powder
(scant) 1/2 t salt

Mix the oatmeal and milk and let soak for half an hour. (Editors note: the milk will be mostly soaked up by the time you mix in the rest of the ingredients.)

Mix in the melted butter, then the egg. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Cool five minutes in the pan, then continue cooling on a wire rack.

Would I make this recipe again? Well, I probably would, but I'm not sure I'd feed it to anybody else. These muffins are nicely chewy and extremely bland and were actually better the next day after they'd sat in a sealed container overnight. I liked them, but I'm not sure who else would.

P.S. They're great with pumpkin butter!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Recipe from Linda: Blue Cheese Slaw

Linda sends us the following:

I have a new recipe for the blog. It is loosely based on the “Joy of Cooking” Roquefort Cole Slaw recipe.

1.5 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup apple – peeled, cored and sliced into small cabbage-y pieces

1 Tbsp lemon – to keep the apple from turning brown

Blue cheese dressing to coat (about ½ cup)

Freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Would I make this again? Yes, I would. In fact, I already did. The first batch was made Saturday evening. It was okay, but you couldn’t really taste the apples. So, since I had the other half of the small head of cabbage sitting in the fridge, I made a second batch for dinner Sunday. This time I used two apples instead of one, and I didn’t chop the apple up as small, I cut the apple in eights, then sliced it shortways (as opposed to lengthwise). Both diners agreed that the second batch was better.


Jennifer's Week Forty Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

I am on pace again! Hooray!

So, I bought some bananas over the weekend with the hope that Erik and Chad would munch on them. They didn't touch them. Sigh. And when I bought them, they were quite yellow and now they have many brown spots. Well, I was not going to throw away 6 bananas. So, I used 3 of them for the following recipe. I may make banana bread with the other 3. I have not decided what to do with them yet.

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted (I used oil)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper cups.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, egg, sugar and butter/oil. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in 1 Tbsp butter until it resembles course cornmeal. Sprinkle over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 10-12 muffins. (I got 12)

Would I make them again? Well, I think I have an idea of what to make with the other 3 bananas. More muffins!

UPDATE: I made these muffins again and added cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg right into the muffins and they were even tastier. I have no idea how much of each, I just shook out/grated until it looked OK to me!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tricia's Bonus Week 39 Recipe: Off the Cuff Chocolate Frosting

This recipe is off the cuff for a reason.  I had just failed miserably at the one recipe every mom knows how to make, and make deliciously.  Even non-moms have accomplished rice krispie treats with aplomb.  I decided "following a recipe didn't work, I'm going to make up frosting.  So there." in a desperate attempt to regain control of my kitchen.  It was, after all, rather messy again with all the bowls from Week 39's failed Treats. So, the following wasn't measured.  Not at all.  I will attempt, in parenthasis, to ascertain what I might have used.

Chocolate Frosting:
Take out small pyrex bowl.
 Fill bottom with about 1/2 inch level of dark corn syrup (maybe 4 Tbs)
Shake in some dark cocoa powder (maybe 1 - 2 Tbs)
Add 1/3 ish stick butter (likely 1/3 ish, cut into small pieces)

Melt the above in microwave for a minute or two.

Add 1/2 bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and whisk til completely melted and smooth.  Pour ontop of whatever you are frosting.

I think I should have measured, if only so I could repeat - this is a very dark, but very delicious frosting.  Not only that, but I felt a bit better after proving I could still handle a whisk.  AND, though VERY chewy, the treats were inedible.  So, lesson learned, call MOM before making treats, and start simple.  And always eat chocolate to feel better.

Tricia's Week 39 Recipe, or "How I Failed as a 1950's Housewife"

At first I wasn't going to post this as my week 39 recipe.  But then, it ended up being a short week and I didn't cook any other new recipes, and I got sick, and also I thought, even though you should post.  After all, this blog isn't about all the recipes that worked, it's about all the recipes.  Even the ones I totally, completely, utterly, universally failed at.  This is one of those.

To set the scene.  I had a miserable day at work.  Looking back, I can't even remember all the details of its miserableness.  I do remember being miserable, and telling Trevor so on the phone on the way home, and arriving  home much earlier than he did.  I arrived home to a messy kitchen.  This is happening WAY more than it should these days...I should fix that this weekend!  (Me, the queen of procrastination.)  So, I cleaned up the kitchen and in doing so put up a box of Rice Krispies. I stopped, looked at it, and set it back on the counter.  I finished the dishes, still looking at my newly aquired box of cereal, pondering the possibilities of a new recipe.  I love rice Krispie treats.  LOVE them.  (Do you see where this is going yet?)  I love peanut butter rice Krispy treats even more, especially if there is a lovely layer of fudgy frosting on top.

I searched the internet, and came upon this recipe from the Rice Krispies website for peanut butter treats.  I saw others (like this one) but ignored them for the ingredients I had on hand.  The recipe online didn't have a lovely fudge topping, but that was OK, I could add it later.  So I made the treats:

3 Tbs butter, melted
1 package (10oz) big marshmallows, or 4 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 cups Krispies

The directions say melt butter and marshmallows together in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after 2.  Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and stir til melted, then add to Krispies and magic will happen.  (Ok, that is not verbatim, but this is how I'm beginning to feel.)

I started by melting things in the microwave.  I could only heat for 1.5 minutes, not 2, because the marshmallows were growing exponentially and threatening a gooey mess that would really have had me cleaning my kitchen for a while.  I stirred.  I cooked another almost 1.5 minutes.  I added the peanut butter.  My guess is this recipe calls for fake, creamy peanut butter, not the 'real' peanuts and salt kind.  I also think it doesn't call for the under-oiled, leftover peanut butter my fridge had to offer.  It likely really doesn't call for a bit extra of it to 'just use it up'  I add.  I stir. Magic is not happening!!  I am starting to make paste!  AH!  Maybe it cooled to much, maybe!  Back in the microwave it goes.  Back out it comes, I stir, it's now warmed paste.  I don't give up though, I add Krispies.  I stir, but the now hardening paste won't accept the multitude of Krispies I've offered it.  I try using hands, rather than stirring implement, to kneed in the Krispies.  This helps, but doesn't solve the problem.  More goo! I think desperately.  I quickly heat the rest of my bag of mini marshmallows, wondering the whole time why I didn't just cook them all to begin with.  I add that to my bowl of cooling paste and cereal.  I burn my hand.  I look forlornly at the mess in the pan.  I sigh, stir some more, and give up.  I take the cake that is the stuck-together Krispies and place it in my cakepan.  I pour the non-stuck Krispies on top, determine to stick them with frosting.  I consider how I will make my frosting (see bonus recipe).

The door opens, Trevor walks in.  He asks, rather tentatively having talked to me earlier and heard the mixing and puttering and plopping and sighing from the kitchen, how I am doing.  I walk to the top of the stairs and look down at him and declare, "I am a failure of a 1950's housewife!" in a rather desperate tone.  He laughs (I will admit it was funny, but at the time nothing was going right and I was rather serious), and says "what happened?".  I related the above.

I will make treats again!  I will succeed where I have failed!  Mothers, makers of this tasty treat, what have I done wrong?  Was it not enough mallow?  Too many krispies?  Too old of peanut butter (mallows were a bit old, but not bad)?  Bad Karma?  HELP me, please!!

Tricia's Bonus Week 38 Recipe: BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I really wanted coleslaw - funny craving to have, but there you have I made my week 38 recipe.  Then I needed something to go with it.  I decided pulled pork would be delicious...but had no pork cooked.  Cooking chicken breasts is faster than cooking up a pork loin to pull, so I went to the store and picked up two chicken breasts (just under 1 lb) when I purchased the coleslaw fixins.  

BBQ Pulled Chicken:
Cook 2 chicken breasts in boiling water.  Let cool.  Pull into pieces, but not too small of pieces.  Put this in sauce pan with enough BBQ sauce to cover and make a slight 'gravy' with the meat.  I used 1/2 bottle of Jim Beam BBQ sauce I had left, plus some Spicy Sweet Baby Rays.  let this simmer while you prepare the coleslaw (or rest of your meal).  

I served my BBQ chicken on toast, making my sandwich in this order:  Slice toast, little extra bbq sauce, banana peppers, bbq pulled chicken, cut up dill pickles, slice toast.  I have to admit, this sandwich was DELICIOUS this way!

I love this quick and easy recipe, and will definitely be making it again.  The hot peppers and pickles added just the right amount of tang and zip.  Or maybe it was just a night for weird cravings.  

Tricia's Week 38 Recipe: Apple Coleslaw

Apple Coleslaw is delicious.  For those of you who do not like mayo, you could try making citrusy vinaigrette.  Recipe courtesy of Spark Recipes:

3/4 cup Miracle Whip Light Dressing (I used Light Mayo, because I had that)
1 Tbs honey
1 pkg (16 oz) Coleslaw Blend
2 Apples (I used one Honeycrisp and one Granny Smith)

Find big bowl with lid.  Pour Blend into bowl.  Mix in small bowl mayo and honey til well blended, and pour over Blend and stir well.  Wash apples, use apple corer to make slices.  Cut into bite sized pieces, leaving skins on. Add apples to mix and stir as you cut them so they don't turn colors.  Let sit one hour. Devour.

I would definitely make this again.  I might even do 1 apple, a few extra carrots and celery, and some cranberries, just for fun.  It was a good salad, the sweet apple + tart apple really did make it taste good.  It would be more 'authentic' if I shredded the cabbage...but we all know I don't have time for that.  

Tricia's Week 37 Recipe: Happy Day Cake

I know I'm behind, I didn't think I was this far behind.  I remember posting this recipe, and I think one other.  Either Blogger ate them, or it was in a dream that I posted them.  Likely the latter.  My mom made a recipe from my grandma called 'happy day cake' for my dad for his birthday.  I didn't have that recipe, so I made up my own.  Happy day cake is two white (or in this case yellow) cakes, round, with fruit jam in the middle and icing on the top. Feel free to experiment.  I think two chocolate cakes w/ raspberry filling would also be very happy.

Cake (courtesy of my mixer's cookbook)
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
3  tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (read butter, cause that is what I used)
1 cup low fat milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cookbook directions for mixing:  combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Add shortening, mil, and vanilla.  Attach bowl and flat beater and mix at speed 2 for 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl, add eggs.  mix on speed 2 about 30 seconsds.  Scrape bowl . Turn to speed 6 and beat 1 minute.
The way I did it:  butter, softened, and sugar go in mixing bowl. Mix on speed 2 til well mixed.  Go to speed 4.  Add eggs one at a time until creamed in.  Meanwhile mix all dry ingredients in another bowl.  Have milk at the ready.  Add 1/2 dry ingredients, mix on speed 2 til blended.  Add 1/2 milk, speed 2 til blended.  Repeat w/ rest of dry and rest of milk.
Then:  Grease and flour two round cake pans.  Pour 1/2 batter into each.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick in middle comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, then on rack until completely cool.

Make Happy Day Cake: Place one round on plate or cake server.  Add 1 mom's homemade strawberry jam (or small sized Smuckers jam of any variety that pleases you).  Top with second round.  Place on top icing..

Icing used:  1 cup (ish) powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp milk

I think I will tweak the cake a little, it was a bit dry, but otherwise - yum!

Chris's Week Forty Recipe: Fresh Apple Cake

You've been asking yourselves, "When is Chris ever going to make a recipe from her rare, first-edition copy of the 1972 Favorite Recipes compiled by the Guild for Christian Service of the First Reformed Church of Meservey, Iowa?"

Well, you're in luck! I had lunch with my parents on Sunday and volunteered to bring dessert. Mom requested 'something fall-like... pumpkin or apple'. This was a great chance to bring out one of the old church cookbooks I got from my Grandma Jacobs.

I love church cookbooks. You know the recipes in them are the tried-and-true favorites of the people who submitted them. The recipe that I found for Sunday lunch was intriguing because it used 1/2 c coffee in the batter. It was also intriguing in that it didn't list measurements for all the topping ingredients, nor baking temperature or time. I guessed on the measurements and employed the magic '350F for 25-30 minutes' and here is:

Fresh Apple Cake

1 c sugar

1/2 c butter or margarine
1 egg
2 c apples, peeled and diced
1/2 c warm coffee
1 t baking soda
2 c sifted flour
1 t cinnamon
scant 1/2 t salt

Topping - mix together:
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/3 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 t cinnamon

Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg. Add the soda to the coffee. Add with dry ingredients. Add apples. Pour into a 9x9 in pan and sprinkle on the topping. Bake for 25-30 min at 350F.

Would I make this recipe again? Well... not verbatim. The cake was nice and moist and my parents loved it, but I did not like the slight aftertaste of coffee. Oddly enough, my parents say they can't taste the coffee at all. I think this must be because I don't drink coffee and they're used to it! I might try 1/2 c of apple juice or cider next time, though.

Addendum: Mom thought there should be less sugar in the topping. Dad thought it was perfect. I actually thought it was just about right, too, but might lower it to 1/3 c of brown sugar the next time around.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chad's Guest Recipe: Heart-Attack Potatoes

In our household, we split the cooking about 60/40, with me being the slightly higher number. We both have our standards, but I do tend to branch out more than Chad (this blog, of course, sort of forces that). This is Chad's latest creation. I can't remember which one of us named this recipe.

The following amounts were used for dinner tonight. Three potato-loving adults did not even come close to finishing this amount. (Chad bought 7 pounds of potatoes thinking that was what we would need!)

Heart-Attack Potatoes

4 pounds of potatoes; unpeeled, sliced into eighths and then sliced thin
1 sweet onion, diced
1 stick butter
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan and then add the potatoes and onion. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the potatoes and onions are thoroughly cooked. Then crank up the heat to high and crisp up the potatoes, flipping frequently so they don't burn.

Jennifer's Week Thirty-Nine Recipe: Red Cross War Cake

So a few weeks ago, Chris and I went to an event at the History Center that discussed food and rationing during WWI in Minnesota. Afterward we got to sample a couple of recipes from the companion book to the lecture (I hesitate to call it a lecture since it was really more of a performance!) and this was one of them. We tried a cookie, too, however the cookie did not leave nearly the impression that the War Cake did. I think part of it has to with the name.

This recipe is featured in Food Will Win the War by Rae Katherine Eighmey, published by MHS Press. (Hey, I need to pimp out the Society every once and a while, right?) The recipe was originally from Conservation Recipes by the Women's Committee of Minnesota Commission of Public Safety, 1917.

Red Cross War Cake

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons lard (I substituted shortening. I was going to be all historically accurate and use lard, but I could not find any in the grocery store that I was at and I did not feel like going on a hunt for lard.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package (8 ounces) raisins, chopped (or you can do what I did and not chop them because I can't read - I don't think it makes that much of a difference)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put everything but baking soda and flour into a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil 5 minutes after it bubbles, then cool. Stir in soda and flour. Put batter into 2 lightly greased mini-loaf pans. * Bake for 45 minutes. Cake keeps fresh for a long time and can be sent to men on the front.

*I did not have 2 mini-loaf pans and just put the batter into one 9x5 pan. I baked it for 45-50 minutes, testing the bread with a toothpick every 5 minutes after the 30 minute mark. (This kind of has to do with the love/hate-but-mostly-hate relationship I have with my oven.)

Would I make this again? Yes! It's easy and very tasty. I think it has a very Fall flavor.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Karin's Week Thirty-Nine Recipe: Potage Parmentier

I know I've been rather lax in posting lately, but I've been spending oodles of time on the computer due to some work deadlines.  Which are now over with. The result is lots of postings all together, and an easy to make recipe that is perfect for a cool fall day.  This recipe comes from one of my Julia Child cookbooks, hence the French name for Potato and Leek Soup. It is actually the very first recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Potage Parmentier

3-4c or 1lb potatoes, peeled and sliced or diced
3c or 1lb leeks, thinly sliced (or you can use yellow onions if you don't have leeks)
2qt water
1T salt
4-6T heavy cream or 2-3T softened butter
2-3 T minced parsley or chives

Place everything into a 3-4qt saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 40-50 minutes. Mash the veggies in the soup or put through a food mill - I used my stick blender. *You can make this ahead of time to this point and then just bring it back to a simmer before eating.* Just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Fold in parsley.

This was unbelievably easy to make. Put everything in a pot and forget it until the timer goes off. A great way to cook lunch. This was very tasty and filling. We had 3 pieces of leftover bacon (I know you are wondering how does one have leftover bacon? It's a bit of a story, but we did.) so Nate crumbled them up on top of our bowls of soup. I liked it just fine with out the bacon, but he thought it needed a bit more. Either way, simple and easy and very tasty.

Karin's Week Thirty-Five Recipe: Beer Cookies

I wanted to try these cookies after a coworker of mine told me he and his wife made them and they were tasty. Beer cookies, hmmm. Instead of leavening they use the carbonation and yeast in the beer. This I had to see. So I told Nate he had to buy some beer, and off we went.

Beer Cookies

1.5 c regular flour
0.5 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter
1 bottle room temperature beer (I used an Ale Asylum Porter)
1/2 c chopped walnuts or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar together. Cut in dry ingredients and nuts or chips. Blend in beer slowly until dough is consistency of drop cookie dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 minute, then cool on rack.

Results: These cookies don't spread out at all! They make strangely puffy small cookies. We used both pecans and chocolate chips in the cookies. Nate liked them, as they weren't crumbly, and the guys I work with voted for them to come back to work again. The beer flavor definitely comes through. I don't think I'd make these again, as I have much tastier cookie recipes, but they were fun to try.

Karin's Week Thirty-Eight Recipe: Pecan Cranberry Biscotti

This recipe came from one of Nate's cookbooks: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. Most of you know how I feel about Martha, but I was looking for a biscotti recipe to make for Nate and I had all of the ingredients on hand in the pantry. And Nate really really likes biscotti - usually my mom makes them for him, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Pecan Cranberry Biscotti

1 1/2c toasted pecan halves (10min at 350 will toast them nicely)
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4c sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt ( I went with 2 turns of the salt grinder)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1c dried cranberries
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350deg. Line a baking sheet with parchment for later. Chop 1/2 the pecans and leave the rest in halves; set aside.

In mixing bowl, combine baking powder, flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and the egg yolks with the vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients; mix on medium low until a sticky dough is formed. Stir in pecans, cranberries and zest.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and sprinkle with more flour; knead slightly. The dough will be VERY sticky at this point. Shape into 2 9x3.5in logs and place onto parchment covered pan. Bake for 30 min. Remove from oven and cool for 15 min. Reduce heat to 275deg. Slice logs of dough diagonally into 1/2 in pieces. Place cut-side down onto parchment. Return to oven and bake for 20min. Turn over pieces and bake for 20 min more. Remove biscotti to wire rack to cool.

Result: Yum! I may need to make another batch before my mom and grandma visit . The recipe says they will last in an air-tight container for several weeks. I will be lucky to get an entire week out of them. Meaning they will all be eaten of course. Maybe biscotti aren't as hard as I thought...

Karin's Week Thirty-Seven Recipe: Slow Cooked Pork Roast

This was the result of having a giant hunk of pork to cook, as well as needing to spend the day working outside in the yard. I adapted a recipe that Cheyenne had given me to what I had on hand in the house.

Slow Cooked Pork Roast

1 3-5lb pork roast
cranberry juice
3 bay leaves
ground cardamom
ground black pepper

This recipe can be made with either a frozen piece of pork, or a thawed. If you have a thawed piece, reduce all cooking times in half and cook on High.

Place pork roast into crockpot. Add cranberry juice until juice is approximately halfway up the side of the roast. Place top on crockpot and cook on Low for about 5 hrs. Remove pork and shred using meat forks. Place meat back into crockpot, adding bay leaves, cardamom, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Cook for another 4hrs on Low. Serve with bbq sauce of your choice.

The original recipe calls for mixing in applesauce at the halfway point as well, but sweet and meat are not allowed in my household.

I would make this again as it's very easy to do. You just set it up and then forget about it. I had enough to have leftovers for the next few days, as well as some to freeze for later. The juice kept the meat moist and juicy and also gave it a nice flavor. I didn't use any bbq sauce with mine as I didn't think it was too sweet.

Karin's Week Thirty-Six Recipes: Sausage & Herb Risotto with Strawberry Trifle

This set of recipes came out of a competition I signed up for at work: Titanium Chef. The goal was to cook a dinner entree and a dessert for 4 30min and using only a 2 burner Coleman camp stove. Additional restrictions included: all ingredients had to be OK to eat after 24hr with no refrigeration or cooler, nothing could be in glass containers, and all utensils had to be things you might actually take on a camping trip. I was cooking against 2 guys at the same time.

In an effort to try and actually cook something rather substantial and easy I decided to cook Sausage & Herb Risotto and what I called a Strawberry Trifle. This is mostly because during my practice run I couldn't get a Strawberry Tart made.

Sausage & Herb Risotto

1 1/3c arborio rice
1 carton Swanson's Chicken Broth
3 precooked Italian sausages (bratwurst-sized)
1 cardboard container white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2T olive oil
2T butter
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
Penzey's Tuscan Sunset seasoning
4T fresh parsley, chopped

Start both burners on stove to flaming hot. Pour 1/3 of chicken stock into saucepan and start to bring to simmer. Heat butter and oil in large frying pan until butter is melted. Saute onion and garlic in oils. Add 1/3 more chicken stock to saucepan. Stir rice into oils until rice becomes slightly translucent. Add 1 ladleful of stock to rice and stir thoroughly. Add remaining stock to saucepan. Pour approximately 1/2c of wine into frying pan with rice and stir. By now stock should be boiling. Continue to stir rice. As liquid is absorbed and 1-2 ladlefuls of stock to rice. About 1/2 through cooking time, add another 1/2 c of wine into rice. When the last ladleful of stock is added to rice, slice sausages into bite-sized chunks and add to pan. Add in approximately 1/4c of Tuscan Sunset - or to taste. I put in ALOT and it smelled great. Heat through. Remove pan from heat and add parsley. Stir to combine and serve with parsley for garnish.

Strawberry Trifle

1 - 16oz container fresh strawberries
1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar, divided
40 Nilla wafers

Slice strawberries and place into ziploc baggie with 1/2c of sugar. Zip closed. Smash strawberries between fingers to mix with sugar. Set aside. Meanwhile, crush Nilla wafers into small pieces and crumbs in separate baggie. Set aside. Mix cream cheese and remaining 1/2 c sugar in small bowl.

To assemble: Place a small handful of crushed Nilla wafers in bowl. Add a large dollop of cream cheese mixture. Top with strawberry mixture and juice.

The outcome? I came in 2nd by 0.5pts. Final score was 119.5, 119, and 105. However, during the taste-testing, both of my dishes were eaten up rapidly. And I did get the 'easy to replicate on your own' award. Several people in the audience said they hadn't thought of ever trying to make a risotto while camping, but as it was so filling, they're going to try now. On a side note, the trifle was originally supposed to be a tart with a cookie crust, but I couldn't get the crust to hold together during my test run - hence the trifle. I would definitely make this again, and if you come camping with me you might get to taste it too!

Jennifer's Week Thirty-Eight Recipe: I Need To Use These Green Peppers Stir Fry

As the recipe says, I had peppers to use and needed to use them fast before they would be No Good. And I figured that stir-fry is always tasty and easy to make (even though I do not have a wok... yet!), so I came up with the following recipe.

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 bunch broccoli florets
2 green peppers, sliced thin
1 can water chestnuts, drained of liquid
Low-sodium soy sauce
Low-sodium teriyaki sauce
Hoisin sauce
Garlic powder
Worcestershire sauce
Sesame oil
Peanut oil

Cut the chicken into thin strips and place in a zip bag. Pour in a mixture of soy, teriyaki, hoisin and Worcestershire to coat the chicken. Let marinade for 1/2 hour or longer.

Heat the peanut oil in wok or pan (enough to coat the pan nicely). When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Once the chicken mostly cooked, add the broccoli, peppers and water chestnuts. Add more oil if needed. When the vegetables are nearly done, add the sauces (soy, teriyaki and hoisin), sesame oil and garlic powder to taste.

Serve with rice or Asian noodles of your choice.

Would I make this again? Yes. Chad approved. Erik seems to be going through a phase that any new food I make is "yucky" and "makes me feel sick" but then promptly asks for dessert or more of a part of the meal (like the cantaloupe today) that he loves. Nope. Mama ain't playin' that game!

Chris's BONUS Week Thirty-Nine Recipe: Roasted Parsnips & Carrots with Mint & Sage

Once again, valiant young Erica B. agreed to come over and participate in one of my blog-induced culinary experiments. Her courage is enough to make a person weep!

Ok, so this is my second recipe for week thirty-nine and I could have spared Erica, but as it turns out, she's a big fan of parsnips. I wasn't actually sure whether I was or not. I'm sure I've had parsnips in some soup or another, but I don't recall every actually eating them on their own. When I saw a nice bunch at the farmer's market a couple weeks ago I couldn't resist. I did, however, add carrots to this recipe just in case....

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots with Mint & Sage

6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into sticks
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 T olive oil
2 T honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh sage

Whisk together the olive oil and honey. (This won't be a perfect mixture, but do what you can.) Place the parsnips and carrots in a large bowl, add the oil & honey mixture, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Toss to coat. Roast in a 450F oven for 30 min. Put the veggies back into a mixing bowl, add the chopped mint & sage, and toss.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes! Erica and I polished off the lot and I wished I would have had some for leftovers. Come to think of it, I still have a few parsnips in the fridge....