Friday, July 18, 2008

Kale Soup

We found this recipe last fall and it is one of our favorites now! It's easy, healthy, and really tasty!

1 TSB olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped fresh kale
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/8 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
1 15-oz can white beans (cannellini, white kidney, etc), drained and rinsed
4 1/2-inch think slices french bread
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Add kale; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in thyme, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in beans. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until kale is tender.

Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on baking sheet and top with shredded cheese. Cook under broiler 1-2 minutes until cheese melts. Serve bread slices on top of soup.

Christmas Yams

A yummy Thanksgiving and Christmas favorite from Jordan's mom!

6-7 large yams
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg and cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup (or more) brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup half and half
Baby marshmallows
1/2 tsp orange peel (optional)

Wash, rinse, and quarter yams. Cook by bringing to a boil, turning the temperature down to low and simmer 15-20 minutes, just until tender but not mushy. Drain. Peel yams and put them in a big casserole dish. Mash the yams while still hot. Add the stick of butter. Mash together, melting the butter. Add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and brown sugar. Mix. Add the beaten eggs and half and half and stir. Top with baby marshmallows. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until marshmallows are a light golden brown.

*When I made these on Jordan's birthday, he suggested adding some crushed, drained pineapple. We added about 1/2-3/4 cups, and it was a great addition!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meatballs and Orange Gravy

The only meatballs I really like. They are delicious!

Two handfuls of white rice
4 T. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. minced onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
Two cans tomato soup
Scant two soup cans of water

Mix rice, flour and seasonings together in large bowl. Add ground beef and mix with your hands. Form into balls about the size of walnuts. Try not to overmix or pack the meat together too tightly or else you end up with hard and chewy meatballs.
Put the soup and the water in the pressure cooker over high heat. After soup boils, carefully drop meatballs into pot. Make sure the meatballs are covered with soup and distributed evenly in pot. Immediately cover with the lid and lock into place. When the steam thing pops up, put the rocking thing on the lid. When the rocking becomes consistent, turn heat to medium or medium high and cook for 20 minutes. (You want the rocking to be gentle.) After 20 minutes turn the heat off but don't open the lid. Let the meat rest until the steam indicator drops down. You can speed up the process by putting the pot under running hot water in the sink after the 20 minutes of cooking, and that will make the steam indicator drop faster, but I prefer to let it sit because it makes the meatballs more tender.

Voila! You have meatballs and instant gravy. The gravy is excellent over mashed potatoes.

No Meat Chili

This is my mom's recipe for chili, which is my favorite chili recipe ever. I actually don't like chili with lots of meat, only lots and lots of veggies! So this has a lot of beans for protein instead of meat. This can also be made in a crock-pot. Yummy, healthy, comfort-food.

1 15oz. can red kidney beans
1 15oz. can Great Northern beans
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or equivalent of garlic powder)
Drain and rinse beans. Do not drain tomatoes. Saute onion and garlic in a bit of butter for five minutes. Put all ingredients into large pot*. Simmer over medium/low heat until green peppers are soft, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer you let this simmer, the tastier it becomes.

*This picture is chili made in a crock-pot instead of over the stove. We just put it on low all day, and it turned out delicious!!

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

This is a recipe from my mom that has become one of Jordan's favorite desserts. It tastes great in the fall, since it's like pumpkin pie. We like to use a spice cake mix instead of the yellow mix, and omit the pumpkin pie spice.

1 can (16 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 9X13 pan. Combine first six ingredients in large bowl. (This will be very soupy.) Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream. Makes 16-20 servings.

Pasta Della California

This is another recipe from my friend, Christine. It's delicious! I think we made it about the same way she did, but using spinach instead of arugula, because that's what we had on hand.

This is the recipe according to Christine:

"here is the recipe for the pasta with avocado...this is the original recipe (with a few of my modifications) that is supposed to serve 4....i halved it and i think it would be fine for 2 people (i had leftovers). i like this recipe because it uses 3 different vegetables, and is easy. the cookbook authors said they called it "california" because "avocado pasta" would scare people away haha.
1/2 pound linguine (i just used penne because...that's all i ever buy)
3 cups sliced broccoli (tops cut into small florets, stalks sliced thinly)
2 Tb olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced (original recipe said 8...i thought that would be too much so i reduced)
1/4 tsp grated lime zest (i omitted this)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup veg broth
2 Tb lime juice or juice of one lime (definitely do not omit...i just buy the lime juice in a bottle)
1/2 tsp salt
several pinches of black pepper
4 cups loosely packed arugula leaves*
2 avocados, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
1. Bring water for pasta (and broccoli) to a boil and start prepping other ingredients. Add pasta (you will add the broccoli to the pasta in the last minute of cooking).
2. Add oil to skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lime zest, and red pepper flakes. Heat for 2 mins, don't burn garlic.
3. Add vegetable broth, lime juice, salt, and pepper to skillet. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to simmer and add arugula. By this point pasta should be almost done. Add the broccoli to the pasta and cook 1 minute, then drain all.
5. When arugula is wilted, add broccoli and pasta and mix all together, heating for a few mins. Then add avocado and turn off the heat. Gently toss to incorporate avocado, until it is heated through (if avocado gets too hot/stirred, it will should remain in chunks).
*i think it would be fine with spinach instead of arugula (or any other leafy green?). I actually had arugula on hand because I used it in another recipe. but i think it is kind of expensive."

Better than Anything Cake

There are a lot of different names for this cake, but it seems like a lot of people have this recipe or something similar. Not for those lacking a major sweet tooth! Jordan has a sweet tooth, and this is too sweet for even him, but I love it!

1 Devil's Food Cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz jar caramel ice cream topping (not the kind you have to heat up)
8 oz. cool whip
Heath Bar, crumbled

Cook the cake in a 9X13 inch pan. After it's done and while it's still hot, poke holes into the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Poke the holes all the way to the bottom of the cake, about an inch apart. Pour the sweetened condensed milk and caramel over the cake, making sure it gets down the holes. Put the cake in the fridge, uncovered, for about 3 hours. Spread cool wip over the cake and sprinkle with the crumbled Heath Bar.


4 medium tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1-2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBS lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half; remove seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in medium bowl. Add salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, or even up to 3 days for flavors to blend.

Note: Letting the salsa sit at room temperature for a while will make it even spicier.

Hawaiian Haystacks

The coconut and the pineapple make this dish "Hawaiian"--an old family favorite, and great for large crowds.

White rice
Chinese noodles
Cream of chicken soup
Cooked chicken
Cheddar cheese, grated
Tomatoes, chopped
Coconut, shredded
Canned pineapple, drained
Sliced olives
Green onions
Cooked peas
Any other topping you think would be tasty

Cook rice. Make a chicken gravy by heating the milk and soup--one half can of milk for every can of soup. Add the chicken. Don't heat the gravy to boiling. To serve, start with a bed of rice, then top with the Chinese noodles, gravy, cheese, and any other topping you feel like.

Barquinhos de Beringela (Eggplant Dinghies)

This is a Brazilian recipe from a cookbook that Jordan gave me that has recipes from all around the world, along with information about all of the countries and their culinary cultures and traditions, AND suggested ethnic music to go along with the meal.

2 large eggplants
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 14-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
12 scallions (green onions), chopped
Bunch of parsley, chopped
Olive oil

Slice the eggplants in half vertically. Scoop out the center of each half, making 4 little boats, or "dinghies". Sprinkle the halves and the scooped out part with salt and set aside. Saute the onion in 2 TPS of olive oil, and when nearly clear, add the cloves of chopped garlic and saute until transparent. Drain the can of tomatoes and chop, then add them to the onion-garlic mixture. Add just a little bit of water to the pan so that the vegetables can simmer for about 5 minutes. Wipe the eggplants halves and insides with a paper towel. Cube the reserved eggplant and add it to
the tomato mixture. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add chopped scallions, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer again, for about 5 minutes. Transfer the filling into a bowl, wipe down the pan, heat a little olive oil in it, then saute the eggplant halves for about 2 minutes on each side. Fill them with the tomato filling mixture and continue to cook, covered, for about 3 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 15-20 minutes, and serve warm.

(Just sauteing the eggplant halves didn't cook them very well. Next time I might try roasting them in the oven before filling them.)

Feta Salad

This is a GOOD salad. The amounts of all the ingredients don't really have to be exact, so I'll just kind of explain how to make it. Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked orzo, drain, and rinse with cool water. Let all the water drain from the pasta. Meanwhile, chop up some olives, basil, spinach, tomatoes, and roasted red bell peppers, and mix them all with the orzo. Also mix in a couple of handfuls of crumbled feta cheese. For the dressing, whisk together 2 TBS of olive oil with 1 1/2 tsp of cider vinegar and some black pepper. Pour that over the salad and mix. The salad is the best at room temperature. It's important that the pasta is cooled so it doesn't melt the feta cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1-2 TBS olive oil or butter
About 1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 red potato, or 1/2 of a russet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
About 15 oz. of roasted red bell peppers, drained (not rinsed)
About 3 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium)
Pinch of sugar

Sautee the onion and carrot in olive oil or butter in a large pot over med-hi heat. After a few minutes when the veggies are soft, add the broth, potato, and peppers. Bring to a boil, then down to a fast simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 25 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender. Add a tsp or so of sugar. Pour soup into a blender (in batches if needed) and blend it up (or use an immersion blender if you have one). Pour back into the pot and serve!

This is a great meal because it is a creamy soup, but only because of the potato, not because you add cream! And you get lots of vitamin C from the peppers and onions, B6 from the peppers, and A from the carrots. Next time I think I might try not peeling the potato and seeing if it all blends together all right, because all the potato vitamins are in the peel!

Homemade croutons:
We made croutons by cubing up some regular bread (we used whole wheat here, before we have used french bread), and putting them into a non-stick pan with some hot olive oil. Heat over medium to med-hi heat until they get crispy (at least 5 minutes).

Blaser Enchiladas

Probably our favorite family recipe! We learned it from Grandma Bea who learned it from her brother who learned it while serving a mission in New Mexico.

Corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
Lean ground beef
At least one can of enchilada sauce
Cheddar cheese
Lettuce, shredded
Tomatoes, chopped

Heat oil in a small frying pan. Cook tortillas for just a few seconds on each side. Cook beef. Heat enchilada sauce. Drain most of the oil from the frying pan, and fry the eggs in the remaining oil. Put together individual enchiladas by dipping a tortilla in the enchilada sauce and laying it flat on your plate. Add the beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and egg. Top with extra enchilada sauce.

Dinner in a Pumpkin

A fun Halloween tradition from Grandma Sagers!

3 lbs lean ground beef
2 onions
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans water chestnuts, drained
3 cups cooked white rice
2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained (or use fresh mushrooms)

Chop onions and cook them with beef (and mushrooms if fresh). Drain any grease. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, cream of chicken soup, water chestnuts, and rice.

If it's Halloween and you want to be fun and festive, clean out the inside of a large pumpkin (but make sure it will fit in your oven!!). Brush the inside with melted butter and pour casserole mixture inside. Place pumpkin on a cookie sheet, but leave the lid off of the pumpkin. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Pumpkin will get soft, so don't lift it off the cookie sheet when serving.

Notes: If you don't have a pumpkin or it's not Halloween, you can use a large casserole dish. This makes a large amount, so the recipe can be reduced for a smaller crowd or a smaller pumpkin!

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
1 can green beans
1 can tomato soup
8 servings mashed potatoes
Cheddar cheese, grated

Brown beef. Add tomato soup and green beans. Spread in bottom of casserole dish. Spread cooked mashed potatoes on top. Cover top with cheese. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Ham Fried Rice

3 TSP oil
6 cups cooked white rice
2 cups ham, cubed
1 1/2 cup cooked peas
6 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cups reduced sodium soy sauce

Heat oil in wok (or large, deep pan). Add rice and coat it with the oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the ham and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Push everything to one side to make a clear spot in the wok. Add eggs and scramble them until they are nearly cooked, then incorporate them into the rice mix. Add enough soy sauce until it is brown and moist, but not wet.

Note: This makes an extremely large amount, so you may want to reduce the recipe

Frito Casserole

1 lbs lean ground beef
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
10 oz enchilada sauce
Small can tomato sauce
1 TBS minced onion
1 small package of Fritos
2 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brown beef and onions in frying pan. Drain off extra fat. Add beans, tomato sauce and enchilada sauce to meat. Add 1/2 of the package of Fritos and 2 cups of the cheese. Spread in a 9X13 casserole dish and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the rest of the cheese and some of the remaining Fritos, crushed, to taste. Serve with sour cream and lettuce.

Beef Strogonoff

A yummy cold-weather comfort food! I was craving it when I was about 3 months pregnant.

1 lb ground beef or turkey, or stew meat
1 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove (or 1/4 tsp dried) garlic
1/4 cup butter
2 TBS flour
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
Small can of mushrooms or 1 cup fresh mushrooms

Brown meat. Add salt and pepper and minced onion. Cook until onion is transparent. Add garlic and stir. Add butter and flour and mix. Add sour cream and soup. Stir and add seasoning salt and mushrooms. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Serve over noodles or rice.

(Mom's) Mrs. Fields' Cookies

I always wanted the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, but never had one I loved until I married Jordan. This recipe is from his mom. The cookies are delicious, but this recipe makes a TON of cookies. So we usually only make 1/3 or 2/3 of the recipe (there are 3 eggs). Under the original recipe is the 1/3 version.

Mix and set aside:
6 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

Beat until creamy:
2 cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter

Add 3 eggs to sugar mixture and beat. Add dry mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure it's all mixed.

Add chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped walnuts...any combination you want.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

Here are the ingredients cut down to 1/3:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/3 sticks butter

1 egg

Chicken Empanadas

1 box (15 oz) refrigerated pie crusts (2 11-inch crusts)
4 oz cream cheese
2 TBS salsa
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1 egg, beaten
Additional salsa

Remove pie crust pouches from box; let stand at room temperature 15-20 minutes.

Heat cream cheese in small heavy saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until melted. Add slasa, cilantro, cumin, salt and garlic powder; stir until smooth. Stir in chicken; remove from heat.

Unfold pie crusts; remove plastic film. Roll out slightly on lightly floured surface. Cut crusts into 3-inch rounds using biscuit cutter or drinking glass. Reroll pie crust scraps and cut enough additional to equal about 20 rounds.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place about 2 tsp chicken mixture in center of each round. Brush edges lightly with water. Pull one side of dough over filling to form half circle; pinch edges to seal.

Place 10-12 empanadas on foil-lined baking sheet; brush lightly with egg. Bake 16-18 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve with salsa. Makes 10 appetizer servings.

Note: Empanadas can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. Simply wrap unbaked empanadas with plastic wrap and freeze. To bake, follow directions baking 18-20 minutes.