Monday, December 28, 2009

Home from the Holidays!

Well I managed to survive a quick visit to my mother's house. We got a pretty good snowstorm over X-mas. So that curbed my visit by one day. Zach got everything he wanted. We managed to only buy 8 presents total(stocking included) and I was very specific with my mom and brother to get the last few itmes on the list. He said it was the best christmas ever!
Like I said we were pretty much snowed in on X-mas, but it was fun playing in..
We stayed pretty warm, enjoying hot cocoa and my super perfect yummy cinnamon rolls.
Recipe to follow later. :)

Yummy Cinnamon rolls:

1 cup warm milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Place milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in bread machine pan. Make sure you add yeast last. Set bread machine on Dough cycle and begin. In a medium sauce pan, melt 1/3 cup butter over medium-low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 cup walnuts. Stir constantly until well blended (making sugar is melted and no longer granular). Pour this sauce in bottom of baking panpan; set aside. After the cycle is complete, put the dough on a lightly floured board, and roll the dough into a rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll, starting with the long side. Press the edges to seal. With a knife, cut the roll into one inch pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared pan on top of the caramel sauce. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn upside down onto a platter. (You can leave out the walnuts if your family does not like them.) I have also added chocolate chips to the dough when rolling them up, or raisins as well.

We have another short menu this week due to the holidays, as we are hosting a New Years party with a greek theme. Enjoy the recipes, and Happy New Year!

EZ Crockpot Mexican pork

1 lb boneless country style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups salsa
1 tsp cumin
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
1 can (15 oz)black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups cooked rice
sour cream

Place pork, salsa, cumin, chilis and beans into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve on rice with cheese and sour cream.

Homemade pizza night

EZ dough recipe:
1 1/4 cups warm water,
1 pkg active dry yeast,
1 tblsp sugar,
1 tsp Italian seasonings,
3 tblsp olive oil
3+ cups of flour,
1 tsp salt
Mix water, yeast, sugar & oil in mixer bowl. Then add flour & salt. Mix-knead for 10-12 minutes, sprinkling with flour to keep from sticking to bowl. Dough should be elastic & smooth. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover dough with oil, cover & let stand 1 hr at room temp. Then divide dough 2 equal parts roll into balls, cover with damp towel & let stand another 10 mins. Use immediately. Don't forget to poke holes into dough with fork once rolled onto pan to let steam escape while baking.

Use you family's favorite toppings. I always keep things like pizza cheese, pepperoni, and Italian sausage in the freezer. And I always keep black olives, and canned mushrooms in the pantry. Then making a last minute pizza is a snap. If you don't have time to make dough, buy ready to make pizza dough packets and keep them in the pantry as well.

Baked chicken and dumplings

1/4 cup butter
1 small chopped onion
3 stalks chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon, sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or to taste
1 (9 ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed
4 cups cooked chicken (I simmer boneless skinless chicken breasts in chicken broth
then shred when cool)

2 cups biscuit mix
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cups milk

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add flour, sugar, salt, pepper and basil. Mix until flour is mixed in well. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is blended and thickened. Add bouillon and stir. Stir in chicken and peas. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Make dumplings by combining dumpling ingredients in a medium bowl. Drop 2-3 Tablespoons of dumpling mixture on top of casserole in approximately 12 separate mounds. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes . Cover with foil if necessary (so dumplings don’t get too brown). Remove foil for last 10 minutes of cooking.

New Years Eve Menu

Spanikopita(Greek spinach pie)

Spnach pie:
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
2 sticks butter, melted
6 eggs, well beaten
2 med. onions, finely chopped and sauteed
1 bunch of fresh parsley chopped(stems removed and sauteed)
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 lb. cottage cheese
3 oz. cream cheese
3/4 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
1 box phyllo dough, defrosted

Cook spinach and drain VERY well; add 1/4 cup melted butter to it. Mix eggs, sauteed onion, parsley, dill and cheeses together and combine with spinach. Preheat oven to 350. Place pyllo sheets in a pan, one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Distribute spinach mix evenly over sheets. About halfway through layering. Top with remaining sheets. With sharp knife, cut through tops to make into squares. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown and puffy. Cool and cut into squares.

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2/3 cup long grain white rice
2/3 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 (8 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix the lamb, onions, rice, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and mint into a bowl until evenly combined. Gently open up a grape leaf, and place rib-side down onto your work surface. Place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture into the center of the grape leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the meat, fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder. Place the rolled grape leaf into a large skillet, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining grape leaves, packing them in a tight, single layer.
Pour the water and lemon juice into the skillet, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if needed. Save water for sauce. Serve with lemon suace for dolmades.

Lemon sauce for dolmades:

Whisk together 2 egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan, over medium heat, then whisk in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, stirring until smooth. Add 1 cup of hot cooking liquid from dolmades, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Reduce heat. Stir a couple tablespoonfuls of hot broth mixture into egg yolks, then slowly add egg-yolk mixture to broth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice and continue stirring and cooking until sauce has thickened a bit more. Stir in 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley.


1 pound chopped mixed nuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 . Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Toss together cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out. Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes. Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp. While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Listen for the sizzle sound! Let cool completely before serving.

We are not Greek in case you were wondering, we just love Greek food!. This is our
3rd year of having our Greek New Years, and I think our group will be the biggest this time around. We had tons of leftovers last year and I hope we will have the same, since I love the leftovers. Have a great one..toodles...Evie

Sunday, December 20, 2009

X-mas is upon us!

But you still have to cook my lovelies! Just because its the holidays does not mean you can slack off. Everyone still has to eat and convinence food and takeout are expensive! Hope everyone has wonderful plans for thier holiday!

Roast Chicken and Veggies

1 3lb roaster/broiler chicken
salt and pepper
1 tsp of each:
dried parsley
dried rosemary
onion powder
garlic powder
1 whole lemon cut into slices
olive oil
1 cup chicken stock

4 stalks cut up celery
4 carrots cut up
4 potatoes diced medium

Mix spices in a bowl. Rub entire chicken with olive oil, loosen skin under breast and place 2 lemon slices each, under skin, over breasts. Place the rest of the lemon slices with cut up vegetables. Place chicken in roasting pan lined with foil, sprinkle bird with equal amounts of salt and pepper, sprinkle with 3/4 of seasoning. Place vegetables around chicken in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and remaining seasoning. Pour stock into pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until juices run clear. Serve over rice.

Leftover chicken quesadillas
refried beans and cheese

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 (16 ounces) jar Mild Picante Sauce
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
8 (8 inch) Flour Tortillas
1/2 cup sliced Black Olives
1/2 cup Sour Cream

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until transparent. Mix chicken, cooled onion, cheese and black olives. Heat non-stick pan, add a little oil to pan, place one tortilla in pan, top with some of mixture and top with another tortilla. brown on both sides until cheese is melted on the inside. Cook remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and picate sauce. Also serve with cooked canned refried beans topped with cheese.

Pulled pork sandwiches (slow cooker)

4 lb pork roast
2 onions, sliced
5 or 6 whole cloves
16 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
salt and pepper

Place one sliced onion at the bottom of Crock Pot.
Stud pork roast with cloves and season with salt and pepper.
Place roast in slow cooker on top of the sliced onion. Cover with the second sliced onion and add enough water to fill Crock Pot two thirds of the way.
Cover and cook on low 8 to 12 hours.
Remove roast. Remove and discard cloves, bone and fat as well as any water, onions and grease remaining in pot.
When pork roast is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your fingers to pull it apart until the entire roast is shredded. Mix with BBQ sauce, serve on buns, with prepared coleslaw.

Mini Meatloves
mashed potatoes
steamed broccoli

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 pound ground beef
1/2 packet of onion soup mix
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 350.In a large bowl, combine the egg, milk, cheese, oats and onion soup mix. Add the ground beef, mixing well, and form this mixture into eight miniature meatloaves. Place these in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a separate small bowl, combine the chili sauce, brown sugar and mustard. Stir thoroughly and spread over each meatloaf. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Serve with hot mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

X-mas eve!
Requested from my son
Lemon Chicken Piccata

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
fresh parsley, chopped
hot cooked pasta like, linguine

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Serve it all over hot pasta.

You guys are on you own, cause I am going to my mama's and she is making a ham...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Laid back week..........

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday filled month. I know my family has been pretty busy! I had a great and busy weekend. We attended a hockey game in Topeka, Go Roadrunners...on Friday night, last night I catered a small company Christmas party, and today I am going to our PTO adopt a family X-mas wrapping party. This is not just the holiday season, its the pack as much as you can into a weekend season.
Luckily there is not a whole lot going on this week. Enjoy the menu. Hearts, Evie

Beef and barley stew

1 1/2lbs boneless beef cubed
3 T vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 cups beef broth
6 cups water
4 stalks celery chopped
6 carrots chopped
6 green onions chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup barley
1 tsp dried thyme

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the beef in the oil until browned. Stir in the salt, pepper and garlic powder and place seasoned meat in a slow cooker. Add a little water to the skillet and stir to pick up the browned bits. Add to the slow cooker. Add the broth, water, celery, carrots, green onions, parsley and barley. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetables and barley are tender. Add the thyme just before serving.

Tortilla pizzas
green salad

Take tortilla and cover with pizza sauce and favorite toppings. Bake at 375 for 5-10minutes until crisp and toppings are cooked. Serve with a nice green salad.

Oven Basil Lemon Pasta

3 cups bow tie pasta
1 chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 cup margarine
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine(or apple juice)
2 C sour cream
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup torn fresh spinach

Cook pasta.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken with lemon pepper. Melt the margarine with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook chicken, remove from pan, and place in casserole dish. To the same skillet, add the garlic, white wine, sour cream, basil, lemon zest, and 1/2 of the lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the skillet from the heat; stir in the pasta. Spoon the pasta and sauce mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil.
Bake in the preheated oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, parsley, spinach, and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Blue cheese burgers
sweet potato fries

2 pounds lean ground beef
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, blue cheese, chives, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt, and mustard. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cook on stove or broil. Serve with oven baked sweet potatoes and burgers condiments.

Crock pot BBQ Chicken
canned baked beans
prepared coleslaw

1 onion, coarsely diced
4-6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1-2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Remove skin from chicken. Place the coarsely diced onion on the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle paprika on both sides of the chicken. Place the chicken in a large non-stick pan. Turn heat on to medium and brown the chicken on both sides. If the chicken is sticking too much to the pan you can add 1-2 teaspoons of water.

Sauce: In the same pan that you browned the chicken, saute the finely diced onion. Mix the cornstarch and the tomato sauce together. Add this tomato sauce mixture along with the remaining ingredients to the pan with the sauteed onions and simmer, stirring fairly often, for 3-5 minutes. Pour this sauce over the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces so that they are thoroughly covered with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve with yummy sides.

Ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches
canned minestrone soup

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
1/2 brick cream cheese (room temp)
8 slices cooked bacon
4 slices Cheddar cheese
8 slices sourdough bread

Freeze bread overnight, on frozen bread, spread four slices with cream cheese. In a small bowl, mash together the butter and Parmesan cheese until evenly blended. Make sandwiches by placing two slices of bacon and one slice of Cheddar cheese on half of the bread slices. Top with the remaining slices of bread with cream cheese
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread some of the butter mixture on the top of each sandwich. Place sandwiches butter side down in the skillet. Spread the remaining butter mixture on the other sides. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side. To serve, cut in half diagonally. Serve with steaming bowls of soup.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

hello holidays

Even though Christmas is just a few weeks away I am not feeling the spirit. We went to a Christmas party last night but it was not very Christmasy. So this week I have decided to put myself in the mood. I am wrapping presents, sending cards, and listening to the holiday music channel. Hope you all are feeling the spirit!

Slow cooker Lamb shanks

2 lamb shanks
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
3 sliced carrots
1 small diced onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 can of diced tomatoes(undrained)
2 T fresh minced rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 mild flavored beer

Heat olive oil in pan, salt and pepper shanks. Brown on all sides in oil. Place all ingredients in crock pot. Add lamb shanks. Cook on high at least 2 hours, turn down to low and cook for 3-4 additional hours or cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over Orzo cooked with some of the juice from crock pot.

1/2 pounds Tender boneless beef, such as sirloin, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 tablespoon Sesame seeds
1 large Broccoli stalk
1/2 Yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup Canned beef broth
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
1 tablespoon Ginger, peeled, minced
1 large Garlic clove
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons Vegetable oil

Combine beef strips with 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds in small bowl. Toss to coat well. Cut florets off broccoli stalk. Peel stalk and thinly slice crosswise. Combine broccoli florets and stalk with yellow pepper in medium bowl. Stir broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and crushed red pepper in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in wok or heavy large skillet over high heat. Add beef and stir-fry until brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to plate. Heat remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in wok. Add broccoli and peppers and cover wok. Add beef and accumulated juices from plate. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer beef mixture to platter. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired and serve with rice.

Chicken burritos
rice cooked
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup mild salsa
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
8 tortillas (8-inch)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, mix chicken, black beans, 1 cup salsa and chili powder. Microwave on High 2 minutes or until hot, stirring after 1 minute.
Place cooked rice in large bowl; stir in cilantro and lime juice until well blended. Heat tortillas as directed on package. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with about 1/4 cup rice mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold sides of tortilla toward center; fold ends over. Serve with additional salsa, if desired.

Chickpea and tomato curry

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cans chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Plain yogurt, if desired
Serve over hot cooked potatoes or rice if desired

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 cup chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cups shredded carrots
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans kidney or pinto beans, drained
1 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. chili powder
hot pepper, to taste, cayenne
1 tsp. garlic salt

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours on LOW, or until done.
Serve with condiments.

Spinach filled fish rolls
1 lb sole, orange roughy or flounder fillets
1 1/2 cups firmly packed spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup garlic-flavored croutons, crushed
Lemon wedges, if desired

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. If fish fillets are large, cut into 4 serving pieces. Place spinach on fish; sprinkle with garlic salt. Roll up each fillet, beginning at narrow end. Place rolls, with points underneath, in baking dish. In small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard; spoon onto each roll. Sprinkle with croutons. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serve with lemon wedges.