Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I love oatmeal. Have always been a fan, and ever since my kids could eat solid food, I've been feeding it to them as well. They are big fans too! They like it almost any way I make it. Since it's fall, however, I always stock up on canned pumpkin and had about 1/2 cup of it left in the fridge that needed to be used. Lightbulb! Here's the recipe! Serves 3-4 depending on how much you give them. I usually give them a little over 1 cup cooked each so it only serves them (with me sneaking bites).

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 Tbsp flax meal (rich in omega fatty acids and is great brain food! They can never tell it's in there)
1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark and more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter, but coconut oil is better for you in millions of ways)
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger (all spices you can add more or less according to your taste. This is all an estimate since I didn't really measure them, but I used about two big pinches of each which equals about 1/8 tsp)
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine everything (yes everything) in a cold sauce pan, and turn stove on high. Stir frequently until you get a gentle boil, then turn on low and stir constantly for a minute. All done! Easy peasy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Carrot pie

Ok, so I really wanted pumpkin pie but didn't have any canned pumpkin, so I came up with this.

1 frozen pie crust
1lb frozen carrots, cooked according to package (doesn't matter if they are coins or whole baby carrots)
1 Tb pumpkin pie spice
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put drained, cooked carrots in a blender or food processor until purée. Weigh out 15oz or just go with the full amount... Add all other ingredients to carrot purée and blend well. Pour into pie crust and bake at 425 for 15 minutes then cook at 350 for another 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it, it might take less time or a little more depending on how accurate your oven is. It's done when it has taken on a little darker color and the custard around the crust area is set.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rainbow Shortbread Cookies

Ok, folks, confession time: I LOVE RAINBOWS.  Heck, just browse my pinterest page.  Most of the food is rainbow colored from the super awesome foodie site,  Now when I was young (and still today) I was a tomboy.  Making mud-balls covered in sand filled my day when hunting for rocks and gems didn't.  Oh, and when I could get away with it, I would pelt my sister with the mud balls.  She was such a girly girl, and she was disgusted by the mere sight and would flee from the little muddy things.  HAHA.  As a lot of girls, however, I still LOVED Rainbow Brite, Barbies and other girly things.  I particularly have always been drawn to rainbows, though.  Maybe it reminds my subconscious that God is watching and smiling at me (even though rainbows look like frowns)  It doesn't bother me that the homosexual community uses the rainbow as their calling card.  Go for it!  Rainbows are awesome, and represent happiness and another word for happiness is gay, right?  At least it used to be.  Ok, so on to the recipe.  I love shortbread cookies. Kinda like a sugar cookie minus most of the sugar, and add more butter, and take away the eggs.  Ok, not like one at all, but the dough looks the same. They're buttery, pillowy little bites of deliciousness. 

Makes approx 21 cookies.
8oz butter flavored Crisco/vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
2c ap flour
1/2c powdered sugar
1/2tsp baking POWDER
1tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt
Gel foodcoloring

Preheat oven to 325
In one bowl, combine all ingredients.  There is no need to cream shortening and sugar together.  With a stand mixer, add all ingredients to bowl and blend on lowest speed until creamy and smooth.
Divide dough evenly (as well as you can) into 6 small balls and place into their own individual bowls.  You will make red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Add as much food coloring to get the dough to a dark pastel of each color.  It will darken slightly in the oven.
Refrigerate the colored dough while your oven preheats, or for about 15 minutes.  Take out and place wazed paper or parchment paper down on your counter.  Starting with red, roll out long snake-like tubes and line them up.  Do you remember the order a rainbow goes in?  Do you know Roy G Biv?  Well, it's Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, then Purple (represents indigo and violet).
Now, gently roll it on top of itself to create a large tube of all 6 colors, a tube about the size of the store bought sugar cookies you can get.  Wrap in the parchment and freeze for about an hour or two to harden a bit.  When ready, pull out of freezer and slice cookies with a SUPER SHARP knife.  I used a santoku knife.  Make each cookie about 1/2 an inch thick and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. You can use an ungreased pan, but you really want the ease of the paper.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway after 10 minutes, especially if your oven is spotty like mine!
Let cool on pan for about 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack.  You know the rest..... Eat! Enjoy!

PS: If you know me, you probably know that I rarely have time to grab my good camera, so you are getting crappy photos from my iPhone, which would NORMALLY be good, but my auto focus is broken, so sorry for the blurrrrrrrrrrrr
PPS: For more fun, take the separated dough and add different flavors to them, like lemon to the yellow, almond to the red or orange, etc.  Just be sure to use only like 1/8tsp and that the flavors won't conflict with each other.  Alternatively, you could just add 1tsp of your favorite extract in stead of vanilla :)

Beefy Mac Casserole

I was stumped.  I had no clue what to feed the kids (or myself and hubby) so I took a recipe I liked the backbone of, then made it my own.  Here she blows:

1lb ground beef
1c chopped onions and green peppers
Cavender's Greek Seasoning - Salt free (you can use your fav spice blend)
1 10 3/4oz can of Tomato Soup
1 10 3/4oz can if Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 15oz can diced tomatoes (I used one with garlic and onion in it)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed/minced fresh garlic
1 tsp minced basil, fresh.
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Several dashes of hot sauce
8oz elbow macaroni pasta
8-12oz shredded mozzarella cheese (2-3 cups)

Preheat oven to 350degrees Fahrenheit.
In a 4 quart dutch oven, fill pan with water and a teaspoon salt and boil.  Add macaroni and cook til almost al dente (usually about 2 minutes before the lesser time it asks to fully cook -- mine said 8-10 minutes, so I boiled for 6) .  Drain and set aside.
In a 12 inch skillet, brown meat, onions and peppers.  Add about 1/2 tsp or more (to taste) of Cavenders to meat and pepper mixture.  When meat is cooked through, drain and add back to pan. Pour undrained can of tomatoes, tomato soup, and mushroom soup, salt, basil & garlic and stir to combine.  Let it come to a boil and lower heat to a simmer, and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  At this point, you may add the Worcestershire and hot sauce.  My estimate on the hot sauce is about a tsp. Stir to combine.  Once the 10 minutes has passed, dump your pasta in the mix and combine.  Add 1 cup mozzarella and stir. Pour into a 9x13" pan and top with remaining 1-2 cups (based on how cheesy you want it!) of cheese and place in oven, uncovered for about 30 minutes or until desired crunchiness/brownness is achieved on the cheese.  Let cool and serve!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pulled Pork

My recipe is loosely based on this one:
3lb pork butt
1 cup BBQ Sauce (Use a sweeter one like Sweet Baby Ray's or else it will be too dry and you will need to add some sugar)
1 can tomato soup
1 Tbsp Hot Sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
One packet of McDonald's Spicy Buffalo Sauce, or add an additional Tablespoon hot sauce but don't be shy to ask for some next time you are at McDonalds!
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
Course Salt & cracked pepper

Take your roast and liberally smear salt and pepper on all sides.  Place in slow cooker and cover with tomato soup.

  In a small bowl combine all sauces and vinegar and pour over roast.

Cook for abut 5 hours on low or 3 on high.  Remove roast and take serving forks and pull meat apart and/or chop to desired size.  Add back to sauce and keep on warm until ready to serve.  Serve atop toast or on buns or even better, a toasted hoagie and enjoy!

Since I am a bit of a food nerd, I thought I would share with you the reasons behind my ingredient choices.  First time I made this, I used a thick and kind of sweet barbecue sauce.  Second time I made it, I used a more vinegary one that actually had bourbon in it which made for a less rich sauce and the meat seemed dry if you can imagine since it was covered in sauce!  Secondly, I added the hot sauces not only to add spice and a kick, but the vinegar in the sauces and in the added cider vinegar help to tenderize the tough piece of meat and allow you to pull it apart much easier.  Lastly, I used tomato soup because the tomato's acidity also adds to the tenderization as well as the sugar, and the sugar content in the soup balances the spiciness.

Potato salad

So, I have always loved potato salad but never really figured out how to make a good one, so I texted my sister.  She had no clue, but googled along with me and we found some great ideas, and this is what I came up with.
You will need:
3 to 4 lbs of russet potatoes, washed and peeled.
Large stock pot of water with 2 Tbs white vinegar and 2Tbs Sugar and 2 tsp salt added to it.
Seasoned Salt
Relish (I use dill, you could go sweet though)
Finely chopped red onion (or whatever color you have on hand - red just has a zippy taste!)

Okay, so bring your pot of water to a boil.  While that is getting started chunk your potatoes up into bite sized pieces.  I found that unless your potatoes are all the same size, you should NOT boil them whole because some will be done before others.  Chop your potatoes into chunks that are all relatively the same size.  When the water is ready and at a HARD boil, add your potatoes.  Boil for about 10 minutes but not long enough to get them soft. You want them to slightly give when you fork them. I like to take one out and eat it to see how hard it is.  When the potatoes are done, drain them and set aside to let them cool.

In a small bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of mayo with 2 Tbsp mustard.  I probably don't need to tell you that you may feel free to use whatever kind of mayo and mustard you like, whether "Vegenaise" or Miracle Whip or spicy mustard or Dijon. To the mayo/mustard mix add about 2 tsp up to 2 Tbsp of season salt, depending on your taste.  I probably used about 2 tablespoons just because it salts the potatoes too. Add about 1tsp (or more - again your preference) and combine. Add 1/4 cup relish to mix and blend. I drain my relish in a sieve to get any excessive juice from it.  I find that if you add the spices to the mayo it distributes it evenly in your salad and you don't have giant bites of spice! EEW! Add mayo mix to potatoes and gently fold in with onions.  I like using a whole onion because I like onion, but you could go less as well. The onion ended up being about a cup after chopping.  Combine and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  This melds all the flavors and lets the salt sink in and mellow.  It also cools the potatoes as well.

Slow Cooker Chili

So today I'm ucka-sick and not feeling up to much, but I figured why not make slow cooker chili? I'm gonna throw 48oz of water in my crockpot with two of knorr's homestyle stock concentrated stock thingies. They're jellied stock cups I guess? Idk but they make about 3.5 cups of stock per jiggler is what I'll call them because they remind me of jello jigglers.  Then put 2 pounds of raw ground beef in it the water.  I took a potato masher and broke the beef up to little pieces.  Put your favorite chili spice packet in, and place on high for about 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  If you like, you can add a couple cans of drained but NOT rinsed beans such as Great Northern, Kidney, or Black Beans. I have used all and they're great. If it is still not thick enough, then add about 1/2 cup warm water in a glass and add about 4 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour and dissolve then add to chili. (This post was originally started in Dec 5th but I just finished it!)