Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dipped Pretzels

I get no credit for these little pretties, they were made by my neighbor Gaylene. I do take full credit for eating them all this week :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Casino Coffee

Irish cream liqueur and coffee topped with whipped cream. A nice warm up during winter weather. Cheers! This also reminds me that the latest issue of Saveur magazine has a note about salted coffee. I have questions. Has anyone tried this? Is it available in Boise? Can I make my own?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pizza with Red Peppers

It had been awhile since I played the house pizza chef, since it's a hat my husband usually wears. Two pizzas were on the list. "Regular" pepperoni for the kid, and pepperoni with thinly sliced red bell peppers for the grown-ups. The pizza crust recipe we use - makes two pizzas.

1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of flour (maybe a bit more)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Whisk in oil and sugar. Use a stand mixer with the dough hook and add the flour and then sprinkle in the salt. You want a satiny dough that sticks a little to the bottom of the bowl. Divide in half and roll out thin on a floured surface. Transfer to a peel (paddle) that's been sprinkled with cornmeal (so the pizza will slide off the peel and onto the pizza stone, and come off the stone easily). Heat pizza stone in a 450 degree oven. Top pizza with goodies of your choice. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake to your "done preference." Repeat with reserved dough.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cookies for Santa

Santa gets cookies with extra icing this year :) Below are the freshly-baked sugar cookies, and the recipe.
Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups of softened butter
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
5 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle in baking powder and gradually add flour and salt. Refrigerate dough an hour or so. Bake at 375 until color just shows on the edges (6-10 minutes).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wonton Soup

One of my kiddos favorites: wonton soup. And don't add any fancy stuff, just wontons and chicken broth for her. We're fortunate to have friends who own several Chinese restaurants who keep us supplied with handmade wontons. They freeze well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gingerbread House Time

My daughter had a friend over to make gingerbread houses. They used kits, along with extra candies and goodies. It was a sticky good time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Biggest Lasagna in Our Kitchen History

I had this giant pan out for Thanksgiving cooking and we joked, "Wow, this would be a good lasagna pan." Um, it's really big and we have a lot of leftover lasagna now. Most of it went into the freezer. Italian sausage browned with onion and garlic, simmered in tomato sauce with oregano, salt and pepper for the red sauce. Ricotta mixed with oregano for layering, along with mozzarella and Parmesan. Lasagna noodles slightly under-cooked - and they really could have another minute in boiling water. Baked until brown and bubbly.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tortelloni in Pink Sauce

Playing around with some refrigerator and pantry items for this dish. The sauce is a chopped red onion, and minced garlic sauteed in butter. One can of diced tomatoes with the juice. About 1 cup of heavy cream, Salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Summer until thickened and toss with fresh cheese tortelloni, cooked al dente, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Husband Cookery: Coffee Cake

A melt-in-your mouth coffee cake made with sour cream. It's a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, so I won't post it here because it's copyrighted. But you can easily find it at the Food Network website :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Has This Ever Happened to You?

A little "mouse" nibbled on the apple fritter. These were the treats from Pastry Perfection yesterday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pot Roast Season

This was a cheater pot roast, one that was frozen and already marinated. I cooked in a covered pot in the oven for about two hours and then added some Mediterranean mix veggies for about 20 minutes. Turned out very good and filled the house with the warm aroma.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Childhood Winter Treat Memory

When I was a kiddo, a bowl of snow drizzled with maple syrup was a treat. I shared the memory, and dish, with my kiddo last weekend.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There are many blood Mary variations. My favorite is Clamato seasoned with salt, fresh ground pepper, Worcestershire, Tobasco and lime juice. Oh, and alcohol, if you want that :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Food Deconstructed: Part 3

The centerpiece of our simple dinner this year: a roasted turkey breast. Salt and peppered and brushed with butter. This was about an 8-lb breast.
Mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy rounded out the meal with the turkey and green bean casserole featured previously. Table decor provided by my daughter. A non-traditional pumpkin pie. This was one of those vanilla pudding-pumpkin-Cool Whip versions with caramel sauce on a graham cracker crust.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Food Deconstructed: Part 2

I really didn't need THIS many dinner rolls for our dinner :) But once cooked, they freeze well.
My daughter wanted to help with these this year. Punching down the dough is the best part.
She helped shape the rolls before their final rise.
Here they are ready to go into the oven. The recipe:
2 1/2 cups of warm milk
4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of butter melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons of salt
7 cups of all-purpose flour
Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Let it rest and foam for 5 minutes. Beat in sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup of melted butter. Use dough hook and gradually add flour and salt. This is a soft and slightly sticky dough. More or less flour may be needed.
Put dough in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise about an hour. Dough should double in size. Punch down and turn. Repeat two more times.
Break off 2-3 inch size pieces of dough to roll and tuck into rounds. Place in a baking dish prepared with cooking spray. (2 9-inch rounds work well for this amount of dough)
Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes - until tops and nice and brown. Brush with melted butter (optional).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Food Deconstructed: Part 1

I thought I'd start this series with the dish I made just for myself, because no one else in my immediate family would touch something like this: green bean casserole.
After steaming the beans to a par-cooked state and rinsing in cold water, I made the sauce. Saute a little chopped onion, 1 clove of minced garlic in butter until browned. Add heaving cream and summer until it thickens. Sprinkl with fresh ground pepper. Put beans in a casserole dish and pour sauce over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Top with fried onions. Yep, those kind out of a can. Bake until top is extra browned. This was really good and my family politely asked what was in it...but still wouldn't taste it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak - Take Two

I did chicken fried cubed beef steaks a few days ago. Kinda bleh. This cubed pork version was much better! Season both sides of cubed pork cutlets with seasoned salt. Dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg, dredge in flour again. Fry in peanut oil over medium heat and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Golden brown on each side and the pork is done. (take a peek to make sure)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Husband Cookery: Tortellini, Spinach and Ham

A super-yum dish! Cook fresh tortellini, drain. Saute diced red pepper, then add diced Black Forest ham. Season to taste and stir in baby spinach. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baked Salmon

These marinated salmon fillets came from Schwan's. They were a bit heavy on the marinade, but baked up nicely in about 25 minutes. Grilling is still better!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

Heat about a 1/2 inch of oil (I used peanut) until it shimmers. While it warms, sprinkle cubed beef steak with seasoned salt, and dredge in flour. Then dip in beaten eggs, and then dredge in flour again. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Fry for 5-6 minutes on each side, and I checked to make sure these were done because they were a little thicker than I've dealt with previously. Cubed pork actually works better, I think.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

The recipe I found online said this was going to be just like a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. I've never actually had a Cinnabon roll, but they always smell so good when I see them offered in airports. Anyway, this wasn't the recipe for me. The dough went through just one rise, and I think two makes a fluffier roll. I'll try another recipe later this week to compare.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Husband Cookery: Southwest Chicken and Rice

This was a very tasty dish my husband put together. Here are the basics: chicken breast diced and sauteed in a little oil and southwest seasoning. Add salsa verde and quick cook rice and sImmer until done. Top with cheese and cilantro.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Square is Good!

A very tasty pizza my husband made last weekend. It featured pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mozzarella, pepper-jack cheese and sliced green onions. A pizza stone helps make magical pies - a gift idea maybe for someone on your list?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Look at this explosion of colors. My husband ordered this recently at the Cheesecake Factory, and although it was messy to put the wraps together, he said the mixture of flavors was really good.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Pepitas!

The wonderful fringe benefit of carving pumpkins: pumpkin seeds! Rinse and de-string them and then boil in salted water for about 10 minutes. Toss in a little melted butter and roast in a single layer on a baking sheet until browned. I love these little pepitas.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mud Pies

Chicken sliced ultra-thin, dipped in beaten egg, and then dredged in a mixture of flour, salt and panko crumbs. Fried in a little peanut oil. These are called "mud pies." I don't know the reason why they're called that. It's the name my mother-in-law gave them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boise Mug Donation

On a quick trip to Seattle last weekend, I got to see my Boise Starbucks mug donation on display in the Eastlake store. The Boise mug, second from the left, was only available for a short time, probably about 7 years ago. I purchased as many as I could find, and still have a few left in storage.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes made from spuds dug up from a garden bed last night. Here's our recipe: boiled potatoes smashed with cream cheese and butter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Southwestern Blackened Chicken

I used a cheater seasoning mix for these blackened chicken breasts. The mix contained paprika, garlic chips, pepper, red pepper, oregano, salt and a little bit of brown sugar...and as you can see, I really piled it on.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

One of our garden goodies: spaghetti squash. Slice in half and place squash cut-side down. Bake at 325-350 for about an hour. The pieces become squishy when they're done. Use a fork to rake out the "spaghetti" strands. This squash is very mild. I used it in place of pasta, and it added a slightly sweet and nutty flavor to the dish.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oktoberfest Apple Strudel

What a nice treat after dinner this week at TableRock - apple strudel. It's a special menu item for their Oktoberfest celebration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Itty Bitty Grapes

I've always called these tiny grapes 'champagne grapes,' but the box label said they were black Corinth table grapes. Yum! My daughter thought they were really cute and a delicious treat for her lunch box.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taste Test: Bacon Chocolate

Bacon and chocolate, chocolate and bacon. I've tasted a bacon maple bar before and it was good. Taste test results on this? It was overly salty and I really couldn't taste any bacon flavor. I would think someone could produce something better, because I like a sweet/salty combo. Quick, someone send me some Telluride truffles to restore my taste buds.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Taste Test: Violet Mints

Browsing the aisles at Cost Plus, I came across this little packet. I love the scent of violets, and this was the first time I had seen them sold as a mint. The verdict? Very strong violet aroma, but the taste was more like a generically perfumed mild mint.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sicilian Strata

This was served up at a Pampered Chef brunch I attended over the weekend. The basics are: chopped onion and peppers, minced garlic and diced bacon - sauteed. Cubed bread lightly toasted in the oven. One dozen eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper. Monterey Jack cheese shredded. After the first ingredients are browned, stir in the bread, eggs and cheese and then bake at 325 degrees until set and browned on the bottom. Top with diced tomatoes and shredded fresh basil before serving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Why don't I ever think of this kind of dish? This is another super yummy goodie my mom prepared for us during her recent visit: baked macaroni and cheese. Ingredients: diced cheddar cheese, diced cream cheese, butter, milk, a little flour, dried mustard, cooked and drained elbow macaroni and then add whatever you want after that point :) A sprinkling of panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese is a great topper.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monte Cristo vs. the Wafflewich

The sandwich "smackdown" at Life's Kitchen last week: Monte Cristo (below) vs. the Wafflewich. The sandwiches are similar. The voting in my immediate family? It was a tie! Although, the wafflewich was my favorite!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Homemade Chicken Parm

Chicken Parmesan courtesy of my mom during her visit to Boise. Chicken breasts pounded thin, and dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg and Panko bread crumbs mixed with shredded Parmesan cheese. Fried in olive oil until golden. Then baked at 350 degrees for a few minutes to finish, and top off with a slice of provolone. Serve on a bed of alfreda sauce. Mmmm.