Category Archives: recipes

>Yummy Sweet Potato Soup

>Oh my gosh. I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Soup at allrecipes.com and it is amazing!
I made it last night, and will definitely be making it again, really soon.

I don’t know if it was the turnip added, or all the chicken stock, or the spices, but it was…did I already say? AMAZING. I wish I’d taken some photos, but there wasn’t really much to see.

I’ve been on break since Monday and trying to take the time to do some extra baking and cooking of things I just normally don’t have time to do. While I am not much of a “pull this and this together and create this” kind of cook, I’ve realized how much I love learning through cooking, and all the chopping and so forth that go into making something wonderful. That’s the trick though….when I do spend my time making something, it has to be wonderful.

I had a not-so-wonderful experience this week making zucchini bread, which I was hoping to give away for the holidays. I found a recipe online, and it said to cook it 80 minutes. Well, most of my bread recipes call for 60 minutes. I really doubted the recipe, peeked in the oven at 60 minutes, poked in a toothpick that came out a little wet, turned off the oven at 65 minutes even, and….well, I shouldn’t have second-guessed myself. It was hard. Dry and hard, and when I tried to cut it, fell apart. Guess where it ended up? The garbage.

What is something you’ve made lately that you really enjoyed, or something that didn’t turn out after investing a chunk of your time?

On another note, HAPPY Holidays!

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>Yummy Persimmon Cookies

>I purchased my first Bountiful Basket about 3 weeks ago and split it with a friend. What an amazing selection of produce and it was all so good!

One of the items we received were persimmons. At first I didn’t even know what they were. Once I realized they weren’t ripe yet, I knew I’d have a little time to look around for a recipe. I had my heart set on cookies once I saw that might be a good idea.

I found this 4 1/2 star Moist Persimmon Cookie recipe that sounded so good! Indeed it was.

I had never even touched a persimmon, but had heard you needed to make just the right thing with it, and mostly likely not eat the peel. This recipe has you peel them and puree them. As a side note, the recipe mentions using 2 persimmons and I used three. Here’s how they look pureed. (Of course many of you may already know that…but I’m pretty inexperienced.)

In any case, with all the spices, walnuts and raisins, these tasted like wonderful fall cookies. Great for this time of year, if you even find yourself with some persimmons!

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>Recipe: Chipotle Tostadas

>This is one of my absolute favorites, even with all the prep time it takes for chopping the goodies that go on it. I meant to take a picture of a “decorated” on during dinner the other night and forgot, so you’ll just have to imagine the creative mix of items you can put on your tostada to pretty it up and make it taste so good!

I honestly don’t know where I found this recipe, but I can’t claim it as my own.

CHIPOTLE TOSTADAS

2 tbsp olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 teas. ground cumin
4 c. cooked pinto beans (I use 2-15 oz. cans, drained)
4 teas. Chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 c. water
tostada shells
1 c. feta cheese or Cotija Queso Seco (I use feta)
1 c. finely diced tomato
1/2 c. thinly sliced radishes
1/2 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves (I chop them)
iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced, sprinkled with vinegar and salt
guacamole
sour cream
Saute onions in oil in skillet. Add ground cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add beans, teas. salt, cup of water. Use potato masher to mash beans until like lumpy potatoes. 
Here’s what mine looks like at this point:
Cook on medium heat until water is absorbed.
Here’s what mine looks like at this point:
Stir in Chipotle to taste and add more salt if desired. 
My hubby likes to add more Chipotle sauce on top of his tostada after he prepares it. I always say he makes the prettiest tostada, that I should take a picture of. I forgot until he’d taken a few bites, but here is one partway eaten. I’m no “glamour gourmet photographer”, so please forgive the unbreakable family friendly plate!
For more great recipes see We Are That Family.

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>Summer Recipe: Grape-Almond Chicken Salad

>I found this original recipe  years ago for chicken salad, and LOVE it!
I’ve modified it a little (see below) and REALLY enjoy it in the summer time.

It is great in pitas, on bread, or just by itself. More than often I don’t have almonds, so I’ll leave them out.

GRAPE-ALMOND CHICKEN SALAD
Ingredients:
1 12.5 oz. can of chicken
1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. mayo
1/3 c. or more seedless grapes, cut in half
2 teas. sliced almonds
2 teas. lemon juice
1/4 teas. salt (I add a little more, per my husband’s request)
1/8 teas. pepper

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>Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

>

I made a new recipe recently for company, one I found in Real Simple magazine, the May 2010 issue. I always find their recipes really good.

While at the grocery store, the clerk actually made two suggestions to me:
1) put olive oil in the pot of boiling water so the shells don’t stick to each other
2) put the ricotta mix in a ziploc, clip the corner, and squirt it out of the tip instead of spooning.
Great ideas that worked well!

Here’s an example of how #2 worked:

SPINACH AND RICOTTA-STUFFED SHELLS
(from Real Simple magazine, May 2010)
20 jumbo pasta shells (about 1/2 12 oz. box)-I usually make a few extra in case they break
1 24-oz. jar marinara sauce
2 15-oz. containers ricotta (I used a 32.oz one)
2 c. baby spinach, chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
salt and black pepper
served with salad (optional)
*Set oven rack to the highest position and heat over to 400 degrees. Cook the pasta according to directions; drain and run under cool water until cool.
*Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof  baking dish.
*In a bow, combine ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, 1/2 teas. salt, and 1/4 teas. pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.
*Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until the cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.

What is one of your favorite things to make for company, and specifically, vegetarian company?

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>Chicken Croissant Squares

>This recipe is something I grew up with and a favorite. It is great straight out of the oven, or eaten cold as a leftover. I don’t have a photo, but trust me. They are great. If you like lima beans (my husband does not), that’s what I grew up having served with them.

CHICKEN CROISSANT SQUARES (aka Chicken Squares)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes.
3 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tab. melted butter
2 c. cubed cooked chicken (or 10 oz. can)
2 tab. milk
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/8-1/4 tsp. pepper
optional: onions, chives, or pimentos
roll of crescent rolls

Blend softened cream cheese with butter until smooth. Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk and optional ingredients if desired. Mix well.

Separate crescent rools into 4 rectangles. Seal perforations and gently stretch to form 4 squares. Spoon 1/4 of mixture in each square. Bring cornets to center and seal.

Optional: brush tops with melted butter sprinkled with garlic powder. I recommend it.

For more great recipes, go to Life as Mom.

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>Banana Bread

>This is one of my favorite recipes, one for banana bread. As a matter of fact, in 1st grade, we wrote and published a cookbook for World Vision magazine, and my recipe for banana bread was printed in it. One of the highlights of that recipe is that it reads, “It has one nut in it.” I wouldn’t trust that recipe, but I would this one. As a matter of fact, as I type this, I have two loaves in the oven.
BANANA BREAD (1 loaf)
*Heat oven to 350 degrees

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 c. mashed bananas (1 1/2-2 bananas)-hint: I just mash, and leave lumpy, and get compliments
1/4 c. buttermilk (I use 2%, because I have that on hand)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts (opt. I don’t use them because my husband doesn’t care for them)
*1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (opt. I do use this from time to time and people rave about it)

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in egg until well blended. Add bananas, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts (or choc. chips), then stir in nuts. Bake until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan, remove. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

I often make two loaves at once, with my leftover bananas. Today I used 4 bananas for 2 loaves. If my husband could have his way, he’d want 5 or 6. I have to remind him that it messes with the recipe then.

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