Sunday, October 25, 2015

Homemade Tortillas

I made these tonight with this chicken for tacos and they were so delicious.  We can't get yummy tortillas around here so this was my last resort and I'm so glad I tried it.  They were super easy and fun to make.  Plus, there's something so fulfilling about making something from scratch.

Homemade Tortillas
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 cups flour (more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm water
3 Tbs. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl or mixer, knead for about 3 minutes by hand or mixer. Scrape sides of bowl down.  Add additional 1/2 - 3/4 cups flour until dough isn't that sticky.  Break off 8-10 pieces and roll out to desired thickness on floured surface with rolling pin.  Grease griddle. Cook each tortilla for about 2 minutes per side on hot griddle.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

Mmmmm, this was serious comfort food, but also generally healthy. And I love that it was made in the slow cooker.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

  • from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 (15-ounces each) cans kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse or freshly cracked black pepper (see note above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa or chicken sausage, sliced (see note above) 
  • Hot, cooked brown rice, white rice or quinoa for serving

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the kielbasa/sausage in a medium slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Add the sausage and cook until warmed through (anywhere from 20 minutes to another hour). 
  2. Add additional salt to taste before serving. Serve over hot, cooked rice (white or brown) or quinoa.

Mel's notes:
For the kielbasa/sausage, you're looking for precooked sausage that you slice into rounds - I like using the chicken sausage (Aidell's brand). Something similar, pork or beef or turkey, would work for this recipe.

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

The other day we were in need of a quick easy dessert, preferably chocolate, and this one was the perfect solution. Not only was it really delicious, but it was made completely by my 10-year-old! We will definitely be making this again.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup yogurt (see note above)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted almonds or toffee bits (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-inch round or square cake pan (or a similar sized springform pan if you want cleaner edges) and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, yogurt and eggs. 
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until combined and a few streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips; don't overmix.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the nuts, if using, on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs - you'll need slightly less baking time the larger the pan you use. Err on the side of underbaking just slightly so the bottom stays melty and gooey. 
  5. Serve warm for the hot fudge effect (the chocolate chips will sink to the middle and bottom of the cake and melt deliciously). The cake is also delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna

I made this on Sunday with fresh zucchinis and fresh pasta sheets (perk of living in London is that you get fresh imported pasta from Italy!!) and it was incredible.  Best lasagna I've ever eaten.  I could have eaten the entire dish.  To cut the zucchini, you need to quarter it, stand it on its side (like a tower, not a boat) and cut thin slices from top to bottom after cutting off the knobby ends)

Zucchini Lasagna
  • Sauce:
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Lasagna:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta or cottage cheese (I used cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (or boil and have ready if not using no-boil noodles)
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, proceed with prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Trim the knobby ends from each zucchini and cut in half lengthwise (see pictures below) and then slice each half very thinly. The pieces should look like thin, zucchini pasta sheets or noodles. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the garlic and oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each).
  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the pan. It will be a very thin, splotchy layer - that's ok. Spread out a single layer of zucchini so they aren't overlapping but cover most of the pan. A few empty spots are ok as long as it is mostly covered. Layer four no-boil lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping (I use the Barilla brand that calls for overlapping noodles; consult your particular lasagna noodle box to see if you should use 3 or 4 noodles for each layer - some brands say not to overlap; you basically want the noodles to cover the whole area of the baking pan).
  6. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and spread into a somewhat even layer. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the top, one layer of zucchini and sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. You'll repeat this two more times (4 noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 3/4 cup sauce, zucchini layer and mozzarella). On the final layer if you have more than 3/4 cup of sauce, that's fine, just use it all.
  7. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bowtie Chicken and Asparagus Alfredo

Creamy Bowtie Pasta with Asparagus

 I made this tonight and here I am posting it, so it's THAT good! I actually made this without chicken and I didn't miss a thing. The bacon provided enough meat for me! Also, I subbed the asparagus for broccoli since I like it better and it's less expensive:). My kids love this too. Eloise went back for thirds!

Bowtie Chicken and Asparagus Alfredo
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 3 cups cooked and cubed chicken (optional)
  • 1-2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (I subbed broccoli)
  • 1 pound bowtie (farfalle) pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (see note above)
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Zest from lemon (about a teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to package directions. When there is two minutes left on the cooking time, add the asparagus to the pot and cook for the remaining time. Drain the pasta and asparagus and rinse quickly with cool water (to stop the asparagus from cooking more).
  2. For the sauce, while the noodles/asparagus cook, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic, cooking for 20 seconds or so, stirring constantly. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring, until the mixture is toasty and sizzling. Gradually add the milk and chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  3. Place the pasta, chicken and asparagus in a large bowl or serving dish and pour the sauce over the top. Toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle on the bacon and additional Parmesan cheese (if using). Serve immediately.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fresh Peach Pie

My neighbor made this for us when I had the baby and Mom, Dad, and Julie were in town. She brought us dinner that night too and it was so filling that we didn't have enough room for this pie until later that night. I was nursing Caroline at like 10:30pm that night and Mom came in my room and said, "you have got to come try this pie. It's the best pie I've ever eaten." I was soooo tired and just wanted to hit the sack, but I'm so glad that I went and tried it. I could hear the "mmmm's" coming from the kitchen as soon as I walked out of my room. It was so funny. Everyone was dying over this pie. And, it WAS seriously the best pie I've ever eaten. So, get out there and make it before peach season ends!

Fresh Peach Pie
from Kathi Kimble

For crust:
Crush 7 graham crackers in a bag, not in blender (this is key for bigger pieces of graham cracker).
Add 3T. Powdered sugar, then put in pie pan and stir in 6T. melted butter.  Form a crust.

For filling:
Slice and peel about 5 peaches into crust.
Mix 1/4 C lemon juice with 1 can sweetened condensed milk and pour over peaches.
Cover with Extra Creamy Cool Whip (I would prefer fresh whipping cream).
Can be served immediately or refrigerate.

Caramel Brownies

My neighbor made these brownies for us when we moved in and Christian said they were the best brownies he'd ever had. So, naturally, I requested the recipe. I made them for a baby blessing last week and they were the first thing gone. They are so scrumptious.

Caramel Brownies
from Kathi Kimble

Melt together in microwave:
14 oz. caramels (2 Cups)
1/2 C. evaporated milk

1 German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 C. butter
1/2 C. evap. milk
3/4 C chopped pecans - optional (of course I left these out:))

-Spread HALF of cake mixture in 9x13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

-Remove from oven and sprinkle 6 oz. milk choc. chips over top evenly.

-Pour caramel mixture over.

-Drop the remaining cake mix in clumps on top and mix lightly with caramel.

-Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Refrigerate.