Friday, July 25, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

I'm a HUGE fan of breakfast-for-dinner because: 1) my kids think I'm the best mom ever when I make it; 2) it's cheap; 3) it's easy; and 4) it's super-yummy and filling. We probably have breakfast-for-dinner once a week, but I change it up with different types of pancakes (banana, pumpkin, etc.) so no one gets bored. This is our favorite blueberry version.

Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons white sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together egg and milk. Stir milk and egg into flour mixture. Mix in the butter and fold in the blueberries. Set aside for 1 hour.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

[Recipe courtesy]

Taco Soup

There are a ton of variations to this recipe, but this is our favorite. We got it from Sister D. at the Glendale Institute while Mike and I were dating, and have been making it ever since.

Taco Soup

Serves 8-10

1 TB canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef (we use turkey)
1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
2 TB taco seasoning

shredded cheese
sour cream
avocado, cut into chunks
tortilla strips (see below), or chips
green onions, sliced
tomatoes, diced

Saute onions and garlic in oil in large stocpot for 2 minutes. Add in meat and cook until browned; drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes. Serve with toppings. We skipped the tortilla chips/strips tonight because Mike really, really wanted cornbread. I prefer it with the strips. :)

Tortilla strips: Using a pizza cutter, cut 5 corn tortillas (stacked on top of one another) in 1/4-inch strips. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan until a drop of water sizzles. Fry strips 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle salt on top.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chipotle Cashew Chicken

I think that lots of Rachael Ray's recipes are just... weird. However, this one (even though it sounds weird) is just so good. Sweet, spicy, crunchy... it's a strange medley of flavors that somehow comes together. It's one of hers that we just love. Be careful with the chipotle peppers... the first time I made this, I put in four, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal. Adam about died. So I stick to two... for the kids. :)

Chipotle Cashew Chicken

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, 1/4 onion finely chopped, 3/4 thinly sliced
2 cups short-grain brown rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (2 peppers and their sauce)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 cup raw cashews

In a medium pot over medium heat combine 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into oil, add in the chopped onion, cook 2 minutes, then add rice and cook 3 minutes more. Add stock and cover the pot. Raise heat to bring stock to a rapid boil. Once the stock boils, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.

While rice cooks, make the chicken. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan, then the chicken. Season the chicken with grill seasoning. Brown the chicken on both sides, season with soy sauce then move off to one side of the pan. Add the remaining onions, garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes then add water chestnuts and green peas and mix vegetables and meat together. Add the chipotles and cumin. Toss to coat. Glaze the mixture with honey and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Add in cashews.

Top rice with cashew chicken and serve. Sprinkle with additional chopped cashews. Adam also likes to drizzle his with a little extra honey.

[Courtesy recipe Rachael Ray. See original recipe here.]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Fancies

Oh. My. This picture can in no way show how incredibly good these cookies are. It's a good thing that Mike had a meeting today, and I was able to send these cookies out of the house, or I'd weigh 5 more pounds tonight. The recipe says to let them cool, so you can put the pretty drizzle on. But straight out of the oven they are amazing.

Peanut Butter Fancies

Makes 12 large cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups quartered miniature peanut butter cups (about 30 cups... I used the 'real' peanut butter filled ones, but Reese's would be good, too.)
1/2 cup melted milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips for drizzling

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the peanut butter and butter in a mixer. Add the sugars and beat until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until just combined. Stir in the peanut butter cups. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until firm enough to handle.

Roll into large balls (about 1/3 cup each) and flatten on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, until just turning golden. Do not overbake! Cool slightly and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. To make them pretty, use a piping bag. I got lazy and just used a Ziploc with the corner cut, and the melted chocolate didn't do so well in it. Oh, well.

[Recipe courtesy Stephanie's Kitchen]

Creamy Italian Chicken

We were introduced to this meal through Tiffin several years ago at Mom and Dad Wilkins' 30th Anniversary party. It's so incredibly easy, and everyone just loves it. So yummy. I'm including the original recipe and the changes I make for our family (in red).

Creamy Italian Chicken

Serves 4-6

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use 2 breasts, cut into approx. 3-4 large pieces each)
1 can cream of chicken soup (98% fat free-you can't tell. Really.)
1/2 can water
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 packet Italian dressing mix (like Good Seasonings)
1 cup baby carrots
Linguine, cooked (I use whole wheat rigatoni)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poach chicken pieces in salted water until cooked through. Drain, and set aside. In a saucepan combine cream of chicken soup, water, cream cheese, and Italian dressing mix until melted. Whisk to remove any remaining chunks until smooth. Place chicken in a 9 x 9-inch oven-safe dish. Sprinkle carrots over chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and carrots. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve with a side salad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beef Stroganoff: Quick Version

I don't cook with beef much because of a) it's more expensive, and b) the steroids/hormones they give to cows weirds me out. However, Mike asked if we could have more of it. So, here we are. This is one of my favorite dinners from childhood. It is comfort food, plain and simple. This is the quick version (I happen to think that the slow cooker version is better, but I'll share that recipe a different time). And sorry 'bout the picture... it just doesn't photograph well.

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4

12 ounces boneless beef sirloin steak.
8 ounces sour cream
2 TB all-purpose flour
2 tsp. instant bouillon granules
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I omitted these, because everyone refuses to eat them)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TB butter
2 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Trim fat from meat, and cut into thin slices (across the grain). Partially freeze for easier cutting.
In a small bowl stir together sour cream and flour. Stir in bouillon granules, water, and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet cook and stir meat, onion and garlic in hot butter over medium heat until done. Drain off fat. Stir sour cream mixture into skillet. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve over noodles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Penrod Fajitas

Growing up in Arizona, and I've had some pretty darn good Mexican food. LOVE Mexican food. The spicier, the better. When I was in high school, my BFF's family served us their version of fajitas, and I've pretty much been craving them since. They are so not traditional. They so may be considered "Utah" Mexican food. I don't care. They. Are. Good.

When I was first married I begged her for the recipe. I just knew Mike would like them. When she came and made them for us, and finally gave me the recipe, I was shocked by what the ingredient was that made them so good. Anyway, I was right. Mike loves them. This, to me, is proof to how good they are. He is a die-hard Mexican food fan, and is incredibly picky. So, I know that they are good if he likes them.

Penrod Fajitas

Serves 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin (I only used one, because I only had one)
2 bell peppers (any color you want... I love red and yellow. BUT, green were on sale), sliced thin
1 onion, cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced (again, I grate mine)
2 TB canola oil, divided
2-4 TB Yoshida's Sweet Teriyaki Sauce

Warm flour tortillas
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Tomatoes, diced

Heat 1 TB oil in pan. Add half of chicken and cook until browned. Remove, and repeat with remaining chicken. Remove. Warm tortillas by wrapping a stack of them in foil, and heating at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Add remaining oil to pan. Cook onions on medium-high until they begin to become slightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes... I love the sweetness from cooked onions, but if you like them with more 'bite' cook them less). Be sure and scrape up the brown bits from the pan (see above picture) this adds to the flavor. Add garlic, stirring constantly, cook for about 1 minute. Add bell peppers, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add chicken. Toss together with peppers and onion, and then add teriyaki sauce. We like ours saucy, so we add all of it. But use however much you want.

Serve on warm tortillas with sour cream, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes.