Recent Recipes

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Comments (2) | Sunday, February 20, 2011

If you don't own a panini maker (mine was a barely used garage sale find given to me by my sweet mama) these would cook just fine in a skillet like regular french toast. The flavor in these is spectacular. Delicious served with maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

*recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma catalog*

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs plus 1/4 cup sugar
2 large ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1/2" rounds
1 lb loaf of french bread
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add 2 Tbs sugar and 2 Tbs water, stirring to dissolve sugar; cook until lightly caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Add bananas; cook 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cut bread (if not already sliced) into 12 slices. Spoon banana mixture evenly onto the middle of half of the bread slices. Top with remaining slices and press lightly.

Preheat panini maker (or skillet/griddle.) In a large shallow bowl, combine milk, eggs, cinnamon vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Pour into baking dish. Soak each "sandwich" in egg mixture 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Cook 4-5 minutes each side. Serve with maple syrup.

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Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

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and Mascarpone (really just cream cheese) Mashed Potatoes

OUTSTANDING! I honestly don't know what else to say about this one. The kids both cleaned their plates. No one said a word because all mouths were full! I got 6 thumbs up once the meal was through. The flavors were absolutely amazing and I regret not having tried this one sooner. (I've had it filed away since last January...)

*note: I used dried rosemary in place of the fresh that the recipe calls for*

For the mashed potatoes. Unless you have Mascarpone cheese on hand (not many of us do... while it is a heavenly Italian sister to the much cheaper cream cheese, it's difficult to fork out the extra cash... I assure you these potatoes are delicious regardless...) you can use regular or light cream cheese. Place 1 1/2 pounds cubed, peeled Yukon gold potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add 1/3 cup (or slightly more) 2% milk, 3 tablespoons cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter and salt to taste. Mash to desired consistency. Serve chicken on top of mashed potatoes.

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Sweet Potato Pecan Pancakes

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I ran across this recipe in an email quite awhile ago. I printed it out and filed it away but decided this weekend would be a "new breakfasts" weekend and this one sounded adventurous. I admit I was cooking the sweet potato and toasting the pecans at 11:30 the night before. But I will also tell you that this is not at all unusual for me. Come and stay the night at the Bessman B&B and you'll see what I mean :)

The top picture is of Aubrey, after breakfast was done, climbing back up to the table to sample the leftovers. She is offering me the pancake... a sort of peace offering for getting caught. The bottom picture is when I assured her that she was more than welcome to continue eating. These are stuffed full of a healthy vegetable for heaven's sake... eat your heart out baby girl!

*variations: I used 2 whole eggs rather than beating the egg whites separately. I have done that step before and I don't feel that it alters the texture or flavor at all. When I mixed the wet ingredients I used an immersion blender to rid the batter of any sweet potato lumps*

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Garlic Pork Stir-Fry

Comments (1) | Thursday, February 17, 2011

So this is what it looks like when it comes OUT of the freezer. I forgot to get a picture after it had been prepared for dinner but I promise you this is one of my absolute favorite freezer meals. The first time I made it I thought it tasted like Chinese takeout. Who wouldn't love that?

More freezer recipes soon to come!

Garlic Pork Stir-Fry
(makes 2 entrees, 4-6 servings each)
4 lbs pork loin or tenderloin
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large onions cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large green bell peppers cut into 2-inch pieces
2 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled
6 one-quart freezer bags

Label each gallon bag with meal name, date and cooking instructions with a permanent marker.

Rinse and trim pork as desired. Cut into bite-size pieces; divide evenly between 2 of the 1-quart bags. Seal.

Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl. Divide evenly among 2 more of the 1-quart bags. Into each bag measure 2 teaspoons garlic and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Seal.

Divide onions and bell peppers evenly between the remaining 1-quart bags. Seal. Into each of the labeled one gallon bags, place a bag of pork, a bag of sauce, and a bag of peppers and onions. Seal and freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Completely thaw in refrigerator. Pour off and discard any liquid from pork. Add 1/2 cup cornstarch to bag; seal and shake to coat. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork and stir-fry about 10 minutes. Add veggies and sauce. Stir fry just until veggies are tender crisp.

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Peanut Butter Pancakes

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I didn't get a picture of the acutal pancakes but I figured this was evidence enough that these were a kid crowd pleaser. I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter for breakfast myself (I know, it sounds silly... who doesn't like a piece of toast with a little pb?) but these were actually pretty good. I made them mostly for the kids as a treat but couldn't help stealing a bite or two. Nice and filling with the little added protein and perfect spread with a small amount of jam.

*recipe courtesy of Parents magazine*

PB&J Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk (plus extra if needed for thinning)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted (20-30 seconds in microwave)
2 Tbsp. oil

Preheat griddle. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a small bowl mix together milk, egg and oil. Slowly add to flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in peanut butter. Let stand 5 minutes. Spray griddle with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Flip when a quick peek to the underside reveals a golden color. Spread with jam or drizzle with syrup.

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Sugar Cookies

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I have been a long-time avoider of cutout cookies. I think it's the effort and my perfectionism (never feeling like they came out just right) that has always gotten in the way. But for some reason (maybe it's having small children who love the idea of the shapes and decorations) I've lately been drawn to them. My mom suggested this recipe that came to her in an email and I admit it's one of the best basic sugar cookies I've ever had. I need to perfect my frosting technique but that's just a technicality. I always fall back on Good Housekeeping's Ornamental Frosting recipe for decorating. Feel free to use and share your favorite frosting recipe here!

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Smoky Pan-Grilled Pork Chops

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and Lemon Broccolini

Truly aromatic and intense flavor in the rub for these chops. Outstanding. All plates were cleaned. I am not usually a fan of mashed potatoes unless they have the flavor that these do. No need for gravy although a bite of pork with a swipe of potatoes is necessary at least once. I used a regular "smoked" paprika instead of the HOT variety which you can create by adding 1/4 tsp ground red pepper to 1/2 tsp smoked paprika. I also opted for broccoli instead of broccolini because Fred Meyer doesn't have a very diverse produce section... maybe next time.

*For the lemon broccoli/ni: Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 bunches broccoli/ni, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; saute 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tsp. grated lemon rind.*

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Loaded Potato Soup

Comments (0) | Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joe has made it very clear that he is NOT a fan of soup for dinner. I can get away with chili or stew but soup gets pushed to the back burner. And still I tear out recipes that sound delicious. Ones that make my mouth water. Because I... lover of anything that creates an excuse to also eat BREAD... love soup. So when the opportunity arises (after all, he leaves town on several occasions) I attempt a new recipe or two. This one... fantastic. Although I have to say the kids may be following in their father's path... the looks that I got when I called them to dinner were of pure disbelief. So the soup was mostly mine and they ate grilled cheese. Oh well.

*rather than cooking 3 bacon strips, I used the Hormel Real Bacon pieces, saving prep AND clean-up time*

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Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

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I've always been a huge fan of cabbage rolls but never really had the courage to attempt to make them. When I ran across this recipe I decided it was time. I admit you have to put forth a little initial effort. But when you turn the crockpot on, walk away and smell them cooking all day long, the effort seems more than worth it.

*serving suggestion, roasted potatoes and steamed veggies*

Slow-Cooked Cabbage Rolls

1 large head cabbage
1 egg, beaten
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3/4 cup quick cooking rice (I opted for the brown variety)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)
1 (1 oz.) packet onion soup mix
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 can (46 ounces) V8 Juice
salt to taste
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside 12 large leaves for rolls; drain well. Cut out thick vein from the bottom of each reserved leaf, making a V-shaped cut; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, tomato sauce, rice, green pepper, cracker crumbs and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Place about a 1/3 cup meat mixture on each cabbage leaf; overlap cut ends of leaf. Fold in sides, beginning from the cut end. Roll up completely to enclose filling. Secure with toothpicks if desired. (*this is one thing I would do differently... secure with toothpicks... some of my rolls ended up opening up while cooking*)

Place cabbage rolls in a 3-qt slow cooker. Pour V8 juice over rolls. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Just before serving sprinkle with salt and cheese if desired.

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Mexicali Chicken

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Incredibly easy, quick and wonderfully delicious. Even the kids enjoyed this one. I served it with a side of mexican rice and steamed green beans. I opted to broil rather than grill the chicken as our outside temperatures were likely below freezing at the time. Rarely having broiled a chicken breast, I was surprised at how tasty these turned out!

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking.

Mexicali Chicken

1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 tsp. taco seasoning
4 bacon strips, halved
4 slices provolone cheese
1 medium lime, cut into 4 wedges
In a small bowl combine tomato, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Chill until serving.
Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning; set aside. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from heat for 4-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170. Top with bacon and cheese; cook 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted. Top with salsa and squeeze lime wedge over the top.

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