Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 red bell peppers (I used a large jar of already roasted bell peppers and it worked great!)
4 large tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon white sugar
6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sour cream

To Roast peppers: rub oil on peppers and put them under the broiler until blackened, turn to get all sides. Put into paper bag and seal. Let rest for 15 minutes, then peel will come right off and core and seeds will fall out. Chop peppers. Reserve one chopped pepper; set aside.

Heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, bell peppers (except reserved), thyme, paprika, and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

Stir in chicken stock, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce (if using). Bring to boiling, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Strain soup, reserving broth. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until fairly smooth. Add puree back into broth.

Melt butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stirring slowly, add the broth/vegetable mixture. Add reserved chopped pepper and bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of sour cream to each bowl. For a lighter soup, this is also delicious without the sour cream. (recipe and picture from here.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beef Stew with Noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften (reducing heat if necessary), about 5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (do not burn). Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes.

Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar. To Freeze: Store in airtight containers in the freezer, up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating
. (recipe and picture found here.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flourless Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies- Gluten and wheat free

I have a bunch of friends who have either a wheat allergy or celiac disease. If you have ever tried to live this lifestyle, you will find that EVERYTHING has wheat and you really have to search for good recipes! So, I have found some great WHEAT FREE recipes for them and you. Even if you don't have these concerns, TRY these! They are wonderful and oh sooo yummy! I thought I would start with a very chocolate goodie! ENJOY!
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or other type of nut)
4 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in chocolate and pecans. Add egg whites and stir just until incorporated (do not overmix).
Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 3 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake until cookie tops are dry and crackled, about 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool.
(recipe and pic found here.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Slow Cooker Tuscan Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shallots, sliced
7 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
14 1/2 ounces stewed tomatoes
19 ounces cannellini beans

3-4 red potatoes, diced
2 teaspoons basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 cups water
Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, sauté mushrooms and shallots in the oil.
Add to slow cooker with remaining ingredients, except for cheese.
Cover; cook on Low 6-8 hours. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.
(recipe from here.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Look What I found....

We all have that nagging question hanging over our heads everyday.....
What am I going to cook for dinner tonight?!
Do you want an easy simple answer with lots of flavor and variety?! I know I do. Well, I have found one. SLOW COOKER!! I bet you are saying to yourself, "that's nothing new!" Right?! No, there is something new. Not only is the answer SIMPLE and EASY, but it tastes great and even cuts down on the Slow Cooking time..... REALLY?! YES!

Today I am not sharing a recipe, but a product that I have found and LOVE!

McCormick's Slow Cooker Spice Packets!

Our family favorites include:
BBQ Pulled Pork
Hearty Beef Stew
Chicken Noodle Soup
These products can be found in any grocery store by the spices. HAPPY COOKING!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emeril's Inside-Out Spicy Tuna Roll with Special Sauce

Ok, I have to say without a doubt, that Sushi is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE FOOD! So, after i had a friend come and teach me some things, I decided to try it, although I would much rather go here. If you like sushi, this is worth the try, if not for just saying that you tried it! It looks complex, and at times it is, but it is well worth every effort. Most of the ingredients you can get at the grocery store, however, I did have to go to the local Chinses grocery store and it helps that have a good knife! ENJOY!!!

Spicy Tuna Roll
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot chile paste
1 teaspoon hot chile oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 sheets toasted seaweed (yakinori)
Prepared sushi
rice (at least 3 cups cooked rice), recipe follows
1/2 pound sushi-quality fresh tuna, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
Wasabi paste
2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
3 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds
In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, chile paste, hot chile oil, and sesame oil and stir to combine.
Place 1 piece of toasted seaweed on top of a sushi roller (makisushi), with the short end closest to you. Using lightly wet fingers, press enough rice onto the seaweed to completely cover the seaweed, and press firmly so that rice adheres to seaweed. Turn seaweed over so that rice side now faces down. Arrange strips of tuna on top of seaweed, with the tuna strips running vertically in line with the short side of the seaweed, about 1/3 of the way into the seaweed sheet.
Spread a small amount of wasabi on the tuna, then sprinkle with sliced scallions. Using the sushi roller as a guide, carefully begin rolling the seaweed up, pressing as tightly as possible so that the roll is firm and compact. Once the roll is completely rolled, reposition roll on sushi roller and press again. Sprinkle sesame seeds on a flat surface and lightly roll in seeds to coat. Allow roll to sit for a few seconds before slicing with a sharp, damp knife.
Cut roll into 6 or 8 pieces and serve with dollops of sauce spooned on top, or alongside for dipping. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Mitsuko's Perfect Sushi Rice:3 3/4 cups Japanese rice, such as Nishiki (or 5 rice maker cups)
3 3/4 cups water (or 5 rice maker cups)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, add rice and cover with lots of water. Stir rice in water with your hands, then pour off most of the water, and agitate 10 to 15 times by quickly moving your hand back and forth, swishing rice against side of bowl. Rinse the rice several more times, until the water that drains off of the rice is almost clear. Transfer the rice to a colander and let drain for 1 hour, undisturbed. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker, add the water, cover and cook as directed by manufacturer's directions.

While the rice is cooking, bring rice vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, and then remove from the heat. Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
When rice is done, allow cooked rice to remain in rice cooker for 10 minutes. Transfer rice to a large shallow mixing bowl (traditionally a wooden tub, called a hangiri), so that rice forms a mound in the center of the bowl. Using a diagonal slicing motion, gently cut into rice with a wooden paddle (called a kijakushi), and pour cooled vinegar mixture over top of rice. "Cut" rice several times to evenly distribute vinegar mixture, then allow to cool. Gently turn rice over from time to time with paddle so that rice cools evenly. You might want to consider using a fan if time is of the essence. When rice has cooled to body temperature, it is ready to use for sushi rolls. Rice can be kept at the proper temperature by placing it in an insulated container such as a small ice chest, covered with a damp kitchen towel.
(recipe from here!) (Picture from here.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate- Caramel Doughnut Holes!!!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
28 to 30 store-bought soft caramel squares, unwrapped
5 to 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until a smooth dough forms.

On a lightly floured work surface, pat dough flat and lightly flour. Roll out dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (to lift rounds from work surface, use a thin spatula). Reroll and cut scraps. Place a caramel in the center of each round, pinch dough closed around it, and gently roll into a smooth ball.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide shallow bowl with 1 inch sugar. In a large heavy pot, heat 4 inches oil until it registers 350 degrees on a candy thermometer. In batches of 4, fry doughnuts 5 minutes, turning once with a slotted spoon and adjusting heat as needed. Transfer doughnuts to prepared sheet; let rest 4 minutes. Roll in sugar to coat. Serve immediately. (recipe and picture from here.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zupa Toscana Soup

1 lb ground spicy italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1/2 cup white onion
6Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic
10 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes

crushed fresh basil

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.

Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
Stir in the sausage and the basil let all heat through and serve.
(picture from here.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Coco's Nutella Crepes

2 cups flour
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put the flour in a bowl and make a well. Add eggs to bowl along with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and one-half cup of milk, blend until smooth. Add remaining milk to the batter and mix well, add vanilla, and let batter rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

When ready to cook crepes, use a well seasoned pan, add a little oil and poor batter into pan, swirl pan around to spread batter thin. Cook until the underside is golden brown and can be lifted. Cook on the other side for about a minute longer.

When you remove the crepe from the pan spread a couple of teaspoons of Nutella into crepe and fold over. You can dust crepes with a bit of powdered sugar before serving. (Thank you to copycatrecipes for giving us the wonderful idea and picture! Check it out!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cowboy Caviar

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15.5 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups corn kernels
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup Italian salad dressing
3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Mix beans, peas, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno peppers in a large bowl. Season with garlic salt. Add dressing and cilantro; toss to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until ready to serve. Serve with your favorite corn chips! (recipe and picture from here.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chessy Potato Soup

6 large potatoes, cubed
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. american cheese, like Velveeta
3 12oz. cans low fat evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, combine potatoes, celery, onion, carrots, butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Add just enough water to cover these ingredients and cook until the veggies are tender. Add cheese and evaporated milk; heat on low until cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Serve in bread bowls! (recipe from here picture from here.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shepherds Pie!

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. (recipe and picture from here.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't Get Fat French Toast

1 cup egg whites or egg white beaters
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 slices of whole wheat bread
Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with a light cover of cooking spray or fat free butter.
In a shallow dish, combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix together well. Quickly dip the first piece of bread flat in the bowl, letting it soak up the liquid, but not so much that it falls apart. Do this on both sides. Put the bread on the skillet, cooking it on both sides until browned. Repeat this process with the next piece of bread.Put on a plate and eat! It tastes extra great topped with one of the following: fresh fruit, sugar free maple syrup, splenda or powdered sugar. (photo from here.)
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