Saturday, November 27, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Pie

This Thanksgiving I told Mike that he could choose 2 pies in addition to the classic pumpkin and apple, and I would cook them for him. One of his choices was this pie from the LionHouse Pies cookbook. This pie looked so good that I made four of them and the only thing that I changed was the crust. I used an Oreo Crust for one, and graham cracker crusts for the others.

White Chocolate Macadamia Pie

1 baked 9-inch pie shell

    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup heavy cream, plus 3/4 cup whipped soft
    6 1/2 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
    1/2 tsp orange zest
    2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts, roasted
    3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    3 cups sweetened whipped cream
    1-2 Tbsp chopped macadamia nuts

For Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Scrape bowl with a spatula and mix in 1/3 cup heavy cream. Add melted white chocolate, orange zest, and nuts and stir just until incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread into baked pie shell and level off with a rubber spatula. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

For ganache: Prepare thirty minutes to an hour before serving. Plave chocolate chips in a metal mixing bowl and set asied. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Pour simmering cream over chocolate chips and stir until melted. Set aside and allow to cool slightly. Spread warm ganache over top of the frozen pie, smoothing edges with a spatula.

For topping: Plave sweetened whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe edges of pie with whipped cream or pipe rosettes onto each pie. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 pie.

Recipes for leftover Turkey

For Thanksgiving we fried a turkey... for the day after Thanksgiving we fried another one. Here are a few recipes that I use my leftover turkey in. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Turkey Recipes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

This isn't a recipe so much as it is an idea- and not even a new idea at that! To be completely honest with you, I'm posting this out of sheer excitement that my girls finally ate dinner last night without complaining... AND there was squash involved! SHHHHH! I told them it was spaghetti that we grew in our garden. Mike, my anti-health-food-nut told me it was a dirty trick but it worked. They all ate their food. They put their own sauce and cheese on their "spaghetti" and they even used some "green salt" (green salt is basil, but they like salt so that's the word I use...) And yes, notice that this was served on pink plates... whatever it takes, right?

Low-Carb Spaghetti

1 large spaghetti squash
4 cups spaghetti sauce with meat
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To prepare squash, wash outside of squash and chop the top off as if you were carving a pumpkin. Remove seeds and discard (or save them for roasting) and discard stem. Place cut-side down onto a large square of aluminum foil. Fold foil up the sides of the squash and place up-right in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour or until outside skin looks darkened and wrinkly.
About 10-15 minutes prior to serving time, warm sauce on the stove. When squash is cooked, scoop the meat of the squash away from the skin with a metal spoon. Dish directly onto plates or into a serving bowl.

*For a lasagna-type dish, combine squash and spaghetti sauce with 2 cups small-curd cottage cheese in 2-qt casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 degrees F until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mike's Lunches

My husband has a job where he's often out on jobsites and driving around all day. This means I can't just send him with the ol' leftovers to re-heat in the break room like I used to do. So the alternatives are packing a cold lunch every day, going out every day or a little mix of both. While he does still go out from time to time, we really try to stick with lunches from home as much as possible. It's healthier and cheaper. I guess we'll just go with cheaper though because any time I try to throw in that 'h' word it severely turns him off...


Sandwiches can be a little tricky when you're sending them for lunch almost every day. Deli meat only lasts about a week in the refrigerator, and bread tastes the best if you are buying/making it fresh every day. Well, that would absolutely decimate our grocery budget because that means we'd be buying meat every week and bread every day! Sales wouldn't be very likely... Not to mention that my 15-yr-old would be helping himself to the meat all week long which means I'd have to buy at least twice as much! The fix-all solution to these problems? My freezer, of course! By freezing pre-made sandwiches, you can still buy in bulk when you find a good deal, and you've got a quick and easy lunch at your fingertips every day.

Meat: I can usually find deli meat on a semi-decent sale about once a month- but not always. When I do find a good sale, I buy at least enough for that month. When I can't find it on sale, then I make my own. Thinly sliced roast from Sunday dinner makes a fantastic sandwich as well as grilled chicken, thinly sliced steak, and even pre-cooked bacon. All of these can be cooked ahead of time and assembled into indivual sandwiches- which can be frozen for later enjoyment. Just be sure to leave off any mustard, mayo or any other dressings as well as any vegetables.

Bread: By slicing bread and assembling into sandwiches immediately after purchase or baking, you'll be preserving the fresh taste and texture of your favorite bread. Just make sure you're using freezer quality wrapping before you freeze. Pictured below is several sandwiches I put together on Saturday after picking up my Ciabatta bread I'd ordered with my Bountiful Basket this week. This is some of Mike's favorite bread, so I dedicated four of the five loaves just to his sandwiches. We were able to get 3 huge sandwiches out of each loaf of bread. If I were making the sandwiches for myself it would be at least 5 sandwiches per loaf.
When you are ready to pack a sandwich into your lunch, open the frozen sandwich and spread some mayo, mustard or whatever other condiments you'd like. Also add some tomatoes and lettuce at this point if you'd like, or pack them pre-sliced into your lunchbox and add them to your sandwich when you're ready to eat.

Some other great lunch ideas that don't need to be re-heated:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stroganoff Bread Braid

My friend recently sent me a recipe for a cheeseburger roll-up and raved about it so much that I wanted to try it for myself... unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients so I created something similar. It turned out great so now I'll share it with all of you. Enjoy!

First, here is the original recipe for that Cheeseburger Roll Up (thanks Jason!)

Prep time 25 mins Cook time 20-25 minutes


1 lbs ground beef
4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 oz Velveeta Cheese
1 package of refrigerated pizza crust
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook ground beef, bacon, and onion in a large skillet until beef is evenly browned, drain. Add Velveeta to skillet and stir until completely melted. Unroll pizza dough onto a greased cooking sheet. Press into a large rectangle. Top with meat mixture. Roll up dough, starting with one of the long sides and roll straight across. Tuck outside edges under and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake 20-25 mins untiltil crust is golden brown .

Now, here is what I did instead:

Stroganoff Bread Braid

1 recipe pizza crust, unbaked
1 lb hamburger
8 oz cream cheese
4-8 oz cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped onion (1 small onion)
8 oz mushrooms (you can sub. 2 small cans)
2 cups cooked green beans (you can substitute 1 15oz can)
1/2 cup sliced red peppers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll pizza crust into a large rectangle on top of a lightly greased baking sheet. Cut dough into strips 1/3 of the way into rectangle on each side. Don't cut all the way across! Layer center section of dough with sliced cheddar cheese. Leave one strip of dough on each end uncovered. (Notice my dough extends past the edges of the pan- don't worry it will still fit once dough is "braided".)

2. Saute hamburger, onion, mushrooms and peppers until hamburger is well browned and vegetables are soft. Drain meat. Add cream cheese and green beans. Stir until cream cheese is completely melted.

3. Pile hamburger mixture onto center of the pizza crust on top of the cheese. Fold strips of bread across the top of the meat mixture until meat is totally covered. Fold end edges of bread in, making sure mixture is totally enclosed.

4. Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve in slices while still hot.

**You can double this recipe and make one to eat & one to freeze. To freeze, cook according to directions above, allow to cool and then completely wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. Label and freeze up to 3 months. To serve: Re-heat frozen and still wrapped Braid in 375 degree F oven for 1 hour. Unwrap, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crust crisps and is golden brown.

40 Minute Pizza Crust

40 Minute Pizza Crust

2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp hot tap water
2 1/4 tsp Saf-Instant yeast
2 2/3 cup bread flour

Combine butter, sugar, hot water and yeast. Add 1 1/3 cup flour and salt. Stir until combined. Gradually add remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time until dough is no longer sticky. You may not end up using all of the flour. Turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes. Roll dough into desired shape for pizza crust. Sprinkle corn meal onto pizza pan and then form dough into pan, curling up the edges for a nice crust. Cover with a dish towel and let rise about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*I like to at least quadruple this recipe and make several crusts at a time so I have them ready when I want a quick and easy dinner.
**To freeze: Allow baked crust to cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label and freeze. When ready to make pizza, you can assemble pizza directly onto unwrapped and still frozen crust. Broil or bake until cheese is golden brown.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Chicken and Squash Stew

This is a fantastic Fall stew, especially during harvest time. The only thing that didn't come from my garden in this recipe was the chicken (with the exception of some of the spices)! Even my picky eaters gobbled this up. I've found that it helps them eat their food when they can help me pick it first from the garden.
Also, the hands-on time for this recipe is minimal. It took me less than 10 minutes to throw everything into the slow cooker and walk away.

Chicken And Squash Stew

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 lbs winter squash, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
3 large potatoes (I used red potatoes), peeled and cubed
4 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground celery
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh basil

Combine the chicken, potatoes, squash, carrots, tomatoes, onion, broth and seasonings in a 5-qt slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours. Before serving, use a fork to lightly shred chicken. Serve each bowl with a few leaves of fresh basil. 

**If you don't have winter squash, yams or sweet potatoes are fantastic in this! I've used pumpkin, Acorn, butternut, yams and sweet potatoes and it's always turned out great.

Green Juice

This post is dedicated to my Uncle Clay. Thanks for all the many glasses of "Red Juice" when I came to visit as a kid. I still think, hands down, it's the best juice ever... but this green juice is a close second, if only because it helps me choke down some vegetables! Oh, and my kids. Shhh! Don't tell them there's spinach in this! I convinced my girls that this juice was green because I used green pears, apples and grapes...

Green Juice

1/2 small pineapple
1 pomegranate
2 cups green grapes*
1 green pear
2 green apples
1 bunch fresh spinach (about 10 ounces)
1 banana*

In your Vita-mix, add produce in the order listed above. Turn machine on Variable Speed 2, gradually increasing speed to pull produce into the blades. You may need to push down with your blender stick. When all produce is incorporated, turn machine to High and run for 1-2 minutes until everything is pulverized and smooth. Drink and enjoy!

*Freeze these before juicing so your juice will stay nice and cold without having to add ice. I buy bananas and grapes when they're on sale and keep plenty available in my freezer.