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As part of my day zero project / 101 things in 1001 days, I have “trying 25 new recipes”.  This post will get updated with the new recipes as I try them.  Probably in no particular order.

First, I’m catching up on the stack I’ve tried and intended to put here for the last 5 months.  My memory on some is gonna be sketchy but suffice to say if I don’t remember much about it, it couldn’t have been either terribly good or terribly bad.

1. Pastor Ryan’s Bronzed Sea Bass with Lemon Shallot Butter

I got this from one of my friends that live in my computer.  I know several are big fans of pioneer woman cooks (I think that is the blog this comes from).  I remember doing this – I think it was ok but I didn’t make a mental note to put it into the mental list of regular repertoire of meals (something I’m always looking to expand so anything that most of us like goes there).  I think my conclusion was that this was just ok and kind of a lot of messing around (for someone like me, who sets the cooking bar fairly low, that is).

2. Delightfully Delicious Hershey’s Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms

This is a recipe from the back of a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, I believe.  I changed it up a bit (for Christmas baking) and used the peppermint stripe kisses and cream cheese instead of peanut butter.  Then I rolled them in colored sugar.  There’s a picture somewhere that I may or may not eventually get into this post.  They were good, looked very festive and I’ll probably do them again for the plates of goodies I do for the teachers and various other peeps at the kids’ school.

48 Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated and brown sugar, beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into mixure.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Back 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press at Kisses Chocolate into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

3. Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Excellent!  I believe I made this to the recipe – perfect for a cold day of which we had many this year. (from allrecipes)

4. Potato Soup

Also, really good and going into the “cold weather cooking” section of that regular repertoire list in my head.  The boys weren’t too crazy about it but they’ll eat it and DH and I both thought it was really good.  I made this to the recipe (from recipezaar)

5. Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts

O.M.G.  These are to die for!  This was posted to a message board I’m on, I made them for Christmas and will be doing these up to include with the school staff goodies next year.  Also, my inlaws are all big nut people (yeah, that is totally intended) so these didn’t last to the end of the day @ Christmas.  And I made a double batch.  I used almonds, pecans and cashews (because I am a big hater of walnuts and yes, I do know how healthy they are.  I still don’t like them and I’ll just get my healthy somewhere else).  Next time I would leave out the cashews – too soft.  Maybe try hazelnuts or just leave it @ pecans and almonds. Oh, and I think I’d put a little more cayenne in there too.  Maybe a tsp instead of a “generous pinch”.  It didn’t come through really at all.

Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

Karmel says: “A mason jar full of nuts and a pretty ceramic bowl is my favorite gift. If you bring these to a party, tell the host or hostess to hide them, or they will disappear.”

Deb says: These are so insanely easy to make — and from ingredients you probably already have on hand — they’re perfect to bring to any party. Like that one tonight.

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I might up this by a 1/2 tsp. next time for more of a sweet/salty balance)
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper (I swapped this with 1/4 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

6. Baba Ghanoush

First, I really ❤ baba ghanoush.  I’ve had this recipe and been meaning to try it since we had it at my SIL’s sometime around Christmas 1998 (to anyone who doubts my spectacular procrastination abilities, that should put it to rest).  I have to say that, in fact, my BIL did most of the work on this one as it was for appetizers on Christmas and I was delegating.  But I’m counting it anyway…

This was really really good.  However, he kind of  just mashed it all up.  I think next time I would food-pro it smooth.  Just a personal preference, I think.  It was still delicious lumpy.  Oh, and thank goodness for Facebook Mobile and friends that are more clueful than I when it comes to all things food / cooking related.  Otherwise, I might still be wandering about from store to store trying to find tahini and having no idea what to tell the staff that asked me what it was.

1 large eggplant
1/4 c tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c fresh lemon juice, plus more, as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (??  I don’t know about this, I just bought regular parsley)
1/4 C kalamata olives

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill (I think you could just use the broiler here… I can’t remember if we used the broiler or the gas grill). Preheat an oven to 375. Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste. Add the 1/4 C Tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 c lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.

Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with parsley. Place olives around the sides. Serve @ room temperature.

7. Slow Cooker Pork Roast

From my message board friend Jenny.  This, I think, would’ve been really, really good.  Except the pork was really dry.  A problem I very frequently have with my slow cooker food so if anyone knows the solution, please shout it out!

Ingredients
1 large onion, sliced
3 pounds boneless pork loin roast (trimmed of fat)
2 cups hot water
½ cup white sugar
6 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder

Arrange onion slices evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker, and then place the roast on top of the onion. In a bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over roast.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, or until tender.
When meal is cooked, remove roast to a platter. Strain the drippings into a saucepan, removing the onions and placing them on the platter around the roast. Cover the platter and keep it warm in the oven.
Dissolve 2 tbsp. cornstarch in ½ cup cold water, and stir into the drippings. Cook on medium high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, and then let mixture boil for at least a minute. Continue to reduce until mixture is at the right consistency to your liking.

8. Salsa Shrimp Dip

This was another dip / appetizer we had @ Christmas.  Also, mostly made by my BIL.  Also, good – will make again but between this, the baba ghanoush and the Cucumber and Herb Dip (next) this was my least fav.  This recipe and the next were from a BJ’s Wholesale magazine.

Salsa Shrimp Dip
4 oz cream cheeses (recipe called for Neufchatel)
16 oz jar chunky salsa
6 oz can  tiny shrimp, drained
1/2 C chopped celery
1/4 C sliced green onion

Beat cheese in a small bowl until smooth.  Gradually beat in salsa until well blended.  Stir in shrimp, celery and green onion until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.  Serve w/crackers.  Can garnish with chopped cilantro.

9. Cucumber and Herb Dip

Really, really good!  Will make again.  Quick and easy to make ahead

Cucumber and Herb Dip
8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C finely shredded cucumber, well drained
1/2 C shredded swiss cheese
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp minced, fresh garlic

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Serve with crackers.

10. Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Another recipe from a friend living in my computer (yes, that is where 90+% of my ideas come from).   I won’t make these again – they are a ton of messing around and, while they look really great, they aren’t really all that good.  They are just OK so totally not worth the effort.  Unless you’re making cookies for purposes of photographing them.

11. Cranberry Bliss Bars

This is supposed to be the recipe for the bars you get @ Starbucks around the holidays.  These are really good but they didn’t actually turn out that similar to the ones @ Starbucks.  The cake was too cake-like, not heavy and bar-like like the Starbucks ones.  Also, the frosting and the drizzled icing is a completely different consistency than the SB ones.  Still good, though.  I might tweak it next Christmas to see if I can get it closer to the SB version.

12. Light and Crispy Asparagus Quiche

I had high hopes for this as several ‘puter-dwelling friends raved about it and said their very picky kids loved it.  Mine tried it and made a valiant attempt to not make faces while eating it.  But it was not a hit.  And neither DH nor I were too crazy about it either.  But my kids will eat asparagus just lightly steamed, which is a way less work for me anyway…  so, needless to say, this one does not make it to the regular repertoire.

13. Walnut Pesto Breadsticks

I made these for Thanksgiving to take to the inlaws and again at Christmas as they were a hit.  Nice, light flavorful appetizer.  Bit tricky working with the breadsticks to baked them twisted without mutilating them.  Also, they burned easily.  But this is a recipe I will make many more times.  I used Parmigiano Reggiano instead of Parm.

14. Cappers Salad

My friend Capper / Jackie’s salad and dressing. I don’t know if she just made it up or what but I made this over the holidays and everyone *loved* both the salad and the dressing.  It goes onto the list.

Salad

mixed greens (she’s a purist, I buy the bagged Spring Mix salad), cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, garbanzo beans, avocado and roasted walnuts (I used pecans)

Best salad dressing EVER:

1/3 cup veggie oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
1/4 white onion
1 carrot

Put everything in a blender and puree.

15. Tom’s Trinidadian Curry Chicken

Again, from the Pioneer Woman cooks via one of my many friends who are fans and pass along the good stuff.  Everyone liked this, I will likely make it again although I will say it was more work than the regular Curry Chicken we make (my husband, the Jamaican’s, version).  This nice thing about it was that the messing around came before, then you marinate it so it’s a good make ahead kind of thing.  Different and more varied flavor.  Will make again but probably not often since it requires a little planning ahead – something I don’t do much of when it comes to cooking.

16. Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

Really great chili recipe.  This goes on the list!  I don’t think I used nearly so much chili powder – maybe half of that but that’s just personal preference (and a pretty good idea that my kids wouldn’t care for that strong a chili flavor.  I also don’t think I could find the beans in spicy sauce or else I was trying to keep it not too spicy.  I used all regular ones.  I also omitted the green chilies to keep it from being too spicy.  Next time I might make two versions.

17. Perfect Potato Salad (from Audrey)
3 Medium Potatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 C sliced celery
1/3 C finely chopped onion
1/4 C chopped dill pickle relish
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
3/4 C mayo
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

In covered pan, cook whole potatoes in enough boiling salted water to cover till tender. Drain well. Peel warm potatoes. Slice potatoes into mixing bowl. Sprinkle potatoes with sugar and vinegar. Add celery, onion, relish, salt and celery seed to potatoes. Stir to combine. Add mayo & eggs. Mix well. Cover and chill thoroughly. Makes 4 servings.

This? Is awesome. It actually is the perfect potato salad. Unfortunately, the first time I made it I was taking it to the inlaws and was doubling or tripling it – I don’t remember. Somewhere along the way, the math played tricks on my brain and I put in waaay too much celery salt. I don’t recommend this. As written, it is perfect. But a little celery salt goes a long way.
18. Pizza Pasta

19. Panera Bread’s French Toast recipe

20. Sara’s Broccoli salad

21. Uncle Bill’s Green Split Pea with Hambone Soup

I was in Target one day and they had a sample lady with a spiral cut ham that was on sale. The boys all tried it and assured me they loved it and would still love it even after I bought it. So I did and they did, remarkably. Usually, it’s something Costco size and they eat it one time after we bring it home and then decide it’s not edible, after all. Which leaves me with a Costco size container / package / of something no one will eat. But, I digress.

After a lot of turkey and ham sandwiches there was just the bone with chunks of ham that were good but not good for slicing.  So, I decided to google to see WTH I was supposed to do with this thing now.  (I was all good with the thing being already sliced.  Too bad that stopped halfway through!)  So, I found this recipe with lots of reviews / stars and, most importantly, didn’t require me to buy any funky ingredients that I couldn’t find @ Target which is where I happened to be when the idea struck me.  In fact, I only had to buy 2 things for it.  I still managed to forget one of them.  This is why I live and die by lists.

Anyway. I made it today.  I substituted the boullion and 6 cups of water for chicken broth since I hate messing with boullion and I always have chicken broth anyway.  I also added one potato when I thought it was too thin.  Turns out, I didn’t need to.  I had cut chunks off the hambone previously.  I kept those out initially.  After the 1.5 hr cooking with the bone in, I took out the bone and pureed the whole thing.  This was primarily so that there were no identifiable veggies in there.  I thought the odds of the boys liking it were much, much higher that way.  It’s just going to be referred to as ham soup in this house since they like ham. When I put it back in the pot to reheat, I added the chopped up ham that I’d taken off the bone but hadn’t had in the pot with the bone all along.  Oh, and I used fresh tyme and way more of it than this recipe called for.  Also, 2 bay leaves, quite a bit more pepper and salt, as well.  3 stalks of celery and about 10 largish baby carrots.

I made some garlic bread to go with it.  I had some of the soup and thought it was really good.  It was cold so soup was great.  Of course, the real test will be when I try to get the boys to eat it.

22. Holiday Morning French Toast

23. Christmas Morning Casserole

24. Rosemary and Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb

25. Nanaimo Bars

26. Cherry Cordial Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

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