Thursday, February 21, 2008

Julie's Brownies

These are from Sammie's Mom, Julie. She's a tweaker. She takes a recipe and tweaks and tweaks until she gets it just right. I'd say these are pretty much perfect!

Place 1 stick of butter in a mixing bowl and let it soften to room temperature. If you use a microwave, be very careful to not let the butter melt at all. Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1/4 cup of cocoa. Gently stir this together with a fork until well-blended. It should look like sand. (This part takes a while. Call a friend or turn on the tv)

Beat 2 eggs thoroughly with a fork in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gently add the eggs to the brownie mix and stir three or four more times. Don’t over mix this. Put this mixture, lumps and all, into a greased 6 x 8 or other small glass baking dish. If you use a stoneware dish, don’t grease it. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Remove this from the oven and let it cool for about thirty more minutes. It’s really best when served at this time.

This recipe can be doubled, and was in fact the original recipe I was given.

3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
½ cup cocoa

Bake 350 till done, about 35 minutes.

Julie's words of wisdom: Two secrets are to not over mix this once you add the eggs and to not over bake this. It will continue cooking in the pan, and you have to gauge your oven and your pan to determine how best to make this. Once we got this right, we decided it was well worth the effort, and no one minded experimenting.

Herbed Focaccia

From AMA Family Health Cookbook

2 to 2 1/4 cups white bread flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 pkg yeast
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 cup very warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white and whole-wheat flours, yeast, 1 tsp of the rosemary, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and 1 1/2 tbs of the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon or the paddle of an electric mixer until a dough forms, about 5 mins. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 mins., or knead in the mixer bowl with a dough hook for 5 mins until smooth and elastic.
2. Lightly coat a mixing bowl and a 9X13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Place the dough in the bowl, cover lightly with a towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down. Sprinkle the baking pan with the cornmeal. Place the dough in the prepared pan, patting and stretching to fill the bottom of the pan. Cover lightly and let the dough rise again until doubled.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use your fingers to make light indentations in the risen dough. Brush with the remaining 1 1/2 tbs of oil, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp of rosemary, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bake until the focaccia is a rich golden brown and well risen, 25 to 35 mins.

Nutrition info per square: 157 calories, 4g fat, 0mg chol., 179mg sodium, 26g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein

Creamy Cooker Chicken

From "Fix-It and Forget-It" (The Crock Pot Bible)

1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 cups sour cream
10 3/4 can. cream of mushroom or chicken soup
6 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves

1. Combine soup mix, sour cream, and cream of mushroom/chicken soup in slow cooker. Add chicken, pushing it down so it is submerged in the sauce.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 8 hours.
3. Serve over rice or noodles.

Note: I like to shred the chicken before serving.

Sammie always says he married me for my crock-pot chicken. I think he could have bought himself a slow cooker and a recipe book and saved himself a lot of trouble. But, my luck that he didn't. :)

Oatmeal Pancakes

These are from The South Beach Diet Cookbook

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 cups fat-free milk
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar (substitute, if you want to be truly South Beach)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, combine the oats and milk and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the egg, flour, wheat germ, baking powder, sugar, oil, and salt, mixing until evenly blended and only small lumps remain. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Makes 12 pancakes
Nutrition Information per pancake: 90 calories, 2 g fat, 1/2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 20 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium

These are my new favorite comfort food. Sammie's out of town tonight and I have a terrible horrible no good very bad cough that's going around PA so I cooked some of these up for dinner. The batter keeps well in the fridge. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Spanish Soup by Lindsay Kaelberer

2 tbsp. butter 1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. flour ¼ tsp. tarragon
4 cups chopped onion (or less) ¼ tsp. pepper
1 can (1 lb) tomato puree or ¼ tsp. oregano
crushed tomatoes ¼ tsp. cumin
4 cans (14 oz.) beef brother 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Saute onion in butter and olive oil until onions are clear. Blend in flour. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Put broth in crock pot or tureen to keep warm. Choose items from the following list and put each in a separate small bowl. Guests ladle a bowl of the broth and add the condiments they want. (Like a salad bar.)

Condiment suggestions:
meatballs green onion, chopped
shrimp, sautéed tomatoes, diced
ham cubes, sautéed cucumbers, diced
sausages, cooked green peppers, chopped
carrot wheels, cooked hard boiled eggs, chopped
mushrooms, sliced and sautéed raisins
red onions, chopped cheese cubes
olives kidney beans
sour cream garbanzo beans
Parmesan cheese jicama

Melba's Note: This soup sounds crazy but it's awesome! It's great for company. About 10 years ago, we had a "date night" with the siblings. Lindsay and Dan were married, Carrie and Luke were engaged, I was dating a mistake, and the rest found dates. We met at Lindsay's and had this soup and it was good! I'm glad to have the recipe. I'll have to try it again. Thanks, Linz!

Hot Pepper Vinegar and Garden Salsa by Lindsay Kaelberer

Can use white or apple cider vinegar but recommended is 2/3 white vinegar to 1/3 cider vinegar.

Hot Vinegar—Fill jar with clean, dry hot peppers (use a variety of kinds…try to use different colors and sizes.) Pour in enough vinegar to cover the peppers. Cap and seal tightly. Store for 2-3 weeks before using. Can also add olives, peppercorns, garlic, and anything else that sounds good.

Mild Vinegar—Use milder peppers (of course!) and smaller amounts of them or substitute pieces of red, green, or yellow sweet peppers. They will add flavor but not heat.

Peppers keep in vinegar. Pull one out, cut off a little, put in cooking, and back in bottle.

Garden Salsa

2 30 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1 chopped green pepper
½ tsp. dried cilantro
½ tsp. dried cumin
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
3 green onions, chopped
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
8 Tbsp. hot pepper vinegar

Mix everything together by hand. Put in blender and blend until the consistency you like. We like it pretty smooth, but you choose! The salsa is best on the second day, so make it a day in advance. If you like a spicier salsa, add more vinegar.

Melba's Note: This is GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

Lasagne—Lindsay Kaelberer

Boil 9 lasagne for 10 minutes.
Lightly spray oil or Pam on counter top or foil and spread rinsed noodles out flat.
1 lb. ground beef, brown and drain fat.
Add: 1 clove minced garlic
1 jar spaghetti sauce (27 oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1 tbsp. parsley flakes
1 tbsp. basil
In a bowl mix:
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups cottage cheese
2 tbsp. parley flakes
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Cheese Layer:
1 lb. mozzarella cheese

In a 9x13 pan, layer noodles, cottage cheese mixture, meat sauce, and cheese. Repeat 2 more times. (Each time use 3 noodles, 2 cups meat sauce, 1 cup cottage cheese mixture, and 1/3 lb. cheese.)
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. If chilled, bake 1 hour. Let sit 20 minutes before serving.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. I always thought lasagne was a total pain to make, but this is fairly easy and really good!

Melba's Note: This lasagne IS very good! Still, some people don't appreciate homemade food. Lindsay served this once to two well-meaning-but-slightly-clueless-LDS missionaries. One of them commented, "This is really good! It's almost as good as Stauffers!"

Chicken Enchiladas—Kaelberer-Style! by Lindsay Kaelberer

Saute ½ a chopped onion and 1 small can of diced green chilies in some olive oil. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together 2 cans of canned chicken (shredded), 1 ½ cans of cream of chicken soup, ½ can of water (from the soup can), ½ cup sour cream, and sauted onions and green chilies.

Spoon these into tortillas and roll them into a greased 9x13 pan.

Mix together the other ½ can of cream of chicken soup, ½ cup sour cream, and enough water to make the mixture pour easily. Spread this on top of the tortillas, covering each tortilla. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for ½ hour with foil on top. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Melba's Note: Haven't tried these myself, but I'm definitely excited to! Lindsay has 5 kids ages 1-10, including 2 "cage fighters" - Sam and Josh, just over 2 years apart and both very cute and very, well, active. It's a wonder she has time to pour a bowl of cereal, much less cook!

Chili by Lindsay Kaelberer

1 lb. ground beef
½ large onion, chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 can (16 oz) chopped stewed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
a dash of cinnamon
2 16 oz. cans chili beans

Brown meat, onion, and green pepper. Stir in next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1 ½ hours. Serve with shredded cheese.

Melba's Note: This chili is GOOD!! In one of my first posts, I told about Lindsay's, my older sister, history of cooking. I guess you could call her a "self-made" cook. A true rags-to-riches of the culinary arts!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bonnie's Chicken Salad

Bonnie's Chicken Salad

2 cloves of garlic
6T red wine vinegar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 t dill weed
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t basil
1 T lemon juice

Blend marinade ingredients and pour over 4 chicken breasts in a plastic (ziplock) bag. Marinade chicken for 3-4 hours. Grill chicken and cut into strips.

Make salad with romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best), and croutons. Top with any good ceasar salad dressing.

This salad is wonderful as a meal on its own with some great crusty bread, or can be served as a side salad in smaller portions. I love adding grape or cherry tomatoes too!

Note: This recipe was shared with my mom, Lillian Alldredge, when she was serving with my dad as a mission president in London. My parents served in the London mission and Bonnie and Jim Parkin served in the London South mission. On many occasions they invited each other over for dinner or out eat in some wonderful place they had discovered in London. Bonnie served this salad at her home on one of these occasions. My parents loved it! And now I love it too! It is such an easy, beautiful and delicious salad. Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Snickerdoodles by Amy Ward McLaughlin

Snickerdoodles by: Amy Ward McLaughlin (my lifelong friend and college roomie)
Mix thoroughly:
1 cup soft shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

Sift together and stir in:
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Roll into walnut size balls. Roll in mixture of 2 TBS sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Bake 2" apart on ungreased (not even sprayed!) baking sheet at 400 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Melba's note: I was digging through some old e-mails and found this so, with Amy's permission I hope, I decided to post it. I've known Amy longer than anyone outside my family. She's a wonderful, loyal, amazing person and friend. One of my favorite memories involving this recipe happened the first semester we lived together at BYU (we lived a total of 4 semesters together, plus were together at BYU Jerusalem.) I was in our room studying and Amy was in the kitchen. She called up the stairs, asking if she could borrow my milk. A few minutes later, she walked in the room with a plate of steaming fresh snickerdoodles and a glass of cold milk. mmmmmmm...... heaven.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cafe Rio recipes from Lora Monson

Café Rio Pork
3-5 lbs Pork Roast
3 cans el Pato Tomato Sauce
3 cans Tomato Sauce
1 cup Dr. Pepper
1-2 cups Brown Sugar

Cook all ingredients on low in crock pot for 12 hours. Shred Pork and Serve.

Café Rio Rice
6 c. water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
4 tsp. minced garlic
½ bunch chopped cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 can green chilies
¾ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
½ medium onion, chopped
3 c. rice, uncooked

Bring water to boil, add all ingredients. Reduce temperature to low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until rice is tender. You may need to add more water.

Café Rio Dressing
1 ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe with milk and mayo)
1 tomatillo (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
Use a blender or food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Serve as a salad with tortilla as base. Top with Romaine lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, tortilla chips, corn, black or pinto beans, rice, and dressing.

This is great for a large gathering. When I am just making it for my family I usually third the recipe for the pork and rice.

Lora also left these comments about other recipes she has tried from the blog:
Last Monday I made the chicken and wild rice casserole. It made a lot of food for our family so we were able to enjoy it several times. Next time I make it I think I will half the recipe or take half of it to someone in the ward.

On Tuesday I made the beef stew. I was actually hoping that you would post this recipe. I remember that you made it for us when we were doing visiting teaching and it was really good. Ethan (son) really liked it and even asked for another bowl full!

On Wednesday I made Frito Casserole. When Micah (husband) came home from work and saw the fritos, olives, avacado, etc. on the table he got really excited and said "this is my kind of meal!"

Thursday I made lettuce wraps. Again they were a hit with the whole family. They were so good we are going to have our families over in two weeks for Chinese food and this is one of the dishes we are going to serve.

Chicken with Lime Dressing

(This is from the South Beach Diet Cookbook)

Lime Dressing:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs chopped scallions
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sugar/sugar substitute (it has to say that cuz it's a diet cookbook...)
1/2 tsp salt
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
2 medium avocados, pitted and peeled
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsps picante sauce
1 tsp + 1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
Combine chicken with 3 Tbs of the lime dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 10 mins.
In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with 2 Tbs of the lime dressing. Stir in the lemon juice and picante sauce. Reserve the remaining lime dressing.
Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until the pepper is tender and lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove to a large bowl and add the almonds. (Or, I threw the almonds in the pan with the garlic and "toasted" them that way. It smelled awesome!)
Remove the chicken from the dressing and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle flour over both sides of the chicken.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbs of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 6 minutes on each side, or until done. Place the chicken on 4 serving plates and equally divide the pepper mixture, sprinkling over the chicken. Drizzle the reserved dressing over each serving. Serve with a side of the mashed avocados.

Melba's note: I had forgotten about this recipe until my Mom bought this cookbook and asked me which recipes I liked from it. (All of them, basically!) I noticed that I had written positive reviews on this one, but couldn't remember making it. I tried it again tonight and we remembered why we liked it so much!

Healthy(ish) Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used white whole-wheat and it made it lighter)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. (Bosch users - this recipe is a little small for Bosch). Add oil, sugars, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in choc. chips.
3. Bake about 15 minutes.

Melba's note: This is not my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. My favorite recipe, which I hope Julie, Sammie's Mom, will post soon is hers. She and I agree that if we are ever on death row and about to be executed, we'll request her chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk as our last meal. It's important to plan these things in advance, you know.
But, I wanted something a little more healthy and so I tried these and was pleasantly surprised! Good texture AND good flavor.

Copycat Applebee's Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip

1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup shredded parmesan-romano cheese mix
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
10 oz. prepared alfredo sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
4 oz. softened cream cheese
pepper (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and spread mixture into a small baking dish (8X8 works well)
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheeses are bubbling and melted.
4. Serve with chips or bread and enjoy.

Melba's note: I made this on Sunday for our Superbowl party and it was a hit! Sammie and I think it tasted a lot like the restaurant's. (and we would know, we order way too much of it!)
By the way, let me explain why I would be throwing a Superbowl party and cooking food for it. It seems to go against everything I believe in and stand for. When Sammie and I were dating, he took me to a Superbowl party and it was a really negative experience. Since then, we've agreed that the Superbowl is not about the football, but an excuse to get friends together. So, we purposely try to make it a fun night with good friends and good food and a little bit of football. (Great game for the Giants, by the way!)