Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 4th Baked Beans

Every BBQ needs a good pan of Baked Beans.  They are delicious, cheap, easy, and filling.  So here's a little recipe for you to try for your 4th of July BBQ.

1 lb. Bacon diced (I just cut mine with my kitchen scissors)
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 cans (28 oz each) pork and beans
1 C. ketchup
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard

In a skillet cook bacon for 5 minutes stirring often.  Add onion and green pepper and continue cooking until veggies are softened.  Place Pork and Beans in a bean pot or casserole dish.  Add bacon-onion-pepper mixture.  Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire, and dry mustard.  Blend well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours covered.

German Pancakes

I absolutely LOVE breakfast food.  It is my most favorite meal of the day.  I love waffles, pancakes, eggs, all of it.  My 1 rule is that it MUST be homemade.  I refuse to buy boxed pancakes when I can make them myself.  Plus, homemade is always so much more delicious.  It also gives you that little warm fuzzy feeling inside when you see your family eating it.  That is my favorite part of cooking, is watching my family enjoying my food.  So here is my recipe for German pancakes....

6 eggs
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbs. butter

Whip eggs until thick.  Add milk, flour, and salt.  Set the oven at 450 degrees.  While the oven is preheating put the butter into a dropper pan and place in the oven.  Pour batter into the pan of melted butter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve hot with your favorite syrup and toppings.

Homemade Coconut Granola

I love having granola on yogurt, with milk for breakfast, on a spoonful of peanut butter, and of course with lots of fresh berries.  Granola is so ridiculously expensive, and being on a student's budget I had to come up with my own.  I have tried so many different variations, but I find this one is my favorite, and the most versatile.

8 C. rolled wheat
10 C. rolled oats
5 C. coconut
1/2 C. wheat germ
2 1/2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. honey
1 C. melted butter
1 C. water
2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together.  On a 9x13 cookie sheet lay down parchment paper to cover the entire tray.  Spread mixture on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally while cooking.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Italian Skillet

1 lb. bulk sausage
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 C. fresh chopped parsley
1/4 C. fresh chopped basil
2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Brown sausage, onion, and garlic, in skillet; drain excess fat.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.  You can eat it plain or mix it with your favorite pasta or rice.

Layered Salad

Anytime you can add a little spice to a regular old salad I'm all for it.  I love casserole, so this is kind of my casserole salad recipe.  :)

1 Head iceberg lettuce shredded
1 1/2 C. diced carrots
1 1/2 C. diced celery
1 C. diced red onion
1 pkg. frozen peas (Do not thaw)
2 1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. diced Tomatoes
1 C. cooked bacon chopped
10 hard-boiled eggs chopped
2 Tbs. sugar

Place shredded lettuce on bottom of bowl.  Layer with eggs, bacon, celery, tomatoes, onions, and frozen peas.  Cover peas completely with mayonnaise.  Sprinkle with sugar and cheese.  Repeat.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for 6 hours.  Do not mix.

I like to do mine in a clear glass container so you can see all the layers.  It turns out really yummy, cold, and crispy!  And it's a new little twist on the plain old salad.  :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ice Cream 101

More with the fun summer treats I know, but I just can't seem to help myself.  I recently bought an ice cream maker because I wanted to have the delicious homemade treat that I used to enjoy as a child.  My Dad would sit on the back porch and make vanilla ice cream that was to die for.  I remember it taking hours though, so when I bought my Cuisinart Ice 30BC, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had a built in freezer and did the work in under an hour! I couldn't believe it.  This was going to be much easier than all the work my Dad put into it when I was a child.
In my search to find the best Ice Cream recipes, I came up with a pretty simple base.  I use a basic vanilla base or chocolate base for whatever kind of ice cream I am making.  From this base you can basically make any flavor you like.  My favorites so far are Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies and Cream, and Lavender.
I use a pretty straight forward recipe.  I like my ice cream thick as it can get and as fattening as it can get.  When you are making dessert I like to live by my own rule that it should NEVER be calorie friendly, and always include either real butter or cream.  With this rule in mind here is my Vanilla Base...

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Cups Half and Half
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 (14oz) can Eagle Brand sweet and condensed milk
2 T. Vanilla Extract

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until well mixed and put in an ice cream maker and freeze.

That is the easiest Vanilla ice cream recipe.  I also have another one if you are looking for a more gourmet ice cream.  It's a custard base and is going to be a little creamier and richer.  It's a bit more difficult, but delicious as well.  You just need to decide what you have time for and what you want.  Here is the custard base Ice Cream recipe....

Custard Base Vanilla Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 pint whole milk
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/2 C. sugar
1 Vanilla Pod or 2 T. Vanilla

Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a boiling point, but DO NOT LET BOIL.  Place the vanilla pod into the milk and let infuse for about 20 min. (if using the vanilla pod, if not skip this step.)
In a bowl beat the eggs until they are creamy and thick.  Carefully scrape out the Vanilla pod and any seeds in the mixture.  You are now going to temper your eggs.  Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of your hot milk into the eggs while constantly beating the eggs. (You do this so your eggs won't cook when you add them to your mixture.  You want them to stay liquid.)  After you temper your eggs, pour the egg mixture back into your milk.  Add the sugar and continue whisking until sugar is completely dissolved.
Put the mixture back into a pan and heat gently until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Do not let your mixture boil or it will curdle on you.
Once it coats the back of a spoon it is ready to transfer into you Ice Cream maker.  Follow the manufacturers instructions.

Now that you have your basic base you can make any flavor your heart can imagine.  So here are a few of my favorites that I have come up with.

Mint Chocolate Chip
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I use Dove Chocolate shavings instead of chips)
In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. (If you want your ice cream to be green, add a few drops of food coloring now).

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. 

Lavender Ice Cream 
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup mild honey
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes. 

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot. 

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture (temper the eggs) in a slow steady stream, whisking (about 1/2 C. of hot mixture). Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat back of spoon.  Freeze in your Ice Cream Maker.

There are a few of my favorites.  Once you start making your own, make sure to let me know because I'm always on the hunt for new and delicious flavors!  Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza

This is my most favorite pizza in the world.  Every year I take tomatoes from my garden and my fresh basil from my garden, and make this pizza.  It is so easy and delicious.  I make the pizza dough, then the tomato sauce (which is so easy! I'll post the recipe), and then just pile on the deliciousness!  I hope you like this pizza as much as my husband and I do.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pizza
1 lb. Pizza Dough
6 oz. fresh mozzarella sliced or crumbled
4 Fresh tomatoes sliced
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Fresh Basil leaves
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive oil or  1/2 C. Pizza Sauce

Oil a cookie sheet.  Divide the dough into 4 separate pieces.  Press or roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Place the 4 even pieces on the cookie sheet.

You can bake this on either the outdoor grill or the oven.  For an outdoor grill make sure you put the dough on medium heat.  In the oven bake for 2-3 minutes at 350 degrees.  On the outdoor grill, bake for about 2-5 minutes placing the oil side of the pizza down onto the grill, bake until the pizza has grill marks on one side.

Remove the dough from the heat and using tongs flip the dough over.  Quickly oil the top of your pizza with extra virgin olive oil, or use the 1/2 C. pizza sauce and smother your pizza.  Arrange the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, on top of the pizza and place back in the oven for another 6-10 minutes or until the pizza is evenly browned and completely cooked through.  If cooking on the grill, cover the grill and let the pizza cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the pizza is evenly browned and completely cooked through.

The Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6-8oz.) tomato paste
4 Tbs. Fresh Oregano Chopped
2 Tbs. Fresh Basil Chopped
2 Tbs. Fresh Parsley Chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic

In a mixing bowl, combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spread onto any pizza dough.

BBQ Sauces

 I love making BBQ sauces.  Ever since I started cooking a lot I have really tried to make my own BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe sauce, and any other sauces that I know can be made.  It saves money, and they taste so much better!  So in ode to summer I thought I would post some of my favorite recipes that I have come up with over the years.

The Original BBQ Sauce
1/2 C. minced onions
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 Tbs. salt
2 C. Ketchup
1/4 C. tomato paste
1/3 C. cider vinegar
1/4 C. Worcestershire
2/3 C. packed brown sugar
1 Tbs. Butter

In a large skillet cook the onion and garlic with 1 Tbs. Butter until translucent.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Once the sauce is thick add the onions and garlic.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

The Basics
I want you to know that all of you can make BBQ sauce with a few main ingredients.  The main things you have to have in every BBQ sauce is Brown Sugar, Vinegar, Garlic, Ketchup, Tomato Paste, and Salt and Pepper.  With those main ingredients you can basically make any recipe you want.  If you get that base you can create just about any flavor you want.  If you come up with a recipe you love, make sure to post it on my page so we can share!  Here are a few more BBQ recipes.

BBQ Sauce for Ribs
 2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon dry mustard
fresh ground pepper to taste 

Blend onion and water into a puree. Heat a medium sauce pan over a medium heat. Add olive oil. When oil is warm, pour in onion puree. Simmer until slightly browned. Add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Mustard BBQ Sauce (my personal favorite)
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Mix all ingredients together and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Indoor Smore Bar's

I love summer for the outdoor cooking.  My favorite thing about summer though is camping with my family.  We bring the dutchovens, the griddle, tin foil, and always the Marshmallow sticks.  So of course my most favorite food of the summer are Smore's.  I have loved them since I was a little girl and went on my first camping trip to Flaming Gorge. 

I want Smore's all year round though, and living in Utah I don't get to go outside for about 7-8 months of the year, so I had to come up with an "indoor" Smore's recipe.  Here is is for all of you!

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter Melted
18 Plain Graham Crackers
1/4 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Fine Sea Salt (I just use Morton's)
3 Cups Milk Chocolate Chips (and you have to use a GOOD milk chocolate.  My favorite are the 16oz. bag of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips.  They come in a silver and blue bag, and when they melt they are to die for!)
3 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These are going to serve as your handles to remove the bars from the pan in 1 piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the foil/parchment well with softened butter. 

In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal (you need 2 cups).  Melt your butter in the microwave. In a large bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, sea salt and melted butter. The mixture should look and feel like wet sand.

Set aside a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the lined pan. Pop your crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool.

Melt the milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. (I do this a really simple way and I never burn my chocolate because of it.  I don't have a double boiler so I fill a saucepan with water, bring it to a boil, put my chocolate chips in a large glass bowl that is wider then the saucepan and put the glass bowl on top.  I slowly stir until all the chocolate is melted.  It's my "cheap" version of a double boiler) Do not turn up the heat to hurry this process, you must keep it on low.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust with a butter knife. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows.  Refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened a bit.  About 20-25min.

Preheat the Broiler.

Broil the bars 6 inches from the flame until the marshmallows are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is completely hard, 2 hours or so.

To serve, grab the ends of the liner and lift the bars out of the pan in 1 piece. Move to a cutting board and cut into 24 pieces, or 12, however big you want your Smore.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

This is one of my husbands favorite recipes.  I love it because it's healthy, easy, and so dang delicious!  If you like regular cabbage rolls or stuffed green peppers, you will love this recipe!

1 Head of Cabbage
3 Cups Tomato Juice
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 egg
1/2 C. uncooked brown or white rice
1 envelope Onion soup mix
1 lb. Ground Turkey or Extra Lean Ground Beef
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Peel 8-12 big Leaves off the Cabbage head and place in a microwave safe dish.  Cover in about an inch of water and microwave on high for 2 min. 

In a mixing bowl combine tomato sauce, egg, turkey or beef, rice, onion soup, and cheese, and mix with fingers until well combined.

Grease your crock pot with some Pam cooking spray.

Carefully place a ball of the meat mixture into the middle of each cabbage leaf and roll up into a ball, and place on the bottom of your crock pot seam side down.  Do this until all your meat mixture is gone.

After you have all your cabbage rolls in the crock pot, pour the 3 cups of Tomato Juice on top. 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Momma Cay's Rice Pudding

This is the rice pudding I grew up on.  I just happened to be at my Mom's the other day while she was making it, so I had her teach me and asked her if I could use the recipe on my blog.  So here you go everyone!  When all your friends and family die over how delicious this rice pudding is, you can thank Momma Cay!


1 5 1/3 oz can evaporated milk
2 c whole milk
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt

2 c cooked white rice
1/2 c raisins (optional)

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Scald milks together in a medium to large saucepan.

In a small sauce pan dump raisins and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and turn them off and let them plump while you put the rest of the recipe together. 

Combine sugar, salt and cornstarch in medium mixing bowl. Add to milk mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Add rice and bring to boil.

Add about half the pudding mixture to the eggs, stirring while you pour.  (tempering the eggs) This is important so that your eggs don't curdle. Return egg mixture to saucepan and stir over medium heat until thickened.

Remove from heat. Drain your raisins.  Add vanilla and spices and raisins. Serve warm or cold. Chill to keep several days.

This makes an excellent breakfast, dessert, or snack.  I absolutely love this recipe.  The only thing I do a little differently is I add about 1/2 c. more COOKED rice to the finished product because I like mine a little thicker.  :)