Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catch Up -- Danielle's Cheesy Squash Pasta

I'm trying to stock up on meals I can save in the freezer for after the baby comes. I thought this one would work nicely. I stretched the recipe so that I'd have enough to eat tonight and eat for lunch tomorrow, plus enough for a dinner later. It worked out perfectly.

So here's what I did --

I added a lot more than 1 c. of squash puree (possibly more than doubled it), and I used a lot more than the 1/2 c. of milk called for -- that's mainly how I stretched the sauce. I would've actually added more milk because I thought the sauce was too thick, but I didn't want to dilute the flavors any more.

I also added onion and spinach, and I cooked the onions and red pepper before adding them to the sauce. Then I used pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. I liked the flavor and spicy kick the pepper jack added. Oh, and as you can see from the picture, I used rotini (whole wheat) instead of bow tie pasta because I couldn't find whole wheat bow tie pasta.

I agree with Elise that the butternut squash flavor in this dish is very good. It went really well with the other flavors. I also really liked the flavor of the cream cheese in it, especially combined with the pepper jack.

I don't make pasta very frequently, but I can see myself making this again.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Turkey Burgers From Long Ago.

Jessica said I should go back and make these burgers that were posted a year ago.

She's smart.

They were super-good. I ate the whole burger.

I rarely finish a whole burger.

My husband who is not generous with food compliments said, "These are so much better than a restaurant." and "That was a really good meal." Please understand that means these burgers are serious goodness.

I followed many of the suggestions of others. And some of my own.

#1 Used pretzel hamburger buns. (A must if you can)
#2 Added 1/4 t. ground mustard to meat mix.
#3 Used Monterey Jack cheese slices.
#4 Used powdered thyme. About 1/2 t.

We put BBQ sauce, mayo, and mustard on our buns. And used lettuce, tomato, and onions.

A side of Kettle chips and watermelon made for a perfect meal.

Thanks a year ago Hyeyoung!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Break

Hey everyone. This week marks the end of our current rotation. We're going to take a week (maybe two) off before we start the next rotation to give ourselves a chance to get organized.

So the next couple of weeks are going to be catch-up weeks. Feel free to make and post about any past recipes that you've been wanting to try but haven't had a chance to yet.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Danielle's Hummus

No picture, but you can look at Cami's and Maren's because mine pretty much looked the same. :)

This hummus recipe is very similar to a roasted red pepper hummus recipe that I make often, so I knew I would like it before I made it. I decided to follow the recipe and taste it before I made any changes to it (I feel a little bad that I rarely just follow recipes as written before evaluating them).

However, I did make two changes up front -- I cut the garlic to one clove because I've had bad experiences with raw garlic in hummus (the day after it turns into a garlic bomb), and I used cilantro instead of parsley because that's what I had. But other than that, I followed the recipe, I promise!

I used a fresh red pepper and roasted it myself. I just noticed that the original recipe says to use 2 - 3 fresh peppers if you're roasting them yourself, so I guess I didn't follow that part since I only had one pepper. Oops. Ok, so I didn't totally follow the recipe, but I tried!

Anyway, it tasted pretty good, and I could've happily eaten it that way. But I thought it could use more cumin, and we also added some chipotle puree because we just love chipotle. I liked it better that way, but that's just my preference.

Since this recipe is so similar to the one I use regularly, I'll probably stick with the one I've been using. But this recipe is certainly a winner. Hummus is such a great snack to keep around. It's easy to make, healthy, and filling. Love it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cami's Hummus

I think this is the fastest and easiest thing I've ever made for delish. Everyone at my house loves hummus and this did not disappoint. I went with bottled roasted red peppers because they were $1.99 at Walmart for 2 cups.

The texture was perfect and there was just enough spice. I love it and will be making it regularly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Heavenly Hummus!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1 c. roasted red peppers (from a water-packed jar)
1/4 c. tahini (sesame paste)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

In a blender or food processor, combine garbanzos, peppers, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. Process until smooth. Season with salt & pepper; top with parsley.

*Maren's Recipe Notes*

I love this hummus! We eat it all the time and I can't bear to buy hummus at the store anymore because it just doesn't taste good after eating this. I got the recipe from one of Robin Miller's cookbooks.

The roasted red peppers and tahini might seem like a bit of a splurge, especially if you haven't bought them before. Tahini is kind of like peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead (and hiding next to the peanut butter is where you should look when you go to the grocery store). My local grocer sells it in a 2-cup bottle, which is good for 6-8 batches of hummus. Tahini stays good a LONG time in fridge. 6+ months at least.

As for the red peppers, if you don't want to buy them bottled and you have cheap fresh ones available, you can roast your own (instructions at the bottom of this post). For store-bought, I love the roasted peppers that Costco carries.

Lastly, I don't bother to put the parsley on separately at the end. I like to grind it to smithereens along with everything else.

*Fun Ways to Eat Hummus!*
  • With pita chips. To make your own: cut pita pockets into triangles, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic salt, then pop into a 400 degree oven until golden & crisp, about 6 minutes.
  • With tortilla chips
  • Inside pita pockets with cucumber and tomato chunks
  • As vegetable dip
  • I've even just spread it over bread as part of a sandwich. :)

For roasting your own peppers:

Core, halve and cut ribs from 2-3 (depending on size) red bell peppers. Heat broiler. Place peppers, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 4 inches from heat until charred, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; steam 2 to 3 minutes. Using a paper towel, rub off pepper skins, reserving any juices in bowl.
(From Everyday Food Magazine)

Cami's Banana Cupcakes

I was pleasantly surprised by these cupcakes. I love that they are relatively healthy and taste pretty similar to banana bread. I love the texture and the flavor. I followed the recipe exactly.

I was a little nervous about the pastry cream. I haven't ever made it or eaten it before and wasn't sure exactly what the texture should be. I couldn't imagine how something likened to pudding would stay on a cupcake. Well, it certainly worked and I love it. I kept the pastry cream in the fridge and we frosted the cupcakes as we ate them. I used a large spoon to scoop the cream onto the cupcakes and smooth it out.

The pastry cream isn't very sweet and it has an eggy undertone but isn't eggy when eaten on the cupcake. This is the perfect dessert for someone who doesn't really like sweet treats. I will be making these again. Actually I think I will make them for Calder's second birthday. I've been looking for something a little healthier but still a treat. This just may be it!


I was very annoyed after making the granola...I absolutely love granola and this was so salty that I ended up throwing it away because we couldn't eat it. I don't think it was the recipe's fault though, I added salted almonds and that must have been what tipped the scale. Anyway, if you make the granola you may want to completely leave out the salt or at least don't use salted nuts.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Danielle's opinion on the banana cupcakes

I didn't make these this week because I've had way too many birthday treats and other goodies this week. I really didn't need a batch of cupcakes on top of that. But I figured I'd at least share my take on them since I did get to try Paige's cupcakes.

These cupcakes tasted like a lighter (maybe a bit sweeter) version of banana bread. So whether that's a good thing depends on whether you like banana bread. I love banana bread, so I thought these tasted great. Max also said they were really good, and he doesn't like a lot of banana desserts (although he does like banana bread). I wonder if the buttermilk would change the flavor much or if it impacts the texture more than the flavor. If I end up making these, I'll definitely include the buttermilk.

Paige's frosting was very good with the cupcakes. I love cream cheese frosting. But I am curious about the pastry cream. To be honest, I'm skeptical about how well it would turn out just from reading the recipe. It sounds more like a pudding than a "frosting". But I guess it would be worth a shot.

Has anyone else made these? If so, I'd love to hear how the frosting turned out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yummo Tomato Dumplings

This was so good.

I burned my mouth because I wouldn't wait for it to cool.

Totally worth it.

This meal is perfect for a rainy day (which was today). It's very filling and hearty. With my changes it makes about 5 servings. Thanks for the recipe Erin.

I used 4 cups of veggies total.
I used fresh basil and parsley. About 3 big Tbs of each.
And I used crushed tomatoes instead of diced. I needed to use them up.

P.S. I like cooking with a bay leaf. It makes me feel cool.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Paige's Banana Cupcakes

I had a fun time making the banana cupcakes. I actually made them for Danielle's baby shower. They were a huge success! All the ladies at the shower complimented me on them, Danielle liked them (always a plus! because she has a sophisticated palette... ;) ), and my hubby gobbled up most of the extras in one day! I've never had a banana cupcake and the idea peaked my fancy. I have to be honest, I made a few changes to the recipe, but I'm really happy with how the cupcakes turned out.
*I substituted canola oil for the shortening (I never cook with shortening). I did just a tad less than 1/4 cup.
*I used sweetened condensed milk instead of buttermilk.
*And since I used sweetened condensed milk, I did just a touch less sugar than the recipe called for

The cupcakes turned out very sweet and light (not too sweet!). I mixed the canola and butter with a hand mixer to start. It worked perfectly (I was a little nervous at first since I wasn't sure how the oil would do). I baked mine at the 325 degrees but they only took about 15 or 16 minutes. NOT the 20-25! * The recipe makes about 40 cupcakes.

I also decided to make a cream cheese frosting instead of the vanilla pastry cream (I'm not really big on pastry cream and I thought the ladies at the shower would enjoy cream cheese frosting - it seems all women like really cream cheese frosting!).

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 box powdered sugar

*Beat cream cheese, butter, milk, salt, and vanilla until creamy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Frost after cupcakes have completely cooled.

I topped mine with dried banana chips (from Trader Joe's) and think they turned out really cute. I would recommend them over doing the fresh sliced bananas because those would brown quickly and if you dip them in lemon juice then you'll have lemon juice dripping down your cupcake... :(

I would definitely make these again! I loved them. They could almost pass as a muffin if you left off the frosting. They are just a bit lighter and more fluffy than a muffin. They were absolutely fine without frosting but the cream cheese frosting was a nice contrast against the sweetness of cakes.

Hope you enjoy them when you make 'em! And.. I'm curious to know how they turn out with the buttermilk and vanilla pastry cream, from those of you who decide to make them that way...

Hyeyoung's Granola

I'm a big fan of homemade granola.  I love plain yogurt with a little drizzle of honey topped with fresh or frozen berries and homemade granola.  I like that you can pretty much throw whatever is in your pantry and make it tasty.  I have about 3 granola recipes that I sort of rotate through, and compared to those, I thought that the Baked recipe was a little heavy on the sugar and honey.  I think the amount of honey in this recipe is the same as one of my other recipes, which calls for 6 cups of oats plus a 1/2 cup of wheat germ.  I ended up not using the salt or the maple and I also added 2 extra cups of oats and didn't use all of the honey that it called for since I also added a little bit of shredded coconut.  Even with those changes, it was a little too sweet for my taste...maybe I'm just used to less sweet granola.  I did like the cinnamon, so I'm thinking I may add a little cinnamon to one of my other recipes.  I baked it for the recommended time, but even after it cooled, mine seemed not as crispy as I had expected.  Maybe it was the humidity?  Anyway, I'm not sure that this is going to become my go-to granola recipe, but I may give it another try on a less humid day and see if I like it better.

Baked Recipes Left to Pick From

I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of the Baked recipes that haven't been done yet (minus the alcohol ones). I was a little surprised to see that we've probably only done about half of the book!

I've also added a page at the top of the blog that has this same list. We'll update that page any time a recipe is posted.

Lots of good ones left still!

Maple Walnut Scones p. 29
Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins p. 31
Marble Bundt Cake p. 36
Sour Cherry Slump p. 44
Red Hot Velvet Cake p. 53
Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cake p. 60
Icebox Towers p. 80
Upstate Cheesecake p. 85
Classic Apple Pie p. 93
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie p. 97
Butterscotch Pudding Tarts p. 104
Lemon Almond Meringue Tarts p. 109
Lemon Lime Bars p. 119
Baked Bars p. 122
Millionaire's Shortbread p. 124
Honeycomb Bars p. 126
Brewer's Blondies p. 129
Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bar p. 130
Peanut Butter Cookies w/ Milk Chocolate Chunks p. 140
Black Forest Chocolate Cookies p. 142
Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies p. 146
Hazelnut Cinnamon Chip Biscotti p. 147
Baked Tricolor Cookies p. 154
Vanilla Marshmallows p. 161
Pecan and Almond Chocolate Toffee p. 164
A Trio of Truffles p. 169
Banana Pecan Piloncillo Ice Cream p. 174
Mocha Fudgesicles p. 176
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream p. 178
Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce p. 179
Malted Milk Chocolate Sauce p. 180

Danielle's Tomato Dumplings

Mine didn't look nearly as good as the ones in Erin's picture... Sadly, mine look barely edible!

This recipe has great promise. The vegetable stew part tasted great. However, I royally screwed up the dumplings.

I thought about using buttermilk instead of milk because 1) I love it, and 2) I have some in the fridge I'm trying to use before it goes bad. I did a little internet research to see if the substitution would work, and I saw on at least a couple of websites that you can easily substitute buttermilk for milk in biscuit recipes. I figured the dumpling dough was probably pretty close to biscuit dough, so I gave it a shot.

Well, that fell flat. My dumplings were gummy. They weren't bready in the middle at all. The flavor was ok, but I had a really hard time getting past the texture.

If I get around to trying this again sometime (this time following the recipe like I'm supposed to!), I'll post an update about how it turns out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Banana Cupcakes...

Hi Girls!
The recipe for this week is Banana Cupcakes w/ vanilla pastry cream. Get out your baked books and turn to page 70. :) I am a big fan of banana bread and thought these little tasties sounded scrumptious...

Happy Baking!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cami's Monster Cookies

I've been a huge fan of monster cookies for a few years now. I used to dislike peanut butter but somehow I started to like it when I was pregnant with Calder. I think this is a good recipe, but honestly I didn't follow the recipe like I should have. I was moving a few days after making it and I thought it would be a good way to get rid of some oatmeal and other things in the cupboards. I ended up not having enough oatmeal so I added more flour. I had fewer M&Ms so I added more chocolate chunks. They turned out great and tasted amazing. I brought them with us to visit family and they've been a hit. I will definitely make these again. Maybe I'll even use the real recipe next time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tomato Dumplings

So sorry for the tardiness of this post! We are in the middle of getting ready to move and it totally slipped my mind.

Here we go.

Tomato Dumplings

This is one of my all time favorite recipes!!!

1/2 C. chopped onion
1/4 C. chopped green pepper
1/4 C. chopped celery
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. butter
1 bay leaf
28 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. pepper

(I always add chicken shredded to make it a little "heartier" meal)
**This is the original recipe, but just so you know I always add more vegetables than what's listed here. For example, I might add carrots and zucchini, and I add more like 1/2-1 C. of the vegetables mentioned above. Because I added so many vegetables I also added more diced tomatoes.

1 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter
2/3 C. milk
1 Tbs. parsley

Saute veggies in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Combine dumpling ingredients and drop onto tomato mixture. Cover and cook approximately 15 minutes.


Melanie W.'s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These were pretty good. I haven't had the PF Chang's lettuce wraps in forever it seems, so now I want those again to remember the taste! (luckily there's 1 in Albuquerque!) Anyway, I was able to find ground chicken so I used that, though I think ground turkey would taste quite similar. I added grated carrots which added nice color and texture. I didn't have the garlic and red chili paste (I did see it at the store but chose not to buy it) but I had some hot chili sauce I added. It was good. I couldn't find any white chinese noodles and they would have been nice to add. I thought about trying the Boston lettuce but I found a small head of iceberg lettuce and it was nice and crisp and a good size. My ground chicken was buy one get one free and I still have some special sauce leftover, so I'll probably be making these again very soon!