Friday, December 23, 2011


My Auntie Bev always made these yummy treats for Christmas.  I finished up my batch for this year.  If you're looking for one more little something to fill up your goody plates give these a try.  I promise you won't be sorry.

Mix together in (very) large bowl:
2 cups Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups shelled, salted peanuts
2 cups mini marshmallows

Melt 2 lbs. almond bark and pour over contents of bowl. Mix until coated.  Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and let harden.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

If you're starting to get a little tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, but don't want to be wasteful, I've got an idea for you.  I'm not sure why turkey pot pie never occurred to me before last year....maybe because my mom never made it.  It's easy, and really yummy.

1 cube butter
1 lb baby carrots
1 small onion
1/2 lb frozen peas
1.5 cups leftover turkey, cubed (the pieces that are getting a little dry work wonderfully)
2 cups leftover gravy
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 package phyllo dough or 4 pre-made pie crusts

Melt butter in a large frying pan.  Add carrots and onions, sautÄ— until tender.  Meanwhile, warm gravy in a small sauce pan.

Add peas and turkey to carrots and onions.  Reduce heat to warm and stir together.  Let sit while preparing crust.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with half of the phyllo dough*.  Brush egg white onto phyllo dough every 2nd or 3rd sheet.  Cover the dough, filling the pan with the veggie/turkey mixture.  Pour gravy over top.  Layer remaining phyllo dough on top, brushing with egg white as you did on the bottom.

Bake at 350° until gravy bubbles up on the sides.

*If using pre-made pie crusts line two pie pans with crust, then top with remaining crusts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Make-Ahead Lettuce Wraps

**adapted from Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites

These were so easy to make, and it was really wonderful to have dinner ready in, literally, three minutes tonight. I would suggest that you have your older kids make the freezer meals so you don't even have to do that. If you buy a whole rotisserie chicken and a bag of green onions, you could probably make two or three meals out of it. I think it would be great with a few dashes of Sriracha, but the foetus would not like that. This will serve four. More if you add rice and sides.

1 C teriyaki sauce
1/3 C honey
1/2 C chopped green onions
2 C deboned and shredded rotisserie chicken
1 C cashews, blended for a few seconds
1 head lettuce

Put the teriyaki, honey, and chopped green onions in a quart freezer bag. Put the shredded chicken in a labeled gallon freezer bag. Put the cashews in another sandwich bag. Put the little bags into the big chicken bag. Freeze.

Thaw this the morning of your busy day and then, at dinner time, pour all the stuff into a bowl. Microwave the whole thing for about three minutes to heat through. Wrap with lettuce. Bingo.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to Cook Rice

Mayhaps you find yourself wanting some rice. Mayhaps with some of the best black beans you have ever eaten. Mayhaps you need to know the easiest, best, most Cuban way to cook said rice? May. Haps.

1. Ignore directions on rice bag.

2. Put rice, oil, water, salt in large pot, and bring to boil over high, UNCOVERED, until water has been absorbed and rice has small craters on top (about 15 minutes.)

3. Cover the rice and reduce heat to low, for about 8-10 minutes.

4. Fluff and serve.

Here are some quantities--this doubles, triples, quadruples.

For about 3 cups of cooked white rice:

2 C rice
2 T oil
2 t salt
4 C water

Our rice cooker broke years ago--and I have never replaced it because this is SO much easier and more consistent (sorry, Yan. Your cooker was not this good.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Darlene's Cheesy Potato Soup

This is my mom's recipe.  It's a quick and easy  "pantry" recipe (things I already have on hand).  I love it in a bread bowl with a little bit of crumbled bacon on top.

Stir together in large pot:
5-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (I prefer Yukon Golds, but Russets work too)
5 chicken bullion cubes
1.5 - 2 cups water (this will make a very thick soup.  Increase to 4 cups for a more traditional consistency)
1/4 cup dried onions

Boil until potatoes are tender.  Stir with a whisk to break cubes up just a bit.

Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Add parsley and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Perfect Baguette

For some reason I got it in my head that I wanted to uncover the secret to making the perfect baguette. After weeks of working on it I think I am approaching my goal. As I've gotten much advice over the past few weeks on Facebook and I figured I'd share the recipe as it currently stands. My next big batch of bread will be cooked tomorrow. I'm going to play with the rise time and the gluten content on the next batch. I'll let you know how that goes in a subsequent post.

I started off my quest using the cookbook "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" as the base for this quest. Their recipe calls for the standard white bread configuration:

3 Cups Lukewarm Water
1 1/2 Tbs Yeast
1 1/2 Tbs Kosher Salt
6 1/2 Cups Unsifted All-Purpose Flour

These ingredients provide a good starting point but in my first successful batch I switched all-purpose flour with its more expensive organic cousin, Bob's Red Mill Bread Flour. If I were new to bread baking I'd start with the all-purpose variety as it is a good start and much cheaper.

The water should be about 100 F and feel warm to the touch. Place it in a large plastic mixing bowl with a lid. Add the yeast. Let it rest for five minutes or so. Add the first two or three cups of flour. Stir these in by hand or with a wooden or plastic spoon. Add your salt (don't put the salt in directly with the yeast as it renders the yeast less effective). Mix in the rest of your flour until you have a sticky slightly moist dough. DO NOT KNEAD. This should yield between 4-6 loaves so make sure you're hungry for bread.

I'm working on variations right now, but in my first successful baguette I put this dough directly in the fridge with the lid resting on top of the bowl but not secured. Let it rise in the fridge overnight. I know this seems counter-intuitive but it worked so trust me.

Remove the bowl from the fridge about two hours prior to cooking to let it rise to room temperature. Cut, pull, or otherwise remove a grapefruit size piece of dough. This is your first loaf of bread. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour over the remaining dough and put it back in the fridge (unless you're going to make more loaves in which case knock yourself out).

With floured hands and on a LIGHTLY floured surface lightly work the dough into a baguette shape. I did this simply by folding the dough on itself and stretching it at the ends. I haven't quite mastered the shaping technique but I'm working on it. I made my baguette about 24" long and about 2" in diameter. Once formed, let it rest for 25-30 minutes on the lightly floured surface.

While the dough is resting preheat your oven to between 480-500. You'll want a pizza stone in the oven along with a broiler tray. Position the stone on a high rack I did mine two down from the elements. The rack with the broiler tray goes on the lowest shelf. Start the pre-heating around the time you let your dough start proofing.

Shortly before the 25 minutes are up brush your dough with water using a pastry brush. After it's brushed make three to five (depending on the length of the baguette) slashes on the baguette using a serrated blade or exacto knife. The cut should go in a diagonal line across the width of the bread. They should be about 1/2 inch deep. Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1 1/2 cups of water.

Turn your oven down to 475. Transfer the dough onto the hot pizza stone (use a pizza peal if you have one if not just don't burn yourself). Keep the cut side up. Pour the water into the broiler pan. Close the oven quickly. Allow the bread to cook for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. Your bread should be a golden brown heading toward dark brown and sound hollow when you tap it. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool a bit before eating it. When you do cut into it you should have a light and fluffy crumb with lots of little air pockets in it. Please note if you leave it in the fridge to rise for three to four days you'll get a very pleasant sourdough tang to the bread. It's like San Francisco hooked up with Paris and had a delicious baby.

For my next variant I'm starting with a warm rise before I refrigerate and I added some gluten supplement to the dough. I'll let you know how that goes.