Search This Blog

Loading...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Earl Grey Tea Cookies




I'm a huge fan of tea, especially Earl Grey. I love the taste of course, but the scent is amazing. I've cooked with Earl Grey tea before, I made Earl Grey Peach Preserves a while ago and it was so good, that when I spotted this recipe I knew it was going to be a winner.

I used decaf Earl Grey, because I had it hanging about in the cupboard leftover from when I was pregnant and was trying to follow the rules about caffeine. The attempt to self ban didn't last long, and my family, work colleagues and the general public were probably relieved when I brought caffeine back into my life!

The orange zest in these is essential - I could smell it all through the house when baking, and it definitely takes these delicate little cookies to the next level of YUM.

Source: Women's Day Magazine

EARL GREY TEA COOKIES


INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoon(s) fine Earl Grey tea leaves (we used 8 tea bags)
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
    • 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
                  DIRECTIONS:

                    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, tea leaves, baking powder, and salt.
                    2. In a food processor, process the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and orange zest and pulse to combine. Add the flour mixture and pulse to combine.
                    3. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface and roll into two logs, about 2 inch in diameter. Wrap each in plastic wrap, tightly twisting the ends, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
                    4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper, OR use a baking stone.
                    5.  Slice the cookies 1/8 inch thick and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart.
                    6. Bake 14 to 16 minutes.
                    7. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.




                                DIRECTIONS:

                                Friday, July 25, 2014

                                Muffin Tin Lunch #2

                                I'm really just posting these to refer back to when I need some ideas on what to give H for lunch. He eats well, so these are just for fun - he loves them!

                                Hope it gives someone out there a few ideas as well :)

                                Recipes for:



                                Wednesday, July 23, 2014

                                Quinoa Coconut Granola Bars


                                I'm well and truly on the quinoa bandwagon. It's something we only tried recently, but it's become a favourite in our household. I love the flavor of it, and the fact that it packs a decent nutritional punch is a major bonus.

                                I threw these together on a Saturday afternoon while the boys napped - and think they're delicious. Looking forward to adding them to my lunch bag!

                                Source: Adapted from Superhealthy Kids

                                QUINOA COCONUT GRANOLA BARS


                                INGREDIENTS:
                                • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
                                • 1 cup 7 grain cereal or oats (not the quick kind)
                                • 1/2 cups coconut
                                • 1 cup dried cranberries
                                • 1/4 tsp salt
                                • 1/2 cup peanut butter
                                • 1/2 cup honey
                                • 1/4 cup molasses
                                • 1 Tablespoon oil
                                • 3 Tablespoon brown sugar

                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
                                2. Grease a ceramic or glass 9X13 inch baking dish (or use a brownie pan like I did)
                                3. Spread oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Return mixture to a large bowl and add coconut, and dried cranberries. 
                                4. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, molasses, oil, and brown sugar. 
                                5. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat.
                                6. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish.
                                7. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for 20 minutes, watching carefully – they burn easily. If using a brownie pan, check on them at about 10 mins. Once they are browned on the edges, take them out.
                                8. Let cool, and serve.

                                Monday, July 21, 2014

                                Chicken, White Bean & Sweet Potato Nuggets


                                Although I'm not at all adverse to using frozen chicken nuggets. Sure, I buy the "good kind", but I love making my own and being able to add in a few things to boost their nutritional value.

                                These I made ahead and kept in the fridge ready for a quick dinner during the week.

                                If making them for little ones, go easy on the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. H loved them (eventually), but the husband said "tastes like thanksgiving... in a nugget" which I can see! (hey, maybe I'll add cranberries and green beans next time to complete the theme! ha)

                                Source: adapted from onehandedcooks.com.au

                                CHICKEN, WHITE BEAN & SWEET POTATO NUGGETS

                                INGREDIENTS:
                                • 1 cup diced sweet potato
                                • 2 large chicken breasts
                                • 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
                                • 1 onion, chopped
                                • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
                                • 1/2 tsp black pepper
                                • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
                                • 2 cups crushed cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs
                                • Olive oil

                                 DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Boil the sweet potato and beans until soft, and set aside.
                                2. In a food processor, process the onion until finely chopped. Add the chicken breast and process until a mince texture forms. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
                                3. Add the sweet potato, beans, spices and herbs to the chicken mixture. Mix until well combined.
                                4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
                                5. Place your cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs in a bowl
                                6. Take teaspoon amounts of chicken mixture and roll into balls. Dip in the crumbs.
                                7. Place on the baking tray, flatten to form a nugget, and continue with the remaining mixture.
                                8. Lightly brush the nuggets with olive oil, or spray using an oil mister
                                9. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the chicken in cooked through (165°F)


                                Wednesday, July 16, 2014

                                DIY: Poultry Seasoning


                                Not really a recipe, more of a "here's what I do"

                                As many recipes I use call for "poultry seasoning blend", I make my own, since much like all of the spice blends you find in the grocery store, they're all able to be substituted using herbs and spices you already have in your pantry. No need for an extra purchase, or to pay a premium price for someone to blend it for you. Also good for my mates in the other hemisphere, who might not be able to find these things in their stores!

                                I left dried parsley out of this particular blend - and prefer to control the salt in a dish myself, so didn't add that either.

                                INGREDIENTS:
                                • 2 tsp rubbed sage
                                • 1 tsp dried thyme
                                • 1 tsp dried marjoram
                                • 1 tsp dried rosemary
                                • 1 tsp ground black pepper

                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Blend all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind together.
                                2. Keep in an airtight container

                                Monday, July 14, 2014

                                Baked Chicken Chimichangas


                                Chimichangas are rumored to have originated right here in Arizona (in Tucson), and are a popular dish here. They're typically deep fried, but I baked these and they were proclaimed "the best chimichanga I ever ate". I have no idea how many chimis the husband has eaten, but I'll take that as a compliment!

                                I was a little concerned that the tortillas would bust apart, or not adhere right, but they did and it was awesome.

                                SUPER filling, I could only eat one, the husband ate two, and my Mum ate most of hers, but had to pass the rest off to the husband to finish (so kind of him to help her out, right?). I did add a can of black beans, extra seasonings, and fresh cilantro to our mixture 

                                I could have served rice, beans and guacamole with them, instead I cut up some avocado, slathered it in sriracha and sour cream and called it "done"

                                This recipe made 6 large chimichangas - I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as we did!

                                Adapted from: Menu Managed

                                BAKED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS

                                INGREDIENTS:

                                • 8oz pkg. cream cheese (easier to work with at room temp - a 30 second blast in the microwave will speed things up)
                                • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
                                • 1 tsp crushed red peppers (chili flakes for the Aussies/Kiwis)
                                • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
                                • 1 tsp garlic powder
                                • 1/2 tsp salt
                                • 1/2 tsp pepper
                                • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
                                • 1 can black beans
                                • 1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded
                                • 6 flour tortillas (burrito sized)
                                • olive oil/cooking spray
                                Optional:
                                • shredded cheddar cheese
                                • green onions 
                                • sour cream
                                • salsa 
                                • sriracha (or other hot sauce)
                                • sliced black olives
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Combine cream cheese, cheese, and seasonings.
                                2. Fold in beans and chicken.
                                3. Add about a cup of mixture to each tortilla, fold in the sides, and roll up.
                                4. Lay seam side down in a baking dish or baking stone.
                                5. Spray tops of tortillas with olive oil in a mister, or use cooking spray. You could just brush it on too.
                                6. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
                                7. Turn chimis over, and bake an additional 15 minutes
                                8. If using, flip the chimis over, and add some cheddar cheese and broil for a few minutes until cheese melts.
                                9. Garnish with green onions, sour cream, salsa, sriracha, olives- whatever you like!

                                Friday, July 11, 2014

                                Muffin Tin Lunches


                                Anyone who has a toddler can agree that sometimes you have to get a little creative to get them to eat... well, anything.

                                I was a wonderful parent, before I had kids... I swore that my children would eat what was put in front of them, and would not complain. They'd clear their plates and tell me what a wonderful meal it was, then they'd happily skip into the kitchen and do the dishes.

                                I'll wait here while you clutch your stomach from laughing... at me.

                                Mmmhmm....Hi there. My name is Kylee. I buy cheese in Mickey Mouse shapes so that my toddler may deign to eat it (all: Hiiiii Kylee)

                                I also tempt my kid with different things by presenting them in such a way that appeals to him - making him think "hey, I have a choice here!"

                                Enter, the "Muffin Tin Lunch". Nothing new or exciting or mind-blowing. Just a muffin tin with:

                                • Sugar snap peas
                                • Cheese
                                • Grapes
                                • Cherry tomatoes
                                • A peanut butter sandwich cut into fingers

                                Check out my other ideas for child-friendly foods

                                Tell me YOUR ideas for toddler wrangling?!


                                H happily eating his lunch

                                Wednesday, July 9, 2014

                                Cocktail: Orange Creamsicle Martini


                                When I was pregnant with my first son, I was addicted to orange creme slushies from Sonic. I would crave them like crazy, and when I got one, I was in total heaven.

                                This drink was not and IS not appropriate for those currently pregnant, but it is one of my favourite ways to enjoy the same flavors of the orange creamsicle with an alcoholic kick.

                                I saw this on a friend's blog a while back and have been making them ever since. I no longer bother to measure the ingredients (I might use a littttle more vodka than originally called for and I'm not sorry).

                                It does call for whipped cream vodka (Aussies and Kiwis - Smirnoff makes one that you can find in your stores) and I don't recommend switching it out for regular. It really makes the difference!

                                I skip the whipped cream and orange garnish when I make them at home for just me - but when I have guests around, I pull it out and make it look fancy.

                                Source: Cookaholic Wife as seen on The Redhead Baker (Thanks Nichole and Coleen!)

                                INGREDIENTS:

                                • Ice cubes
                                • 3/4 cup no-pulp orange juice
                                • 1/4 cup half and half
                                • 1/4 cup whipped cream flavored vodka
                                • whipped cream, for garnish
                                • orange slice, for garnish
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Place ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.
                                2. Combine the orange juice, half and half and vodka, pour over the ice.
                                3. Shake for 30 seconds.
                                4. Strain into a martini glass.
                                5. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and an orange slice. 

                                6. Sip and enjoy. Or gulp, whatever. I'm not judging you.

                                Monday, July 7, 2014

                                Chicken Tamale Pie


                                I do love me some one pot dinners (are we seeing a theme here yet?) This one was a lot more filling than expected. It fed two garbage guts guys, my Mum and me and we still had leftovers. The toddler didn't bother to try this one, and opted for yogurt. Whatever. More for me!

                                It isn't overly spicy (but you could kick it up a notch if you aren't attempting to feed kids) but has a lovely, robust flavor. 

                                Aussies and Kiwis and anyone who doesn't have access to crescent rolls (Hi Mum!): You could use flaky pastry dough instead and it would rock. Probably more so, since more dough is always good!

                                Give it a try!

                                Source: Adapted from www.pillsbury.com

                                CHICKEN TAMALE PIE

                                INGREDIENTS


                                • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced small
                                • 1 medium onion, diced
                                • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
                                • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
                                • 1/2 teaspooon ground coriander
                                • Salt and pepper
                                • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
                                • 2 cans (4.5 oz each) chopped green chillies
                                • 1 can (14.75 oz) cream style sweet corn
                                • 1lb package of ready made polenta, cut into 1/2-inch slices
                                • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
                                • 1 can crescent rolls

                                DIRECTIONS

                                1. Heat oven to 350°F. 
                                2. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, and onions and stir fry until browned. Add garlic, cumin and coriander, salt and pepper and cook for a further minute or two.
                                3. Add cilantro, chillies and corn; stir to combine. Cook about 3 minutes or until heated.
                                4. Remove from heat. Top with cheese. Arrange polenta slices in an layer on top.
                                5. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. Place shortest side of each triangle on rim of skillet over cheese with dough point in center.
                                6. Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Carefully remove skillet from oven. 
                                7. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.


                                Wednesday, July 2, 2014

                                DIY: Coffee Syrups



                                I love some flavored coffee - I don't always like to pay Starbucks to make it for me (although I'm definitely not opposed to that).

                                I'm a fan of the gingerbread lattes whenever they're in season, and the husband loves mocha lattes, with extra whipped cream (not that I'm judging him, except that I totally am). I like raspberry hot chocolate as well.
                                They're really simple to make, and are basically just flavored simple syrups...

                                Anyway, here's the recipe for all three: gingerbread syrup, raspberry syrup and chocolate syrup.

                                Gingerbread Syrup
                                • 2 tsp. ground ginger
                                • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
                                • ½ tsp. ground allspice
                                • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
                                • 1 tablespoon molasses
                                • 1 cup water
                                • 1 cup sugar
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
                                2. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
                                3. Let simmer gently for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
                                4. Strain the mix through cheesecloth.

                                 Raspberry Syrup

                                • 1 cup of raspberries, frozen or fresh
                                • 1 cup water
                                • 1 cup sugar
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat.
                                2. Smoosh (yeah, that's a word) the raspberries against the side of the saucepan.
                                3. Heat until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened
                                4. Strain the mix through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berry solids

                                Chocolate Syrup

                                • 1 cup sugar
                                • 1 cup cocoa powder
                                • 1 cup water
                                • ¼ tsp. salt
                                • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
                                • 1 tsp corn starch
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Combine sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan, whisk the water in to make it smooth.
                                2. Add salt, and heat over medium heat until boiling, then turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.
                                3. Remove about a tablespoon of the mixture, and mix with the corn starch.
                                4. Blend the corn starch mixture back in, and simmer for a few more minutes until thickened.
                                5. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
                                6. Let simmer gently for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.




                                Monday, June 30, 2014

                                Quinoa Patties with Sriracha "Dip"


                                Right, so.... having never had quinoa before (I'll wait while you gasp in shock), I figured I needed to get on that bandwagon and at least give it a try.

                                I saw these on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and thought this would be a great way to lose my quinoa-virginity. Yeah, I just said that. 

                                These came together super easily, and were happily taste tested by the toddler, who thought it was a cookie (hey, whatever works for ya, kid). I liked these, and added them to some arugula and called it "lunch".

                                Source: Adapted slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

                                QUINOA PATTIES WITH SRIRACHA "DIP"

                                INGREDIENTS:
                                • 1 Cup quinoa
                                • 1 1/4 Cups chicken or vege broth
                                • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
                                • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
                                • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
                                • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
                                • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
                                • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
                                • 1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (about 3/4 of a sleeve)
                                • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
                                Sriracha Dip
                                • 1/2 Cup sour cream
                                • 1 tablespoon sriracha
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                1. Heat the broth to boiling.
                                2. Rinse quinoa, and add to the broth. Bring to the boil, then cover reduce heat and simmer for approximately 12 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
                                3. Combine the quinoa, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. 
                                4. Stir in the parsley, cheese and garlic. Add the cracker crumbs. Stir the mixture until combined. 
                                5. Let it stand for about five minutes so the liquid can be somewhat absorbed. If it seems dry, add a little broth. If too wet, add more cracker crumbs.
                                6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into your hand, and flatten into small patties.
                                7. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until it is hot. 
                                8. Add a single layer of patties and cook until the bottoms are browned, about 5-7 minutes.
                                9. Flip the patties and cook about 5 minutes more until the second side is golden brown.
                                10. Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining patties (adding a bit more olive oil, if needed). Serve warm or at room temperature with the Sriracha Dip
                                Sriracha Dip
                                Combine sour cream and sriracha adding more or using less, according to your taste.
                                Difficult "recipe", huh?








                                Wednesday, June 25, 2014

                                DIY: Homemade Yogurt


                                With smoothies being a great breakfast for us, we use a lot of yogurt. Yogurt can get expensive if you buy the good stuff, and you eat it every day. Besides which, it's really fun to make your own and you control what goes in (and what doesn't).  No special equipment required - all you need is a crockpot, a digital thermometer, a glass container, and an old towel. 

                                There are two ways I use to to do this:

                                1. One involves scalding the milk, cooling it, mixing in the starter yogurt and then keeping it warm until done. It yields a thick yogurt.
                                2. The other is faster, but involves adding in non fat dry milk powder, and yields a smooth, pour-able yogurt (perfect for smoothies).

                                I'm going to include both ways, just for comparison. Some people heat the yogurt in the crock for a couple of hours, then blend, then turn off the crock and keep it warm for 8-10 hours, but I don't have time to babysit the yogurt (I do it on a weeknight, and chill it in the morning).

                                This way works for ME, but playing around with the different methods is fun and you might find a different way works better for you.

                                DIY: HOMEMADE YOGURT

                                INGREDIENTS:
                                Scalding method

                                • 5 1/4 (42oz) Cups of milk (whole or skim - you choose - but skim will take longer to become firm)
                                • 1 cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt (I use Chobani)

                                Non-scalding method
                                • 5 1/4 (42oz) Cups of milk (whole or skim - you choose - but skim will take longer to become firm)
                                • 1 cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt (I use Chobani)
                                • 2/3 Cup of non fat dry milk powder
                                DIRECTIONS:
                                Scalding method
                                  1. Place milk in a large saucepan and heat until the milk begins bubbling around the edges and climbing the sides.  
                                  2. Remove from heat and cool to 95 degrees F
                                  3. Once cooled, pour through a fine meshed sieve and discard any solids.
                                  4. In a separate bowl, mix some of the cooled and strained milk with the yogurt until blended and smooth, then blend back in with the rest of the milk.
                                  5. Pour into a glass container that will fit in your crockpot
                                  6. Line the crockpot with an old towel, and place your glass container inside the crock. Cover the crockpot (not the glass container)
                                  7. Use the "warm" setting for 8-10 hours (you don't want it to go above 115 degrees)
                                  8. Pour off the whey, and blend the yogurt til smooth (not everyone does this - I like my yogurt thick, though - you might like to pour off just some of the whey)
                                  9. Chill, enjoy!
                                  Non-scalding method
                                  1. Leave your milk out until it reaches room temperature.
                                  2. In a bowl, mix some of the room temp milk with the yogurt until blended and smooth, then blend back in with the rest of the milk.
                                  3. Pour into a glass container that will fit in your crockpot
                                  4. Line the crockpot with an old towel, and place your glass container inside the crock. Cover the crockpot (not the glass container)
                                  5. Use the "warm" setting for 8-10 hours (you don't want it to go above 115 degrees)
                                  6. Pour off the whey, and blend the yogurt til smooth (not everyone does this - I like my yogurt thick, though - you might like to pour off just some of the whey)
                                  7. Chill, enjoy!

                                  Monday, June 23, 2014

                                  Crockpot: Sticky Chicken Drumsticks



                                  Always a fan of Sticky Chicky, this one got some points for being able to be put in the crockpot and cooked while I went about doing other things.

                                  Yup, it's pretty high in sugar (thanks brown sugar and honey), but low in saturated fat, which we like. Bonus: Toddlers like it too!

                                  Source: farmgirlgourmet.com

                                  STICKY CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

                                  INGREDIENTS:
                                  • 1/2 cup honey
                                  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
                                  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
                                  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
                                  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
                                  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
                                  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (or other hot pepper sauce)
                                  • black pepper
                                  • 10 chicken drumsticks (skin them if you must - we did)
                                  • cilantro
                                  • toasted sesame seeds

                                  DIRECTIONS:
                                  1. In a saucepan whisk together the honey, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha and season to taste with black pepper. 
                                  2. Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugars have dissolved and the sauce is beginning to thicken.
                                  3.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
                                  4. Add the chicken to the crockpot, and pour the sauce over it all mixing well to coat the chicken all over. 
                                  5. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours, flipping chicken a couple of times during the cooking process. 
                                  6. Just before serving, sprinkle with torn cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.
                                  7. Serve with steamed white rice



                                  Friday, June 20, 2014

                                  One Pan Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Pasta Skillet


                                  I love dinners that are big on taste, and low on dishes. I say that like I actually do the dishes after we eat. Hehe. The husband, my Mum and our visiting friend loved this one. Even the toddler snarfed his down (he thought the sausage was hotdogs, and was fascinated by the bowtie shaped pasta). The toddler is notorious for being unpredictable at meal times, so I was gobsmacked shocked pleasantly surprised that this meal went off with minimal yelling, refusals to eat, demands for oatmeal or "boo yogurt" (yogurt that comes in a blue pot). WIN!

                                  Great for a weeknight - you can prep ahead (ie, the night before) very easily and this will come together in about 20 minutes. I recommend using the extra time to go ahead and grab a glass of wine...


                                  Source: yellowblissroad


                                  ONE PAN CHEESY SMOKED SAUSAGE & PASTA SKILLET

                                  INGREDIENTS:
                                  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
                                  • 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
                                  • 1 cup diced onion
                                  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic 
                                  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
                                  • 1 can diced tomatoes
                                  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or use milk, but add a little cream cheese for thickening)
                                  • 8 oz bow tie pasta
                                  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
                                  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
                                  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions, for garnish

                                  DIRECTIONS:
                                  1. Add olive oil to a 4-5 quart skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and sausage and cook until lightly browned. 
                                  2. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
                                  3. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
                                  4. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.
                                  5. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover for about five minutes to allow cheese to melt. Top with sliced green onions and serve.



                                  Monday, June 16, 2014

                                  Crockpot: Cowboy Casserole


                                  Ever have a day where you just want dinner to be DONE and not worry too much about it? Yeah. Me too. Except that's EVERY day...

                                  I know it's summer time and that traditionally ISN'T a casserole kind of season, but I live in Arizona. Temperatures here have been in the 110s (40s in celsius) and ... a crockpot doesn't heat my house up.

                                  This recipe contains a cardinal sin of the foodie world - cream of xxx soup. Which, honestly, I do tend to avoid if I can. However, in this case, simplicity and "get 'er done" was the goal. If you really cannot handle the idea of canned soup, you can use a homemade version (will post a recipe for that soon).

                                  This was a hit with the family. It made enough that there was plenty for everyone, including seconds and even a little leftover.  I personally thought I'd add more beans next time - but I like beans. It would make this go even further if you have a bigger crowd to feed. As this recipe stands, it fed 1 husband, 1 toddler, 1 mother, and 1 Kylee with seconds and leftovers.

                                  Source: adapted from Crockpot Ladies

                                  INGREDIENTS:


                                  • 1 onion, sliced
                                  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
                                  • 3 large potatoes, sliced
                                  • 1 clove garlic, minced
                                  • 1 (16 oz.) can low sodium kidney bean, with the juices
                                  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with the juice
                                  • 1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (or use this homemade version)
                                  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
                                  • 1 teaspoon mixed italian herbs
                                  • 1 teaspoon salt
                                  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
                                  • 1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese


                                  INSTRUCTIONS:

                                  1. Place all of the ingredients except the cheese in a crock pot (slow cooker) and combine well.
                                  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
                                  3. Sprinkle cheese on top, cover.
                                  4. Serve when cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).

                                  Monday, June 2, 2014

                                  Cream Cheese & Apricot Scones


                                  Let's have a little chat about scones, shall we? (You: yes let's!)

                                  Where I come from - a scone (pronounced "scon") is round, and similar to an American "biscuit" but rarely made with buttermilk, and always uses butter as the fat. Is light, fluffy and fabulous with jam and whipped cream. Usually made plain, but sometimes involves raisins or dates. Or cheese on top.

                                  Where I live NOW - a scone (pronounced "scoane") is... well, it's cake. It's usually a triangle, and almost always involves fruit, and is very unlikely to be improved by the addition of cheese. Generally speaking, they're sweet. 

                                  So. What are these?  Well, they're delicious. 

                                  Kind of like the NZ version of a scone. Kind of like the US version of a scone.  Different in that cream cheese (and a lot of it) is used rather than butter.

                                  The husband said it had the perfect amount of fruit in it - he likes things to be balanced and not over done (I don't know why I love him sometimes. He's lucky I didn't try to add bacon).

                                  It made 9 pretty decent sized scones for me - none survived the morning they were made.  Guess I better make them again, then? You should probably give them a go too. As always, the photos don't do it justice.

                                  Source: Challenge Dairy

                                  INGREDIENTS:

                                  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
                                  • ¼ cup sugar
                                  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
                                  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
                                  • ½ teaspoon salt
                                  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes
                                  • 1 large egg
                                  • 2 Tablespoons milk
                                  • ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
                                   DIRECTIONS:

                                  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
                                  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor, blend for 8 seconds (or whisk together in a large bowl).
                                  3. Cut cream cheese into flour mixture and by pulsing 8 times with food processor (or use a pastry cutter), until mixture resembles coarse meal.
                                  4. Whisk egg with milk. Add egg mixture to dry mix in food processor reserving about one Tablespoon. Pulse just until dough comes together (or create a well in dry ingredients, add egg mixture & stir just until moistened - don't overmix). Stir in apricots. 
                                  5. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into 8-inch circle, approximately ½ to ¾- inch thick. Don't overwork the dough, or your scones will be tough. No one likes tough scones.
                                  6. Use a glass, or a cutter if you have one…and cut into around 8 scones and spread on a baking stone, or greased cookie sheet an inch or two apart
                                  7. Brush with reserved egg.
                                  8. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm and spread with lots of butter.