Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paula Deen's slow cooker Mac and Cheese made simple

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a slow cooker, combine cheese, butter, eggs, sour cream, soup, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well.
  2. Set on high and cover.
  3. Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water (with salt) 5 minutes. You don't want al dente. Drain.
  4. Add drained macaroni to the slow cooker and stir again.
  5. Set the slow cooker on high setting and cook for 30 minutes, stirring once at 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the slow cooker off and let set 15-20 minutes if you want creamy sauce.
  7. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook 15-20 minutes if you want a "drier" sauce.

View the original recipe here.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Slow cooker short ribs and Root veggie stew

This is really two recipes in one.  First, you make slow cooker short ribs with potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and onions.  Then you take the liquid from that and make the stew.

Slow cooker short ribs
1 c red wine
1 c stock
fill remainder with water
beef short ribs
3-4 large red potatoes quartered
2-3 carrots chopped in 1/3s
1 onion quartered
16-32oz mushrooms sautéed

Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours -- the beef should be coming off the bone and be fork tender. Remove large solids -- eat that however you like. Discard bones.

Root veggie stew
liquid from the short ribs
root veggies (2-3 sweet potatoes, 3-4 turnips, 4-5 parsnips, etc)
16oz mushrooms
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
15oz can diced tomatoes
1 c red wine
2 c stock

Roast washed, PEELED, and chopped root veggies for 15 minutes @ highest oven temp. Test with fork and check for burn. Turn pan 1/2 turn. Roast another 5 -15 minutes depending on doneness. While roasting, sauté mushrooms and carrots until just softened. Add veggies to liquid. Simmer 30 min to 1 hr.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peppermint Marshmallows

⅔ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
½ cup cold water
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
⅔ cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Mixing bowl
Electric mixer with whisk attachment
9 x 13 pan
Heavy-bottomed sauce pan
Candy (or instant read) Thermometer

1. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. You can use foil, but if your pan is well oiled, the marshmallows will pop out just fine.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

3. Pour ½ cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside.

4. Combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.  Don't stir the mixture or scrape the sides.  The mixture needs to reach 240 degrees F (soft ball stage), about 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract to the bowl with the gelatin while the sugar mixture is coming to a boil.

6. With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, avoid the side of the bowl as much as possible.  Whisk at 1/2 speed for two minutes.

7. Whisk at high speed another 8 to 10 minutes.  Don't scrape the sides. You will get marshmallow fluff everywhere.

8. Before the marshmallows are finished whisking, spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray.  You may want to coat your hands here if you want to try to scrape some of the marshmallow fluff off the whisk.

9. Working quickly, scrape the marshmallow fluff out of the mixing bowl and into the 9 x 13 pan with the rubber spatula. Don't try to scrape the marshmallow completely out of the bowl or off the whisk.

10. Coat your hands (again) with cooking spray. Press/pat gently on the fluff to smooth and even the entire surface.

11. Sift 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture over the surface of the marshmallows. Make sure to completely cover the surface. Cover with a tea towel, or parchment and set aside.

12. Eight to 12 hours later (at least until completely room temp and firm), you can turn the pan sized marshmallow onto a cutting board.  Sift the oiled side with 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture.

13. Cut into desired shapes and sizes.  You can use cookie cutters, a knife, etc.

14. Sift the last 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture into a large zip top bag.  Add all the cut marshmallows. Seal with a little extra air in the bag. Shake to coat.

15. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks before beginning to turn stale.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

This is my mother's recipe. It's her mother's recipe. I think it's her mother's mother's recipe.

Ingredients for chicken broth
3 lb whole chicken
1-2 carrots
1-2 celery ribs
1 medium onion, quartered

Ingredients for dumplings
2 c sifted flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T shortening

1. Make the broth
Place in a large pot: chicken, carrots, celery, and onion. Bring to NEAR boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is done. Discard veggies. Remove chicken. Cool until you are able to handle it. Debone. Discard skin, bones, visible fat. Chill broth. Skim fat. Bring to gentle boil when ready for dumplings.

2. Make the dumplings
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add milk until stiff dough forms. Roll 1/8 inch thin on HEAVILY floured surface. Cut into rectangles -- it is easiest to cut into 1 inch strips one way and repeat perpendicularly. Roll and cut all the dumplings BEFORE you start adding to the gently boiling broth.

3. Combining it all
Add small batches of dumpling dough to the broth at a rolling boil. DO NOT STIR except to separate the dumplings. Continue to add the dumplings and cook. Keep the broth boiling. Add milk and chicken once all the dumplings are cooked.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meat Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
I have a friend that is always telling me, "Spaghetti sauce is so simple to make. I don't know why anyone buys canned/jarred crap." *excuse me while I sneak off to hide my jars of spaghetti sauce*

Yes, yes, spaghetti sauce is crazy simple to make. It takes time though. Lots and lots of time if you are making it from scratch. Lots and lots of tomatoes, too. I don't grow a garden because A) my apartment patio is the size of a postage stamp and B) I have the black thumb of death. I can breathe on plants and kill them.

Enter the quick meat sauce using *gasp* canned tomatoes. *cue the sarcasm* Oh, the horror.

1 lb extra lean ground chuck
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I cheat and use dried minced onion which means I can skip a step)
2 medium zucchini, chopped
10.75 oz can tomato puree
10 oz can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and chiles (Mild or Hot depending on taste)
14.5 oz can peeled, whole tomatoes
1 T rice vinegar
2 T fresh lime juice (or 1/2 a lime, squeezed)
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1 t dry mustard
1/4 t cumin
  1. In a large dutch oven, brown the beef.
  2. While browning, combine the tomatoes, vinegar, lime juice, and seasonings in a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend smooth.
  4. Add the onion to the beef.
  5. Cook until soft.
  6. Add the tomato mixture and zucchini to the beef.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes.
You can reduce the sauce and make something like sloppy joes by browning the beef, cooking the onions, and then pouring all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooking on low for 2-3 hours.

The original recipe is at TGIPaleo.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is originally from Never Bashful with Butter which is now defunct.

3/4 cup butter (if dough is dry, add up to 1/4 cup more)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups bacon bits **Be sure to use real bacon bits, not Bacos**

You can make your own bacon bits! 2 lbs bacon cooked crisp, drained well, and patted dry will make 2 cups bacon bits when chopped finely.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Beat together the butter, sugars, flavouring and eggs until creamy.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir together.
  5. Dough will be slightly soft. If you want a cakier cookie, add another half cup of flour.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and bacon bits.
  7. Stir until well integrated.
  8. Place dough on a sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate at least an hour.
  9. Remove dough from fridge, pinch off 1 1/2 inch pieces of dough and roll into balls.
  10. Set dough balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  11. Flatten dough balls slightly with your fingers in the center.
  12. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn golden brown.
  13. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack while you ready the glaze.
Maple cinnamon glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (use less if desired)
  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth -- no lumps!
  2. Spread a small amount of the glaze on the top of each cookie.
  3. Top with a small piece of crisp cooked bacon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vinaigrette Base

If you know vinaigrettes, you know it's oil + acid + herbs/spices/etc. The general rule of thumb is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. From there, the world is your oyster! Here's my usual base:

Extra Virgin Light Tasting Olive Oil
White Balsamic Vinegar or lemon juice or Balsamic Vinegar

Here's how I normally build my salads:
  1. Take lettuce from fridge.
  2. Wash thoroughly.
  3. Dry with cloth towel.
  4. Set aside. (I don't like lettuce cold from the fridge. I like it to be crisp; but lightly chilled)
  5. Fix main course.
  6. While protein is resting -- because every meal I eat has some protein -- tear the lettuce into a big bowl.
  7. Top with some additional veg and/or fruit -- like bell pepper, olives, beets, etc and/or dried cherries, apple, pear, etc
  8. Top with nuts (sometimes).
  9. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar -- I have a leftover jelly jar that is the perfect size for this -- close with the lid.
  10. Shake the dickens out of the vinaigrette.
  11. Pour over the salad and toss.
I usually make enough dressing for one salad...and my salad is usually huge.

Paleo Diet Lifestyle has an excellent list of vinaigrette recipes.
Delish has a ton of vinaigrette recipes.