Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Red Curry Squash Soup with Tofu Croutons

I found this recipe in the January 2017 edition of Real Simple and MAN was it good!  I would change a few things for my family's taste but otherwise it was really amazing.  I wouldn't use the tofu again but for those who would want it, freshly made lightly crisped croutons would be really good as would toasted pumpkin seeds.  The soup has a very light kick and I didn't bother with the peppers because I figured we wouldn't love the extra spicy peppers (well, Robby would but not the rest of us) and I ended up adding about a teaspoon of sugar because the squash I got wasn't all that sweet.  This will absolutely make it on the menu again!  Sorry the picture isn't pretty - I forgot to take a picture of it in a bowl and instead had to get a picture of it in the leftover container as I put it in the fridge.  :)



RED CURRY SQUASH SOUP WITH TOFU CROUTONS

1 medium butternut squash, diced (about 4 cups)
4 Tbsp. red curry paste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
8 oz. extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 head baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 Fresno chili, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

1.  Combine the squash, curry paste, and vegetable stock in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 12-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.  Transfer to a blender, add the coconut milk, and process until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, press the tofu with paper towels until very dry.  Cut into 1" cubes and season with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the tofu and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.

3.  Toss the bok choy, chile and lime juice in a medium bowl; season with salt.  Reheat soup if necessary and serve topped with the tofu and book choy mixture.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

This is a pretty easy meal to put together and looks lovely.  This is a regular request from my kids.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

1 whole cooked chicken, bones removed, meat diced or shredded (5-6 cups)
1/2 lb. very thinly sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
1/4 lb. thin sliced baby swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
3 cups whole milk (must be whole milk)
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed dried parsley

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13" baking dish.  Place chicken in the bottom of the dish, scatter the ham over the chicken and lay the swiss cheese over the top of the ham.

2.  To cook the sauce:  Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth paste.  Do not brown.  Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and pepper.  Bring sauce back to a low boil and turn off heat.  Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

3.  Combine the melted butter, bread crumbs and parsley together.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

4.  Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Eggplant Supper Soup

This is a recipe that I got from my uncle who passed away in the '70s.  I'm not sure if this was original to him or not but it's been a family favorite for years!  It's hearty and easy to put together.  I've frozen it with and without the pasta and I prefer without the pasta and just adding it later when I heat it up.



Eggplant Supper Soup

2 Tbsp. each oil and butter
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup each chopped carrots and sliced celery
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
28 oz. beef broth
1 tsp. each salt and sugar
1/2 tsp. each pepper and nutmeg
1/2 cup salad macaroni (we use dilating)
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
grated parmesan cheese for serving

1.  Heat the oil and butter in a large pot.  Add the onion and salute until limp, about 3 minutes.  Add the meat and stir over the heat until it looses its pinkness.
2.  Add the garlic, eggplant, carrots, celery, tomatoes (break tomatoes with a fork), beef broth, salt, sugar, pepper and nutmeg.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the macaroni and parsley and simmer 6-8 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
3.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Chocolate Bread Pudding



I got this recipe from our local newspaper years ago and it is still a favorite.  I use bread ends that I save up in the freezer and it works GREAT!  Hubby also prefers raisins in his so I do 1/3 raisins and 2/3 chocolate chips.  Sorry the picture shows the bread pudding already served.  I couldn't stop them!

Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 12 oz. loaf day old Italian bread cut into 1" cubes
6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) bag semi sweet morsels
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Butter a 13x9" baking dish.
3.  Put bread cubes in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar with milk, cream and vanilla.  Pour egg mixture over bread, combine well and pour into pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate morsels.  Refrigerate fora half an hour.
4.  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle mixture on the top of the pudding.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Peanut Butter Chicken

I found this...somewhere - oh wait!  I found it!  It was on Good Cheap Eats! I had it in my recipe folder for a few weeks but decided to try it and I'm glad I did!  SUPER easy to put together and it was rated a very high 9.5/10 by the family and that says a lot!!   It is a pad thai knock off that is inexpensive and quick to put together.

PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN

scant 1/3 cup rice vinegar
generous 1/3 cup vegetable oil plus 2 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (can use almond or sunflower seed butter)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp peeled grated ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
16 oz. linguini or thin spaghetti pasta
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions (you can get by with less but make them bigger chunks)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1.  Whisk together the vinegar, 1/3 cup oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger and red pepper.  Set aside.

2.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, prepare the pasta according to package instructions.

3.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil until very hot.  Cook the carrot for 1 minute.  Add the chicken and green onions to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is cooked

4.  Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and cilantro.  You may toss the chicken in as well, but we like to serve it atop the noodles.  Otherwise the chicken drops to the bottom and is not evenly distributed.

5.  Serve this dish hot or at room temperature.

Christmas Jam

So I just realized that I never put my jam recipe on my blog!!  I've been making this jam for a long time - at least 26 years since I started making it when I lived in our old house and I've been living in this house for 25 years now.  It's a GREAT gift to make for family and friends and it's become a very much waited for gift for everyone.  I've also gotten not-so-subtle hints for second or third jars as well.  It was so nerve wracking the first time I did it but now it's really not a big deal.  I get the kitchen nice and clean before I do it and make sure I don't have any big distractions so I can keep an eye on it.  SO, without further ado......

Christmas Jam

40 oz. frozen whole strawberries or 2 1/2 quarts of fresh strawberries
1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
5 lbs. sugar
2 pouches (3 oz. each) liquid fruit pectin

Grind strawberries and cranberries in a food processor or grinder; place in a large kettle.  Add sugar.  Bring to a full rolling boil; boil for one minute.  Remove from the heat; add pectin.  Cool 5 minutes, skim off foam.  Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Wipe edges and adjust caps.  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Cranberries go in the pot
Add strawberries



Add LOTS of sugar

Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally and bring the pot to a boil

Meanwhile, in the large canning pot, cover jars with water and bring to a boil.

Bring to a full rolling boil - a boil that will hold even when stirred.

This is as I'm skimming the foam - you can still see it around the sides and in bits in the middle. 
Filling the jars.  A funnel really helps with this step.

Wipe the jar rims to make sure they are clean.

The jars capped and ready to go into the boiling water bath.

Bring the water to a boil and then boil for 15 minutes.

Remove from canner and place on towels to cool.  You will hear the jars "pop" as they seal.  If a jar doesn't seal, store in the refrigerator, otherwise it is good for a good long while on the shelf!  



Friday, November 25, 2016

Instant Pot Baked Beans

For those who don't know what an Instant Pot is, it is an electric pressure cooker.  I had heard a lot about it and got one for myself and still need to learn other things to make but I tried this recipe from someone and it is a hit!!!  It takes about an hour to make and then it really does best if it is able to sit for a few hours to thicken.

Instant Pot Baked Beans

1 lb. bag Great Northern dry beans
8 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
1/2 lb. salt pork, cut into pieces (try to get leanest possible)
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 rounded teaspoon baking soda
4 cups water

1.  Start by soaking the beans in warm water for 2 hours (cover the beans with water, no salt).  Drain and pick out any stones.

2.  In  a large mixing bowl, add the sugars, molasses, mustard, cloves and baking soda.  Whisk together with the water.

3.  Pour beans, onion and salt pork into pot.  Pour the liquid mixture over the beans and stir.  Place crumbled bacon on top and close/lock the lid.

4.  Set the steam release valve to "sealing", press the "manual" button and change the time to 45 minutes.  When time is up, allow natural release for 10 minutes then quick release to open the lid (be careful as the steam will be hot!).  Stir.  Allow the beans to sit for 30 minutes or so to thicken.  The sauce will thicken even further if refrigerated and left overnight.