Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here's the deal- This soup is the bomb. People have been asking me to post this recipe and I'm just now getting around to it. Sorry. It's not so much soup season anymore but who really cares? I entered this soup in a soup contest and it won. I went home with an award of white tic-tacs. It's that good.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

6 C chicken broth
1 pkg. Uncle Ben's Wild Rice & Seasonings (original. regular size)
1/2 C chopped green onion
1/2 C butter
3/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 C half & half
1 1/2 C cubed cooked chicken
crumbled bacon (optional)

In a large pot boil chicken broth, rice with seasonings and green onion. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-40 min. Until rice is tender.

When rice is tender do this- In a separate pan add the butter, flour, salt, pepper and half & half. Cook until slightly thickened stirring constantly. Add mixture to broth and rice. Add chicken. Garnish with bacon if you feel so inclined.

I'm not so good at being thorough with my recipes. Questions are always welcome.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

So, I needed one more goody for my husband's birthday party, but I was already cooked out. Solution: Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. No nonsense and entirely delicious. Adults and kiddies alike downed them.
2 dozen homemade or good-quality bakery cookies (I used Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies from Days Market, don't tell)
1 1/2 quart container good-quality ice cream (I used Breyer's Vanilla)
Sprinkles, Toffee Bits, Mini-Chocolate Chips, etc.
I cut the cookies in half with a knife first and then placed a scoop of just softened ice cream on one half and then squished the other half on top. To complete the ensemble, roll the edges of the ice cream in topping of your choice. The adults loved the toffee bits, the kids preferred sprinkles. Freeze until it's party time. Makes 24 half sandwiches or 12 big ones.

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Oakie Cake with Toasted Cinnamon-Sugared Pecans

Most of the known world calls this Texas Sheet Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cake or Stretch Cake, but not the Purveses. It's Oakie Cake and it's the best version of this type of cake I've ever tried. Why? Two sticks of butter vs. the typical one, and a particularly fudgy frosting. Do try.
2 cubes butter
1 cup water
4 Tbl. cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 heaping tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon until combined; set aside. Bring the butter, water and cocoa to a gentle boil. Pour over flour mixture and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350*. Meanwhile, prepare icing and pour over cake while still hot.
Fudgy Chocolate Icing
1 cube butter
2-3 oz. good semi-sweet or bittersweet baking chocolate
6 Tbl. milk or cream
1 lb. or 2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Bring butter, chocolate and milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Toasted Cinnamon-Sugared Pecans
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
In a skillet over medium-high heat, toast nuts with the sugar and cinnamon about five minutes, constantly flipping and stirring. Sprinkle over icing while warm.

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White Chocolate Berry Trifle

This is a win-win dessert. Easy to prepare and a real crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
1 butter pund cake (Costco's are yummy)
1 small package instant white chocolate pudding mix (not sugar-free)
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh whipped cream
4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, strawberries, favorite berry
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups fresh whipped cream
1/4 cup sugar

Cut pound cake into 1 inch squares; set aside.
Mix berries and sugar; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 1 cup whipped cream until no streaks remain.
In large trifle dish, place 1/3 of cake pieces, 1/3 of berries and 1/3 of pudding mixture. Repeat two more times. Refrigerate at least 8 hours. Top with fresh cream and garnish with more berries or chocolate shavings. Serves 10.

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Baked Ziti

I went to my Grandmas last night for dinner and a fireside with my cousins. She does them every month. She is pretty much the ultimate "home maker". Well educated, mother of eight successful children, fabulous cook, entertainer extroardinaire, gardener, author etc. etc. etc. etc. Sometimes I pretend to be like her. She turns 75 in May and I am positive she gets more done in a day than I do. Anyway, I got in line with my cousins to dish up dinner and I saw a baked pasta dish on the counter. I'm not really a fan of baked pasta, especially with red sauce, so I took a small serving. I went to my seat and had a bite. It was fabulous. I shouldn't have been surprised, after all my Grandma made it. I got the recipe from her and I found it on the internet to share with all of you. Truly it is way good. The diced mozerella was soooo good in it. The only thing she did differently was to use dried basil (to taste) instead of fresh. I am excited to have found such a yummy recipe. It always makes me happy to add another winner to my collection. I might even start subscribing to the magazine.

One day I will learn how to link the tricky way where you only have to click a highlighted word. For now, you might have to copy and paste it into your browser.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.
2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

A little birdie (her name is Bakerella) told me that if you want to make these even better, you can skip the canned frosting and make this ganache for topping instead. YUM!

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp butter

* In a small saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before the boiling stage.
* Pour over the chocolate morsels.
* Let stand about 20 seconds and stir until smooth.
* Pour over brownies and let set before cutting.

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Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Ginger Cream

My cousin Sarah is getting married and all she is serving at her reception is strawberry shortcake. I love strawberry shortcake, so that is fine by me. Here is my very favorite recipe.

Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Ginger Cream

Sunset, May 1995

About 2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup plus about 2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (colored part only)

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter or margarine, cut into chunks

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 quarts strawberries, rinsed and hulled, at room temperature

Lemon-ginger cream (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, lemon peel, soda, and salt. With pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in butter until mixture looks mealy. Combine yolks and buttermilk to blend, then add to flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough holds together. On a floured board, knead dough until smooth, 15 to 20 turns. Reflour board and pat out dough 1 inch thick. Cut into 6 circles with floured 2 ½- to 3-inch round cutter, gathering and repatting scraps as needed. Lift onto an ungreased 12 x 15-inch baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake shortcakes in 400 degree oven until deep golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to rack until cool, at least 30 minutes.

Set aside 6 whole berries. Slice remaining berries, place in bowl and stir with 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand 10 minutes to 1 hour. Split shortcakes horizontally and place each bottom on a plate. Cover them with some lemon-ginger cream and sliced berries, then the shortcake tops. Garnish each with a whole berry. Offer with remaining cream and sliced berries. Serves 6.

Lemon-ginger cream: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon peel. In the large bowl of a mixer, beat ½ cup whipping cream until thick. Fold in sour cream mixture.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Ice Cream

Today North Carolina got dumped on with piles of fluffy snow. This doesn't happen too often around here so we have to take advantage of it every way we can. Growing up in Utah, we made this often.

To make homemade snow ice cream:

Fill a bowl with the fluffiest snow available
Stir in milk until it is the perfect ice creamy consistency
Add sugar to taste
Add fresh fruit or chocolate or caramel sauce if desired

Enjoy by closing your eyes and by not thinking about the millions of pollutants you are consuming.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lemon Caper Chicken

My whole family loves this dish. My girls steal as many capers as possible to go on their chicken. I like it because it is a little fancy, but comes together in 30 minutes or less and it tastes great!! Lately I have been serving the chicken and sauce over whole wheat linguine with broccoli as a side dish. I don't have an exact recipe for this dish. I have adapted it over time from one my sister-in-law Jenny gave to me. I wrote it out the way I make it. I hope it makes sense to you. Feel free to ask questions and I will answer. Also, make sure to read the whole thing through before you start :) I put the ingredients in a different color, so you can quickly scan them when you are making your shopping list.

NOTE: The first thing I do when I am making this dinner is start a big pot of water for the noodles. Then I wash and cut the broccoli. I either cook the broccoli (when everything else is almost done) in the microwave with a little water in a glass pyrex, or steam it on top of my noodles. It turns the pasta water green, but doesn't affect the taste.

Then I start on the chicken:

2 large chicken breasts, pounded as thin as you can
flour--about 1/2 cup--on a plate with shallow sides
2 eggs--beaten--in a wide shallow bowl or plate with adequate sides.

1 T olive oil
1 T butter
Put the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan and start it heating on medium.

I always pound my chicken inside a gallon size ziploc bag to cut down on the mess. I use my marble rolling pin. After I have the chicken pounded I dip it first in the flour and then in the egg and set it directly in the hot frying pan. Cook the chicken until it is golden brown on both sides with no pink in the middle.

While the chicken is cooking make the sauce:
2 C water with 2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 can chicken broth--divided
1-2 garlic cloves depending on your taste, grated on the microplane or minced
The juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste
2 T flour

1 bottle of capers--to serve with the chicken and sauce

When the chicken is done, put it on a plate and cover it with foil. Your water will probably be boiling now, so check, and throw the noodles (about 8 oz.) in--if you haven't already. Pour the sauce ingredients into the chicken frying pan--reserving 1/4 C of broth. Scrape off the brown chicken bits at the bottom so they become part of the sauce and let it come to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, stir 2 T flour into the 1/4 C of broth until there are no lumps. When the sauce is boiling whisk in the flour/broth mixture and cook for an additional minute or two until it thickens. I always taste it at this point in case it needs salt. If it is too lemony I add more chicken broth. Once you have tasted it etc., take it off the heat. Cook your broccoli until tender crisp. Drain the noodles. Serve the noodles with chicken, sauce, and as many capers as you like. The lemon sauce is good on the broccoli too. Then pat yourself on the back for making your family such a fabulous dinner in 30 minutes.

(Sorry if the punctuation in this recipe is incorrect. I always feel self-concious about punctuation when I know Ann Dee is going to read my stuff. ;))

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