Monday, December 28, 2009

Monterey Chicken

It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone once again . . . I have felt like a stuffed turkey this past week with all of the amazing food that we have eaten! (It's fudge that draws me in and won't let me go!!!It didn't even seem like I spent that much time in the kitchen this year . . . but we still managed to enjoy the holiday season and grace our table with some favorites! Including Montery chicken . . . which I think I could eat just about every week! I love the color and how bright and fresh the ingredients are and how well they marry together . . . this is a good dish to eat when you want something hearty but not super heavy! This would also make a great pizza too! We love it at our house and I hope you will too!Monterrey Chicken

4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Bacon strips, cooked crisp and chopped (I used thick cut peppered bacon)
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 Roma Tomato's, diced
2 Green Onions, diced
1/3 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and then bake in the oven for about 20 minute at 350 degrees. Smother the chicken breasts with BBQ Sauce on both sides and return to oven for about 3-5 minutes, until breasts are cooked through. Evenly top each chicken breast with the crisp bacon and cheese, broil for 30-60 seconds under the broiler to melt the cheese (optional). Top the chicken breasts with the chopped tomato and green onions. Enjoy!

I used Jenny's BBQ Sauce recipe. Click here to get it! It was soooo good!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Kalter Hund" and Merry Christmas

I LOVE cooking German and Austrian food! It just makes me feel connected again to two countries and cultures that I love!!! This year I have made a couple of German treats that I have previously never made before . . . which has been fun for me and helped me brush up a bit on my German since I have had to translate some of the recipes . . . and convert the measurements too! "Kalter Hund" . . . which interestingly enough means "cold dog" is one dessert that I had in Germany that I remember very well because of the name and because it was super rich and different from any cake that I had ever seen before . . . so this year I tried my hand at whipping up a pan and it turned out great! The cake was created to look like a mine car and is popular for kids birthdays and has a few other names including "Kellerkuchen"= Cellar cake, "Kalte Oma"= Cold Grandma, and "Kalte Hand"= Cold hand, and "Kalte Schnauze"= Cold snout . . . No matter the name . . . it tastes good! I hope that you and your loved ones will have a wonderful Christmas and have time to enjoy good food, good company and good times in the coming year! May the Christmas spirit always reside in your homes and hearts and may the joy of the Saviors birth fill your soul with love and comfort! Merry Christmas!

Kalter Hund
Recipe by : Emily
1 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped
3 cups Milk Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup Coconut Oil (it is solid and will melt during preparation)1 cup Cream
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 package Butter Cookies, shortbread cookies, or graham crackers

1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (this is key to the dessert’s removal later).

2. In a double boiler, add both chocolates and melt. Stir in coconut fat and heavy cream. Whisk gently until well-blended. Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.

3. Spoon enough of the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan to cover the bottom. Gently lay the cookies in an even layer across the chocolate. Cover with chocolate, add another layer of cookies. Repeat the process until you have reached the near the top of the loaf pan. Fill in any gaps with the remaining chocolate.

4. Cover and set pan in refrigerator for at least six hours. Better if left overnight.

To serve, slice thin (you really won’t need any more than a thin slice, I swear). The cake is best served chilled because it will melt at room temperature. Enjoy!

(The better the chocolate you use . . . the better the cake will be! You can also adjust the chocolate measurements to include more dark chocolate than milk chocolate if you like . . . just make sure you have 4 cups of chopped chocolate for the recipe)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Garlic and Herb Roasted Cornish Game hens

I think I have cooked cornish game hens once a year since I have been married . . . but this time around was the BEST that they have been!!! These were SOOOOOO good! Plus soooo easy to make! My hubby loved them! He is a meat and potatoes man through and through . . . so sitting down to dinner with these bad boys made him happy. I love stuffing the hens with orange . . . not only does it flavor the meat but it helps the bird retain its shape while cooking and stay moist! I may have to make them for Christmas dinner too! This recipe is super easy and SUPER DELISH!Garlic and Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hens
Recipe by: Emily
2 Cornish Game Hens, washed and dried
1/2 tsp dried Tarragon
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Chives, dried
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Orange, cut into wedges
4 tbsp Butter, softened
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1. Combine the butter, herbs, salt and pepper together. Smear each game hen with the butter. Be sure to lift the hen skin and rub the butter underneath and on top of the skin. Lightly sprinkle the hen cavities with salt and pepper and then fill each cavity with the orange wedges. Place hens on a baking sheet and tuck the wings underneath the bodies and then tie the drumbsticks together with kitchen twine. Bake in a 450 degree preheated oven for 55-60 minutes. After 15 minutes cover the hens with foil to keep them from over browning and then remove the foil for the last 5 minutes to crisp the skin. Allow hens to rest after baking for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!

(You can also use fresh herbs if you have them on hand!!!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Walnut Shrimp

If you have never had Walnut Shrimp now is your chance to experience a little heaven here on earth! My hubby gave it 2 thumbs up . . . as did I! I could live on chinese food! Some friends of ours told us about a chinese restaurant in a little town an hour or so away that we are amped to try as soon as the weather clears a bit! We'll have to do a triple D report when we make it over their! Until then I am more than content enjoying this tasty delight!
Walnut Shrimp
Recipe by: Emily

1 lb Large Shrimp, deveined, shelled and tails removed
3/4 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1/2 cup Walnuts, halves or chopped
1/4 cup Mayonaisse (regular, light, or fat free)
2 Tbsp Honey
1 1/2 Tbsp Sweetened Condensed Milk (regular or fat free)
1/4 tsp paprika
1 cup Oil (use whatever you prefer for frying, I used canola)

1. Combine the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, add 1/2 cup of halved or chopped walnuts and boil for 2 minutes. Remove walnuts from sugar syrup and allow to cool on a cookie sheet.
2. Mix the mayo, honey, sweetened condensed milk, and parika together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Beat the 4 egg whites in a medium bowl until light and frothy, add corn starch and wisk into a light batter.
4. Heat 1 cup of oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat. Dip shrimp into corn starch batter and coat lightly, fry shrimp in oil until lightly golden brown on each side. Drain fried shrimp on paper towels or a brown paper bag.
5. Once all of the shrimp have been fried add them to the honey/mayo mixture and carefully coat the shrimp with the sauce. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top of the shrimp and serve. Enjoy!
Don't forget to enter to win the Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Pecan Risotto

I made this for dinner last week and loved it! If you don't want to take the time to make rissoto just add whatever rice you like in place of the pearl rice and follow the cooking instructions on the package substituting chicken stock in the place of water and then just mix everything together before stuffing the squash. I love the texture and creaminess of risotto though and honestly it doesn't take much more time than regular rice does to cook. Okay I am off to take my Hebrew final . . . shalom!
White Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Pecan Risotto
Recipe by: Emily

1 lb Sausage
1 cup Pearl or Arborrio Rice
1 small Onion, chopped
1/3 cup Pecans, chopped and toasted
5-6 cups Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup
2 tsp Butter

1. Brown the sausage in a large saucepan. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and add onion to pan. Cook onion until it is soft and begins to caramelize.
2. While the onions are cooking pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low.
3. Add the butter and pearl rice to the onions, stir until the butter is melted and has coated the rice. Add 1/2 sup stock to the rice and onion mixture and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
4. Continue adding 1/2 cup stock to the rice in intervals after the liquid has been absorbed until the rice is creamy and has just a little bite still.
5. Add the sausage and pecans to the rice with 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, season to tase with salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and remove from heat. Cut 3 acorn squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Lightly butter the cavities of the squash. Place squash halves on a baking sheet and evenly distribute the risotto into each acorn squash half. Sprinkle the top of each filled squash half with additional chopped pecans and then drizzle lightly with maple syrup. Cover pan with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until the squash flesh is soft and cooked through. (pierce flesh with a knife to check.) Enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spekulatius and Chocolate Walnut Crinkle Cookies

It is the most wonderful time of year to do a little baking . . . well for me lately a LOT of baking! I currently have SEVEN types of cookies in my kitchen waiting to be eaten by family and friends!!! (We are having a cocoa and cookie party Saturday) I have just had a baking bug . . . which has been helped greatly by the good people at Domino Sugar who so generously sent me a $20 gift card to use to fund my holiday baking! I was challenged by them to make two recipes, one of my own and one of theirs from their website . . . and these two cookies are the results kids! I made my FAVORITE German Christmas cookie, Spekulatius and Chocolate Walnut Crinkle Cookies from their recipe selection. Love them both! The Spekulatius are spicy and crisp while the Chocolate Walnut Crinkle Cookies have a rich and chewy texture. I highly recommend spending a little time in the kitchen today or this weekend with some Christmas music while baking some goodies! Spekulatius
Recipe by: Emily

4 cups Flour
1 1/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/8 tsp Ginger
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Milk
1 cup Butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degress. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and milk and mix. Cut the butter up into little pieces and add to the flour mixture. Knead dough until you get a smooth consistency and the butter is distributed throughout. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch and cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Place cookies onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack. THESE COOKIES ARE BEST IF YOU STORE THEM IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER FOR 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE EATING. Enjoy!Visit the Domino Sugar website to get this recipe . . . and while you are their check out all of the FUN ideas and recipes that they have . . . including the recipe for Chocolate Walnut Crinkle Cookies!!! I used chopped walnuts in my dough rather than place a half on top (which is so pretty, they have picture of the cookies this way on the website) due to the simple fact that I grabbed the wrong bag in my shopping excitement!I love how festive they look! All you need is a mug of hot chocolate and you have a party!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marshmallow Fondant and . . . . a Pirate Birthday Cake!

My cute little nephew Brecken had a pirate birthday party and asked me to make his cake. So of course I was more than happy to and I was pretty delighted with how it turned out. I made the pirates out of fondant and brownies. You can buy the brownie pop pans . . . but I just used an ice cream scoop to form the pirate brownie bodies and then covered them in fondant. They were quite a bit of work . . . but turned out SO cute, each with its' own look and personality!!! All of the kids wanted to eat the pirates! I made pound cake since I knew that the boat needed to support the weight of my brownie pirates and filled the cake with a peanut butter filling and a chocolate fudge filling. I made the fillings pretty thick as well so that they would not settle and bulge out the sides. Heads up kids . . . working with fondant can be quite a work out!!! I am super sore today from rolling out the chocolate fondant!!! It was like rolling out a giant tootsie roll! I make marshmallow fondant and no matter how accurate I measure the ingredients it always seems to turn out either too soft or FIRM! But it worked . . . and turned out great in the end! The birthday boy liked the cake so I was a pretty happy aunt! Happy Birthday Brecky! I Love you buddy!Marshmallow Fondant
16 oz Mini Marshmallows
2 lbs Powder Sugar, sifted
4 Tbsp Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Grease a large microwaveable bowl very well with shortening. Pour in the mini marshmallows and water. Microwave the marshmallows for 1-2 minutes, just until the top marshmallows are shiny and begin to puff. Remove from microwave and stir with a greased rubber scraper, add vanilla and stir again to combine.

2. Mix with a mixer: Grease a mixing bowl with shortening and pour melted marshmallows in. Add half the powder sugar to the melted marshmallows and mix using a greased dough hook. Add the rest of the powder sugar and continue mixing until the fondant is smooth. It may begin to stick to the bowl and dough hook a bit . . . just scrape fondant onto a greased piece of plastic wrap, and form into a disc. Wrap air tight and allow the fondant to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before using.

2. Mix by hand: Grease counter top with shortening. Pour powder sugar into melted marshmallows and stir with greased rubber scraper until it is too stiff to continue stirring. Pour marshmallow mixture onto greased surface and knead the fondant with greased hands until all of the powder sugar is mixed in and the fondant is smooth. Shape fondant into a thick disc and store fondant in greased plastic wrap allowing the fondant to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before using.

3. Grease a flat surface with shortening and or sprinkle a large flat surface with powder sugar to roll out fondant. Be sure to move fondant around on surface to prevent sticking and to keep surface sprinkled with powder sugar or lightly greased.

Heads up: cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap or a towel to keep your kitchen from becoming blanketed with powder sugar!!! This is the reason that if I am at home I knead the fondant by hand and if I am at my mom's I use her Bosch (it's lidded . . . equaling little powder sugar mess). I do have a great Kitchen Aid that I love . . . and mixes fondant but tends to still make a bit of a mess.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant: substitute 1/3 cup cocoa powder for 1/3 cup powder sugar for a lighter color and lighter chocolate taste. Substitute 1/2 cocoa powder in place of 1/2 cup of powder sugar for a "tootsie roll" taste and darker chocolate color. Also add 2 teaspoons more of water to fondant.

Tips for working with Marshmallow Fondant:
- Make sure that everything is well greased to that the fondant does not stick to your hands, bowls, spoons, surfaces, etc.
-Keep fondant stored airtight to prevent it from drying out.
- If after resting for at least an hour fondant is too soft, add a little more powder sugar to make it more stable.
- Microwave fondant for 10-15 seconds to make it a little more pliable if needed, but remember that microwaveing it can dry it out too.
-Knead the fondant to make it more elastic, but don't over do it or you will have a melted sticky mess.

Also: Thank you Whitney for keeping me company and for helping out!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Balsamic Herb Chicken

This is my take on Coq au Vin . . . without the wine (Yes I know Coq au Vin means chicken cooked in wine . . . but I don't cook with alcohol . . . so a little adjusting had to be made) Anywho this turned out better than I could have imagined and is definitely one to serve when company comes!!! The hubby loved it for sure and next time I am going to do boneless thighs rather than contend with the bones I think (although chicken cooked on the bone is more flavorful . . . ) The herb sauce was out of this world kids!
Balsamic Herb Chicken
Recipe by: Emily

3 pounds Chicken pieces, skinned (Drumsticks, thighs, dark meats preferably)
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
3/4 cup Pearl Onions, peeled
2 cups Chicken stock (you can also use roasted garlic chicken broth and leave the 2 garlics cloves out if you like)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried Marjoram
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1 Bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbsp Flour
2 Tbsp Butter
4 Bacon slices, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
Wide Egg Noodles

1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces, takes about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then add onions, chicken stock, carrots, marjoram, thyme, parsley, garlic, balsamic vinegar and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Once chicken is cooked through remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and keep warm. Mix the butter and flour together in a bowl to form a paste and then add to the pan juices. Wisk together until sauce begins to thicken. If the sauce is too thick add more chicken stock or balsamic vinegar. Check taste and add more vinegar or salt and pepper if needed. Serve chicken and vegetables over hot cooked egg noodles and then spoon sauce over the chicken and noodles. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and parsley if desired. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nutella Snowflakes

These cookies seem very fitting for today . . . since the world outside my window consists of a sea of snowflakes. I made these for a few reasons . . . school stress, my mom worries when she doesn't see a new recipe up from me each day (yeah she worries a lot then . . .) and my hubby is coming home and he is a shortbread cookie fanatic!!! These cookies have a GREAT texture and taste! It is a combo of two delicious worlds . . . an amazing shortbread cookie AND nutella! I need to make more for when I go visiting teaching! I think these are on my Christmas cookie list. They store well and are just plain good! We'll see how much baking I do in the kitchen this year for Christmas. . . I do LOVE the Chocolate Chip Cookie Biscotti that I made last year . . . but these little jems = big smiles and happy tummy's!

Nutella Snowflakes
3/4 cup Butter, Softened
1/2 cup Powder Sugar
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 large Egg yolks
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cup Flour

In a medium bowl beat the butter for l minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the powder sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and mix until combined. Form dough into a thick disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut cookies into 2 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet. Spoon 1 teaspoon of nutella into the center of each cookie. Lightly wet the cookies edges with water to help seal the cookie. Top nutella topped cookies off with another dough round and seal by crimping around the edges gently with a fork.
Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for 14-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Transfer cookies to a FLAT surface to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and then enjoy! Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

You can also use preserves or peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar as a filling instead.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Popcorn

You don't want to know what time of night this delightful creation came about . . . I practically had to tape my eyes open to make it . . . but I am glad that I did because I never would have been able to hit the hay until it was out of my mind! This popcorn is delish to say the least . . . it is a step up from white chocolate popcorn and you can fiddle with the spices to your liking. I am a major cinnamon and nutmeg fan . . . so I leaned more toward those flavors but you could simply use pumpkin pie spice and tink with it until it tastes to your liking. This would be great to give out as a treat at Christmas time or to munch on while baking pies for Thanksgiving. (Which is when I will probably make it again.) Also if you are an eggnog fan you can tink with the spices until you have eggnog flavored popcorn.
I have to add a HUGE congrats to our good friends up in Alaska who are expecting baby #2! Congrats Lowry's! We are so excited for you!!! Pumpkin Pie Popcorn
Recipe by: Emily

1 cup White Chocolate chips
1 tsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Ground Ginger, a light sprinkle
Ground Cloves, a very light sprinkle
1 Bag Popcorn, whatever you have on hand, I used lightly buttered.

Pop a bag of popcorn, remove unpopped kernels and set aside in a large bowl. Combine the white chocolate chips and teaspoon of oil together and microwave for 30 seconds stirring after every 10 seconds until chocolate is melted. (BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN IT!!!) Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, light sprinkling of ginger, and very light sprinkle of cloves to the melted chocolate, stir and then drizzle over the popped popcorn. Use two butter knives to "fluff" the chocolate mixture all over the popcorn. Garnish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg of desired. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Enjoy!
You can also add a drop or two of orange food coloring to the chocolate to be more festive!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crispy Bacon and Butternut Squash Soup

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween! We did in our possy! I had the pleasure of playing crosswalk guard/monkey carrier . . . meaning that I helped herd, guide, and carry nieces and nephews from house to house while trick or treating. To prep for our candy gathering we filled up with Navajo tacos, decorated sugar cookies and munched on all sorts of other goodies!
A seemingly never ending day of snow last week guided me into the kitchen to make this inviting soup. Butternut squash is so versatile to utilize in making soup . . . I LOVED the addition of bacon in it! The crispy bacon added a great smoky, salty flavor and crispy nummy-ness. It is amazing and a day with a crispy loaf of baked potato bread (recipe yet to come . . . ).
Crispy Bacon and Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe by: Emily

1 Butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
3 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Milk or Cream
3 Tbsp leeks, chopped*
2 Garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 cloves of caramelized garlic*)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Strips of Bacon

1. Coat the butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender.
2. Cook the bacon strips in a frying pan over medium low heat until crisp. (If you start the bacon in a cold pan and cook at a low temperature it renders the fat down and creates crispy bacon with less mess and stress!!!). Once the bacon is cooked place strips on a paper towel to drain excess grease off.
3. Saute the leaks over medium heat in a medium pot in one tablespoon of the bacon fat until soft, add the Garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
4. Once the squash is done remove the chicken stock pot from the stove, add the roasted squash and puree with a hand blender or blend in 2 batches in a blender. (Be careful if you are using a blender, hold a dish towel over the top instead of the blender lid so that it does not explode the hot liquid all over!!!). Add 1/2 cup milk or cream to the soup and season to taste. Serve warm with one strip of bacon crumbled over each serving. You can also garnish with Parmesan cheese or croutons. (I like to add a little drzzle of pumpkin seed oil.) Enjoy!

Caramelized Garlic: amazing in anything! Caramelized garlic is easy to make, wrap a head of garlic (I make a couple at a time) in aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes until the cloves are soft. I let the garlic heads cool to room temperature and then peel the cloves and freeze them in a bag in the freezer, ready to to be used in any recipe! Roasting the garlic creates an almost sweet flavor that is not as overwhelming as raw garlic. It is also so good to mix butter and herbs with and use as a french bread spread!

Leek Cubes: chopping and cleaning leeks can be a bit of a pain sometimes, especially if you want to get dinner done quickly. Whenever I buy leeks I get a bunch to chop up and clean and then fill an ice cube tray with the cleaned, chopped leeks and then fill the cubes with chicken stock and freeze. After frozen I pop them out bag them and then back into the freezer they go where they are ready to use in soups, sauces etc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Braised Beef Ragout with Penne Pasta

We are expecting snow tomorrow . . . which miffs me since I LOVE Halloween and would rather not have to start traipsing across campus in the wet slippery stuff until AFTER October . . . but I live in Utah . . . so what do you expect? In lieu of the impending weather I felt inclined to spend a little time in the kitchen and try out something new! I wanted something warm, hearty, and comforting . . . so I came up with this recipe after scouring a few cookbooks and finding things that sounded/looked great . . . after a little cupboard scouring and a little fiddle-faddling . . . out came this creation . . . which I will definitely be making for our next dinner guests! Yes it was that good! AND it was easy to make and divine to eat!
Braised Beef Ragout with Penne Pasta
Recipe by: Emily
3 lb Beef Roast (use your favorite cut, or pull out the leftover roast from Sunday and use it!)
2 medium Onions, halved and sliced
2 cups Beef Stock
2 14.5 oz Cans Crushed Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Sugar (cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
2 Bay leaves

(This dish goes from the stove top to the oven. I used a large frying pan that was oven safe, so I only had one pot to clean. However, you can brown the meat in a pan, cook the onions, and combine the sauce and then place everything in a roasting pan to braise in the oven as well.)

1. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat on a stove top. Add roast to the pan and brown on both sides. Remove the meat and set aside while you make the sauce/braising liquid.
2.Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, add the sliced onions and cook until lightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds with the onions. Add the crushed tomatoes, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, rosemary, salt, pepper, and bay leaves to the onion and garlic mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce for about 3 minutes and then add the meat back to the pot. Remove skillet from the stove top and cover with a lid or foil and place in a 350 degree oven. Cook in the oven for about 2 hours, the meat should be become tender and the sauce will begin to thicken.
3. Remove from the oven and shred the beef with two forks, and then return to the oven for 15 more minutes to allow sauce to thicken and meat to tenderize more. Remove bay leaves, taste and season if needed and serve over pasta or polenta. Enjoy! This dish is different from the typical meat sauce or marinara over pasta plus it is rich, hearty and just plain delish!

(This sauce would be amazing in Lasagna or over any pasta!!!)

I substituted venison for the beef once and it was wonderful!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The BEST Caramel Popcorn EVER

My mom's side of the fam put together a cookbook years ago with favorite recipes from everyone. It is the first place that I look for recipes or ideas. . . we continually add to it . . . in fact I need to add my Open Pantry recipes to it . . . anyways my Aunt Alyson has a killer caramel popcorn recipe in it that puts all other goodies to shame! I love it because A. it is easy to make and B. it is gooey deliciousness! I have tried MANY popcorn recipes but sorry kids . . . this is the fav! The only downside about making it is that we eat it . . . all of it . . . no matter how many people are present . . . and then we scrap every last drop or caramel from the bowl . . . sometimes I double the recipe to make EXTRA gooey popcorn . . . so then there is even more caramel to fight over in the bottom of the bowl! Love it! The hubs and I added peanuts and candy corn to make a Halloween treat this time around and yes we nearly ate the whole bowl for dinner! (LOVED IT!)
Aunt Aly's Caramel Popcorn
Recipe by: Alyson Christensen

1/2 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Melt the butter and add the brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and corn syrup. Cook for about 3-5 minutes for gooey caramel or until the caramel reaches a 280 degree temperature on a candy thermometer for set caramel. Stir while cooking to prevent burning. Pour over popped popcorn and stir to coat popcorn. Enjoy!

You can add any goodies for even more gooey deliciousness . . . such as nuts, candy corn, M&M's, Reese's Pieces etc. If you add a candy that can melt (such as M&M's, freeze the candy first to keep it from melting all over.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grandma's 80th Birthday Cake!

This spunky sweet lady, our beloved Grandma Liechty, my hubby's saucy grandma, had her 80th birthday this week and to celebrate I thought that she definitely deserved a cake to match the occasion and her love of life! I was excited to be able to bake my hubby's sweet grandma's cake and we were even more thrilled to eat it!The cake was a death by chocolate cake and went fast! It was awesome to see how excited grandma was and just as much fun to see everyone else's reaction, especially her great-grandkids (my ueber cute nieces and nephews) who were downing marshmallow fondant balls left and right We just loved our trip and seeing the amazing leaves beginning to change throughout Utah! Another fun event this week was finding out that my Famous Stuffed Mushroom's recipe is in the Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook . . . flip open the book and their it is . . . the first recipe with a gorgeous picture! A great surprise and a fun cookbook! !Chocolate Fudge Frosting

2 pound bag of powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Butter
1/3 cup Shortening
7 ounces (1/2 can) Sweetened Condensed Milk
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, or milk chocolate

Beat the butter and shortening together until smooth, add the vanilla, powder sugar, and 1/4 cup of milk (add more milk if needed). Set aside

Mix the chocolate chips, condensed milk and salt together in a microwave-safe bowl.
heat on high for 1 minute intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted.
cool to room temperature before beating into buttercream. Chill frosting before using. Enjoy

This is a very rich frosting/cake filling!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Zucchini Kuchen

I am one who is more likely to buy a cookbook or try a recipe because I see a picture of it or see it made and it makes me want to pull on some jeans, a ball cap and a sweatshirt and run to the store at 2 in the morning to buy ingredients! I am sure we are all guilty of passing up some killer meals because they don't sound/look as appealing as others. Sadly I think this recipe may fall into the category of "greats that were passed over." This is definitely a "don't judge a book by its cover" type of cake!!! In fact it is one of the best cakes that I have ever had and I was beyond thrilled to be cleaning out my bookshelf of recipes and to have found it (especially since it was printed in German on a half sheet of paper . . . in great danger of being lost forever!) This recipe was given to me by an Italian lady that I met while serving an LDS mission in Germany. She served it to me and my missionary companion Kate (cook extraordinaire) and we asked for the recipe! One thing that really thrilled me was that it was made with olive oil . . . an ingredient that I had never had in a cake or dessert before and it makes the cake unbelievably moist and fruity. Plus the pairing with cinnamon just knocks my socks off! It really is absolutely rich, moist and delicious! I think it is a perfect treat to take on a picnic or to enjoy with a mug of hot chocolate or herbal tea! This cake also gets better the second or third day!

Zucchini Kuchen
3 Eggs
1 cup Olive Oil
2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2-3 small Zucchini, diced or shredded
3 cups Flour
1 tsp Backing Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the 3 eggs together in a large bowl unto light and fluffy, add olive oil, vanilla and zucchini. Mix well
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until incorporated. (This is a THICK batter).
Pour the batter into two greased 9 inch pans and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for an hour; cover the cake with aluminum foil for the last 1/2 hour of baking. Cool to room temperature and dust with powder sugar and/or cinnaman if you like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Broccoli Beef

Hello everybody! Yep . . . I know that I have not posted in a while . . . and sadly I have made some mighty fine things during my little absence . . . but photographed NONE of it! I bought Dorie Greenspan's amazing Baking book and I have dreamily been turning its pages and dusting my kitchen with flour and sugar trying out some of her delicious recipes! Check out her book or her site to see what amazing concoctions she has created! For labor day I made her almost snickers treats and yes my family enjoyed them! Speaking of which I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! We spent it with my lovely fam at my sweet Aunt Susan's house after watching the labor day parade. It is seriously one of my favorite days of the year! I love gathering our crew and catching up and munching on some amazing food! Thanks ya'll that came! It was fun . . . and those who weren't their . . . well you were missed but you SERIOUSLY MISSED OUT!

Broccoli Beef
1 lb Sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
1 lb Broccoli Florets
2 tablespoons Cooking Oil
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Beef Marinade:1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:3 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth plus 2 tbsp
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes

1. Marinate the beef: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for about 15 minutes
2. For the sauce: Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, set aside
3. Cook the broccoli in a small pot of boiling, salted water until tender-crisp, about 2-3 minutes. It should be a bright green. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
4 Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the beef out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry for a minute, it will begin to brown nicely. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink, Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

This recipe freezes very well! Also I like to keep my broccoli with as much stem on as possible, so that they are long pieces. I peel the stems of the broccoli to get rid of the tough outer skin before blanching them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Onion Petals

Hmmm . . . what to do while anxiously waiting for my next class on this lovely first day of fall semester school . . . blog something fitting for a day of fretting! Fried food!!! We actually indulged in these terribly delicious artery clogging munchies a few weeks ago and they have been patiently waiting for their appearance on The Open Pantry! I am so tempted to make more . . . but won't . . . probably won't . . . will try to avoid touching cooking oil today . . . and tomorrow . . . hopefully! We will see what my math class (!!!) and economics class drive me to do! Onion Petals
Recipe by: Emily

Large sweet onion, cut into "petals" or rings
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
1 1/2 cups Flour
3-4 cups Cooking oil, canola, corn, peanut etc.

1. Cut the onion into petals or rings, whichever you prefer. Mix the flour and seasoning salt together in a bowl. Mix the buttermilk and egg in another and beat lightly to mix. Dredge the onion petals in the flour a couple at a time, and then coat in egg mixture. Return egged petals to the flour mixture to coat again and lightly shake off any excess flour. Place petals directly into a large pot heated to 375 degrees. Fry onions in oil until lightly browned. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels or a paper bag. Lightly salt petals immediately after removing them from oil. Serve hot with favorite dipping sauce! Enjoy!

I served these babies with Horsey Sauce.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bee Birthday Cake

I love making cakes! It is sooo much fun and so relaxing (unless you have a deadline and get to stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning . . . still learning how long some things take . . .) or if your fondant will not cooperate . . . or if it takes 10 times as long as you think it will . . . or if something happends to it during delivery . . . . but other than that it is a delight! I was super excited to find out that one of the ladies that I visiting teach is having a birthday today (!!!) so I made her a cake!The bees were fun to make and I was beyond thrilled that my marshmallow fondant was the PERFECT consistency! Oh Happy Day!!! I hope that you have a Happy Birthday Jen!!!