I have been married to a wonderful Christian man since 1976. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons. I consider each day the Lord gives me on the earth yet another chance to serve Him.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Crispy Oven Fries

I love my fries crispy.  These do the trick.   So much healthier than the double deep fry method.  A cooling/wire rack is imperitive for this recipe.   The air flow under the fries is what makes them so crispy.



CRISPY OVEN FRIES
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*6 medium Idaho potatoes
*1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1-2 teaspoons seasonings of choice (optional)

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Place a cooling/wire rack over a cookie sheets (you will probably need 2 cookie sheets).
~Peel potatoes lengthwise.
~Cut each potato into thin strips.
~In a large bowl, toss the fries with olive oil, coating fries.
~Season with salt & pepper.
~Arrange the fries in a single layer, leaving adequate space between each fry.
~Bake for 30 minutes.
~Remove fries from oven.
~Turn oven up to 425 degrees.
~Toss the fries with seasonings of choice.
~Return fries to cooling/wire rack, single layer and adequately spaced.
~Bake another 15-20 minutes, or until crisp & brown.

Flavoring Ideas:
-minced garlic & dried rosemary
-paprika & chili powder
-cajun seasoning
-parmesan cheese
-parmesan cheese & dried oregano
-onion salt & garlic salt
-lawrey's season salt

Helpful Hint:
`If you don't like your fries as crispy, just bake them for about 5-8 minutes for the second bake.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sesame Chicken Salad

Great for lunch, dinner, picnic, or snack.



SESAME CHICKEN SALAD
(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:
*1/4 cup sesame seeds
*1 (16 ounce) package of spiral noodles
*1/4 cup vegetable oil
*1/3 cup soy sauce
*1/3 cup rice vinegar
*1 teaspoon sesame oil
*3 tablespoon white sugar
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*3 cups chicken breast, cooked, cooled & shredded
*1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
*1/4 cup shredded carrots
*1/3 cup cucumbers, sliced
*1/3 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
*1/3 cup green onions, chopped

Directions:
~Heat a small pan over medium-high heat.
~Add sesame seeds, stirring often, until lightly toasted.
~Remove from heat, and set aside.
~Bring a large pot of water to boil.
~Lightly salt water.
~Add pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.
~Drain pasta.
~Rinse pasta under cold water until cool.
~Place drained, cooled pasta into a large bowl.
~Mix veggies & chicken into pasta.
~Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger & pepper in a container that you can close.
~Shake mixture well.
~Pour over pasta mixture and gently mix well until pasta is evenly coated.

Variation:
`omit chicken to make it vegetarian if you choose.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Cream of Mushroom Soup

    This is good just as a soup or to cook a roast, pork chops, meatballs or chicken in.  Very quick and easy to make.


    CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP
    (serves 6)

    Ingredients:
    *6 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
    *2 cups chicken stock
    *1 small onion, chopped
    *1 garlic clove, minced
    *1 tablespoon butter
    *3 tablespoons butter
    *3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    *1/4 teaspoon salt
    *1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    *1 cup half & half

    Directions:
    ~Sauté onions, garlic & mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
    ~Add chicken stock & thyme to mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes.
    ~Carefully pour mixture into a blender or food processor.
    ~Puree, leaving small pieces of vegetable in it.
    ~In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
    ~Whisk in the flour, until smooth.
    ~Once smooth, cook for 1 minute whisking continuously.
    ~Add salt, pepper, half & half, and mushroom mixture.
    ~Stir constantly, bringing soup to a boil, and cook until thickened.

    *Add more milk if it becomes to thick.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Roasted Garlic Basil Cream Sauce with Chicken

    This is a nice recipe when you want something good to eat that only takes short time to whip up.  It is one of my favorites.  I make it very seldom because of the calories & fat in it.


    ROASTED GARLIC BASIL CREAM SAUCE with CHICKEN
    (serves 4)

    Ingredients:
    *1 whole garlic bulb (small-medium)
    *1-2 teaspoons olive oil
    *1/4 cup whole milk
    *1/4 cup italian style bread crumbs
    *4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    *6 tablespoons butter
    *1 red pepper, chopped
    *1 cup chicken broth
    *2 cups heavy cream
    *1-1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
    *1/2 cup fresh basil
    *1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    *1 (8 ounce box) angel hair pasta

    Directions:
    ~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    ~Cut top off of garlic bulb, and remove just the outer layer of skin.
    ~Drizzle olive oil over top of bulb making sure all the cut edges are coated.
    ~Wrap in aluminum foil.
    ~Bake for 30-35 minutes or until garlic is soft.
    ~Allow garlic to cool and squeeze out soft garlic into a small bowl.
    ~Set aside.
    ~Put a pot of salted water over medium-high heat.
    ~Bring water to a boil.
    ~Cook noodles as directed on package.
    ~Drain noodles, and set aside.
    ~Pound chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick.
    ~Place milk in a shallow bowl.
    ~Place bread crumbs into a separate bowl.
    ~Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
    ~Dip chicken into milk & then in the bread crumbs.
    ~Cook in butter, on both sides, until done (about 10 minutes).
    ~Remove, and keep warm.
    ~Add chicken broth to skillet.
    ~Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen browned chicken bits from pan.
    ~Add red pepper to pan and cook until pepper is tender.
    ~Add in roasted garlic.
    ~Stir in cream; boil for 1 minute.
    ~Reduce heat to low.
    ~Add parmesan cheese, chopped basil & pepper.
    ~Cook sauce until heated through, stirring often.
    ~Plate noodles, place chicken over noodles, and pour mixture over chicken & serve.

    Variation:
    `If you don't have the time or desire to roast garlic, sauté 4 or 5 cloves when you sauté the red peppers.  I personally think the roasted garlic is much better in this recipe.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Flour Tortillas

    As always, so much better than store bought.   It's super simple to make, just make sure you roll them out thin enough.  Store the extra in a plastic zip-loc bag in the refrigerator.




    FLOUR TORTILLAS
    (makes 16)

    Ingredients:
    *2 1/2 cups all-purose flour
    *1 teaspoon kosher salt
    *2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    *1-2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
    *1 cup hot water

    Directions:
    ~Whisk the flour, salt & baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
    ~Mix in the lard/vegetable shortening with pastry blender or fork, until the flour resembles course crumbs.
    ~Slowly add the water and mix until the dough come together.
    ~Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 30-40 times,  until the dough becomes smooth.
    ~Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
    ~Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.
    ~Roll each piece into a ball.
    ~Allow dough balls to rest for 10 minutes.
    ~Preheat a large skillet (cast iron is best) over medium-high heat.
    ~Roll  each dough ball into a very thin semi-round tortilla.
    ~Cook tortillas one at a time.
    ~Cook until golden & bubbly (20-30 seconds).
    ~Flip and cook until a golden brown on the other side.
    ~Place tortillas in a warmer or between warm towels in a warm 
    oven.  


    Helpful Hint:
    -They cook much better in a dark pan such as a cast iron pan.
    -Make sure you roll them out super thin, almost translucent. 
    -Don't cook tortillas to long or they will become crisp.


    **Don't become discouraged if the first few don't seem to work for you.  You'll get the hang of it, and will be very happy with the taste.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Veggie Bake

    This is so simple, healthy and good.  I'm not a vegetarian, but boy did I enjoy this recipe.




    VEGGIE BAKE
    (serves 8)

    Ingredients:
    *1 medium zucchini, sliced into bite size pieces
    *1 medium yellow squash, sliced into bite size pieces
    *1/3 cup red onion, chopped
    *1/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
    *1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
    *1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
    *1/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
    *1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
    *6-8 ounces fresh baby spinach
    *3 garlic cloves, minced
    *1 teaspoon dried basil
    *1 teaspoon dried oregano
    *3 tablespoon olive oil
    *1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    *1 teaspoon white sugar
    *1 teaspoon salt
    *1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    *(8 ounce) package lasagna noodles
    *9 plum tomatoes, sliced thin

    Directions:

    ~Bring a large pot of water to boil on top of stove.
    ~Once water is boiling add lasagna noodles.
    ~Boil noodles for 5 minutes, remove from water and drain.
    ~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    ~Lightly coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
    ~In a large bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, red onion, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese & feta cheese.
    ~Mix olive, balsamic vinegar, basil & oregano.
    ~Drizzle over vegetables.
    ~Place 1/2 of the lasagna noodles into the bottom of the prepared pan.
    ~Make a layer of tomato slices over noodles.
    ~Spread a generous amount of veggie mixtures over the tomatoes.
    ~Lay 1/2 of the slices of tomatoes over veggies.
    ~Layer the rest of lasagna noodles over tomatoes.
    ~Layer the rest of tomatoes over noodles.
    ~Layer the rest of the veggie mix over the tomatoes.
    ~Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over top.
    ~Bake for 40-45 minutes.
    ~Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes, so casserole can sit.

      Friday, September 16, 2011

      Cheesy Bread

      This is sooooooo good, but not necessarily good for you.  It makes  a great appetizer or is also excellent along with soup or pasta dishes.


      CHEESY BREAD

      Ingredients:
      *1 loaf of Italian or French Bread (I've posted both recipes on my blog)
      *1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
      *1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
      *1/4 cup green onion, chopped
      *1/4 cup mayonnaise
      *1 tablespoon sour cream
      *2 cloves garlic, minced
      *1/4 cup butter, softened

      Directions:
      ~Mix the both cheeses & green onion in a large bowl.
      ~Stir in mayonnaise & sour cream.
      ~In a separate bowl blend butter & garlic until smooth.
      ~Mix the butter mixture & cheese mixture together.
      ~Preheat oven to broil.
      ~Slice bread in half horizontally.
      ~Put bread crust side down on a cookie sheet.
      ~Spread cheese mixture over bread.
      ~Put in oven and broil until lightly brown, 3-5 minutes.
      ~Remove from oven and let sit another 5 minutes.
      ~Slice bread & serve.

      Variation:
      `add crumbled, cooked, bacon to cheese mixture.
      `add chopped sautéed red & green peppers to top of bread.
      `add chopped olives to cheese mixture.
      `add chopped pepperoni to top of bread.

      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      Italian Bread

      I love a good crusty on the outside, soft on the inside bread.  This one fits that bill.


      ITALIAN BREAD
      (2 loafs)

      Ingredients:
      *2 cups warm water
      *2 teaspoons active dry yeast
      *4 2/3 cups bread flour
      *1/4 teaspoon sugar
      *2 teaspoons salt
      *1 tablespoon olive oil
      *1 tablespoon corn meal

      Directions:
      ~Combine water, yeast & sugar into a small bowl.
      ~Set sit for 10 minutes until yeast proofs (foams).
      ~Mix flour & salt in a large mixing bowl.
      ~Add yeast water and mix until incorporated.
      ~Mix in olive oil (do not add this at the same time as the yeast-water).
      ~Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny.
      ~Place the dough into a large oiled bowl.
      ~Turn dough so that it's oiled on all sides.
      ~Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm/draft free area.
      ~Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
      ~Punch down dough.
      ~Sprinkle cooking stone or cookie sheet with corn meal.
      ~Roll into desired shape of loaf.
      ~Place on cooking stone.
      ~Cut about 1/4 inch deep slice, along the top of the loaf, stopping short of the ends.
      ~Cover with with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 30-60 minutes.
      ~Place a bowl of water in the oven.
      ~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
      ~Put bread in oven, on bottom rack and bake for 10 minutes.
      ~Reduce heat to 400 degrees, bake another 20-30 minutes.
      ~Bread is done when it makes a hollow sound when you thump on the bottom with your thumb.

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011

      Pizza Sauce

      Very easy to make.  It requires no cooking.  The trick to a better taste is to let the flavors marinate together.  Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


      Pizza Sauce:

      Ingredients:
      *1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
      *1/2 cup warm water
      *4 tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese
      *2 garlic cloves, minced
      *1 teaspoon onion powder
      *1 teaspoon sea salt
      *1/2 teaspoon dried basil
      *1/2 teaspoon black pepper
      *1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
      *1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
      *1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
      *1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

      Directions:
      ~In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients.
      ~Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
      ~Spread over pizza before any other toppings.

      Variations:
      ~Add 2 teaspoons hot sauce
      ~Add chopped black olives.

      Monday, September 12, 2011

      Peach Crisp

      This works best if the peaches aren't to soft.   It's okay if they are hard, the'll soften up in the oven.



      PEACH CRISP
      (serves 8)

      Ingredients:
      *6 peaches
      *1/2 cup flour
      *1/2 cup oatmeal
      *1/2 cup white sugar
      *1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
      *3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      *1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      *1/4 teaspoon salt
      *1/2 cup butter, cold
      *Zest from 1/2 of a lemon
      *juice from 1/2 of a lemon
      *2 tablespoons real maple syrup


      Directions:
      ~Mix flour, oatmeal, white sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a medium size bowl.
      ~Cut cold butter into flour/sugar mixture using a pastry cutter, until well mixed.
      ~Place peaches in a hot water bath for about 5 minutes.
      ~Remove from hot water and place in cold water.
      ~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      ~Peel peaches, and dice and place into a bowl.
      ~Add lemon zest & lemon juice.
      ~Add 2 tablespoon of real maple syrup, stir well.
      ~Spray a 8x8 inch baking pan with a cooking spray.
      ~Add peach mixture to baking dish.
      ~Cover evenly with crumb mixture.
      ~Cover pan with aluminum foil.
      ~Bake for 15 minutes.
      ~Remove foil.
      ~Bake another 25-30 minutes or until the crisp is brown.

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      Bean & Rice Wraps

      This is a great wrap to make.  Very easy, tasty, and healthy.   I make them, wrap them up and freeze them individually.  They are great for lunch or a light dinner.  Defrost and heat up in the microwave.


      BEAN & RICE WRAPS
      (makes 12-14)

      Ingredients:
      *1 cup uncooked white or brown rice
      *2 cups waters
      *2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
      *1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans
      *1 cup whole kernel corn
      *1/2 cup diced tomatoes with green chiles
      *16 (10-inch flour tortillas)
      *1 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
      *1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
      *1/4 teaspoon salt
      *1/2 teaspoon cumin
      *1 teaspoon chili powder

      Directions:
      ~Combine rice and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
      ~Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes for white rice and 40 for brown rice.
      ~Remove from heat and cool.
      ~Place pinto beans & black beans into a colander and rinse.
      ~Add corn & diced tomatoes with chilies, and gently mix.
      ~Transfer to a large bowl.
      ~Mix in rice and cheese.
      ~Sprinkle in salt, cumin & chili powder, mix well.
      ~Divide mixture evenly among the flour tortillas.
      ~Roll each one up.
      ~Heat in microwave or wrap individually and freeze.
      ~Defrost & heat in microwave.

      Variation:
      `substitute water with chicken stock.  It will give your rice even more flavor.

      Wednesday, September 7, 2011

      Grilled Fish

      This is super easy, quick to make and oh so very good.  Pretty healthy to boot.


      GRILLED FISH
      (serves 4)

      Ingredients:
      *3 garlic cloves, minced
      *2 tablespoons olive oil
      *1 teaspoon dried oregano
      *2 teaspoons dried basil
      *1 teaspoon paprika
      *1 teaspoon salt
      *1 teaspoon black pepper
      *1 teaspoon paprika
      *1 teaspoon dried paprika
      *1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      *1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
      *4 (6 ounce) cod fillets

      Directions:
      ~Place garlic, olive oil, oregano, paprika, parsley, basil, pepper flakes, salt & pepper in a gallon sized zip-loc bag or covered glass.
      ~Seal and mix well.
      ~Place the cod into the olive oil mixture.
      ~Seal bag and turn until fish is well coated.
      ~Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes or so.
      ~Preheat grill on high.
      ~Oil grates.
      ~Grill cod about 5 minutes per side or until fish is done and flakes easily with a fork.


      Variation:
      `Pan sear over medium-high heat.
      `Bake at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes.
      `Substitute cod with halibut.

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      Tarter Sauce

      A tarter sauce can make or break a fish dinner that you have worked hard on.   I think this one is very good.



      TARTAR SAUCE
      (serves 6-8)

      Ingredients:
      *1 cup mayonnaise
      *1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
      *1 1/2 tablespoons onions, minced
      *1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
      *1/8 teaspoon dill weed
      *1 teaspoon salt
      *1/2 teaspoon pepper

      Directions:
      ~In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and minced onions.
      ~Stir in lemon juice.
      ~Add salt, pepper, & dill weed.
      ~Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. (If you don't let it sit, it tastes to much like mayonnaise)

      Variation (add one or all of these if you choose):
      -add 1 tablespoon drained capers
      -add1 teaspoon dijon mustard
      -add1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
      -add 1/3 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
      -1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

      Friday, September 2, 2011

      Peach Salsa

      Just a little different twist on your normal everyday salsa.   Quick and easy to make.



      PEACH SALSA
      (makes 7-8 pints)

      Ingredients:
      *7 cups peaches
      *6-8 roma tomatoes
      *1 medium red onion, chopped
      *2-3 medium jalapeño peppers, seeded & finely chopped
      *1 large red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
      *1 tablespoon dried cilantro
      *1/2 cup white vinegar
      *2 tablespoons honey
      *3 garlic cloves, finely minced
      *1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
      *1/2 teaspoon salt
      *1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

      Directions:
      ~Sterilize 8 pint jars.
      ~Put a large pot of water on to boil.
      ~Once water is boiling, add tomatoes & peaches to water for about 3-4 minutes.
      ~Immediately place tomatoes & peaches in cold water.
      ~Once cooled, peel, pit & chop peaches into small chunks.
      ~Once cooled, peel tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop into small chunks.
      ~In a large stainless or enamel cooking pot, combine peaches, tomatoes, onion, red pepper, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, cumin & cayenne pepper.
      ~Bring mixture to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes.
      ~Ladle salsa into hot jars leaving a 1/4 inch space headspace.
      ~Wipe jar rim to remove any salsa.
      ~Place lid & rim on top of jar and screw on.
      ~Place jars in a hot bath in canner and boil for 10-15 minutes.
      ~Remove from canner.
      ~Jars are sealed with the lids pop and there is no bubble in the middle of the lid.
      ~Store in a cool dark place.

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      Peach Ice Cream

      What a great fall treat.  I love peaches when they come out in the fall.  They are so juicy and full of flavor.  This makes a full gallon of ice cream, so you may want to cut the recipe in half.




      ICE CREAM
      (1 gallon)

      Ingredients:
      *4- 6 cups peaches, peeled & sliced
      (6 if you want a stronger peach taste, 4 if you want a hint of peach taste)
      *1 cup sugar
      *1 1/2 cups sugar
      *2 tablespoon flour
      *1/2 teaspoon salt
      *3 eggs, beaten
      *1 cup heavy whipping cream
      *1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
      *4 cups whole milk

      Instructions:
      ~Combine the sliced peaches with 1 cup sugar.
      ~Let peach-sugar mixture sit for about 2 hours, until peaches have softened and you have a good amount of liquid in the bowl.
      ~Puree peaches & juice in a blender or use a potato masher.
      ~Set aside.
      ~Cook eggs, flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar & salt over low heat, stirring until mixture begins to thicken.  (important to do this slowly, so you don't cook the eggs).
      ~Pour egg mixture in a bowl and cool to room temperature.
      ~Once egg mixture is cooled, add the heavy cream & vanilla.
      ~Whisk until egg mixture lightens.
      ~Stir in milk & pureed peaches.
      ~Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight.  
      ~Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
      ~If you like soft serve, you can serve this now.
      ~If you like your ice cream hard, put ice cream in to a freezer container and cover.
      ~Freeze for 6-8 hours.

      Helpful Hint:
      `Place plastic wrap directly over ice cream before covering and placing in freezer.  This will help to prevent freezer burn.