Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Soup

This is the first time I've eaten asparagus soup. I LOVED it! I really didn't expect it to turn out so well. Even the boys loved it. If you haven't tried it before you've got to, it's spectacular.

2 large bunches of asparagus (about 1lb)
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Wash asparagus, gently bend one stalk and let it snap naturally- throw away the snapped end. Use that as a guide and snap or chop the ends off all the asparagus to avoid stringy soup. Boil 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and steam asparagus until tender. Reserve a few asparagus for garnish. Transfer remaining asparagus and liquid into blender and puree.

In same saucepan melt butter. Add flour and slowly whisk in remaining chicken broth until thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, asparagus puree and milk. Add yogurt and lemon juice and stir until heated through. Top with parmesan cheese and garnish with asparagus spears.
  
 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smothered Burritos


I LOVE smothered burritos. It's one of the things I miss the most about Utah. You just can't find these anywhere else. My favorite place was Los Tres Amigos in Provo- they were awesome. My last pregnancy I craved these almost every day. I have tried numerous ways to make them and just can't seem to get it perfect. This is as close as I've come and it still isn't the same, but it's better than nothing...I can't wait to get a real one in less than a month!!!

Small pork roast (I used part of the roast for my pulled pork the other night)
Green Enchilada sauce (recipe below)
Refried Beans
Tortillas
Cheese

You can use canned green enchilada sauce or use the recipe below. Slow cook pork with sauce in crockpot on low for 10 hours or high for 5. Shred pork with fork until mixed in with sauce. Heat refried beans and spread on a tortillas. Add a scoop of the pork mixture some cheese and roll up. Smother the top with more pork mixture and cheese. Broil in the oven until cheese is melted.

  
 

Green Enchilada Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
4 oz chopped green chilies

Mix this just like you would a white sauce gravy. Melt the butter, whisk in the flour and slowly add the broth, whisking until smooth (add more or less depending on desired thickness). Stir in sour cream and green chilies.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Asian Noodle Salad

A friend suggested I try the Pioneer Woman Asian Noodle Salad and since my husband loves Asian food and I am finding I do as well (wish I'd liked it more when I went to China!) I figured it was time to give it a try. I was nervous about the sauce because I really don't like dressings, so I changed it a bit and it turned out perfect for my taste!  I changed a bunch of other things too, so if you want her original one click the link above.

I wasn't sure if my boys would go for it or not, but it's so similar to stir fry they gobbled it right up. I forgot the spinach at first, but then added it later, and it's perfect even without spinach so if you don't have any you can still make it. I'm not a big fan of raw peppers though so next time I think I'll broil the peppers in the oven with the cashews. I only used 1/2 of each pepper and then chopped the leftovers and froze for future stir fry and kebabs. That's the great thing about salads- you add what you like and as much as you like.

Asian Noodle Salad

1 package chow mein stir fry noodles (I used 1/2 of the bag pictured below)
1 head finely chopped napa cabbage, washed and dried
1/2 bag baby spinach chopped
1/2 red pepper finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper finely chopped
1/2 orange pepper finely chopped
1 bag bean/mung sprouts (my store was out and I was so sad because I love these!)
1 cucumber chopped or sliced
1 cup cashews, broiled in the oven for about 5 minutes (just until brown- I will broil my peppers next time too)

Dressing

1 lime, juiced (you can microwave for 30 seconds, makes it easier to juice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Cook noodles according to package, drain and set aside. Mix dressing ingredients in salad bowl. Chop all vegetables and toss in bowl with salad and noodles. EAT.

  

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Dinner Menu: BBQ Pulled Pork

Dinner tonight: pulled pork, Wallaby smashers, garden salad, shaped dinner rolls. See individual posts below.

For the pulled pork I used a roast tenderloin- pork butt is also a pretty popular cut. I slow cook mine in a crock pot. First finely chop 1/2 of a large onion and put around the roast. Make the bbq sauce below (or use your favorite store brand) and marinate overnight. Turn on crockpot and cook meat for 10 hours on low (or 5 hours on high) or until it easily shreds using a fork. Shred meat using two forks and serve over buns, potatoes or whatever you like. YUM.

BBQ Sauce

3/4 cups ketchup

1 cups tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/8 cup molasses
4 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, longer if a thicker sauce is desired. To thin it out, add a bit of water.

Wallaby Smashers

One of my favorite places to eat when we lived in happy valley was Wallaby's in Linden- they have the best pulled pork and these yummy garlic cheese bbq mashed potatoes called smashers. This is my version of what I remember them tasting like- granted it's been almost 8 years since we lived in Utah, but this is what my tastebuds remember...Don't judge them by the picture- they are so delicious!

8 red potatoes, washed- keep skins on
1 cube butter
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cheese
2-3 tablespoons bbq sauce
Boil potatoes until soft. Drain water, mash with potato masher- skin and all. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Stir in sour cream and butter until fluffy. Mix in a bit of bbq sauce and cheese and eat warm. If you need to thin them out just add more milk or sour cream. Perfect accompaniment for our pulled pork.

Shaped Dinner Rolls

I love this dinner roll recipe, they look so pretty and are pretty simple to make. You can even make the day before and they will still be relatively soft. For tips on shaping check out this site. I was too lazy to diagram step by step- but if you know how to roll a snake out of dough and tie a knot or braid you can figure it out...

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon dough enhancer (optional)
3-4 cups flour

Egg glaze
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

1) Microwave milk and butter just until milk is warm. Mix with yeast and sugar in bowl and let sit until foamy.

2) Mix in egg, salt, and dough enhancer. Add flour gradually until dough starts to form into a ball and cleans the side of the bowl. The dough should be soft not sticky.
3) Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
4) Shape into balls or roll into long thin "snakes" and tie in a knot or braid.
5) Let rise until double- about 30-40 minutes. I like to let them rise in the oven because it can sometimes disturb the dough when you try to remove the cover.
6) In small bowl mix egg yolk with water. Gently brush tops of rolls with mixture, careful not to make them fall. Sprinkle tops with sesame seed or poppyseeds. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Tops will be golden brown.

Chopped Garden Salad

I love garden salad with every type of vegetable you can round up. Just wash and chop your favorite lettuce and add your favorite veggies. Pretty simple and healthy. Here are some ideas of things you can add:

Lettuce, washed, dried & chopped
Tomato
Cucumber
Carrot
Broccoli
Radish
Mushroom
Avocado
Raisins/Craisins
Walnuts/Sunflower Seeds
Hard boiled eggs
Cheese
Croutons

Cream Cheese Alfredo Sauce


I usually make alfredo sauce with cream, but I ran out and thought I'd try a cream cheese recipe. I was pleasantly surprised. It tasted fabulous. It would be great over fettucini or any type of vegetable pasta medley. We served it over some cubed chicken, broccoli, carrots, peas and whole wheat penne pasta.

1/4 cup butter
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk (to desired thickness)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in saucepan, add garlic and cook just until soft. Add cream cheese and stir with whisk until melted and smooth. You will get to a point where the sauce is so lumpy you wonder if cream cheese was a good idea- just keep whisking it will get smooth. Add milk a little at a time while whisking until sauce reaches desired thickness. Stir in cheese and pepper. Sauce will thicken as it cools so thin with additional milk if necessary. Serve warm with your favorite pasta and vegetables.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekly Menu

I have to plan my meals before I go shopping, otherwise I end up with a bunch of food and nothing to eat. I usually shop on Saturday and thus plan my food week from Saturday through Friday. So here is this week's dinner menu:

Saturday: Alfredo pasta with fresh veggies
Sunday: BBQ pulled pork, wallaby's smashers, baked beans, steamed California veggies
Monday: Asian noodle salad
Tuesday: Smothered burritos
Wednesday: Fresh Asparagus Soup
Thursday: Citrus chicken fricassee
Friday: Homemade Pizza

And we can't forget about desserts: I have fresh coconut that I need to use, so I'm going to attempt Emeril's Fresh Coconut Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese filling and Boiled icing. That's a mouthful. And should be delicious!

I've also been dying to try Almond Cream Crepes, I think this is the week. And for a mid-week snack- whole wheat oatmeal raisin cookies- they are delicious- and I don't even like oatmeal cookies very much.

Chinese Chow Mein

Stir fry's make the best dinner, especially when you're in a hurry. I always try to keep stir fry veggies in the freezer for those times when I fail to plan properly. This meal takes about 15 minutes from start to finish (even less if you don't have to chop the veggies) and couldn't get much healthier.

Stir Fry noodles
Favorite Veggies (Carrots, Broccoli, Celery, Peppers, etc...)
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Cook noodles according to package, drain. Heat oil in wok over medium high heat. Stir fry vegetables just until tender. Mix in noodles and 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce (until the noodles are dark brown). That's it! So simple but oh so good. You could also add beef or chicken strips to the mix, just cook them for about 10 minutes before adding veggies.
  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lime Chiffon Pie

I like this pie primarily because it can be made fat free. Fat free cream cheese, fat free jello, fat free cool whip. It's like eating air. But better.

3oz. lime jello
1 cup boiling water
16 oz cool whip
2 8oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
graham cracker crust

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Cool. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add jello mixture. Stir in both tubs of cool whip. Spread over graham cracker crust. Chill. Makes two round pies or one large 9x13.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Baking Powder Biscuits (aka Mile-High Biscuits)


I love biscuits. Big, flaky biscuits. This recipe can be made with white flour or whole wheat flour or half and half.


The key to huge biscuits is to roll them thick- an inch or more. Also, when you press your cutter down, don't twist it- just press straight down and pull straight up- if you twist you seal the dough together and it prevents it from rising as high.


For these pictures I used 100% whole wheat flour- which is why the color is a bit darker, but I used a heaping teaspoonful of dough enhancer so they taste just as flaky as regular biscuits. For a really light fluffy biscuit try using regular all purpose flour.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and honey. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges begin to brown.


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