"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fresh Peach Dessert

My Aunt Julie gave this recipe to our family years ago. It gets rave reviews everytime I make it. My sister Sherri makes a great homemade white cake that makes a great crust. When pressed for time I use a moist cake mix from the store and it works super. It really is the peach topping that makes this dessert to die for!

1 pkg. Orange or Peach jell-o (Orange gives it better color and flavor in my opinion)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Cook the above ingredients until clear. Cool before adding 4-5 cups (6-8 peaches) fresh peaches, but do not allow for it to set up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mix together in a separate bowl:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup lemon juice
1 (12 oz) cool whip

Lorna Doone cookies or white cake (mix or from scratch) serves as the crust.
For the cookies; lay them flat in the bottom of a cake pan and then top with the condensed milk and cool whip mixture. Then top with jell-o mixture. Return to fridge until set up.

If you choose white cake divide it in half and pour it into two 9 x 13 cake pans and bake as directed; completely cool. Then follow the directions listed with the cookies. (* When using cake mix make the cake as directed on the box and pour into two pans and make the recipe as is the toppings will cover both 9 x 13 pans completely.)

Spring Vegetable Risotto (30 minutes start to finish)

I like to make the portion sizes smaller when I serve it with a grilled chicken tender. If you are looking for a good vegetarian night meal then this would serve that purpose well.  My husband and kids love this, even the baby gobbled it up. It takes three pans to complete this dish but it is completed from start to finish in 30 minutes.

5 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth (I used 6 cups broth)
1 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine (I use 1/2 cup white cooking wine-don't know if it's dry or not)
1 Tablespoon UNSALTED Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 lb Zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 medium size Zucchini)
2 Cups Frozen Baby Peas
1/4 cup Fresh Mint, minced ( I have never used this, because I don't usually have it on hand)
2/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4-6 hearty portions

Cook the risotto:
In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring the broth and wine to a gentle simmer, then maintain the simmer on low heat. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter with 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until all the grains are opaque and well coated with the fat, about 1 minute.  Add 2 cups of the simmering broth mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to add the liquid about 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, and adding more only after the previous addition has been absorbed.

Saute the Vegetable
While the rice is cooking, in a fry pan over medium hear, warm the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil.  Add the zucchini and saute just until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the peas and cook, stirring, until thawed and heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Finish the Risotto:
When the rice is tender and cream but grains are still al dente at the center, after about 22 minutes, stir in the sauteed vegetables and the mint and cook for 1 minute to heat through. Stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among shallow bowls, and serve.

Cookbook: William-Sonoma Weeknight p.64

Monday, September 15, 2008

Flavorful Pot Roast-Crock pot

We had many tasty meals last week that I could blog, but this one was the least time consuming both to prepare and to type up! ;-) We were so impressed with how tender this roast turned out. I don't think that it was because of our fasting that everything tasted wonderful. ;-) We will be adding this to our favorite crock pot collection. I changed the recipe so this is my version of the Flavorful Pot Roast by Arlene Butler from Ogden, UT (got recipe from www.tasteofhome.com)

1 (3 lb-4lb) Boneless Rump Roast (original called for two 2 1/2 lbs each chuck roast)
1 envelope Ranch salad dressing mix
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water

Place the roast(s) in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the salad dressings and gravy mixes; stir in water. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until tender. If desired, thicken cooking juices for gravy. Yields 12-15 servings

I added to this recipe:
3-5 ribs chopped celery
1 large onion
3-3 1/2 lbs Russel potatoes cut in to big chunks
1 -1 1/2 lbs baby carrots whole

I followed the recipe as given then topped the roast with these vegetables. I didn't add any other seasoning, but it wouldn't hurt to add a little salt to the top of your vegetables. We had to add it at the table if we desired, which works out great too.

I hope you get a chance to make this one. It is delicious! I didn't make a gravy out of the juices they were perfect over the meal without turning it into an unhealthy gravy. ENJOY!!

Crock-pot Roast w/ vegetables
Fresh peaches in orange jello
Dessert: Zucchini Brownies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

Another Todd Wilbur recipe we use all the time! It is one of Jack's favorite lunches now and it is so speedy because I always keep fresh torn lettuce in the fridge. Even my kids like this one.

Oriental Dressing
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

Blend together all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl with an electric mixer. Chill

Salad (Jack and I usually have a combination of a dark leaf lettuce and iceberg in the fridge, but it even works well with bagged salad)
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup red cabbage
1 cup napa cabbage
1/2 carrot julienned or shredded
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon sliced almonds (We like to roast ours)
1/3 cup chow mein noodles

Todd has a recipe for the breaded chicken to, but we don't use it. We cheat buy using grilled chicken breast strips or chicken nuggets to make it even quicker.

Fudderuckers Hamburger Seasoning copy-cat

Okay I love Todd Wilbur and his website TopSecretRecipes.com I have many favorite recipes from his free recipes on his site. We were pleased when we tried his seasoning for Fuddruckers Hamburgers. If you haven't ever been to his site and you love certain foods at a particular resturant check out his site and see if he has your favorite in a copy-cat recipe.

2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle on hamburger patties before cooking.
Makes 2 Tablespoons

*After making hamburgers with this a couple of times. Jack and I want to try actually mixing it in the meet directly before pounding them into patties. We used 1 Tablespoon per pound (or more depending on how strong you like your flavor).

Russian Chicken

From Moose Stir-Fry to English Muffin Pizza and everything in between this weeks recipe winner was the Russian Chicken with Rice. I got this recipe as a "Foodies Menu"--from Jill Jepperson while living in Billings, MT. This is a sweet- and- sour tasting recipe. My brother-in -law loved it, the kids enjoyed it, and Jack said it was just okay for him. I liked it because it was quick and brainless--we all need those kind of recipes from time to time.

1 Bottle of Russian dressing (I used Wish Bone brand)
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 (10 oz) jar apricot preserves
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast ( I used frozen chicken tenders)

Foil-line a 9 x 13 pan.

Mix dressing, soup mix, and preserves together. Place chicken breast in pan and pour sauce over all. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
OR BAKE IN CROCKPOT low 8-10 hours (This was the method I chose and I put the tenders in frozen and followed the recipe as listed. I think even with the tenders being frozen I would only cook it for about 6-8 hours. I would check the chicken after 6 and turn it off so it wouldn't dry out.)
*Suace can be used as a gravy over rice or potatoes.