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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scallion Pancakes

Jack and I fell in love with "Scallion Pancakes" as an appetizer at our favorite authentic Chinese food restaurant in New York City called "Ollies" so when I saw this recipe in the February Family Fun Magazine I had to try it. (We made these Feb 8th and I am just getting around to posting it). It was a recipe that your children are suppose to be able to help with, so give it a try if you are feeling like doing something fun with the kiddos. Me, I opted to be a loner on this one! Seemed like way to many steps--a little bit of a process.(Maybe kids can help next time!--realistically probably not :-]) The kids, Jack, and uncle Simon loved these fun pancakes. We served it with an Asian styled meal--like your favorite asian chicken and rice recipe.

Scallion Pancakes (February 2010 Family Fun p. 89)
3 cups flour, plus more for rolling
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water, plus more for mixing
1 bunch scallions
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt, then form the mixture into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the water, first filling the well, then pouring what remains around the sides of the bowl. Use a large spoon or rubber spatula to combine the ingredients into a soft, raggedy dough. If it doesn't pull together after about a minute of stirring, add water, one Tablespoon at a time (up to 4), to help the dough take shape.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Working with floured hands, knead the dough until it's smooth and springy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Shape it back into a ball and set it aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the dough rests, prepare the scallions. Trim off the root end and 1 ind of the green tip of each scallion, then slice or use kitchen scissors to snip each one crosswise just above where the white and green sections meet. Cut the whites in half lengthwise and pull away and discard any dry, rough outer layers. Thinly chop the whites, then cut the greens into thin slices with a knife or kitchen scissors. Transfer the greens along with the whites to a bowl and toss. Then set the onions aside.

Roll the dough into a log. Halve it crosswise, the cut each half into three pieces. Place five of the portions in a large bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.

Dust your hands and work surface with flour. Roll the sixth dough portion into a fairly round, 1/4-inch-thick pancake. Scatter 2 Tablespoons of chopped scallion on top, leaving a 1-inch border.

Roll the pancake into a long . Beginning at one end, wind the log into a spiral as if shaping a cinnamon roll, then tuck the loose end underneath. Use your palm to gently press the dough into a disk. Dust the dough lightly with flour, then roll it into a pancake 6 to 7 inches in diameter.

Warm a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, then coat the pan with 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Use a scallion slice to test the temperature of the oil. If it sizzles at once, the oil is ready for frying. If it doesn't wait another 30 seconds and retest the oil with another scallion slice, repeating as necessary until the oil is hot.

Carefully lay the pancake in the skillet and fry it until its edges puff up and the bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancake, drizzle another 1/2 teaspoon of oil around the edges of the pan, and continue frying until the second side is golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pancake to a serving plate.

Repeat the steps for each remaining dough portion. Serve pancakes hot or warm, cut into quarters or sixths, and if you like, with a Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce.
Makes 6 Pancakes

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce (This makes way to much in my opinion. I'll half it next time.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or less to taste)
Whisk together ingredients then add
1/4 cup chopped scallions (I left them out. I wasn't going to buy a second bunch just for the dip.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crock-Pot Roast Beef Dinner-The Food Nanny BYUTV

This was a great Sunday night dinner and I love that the crock pot did most of the work. It smelled so delicious while it was cooking and we were not disappointed in the end results either. The roast just fell apart and the flavor was wonderful! We will make this again I am certain of that! No picture--If you've seen a roast with potatoes and carrots haven't you seen them all? :-)

CROCK-POT ROAST BEEF DINNER (thefoodnanny.com --BYUTV Thursdays)

1 (4-pound) beef sirloin roast (I used whatever roast I had in the freezer that was 4-5 lbs.)

Garlic salt

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire


1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed

cream of mushroom soup

1 (1-ounce) packet onion soup mix

1 cup beef broth

5 large carrots, peeled and cut

into 1-inch pieces (optional)

6 red potatoes or medium

russets, scrubbed and

quartered (optional)

8 to 12 servings

1. Place the roast in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with the garlic salt.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire

sauce, mushroom soup, onion soup mix, and broth; pour over the roast.

3. Add the carrots and/or potatoes to the slow cooker if it is large enough to

hold them.

4. Cook on high heat 5 to 6 hours or on low heat for 10 to 12 hours.

If you choose not to add the carrots or potatoes to the slow cooker, then two

good side dishes are mashed potatoes and Reds & Greens Salad(p. 191).

Variation: Use a pork roast.

Parrish Family Popcorn

I call this "Parrish Family Popcorn" because this delicious carmel corn was a signature treat at any party, girls camp, family trip, and often requested by our friends or co-workers. My sister-in-law can't have any dairy while she is nursing because the baby is allergic to milk. They told me they have been trying different caramel corn recipes that didn't have dairy in it, SOOOO I had to whip up some of our good old carmel corn for them to try. We all ate it until we were sick. Makes a grundle so be prepared to share!

Parrish Family Carmel Corn
2 cups (unpopped) popcorn
Pop popcorn, remove old maids.
*This much popcorn usually fills two or three of my largest bowls. Mom use to use her roasting pans.

1/2 lb. butter
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup

Bring to a soft ball stage (1-2 minutes of boiling total! If you go to long your popcorn won't be gooey and chewy--that's what makes it so good!)

Remove from hit and add two handfuls for Mini Marshmallows (for me about 5 cups)
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir until marshmallow are almost melted but not quite. Pour over your popcorn and stir until evenly coated.

Then enjoy the sticky, chewy, fun with all your friends!

Hawaiian Haystacks

Since not many of the new recipes I am trying are hitting the spot or gaining many stars at my table I have gone back to the cook book of one of the greatest cook's I know--my MOTHER. Knowing that the recipes are tried and true, bring the comfort of home, and use things I usually have in my pantry and they have always been well received. Things like Taco soup, brown sugar muffins, pot roasts, and these Hawaiian haystacks. The great thing about these is everyone can choose the topping they like even if it just ends up being chicken and rice.

Hawaiian Haystacks
Cooked rice
Meat (cubes of ham, chicken, or turkey)
Gravy (cream of chicken soup or See recipe below this is what I used. Save the canned soup for a night when you are really in a rush!)
Grated Cheese
Chow Mein Noodles
Chopped Celery
Chopped Tomatoes
Pineapple, drained (crushed, tidbits, or chunks)
Olives, drained and sliced

Other toppings: Sliced Almonds, Chopped green onions, Coconut, Mandarin Oranges, Cherries

Chicken Sauce for Hawaiian Haystacks

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks (or leftover cooked chicken, cubed)

3 tablespoons butter

½ onion (about ½ cup), finely chopped

3 cloves garlic; finely minced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken broth

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and raw chicken (if using leftover cooked chicken, don’t add it to the skillet now, you’ll add it later). Saute the onion and chicken, if using, until the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute, stirring, until fragrant.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and chicken and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly - this helps get rid of the starchy, flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper. If you are using leftover cooked chicken, add it now. Continue simmering, stirring the sauce frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Serve the chicken sauce over rice with your toppings of choice, such as olives, tomatoes, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, green onions, mandarin oranges and chow mein noodles.

Recipe Source: MyKitchenCafe.blogspot.com

POWER Muffins

I made these great little muffins for a afternoon snack this past week and the kids and friends LOVED them. I substituted chocolate chips for the raisins - for obvious reasons We LOVE CHOCOLATE! I am not a big fan of cooked raisins. It made 2-dozen mini muffins.

Power Muffins

1/2 c. peanut butter

2/3 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1 c. mashed banana (2 or 3)

2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbsp. hot water

1 1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. rolled oats or oatmeal

1 c. raisins

Beat peanut butter and sugar. Beat in egg, then bananas. In small bowl, mix baking soda and water and stir to dissolve. Add to banana mixture. Mix in flour and salt, then oats and raisin. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Make approx. 18 muffins.

Can also put them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and grab one for a quick breakfast or after-school snack. Microwave for 20 seconds.


*One other note the original site said: "I didn't have quite enough bananas. So I added applesauce to make up for the rest of what was needed to total one cup. It worked great"

Brown Sugar Muffins

Brown Sugar Muffins were a muffin I remember my mom making to go with Sunday dinners when she didn't have time to do her delicious home made rolls. Our family loved them! (She always had to double the batch for our large family) Tonight I made them to go with our Sunday dinner (which we always have with my Brother- and Sister-in-law and their kids) they were a hit just like they always were at mom's table.

Brown Sugar Muffins
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts

Mix together, do not over stir! The batter should be lumpy. Bake at 350 until golden brown 15 minutes -/+ depending on muffin size. Mini muffins 10-12 minutes.

Single batch made 12 regular size muffins and 12 mini-muffins.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Skillet Lasagna

I got this recipe idea from http://reliefsocietycookers.blogspot.com/search/label/Beef who gave the credit to http://sistersstuff.blogspot.com I modified it to our liking so if you want the original recipe check out sisters stuff.

It was quick, simple, and tasty! It was a hit with my kids! Which makes many recipes winners. I was happy that I happened to have cottage cheese on hand this week. We will be making this again. It is as delicious as Lasagna, to me, without all the labor and time.

Skillet Lasagna

1 pound ground beef (browning with salt and pepper)

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove minced garlic

1 (14-15 oz can) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1 (8-ounce can) tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon salt (3/4 teaspoon because I salt and peppered the meat as it was browning)

3 cups bow tie pasta, uncooked

1 cup cottage cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic; drain. Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt. Mix well.

Stir in uncooked pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring once.

Stir in cottage cheese. Cover with and Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste if desired. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Fun- Eating the Rainbow and More

I kicked off the week trying to be better at making the holidays fun for my kids. I always remember my mom decorating for each and every holiday. I on the other hand decorate very little for all the holidays except for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and CHRISTMAS and even at it's bet it is minimal. So in an effort to make St. Patrick's Day fun I helped my boys create their own little leprechaun traps. Hoping we will trap him and get loads of gold! They are so excited they are counting down like it is Christmas or something. It has just gone to prove to me that making holidays fun is a big deal to kids--I just hope they will remember it. :-) It has been a fun week trying to make up answers for all their leprechaun questions.

So today for fun we made 'Taste of Rainbow" cupcakes from familyfun.com The kids had a blast. If you enlist yourself in this project be prepared to spend some time. They are not your quick toss it in the pan cupcakes. (I doubled the cake mixes because I thought if I am going to do it I am going to make it worth my time!--Maybe that is why it took so long! ;-))
The fun part for my boys was being able to help stir each small batch of food coloring batter that I had waiting for them and seeing what color they turned into.
Here they are helping me fill the cupcake liners--by reminding me which color comes next.
Hughie just enjoyed being able to lick everything we were done with clean.
Taste of Rainbow

White Cake mix (18.25 oz box)--or double it! ;-)
Food Coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
Baking cups (White ones allow you to see the rainbow through them)
Whipping Cream (optional)

Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly into 6 bowls. place in liners in the following order (Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red).

Bake according to recipe directions. Remove the paper and wrapper, and if you like, top each cupcake with a whipping cream cloud.

Food coloring
Purple -- 9 red and 6 blue drops
Blue-- 12 drops
Green--12 drops
Yellow--12 drops
Orange--12 yellow and 4 red drops
Red --18 drops

Enjoy the delight on your kids faces as they eat their way to the end of the rainbow!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Sandwich-Pioneer Woman

I am now almost at the 14 week mark of my pregnancy and boy food just isn't appealing to me--in the sense that nothing every sounds good to me, but once I have buckled down and made it food always taste good (for the most part). All the recipes we've been trying are not doing it for us and so I haven't felt like I have posted something yummy in a while. So it they have made it on the blog in the last few months it is because they tasted good, were quick to make, and that more than just my self enjoyed how it tastes. If there is anyone out there with some great recipes they would be willing to share I am SO INTERESTED in hearing about them. I am in a rut and feel stuck in the mud. I really could use some ideas of what has worked for others lately. I go on my favorite food blogs and nothing even appeals to me very often, but it all looks good-- this seems wacky to me.

Anywhooooo, I did go searching for something last night because I was so at a total loss as to what to make for dinner (it was just after 4 pm and the kids were getting hungry). So my friend Aubrey had told me of some great recipes she had been trying off Pioneer Woman's blog so I started there. I ended up trying this chicken sandwich and it was quick, easy, and tasty! I didn't really care for the name she gave it Marlboro Man's Favorite sandwich #2 so I named it differently.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Sandwich
1/2 lb Peppered Bacon
Chicken Breast/Tenders *
Hamburger Buns or Kaiser Rolls

Fry the 1/2 lb. bacon in the pan to desired doneness (Extra crispy for me!) CAREFULLY, Pour off the grease and return 1 Tablespoon of grease back to the pan. (I didn't have peppered so I just sprinkled some pepper on top of my raw bacon before cooking it--work fine.) Then generously cover both sides of Chicken with Lemon Pepper seasoning. (I was a little timid on this fearing it might make it peppery hot for my kids, but I can honestly say be generous with it.) Get oil nice and hot again then add your chicken pieces. Cook until no longer pink. While Chicken is just finishing the last few minutes of its cooking, place strips of bacon on top if each piece of chicken (or a couple depending on the meats size). Add your sliced cheese over the top. Then cover pan with lid to help the cheese melt.

Remove Chicken from pan and place on buns, and serve!

I always love tomatoes on my sandwiches so we added that as our own twist. I also thought it need a small amount of mayo to help the bun not be so dry. It was a great sandwich and we will make it again.

* Chicken (Pioneer Woman used 2 Breast. I need it to feed more than to people so I used 7 Chicken Tenders from Costco.) Pound them out into a 1/2-inch flat piece.

Grilled Mahi Mahi, Rice Pilaf, Veggie Medley

This was a simple throw together dinner with items we have on hand. I used the Lion House Recipe for the Rice Pilaf and the Vegetable Medley. My little family ate it with no complaints.

Rice Pilaf
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery
3 cups hot chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Melt butter in hot frying pan. Add rice, onion, and celery; stir and cook until slightly brown. Add chicken broth. Cover and simmer on low heat until moisture has been absorbed and rice is tender. Add parsley and almonds just before serving. Toss lightly. Makes 8 half-cup servings.

Vegetable Medley
2 medium carrots (again I always add more because my kids love them)
3 small zucchini
3 ribs celery
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel carrots; was and clean zucchini and celery. Slice vegetables diagonally. Place 1/4 inch water and butter in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and simmer covered for 4 minutes. Add celery and simmer an additional 2 minutes. Add zucchini and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender-crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at once, retaining remaining liquid in serving dish.

Makes 4 servings. (These servings seem really big!)

Mahi Mahi
Nothing to it! Thaw, Olive oil both sides, Salt and pepper to your liking and toss it on the grill!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe was a huge hit with my little family. I loved it! It really hit the spot for me. Chicken Noodle soups are a major comfort food though aren't they? And comfort food always please everyone it seems--at least they are at our home.

This is sure to be a kid friendly meal. It was gobbled down by my two year old as fast as I could keep it cooled down for him. Cameron stated, "Mom, I love the noodles!" and this morning Quin said to Jack. "Dad we had the yummiest soup last night you have to try it!" So I guess if kids understood the rating system this would be a 4-5 star for us! When Jack at it at midnight he commented that it was good. He too loved the noodle. When I told him what it was he said, "Oh so I guess it isn't that good for us huh?" To which I replies, "It is okay we don't eat refrigerated biscuits all that often!"

I was glad I tried this recipe before the weather gets to nice and it is not appealing to have soups anymore. I got this recipe from January 2010 Southern Living magazine p 127.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

1 (32 oz) container low-sodium chicken broth (I used closer to 5 cups of broth)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 lbs. I used chicken tenders. Salt and peppered while cooking. They suggested a deli-roasted chicken yields about 3 cups of meat)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (10.2 oz can) refrigerated jumbo butter milk biscuits --I am sure you could stir up your own biscuits and it would work fine, but doesn't make the recipe EASY ;-) or quick!
2 Carrots, diced (I used 3-4)
3 celery ribs, diced

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high; return to a low boil.

Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Drop strips, one at a time, into boiling broth mixture. Add carrots and celery. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking.


Yet another Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe tried

We have many chocolate chip recipes and to many favorites already. There is just nothing like a warm chocolate chip straight from the oven is there? We liked the lightness of this dough and thought we would try to use up some of our orange peel chocolates for a fun mix-in. It worked great and was a big hit!

I got this recipe out of the inside of my parchment paper box.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package (12 oz) milk or dark chocolate chips. We did 1/2 cup each of dark, milk, and orange peel chocolates.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful of desired size onto lined parchment cookie sheets.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

**I personally prefer an almost under baked cookie so I went for 13 minutes the first pan. Once the pan is hot drop it to 12 minutes. I feel like this allows the cookies to stay softer longer. I also remove them from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 1 minute before removing to allow the bottom a little more browning time.