Monday, March 31, 2008

Stuffed Poblanos****

click here for recipe

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Serve with a side salad for a great, complete meal! These were quite good, the corn meal mixture, once baked, remind me of a tamale stuffed inside a pepper.

My slight variation:

I used a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and poured this in the bottom of my baking dish. (I skipped making and blending the sauce ingredients in a blender.) I then used one onion and two garlic cloves in the stuffing mixture.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Childhood Cheesecake*****

This has been my favorite dessert since I was a little girl. My mom would make this for me and I would eat a piece for breakfast, after-school snack, and dessert every night until it was gone. My grandfather was also a huge fan of mom's cheesecake, most of the time if she made our family one she would make him one too, but on the rare occasion that she didn't...I would wait until I had eaten it all and tell him all about what he just missed :o)

To this day, it's still one of my very favorite desserts. This is the simplest, best tasting little cheesecake there is; I doubt I'll ever find a better one.

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¼ c. butter, melted
1 ¼ c. graham cracker crumbs, 16 squares
2 Tbsp sugar

2 pkgs (8 oz each) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
¾ c. sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange or lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla

1 c reduced fat sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Place melted butter in 9-in pie plate, microwave until melted. Stir in crumbs and sugar with a fork. Press mixture firmly and evenly in bottom and up the side of the pan. Microwave 1 minute longer.

Place cream cheese, eggs, sugar, zest, and vanilla in medium bowl. Beat on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Microwave uncovered, stirring every 2 minutes for a total of 8 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, 1 minute at a time. Pour into crust,

Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread carefully over filling. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.


  • If you use a metal spring-form pan: pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, press graham cracker mixture into pan, and then bake for 10 minutes. Cool.
  • My microwave seems to be quite powerful, I only needed to bake my custard filling for 7 minutes for it to become fully thickened.
  • I recommended refrigerating the cheesecake for 6-8 hours or overnight, 2 hours is the minimum.

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I'm a purest when it comes to cheesecake, my preference is to serve mine up plain, as is!

Sausage, Onion, and Pepper Pizza***** and Garlic Knots**


I used this recipe idea, but thought this would make an awesome pizza!  To do so: skip the chicken stock and spread out on a whole wheat pizza dough/crust with marinara sauce.  Top with pepper jack cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees!

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We served the pizza with garlic knots.  Follow recipe as is, serve with warm marinara sauce on the side.  These were dry and just alright tasting.  We thought they were edible, but not worth making again.

Chicken and Mushroom Barley Risotto with Apples and Cranberries****

I have included vegetables, carbs, and protein in one dish.  If preferred you could make a simple barley risotto with just the parmesan cheese (and mushrooms) and then serve the chicken breast, sauted apples and cranberries, and broccoli on the side.

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4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 chicken breasts

1 medium onion, chopped

1 apple (golden delicious), coarsely chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, halved

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/4 cup pearl barley

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low-sodium
2 sprigs fresh thyme
dried cranberries, handful, optional

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional


Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and then sauté 5-6 minutes per side. Once cooked through, place aside on a cutting board. Let rest, then chop into bite sized pieces.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apple, mushrooms and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the barley, sauté 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth and thyme sprigs, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally 45 minutes. After 25 minutes add in the cranberries, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with grated cheese.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ham Makeover

(Click above to link to the recipe)
This was delicious using leftover baked potatoes that I wedged and chunks of sweet, salty ham. The balance of flavors in this dish was amazing…very satisfying and totally different from Easter Sunday’s meal. I used the above recipe link, but swapped the corned beef for ham.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Loaded Baked Potato Soup*****

6 potatoes with skins, baked
4 Tbsp EVOO
4 Tbsp butter
½ cup flour
2 tsp salt
6 cups 2% milk
1 can chicken broth
8 oz reduced fat sour cream
8 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Optional garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, chives

Whisk oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat, whisk in flour and salt. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken broth; a small amount at first to incorporate. Use medium heat until milk thickens, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream.

Break potatoes into small pieces; add to pot along with shredded cheese. Heat through. Serve with garnish of choice.

Weekend Bread Baking

Happy Easter!
Hot Cross Buns*****
(for Bread Machine)

3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup mix raisins and dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon orange zest

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk

Dough: Put warm water, butter, skim milk powder, sugar, salt, egg, flours, vanilla, and yeast in bread maker. Add dried fruit, spices, and zest and start on dough program.

Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.

Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9-in round pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 30 minutes. Snip an “+” on each top.

Egg wash: Whisk egg and water. Brush on dough tops.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.

Glaze: Mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Transfer to the corner of a baggie, snip the tip, and retrace; squeezing the glaze over the “+” on each cooled bun.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weekend Bread Baking

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Irish Soda Bread*****
(for Bread Machine)

1 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses 

1 tablespoon honey

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups bread flour 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup dry buttermilk powder

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 3/4 teaspoons rapid rising yeast
3/4 cup raisins 

1 tablespoon caraway seeds 
1. Process all ingredients in your bread machine set on the dough cycle. Prepare an 8-in. cake tin with flour, set aside.

2. Remove dough from bread machine onto a sheet of floured waxed paper and shape into an 8-inch circle, slightly flattened. Place in cake tin, cover with same piece of floured wax paper, and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F; slash the top of the dough with a large X. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and continue to bake for 15-20 more minutes.

After kneading, dough placed in the pan and ready for the 30 minute rise. Once risen, the bread will have filled out the pan completely.

I've got to admit, when I opened the oven and saw that the bread had risen this much I was impressed!

The caraway and sweet raisins are a great compliment to cheddar.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mixed Berry Cobbler****
(Click above to link to the recipe)

This is a VERY good cobbler. Its' whole-wheat topping has just the right crunchiness around the edges and even a sprinkling of sugar. I used my favorite mix of red raspberry and rhubarb!

That being said, there is nothing like my mom's peach cobbler recipe...which uses a stick of butter, white flour, and sugar!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Miso is a soy paste that is created by inoculating trays of rice with the vitamin B12 synthesizing fungus, Aspergillus oryzae, then mixing in a ground preparation of cooked soybeans and salt, and letting the mixture ferment for several days before grinding it into a paste with a nut butter consistency. Miso is quite high in sodium, but a little miso goes a long way towards providing your daily needs for the trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper. In addition, a single tablespoon of miso contains 2 grams of protein for just 25 calories, and only 3 carbs in 2 tsp. An impressive nutrient profile for a flavoring agent! Use miso in your cooking instead of plain old salt and reap a variety of benefits in addition to enhanced flavor." More details:

(click above for recipe)
This is great! I loved the sweet, salty balance of this glaze. I think Miso will become my new secret flavoring!

I used the glaze that the recipe link above calls for, but i did not use the cooking method. I heated a pan over medium-high heat, heated 2 tsp EVOO, brushed the glaze on the fillets, add s&p, and cooked 3-4 minutes per side.

Miso is found in the refrigerator section - check in the organic section near the tofu. I had to go to Whole Foods to find it. It comes in a 16oz container, (made in Asheville, NC!) but has a long shelf life and many uses.

Other uses for Miso: stir a tablespoon into soups at the end; spread thinly on bread as a sandwich spread; combine a little miso with olive oil, flax seed oil, ginger and garlic to make an Asian-inspired dressing that can be used on salads or cold grain/pasta dishes.

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup****

(click above for recipe)

I thought this was good...but don't think I will make again...until...Andy said that he thought the soup was great and that this would be a nice holiday soup to decide.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup*****
adapted from Ellie Krieger's "The Food You Crave"
This is a basic chicken noodle soup base with orzo with the pasta and a creamy egg mixture stirred in at the end. For the egg mixture you warm a cup of chicken broth (do not boil); whisk in two beaten eggs and the juice of one lemon. Then add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. I have never used this method before, but I really liked the effect. This is a great soup!