Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chili Con Carne

From: One Pot cookbook

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 lb 12 oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 lb 12 oz canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups beef stock
salt
cilantro

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the beef. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until broken up and browned.

Reduce the heat, add the onion, garlic and bell pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, tomatoes and their juices, and kidney beans. Pour in the beef stock and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

Chop the cilantro and stir into the chili. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.


Verdict:
Well, although I did like this recipe, there are many other chili recipes I prefer. I probably won't make this one again. My two favorite recipes are my mom's recipe and the Wendy's copycat recipe. This one is a little sweeter than those and a little soupier. If you like trying new chili recipes I still recommend it. Great flavor.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

From: 100 Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook

Ingredients:
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
3 cups hot cooked rotini pasta (2 cups uncooked)
1 can tuna (12 oz) packed in water, drained and flaked
1 1/3 cups french fried onions, divided
1 package frozen peas and carrots
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine soup and milk in 2-quart shallow casserole dish. Stir in pasta, tuna, 2/3 cup french fried onions, vegetables and cheese. Top with remaining french fried onions. Cover, cook in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.


Verdict:
Thumbs up! I loved this. I did only use one can of tuna, but it was enough. I like tuna but I think one 5-oz can was just enough of the tuna flavor. I will definitely make this again in the future, even though I had to eat the entire casserole by myself. Why am I the only one in this family who likes tuna!?!?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

From: Recipes to Live By (Kelly)

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1 cup sugar, and egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Pour a third of the batter into a greased 8X4X2-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle a third of the cinnamon sugar on top of batter. Repeat layers twice.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.



Verdict:
Thumbs up! I actually made this recipe a year ago for the first time and forgot to blog about it. I love cinnamon bread because I will eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack, whatever! This is a great recipe because it's simple and delicious. I love it! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

From: 100 Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook

Ingredients:

Crust (make your own or buy pre-made like I did!)

Filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Meringue:
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
4 egg whites
3/4 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

For filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt in medium saucepan. Add hot water gradually, stirring constantly. Cook and stir on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir constantly 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add about one third of hot mixture slowly to egg yolks. Mix well. Return mixture to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in butter and lemon peel. Add lemon juice slowly. Mix well. Spoon into baked pie crust.

For meringue, combine 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, and 1/2 cup cold water in small saucepan. Stir until cornstarch dissolves. Cook and stir on medium heat until mixture is clear. Cool.

Combine egg whites and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at high speed of electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining 6 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time. Beat well after each addition. Combine meringue with cornstarch mixture and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling, covering completely and sealing to edge of pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until meringue is golden. Cool to room temperature before serving.


Verdict:
This was a great recipe! I won't say it was easy. It was simple but very time consuming. I will say that I did not realize until I was just typing this up that I completely left out the lemon juice! Kind of the most important ingredient!! Funny, though, neither myself nor my parents noticed this!

Also, based on my personal experience (i.e. failure), do not whip your egg whites in a plastic bowl. I have done soft/firm peaks many times in my life and I kept failing at this yesterday. I couldn't figure out why until I read online that plastic bowls have too much oil residue on them and will keep eggs from beating properly. Learn from my mistake!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gaiety Pastel Cookies

From: 100 Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 package (4 serving size) Jello gelatin, any flavor
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Additional Jello gelatin (same flavor)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix flour and baking powder in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl to soften. Gradually add sugar and 1 package gelatin, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with bottom of a glass. Sprinkle with additional gelatin.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.



Verdict:
Thumbs up! These are incredibly easy and fast to make. They are really good! The Jello cooking on top gives a little zing to the cookies. I also like that you can make any flavor you want. I made fruit punch. Yum!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Boston Cream Pie

From: 100 Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook

Ingredients:
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk

Rich Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stir together sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan; gradually add milk and egg yolks, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cover; refrigerate several hours or until cold.

Dark Cocoa Glaze:
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Heat water and butter in small saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil; remove from heat. Immediately stir in cocoa. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating with whisk until smooth and of desired consistency; cool slightly.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch round baking pan.

Beat shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; add alternately with milk to shortening mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Prepare rich filling. With long knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Place one layer, cut side up, on serving plate; spread with prepared filling. Top with remaining layer, cut side down. Prepare dark cocoa glaze; spread over cake, allowing glaze to run down sides. Refrigerate several hours or until cold. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftover pie.


 
Verdict:
Thumbs up! Okay, there is no way around it. This is a messy, falling-apart kind of cake. But trust me - it tasted delicious! I don't think I'd ever had Boston Cream Pie before and this was awesome. I'll make this again in the future!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Boxcar Children Stew

From: Divine Hostess

If you read my personal blog you know that our family just finished reading the first book in The Boxcar Children series. We really enjoyed it, and then I found this recipe for the stew that the children make. I knew I had to try this out! My kids begged me to make it and then didn't even try it! (Actually I do think my 3-year old ate the carrots). But my husband ate it and told me he would rather I make this recipe than any other stew beef recipe I've made. Wow! Okay... definitely a keeper! (Him AND the recipe!)

Ingredients:
  • 4 stalks of celery minced
  • 3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cups of potatoes in 1 inch cubes
  • 2 to 3 vegetarian or chicken bouillon cubes (Veggie or chicken broth as substitute)
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • 2 TBSP chopped Parsley fresh or freeze dried
  • 1/4 minced white onion
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup lentils (Can also be made with chicken breast pieces or steak. If meat is used, it will need to be added after step 1 and allowed to cook  a little while longer)
Place large dutch oven over medium high heat and brown 1 Tbsp garlic and minced onions in 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil for about 2 minutes.

Add bouillon cubes to water once it is boiling. Use 5 to 6 cups of water and appropriate cubes, or about 40oz of broth. Add celery, carrots and potatoes and stir. Add 1 tsp of all seasonings except parsley. Add 2 tbsp of parsley.

Lower heat to simmer. Since lentils only take about 20 minutes to cook add these about halfway through the process. Leave at a slow simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are nice and tender. Top with a few sprigs of parsley or minced chives and serve with french baguette.





I did change a few things in the recipe based on what I had available:

I browned the garlic and onion in oil. For liquid, I added two cups of water, two cups of beef broth (I used bouillon cubes to make it) and then I poured some vegetable broth in. I didn't have any celery, so I just added the carrots, potatoes, and some venison tenderloin that I chopped up. I added a small amount of salt and pepper and garlic powder. I added the parsley as well. Then I just cooked until the meat was done. I think it took about 45 minutes to an hour.

Simple and very tasty!!