Monday, August 30, 2010

Sundried Tomato Risotto

On cooking shows they seem to make risotto a lot. So I tried my hand at a few different kinds now. This one is melt in your mouth wonderful. It may take awhile to make a great risotto, but it's totally worth it. And the sundried tomatoes give it an amazing flavor. This risotto could truly compliment any type of meat.

4 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ whole large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked

8 whole sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup parmesan, freshly grated

¼ cups heavy whipping cream

Heat broth in a saucepan. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in one cup of chicken broth. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sundried tomatoes and stir.

Continue adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat this until the rice is done—it usually takes between 6 and 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all.

Remove from heat, then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cornmeal Waffles

I went to IHOP once and they had these amazing cornmeal pancakes. I've never made anything that did them any justice, but this cornmeal waffle recipe is pretty close. Plus, I love cornmeal. A lot. We had these cornmeal waffles with fruit and whipped cream. But they would make great savory waffles too, like with meat and some kind of sauce.

2 eggs
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat the waffle iron.

Put the eggs in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until completely blended. Add the buttermilk and butter. Mix until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Top with your favorite toppings and dig in!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Veggie Sausage Black Bean Chili

I love creating a new chili...well, new to us. It's a great way to use leftover veggies or a great excuse to buy veggies. But chili is so filling and delicious and melt in your mouth wonderful. You can switch one ingredient and create a totally different flavor. And I swear, it takes better the day after you made it.

8 ounces of sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 zucchini's, cut into 1/4 inch circles
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (28oz) chopped tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook the sausage in a large soup pot over medium heat until cooked through. Add the onion, zucchini, red pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, with juice, the beans, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and pepper.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, or until thickened and flavorful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

I think it's funny I took this picture and you can't see any rice. Hmmmm... Anyways, we LOVE Chinese food in our house and making it myself helps save on money. Okay, maybe not initially because Chinese cooking usually involves ingredients that you only use for cooking Chinese. But you use so little that once you make the small investment, you are set for a long time. And it really does cost a lot less than going out. I could not find a small bag of dried red chiles to save my life, so I have a big huge bag. So if you live nearby and want to try this, let me know - I'm totally willing to share.

3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
5 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry, divided
5 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts, cut bite size
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/3 cup peanuts
6 to 8 dried red chiles
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 bags of sugar snap peas
cooked rice

Combine 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons rice wine, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and salt in a ziploc. Shake to mix well. Add the chicken; shake to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Blend the remaining 3 teaspoons rice wine, 3 teaspoons soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and sugar into the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chiles; stir fry until they just begin to char, about 1 minute.

Increase the heat to high. Add the chicken mixure and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and sugar snap peas, stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the peanuts and the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Serve over rice.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

I have had so much fun making recipes from the cookbook my Mom made of all my childhood recipes. So when I was thinking of making meatballs the other day, I knew I had to make these. If you have never made your own meatballs before, they are so easy. You can instantly make them into a meal when they are done, or freeze them for later. This meatball recipe is my favorite. They are full of flavor, moist, and very versatile. You could add them with any sauce, not just the one I'm including today.

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup minced onion
3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil. Mix all the ingredients together. (I like to use my hands because they are going to get messy forming the meat into balls anyways.) Form the meat mixture into balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup sour cream
noodles or rice, cooked

Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour, paprika and salt. Stir until thick, then stir in the water and sour cream. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over noodles or rice.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Another childhood favorite! It was years since I had chimichangas, and then my Mom came to visit when my younger brother and his wife had a baby. She made these for dinner and all the memories came rushing back. I thought they were difficult to make and never thought to ask Mom for the recipe. But I was wrong! They are so easy to make and delicious.

1 pound hamburger
1 can refried beans (I use Taco Bell fat free because they are amazingly delicious)
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup oil
sour cream, lettuce and salsa for toppings

Brown the hamburger. Stir in the refried beans. Scoop the meat mixture into the middle of each tortilla. Fold two of the edges into the middle. Fold the other two edges into the middle so it makes a square.

Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat. When heated, place the chimichanga into the oil, folded sides down. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and fry the other side. Place on a plate with paper towels to absorb any extra oil.

Top with sour cream, lettuce and salsa.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have no idea why this is called Hecca. It's something I grew up eating and LOVED! So the other day I was thinking of recipes I could make using hamburger (because I have lots of it in my freezer) and this came to mind. A few Christmas' ago my Mom made all of us a recipe book filled with our most favorite recipes from childhood. So I pulled it out and happily found the recipe. To my joy and excitement, I realized just how easy it is to make. I changed it a little so there is less meat and more veggies but the taste is exactly the same.

1/2 pound hamburger
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 heads of broccoli
6 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked rice

Brown the hamburger. Stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Add the vegetables and cook until they are crisp tender. Serve over rice.

Monday, August 16, 2010


These bring me back to my college days. Right next to my apartment complex was a pizza place that made the most amazing calzones. We would go there on the weekends, eat calzones and watch live bands. I have been back to little Rexburg since then and it's not the same, at all. The pizza place has moved, it's a buffet now and no more live bands. But calzones still remind me of how fun it was to be a college student. Plus, my husband loves pizza so there is no complaining in my house. Just pick up all your favorite pizza toppings, make this great dough and enjoy!

1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
pizza sauce
your favorite pizza toppings (ham, pepperoni, pineapple, olives, mushrooms, etc)

Mix the lukewarm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Add the egg, olive oil, and salt, mix well. Blend in the flour until a soft dough forms. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Punch down and form into 4 or 6 balls, depending on how many servings you want. Roll out each ball, top one half with pizza sauce, toppings and cheese. Fold over and pinch the ends shut. Move to a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sweet Pork Salad with the Most Amazing Dressing

Okay, I live in Utah. I have no idea if Cafe Rio started here but I do have several friends that have moved away from Utah and really miss Cafe Rio. I don' t like Cafe Rio (gasp - the horror, I know!). They use way too much cilantro and my digestive system is not a fan. Plus, it totally tastes like dish soap. If you love it, you just keep on loving it. I'll give you all of my portions, so there. But let's get back to this recipe. This is supposedly THE recipe for the sweet pork from Cafe Rio, made cilantro free. I LOVED it. I ate it for days and days. It's the best salad I've ever had and I haven't even mentioned the dressing yet. Oh my mouth is salivating just thinking of it. I also changed the dressing a little because I hate mayo, like really hate mayo. But trust me, it's still amazing and delicious and finger licking because you don't want to waste any of it. Okay, I'll get down to it.

3 1/2 - 4 pounds pork roast
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 can Dr. Pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup brown sugar
romaine lettuce
beans (I used pinto)
cooked rice

Put the pork roast in a crockpot. Mix the 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, cayenne, cumin and salt. Sprinkle over the roast. Mix the Dr. Pepper, chicken broth, garlic and onion. Pour into the crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred the roast and add 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix well.

The Most Amazing Dressing

1 package Ranch dressing mix (just the powder)
8 oz salsa verde
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 - 2 Tablespoons of lime juice

Add the Ranch mix, salsa verde, garlic and sour cream to a blender. Mix, adding enough lime juice to make it a smooth texture. Make sure you lick the blender clean - cause it's that good!

Put some lettuce, beans and cooked rice on a plate. Add the meat on top. Smother with the Most Amazing Dressing. Take a bite and feel happier than you ever have before.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken Crescent Rolls

Chicken crescent rolls have been a favorite of my family for a long time. In the past I have always used Pillsbury crescent rolls but they are so loaded with fat and, in my opinion, aren't super tasty. However, my Aunt Shelly has an amazing recipe for crescent rolls. I had them once, three or four years ago, and I've never forgotten their amazingness! Thankfully, she was completely willing to share the recipe with me. And I've got to say, I'll never go back to store bought crescent roll dough!

For the Crescent Rolls:
1/2 cup warm water
a pinch of sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup potato flakes
1 cup canned milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
6 1/2 cups flour (you might need more than this)

Combine the warm water and pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine the boiling water, potato flakes, milk, oil, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the yeast mixture and 3 1/2 cups flour, stir until smooth. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour. You will need more if the dough doesn't pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 2 minutes.

Put in an oiled bowl and rise until double in size.

Meanwhile make the chicken filling:

8 oz of cream cheese
2 cans of chicken (or 2 cups of cooked and diced chicken)
1 can of mushrooms
1 onion, diced

Using an electric mixture, beat the cream cheese until soft. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms and onion.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide into 3 balls. Rest the dough for 10 minutes. Roll one of the balls into a circle and cut into 12 triangles. If you make the crescent rolls too thick or too large, they will brown on the top but still be doughy inside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drop a Tablespoon of chicken mixture on the top of the triangle and roll up. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake each pan for 10 - 12 minutes. Continue rolling and filling the dough until all the dough is used.

I like to mix 1 can of cream of mushroom soup with milk and serve over the top as a sort of gravy. This recipe may seem time intensive, but it really comes together quickly and it's so delicious!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breakfast Potato Bake

I LOVE breakfast - for any meal. I made this for dinner but completely enjoyed it as breakfast leftovers for the next couple of mornings. I would have added fresh tomatoes after it was cooked, but I didn't have any. This is made in two parts and takes almost a total of an hour to cook, so plan ahead.

3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup cooked ham, chopped
1 cup cheese, shredded
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the hash browns on the bottom of a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan. Drizzle the butter over the top of the potatoes. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Layer the ham, cheese, pepper, and onion over the crust. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper until blended. Pour over the layers. Bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Curried Veggies with Rice Noodles

I'm back! I'm back! It's been so long but I'm back. I'm going to start with one of my most favorite dishes I made in the last month. Then again, I am slightly biased towards curry. Rice noodles are so yummy too. I find mine in the Asian aisle of the grocery store. They are really easy to make and a nice break from typical noodles. You can buy curry that is mild all the way up to spicy so make it according to what your taste buds like.

2 cans of coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon ginger
4 chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cups broccoli
2 yellow peppers, julienned
1 package rice noodles

Simmer the coconut milk, curry, and ginger for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, onion, broccoli and yellow peppers and cook until tender. Add the rice noodles and cook until the noodles have absorbed the liquid and are cooked through. (You can check the package for exact directions.) Then scoop some noodles and veggies on a plate and YUMMY!!