Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Night in Bethlehem


Here are the recipes from our Relief Society Christmas Dinner. That was such a beautiful evening. It was one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me this year. I’ve delayed posting because I’ve been waiting for the pictures, but it looks like I don’t have those after all, so here are the recipes you’ve been requesting. We wanted to serve the type of food that could have been eaten in a Bethlehem inn. This would be a fun dinner to serve your family before Christmas.
Middle-Eastern Lentil Soup
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large diced carrot
  • 2 stalks finely diced celery
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups red or brown lentils
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, undrained
  • 1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans, undrained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I didn’t use any because I used a hot curry powder)
Directions
1. In large pot saute the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the water, lentils, garbonzos, cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil for a few minutes then simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer, until the lentils are soft.
3. Puree half the soup in a food processor or blender (this step is important to achieve the right texture). Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir and enjoy!
*This can also be made in the crockpot. Skip the sauté step and put everything into the crockpot at once. Cook for 5-6 hours on high or 10-12 on low, and then puree half the soup as directed.

Flatbread (makes 6 rounds)
  • 2 cups of All Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  1. Mix all ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t add too much flour—just enough to keep the dough from being too sticky.
  2. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough and keep in a warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should almost be double in volume.
  3. Heat the oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone for at least thirty minutes so stone is hot.
  4. Knead the dough for about two to three minutes and divide the dough into six equal parts.
  5. Take each piece of dough, one at a time, and roll into 8-inch circle shape. Dust lightly with dry flour to help with the rolling.
  6. You can place about 2 breads on the baking/pizza stone at a time. Bake about 2 to 3 minutes, depending upon your oven. Bread should be golden brown.
  7. Take bread out of the oven and brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with garlic powder or garlic salt on one side.
NOTE: Some of the bread was baked in the oven, as explained above. The rest was cooked on my pancake griddle, about 2 minutes per side, and then brushed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt. I thought the pancake griddle was easier than the oven and I didn’t notice a difference in taste.
NOTE 2: The bread can be made ahead and warmed in the oven before serving.

Salad
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Baby Spinach
  • Feta cheese
  • grape tomatoes
  • red onions
  • olives
  • sliced cucumbers
  • Bernstein’s Light Fantastic Cheese Fantastico dressing

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Cooking Class

Thanks for coming! We had such a good group tonight. The best part of my calling isn't when I'm running around all afternoon cleaning my house and cooking, it's when you come over to eat and talk. I am so blessed to call you my friends. We have such great women in our neighborhood!

You will find all of the recipes for the food you tasted, plus a couple more that I wanted to include. Check the sidebar under November to see a list of all recipes. You can also scroll down to search by ingredients or categories. Please let me know if I've made any mistakes, or if the directions are unclear. Believe me, it happens all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and happy cooking!

Curried Pumpkin Soup

I really wanted to make this soup so you could taste it during class, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Trust me, you would have loved it. So try it for yourselves! And if you don't like mushrooms, leave 'em out.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds, optional

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended. Gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper and nutmeg; heat through. Garnish with roasted seeds if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

I posted this recipe last month, but I'm re-posting it so that it is easier to find with the other pumpkin class recipes.
I didn't include this recipe when I taught my last cooking class on pasta sauces because I already had plenty of recipes and I decided to save this one for a pumpkin-themed class--coming soon. However, after several requests from family and friends who have tasted this at my house, I'm going to post the recipe early. I only make it in the fall--I'm just weird that way. Pumpkin=fall. So try this and see what you think. And when canned pumpkin goes on sale, stock up so you can make this all year long(unless you're weird like me). Or, if you don't find a sale on pumpkin, go visit my sister, Monette. If I know her, pretty soon she'll have a freezer full of fresh, pureed pumpkin--skins and all.

I would have posted this sooner but I had to make it again to test amounts of ingredients I use, because this is a recipe I made up. It's loosely based on an recipe I saw in a magazine at the dentist's office a couple of years ago, but that recipe had cinnamon and cloves. That's great in pumpkin pie, but I wanted a main dish that didn't taste like a dessert, so I went home and created this version. I served this to some friends who liked it but asked, "Do your kids eat this?" Yes, they do, and all of them like it! I hope your family will give it a chance--it's a favorite around here.

Ingredients:
1 lb. pasta (I usually use penne but tortellini is really good, too)
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 T. flour
Sliced mushrooms (optional)
Sliced red bell pepper (also optional)
3 cloves garlic (or more)
2 c. chicken broth (I use water and bouillon)
15 oz. can pumpkin
1 t. salt
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2-1c. cream (I use light sour cream or cream cheese)
Parmesan cheese
Toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds

Cook pasta as directed and drain. Saute onion and garlic (and mushrooms and pepper, if using) in olive oil for 5 minutes. Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and simmer for a few more minutes until vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in pumpkin until smooth. Add salt, basil, and pepper flakes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in cream before serving and simmer on low heat. Add more cream, milk, or broth if sauce seems too thick.

Serve over pasta and top with parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. I used pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in the picture above because I had them, but I think I prefer the walnuts.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip


This dip is so easy to stir together for fall parties. It's light and not too sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Directions
In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours until serving.

Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or apples.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin roll I made for tonight's class! We'll just pretend it was as beautiful as this picture that I borrowed from Libby's website--the same place I found the recipe. I did make a couple of minor changes to the recipe (reduced the butter, added more spices, and used brown sugar instead of white). Try a cake roll soon--it's easier than it looks, right everyone?

Ingredients

  • powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar (optional)

    Directions

  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
  3. BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  4. BEAT cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
  5. This can be made ahead and frozen--wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil. Thaw for about 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder

This recipe originally called for butternut squash, but I've found that pumpkin and sweet potatoes can be substituted with great results. The squash turns the soup a pretty golden color which can be pale or bright, depending on the amount of cream used.

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons flour (white or wheat)

2 cups chicken broth

4 potatoes, cubed

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butternut squash

2 cups frozen corn

1 cup red pepper, chopped and sauteed, or roasted from a jar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cup light sour cream

fresh parsley, chopped

1 In a large pot, saute onions, red pepper, and celery in oil until tender. Add flour and stir. Gradually stir in broth then bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

2 Add cooked squash, corn, and spices and stir until blended. Heat to very warm, then stir in the sour cream. Do not boil or cream will curdle. Top with fresh parsley before serving.

Pumpkin Knot Rolls


I found this recipe years ago when we lived in North Dakota. We used to invite our North Dakota neighbors over for a potluck soup Christmas party and I'd make these rolls. Except North Dakotans don't eat rolls—they eat buns. When we moved away, the neighbors said, "Now who's going to have the Christmas party and make the Pumpkin Buns?" I've been making them every holiday season since. I usually double the recipe and make it in my Bosch, skipping the first rise. And for all of you who tasted the batch pictured above at the cooking class, they were made with a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour--half of each.

Ingredients

  • 2 T. instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened (I use canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole-wheat these days)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame or poppy seeds, optional

Directions

  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, pumpkin, 2 eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 10-in. rope; tie into a knot and tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, beat water and 1 egg. Brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Tuscan Pumpkin Soup


I found this recipe several years ago in a magazine as something you could make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. We love this soup, and usually just make it with chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, turkey, pumpkin, beans, salt, basil and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired. Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).


    *For extra nutrition, add spinach (frozen or fresh, chopped)

Fiesta Pumpkin Dip

Not a great picture! I didn't remember to get my camera until the food was half gone. This bowl was scraped clean by the end of the night.

Ingredients:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ c. canned pumpkin

2 T. taco seasoning mix

¼ t. garlic powder

½ c. chopped green onions

½ c. finely chopped red pepper

½ c. sliced olives

1 loaf round bread, if desired for serving

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, taco seasoning and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in onions, peppers, and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut off top of bread bowl and scoop out inside. Fill bowl with dip and serve with vegetables, crackers, chips, or bread cubes.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Making pie from fresh pumpkin or squash puree is a little trickier because the puree is not as thick as the commercially canned pumpkin. I love this recipe because you don't add a can of evaporated milk. You don't add any extra liquids—just the dry milk powder. Brian was skeptical that this pie would turn out because he had just listened to a NPR story about pumpkin pie and the "experts" claimed that the best pies are made from canned pumpkin. They said not to bother cooking your own, because the pie won't have the right consistency. Well, I had to prove them wrong. I just happened to have some leftover pumpkins that we hadn't carved, and I found this recipe on a food storage blog. The pie was great! Brian said he liked it better than the Libby's recipe I usually use. I won't pretend that this is the only recipe I will use from now on, because cooking your own pumpkin is more work. But, if you have some pumpkins or butternut squash (I'm talking to you, Marilyn!) that you want to use, try this recipe.

Ingredients:
3 1/2 C. homemade pumpkin puree
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
3 eggs
1 C. dry non-instant milk
1 9-10 inch deep dish pie shell with edges crimped high--filling is generous

Thoroughly combine all of the above—I used a blender to make sure the powdered milk was completely smooth. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean. Cool.


Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

This recipe is from Taste of Home Magazine. It's a great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or any other meat you have on hand. I often skip the meat altogether and add some lentils instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 ½ cups cooked beans)
  • 2-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey, chicken, ground beef, or lentils
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper and garlic in oil until tender. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Amazing Tomato Soup


Amazing Tomato Soup

This soup was a little labor-intensive for a tomato soup, but the results were worth it. I've been striving to re-create a favorite soup from Zuppa's, and Brian and I think this one is even better (and I'm sure it's much better for you!) Try this with some homemade crusty bread (I just got the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day—MMMMmmmmm) or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Ingredients:

¼ c. olive oil

4 c. thinly sliced onions (3 large onions)

½ t. salt

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (Yes, the whole head!)

1 carrot, shredded or sliced thin

Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

2 T. tomato paste

3 cans diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz. each)

2 c. chicken broth or water

1 t. sage

3 strips of orange zest (use a vegetable peeler)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cream, half and half, or plain yogurt


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions and salt and cook over medium heat about 4 minutes. Add garlic cloves, carrot, and red pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and stir until blended. Add tomatoes, broth, sage, and orange zest strips. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard the orange zest, then blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in cream (1-2 cups) or other dairy product to achieve desired creaminess. I only put in a cup of plain yogurt and I've also used a block of cream cheese. Both are very good. If you like it creamier, add two cups. I'm sure Zuppa's uses real cream, but I can do without all the extra calories.


*I like this soup with orzo in it—that's the way they serve it at Zuppa's, but it's also good without.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Tradition

DSC01760

This is what we’ll be eating on Halloween! It’s easy (honest, it’s not as hard as it looks!), nutritious, filling, inexpensive, and uses your food storage. I entered my recipes and photo in a contest and I’m one of the finalists. Click here to see my recipes and scroll down the list of the other finalists if you want more ideas.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Favorite Gingersnaps

Mid-October 2009 032

I have always loved gingersnaps or molasses cookies. I discovered this recipe a few years ago, just after we moved to Utah. The RS Presidency came to visit and brought a copy of the ward cookbook. When I read this recipe I was intrigued. There was no white flour, oil, butter or shortening listed! Afraid it might be a mistake, I called the person who had submitted the recipe to ask if the ingredients were correct. I had not met her yet, but she was so nice as she assured me the recipe was right. She explained that she first tasted the cookies at the hospital cafeteria in Logan where she worked and begged the cook for the recipe because she loved them so much. She’d had no idea that the cookies were whole wheat or low-fat—she just loved the taste. I tried the recipe immediately, and I have never used another gingersnap recipe since. It was a great way to make a new friend. We have both moved from the neighborhood, but I think of Cecile every time I bake gingersnaps.

These cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy inside. And unlike most of my low-fat cookie experiments, these store well for at least a few days.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 2 t. ginger
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper, optional
  • 4-5 c. whole wheat flour (see * below)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients well before adding flour. Add four cups of flour and combine. If dough is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time until the mixture clumps together without being sticky, but not too dry. Form dough into balls and roll in extra sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don’t overbake and you’ll have soft, chewy cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

*whole wheat flour differs in moisture content, so the amount of flour you use may vary. Follow the instructions above, adding a little at a time until the dough is easy to work with.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September's Cooking Class--Pasta Sauces


Last night was so much fun! I'm glad that so many of you were able to come--I think I counted about 25. Thanks for eating so I didn't have to pack my fridge full of leftovers when you left. I also have to thank Cori Reynolds, for coming early to help me chop and assemble, and for watching the stove and oven in the background while I talked. Another thanks to Amy Scharman who took photos so I could include them with the recipes on the blog. And at the end of the night, Amy and Cori were washing all my dishes while I chatted and said goodbye to everyone. What good friends!

All of the recipes featured in the class are found on this site. Please leave comments if you try a recipe and tell us how it worked for you. If you have questions, just ask me in the comment section and I'll reply. If anyone has an idea or a request for a future class--leave a comment and let me know!

Cashew Alfredo



I was so excited to discover this recipe! My friend posted it on her blog several months ago (her picture looks so good!) and I couldn't wait to try it. We love it! You have to taste it to believe it. It’s rich and creamy and good for you, too. It’s full of the good fat—not the saturated stuff found in cream and butter, and it’s so easy to blend together. I haven’t served this to anyone who hasn’t liked it—even the skeptics!
1 cup raw cashew pieces
2 1/2 cups warm water (can use pasta cooking water)
olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. lemon juice, if desired
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
18 ounces pasta
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

In a blender or food processor pulse the cashews until they form a paste then add a bit of the water and continue to process until you've got a smooth texture (or as close as you can get to smooth). I’ve found it works best to start with 1 c. of the water and blend until smooth, then add the rest.

In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute the minced garlic over medium heat until it's beginning to brown slightly. Add the cashew/water mixture, stirring and scraping as it heats, until it begins to boil and thicken. Once thickened, removed from heat and stir in the salt, pepper and Parmesan, stirring until melted. If sauce is too thick, add a little more water.

Boil the pasta, then drain and add to the cashew mixture and stir to coat the noodles. Serve with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
*This sauce is a great base for your creativity. Add chicken, shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, broccoli, chopped tomatoes, spinach, red peppers—anything you like. It’s great as a topping for chicken or seafood, and it also makes a yummy pizza sauce.

Spinach Pesto


This recipe came from my sister's blog. She posted it as a way to use lettuce or spinach that is starting to wilt. Don't throw it away--just toss it it in the food processor or blender with the rest of these ingredients. In the batch of pesto I made for the cooking class, I used 2 c. of the spring greens mix and 1 c. spinach.

3 cups of raw spinach, packed tight
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 t. honey (balances any bitterness from the spinach)
juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)
fresh ground salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a food processor or blender, combine nuts, cheese, garlic & honey. Pulse until they make a paste. Add spinach, pulse a few times. Then slowly add olive oil until it’s a creamy consistency - but small chunks of spinach are fine. Lastly, add salt & pepper and lemon juice to taste. If desired, add a little fresh parsley or basil (or use dried) for more flavor.

  • This pesto freezes well.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta. I usually cook the pasta, then toss the pesto in at the last minute.
  • This makes a great base for pizza, too. Just spread it thickly on the crust, then top with red onion, mushrooms, chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, etc. and sprinkle a little of your favorite cheese on top. Bake till warm and bubbly.
  • Try pesto as a sandwich spread, too, on hot or cold sandwiches.

Pesto Pizza



We love pesto sauce on pizza! For last night's cooking class we sliced a baguette loaf into 1/2 inch slices and spread with pesto. We topped our little appetizers with red onion, sauteed mushrooms, chopped tomato, and mozzeralla and baked them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Pasta Rosa


There are many recipes for Italian Pink Sauce (Pasta Rosa). Most have you add cream to a marinara type sauce. My favorite way to make this is just to combine your favorite red sauce (like the crockpot Marinara) and your favorite white sauce or Alfredo (like the Cashew or White Bean versions) in a ratio of about 2 parts red sauce to 1 part white sauce. My kids love this!

*I also like to make lasagna this way—either mix the two sauces, or alternate layers of white and red sauce as you assemble the layers.

Creamy White Bean Alfredo


This recipe isn't going to fool you into thinking it's a real Alfredo. It tastes like beans, but if you're prepared for that, you'll like it. It's a nice change from the typical Italian. And if you're trying to add more low-fat, high fiber foods to your diet, serve this sauce with whole grain pasta and some vegetables and you've got a complete nutritious meal.


1/4 cup Smart Balance or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked white beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups milk (can use soy milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley (optional)

•In a sauté pan over low heat, melt the margarine or oil. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

•Transfer the margarine mixture to a blender or food processor, add the white beans and 1 cup of milk. Blend until completely smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining milk until you reach the desired consistency.

•Pour the sauce back into the pan over low heat, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh herbs, such as parsley, if desired. Cook until the sauce is warm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Marinara


Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 8 hours

· 2 onions, chopped

· 8 cloves garlic, minced (I use a couple of big spoonfuls from a jar of minced garlic)

· 1 large (6 lb. 6 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (see * below)

· 6 oz. can tomato paste

· 2 c. shredded carrots, optional

· 1 T. dried basil

· 1 t. oregano

· 1-2 t. salt

· 2 t. beef bouillon granules

· Crushed red pepper, if desired

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. Serve sauce over pasta. 18-20 servings.

* I used a huge can from Sam’s Club. It costs less than 2.50 which is a great deal. I also like that the tomatoes are unpeeled and crushed—it adds extra fiber!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Salad

I found this recipe years ago but tried it for the first time this summer. We've been missing out! This is a new favorite main-dish salad. Serves 6

Dressing:
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. BBQ sauce
1 t. tobasco sauce
2 T. milk

Salad:
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t. tobasco sauce
1 large carrot, shredded
8 c. chopped romaine lettuce
2 stalks celery, cut in thin matchsticks
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Add 1/4 c. dressing and additional tobasco sauce to chicken in a ziploc bag or dish. Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes . Grill or broil chicken until cooked. Cool and slice into strips.
  • Combine lettuce, carrot, celery, and blue cheese in a large salad bowl. Stir in dressing and then top with the chicken. Sprinkle with extra blue cheese, if desired.
I thought this salad needed something extra, so I added corn (thawed from frozen), black beans, and juilienned red pepper.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Favorite Oatmeal Cookies


My sister-in-law asked me for a good oatmeal cookie recipe (a couple of weeks ago--sorry it took so long, Jenni) so I'm posting my favorite. I've tried many over the years and have settled on this one. It's a combination between America's Test Kitchen version and a recipe I found in the cookbook: 5 Star Recipes From Well-Known Latter-day Saints. I like the oat to flour ratio (twice as many oats) as well as the amount of butter called for (it's less than most recipes but still enough). This makes a soft chewy cookie, with a lightly crisp outside. I'm partial to chocolate chips and nuts in this recipe, but Craisins and white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips are all very good.
Update 7/26/12
I tried making these with 1/2 cup butter and 1/3 cup pure olive oil and they turned out perfectly when baked right away.  I doubt I'll ever make them with all butter again.  No spread, and slightly crisp edges with chewy centers.  I bet coconut oil would also be a good replacement for some of the butter.
Famous Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

½ c. sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 ¾ c. flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)

½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 t. cinnamon (optional; I usually don't use it)

3 c. old-fashioned oats

2-3 c. Add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, Craisins, raisins, other baking chips)

Cream butter and sugars; add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix until combined. Add oats and chips. Scoop onto cookie sheet (I use parchment paper--and I use each sheet over and over again) and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. For bar cookies, spread batter in ungreased 9x13 pan and bake for approx. 30 minutes. This recipe makes exactly 3 ½ dozen cookies when I use my medium pampered chef cookie scoop.

Tip: If you bake these right away, they spread a little. They're good (my kids don't complain) but I prefer to chill the dough first before baking (as per America's Test Kitchen suggestion). I scoop all the dough onto cookie sheets and refrigerate or freeze before baking. Add an extra minute to the baking time when baking chilled dough.

Note: The above recipe works great for my altitude and my oven. If you are baking at a lower altitude, try using ¼ c. less flour and ¼ c. more sugar and alter baking temperature and time as needed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Basic Crepes

This is the recipe we (actually Cori--thank you!!) made for the cooking class. We doubled it and there were no leftovers! I didn't even get one!

Ingredients:
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour (use 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white)
1 tbsp oil or melted butter
¼ tsp salt

Method:
Combine eggs, milk, flour, oil, and salt; Whisk until smooth Heat an 8 inch non-stick skillet; remove from heat and add about 2 tbsp crepe batter. Lift and tilt pan to evenly spread batter. Return to heat and cook crepe until it appears dry. Cook on one side only. Invert crepe onto paper towel. Repeat process with remaining batter.

Notes: You can do so much with crepes. Like these Banana Caramel Toasted Coconut Crepes--delicious! For the cooking class I made an apple filling using the dried apples from the cannery. Just put desired amount of dried apples in a microwaveable bowl and add water just barely to cover. Microwave for about 5-6 minutes, stirring every minute, or until the liquid is absorbed. Add cinnamon and sugar to taste and serve inside crepes with vanilla yogurt and toasted walnuts or pecans. The Nutella was also very popular!

Buttermilk Syrup

This was a big hit at the cooking class. It's so yummy, and while I can't claim it's low-fat, it's much better for you than the original recipe was!

1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter
1 t. baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 t. vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla; boil for 5 minutes. Add vanilla. Serve on pancakes, waffles, crepes, french toast, or ice cream. It’s important to use a big saucepan because it froths a lot while cooking and WILL boil over if you use one that‘s too small. Ask me how I know that (and ask Cori Reynolds how much fun it was to clean!).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Apple Spice Syrup

This syrup is great with pancakes, french toast, waffles, and German pancakes. It has very little added sugar because it's sweetened with apple cider or juice.

¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ t. ground allspice
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1-¾ cup apple juice or cider

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, allspice and nutmeg; mix well. Add juice or cider. Cook and stir over medium heat until syrup is bubbly and slightly thickened. Makes 1-¾ cups. (I make it in the microwave in a large glass bowl. I cook it 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.)

German Pancake

This is a favorite in our house and easy to make for a crowd--just double the recipe and bake in 2 pans. Or for a smaller family, half the recipe and bake in a pie pan or a square one.

6-8 servings

2 T. butter
6 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. flour (I use whole wheat)
½ t. salt
Put butter in a 13x9 pan and place in the oven while preheating to 400. Watch carefully so butter doesn’t burn (not that I’d know from experience….) Blend all remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth. Tilt pan to distribute melted butter, then pour batter on top of the butter. Bake for 20 minutes. The pancake will get big bubbles in the middle and start to come off the edges of the pan.

Serve with your favorite toppings: fruit, yogurt, syrup, powdered sugar, warm applesauce, etc.

Steel-Cut Oats

serves 4-6

I love this much more than regular oatmeal but never ate it because it was expensive and takes awhile to cook. It is sold in the grocery stores as "Irish Oatmeal" in a fancy tin, but I found it at Kitchen Kneads in West Jordan as "steel-cut oats" for about 1/5th the price. My next great discovery is that it cooks in only 5 minutes (instead of 20-25) if you soak the oats in the cooking water overnight. In the morning, all you need to do is turn on the heat and stir it occasionally as it cooks. Now I eat it a couple of times a week.

2 c. dry steel-cut oats
4 c. water
1/4 t. salt

Mix all in a saucepan, cover, and let soak overnight. In the morning, heat over medium heat until creamy, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your favorite ingredients. Some of my favorites are: chopped apple, Craisins or raisins, banana, chopped toasted nuts, vanilla yogurt, cinnamon sugar or brown sugar, and jam. Use a combination of the above and stir in a little milk if mixture is too thick.

Note: Millet is another grain I love for breakfast. It is considered one of the most nutritious, least allergenic, and most digestible grains. I buy this at Kitchen Kneads also. Cook it the same way, only the ratio is 1 c. millet to 3 c. water. After soaking all night it will cook in 15 minutes (instead of 45 for unsoaked).

Tangy Fruit Oatmeal

For those who don’t like oatmeal, they haven’t tried it this way!
Serves 4

3 c. orange juice
1-½ c. oats
½ c. dried fruit (craisins, raisins, chopped apricots, etc.)
¼ c. sliced almonds
2 T. brown sugar
2-4 T. jam, any flavor
¼ t. cinnamon
Dash salt
Bring juice to a boil; stir in remaining ingredients. Return to a boil and reduce heat. Cook 1 minute for quick or 5 minutes for regular oats, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove form heat. Let stand until thickened.

Raisin Pecan Baked Oatmeal

6-8 servings

My kids love this! It tastes like a cross between granola and a muffin and you eat it crumbled in a bowl with milk. In addition to reducing the sugar and the fat, and changing the butter to oil, I adapted it for the microwave so it’s fast enough to eat on busy school mornings, especially if you mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls the night before and combine just before cooking.
¼ c. oil
½ c. honey or sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 c. oats (regular or quick)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
1 c. milk
½ c. raisins
½ c. chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients in a microwaveable bowl until well combined. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir. Cook on half power for 4-5 minutes or until oats are tender and mixture becomes drier. Spoon into bowls and serve warm with additional milk.

If you prefer, you can bake it in the oven for 25-30 minutes in a greased 13x9 pan.

Note: add more sugar if it's not sweet enough for you--the original recipe called for 1 c. sugar but I like to cut back as much as possible. I often only use 1/4 c.

Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes

These delicious, hearty pancakes are a great way to start the day. This is a great use for the whole wheat in your food storage and you don‘t need a wheat grinder!

1 cup whole wheat kernels
1-1/3 cups milk or buttermilk
2 T. honey or brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla

Put wheat kernels and 1 c. milk in blender. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Add remaining milk and blend for another 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Add more milk if mixture is too thick. Pour onto griddle and cook on both sides.
Note: Try adding a banana to the batter before the final blending. Sprinkle nuts, coconut, blueberries, chopped apple, or chocolate chips on the batter after pouring onto griddle. Yummy! Serve with syrup, applesauce, or yogurt.

Sourdough Waffles

Click here for a delicious waffle recipe along with ideas for making Conference Traditions with your families.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Serves 4

This is an example of a way to make your oatmeal more exciting! Use this as a base and try your own favorite fruits and nuts.

3 c. milk (or use powdered milk and water)

3 T. brown sugar

¾ t. ground cinnamon

¼ t. salt

¼ t. nutmeg

2 c. oats (regular or quick)

2 bananas, mashed

3 T. chopped, toasted pecans

Vanilla yogurt

Banana slices

Pecan halves

In a medium saucepan, bring milk, brown sugar, spices and salt to a gentle boil (watch carefully). Stir in oats. Return to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook 1 min. for quick oats and 5 min. for regular, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir frequently.

Remove oatmeal from heat and stir in mashed banana and pecans. Spoon into bowls and top each serving with yogurt, banana slices, and pecan halves, if desired.