Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lemon Lentil Salad

Whenever I think of the word, "lentil," I think of Yentl:
Just putting that out there for ya.

This is another recipe I got from my Relief Society president. Beans are so good for you - I'm always trying to find non-chili ways to use them. I mean, I love a good chili, but not when it's ninety degrees outside, you know?

I think this recipe would be a good substitute for a pasta salad - it still has that chewiness of a pasta salad, and it tastes fresh and cool like one. You cook this with a bay leaf, and in my opinion, bay leaves make EVERYTHING taste better.

I made this a couple of weeks ago, and with the fresh thyme from my garden, it was tres bon. A perfect summer salad.

Lemon Lentil Salad

4 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 t. dried or fresh thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine and set aside.

In medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup lentils, 1 bay leaf. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, let stand for 30 minutes, pour off excess water, and discard bay leaf.

1 large tomato, diced
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
2 green onions, sliced

Serve warm or chilled.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Twist

This is my friend, Patty's, favorite. I think each of us ate one of these huge twists when we had dinner once. (In our defense, we were both preggo.) It's adapted from Pampered Chef, once again. Pampered Chef never fails to please. My family likes it so well that I often double it.

I was going to try to make this this week, but my very, very altruistic mom is making us dinner all this week while I frantically scrub our house down for our renters and try (in vain, so far) to get all of our stuff to fit into our luggage. So it will have to wait until we're settled in Baoding.

We leave in one week! Yikes! Bikes.

Pepperoni Pizza Twist

3.5 oz. pepperoni slices, diced
3.25 oz. chopped olives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 oz. shredded mozz cheese
2 Tbsp flour
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 loaves of frozen Rhoades bread
1 egg
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 oz grated fresh parmesan cheese
optional pizza sauce

Thaw the Rhoades bread according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375. Combine pepperoni, olives, parsley, mozz cheese, four, and garlic in a bowl.

Place loaves of bread dough parallel to each other on a greased cookie sheet. Slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end, cutting halfway through to the center of the loaf. Use the side of your hand or a rolling pin to create a well down the center of each loaf.

Spoon half of the pepperoni mixture down the center of each loaf. Gather up edges over filling, pinching firmly to seal. Place loaves, seam sides down, in an "X" pattern on your cookie sheet. Crisscross ends of dough to form a large figure "8," leaving two 1 1/2 inch openings in center of each twist.

Separate egg and beat the egg white with the Italian seasoning. Lightly brush the whites over the dough. Using a serrated knife, cut a 3-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist to reveal filling.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over loaf. Bake 30-32 mins or until deep golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack; cool 10 mins. Serve with warmed pizza sauce, if desired. (My fam prefers good old Ranch dressing.)

Green Grog

This was another thing I did for St. Patrick's Day this year - we had it with dinner. My good friend, Lynds, sent me the recipe. Do you like how I served it in my Halloween bowl? It's the biggest bowl I have. I really need to just buy a punch bowl one of these days.

Green Grog

1 (12-oz) can frozen limeade concentrate (made with half the amount of water)
1 (12-oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate (made with half the amount of water)
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime soda
1 quart lime sherbet

In a large punch bowl, combine lemonade, limeade, and soda. Stir in water. Mix in the lime sherbet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tuxedo Brownies

Oh, you are going to DIE when you eat these. They are sooooo good. A family favorite. For sure. I got this recipe from a Pampered Chef catalogue. Every single Pampered Chef recipe I have tried, I've liked. I really should just break down and buy one of their recipe books.

Tuxedo Brownies

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix
2 oz. white chocolate
2 T. milk
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. thawed whipped topping
1 pint sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 325. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix for cakelike brownies. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until edges are set. Press tops of brownies to make indentations. Cool in pan 15 mins. Remove from pan. Cool completely. Microwave white chocolate and milk on high 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In small bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; mix well. Stir in white chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Scoop this mixture into cooled brownie cups. Arrange strawberry slices on top. Garnish as desired. Place in airtight container and refrigerate 1/3 hours before serving.


I got this recipe from another college roommate, Holli. They're perfect for the fall or winter. Something about gingerbread evokes colder weather for me.

Whenever I think of molasses, I think of this joke I heard once:

There was a mamma mole, a papa mole, and a baby mole. They lived in a hole outside of a farm house out in the country.

One morning, the papa mole reached his head out of the hole and said, "Mmmmm, I smell sausage."

The mama mole reached her head outside of the hole and said, "Mmmmm, I smell pancakes."

As the baby mole repeatedly tried to stick his head out of the hole to get a whiff, he became frustrated because the two bigger moles were in the way.

Unable to take it any longer, the baby mole mumbled, "The only thing I can smell is molasses."

Wa, wa, waaaaaaa.


3/4 c. butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 T ginger, ground
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light. Add egg and molasses; beat well. Combine flour, spices, salt, and soda; add to creamed mixture, blending well. Shape into small balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 325 for 8-12 minutes. Makes 2-3 doz. cookies.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This is my favorite chicken salad recipe - it's my mom's.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1 1/2 c. diced, cooked chicken
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1/2 c. grapes
1/2 c. mayonnaise
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 c. pecans

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pancakes or Waffles

This is my mom's pancake recipe. Quite honestly, once you have tried these pancakes, you will never, ever use a boxed mix for pancake batter again. They're just wayyy too good. My eight-year-old eats, like, four huge pancakes in a sitting. Which is impressive. Breakfast is his favorite meal.

We serve our pancakes and waffles with karo syrup instead of maple. Something I picked up from my cousins. Once again, after you've had karo syrup on pancakes, you'll never go back to maple. I'm just sayin'.

Pancakes or Waffles

1 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 T. oil
1 c. milk
1 egg
dash salt

For pancakes, mix all of the above together. For waffle, separate the egg, putting the yolk in with the other ingredients. Beat the egg white separately before adding to the pancake mixture.

Hero Sandwiches

Dang. Small picture. But it was the closest I could get to a hero sandwich that looks like the ones I make.

Hero Sandwiches are perfect for summer. They're like unto sloppy joes, but much tastier, in my humble Kar Opinion.

And, no, I don't make meatballs for this recipe. I think meatballs are a waste of time. Unless you buy them pre-formed at Sam's Club. Those meatballs are gooooooooood. Sam's Club has really good food.

Italian seasoning is involved in this recipe. I chuckle whenever I think of the word "Italian." My stepfather-in-law pronounces it "Eye-talian." I think it's cute.

Hero Sandwiches

1 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. minced onion
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 loaf baked french bread

Brown the beef. Drain the grease from it. Add minced onion, Italian seasoning, ketchup, and olives. I slice up the french bread to use as my bread for the sandwiches. But you could totally use hamburger buns if you wanted. Scoop the mixture onto one slice of bread, add the mozz. cheese, put another slice of bread on top, and heat the sandwiches in the microwave or oven until the cheese is melted.

Artichoke Dip

I got this recipe from my BFF's mom, Bethie. She would always make it when we went over to her house, and we'd sit at her island and munch on this for hours. It's tres magnifique. She always serves it with those plain butter crackers, but I think it would be fantastic with slices of toasted baguette or pita bread. Or even tortilla chips - the recipe has green chiles in it, so it has a bit of a Mexican flair to it.

Artichoke Dip

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped tiny
1 little can green chiles
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

Mix together, put into an oven-safe bowl, and cook on 350 for half an hour.

Pasta Primavera

Ugh, again, this picture is really misleading. I actually have a picture of what this should look like, but I can't get Adobe to work this morning. So we'll just use this picture for now, until I can make this and take a picture of it myself.

I got this recipe from People Magazine. Every now and then, they have this feature called "Dinner for Four, Under $10." That's music to my ears. I tried it out and actually made some extra for my sister when she had her surgery awhile back. It was yummmmmmmmmm. Be aware - the sauce will be pink in color, which is a little weird, but just close your eyes and eat, and all will be well.

Pasta Primavera

6 ripe Roma tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 generous handful fresh basil
1/2 cup pignoli nuts (pine nuts)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. fusilli or rotini pasta

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil; one by one, stick each tomato on a fork and dip into the boiling water for about a minute. Remove from the pot, and, when cool, use your fingers to peel the skin off.
2. In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, and pignoli nuts. Salt and pepper to taste; when done, place the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cook and strain pasta. Pour it into a serving bowl; add the sauce and stir well.
4. Serve it dressed with some grated Parmesan, a couple of leaves of basil broken into pieces and a drizzle of olive oil.

Asparagus Almondine

It's asparagus season! At least around here. (We get spring blooms and vegetables pretty late, since it's so cold in Idaho.) People are scouring the canals for asparagus that grows on their shores. The secretary that works at Ben's office is always bringing in tons of bags of asparagus that she picked herself from the banks of a nearby canal.

When I worked at a psychiatrist's office as a receptionist, one of our patients was struggling financially. She mentioned that she loves this time of year, because she can get all the free asparagus she wants from the canals.

I found this recipe online a couple of months ago - unfortunately, I can't find the source. I'll have to look harder. Until then, here's the recipe that I printed for myself. It's amazing. Perfect.

Asparagus Almondine

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Steam your asparagus to cook it. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 mins. Add lemon juice and cook until liquid reduces and becomes cohesive, 1-2 mins. Season with salt and pepper and pour over asparagus. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mandarin Salad

Dude, I cannot find one picture on the web that looks like my mandarin salad. Don't worry; I'll post a picture of mine when I make it on Saturday. (The picture will not be nearly as pretty, though. But at least it will be accurate.)

This salad is my go-to when I want to add something fresh to a Chinese meal. It's the perfect yang to the yin of fried eggrolls or sweet & sour chicken over rice.

And yes, this is another recipe that Ben says he hates, but then he gobbles it down. What a weirdo.

Mandarin Salad

2 quarts salad greens, torn into pieces
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 c. grapes, cut in halves (I like red grapes with this salad, to provide a pretty color contrast)
1/2 c. pecans, chopped

Toss ingredients together. Just before serving, toss with this dressing:


2 T. sesame seeds
3 T. sugar or honey
1 t. MSG (Yes, I use MSG. And yes, you can find it at the store. The brand name is "Accent.")
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. vinegar


Ben always tells me how much he hates wassail. That it will never, ever reach the perfection of his beloved holiday beverage, eggnog (vomit). But then, when I make this every year at Christmastime, he drinks a whole bunch. Hmmm. He always complains about my thumb print cookies, too, but then who gobbles them down? Him.

Wassail is not only fantastically yummy, but it also makes the house smell heavenly.


Combine and boil for 10 mins:
1 qt. water
1-2 c. sugar
2-3 whole cinnamon sticks
5-10 whole cloves
6 allspice berries or 1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. ginger

Remove whole spices. Add 2 qts apple cider, 1 12-oz can froz. orange juice, and 1 12-oz. can froz. lemonade. Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this recipe from my good friend, Lyndsay, Homemaker Extraordinaire. She makes all green food on St. Patrick's Day, and I wanted to try it out. OMG, these cookies are to die for!!! I made these again to bring to my daughter's dance recital last month, and they got gobbled up in one second. And they are SO EASY.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

6 to 8 drops green food color

1 egg

1 cup creme de menthe baking chips (sometimes I can't find these, so I buy Andes mints and chop them up)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.

Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Chicken or Pork Chop Supreme

This is another one of those recipes that's really great in cold weather. My mom made this a lot while I was growing up. It's wonderful.

Chicken or Pork Chop Supreme

Butter the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Sprinkle 1 cup long rice on it. Sprinkle 1 pkg. lipton onion soup on that. Mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup with 2 1/4 c. water. Pour on top. Put chicken on the top (3-4 breasts, or 3-4 pork chops), roll it around a bit to coat. Cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours.


Oh, hummus, how I love thee. My first experience with hummus was in London, also. There are tons and tons of Middle-Easterners in London, and therefore, loads of Middle-Eastern quisine. I'm in love with hummus. I got this recipe from my Relief Society President, Debbie, who got it from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible..


15 oz can chickpeas (chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same)
6 T. lemon juice
3 T. tahini
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
paprika, for garnish

Drain the chickpeas, reserving about 5 T. of the canning liquid in a small bowl. Carefully rinse the chickpeas under cold running water. Drain well and transfer to a food processor or blender, along with half of the reserved canning liquid.

Add the lemon juice, tahini, and garlic and bland until smooth and creamy, adding a little more of the canning liquid as needed.

Season to taste with salt. Transfer the hummus to a small serving bowl, sprinkle wiht paprika, and serve at room temperature.

Good with warm pita bread and sticks of carrot, cucumber, and sweet pepper.

Roast Beef Pita Sandwiches

Wow. Bad picture. The meat is in there, I promise.

I got this recipe from my good friend, Em's, mom, Joan. It's perfect summer fare. Light and crunchy and wonderful.

Roast Beef Pita Sandwiches

1 lb. sliced, deli-style roast beef, cut into smaller shreds
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 tsp dry or wet mustard
1 box alfalfa or clover sprouts
sliced avocados (I slice up about four of them)

Mix the oil, vinegar, and mustard together. Then toss the meat in the wet mixture until all of it is coated. Stuff the roast beef into pita pockets with sprouts and avocados.

Banana-Nutella Crepes

My first-ever crepe was eaten at my friend, Lindsay's, house, the morning after a sleepover. What a revelation! Linds's fam called them "Swedish Pancakes." And my silly little 11-year-old self asked her mom for the recipe. What 11-year-old DOES that???

It quickly became a favorite in my house. We served it like Linds's fam served it - butter, then powdered sugar, then roll it on up.

Then I went to London and had my first banana-nutella crepe.

Holy crap.

How had I never heard of nutella before??? I could not get enough of these. They were ridiculously expensive (two pounds each = four bucks), but I couldn't help myself - whenever I passed a crepe stand, I just had to get one. They folded them up so that they ended up looking like slices of pizza. And they served them in paper cones. The last thing I did before I flew home to the states was get one of these. My friend, Meliss, and I stood shivering in line in our pajamas and coats. We were standing next to an American airline pilot, and he ended up paying for our crepes! So sweet.

And in Europe, they pronounce them "crehhhps." Like rhyming with "steps." I kept calling them "crehhhps" for like a year after I got back. But now I'm back the "craypes" pronunciation.

I introduced Ben to the banana-nutella crepe way of life when we got married. He once suggested to temper the thick richness of the nutella with whipped cream. Perfect. Much better. The whipped cream gives it a lighter feel. It's wonderful.

Ben requested these for his Father's Day lunch (we always have breakfast for lunch on Sundays). He is alllllllll into this recipe blog. So much so that he took several pictures of the crepe-filling process. He's so funny.

So here it is with the nutella and sliced bananas:

And then the whipped topping:

Then you roll it up, et voila! A beautiful, street vender-esque banana-nutella crepe!

The recipe:

Mix: 6 eggs and 2 1/4 c. milk
Add: 1 1/2 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt
Add: 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 3 T. oil

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Balls

When we were in San Diego, I had a dear neighbor and friend named Divina. Dylan was two at the time, and he called her "Doo-Veena." She is the most amazing cook. We had Thanksgiving dinner together that first November we were there, and Divina made these.

Sweet Potato Balls

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 - 2 T flour
large marshmallows

1/2 c. grated coconut
1 1/2 T sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the above ingredients. Place marshmallow in center of each ball of dough. Roll in coconut mixture. Bake at 375 for 10 mins, until golden.

Tomato-Basil Pizza - CPK Style

Can I tell you how much I miss eating at CPK? Oh baby. It was my very most favorite place to eat when we lived in California. Nothing here in Southeast Idaho comes close, in my humble Kar Opinion.

Ben and I often try to figure out restaurant recipes, since we don't have a lot of our favorite restaurants close by. This is one of them.

Again, I've been too lazy to try to make my own pizza dough. I usually buy Boboli's. If any of you come across a fantastic pizza dough recipe, let me know! Who knows if there are Boboli's pre-made pizza crusts in Baoding. Or if there are even Western markets in Baoding. Yikes. Bikes.

Tomato Basil Pizza, CPK Style

Garlic Cream Sauce:
4 T heavy cream
2 pinches salt
dash of white pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. flour
4 T white wine

Simmer the minced garlic in a pan with the wine until it's softened. Add cream, pepper, and salt. If runny, add flour.

Put the sauce on the pizza, then put on fresh sliced Roma tomatoes (or chopped. I like mine chopped. Put on as much as you want), basil (as much as you want - I like to chop mine), and fresh Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, smoked Gouda, Mozzarella and shaved Pecorino Romano cheeses (or, if you don't have the other four cheeses, just put on a whole lotta mozzarella, again, as much as you want). Then throw the pizza in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Mom's Punch

2 12-oz cans froz. orange juice
2 12-oz cans froz. lemonade
3 quarts water
1/2 - 1 gallon sherbet (pineapple, lime, or orange)
1 1/2 quarts gingerale

Saturday, June 18, 2011


This picture is a little misleading, because I don't roll my snickerdoodles in cinnamon and sugar. But the picture is just so dang priiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitty. I couldn't resist. Yes, I'll post a picture of my own the next time I make these.


Mix together:
3 cups sugar
2 cups shortening

4 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. cream of tarter
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

And if you're a cinnamon-sugar kind of a person, then roll your balls of dough in that before setting onto your cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes, no more. Or you'll get rock-hard cookies; trust me.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Can I tell you how much I love cooking with a crock pot? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And can I also tell you how freakin' cold it is in Idaho right now? We have had ONE nice day this summer, so far. And it's the middle of June. Come ON. So, as I was making my menu for this week's meals, instead of fun, summery, light fare, I was leaning more toward the casseroley, soupey, pot pie-ey recipes. It's ridiculous.

So yeah. I'm making chicken noodle soup this week. Homemade. In the crock pot. With homemade rolls. Aw yeah, baby. (Yes, I'll put the rolls up soon.)

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
20 oz. froz. mixed vegetables
1 onion, chopped
10 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
12 cups water
1 1/2 cups egg noodles

Put everything but the noodles in your crock pot. Add the noodles the last hour to hour and a half of your cooking time. I know 1 1/2 cups doesn't look like enough, but TRUST ME, it will be. I've second- and third-guessed that amount before, and it turns into a big pile of mush. It's not truly soup if you put in too many noodles. It's more like a weird casserole. Not cool.

Biscuits and Gravy

When I was in college, the most random thing happened one afternoon. I was in my apartment kitchen, making biscuits just from bisquick. (That was my go-to meal. Biscuits. With apples. Jeez. No wonder I was skinny in college.) This dude from down the hall just comes bursting in. This is a normal kind of thing in college, honestly, so I looked at him (I didn't know him, but I'd seen him around) and said, "Hey, who ya looking for?"

He said, "I'm looking for something to eat."

An awkward pause.

"Um, well, if you want, you can have some biscuit dough."

"You make biscuits??"

"Well, yeah."

"You're the Biscuit Maker. The Biscuit Makerrrrrrrrrrrrrr."

He opened up a few cupboards, looked around, saw that they were all bare (we were in college, remember), shrugged, and left.

It was really weird. I still think that to myself when I'm making biscuits, though. "You're the Biscuit Makerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."

Biscuits and Gravy is another of my utmost favorite breakfasts. Though I really, really need to get a good homemade biscuit recipe. Most of the time, I'm too lazy (It's morning, after all. I don't do well in the morning) to do more than make the sauce, so I pull out the ole' Bisquick.

My hubby prefers the "gravy" to actually be white sauce. If you want to make it more gravy-like, here are the directions on how to make gravy.

Biscuits and Gravy

Get out the ole' Bisquick and make some biscuits. Or go to KFC the night before and pay for some. (I've done this before and I've never, ever regretted it. I heart KFC biscuits.) Or find a good biscuit recipe. And for heaven's sake, tell me about it.

Next, cook your breakfast sausage. Not link sausage. I'm talking the ground kind that looks like ground beef. But it's pork. Break it up and cook it until it's nice and brown and done.

Last, either use the drippings from your sausage cook-fest to make gravy (the link for gravy is up above). Orrrrr, make a white sauce and add the sausage to it. Here's my white sauce recipe:

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan. Add 4 Tbsp. flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 cups milk. Cook and stir on medium heat until it thickens.

Throw the sausage in the white sauce and you're done.

Chipped Beef on Noodles

Is this the healthiest thing to eat? Ummmmmmmmmmm, probably not. But dang, is it good. And it's a fantastic way to use up leftover beef. So if you make a roast and have a bunch leftover, or if you need to use up your deli-sliced roast beef before you go on vacation, this is the perfect recipe for you. It's fast. And it's yum.

Sometimes people put this on toast. And they call it....... Sh*t on a Shingle. True story.

Chipped Beef on Noodles

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups milk, 4-5 Tbsp flour, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir until smooth. Add 4 Tbsp. butter and cook on med-hi until thick, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups of slivered, leftover roast beef. In another saucepan, boil 2 cups egg noodles. Pour sauce over macaroni, and voila.

Kevara's Salsa

When Ben and I were first married, there was a couple in our ward named Kevin and Kevara. Funny, huh? They were fantastic. Kevara was Superwoman.

She made some salsa once for a get-together, and I was so in love with it that I begged for her recipe.

I have not yet found a store-bought salsa that is as good as fresh-made salsa. I'd so much rather go to the work of making salsa myself. Later on, I'll put my fresh mango salsa on here, too. Kevara's salsa is tomato-based. And fantastic.

Kevara's Salsa

12-15 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/5 a bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 of an onion, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced

Blend it or keep it course and choppy, however ya like. If you blend it, you won't need to worry about dicing the tomatoes by hand.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I first tried this recipe at a Girl's Choice Dance at my friend, Camel's house back in high school. I was so in love with it that I got the recipe. It's been a family favorite ever since. You have to have this in a bread bowl, or with like fifteen rolls. It's so amaaaaaaaaaazing. I think it's the Cheese Whiz.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Saute in pan over stove:
1/4 lb. margarine
1/2 onion, chopped.

Blend in a blender:
3/4 c. flour
1 quart milk

Add the flour/milk mixture to the margarine and onion.

Then add 3 1/2 chicken bouillon cubes and 1 lg. jar cheese whiz. Cook until thick. Then add 8 oz. steamed broccoli.

Fruit Dip

Ya know, I've tried a lot of different fruit dips in my life, but this one remains my favorite. You can serve it with all kinds of fruit, but for some reason, the very best two fruits with it are strawberries and bananas. In fact, my kids and hubby have told me not to bother with any other fruits when it comes to this dip. Strawberries and bananas or nothin'.

Fruit Dip
1 sm. jar marshmallow cream
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix and you're done!

Orange Julius

I have to admit; I don't think this recipe is quite as yummy as the kind you get at Orange Julius. Orange Julius uses some kind of yummy powder that "makes you crave it fortnightly," as Stuart in How I Married an Axe Murderer would say. I'm not sure if you can buy that powder at the store - I should check it out. Until I do, if I'm jonesing for an orange julius, this recipe definitely hits the spot. It's the vanilla. Vanilla is wonderful.

Orange Julius

Blend in blender:
6 oz. froz orange juice concentrate
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
12 - 14 ice cubes

Navajo Tacos

Ohhhh, how I love Navajo Tacos. They are the perfect carnie food. It's worth going to any kind of festival or fair if only to eat one of these bad boys.

My sis gets Rhoades Rolls, thaws them out, stretches them out, and uses them as the fry bread. You can't go wrong with Rhoades Rolls. They taste amazing, always. However, since I never, ever remember to pull them out of the freezer in time, I usually fall back on my Navajo Fry Bread Recipe:

Navajo Fry Bread

4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup instant dry milk
1/2 tsp. salt
warm water
veggie oil

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, dry milk, and salt. Slowly add enough warm water to form a workable dough (start by adding 1 cup of water, then more if needed). Knead until smooth but still slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 30 mins. (Sometimes I don't do this, and it hasn't been a problem.) After resting, divide dough into 8 equal pieces.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a small ball and pat into a flat circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Cut a steam vent in the middle of each circle of dough.

In a large, deep frying pan, heat 1 to 2 inches of veggie oil on medium high until it's rolling. Fry the dough pieces, one at a time, turning once, for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. It will puff slightly. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels.

What I like on my Navajo Tacos:

shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
sliced avocados
Nalley chili
shredded cheese
sour cream

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benny is BAR NONE my favorite breakfast. I order it every time we eat out for breakfast, no matter what.

I have absolutely no patience to try to make hollandaise with a double-boiler. When I found a recipe for hollandaise that you can just make in a blender, I was thrilled!! Be aware though - once you make it, you can't heat it up again. If you put it in a microwave, the hollandaise will cook and harden, since there are so many egg yolks in it. So it's really important to make the sauce right before you serve your breakfast.

I got this recipe from

1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Place egg yolks in blender with the lemon juice, turn blender on high speed for 5 seconds to blend. Melt butter in microwave until almost boiling. Turn blender back on high speed and gradually pour in butter. It will thicken into a beautiful yellow hollandaise in 20-40 seconds. The sauce may be kept warm by placing the blender bowl in warm water. The sauce cannot be reheated.

I don't have an egg poacher, so I actually just fry some eggs over-easy to put on my eggs benny. I just make sure not to put pepper on the eggs when I fry 'em, since we've got the cayenne pepper in the hollandaise.

And then I just buy English muffins at the store. I prefer thinly-sliced deli ham on mine, instead of the thickly-cut ham.



To make 2 cups:

1 1/2 cups drippings
1/2 c. cold water
4 T. flour

Put drippings in pan. Shake flour & water together. Pour into drippings. Bring to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I think I got this recipe from my mama.

Peanut Butter Cookies

makes 3 1/2 doz

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. choco chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar. Beat in eggs. Add peanut butter, baking soda, salt. Add flour. Form into balls. Press with fork. Bake 14 mins.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is my gramps's favorite. Whenever I make this for my fam, I take a couple of slices over to him.

This is also my friend, Em's, favorite. Last year, her mom, Carolyn, was kind enough to donate a bunch of rhubarb to the Feed Strawberry Rhubarb Pie to Em effort. I went over there to Carolyn's house, and there was the Rhubarb Shrub of Life. This thing was at least four feet tall and wide. She gave me this huge knife, which actually resembled a machete, and told me to go at it. I felt so funny, hacking away at her beautiful shrub. I took a ton, but barely made a dent. It's like the Manna from Heaven concept, but with rhubarb.

My mom and I were at the nursery the other day, picking out geraniums, and she pointed to a rhubarb seedling on the other side of the greenhouse. She was like, "Kar, you could grow your own rhubarb!" I said, "No need, Mom. I have the Rhubarb Tree of Life at Carolyn's. I think fifty people could get rhubarb from that shrub."

I'll never need to grow my own zucchini, either. Because this gal in my ward, Heather, gives me ten thousand zucchinis every year.

I love my ward. As a matter of fact, I'm making this pie tomorrow for our ward's barbecue.

I got this recipe online. It was adapted from "The New England Cookbook" by Brooke Dojny.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Crust for a double-crust pie
1 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 1/2 cups strawberries, quartered
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter, cut in several pieces
1 Tbsp. milk
Vanilla ice cream to serve with it.

1. Whisk together one cup of the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, and vanilla and toss until the fruit is well-coated with the sugar mixture. Set aside for ten mins until the fruit softens slightly.

2. Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the pie shell and distribute the butter over the fruit. Cover with the top crust. You can lattice it or just put the top crust on and cut a few slits in it. Seal the edges by either crimping or fluting. Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp. of sugar.

3. Put a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil on the bottom rack underneath the pie on the top rack, because that pie will definitely dribble juice.   Bake at 425 degrees for 30 mins. Then put foil over the pie. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake another 30 mins. Cool on a wire rack at least one hour.

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Yep, another one from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I think she and I are Identical Tastebud Twins. I am so in love with all of her recipes.

I made this tonight for dinner, and Ben could not get over how good it was. It's the lime zest, dude. Lime ZEST is the BEST. Ben normally isn't a fruit salad lover, but he couldn't stop eating when I put this in front of him. Which makes me happy. And makes his digestive system happy, eh?

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Printable Version
Printable Version with Picture

*Note: This fruit salad is best served right away (or at least within an hour of making) because the strawberries tend to stain the light colored fruit. It doesn’t affect the taste at all but is a slight bummer for presentation.

*Serves 4

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained well
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
2-3 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced into thick half moons
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered
Zest from one lime, about 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

Combine the fruit in a medium-large serving bowl. Add the lime zest and poppy seeds, if using, and gently toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and again, gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the honey. Serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from my cousin Ryan

Mango Bean Salad

I put this on my regular blog a few weeks ago. The picture is totally pirated, of course. And you can kind of tell, because there are red onions in the above pics, but there aren't red onions in my salad. Someday I'll take a picture of my own concoction and put it on here.

Mango Bean Salad

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can small red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can shoepeg corn (this just looks like smaller, whiter corn. I don't see why regular canned corn wouldn't work)
1 red pepper, minced
2 large semi-ripe mangos, chunked
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced (I just used bottled lime juice and guesstimated how much equals lime from two juices)
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
1 T olive oil

BBQ Turkey Quesadillas

Mel's Kitchen Cafe hits yet another home run! We had these a few nights ago, and they were sooooo good.

I usually buy my tortillas at the local Mexican restaurant, because I think store-bought ones are horribly processed-tasting. I bought the ingredients I would need at the grocery store, but I didn't want to take an extra trip with ALL FOUR KIDS in tow (I hate that school's out) to the restaurant, so I threw the processed ones in my cart while at the store. These quesadillas turned out yummy, even with the processed tortillas. And that's saying something.

BBQ Turkey Quesadillas
*Makes 4-5 large quesadillas

8 large burrito-size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded leftover cooked turkey
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, store-bought or this homemade version
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (3.5 ounce) can green chiles, drained
2 cups shredded cheese, my favorite combo is monterey jack and sharp cheddar

Sour cream, salsa, avocados for serving

Preheat a griddle or skillet on the stovetop to medium heat. In a medium bowl, toss together the turkey, barbecue sauce and green chiles. Spread an equal amount of this mixture on four of the tortillas (or five if you are spreading it thinner and making more quesadillas). Sprinkle the green onions over the top of the mixture and then top with the shredded cheese. Top with a tortilla and place the quesadillas on the griddle or stovetop, cooking for about 2-3 minutes each side until the tortillas are golden brown and crisp and the filling is hot and cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salad

Yikes, sorry about the poor quality of the picture. I got this recipe from People Magazine back in Oct. of 2009. It's been in my "recipe box" ever since, my "recipe box" being a plastic tupperware box with no lid. And the box fell into a big pot of boiling water at one point. So the picture has been through a lot.

This is a recipe by Brian Boitano, actually! Champion figure skater and, as it turns out, good cook, too boot!

Pork tenderloin always reminds me of my cousin, Kort, who says that it looks like "a big schlong." She cracks me up. So, with that delectable thought in mind, enjoy:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salad

1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/4 red onion
2 ripe peaches
3 to 5 basil leaves, torn

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey, and half the ginger, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork tenderloin and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat very dry. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and boil until syrupy. Place pork on a baking pan and roast until a thermometer inserted registers about 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Brush the pork with reduced marinade.
3. Meanwhile, very thinly slice the onion and soak in ice water. Halve and thinly slice the peaches. Toss them with remaining ginger. Drain onion and add to the peaches along with basil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Slice the pork and serve with peach salad.

Kar's note - For a 2 lb. loin, add 15 mins. to cook time.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

I'm making this bad boy tomorrow night. I wanted to make it tonight, but my thyroid kicked my butt all day and I could barely walk around, much less cook. So we had KFC. Sigh.

I use this pie crust recipe, of course. And I double this recipe, making two pies, because Ben likes it so much that he eats a WHOLE LOT of it.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

4 eggs
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced, cooked ham
1/2 cup cooked broccoli
1 9" unbaked pie crust

Beat eggs until fluffy. Add soup and cream. Sprinkle cheese, meat, and broccoli over pie crust. Follow with soup mixture. You'll bake for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I like to keep it uncovered for the first hour or so, and then cover it with foil and finish baking it for the remaining 40 minutes. If you keep it uncovered the whole time, the crust gets a little too brown for my taste.

Easy peasy lemon squeezie.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Black & White Cheesecake Squares

This one is for Lex.

My freshman year, I had a roommate named Audra. She was odd, so I thought her name was quite apt. When we first met, I asked what her major was, and she said, "Colonial Arts."

I was like, "Colonial Arts? Like, art from the colonial era of the United States?"

She was like, "No. Where you cook a lot."

I giggled. "Do you mean Culinary Arts??"

She laughed. "Oh, yeah..." she said.

Aud made some cheesecakey brownies once that were to die for. I've often thought of them since. I was perusing Mel's Kitchen Cafe and found a recipe for these and had to try it. Mel's recipes are never, ever, ever bad. They are all "smiley faces," as Ben would say. I've made these twice in, like, two weeks. I made them yesterday for my oldest son's 8th birthday party, per his request.

Black and White Cheesecake Squares

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line dish with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray parchment.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.

Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, 22-25 minutes (don’t overbake or this brownie layer will be too hard and crumbly). Let cool in dish on a wire rack.

Mix cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using overhang. Cut into 24 squares. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Steamed Artichokes

This one is for my friend, Emily E.

My very first experience with artichokes was on my 16th birthday. A really sweet kid in my ward named Kolby took me out on my first date. I think we were on a double date with another kid in our neighborhood and some girl, but I don't remember. I only remember two things from that night - how cool the date was, and these amazing little vegetables called artichokes.

Kolby and his friend set up a grill on this flat, huge rock that jutted out over the Snake River. Next to the grill was a table, complete with gingham tablecloth and candles. I'm sure we had some kind of steak or whatever, but what I remember were the grilled artichokes. Kolby taught me how to eat them - pulling the leaves off, dipping the pulpy part in mayo, and scraping the pulp off the bottom with your teeth. What a revelation.

Ben looooooooooooves when I make artichokes. He made himself really sick a couple of months ago when he ate like five in one sitting. His body isn't used to such fiber-ey goodness. The man doesn't touch vegetables unless I put them on his dinner plate. And then he usually chokes down like two small carrot sticks or whatever to appease me.

There are obviously billions of ways to cook an artichoke, but I like steaming them in my big old steaming basket that I bought to make tamales once. (And the tamales were so hard to make that I haven't made them since!) I saw online once to put a bay leaf and a clove of garlic in the boiling water. Bay leaves and garlic cloves make everything better, in my opinion. I tried it and not only loved the taste it gave the artichokes, but also the lovely smell that wafted through my house while they were cooking.

Steamed Artichokes

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the ends of the leaves, cut them off with kitchen shears.

2. Slice 3/4 inch - 1 inch off the tip of the artichokes.

3. Pull off the smaller leaves toward the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving about an inch.

5. Rinse artichokes.

6. In lg. pot, put 2 inches water, one clove garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf. Insert steaming basket. Add artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25-45 mins.

The Best Pie Crust Recipe EVER!!!

Wellllllllll, here gooooooooooooooooes!!!! As you can see over on the right side there, I started my second little bloggie-poo because I need my recipes while I'm in China. I'm just going to hope/assume that there are western markets in my future city of Baoding and that I can continue to cook what I like and won't have to try to incorporate dried reptile parts into our daily meal plans while we're over there. :)

And, as I also said, I often have friends and family who ask for recipes. This way, I can send them a link and badda-bing, badda-boom, done.

I'll just have to add photos as I cook things, mmmmmkay? Maybe I'll pirate photos from the web for awhile.

And can I say thanks to Patty and Julie for teaching us technophobes how to put tabs on our blogs. I have a leetle tab up there that will be my index. As I add recipes, they'll be easily found in my index, hopefully.

Alright. Cracking my knuckles.

I like pies a LOT. I prefer them over any other kind of dessert or goodie. I'm not really a chocolate girl. I prefer fruity stuff, especially pies. I inherited this trait from ma mere. If I knew what "my mom" was in Mandarin, I'd put it here. But for now, all I know how to say is, "Excuse me," "can I ask," "hello," and "Do you speak English?" It took me three times listening to Rosetta Stone's first lesson for me to catch that. I am NOT an auditory learner.

I came across a recipe for Apple Dumplings awhile back in my mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Though I wasn't a fan of the dumpling innards (I just really hate walnuts, I've decided. And I'd rather have apple chunks than whole apples inside of things like this), I couldn't get over how wonderfully flakey and tastey the pastry was for them. I've used it for my whole pies ever since, and I've gotten lots of compliments on it.

I told Patster I was starting this blog, and the first thing she said was, "Put up the pie crust recipe!" So that's what I'm-a-gonna do. With a pirated pie crust picture, for now. I saw this picture when I binged "pie crust," and I was like, "What an epiphany!!!" I'm always cutting out really stupid designs with my paring knife in my top pie crusts (when I don't do lattice-top), and they look really dumb. What a stinkin' good idea - using small cookie cutters! Duh! Why didn't I think of that??? So you get this pretty pie crust picture to go with my recipe. And hopefully I won't get into trouble.

The Best Pie Crust Recipe EVER!!!

(makes one pie crust)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/3 - 1/2 cup half & half, light cream, or whole milk (actually, I've often used 1% milk for this, and it's been totally fine)

Sift the flour and salt together. Add shortening and use your mixer to mix them all together until it looks like you have millions of little white peas in your bowl. Pour your milk in, then use a fork to moosh the milk into the "white peas" until you have a nice, thick pastry dough. Roll it out until it's pretty thin - 1/8" thick or so.

You know the rest. If you want me to put in a tutorial on what to do from here - putting it in the pie tin, stabbing the bottom with the fork, how to make a lattice-top, how to make fluted edges, etc., lemme know, and maybe I'll get all ambitious and put a tutorial tab up at the top and help ya out.

To cook a single-crust pie shell for cream pies, put in the oven at 425 degrees and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

So there ya have it. I think it's the coldness of the milk that makes it extra flakey. I don't like to munch on dough that has milk in it as much as dough that has used cold water (I'm a renowned dough-eater), but the cooked, finished product is so much nicer than what icewater dough yields.