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Archive for January, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpking Soup

Pumpking Soup

They all laughed at me, but I got the last laugh!   I caught a lot of crap for making this soup from Robin, her sister, her friend Grant…they all looked at me like I was crazy for making pumpkin soup.  Ha jokes on them because this was delicious and very easy to make.  I only did half a recipe which was perfect to reheat in the microwave later during the week for lunches. 
The best part of this soup is the smell.  It is so spicy smelling.  Not spicy hot, but spicy smelling, not really spicy tasting…if you know what I mean.  Sorry for the lame photo of my desk, but it was a quick weekend.

Yield

Makes about 11 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1  large sweet onion
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  minced garlic
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh ginger
  • 1  tablespoon  curry powder
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 2  (15-oz.) cans unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1  cup  water
  • 1  (32-oz.) container low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1  (13.5-oz.) can lite coconut milk
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons  salt
  • Garnishes: sour cream, chopped fresh chives

Preparation

 1. Sauté onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and next 4 ingredients; sauté 1 minute. Add pumpkin, 1 cup water, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; add coconut milk, lime juice, and salt, and simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

2. Process pumpkin mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return pumpkin mixture to Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Garnish, if desired.

 Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2006

Pumpkin Soup at my Desk (aka command center)

Pumpkin Soup at my Desk (aka command center)

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Every summer my dad harvest many tomatoes which are canned or made into salsa.  My sister-in-law Erica introduced our family to an awesome salsa recipe about 5 years ago.  Every summer she makes it when we have fresh tomatoes.  So I dug out the corn that I froze from this summer and the other ingredients to make this summer tradition.  

However, after finishing and taking a few nibbles, my joy was short lived.  I lost a part of my tooth!  Maybe the dentist will accept  salsa for payment.

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Today is Martin Luther King Day, hence no mail.  So instead of mailing a package of cookies at lunch today, I browsed my favorite recipe sites.  I searched pineapple and pumpkin recipes (not in the same recipe), tonight was the pinepple recipe! 

It was delicious!  The salty and sweet flavors were a great combination, while the pineapple kept the chicken nice and moist.

So tasty!  Sweet and salty.

So tasty! Sweet and salty.

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup  unsalted cashews (peacans worked great too)
  • 2  tablespoons  garlic-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 4  (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1  (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag precooked long-grain rice
  • 1/3  cup  finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt

Preparation

 

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place nuts and breadcrumbs in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until the crumbs measure 2/3 cup. Pour nut mixture into a shallow dish. Brush chicken with egg white; dredge chicken in nut mixture. Spread the pineapple in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange chicken over pineapple, and bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until chicken is done, turning after 7 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice according to package directions. Remove chicken from dish. Stir rice, basil, and salt into pineapple. Serve with chicken.

 

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Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken Spices Things up on a Cold Day

Curried Chicken Spices Things up on a Cold Day

In Bismarck, we are blessed with an amazing cheesecake bakery.  Not only do they serve cheesecake, but they also have simple lunches with lovely flavors.  I strongly recommend the turkey sandwich with green pepper jelly on toasted bread.  Or my second favorite is the chicken curry wrap.  Seeing curry in the spice aisle reminded me that I still need to try a curry recipe on my own.  Here’s the recipe I tried: 

  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast havles
  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 1 to 2 t curry powder
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 c thinly sliced celery
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 c coarsly chopped apple (large)
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 c hot cooked rice

Directions:

1.  Rinse chicken; pat dry.  Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

2.  In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add curry powder; cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add chicken; cook and stir till chicken is browned.  Slowly add broth, celery, onion, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover; simmer 15 minutes.  Add apple.  Cover; cook 5 minutes.

3.  Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water; add to skillet.  Cook and stir till thicken and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Serve with rice and, if desired, condiments.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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Bread Pudding

Comforting Bread Pudding

Comforting Bread Pudding

This recipe comes from my legendary Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook.  I use this cookbook for everything.  It is a wonderful reference and easy to use with its 3-ring binder and tabs.

  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 t finely shredded orange peel (optional)
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 4 c dry bread cubes
  • 1/3 c dried cherries, raisins or cranberries

Directions:

1.  In bowl beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, cinnnamon.  In an ungreased 2-quart square baking diss toss together bread cubes and dried fruit; pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture.

2.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly.  If desired, serve with warm caramel sauce.  Makes 8 servings.

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p1110816

After a short day of skiing, I decided I needed a sweet treat to help recover.  Luckily I had just the fix in my new Martha Stewart Cookie book with the chew chocolate ginger cookies.   I was in a time crunch, but the cookies had to be chilled, so it worked out perfectly.  The chewy chocolate ginger cookies didn’t turn out like the photo but their taste is extra extordinary.  They were very easy and quick to mix up, but the cookies offer a wonderful complex flavor.

Makes 2 dozen

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Roll dough into 2-inch balls; place 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and return to baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake until surfaces crack slightly, about 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

p1110821

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Kathy's Frosting on a Flower Cake

Kathy's Frosting on a Flower Cake

My brother celebrated his 5th anniversary with his lovely wife Marilee a few days ago.  Marilee’s autie Kathy used this frosting recipe for their individual wedding cakes.  It is a great tasting recipe because it is not too sweet and it has a wonderful flavor. 

Last spring I took a cake decorating class with my friend Beth from Bobcat.  We had so much fun creating fun cakes and listening to Stella’s, the Norweign instructure, jokes.  My Grandma, Auntie Mary, and Mom all decorated wedding cakes for couples in our community.  So I was trying to continue the tradition; I guess I am still practicing!

  • 3 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 3/4 C shortening
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 T water
  • 2 T corn syrup (heat and add slowly)

Mix together with wisk and enjoy.

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