November 20, 2011

Chicken Soup and Pastrami Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my all time favorites. Gooey cheese between two pieces of toasted bread, yum. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate the melt. If you do not know to what I am referring think bread, mustard, cheese, meat, cheese, mustard bread. The goodness of a grilled cheese but with the flavor and substance of sliced meat and a spread. I love Ruben sandwiches minus the sauerkraut so I tweaked it so now it is just a really tasty melt. 

 Pastrami Grilled Cheese -
2 slices of the bread of your choice
Sliced Pastrami (2-4 pieces depending on the thickness of the cut)
2 Slices of cheese (Swiss or Provolone are best)
Mustard (Dijon is best)

Preheat a medium size frying pan on medium / high, spread the outsides of the bread with butter, in insides spread the mustard. Lay slices of meat in frying pan until warm, may start to brown. lay on of the bread slices in the pan butter side down then place slice of cheese on top followed by the meat, the other slice of cheese and the second slice of bread. Once bottom bread is toasted flip sandwich. Once cheese is melted and bread is toasted nicely serve.

I do recommend a nice soup to go with that awesome sandwich you now have...which leads me to my next topic. Chicken soup. “I have never made chicken noodle soup before..." I thought to myself when trying to figure out what to make with all of the half used boxes of pasta. "I have chicken and I have the trinity at my disposal, why not?" The "trinity" I speak of is "the basics for any good cook" thinking back to my grandmother's words; carrots, onion and celery.

Having chicken, noodles and my veggie trinity the only thing I was missing was the stock. I just so happen to buy some during my last shopping trip because it was on sale AND I had a coupon. Score one for Kristen!

So anyway with having everything I needed I then began to add stuff to the pot and about an hour later...soup! After dinner I then realize I made enough for two whole meals so the other half of the pot froze nicely for a night when I don't want to cook anything. give  it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Chicken Noodle Soup -
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts ( cut into bite size pieces)
  6 C Chicken broth
4-6 Large carrots , peeled and slices in rounds
4-6 Celery stocks, sliced in horse shoe
1/2 Large onion
2-4 C Uncooked pasta

One of the best parts about soup is you can put as little or as much of whatever you want and it won't mess it up. Use as many or little veggies, noodles or chicken. Start by heating up broth in a Crockpot or large stock pot with lid on med/high heat. Add your onion and raw chicken pieces. You can also add salt and pepper to taste, just beware of the salt content in your broth if using a premade kind. Once meat is cooked add your vegetables and noodles.

Let site with lid on for about another 10-15 minutes. Then serve it up!

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Chicken and Broccoli to the rescue!

"What do you want for dinner?" I ask my husband while he has his head in the fridge. "I dunnu, what do you want for dinner?" He responds back. "I don't know what do you want for dinner?" I pipe back at a higher pitch. "I don't know, what do YOU want for dinner?" We both laugh knowing this will just go on forever if we keep reciting Sponge Bob quotes. At this point I then list what we got and decided on my favorite, 'I'm just gunna throw something together' meal. It is quick, filling and will last us like 3 days with just the two of us.

I really need a name for this dish -

4 C Cooked rice (any kind)
3 C Chopped broccoli
1 12oz can Cheddar soup
1 12oz can Cream of Chicken or
                 Cream of Broccoli soup
1 C Milk
2-4 Browned chicken breasts, chopped
2 C Cheddar Cheese (1 C for filling and 1 C for top)
1 T Salt
2 T Pepper

Cook rice. Brown chicken and cut up into bite size pieces. Mix together soups, milk, spices in sauce pan on low. Combine all ingredients then pour into 9"X13" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

***If you do no want your broccoli to be firm you can steam for a couple minutes first to soften.***

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Rollin Rollin' Rollin'

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

Rolling dough is fun! While making spinach tomato rolls…my newest creation… I remembered how much fun it is to make things rolled in dough. From cinnamon rolls to pesto rolls to pigs in a blanket. So I have decided to share my favs with anyone who takes the time to read this. Maybe I just like to get my hands gooey?!

No matter what kind of roll you’re doing start with a basic French bread recipe. Here is my Grandma Baird’s recipe, it is my favorite one to use:

2 C Warm water
2 t Salt
2 T Sugar
3 T Butter
6 C flour
2 Yeast packets (you will need ½ C warm water and 2 t sugar to help germinate)

Follow instructions on yeast packet then add to other ingredients when it is ready. Add your flour last. Use a dough hook attachment on a mixer or by hand to combine.

Let dough rise in greased bowl for 1 ¼ hours, keep covered but punch down ever 15 mins. Then it will be ready to use.

Cinnamon Rolls-                                Icing –                                       Cream Cheese Icing –
 1 batch of French bread dough              1 lb Powdered Sugar                ¼ C Cream Cheese
     ½ C Butter softened                      2-3 T Milk                                     3 T  Milk
  1 ½ C Brown Sugar                             1 t  Vanilla                              1½ C Powdered Sugar
     ¼ C Sugar
   2 T Cinnamon

Roll out dough in rectangle, spread with 1/3 rd of the butter then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixtures. Roll dough and spread dough with butter after each roll. Slice the roll in about two inch pieces.
Sun Dried Tomato Spiniach rolls -
1 batch of French bread dough
4 - 6 C Spinach
  1-2 C Sun dried tomatoes
   1/2 C Olive oil
      2 C Cheddar Cheese
      5 Cloves of garlic, minced
      1 T Salt (or to taste)
      1 T Pepper (or to taste)

Roll out the dough then paint on olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic, then spinach and sundried tomatoes then the cheese. Roll dough into log, After each roll piant dough with a little olive oil, this will give more defined layers that make it easy to put apart when eating. Cut into two inch rounds and pace about and inch apart, let rise for another 45 mins.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Pesto Rolls –
1 batch of French bread dough
4 - 6 C Basil
1C Olive oil
1T Salt (or to taste)
1T Pepper (or to taste)
½ C Pine nuts (optional, they can be spendy)
2 – 3 C Shredded Cheese (Cheddar is best)

In food processor / blender / anything that can puree, combine everything except dough and cheese. Roll out your dough then spread with the pesto you have just made and then sprinkle cheese over top. Roll dough then slice into 1-3 inch rounds. Place in greased baking dish then let rise for another hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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November 17, 2011

Gimme beef....and beer

Cold weather and warm food have always gone hand in hand for me. It is like something turns on inside of me once the temperature out side goes below 45 degrees to make warm stick-to- your-bones food. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and to me pot pie is staple! I usually make chicken pot pie but today I decided to use beef and at my husbands delight... beer!
Last St.
Patrick’s day I made Sheppard’s Pie for the first time which included a dark Guinness. I am not a huge fan of beer aside from using it for pong but, I admit it gave it a nice rich flavor so I decided to try it with this too. Seeing as how the general idea is not much different, basically swapping the potatoes for pie crust, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Check it out and see what you think!

Pie Crust

1/2 C Butter                              Sift flour, salt and sugar over the
1/2 C Shortening                        shortening. Cut in butter until mixture
   2 C Flour                                is crumbly. Add water a teaspoon at
3/4  t Salt                                  a time. Divide in half and roll out each
   1  t Sugar                               section. place one in bottom of greased
   5  t Ice water                          dish or pie pan. Then add filling.


   1 lb Ground beef ( Browned)
   2 C Veggies (Peas and Carrots work great)
1/2 C Minced Onion
   2 C Brown gravy (Use 1C med/dark beer inplace of liquid)
   2 Gravy packets (using beer for liquid)
Spices to taste

Once you gravy is made and your meat browned add your veggies and onion. You can use frozen vegetables, no need to thaw, just rinse off any ice. Pour filling into the dish with your pie shell in it. at second crust for top and cut vents.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 miniutes or until your crust is done and serve.

***You can always substitue ground beef for ground turkey or seitan***

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Taco Tuesday

My husband and I are big fans of tacos. Generally we like anything from south of the boarder, one of our favorite things are Cuban inspired tacos. They are so good .... and they are addicting. The first time I made them I ended up making them again two days later once all the left overs were gone. I first got the idea from my sister who got it from watching the Rachel Ray show. How ever you top them that basic principle remains, use fresh food and you can't go wrong, canned is crap and slow and low is king. Check out how I make them below!

Beef Roast
1 Taco Seasoning packet or (2 T Cumin, 1T Chyeanne Pepper, 1T Salt, 1T Black Pepper)
1/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 Onion quarter
 C Water
5-8 Cloves Garlic
1 Package of Beef Churizo ( )
1 C Cilantro3-5

Topping suggestions:
Sour Cream
Bell Peppers

Coat roast with taco seasoning packet contents an oil mixture then brown roast in frying pan on all sides.

Place inside roasting pan or slow cooker with onion, garlic and water. Cook on Med/Low  (250 degrees) for 3-5 hours. Roast should be able to be shredable. Test by sticking with fork and turning. If meat comes lose easily it is ready.

Shred the meat then set aside. In large pan warm churizo until soft and liquidy. Add meat and let roast get slightly crispy. Add cilantro and then serve on tortillas or as a taco salad. Add toppings as desired.

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