Monday, January 31, 2011

Water Chestnuts and Bacon

So last but not least - here is one appetizer I got from my mom! The water chestnuts remind me of when my parents had 500 at their house - and we were allowed 1 plate of food to bring upstairs.....I wouldn't waste my time of the chestnuts then (I was a sausage/cheese girl) , but I sure do now!!

For a group – usually double

1 can whole water chestnuts, drained
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup sugar

Wrap each chestnut in 1/3 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and pour off grease

Sauce – mix ½ cup ketchup and ¼ cup sugar

Put chestnuts in sauce and heat

Sunday, January 30, 2011


So remember that HUGE box of "all purpose baking mix" I used for the Beef foldover awhile back....I found another use for it!!  PANCAKES :)  They actually tasted REALLY good too ....we used the recipe on the back of the box - and went with the "richer taste" version.  Everyone seemed to like it ... don't mind the color of the pancakes - we threw some food coloring in there to make them "extra fun" !!

AND here is Ross illustrating "How to catch a pancake in your mouth" .....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

White Pizza with Roasted Mushroom

So we had the nieces at our casa for a sleepover - and figured it would be fun to make our own pizzas!  Check out their lovely designs....

I took this as an opportunity to try another new recipe - even though I had to listen to Ross complain about how our pizza didn't have any meat on it and the little girls did.....Let's just say he added TONS of cheese to make up for the lack of meat!  It was pretty tasty - but I liked the other BBQ flat bread we tried before better, so not sure I would make this again.  Can't say I would be up for another "no meat" battle with Ro :)

3 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/2 pound store-bought pizza dough (I used pre-made pizza crust)
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
3 Tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (I used just Romano, as I had it on hand)
Freshly ground pepper
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon fresh sage, thinly sliced into ribbons
Pinch of Salt

Preheat the oven to 450. Oil a 17X11 inch rimmed baking pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Stretch the dough directly onto the baking pan, pressing and gently stretching to fill as much of the pan as possible. (It will not fill the entire pan.) Brush with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the surface of the dough. (I was able to skip this step since I used premade flat bread pizza)

Spread the ricotta cheese over the pizza. Sprinkle the ricotta with the Pecorino and pepper.

Tear the mushroom caps into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Toss with remaining tablespoons of olive oil, the sage, pinch of salt, and pepper. Scatter the mushrooms over the top of the cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the crust is fully baked, and transfer to a cooling rack.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

D'Amico and Sons Turkey with Dried Cherries Salad

This was SUPER yummy!!  I got this from Miss P awhile back - and totally forgot about it!  I don't know if they still have this at D'Amicos or not - but you can order it from the Sodahls :)  I actually had chicken on hand so I used that instead of turkey - and it still tasted super yummy!!  The cherries and the almonds add a lot of flavor - so don't skimp on them!  You could for sure add cheese too - probably healthier without though :)
Makes 8 servings
1 box cooked Rotini pasta
1lb cooked, diced turkey breast
2 packages dried cherries
1 medium yellow onion
4 diced celery stalks
1 cup whole toasted almonds

Combine cooked and chilled pasta with turkey, dried cherries, diced onion, diced celery, and almonds.  My suggestion is to just mix what you plan on eating - so that you can keep the leftovers in their own containers.

Poppy Seed Dressing
2 cups mayo
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine powdered sugar with vinegar.  Add remaining ingredients and season to taste.  I used a pre-made dressing - Newman's Poppy Seed - and that tasted really good!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Homemade Chex Mix (Pete Ronhovde style)

Thanks Dad for sharing this recipe with me!!  Anyone that slept over at the Ronhovde household back in the day knows that our "midnight snack" was always this yummy snack!!  The bags in the freezer just "happened" to disappear as fast as my dad could make this!!  ha ha  Probably favorite snack of all time right here (if you note - it has cheezits in it, so it's the best of all worlds) :)

Made up a HUGE batch for Lutsen, and this lasted um the car ride...that's how good it is!!

3 TBl Worchestire sauce
2 teaspoon lawrys seasoning
2 ½ c corn chex
2c cheezits (or wheat chex)
2 ½ c rice chex
2c salted cocktail peanuts
1c thin pretzels (or don’t use these…)
½ c plain goldfish
1 stick margarine

Melt butter – add other liquids and stir together.
Pour Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and peanuts into the liquid and mix – then microwave for 2 min
Add Cheezits (or wheat chex) – microwave for 2 min
Add pretzels and goldfish – microwave for 1-2 min

**Box cereal = 3 batches

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Stuffed Shells

So this is the easiest meal yet - however, if you are a man who doesn't grocery shop a lot - you MIGHT have some issues :)  Large shell pasta does not mean "hey, medium must be the next smaller size" actually need to get the large or jumbo shell pasta :)  Really good - made this with green beans and was full full full.  (and Burkes - it only took 10 minutes to prepare!)
Serves 6
24 oz carton cottage cheese (the 1% stuff ross....YELLOW!)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs
salt / pepper
12 oz pkg jumbo shell pasta, uncooked
1 cup spinach leaves, torn
14 oz can diced italian tomatoes
14 oz can spaghetti sauce
2c shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; mix well.  Spoon into shells; arrange in a 13x9 baking pan sprayed with non-stick veggie spray.  Tuck spinach leaves between shells; pour tomatoes and spaghetti sauce on top, making sure all shells are well covered.  Cover with aluminum foil; bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; bake 15 more min or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beans Beans the Magical Fruit ..... CHILI

We had a CHILI cookbook club - so I posted two of our favorites.  They all had something unique about them - and they all tasted really good.  Plus, you can make any in a crockpot for a very easy work night meal :)

And I'm editing this blog....we are heading up to Lutsen this weekend and how easy / awesome is it to make chili ahead of time and then just heat it up once you are there for a yummy/fast meal!!  I made a combo of the "Best with Beer" and "spicy (see below)" chili- so get ready Lusten friends :)

WHOO and my cousin Jenn got me these AWESOME cutie gloves for xmas this year!!  I use them not only for doing dishes (so you don't ruin your hands!) but also to cut jalapeno's.....I have contacts, so I cut those bad boys up and my eyes hate me later when I go to take my contacts out ....this way - put on the gloves, chop, and my eyes still love me later :)  You totally wish you had some....

Lori Chili
1 lb ground beef (browned)
1c diced onions
3/4 cup chopped green peppers
garlic salt
1 (16oz) cut up tomatoes
2 (16oz) cans hot chili beans
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1/2  tsp dried basil
1 can red kidney beans

Brown ground beed in skillet.  Add everything together - and put in crock pot for 6-8 hours on low.

Spicy Chili
Serves 6
1 lb ground beef
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 (11 oz) can whole kernal corn, drained
1/2 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 jalapeno pepper
1 habanero pepper
1/4 red onion
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons masa harina flour (or regular flour worked)
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar (optional)
Place the beef in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.

In a large pot, mix the beans, corn, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. In a food processor, finely chop the jalapenos, habanero, onion, and garlic. Mix into the pot. Mix in the cooked beef. Stir in masa flour. Season with cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and sugar. Cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stir Fried Broccoli and Walnut Sauce

So this was my very FIRST recipe I made as a "house owner"....and my very FIRST cooking appliance - the WOK!  This was from a cooking class I took with Perrine - and our mothers pretty much got yelled at from the teacher because we didn't know how to "mince" garlic and we had no idea what a broccoli floret was .....Oh, how far we've come :)

This took us 30 minutes from prep - cook - eat - you can't go wrong!!  It is super yummy - and you can control how spicy you want it (I think I added 1/2 the  thing of pepper flakes this time!)  Ross is against eating meals without meat - so I think he told me about 5 times how good this would have been with steak :)  I think he is right - but it would just add to the cooking time a little....or I was thinking mushrooms would be a good add in too.  ENJOY!!
Serves 4
1lb pasta (any shape)
2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (don't skimp on this - they add a LOT to the taste)
2 cloves garlic - minced
salt / pepper
1 head broccoli florets - cut into bite size pieces
Pinch of red pepper flakes (in my case about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons walnut oil (don't necessarily need to have...)
2 tablespoon freshly grated Romano cheese

Boil pasta until tender.  While this cooks - heat 1/2 olive oil in wok over high heat.  Add walnuts and stir fry until lightly toasted (45 sec) - remove with a slotted spoon and put in a serving bowl.  Toss with 1/2 the garlic, salt, and pepper.

Heat remaining olive oil in wok, add broccoli and red pepper flakes - stir fry until broccoli turns bright green.  Add remaining garlic, more salt and pepper, and 1/3 cup water.  Cover and steam until the broccoli is tender (I used a cookie sheet to cover the wok), about 3 min, uncover and continue cooking until remaining water has evaporated.

Drain pasta - toss into bowl with walnuts - and add broccoli mixture, walnut oil, and cheese.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homemade Mac N Cheese

So wanted a little winter comfort food - and thought I would try out a homemade mac n cheese.  Super yummy - full of flavor - and the tomatoes on top were a good touch!  Try it out :)
Veggie oil
1lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
12 oz Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 lb fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6-8 minutes.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4 quart) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.  Off the heat - add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with fresh bread cumbs, and sprinkle on the top.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sauteed Shrimp with Peppers

Got this out of a Pampered Chef cookbook - and the awesome part is that it's only 220 calories / serving!  I'm not always a huge fan of shrimp - but if you cut them up small, the texture didn't bug me and was yummy!
Makes 2 servings
8 oz fresh or frozen shrimp (peeled, deveined, and thawed out)
nonstick spray coating
2 small green peppers, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup sliced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons apricot preserves  (**could add more of this for extra flavor)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (**add more of this for extra flavor)
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 cup hot cooked rice or orzo

Thaw shrip - rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.  Spray an unheated medium skillet with nonstick coating.  Preheat over medium heat.  Add peppers, green onions, and garlic; cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Add shrimp and water chestnuts.  Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque.  Remove from heat.  Stir in apricot preserves, soy sauce, and hot pepper sauce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve over hot cooked rice or orzo. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Overnight Stuffed French Toast

So I'm not a morning person - but one "resolution" for this year is to eat bfast every day....I found this recipe and it's nice because you can prepare the night before and then just throw it in the oven when you wake up - and by the time you are done showering etc it's ready to go!  We really liked it - we just put some berries and syrup on top....Ross even added more SUGAR to the mix by having some powdered sugar too. :) 
8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
3 tablespoon sugar
8 slices cinnamon-swirl bread
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended (I used my Kitchen Aid - one of my favorite cooking tools...if you don't have one - get on it - they are awesome!) - then spread onto bread.  Place 4 bread slices, cream cheese side up, in 8x8 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with remaining bread slices, cream cheese side down.

Whisk eggs and milk until well blended - pour over bread.  Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until center is set and top is lightly browned.  Serve topped with fruit and syrup.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Raspberry Lime Chicken

Can you tell that we like chicken and green beans (made this with Green Bean Salad) .....ha ha finding new ways to prepare them - and this was awesome.  We made rice too and it was a very complete meal.  The chicken was super good though - I keep saying "it's my favorite", so I won't say that but top 10 chickens...hehe  ENJOY!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon raspberry wine vinegar (surprisingly I've used this a lot in different meals - so don't think it's a waste buying a whole bottle - I promise you'll use it again)
juice of 2 limes

Rinse and pat chicken dry.  Melt butter in a heavy skillet over low heat.  Add the chicken, cover tightly.  Cook 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once.  Do not brown.  Remove chicken.

Add the garlic to the skillet, saute 1 minute without browning.  Add the brown sugar, cook until it bubbles, then add the soy sauce, vinegar, and lime juice.

Remove skillet from the heat.  Add the chicken pieces.  Let stand 30 minutes to marinate, turning once.  Return chicken to heat and heat through.

**to make ahead: prepare the recipe and rather than marinating 30 min, cover and refrigerate overnight - then continue as above.

Green Bean Salad

Can you tell that we like chicken (made with Raspberry Lime Chicken) and green beans .....ha ha finding new ways to prepare them - and this was awesome.  I really liked the green beans - except for next time I would lower the amount of olive oil in the vinaigrette cause it was a little "oily".  Such a good mix having the cranberries in there - and we thought you could always add chopped walnuts too.  We made rice too and it was a very complete meal.  ENJOY!

Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Green Beans
2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 oz Parmesan cheese (I shaved with a veggie peeler to make bigger pieces - worked great)

Vinaigrette: in a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle in olive oil, whisking continuously until dressing is emulsified.  Add chives; set aside.

Green Beans: bring large pot of water to boil - add beans and simmer 5 minutes until crisp-tender.  Drain; place in serving bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette dressing.

Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots, cranberries, and garlic.  Cook about 6 minutes or until softened.  Pour over beans and toss.  Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cookbook Club - Meeting # LUCKY 13!

YAY -- Cookbook Club Tonight!!  So much fun -- we even had a new guest, Bri!!  Thanks for coming - hopefully learning how to cut a pepper makes you excited enough to come back :)  Also, my cousin Danielle was able to come too - YAY for college break!!  (at least I gave you something easy this time - instead of cinnamon chips!)

Anyways - we didn't really have a theme tonight but we made an app, entree, and salad.  Everything turned out really yummy (even if we didn't have a ripe avocado)  :)  The main dish might not be the most healthy - but it was quick and easy....Can't go wrong with pasta and Velveeta!!  The salad was pretty good - liked the mandarin oranges!  and really liked the Cali-schetta.....only has 117 calories per slice too....not bad for eating bread :)

12 servings

1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices on diagonal
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled PLUS 1 clove, peeled and chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt / pepper

Heat oven to 350.  Lightly brush both sides of baguette slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Toast on baking sheet for about 4 min per side.  Remove from oven and rub 1 side with the whole clove of garlic.  Let cool.

In medium bowl, mix together chopped garlic, tomatoes, avocado, onion, cheese, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Top each baguette slice with 1/4 cup mixture and serve!

Orange-Avocado Mixed Greens Salad
Makes 6 servings

8 cups torn mixed salad greens
1 avocado, sliced
1 can (11oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup thin red onion slices
1/3 cup Italian dressing

Combine all the ingredients - and coat with dressing.

Velveeta Italian Sausage Bake
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups penna pasta, uncooked
1lb italian sausage
3 cups halved zucchini slices
1 red pepoer, chopped
1 can (8oz) pizza sauce
1/2 lb (8oz) Velveeta cheese (I'm sure it's heathly...hehe)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350.  Cook pasta - and brown sausage.   Drain - and return to skillet.  Stir in zucchini, peppers, and pizza sauce; cook 5 min or until veggies are crisp-tender. 

Drain pasta - add to sausage mixture with Velveeta; mix lightly.  Spoon into 13x9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with parmesan.  Bake 15-20 min until cooked through.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chicken and Wild Rice

So I felt like a little "N-Ron Home Cookin" tonight - so I made the chicken and wild rice.  This recipe was passed down to me in my very first homemade cookbook from my mom!  It reminds me of family and Christmas - must have had it for Christmas Day or something!  Anyways - super yummy and makes great leftovers too!!  It's the sort of meal you can make as many servings as you like - so if you don't like leftovers, then just lessen the ingredients.
Serves 6
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 (10 1/2 oz )cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) carton of sour cream
6 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup dry sherry
parmesan cheese

Cook the rice for 30-40 minutes, drain. Place rice in bottom of a buttered 8x8 dish.  Over the rice, pour 3 chicken breasts.  Combine soup, sour cream, mushrooms, and sherry.  Pour half of the mixture over the chicken to cover.  Place remaining 3 breasts - then pour the other half of the mixture to cover.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree oven, covered for 30 minutes.  Then uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.  Welcome to my youth :)

Lemon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Then we decided to make some GROSS Brussels sprouts....I HATE these - and of course Ross LOVES I decided to try them being the "big girl" I am.  I found a recipe that at least put a sauce on top of them, so it wasn't like eating raw cabbage or something.  AND I have to admit - they were pretty good.  I prefer corn or green beans, but hey - I'll eat them every once in awhile.

 Serves 4, 1 1/4 cup each

8 cups halved trimmed fresh Brussels sprouts (I really think FRESH is the key)
1/4 cup Breakstone's Reduced fat sour cream (no idea if this brand matters but I found it)
1/4 cup Miracle Whip Light dressing
1 teaspoon EACH lemon zest and juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 8-10 minutes until crisp-tender.  Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in large bowl.  Drain sprouts - and add to dressing to coat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beef & Cheese Foldover

Starting 2011 off right - this was super yummy!!  So easy too -- the only thing we didn't have "on hand" was the baking mix...but once you buy a box that big - not sure you would have to run out anytime soon.  We just made this with Caesar salad - and it was very filling.  It said it was for 6 servings - but we ate about 1/2 of it so I would say it's more like 4.  I have a feeling it's going to be a yummy leftover too....fight me for it RoRo!
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons AI steak sauce
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose baking mix (this was in the baking aisle)
1 cup Kraft Mexican finely shredded 4 cheese
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown meat with onions in a large skillet; drain.  Stir in corn, ketchup, and steak sauce; set aside.

Add water to baking mix; stir until mixture forms dough.  Shape into ball.  Place on lightly floured surface; knead 5 times or until smooth and no longer sticky.  Roll into 12-inch circle; transfer to baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Spoon meat mixture onto center of dough; spread to within 2 inches of edge.  Fold edge of dough over meat, leaving center uncovered.

Bake 20 minutes.  Top filling with cheese; bake 5 min or until melted.  Sprinkle with parsley.  I just cut it with a pizza cutter - worked great!

So I also thought I would put my "tools" on here - this little mat here is awesome for rolling out dough (pizzas....foldovers...cookies).  You can get that and the roller from Crate & Barrel - engaged ladies - sign yourself up :)  I also LOVE the serving cup (Pampered Chef) - it's sweet cause it has a little pour thing on one side for liquids - but then if you flip it over, you use it for solids (works really good for measuring out PB -- ha ha).  I should totally be the C&B / Pampered Chef spokesperson!