Sunday, November 27, 2011

French Onion Soup - Houlihan's style

Sodahl "french onion soup bake off" is here!!  We ate at Houlihan's last week - and of course got their yummy french onion soup.  Ross and I used to be obsessed with trying new restaurants in the search for the perfect french onion!!  Grandmas in Duluth had a close first - and now that we have tried Houlihan's that might be the best...we had a discussion that night about trying to make our own - so here we are!!

I found some recipes for french onion soup - so we decided to try 2 different recipes and declare a winner!  I modified a bunch of different recipes I found to make this one as close to the Houli's recipe as I was GREAT!!  We didn't have much broth - so not sure if when I cut the ingredients in half it all boiled out - but Ross didn't have much besides the onion / absorbed bread / cheese!  This was really close and actually really good!!  Who needs to go to the restaurant anymore - save the money and make it ourselves!!  So good!!

Serves 6

6 cups onions, thinly sliced
4 cups beef broth
1/4 cup butter
6 slices Provolone cheese
6 slices toasted French bread (I actually used basic rolls I had....)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper

Saute the onions in the butter until they are tender, then add the wine, sugar, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.

Add some salt and pepper - bring soup to a boil and then turn the heat down and cook over a moderate heat for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 - ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls (these are my rents - aren't they cute!!  They worked perfect) and add a slice of toasted bread to each.

Put one slice of cheese over each piece of toast and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

French Onion Soup

Round 2!! I didn't think this was as good as the French Onion Soup - Houlihan's style  - BUT it was super tasty still.  It just tasted a little bit more "winey" - and that's probably because there is wine involved :)  I really liked the taste of this - but if you are going for the "best" / Houl's style - then the other soup was right on.

I think next time I'll do a combo of the two: more broth in the first one, use bay leaves / thyme sprigs, and try the Gruyere cheese instead of the Provolone.  AND buy some french onion soup bowls :)  Thanks rents for letting me borrow!!  They worked great!!

Serves 6

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes.

Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Little part of Heaven Sandwich

We are having a Sodahl "French Onion Soup bake off" I wanted something easy, new, and tasty to go with the French Onion Soup - Houlihan's style - so here is this heavenly sandwich!!  It was really good - and different enough that I had to post it!  It has so many great veggies - it made me feel healthy :)

6 Sisters blog

Whole Wheat Ciabatta bread (rolls)
Swiss Cheese (or any kind of cheese you want)
Ham or Turkey
an Egg (egg whites)
Spinach (I used basil since I had that leftover from yesterday....awesome!)
red onion
little bit of mayo (miracle whip is what I use)
honey Mustard

First preheat oven to broil. Then take a small pan frying pan on the stove and heat it to high. Once the pan is hot take your raw egg and get the yolk out. Then cook egg in the pan so it is small enough to fit on sandwich. While it is cooking,  put cheese on bread and broil it on a cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Any longer and the edges burn.

Then just start putting the sandwich together!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Orzo Salad

Man - I'm a cooking machine this week.  I think it's because Ross is going to be out of town for work, so I'm trying to get all my new recipes in :)  We had a busy day today "Decking the Sodahl halls" - so I'm so glad I had this on the menu.  Super easy - and super awesome meal!!  We just made this up with some hash brown potatoes and steak!! 

Giada Family Dinners: 6 servings

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo (Italian pasta....looks like rice though)
15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups mixed red/yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette
salt and pepper

Bring the broth to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat.  Stir in the orzo.  Cover partially and cook, stirring frequently, until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, about 7 minutes.  Drain the orzo through a strainer.  Transfer the orzo to a large, wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly.  Set aside to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough dressing to coat.  Season with salad with salt and pepper - and serve at room temp.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Had this with the Orzo Salad - super good!!  I made a little extra cause I wasn't sure how much the salad was going to take - so if I eat this with anything else, I'll post :)

Giada Family Dinner: makes 1 3/4 cups

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender.  With the maching running gradually blend in the oil.  Season the dressing to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

Masters are coming over tonight for some dindin tonight - so Miss Meghan brought over the Garlic Artichoke Dip - and I made up this mean dip, fries and Dressed Up Sloppy Joes !!  Dip is super yummy!!  Ross and I had it again with Saturday nights dinner with some hashbrowns - worked great!!


2.1-oz package fully cooked bacon slices
16-oz container sour cream
2 cups (8 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 1/3 cup sliced fresh chives
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Garnishes: cooked, crumbled bacon; sliced fresh chives; freshly cracked pepper

Serve with: waffle fries

Microwave bacon according to package directions until crisp; drain on paper towels. Cool 10 minutes; crumble. Stir together bacon and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours before serving. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crispy, warm waffle fries. Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 7 days.

Dressed Up Sloppy Joes

We have tried a couple different sloppy joe recipes - and this was really good, but it was sweet!!  It was very "sloppy" - but made eating it so much more tastier.....haha.  I LOVED all the different options of making this meal up too - it was BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING day today, so crock pot = best invention ever!!  It was ready to go when we got home - and then just kept it warm till the Sodahls / Masters were ready to eat!!  Perfection :)

OBB Cookbook

1 l. lean ground beef
Seasoning salt to taste
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 green pepper, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3-1/2 cup water to reach desired consistency
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 hamburger buns
Stovetop Instructions:
Brown ground beef with onion, green pepper, and garlic. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Add in mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Combine tomato paste and water and add to hamburger mixture. Add more water if desired. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on hamburger buns.

Crockpot Instructions:
Brown ground beef with onion, green pepper, and garlic. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Transfer to slow cooker. Add in remaining ingredients and combine well. Cook on low for 3-4 hours and serve on hamburger buns.

Freezer Instructions:
Brown ground beef with onion, green pepper, and garlic. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Add in remaining ingredients and combine well. Freeze. When ready to cook, transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low to 3-5 hours. Serve on hamburger buns.

Garlic Artichoke Dip

Thanks to Miss Meghan for this yummy and "loving" (get it - cause it's a heart shaped dish....) app!!  It was super good - and was gone in like 5 minutes!!  haha  She added some spinach since most artichoke dips are "spinach artichoke dip' - and we added some hot sauce to this loveliness.  We are the friends of spice over here tonight!!  YUM!! 

OBB Cookbook

2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese (light works great), softened
1 cup mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip or fat free mayonnaise, although low-fat mayo also works great)
1 cup (packed) shredded Parmesan cheese (try to get a wedge and grate it yourself; the pre-shredded stuff in a bag doesn’t melt well)
12-oz. jar MARINATED artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the mayonnaise and shredded Parmesan cheese. Gently add in the chopped artichoke hearts and minced garlic.
Place the mixture into a 9″ pie plate (or divided evenly among smaller dishes) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it’s lightly browned and bubbly on top. Serve hot with slices of bread and/or tortilla chips.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ross is 30!!!

Hubby joined the DIRTY 30's!!!  Because I'm impatient - I had already given him his bday present, but I couldn't have his actual birthDAY come and go without doing anything!!  Figured I would get him a balloon for every day he has been on this earth (and weirdly - I've known him for 1/2 of those!).

It was a super fun idea - and I used it as my "card".  I just tied a "reason why I love you..." to each balloon string - and then when he came home and wondered why our bedroom door was closed - BAM!!  Balloons are OLD!!  :)

Love you honey!!

Oreo Turkeys

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!!!!  I hope everyone had a GREAT and THANKFUL Turkey Day :)  ahhh I love today!!  So much to be thankful for - AND I love all the traditions!!  From the Turkey Trot 5k to start the day - to the dressing my grandpa used to make - to the sleigh ride song - to playing bingo with buttons -- to the grand lighting of the house!!  I LOVE it all :)

We are heading to the Sodahls first so I made up Bestemor's recipe - check it out here: Sweet Potato Casserole.

And then we are heading to the Ronhovdes for turkey dinner round two :)  I decided to make this cutie dessert!!  I'll be honest - it took some's pretty putsy, but look how cute they are!!  You could use them for place card holders OR just as a yummy dessert!!  (The little kids had some issues making it through dinner to eat these bad boys!)

Double Stuff Oreo Cookies (**has to be double stuff - regular just doesn't me!)Candy Corn
Peanut butter Cups
Chocolate frosting
Yellow Frosting
Red frosting

First step:  Grab a cookie.  You don’t have to put frosting in there, but it holds in the candy corn a little better. Just give it a little squeeze of chocolate.

Then stuff in your candy corn.  If you’re in some sort of candy corn shortage, you can cut off the white tips to use later for your beaks.  I think the candy corn sticks in better with the tip so I leave it on.  Go ahead and do all of the cookies through this step.

Next put a dab of frosting on the opposite end of the cookie and secure it to the “base” cookie.  It helps to place them next to a wall as they dry so they stay put.

While those are drying, unwrap your PB cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the PB cup.

Once those are ready, flip your cookies over, but you may find it’s easy to keep them next to the wall.  My frosting was a bit soft, so they needed the extra support.  Place a dab of frosting on the pb cup, and place it on the cookie like a "body".

Now those little guys will need heads, so glue a whopper on there with frosting as well. I put frosting on the side of the whopper that hits both the cookie and the PB cup.  Wouldn’t want a turkey running around with its head cut off, would we??

While they’re still laying there, use a couple dabs of frosting (I used blue) for the eyes and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  I used my red frosting to put the beak on - and then continued with that to add a little "wattle" to the turkey.  (Insert: Ronhovde Turkey Day humor.....)

"Wow - Heidi you have a lot!!" 
Scientific "Ronhovde" fact:
the skinnier you are -
the more weenis you have!!

And I'm back....Once the beak stays put you can flip them over and draw on some little white feet.  This was decided a step that could be skipped if not wanting to spend the time - however, I think it makes them look super cutie :)


Sweet Potato Casserole

Because Ross's REAL birthday was on Turkey Day - he requested that we make his favorite Thanksgiving dish....his grandmas sweet potato recipe!  I was up for the challenge....Bestemor lives in Duluth so I called her to get the recipe - and she said she would mail it to me....I paused for a second....mail...not email....haha.  But I got the recipe in time - and now I have a cutie recipe card from her!

I was instructed to NOT get yams....DON'T GET YAMs!!  I wanted this to be perfect cause I was following some big shoes - but I didn't have time to run to the grocery store, so sir Rossy went for me.  When it came time to cook the sweet potatoes I noticed those bad boys weren't ORANGE.....uh oh....He had gotten YAMS!!!  hahahahahah  To be fair - the "grocery store" messed up cause the bins were labeled incorrectly....heheheh.  We decided to make them anyways - and let me tell you....THEY WERE AMAZING!!  We got TONS of compliments on them - so if yams aren't as good as sweet potatoes, I'm sure you could win some rewards with this recipe!!  It was super tasty!!

From Bestemor: Serves 8-10

3-4 New Jersey sweet potatoes (about 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes)
1 cup sugar)
1stick butter (1/2 cup); soft
1/2 cup evaporated milk (carnation blend)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup frosted flakes (crushed)
1/2 cup brown sugar
 1/2 cup chopped pecans/walnuts

Bake sweet potatoes in oven for about 1 hour - until fork tender (I did this the night before).  I basically just peeled off skin - chopped them in half - threw on a pan - topped with some olive oil - and cooked on 350 until they were done.  Then mash them up.

Blend potatoes, sugar, 1/2 stick butter, evaporated milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together in mixer.  Put into greased 9x13 pan.

 Melt 1/2 stick butter, add brown sugar, and stir in frosted flakes and nuts.  Spread on top of sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Bean Bundles

The Birthday Boy got to decide what he wanted for his pre-bday dinner -- AND it wasn't meat!!  haha  However - this was still considered a "feast"!  Ross's grandma sent us lobster for our anniversary - so we made that up with Crab legs with roasted red potatoes AND this awesome green bean side!!  I was thrilled to use my "star fish" on my platter -- hehe....I'm sure that was what Ross was thinking when he requested crab legs!!
But anyways - on to the awesomeness of these green beans....this is by far my FAVORITE way to eat green beans!!  Probably isn't super healthy anymore though with that bacon on there....but it's fancy, tasted AMAZING, and I'm in love!!  Try this - you won't be disappointed!!  It was super easy to make too - and a lot of it can be made ahead of time, so it would be super good for a large group!!  Ahhh I want more - right now!!
OBB cookbook - serves 8

1 lb. green beans with the ends snapped off (buy or pick about 1 1/2 pounds so you'll have 1 lb. after the beans' ends have been snapped)
8 slices lean, regularly sliced bacon
3 tablespoons real butter (no substitutions!)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoons minced red onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
If you're using fresh green beans, wash and snap the ends off.  Discard any sickly looking, overly skinny, limp, or yucky-looking beans.  Super-scientific, right?  When the water is boiling, briefly boil (blanch) the beans for 2-3 minutes or until you start hearing a popping noise and the beans have turned bright green.  Quickly drain and rinse in cold water until the beans have cooled.
If you're planning on completing the beans immediately, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
On a cookie sheet, divide the green beans evenly into 8 piles.  Carefully bundle each pile of beans with one slice of bacon and return to the baking sheet.  This step can be done up to a day ahead of time.
When the oven is ready, place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and sizzling.  While the bundles are in the oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan.  When the butter is bubbly, add in the onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are softened and fragrant.  Reduce heat to low and add in vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and set aside.
When ready to serve, place bean bundles on a serving platter and drizzle with sauce.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Date Night - Anniversary Gift Idea

3 year anniversary in the house -- what what!!!  :)  Figured I would do something a little different for my gift this year - so I gave Ross a "Once a Month Pre-planned Date Night" with this girl!  All he has to do is pick the date on the first of the month - and BAM - fun times had by all :)  Because I am a spaz - I let him open all the dates so he could get as excited as I am for them all - check them out below!!

November: Brave New Workshop Xmas Comedy show
December: Ice skating at Rice Park & drinks/apps at Barrio
January:  Trip to ARUBA -- hehe. AKA: Leather Passport holder since "leather" is the traditional 3 yr gift!
February: Brunch/Bloodies at Ikes followed by Game Day at Chatterbox
March: Summit Brewary tour
April: Princeton Racetrack
May: Surrey around Minnehaha Falls & dinner at Sea Salt Eatery
June: Drinks and lawn bowling at Brits
July: Kayaking St. Croix River & pizza at Pizza on the Pond
August: Backpack camping weekend at Tettegueche
September: Mpls sculpture gardens & dinner at Cafe Lurcat
October: Weekend in D-town: Glension Mansion & Alpine Slide at Spirit

AND the best part (well besides getting to spend time with my hubby) - is that these dates are already PRE-scrapped!!  All I have to do is take some pics of us at the fun event - tape it right next to the date coupon and BAM - our dates are scrapbooked too :)  Ross totally enjoyed that part of it....hehe!

Super excited!!  It was fun coming up with stuff we have never done before....difficult since it's been 10.5 years of dating, BUT I managed to come up with 12 dates!  Nothing better than spending some time with my man!!  Always fun times :)

Wedding Spreadsheets

In honor of my 3 year anniversary, and because EVERYONE is getting married right now - thought I would share my wedding files!

I haven't found a good way to put them on my blog, so people can just take and edit - so here is the view of them.  If you want a copy via Google Docs OR just regular excel spreadsheet - let me know and I can email them to you!


Wedding File = This includes budget (I have formulas and everything already on here!), Guest List / RSVP tracking, and a Contact List.

Wedding To Do = This includes an overall "To Do List", but then I broke out each tab by category (and then I have a To Do List for each category as well).  YES - I know I'm Type A....but this helped so much!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Egg in-a-hole

And finally a recipe that didn't really work...and wasn't that great.....haha.  Thought this was a super cute and different way to make eggs.....BUT I didn't really like it.  Too much hassle for what you get - I mean the picture doesn't even look that appetizing!!

Everyday Food Magazine: serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bell pepper (any color) cut into four 1/2 inch thick rings
4 large eggs
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices multi-grain bread (I use English Muffins)

In a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Crack 1 egg into the middle of each pepper ring. Season with salt & pepper and cook until the egg whites are mostly set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.

Gently flip and cook 1 minute more for over easy. Sprinkle with Parmesan and place egg on a slice of toast- or serve with an English muffin.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Idaho Sunrise

Headed up to the cabin this weekend for a "Celebration of Loooovvvvveeee"  :)  It is our 3 year anniversary - and no better place to celebrate than up at the cabin!!  Figured we needed some awesome bfast so tried out this new recipe!  It worked great - and was super easy to make.  However, Ross mentioned that it would be just as easy to make eggs....and hash need to get that muffin pan dirty :)  It was a cute way to make these though - and tasted good!!
The Domestic Mama blog

24oz hash browns, thawed
salt / pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
bacon bits
parsley flakes

Take thawed hash browns, mix in 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, olive oil and cheddar cheese.  Put that in a well greased muffin pan, and make a well in the center.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes, cover with foil if the edges appear to be getting too brown.

Now, lower the oven to 350 - crack a medium egg into each "nest" and top with bacon bits, cheese, and parsley flakes.  Bake for 16 minutes.

Gently slide a knife along the edges, and pull up with a fork.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

We were super excited for this meal cause it sounded amazing....but it was "eh".  The best part about it was the croutons topped with cheese...hehe.  The chicken was sort of bland - and yeah, I don't think I would make it again.  Figured I would post just in case people like chicken Parmesan or had any suggestions on how to make this more wonderful.....

Food Wishes blog

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 5, but they were huge!)
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons

Put olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Lay chicken breasts on top - layer with marinara sauce and spread so it covers the chicken evenly.

Then top the sauce with parsley flakes, 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 the Parmesan cheese - then top with croutons and spread out so it covers completely.

Sprinkle additional mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese on top.  Bake for 35 minutes in 350 degrees.  Then enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe

I needed something super quick tonight....I have boot camp & dance on Wednesdays so I'm gone from 5:30-10pm, but I still like to get a little dinner in before I go.  This was perfect - it took about 15 minutes from start to finish, AND it tasted really good too!!  I liked that it was a little twist on your typical sloppy Joe ...and Philly cheese steak!  Combo was delish!!

Six Sisters Stuff Blog
1lb ground beef/sirloin
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
1 green pepper, chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
Provolone cheese, cut into slices or pre-sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Buns / Rolls (the rolls worked really good - helped contain the sloppy)

Preheat broiler.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef/sirloin - about 5-6 minutes.  Add the onion, green pepper and mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes, until they start to get tender.  Stir in the steak sauce and the beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Split open rolls, place one slice of cheese on one side and toast under broiler, keep your eye on them so they don't burn.

Place a scoopful of meat on the bottom half of the bun, drizzle with additional steak sauce and place cheesy bun on top!  Delish :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wild Rice Burgers

Happy Birthday Week Kate!!!  Cookbook club was a blast!!  Ross was playing video games in the basement and commented how fun cookbook sounded :)  

We made up a wicked/awesome meal tonight!  Had these burgers with Stuffed Red Bliss Potatoes and Ginger-Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits.  Super yummy - and actually healthy too!!  The burgers were a little mean to in, we couldn't form them into actual burgers....BUT we made do!  We sort of pan fried all of the wild rice mixture together and then sort of scooped them onto buns.  Might work better with more egg ?? or Italian bread crumbs ??  We weren't sure - but I'll for sure try these again and let you know :)  Even Ross liked them -- and it wasn't even meat!!! 

Makes 4 patties - Birthday girl Kate :)
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup small-diced onion
1/3 cup small-diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded aged Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/16 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Optional: favorite burger toppings

Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Cool completely. (Can make a day ahead and refrigerate.)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and sauté onions, celery, and garlic until onion is translucent.

In a large bowl, combine onion-celery-garlic mixture with wild rice, breadcrumbs, Asiago cheese, salt, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cool completely and then add eggs, stirring to combine.  (Might not want to use a whisk - it didn't work very well....hehe)

Divide mixture into 4 and shape into 1/2-inch thick patties.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry patties 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp and golden.

Serve with your favorite burger toppings.

Stuffed Red Bliss Potatoes of my favorite things to eat!!  It was hard to come up with a new recipe - but I found one!!!  AND it looked super cute in my new serving dish with my turkey!!!  For real - Von Maur, you have a customer for life!!!  This was super tasty - but took a little bit of time to make :)  (Thanks Mo for your patience!)  It just took some time to scoop out the insides of each potato - while keeping the shell intact...but it is so worth it when you are done!!  They were great!!

Makes 4 servings: Gina's Skinny Recipes

10 oz (8 small) red bliss potatoes, about 2" diameter
1 tablespoon light Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or rosemary)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan or asagio cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot , cover potatoes in water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until soft (about 12minutes). Drain and run under cool water. Set aside.

While the potatoes cook, in a small pan, add oil and garlic and cook on very low heat, about 12 minutes, till
soft. Remove garlic and discard oil. Mash garlic.

In a medium bowl combine garlic, thyme, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350°. Using a teaspoon (or melon baller) scoop out potato leaving 1/4 inch shell. Mix the potato with the other ingredients and fill potato shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Ginger-Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits

So everyone knows this girl doesn't have a sweet tooth - BUT this was so good!!  It kinda reminded me of pumpkin pie - just better :)  It was really easy to make too!!  Be careful when baking the butter / cookies - they burn fast if you are not stirring constantly....and make sure to remove them from the hot pan when you are letting them cool!!  mmmm yummy!

Makes 6-8 servings: Paula Deen Magazine

3 tablespoon butter
1/2 lb gingersnap cookies, coarsely crushed
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Garnish: pumpkin pie spice / cookies

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add crushed gingersnaps, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes of until lightly toasted.  Remove from skillet immediately, and cool.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with a mixer until smooth; add pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla, beating just until combined.  In parfait glasses, layer crushed gingersnaps and cream cheese mixture as desired, staring with gingersnaps.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl, beat whipping cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar at medium-high speed with a mixer until soft peaks form.  Dollop whipped cream over parfaits.  Sprinkle with pumpkin spice, if desired.  Serve with gingersnap cookies.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fancy, Fun Serving Utensils

We've had a LOT of weddings this year - so I am getting creative on gifts!!  This wasn't too difficult - and it made up a cutie shower or wedding gift too!!  I decorated up these spoons - and then put them in a little gift basket.

I put the cake server with a recipe for "Better than Sex Cake" - and then put the ingredients, servers, spatulas in a mixing bowl - and wrapped it all up!!  OR I put the serving spoons in a fancy serving bowl - with all the ingredients for a pasta / wine night.

And lastly, I put these little guys with an appetizer / relish tray with a bunch of different apps to try out!

Spoons / serving utensils
Any color beads
Wire (the thinner you get - the easier to make)

Then just start at one end and wrap that bad boy tight and make a knot.  Then string the beads on and wrap the wire as you want around the serving utensil.  End it the same way - in a knot.  The only thing is they are not dishwasher safe.....but I put my guarantee on there that I could fix them for those that don't like to hand wash :)

Figured I would put some more ideas on here.....just made these for some upcoming wedding gifts!

Rodeo Chili

I'm feeling HOT HOT HOT!!!  :)  This chili was awesome, but holy HOT HOT HOT!!  If you don't like spicy - you will not be able to eat this at all.  However, if you welcome the spice - try this dish!!  It's super flavorful - it doesn't have beans like your typical chili - the chuck roast is perfect for this - and it heats you right up!!  LOVED this :)

Makes 8-10 servings: Paula Deen Magazine

1 tablespoon veggie oil
5 lbs boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 red chiles, seeded and chopped
1 (12oz) bottle dark Mexican beer
6 cups beef broth
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons masa harina (aka Mexican flour)
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Cook beef, in 4 batches, for 4 minutes or until browned.  Remove from pan, and keep warm.

Add onions, poblano peppers, jalapenos, and chile's in Dutch oven; cook for 8 minutes of until peppers are tender.  Add beer; cook for 3 minutes.  Add broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, ancho chile pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.  Stir in beef.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beef is tender.

Add masa harina, stirring until mixture is thickened.  Serve with desired toppings.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tenderloin Cobb Sandwich

Apparently, I have a thing for making sandwiches on the weekends....I'm going to start craving these now!  This was so so so so good!!  Ross and I decided we might always cook beef tenderloin this way - it was so tasty!!  This was like heaven sandwich on a plate :)  Add in some salt and vinegar chips and I'm one happy girl!!  YUMMY!!

Makes 8 - 10 servings: Paula Deen Magazine

3lb beef tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Avocado Ranch Sauce
16 oz loaf french bread, split in half horizontally
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes,  thinly sliced
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
5 hard boiled eggs, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Rub tenderloin with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  place on prepared baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 130 degrees.  Let stand for 10 minutes - cut into thin slices.

Spread ranch sauce on cut sides of bread.  Top bottom half of bread with lettuce, tomato, tenderloin, bacon, and egg slices.  Cover with top half of bread - cut into slices to serve.

Avocado Ranch Sauce

Made this to go on Tenderloin Cobb Sandwich .  It tasted super good - might be putting this on more sandwiches!!!

Makes about 2 cups - Paula Deen Magazine

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk (TIP: Take1 tablespoon of white vinegar - and add enough milk to make 1 cup.  Mix - and let sit.  Then you have your buttermilk to use)
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix

In a small bowl, combine mashed avocados, buttermilk, and ranch dressing - stirring to combine.  Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on surface of sauce to prevent browning - and chill up to 2 days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gyro Burger Pitas

I was looking through my blog and realized I had never made a recipe using lamb sorry Little Bo Peep - I ate your friend!  This was GREAT for a week night meal - AND easy and quick to pack up for work lunches!!  Took about 20 minutes from start to finish.  My only advice - don't eat before doing bootcamp....your circuit partner might not like your workout burps...(sorry Kimmy!)  :)

OBB Cookbook

1 lb. lean ground lamb (if this is hard to find, ask a butcher to grind 1 lb. of lamb leg or loin)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dry onion
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse grain mustard
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary, dry or fresh and chopped
4 whole wheat pitas or 6″ rounds of flatbread
Fresh tomato and thin onion slices

Gently combine lamb, garlic, onion, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar, oregano, and rosemary with your hands and shape into 4 oblong patties.

Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side and remove from heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Place on pitas or flatbread and add onions, tomatoes, and Tzatziki. Fold like a taco and serve immediately. For easy serving and clean-up, wrap in aluminum foil.


Have you ever been to Christos??  It's off highway 7 in Minnetonka - well if you haven't, you should go there OR try this sauce with the recipe for Gyro Burger can have Greek night right in your own home!!

We made this sauce to go with Greek Tacos - so try that too!!  Then you won't even have any leftover Tzatziki left :)

OBB Cookbook

1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (that’s 2 6-oz. containers)
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 green onions, firm ends finely chopped
1 teaspoon dry dill weed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pork Loin Roast

Dinner at the Sodahls household was AMAZING!! Future Mr and Mrs Paula Deen perhaps??   :)  We made this with Apple Brown Rice Dressing and Festive Roasted Veggies... probably the best complete meal yet.  This pork roast was 1. EASY 2. Cooked perfectly and 3. YUMMY!!!  The rub was possibly the best rub I've ever had....ahhh leftovers tomorrow is going to be amazing!!

Makes 6-8 servings: Paula Deen Magazine

4lb boneless pork loin roast
3 large cloves garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: fresh rosemary and sage sprigs

Using kitchen string, tie roast, securing at 1-inch intervals.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, Italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper to make a paste.  Rub mixture over all sides of roast.  Place roast in a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; seal and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray a roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add roast, and cook for 2-4 minutes per side or until browned on all sides.  Place roast in prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees.  Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.  Garnish with rosemary and sage.

Apple Brown Rice Dressing

YAY!!  I found a rice dish Rossy liked!!  This was super super good!!  The apples mixed in with the brown rice made this AMAZING!!  I can NOT wait for leftovers - and plus, it's is made with brown rice :)

Makes 6-8 servings: Paula Deen magazine

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt and pepper
1 red apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Prepare rice according to package directions, substituting broth for water and omitting salt and butter.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add celery, green onions, sage, sea salt, and pepper; saute for 5 minutes.  Add apple, and saute for 2-3 minutes or just until veggies and apple are tender.  Stir in cooked rice and almonds.

Festive Roasted Veggies

These veggies were so good - and the concept was soo easy!!  I used my fancy GLOVES my mom gave me for my bday to cut up the beets - didn't want those bad boys to dye my hands or anything :)  Parsnips are super random - but they tasted really good!! 

Makes 6-8 servings: Paula Deen Magazine

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chucks
1 lb small carrots with tops, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs beets, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly spray 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots; toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Arrange in an even layer on 1 prepared baking sheet.  Toss beets with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; arrange in a single layer on remaining prepared baking sheet.

Bake veggies for 30 minutes or just until carrots are tender.  Remove carrots from pan.  Bake remaining veggies for 10 minutes longer or just until tender.  Transfer veggies to a serving platter.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Veggie Lasagna

Roomie night at Kim's house tonight - and we whipped up this super good veggie lasagna!!  (We added some turkey though - otherwise, I knew Mr Hubby would have something to say about it).  It was really good - I love finding fun new ways to eat more veggies!  The eggplant and zucchini were a good touch!

Weight Watchers

Recipe to come......

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

I totally thought Ross would say "Man, this meal would taste so much better with beef...."  BUT I don't even think he realized it was turkey instead!!  This was really good - and easy to cut in half for 2 peeps!  We just used a 8x8 baking dish - and it worked perfect.  The lovely Simply Potatoes can be found in your grocer's refrigerated section (Cub had them - Rainbow did not....)  That saved a ton of time - but if you can't find them, you can always make sweet potatoes from scratch and do that ahead of time.....

Makes 6 servings - Paula Deen Magazine

2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup prechopped onion
2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 (24 oz) packages refrigerated Simply Potatoes Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 large egg
1/2 (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup frozen green peas
1 (11 oz) can Mexican-style corn
2 (.87 oz) packets turkey gravy mix

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or 6 (2 cup) ramekins.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray, and add turkey, onion, pepper, and salt; cook for 10 minutes or until turkey is browned and crumbly.

While turkey mixture cooks, peel back film at corner of each container of sweet potatoes, and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, egg, cream cheese, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper; beat at medium speed with a mixer until well combined.

Drain turkey mixture well, and return to skillet.  Stir in peas, corn, and gravy mixes.  Pour turkey mixture into prepared baking dish or ramekins, and spread sweet potato mixture over top.

Bake for 30 minutes if using 9x13 baking dish, 25 minutes if using ramekins until lightly browned.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Philly Cheeseburger Pizza

My rents got me a "Cookin Diva" apron that goes along with my matching Paula Deen cooking magazine for my birthday - so this week you will see LOTs of recipes from there!!  I only had 20 minutes at home - so I needed something quick, and this was it.  Not only was this super fast to prep - make - and throw in the oven, BUT it tasted like heaven!!  I felt like I walked into Old Chicago or something - soooo good!!

Makes 4 servings - Paula Deen Magazine

16 oz package refrigerated pizza crust dough (I actually bought prebaked to be super speedy)
1lb extra-lean ground beef
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
8 slices provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning

Let pizza dough rest according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 450 - press dough into 16-inch pizza pan - bake for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, combine beef, bell peppers, and onion; cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until beef is browned and crumbly and veggies are tender.  Drain well.

Spread mustard over pizza crust.  Top with provolone cheese, beef mixture, and mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with steak seasoning.  Bake for 8 minutes or until crust if browned and cheese melts.  Cut into wedges and serve.