Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

    This is a recipe I've been dying to try, but couldn't justify making in the middle of the Florida summer. Now that its September, I figured I could pull out this autumn dish and give it a try (ignoring that its 90+ degrees outside still). Josh isn't much of a fan of squash, but he loved this soup. Its delish!

(Recipe originally taken from allrecipes.com)

2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cubed
32 fl. oz. chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in pot and add vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add chicken stock and cover with lid. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer until vegetables are soft. Transfer soup to blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot and add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy! (super easy huh?)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Parmesan Chicken

1 minced garlic clove
1 stick unsalted melted butter
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 large pinch of Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken, cut into pieces no bigger than 2x2
Preheat oven to 450 F. In a bowl, combine melted butter and garlic. In another bowl combine everything but the chicken. Dip the chicken pieces in the butter mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture to coat. Place coated chicken pieces into a 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
I like to serve this with some homemade Marinara Sauce and Penne. This will serve 4-6 people or 2 people if your husband happens to be 6' 10".
Yum yum!

Best Chocolate Cake Ever. No lie

This cake is so incredibly moist and delicious but so easy. You're going to be suprised how easy it is. Here's what you need:
1 box Devils Food Cake mix ( Duncan Hines is best)
1 small pkg. instant Chocolate Pudding
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips
plus the ingredients called for on cake mix box
Make cake mix according to directions on box. Add other ingredients. Put in a well greased bundt pan and make at 350 degress for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely before removing from pan. You can frost it, sprinkle powdered sugar on top or drizzle melted chocolate over it. Leaving it plain is also just as delicious. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Terriyaki Chicken Gyros

I've got four words. These. Changed. My. Life.
This is now number one on my list of the best things I could put in my mouth. That's all I'm going to say.
I did my own spin on a recipe I found on Annie's Eats. If you want that recipe you can find it here http://annies-eats.net/2009/06/02/chicken-gyros/. I HIGHLY reccomend mine though; it's easier and you're more likely to have the ingredients on hand.

Terriyaki Marinade:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

2 cloves minced garlic

However much boneless, skinless chicken you want; Iused about 1 lb but there's enough marinade for more.

Cut the chicken into strips, place in a plastic bag and marinade for at least 4 hours in the fridge. Grill or bake. I grilled mine on my George Foreman.

Tzatziki Sauce:

This is definately not a traditional Tzatziki sauce, but it's got hints of it here and there.

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 -1/2 tsp. lemon zest ( more or less according to your taste)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2-3 minced garlic

1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. dried oregano or fresh if you have it on hand.

salt and plenty of ground pepper to taste

Mix this up and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavours meld. Yes I spelled flavour with a "u". I am Canadian

To Assemble:

Pita bread- I highly reccomend trying homemade pita bread. I used this recipe and it was fantastic. However, store bought would be fine...but fine is not amazing. I'd go for amazing, which the homemade are. Here's the link http://annies-eats.net/2010/04/20/whole-wheat-pita-bread/

Fresh tomatoes, chopped

chopped cucumber

thinly sliced red onion

chopped romain lettuce

Feta cheese.

Take your warmed pita, spread some tzatziki sauce on it, fill with some slices of chicken, tomatoe, cucumber, onion and romaine. Top with crumbled Feta. So Good! Bon appetit from California!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Jam

Mmm... homemade strawberry jam; all you need is a hot biscuit. I used to be scared of doing anything that involved canning even though I have helped my mom do alot. I guess it's just doing it on my own that scared me. It shouldn't though because as long as you follow the directions, it's super easy and I think it's fun. An added bonus is you feel so accomplished and good about yourself after you do it and you literally get the fruits of your labours! So for all of you who are scared of mason jars and canners, here's a little step by step tutorial on making homemade strawberry jam.

First you want to make sure you have all your supplies and equipment ready. Wash your jars in warm soapy water or just run them through the dish washer to sanitize them. You need unused lids and new or used rings to screw the lids on.

You also need a canner (seen on the left), a heavy 6 or 8 quart pot (far right) and a little saucepan (behind pot). Fill the canner, a little less than 3/4 full and bring that to a boil while you prepare the fruit. Bring water to a boil in the small saucepan too; it is for softening the rubber ring on the lids. Once it comes to a boil, turn off heat, put lids in it and leave them in the hot water until you're ready to use them.

Once you've got your canner going, wash your strawberries and cut the stems off. Depending on which recipe you use( I use Sure Jell), you will need about 3 lbs of strawberries. Buy them on sale. I bought mine for 89 cents a pound which is a GREAT deal. Also as a side note, DO NOT double your recipe. For some reason it never works out, just do a batch at a time.
Smash the strawberries up. Leave it fairly chunky. The chunks will cook down so don't worry if you have some big ones. My recipe calls for 5 cups of crushed strawberries. You need to be precise when it comes to making jam.

Ok next measure out your sugar (7 cups for Sure Jell recipe), have your pectin ready and about 1/2 tsp of margarine or butter.

Pour the berries into the pot. Add the whole box of pectin and the butter. The butter helps reduce foaming.

Stir that up and bring it to a FULL ROLLING boil on high heat. This means it does not stop boiling when it is stirred. Stir it constantly.

Once you've got it to a full boil, add your sugar all at once and bring it back to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Make sure you use a long handled wooden spoon so you don't get burned. Once it's back to a full boil, boil it for exactly one minute or according to the recipe you're following. Turn off the heat.

Now with a spoon, skim the top of the jam to take of any foam.
Put it on a cracker and eat it. Yum! ok, back to work...

Using a funnel, ladle the jam into your prepared jars and fill them until they're about 1/8th of an inch away from the top. Be careful not to burn yourself. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp rag or paper towel. You want to make sure you have no jam on the rims so you get a proper seal. Next place your lids on the jars and screw the rings on tightly.
Lower the jars into the boiling water in the canner. This will probably cool the water off a little. Put the lid back on and once you hear the water start to boil again, start 5 minutes on the clock( depending on your altitude the time will vary. Your recipe should let you know how long to process the jars according to your alttitude).
Along with my 89 cent strawberries, I also picked up some 33 cent mangoes. I cut them up with a little banana and now I have a bunch of little smoothie packs chillin (haha get it?) in my freezer. Back to jam...

Once the cans are done processing, remove from your canner and place to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. You'll hear pop pop pop! That's good, that's what you want to hear because it means that your cans are sealing. You will need to check that each does have a good seal after 24 hours by pressing the tops of each lid. If it pops back at you, it didn't seal and you'll have to refrigerate that jar (up to 3 weeks).
Isn't jam so pretty?! I hope this was helpful and that you're no longer scared of making jam. It's easy and cost efficient if you get your fruit on sale. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Perfect-Ice-Cream Sandwich

This picture makes me drool!

So Good!

I (Sarah) would LOVE to take all the credit for this recipe, but......I found it on the cutest food blog! I was looking for a clever, and delicious Easter dessert, and these beauties fit the bill! They were a big hit! I think they would make a very darling Wedding reception treat, not that I would need something like that for a long time! But I am going to BYU in 2 months, so it's an idea I'm storing in "the next 10 years department".


The recipe doesn't call for chocolate chips, but I'm a chocolate-chip junky so I added Peanut Butter chips and Mint chocolate chips to separate batches. They are super cute wrapped in wax paper, plus it makes them easier to eat without plates. I would advise making extras if you are making them for company! You'll want left overs! (We didn't bring all of them out for Easter dinner, we hid the rest in the downstairs freezer...we didn't ask if anyone wanted seconds....we are not very good hosts are we? oh well...more for us!) These would make it into Emily's "Blue Box" where she keeps all her REALLY good recipes! They are delicious!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wendy's Chicken Teriyaki Salad

This is the best food ever! The fabulous Miss Wendy Wallace introduced our family to this recipe several years ago, and whenever I make it, I make sure that there's lots of leftovers so that I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next couple of days. I just can't get enough of it!
This recipe is very flexible, and you can make it to your liking.

4 chicken breasts (marinated and cooked in Yoshida Teriyaki sauce)
pineapple tidbits, drained
apples, diced
celery, diced
green grapes, diced
green onions, chopped
sliced almonds
bow tie pasta, cooked, drained and cooled

1/3 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2-3 tsp. lime juice
2-3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

* I like to use only yogurt and to omit the mayonnaise. I usually put a lot more ginger and lime juice than it calls for because I like them pretty strong. To be honest, I usually just add the ingredients listed until the dressing tastes how I want it to. I also rarely use the sesame seeds in the dressing.
It's easiest often to start with an amount of pasta and then to add in the ingredients so that you get as much of each as you want.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

BYU Mint Brownies

ah, i can hear the halleilujah chorus. These are so so so so so so soooo good. If you've never had a BYU mint brownie, than you are missing out and i suggest you make these right away, especially if you are pregnant, psst annie. I actually like this version better than BYU's, but that's just me. so hear you go, you can thank me later.

1 c. margarine 1/2 c. cocoa

2 Tbsp honey

4 eggs

2 c. flour

1/2 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 t salt 1 c chopped walnuts ( you can omit this. i did when i made them)

Melt margarine in microwave and mix in cocoa. Allow it to cool, then add eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9X 13 inch baking pan. Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool.

Mint Icing:

5 Tbsp margarine

dash of salt

3 Tbsp milk

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

2 1/3 c powdered sugar

1 tsp. peppermint extract

1-2 drops green food coloring

Soften Margarine then add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

Spread mint icing over cooled brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time to stiffen the icing. Remove from the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate icing. The recipe i followed said to just use store bought chocolate icing, but if you're like me you'd agree that that would ruin the perfection you just made so make your own favorite chocolate icing to put on it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Soft Prezels

These Pretzels won't last long...between Gavin, Emily and I they lasted approximately 24 hours. They are great! We found this recipie from annies-eats.com she has wonderfully good food. We tried some different toppings: cinnamon and sugar, and parmasean and dried basal. If you try these toppings they will be even harder to resist! These are by far a new favorite!

For the dough:

1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

2¼ tsp. instant yeast

22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, meltedVegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
For finishing:

Cooking spray10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp.


Pretzel (or kosher) salt
Directions:To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope. Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Tasty Tomato Soup

This is the most amazing soup ever, and the best part is it's healthy! It makes about 4 servings, but you'll definitely want to double it because you'll want it again, and again, and again!

1 T. Olive Oil

1 Onion, chopped

2 celery stalkes, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 baking potato, peeled and chopped

1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes in juice

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 t. sugar

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not colored.

2. Add the carrot and potato and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the stock, sugar, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then return the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.

3. Let cool slightly. In batches, puree in a blender. Return to pot. Adjust seasoning. Reheat gently, Serve hot.
(Left overs are even better!)

Pasta with Tuna and Black olive Vinaigrette

Sarah and I made this for dinner tonight and we were all pleasantly surprised how delicious it was. It makes 4 servings.

12 Oz. whole wheat rigatoni or penne, or whatever you have
1/2 c. olive oil
2 cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
1/2 c. kalamata olives, roughly chopped ( I used the canned black olives)
1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley ( I didn't have any fresh so I used about 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 6-oz cans tuna, drained ( i only had one and it was enough for the three of us, plus a little left over. I guess it depends on how much you like tuna)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsps of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Don't burn it! Add capers and olives and cook 3 minutes. Stir in parsley and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, pepper, and the remaining oil. Drain the pasta and divide among individual bowls. Top with tuna, a sprinkle of parmesean and olive vinaigrette. Delicious!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Perogies can be pretty hard to find in the U.S.- at least from my experience. We had these quite often growing up, and I was missing them. I found a great recipe and modified it to fit what I had in the kitchen. They're not hard to make, but definitely take a lot of time- but they are worth it in the end. Plus, you'll have extra to throw in the freezer for another great meal down the road. Enjoy!

3 medium sized potatoes
1 egg, beaten
about 4 cups (or 1/2 lb.) shredded cheddar cheese
dried thyme

1 egg, beaten
1 large spoonful of sour cream
1 "splash" of milk

Start by making the filling. Peel potatoes and boil until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Mix cheese and beaten egg together. Once potatoes have cooled, add to the cheese mix. Add the salt, pepper and thyme to taste.

Mash mixture until it resembles mashed potatoes. Set aside.

To make the dough, beat an egg in a bowl. Add the sour cream and mix well.

Add enough flour that the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball in the center of the bowl.

Add the milk, and some more flour until the dough is manageable enough to pull out of the bowl with your fingers. Place dough on a very well floured surface and knead in just enough extra flour until dough no longer sticks to fingers.

Roll out dough, again making sure it stays well floured on bottom. Cut out circles using the top of a glass. Again, make sure the bottom is well floured, or you won't be pulling the circles off the countertop!

Fill half of the circle with dough, leaving an edge all the way around.

Brush half of the circle with water and fold over. Press edges, ensuring they stick together so that you don't lose your filling while boiling.

Continue making new batches of dough until you run out of filling.

Boil water in a large pot. Drop in 6-8 perogies at a time. Boil for 3 minutes. They will have risen to the top by now. Turn perogies over to the other side, and boil for another 3 minutes. Transfer to strainer and let excess water drip off. Then transfer to drying rack until cool and dry.
At this point, they can be put in freezer bags and kept in the freezer.

To prepare perogies, fry with onions. Top with sour cream and enjoy!

*Other filling possibilities:
ricotta cheese and spinach
butternut squash and parmesan
potato and bacon
switch out different spices: chives, rosemary...etc.
mozarella and potatoes

Modified from a recipe found at Annie's Eats.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oatmeal Blueberry-Cranberry Muffins

Sarah and I (Emily) decided to make some deliciousness today to take on our mountain hike this lovely January day. These muffins are exactly that, deliciousness. They're also really easy and very healthy.

Cast of Characters:
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 c. oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c. lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsps. canola oil
  • 1 lg. egg, ligthly beaten
  • 3/4 mixed blueberries and cranberries, or berry of your choice.
Mix the wet ingredients
Add the sugar.
make sure they're happy

Mix the dry ingredients and add the wet to it.
FOLD in the berries with a spoon or spatula
divide into greased or lined muffin tins
Bake at 375 for 16-18 minutes.
Et voila! The perfectly moist, deliciously berry muffin. Enjoy