Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cheesy Potato Soup

One of my favorite songs of the season is "Baby, it's cold outside" and that's exactly how I felt all day yesterday while the hubby and I finished putting up the Christmas (Yes, I actually said Christmas, cause that's how I roll) decorations.

One of my favorite, favorite, favorite soups is Cheesy Potato Soup and it took me a few tries to perfect this recipe and now that I have it, I make it frequently; even in the blazing summer.

I hope you will enjoy this soup on a cold winter day, evening, or just because it tastes so wonderful!

Pin It

Here's what you need:

6 Tbl. butter
2 cups milk, warmed (I use 2%, but you can use whole milk if you prefer)
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 - 2 Tbl. chicken bouillon

Optional add ins:
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
6 - 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large stockpot heat the butter and saute the onion, celery, and potatoes for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Add the flour and cook for two minutes stirring frequently.
  
Add the milk, chicken stock, pepper, and 1 Tbl. chicken bouillon and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste to see if it needs the additional 1 Tbl. chicken bouillon, add if needed.  (I use 2 Tbl. chicken bouillon when making this recipe).  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  
At this point you can add corn and bacon if you would like to.  It's super yummy when they are added!
Serve immediately with dinner rolls.
 
This one will be a recipe keeper for sure!  Please try soon!

Serves 4 for as a meal, 6 - 8 as a side dish

Enjoy!

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Cheesy Potato Soup
You can find me each week linking up to these wonderful blogs

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apricot Glazed Pork Roast

So my family is really getting tired of pork because I've been on a pork roast kick lately.  I don't know why they don't like it as much as I do.  Oh well, I guess this week it'll have to be some beef and chicken for everyone.
Pin It

Here is the yummy pork roast recipe I served with the stuffing over the weekend while we had company for dinner.

Here's what you need:

3 lb. pork roast
2 Tbl. canola oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock

Glaze
1 cup apricot jam
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme (don't you just love thyme?  I do)
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard

Always bring meat out of the fridge 30 - 60 minutes before cooking so that it can come to room temperature and help obtain perfect cooking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over med-high heat.  Pat roast dry and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sear the meat on both sides until brown, about 5 minutes each side.  The roast will lift free of the pan when it is ready to turn.  If you have to tug at it, leave it another minute or two.  Add chicken stock to pan.
  
Place pan in oven and bake 30 minutes, uncovered.

While the roast is in the oven, stir together the ingredients for the glaze and set aside.
Pour glaze over the top of the meat and continue baking an additional 30 - 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 145 - 150 degrees.
  
Let rest 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute in the roast.

Leftover pan juices make a wonderful sauce on the side.
Ha!  You can tell I had stuffing on the brain when I took this picture. Oh well, the dinner was delish!

Serves 6 - 8

Enjoy

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Apricot Glazed Pork Roast


Cornbread Sourdough Stuffing

Well, I hope you've missed me as much as I've missed being here with you in my absence.  And boy have I missed sharing my recipes and what I'm up to with you too.   I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We did!  We spent the first four days in Disneyland with my brother and his family then we were off to my parents house in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We had a wonderful time and made some awesome food, which I will be sharing some of the recipes with you today.

Here is a little background for my stuffing recipe.  I have been married to my wonderful husband for 21-1/2 years now and when I met him I found out that he had always had cornbread stuffing because his grandparents and parents had come from Texas and that's the way they make it in Texas.  My mom had always made bread stuffing so I decided to give it a try and loved it so much that I have been making my stuffing with cornbread ever since.

Here's the thing......I like to try new twists on recipes and my hubby doesn't.  He always says "why did you change the recipe?  I liked it just the way it was."  Well, if it was up to him, we would eat the same 7 - 10 meals and never have anything new.  So me being me and doing what I want to anyway, I decided about three weeks ago to try something new with my stuffing recipe and I LOVED IT!  I made a blended recipe of cornbread and sourdough, with all the same ingredients as always.  The verdict.....He wanted to know why I changed the stuffing recipe and likes the plain cornbread one better, but I like the new one better and beings as I'm the cook in the house guess who gets their way???  I do hope you'll try this recipe too, even if you have one you love.  Please let me know what you think.

Here's what you need:

1 box cornbread mix, plus the ingredients to make it (I used Krusteaz Honey Cornbread) made and cubed
1 stick butter, unsalted
8 oz sourdough or french baguette, cubed (I use a wonderful baguette style french bread I find at Target in the produce section sealed in plastic)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper


First make the cornbread and set aside.  The day before is even better because it will have a chance to dry out a bit.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cube all the bread and cornbread and place in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet saute the onion and celery in 1/2 a stick (1/4 cup) butter until starting to soften, about 10 minutes on med-low.  Remove from heat and add to the bread cubes.
Pour the chicken stock over the bread cubes and mix well.  Add the rest of the butter (melted), the eggs, and the seasonings and mix well.  The mixture will be very wet looking (This keeps it moist)  Taste to check the seasonings (unless you are pregnant, because there are raw eggs in it).  It should taste perfect at this stage and will have the same flavor when it has finished cooking.
Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 or a 2 qt dish and bake for 45 minutes or until done.  The stuffing should be nice and toasty looking when done.
  
Yum, Yum, Yum.....Did I say Yum?  I've made this three times in the last three weeks and I'm not tired of it yet!

Serves 8 - 10

Enjoy

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Cornbread sourdough stuffing






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a wonderful day with family and friends.  I will be back to blogging over the weekend.  We just spent the week in Disneyland and at my parents in Arizona.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Pin It
Tonight's recipes are super easy and super yummy too.  I learned a cheater way of making really soft cookies from a friend at a scrap-booking event years ago.  She gave me the basic dough recipe and I have re-invented it over and over again through the years.  Hopefully you will try this recipe and let me know if you have ideas on other add-ins for the cookies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oven BBQ Ribs

Royce asked me tonight if all our meals are going to be on the internet and I said "No, of course not honey" but then got to thinking about how often I run up the stairs to share a new recipe or idea and might be changing my answer to "Hum, Maybe?"

I have made many different kinds of ribs over the years and like several ways of cooking them.  My favorite by far is usually just grilled on the BBQ with my favorite rub on them.  But tonight I found a new way that was equally easy and more than equally yummy.  And a whole lot more messy, but yummy messy if you get my drift.  So without further ado and because my left hand is sore from all my postings today, here is my new favorite rib recipe.


Here's what you need:

1 slab pork baby back ribs - 2 - 2-1/2 pounds
1 bottle beer, not for drinkin' (otherwise grab two) whatever you have on hand
1 beer bottle full of water (after the beer is used of course)
salt, pepper, garlic powder
canola oil for searing

In a large dutch oven heat 2 - 3 Tbl. canola oil.  Pat the ribs dry and liberally salt, pepper, and garlic both sides.  Cut into pieces with 3 ribs each.
  
Sear on both sides until a nice brown forms.  If the meat sticks it's not ready to turn over.  It will lift off the pan easily when ready to turn.
  
When all the ribs are seared, put them back in the pot and pour over 1 beer, and 1 bottle full of water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 1-1/2  hours, turning every 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove ribs from beer/water and pat dry.
I doubled the parchment under the tinfoil so I wouldn't have that leak through blackened sauce mess.  you know the one I'm talking about.  Because I used both of the BBQ sauces tonight to try them out I also used good ole' Sharpie and wrote on the tin foil which ribs had which sauce.  I know, smarty right!
Place ribs on baking sheet and baste with sauce.  Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and baste the other side repeating for 1 hour.  Ribs should fall off the bone when done!
  
 Yummy ribs with a new BBQ Sauce!      Easy peasy dinner, you gotta give it a try.

Serves - 4

Enjoy

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Oven BBQ Ribs

Apricot BBQ Sauce

Here is the second barbecue sauce I adapted from a recipe I found tonight in one of my favorite cookbooks which you can get here.

Here's what you need:

1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Kraft Original)
1 Tbl. soy sauce
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer 10 minutes until well combined.
    
Serve with ribs, chicken, pork, hamburgers, etc.

Serves - 1-3/4 cup approximately

Enjoy

~Hugs~
Michelle

 Here's the handy printable - Apricot BBQ Sauce
adapted from: Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings

Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce

Here is one of the new barbecue sauces I found tonight and will be using from now on.  I found it in one of my favorite cookbooks found here.  It's a wonderful book and has many rubs that I use too.

Here's what you need:

1/4 cup Sugar In The Raw
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
2/3 cup apple juice
2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Kraft Original)

Place all ingredients into a 2 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until well combined.
   
Serve with ribs, chicken, pork, hamburgers, etc.

Serves - 3 cups approximately

Enjoy!

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce

Parmesan Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Not much to say except I was looking for a side dish, wanted to make twice baked potatoes to go with the ribs I was cooking when I opened up the cupboard and the only potatoes in the basket were the baby Yukon gold.  I decided I wanted to try something new instead of the usual way I roast these and boy oh boy did these taste Yummy!  They actually taste like Parmesan bread, which was a good thing too because we were also out of French Bread!

Here's what you need:

2 Lbs. baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, melted
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan (I buy this at Trader Joe's)
2 Tbl. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Powder (I buy this in a huge bottle at Costco)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. fine ground pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.    Wash and quarter the potatoes and place into a bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the potatoes.  I found that the best way to coat the potatoes was to use my clean hands and smush (Love that word, very technical) the mixture onto the potatoes until they are all well coated.  Spread on a baking sheet.
    
 Bake for 30 minutes then turn the potatoes with a metal spatula.  Bake an additional 30 minutes or until they are fork tender.
      
Yummy, Parmesany, Crispy, Buttery, Goodness!

Serves - 4

Enjoy!

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Parmesan Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Chicken/Stuffing/Gravy Panini

Oh my, I just ate the best Panini I've had in a looooooong time.  Back up for a minute and I'll tell you how I came about the ingredients and how I think this will be a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers.

This last weekend my niece was visiting with us and I went to the store and bought a Turkey Breast to cook for dinner on Saturday night, when all I really wanted was all the wonderful fixings that go with it.  When I was talking to my sister-in-law deciding what time and where we were going to meet to do the kid exchange (we live 1-1/2 hours apart) she told me that my brother had just won two turkeys in a shooting tournament and that they were going to cook one on Sunday.  So, me being the smarty that I am (and let's face it, I didn't really want to drive on Sunday, sorry Stacy) I invited them to dinner for Sunday and all they had to bring was the Turkey.  I told Stacy (sister-in-law) that I would do all the cooking and make all the fixings which I had planned on making on Saturday anyway for Sunday's dinner and they could pick up my niece at the same time.  What a deal!  They said sure and brought the Turkey and I made the stuffing, which was out of this world, sweet potato casserole, gravy (the best I've every made) and an apple pie.

So I have a few left overs in the fridge from Sunday's dinner, none being turkey, and some chicken breasts that I roasted last night.  It was lunchtime and I thought why not do a chicken, stuffing, gravy, and Swiss Panini but I had no rolls in the house either, unless you count the ones I've obtained from all the Hawaiian cookie tarts I've eaten in the last two days!  So me being me I decided what can go in between two pieces of bread can also go in a flour tortilla.  And there you have it, the birth of my new favorite Panini.  I hope you'll give it a try, especially with all the leftovers that are coming your way this holiday season.

Here's what you need:

1/4 chicken breast, roasted and sliced thinly
1/2 cup stuffing
1/4 cup gravy, approximate
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 large flour tortilla, I used the large burrito size

I re-heated in the microwave the stuffing and gravy for about 30 - 45 seconds just to take the chill off.  I never re-heat the meat for a Panini I think it sometimes changes the flavor so I just use it cold.  Pre-heat Panini press to 375 - 400 degrees.  If you don't have a Panini press you can use a hot skillet with another heavy pan on top to make the press.
     
Heat the tortilla directly on the gas burner for a few seconds, or if you've never done this, you can use a dry skillet or place it in a paper towel and microwave for about 10 seconds.  It just needs to be nice and pliable.
Layer the chicken, then stuffing, then cheese and gravy.  You may use as much or as little as you wish. The amounts I gave are just an approximate.  You could also add any leftover cranberry sauce if you like that too.
   
Fold both ends in and roll up until it is sealed. 
     
 Place seam side down on a pre-heated Panini press or hot skillet.  Close the press and cook for only about 2 - 3 minutes.  If you are using a skillet, place the tortilla seam side down and place another pan on top with something heavy inside to weigh it down.  Usually a 28oz can of anything will do the job.  If using a skillet you will have to turn it over and cook the other side after about 1 -1/2  - 2 minutes.
    
 The Panini will have pretty brown lines when done.  Hello Beautiful yumminess!

Serves - one - who would want to share all this yummy goodness????

Enjoy!

~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Chicken/Stuffing/Gravy Panini