Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Mac N Cheese


This was a really yummy recipe that I got off of the Betty Crocker website.  It calls for cooking the dish like a casserole once it is finished, however, when I make it again, I’ll probably skip that step.  It seemed to overcook the noodles and the sauce was less creamy than when we tasted it right after I added the noodles and the sauce together.  The recipe also didn’t call for ham, but I added it to give it some more protein and make it a complete meal rather than just like a side-dish.

2 cups elbow macaroni- cook with a little salted water

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp ground mustard (the dry kind)

1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I didn’t measure this out- just poured some in- it was probably more than 1/4 tsp, but it was yummy)

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I actually used a Mexican blend because that is what I had on hand)

Chopped turkey ham (my personal addition if you like)

While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, ground mustard and W. sauce.  Mix it into melted butter until smooth- this is a roux (pronounced roo) and is what will make the mixture thicken.  Stir in milk and heat to boiling- stirring constantly so the milk doesn’t scald.  Heat until it is thickened- kind of like gravy. Stir in cheese until melted.  Stir in cooked macaroni and ham if desired.

It calls for baking it uncovered for 20-25 min at 350 in a casserole dish.  I think I’ll skip this part next time.

Let me know if you guys like this recipe too.

Cinnamon Bread


I was reading this GREAT book on being a Mother called “The Mother’s Mite” by DeAnne Flynn.  This book highlights how even our smallest (and what we think are insignificant) efforts matter.   Each chapter has a personal story describing a great personality trait portrayed by a real mother’s life.  It highlights that trait and tells how that mother displayed that certain trait.  One of the chapters had this great Cinnamon Bread recipe in it.  I had to try it because it seemed so easy.  It WAS easy and delicious!!  The personality trait highlighted in this chapter was “Reassurance” and described how a mother baked this bread and then when the daughter was older and off at college she would always have it for her when she would come home to take back to school with her.  When she was lonely or discouraged, she would make this bread or buy some and it would remind her of her mother’s love.

Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl and set aside
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil

Combine all dry ingredients together and all wet ingredients together and then combine and mix until moist throughout. (It’s thin like pancake batter)
Pour half of batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mix.  Pour remaining batter carefully over cinnamon/sugar mix and then top with the rest of the cinnamon/sugar mix.  Swirl a knife through batter to marble it.
Bake for 45 min at 350.  Let cool in pan for 10 min.  It’s easier to cut after it cool and been wrapped in foil or plastic rap and refrigerated.  However it’s great warm too, just a little crumbly.  I’ve made it for an after school snack and it’s great for breakfast too.  My kids LOVE it!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilled Lemon Herbed Chicken


We have tried this chicken once this summer and it was SOOOO good!!  Use FRESH herbs to get the full effect.  I really recommend growing them in your own garden if possible.  Herbs are so easy to grow and you don’t need much room.

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 or 4 cloves minced garlic

1 TBSP grated lemon zest

1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary (just the little needles- don’t chop up the stem)

1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme

1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano (leaves only)

1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped fine

1 TBSP chopped fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf parsley)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

4-6 chicken breasts

Put the chicken in a plastic bag.  Pour marinade over the chicken and mix in the bag.  Put on plate and place in fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight (turning every so often).

Grill to 165 degrees.

I find that if you turn your grill up really high to warm it up for about 10 min.  Place the meat on it and turn it down to Med-Low (I also like to use Grill Spray so it doesn’t stick as easy).  The hot temperatures at first with seer the chicken and keep the juices inside while it cooks at a lower temperature so it doesn’t dry out.  Watch it closely so it doesn’t dry to a hockey puck state.  Take it off just as it hits 165 or even just before.  It continues to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the heat.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an idea that is easy and my kids LOVE

I am in love with the roasted chickens at Sam’s Club.  They are big, juicy, and only cost $4.98.  An uncooked whole chicken cost more than that at most grocery stores.  To get one already cooked to perfection is divine in my book.  I usually try and pick one up every time I shop there.  There is so many things you can do with them.  My one piece of advice is that you remove the chicken from the bone while the chicken is still warm.  It is much easier to do warm than after the chicken has been refrigerated.  For this dish I bought it in the morning, de-boned the chicken and stored it in a Tupperware until I made dinner.

Shredded Chicken from a Roasted Whole Chicken

3/4 –1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

1/4 cup of water

Add all to a skillet, mix, cover to get warm.  Serve on warm toasted buns.  The ones pictured above are on rolls since they are easier to eat for the kids, but they are great on toasted hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls.

Lemonade Cake


This is an easy fun recipe if you like “lemon” flavor anything like I do.  Sorry the picture isn’t great.

1 Box Lemon Cake mixed and bake according to directions on box

After it cooks, cool it for 10 min.

Top with 1 can lemonade concentrate mixed with 3/4 cup powdered sugar.

Pour over top of warm cake and poke holes in the top so the lemonade seeps through.

Cool in fridge for 3-4 hours

Top with whipped cream and garnish with lemon zest.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Mother's Rice Pudding

There is a story to this wonderful recipe.  I grew up on this Rice Pudding, as my Father did (or some version of it).  I've been making this Rice Pudding since I was first married and much more recently since having kids.  I've probably made it 50 times.  It's a Gottfredson family recipe (well, not this version, but a previous one).  I was always told that the Rice Pudding was from my Great Grandmother.  I assumed up until this day that this was HER recipe.  My cousin posted a Rice Pudding recipe on her blog and said it was Great Grandma Gottfredson's but it was different that my recipe so I had to do some investigating.  I quickly called my mother to find out the story to the rice pudding recipe.  Turns out, my Mother is just like me (or I'm like her rather) and she altered the recipe from my Great Grandma to her liking.  So actually, this is My Mother's Rice Pudding, not my Great Grandmother's.  I have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it- and so do my kids.  We make it and eat it for breakfast.... no worse than sugared cereal I presume.
Warning:  Be careful, this recipe is very easy to mess up.  You have to be a student of the recipe and learn from it.  You can't overcook it and you have to be very careful not to turn it into egg drop soup.

3 cups Long Grain Rice
6 cups water

Cook Rice until all water is absorbed.  (Boil about 10-15 min- until rice is just under the top of the water, turn off heat and cover until it is done absorbing all the water)

Add to cooked rice and stir:
3 cups Milk
1 Cup Half n Half
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins (optional)  (Raisins in Rice pudding are never an option at my house, it's always a no- but some people like it so I put it up there.)

Turn the heat back on the stove (Medium-Low)

As soon as you get that stirred in, mix these ingredients together and add to warming rice/milk combination.

5 beaten eggs
2 TBSP vanilla (I like to use double strength vanilla)
 1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup half n half
1/4- 1/2 tsp nutmeg (how much you want)

You have to add this before the above mixture gets too warm on the stove or it will quickly cook the eggs and you will have little bits of cooked egg in the pudding.  I add it and whisk it quickly into the 1st rice/milk mixture.  Keep it on the stove just until it warms and then I turn off the stove and let it sit.  It will continue to cook and thicken (I give it about 30 minutes).  You can easily over cook this and  it over-thickens so be careful.  Milk can also scald on the bottom and burn so watch your temperature. 

We love this recipe and we hope you do too!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Banana Bread/ Banana Cake

This is a coveted family recipe from my Grandma Margaret.  It is her infamous Banana Cake recipe, but I love it better than my banana bread recipe so if we want to make banana bread, we just bake it in a loaf pan.  If I make it a cake, we frost it with her oh so delicious cream cheese frosting.  It is heaven and I bask in my memories of her every time I make it.  My Grandmother's middle name should have been Banana because she is famous for so many wonderful Banana recipes- Banana Bread, Cake, Banana Oatmeal Cookies, and the most wonderful of all, Banana Drink.  Thank you for passing on your love of cooking and your wonderful Banana recipes.  I love you!!!

1 cup sugar
3/4 butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1/2 C sour milk  (to do this you measure almost a 1/2 cup milk (about a TBSP less) and add enough vinegar to make it 1/2 cup- it will immediately curdle like sour milk)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
 1/2 tsp lemon extract
 2 1/2 C flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) (I never use the nuts- my kids don't like them in breads or cakes)

Mix together sugar, butter and add beaten eggs.  Add bananas.  Sift flour together with soda and baking powder.  Add alternately with sour milk.  Bake in a loaf pan or a 9x13 cake pan.  I also love it in a bunt cake pan.  If you make the loaf, Bake it at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Check for doneness  with a toothpick.  If you cook it as a 9x13 cake, 25-30 min at 375.  For a Bunt Cake pan, 375 for 40 minutes- checking for doneness.

Crock Pot Potato Chowder

I got this AWESOME crock pot recipe from my great friend and next door neighbor who shared it with me after a friend of hers shared it with her after she had her baby.  It's just too yummy and too easy to not share with everyone you know.

1 pkg frozen shredded hash browns (30 oz)
3 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup green onions (I used half of a small regular onion and it was great)
1/4 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  After 4 hours add an 8 oz pkg of cream cheese and stir in.  Cook for an additional 30 min.

I also added some cooked chopped bacon at the same time as the cream cheese.  Another time I added chopped leftover ham at the beginning.  They both turned out yummy. 

As a side note:  I also tried this recipe using low fat soup and low fat cream cheese.  It was still o.k., but the consistency was off- kind of pasty-- sticky.  I think I'll stick to the original recipe- or at least staying with regular cream cheese.

Pork Fried Rice

Here's an idea for using leftover Pork Chops
We had Rosemary Pork Chops on Sunday and then with the 2 or 3 pork chops I had left over, I chopped them up while they were still warm put them in a container to use the next day.  It is ALWAYS easier to cut-up or de-bone meat when it is warm instead of the next day from the fridge.  It may take a few extra minutes the night before while you're trying to clean up, but it is WELL worth the time the next day.

2-3 leftover pork chops de-boned and chopped up
One Rice Pilaf recipe (see below)
1/2 chopped onion
1 carrot shredded
1 cup frozen  broccoli cooked and chopped
1 tsp crushed rosemary

Put 1 TBSP olive oil in a skillet, sweat onions, add meat, broccoli, carrots and rosemary.  Mix together and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add rice and combine all together.

Rice Pilaf:
2 cups Long grain rice
4 cups water
4 heaping tsp chicken bouillon granules
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP butter

Another kind of rice that is REALLY good in general, but especially with this recipe is Jasmine Rice.  You can find it next to the regular rice.  It has a very floral aroma.  Just cook according to the directions and you can add the bouillon and lemon juice and butter too.