Thursday, September 23, 2010

Soft Pretzels

It's been a long time since I have done a post here. I am still trying new recipes and taking pictures of them. It is just hard to keep up with this blog on top of my others. I will try and make a greater effort to post :)

I LOVE soft pretzels! I will stop off and get pretzel bites when I am in the mall. I will sometimes buy a box of the frozen ones so I can have a pretzel whenever I want. They just aren't as good as a fresh out of the oven pretzel. I saw this recipe and enlisted the help of my husband to make this tasty treat (he has way more patience for dough than I do).

Soft Pretzels
Makes 16 small or 8 large pretzels
You will need:
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water (~110 degrees)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T water
  • course salt if desired for topping
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Stir in the sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Add in the flour (I add half then stir and then the other half) and mix well. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 8 or 16 equal pieces. Roll each section into a strip. You may need to let the dough rest for a little bit if the roll wants to shrink back up. Shape into pretzels and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Beat the egg yolk with 1T water and brush onto pretzels. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm (and with cheese!).

To whip up a simple cheese, I heat 1/2 cup hard apple cider and one minced clove of garlic until simmering. Meanwhile I toss one to one and half cups shredded cheese (whatever I have on hand, this time it was Colby jack) with one Tablespoon flour. Stir into cider. Continue stirring until all the cheese is melted through. Add in 1 or 2 T diced jalapenos for more of a nacho cheese flavor. Season with pepper to taste.

Our kitty loves to watch us cook, especially if she can smell Crisco.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BBQ Bacon Wrapped Weenies

This is a simple recipe that is great to take to a potluck or to serve as an appetizer. People love them so much that you won't have leftovers to take home (even if it is a group of women). They are so tasty!

BBQ Bacon wrapped weenies
You will need:
  • 1 lb little weenies (I used Hormel lil smokies)
  • 1 lb uncooked bacon
  • 1 cup bbq sauce (I used something with a little spice since you add so much sweet)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • honey
  • wooden toothpicks

Line a 9x13 pan with foil (it will make clean up much easier and the bacon get crisper). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bacon strips into 1/4s. Wrap each weenie with bacon, secure with a toothpick. Be sure you use wooden toothpicks, plastic will melt in the oven.

Measure bbq sauce out and stir in the brown sugar in a bowl or measuring cup. Place wrapped smokies into the 9X13 pan, drizzle with BBQ sauce mixture. Next, drizzle honey in a zig zag pattern. No need to coat them in the honey. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bacon is slightly crispy. Be careful not to over bake, the BBQ sauce will quickly darken and bacon can become rubbery.

If you do have left overs, refrigerate in a container making sure you have bbq sauce to keep them moist.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Natalie's Cheesy Potatoes

Here is a recipe for some delicious and fairly easy cheesy potatoes.

Cheesy Potatoes
Serves 8
You will need:
  • 1 bag of frozen Potatoes O'Brian (with peppers and onions)
  • 1 Can of Cream of Chicken
  • 16 oz sour cream (low fat)
  • 10 oz Velveeta (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 stick of butter, divided in half and melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of corn flakes
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Mix together potatoes, cream of chicken, sour cream, Velveeta, 1/4 cup butter. Pour into an ungreased 9x13 baking dish
Step 3: Bake mixture in a large baking dish for 30 minutes
Step 4: Mix corn flakes and remaining 1/4 stick of butter and use to cover the baked potato mixture.
Step 5: Return to oven for another 10 minutes. Watch to make certain the corn flakes don't get too browned.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swiss Steak

Another comfort food from my childhood that got the thumbs up from the boyfriend so I figured I would share it through this forum.

This is a crock-pot item which might be one of my top 5 kitchen items.

Serves 4
You will need:
  • 1.5-2 lbs steak (sirloin and round steak work well)
  • 3 - 10.5 oz cans of tomato soup (or one large, family size can)
  • 3 green bell peppers, sliced into rings
  • 3 onions, sliced into rings and separated
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • Mashed potatoes (optional)
Pour one can of soup into the bottom of the crock pot, add the ground pepper, and stir. Place steak in the pot and then cover with the green pepper and onion rings. Pour remaining two cans of soup over the top of the onions and peppers. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 or until the steak pulls apart when tested with a fork.

Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy.

Simple Clam Chowder

(Picture to Follow)

With a cold winter having settled in for 6 more weeks (at least) I've been looking for some good comfort foods. I remembered that growing up my parents always made a very flavorful and soothing clam chowder so I got the following recipe from my mom.

Simple Clam Chowder
Serves 4 to 6
You will need:
  • 1 can Cream of Celery
  • 1 can Cream of Potato
  • 3 cans of Minced Clams (DO NOT strain)
  • 10.5 oz heavy cream (refill one of the soup cans)
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, diced and boiled
  • ~1/2 cup imitation mashed potatoes
A: Peel and dice potatoes. Place in a medium sized pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook potatoes until they are slightly firm when tested with a fork (or till desired texture has been achieved). (Depending on the size of the diced potatoes, this should take between 5 and 12 minutes of steady boiling.)

B: At the same time, in a medium sized pot combine the cream of celery, cream of potato, minced clams with juice, and heavy cream. (You can add the boiled potatoes to this mix at any point as soon as they are ready.) Simmer over low heat until it becomes liquidy. Be sure to constantly stir the mixture so as not to scorch the cream. Once a liquidy state is reached, slowly stir in imitation potatoes until a desired thickness is reached.

C: Serve with oyster crackers and enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I love pumpkin desserts but am usually hesitant to make cheesecake because I do not own a springform pan so when a friend found this recipe I was a little hesitant to undertake it but it was very delicious and more importantly very easy (BONUS: no springform pan necessary!). It's from Kraft Foods but wanted to share it with those who enjoy this blog and the foods that experiment with.

Serves 16

You will need:
  • 25 Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Dash ground cloves

Step 1: Heat oven to 325°F

Step 2: Mix crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 13x9-inch pan.

Step 3: Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1-1/2 cups batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.

Step 4: Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.

Step 5: Bake 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Easiest Fruit Cobbler

This is the easiest berry cobbler recipe ever. The cake mix contains enough sugar to sweeten this dessert without adding any additional ingredients.

You will need:
1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 Stick of butter (1/2 cup)
6 cups of berries (fresh, canned, or frozen)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the frozen berries in the bottom of a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish. Sprinkle the cake mix over the frozen berries. Cut the stick of butter into small tabs and distribute over the top of the dry cake mix. Bake for 45 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly brown.

Options for berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, apples, any combination of these, or anything else that you feel like experimenting with :)

Parmesan Fondue

This is a fondue recipe that I got from my sister. It is so fast and easy to make, not to mention quite delicious.

Parmesan Fondue
Serves 4 to 6
You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 2 (8oz) cream cheese blocks, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

In a large saucepan (or your fondue pot if it is stove-top safe), cook and stir the milk and cream cheese over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese slowly. Add in the garlic powder, cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to a fondue pot or mini slow cooker, keep warm. Serve with bread cubes, apples, ham, pepperoni, etc.

Monday, January 18, 2010

3 bean salad

An easy recipe that's a great side item. I got this from my new aunt.

You will need:
1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1/2 c thinly sliced onion
1/2 c olive oil
2/3 c wine vinegar
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c sugar
1 clove garlic finely diced
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except beans and onion. In a separate bowl combine beans and onions. Pour liquid mixture over beans, chill and enjoy.


This is one of my FAVORITE appetizers. It's pretty easy and very delicious!

You will need:
1 loaf French bread, slide
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Step 2: Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. In a bowl, mix the onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, oregano, basil, and parsley. Gently toss in the tomatoes. Top bread slices with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with feta and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.

Step 3: Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted.

Lemon Snowflake cookies

These cookies are from the Blue Owl Restaurant in Kimmswick, MO. This is one of the best dessert restaurants (and regular food) I've ever been to.

You will need:
1 box lemon cake mix
2 cups Cool Whip (thawed)
1 egg
Powdered Sugar

Mix first 3 ingredients together. The dough will be very runny. In a separate bowl with powdered sugar, drop in about a tablespoon of dough and shake the bowl around to coat the dough ball. Remove the coated dough from the powdered sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Space cookies about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

This sauce is absolutely wonderful.

Prep: 30min Cook: 20min Ready in: 50min

Serves 8
You will need:

2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Preheat broiler. Lightly coat the red peppers with olive oil. Grill peppers under the broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Place peppers in a paper bag or resealable plastic bag and cool for approximately 45 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the seeds and skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers easily now). Cut peppers into small pieces.

Step 3: In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and red peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, so that the flavors mix.

Step 4: Place the hot mixture in blender and puree to desired consistency. Return puree to skillet, and reheat to a boil. Stir in the half-and-half and the Romano cheese; cook and stir until cheese melts. Add the butter and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Pour over your desired pasta noodle and enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Asian Beef and Noodles in the Crockpot

I am trying to use my crockpot more to make easy delicious meals. I looked around and found a recipe I wanted to try on a blog my sister emailed me.

Asian Beef and Noodles
Serves 4
You will need:
  • 2 - 16 oz packages frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin or other lean steak, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce**
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 packages ramen noodles, broken
  • 3 or 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Coat a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray (this makes clean up a breeze!). Place one package frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with cubed meat. Pour on top stir-fry sauce, broth, and red pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 -5 hours About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, pour in the other vegetable package, the hot water and the ramen noodles(discard the spice packets). Stir noodles and green onions into meat mixture. Cover and let stand 20 to minutes. Stir before serving. This can be kept on warm for 1-2 hours.

**Note about sauce** I used General Tso sauce because it has far less sodium than your regular soy sauce based sauces. It was delicious and I highly recommend it as it lowers the sodium quite a lot!

Chicken Potpie Casserole

This is a fast easy way to enjoy Chicken Potpie without a ton of calories. This recipe is adapted from Rachel Ray.

Chicken Potpie Casserole
Servings: 4 to 6
You will Need:
  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 12 or so baby carrots, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 T flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 T finely chopped parsley, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 T for topping
  • 6 to 8 slices of Italian bread, cut 1/2 inch thick

Arrange oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat for 400 degrees.

In a Dutch oven (or other skillet that can go from the stove top to the oven), heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until carrots are tender, but crisp. Increase the heat to medium high. Add in the chicken broth, mushrooms and peas. Cook about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir until well combined. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken parsley and Parmesan. Season with more pepper if desired.

Smooth the mixture into an even layer. Place bread slices on top in a single layer. Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with 2 T Parmesan and additional parsley. Bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010


I have a bunch of recipes that I need to find the time to post. In the meantime here is what we are making for dinner this week:
  • Crock pot Asian beef and noodles
  • Italian stuffed shells
  • Caesar chicken with veggies and orzo
  • Chicken and cheese enchiladas
  • Chicken potpie casserole

The asian beef and noodles is in the crock pot right now. I can't wait to see how it turns out!