Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce

What looks better than melted chocolate?!

1 c. butter
12 oz. package of semisweet chips (2 cups)
4 c. powdered sugar
2 cans evaporated milk
2 tbsp. vanilla

Melt butter and chips in large saucepan. Add sugar and milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Boil 8 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

This is one of my favorite things grandma Olson makes when we are in town.
These are great year round!
1 1/4 c. oatmeal
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients (first seven). Add wet ingredients (next six), stirring just until moistened. Heat oven to 400 F. Grease 18 muffin cups or use cupcake papers in them. Fill with batter. Top with streusel. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Streusel Topping-mix until crumbly
1/4 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. softened margarine

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cranberry and Candied Walnut Salad

2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp water
4 ounces raw walnut halves
6 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1 small onion
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 c. sugar
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 c olive oil
8 oz. cranberry crazins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

French baguette

1 head frisée lettuce, dark outer leaves discarded, inner pale green and yellow leaves separated
2 ounces (about 3 lightly packed cups) fresh baby arugula
2 ounces (about 3 lightly packed cups) fresh baby spinach

For roasted walnuts:
 Preheat the oven to 300°F Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. Stir the powdered sugar and water in a small bowl until the powdered sugar dissolves. Add the nuts and toss to coat with the sugar mixture.

Arrange the nut mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the nuts are golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set the nuts aside to cool completely. The sugar coating will become crunchy as the nuts cool.

For vinaigrette:
 Blend, red wine vinegar, sugar, chopped onion and mustard together well.  Slowly add the oil until the mixture is well blended.  Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk the vinaigrette again, just before coating the lettuce leaves.

To serve:
Toss the frisée lettuce, arugula and spinach in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add half of the roasted walnuts and coarsely crumble the remaining goat cheese over the salad. Gently toss to combine.

Divide the salad among 4 plates. Sprinkle with the remaining roasted walnuts and serve immediately.

Homemade Fruit Leather

I just fell in love!
I'd love to make a spiced apple cider, plum or kiwi strawberry next time!
What flavors do you like?
4 cups of fruit
1/2 c water
lemon juice

Options for flavor:
2-4 tbs. honey 
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sugar 

I added the honey and felt it needed a little more so I added half of the sugar amount as well and a little cinnamon to taste.

Prepare rinsed fruit, if using apples, peaches, plums or nectarines, peel and remove pit.  I used strawberries sliced in half.  Add 1/2 cup of water to pan and simmer fruit for 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Pour fruit mix into blender and puree.  Add preferred sweeteners to taste and make sure to add lemon or lime juice to prevent fruit from browning later.  Pour pureed fruit onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place into oven for 25 minutes.  Without opening oven, turn heat off with the oven door shut for 8 hours.  Remove baking sheet from oven.  Leather is ready when the surface is no longer tacky.  Cut 12 even strips, lengthwise.  Roll each strip up(with or without paper) and store in air tight container.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Our favorite lasagna recipe!  
It's also very easy to add in your favorite vegetables.

1 box of lasagna (I like Barilla)
2 jars of spaghetti sauce (we use Prego tomato basil)
1 pound of bulk Italian sausage or ground beef, cooked and drained
1 15 oz. container of ricotta cheese
4 c. mozzarella, shredded
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions, drain and separate. Combine cooked meat and 1 1/2 jars of sauce in a large saucepan. Combine eggs, ricotta, 3 1/2 c. mozzarella and parmesan cheese in large bowl. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 c. sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Place 5 lasagna noodles over the bottom, slightly overlapping. Spread half of the cheese mixture over noodles and cover with 1/2 of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Cover last layer with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6-8

Poppy Seed Chicken

I'll never forget the time my friend Kimberly brought this delicious dish over to my house after having my child.
This is so easy and yummy!

6-8 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tubes Ritz crackers crushed
1 can of cream of chicken
2 cubes of butter
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Jasmine white rice

Wrap chicken breasts in foil and bake at 350 for 45 min. After chicken is baked cut it in small pieces and place in the bottom of a 9x13in casserole dish. Mix cream of chicken with sour cream and spread over the chicken. Melt butter in a bowl and add poppy seeds and Ritz crackers spread over chicken. Bake for 30 minutes.

We like to eat it with Jasmine rice prepared as directed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Chicken Enchiladas

My family loves Mexican food what can I say?!

1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can olives, sliced
4 oz. canned green chilies
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pint sour cream
1-2 c. Monterrey jack cheese (we like ours smothered)
4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8-inch flour tortillas
28 oz. can of green chile enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix soups, chicken, chilies, onion, olives, sour cream, half the can of enchilada sauce and cheese together to make a thick sauce, in large sauce pan. Dip tortillas in sauce on both sides. Scoop chicken mix into tortillas and roll up. Place filled tortillas in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Repeat until pan is filled. Add any extra sauce you'd like and smother the tops of enchiladas with cheese. Bake 25-35 minutes.
Serves 6-8

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cafe Rio Salad

This is a recipe for one of my favorite places to eat in Utah when we visit. I've worked my tail off in search for the perfect copycat and LOVED these!  If you've never had Cafe Rio, you'll fall in love with this recipe!
Cafe Rio pork
3 lbs pork roast (shoulder or butt)
16 oz chunky salsa
1 can coke
2 cup brown sugar
Place pork in crock pot and fill half way up the side of the pork with water. Cook on high for 4 hours. drain water. Cut pork into thirds, then mix sauce (coke, brown sugar, and salsa) and pour on top. Cook 4 more hours on low. shred pork. Mix back in with sauce if you want it saucy or not.

Click on the links for recipes:
Cafe Rio lime-rice

Cilantro-Lime vinaigrette
Cafe Rio creamy cilantro tomatillo salad dressing 

Black Beans
(I just use a can of black beans without anything else, but this recipe is good too)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 cup tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

rice beans
shredded cheese
any other toppings wanted
roll it up

(I found a chicken recipe if you would like to substitute chicken instead of pork)

Cafe Rio Chicken
1 small bottle of kraft zesty italian dressing
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
3 cloves garlic-minced
5 lbs chicken breast

Cook all together in a crockpot for 4 hours on high, shred, then cook for an additional 1 hour.

salad- order of assembly
tortilla - I use the land o lake brand of uncooked flour tortillas from costco or sams. They are awesome and taste like cafe rio's homemade tortillas
shredded colby and monterray jack cheese
pico de gallo - [or chopped tomatoes, diced onions, cilantro, lime juice]
feta cheese crumbles
lime wedge (or lime juice)
tortilla strips (I just made my own by baking a finely shredded tortilla until crispy)
cilantro tomatillo dressing


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Garlic Bread

My sister Renee gave me this recipe!

1 cube butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 T freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 t freshly finely chopped parsley

mix all together and spread on good fresh french bread or baguette, toast bread under broiler until golden brown :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Salsa

Eric's Hot salsa!
1 bunch of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 serrano chili peppers, *diced
3 jalapeno peppers, *diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos

Rinse cilantro, take off leaves and chop. Add finely minced garlic, peppers, onion and mix. Squeeze in lime juice and mix in salt. Add neatly diced tomatoes. Mix well and refrigerate.

*Wear plastic gloves while chopping and do not touch eyes while working with peppers. Discard the seeds.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro

These are an all time favorite of mine!  It's also a great addition to spaghetti dinner!!

1 french baguette, sliced at an angle
3-4 tomatoes, diced
3/4 c. basil, chopped (purple basil works great too and has beautiful presentation)
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 F. Very lightly brush baguette slices with oil on the tops. Sprinkle a tiny amount of parmesan on all the slices and bake 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, garlic, oil, balsamic and salt to taste. Mix gently. Spoon tomato mixture on the hot sliced baguette and serve right away!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fruit Pizza

A fun twist on a old favorite that your whole family will LOVE!!!

1 package (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups assorted fresh fruit such as strawberries, peaches, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, etc (any fruit really)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place dough on round baking stone and cook 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. For topping, combine cream cheese and sugar and spread over cookie dough, then start placing on the fruit.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eggs Benedict

I promise this is easy, you can do it!!
3 egg yolks
1  lemon, juice
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 pinch ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3  cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 strips Canadian-style bacon
2 English muffins, split

To Make Hollandaise: Fill the bottom of a double boiler part-way with water. Make sure that water does not touch the top pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and cream . Add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise begins to get too thick, add a teaspoon or two of hot water. Continue whisking until all butter is incorporated.  Remove from heat. Place a lid on pan to keep sauce warm.

To Poach Eggs: Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of water. Bring water to a gentle simmer, then add vinegar. Carefully break eggs into simmering water, and allow to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Yolks should still be soft in center. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and set on a warm plate covered with paper towels.

While eggs are poaching, brown the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and toast the English muffins. Spread toasted muffins with softened butter, and top each one with a slice of bacon, followed by one poached egg. Place 2 muffins on each plate and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately.

Bacon, Eggs and Potato Hash

Great for camping!

potatoes, peeled and diced OR as many frozen hash browns as you want OR peeled and diced leftover baked potatoes

a small amount of canola oil, maybe a tablespoon (it and olive oil are the healthiest kinds of oils)

cooked bacon, cut or broken into small pieces

raw eggs mixed with a small amount of milk, like you were making scrambled eggs

If there are only two people, I would use two potatoes, 4 pieces of bacon, and three eggs. Increase the amount of each as you add people to serve. Pour a small amount of oil into a large frying pan. Heat it up and add the potatoes. If they are raw or frozen, cook them 15 to 20 minutes or until they are getting soft in the middle and crisp on the outside. If they are leftover baked potatoes, just warm them up and brown them a little. Add the bacon and the egg/milk mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir until it all sets up into a cooked mixture of bacon, eggs and potatoes. There really isn't a wrong way to make these, and they turn out different each time.

I love to throw in onions, cheese, spinach or avocado to switch it up.  You really can't mess this up!

Gingers Famous Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

This is a big favorite in my house, hope you enjoy it!!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves-cut into cubes
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 pound fettuccine pasta
1 onion, diced
1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces shredded Colby-Monterrey Jack cheese
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large skillet over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Set aside. melt 4 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Saute onion, 2 tablespoons garlic and mushrooms until the onions are transparent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half and half, stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in Parmesan and Colby-Monterrey Jack cheeses, stir until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken mixture, tomatoes and sour cream.

Stuffed Zucchini

Yummy yummy yummy!

6 zucchinis
4 Italian sausages or 1 lb. ground beef (we like Kielbasa in this recipe)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. white wine or cooking wine
1/4 tsp. Italian herb seasonings
1 egg
1/2 c. grated mozzarella
1/4 c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper
fresh basil and/or oregano

Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise.   Use spoon and scoop out insides leaving the zucchinis about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle the insides of zucchini with some salt to draw out excess moisture.   Chop the scooped zucchini insides and set aside.  Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Brown sausage or ground beef
and break it up into small pieces.  Remove from heat and put into a mixing bowl and set aside.  In skillet , add chopped zucchinis, drained tomatoes, garlic, white wine, Italian herb mix, add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until all of the moisture has absorbed.  Mix in the browned sausage and wait until the filling has cooled.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Drain any moisture that may have come out of the filling before mixing in the cheese and egg.  Also, drain any moisture that has been drawn out of zucchinis.  Mix the egg and cheese into the filling and scoop generously into zucchinis. Bake for about 20 minutes until the zucchini has softened  .

We serve ciabatta rolls with it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Inspired by Cafe Rio's Dressing

6 tbsp. oil (half olive, half canola)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
8 tbsp. lime juice or 4 fresh limes, squeezed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 dashes of white wine vinegar (approx.)
2 tbsp. ginger, grated
1/4-1/2 c. sugar or to taste
fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor

Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing

Cafe Rio inspired!
1 package dry hidden valley ranch salad dressing
1 cup mayo
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 large clove garlic
3 small-medium tomatillos, husk off (like tomatoes but green and has a husk on it)
1/3 cup buttermilk (substitute 1 tbsp. white vinegar with 1 c. milk)
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or 1 small jalapeno) - optional

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill in fridge at least 1 hour before serving, then it will thicken.

Cilantro Lime Rice

This is fantastic inside a burrito or as a side dish!

3 cups uncooked rice
4 cups water
4 tsp chicken bouillion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can green chili's diced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp zest of lime
2 tbs lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1 tbs butter
1/2 onion, chopped

Saute onion, garlic and butter until the onion is soft. Add water, rice, and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. After it begins to boil rapidly, reduce the heat to low and cover with the lid and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Carne Asada Marinade

This is the best marinade ever!  I just made this this yesterday and finally got to have it for dinner!
  It takes a little work but it's well worth it.  
It makes a lot!
3/4 c. orange juice
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. olive oil
3 lbs. flank steak, sliced

Combine the orange, lemon, and lime juice in a large bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, oregano, black pepper, and cilantro.  Whisk in the olive oil until marinade is combined.  Remove one cup of marinade, cover and refrigerate for after the meat is cooked.

Fork steak (for the marinade to absorb).  Put steak and marinade in a large 1 gallon freezer bag and allow to marinate for 24 hours.

Preheat grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.  Grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Discard used marinade.  Pour the one cup of reserved, unused marinade over the hot meat and serve. 

    Stuffed Peppers

    This is so good and can be made surprisingly quick!

    4 Bell peppers, hollowed out
    1 box of spanish rice (we use Near East) and follow package instructions
    1/2 - 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
    1/2 c. grated cheese
    1 sm. can of tomato sauce

    Preheat oven to 350 F. One rice is finished cooking and you've browned and drained your beef, mix them together.  Stuff peppers with mixture then sprinkle cheese over the tops of each pepper.  Neatly top with tomato paste and bake for 25 minutes.  Voila!!

    Easy Pasta Salad

    I got this recipe from my dear sister-in-law, Ginger, and it has become a party favorite!  I have made many variations of the salad but think this variation is the best below.  

    1 bag of pasta ( macaroni or curly noodles)
    1 large can olives
    Cherry tomatoes
    1 block of cheese cubed
    2 bottles of Italian dressing (the secret is to use the Good Seasons packets )
    Onion Powder

    Chop vegetables while pasta is cooking. Rinse pasta with COLD water and mix everything together, except 1/2 bottle of dressing. Refrigerate, then add the dressing. Enjoy