Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Vegetable Soup

Nothing is better than a hot cup of soup on a cold day, particularly when it's a hardy one!

  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large bulb fennel, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 2 TBS each thyme, parsley and rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 3 c vegetable stock 
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 TBS flour
  • 3 c. milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Oyster crackers, for serving
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, squash, carrots, parsnips, onion, leeks, garlic and the fresh and dried herbs. Cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, to soften, 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer while you make the white sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the milk and simmer to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once thickened, combine the sauce with the soup and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Top each bowl with oyster crackers. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pistachio Muffins

So my local grocery store, HEB, sells the most AMAZING Pistachio Muffins.  I came across this recipe and it's pretty close, so I'm sharing!

  • 1 box butter cake mix
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c chopped pistachio
  1.  Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients until just combined.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, water and oil.  Combine with dry ingredients and add vanilla and almond extracts.
  3.  Spray muffin tins(or use paper muffin wrappers). Pour batter into muffin tins ½ full.  Mix topping in a separate bowl and sprinkle on top of batter.
  4. Bake until slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

This is the one that my husband requests yearly!

  • 1 c chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 2TBS white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 (1 oz) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 2 TBS whipping cream
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 c coffee flavored liqueur
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 TBS confectioners' sugar
  • 2 TBS coffee-flavored liqueur 
  • 1 (1 oz) square semisweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9 or 10 inch springform pan.
  2. Combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, softened butter, 2 tablespoons white sugar, and the cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into the buttered springform pan, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup white sugar mixing until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth.
  4. Melt the 8 ounces semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons whipping cream in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth.
  5. Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  6. Bake in the center of oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Center will be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not over bake. Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven and chill for 12 hours. Just before serving top cake with mounds of flavored whipped cream and garnish with chocolate leaves. Yields 16 servings.
  7. To Make Flavored Whipped Cream: Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form, then beat in confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur.
  8. To Make Chocolate Leaves: Melt 1 ounce semisweet chocolate in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth. Brush real non-toxic plant leaves (such as orange leaves) on one side with melted chocolate. Freeze until firm and then peel off leaves. Freeze chocolate leaves until needed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Provolone Corn Loaf


  • 2 tsp cornmeal
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS minced fresh sage or 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 c (4 oz.) shredded provolone cheese
  1. Sprinkle 2 tsp cornmeal on the bottom and sides of a greased 8x4x2 loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sage, baking powder, salt, pepper, baking soda, cayenne and remaining cornmeal.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk and oil.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in cheese.
  3. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.  

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce


  • 3 lbs. chicken breast, halved
  • 2 TBS butter, melted
  • 2 TBS dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 c white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 1/4 c cold water
  1. Place the chicken in a slow cooker.  Brush with butter.  Sprinkle with parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper.  Top with mushrooms.  Pour wine over all.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken and keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking juices.  In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually add cooking juices.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick.  Serve with chicken.
serves 12

Iced Cranberry-Mint Tea


  • 4 c water
  • 2/3 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 8 lemon herbal tea bags
  • 3 1/2 c reduced sugar cranberry juice
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • ice cubes
  • lemon, sliced
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water, mint and sugar to a boil.  Remove from the heat; add the tea bags.  Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags.  Cover and let stand 45 minutes longer.  Strain and discard mint leaves.  Stir the cranberry and lemon juices into tea.  Serve over ice with lemon slices.

Broiled Greek Fish Fillets


  • 8 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBS butter, softened
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1 sm red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c pitted Greek olives
  • 1 tsp dill 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  1. Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper.  Place on a broiler pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, butter and lime juice.  Stir in the onion, olives, and seasonings.  Spread down the middle of each fillet; sprinkle with feta cheese.  
  3. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 6-9 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
serves 8

Steak & Vegetable Stir Fry

Because sometimes we just need a quick meal!


  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 2 tsp beef bouillon granules
  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 c reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 20 oz. boneless beef sirloin steak
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, julienned
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS canola oil
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 c cooked rice
  1. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, bouillon, water ans soy sauce; set aside.
  2. Cut the steak thinly across the grain, then cut slices in half; set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, stir-fry green peppers, onions and garlic in oil for 4 minutes; remove and set aside.
  4. Add meat; stir-fry for 4-6 minutes.  
  5. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Add tomatoes and green pepper mixture; cook and stir until heated through.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Serve over rice.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cabbage Rolls - Take 2!

I've posted a cabbage roll recipe previously but this one includes sauerkraut, which my family loves, and it's made on the stove.  So if you don't have time for the crockpot, this is a nice substitution!


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sausage, chopped onion, rice, water, and salt and pepper.
  2. Bring a large pot of water a boil. Separate 12 to 15 large cabbage leaves from the head, and place in boiling water. Boil until soft, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water, and set aside.
  3. Into the center of each leaf, place a small amount of the meat mixture. Fold in the sides, and roll up from the bottom. Secure with a toothpick.
  4. Place a layer of sauerkraut in the bottom of a large pot. Arrange cabbage rolls in a single layer over the sauerkraut. 
  5. Mix the tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and worcesterhshire together.  Pour over cabbage rolls.  Cover with remaining sauerkraut.. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 90 minutes.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sausage & Bean Ragout

This is very satisfying on a winter evening!


  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb hot Italian pork sausage, casing removed
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 c vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes seasoned with garlic, oregano and basil
  • 2 (16 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c uncooked elbow pasta
  • 2 (6 oz) packages fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in saucepot over medium-high heat. Add beef, sausage and onion and cook until meats are browned, stirring to separate meat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Add broth, basil, tomatoes and beans. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
  3. Add spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve with additional cheese.

Asian Wings

First, full credit for this recipe goes to Pioneer Woman!!  I snagged this recipe from Food Network who hosts her show.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.


  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 24 chicken wings
  • 3/4 c plum jelly
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 2 TBS minced red onion
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 TBS red pepper flakes (less of you'd like less heat!)
  • 3 to 4 assorted hot peppers (serranos, jalapenos, and so on), minced fine
  • Thinly sliced (julienne) carrots and cucumber, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a heavy pot to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add half the chicken wing parts to the oil and fry them until they're golden brown and fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other half of the wing parts.
  3. Add the plum jelly to a bowl. Then stir in the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add the brown sugar, ginger, red onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and hot peppers. Stir to combine, and then pour it into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
  4. Place the wings in an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over the top, reserving some sauce for serving. Toss to coat, and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the wings in dishes, and then spoon extra sauce over the top. Serve with cool vegetables to go with that delicious heat.