Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuna Casserole

Adapted from Imperrfections

This is one of those cheap and easy dinners that everyone should know how to throw together. I am usually not a huge fan, but this recipe was great and even better the next day. You could easily substitute the tuna with chicken or have no meat at all and it would still be good.

8 oz (225 grams) pasta
5 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 carrots
2 cups cream of mushroom soup
1 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

2 cans tuna
1 cup peas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan

Boil water, cook the noodles, drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350
In a large pan saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery in butter until soft. Then add mushroom soup (or saute mushrooms and butter, whisk in flour then slowly add the milk) and add salt, pepper, tuna, and peas. Add in the noodles and pour into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese and bake 15-20 minutes

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Roasted Carrot Soup

Adapted from My Man's Belly

This is a great fall soup that is light on calories but heavy with flavor. Ben was skeptical while I was cooking (he said it looked like baby food...) but after trying it he agreed that it was quite good, a perfect soup for a cold blustery day.

1 lb carrots
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbps fresh ginger, grated
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
salt and pepper to taste
Feta cheese, walnuts, cranberries or croutons to garnish
Milk (optional, to thin out soup)

Preheat oven to 400 (204 C)

Place carrots, apples and onion on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove carrots, apples and onion from the oven and put into a large pot, including any oil from the baking sheet. Add garlic, ginger and salt, saute for several minutes then add chicken stock and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Transfer contents of the pot into a blender (or use immersion blender) and puree until smooth. Be VERY careful blending hot liquids. Add milk or chicken stock to thin out soup to a desired consistency (Ben said it looked like baby food before thinning it out).

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Feta, walnuts, croutons or dried cranberries.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

PF Changs style Lettuce Wraps

Adapted from PF Changs

Ben and I first tried these lettuce wraps on a date, and we were hooked! Being students we couldn't afford to go out every time we had a hankering for them so we learned to make it ourselves through trial and error. The chicken has great flavor, the dipping sauce is hot and spicy and it is a great contrast to the cool, crisp lettuce leaves.

3-4 chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
1 cup water chestnuts, diced
green onion, diced
mushrooms, diced
2-3 chilies (optional, depending on how hot you like it)
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 head iceburg lettuce

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp soy
4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oil
Hot chinese mustard and chili paste to taste

Carefully peel off individual leaves of lettuce from the head, wash and place in the fridge to chill. Chop up and combine the chicken, water chestnuts, onion, mushrooms and chilies. Heat the oil on the wok and once hot, stir fry chicken mixture together.

In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce and mix well.

Eat by spooning the chicken into lettuce cups with a little dipping sauce, wrap it up and enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Vegetable Lo Mein

adapted from Allrecipes

Lo Mein is a Chinese dish with noodles. The American version of this dish is served topped with a brown sauce and vegetables or meat.

1/2 lb Lo Mein noodles
Zucchini, chopped
Carrots, sliced
Broccoli, chopped
Red Pepper, chopped

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisen sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp chili paste
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp curry

Stir fry vegetables with the sauce in a hot pan until they are just soft. Pour mixture over noodles and serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Reeses Cookies

From Ben

We had a bag of Reeses chips that my parents brought from the states, and we just had to put them in something. These cookies tasted a bit like brownies-- fudgy and dense. I think it would work well with crumbled peanut butter cups as well.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chips

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C)
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and combine with wet ingredients. Fold in Reeses peanut butter chips and roll batter into golf ball sized balls. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 min. Let cool before serving.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Adapted from Mom

Enchiladas are one of my favorite meals. It reminds me of mom and living in my childhood home, and it is great comfort food. I have changed her original recipe over the years to add more spice and heat, but it still has the same elements and tastes great.

Serves 4

1 Tbsp butter
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp dried cilantro (or 1 bunch of fresh), divided
1 can green chilies
2 cups cubed chicken
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup *
16 tortillas
1 cup cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 bell pepper, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C)

Saute onion, garlic, chili and half of your cilantro in butter until clear and fragrant. Add chicken pieces, cook through. Add cream of chicken soup, can of green chilies and sour cream, stir until smooth.

Pour 1/2 the can of green enchilada sauce on the bottom of your baking dish (I ended up using one 9x13 inch casserole pan). Take one tortilla at a time, add a scoop of creamy chicken filling and roll it up inside of the tortilla. Start lining up the filled and rolled tortillas in the casserole dish and keep squeezing them in until they are packed tight and you are out of sauce. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of the dish and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese, the rest of your cilantro and diced bell pepper.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with fresh salsa.

*if you need to make your own cream of chicken soup like I do in Finland, here are the ingredients:

4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock

Melt butter in a sauce pan and whisk in flour. Then add salt, milk and broth slowly and heat until liquid is smooth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Maple Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Busty Baker

MMMMM the smell of these cookies alone is reason enough to make them. The maple flavoring amps up the buttery taste and leaves you with a deliciously soft cookie.

makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened (225 grams)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp Mapleine (maple extract), or 6 Tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs
4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C). Cream together butter and sugar, mix in Mapleine. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Mix 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl, spoon golf ball sized balls, roll them in cinnamon sugar and place them onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Maple Soy Glazed Salmon

I would have never thought to put maple syrup and soy sauce together, but it tastes great! This salmon came out salty and sweet, and full of great flavor. I will definitely be making this again.

3-4 salmon filets

1 cup maple syrup
8 Tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup stock
2 tbsp flour

Combine syrup, soy sauce, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper and pour 1/4 over salmon and marinate for 30 minutes to over night in the fridge (the longer the better). Place salmon filets in an oven safe dish, pour marinade over the top and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. In the meantime, mix the stock and flour until smooth, and put it and the remaining sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.

Pull out salmon and serve with rice, pouring the sauce over the top.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spicy Asian Shredded Pork

adapted from Savour Fare

I made this as a side to a vegetable stir fry, and it was amazing. Slow cooking meat really allows you to capture intense flavor, and it is so easy a child could do it!

2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into smaller pieces
2 bell peppers, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
sesame seeds to garnish

2 cups teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Place pork, peppers, garlic, onion into a large pot (or crockpot). Mix together sauce and turn the heat on low for 8-12 hours. Be sure that liquid is always covering the meat so it doesn't get dried out. Once done, pull the pork apart with forks and serve.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mint Chocolate Brownies

from my Mom

This is the richest brownie you will ever eat. They are designed for serious chocolate lovers, and even those of you who love chocolate will only be able to have a little before overdosing. Growing up I preferred these to any other dessert and it was great to try out on my own. Be sure to have people over to share with!

1 cup butter (softened)
2 cups sugar
10 Tbsp cocoa (unsweetened)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 package chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

Mint Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp mint flavoring (about 1 cap full)
2 caps green food coloring (optional, I didn't have any...)

Chocolate Covering:
2 cups chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C). Cream butter, sugar and cocoa. Beat in eggs and mix in flour until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and bake for 15-18 minutes in a greased 9x12 inch dish. The brownies are done when you can pull out the dish and the brownies are not jiggly in the center. Let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix powdered sugar, mint, food coloring and once the brownies are at room temperature, spread the frosting on top and set aside.

In a saucepan, begin to melt the chocolate chips on low heat. Mix in the butter and milk and when the consistency is smooth, pour the mix on top of the mint frosting. Let the chocolate cool and harden, and serve.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

adapted from Visions of Sugar Plums

Peanut butter and bananas- is there anything they cant do?
This bread was a creative twist on your typical banana bread and I had to work quickly to take a photo before it all disappeared.

3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C). Cream together butter and sugars; add peanut butter, bananas and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs until just combined. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to wet mixture, alternating with milk. Fold in chocolate chips and spoon into a prepared 9x5 inch bread pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Plum Flognarde

Adapted from Allrecipes

This is a custard like French dessert that when made with cherries is also known as a clafoutis. Is was light and fruity to the taste and although my picture suggests otherwise, it was very colorful and pretty.

10 Tbsp sugar
6-8 large plums (10-14 small ones)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375 (109 C) Butter a 10 inch pie plate, and sprinkle 1 Tbsp sugar on the bottom. Cut plums in half and arrange them, cut side down, on the bottom of the plate. Sprinkle two Tbsp of sugar on top of the plums.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk, cream, flour, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and remaining sugar until smooth. Pour mixture over the fruit and bake in oven for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let stand at least 5 minutes, dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spaghetti Parmesan

adapted from Cheap, Healthy, Good

This was an easy pasta dish made great through Parmesan.

Serves 4

3/4 lb pasta, like linguine or spaghetti
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, chopped into moons
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced (I used purple onions, but you could use any kind)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp lemon pepper
salt to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook and drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.

While pasta is cooking, saute onion and garlic in a skillet. Once softened, add zucchini, spices, chickpeas, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until everything is warmed through. Zucchini should still have a little bite to them. Take the whole pan off the heat.

Combine with pasta and half of the cheese and 1/3 cup of water. Stir together until parmesan is incorporated into the dish.

Serve with remaining parmesan sprinkled on top.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thai Cashew Chicken

Adapted from a Mingling of Tastes and Allrecipes

This spicy stir fry was an attempt to start labor after being almost a week overdue. It didn't work, but it was delicious and packed with healthy veggies.

2 cups chicken pieces
1 Tbsp oil
6 Tbsp ketchup
6 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tsp white sugar
2 Tbsp Thai chili paste (adjust this to your tastes, it can make it very hot!)
1 Tbsp flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3-4 large carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
*dried red chilies (optional, for additional heat)
1/2 cup cashews
Steamed rice, for serving

Mix together the ketchup, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, sugar and chili paste. Reserve half of the sauce and marinate the chicken in the other half in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour (the longer the better).

While the chicken is in the fridge, prepare all of the vegetables, cook rice and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken plus chopped onion and stir fry for several minutes until meat is cooked through. Lower the heat to medium, add in the reserved sauce plus 1 Tbsp flour to thicken, the rest of the veggies and cook for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are just beginning to become tender, but still have bite. Remove from heat, mix in the cashews and serve immediately over rice.