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Chili Mac n Cheese

April 28, 2016
We’ve had a bunch of family helping out since Baby R was born. It’s been incredibly helpful. My mom helped me put together this crockpot dish in preparation for my husband’s parents coming into town. It was easy and a great way to have dinner ready when they arrived. Time to dust off your slow cooker!
20160415 Chili Mac
You will need:
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 c stock (use your favorite: beef, chicken, vegetable)
  • 1 bottle beer (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 10 oz uncooked elbows pasta
  • 1 1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Then you will:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the hamburger and begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne. Cook another 5 minutes or so, until the hamburger is browned and the onion slightly softened.
  4. Transfer the mixture to your crockpot.
  5. Add the stock, beer, tomatoes, and beans to the crockpot.
  6. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  7. Stir in the pasta 30 minutes before you want to serve the meal.
  8. Stir after 15 minutes elapse. If it looks like there is very little liquid left, add up to 1 cup of additional hot water.
  9. Just prior to serving, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and allow to melt.
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German Apple Pancake

April 22, 2016

20160410 Apple Dutch Baby 02

D and I just had a lovely baby boy! It’s been a bit hectic in our house since his arrival, so I haven’t had much time to cook. This is the first meal I prepared from scratch, and it was perfect for a quiet Sunday morning.

You will need:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 T + 1/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1 t ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 T + 1/4 c unsalted butter, divided and melted
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used a honeycrisp)

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs with the flour, baking powder, a tablespoon of the sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon.
  2. Whisk in the vanilla extract, milk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a 9-inch pie plate on the lined sheet.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the remaining cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter in the pie plate and brush some butter up the sides.
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 of the spiced sugar mixture on the melted butter.
  7. Top with the apple slices and sprinkle with the remaining spiced sugar mixture.
  8. Bake 10 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly.
  9. Gently pour the batter on top of the apples and return the dish to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  11. Serve hot with a little powdered sugar or maple syrup.

20160410 Apple Dutch Baby 03

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Rosemary Roasted Potato Salad

April 14, 2016

20160313 Roasted Potato Salad 01

We really enjoy warm potato salad…perhaps it is the German side of me? This one includes roasted potatoes for extra crispiness and sour cream for the tang. It is a great side dish to most pork, chicken and beef entrees.

You will need:

  • 2 lb small red-skinned potatoes, quartered into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 c shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 t red wine vinegar

Then you will…

  1. Soak your potatoes for 15 minutes in cold water. Strain and shake off as much water as possible.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. They should be browned and cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium in a nonstick skillet.
  7. Add the shallots and saute until they to begin to caramelize, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream with the mustard and vinegar.
  11. Add the roasted potatoes and the shallot-garlic mixture.
  12. Stir until well combined; the potatoes should be evenly coated with the dressing.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Pork Chops with Rosemary-Mushroom Sauce

April 6, 2016

We felt in the mood for some pork chops and had some friends coming over for dinner. We decided to pair the pork with a sauce that mixed one of our favorite vegetables (mushrooms) with two of my other favorite ingredients (rosemary and Dijon mustard). Our friend’s daughter found the pork to be yummier and more interesting than playing with the cats. Hope you like it too!

20160313 Rosemary Mushroom Pork 02

You will need:

  • 4 pork chops, roughly 1/2 inch thick
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 c shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 c unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 c heavy cream

Then you will…

  1. Pat the pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Sear the pork chops till golden on each side, no more than 2 minutes per side.
  4. Place the pork chops onto a plate and set aside.
  5. Add the shallot to the pan and saute for 2-4 minutes, or until starting to soften.
  6. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, and saute until the mushrooms give off their juices and they cook off.
  7. Stir in the stock, mustard and cream. Mix until well combined and heated through.
  8. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Return the pork chops to the pan and allow to simmer another 2-4, until the pork is cooked to your liking.
  10. Serve the pork chops with the mushroom sauce on top. Goes great with potatoes!
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Spring Pasta Primavera

March 28, 2016

We’ve had a stream of warm weather, which seemed to cry out for a spring-inspired dinner. This easy pasta primavera was just the thing!

You will need:

  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 c Parmesan, shredded and divided
  • 2 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb asparagus, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 c fresh peas
  • 1 lb wide pasta
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • 1 c milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese or creme fraiche

20160312 Primavera 01

Then you will…

  1. In a food processor, combine the bread crumbs with the lemon zest, half of the garlic, 1/3 (scant) of the onion), a few inches of the cheese, and the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse until well combined.
  3. In a small skillet, brown the crumb topping. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  5. Add the asparagus to the boiling water. Allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the peas to the boiling water. Allow to cook for 1 minutes.
  7. Drain and stop the cooking by placing the veggies in a cold water bath.
  8. Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. (If you want to skip this step, use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the first pot).
  9. Cook the pasta according to the package, stopping 1-2 minutes shy of the recommended cooking time.
  10. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
  11. Add the remaining garlic and onion. Saute for 6-8 minutes, or until softened.
  12. Stir in the flour and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Whisk in the chicken stock and then the milk.
  14. Allow the sauce to thicken, whisking regularly for about 5 minutes.
  15. Whisk in the cream cheese until melted and well combined.
  16. Whisk in the shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
  17. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  18. Toss the pasta with the sauce until well coated. Remove from heat.
  19. Stir in the asparagus and peas.
  20. Serve the pasta topped with the toasted bread crumbs.
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Deep Dish Pizza

March 18, 2016

20160311 Deep Dish 01

Not everyone likes deep dish pizza, but if you have a taste for it, try this one out. It’s full of yummy crust, sauce and cheese plus whatever your favorite toppings are.

You will need:

  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 1 1/4 t yeast
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomato
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 c mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 c Parmesan, shredded
  • Any desired toppings (we used some sauteed mushrooms, peppers and onions)

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast. Allow to proof for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and olive oil.
  3. Gradually mix in the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes until smooth.
  5. Grease a large mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn until oiled on all sides.
  6. Cover with a warm damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, roughly 1 1/2 hours.
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  8. Add the garlic and onion and allow to cook for 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  9. Stir in red pepper flakes, basil and oregano. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  10. Stir in the crushed tomato. Allow to simmer and reduce by a third, roughly 20-25 minutes.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Preheat your oven to 475.
  13. Press the dough into a well seasoned skillet that is 10 to 12 inches wide. Press the dough 1 1/5 to 2 inches up the side.
  14. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  15. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella and 3/4 c of the Parmesan on the dough.
  16. Add any toppings you want.
  17. Spread with sauce and top with remaining cheese.
  18. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  19. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving to friends and family.

20160311 Deep Dish 03

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

March 11, 2016

These are quick prep and a relatively short bake time. They are perfect warm with a little ice cream and caramel!

20160310 Espresso Bars 01

You will need:

  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T instant espresso powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil and lightly grease.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butter with the egg, vanilla, espresso powder and salt until well mixed and airy.
  3. Mix in the brown sugar until well combined.
  4. Mix in the flour and the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread in the prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden and set in the middle.
  7. Allow to cool ten minutes in the pan. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
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