Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos are always a slam dunk meal in our household. I take everything we love about breakfast, cook it up on the stovetop and wrap everything in a flour tortilla. The result is a warm and hearty breakfast that keeps you satisfied throughout the morning. The best part about a breakfast burrito is that anything goes. For us, we always start with a flour tortillas, eggs and cheese. From there we add in whatever we have leftover in the refrigerator. Ham, vegetables, sausage, bacon, etc. For breakfast or for dinner...breakfast burritos are a winner. (Can you tell I have Guy Fieri on the television right now!!)
Breakfast Burritos for Two
2 flour tortillas
4 eggs
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 c. shredded cheese
2-4 slices of cooked bacon
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3-4 Tbs. butter
2 potatoes, peeled and shredded
cherry tomatoes, halved
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt/pepper and set aside. In a large skillet, melt butter and add shredded potatoes (aka hashbrowns), onion and green pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until crispy brown, flipping occasionally. In a small pan, melt a little butter and add egg mixture. Cook and stir over low heat until scrambled, add shredded cheese. Take flour tortillas and heat them briefly in the microwave to make them flexible. Spoon hashbrowns, eggs and cooked bacon to tortillas and top with cherry tomatoes. Roll up and enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Craisin Coleslaw

When it comes to coleslaw people, either like it or they don't. I think a lot of mediocre restaurants have given coleslaw a bad wrap with their so-so soggy sidedish. When you do it right, coleslaw is tangy and crunchy and oh-so-good. I like to add different things to mine such as sesame seeds or craisins. If you do not want to make your own dressing there are plenty of prepared ones available that you can use and then add your own touches to. Try this craisin coleslaw with your next barbeque.
1/2 c. mayo
2 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
4 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 c. craisins
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
16 oz bag cabbage-carrot coleslaw blend
In a medium bowl whisk mayo, vinegar, milk, sugar, poppy seeds, salt and pepper until smooth. Taste dressing and adjust seasoning as you see fit. Add cabbage blend and craisins. Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carnitas with Homemade Tortillas

After watching Diners, Drive-Ins & Drives I wanted to give homemade tortillas a try. I had also never made carnitas but they always look so good on the show. I made mine in the crock pot since it is the easiest way to cook a roast. The meat came out fork tender and was packed full of flavor. My brother-in-law Eric and I had fun making the tortillas. I rolled them out paper thin and Eric cooked them in the cast iron pan. Together we were able to make a dozen tortillas in about 20 minutes which wasn't too bad for our first try. We sat back and enjoyed our delicious carnitas in our warm tortillas.
Crockpot Carnitas
3-4 lb. pork roast (shoulder or rump roast)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. water
4 oz. green chilies
Trim excess fat off or roast and set aside. Pour water and green chilies into a medium crock pot. In a shallow bowl combine all seasoning and place roast in the rub. Pat all seasoning into the roast and then set into crock pot above green chilies. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove roast and shred. Return a small amount of liquid to the roast to keep it moist. Serve warm on tortillas.
Printable Recipe
Homemade Tortillas
Since I had never made these before I followed this recipe exactly on Click this link for recipe: Tortilla Recipe

Friday, April 23, 2010

Salmon & Carmalized Onion Pizza

Pizza is the ultimate favorite food in our household so we were so excited to attend a cooking last year that was all about this American classic. We walked away from the class so enthused about making homemade pizza dough that we came home and started our dough at 10:00 and enjoyed a slice by midnight. We were also inspired after eating some salmon pizza. Isn't it amazing that pizza can be topped with just about anything?! As long as you have great crust and bubbly cheese you know you are in for a fabulous meal. I have already posted my crust recipe of choice but there are plenty of great dough recipes out there. Find which one works for you and have fun perfecting it.
Salmon & Caramelized Onion Pizza
Pizza dough
Smoked salmon
Onions, sliced
Olive oil
Mozzarella cheese
In a small saute pan, add olive oil, onions and salt/pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until caramelized.
Roll pizza dough out thin, and top with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Sprinkle with a little rosemary. Top with cheese, chunks of salmon and caramelized onions. Bake at 500 F for 7 minutes or grill.

Pizza Dough (makes two crusts)
1 pkg. rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1/4 tsp. sugar or honey
1 c. warm water (105 - 115 F)
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 c. flour plus extra for kneading
Mix yeast, sugar and 1/4 c. warm water in a measuring cup and allow to stand until mixture is foamy, 10-15 minutes. Stir together the salt and flour in a large bowl. Pour yeast mixture and remaining 3/4 c. warm water and stir until dough just comes away from the side of the bowl. Knead on a lightly floured surface about 5 minutes and place dough in a separate bowl that is lightly brushed in olive oil. Cover with
plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Deep Fried Tacos & Elephant Ears

Deep fried tacos are a family favorite. My mom used to make these every year during the fair so we could all get our favorite fair food fix. They are delicious and fun - the perfect combination for entertaining guests. First we pile deep fried bread dough with taco toppings and enjoy. Then for dessert, we slather on vanilla frosting and sprinkle cinnamon on top of the fried bread and call them elephant ears. No one can come to an agreement on which is better. The beauty of it all is that you don't have to decide. One recipe with two toppings are sure to make you say "uff-da" after enjoying them.
Deep Fried Tacos
1-2 Frozen bread dough loaf
Taco toppings
Vegetable oil
Take frozen bread dough out of the freezer and let thaw in a short rimmed pan or large plate according to directions (or approximately 4 hours). Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer to 400 F. Using a serrated knife, cut loaf into 8 sections. Using your hands, stretch dough into 4-6" circles. Using tongs, place dough in deep fryer, turning occasionally until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Remove dough and let drain on paper towels. Top with seasoned ground beef and all of your favorite taco toppings.
*Note: when we first started making these we used frozen bread dough like stated above, I prefer using a basic homemade bread dough when I have time.
Vanilla Frosting for Elephant Ears
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbs. milk
In a medium bowl, beat above ingredients until smooth adding more milk or powdered sugar to achieve the right consistency as needed. Spread frosting on fried bread dough and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Tip: Deep fry outside or in your garage if possible to keep your house from smelling like grease. : )

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fancy Sauce (for burgers)

I spent the past weekend Up North - an extremely relaxing get away to my hometown. While I was there we soaked up a perfect Saturday on Cable Lake. The weather was beautiful, the lake, like glass and to end the perfect day, everyone gathered around the fire pit. Since I was too busy playing with my 10 month old nephew, I could not waste any time in the kitchen. I did contribute one thing to our fabulous meal at the lake: fancy sauce. (I hope you are picking up on my sarcasm.) Fancy sauce is the perfect topping to any burger. It is simple and easy - a must for any Minnesota barbeque.
Fancy Sauce
1/4 c. mayo
4 Tbs. ketchup
3 Tbs. dill pickle, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
In a small bow, mix all ingredients. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Spread on burgers and enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I love the lettuce wraps at P.F.Chang's and after several failed attempts to eat there in the past couple of weeks I decided to make my own version at home. I am so glad I did! Lettuce cups are the perfect house for the slightly sweet, garlic, ginger chicken. The chicken filling is packed full of great flavors. About a year ago, I had never purchased real ginger root from the grocery store. Now I try to think of more meals that I can make with ginger. These chicken lettuce wraps could be a great appetizer, but they also make a light and delicious mid-week dinner.
Note: I added stir fry rice noodles to this dish but we didn't love the texture in the lettuce wrap so I am leaving them out of the recipe below.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
8 oz can water chestnuts, chopped
4 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sweet and sour sauce
2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
Crisp lettuce
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet, add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and water chestnuts and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together: soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ketchup and mustard. Pour sauce in pan with the sauted vegetables and add chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes and then scoop into large pieces of lettuce.
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

I love making cold pasta salads when it is warm outside. They are easy to make, can change with whatever ingredients you have on hand,  are a great side dish for dinner and pack up nicely for lunch the next day. For these reasons, you can look forward to many pasta salads in the upcoming months! When making this dish and others like it, remember that the pasta will continue to absorb whatever dressing/sauce you put on it. I like to add a little extra dressing when I know that the pasta will be sitting in the refrigerator overnight. Unfortunately I forgot to measure ingredients while I was making this so please use the recipe below as a starting point.
Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
1/2 box bowtie pasta
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbs. red onion, diced
1/4 c. pepperoni slices, quartered
3-5 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 c. sundried tomato vinaigrette dressing
1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and toss until well combined. Season to taste.
Printable Recipe

Monday, April 12, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Today I am thinking of my amazing grandma Juliette. She raised 16 children, farmed along side my grandpa, grew a fabulous garden, canned everything possible, prepared everything from scratch and did it all with such grace that she touched everyone who knew her. I am always connected to her when I am in the kitchen. She taught my mom (who taught me) that after practice, you can set food in the oven without a timer and somehow you will know when it is done; how bread dough is ready when it "feels" right; and how a little of "this" and a little of "that" that can transform basic ingredients into a wonderful meal.  She taught me to trust myself in the kitchen. Today I made white chicken chili for the first time - I didn't have a recipe and I didn't need one. "No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers." - Laurie Colwin
White Chicken Chili
2 c. chicken breast
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 cans chicken broth
4 oz can green chilies
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 can white northern beans
1-2 Tbs. flour
4 Tbs. milk
3/4 c. heavy cream
Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium soup pot and cook chicken over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Add chicken broth, chilies, nutmeg, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk flour and milk until well blended. Slowly pour milk mixture into simmering soup and stir (soup will thicken). Add beans and heavy cream. Season to taste.
We topped with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.
Printable Recipe

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ham & Hashbrowns

What to do with leftover Easter ham?? I started thinking of all the possibilities a couple of weeks ago and got so excited. Split pea soup...omelets...leftover ham sandwiches...yum. Then my week got busy, I didn't have my menu planned out, and I needed to use my leftover ham in a hurry. With only a short window of time to cook in, and no plan, I threw together this ham and hashbrown casserole. It was no split pea soup but it was a comforting casserole during a hectic week which was perfect.
Ham & Hashbrowns
1 lb. shredded hashbrowns
1 1/2 c. cubed ham
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. milk
1 can cream of celery soup
small onion, diced
1/2 c. sour cream
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake at 375 uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boston Cream Pie Cups

Last month we had a fun birthday dinner for my Mother-in-law Trish and Mary, my brother-in-law's girlfriend, brought the birthday cake. Trish loves Boston Cream Pie and I am so glad the Vossen family introduced me to it.  Mary made these extra-special by assembling the cake in personal serving cups. I just loved them - they are just so cute and very tasty. I had to take a picture and get the recipe to pass on to all of you.
*Note the recipe below is for a whole cake but Mary cubed the cooled cake and assembled in cups.

1 c. + 2 tablespoons of sifted cake flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ c. milk
¼ c. cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry Crème filling
2 c. whole milk
½ vanilla bean cut lengthwise seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 oz. semi sweet chocolate
1 c. heavy cream boiling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into a 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
Pastry Cream Filling
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)
In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.
To assemble pie, remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate or board, and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator.

Printable Recipe

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fudgy Brownies

If you need a good brownie recipe, look no further. These brownies are the best! I have to give a lot of credit to wonderful ingredients. I use a high quality dark chocolate cocoa powder with a natural high fat content. I also use my new favorite pantry staple: Vanilla Paste. You can purchase this vanilla paste at many food specialty or spice stores. It is the consistency of honey and contains the wonderful center of Madagascar vanilla beans. These brownies are moist and topped with the best frosting. I like to frost my brownies while they are warm so the frosting melts and becomes part of the brownie. Be warned, a pan of these fudgy brownies will not last long in your house!

Fudgy Brownies
1/2 c butter
1 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

3 Tbs butter, softened
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1 Tbs milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8" square pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla. Beat in cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake!

To Make Frosting: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Frost brownies while they are still warm.
Recipe from
Printable Recipe

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Easter!! We enjoyed a weekend of family, fun and good food in the kitchen. My sister-in-law and I made this lemon meringue pie yesterday for our Easter meal today. I suggest when you go to make this dessert, you have a friend in the kitchen to help. Since there are a few steps involved (the crust, the lemon curd and then meringue) it is nice to have an extra set of hands. (Thanks Ethan!!) The extra work is worth it when you cut your fork through the soft pillow of meringue into a burst of refreshing, sweet-yet-tart lemon filling. Yum.
Flaky Pie Crust
5 Tbs. cold butter
3 Tbs. cold Crisco
1 1/3 c. flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs ice water
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt. Scatter butter and shortening over the flour and toss to coat. Using a pastry cutter, cut mixture until it forms pea size crumbles. Drizzle water over the mixture and mix until dough is evenly moist and starts to come together. On a floured work surface, form dough into a disk and refrigerate for an hour. Take chilled dough out and roll out onto a floured work surface and place in pie pan. Using a fork, pierce dough a couple of times in the pan and then bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool.
Lemon Curd
1 c. sugar
2 Tbs. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
5 lg. egg yolks
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. unsalted butter at room temp.
In a medium sauce pan, whisk together sugar, lemon zest, water, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly and boil for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 c. of the hot cornstarch mixture to the yolk mixture and blend. Now take the yolk mixture and add it to the saucepan of cornstarch mixture and return to medium-high heat. Boil mixture for 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat and pour filling through a strainer into a bowl and whisk in the butter. Fill the cooled pie shell with the hot filling.

1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. cold water
4 lg egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly over high heat and boil for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a glass measuring cup (one with a spout).  Using an electric mixture, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add salt and increase speed to medium-high and beat to form soft peaks. Pour cornstarch mixture in a fine stream while the beaters are running and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Top the pie filling with the meringue mixture with a rubber spatula and seal all of the filling in with the meringue. Form swirls in the meringue with a small spoon. Bake at 350 F for 15-17 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie recipe from "Luscious Lemon Desserts"
Printable Recipe

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded chicken tacos make for a great dinner. I like that I can make up the meat in advance and then keep it in the refrigerator for easy re-heat and a delicious meal. I also like the texture of shredded chicken in my tacos as a nice change of pace to ground beef. We made these with soft shell tortillas tonight, but hard shell is my favorite. Leftovers can also be frozen and then used when you want to make a plate of nachos on a Saturday night.
Shredded Chicken Tacos
1 lb. shredded chicken breast
1/2 c. onion
1 Tbs. oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 c. prepared enchilada sauce
flour tortillas
cheddar cheese, shredded
tomatoes, diced
lettuce, shredded
sour cream
In a medium frying pan, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Add chicken, seasonings and enchilada sauce. Simmer 15 minutes and add seasoning to taste. Top with your favorite taco toppings.