Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Categories: swishina | Food:Recipes

Just the Facts

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches:
2 c. plain yogurt
1 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
2 T. lemon juice
1 lemon zest
16 graham crackers broken in half
Shredded coconut (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and freeze for 1 – 1 ½ hours until the mixture starts to thicken.
Scoop out and press about ¼ c. of the semifrozen yogurt mixture between two graham cracker squares. Wrap each in waxed paper and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
If using coconut, put some on a plate and dip all four edges of the sandwich to coat.

So, these were incredibly delicious and easy to make. I got tired of making sandwiches halfway through and we ate the rest of the frozen yogurt from the bowl. Also, I used lime instead of lemon because I had some leftover from the Caribbean Chicken Salad. So it tasted like key lime pie. This recipe is from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, but there is nothing weird hidden in it.

John: What is this green stuff? Broccoli?
Susie: Yeah, it's from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. (It was actually lime zest.)

Chocolate Pudding: This recipe is from the Mennonite cookbook, More-With-Less. It was runny when I made it (maybe because I used skim-milk?) but even still was the BEST pudding I've ever tasted! I also calculated that is is 10-15 cents less than a store brand box.

1/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cocoa
2 c. milk

Cook on low until thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1 t. vanilla.

Calyso Beans 'n' Rice: I got this recipe from a frugal cook book. I'm making it for the third time tonight, for our friends this time. Maggie likes it too.

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup brown rice
2 cans chicken broth
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine the first three ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the beans are marinating, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. add onion and garlic and saute until onion is soft. Add rice and stir. Add broth, water, curry powder and cayenne pepper and blend well. Bring everything to a boil stirring well. Reduct heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes (REAL LIFE: this took almost an hour). Salt and pepper to taste and serve in bowls.

Szechwan Beef Stirfry: Here's a quick recipe I made for dinner last night. John and Maggie and I loved it.

Thin strips of beef sirloin steak
1 T. cooking oil
1 can corn
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 red pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
1 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
crushed red pepper
1/2 t. black pepper
Heat oil in skillet. Stir fry carrots for 2 minutes. Add corn and pepper. Stir fry 1-2 minutes more. Remove vegetables, add meat. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until meat is slightly pink in center. Stir together sauce ingredients. Add to center of skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return vegetables to wok. Stir all ingredients together to coat. Cook and stire 1-2 minutes more. Serve with hot rice.

Sweet Green Bean Bundles: Made this yumminess for dinner tonight. Here's the actual recipe:
3 cans whole green beans, drained
1 pound bacon, cut in half
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Wrap 7 green beans with bacon and place in prepared dish. Repeat, using all the green beans and bacon. Combine butter with brown sugar. Pour over green bean bundles and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Sweet Green Bean Blobs: Here's is how I will make it next time (a cross between how I made it this time and improvements I think it still needs):
1 can green beans
2 slices bacon, cut in half
1/3 c. brown sugar
Dump green beans in a 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar over them. Lay bacon over the top and bake until bacon is crisp.

Hot Pockets:
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons molasses (or honey)
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Mix dough and rise until double. Divide dough into 11. Roll until about the size of a pita it will be VERY thin. Brush dough with melted butter and put aprox 1/2 c. of filling in the middle. now bring up both the sides and pinch together. Gently turn it over into your hand and place on greased baking sheet pinched side down. Tuck the ends under. Let rise for 10-15 minutes.

Filling ideas: I used ham, broccoli and cheese. Could also do hashbrowns, eggs and crumbled bacon, pepperoni and cheese with a little tomato sauce. These were very easy to make and so cheap compared to the real thing. They tasted just like actual Hot Pockets. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter and I sprinkled mine with fresh cracked pepper and cracked sea salt. Move to cooling wrack so that they don't get soggy. When cooled wrap in paper towel and put in a freezer bag. To heat, microwave on high 2-3 minutes.

African Curry: I got this recipe from my friend Tasha and tried it last night. It was a hit! Very easy to make, too.

1 lb stew meat cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 small onion
1-2 T curry powder
1/2 t salt
Simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Serve over hot rice and garnish with flaked coconut.

Cookie Cookie Cookie!: I was going to go to the library after Maggie's nap, but she didn't take a nap, and also it is snowing and really blowy. So, instead I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Cookies! If you have been blessed with one of mom's family recipe boxes, this is in there.

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 T unsweetened cocoa
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
16-ounce package chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat together sugars and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well-blended. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand on sheets 3 minutes. Remove cookies to racks to cool.

Susie the Chef says: 16 ounces of chocolate chips is a ridiculous waste of money and chocolate chips. I put 1/4-1/3 that much. I also didn't put nuts. Even though the batter was pretty dry, I felt like the cookies had a lot of butter in them so I might use a few tablespoons less next time. Next time: yes, they were very yummy!

[Comments] (5) Yummy in my Tummy: I've been trying out a lot of new crockpot recipes in an attempt to make feeding my family easier, faster, and yummier. Yesterday I put two chicken breasts and half a jar of spaghetti sauce (Ragu was only $1 at Smith's and I had a coupon - I haven't bought spaghetti sauce in years!) and let it cook on both settings for who-knows-how-long. I served it with whole wheat pasta and parmesan cheese and it was yummy. Probably the easiest meal I've ever made!

I also made an eclair cake at John's request. I made chocolate sauce from scratch because I only use it for eclair cake and I am out of money in my grocery budget this month. It was easy and super yummy. I couldn't find mom's recipe, so I 1/3-ed one I found online:

1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
Boil for 2-5 minutes.

PS: I uploaded some cute pictures of the bug to our picture blog - click on "Pictures" to the right. And read all my latest articles while you're at it!

Taco Stack: I was a good wife and made dinner tonight. This isn't the recipe I kept the page for, but it was yummy!

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 package taco seasoning
12 corn tortillas
shredded cheese

Brown ground beef with onion in skillet; drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Place 1/4 c. meat in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place two tortillas side by side on meat mixture. Top each tortilla with some meat mixture and shredded cheese. Repeat until each stack contains 6 tortillas layered with meat and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cut each stack into quarters. I served it with sour cream and green onions.

Also, Tasha inspired me to make babyfood so I bought a butternut squash, baked it, and pureed it in the blender with a bit of water. It is delicious! Maggie liked it too. I'm not sure it was any cheaper though. I will have to try some other recipes.

[Comments] (5) Apple-Cheddar Soup: I made this earlier today and it is so yummy. I think I put too many potatoes, because it was kind of chunky.

1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 T. butter
2 med. potatoes, diced
2 c. apple cider
1 t. fresh thyme
1/2 t. salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 med apple, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. milk
2 T. flour
4 oz (1 cup) shredded cheese
fresh apple slices

Cook onion in butter. Stir in potatoes, cider and seasonings. Boil. Simmer covered 15 minutes. Add apple. Simmer 5 minutes until potatoes are tender. combine milk and flour - stir into soup. Cook and stir until bubbly. Whisk in cheese until melted. Top serving dishes with apple slices and fresh ground pepper.

Fondue for Two: Last night John and I celebrated our anniversary at The Melting Pot. Maggie got babysat by a couple in the ward with two little boys and had the best time.

We enjoyed our yummy fondue meal, but it was very expensive and now that we've done it I don't think we'll go back. We especially enjoyed the dessert fondue. The waiter told us how to make the cookie and/or graham cracker crumb covered marshmallows (just dip the marshmallows in water), so now we can just do that at home. We were thinking what a fun FHE activity that would be to do with young kids.

[Comments] (1) Lime Vinagrette: This is a recipe Alyson made when she came to help after Maggie was born. I made about half and it was a good amount.

 3/4 c. chopped tomator
3/4 c. cilantro
6 T. oil
3 T. cider vinegar (I used white)
1 T. lime zest
2 T. lime juice
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t, cumin
3/4 t. chili powder
3/4 t. pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled.

Mix in blender. I used it to marinate the chicken, which I grilled on the George Foreman, then as a dressing for the salad (greens, corn, black beans, tomato, green onion, lime juice.)

[Comments] (1) Chocolate-Frosted Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars: Lately I have become obsessed with these. Yum.

1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice krispies
1 c. chocolate chips

Cook sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan until dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in rice krispies. Press into a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper. Melt chocolate chips and spread on top.

Variations: I learned from Leonard that marshmallows are really just sugar and corn syrup. So when you run out of corn syrup, just use 3 c. mini marshmallows and 2 T butter instead of the corn syrup and sugar. Also, you could mix some butterscotch chips in the topping as well.

[Comments] (5) Potsticker Success: I made up a potsticker recipe by browsing some on the internet and picking out my favorite ingredients.

1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic
1/3 head cabbage
1 medium carrot
2 green onions
½ red bell pepper
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Soy sauce
Black pepper
1 t. ginger
1 package wonton wrappers

Cook pork. Finely shred all the vegetables. I used the cheese grater, except for the green onions. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put about 1 Tablespoon on the wrapper. Wet two edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle and seal.

Heat 1 T. oil in skillet. Arrange potstickers in the pan. Once the bottom is brown, add 1/3 c. water and cover. When the water is gone, let the potstickers brown a bit more and remove from pan.

I think this is going to make about 75 potstickers. They can be frozen before cooking on a sheet and then put into a ziploc.

How good are these? John wanted In-and-Out for dinner and since trying these changed his mind. Yup, he just wants more potstickers.

Where's the Beef Dinner: Here is a recipe I made ages ago. It wasn't outstanding, but pretty good and I generally have all these ingredients, so I will probably make it again when I am wondering what to make for dinner.

1/2 lb. beef
2 cloves garlic

Add and bring to a boil:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 c. water

Add and simmer 15 minutes:
2 c. bowtie pasta
1 med zucchini (I used green beans)

Stir in:
1 can tomato paste
1/4 t. italian seasoning
1 c. cheese

[Comments] (1) Coconut Cupcakes:

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
3 eggs
3/4 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. pure almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)
1 7-ounce package flaked sweetened coconut
cream cheese icing

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in only 1 1/3 cups of the coconut.

Fill each muffin cup almost full with batter. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cupcake tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. When cool, frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle remaining coconut on top.

We both really liked these. Other than having to make frosting it wasn't anymore difficult that using a cake mix, and much more yummy. I didn't have any cream cheese so I made buttercream frosting. I also didn't have any almond extract. I will definitely be making these again!

Mashed Cauliflower: John raved about some mashed “potatoes” he had while living with Jamie, so I finally tried it. I think what John had was cooked cauliflower, mashed, so this version was very different. I don’t think John liked it very much – he said it was dry – but I did.

1 lb. potatoes, cut into chunks
1 c. bite-sized cauliflower florets
¼ c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes and cauliflower until tender. Mash with sour cream; sprinkle with cheese.

Meatloaf Muffins:

1 lb. ground beef
1 package Stove Top
1 c. water
mozzarella cheese

Mix meat, stuffing mix and water until well blended. Press evenly into 12 medium muffin cups; make an indentation in the center of each. Squirt ketchup (about 1 T) into each indentation. Bake 30 minutes at 375, or until meatloaves are cooked through. Sprinkle each with cheese and continue baking 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

You could do this with any meatloaf recipe, I think, and cut your baking time in half. Not only is it faster, it makes nice individually portioned leftovers for lunches, or to freeze and reheat easily. John thought I had made him coconut cupcakes when he saw these, with the melted cheese on top - this is why I made coconut cupcakes today.

Non-Casserole: For dinner last night I made a casserole recipe I've had forever but never tried. I hardly ever make casseroles because John doesn't care for them. This was no exception. However, in my mind it has the strong advantage of being made entirely from scratch. I even used fresh steamed broccoli instead of the frozen. Oh yeah, the actual recipe is called Chicken Rice Divan Bake.

1 pkg. frozen broccoli
1 c. grated cheddar
2 c. cooked cubed chicken
1 c. cooked rice
2 T. butter 
2 T. flour
1 c. milk
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. sour cream

Put cooked broccoli in 13x9 pan. Top with chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice over top.

Melt butter over low heat, blend in flour and add milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and sour cream. Spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 and& for 15-20 minutes.

Salade du Jour: Inspired by Alyson and motivated by a large amount of semi-free time and John liking when I try new recipes, I made a fancy grocery list and planned some meals yesterday. When John got home from work, I went to the store and spent lots of money. I really didn't plan very many things, but it will be better than nothing.

I made myself a salad ahead of time for lunch today. Shake 1/2 diced green apple with 2 T. ranch dressing. Add 2 c. spinach on top, 1/4 c. cubed cheddar cheese, and 1/4 c. chopped walnuts. I had a recipe, but the apples mixed with the dressing was the only part I followed. All the other ingredients were either too expensive or I couldn't find them at the different store I went to. Anyway, it was yummy my way, and you could add whatever you wanted, and the dressing keeping the apples fresh and the apples keeping the dressing from getting the salad soggy is the key to the recipe anyway. The recipe has variations that include using tomato wedges in place of the apple, if you don't like fruit in your salads.

Actual Pesto Recipe: Here is Aunt Jeuney's actual recipe for pesto:

2 c. fresh basil
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 c. pine nuts
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt

Grate parmesan cheese. Wash basil and trim off large stems. Put minced garlic, salt and pine nuts in food processor. Process a little to break up the nuts. Add basil and lemon juice. Process thoroughly to fine consistency, adding a little of the oil as you go. Add grated cheese and process until well combined. Store pesto in glass jar in the refrigerator, adding a layer of olive oil to the top to keep it from turning dark. Or spoon pesto into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze. When frozen, remove pesto cubes and put in zip-loc freezer bag and store in freezer.

For more information, see my fake recipe, Leonard's Pesto Myths and Facts, or my recipe for Pesto Cream Sauce.

I have previously used spinach instead of basil, and as there was no parmesan cheese to be found in the grocery store, I used Asiago this time. Also, I've never used pine nuts because they are ridiculously expensive; I've always substituted walnuts. I still don't have a food processor, and I've still been making this in the blender and it is still difficult. Yesterday's batch made about 1 cup, or 16 one-tablespoon ice cube servings.

[Comments] (3) Coconut French Toast for 2: Last night I tried a new recipe for John for Valentine's Day and it turned out very yummy!

4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. sugar
4 pieces of bread
1/2 c. flaked coconut

Soak bread in mixture for 1 minute each side. Coat both sides in coconut. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 475° for 5 minutes each side.

We ate ours with diced mango, raspberries and whipped topping.

Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables and Creamy Mustard-Herb Sauce:

1 can cream of chicken soup with herbs
2 1/2 lb. chicken
1 1/2 c. sliced leeks
4 medium potatoes
8 oz. baby carrots
1 T. dijon mustard
2 T. chopped green onions
2 T. chopped dill

Pour soup into the bottom of crockpot. Add chicken and vegetables and mix well. Cook on low 7-9 hours. Remove chicken and vegetables. Stir mustard into the sauce with a whisk. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Garnish with chopped herbs.

It was nice to come home to a hot meal, but there are two things I don't like about crockpot cooking. First, the food is always overcooked. John turned it on when he left for work, and I turned it off when I got home, but it was still too long. Second, I think everything cooked in the crockpot tastes the same. This recipe did make a valiant effort to be different.

Pumpkin Pancakes:

2 cups flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

Mix together milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.

Heat griddle over medium high heat. Pour batter onto griddle using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.

The batter for these pancakes was so thick that the outside was getting crispy before the inside was cooked, so they were a bit doughy. These weren't as delicious as I'd have liked, but Mrs. Butterworth made a fine companion.

Pasta Fagioli Soup:

12 ounces sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 
3 cups chicken broth 
1/2 cup uncooked small seashell pasta 
2 small coarsely chopped zucchini 
1 can stewed tomatoes 
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 can kidney beans, drained 
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese 

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add sausage; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and pasta; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano, and beans; cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

This soup was very easy to make. No hard-to-chop vegetables involved, unlike most of the soups I've made. Definitely worth the time involved.

Spicy Orange Beef:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3/4 cup green onions, 1-inch slices
1 cup snap peas

Combine garlic, pepper, and beef, tossing well. Combine rind, juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce, stirring with a whisk.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture, peas, and onions; sauté 2 minutes. Add juice mixture; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Serve beef mixture over rice.

This was very delicious, even as leftovers, but I must warn you that the leftovers sure looked yucky.

Lemon-Basil Pork Chops:

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 boneless pork loin chops

Combine the egg and lemon juice. Combine the bread crumbs, butter, lemon peel and basil in a separate dish. Dip pork chops in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture.

Place in a 9x13 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

These didn't turn out as crunchy as I would have liked, but John thought they were pretty good, and he doesn't like pork. I'll definitely make them again.

[Comments] (1) Pear Walnut Muffins:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
1/2 cup cooking oil 
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 pear, cored and finely chopped 
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts 
2 tablespoons brown sugar

1. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, the 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In a bowl beat egg; stir in oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add all at once to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in pear.

2. Lightly grease twelve muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; fill two-thirds full. For topping, combine walnuts and the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; sprinkle onto batter in cups. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

A friend at work gave me one of the muffins. I really like it so I tried making them at home, and they were a hit!

Cheese Truffles: I looked at Mom's recipe and a few from Kraft Food & Family and made this one:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese
2 c. grated colby jack
1 T. dijon mustard
2 chopped green onions, greens and whites separated
1 T. green chilis
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Mix cream cheese, colby jack and mustard in mixer until smooth. Divide in half. Add green onion whites to one half and green chilis to the other. Refrigerate several hours. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and roll half in green onion tops and half in walnuts. Makes about 16.

BLT Pasta:

12 pieces bacon 
9 oz package of spinach 
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 lb medium pasta (I used bow tie)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Put in large bowl Cook bacon, reserving grease. Crumble and add to pasta. Pour 1 T. bacon grease into pan. Add spinach and stir until wilted, 30-60 seconds. Add to pasta. Add 1 t. more grease to pan. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes to pasta and stir. If pasta seems dry, add up to 1 1/2 T more grease. Salt and pepper if desired.

BBQ Potato, Bacon and Corn Salad:

1/3 c. BBQ sauce 
1/3 c. ranch dressing 
2 T. dijon mustard 

3 lb. cooked, cubed potatoes 
1 can whole corn 
1 small red onion, diced 
1 red pepper, diced 
8 pieces bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Mix remaining ingredients except bacon in a large bowl. Pour dressing in and mix lightly. Sprinkle with bacon pieces.

[Comments] (2) Marinade Mania: I've been meaning to post these recipes from Jamie for a while, so here we go.

7-UP Marinade
2 c. 7-UP
1/2 c. oil
1 c. soysauce
minced garlic
chopped onion
medium piece of minced gingeroot

Marinate chicken for 24 hours. Cook in oven or on grill. I used this on our George Foreman and it is delicious!

1 c. soycauce
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. fresh grated ginger
2 lb top sirloin, thin sliced

Stir to dissolve sugar. Marinate all day, stirring once. I used this on some really thin beef something I bought and grilled it on the George Foreman.

1 t. ground ginger
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey
1 green onion, chopped

This one was originally for salmon, and I haven't made it yet, but John loved it and Jamie said it is also delicious on chicken.

[Comments] (4) Caramel and Cream: I tried two new recipes last night and they were both yummy, so I'm going to share the yumminess with you.

Creamy Tomato Chicken Penne

2 1/2 c. uncooked pennne
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 T. olive oil
2 T. chicken broth
2 c. cooked cubed chicken
1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (I didn't have any so I used Mozzerella)
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained

Cook pasta. In large skillet saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in broth; cook for 1 minute. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through and slightly thickened. I added a handful of chopped fresh basil at the end, and I think it made a big difference. Makes 6 servings.

Caramel Apple Cider

1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 c. apple cider
1/2 c. water

Bring cream and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider and water and raise heat to medium high, heating just until the cider begins to steam, about 4 minutes. Divide among 4 mugs, top each with 2 T. of caramel whipped cream and serve immediately.

Caramel Whipped Cream

1/2 c. heavy cream
1 T. brown sugar

In a small chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the brown sugar until soft peaks form. (I didn't make this because I was using cream that had been in the freezer.)

Pizza Dough: I thought I had already posted this- I mean any recipe John likes has to be good. But apparently not. The dough part is a mix of two recipes, one from my sister-in-law, one from the internet.

1 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
2 T. oil
3 c. flour
2 t. crushed garlic
1 t. oregano
fresh basil leaves, torn

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, oil and spices. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Rise in covered, greased bowl until double. Pre-bake at 375° for 5 minutes before topping. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

I don't always let it rise; it turns out ok if I just put it in the pan, top it and bake. If you do this, you don't have to pre-bake it.

Anyway, this makes two pizzas, so I usually divide it in half after rising, and put half in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap then foil. To use, it thaw overnight in the fridge, then sit on the counter for an hour to warm up, then roll onto the pan and let rise for another 1/2 hour. Two pizzas for the work of one.

Presto Pesto Cream Sauce: Last night I made pesto cream sauce to go with our leftover noodles. John doesn't really like the basil pesto, and I don't really like plain pesto and noodles, so I thought this might be a good idea. It turned out to be really easy and yummy.

I just made a white sauce (2 T. Butter, 1 T. flour 3/4 c. milk) and put some shredded parmesan (1/2 c.) in it (aka Alfredo Sauce), then added an ice cube of pesto. That's it. It was so easy. I also put peas in mine.

[Comments] (3) Close Encounters of the Sharp Kind: I got attacked by a staple today. For anyone who doesn't knnow how clumsy I am, that means I accidentally attacked myself with a staple. I was sitting there talking to Andrea trying to get it out of my finger, and realized I was getting nowhere, so she finally did it.

I made this huge, gorgeous Thai chicken satay stir fry dinner for John. The knife slipped while I was cutting green pepper, and cut my bitten-down nail. Not two minutes later I realized I was trying to grate baby carrots. What kind of a stupid idea was that? I avoided another incident there.

The dinner was delicious. John was so impressed he jumped right up after and did the dishes! I got this recipe off Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals several months ago, but today I randomly had all the ingredients to make it. I picked this one in the first place because I new I'd never have lime juice or cocount milk, key ingredients in other recipes. This is the first 30-Minute Meal I've actually made and it took me about 50 minutes (not including whatever dessert she put with it). Here's the recipe (Susie-ized):

Chicken Satay Stirfry with Orange Jasmine Rice

Zest of 1 Orange
1 cup rice
2 cups water

2 T. oil
1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced (I used green, but I think red would be better)
1 cup matchstick carrot pieces
6 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 c. peas

Satay sauce:
4 rounded T. chunky peanut butter (or creamy with chopped peanuts! I’m so inventive!)
3 T. soy sauce
3 t. honey
1 t. ginger (or 1 inch crushed)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 t. red pepper flakes
juice of ½ orange

¼ c. chopped peanuts
3 T. chopped cilantro

Cook rice and water with orange zest.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add chicken, garlic and onion, stir-fry 3 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and stir-fry 5 minutes more.  Heat all ingredients for sauce together in a small pot over low heat, stirring the sauce until all ingredients are combined.  

[Comments] (1) Potato Salad and Broccoli Salad: When we had some friends over a few weeks ago, one of them brought a very yummy potato salad. John made it for our family party this weekend and I'm loving the leftovers so much I thought I'd share the recipe. I don't like mayo, so I loved that this uses mostly oil and vinegar.<

Chop potatoes and boil just until softened. After draining, marinate potatoes in 1/4c. olive oil, 1/4 c. white vinegar. Let sit for a while.

Stir in: Small amount of mayonnaise, chopped green onions, chopped hard boiled eggs, celery, salt and pepper.

We also made broccoli salad last night for dinner with Tyler and Tasha. Also very highly recommended.

Cut up 1 head broccoli into very small pieces. Add 4 pieces crumbled, cooked bacon, 2/3 c. sunflower seeds, 2/3 c. grated cheese, 1/4 c. minced onion. Dressing: 1/2 c. mayo, 3 T. sugar, 2 T. vinegar.

[Comments] (1) Orange-Mint Marinade:

1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons sesame seeds -- toasted
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

John prepared steak in this marinade for dinner tonight. I think it is supposed to be for chicken, but it was delicious! We used dried mint though, because we are poor.

I cooked the steak while he was at class and also made Cheddar-herb bicuits and garlic mashed potatoes. We also have some kind of a pear with a brown skin (John did the grocery shopping...) It is yummy, and I think it tastes like hyacinths.

Jake Cookies:

1 cup butter
3/4 cup blended walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar

Cream together.

Mix in:
2 eggs
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda

2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1/2 8 oz chocolate bar, grated.

Cook at 375° for 7-8 minutes.

[Comments] (4) : John and I made Fried Ice Cream tonight. Essentially, you scoop the ice cream into balls, roll it in cornflakes and deep fry it. It was yummy, but too much work for every night.

I painted my toenails orange. They have been naked for quite sometime, and I thought it was about time they had some fun. I also painted nine of my fingernails. The tenth hidden under a Band-aid, due to an unfortunate incident this morning involving a tomato. And a knife. My goal in painting my fingernails is to embarrass myself by their obvious and atrocious shortness enough to stop biting them. Hey, it could happen.

Back when I worked in the dishroom, I was always accessorizing with Band-Aids. I went through a box at least every month. Of course, half of that was also biting my nails too much. I really need to stop.

I have been doing a LOT of data entry at work lately. I definitely think my ten-key is improving. The problem is that I already type faster than anyone in my department (we are stuck with this project because of the confidential nature), and that means more of it for me. I like being busy, but I get so bored sitting at my computer typing boring numbers for hours at a time. And to think I was looking for a data entry job. I am so lucky.

[Comments] (5) Pesto!: Last night I made Spinach Pesto a la Aunt Jeuney (although her recipe calls for basil). I'm not sure if this is the recipe I used last time. But for all of Leonard's obsession with pesto, he doesn't have an actual recipe posted anywhere. Here is mine: Some nuts. Some garlic. Some salt. Some lemon juice. Some green stuff. Mix in blender, pouring oil in. This is very hard to make in the blender. I'm not sure I would use a food processor for anything else, though, so I'm not going to buy one. But I might accept a hand-me-down. Anyway, it was quite yummy, John loved it, and there is a ton of it left. I filled three of our little tiny tupperware, and made seven ice cubes. I used MacNut Oil, and Gilroy Garlic. It was very garlicky.

I also made an Eclair Cake. I was on a roll. I love Eclair Cake.

[Comments] (2) Orange Peanut Ginger Glazed Chicken: I thought I would get around to posting this recipe, since we have used it twice now and it's very yummy and easy.

1/3 c. orange juice
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 T. grated ginger
some peanut pieces

Slowly stir orange juice into peanut butter until it is creamy. Add ginger. Dip chicken into sauce and then roll in peanuts (or if you are too lazy to chop up the peanuts, just sprinkle them on top). Bake at 400° for 25-35 minutes, or at 375° for 20 minutes if you have a hyperactive oven like ours. Serve with rice. Yum!

The Official Eclair Cake Recipe:

clair Cake
Crust:					Filling:
 c. margarine				2 small or one large package French vanilla pudding
 t. salt				1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 c. water				3 c. milk
1 c. flour					
4 eggs.

1 package Cool Whip
Chocolate syrup

Heat water, margarine and salt until boiling. Remove from heat and add flour.  Stir until mixture pulls away from sides. Add eggs, one at a time and beating well between each.  Spread on a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Poke bubbles with a fork while baking.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pudding and milk.  Beat until blended; mixture may be lumpy.

Spread filling over cooled crust.  Top with Cool Whip and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

[Comments] (5) : We had grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner (I know I've been lazy this week). John really loved the soup, though. I made it with milk instead of water and added about 1 t. basil. Ta dum! Creamy Tomato Basil Soup! (the easy way).

Ok, just to excuse myself let me say that I've had a terrible headache for two or three days. And my car has refused to start after work. Twice. Yesterday I called AAA, jumped it, had my battery tested, fine. So I didn't worry about it. Today some guy from the maintenance dept. at work and a friend from our ward who works there came out and stood in the rain with me. We decided it was dirty battery cables affected by the sudden drop in temperature, so he cleaned it with a wire brush and the car started on its own. If it happens again, I really am going to the dealer.

So after trying to leave work early with a terrible headache and waiting in the rain for an hour for my car to work two days in a row, I didn't feel much like cooking. Sorry, honey. *whine* But the soup really was good.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels: John asked me very nicely to make him some more chocolate-covered pretzels, so I did. They are so yummy! Here is my recipe: Melt some chocolate in a double-boiler. Dip pretzels in chocolate. Lay on tin foil, shiny side down. Put in freezer. Eat!

Quick Fixes: I wanted to note two easy recipe substitutions I have used recently. The best part is, they were both recipes I already use often and have memorized. The first is the Mornay sauce I used when we had Chicken Cordon Bleu. It's really just cheese sauce with Swiss cheese. (1 T butter -> 1 T flour -> 3/4 c. milk -> 3/4 c. cheese).

The second is the cream cheese frosting I used on the Pumpkin Spice Muffins John and I made this weekend. I had never made cream cheese frosting before, so we looked it up in a cookbook and I discovered it's really buttercream frosting with cream cheese instead of butter. Go figure. 3 oz. cream cheese -> some milk -> some vanilla -> enough powdered sugar to make frosting. I didn't measure, sorry.

Famous Peach Cobbler: This is another recipe from the super-cool recipe collection Mom made all of us for Christmas last year.

For biscuit topper, sift together 1 c. sifted flour, 2 T sugar, 1 1/2 t. baking powder and 1/4 t. salt. cut in 1/4 cup butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. combine 1/4 c. milke and 1 slightly beaten egg. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten. Set aside. Prepare filling. Pour filling into baking dish. Immediately spoon on biscuit topper in 6 mounds. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream. Makes six servings.

Peach filling: Combine 1 1/2 T. cornstarch, 1/4 t, ground mace, 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. water in sauce pan. cook and stir till thickened. Add 4 c. sliced peaches, 1 T. lemon juice, and 1 T. butter. cook till peaches are hot, about 5 minutes.

I just realized I forgot to add the lemon juice and butter to the last two batches. Oh well! I am putting them all in the freezer and giving four to my in-laws with the biscuit instructions written on the bag.

[Comments] (4) : John, where is my plant?

Someone in CS just got back from Europe and brought me a couple pieces of Swiss ciocolata. I feel bad eating chocolate in wrappers with such pretty pictures on it, but I am starving!

I am having yummy Southwestern Chicken Salad for dinner (without the chicken). I made the dressing with sour cream, salsa, and some cumin and chili powder. I bought cumin just for this purpose. I am always wanting to make things and I never have the spices for them. I also need to find some new way to organize the spices in my cupboard because they are taking over. Anyway, my dressing is yummy and my salad is good and I am excited to go home to it.

[Comments] (1) Bacon Ranch Bread Bites: I made some awesome bread from the frozen dough. I read that yeast loses some effectiveness when frozen, so I put in extra, but it still didn't rise very well. But it was very yummy! I used my recipe for 90-minute rolls, rolled it out and cut it into little squares, added bacon, mozzerella and ranch dressing mix and baked it at 3:50 for about 15 minutes (our oven cooks very quickly). You can use any type of dough. Try it!

: On my way home from work I decided I was going to cook dinner. I made another attempt at Scalloped Potatoes. I fried the potatoes in butter, then added a cheese sauce with bacon pieces stirred in, and some sour cream. It was actually really good. I think part of it was that I fried the potatoes the way Mom did the zucchini, so they got a little burnt.

Long Weekend: Well, we're home, and even though it should feel earlier than the time thinks it is, I'm exhausted. we had a lot of fun and a lot of food. I went to a baby shower, a double birthday party and an Easter Egg Hunt (which John and I got to participate in). Not to mention all the tickle fights, games of tag and red light/ green light, etc that go on with all those kiddlets around.

Here is my yummy Beef Stroganoff easy version recipe:

1 lb. ground beef
Brown beef and remove from pan.

3 T butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb. fresh sliced mushrooms
Cook in butter until onion is golden.

Add and stir until smooth:
3 T flour
1 T ketchup
1/2 t. salt
1/8 pepper

Gradually add 1 can beef broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low 5 minutes. Add 1/4 t. dill and 1 1/2 c. sour cream (I don't use that much).  Stir. Add beef. Simmer just until hot.

[Comments] (2) Even More Yummy Recipes: I made the best dinner ever tonight. I love this great curry we get at this Thai restaurant in town. Little did I know that when I got a recipe for coconut curry sauce on Food 911 the other day I would be making something just as yummy!

Here is the Susie-fied version, extended from a sauce into a delicious meal! I only used about half of the sauce to feed me and John. Remember to shake and stir your coconut milk before using... trust me on this one.

Coconut Curry Chicken
¼ c. coconut
1 T curry powder
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. cashews

Mix with nifty hand blender.

Everything Else
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, diced
chicken, cubed
1 c. peas

Boil potatoes until tender.  Cook onion in olive oil.  Add chicken.  When chicken is cooked, add sauce, peas and potatoes.  Cover and boil for a while.  Serve over rice.

I don't understand why recipes call for 1 cup or 2 cups of something that comes in a 14 oz can. What do you do with the extra? We have plenty of room in our fridge so I kept it. For now.

[Comments] (5) More Yummy Recipes from Susie's Kitchen: Tonight, on the spur of the moment and realizing that I had carrots, I cooked some carrots. John wanted me to "cook them in a buttery sauce!" but I didn't know how to make said "buttery sauce". Actually, I didn't know how to cook carrots at all. At this point I remembered that I own an actual cookbook. Leonard bought it for me at the used bookstore. So I used it to make "Brown-Sugar-Glazed Carrots".

Cook carrots in water. Drain. Mix butter and brown sugar in pot. Add carrots. Yum.

John only likes cooked vegetables so I am learning.

: The pile of gifts for our Angel Tree kids is piling up in our living room. A couple in our ward brought by a very generous donation we'll be able to use to fill in all the blanks, maybe even buy things for another kid.

I tried a new, and very simple, recipe today. Chicken, salsa and corn, wrapped in tin foil and baked. Cheese and sour cream on top. It was yummy and very easy.

[Comments] (6) A recipe for Alyson: I have never tried falafel because I've made before. When I worked at the Cannon center I made it probably three times. Two cans (#9) of chickpeas, a cup of flour, 1 bunch of parsley (actually, cilantro, I think) and a giant glop (1/3 cup?) of bottled garlic in water. Stick it all in the chopper-upper and fry into pancakes. Yeah, so I've never tried it.

I made potato soup today. It was a little bland; I think I put too much water, too. Disappointing, because I spent a lot of time on it. We even cut the vegetables up last night so we wouldn't be eating really late tonight.

See, I always write about cooking. Rachel is giving me French lessons (instead of writing her paper) and I have sniffle-ies.

: John made sweet and sour chicken for dinner tonight. Real, genuine Chinese kind. It was so yummy! He deep-fried the chicken in cornstarch, and cooked it with real sweet and sour sauce, onions, green peppers and pineapple. Yummy!

: Yesterday there was a very large spider in the closet and Sarah killed it for me. I was very calm about the whole thing. Of course Sarah didn't make fun of me or throw it in my face, which made being calm much easier.

To do today: Study for Zoology. Fill out International Volunteers general section final study sheet. Print MFHD paper #2. Earn $30. Set up a time to prepare group presentation for TR.

I had the best sandwich last night. Cami and I went grocery shopping and then I made and ate my sandwich during FHE, raving about it the entire time: whole wheat bread, turkey, colby jack cheese, leaf lettuce, tomatoes (the pretty kind that come in plastic boxes), and alfalfa sprouts. mmm it was so good! I am having another one for lunch.


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