Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Serves: 6

1 lb. bacon, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3/4 c. celery, diced
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken broth
Generous salt & pepper, to taste
4 c. whipping cream *(See tips if you have dairy allergies)
Optional garnishes: chopped chives, bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese

In a large stockpot over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving half for garnish. Drain grease leaving just enough in the pot to cover the bottom. In bacon fat, cook onions, carrots, and celery until the onions are translucent. Add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in flour and stir constantly over low heat until the flour is cooked and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken broth and half of the bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Mash some of the potatoes for thicker, creamier texture. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust thickness by adding water or stock. Soup should have a creamy consistency. Season to taste, and garnish with toppings.

Check my coupon resources page to save money when you make this recipe!

Tips: So I too have become a Pinterest fanatic and my "Recipes to Try" board is my largest board by far. I found this soup there and just had to put it into our family's menu right away. It did not disappoint. I actually used non-dairy creamer instead of whipping cream because I have dairy allergies in my family and it still came out great. Do be sure you have your favorite garnishes available when you serve this soup because it really brings it all together.

Recipe from Disney via Pinterest

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Makes: 9-12 brownies
(depending on the size of your cookie cutter)

*I have halved these measures from the original recipe in order to fit it in a 9x13 pan. This does make for some interesting measurements so just do the best you can.

Red Velvet Layer:
1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. + 2 T. sugar
4 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 eggs (See tips)
1/2 c. oil
2 T. milk, divided
3 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. white vinegar

Cheesecake Layer:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. + 2 T. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil, 1 tablespoon milk, vanilla, food coloring and vinegar. Combine the dry and wet ingredients, until completely combined. Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and place it in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoons of milk. Pour the remaining batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Using a spatula, smooth out the batter to reach all the edges.

In a medium bowl, place cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined and smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet layer and smooth mixture till it reaches all the edges. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining red velvet batter (that you mixed with milk) onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Drag the tip of a knife through the red velvet and the cheesecake layers to create swirls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or just until the center is set and no longer jiggles. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Use a medium sized heart cookie cutter to create the perfect Valentine's Day treat!

Check my coupon resources page to save money when you make this recipe!

Tips: These brownies were a bit of work, but the result was so cute it made it all worth it! Here are a couple suggestions: To half an egg, I crack the egg then let part of the white fall into the bowl. With the edge of the shelf, I break the yolk in half and put it into the bowl also. Granted this isn't a foolproof method but it's the best I could come up with to half a recipe with 3 eggs. Also, I put parchment paper down in the baking dish which made it easier to bring the brownies out and use the cookie cutter once it was cooled.

I can see these also being made for other holidays with different food coloring. (True, that would technically not be red velvet but the taste would be the same.) Green with a shamrock cookie cutter for St. Patrick's day, pink with an Easter egg cookie cutter for Easter, blue and red with a star cookie cutter for 4th of July, the possibilities are endless.

If you do use the heart cookie cutter, you will obviously have some scrap pieces leftover. If you can keep your kids or husband from eating them right away, check out the recipe for the Red Velvet Cheesecake Milkshake!

Recipe from The Novice Chef via Pinterest

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hashbrown Bake

Serves: 8-10

1 bag (2 lbs.) frozen, shredded hash browns
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 T. minced onion

1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. cracker crumbs, crushed

Mix all ingredients, except topping, in a large bowl. Place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot.

Check my coupon resources page to save money when you make this recipe!

Tips: It takes a little bit of arm strength to mix all these ingredients together so make sure to use a large bowl. I mixed this up the night before, put it in the 9 x 13 dish, stuck it in the fridge overnight and baked it in the morning. Came out great! So if you're making this as part of breakfast there's no need to have to get up early to put it together. Just make sure you take your dish (especially if it's glass) out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to put it in the oven. Also, any kind of cracker can be used but the best is a light, buttery cracker such as Ritz or Town House.

Recipe by Stacy having adapted it from several recipes in my MOPS compilation cookbook

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oven-Fried Pork Chops

Serves: 4

3 T. butter, melted
1 egg
2 T. water
1 C. cornbread stuffing mix
4 pork chops

Place butter in 13 x 9 baking dish. Mix egg and water together in a shallow bowl; beat until combined. Dip pork chops in egg mixture; then in stuffing mix to coat. Place chops on top of melted butter in baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, turn and bake 10-15 minutes more or until browned.

Check my coupon resources page to save money when you make this recipe!

Tips: These pork chops were easy to put together with a nice crisp coating without the deep-frying. My husband has been avoiding gluten so I made these with some gluten-free cornbread that we had made the night before. I crumbled the cornbread and added sage, parsley, salt, pepper and onion powder. Then I just used this in place of the stuffing mix. We served the pork chops with mashed potatoes and a nice green salad. Easy prep dinner and you're done!

Recipe from The Four Ingredient Cookbook

Monday, May 16, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Makes: 1 large & 1 small loaf

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
3 to 4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk (see tips)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add bananas, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; mix well. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips; pour into lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and one small loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Check my coupon resources page to save money when you make this recipe!

Tips: I love different banana bread recipes and this one from the Hawaiian cookbook intrigued me. The chocolate chips add just an extra touch of sweetness. I'm hoping I can convince my kids that this is a special treat and substitute it for cookies or ice cream at dessert time. If you don't keep buttermilk on hand, just put 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar in a measuring cup then fill with milk to the 1/2 cup line. If this isn't quite what you're looking for, check out Blueberry Banana Bread or my other Banana Bread recipe which has yogurt in it.

Recipe from From Hawaii's Kitchen: Homemade Gifts of Sweets & Treats