August: Potlucks!

August Theme: Potlucks. What do you take with you?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perfect Brown Rice

Here is the promised recipe I mentioned a while ago. It really does make perfect brown rice. It works to use in other recipes, or just alone (you can add spices if you want also)

3 cups brown rice (not instant)
2 eggs
4 cups of water
1 can (about 2 cups) chicken broth (or you can just use 6 cups water, but the chicken broth adds more flavor)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute brown rice with 2 eggs, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture is dry. Pour into 9 X 13 baking dish. Add water, chicken broth, and oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Do not stir! Do not poke! Do not disturb! Just look at rice after 45 minutes and cover with foil at that time. Cook for about another 30 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baked potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk (the recipe says whole or 2%, but I used fat free and it was fine)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 green onions, chopped
12 slices bacon, fried and crumbled (I save time and use the already cooked bacon pieces you can buy in a bag)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream

Cut potatoes (already baked) in half, scoop out pulp, and put in bowl. Melt butter in large pot, add flour, and gradually stir in milk. Make sure you keep stirring it and don't have the heat too high or else it will burn. Continue to stir until smooth, thickened, and bubbly. Stir in potato pulp, salt, pepper, and 3/4 of onions, bacon, and cheese. Cook until heated through. Stir in sour cream. When serving, top with remaining onions, bacon, and cheese.

Monday, January 26, 2009

French Vanilla Frosting

This is the recipe I used for the frosting that I had with the chocolate cake.

1 c. milk3 tbsp. flour
Make a white sauce of above. It will be very thick. Boil for 1 minute while whisking rapidly to mix. Cool completely (I didn't and it was fine)

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter. Add sugar and vanilla. Combine white sauce and beat at high speed on food mixer (or with a whisk) for about 5 minutes.

It was still pretty runny after it cooled, so I added quite a bit of flour to thicken it.

This was good enough to eat alone (and I did).

Zuppa Toscana (like Olive Garden's)

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage - crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked bacon - chopped
1 qt. water
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups)chicken broth
2 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.

Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mashed Potato Candy

When I moved to Idaho to attend college, my friend bought this cookbook for me as a joke. It was especially funny because I didn't know how to cook AT ALL. Wow, how times change. :) This recipe is from the book. If you like Mounds candy bars, you will LOVE these!

1/4 cup hot mashed potatoes
1 tsp. butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
chocolate chips, melted

Mix potato and butter in a bowl; add sugar gradually, working it into potato. Add vanilla, salt and coconut, mixing with hands, if necessary. *Press mixture into a buttered 8x8 inch pan. Spread top with melted chocolate. Chill and cut into bars.

*I followed the directions the first time, but when I make this again, I think I would rather roll them into balls or make them into patties and then dip them in chocolate. It would be a little bit more time consuming, but the bars weren't very pretty. Plus if they were dipped, there would be more chocolate per bite. And I'm ALL about that!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Potato Pancakes

This is a really easy version. It makes a great breakfast or side dish.

1 T butter
3-5 potatoes, grated
chopped onion (optional)
1 egg
1/4-1/2 c pancake mix or flour
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to taste

Melt butter in a pan. Mix the ingredients until they form a batter. Spread a tablespoon of batter for each pancake and brown on both sides. Serve with butter, sour cream, or applesauce. I think you can do this with zucchini too, although I have never tried it.

Baked Potato Soup

I tried this recipe for the first time last night, and I don't know what they are thinking--it was not a soup. But it was yummy. Next time I'm going to add a lot more liquid (chicken broth or milk), not just to make it really a soup, but also because the potatoes took forever to cook without enough liquid. Maybe keeping the lid on while they cook would help too.

Baked Potato Soup

¼ c butter
½ onion
2 T flour
1 can chicken broth
4 potatoes, cubed
½ t salt
½ t pepper
½ t garlic salt
Dash Tabasco sauce
1 c sour cream

Melt butter in a pot, sauté onions, sprinkle in flour—cook about 5 minutes.
Gradually add in the chicken broth. Stir in potatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Serve with chopped green onions, crumbled bacon, and grated cheddar.

Chocolate Potato Cake

I had this for breakfast today. :)

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour (I just used regular flour)
1 tsp. baking flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes (probably shouldn't use instant: different consistency)
1 cup buttermilk (put 1T white vinegar or lemon juice in a 1c. measure, then fill the rest with milk)

Melt chocolate with the vanilla, cool slightly. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the eggs one by one. Add the chocolate and mashed potatoes. Beat in the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk. Pour into a greased 13x9inch pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes (or bake in 2 round 9 inch pans for 30-35 minutes.) Cool before frosting.

Perogi Potato Casserole

15 lasagna noodles
2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
sour cream, optional

Preparation:Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package; drain. Line bottom of 9x13x2-inch pan with noodles. In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder together. Spread over noodles. Cover with another layer of noodles.
In same bowl, mix cheddar cheese with potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and pepper. Spread over noodles. Cover with another layer of noodles.

Melt butter in pan. Saute onion until transparent and soft. Pour over noodles. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes in 350° oven. Let perogi casserole stand 10 minutes before serving. Perogi Casserole Serves 4

(I only used 12 lasagna noodles, and 1/2 cup of butter. Also, I added some chives in with the mashed potatoes)

Mashed Potatoes Supreme

Mashed Potatoes Supreme
3 lbs medium red potatoes, quartered
1 package (8 oz each) cream cheese, cubed
½ cup butter, cubed
½ cup half-and-half cream or milk
1 medium green pepper, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup cooked ham, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
· Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
· In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes. Add the cream cheese, butter and cream; beat until blended. Stir in the green peppers, onions, ham, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
· Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Beef Taco Bake

I just made this for dinner tonight and I am already craving it again. I scaled down the original recipe so it would be just the right amount for Paul and I. This is like a real taco from Puerto Vallarta meets enchilada from Cabo meets nachos from Cancun. Okay, so I don't know my authentic mexican flavor histories very well, but I do know these are really awesome taco-enchilada-nachos! You must try them soon! I of course forgot to take a picture, but when I make it again, I'll add one then.

Makes 4

1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, juice reserved
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
2 T. hot sauce, or to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 lb. ground beef
3-4 t. taco seasoning
4 taco shells
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 avocado
sour cream
extra taco or hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Combine half of tomatoes (without juice), most of beans, hot sauce, and cilantro in bowl. Spread evenly in baking dish. (I actually baked mine in a bread pan.) Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.
2. cook beef in skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Pour off fat, then stir in taco seasoning, remaining tomatoes and reserved tomato juice. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened and nearly dry, about 5 minutes.
3. Spoon 1 T.+ cheese into each taco shell and top with beef mixture. Arrange tacos standing up in the bean mixture, cover with foil and bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions.
4. Scoop out onto pasta bowl, top with dollops of sour cream, chopped avocado, and shots of hot sauce. When done with the first one, enjoy the second!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Cake

If you like peanut butter, you will like this. It's more of a snack cake than a dessert cake: not really rich. But addicting.

Peanut Butter Cake

Combine in a small bowl:
½ c flour
½ c brown sugar
¼ c peanut butter
2 T melted butter
Set aside.

Cream ½ c peanut butter and ¼ c shortening. Slowly beat in 1 cup brown sugar and 2 eggs.
Combine 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp baking soda. Mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with 1 cup milk to the peanut butter mixture, beating all the time.
Spread batter in a greased 9x13, and sprinkle with the crumbly mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Drizzle with icing, if desired.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snowman Cupcakes

My little sister, Bethany, got this idea from a Taste of Home magzine. I had to take a picture because I thought they were so cute! I think the ones in the magazine had little hats, but I thought this would be a cute idea for neighbor treats! She used gum drops for the nose, and she wanted those mini chocolate chips for the mouth but couldn't find them. I thought they turned out great though.
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