Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Chili

Ok, so here is my last post of the year. A while ago, my son wanted me to make chili the way our pastor makes it. I asked him for the recipe and he in turn wrote me a letter describing how he made his chili. Armed with the letter and my two kids, I set off in search of ingredients for his chili.

His recipe is different from mine; where he doesn’t use many seasonings, I tend to use quite a few. He puts his beans in the chili in the beginning, and I put mine in at the end. He uses tomato sauce, and I use canned tomatoes that I chop up. I also use a combination of ground beef and sausage; Pastor uses only ground beef.

I cooked the chili following his recipe for the most part; I did make a couple of changes. I did use tomatoes instead of sauce and I used a combination of sausage and beef. I kept the seasonings the same and used the secret ingredient the recipe called for. I need to ask and make sure that I can post his recipe on my blog. If he lets me, I will be sure to post it.

My son was a totally happy camper – he loved, loved the chili! Thanks, Pastor, for giving me your chili recipe – it will be made often in our house – and you are right, it is very easy to make.

Happy New Year to everyone – I hope 2011 brings much joy and happiness for you and your families.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Italian Sloppy Joes - my family Christmas Dinner

While the holiday was very much fun for the boys, I unfortunately came down with a stomach virus on Christmas Eve. I wasn’t feeling the greatest in the morning, but by the afternoon, I was feeling much worse. I was supposed to bring two appetizers to my in-law’s house, but I didn’t even have the energy to make anything. That made me feel really bad, as my friend ran by the store for me to get a couple of ingredients that I needed.

I still went to my in-laws for Christmas Eve – my kids really wanted me to go, but I didn’t move from the couch, and we were home kind of early. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep, because the boys were just so excited about Christmas, they came into our room three different times – 3:25, 4:25, and then at 7:00. My alarm went off at 5:30. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to settle down for a long winter’s nap……

Christmas day was a quiet affair; I spent a large portion of it on the couch. I started to feel better – more like myself in the afternoon, and was able to make my appetizer for dinner.

Italian sloppy Joes were on the menu, and they won rave reviews from the entire family. I have put them on the list for a possible Super Bowl food item. There were a few changes I made in the recipe. Instead of the tomato sauce it called for, I used canned tomatoes and pureed them. Hubby said he liked it with the tomatoes vs. the sauce. It was a thinner Joe, but he liked how the sauce soaked into the bread. I also didn’t have fresh parsley; I just used some dried that I had on hand.

The sloppy Joes had a mild Italian flavor, but could be kicked up a notch with some pepper flakes. Next time, I will add more fennel and maybe more oregano.

Have a great evening and a Happy Holiday season! Talk to you soon!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I had a craving for ginger cookies, but I can’t stand the crunchy hard cookies. So off I went on a mission for soft ginger cookies. I happened across a blog named Flour on My Face. She had a recipe for Big Soft Ginger Cookies. They looked good, and I had the ingredients, so I thought I would give them a try.

My little one was talking to me as I was mixing the cookie batter, so I didn’t notice until it was too late, that I put in 1/3 cup of molasses instead of the ¼ cup it called for. I decided to go ahead with the recipe, fearing the worst. I was instead, pleasantly surprised by how well they turned out.

My oldest loved them. He ate at least three. I thought they were really good too. I also really liked the extra molasses. The cookies were soft and yummy, full of gingery holiday flavor. I will definitely make these again. Thanks, Flour on My Face, for the wonderful cookie recipe!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cocido - A Rachael Ray Recipe

I did something today I don’t normally do. I cooked a Rachael Ray recipe. I usually don’t like her flavor combinations, but the other day, I watched her make a “stoup” that actually looked really good. Rachael made a Cocido – a Spanish, chickpea based stew that usually simmers all day.

What really attracted me was the amount of meat in the soup. The recipe called for three kinds of meat – right up my husband’s alley. I have to say, though, that I don’t really consider this a 30-minute meal. I think it is more like a 45-50 minute meal, if you are working quickly. There is a lot of prep, cutting chicken, veggies, making meatballs, etc. If you are an experienced cook, and can work quickly, maybe 45 minutes, but if you are slow on prep, it will take much longer.

I did make a couple of changes to the recipe. I added a full 2 quarts of stock instead of the 6 cups the recipe called for. I was glad I did, as I really liked the broth. I also just used pork for the meatballs; I don’t usually eat veal, and I didn’t have any ground beef available.

While Hubby isn’t much of a soup eater, he did like this soup. The meatballs had cinnamon, paprika, and nutmeg, which added a different flavor to the meal. I thought that it paired very well with the parsley, tomatoes, garlic and lemon zest that garnished the stoup.

I am looking forward to seeing what the leftovers bring flavorwise. We will see. Have a good evening. Talk to you soon!!

The Best Banana Bread

My kids love Amish Friendship bread. That is the only bread I can make for them that they both like. Unfortunately, I don’t often have starters for that bread. In fact, I haven’t had a starter for Friendship bread in a couple of years.

I have tried to make other breads that the boys will like as much as the Friendship bread, but I haven’t had any luck…..until I got this banana bread recipe from one of my coworkers.

The boys loved, loved, loved the bread! It was moist and flavorful – they totally ate it up!! I was so excited they liked the banana bread. The woman who shared her recipe with me is a wonderful cook. While I try to not eat too many sweets, when I know she is baking, I can’t help it. I have to try whatever she makes.

Here is the recipe – she gave me permission to share on my blog. I hope you enjoy!

Banana bread – do not double

1 ¾ cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

4 ripe bananas

½ cup vegetable oil – canola oil was recommended

¼ cup + 1 tbsp buttermilk – (use a little cider vinegar with milk to make buttermilk)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts – optional

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

Combine eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix with mixer until well blended. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in nuts.

Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or put into muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.

Serve and enjoy! I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as my family and my coworkers enjoy them! Happy baking!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend was very busy. Hubby and I hosted Thanksgiving. I started working on the meal Wednesday night – after school and prepped as much as I could. I really feel that this made for a much easier day on Thursday. All of Hubby’s family came over for a late lunch.

This year I made a fresh turkey – for the first time. I thought it turned out well. My only complaint would be that the breast meat was a little dry. The recipe that I used, from Martha Stewart, is one that I have used for the past three or four years. The only difference, other than the freshness of the turkey, was that I cooked the turkey in the oven rather than in the electric roaster I had always previously used.

The recipe called for a shallow roaster with no lid. The breast was covered with cheesecloth, which was supposed to keep the breast moist. I think the steam of the electric roaster helped keep the meat moist. Next year I am still going to cook the turkey in the oven, but I will most definitely use my roaster lid, so that I can recreate that steamed effect.

In addition to the turkey, I made made courtesy of Tyler Florence, cranberry sauce, sage stuffing, gravy, asparagus, and salad. That dinner is one of my favorites every year. I love all the starchy foods and that goes with them.

Friday was an interesting day. The boys and I went to Parks Airport and saw Santa get in a helicopter and go visit kids. The boys were able to get in a copter and check it out. They also got to see a copter take off. I must say that helicopters are the flimsiest looking things I have ever seen. It was really neat for the boys to experience Santa that way.

Saturday brought another group dinner – Italian this time. The food was absolutely terrific. We had so many wonderful dishes to choose from. I love to get together with friends and celebrate friendship over food. In addition to the dishes I made, we had brussel sprouts with pancetta; pasta with sausage, fresh mozzarella, and artichokes; a chicken dish that was cooked in a sauce that had wonderful warm flavors, whose name I don’t remember; a fresh fruit dessert; and a wonderful antipasto platter.

I tried two different dishes this time; Italian meatballs and fried risotto balls. While the risotto was a labor intensive, the meatballs were pretty easy. I had to cook the risotto and let it cool for a while. Then, I had to roll the risotto into balls and dredge the balls in breadcrumbs. After that I had to deep-fry them. Yummy!!! I know I won’t make them often, but they were very good.

I also made Italian meatballs. I had the choice of using beef or pork – I chose pork. I think that really added an extra something special to the meatballs. Cooked in a tomato sauce, the meatballs were very moist and quite flavorful. The ricotta and the fresh herbs also added warm inviting flavors to the meatballs. With the tomato sauce, all heated up, the meatballs became very tender and soaked up some of the tomato flavor. It was a wonderful Italian comfort food.
It was a lovely meal – can’t wait to get together to cook again. We all have such a good time. The holidays are a wonderful time – one of my favorite times of the year. It was nice this year to celebrate not only with family, but also with friends. It put a nice end to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Italian Beef.....Soup!

I love soup! In the winter, soup is my go to for a meal. Last week, I made Italian beef for my husband and kids. While I was cleaning up, I tried the broth – yummy. That got me thinking…..what if I made Italian Beef Soup. So, last night, I did, and if I do say so myself, it turned out really well.

For my meat, I used arm steaks – that is an arm roast that the butcher cut into steaks for me.

1 roast – whatever you use for Italian beef

1 large leek, thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, diced small

2 carrots, diced small

3 large cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a large stock pot

Italian beef seasonings – I use Louis – follow directions for Italian beef

½ jar pepperoncini.

9 oz. noodles – your choice – I used a whole grain egg noodle

shredded cheese – your choice. I used provel. Provolone would be a great choice too.

Season beef on all sides with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in large stock pot and remove. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil in same pot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Add Italian beef seasonings and combine with water – enough so that seasonings dissolve. Add roast back to pot and fill with water to cover roast. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer. Add pepperoncini when there is about 30 minutes of cooking time left. Cook until meat is tender enough to shred.

Remove meat, cool and shred with a fork. Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Add shredded meat and pasta to soup. Stir and serve with shredded cheese

What a great soup. Full of Italian beef flavor – spicy and warm – a perfect soup on a cold winter day. Next time you are in the mood for soup, try this. You will like it!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seared Shrimp Salad and Sauteed Squid

So, today I watched Cooking Channel – I saw Emeril’s show – something about fast food. Anyway, he made BBQ shrimp and a seared shrimp salad. Since I had almost all the ingredients for the shrimp salad, I decided to try that for part of my dinner.

The recipe called for Andouille sausage, but all I had was Chorizo sausage, so I used that instead. I thought it turned out fairly well – the dressing’s base was the sausage, so it was a little greasy. I also opted to not make croutons, and I used tortilla strips that I had on hand instead. They aren’t in the picture, but we sprinkled them on.

I also made squid steaks – yes there are squid out there that are big enough for steak meat. I love calamari, but haven’t been able to find calamari rings at the store lately. They have been out for the past three weeks. They had squid steaks, so I thought I might try them. I think - I just looked on line again - that I will try this recipe next time. I didn't tenderize my steaks, and I didn't soak them in milk. I did saute them in hot oil, though.

All I did was marinate the squid in salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, minced garlic, and olive oil. i then sautéed them in olive oil for about three minutes per side and served them on a bed of lettuce.

While the flavor was very good, they were a teeny bit rubbery – comes with the territory, I have had much rubberier and chewier calamari. I think I will slice up the leftovers and serve them in a salad. I might look at some more recipes on line and see if some other recipe catches my eye. Otherwise, I will just wait for the rings to come in.

Have a great evening – see you real soon!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poached Egg and Bacon Salad

The other day, I took the boys to the bookstore to reward them for the higher reading levels they both achieved. While I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anymore cookbooks, I happened to see William’s Sonoma Cooking Essentials. Getting the Most Out of Your Stove-Top, Oven, and Grill. I have to say that I love this cookbook. The recipes are simple, they use fresh ingredients, and they look marvelous.

I made the Poached Egg and Bacon salad for dinner the other night. While I didn’t use the lettuces that the recipe called for, I thought that Arugula and fresh greens would be a strong enough lettuce to stand up to the eggs.

I love the way the egg yolk becomes part of the dressing – yum! I do have to say, though, that earlier this summer, I watched an episode of Ten Dollar Dinners, where the host talked about this recipe – I assumed through her conversation, that she made up the recipe. Imagine my disappointment when I saw this in a cookbook. It makes me wonder just how many of their recipes are really their own.

Anyway, this is a very simple salad that compliments almost any dinner. Try it some night! You will want to make it again. Be sure to cook your eggs in a non-stick pan, though.

Poached Egg and Bacon Salad

2 heads escarole

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 slices bacon chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

4 eggs

Prepare the greens. Remove the outer dark leaves from each head of escarole. Separate the inner pale yellow leaves. Tear into bite sized pieces.

Make the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Add to the lettuce, but do not mix.

Cook the bacon. In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté the bacon until crisp 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the bacon pieces to the bowl, toss the salad and arrange on plates.

Poach the eggs. Pour water to a depth of 2 inches into a large sauté pan or deep frying pan and add the lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Break 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold the bowl so it just touches the simmering water and slide the egg into the water. Quickly repeat with the remaining eggs, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Cook until the whites are set and the yolks are glazed over but still soft, 3-5 minutes.

Finish the dish. Using a slotted spoon, lift each egg from the simmering water, letting the excess water drain into the pan. Trim any ragged edges of egg white with kitchen scissors. Top each salad with a poached egg, sprinkle with pepper and serve at once.

Spicy Bean with Bacon Soup

Trying to eat a healthy diet, while driving kids different places, keeping up a house, and working a full time job can be a challenge. I try to cook a couple of entrees on Saturdays or Sundays. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

This past weekend was Halloween. On Sunday, after I took the boys trick or treating on our street, I made Spicy Bean with Bacon soup. The recipe was given to me by a friend. She found it on Allrecipes.com It was a bit different in that the recipe called for jalapenos and cilantro. It was a terrific fresh soup – the cilantro added such a nice touch – cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. The jalapenos added that extra touch of heat for those who like a little bit of spice in their meals.

I do have to say that this recipe made a huge batch of soup. Calling for two pounds of beans should be a major clue to the amount of soup that it makes. My only change to the recipe would be to soak the beans overnight, rather than the four hours the recipe calls for.

I am looking for more recipes that make a larger quantity of food – maybe not this large – but enough that leftovers are no problem.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mexican Chicken Casserole

I know that I haven’t posted in a while. What with school, the kids’ activities, and life in general, something has to give. I did, however, want to share with you this really easy and delicious recipe I made tonight.

At my school, the Foods II class has a program called “Foods II Go.” They take orders for a meal from teachers and other students, and then they cook the meal for those who ordered it. The meal that I just ordered from them was so good I just had to have the recipes. The Foods teacher was more than happy to share them with me, so I am going to share with you! Enjoy!

This Mexican Chicken Casserole is one of the easiest dinners I have put together. The flavors all blend together very well. I think if you want though, that you could add more heat to the recipe with jalapenos or green chilies. I kept it mild for the kids – they loved it by the way.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

1 lb boneless chicken breast (Pork chops really work great for this recipe too)

3 cups Mexican rice, prepared

1 15 oz can Mexican refried beans

1 ½ cup taco cheddar cheese

Spray bottom of 8x8 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Spread refried beans over bottom. Place trimmed chicken on beans. (I sliced my chicken to make it easier for the kids)

Cover with the prepared rice. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 until chicken is done – about 40 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, uncover, add cheese to cover the top and continue baking. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

We had this with a salad and had leftovers. It was awesome!! Talk soon!