Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Dip

This past weekend I was part of a crafting Saturday - which I was really excited to go to, and got to have my cousin, Radelle with me! How fun is that!

One of the classes I signed up for was a popcorn seasoning and ice cream topping class - I really don't sit down and eat a ice cream or popcorn very often, but I always have to have something on it when I do - I knew this was the perfect class. What I was not quite prepared for was the awesome recipes we got for a whole scad of items. This apple dip I just made for a party I had last night and seriously - it is TO DIE FOR! I love apples anyways and find they often hit the spot when a late night craving starts. And having this dip now - despite it not being healthy in ANY way...mmm, I think I could eat it by the spoonful! I won't....but I could ;)

Apple Dip

1 pkg cream cheese (8oz)
1 tsp vanilla (I only used 1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup non-packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup skor bits or 1 cup chopped pecans (DEFINITELY go with the skor bits!)

Refrigerate for 2 hours.


Monday, November 16, 2009

I love Barley...

I like the convenience of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup packs....I don't like the high salt and msg content, but I make it anyways. LOL My kids DEVOUR it. So a while back (a year ago or more) I started making it with veggies...I boil a bunch of chopped veggies (onions, carrots, celery, potatoes sometimes, and more recently leeks) for about 30 minutes and then add the soup mix. At least this way I feel like there is some good stuff in it.

This past week, however I was sick....and I didn't want to eat the noodles....So instead I made a vegetable stock (boiling the veggies chunks for 30 minutes or more) - no potatoes this time - and added some barley instead. One thing to remember though is that Barley soaks up quite a bit of water so be sure to compensate accordingly. I added a few tsp of chicken broth and away I went. I'm looking to buy big tubs of vegetable broth but haven't found the knorr stuff here yet.

anyways - Brent had some for dinner that night and said partway through,  "You know, I could eat soup like this every night" - To which I replied, "Good because I plan to make a ton of it this winter!" LOL...Turns out - he loves barley like I love barley. Delicious!!!

A quick and easy meal that you are bound to have most of the ingredients for. Pick up some barley on your next grocery trip (it's sooo cheap) and keep it on hand just in case. I actually added some to the lipton soup for the kids just to give something extra to it. They didn't even notice!!!


Monday, November 2, 2009

My new Favorite Vegetarian Recipe

This recipe comes from my sister in law, Sarah.  Last time she was here to visit she brought her recipes (THANKS!) and this was one she said is among her favorites. Now I know why!

Risotto with Mushrooms and Dried Tomatoes

2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken stock (I made my own instead of buying pre-made - you could use Veg broth too if you wanted..oh and I did 3 cups)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped (I used 1 leek as I couldn't find any shallots)
1 cup Arborio rice (I found a small bag at Wal mart for $2.77 - best price I'd seen so far...Unico brand)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 oz brown or white button mushrooms, sliced (I used white...about 5 mushrooms)
1/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (I don't even like tomatoes - but I would not leave these out...delish)
salt and fresh pepper
1/4 cup grated parm (I didn' use)
minced fresh basil (I didn't use)

boil stock, reduce and simmer. In another saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium-low heat, add shallots (leek in my case) and cook until translucent. Add rice (yes dry) and cook, stir until opaque (3-4 minutes). Add 1/2 cup stock and lemon zest - cook until stock is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup stock, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cook - stirring until absorbed. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of stock 2 more times (I used all the stock I had made). Continue until rice is al dente in center and creamy on the outside. Season with salt and pepper (I never add salt and added just a small amount of pepper). Sprinkle with Cheese and Basil (didn't have either of these so did not add them).

This was seriously SO fact I served my husband first as he was off to do some work on a friend's garage and before I even had the chance to check with him on how it was he called to me saying, "Hun, this is GREAT!" - He LOVED it! I absolutely LOVE making meals he devours - proud wife moment for sure! :D

**Note: This would be a really easy dish to add chunks of chicken to if you wanted....though it really doesn't need it.**

I served this with two side dishes - although Brent only likes one of them. I make sweet potatoes purely for myself. You can find the recipe HERE.
I also made some Green Beans from the new Spatulatta cookbook I bought. It's got recipes tried and tested (and made) by kids which I think is great - I was also impressed there was a vegetarian section. I know Brent loves green beans and since we both like garlic as well, I figured this dish was a sure hit. I was right!

Green Beans with Garlic

1 pound green beans, washed with ends trimmed
1/4 cup water
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp margarine or olive oil

Place trimmed beans in a microwave safe bowl. Add water and cover, microwaving on high until just tender - about 5 minutes. While the beans are cooking, mince the garlic. Melt the butter or oil (I admit, I used butter for more flavor) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about 2-3 minutes - or until you smell the delicious garlic. When the beans are ready, remove them from the microwave (be careful, the dish will be HOT!) and put them in the skillet - pour out any excess water first. Stir the beans gently until they are coated with the garlic butter/oil. Mmmmmm!

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: 5 STARS (both the risotto and the green beans...and the sweet potatoes for me!)