Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

I made this for dinner tonight. It was yummy.

Yields: 2 2 cup servings


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion finely diced
1 small sweet potato peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile (see Note)
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 1/3 cups water
1 15-ounce can black beans rinsed
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and potato and cook, stirring often, until the onion is slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 374 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 67 g carbohydrate; 14 g protein; 15 g fiber; 697 mg sodium; 603 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (410% daily value), Vitamin C (45% dv), Iron (30% dv), Potassium (17% dv).

Minestrone Soup

Today was a cold day, and I was craving soup. However, I was low on groceries. I made minestrone with what was in the back of the refrigerator produce bin---and it turned out to be delicious.

pasta pot full of veggie broth
pinch Italian seasoning
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced fine
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
8 oz dry egg noodles
2 onions, diced fine
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
few grinds of fresh pepper
pinch of salt

Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about one of my most favorite things. Trader Joe's makes these little packets of concentrated vegetable broth. They come in a small green box. Inside are a dozen tubes of...vegetable syrup? Basically, that's what it is. Really concentrated, thick broth. You add 1 tube to 1 cup of water. They save sooooo much cabinet space, are very light to carry, and are perfect for backpacking meals. Also, they have amazing flavor and are low-sodium. Can you tell how much I love them?
So anyway, that intro is just to say--when I made this recipe, I used a pasta pot full of water with 4 or 5 packets of broth mixed in.

1. Bring the broth to a simmer. Add a small pinch of Italian seasoning ground between your fingers. As the broth is heating, dice the celery, then add it to the pot.

2. Dice the carrots, and sautee them in a tablespoon of olive oil. (Don't skimp on the olive oil, it's the only fat in the dish.) While the carrots cook, dice the onions and garlic.

3. When the carrots are "al dente", add them to the pot, and saute the onions and garlic in the pan. When the garlic and onions are translucent, add them to the pot along with the frozen spinach, and bring the pot to a boil.

4. Add the egg noodles and cook according to package directions. (Mine only took 4 minutes.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.

P.S. This was so good that after we ate the whole pot for lunch, I turned around and made another batch before the stove cooled down. Now that is a good recipe.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Molasses Cookies

This is my favorite recipe for these cookies. It might have something to do with the fact that the butter-to-sugar ratio is so deliciously close. =)

12T butter, melted
1 c. sugar
1//4 c. molasses
1 egg
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda

Heat oven to 350

Mix sugar, melted butter and molasses well. Add in beaten egg and mix well.

Mix dry ingredients separately and add to wet ingredients.

Drop by tablespoonful (I use a cookie scoop) onto a lined cookie sheet (with parchment or a silpat or whatever you like). Bake for 9-10 minutes.

**NOTE: these cookies will spread quite a bit and very flat once cooked. I only do 3-across on the pan and 4-down. **

Let sit on the pan for a few minutes while they cool, then transfer to wire rack when they're able to hold their shape.

Now if someone would tell me what to do with the 4 dozen of these that are sitting on my kitchen table, that would be great. Because so far, I've eaten four cookies and I can't afford ANY MORE. =)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Festive Candy Cane Kiss Centered Brownie Bites

Festive Candy Cane Kiss Centered Brownie Bites from this website
1 brownie mix 9×13 inch size
18 Candy Cane Hershey Kisses
1/2 Cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
3 original candy canes, crushed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and scoop into a mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin tin pan that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray, about 3/4 way full. Press kisses into center of brownie batter, do not push all the way to bottom, some of the tip should stick out the top. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until brownies are cooked through. Let cool completely.
2. Melt chocolate chips in microwave, 30 second intervals until smooth and melted. Stir in cream until silky smooth. You can place back in microwave for 10 seconds to smooth more if needed. Dip tops of brownies into melted chocolate, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serve with a tall glass of milk. Enjoy!!

**Note** I ended up making way more than 18 using this recipe, thus way more (36) kisses; I would recommend having more Hershey kisses on hand than the 18 the recipe calls for.
**Note**Comments from from the original post said a lot of people had problems with the brownies sticking to the pan. I used Crisco cooking spray with flour and had zero problems. Even when I substituted caramel filled kisses for the candy cane ones.
**Note**I didn't have heavy cream, so I used 1% milk. Worked fine.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mango Lassi

Have this with the Naan and Chicken Tikka Masala (recipes follow) and you have my favorite meal at Bombay House in Provo!

Mango Lassi

2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
6-8 frozen (or fresh) strawberries
handful of ice

Blend all the ingredients until smooth.


Very yummy with the Chicken Tikka Masala that follows.

from My Kitchen Cafe blog, I think.

14 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt (I only had vanilla yogurt and while it sounds like a bad substitution, I used it and the bread tasted fabulous!)
1/2 cup milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl by hand), stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Increase machine speed to 2 (or by hand) and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into teardrop (mine were more like oval) shapes with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.

Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the naan and lay on a board. Serve warm with a nice curry. (The original recipe says to butter the naan with garlic butter after it comes out of the oven but I did this with the first batch and found it made the bread too greasy for my taste - we much preferred the bread soft and tender without the butter. Follow your tastes and do what you prefer!)

Chicken Tikka Masala

I'm not sure if I already posted this recipe but I couldn't find it on here. Anyhow, one of my most favorite recipes ever. This is as close as I have found to the Bombay House in Provo. Watch the spiciness! I'd leave out the cayenne and paprika and jalapeƱo until you've tried it once... then add it if you want it spicier.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (you can substitute paprika for the cayenne so it isn't too hot)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (I have used powdered too)
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade

I double the sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped (I de-seed it)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup cream (1 ¾ cup when doubled)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
sometimes I add some garam masala spice

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.

Pie Pastry

I just wanted to share my favorite pie crust recipe. It actually comes from the mother of my husband's high school girlfriend. =) She (the mom) has since gone professional with her baking... She's a Southern cook, through and through, and everything she makes is AMAZING.


3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 - 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. fat (no really, that's what she wrote)
her preferred mixture is 2/3 c. shortening + 5 T. butter
About 10 T. ice water, more or less

The process is pretty standard from here--with a pastry blender, combine flour, salt, sugar and fat. Then gradually add water until it reaches the right consistency. I'd tell you what that's like, but I don't always get it right.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

My friend makes these cookies, which we affectionately call "cookie crack" because they're so addictive and delicious. I finally got my hands on the recipe, so I thought I'd share.

3/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 t. peppermint extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Once they're nice and creamy, add the egg and mix in well. Then add the vanilla and peppermint. In a separate bowl combine together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ones and mix until combined. Add the chocolate chips. Drop onto a baking sheet in sizes suitable to your liking.

Bake for 10-11 minutes.