Thai Soup

2 lemongrass stalks, bottom 2/3 of stalks beaten with a tenderizer to release flavor

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (3 inch) piece fresh ginger root, pealed and chopped

4 cups chicken broth

2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite size strips

4 tsp. red curry paste

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. lime juice

2 cans coconut cream

1 Tbsp. dried cilantro flakes

(opt. chopped carrots, peppers, potatos cubed)

Stir the lemon grass, garlic, ginger, and broth in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and than on a medium-low simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain the chicken broth into a bowl and set aside.  Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.  Place the chicken in the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined.  Stir in chicken broth and coconut cream.  (If you’re adding potatoes, carrots, or other ‘harder’ garnishes put them in now.)  Return to a simmer and cook another 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in cilantro.  Serve with rice. . . or add the rice right in the soup.

Barbecue Chicken Calzones

I got a great new cookbook this Christmas that I’ve been drooling over.  You can find the cookbook HERE if you want to drool too:).  Some of the recipes in the cookbook are also on their website.  This particular recipe is HERE.  I tried this out a few nights ago and it was a HUGE hit even with my kids, which is always a great surprise.  I’ve made a few alterations to the recipe but click on their website to get the original.  Thanks Six Sister’s!

6 slices bacon
olive oil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
3/4 (plus) cup Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. broccoli florets
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 cup + shredded mozzarella cheese
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon on an aluminum lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes or until somewhat crisp.  Than heat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove bacon from pan, blot with paper towels and cut into pieces.  Put onions and shredded chicken in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Saute over medium heat for a minute.  Stir in 3/4 cup barbecue sauce and add in the bacon and broccoli.  Remove from heat.
Flatten out biscuit dough on a greased cookie sheet.  Spread a dab of barbecue sauce on each biscuit.  Divide the chicken mixture between the biscuits, spreading on only half of each biscuit and keeping 1/2 inch away from the edge.  Sprinkle cheese over each biscuit.  Fold biscuits in half and press the edges together with a fork to seal. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thai Curry or Massaman

I had the opportunity to take a Thai cooking class.  The biggest thing I learned during the class is that making Thai food is really easy as long as you have the right ingredients.  This recipe was delicious and totally filled the hubby’s Thai cravings.  We’re trying to eat better and Brett’s trying to do better about not buying lunch.  Win. Win.  :)  You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly.  I changed the original recipe we learned in the class to fit our preferences.  You’ll love it!  Kaffir lime leaf, curry and massaman paste, and galangal can all be found at an Asian Market.  I had never been to one before.  It was a little hard to find my way around the store, but eventually got everything I needed in bulk so I can make lots of Thai food:).   This recipe makes approximately 18 cups, so plenty for company or lunches for the week.  I carefully measured and weighed everything and added up the calories.  210 calories per cup!  Awesome, huh!  (This does not include the rice or nuts)

Thai Curry or Massaman

2 Tbsp. oil

2 cloves garlic minced

2 lb. chicken (finely cut into strips)

2 lb. (3 cups) potatoes or sweet potatoes cubed

3 Tbsp. curry or masaman paste (depending on what taste you want)

1 red, orange, and yellow medium bell peppers chopped in strips

1 small onion cut in big chunks

2 cans chicken broth

1 can (17.8oz) coconut cream

1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. fish sauce

1 Kaffir lime leaf

1 slice of galanghal OR ginger (Ginger is for masaman and galangal is for the curry)

salt and/or sugar to taste

1 cup cashews or peanuts

In a large pot cook the chicken in the oil and minced garlic cloves. Once cooked I drained it to get rid of excess oils, than placed back in pot.  Add curry or masaman paste and cook until chicken is fully immersed, stirring constantly.  Add onions and cook another minute.  Stir in the coconut cream and milk, broth, potatoes, and fish sauce.  Place in the Kaffir leaf and the root (galanghal for curry, ginger for masaman) but remove before serving. At any point you can add the nuts, depending on how crunchy you want them. Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer until potatoes are tender.  Serve over rice.

Notes:  Next time I want to add less potatoes and maybe put in some carrots.

Easy Fish Tacos

It’s diet time for me.  I decided to mix up a few things I got at Costco and came up with this super easy winning combination.  I’ve eaten this for lunch every day this week and I haven’t felt hungry by dinner.  It’s filling, healthy, and low calorie.  Winner all around.

Easy Fish Tacos

7 Wild Alaska Salmon Bites

1 cup Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend

1 Tortilla

Stir fry the veggies with a very small amount of oil, microwave the salmon bites, wrap it all up in a tortilla.  Done.  Delicious.  Filling. 360 calories.

Pecan Pie

I’ve always been afraid of making Pecan Pie because I thought it would be too complicated.  I don’t know what I was thinking!  This was easy and SO worth it!  I LOVE Pecan Pie!  I got this recipe from an old neighbor of mine who made the most amazing pecan pie.  I am so grateful she was willing to share her goodness with me:) Oh, and I intended to take a picture of the whole pie, but when I got my camera out there were pieces already missing.  :)

Pecan Pie

Pie crust

3 eggs

1/2 c. Karo syrup (white)

1 c. sugar

1 Tbsp. corn startch

dash salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. rum (pineapple juice is a great substitute)

4 Tbsp. melted butter (I omitted this)

1-2 cups pecans (halves and pieces)

Slightly beat eggs.  Add sugar and then the remaining ingredients.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Wrap the pie edges in foil for the first 25-ish minutes to keep it from burning.

Makes 1 scrumptiously awesome pie.

Best Rolls EVER

I have made A LOT of different roll recipes.  I had narrowed it down to my two favorite roll recipes a few years ago, but I’m always open to trying new recipes.  This new recipe leaves the others in the dust!  These rolls are soft, ‘squishy’, airy, and delicious!  They don’t dry out and lose their prime after a couple of days.  They are perfect!  I’ve used these only as rolls, but I can’t wait to try them out in cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, and all other bread-y goodnesses.  Thanks Michelle, for always finding the best recipes and sharing them with me!

Best Rolls EVER!

This recipe can destroy Kitchenaids, so just do it by hand every time.

3 cups very warm water

1/3 cup oil (or applesauce)

1/3 cup honey (i always add extra)

3 tbsp yeast

1 tbsp salt

8 +/- cups flour 

Stir together first four ingredients and let yeast activate (10-15 mins).  Add 1 tbsp salt, stir.  Add in flour, 2 cups at a time.

Spray counter with non-stick spray and knead dough until “Gluten Window” is visible (Pull a small amount of dough apart to see if a stained glass/translucent dough appears. If the dough breaks or rips, it is NOT ready). Basically the dough should be so smooth that it feels as soft as a babies bottom.

Spray your mixing bowl with nonstick spray, put dough in bowl. Spray sheet of Saran-wrap, cover bowl. Cover all with slightly damp warm towel. Put in warm place. Let rise until dough doubles (30-45 minutes).

Now you can make whatever you want with it. It is a great base recipe for everything. Makes two dozen rolls, two dozen cinnamon rolls, two pizzas, four loaves of bread, two sheets of Breadsticks, deep fried scones. It is a great base for add-ins, also. You can add more honey and changed half the flour to wheat.

Get the dough in the shape you want it, cover it with the Saran-wrap and towel again and let it rise again until it doubles in size (30-45 minutes).

Bake at 350. Rolls bake about 12-14 minutes. Knock on the middle to see if they sound hollow to test for doneness. Take them out, while still hot take a salted real butter stick and rub it on top of each one. Let sit about 3 minutes before removing any.

Good luck. You will be amazed at the awesomeness!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I absolutely love Spinach Artichoke Dip!  This is by far my favorite recipe and you will love it.  Warning: this makes A LOT of dip.  It’s probably enough for a party of 30-40 people.  Or, in our case, a small party and snacks everyday for a week:).

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1/4 cup butter

6 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 (10oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach (partially thawed is easier)

2 (14 oz.) cans artichoke hearts, drained and broken up

1 1/2 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 (16 oz.) container sour cream

1 cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

(Optional add ins I’d like to try next time: red pepper flakes, and/or bacon bits)

Melt butter in a large saucepan and pour in the chopped garlic and let simmer for about a minutes.  Stir in the spinach and artichoke hearts. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Scoop/pour into blender and let blend to better combine the ingredients and to remove all chunks, but don’t over blend.

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

I decided to support my husbands love of Football by putting together a snack spread for a little game day party.  These were a HUGE hit and disappeared pretty quickly, so I ended up making a second batch.  I think my 6 year old son even ate 10 of these guys by himself.  They are yummy!

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

1 package lil smokies

1 package bacon

brown sugar

skewers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut all of the bacon strips into thirds.  It’s fastest to just lay them out just as they were in the package and cut them all at the same time.  Wrap each smoky in one of the bacon thirds and place on skewer.  Each of my skewers could hold about 6.  Sprinkle brown sugar over each of the little piggies and cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.  (These would be great grilled too!)  Take them out when the bacon looks browned and well cooked.  Now wipe the drool from your mouth and eat up.  .  . you may want to share some too. :)

Chocolate Pomegranate ‘muffins’

I was craving chocolate covered pomegranates, but I didn’t want to spend all the time covering each seed.  This was SO good and so easy.  It’s my new favorite pomegranate treat.  My picture is blurry but it looked so pretty in person:)

Chocolate Pomegranate ‘mufins’

1 Pomegranate de-seeded

melting chocolate (I actually used chocolate chips and they worked great)

mini-muffin pan

Spray your muffin pan with oil to help prevent sticking. Fill the bottom of your muffin cups with the pomegranate seeds. You want it just be one-two seeds thick, no thicker than that.  Melt your chocolate and spoon over the pomegranates.  Place in freezer for 20ish minutes.  Carefully flip the pan upside down.  Some will just fall out for you and be ready to serve.  Use a knife to gently wiggle the stuck chocolate edges off the pan of the remaining.  Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Pie Bites

Be careful these are scandalous on a number of levels.  I was making this up, and didn’t keep track of how much of the ingredients I used, so I apologize (kinda) if you end up having to eat some extra carmel or snickers bars afterward.  Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Pie Bites

1 double pie pastry crust (I made mine with THIS recipe)

2 small cans sweetened condensed milk (Find out how to make it HERE)

1-2 Snickers candy bar

1 apple (sour are better) cut into very small chunks

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Roll your pastry dough out on your counter and then use a small cup to cut out circles in the dough.  Gently push the dough circles into the muffin pan.  Bake for APX 12minutes.  Watch them, because I didn’t actually time how long I had them in.  (SO SORRY!  I’ll pay attention next time) You want them to be just slightly browning on the edges.  Let the crust cool for a few minutes and then place one or two of the little apple pieces in the bottom of each pie cup.  Then open up the caramel and spoon a dab in each crust on top of the apple.  You want it to be a full at this point but NOT overflowing.  This is not a lot of caramel, but I promise you will get the effect.  Then cut up that Snickers bar and place a piece on top of each pie.  The caramel settles in nice and smooth, so don’t worry about pushing it in or making it look nice.