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Luscious Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients:

2 TBSP each:

  • melted butter

  • milk

  • unsweetened cocoa powder

  • sugar

  • flour

dash each vanilla extract and salt

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a mug and stir with a fork until smooth.
2. Microwave 1 minute. If not completely done, microwave an additional 15 seconds.
3. Let cool 2 minutes.
4. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or caramel sauce.

Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2lb bacon or lardons, sauteed
1/4 cup dry wine of choice
1/2 cup grated parmesan (also if you have a parmesan rind, use a chunk of that too)
2 TBSP mixed dried herbs - oregano, rosemary, basil, taragon, parsley (or 1 cup fresh basil, chopped)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chili powder
dash red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot over medium heat, sautee shallots and garlic in bacon grease until garlic is light brown.
2. Add tomatoes, wine, and parmesan rind (if using), bring to a simmer.
3. Add herbs and seasonings. Simmer 30 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly.
4. Add grated parmesan and lardons/crumbled bacon. Simmer 30-45 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly, until sauce is thick/reduced.
5. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
6. Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind.
7. Serve over fresh pasta with additional fresh grated parmesan on top.

Caramel Rolls

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp melted butter

1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cup brown sugar (dark brown is best)

Directions:

1. Dissolve yeast in water with a pinch of sugar.
2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, set aside 1-1/2 tbsp for topping.
3. Cream the shortening and sugar mixture together in a large bowl.
4. Add buttermilk, yeast mix, salt, baking powder & soda, and 1 cup flour. Mix until smooth.
5. Switch to dough hook on the mixer. Add remaining flour and mix until a soft dough forms.
6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-ish minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Let the dough rest while you're making the caramel.
7. In a pot over medium heat, combine the cream and brown sugar.
8. Stir constantly for 10-15 minutes until sugar is melted and sauce starts to thicken.
9. Pour sauce into a 9x13 baking pan.
10. Roll out the dough into an 8" by 16" rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with set-aside sugar mix.
11. Starting with the short side, roll up gently. Cut into 8 sections.
12. Place the rolls in the pan on top of the caramel sauce. Cover with a bread cloth or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours.
13. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

6 cups broth
1 bag split peas (16oz)
1 cup white or mixed beans, soaked overnight OR 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1lb pork hock/jowl/belly/slab bacon, cubed
4 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, salt

Directions:

1. Sautee the pork, onion, and garlic in a pan over med heat for 3 minutes.
2. Add all ingredients to crock pot.
3. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Leftovers can be put into individual serving size containers and frozen, then thawed overnight in the fridge.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

6 cups beef broth
1 large onion, roughly diced or julienned
1 baguette, sliced
provolone or Gruyere cheese, sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp dry vermouth
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Add the onions and stir until coated. Allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add 1 tbsp each Worchestershire and vermouth.
4. Allow onion to carmelize, getting completely translucent, stirring often. This can take 15-20 minutes.
5. Add 1 cup broth. Bring to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes.
6. Add the rest of the broth, Worchestershire, vermouth, and salt & pepper to taste.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, then covered for 30 more minutes.
8. Preheat broiler.
9. Ladle soup into oven-safe ramekins or bowls. Top with a slice of baguette, then with a slice of cheese.
10. Broil 3-5 minutes until cheese is competely melted and the edges start to brown.

Sweet & Spicy Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cubed
scant 1/4 cup corn or potato starch
sesame or olive oil
1 small head broccoli or 1 cup pea pods
1 cup pulp-free orange juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp sriracha (or more to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger
pinch red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

2 servings cooked rice (I like to add 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts to my rice for dishes like this)

Directions:

1. Coat chicken in starch and set aside.
2. Bring a med pot of water to a boil (for veg).
3. In a small saucepan over med-low heat, combine all ingredients for sauce.
4. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10-15 minutes stirring often, allow to reduce slightly.
5. While sauce is simmering, blanche vegetables in boiling water for 5 minutes.
6.Heat oil in a wok or large pan over med-high heat, cook chicken for 3-5 minutes until cooked through.
7. Add veggies and sauce, toss until well coated, allow to simmer together for 5-7 minutes so sauce can glaze chicken and veggies.
8. Serve with rice.

Papardelle Alfredo

Ingredients:

Pasta
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt

Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
generous 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
2 TBSP butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Put the flour and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
2. Add the water and oil to the well, mix slowly using a wodden spoon, adding only a small amount of flour at a time.
3. Once water is mixed in, continue to knead dough by hand on a lightly floured surface until elastic. If dough is too dry, add more water 1 tsp at a time. Dough should not be crumbly or sticky.
4. Place dough back into mixing bowl, cover with plastic film, and let rest in a warm place for 20-60 minutes.
5. Dived rested dough into 4 parts. Roll out each part on a lightly floured surface until it's a very thin rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 1" wide by 8" long sections. Set aside.
6. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
7. While water is heating, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add the cream and seasonings (not cheese yet) to the pan. Bring to a low simmer while stirring often.
8. When water is at a rolling boil, add pasta. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
9. While pasta is cooking, add Parmesan to the cream sauce, stir until melted. Turn off heat.
10. Drain pasta and return to pot.
11. Add sauce to pasta and stir until coated.

You can add blanched & chopped broccoli and/or cooked & sliced chicken breast if wanted. I added cubed leftover lamb loin to ours tonight.

Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup rice or orzo, uncooked
1/2 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper
lemon zest and/or parsey for garnish

Directions:

1. In a large pot, start heating the broth.
2. In a small saucepan, make a roux - melt the butter then add the flour and stir until bubbly.
3. Add the onion to the roux and continue stirring for 3 minutes.
4. Add enough of the hot stock to the roux to almost fill the saucepan, stir well
5. Add the entire roux/broth mixture back into the broth pot, stir well.
6. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20-30 minutes until rice/orzo is cooked and carrots are tender.
8. Garnish with parsley and lemon zest.