Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mushroom Orzo

I love mushrooms. I love them BBQ'ed, roasted, sauteed, baked on pizza- whatever. I like the flavor and texture that they bring to the table. Literally.
Hubby doesn't feel the same way. And that's just fine with me. I just add them here and there to my food and everybody is happy.
And then I found a Tasty Kitchen recipe for Creamy Mushroom Orzo and wanted to try it. Having never cooked with orzo prior to this recipe, it definitely intrigued me.
I followed the recipe almost exactly the first time. The only change I made was substituting more chicken broth for the wine. When do I ever seem to follow a recipe the whole way through the first time? Okay- maybe with breads. Anyways.
The dish was very tasty. I felt that it needed a higher mushroom to orzo ratio, though. So next time, and subsequent times afterward, I continue to add much more mushrooms.
The verdict? Even hubby likes this dish. It makes a great side to just about anything. It can serve about 6- but we usually just finish the whole pan ourselves. :)
Another little thing I love about this dish is that you add all of the liquid to the pan that you need to cook the orzo. None of this boiling it then draining it business. Which is ideal since I don't have a sieve, and don't want to use a bunch of cheesecloth everytime I want orzo.

Mushroom Orzo serves 6
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 slices of bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. uncooked orzo
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbl. butter
1 can chicken broth (I prefer reduced sodium)
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a medium sized frying pan until done. Remove and reserve. (Or just eat while cooking the rest of the dish). You should have about 2 tbl. of grease; if not, add some oil or butter.
Over medium heat, cook the onions and mushrooms in the bacon grease until the mushrooms soften and t he onions start to become translucent. Add in the orzo, garlic and butter. Stir around until the butter has melted and the orzo is completely mixed in and coated.
Pour the can of chicken broth in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat a bit and simmer until the liquid has been sucked up and the orzo is soft. There may be a little liquid still in the pan, but after the heat is turned off and the pan sits, the liquid will soon be no more. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy!

I linked up this tasty recipe at:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicken Won tons

I am a fan of oriental cuisine- but a little intimidated when it comes to making it. I have looked and looked at recipes of won tons for one that looked easy for me to make.
I once made a sweet and sour sauce that was just horrible. I couldn't eat it, it was so gross. Not sure what went wrong. Anyway.
I do like cooking with won ton wrappers. They are just so fun for some reason. Like little pieces of flexible pasta, just waiting to be molded and flavored and baked, fried or steamed!
I found a recipe that looked easy enough (not sure where because I copied down a list of ingredients and kind of made it up from there). The important thing for me in this venture was working with ingredients I have on hand AND am comfortable cooking with, i.e. I know the flavors and what jives and what doesn't jive. Make sense? Hope so.
These won tons were reaaallllyyy good. Hubby and I ate All. Of. Them. THe carrots brought out a sweetness that I enjoyed- but you can add in some finely chopped celery (about 1/4 c) and tone it down a bit. I also think it can be improved upon by eating them with a sauce. I'm not ready to try making sweet and sour yet- and was too lazy to go buy a premade sauce. Sweet and sour is my favorite, but I think hoisin would also be lovely with these.
The ingredients I am using can be switched out to your liking. Since the chicken is precooked- I recommend tasting the filling before forming the won tons to make sure its something you like.

Chicken Wontons (makes 40-ish)

1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped into tiny pieces
1/3 c. shredded carrot (I used one small/med carrot)
1/4 c. finely chopped celery (optional)
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
4 tsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. sherry
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. ground ginger
40 won ton wrappers (or 10 spring roll wrappers, quartered)
non stick spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray.
Mix together the chicken, carrot, celery, onion, soy, sherry, lemon juice and ginger. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Place a teaspoon on the center of each wrapper and lightly dampen the edges of two adjoining sides. Bring the other two sides up and seal- forming a little triangle. You can pull the two opposite points together and have something like a tortellini, or just leave as is.
Place won tons on cookie sheet, and spray them with cooking spray. This enables them to get nice and crispy in the oven.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until wrappers begin crisping up.

I have linked up over at:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Snickerdoodle Bars

Feels good to be writing another post. Life has been busy lately and so I haven't had much time to sit down and write! I really need to make a stockpile of posts to have on the ready. Someday. Anyways.
A few days back, one of my hubby's friends was coming by for dinner and I wasn't sure what to make for dessert. I love having a dessert when company comes over because it's a great excuse to have sweets. Not only do I feel that it's the part of the meal that I'm best at making- but we aren't stuck eating a whole pan of brownies by ourselves. Although, how bad would that really be? :)
I looked in my recipe binder in the section marked off as "haven't tried" and looked for a simple and easy dessert to whip up. I found a recipe for Snickerdoodle Bars. The recipe was super quick to throw together- even while prepping for dinner! A 13x9 inch pan of these may seem like a lot for a group of three, but they are SO tasty that they won't last long. No worries there!
The recipe is from Betty Crocker. I think I must have gotten it from being on their email list. I find email lists like these to be worthwhile because they often have menu ideas for all sorts of occasions- and the ones run by something like Betty Crocker sometimes even have coupons. What's the worst that can happen? You don't like the recipe- then trash that email! Easy-cheesy! Here is the original recipe. I didn't change much except halving the glaze because it was way more than I needed.

Snickerdoodle Bars

2 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
(Cinnamon Filling)
1 tbl. sugar
1 tbl. cinnamon
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbl. milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugars until fully incorporated. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the baking pan. Mix together the cinnamon filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining batter in teaspoonfuls over the cinnamon filling. Don't worry about it not completely covering the filling- everything will spread out in the oven and have a great marbled look.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely then mix together the glaze ingredients (adding more milk if it's too thick- or more sugar if it's too thin). Drizzle over the bars and enjoy!

I liked up over at:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Green Bean Bundles

When I first saw a recipe over at for Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bunndles, I knew I had struck gold. I found the recipe as green beans were plentiful in the backyard, but was out of bacon! Bummer, I know. By the time we bought more bacon, the grean bean plants had seemingly given up for the summer. That's when one of my local grocery stores put green beans on sale.
Yes! Green bean bundles, here I come!
The original recipe calls for a pound of green beans- but with only 2 of us, I used less. Used as a side dish to most anything, this recipe can feed as many people as you like, one bundles per person.
Each bundle is about 10 to 12 green beans. I like using a number better than a weight since I don't use a kitchen scale and it makes it easier for me to scale up or down depending on how many are over for dinner.
The sauce for the green beans seemed weird for me as I was cooking it. The combination of onion and garlic seemed fine enough- but butter and rice vinegar? That seems weird. Make sure your face isn't over the pan when you add in the vinegar unless you want your sinuses cleared! The sauce was tasty though. Very tasty- I ate some of it without any beans. The sugar and onions give it a sweetness, while the vinegar tones it down a bit and the browned butter gives it a nuttiness (It's true- those food network people are right about browned butter!). And as the hubby said- the beans make it nutritious and the bacon makes it AWESOME. What vegetable can't bacon make better? (Not that green beans needed it- buy hey!)
So my only changes to this recipe was lowering the amount of beans and changing the sauce recipe just a tad. I lowered the amount of butter, which in the end makes less sauce than the original- perfect for my smaller amount of beans.

Green Bean Bundles (serves 5)

1/1 lb. fresh green beans (50-60 beans)- ends trimmed off and washed
5 slices of bacon
1 1/2 tbl. butter
1 tbl. minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbl. sugar
1 tbl. rice vinegar

Preheat oven (or toaster oven!!) to 400 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once the water reaches the boil- add in the green beans and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Take the beans out of the boiling water and dump into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Divide thebeans into 5 bundles and wrap each one with a slice of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure it and lay it on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the bacon has cooked through.
Torwards the end of the baking tim- start making the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add the onion and garlic and stir around for 2-3 minutes until the butter bubbles up a bunch and starts turning brown. Add the sugar and vinegar and immediately take the sauce off of the heat. Stir everything around to dissolve the sugar and serve on top of the bundles. Just remember to take out the toothpick before eating! Enjoy!

This tasty side dish is linked up at:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Pie

A while back I bought a bag of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips with plans to make cookies or something with them. Instead, I noticed a recipe on the back of the bag for Decadent Truffle Bottom Pie. This pie looks so good! However, I decided to make something different; using ingredients I had on hand. I also didn't want to bake in the middle of summertime- so something had to be done about that.
This pie is definitely for chocolate lovers. It's rich and oh so chocolately- I'm sure because of the use of dark chocolate instead of milk or semi sweet. It makes a great summer dessert because it's served cold and would be great with some vanilla ice cream.
You can play around and use a chocolate graham cracker crust if you are seriously craving your chocolate. Or maybe add some chocolate cookie crumbs crumbled in the middle.
So here we are, my version of a Hershey's recipe.

Chocolate Mousse Pie serves 8-12
adapted from Hershey's

1 premade graham cracker crust
2 c. mini marshmallows
1/2 c. milk (low fat is fine)
2 c. Hershey's dark chocolate chips (1 12oz bag)
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
sweetened whip cream for topping (optional)
Chocolate cookies for garnish (optional)

Put the marshmallows and milk in a large microwave safe bowl and heat up on medium power for one minute. Stir until smooth. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds at a time on medium power if necessary.
Once smooth, stir in the chocolate chips until they have thoroughly melted and are smooth. Microwave another 15 seconds at a time on medium power until the mixture can be stirred smooth.
Take 1 cup of this delicious chocolately mixture and spread it onto the bottom of the pie crust. Let the remaining mixture cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer (or by hand if you're super tough), whisk the whipping cream until it's stiff. Fold in about a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Then, fold in the rest of the whipped cream and spread this mixture in the pie crust and refrigerate until serving. Top with sweetened whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

Linked up at the following parties:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Jasey over at Crazy Daisy gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award! I am touched to recieve my first award out here on blog-land! Thank you, Jasey for thinking of me! It makes my day! :)
Everybody else- you should check out Crazy Daisy. She posts a weekly party, Tuesday Tastes for all of you cooks out there. Each week we vote for our favorite recipe, and one tasty dish walks away the winner!

Anywho- onto the rules for this award:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 10 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

So ten things about myself-
1- I am newly married and LOVING it!
2- Hubby and I have 2 pet rabbits. They are my babies. No joke.
3- I love cooking- but dessert is my favorite thing to make.
4- I am addicted to crafts. Sewing. Cross Stitch. Knitting. Scrapbooking.
5- I am seriously thinking about adding quilling to my list of crafts.
6- I am the 2nd oldest in my family. And somehow the 2nd shortest.
7- Blogger is the first thing I sign onto when I get on the computer.
8- I don't like coconut. I also don't care for most cheese. So far ricotta, mozarella and jack are fine by me.
9- One of my pet peeves is open blinds or curtains after sunset. It just irks me.
10- I am by no means a green thumb. It's frustrating. And yet- I consider myself to be great with animals. Go figure.

I would like to pass the Beautiful Blogger Award onto some of my fellow bloggers that I think are just great!
1- Kristin at Delightful Country Cookin' (She currently has a great giveaway going down. Check it out!)
2- Dawn at Beat Until Fluffy
3- Cinnamon Girl at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
4- Megan & Steph over at Crazy Domestic
5- SnoWhite atFinding Joy in My Kitchen
6- Rachel at A Southern Fairytale
7- How Does She?
8- Jerri at Simply Sweet Home
9- University of Cookie
10- Cindy at Skip To My Lou

Thanks everyone!

Strawberry Lemonade

My first time attempting to make strawberry lemonade was last summer, I believe. It didn't turn out so well. I tried mixing all of the predicted ingredients- lemon juice, water, sugar and strawberries. But it was gross.
The sugar didn't dissolve.
The strawberries were diced and floating in the juice- adding no flavor to the drink, just looking gross.
I hadn't used a recipe because I figured that something SO self explanitory as strawberry lemonade SHOULDN'T need a recipe. Boy was I wrong! It's funny how some of the simplest, tastiest food and drink do need a recipe.

(The picture does not do it justice, at all)
This year I was determined to try again. Hubby and I had a ton of strawberries from the produce store and lemons like nobody's business from his parents.
This time I armed myself with a recipe. I don't remember where I found it since I looked through a bunch of them- but either way I came up with a recipe of my own in the end. :)
This time the lemonade was tart yet sweet. Everything I want in lemonade. The strawberries imparted their flavor and gave the lemonade a little extra thickness that I really enjoyed. (You can strain the seeds if you don't want extra thickness) Anyway- hope you enjoy this delicious summertime beverage!

Strawberry Lemonade serves about 6
recipe - The Domestic Engineer

1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
4 c. water, divided
2 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, halved and big ones quartered
1 c. fresh lemon juice

Combine 1 c. of the sugar and 1 c. of the water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let mixture come to room temperature.
Puree the remaining berries with the remaining sugar and 1 c. of the water until smooth. (At this point you can strain the mixture if you desire)
In a pitcher combine the simple syrup (water and sugar), strawberry puree and the remaining 2 c. of water. Stir and refrigerate until it's chilled and you're thirsty! Enjoy!

I have linked up my recipe at: