Friday, March 30, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies

I made cookies for my Dad's dental office for a lot a years and these oatmeal cookies always seemed to be a favorite.

Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (I like a heaping teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats

Cream together sugars, butter, and shortening.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy.  Add baking soda, salt, baking powder and vanilla.  Add flour and oats and mix until incorporated.  Place balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paseo Cuban Roast Pork Sandwich

This is what we had for dinner tonight and it was enjoyed by all of us (hurray!).  With each bite of my sandwich, I had to have a pickled jalapeno pepper because I was loving the tang and heat that they added.  (I had never had a pickled jalapeno before tonight and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them.)

Paseo Cuban Pork Sandwich

Garlic mayo
Roast pork
2 large yellow onions
Olive oil
Pickled jalapeno

Roast Pork
3 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juice of
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3-4 pound pork shoulder (bone-in)

Garlic mayonnaise
1 bulb garlic
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juice of
1/2 tablespoon dill pickle relish

Make the pork:  Combine the orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, chopped garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large Ziploc bag.  Place the pork in the vessel or bag and marinate for 12-24 hours.  When the pork is ready, save the marinade and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Sear the meat on all sides in a lightly greased frying pan or skillet until it is nicely browned.  Remove the pork and place in a baking dish (BUT DON'T WASH THE SKILLET/PAN-save it for later) and pour marinade into the baking dish.  Tent the meat with foil and bake for 2 hours.  Remove foil and cook uncovered for another 2 hours, basting the meat with the marinade every 15 minutes and turning the meat after an hour.  Remove from oven when the meat is fork-tender and comes of the bone easily.  Shred the pork with two forks.

Make the garlic mayonnaise:  While the pork is cooking in the oven, slice the top off the garlic bulb and place it in a small baking dish or on a piece of foil that has been pulled up at the edges (to form a bowl).  Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake in the oven (next to the pork) for 30 or until the garlic is soft.  Peel the skins off the garlic cloves and mash the garlic into a paste.  Combine the garlic with mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice, and pickle relish.  Stir until blended and refrigerate until ready to use.

Caramelize the onions:  Peel and slice the onions into 1/4-inch strips.  Heat a little olive oil on medium flame in the same pan you used to sear the pork.  When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove from heat when onions are caramelized.

Assemble:  cut and 8-inch long piece of a baguette or other similarly shaped bread that has a nice, crusty outside and a soft, chewy inside.  Slice it in half, lengthwise.  Spread garlic mayonnaise on both pieces of bread and bake or toast in oven until the mayonnaise starts to bubble and puff.  Remove from the oven.  Layer with pork, onions, lettuce, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos on bottom piece of bread.  Top with the other half of bread and serve.

Recipe adapted just a tiny bit from Use Real Butter

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shredded Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Noah and Preston loved these sandwiches!  They were so easy (I love easy) and really quite tasty.  They will definitely make many more appearances at our dinner table!

Shredded Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

4-6 chicken breasts (depending on size)
1/2 to 1 cup favorite Caesar dressing (My favorite is Litehouse Caesar.  I don't know why they spell it like that.  When I see the word "lite" it makes me think "lite" in calories and this dressing it is most definitely not, but we can pretend.)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce

Place chicken in a crockpot with 1 cup of water, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked and shreds easily.

Remove chicken from crockpot and shred with two forks (or fingers).  Place chicken in a large mixing bowl and add dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before serving, slice buns in half and spread the cut side of each bun with softened butter.  Place cut side of bun on a preheat skillet or griddle and cook until golden and toasty (Yum!).

Spoon shredded chicken onto the bottom half of each bun, followed by an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a piece of romaine lettuce.  Cover with the top half of the bun and serve. 

Recipe adapted from Sweet Treats and More

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

English muffins

I grew up going to Bear Lake.  My Grandparents had a cabin right on the water of that deep blue lake.  My family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) spent many summer days there.  Each year, I could hardly wait until Memorial Day weekend, when we would make our first trip there after a long cold winter.  I loved that place and have many wonderful memories, but the food we ate together as a family seems to stick out in my mind.  It wasn't too fancy (taco salad, scones with homemade jam and honey butter, barbeque chicken, raspberries and cream, and banana and chocolate creamies), but it always tasted so good.  I remember my Grandpa Pinegar standing in the kitchen working the toaster and toasting English muffins for the next person in line.  I remember eating them slathered with butter and my Grandma's homemade raspberry jam. 

English Muffins

2 1/4 cup unbleached bread flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup milk or buttermilk, room temperature
Cornmeal for dusting

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer).  Stir in (or mix in on low speed with the paddle attachment) the shortening and 3/4 cup milk until the ingredients form a ball.  If there is still loose flour in the bowl, dribble in some of the remaining 1/4 cup milk.  The dough should be soft and pliable, not stiff.

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed with the dough hook).  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes (or mix for about 8 minutes), sprinkling more flour if need to make a tacky, but not sticky dough.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Let rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until dough doubles in size.

Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and transfer the dough to the counter.  Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces of 3 ounces each.  Shape the pieces into boules (or round balls).  Line a sheet pan with baking parchment, mist the parchment lightly with spray oil, and dust with cornmeal.  Transfer the balls of dough to the sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart.  Mist them lightly with spray oil, sprinkle them loosely with cornmeal, and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a towel.

Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces nearly double in size and swell both up and out.

Heat a skillet of flat griddle to medium (350 degrees F if you have a thermometer setting).  Also, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Brush the pan or griddle with vegetable oil or mist with spray oil.  Uncover the muffin rounds and gently transfer them to the pan, sliding a metal spatula under them and lifting them to the pan.  Fill the pan so that the pieces are at least 1 inch apart, not touching.  Cover the pieces still on the sheet pan with the plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from developing a skin.  The dough that is being cooked will flatten in the pan and spread slightly, then the pieces will puff somewhat.  Cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough cannot cook any longer without burning.  The bottoms should be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly, but will not burn for a while, so resist the temptation to turn them prematurely or they will fall when you flip them over.  Carefully flip the pieces over with the metal spatula and cook on the other side for 5 to 8 minutes in the same manner.  Both sides will be flat.  When the dough seems as if it cannot endure any further cooking time without burning, transfer the pieces to a sheet pan and place pan in the oven (don't wait for the still uncooked pieces, or the ones just out of the pan will cool down and will not respond to the oven stage).  Bake for 5 to 8 minutes on the middle shelf in the oven to ensure the center is baked.  Meanwhile, return to the uncooked pieces and cook them, then bake them, as you did the first round.

Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shredded Chicken Tacos

These tacos are easy, I mean really, really easy and very tasty too!

Chicken Tacos

1 envelope Taco Seasoning
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)
1 jar salsa (16-ounces)
Sour cream
Shredded cheese

Put chicken, salsa and taco seasoning into a crockpot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Make a taco and eat it!

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vegetable Soup

I know soup season is nearly over, but this soup is so simple and so yummy.  I will have to say that while I was eating my soup for dinner tonight, I was feeling rather warm in temperature.  I think it was a combination of my soup being near boiling, Preston setting a full gallon of milk (with the lid off) down on the dinner table with a bit of force and milk shooting out the top and Stella filling her mouth up with milk and then hitting her cheeks with her hands leaving milk covering her face, shirt, and whatever was in front of her.  It was an eventful dinner to say the least!

Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans petit diced tomatoes, undrained
6 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of farfalle pasta (I used the mini ones)
Parmagiano Reggiano

In a large soup pot over medium heat add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper.  Cook until vegetables are just tender.  Add the tomatoes, water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve with a good sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano.

*Since I posted this recipe, I have made this soup again and added diced zucchini to the pot during the last 10 or so minutes of cooking (so it didn't get too mushy).  I loved it!

Adapted from Butterfly Foodie

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

This salad is full of colors, flavors, textures and yumminess!

Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

Spicy Peanut Dressing

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-3 teaspoons of chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/low heat.  Heat until hot, but not boiling, and sugar is dissolved.  Pour mixture into a blender and blend until smooth about 20 seconds.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Cover and chill.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup honey
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves of garlic
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 20 seconds, or until cilantro is chopped fine, but not entirely pureed.  Taste and adjust seasoning in necessary.  Cover and chill.


1 Head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup pre-cooked, shelled edamame
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cups carrots, julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
3 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced very thin
1/2-1 cup salted cocktail peanuts

Combine cabbages, edamame, green onions, red bell pepper, carrots, cilantro and chicken in a large bowl.  Add enough spicy peanut dressing to lightly coat salad ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Plate and drizzle with cilantro-lime dressing and garnish with additional cilantro, green onions and peanuts.  Enjoy!

*This made enough for my family's dinner (I have a few small eaters), a plate to share with my kiddie-corner neighbors and my lunch the next day.  I still have a lot of the cilantro-lime dressing and a little of the spicy peanut dressing leftover.

The recipe for the dressings comes from

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Salt and brown butter are two of my very favorite things, I love them (I really do)!  Now take the salt and brown butter and use them when making a batch of rice krispie treats and you will end up with an extra special, salty, brown buttery treat!  Thanks Steph for sending this recipe my way!

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

1/2 cup butter
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Butter (or coat with non-stick cooking spray) an 8-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat.  It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do.  Don't take your eyes off the pot, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is very small.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows.  The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal.  Quickly spread into prepared pan and press firmly and evenly into edges and corners.  Let cool, cut into desired sized squares.

*I usually double this recipe and use a 9x13-inch pan.

Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen