Monday, August 16, 2010

Kalua Pig

This one is from our friends the Changs who served it at their daughter's 2nd birthday party, and it was AMAZING! I was suffering from early pregnancy nausea but this was one dish I just loved. Don't be thrown off by the leaves. They told us if you are sticking it in the slow cooker to just forget about the leaves. I just left them in the recipe for authenticity.

2 lbs. pork shoulder
1 Tablespoon Hawaiian salt (coarse sea salt)
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
1 banana leaf
2-3 large ti leaves, ribs removed
1 cup water

Score pork on all sides with 1/4-inch deep slits about 1 inch apart. Rub pork with 1/2 tablespoon Hawaiian salt, then rub with liquid smoke. Wrap pork in the banana leaf, then wrap completely in ti leaves. Tie with string and wrap in foil. (Omit the leaves part if using slow cooker.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pork in shallow roasting pan and add 1 cup water. Roast for 4 hours. (Or, roast in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.)
Shred pork and let stand in 1/2 tablespoon Hawaiian salt dissolved in 1 cup boiling water with a few drops of liquid smoke before serving.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Penne Rustica

Here's a copycat recipe from the Macaroni Grill menu - another favorite Italian chain. It's a BIG recipe and great for freezer meals.

12 oz. grilled chicken breast (marinate in olive oil and garlic salt overnight, then grill on barbecue for best flavor)
½ pack thick bacon
48 oz. (3 boxes) penne pasta
2 large red bell peppers- diced
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp paprika

Gratinata Sauce:
2 tsp butter
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup marsala wine OR 1/3 cup apple juice + 2 tbsp red wine vinegar +enough chicken broth to equal 1 cup
1 tsp dijon or dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped rosemary
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
8 cups heavy cream

Sauté garlic in butter in large pan. Add marsala wine, mustard, salt, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and heavy cream. Cook pasta according to directions. Cook bacon. Slice chicken into medium-bite size pieces. Combine sauce, cooked pasta, diced chicken, cooked bacon, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Spread in pans. Top with chopped rosemary and mozzarella cheese. Bake @ 475 for 10 minutes.
[If frozen, thaw in refrigerator the day of. Cover with foil and bake @ 375 for 1 hour. Remove foil during the last 15 minutes.]
Number Of Servings: Yields one 8×8 and two 9×13 casserole dishes.
Preparation Time: More than an hour

Pollo Rosa Maria

This is a knock-off of a dish that once appeared on the menu at Carrabba's Italian Grill, one of our all-time favorite Italian chains. And a sort of approximate (and typically, stolen) picture.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, split for stuffing
4 slices prosciutto ham
½ cup fontina cheese

Lemon Butter:
½ cup clarified butter
3 cloves garlic
½ small yellow onion, diced
¼ cup white wine
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
½ cup fresh sweet basil, chopped
1 lemon, juiced

Chicken: Open chicken breasts and place butterfly-style on grill over white-hot coals of live oak and pecan wood. (*Krista’s note: yeah, or just send your husband out to the gas grill. Or stick them in a pan or in the oven.) Grill 3-5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from grill. When cool enough to handle, hold breast halves together and stuff each with one slice of prosciutto and 1/8 cup fontina cheese. Secure with toothpicks. Set aside in a warm place.

Lemon butter topping: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine clarified butter, garlic, and onion and sauté until tender. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add unsalted butter, salt, and pepper. Add mushrooms and sauté 1-2 minutes or until cooked. Add basil and lemon juice; stir to combine. Place chicken on a serving platter and top with mushrooms in lemon-basil butter and serve.

German Pancakes

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons butter

Whip eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Add milk, flour, and salt. Melt the butter in a bundt pan. Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The pancake should almost reach the top of the bundt pan and be browned on top. Turn onto a plate, cut and serve with syrup. You can also make this in a 9 x 13 pan – bake for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mint Brownies

It took me many many batches to get this one right, but I finally devised a brownie base for this amazing recipe that we actually like. The original was really weird and dense. Again, I apologize for another stolen picture. I really need to start taking my own.

3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mint Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 lb. (3 3/4 cup) powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
green food coloring

Chocolate Topping:
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) - I usually reduced this to 1/4 cup, but then I discovered that only certain kinds of chocolate chips can handle less butter. Try this with caution.

Brownies: Mix butter, cocoa, and sugar; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in flour, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Spread into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Mint Frosting: Mix butter and powdered sugar. Add only enough milk to make a smooth consistency. Add mint extract and enough food coloring for a light green color. Frosting will be thick. Spread over brownies. Refrigerate until firm.

Chocolate Topping: Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave for 2-3 minutes, stopping to stir frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Pour over frosted brownies, covering frosting completely. Refrigerate until topping is set and hardened. Let brownies sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting. Cut into 24 small squares with sharp knife.


I am so shamelessly addicted to pizza. I told Travis once that I really don't like to eat anything unless it is sweet or pizza. I'm like a 9-year-old, you know, when you ask what a 9-year-old's favorite food is. It's always pizza. We seriously make homemade pizza almost weekly. Oh and the huge forest of fresh basil growing on our patio doesn't help much. This makes two 12-inch pizzas. (I use 3/4 of this recipe to make one gigantic pizza that fills my pizza stone completely.)

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. cornmeal,
1 cup pizza sauce
Assorted toppings (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, peppers, etc.)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine 1/4 cup water, yeast, and sugar in mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add remaining water, olive oil, 2 cups flour, and salt and mix well. Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms a ball but is not overly sticky. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled (about 45-60 min.) - (This is where I scrape the dough into a ball and spray the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil, cover it and put it over a bowl of hot water, which will cut the rising time in half - about 20-30 min.)

Punch dough down, turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide in half and roll each half into a round (if you let it rest for about 10 minutes it will stretch easily to the size you want). Transfer to pizza stone or pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake at 425 degrees for about 9 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sauce and pizza toppings; bake for another 15 minutes or until it looks done.

Oh yes, back to the basil. I like to do a "pizza margherita" with sliced tomatoes, snipped fresh basil, and slices of fresh mozzarella. Then you feel healthier because you're eating vegetables (you know, the tomatoes) and no meat.


{This recipe is mine but the picture is not. Sorry, I stole it. Next time I make these I'll take my own picture.}

1 cup warm milk (about 115 degrees)
1 package instant dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
1 egg white
2-3 cups flour

Combine warm milk, yeast, and sugar in electric mixer bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add salt, butter, egg white, and 1 cup flour (add salt last if possible, with the flour, since it will kill the yeast if added directly). Beat well with a dough hook and add a second cup of flour. Knead until well combined, adding up to another 1/2 cup of flour if needed. Do not make it too dry; leave it soft and slightly sticky! Scrape dough into a ball, spray with olive oil, and let rise until doubled. Roll or twist into breadsticks and place on pan. Let stand 10-30 minutes (depending on how big you want them). Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Immediately brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.

ANOTHER VARIATION: We used to love eating at the Pizza Factory in Provo because the breadsticks came wrapped around wooden sticks standing up, which I thought was a very fancy presentation. We've done this as well - just twist the breadsticks around bamboo skewers and prop them up against the edges of a baking sheet. Bake as normal (making sure the skewers are not touching any part of the oven!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Beans and Basil

This was one of those "healthy" dishes that looked like it wasn't going to be that good. You know how healthy dishes are. But it was really surprisingly good! Pretty impressive for a vegetarian meal! This one is also from the March 2010 BHG, but I've included my tiny alterations. (Purists can look up the original on the BHG website.)


• 8 oz. dried rigatoni (about 3-1/2 cups)
• 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
• 1 19-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 tsp. minced garlic
• 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
• ¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves
• 2 slices bread, cut in small cubes
• ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
• Snipped fresh basil (optional)

1. In Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and broccoli; return to pan.
2. Add beans, garlic, and about 2 Tbsp. of the oil to the pasta and broccoli. Carefully stir in basil, pasta water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and keep warm.
3. For croutons, in skillet heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add bread cubes and red pepper. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp. Top pasta with croutons and basil. Makes 4 servings.

Mediterranean Chicken and Polenta

{From Better Homes & Gardens, March 2010}

We tried this one last night but without the sun-dried tomatoes - I just used diced tomatoes and olive oil - and it was still surprisingly good!

• ½ of a 6.5-oz. jar oil-packed dried tomatoes with Italian herbs
• 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 lb.)
• 1 cup assorted olives, drained
• ½ cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 4 small bay leaves (optional)
• 1 cup cornmeal

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Drain tomatoes, reserving the oil. Season chicken with salt and black pepper. In 10-inch oven-going skillet heat all the reserved oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in hot oil 3 minutes each side or until browned; remove skillet from heat. Add tomatoes, olives, wine, and bay leaves. Transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees F when inserted in chicken.
2. Meanwhile, for polenta, in large saucepan bring 3 cups water to boiling. In a bowl combine cornmeal, 1 cup cold water, and 1 tsp. salt; gradually stir into boiling water. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir occasionally. (I also added about 2 Tbsp. herb butter and some Parmesan cheese.)
3. Remove skillet from oven and discard bay leaves. Serve chicken with polenta and olives. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

A while ago I was hunting for a really good gnocchi soup, so I combined copycat recipes from the Olive Garden and Romano's Macaroni Grill and came up with this little number.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
8 ounces potato gnocchi
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until onion becomes soft and transparent and garlic becomes golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper, and thyme. Heat to boiling, then add the cooked chicken, gnocchi, and chopped tomato. Turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and spinach. Simmer another 5 minutes until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Serve sprinkled with generous amounts of Parmesan cheese and a little basil.

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

These were served at my brother- and sister-in-law's wedding reception, and I dreamed about them for weeks afterwards. Finally I hunted down an identical recipe!

1 large roasted chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes (alternatively, cube several cooked chicken breasts)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 (8-ounce) can sliced or chopped water chestnuts, drained
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 (2-ounce) package slivered almonds

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon prepared mango chutney (seriously I've never actually tried adding the mango chutney. Good luck with that)

Gently combine the chicken, celery, water chestnuts, grapes, and almonds in a large glass bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Add to the chicken mixture and stir gently to combine. Season with salt, to taste. Serve on croissant rolls.

Leek and Jarlsburg Cheese Soup

Okay, here's the thing. I actually don't use leeks OR Jarlsburg in this soup anymore, but I kept the original title and noted where I changed the ingredients in case you are a purist and want to try the original. When we went to Disney World a few years ago, Travis's sister Christina (who knows all the ins-and-outs of Disney) introduced us to this amazing soup from the Norway Pavilion at the Epcot Center. Even Kate (8 mos. old at the time) gobbled it up!

8 ounces of butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 yellow onion, chopped (*If possible use SWEET onion instead!)
1 large leek, washed and chopped into ¼" pieces (*I tried it with the full amount of leek and onion and though it was okay, but way too onion-y for me. Usually I just leave out the leek altogether and go for the sweet onion.)
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (*This is a lot. Be careful if you don't like it really spicy!)
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon onion powder
8 ounces of Jarlsburg cheese or cheese of your choice grated (*Usually I use aged Swiss)
2 cups milk
1 can chicken broth
to taste salt
to taste pepper
chives for garnish
*ALSO, I sometimes add some diced red potatoes (unpeeled) to give it a little more something.

1. In a large saucepan, melt butter on low heat.
2. Add onions and cook until translucent.
3. Add flour to make a roux.
4. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
5. Add cold milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly.
6. Add leeks, onion power, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. (Also potatoes, if using)
7. Cook on medium heat until soup thickens. (This will take longer if you have potatoes - just keep going until they are cooked through!)
8. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until melted.
9. Season to taste.
10. Before serving, add chives for garnish.

Krista's Chili

This is secret-ingredient chili. You have to make everyone you serve guess what it is or they can't eat! (Okay, actually they won't guess. You can't taste it.) Also, it is high in fiber and antioxidants.

1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 lb. ground beef
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes (I used the whole can
so I wouldn't have to save the leftovers!)
1 cup canned dk. red kidney beans (or whole can again)
1 cup canned black beans (yeah, throw in the whole can)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons shredded cheese

Saute onion and garlic in nonstick cooking spray in a deep saucepan, about 30 seconds. Add ground beef; cook uncovered until it begins to brown (2-3 min. - med. heat), then drain. Add oregano, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and stir. Add tomato paste, stir well and cook 30 sec. Add stewed tomatoes and mix well. Add beans and cocoa powder; stir gently. Add chicken broth and reduce to med.-low. Cover and simmer 12-15 min. Top with cheese before serving.

Lion House Rolls (Bread machine version)

So how many of you LOVE the classic Lion House rolls but don't really like to do all the kneading yourself or use the mixer? Don't you just wish you could throw it all in your bread machine until the "rolling" part? Yeah that's what I thought.

About 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. warm water
1/3 cup dry milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 2/3 Tbsp. butter
1 egg white
About 2 ¾ cup flour
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. (I use a little more water and a little less flour because it’s easier to add flour to sticky dough than to recover from dough that is too dense.) Set bread machine to “dough” setting (that takes you through kneading and the first rise). Punch down dough and roll out on floured surface. Roll into 18 or 24 rolls (depending on your preferred size) and place in a greased pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes). Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. (Cover with foil toward the end if they’re getting too brown.)


(I don’t really use a recipe so these measurements are all approximates. You may have to make some minor (major?) adjustments…)

2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup orange juice
Some flour (I really have no idea how much. 1 cup? Just sprinkle it in until it’s the right consistency)

Combine melted butter, milk, and eggs in a large bowl. (It’s better if the milk and eggs are close to room temp. so they don’t solidify the butter.) Beat on medium speed until well blended and slightly frothy. Add vanilla, sugar, salt and orange juice and beat again. With the beater going, start adding flour slowly, making sure there are no lumps, until it is thick enough. Pour onto heated pan and immediately rotate in a circle so the batter is thinly distributed. Cook over medium heat until light brown, then flip and give the other side another 30-60 seconds or so. The first one is never good to eat so it can be a practice one to get the consistency right! And then, um, just keep going until the batter is gone. Serve with whatever you like on crepes.

Crème Brule French Toast

This recipe is from my grandma, and it is amazing. Make it the night before for an easy yummy breakfast! Sorry, no pictures... maybe next time.

Crème Brule French Toast

Melt over moderate heat and stir constantly:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
Pour mixture into 9x13x2 pan.

Cut 1 baguette into 1 inch slices and put over sugar mixture, squeezing in tightly.

Whisk together:
5 eggs
1 ½ cup half-and-half
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
Pour evenly over baguette slices.

Chill 3-24 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden at edges. Serve hot.

"Mormon" Black Magic Cake

This recipe (originally from the old Hersey's cocoa box!) is identical to the Barefoot Contessa's "Beatty's Chocolate Cake". I "Mormon-ified" it by replacing the coffee with hot chocolate (Stephen's, of course!) We made this for Brooklyn's birthday and it was AMAZING! I'm afraid it may replace the "Famous Lilly Chocolate Cake" that has been my family's birthday staple for years!

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1 cup hot chocolate (I used Stephen's Dulce de Leche, and yes it should be hot!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, hot chocolate, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

CUPCAKE VERSION: For cupcakes, pour batter into 24-30 cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.
OR frost with this (if chocolate cake + chocolate frosting is too much for you!)


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon, orange, or almond extract
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Beat shortening, butter, vanilla, and extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add half the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar and enough remaining milk to reach spreading consistency. This frosts the tops and sides of two 8- or 9-inch cake layers. (Halve the recipe to frost a 13x9x2-inch cake.)