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.)