Monthly Archives: January 2012

Week End Round Up #3

Verse of the Day

“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3  NIV

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a blessed week and are looking forward to a great weekend!  I know I am.  Yesterday I posted some information about cooking with basil.  I received this comment/question from a reader.
“Maybe a little off topic, however, This year I planted two basil plants but the seeds from last season’s plants popped up on their own so now I have six plants. I have been cooking with fresh leaves like crazy and have given tons of it to friends and family, but I still have a huge amount of good basil. I want to know the best way to dry it so that I can cook with it in the future and not waste all of those leaves. Hubby is getting sick of pesto right now. I’ll be back to read more next time.”

I love hearing from readers and this is such a great question.  For drying a dehydrator can be used or the basil leaves can simply be hung over a string and left to dry and then crumbled for use.  However, when herbs are dried they loose some of their potency.  I prefer to freeze them.  Pesto sauce can be frozen in small quantities (such as in an ice cube tray) and then used later.  Basil can also be combined in a food processor and a little olive oil and then frozen for later use.  One of my favorite websites for everything frozen, dried, or canned is “Pick Your Own.org”.  I the summer time especially I use this site weekly.  For more information on drying and freezing basil, check it out here.  Thanks for the comment!
To read more about cooking with basil, check out yesterday’s post and recipe.

Looking back at the week in pictures we started out with this absolutely gorgeous roasted red pepper quiche.  I encourage you to consider this recipe as it is delicious the first time around and even better as a leftover!

And just in case you didn’t have a chance to smell this terrific soup simmering on your stove top this week here is another look at White Chicken Chili.  Last year my mom actually won first place at a Chili Cook-off at my brother’s church in Kansas City with this recipe.  Awarding winning, it is a keeper!!!
And we did share her secret flavoring ingredients:

No matter where your cooking and eating adventures take you this weekend, I wish you well.  Many blessings and happy cooking!

Cooking With Basil

Verse of the Day

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Today Renee Swope wrote the “Encouragement For Today Devotions” titled listening to God.  As I was reading what she wrote, I thought, “I wonder about that too!”.  She writes, I want to be a woman who listens to God. But, sometimes I’m not sure if it’s God talking or just me thinking.  And if I’m really honest, when I do sense Him whispering to my heart, I’m not always crazy about what I sense He’s telling me to do. Click here to read more.

I am a member of the Town and Country Garden Club where I live. Today our county Extension Agent, Whitney, presented a really informative and fun program on cooking with herbs. It reminded me of why I like to cook with fresh herbs and why I love to have herbs growing in my yard. I decided to start sharing some of the herbal information with you! Now, I realize that it is the dead of winter and that I don’t have any basil in my garden at the moment — and you probably don’t either.  However, this is exactly the right time to start thinking about our spring planting!  In the meantime, we are lucky to have fresh basil available at the grocers!  The recipe link is from Simply Recipes.com.

Herbs are plants whose leave, stems, flowers, roots, or seeds are valued for their culinary, aromatic, medicinal, pesticidal, or coloring (dye) properties.  GROWING HERBS:  Most herbs need at least a half day (6 hours) of sunlight for optimal growth and flavor. Herbs need well-drained ordinary garden soil. Herbs have a stronger flavor and fragrance if not fertilized (I didn’t know this!)  Allow at least 1 to 2 feet between plants when planting herbs and avoid insecticides, as you will be eating some of these leaves.

For this first post I want to highlight BASIL (Ocimum basilicum).  I love using fresh basil in so many dishes.  I also love just rubbing it between my fingers and taking in the fragrance when in the garden!  Basil is an attractive 2 foot tender annual.  Sweet Genovese is the best variety for cooking.  It has a smooth, bright green leaves.  It can be started from seed or a cutting.  Be sure not to plant outdoors before all danger of frost has passed.  Basil requires full sun and prefers moist, well drained soil. For the first few weeks, pinch off the top two pair of leaves to make it branch out. Harvest up to 1/3 of the plant often throughout the growing season. Then when it starts to set flowers, cut the plant back by 1/2 or 2/3 or it won’t continue to make leaves.  Don’t allow them to bloom and to seed.  leaves have a sharp spicy flavor. Use fresh for the best flavor.  Preserve by freezing.  Basil is especially good with tomatoes and Italian or Thai dishes.  Don’t store basil below 45 degrees F. or it will blacken.  It also bruises easily so use a sharp knife to cut the leaves.  Stir in at the end of the cooking time for best results.

STORING TIP:  Classic Basil Pesto can be placed in ice cube trays, and frozen for use later. After they are frozen, place cubes in a Ziploc bag for storage.

Many Blessings and Happy Cooking!

Classic Basil Pesto

Prep time 10 minutes
Website Simply Recipes
Fresh basil combines with the nuts and garlic to make a beautiful classic pesto.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1 Combine olive oil and minced garlic. Warm in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to infuse garlic flavoring into the oil.
2 Combine the basil with the pine nuts or walnuts. Pulse a few times in a food processor.
3 Slowly add the olive oil/garlic mixture in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. The mixture should be ground to a paste-like consistency but a little bit of the leaves' texture should remain.
4 Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse again until blended.
5 Serve over pasta, baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

Note

(1) Sweet Genovese basil works best, giving the most flavorful pesto.
(2) When making bread, flatten out the dough, spread with pesto sauce and roll up tight. Bake as you normally would. Pesto gives a lovely taste and presentation within the bread.
(3) Makes 1 cup

White Chicken Chili January’s Warm Up!

Psalm 101:1-3

1 I will sing of your love and justice;
   to you, LORD, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
   when will you come to me?

   I will conduct the affairs of my house
   with a blameless heart.
3 I will not look with approval
   on anything that is vile.

It was such a busy weekend at our house.  I fulfilled a Christmas gift to my mother and I am so thankful to have it done.  My mom didn’t like the wallpaper in her bathroom.  She shared with me last fall that the wallpaper was just too over-powering.  I remained totally silent because my mind starting whirling that I would be stripping wallpaper and painting that bathroom.  Since those two activities are on my “least favorite to do list” I decided in order to maintain a good attitude while stripping (the wallpaper!) I would gift it to her!  So for Christmas I gave her an empty paint can covered with paint samples.  She picks the color, I do the work.  What was I thinking?  Whew, it seemed like a good idea about 4 months ago!  But now the project is finished and I can think about one of my favorite things to do — cooking!  While involved in my “project” mom made some awesome White Chicken Chili soup which she shared with her bible study group and then we got the left overs!  Yum!

I love white chicken chili because it is packed with stuff that is really good for us!  Chicken breast, white beans, green chilies …. and a little cream and sour cream to make it the best.

We use McCormick’s White Chicken Chili for the seasoning.  They have it mixed together perfectly and you won’t have to second guess whether you have too much or too little seasoning.  You will find the recipe at the bottom of this post!
In the meantime, I still can’t find the sugar bowl and continue to bake vicariously through some of my favorite foodies.  It seems The Brown Eyed Baker is full speed ahead with this fabulous looking Peanut Butter Blondies.  Oh how I would like to eat one right now!
And in the kitchen of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures she has been busy also making something sweet in the name of Pumpkin Streusel Coffeecake.  This coffeecake looks densely delicious and packed with goodies!

Until next time, sweet blessings and happy cooking!

White Chicken Chili

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Easy, delicious chili, chocked full of healthy chicken and a little bit of spice!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 cans Great Northern White Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz Chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 - 4 ounce cans Diced Green chilies
  • 1/2 cup Whipping Cream
  • 1 cup Sour cream
  • 1 packet McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning

Directions

1 In a large saucepan, saute chicken and McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning Packet, until the chicken is no longer pink.
2 Add beans, chilies, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
3 Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for at least 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream.
4
Serve immediately.

Note

If you have more time, cook soup (without adding cream and sour cream) for an hour or so.  Add cream and sour cream just before serving.

 

Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Gruyere Quiche

Matthew 11:28-30;    Joshua 1:5, 9

COME to Me, and rest in My loving Presence. You know that this day will bring difficulties, and you are trying to think your way through those trials. As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you - now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way! Instead, come to Me, and relax in My Peace. I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust.
From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Have you ever known anyone who went for a medical procedure and when the doctor was doing the procedure he found no problems and no reason for the procedure?  I have heard of such instances but never experienced them myself.  My mom has been diagnosed with an 80% blockage in a subclavian artery (near the Carotid). She had THREE scans/ultrasounds confirming the blockage and the exact spot.  Today she had the procedure to stint the blockage.  At 80 years old this is a big deal because of all that could go wrong.  When the surgeon got into her arteries, they were totally clear, no blockage, no circulation problems … nothing!  “Sometimes we just can’t explain it,”, he said.  Well, I can explain it — today we were given a real live modern day miracle.  Mom is home with us tonight instead of in the hospital as planned.  It wasn’t until I got home from the hospital that I read my devotion from Sarah Young that I am sharing today.  We are feeling chosen to be blessed today and I am so thankful.

Mom In The Kitchen!

It seems only right that we celebrate tonight with this great picture of mom “working the apples” this past summer! Yeah Mom! Recently I bought some Phyllo dough and decided to make a recipe that I saw from www.shabbottshabits.com.  I have never made anything with phyllo dough.  I don’t know exactly why, I just haven’t.  I saw this quiche and fell in love with how it looked! :)  Then I made it, and fell in love with how it tastes!

The roasted red pepper in this dish is outstanding.  The garlic is strong and it melds great with the Gruyere cheese.  It was fun to layer the pastry sheets.  Into the oven …

Out of the oven …

We ate this dish as a main dish the first meal and with a salad and a slice for the second meal.  It warms up terrifically and is awesome. As for Phyllo dough?  I will definitely play with it again!  If you have a favorite phyllo dough recipe — please share!  I am interested!

SOUP  — before I sign off tonight, my friend Sandy left a comment asking if I have a great split pea soup recipe.  Well, I don’t.  Do you?  If you have an especially delicious pea soup recipe please click on the CONTACT tab and you can send me the recipe.  Thanking you in advance!

View and Print From My Tasty Kitchen Recipe Box

Many Blessings and Happy Cooking!

Spinach, Roasted Pepper and Gruyere Quiche

Serves 6-8
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Website Adapted From Shabbottshabits
Melty-salty-cheesy Gruyere goodness mixed together with perfectly roasted red peppers in a crispy phyllo dough crust. It is culinary perfection at its best!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 6 sheets Phyllo dough
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 Small white onion, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped (or 1 cup frozen )
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 Large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups roasted red pepper, chopped (from a jar)
  • 1 cup Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fresh pepper

Directions

1 phyllo-pie-crust1
Prepare the phyllo dough crust.
* Gently place one piece of phyllo dough in a 9-inch pie plate. Push down gently so that the crust conforms to the plate. (Some will hang over the edges)
* Lightly brush the dough with melted butter
*Repeat six times
* Using kitchen shears, cut off the excess phyllo dough, leaving about 1-inch excess outside the edge of the pie plate
* Brush the 1-inch edge with melted butter. Fold down and under the 1-inch edge so that no phyllo dough is hanging over.
2 Saute the chopped onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the spinach and garlic cloves to the pan and cook until the spinach is slightly wilted. Remove from the heat.
3 Roasted red pepper before chopping
Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk together for about one minute. Add the chopped pepper, 3/4 cup of the Gruyere and the spinach mixture to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
4 roast-red-pep-prebake1
Pour the egg mixture into the phyllo crust. Place pie ring around the crust, if you have one. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 35 minutes.
5 roast-red-pepper-341
Top with remaining 1/4 cup Gruyere Cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking and the phyllo is lightly browned.
6 red-pepper-quiche-single1
Let the quiche rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Note

(1) I like my eggs well-down and 45 minutes total baking time will do that.  If you prefer more medium, use slightly less baking time.

 

Week End Round UP #2

Psalm 118:24
from The Message (MSG)

Thank you for responding to me; you’ve truly become my salvation! The stone the masons discarded as flawed  is now the capstone!
   This is God’s work.   We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
   This is the very day God acted —  let’s celebrate and be festive!
   Salvation now, God. Salvation now!  Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Happy Friday the 13th~  thirteen is my lucky number!  I decided years ago that instead of fearing the number 13 (like so many do) that I would take it as my “lucky” number.  I don’t really know how “lucky” it has been, but I do know I always embrace Friday the 13th as a great day to be alive!  And today is no exception!  This is the day the Lord has made and I am rejoicing with happiness.  It is the end of the work week for many and that in itself is enough to rejoice about! :)
Before posting the pictures from this week’s “round up” I came across a couple recipes from others I thought I would share.  Doggy Dessert Chef continues to amaze me with the treats for our furry friends.   Here is a posting from her website.  I didn’t know dogs love peanuts — Did you?
Dogs love peanuts and you can never have to may peanut recipes!
These are a few of the drool worthy ones I’ve found.
peanut mania: a peanut dog treat recipe collection
1. Peanut Butter Banana Biscuits by sweet verbena.
2. Crunchy Peanut Butter Dog Treats from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.
3. Peanut Butter Dog Treats by Whisk Kid.
4. Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats from The Greyhound Beckett
5. Nutter Butter Dog Treat from Best Bully Sticks
6. Peanut Butter Dog Biscuitsby Ms. Fields Secrets

We don’t eat Chinese food very often.  (CC#1 doesn’t care for it.) But mom and I eat it from time to time when we are left on are own for a meal.  However, when we do eat it, I always order Crab Rangoon.  I love those little wontons stuffed with cream and crab.  I mean, what’s not to like?  However, they are fried.  So, I am intrigued by this recipe posted by Tracey this week.  Baked Crab Rangoon.  I don’t know when I will get it made, but I am saving the recipe for sure.  If you decide to give it a try, let me know how you like it!

Crab Rangoon, Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
This has been a fun cooking week for me.  I discovered the recipe for the incredible Blueberry Cream Cake and truly can’t wait to make it again.
I also perfected my favorite potato soup by adding a second cheese – that being Fontina!  Fontina cheese has its origin in Italy with the Italian version quite pungent, but full of flavor.  I tend to buy the “Danish” made version of Fontina cheese, which is semi-soft and mild.  I just love it in so many dishes and it enhances the richness of potato soup perfectly.

A new recipe for me and a bit of a surprise was the Donut Muffins, or should I write “Doughnut Muffins.”  Tomatoes, tomaaatoes … they taste like donuts and muffins all mixed into one!
Rounding out the week was the first meal of the week … Ham and Potato Gratin.  I added the ham to make a one-dish-meal (lazy on my part) and it turned out great.  This is a keeper recipe no matter if you want to make an awesome side dish of potato gratin, or a one-dish-meal.  Either way — yum.
Have a great weekend, many blessings and happy cooking!
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