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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

This pasta bake was absolutely delicious. I don't know if my family just eats way more than normal people (probably) or if this pasta is too small but between my husband, our three kids, and I we licked the dish clean ( much to my husbands dismay the next day at lunch time). Trust me it tastes way better than it looks. Oh, and do yourself a favor and add more bacon

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

Recipe by Our Best Bites

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (from the dry pasta aisle)
4 oz bacon (about four strips--I'm telling you if you don't put in at least six you'll be sad)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used a little more than this and one of my kids thought it was too spicy, I thought it was just right)
1 medium lemon
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 dgs. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet and cook on medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about one minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about one minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir and whisk till smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, use a microplane grate or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tbs of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 c mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8x8 pan and top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

Cover pan with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes.

Notes: You should double this, for sure. You'll be glad the next day when you don't have to eat PB&J. Also, I never could find dry tortellini, so I used some I found in the freezer section, turned out great!

Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes

I promise this isn't going to be a breakfast only recipe blog. It just so happens that my oldest daughter is out of school this week, so instead of being productive we are lounging about in our pajamas, taking our dear sweet time at breakfast, and reading The Book Thief for hours on end. Well >> I << have been reading, she's been keeping busy doing other more adventurous/productive things (like selling all of her dress-ups on the corner, weird). It's been a great week. I didn't realize how busy life was when you have kids in school until I, well, had a kid in school. What a giant time suck kindergarten is!

Anyway, we l-o-o-o-v-e these pancakes. I mostly love them because they are an excellent way to use wheat without having a wheat grinder. The secret is, I actually do have a wheat grinder now, but I inherited it from Blaine's Grandma and I don't think she had used it for a lot of years before I got it, so it's in need of a good scrubbing, and who has the time for that (while reading such a good book, no less). I used to also love these pancakes because my kids would eat them without butter or syrup. Yeah, the cats out of the bag on that one and now, much like their father, they prefer their pancakes swimming in syrup. It was good while it lasted.

Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes

from family cookbook

1 cup whole wheat kernels
1 cup milk (or 1 cup water and 1/3 cup dry milk)
2 tablespoons of oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Put 1 cup whole wheat kernels and 1 cup milk in blender. Blend three minutes. Add eggs, oil, honey, and salt. Blend for thirty seconds. Add baking powder and pulse three times. Make pancakes immediately (not kidding or the batter will multiply and spill all over the place, it's pretty exciting).

Notes: As a friend I am going to tell you to not double this recipe. Unless your blender jar is much bigger than mine. It's just not worth it. I one and a half the recipe all the time. I doubled it once. And it seems like it will fit in your blender, but it won't. Promise. Well, it will. Till you blend.

And another thing, have I mentioned how ridiculously cheap I am? Been married eight years and just barely got a griddle. Best $20 I ever spent. Now, another thing I am too cheap to buy? Maple flavoring. I know, right? Weird. So I make syrup with vanilla flavoring, and I quite like it. I also about half the sugar of a typical syrup recipe, that's not so great, but if you could see the vast amount of syrup my husband puts on pancakes...you would halve it too. The syrup recipe is coming...just as soon as my dad e-mails me back...which could take up to a year. Happy eating!

Monday, May 23, 2011

German Pancakes

I was introduced to German pancakes way too late in life. And even after I was first introduced it took me a while to like them. I'm not big in to things that are eggy (especially things like meringue, but even things like creme brulee *gasp*!). But it turns out that if you eat the crispy, poofy, delicious edge of a German pancake and top it with the rapidly deteriorating fresh strawberries and lemon glaze, the egginess is a non issue. I love making these for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) because they are simple, delicious, and a major crowd pleaser in this house. Just the kids and I can devour a whole pan of them in five minutes flat. Not sure whether that is something to be proud of or disgusted by. Either way, if you need a quick and tasty meal, these are your ticket.

Plus how could having a dish that comes out of the oven looking like this...

not make you ridiculously happy? Plus then add a few of these. Oh baby....

German Pancakes

An interesting conglomeration between a recipe found on allrecipes.com and in the most current rendition of our extended family cookbook

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (half stick) of butter
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 450dgs. While preheating put the butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven so it will melt (don't let it burn though, trust me). In the mean time, whip the six eggs until thick and lemony in color (abt three minutes). Add the flour, milk, salt, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon and mix together. Dump in the buttered pan and cook for about 15 minutes.

Gather the kids around when you pull it out of the oven to impress them with your awesomeness! Serve quickly by topping with your desired toppings. In my case fresh strawberries and lemon glaze.

I was trying to take one of those cool "look at how awesome drizzling glaze can be" pictures but my six-year-old was in charge of the drizzling and my two and three-year-olds kept sticking their finger in the drizzle stream. See, taking pictures of the process is just too complicated for me : )

Lemon Glaze

a Kristi original

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together, keep adding lemon juice or sugar until desired consistency is reached. See above picture.

P.S. I have absolutely no idea if those measurements are accurate. I'd say you would want it to be the consistency of, say, rubber cement. Gross.

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

Have you ever been to Rubio's? Probably the finest fish taco to ever grace the Earth, especially on Tuesdays when they are half off. Well, these fish tacos are absolutely nothing like the tacos at Rubios, but they are still delicious! My very favorite part of these tacos is the jicima salsa. Jicima is a slightly sweet, crunchy, delicious little ...thing. Growing up my Grandma would always have jicama on hand and peel and slice it for a sweet little afternoon snack when we would visit. It compliments these spicy tacos perfectly. And don't be afraid, you can easily control the heat in these tacos to suit your tastes.

I also kind of feel like I should note something here. Well, two things, one is that I only own white plates and bowls. It's a sad little life to be such a cheapskate, but I just want to get that out in the open so we can all move on. The second thing is that...notice how there is nothing else on the plate besides the tacos? That's totally the norm at our house. I'm proud that we rarely eat things like soup from a can, grilled cheese, etc. but making things that take more than ten minutes to prepare means that we usually just get a main course. Occasionally some bread or a vegetable, never anything too thrilling.

I really wanted to just make German pancakes for dinner tonight, but I have a husband who is staunchly opposed to breakfast for dinner (pity me, please). Anyway, hope you enjoy these tacos!

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

adapted slightly from http://www.allrecipes.com/
1 cup corn
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup peeled, chopped jicama
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
6 (4oz) tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 corn tortillas, warmed (I spray a pan with pam and slightly toast on both sides)

Preheat grill to high heat. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama, red bell pepper, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and zest. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices. Arrange fillets on grill grate (or on George Foreman) and cook for three minutes per side. For each taco, top corn tortilla with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa.

Kristi's Notes: Be pretty sparing with the spice rub, even if you like the heat. We like spicy in this house and I probably only used a third of this spice mixture, if that. For the kids tacos I threw some fish on with just the salt and none of the spice rub.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Balsamic Chicken Pasta with Fresh Cheese

I like to think I am the kind of person who will try anything once. I am also the kind of person who really likes cheese (with the exception of blue cheese, due to an unfortunate incident while I was pregnant that I prefer to not talk about. At least on a recipe blog. *shudder*). I think I had tried little crumbles of goat cheese before and it seemed pretty gross to me. Perhaps a little bit too much like blue cheese for comfort. This dish, however, not only has me buying goat cheese, it has me buying goat cheese from Costco, and frequently from Costco at that. Which is really saying something! This pasta is one of the finest pastas around, it's easy to make, has a unique flavor, and I just can't get enough of it!

Balsamic Chicken Pasta with Fresh Cheese

by: www.perrysplate.com

2 T balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 c shredded cooked chicken
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 c small fresh mozzarella balls, halved or cubed mozzarella (3/4 inch)
1/2 c crumbled soft goat cheese
8 oz linguine ( I would estimate that I only use the type of pasta called for in a recipe like 15% of the time, I just use what I have on hand. In this case it was fettuccine. But if I had to do it over again I would have used spaghetti noodles or something a little more...round)

Cook linguine according to package directions; drain. Saute bell pepper in a small skillet over medium heat until limp, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl; slowly whisk in oil. Stir in 1/2 c basil.

Place pasta, chicken, cooked peppers, mozzarella, goat cheese, and remaining basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss to coat.

Kristi's Notes: I've messed around with this pasta quite a bit. Sometimes I use a rotisserie chicken from Costco, sometimes (usually) I omit the chicken all together and substitute in mushrooms (just slice them and throw them in when you cook the red pepper). I've also found that you can reduce the amount of oil in the sauce by about a tablespoon or two and it doesn't affect the taste of texture of the pasta much (I'm so ridiculously healthy...ha!). I hope you give this recipe a shot, it really is delicious. And I should note that you can buy goat cheese at Costco for much less than anywhere else. I've learned to even kind of, sort of, slightly like goat cheese on other things too. Baby steps.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries and Cream Pie

I was really happy to see this recipe pop up a few weeks ago. I love strawberries, and I love pies, but I have a thing about fruit pies. I haven't quite figured out if it is that I don't like warm fruit, I don't like cooked fruit, or if I just don't like mushy pureed fruit. Probably a combination of all of the above. So this pie was perfect for me, plus it turned out beautifully (which you would know if I could take a decent picture, I'm working on it - promise). With strawberries as beautiful and cheap as they are right now, and such an easy delicious recipe, you should give it a try! I also made a delicious strawberry soup the other day, it was divine, but I forgot to take a picture, whoops!

Chocolate-Drizzled Strawberries and Cream Pie
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 quart fresh strawberries (frozen’s not gonna cut it here)
1 8-oz. package cream cheese at room temperature (light is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 9″ graham cracker crust (store-bought or homemade, I have the easiest and best graham cracker crust recipe that I will post soon, I will be so disappointed if you ever buy a crust again)
1-2 ounces chocolate

In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a separate large bowl, beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks form. Add about 1 c. of the whipping cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until smooth and well-combined. Add the remaining whipping cream mixture and mix until just combined. Spread in the graham cracker crust and refrigerate for a few minutes while you prepare the strawberries.

Wash the strawberries and cut off the stems. Blot dry with a paper towel and then gently press, cut side down, into the whipped cream mixture. Set aside.

If using a chocolate bar, break it into equal pieces and place in a small Ziploc bag. Microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes, stopping the microwave every 20 seconds to mash the bag. You want the chocolate to be melted but not hot at all. When the chocolate is melted, snip a corner off the bag and drizzle it over the strawberries. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. Serves 8.

Living Basil

For four years now I have tried to grow my own garden. When I failed the first time I blamed it on the Texas sun and soil. We were living in Austin, TX and about an inch under the top layer of soil was solid Texas limestone. The second year in Texas, after mixing in new soil and trying really hard to grow tomatoes and basil (that's all I want, fresh tomatoes and basil), my garden still failed and I blamed it on the dogs, the sun, and bad luck. Now that I am back in Utah though I still have not had gardening success. It's sad really. Fresh herbs (aside from cilantro and parsley) are so expensive, but they make such a difference in a tasty meal.

I thought I would share with you a little tip. At certain stores around (I've seen them at WinCo and Harmons) you can buy living basil. It's a little plant of basil, and sure it costs more than a small package of fresh basil (not that much more), but it is a wise investment. This basil plant (which is starting to look very, very sad) has been sitting near a window in my kitchen for well over a month now. Every time I make a dish that has basil I just pluck a few leaves. It is so convenient! And sure eventually I overpick my plant and it dies, but that usually takes about two months to happen. So as long as I keep it watered and in decent sunlight I can have access to fresh basil for only about $2 a month. Way less stressful than gardening or buying tiny little packages of basil that could go bad before I use them. So check and see if your local store has living basil for sale, I totally recommend it!

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos

I'm an avid follower of perrysplate.com, her recipes are always delicious and full of good-for-you things, like spinach and sweet potatoes. The ingredients in these tacos don't seem like they would mesh together well, but man, they are a great combination! Hopefully we can use the "hobo dinner" cooking style to our advantage when we go camping this summer! You should definitely give these tacos a try for a fun twist on a traditional favorite!

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos
by: www.perrysplate.com

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos
by Natalie @ http://perrysplate.com

1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup tomato sauce (4 ounces)
1 can black, kidney, or pinto beans, drained
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups total)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for garnish
6 12-inch long pieces of aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and beans. Set aside.

To assemble packets, spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place 1 cup sweet potato cubes in the center of each piece. Top with a small piece of butter (about 1 tsp) and a pinch or two of salt. Sprinkle some chopped spinach over the sweet potatoes, followed by about 1/3 cup of taco meat and sprinkle of cheese. Fold the sides in, then bring the top and bottom ends of the foil together in the center and fold, sealing the packet.

Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing the packets on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.

Makes 6 servings.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Maybe you are concerned about random ingredients in your food (MSG anyone?), or perhaps maybe dinner is in an hour and you don't have time to run to the store (have I complained yet about how I live in the middle of a fairly large city and yet I still must drive fifteen minutes to get to a grocery store?). Regardless of your reasoning, sometimes it is nice to be able to just whip up your own salad dressing. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand, and if you don't you probably wont be disappointed with a little improvisation.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

by: Janssen @ frugalwifewealthylife.blogspot.com

3/4 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
3/4 cup sour cream (light is fine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley (this was the thing I did not have)
1 green onion (green part only)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons - 1/2 cup buttermilk

Put all ingredients, except buttermilk, in the blender and process until smooth; add buttermilk until desired consistency is reached. Store in fridge for up to two weeks.

*Kristi's Notes: I had no parsley, but ironically I did have fresh basil so I threw in a couple of basil leaves in lieu of the parsley and enjoyed the results. Also I don't go through buttermilk so I usually keep some buttermilk powder on hand, or you can mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand for five minutes. Another handy thing to note is that if you go to the store and buy Italian salad dressing, you can buy a two pack that has a cruet included for less than the cost of two Italian dressing packs. probably everyone in the world knew this already but me, but it was a happy day when I didn't have to store my homemade dressing in a canning jar anymore :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

When I originally posted about these stuffed pizza rolls on my old recipe blog, I sounded really bitter and kind of mad about them. I think I made them on a really rough day (translation: PMS), and I did a couple of things wrong, like using pre-shredded mozzarella cheese (translation: giant mess). In truth these little "pizza balls" as we call them, are awesome. I like them better than making a regular pizza for two reasons 1 - they are less messy for toddlers to eat than regular pizza and 2 - one of the biggest disputes that B and I have in our marriage is how much pizza sauce belongs on a pizza. For me, there can never be enough, for him even a little is too much. So these pizza balls solve that dilemma.

You can make these as easy (with a refrigerated pizza crust and sauce from a jar) or hard (homemade pizza dough and sauce) as you want. I haven't experimented with this, but I am guessing they would freeze well and be an easy meal to keep on hand in the freezer to just pop in the oven on a rough day.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

by: www.ourbestbites.com

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
pizza sauce (or make your own)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
mozzarella cheese, cut in small cubes
pizza toppings of your choice: ie ham and pineapple, pepperoni, sausage, etc.

Preheat the oven to the heat specified on the pizza dough package (or recipe - usually about 400 degrees). Unroll your dough onto a lightly floured surface. pat or roll the dough so it is about 8". Cut the dough into about 24 squares with a pizza cutter (I'll just tell you right now that the best pizza cutter you will ever get can be purchased at your local Papa Murphy's for $5).

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square (not the sauce!). Just place enough toppings on each square so you have enough dough left to make a ball. When all of your dough sqaures have cheese and toppings on, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and them place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie plate (or similar dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter, then sprinkle with garlic and Italian seasonings and top with parmesan cheese (or in lieu of that you can just use garlic bread seasoning).

Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. You may want to check after 10 minutes since cooking times may vary. Serve with warm pizza sauce.

Kristi's Notes: If you are local, the best garlic bread seasoning is Chef Tom's. I'll be honest, I'm not sure where my mom gets it from, but she gives it to me occasionally on holidays and I swear by it. I'm going to venture out and try making my own sometime soon though, stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Broccoli and Bowties

If I had to choose one dish, and only one dish, to eat for the rest of my life this would certainly be it. I mean sure, I'd probably rather choose lobster, but that is so rich it might get old after a week (or two). This dish is light and flavorful. I just feel downright healthy when I eat it (I can hear all you anti-gluten peeps sneering!).

When we were living in Texas and I was great with child, a dear neighbor and friend brought this dish to me, and it was perfect. At the time, everything, was making me very sick. I couldn't keep anything down (as per usual when I am pregnant). This just tasted so fresh and good, and I kept it down! Since then we've probably had this dish on average about once a week. We never get sick of it, the kids love it, and it comes together quickly. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Broccoli and Bowties

by: Cheryl, awesome neighbor in Texas

8 cups broccoli florets
kosher salt
1 lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or as you can see here, penne works just fine too)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lemon, zested (buying a microplane was probably the best decision I ever made)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pignolis (pine nuts)
freshly grated parmesan

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli for five minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl, set aside. In the same water, cook the bow-tie pasta according to package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain well and add to broccoli.

Meanwhile in a small saute pan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Off of the heat, add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper and the lemon juice and pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss well. Season to taste, sprinkle with pignolis and cheese, serve.

*Kristi's notes: Pine nuts can cost their weight in gold it seems. The best place I have found to purchase them is from www.nuttyguys.com. Over the last several months there have been lots of groupons available for nuttyguys where you can get $25 worth of product for $10, they also offer free pick-up at their warehouse in Salt Lake if you are local.

To toast your pine nuts place them in a dry saute pan over medium low heat and cook, tossing often until they start to turn brown. Don't walk away - trust me. There is nothing worse than over-toasting your pine nuts, unless as Janssen says, you like the salty taste of tears in your pasta.

Also, I have a motto in our house "lemon is good, but more lemon is better" and therefore I am very generous with both the lemon zest and lemon juice when I make this recipe, usually almost doubling those ingredients. I also have been known to sprinkle generously with lemon pepper seasoning.

Easy Chinese Dumpling Soup

The great news is that none of the pictures on this blog will be pilfered. The not-so-great news is that that means that the pictures will be, well, not-so-great. But that's okay! In three years we will all look back and laugh at what a novice photographer I was! Certainly I will learn and grow in three years, right? And it's also pretty likely that my pictures will all have an eerie orange-ish hue since we never eat dinner before about 7PM, and while I don't know much about photography, I do know that 7PM in a darkened kitchen is not really ideal lighting. And also, I feel like it is only fair to point out that it is *highly* likely that I will never post pictures of the process of preparing the recipes. I'm sorry, is it just me or would that be really hard? I mean I can barely prepare a meal without wanting to put all three of my kids up for adoption, I can only imagine if I added an hour to the process by washing my hands, posing my food, click, rinse, repeat. Please forgive me.

It should be pretty easy to forgive me because this soup comes together in about seven minutes and tastes divine! The broth is so delicious, the ginger really gives it a nice flavor, the perfect comfort food! Plus, can life be any better than when you have a package of frozen potstickers in your fridge? I think not.

Easy Chinese Dumpling Soup

adapted slightly from www.soupchick.com

4 cups chicken stock
1 slice fresh ginger root, 1/4 inch thick, peeled but left whole
2 scallions sliced (or three green onions thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon shao hsing wine (I used rice vinegar with good results)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
kosher salt, to taste
fresh black pepper, to taste
15 frozen chinese dumplings (potstickers)with filling of your choice (do not defrost)
hoisin sauce for garnish (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the chicken stock, ginger root, scallions, shao hsing wine and dark soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add frozen dumplings, and when the soup returns to boiling, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Divide evenly in to serving bowls and drizzle a bit of hoisin on the dumplings, if desired.

*Kristi's notes: The original recipe calls for 24 Chinese dumplings. When I made it I put in 20, my husband and I still felt like there were too many dumplings for the amount of broth there was. I suggest either reducing the dumplings to 15, or doubling the broth and keeping the original 25-30 dumplings. I would plan on each adult wanting about 4 dumplings.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Liege Waffles

For the inaugural recipe of LemonGlaze, I'm choosing the best waffle I've ever made or eaten. A few months ago during a time of extreme duress, my husband and I took a much needed weekend getaway to downtown Salt Lake City. Having lived near Salt Lake City for nearly my entire life (minor detours taken to Portland OR, Rochester MN, and Austin TX), I figured there wasn't much to see or do here that I haven't already seen and done dozens of times. I was dead wrong.

On the first morning of our trip we visited Bruges Waffles, and my life has never been the same. I dream of the sweet, crisp, savory morsels nearly every night. We enjoyed our waffle so much that we went back to Bruges for dinner, passing up PF Changs, Olive Garden, and about a dozen other of our favorite restaurants.

I finally gathered my courage, borrowed a Belgian Waffle maker, scouted out pearl sugar (hint: IKEA), and attempted what I thought was the impossible - recreating the Liege Waffle from Bruges. My friends, I was successful!

Liege Waffles

From: www.food.com

1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened
1 cup pearl sugar

Mix yeast, water, sugar and salt, and let develop for 15 minutes. Place flour into a large bowl. Make a well, pour in yeast mixture, begin to knead. You might start to panic at this point, and at several points during the kneading process. I am here to tell you, it's going to turn out fine. It really will, I wanted to give up but I am so very glad I pressed onward. Continue to knead while adding eggs, one at a time. Continue kneading while adding the butter, 2 tablespoons each addition, mixing well.

Let dough rest until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). Gently mix in pearl sugar. Let rest for 15 minutes. Separate dough into balls of 3 tablespoons dough mixture. When your Belgian Waffle Iron is hot and ready, place dough ball in iron. Cook 3-5 minutes until waffles are lightly brown on top (this only took three minutes in my waffle iron). Serve warm with Creme Fraiche and Belgian Chocolate. Or, if you are like me and you didn't realize that Creme Fraiche has to sit for nearly an entire day, serve with fresh whipped cream and melted chocolate chips. Still nearly as divine.

Also, I'm doing you a favor and NOT posting the calorie count on these waffles. I promise they are worth it, and very much so.


Welcome to LemonGlaze!

Hi! My name is Kristi I am a twenty-something (I can still say that for a few more months...) mother of three who has an affection for scouting out and sharing great recipes. Because I am in the running for the world's most unorganized person, I started a blog to keep track of all of these great recipes, so I can find them later on and so that hopefully when dinner time rolls around and you need inspiration you can come here and find some tried and true recipes that are sure to be please. I would love any recipe suggestions you have, as I am always on the lookout for something tasty!