Monday, December 30, 2013

Crockpot Orange Ginger Beef Stew

(originally made 1/2013)

It was super chilly in NH yesterday, Jake had a sleepover last night and I had to drop him off after school.   I wanted to come home to a good smelling house and a nice hearty comfort food meal.    I'd earmarked this recipe to try on the Inspired Edibles blog.   The first thing I had to do was swap it to a crockpot meal, and then I modified a few things to work around our tastes.   This was the end result and it was very very good, and a nice change from our regular beef stew.    The orange made it seem not as heavy, but still comforting.

The orange juice component was a little vague-   dilute it how much?   I had some store brand frozen concentrate, made it as the can directed and just added a cup of it to the crockpot.

No picture of this one, I lack the photography skills to make stews look appealing- be sure to go check out the picture on the blog!   Maybe I'll give it a try at lunch time when the light is better.
* Exported from MasterCook *

              Crockpot Orange Ginger Beef Stew

Recipe Adapted from the Inspired Edibles Blog
Serving Size  : 8   

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/2         pounds  stew meat -- cut into cubes
     1/4           cup  flour
  2              large  yellow onions -- chopped (used dried minced, 2 heaping tablespoons)
  2              large  sweet potatoes -- peel on cut into chunks (used yukon gold)
  3                     parsnip -- cut into chunks (omitted)
  6-8                     carrots -- cut into chunks (used baby carrots)
  2               cups  water -- (omitted)
  1                cup  dilute orange juice
  1 1/2           cups  beef stock -- (used reduced sodium)
  1                cup  tomato sauce -- (used 1/4c)
  2               Tbsp  grated orange zest
  2               Tbsp  grated ginger
  2                tsp  dried thyme
  1                tsp  dried oregano
  3                     Bay leaf

Add beef and flour to crockpot, stir to coat.    Add all of the remaining ingredients, mixing to combine.    Cook for 8 to 10 hours.  


Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Recipe Round Up

these are all the things I tried this year  :)

1.       Crockpot Orange Ginger Beef Stew

2.       Italian Seasoned Roast Chicken Breasts

3.       Parmesan Lemon Smashed Potatoes

4.       Black Pepper Citrus Chicken

5.       Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

6.       Buffalo Chicken Bites

7.       Gingered Carrots & Parsnips

8.       Crumb Coated Ranch Chicken

9.       Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Chops

10.   Flakey Puffs

11.   Hawaiian Beef Sliders

12.   Baked Panko Parmesan Garlic Fries

13.   Browned Butter Gnocchi

14.   Apple Cider Stew

15.   Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

16.   Oatmeal Caramel Bars

17.   Maple Ginger Glazed Chicken

18.   Cheesy Sriracha Corn Dog Poppers

19.   Chocolate Covered Cherry Shots

20.   Girl Scout Cookie Shooter

21.   Banana Caramel Muffins

22.   Boozy Shamrock Shakes

23.   Balsamic Roast Beef

24.   Maple Pork chops

25.   Asparagus with Lemon Herb Crumbs

26.   Grilled Cheeseburger Wrap

27.   Loaded Baked Potato Rounds

28.   Parmesan Meatloaf

29.   Rustic Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

30.   Easter ham with orange and brown sugar glaze

31.   Vanilla Glazed Baby Carrots

32.   Skillet Lasagna

33.   Cheddar Jack and Bacon Chicken

34.   Pepperoni Stromboli

35.   Chili-Corn Chip Pie

36.   Salted Pretzel Rolls

37.   Crispy Parmesan Onion Rings

38.   Patty Melts

39.   Ginger Lime Grilled Chicken with Coconut

40.   Strawberry Broccoli Salad

41.   Lemon Thyme Chicken

42.   Banana Split Zucchini Bread

43.   Herbed Cream Cheese Grilled Bell Pepper Boats

44.   Garden Hot Dog

45.   Caprese Pasta Salad

46.   Roasted Radish Flatbread with Ricotta and Honey

47.   Grilled Bacon Wrapped Corn

48.   BLT Hot Dogs

49.   Simple Italian Grilled Chicken

50.   Corn with Smokehouse Maple Chipotle Butter

51.   Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake ZucchiniBread

52.   Sauteed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme

53.   Pressed Caprese Sandwich

54.   Corn Salad

55.   Sausage Egg & Cheese McMuffin

56.   Jack Daniels Blackberry BBQ Sauce/BlackberrySteak Tips

57.   BBQ Chicken Pizza

58.   Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

59.   Kielbasa and Purple Potatoes

60.   Grandma Pat’s Oven-Fried Corn Flake Chicken

61.   Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

62.   Bacon Garlic Parmesan Burgers

63.   Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella

64.   Apple Pie Muffins

65.   Orange Teriyaki Chicken

66.   Smoky Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes

67.   Mudslide

68.   Black Forest Cake (drink)

69.   Rosemary and Cranberry Spread

70.   Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

71.   Coconut Macaroons

72.   Gingersnap Gems

73.   Raspberry Shortbread Heart Cookies

74.   Canadian Date Squares

Friday, December 27, 2013

Canadian Date Squares

Back at Thanksgiving I asked my inlaws if there was anything special they'd like me to make for the holidays.   They both love the Fruitcake Loaves and FIL said that he missed the Date squares MIL used to make for him.    A Google search turned up this recipe.    I followed some modifications I saw in the comments-  I used 2 bags of Sunsweet dried dates, 3/4c water and about a teaspoon of orange extract in the filling.       FIL said they tasted just like he remembered  :)   I did forget to take a picture, will have to do that when I make them next year!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Canadian Date Squares

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  8             ounces  dates -- cut up (double per reviews- used 2 bags Sunsweet)
  1         tablespoon  brown sugar (heaping)
     1/2           cup  water (3/4c + orange extract)
  1                cup  all-purpose flour
     1/2      teaspoon  baking soda
     1/8      teaspoon  salt
     3/4           cup  butter
  1                cup  packed brown sugar
  2               cups  oats (not instant)

Combine dates, 1 TBSP brown sugar, and water in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring often, until dates are soft enough to be mashed with a fork.  (I ran mine through the food processor)  Set aside.

In mixer bowl, blend flour, baking soda, and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.   Stir in brown sugar and oats.  Do not over mix.  Mixture should stay crumbly.  Press half of crumb mixture over bottom of lightly buttered 8x8-inch pan to form bottom crust.  Gently spread date filling over bottom crust.  Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over date filling.  Lightly pat with palm of hand to even out.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool completely and cut into squares.

Source:   ""

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Baking Round Up-- the cookies

Spent December knitting my fingers to the bone, then got down to business on the 22nd and started Christmas baking.    I made the old standbys, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin and Sparkle Cookies.    BarbaraBake's Lemon Bar Cookie Cups are a must.  Then I pulled some recipes I really wanted to try, and hit it out of the park with all of it.

First up, Coconut Macaroons.   Big thanks to Kathleen S for sharing the recipe with me!   I worried when they first came out of the oven, they seemed very hard, but they were perfect.

Coconut Macaroons

Beat together til soft peaks appear: 1 egg white, 1 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp cream of tartar.

Stir in 1 bag (14oz) sweetened coconut & 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk.

Using soup sized spoon scoop onto greased cookie sheets.  (I used a cookie scoop)

Bake in preheated 350 oven 20-25 minutes (mine took about 19).  Remove immediately and allow to cool on rack. When completely cool, dip bottoms in melted chocolate or drizzle chocolate over top, if desired.


Next up Gingersnap Gems from Midwest Living.   I've tried making Ginger stuff in the past that hasn't been well received, but I didn't care, I wanted these.    I rolled them into raw sugar, and it gave them that nice sparkle and crunch on the outside. 

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Gingersnap Gems

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  all-purpose flour
  1           teaspoon  baking powder
     1/2      teaspoon  baking soda
  1           teaspoon  ground cinnamon
     1/2      teaspoon  ground cloves
     1/2      teaspoon  ground ginger
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
  1                cup  sugar
     3/4           cup  shortening
     1/4           cup  molasses
  1                     egg
                        Sugar (used raw sugar)

    In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup sugar and shortening with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in molasses; beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

    Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

    Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Source  ""


Next, Raspberry Shortbread Cookies- the blogger made them into hearts for Valentines day, but I did the traditional circles.  I used a cookie scoop, and they turned out rather large, next year I'll move down one size.    These were the big hit of Christmas Eve.   I dusted them with a little powdered sugar at the end.   Huge thanks to Natalie for the awesome recipe.   Lots of good stuff on her blog, and I look forward to trying more recipes!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                    Raspberry Shortbread Heart Cookies

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2           cup  unsalted butter -- softened
     1/3           cup  granulated sugar
     1/2           tsp  vanilla extract
  1                cup  all-purpose flour
     1/4           cup  seedless raspberry (or strawberry) jam
     1/4           cup  dark or semisweet chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium bowl), cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Mix in the vanilla extract until combined.  Mix in the flour until dough comes together.  Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls, and place pairs of balls side by side (touching) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Use your thumbs or fingers to press two indentations in each pair of doughballs, pressing in the center to form a heart shape.  You will need to shape the bottom of the cookie to form a perfect heart.   Once all pairs of cookies have been formed into hearts, space them about 2 inches apart.

Transfer jam to a ziplock bag and snip off the corner.  Use bag to pipe jam into each heart-shaped indentation, filling the indentation to the very top (the jam will cook down a little when it bakes).  Transfer cookies to the freezer for about 10-15 minutes – this step is important because the cookies will have warmed up from being handled and could spread too much in the oven unless you cool them down.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake cookies in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes, until bottoms are light golden brown.  If they have spread too much after baking, you can try to gently push them back into a heart shape immediately after removing from oven.  Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are cooled, melt chocolate chips in microwave and transfer to a ziplock bag.  Snip off a very tiny corner, and use to drizzle chocolate over the cookies.

Source ""

Here's a photo of the filled tray we passed on Christmas Eve


Monday, December 2, 2013

got leftover mashed potatoes? Make Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

Thanksgiving was full of great food here.   As always, the last thing I have for leftovers were some mashed potatoes.   I make them with butter, milk, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper.    I was on my own and thought that I'd make myself some potato pancakes for brunch today.

I saw these on the Just A Taste blog and I scaled them down to make about 4 potato pancakes.   One fell apart in the pan, I should have added a bit more flour to it, it was the last one I scooped.   No scallions on hand, so I added more chives along with my sour cream at the end.

Cheesy, crunchy outside, soft and delicious inside.   Thank you to Kelly for an amazing recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                  Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
1  cup  chilled leftover mashed potatoes, (made with butter, milk, sour cream and chives)
    1/4           cup  shredded cheddar cheese
   1                     egg -- lightly beaten, added a little at a time to mixture, maybe used half.
   1        Tablespoon  plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
                        Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and pepper
                        Sour cream and chives as garnish.

I stored my potatoes in a freezer bag, so added the egg, cheese and flour to it and squeezed to combine.    Scooped with medium cookie scoop and then flattened to a patty.   Dredge in reserved flour.   

Heat oil (about 2T) over medium heat in large skillet.   Fry the cakes about 4 mins, until golden brown and crispy.   Lay on paper towel lined plate and season as desired with salt and pepper.

Serve with sour cream, sprinkle of chives. 

Source: Just a Taste