Monday, January 31, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup in a crock pot

I'm not convinced if this will remain our Christmas Eve dinner tradition or not. I wanted something really easy, not too time consuming, and that didn't use a lot of dishes. I really don't want to spend the whole day cooking on Christmas Eve, ya know? I couldn't find a recipe for this in the crock pot, so I just kinda threw a few things together and came up with this on my own. Also, this was really good, but NOT low-cal. I like to figure that if I only make it once a year, we're ok. But I'm open to new ideas for our Christmas Eve dinner....


Loaded Baked Potato Soup in a Crock Pot
--rachel style
peel some potatoes, throw 'em in
dice some green onions, throw 'em in
dice fresh garlic, throw it in
add in some chicken broth or mild or both
grab two fistfuls of cheddar cheese, throw it in
empty a container of sour cream
brown some bacon, crumble it up, throw it in
shake in some salt and pepper
anything i forgot? throw it in!

cook on low in a crock pot all day
stir it all up and garnish with more cheese, chives, bacon, butter....


yeah, that's what i'm talking about. this is how i cook! i hate following recipes exactly how they read. sometimes that's not the brightest idea (ask troy), but if its stove-top cooking- all you have to do is taste it- and you'll know if its gonna be good. and this was goood.





What are some of your Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner traditions?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dinner Rolls

There are certain foods that you should just not go without when Christmas dinner comes to town. And for me, that would be dinner rolls (or biscuits, as my dad never fails to mistakenly call them, and finding himself in the doghouse. my parents are one of a kind).

As you can tell, I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman more than once while planning our Christmas menu. I love her website. I made her Parker House rolls, but to my surprise, I would not recommend her recipe, and here's why: it was too much work. They were delicious, but for me, too time consuming. For now on, I'll probably stick with my favorite tried and true dinner roll recipe, which comes from Janet Stocks, my Basic Food Prep instructor at BYU. These are so easy, that you'll never feel the need to buy frozen rolls again (quite frankly, I've never purchased frozen rolls, all the crazy thawing instructions kind of overwhelm me. I thinks its easier- and cheaper- to just make them myself).


Dinner Rolls
1/2 cup warm water
2 TB yeast
2 cups scalded milk, then slightly cooled (I zap mine in the mircrowave for 2 minutes).
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
5-6 cups flour (you can use white flour, bread flour, and sometimes I add in a cup or two of wheat flour)

*I make these in my stand-up mixer using the dough hook.

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Combine scalded milk, sugar, shortening, salt and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth.
3. Beat in eggs and yeast.
4. Add enough flour to make a soft dough.
5. Mix or knead on countertop well. (I always knead by hand. I LOVE the feeling of the warm dough between my hands. And I also love wearing an apron while I do this. It makes me feel so old-fashioned).
6. Let rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes. You know its ready when you poke it, and the indentation of your fingerprint doesn't bounce back.
7. Shape as desired. (This is a blog post all its own, I will do someday. There are so many fun things you can do- traditional rolls, parker house style, peel aparts, knots, clovers, breadsticks, braids, wreaths. This same dough can be used for cinnamon rolls, sweet breads, etc).
8. Let rise again, 10 minutes or so.
9. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

spicy shrimp

A few Christmases ago, when we lived in Eastern South Dakota, I was 8.5 months pregnant and unable to travel for the holidays. We spent Christmas with some friends. We all brought something to share for dinner. Funny that I have no clue what I made, but we will forever remember the main course...  Steak and Seafood. We have adopted it as our Traditional Christmas Dinner.  (Thank you Jake and Nicole)! 

This year we started out little, with steak and shrimp. When we can afford to, and when there's more people to enjoy it, we'll add lobster, crab, calamari, ahi tuna, sushi.... yum! Anyway, this year I used The Pioneer Woman's recipe- you should really visit her website and read the original. Even if you don't like seafood, you will be convinced that you need to make this, and that you really want to like it. I dare you to try this!!! You just might change your mind! I'm as inland-raised as they come, and even I liked it!


Spicy Shrimp (from The Pioneer Woman)
***The only thing I did differently, and would recommend, is to de-vein your shrimp. If that grosses you out, then you are a shrimp wimp. Find the dark line along the back of the shrimp, with a paring knife cut a little slit along the vein, and pull it out.***

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds (more Or Less) Unpeeled Shrimp (21-26 Count Or Larger)
  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3 whole Lemons (juice Of)
  • ¼ cups (to 1/2 Cup) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • 1 stick Butter

Preparation Instructions

First, thoroughly rinse raw shrimp w/shells still on. I use 21-26 count (that means 21-26 shrimp per pound) but I’ve certainly used bigger. Any smaller than this, and it’s difficult to peel, so stick with 21-26 or bigger. Place the shrimp in a large baking pan in a single layer. Over top of the shrimp drizzle about ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Generously sprinkle black pepper over top of the shrimp. Be very generous! Now sprinkle generously with salt (I use kosher).
Squeeze the juice of about 3-4 lemons over top of all of the shrimp. Now GENEROUSLY drizzle Worcestershire all over the shrimp, about ¼ to ½ a cup. Drizzle Tabasco sauce over the top to your desired temperature. Some like it hot.
Now grab your stick of butter and cut it into pats. Place the pats of butter on top of the shrimp as evenly spaced as possible.
Place the pan of shrimp under the broiler in your oven for just about 10 minutes until the shrimp are no longer translucent. Serve with a roll of crusty French bread because you need something to absorb all of the glorious juices.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peppercorn Steak and Sauce

I keep waiting for the day that my whole house is clean, And then I will start blogging again, I think to myself. That could take a lifetime. So while I am waiting for my house to get clean, please enjoy this recipe that will make any man's heart beat for you. Seriously, this was so easy and totally impressed my Troy, who inherited a steak gene from his dad. He is a total "manfood" connoisseur. This would be such a good thing to make for your sweetheart of Valentine's Day if you don't have plans to go out.  

The Pioneer Woman was not kidding when she said this recipe will make you forget who you are. Check out her recipe here, and be sure to check out her amazing food photography, or see below for my slightly adapted recipe.

Peppercorn Steak and Sauce
(aka Filet au Poivre from The Pioneer Woman)
poivre means pepper in French
my adaptations found in italics

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Beef Fillets Or Other Good Steaks (I used ribeyes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cups Brandy (I used white grape juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons (additional) Brandy (again used white grape juice)
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Good Peppercorns, Crushed

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Melt butter in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When skillet is hot, brown steaks on both sides, about 45 seconds per side. Place skillet into the hot oven for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and remove steaks to a separate plate.
Return pan to stovetop over low heat. Add Dijon and brandy (white grape juice), then whisk together. Add heavy cream and crushed peppercorns, whisking to combine. Allow to bubble for about 45 seconds, then remove from heat.
Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.





*please take a moment to admire my fancy china favorite dishes*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Swedish Pancakes with Orange Butter Sauce

Christmas is seriously not Christmas without this little number gracing our breakfast table. I would give up pretty much any other tradition before I gave up my Swedish pancakes. My mom and 4 sisters and I made these together every single Christmas morning growing up, and that is why they are so special to me. I spent an hour all by my little lonesome making these for my family this year, and although it was not the same without my mom and sisters, it was still worth it. I will force teach my daughters to make these in a few years, to carry on the tradition.

Worth the effort, and worth the calories. These are sooo good. (And have always reminded me of the American girl doll I had when I was little. Kirsten Larson, from Sweden. I'm part Swedish too).

Swedish Pancakes with Orange Butter Sauce 
 Pancakes:
12 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 TB butter
 pinch of salt
1 cup flour

If you thought a dozen eggs sounded like a lot, I always double or triple this recipe. The cold-straight-out-of-the-refrigerator-leftovers are so good.

1. Beat eggs.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix.
3. Pre-heat flat frying pans on medium heat, spray with Pam.
4. Cook on both sides. Roll while still hot.

Orange Butter:
10 oranges
1.5- 2 pounds butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
2. Slice and juice oranges. Strain.
3. Add juice to butter, stir.
4. Sweeten with sugar to taste. Serve hot.