Thursday, January 30, 2014

Golden Mashed Potatoes

So no baby yet.....sigh. He will be here Monday, at the latest, if he's ready or not! Cooper's birthday is tomorrow, so we predict it will either be tomorrow or he will just wait and be forced out on Monday! Ug....I am SO READY!

Now onto the food..... are awesome. I know I say that about alllll of my recipes, but I promise I only bring you the best of the best. ;)

Golden Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg

Boil potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add cream cheese, sour cream, Cheddar, Parmesan, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mash until smooth.

Spread out in a 9x13 casserole dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 for 15 minutes until heated through. 

Dig in!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

White Cheddar Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Fried Apples

WELL....due date is 2 days away...and no baby. Sigh. I have contractions on and off, nothing consistent. GET OUT BABY LUKE!!!

I got for my weekly check up on Tuesday, they are going to monitor me for 30 minutes to see how his heart rate is. After 40 weeks, they get a bit cramped and can start having irregular heart rates and lots of fun things like that...stress! So if he's ok, they will schedule me for an induction sometime next week, if his heart rate is off, they'll send me over right away. SO wish me luck...I keep hoping he'll just come on his own....but I don't hold my breath. Sigh. 

I am cloth diapering this time around, so it's been exciting getting all of those in the mail and getting those prepped. I also ordered a Boba wrap to use with the little guy, can't wait to try it out!!

Anyway..onto the food. In my need to eat carbs and comfort foods during pregnancy....I came across a Thanksgiving issue of Better Homes and Gardens that included a recipe for sweet potatoes. The original recipe called for about 10 other ingredients, but I left them out and they came out great! They called for fried sage leaves for one, I am not a fan of sage. Or cilantro. Or really too much ginger. Or cumin, sometimes. they are in all of their glory, and they were glorious....

White Cheddar Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Fried Apples

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup butter
3 ounces white cheddar, shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Mass with potato masher with butter and half and half until smooth. Stir in white cheddar salt and pepper. 

Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet and add apples, cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. 

Transfer potatoes to serving dish and top with apples. 

Dig in!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Creamy Onion Soup

Kevin and I had a 'hot date' date on Saturday for lunch...we went to Outback. I know, we are way too fancy.

I had the soup and salad....creamy onion soup was the soup of the day and WOW was it good. I didn't think to ask if it had chicken or beef broth in it, but later when I came home and did a copy cat recipe search, most of them called for beef bouillon. Whoops....

WELL...I combined and altered several recipes to come up with this combo below. It was DELICIOUS, like, no leftovers delicious....

Creamy Onion Soup

8 cups chicken broth (I used the vegetarian version)
3 medium white onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup shredded Mexican Fiesta style cheese (Or a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack)

Bring broth in a large soup pot to a boil. Quarter and slice onions thinly. Add to the broth along with salt and pepper, return to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. 

While stirring, sift flour over soup and stir while adding. Stir out any lumps and continue to simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add cream and cheese, stir and simmer 10 more minutes to heat through. 

Serve it up hot and dig in!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

BBQ Lentils

It's strawberry season in Florida, you know what THAT means?? STRAWBERRY ONIONS ARE BACK!

I look forward to strawberry season because they grow these wonder, sweet onions around the perimeter of the strawberry fields for extra money. You can only find them at produce stands so they are a real treat! They cook up beautifully and don't burn your eyes like regular Vidalia onions. 

I used them in this yummy BBQ Lentil recipe.....

BBQ Lentils

1 cup dry lentils, green or brown
3 cups water
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Couple shakes of garlic salt

In a medium saucepan, bring lentils and 3 cups water to boil. Simmer until tender, around 20 minutes. Drain off excess water. Combine lentils with BBQ sauce, honey and garlic salt. Simmer 4 to 5 minutes to heat through.

Serve over rice or bread!

Dig in!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Buttery Double Corn-Cornbread Dressing

This was AMAZING...

It does take a bit more prep, you have to precook the cornbread, let it cool, cube it and toast it a bit more, but it's so worth it!

Buttery Double Corn-Cornbread Dressing

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 large red onion, cut into wedges and sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups fresh spinach
 2 - 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used a vegetarian version)

Preheat oven to 400, Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and 1/3 cup melted butter. Stir cornmeal mixture into milk mixture until just combined. Pour into baking pan and bake for 20 minutes until browned. Cool for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325. Cut cornbread into 1 inch cubes and dump onto large cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip cubes around and bake 10 more minutes.

In a large skillet, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium-high heat. Cook onion until just tender and add corn to brown slightly. Stir in red pepper, salt and pepper. In a very large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, onion mixture and spinach. Pour over broth, a little at a time, stir and add more until just moistened, not sopping.

Transfer to a large 3 quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 40 minutes until browned on top and heated through.

Dig in!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cake Mix Hack:Fresh Lime Cheesecake

Still no baby.....

I wish these mild contractions would turn into the real thing....

But, to get us all by...a dessert!

Ah...another cake mix hack. Are you enjoying these as much as I am?

For the rest of my Cake Mix Hacks, visit my Recipe Archive Page.

Fresh Lime Cheesecake

1 box plain yellow cake mix
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, about 4 fresh lime's worth

Preheat oven to 325 and place rack in middle of oven. Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking pan. 

Measure out 1/2 cup of cake mix and set aside to place in filling.

Place remaining cake mix in mixing bowl along with melted butter and 1 egg. Mix with electric mixer until a soft dough ball forms. Press dough into bottom of baking pan. 

In the same mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk. Mix in reserved cake mix, 3 eggs and lime juice until combined. Pour over crust. 

Bake cheesecake until it looks shiny and the center is set when you shake the pan. 45 ti 50 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before lightly covering and chilling for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving, best if chilled overnight. 

Dig in!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chopped Chef Style Salad with Special Sauce

This salad was soooo good. The dressing reminded me of McDonald's 'famous' Big Mac sauce...hence the name 'special sauce'.

I used a combo of 2 bagged lettuces I had on hand and just tore them into more 'chopped' pieces. You can use iceberg, Romaine or whatever tickles your fancy.

I also just purchased 4 slices of Swiss from the grocery deli and chopped those instead of buying a whole block.

We also ate ours on some toasted flat bread.

Chopped Chef Style Salad with Special Sauce

6 cups chopped lettuce of choice
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
4 ounces Swiss cheese, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bread and butter relish
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Toss lettuce, chickpeas, eggs and Swiss. 

Combine mayo, ketchup, relish and vinegar in a bowl. 

Toss dressing in with salad. 

Serve immediately!

Dig in!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Spaghetti with Creamy Broccoli Pesto

Tomorrow is my baby shower lunch and Cooper's cake and ice cream the house is in full swing of being cleaned. Or let's just pretend it is, because of course, I am sick today. So ready to get back to normal...or new normal with a newborn. 17 days until the due date!

Last night, I tried a broccoli pesto. It was super easy. 

I cheated and used frozen broccoli florets....

Cooper dug in, so he didn't mind that they were frozen! You can use fresh or frozen. 

Spaghetti with Creamy Broccoli Pesto

Salt and Pepper
1 pound frozen broccoli florets
1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup of live oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan

Boil broccoli in 8 cups of water until tender. Transfer to a food processor with a slotted spoon. Return water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. 

Add olive oil, garlic, heavy cream and Parmesan to food processor, puree until smooth. 

Drain pasta and toss with pesto. Serve with more Parmesan. 

Dig in!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Simple Egg and Cucumber Sandwiches

Last year, for my 31st birthday, a friend took me to a wonderful organic cafe...that I cannot remember the name of. I think I had something with turkey, but I remembered her sandwich, a simple boiled egg and cucumber sandwich on a hearty bread. I would never think to actually order something like this at a restaurant, when I go out to a meal, I usually order something I wouldn't normally make at home.

WELL...cut to almost a year later, and my pregnant mind couldn't stop thinking about that sandwich....

I eat it on white bread, on open faced French toast....whatever is available! Only 'funny' part...I use Vegan Mayo. I know, if you are going to cut the eggs, why are you eating eggs on Vegan Mayo? I prefer the texture and taste. Earth Balance's to be exact. Plus, Coop has the egg allergy so it's better to use in family dishes too.

But, moving on.....

Simple Egg and Cucumber Sandwich

1 egg, boiled and sliced
Several slices of peeled cucumber
Toasted bread

Slater the mayo on the toast and top with cucumber and eggs! Salt and pepper if you want....

Dig in!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cake Mix Hack:Triple-Chocolate Pudding Cake

Burrrr......what weather our country has had, eh?

I was hoping it would somehow trigger labor...but no luck.

BUT....I have decided to work on a new section in my blog....cake mix hacks. I've posted a few recipes for them already and plan on doing at least 2 a month from now on. As much as I like to bake from scratch, I do enjoy a good Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake cake mix....the recipe below uses one.

To see the other hacks, go to my recipe archive tab above.

This recipe was super easy and SUPER good...yum yum. We seriously ate a little over half the cake in one day....

Triple-Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and position rack in middle of oven. Grease Bundt pan with a vegetable oil spray and dust with flour (or use Baker's Joy spray). 

Beat cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, warm water and oil in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. 2 to 3 minutes total. Fold in chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed in the batter. Pour into Bundt pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. 

Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your fingers and the edges start to slightly pull away from the side, around 50 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in pan and then run a knife around the edges to help loosen the cake before invert onto a serving platter. 

Dig in!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tomato Vinaigrette

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve. I was the only one in the house that made it to midnight...and woke up having contractions at 4 AM. I had inconsistent ones all day, hasn't turned into anything...yet. Kevin's birthday is on Saturday, so it would be kind of fun if baby Luke make's his entrance then.

We were supposed to drive to a friend's house about an hour away but decided it probably wasn't a good idea to go that far away from the hospital. She ended up coming over with their 5 year old and we had a really good afternoon just visiting and stuffing our faces with dips and appetizers. She made an amazing pizza dip that we had on melba toast and I did a buffalo chicken biscuit for the meat eaters and just buffalo biscuits for the rest of us. The kids played with play doh and painted. It was just a fun day, minus the contractions....

Last night we put together the bassinet. Cooper helped by handing us the screws and putting in the mattress. I think he's looking forward to the baby coming, but we will see how he really feels after about 2 days when the realizes the baby is here forever....

WELL, onto today's recipe...

I made this several years ago for the first time to have with a roasted veggie salad, that's my favorite salad to serve this on. But it is good on just plain lettuce as well. You can customize it by adding as much vinegar as you like, I like it on the tarter side.

I feel like this picture is majestic....


Tomato Vinaigrette

2 medium, ripe tomatoes, tops removed and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
Balsamic vinegar to taste, I usually do about 1/4 cup

Puree tomatoes with oil and vinegar in food processor or blender. Refrigerate until ready to use, keeps 3 or 4 days.