Thursday, December 29, 2011

Court Bouillon Broth

I love fondue, and our New Year's Eve will be filled with bite-sized yumminess.  Tonight, I'm posting recipes for the bouillons and sauces we'll be cooking and dipping in.

2 medium carrots, peeled and chunked
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dry white wine
8 cups water
2 lemon halves
1 bay leaf
3 whole black peppercorns

Combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain broth and then pour into a fondue pot.
Cook chicken, pork, beef and veggies in this broth.

Coq Au Vin Fondue

I've been looking for new fondue recipes for New Year's Eve and I found this one on

1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups red wine
4 cups chicken stock
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms, coarsely broken with your hands
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add water and sugar.
Cook, stirring, until water is almost gone and sugar has caramelized.
Add wine all a once and bring to a boil.
Pour in broth, add mushrooms, garlic and bay leaves.
Stir and allow to boil until reduced by about half.

Pour into a fondue pot and use it to cook shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Orange Sherbet Cups with Blackberries

Are you looking for a unique and light dessert after a big meal?  Try this!

Cut 2 oranges in half.
Scoop out the flesh (reserve for another use).
Fill the orange cups with scoops of orange sherbet and top with four blackberries.
Freeze until set.

This is fresh and light and just the perfect end to a great meal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Look Who Helped Grammy Make Cookies Today

Christian and I had quite the time making cookies today.  There are no two ways about it, we both will have good memories of today!  We made Pretzel/Rolo Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Oatmeal Scotchies. Then, we were on to lots of kinds of Chex Mix - Traditional, Buffalo, Chili, Snickerdoodle, and Pumpkin Pie.  Oh, they're all so good!  We'll have lots of munchies for the holidays.

Christian went to work helping me unwrap the Rolos.  What a trooper he was.  I think we unwrapped 200 Rolos.  Then, he very diligently set one Rolo on top of each pretzel on the cookie sheets.  What a great helper!

When we moved on to the chocolate chip cookies, I asked him if he'd like to stick his finger in the bowl and have a taste.  Oh, he just beamed with delight and proceeded to stick not just a finger in the bowl, but his whole hand.  GASP!!!  Houston, we had a bit of a mess.  Those cookies will be extra good this year :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Karan's Classic Pot Roast

I'm all about comfort food.  And what makes a more perfect comfort dinner than pot roast.  This is just about as easy and perfect as it gets.  Just make sure you plan ahead, because this needs three hours to cook.

6 Tbsp butter
3 lb pot roast
6 medium potatoes, chunked
1 lb carrots, chunked
1white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pkg (1/2 oz) dried Porcini mushrooms
1 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Rosemary
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.  I prepare this recipe either in my Pampered Chef 12" oven-proof skillet or Deep Covered Baker.  It is always delicious.

Salt and pepper all sides of the pot roast and set aside.  Place butter in a frying pan and saute the garlic and onions.  Salt lightly and cook until lightly browned.  Tear the dried Porcini mushrooms into small pieces and add them to the pan.  When onions have softened, add red wine and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for at least one minute.  Sprinkle with a mixture of the Thyme, Rosemary and salt.

If using an oven-proof skillet, place add the seasoned roast to the pan and place the carrots and potatoes around the meat.  Place the lid on the frying pan and place in 275 degree oven for 3 hours.

If using the Deep Covered Baker, place the seasoned roast in the center of the baker.  Pour the broth in the the baker and then add the potatoes and carrots.  Place lid on top and put in the 275 degree oven for 3 hours.

Even my 20 year old son said this was the best dinner ever.  If you've ever had a 20 year old at home, you know it's not often you hear a compliment, if ever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

I'm a fan of all things Squash.  Normally I'd say butternut squash is my favorite.  There is so much you can do with it.  But, Spaghetti Squash is not to go unnoticed.  It is so good and so easy to prepare.  To make it even better, other family members who won't even take a bite of butternut squash love the spaghetti squash.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and halve two spaghetti squash.  Remove the seeds.
In a large baking dish, combine 1 Tbsp salt with 3 cups of water and stir to dissolve.
Place the squash halves cut-side down into the water.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and flip squash halves over.  Place a 1 Tbsp pat of butter into each half.
Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, scrape the pulp from each half into a serving bowl.  Be sure to pour the butter from the squash  into your bowl before scraping.
Fluff with a fork and serve.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Portabellas

I've been looking for the perfect stuffed mushroom recipe, and I may just have found it.

12 - 14 large fresh portabella mushrooms (1 lb)
4 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp butter
4 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside.
Place mushroom caps rounded side down on baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, clean and chop mushroom stems and place them in a small saute pan with 1 Tbsp butter.  Add the garlic and cook until softened.  Set aside to cool.
Mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, bacon and parsley.  Add the cooled mushroom stem mixture and stir to mix well.
Spoon mixture into mushroom caps.  Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until heated through.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 Tbsp pickling spice
2 lbs beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1 - 1 1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, cut into medium wedges
4 carrots, cut into 1/2" slices
1 tsp Rosemary leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp flour
8 slices day-old Italian bread (toasted)

Place the pickling spice in the center of  a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter.  Tie tightly with a long piece of string.

Place beef cubes, onion, carrot, crushed rosemary, garlic powder and bouillon cubes to slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes and wine.  Add pickling spice bundle; cover.

Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  Remove pickling spice bundle.

Thicken stew by mixing flour with 1 Tbsp water in medium bowl until smooth.  Stir in several Tbsp hot liquid from stew, then stir flour mixture into stew.  Cook and stir 2 - 3 minutes or until stew thickens slightly.  To serve, place 1 slice of bread in each bowl.  Spoon stew over bread

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two More Chex Mix Recipes

Cranberry-Nut Cinnamon Chex Mix
6 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
1 cup walnut halves (I use cashews)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Combine cereal and nuts in a large baking dish and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, and oil over medium heat.  Stir until well combined.  Drizzle over the cereal and then bake for one hour at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Add cranberries to the cereal mixture after it comes out of the oven.

As usual, I will double the brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, and vegetable oil.

Chocolate Coffee Toffee Chex Mix
4 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
1 cup bite-size pretzel twists
1 cup pecan halves (again, I use cashews)
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules or crystals
1 tsp hot water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
 1 cup powdered sugar

In a large baking dish, combine the Chex cereals, pretzels and nuts.  Sprinkle toffee bits on top of the mixture.

In a small saucepan, stir coffee granules and water until coffee is dissolved.  Add chocolate chips and butter.  Heat over medium heat.  Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated.   Pour into 2 gallon resealable food storage bags.

Add powdered sugar.  Seal bag; shake gently until well coated.  Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool.  Store in airtight container.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chex Mix - With a New Twist

My family and friends love Chex Mix.  I make the Traditional Chex Mix and Chili Chex Mix every year, and trust me, no matter how much I make, it is always gone before the holidays are over.  General Mills has come out with several new flavors of Chex cereal and some new (and really good) Chex Mixes.  For Thanksgiving munchies, I made Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch and Snickerdoodle Chex Mix.  My son, Luke was really upset with me for not making the Traditional Chex Mix, but he soon got over it.

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz pecans  (I substituted cashews)

Combine brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir until butter is melted and then add vanilla.  Pour cereals and nuts into a large baking dish.  Pour the melted butter and spices over the cereal and nut mixture and stir to coat.

I know the box tells you to prepare this in the microwave, but I'm old-fashioned.  I place my baking dish in a 250 degree oven and back the mix for one hour stirring well every 15 minutes.  It comes out much crispier and flavorful this way.

My guilty pleasures:  double the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, butter and vanilla.  SO GOOD!!!

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
4 cups popped popcorn (I used one bag of Orville Redenbacher's Movie Butter popcorn)
1/4 cup butter

Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.  Melt butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.

In a large baking dish, combine the cereals and popcorn.  Drizzle the melted butter over the top and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake in 250 degree oven for 1 hour stirring well every 15 minutes.

My guilty pleasures:  double the butter.