Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Baked Potato Soup

We have had unseasonably cold and wet weather which calls for lots of soup. This baked potato was one of those soups.

Baked Potato Soup
2 3/4 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsps chicken bouillon granules
4 cups milk
2 cups half and half
1/2 sour cream plus more for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Shredded cheddar
Green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Peel and quarter potatoes and place them in a large pot. Cover potatoes with water, just until the tops are covered. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Boil until potatoes are tender. Test with a fork. Drain water, When potatoes are cool enough to handle. Chop them into bite-sized pieces. Set half aside. Then using a potato masher, mash the other half. Set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt butter then add onion. Saute until soft about 3 minutes.
3. Add flour, salt and bouillon, and whisk for 1 minute.
4. Gradually add milk, whisking as you pour, then gradually add half and half. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Stir in sour cream.
5. Add mashed potatoes. For a creamier texture blend with immersion blender. Then add chopped potatoes. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
6. When ready to serve top with sour cream, bacon, cheese, and green onion if desired.
Makes 8 servings.


Creamy Parmesan Potatoes

I had these potatoes at an ugly sweater Christmas party a couple years ago. They were AWESOME so I asked for the recipe. I've made them a few times and added some grated fresh Parmesan. These are sooo easy and delicious which is the perfect combo.

Creamy Parmesan Potatoes
adapted from a Melinda Preator recipe
1 30oz package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
3 TBSPs dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Take frozen potatoes out of the freezer and let thaw until they easily break apart (about 4 hours in the fridge).
2. Pour shredded potatoes in to greased 9x13 baking dish.
3. Sprinkle dried onion, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese over potatoes. Mix together to combine.
4. Pour heavy whipping cream over the top of the potato mixture and stir lightly with a fork.
5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. For the last ten minutes of baking remove foil to allow the top of the potatoes to crisp a little.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Black Forest Cheesecake

My kids keep picking cheesecake as their birthday cakes this year! We had key lime and this chocolate cherry one too. I make this cheesecake the day before, and then just before serving, whip the cream and spread on the cherry topping. I use stabilized whipped cream because it holds it's shape longer, but you can use regular too.

Black Forest Cheesecake
Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (like chocolate graham crackers, teddy grahams, or oreos)
Pinch of salt
4 TBSPs butter, melted
Filling
3 packages of cream cheese
1½ cups sugar
2 TBSPs cornstarch
1 tsp almond extract
1 5.3 oz container of cherry yogurt
6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 eggs
Topping
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tsps water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 can cherry pie filling

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the oven rack in the middle of the oven and the second rack below it. Place a 9x13 inch pan filled with 1 inch of HOT water in the oven on the bottom rack. Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix the chocolate cookie crumbs, and salt. Add the butter and stir until evenly combined. Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan and evenly press it down around the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides.
3. Place 1 package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl and mix on low until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add remaining sugar, almond extract, yogurt, and melted chocolate, and mix on medium speed until blended, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in eggs, one at a time until completely blended, but do not overmix.
4. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the crust. Spread out evenly.
5. Bake on center rack for 1 hour until edges are set and only a slight jiggle in the middle.
6. Turn the oven off and open the door. Let cool in oven for 30 minutes. Then remove and let cool completely on wire rack. After it has cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next day.
7. When ready to eat, To make whipped cream, combine the gelatin powder and water in a small microwave safe bowl. Once water has been fully soaked up by the gelatin, microwave the mixture for 15-20 seconds. It should become a thick, hot liquid. Stir well and let sit at room temp. While gelatin is cooling, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in large mixing bowl on med-high speed with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. With mixer running, slowly pour in the room temp gelatin and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
8. Using a piping bag with a star tip, pipe stars/swirls around the edge of the cheesecake. Spoon the cherry pie filling on top of the cheesecake in the center of the cake, and spread to the edge of the piping.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Bacon and Corn Oven Risotto

I've tried making risotto and I just don't have the patience to stand there and stir forEVER! This recipe uses the oven! You only spend a few minutes stirring on the stovetop, and then you put the lid on your pan and stick it in the oven. I like using fresh corn cut straight off the cob, but you can use frozen too.

Bacon and Corn Oven Risotto
5 strips bacon
¾ cup Arborio rice
pinch of salt
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup fresh corn cut off the cob (frozen works too)
2 TBSP butter
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook bacon over medium heat in an oven-safe pan (with a lid) until crisp . Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, but leave bacon fat in pan.
3. Toast the rice in bacon fat over medium-low heat for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add pinch of salt, garlic, and shallot to pan and saute another minute.
4. Deglaze pan with ½ cup chicken broth and stir well until liquid has absorbed. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and stir into rice. Put lid on pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes.
5. Remove and stir rice for one minute. When all the liquid has absorbed, add another cup of chicken broth and corn and return to oven for 15 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven. Stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, and a few fresh thyme leaves (optional). If your risotto seems really thick or dry, stir in a few extra TBSPs of chicken broth (should be slightly saucy).
7. Top with crumbled bacon and parsley, if desired, and serve.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hawaiian Haystacks

I was a cabin mom for a week of camp in August, and had Hawaiian haystacks for the first time there. It's just a creamy chicken gravy over rice, but then you put on all kinds of yummy toppings! It's kinda like a create your own dinner which is great for picky kids.

Hawaiian Haystacks
adapted from iwashyoudry.com
2 (10.5oz) cans Cream of Chicken Soup with Herbs
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
6 cups prepared hot rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings
Chopped tomato
Diced bell pepper
Pineapple tidbits
Diced green onions
Sliced black olives
Shredded cheese
Crunchy chow mein noodles
Dessicated coconut

In a large skillet whisk together the cream of chicken soups, sour cream and milk over medium heat, until heated through and smooth. Add in the chicken and cook until warmed. Serve the chicken gravy over the hot rice, and top with any of the suggested toppings you would like.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Cheese Souffle

We have seen every season of Master Chef, and every season they make souffle. I tried my first souffle in Paris 4 months ago. I finally decided to make it! I looked at a bunch of recipes online and decided that Alton Brown was the way to go. I followed his recipe but used white cheddar. This took a little bit of time to make. There are 3 main steps, mixing the base on the stove, tempering in the egg yolks so that they don't cook in the hot mixture, and folding in whipped egg whites. It's a good 30 min of hands on work...but it was worth it!! My souffles turned out beautiful! I ended up making 6 small souffles. I baked them in 4 inch wide dishes (about 1 cup each) for 20 minutes. Next time I'm trying chocolate!

Cheese Souffle
foodnetwork.com
Butter, room temperature, for greasing the souffle dish
2 TBSPs freshly grated Parmesan
3 TBSPs butter
3 TBSPs flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups milk, hot
4 large egg yolks
6 ounces sharp Cheddar
5 egg whites plus 1 TBSP water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch souffle mold. Add the grated Parmesan and roll around the mold to cover the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 5 minutes. 2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter. Allow all of the water to cook out. In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, and salt. Whisk this mixture into the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until incorporated.
5. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until glossy and firm. Add 1/4 of the mixture to the base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.
6. Pour the mixture into the souffle. Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Serve immediately.



Monday, July 30, 2018

Key Lime Cheesecake

Happy National Cheesecake Day! I had a request for a key lime cheesecake as a birthday cake this month. It was awesome! I combined a few recipes and used stabilized whipped cream to hold my piping. Stabilized whipped cream has a little unflavored gelatin mixed in to help it hold it's shape. You can use regular instead. Make this the day before you want to eat it!

Key Lime Cheesecake
Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 or 10 full cracker sheets)
2 TBSPs sugar
Pinch salt
5 1/3 TBSPs unsalted butter, melted
Filling
3 packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 TBSPs cornstarch
1/2 cup key lime juice (I use the bottled kind)
3 large eggs
Stabilized Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tsps water
Lime for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the oven rack in the middle of the oven and the second rack below it. Place a 9x13 inch pan filled with 1 inch of  HOT water in the oven on the bottom rack. Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and stir until evenly combined. Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan and evenly press it down around the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides.
3. Place 1 package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl and mix on low until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add remaining sugar and lime juice and mix on medium speed until blended, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in eggs, one at a time until completely blended, but do not overmix.
4. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the crust. Spread out evenly.
5. Bake on center rack for 1 hour until edges are set and only a slight jiggle in the middle.
6. Turn the oven off and open the door. Let cool in oven for 30 minutes. Then remove and let cool completely on wire rack. After it has cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next day.
7. To make whipped cream, combine the gelatin powder and water in a small microwave safe bowl. Once water has been fully soaked up by the gelatin, microwave the mixture for 15-20 seconds. It should become a thick, hot liquid. Stir well and let sit at room temp. While gelatin is cooling, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in large mixing bowl on med-high speed with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. With mixer running, slowly pour in the room temp gelatin and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
8. When you are ready to eat, pipe or spread the whipped cream on top, and garnish with lime zest and/or slices.
Keep covered and refrigerated