Friday, February 26, 2010

Maple Syrup

I make my own Maple Syrup and figured I would share the recipe with you all. Sorry for no picture - just imagine the thick brown liquid streaming over some hot pancakes...mmm....YUM!! (I think we may have pancakes for lunch, now that I'm thinking about it!) I got this recipe from my roommate in college - I think it was her mom's recipe. It's been good for us, hope you enjoy!!

Homemade Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Butter
  • Vanilla
--Heat until boiling.
--Let boil 4 minutes. DO NOT STIR!!
--Take off heat and add butter and vanilla to taste. (I do about a T of butter and 1-2 t of vanilla)

I usually double or triple this. If you triple it, it fits into a normal syrup container quite well.

Easiest Indian Stew

This is a new favorite at our house. I ventured out and made something "Indian-ish". I'm not overly crazy about Indian food in general, so I was curious about this dish and if I would even like it. I loved it. And what's best, besides the fact that it's healthy - it's so stinkin' easy! It keeps well, and while most things are best the first go-around - this is one of those dishes that is even better on day 2 because the flavors have really had a chance to mingle!

Easiest Indian Stew

Serves 6
Active time: 10
Cook Time: 25 (if your grain is already made) to 40 min (if you have to cook the brown rice)
Total time: 35 to 40 min
Serving Suggestions:  Steamed broccoli or a salad with some naan or whole wheat tortillas.

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup dry brown rice OR enough quinoa or millet to yield 3-4 cups
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 5 cups cubed eggplant (optional but HIGHLY recommended! It takes the dish to "amazing")
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TBLS your favorite curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2, 8oz cans tomato sauce OR 1 14oz can
  • 2 14oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 TBLS lime juice
  • Plain yogurt OR sour cream for garnish (optional)

What you'll do:

  • Cook your rice or grain.
  • Meanwhile, chop and mince.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or medium saucepan.
  • Saute onion and eggplant in skillet or saucepan until eggplant is tender and onion is translucent, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic and saute another 3 minutes.
  • Add the curry and ginger and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chickpeas.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the lime juice.
  • Serve over a good spoonful of the grain and top with yogurt if desired.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little twist

So I made this for dinner last night, but with a slight change just to see what it was like. The change? A packet of Alfredo instead of the Creamy Pesto. Still very tasty, just not as pesto-y. So if you're like us and love the taste of Pesto, stick with the original. But, if on the other hand, you like a subtle Pesto flavor, then try this!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Mac 'n' Cheese

Since my last adventure with home made mac 'n' cheese, I have been keeping my eye out for another twist on the homey comfort food. And here I found one! Originally a Rachel Ray recipe, I tweaked it a little per some suggestions of a gal who recommended it - and it was fantastic! I added sun dried tomatoes and chunks of cooked chicken - YUM!! Next time, I think I'll add a little more artichokes just because I love them so much, but other than that, this recipe is good as-is!

Spinach Artichoke Mac 'n' Cheese
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - I used a solid Tablespoon minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry
  • 1 can artichokes - drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes - chopped
  • chunks of cooked chicken - about 1 - 2 cups I think is what I used
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese - I used a Monterrey Jack this time and it was great. I may use a Sharp White Cheddar in the future
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese - I used this with a little mozzarella thrown in
--Cook the pasta as directed.
--Saute the onions and garlic in a large skillet with a little olive oil until tender and fragrant
--Whisk in the flour and then the wine. Turn heat to med-high
--Add the milk and wait for it to bubble a little.
--Add the nutmeg, spinach, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, chicken and pepper. Heat through.
--Add 1.5 cups of each cheese and stir until melted. Enjoy just looking at the creamy, colorful mixture in front of you!
--Stir in the pasta and mix well.
--Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
--Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

A better, more colorful, view


I got this recipe from a friend a few years back and am just now trying it out. I have to say, I regret taking so long! This was her grandmother's recipe, and I'll tell ya what, I've never made a cheesecake before, but this was so easy and it came out looking beautiful - it was also amazing! We topped it with mixed berries and I think I weigh about 3 lbs more than I did last night! So worth it, though. Happy indulging!

  • Crust:
    • 10 large graham crackers
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon melted butter


    • 3 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (can use Neufchatel)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla


    • 3 cups sour cream
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 300.

  • Crush crackers and mix with sugar and butter. Line bottom of 2 quart baking dish (Springform pan is best) with the mixture
  • For the filling, cream the cheese. Add sugar and beat in all eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Pour over crust and bake for one hour. Or until the middle no longer 'jiggles' and it's light brown around the edges.
  • About 10 minutes before the filling is done, mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Pull cheesecake out a the appropriate time, and spread topping over the cheesecake.
  • Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • When cooled off, place in the refrigerator overnight or 6-8 hours.

I know that it's not usual to have the top layer on there, but let me tell you's fantastic and makes it so easy. If the cheesecake were to fall or crack, the topping makes it all disappear and you have a perfectly smooth cheesecake every time!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

White Chicken Chili

This is one of my favorite soup recipes. I actually forgot I had it until the other day when my mom suggested I make it for them when they were up for dinner. Thanks, mom! It's easy and it uses cinnamon! I have yet to find another white chicken chili recipe that uses cinnamon in, and since I like the spice in and of itself, and I also happen to like little twists to common recipes, I love this recipe.

White Chicken Chili
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilies
  • 3-4 chicken breasts - cooked and cubed or shredded (if there's time, you can cook them in the soup, take them out, and then cube or shred before adding back in!)
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 t (or a little more) cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 3 can Cannelloni beans
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey/Jack cheese for topping
--Saute onion and garlic in stock pot. Add chilies, spices, and chicken if already cooked and cubed/shredded. Heat through.
--Add chicken broth and 2 cans of beans, start to heat to a boil. (Add raw chicken here if you have the time to let it cook in the soup. This is my favorite way to do it!)
--Meanwhile, puree the last can of beans before adding it to the soup.
--Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
--Serve topped with cheese and your favorite bread!

This is also a very easy crock-pot soup!