Thursday, November 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup

2 tablespoons red curry paste
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon curry powder (I used McCormick)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
3-4 red potatoes, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs, or tenders, or bone-in breasts or thighs)
1 (14.5oz) can coconut milk
4 tablespoons cilantro, plus more for serving (or less if you're not really into cilantro)

Combine first 11 ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. Add coconut milk and cilantro and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through shred it. If you used bone-in chicken be sure to remove the bones.

Bone-in chicken will give a heartier more chicken-rich flavor to the soup.

Adjust the amount of curry paste to your preference. If you're using a grocery store curry paste it won't be as spicy as a curry paste purchased at an ethnic foods store. You can also make this soup with green or yellow curry paste, so adjust to suit your preference.

If you like your food on the spicy side Sriracha makes a nice addition to the soup. If you're sharing the soup with others wait until the soup is served and add the desired amount to each bowl.

If you don't use ginger often you can slice or mince the remainder of the root and freeze it. Place the minced ginger into a resealable freezer bag and press it out flat. Next time you need ginger for a recipe open the baggie and break off a chunk!

These potatoes will come out quite soft. If you prefer your potatoes on the firmer side either add them in half way through the cooking time, or cut them into larger chunks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Recipe Testing: October 2015

I made this simple Baked Ziti dish and served it with garlic bread & salad. It was tasty, but not a big hit with my husband. He isn't a big fan of tomato sauces, but I'm still hopeful in my quest to find a tomato based pasta dish he'll like!

We don't eat much seafood, so I decided to branch out and make Lemon Garlic Tilapia. Served with mashed potatoes & asparagus. This was really good, and I'd make it again. I used frozen tilapia filets and next time I think I'd hunt down something really fresh.

I was given a ton of pears from the pear tree on the farm and decided to make an open face apple pie style pear pie. I based the filling off of this Apple Pie recipe, with the only differences being that I used pears & brown sugar. I made the crumb topping from this Apple Pie recipe, using chopped pecans.

I spent a good amount of time trying to catch loose pigs on the farm, and in payment I was given a ham steak. I'd never made ham steak so I found this recipe for Maple Glazed Ham Steak. I don't like maple syrup much so I used honey instead. I served it with baked potatoes & green beans. The glaze was tasty and I might use it for pork chops or tenderloin in the future!

I made White Chicken Enchiladas from the Pioneer Woman's website, and true to all her recipes they turned out delicious! Unlike many recipes I try, I followed this one exactly. I think frying the tortillas really helps them maintain their texture. This dish felt very "comfort food" to me, tasty cheesy creamy gooey goodness :)

I made burgers on the stovetop recently, and found this info from TheKitchn to be very helpful!

We ran out of the waffle mix my husband loves, Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Mix, so I made this Waffles I recipe. It was tasty, but didn't turn out as crispy as the usual mix.

Cream Cheese Danish Recipe

Cream Cheese Danish

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt)
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (eggwash)

Prior to starting you'll want to set the cream cheese and puff pastry out at room temperature to soften and thaw, respectively.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can preheat the oven in a bit.

Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a medium size bowl and stir until smooth. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, egg yolk & salt. Stir until just combined.

Unfold the puff pastry and cut each sheet into 4 squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each square. Brush all edges with eggwash and fold each pastry into a triangle. Press down the edges with a fork to seal. Brush the tops of the pastries with eggwash and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Bake pastries for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden and puff pastry is cooked through.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recipe Testing: September 2015

In an attempt to come up with more tasty carbohydrate options as dinner side dishes, I tried out this Seasoned Rice Mix (though I didn't make the mix, I made enough for 1 serving of rice for each of us). I really enjoyed the simple flavors here, and found it to be an easy side dish that won't overpower the main course.

In addition to a rice side dish, I also tried out this recipe for Loaded Mashed Potatoes. This recipe was exactly what I expected, and I loved every bite! The only change I made was that I buttered instead of greased my baking dish. I was surprised how much the potatoes puffed up while in the oven!

I experimented with using canned biscuits to create tasty dishes. In July I made pepperoni garlic knots and learned the importance of pressing the dough out to be thinner. This time I made this Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes recipe, but created my own filling with the flavors I prefer. My filling was

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked & diced
  • 1 cup small red potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons Spike (salt free) seasoning (or spices of your choosing)
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
Saute the onion and Spike (or spices of your choosing) in a tablespoon of butter until soft, add the garlic and cooked for another minute before adding in the remaining vegetables. Stir to coat the vegetables in butter, and saute for 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the potatoes have some color add 1/2 cup chicken broth & cover. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, adding more broth if needed during the cooking process. Add the chicken and cream cheese, stirring to combine. Use filling for cupcakes as directed in above recipe, or for a pot pie, or to stuff bell peppers, or add more broth to make a soup... I use this style of "filling" for lots of things!

I made this recipe for Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts the other night. Instead of stuffing with cream cheese & green onions I used Alouette Smoky Jalapeno soft spreadable cheese. I was hoping for a bacon jalapeno popper style chicken. It turned out ok. I'm not sure if my wrapping skills were to blame, but most of the cheese oozed out of the chicken. It was tasty, but I'm not sure that I'll be stuffing or bacon wrapping chicken breasts again any time soon.

Another experiment with tastier side dishes was a slightly modified version of this Best Spanish Rice, where the only change I made was adding 1 minced garlic clove with the onion. The rice did burn onto the bottom of the pot, but rice on the stove top is the bane of my cooking existence so I imagine I'm somehow at fault for that issue. Otherwise the rice was light, fluffy & tasty. Make sure you use a salsa you really like as that's going to be the predominant flavor of the dish.

This Mediterranean Beef Pita recipe was pretty tasty! I messed up and mixed the salt, pepper & oregano into the beef. I also made a few alterations. As most of the reviews suggested I skipped the hummus and used homemade tzatziki sauce (plain greek yogurt, minced cucumber, minced garlic, dill, lemon juice, and olive oil). I also added sauteed onion & zucchini instead of raw red onion.

I served the pitas with Lemon & Garlic Potatoes that were very tasty. I followed another reviewers recommendation to cover the pan for the first 30 minutes, and I cooked them for about an hour and a half total to make them extra crispy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Recipe Testing: July 2015

When discussing different ways to use ground beef my husband mentioned Hamburger Helper type meals, minus the pre-processed taste. After some googling I decided to make Taco Mac n' Cheese (found in this article discussing ways to enhance boxed mac n' cheese) and was really impressed! We wolfed down way more than I anticipated. I made a few alterations:
  • used half a pound of local grass fed 90/10 ground beef
  • added half an onion, finely chopped
  • added half a red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • added 1 can diced green chilis
  • added 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • added taco seasoning & water per instructions and simmered a few minutes
  • added ~1 cup freshly grated cheddar and prepared mac n' cheese to taco beef skillet, stirring to combine
  • topped skillet with a layer of freshly grated cheddar & layer crushed corn chips
  • broiled on high ~8 inches from heat until cheese is melted
I got a good deal on Boursin cheese spreads and used one to create this Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet. I found this to be on the far-too-rich side, but my husband really enjoyed it. I served it with steamed asparagus and these Extra Crispy Tossed Potatoes. The potatoes really did turn out crispy, which was impressive considering the minimal amount of oil. The olive oil flavor really predominated the potatoes, though, and I think the addition of minced garlic or another strong flavor would compliment them well.

My husband requested I make Pepperoni Garlic Knots, but I didn't have pizza dough ready to go so instead I offered to make these Easy Pepperoni Rolls. We decided to add some variety to our Pepperoni Rolls by sauteing the pepperoni with minced onion, garlic, and mushrooms before adding it to the biscuit with the cheese. These turned out okay. Next time I would bake them on a baking sheet instead of a pan, and I would try to make them with less dough.

I had left over biscuits (4 total) and decided to make Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread. I winged the amounts for most of the ingredients (trying my best to make 1/4 of the recipe) and wound up with a single layer in my pan, but it turned out super tasty! This would definitely be one to make again.

I made Chocolate Chip Cookies as well. My favorite recipe is still the one on the back of the bag of Nestle chocolate chips. Simple ingredients make for the best cookies. A great tip I learned a few years back for baking cookies is to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes prior to (and between batches) baking for chewier cookies, or leave the dough room temperature for crunchy cookies!

I made these Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls for dinner one night and found it created a TON of food. The rice was pretty sticky; next time I'd make it separately. I used this as taco filling for another dinner and it was very tasty. I still have more in the fridge and I think I'll make some freezer burritos with it!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Recipe Testing: April 2015

I made a version of this Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese, but I made the following changes based on what I had on hand:
  • replace skim milk with 2% milk
  • replace fat free chicken broth with low sodium chicken broth
  • replace reduced fat mild cheddar with sharp cheddar
  • replace 4 cups baby spinach with 4 cups baby spinach, kale, and chard blend
  • add 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • add 2 caprese chicken sausages, chopped
  • add italian bread crumbs to parmesan topping
Can you tell low-fat isn't my thing? This recipe didn't really set up, it turned out fairly soupy after its time in the oven. The flavor, however, was fantastic. Next time I'd wring out the spaghetti squash as much as possible and reduce the amount of chicken broth.

I wanted to use up my baby greens blend, so I made a Spinach Dip from this recipe Stovetop Spinach Dip and altered the recipe based on what I had on hand:
  • replace frozen spinach with fresh baby kale, spinach, and chard blend
  • replace onion with leeks
  • omit water chestnuts
This turned out very tasty, and I'll definitely try it again. It would be a great easy potluck recipe!


I purchased some cubed steak on sale and made the Pioneer Woman's Fried Round Steak, which was very tasty! I served it with roast potatoes and steamed asparagus with lemon butter.

While we're talking about the Pioneer Woman and steak, I should mention that my go-to recipe for Philly Cheese Steak is her MM Sandwich, PW Style. This is so delicious! The mushrooms really take it to the next level. I serve it with freezer fries. Yum!


While out I found a good deal on some boneless beef chuck western style ribs, and not knowing much about beef I snatched them up. When I got home I looked them up and discovered they come from the shoulder, not the ribs, and can be rather tough. Low & slow was the recommended cooking method, so I decided to make them in the crock pot. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and browned them in a skillet before putting them into the crock pot. I used the same skillet to sautee a diced onion and added that on top of the "ribs." Then I poured a bottle of beer and some NC Style (vinegar based) BBQ sauce in the crock pot, covered it, and cooked them on low for the day. I served them up with corn on the cobb, salad, and stuffing.


I felt like making something that would freeze well for an easy dinner later this week, so I made the Pioneer Woman's Lasagna. I really enjoy most of the recipes the Pioneer Woman has, so I figured this would be a winner. I didn't have any tomato paste on hand, so I left that out. I also only had dried basil, and I just estimated the amounts there. This turned out to be a tasty lasagna recipe, though a bit basic. Perhaps the two items I didn't have would have given it the extra flavor I was hoping for.


We got a deep fryer recently, so I decided to try it out with some Beer Battered Chicken Tenders! Yum!

I also made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tenders, but I made nuggets instead. I made a few other alterations to the recipe:

  • deep fry nuggets for about 4 - 5 minutes in batches of roughly 10 nuggets at a time
  • add to flour mixture 1tsp oregano, 1tsp paprika, and 1/4tsp garlic powder
  • replace buttermilk with 2% (because that's what I had at home)

These turned out awesome! Definitely the "extra crispy" version with the little bits of batter stuck to the chicken! I think adding spices to the flour mixture really helps, and I will probably tweak this over time (if I make it often enough) until I get the spices just how I'd like.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Fudge! What a tasty treat that can be so easily adapted to so many palates. I have been making fudge using the same quick and simple recipe for years now, but when I talk about fudge with people I usually hear comments about how difficult it is to make. Well that doesn't need to be the case when I have an easy recipe that is made in the microwave! I have done this with white, milk, and semi-sweet chocolate chips as well as peanut butter chips and it turned out great every time. I've added orange zest, coconut, nuts, crushed peppermints... even made Funfetti Cake Batter Fudge! Here's the recipe:

3 cups chocolate chips
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter, softened or melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
additions as desired (see "Additions" below)

Line an 8x8" or 9x9" pan with foil. Combine first 3 ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and stir to coat chips with butter and milk. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring very well between microwaving. The key to this is to heat the chocolate slowly and stir the fudge very well, say for 30 - 45 seconds, after each microwaving. It should only need to be microwaved 2 or 3 times before it's smooth and all the chips are melted. Once it's smooth stir in the vanilla extract. If you're using additions add them now. Pour fudge into your prepared pan and refrigerate until set, 3 - 4 hours. Carefully remove foil and cut into small pieces, I usually cut an 8x8" pan into 36 pieces

For orange chocolate add 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
For coconut add 1/2 - 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (I usually combine this with nuts and add 1/2 cup each)
For walnuts add 3/4 - 1 cup chopped nuts
For peppermint add or top with 3/4 cup crushed peppermint (for a prettier look use a mesh strainer to remove the dusty part of the crushed peppermint, and press the chunks into the top of the fudge)