Friday, October 28, 2011

Recipes to Share from Teacher Dinners

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Cheddar and Corn Chowder

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

Wild Rice and Chicken Salad

3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 cup long grain wild rice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken cooked and cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 green onions
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 Tablespoons capers
3 cups chopped Romaine

Bring water to a boil with salt and butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the wild rice. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Whisk in the orange juice, vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, pepper and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the cooked rice, chicken, bell pepper, green onions, basil and capers and mix well. Add the romaine and toss to combine.
Serves 4 to 6

Spinach and Apple Salad with Crispy Almonds

1/4 cup minced onion
3 T apple cider vinegar
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T sesame seeds
1/4 tsp paprika
3 T sugar, divided
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T butter
3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
10 oz spinach leaves
2 medium apples, thinly sliced

Combine onion, vinegars, sesame seeds and paprika in a small bowl. Mix in 2 Tablespoons sugar. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add almonds. Stir until almonds begin to color, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sugar over the almonds. Stir until sugar melts and begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to small plate or bowl and cool. Break up pieces when cooled.

Combine spinach with apples in large bowl. Toss with dressing to taste. Mix in almonds. Serves 6


1 can pumpkin
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 c. chopped nuts
1 sm. carton Cool Whip
Blend in mixer pumpkin, sugar, eggs, milk, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Pour in lightly buttered 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle 2 cups sifted yellow cake mix on top. Dribble melted butter on top. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool, cut in squares and top with Cool Whip.

Quinn's Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Carved Pumpkin

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The secret to Good Pumpkin Seeds is to Boil them first!! Quinn has be enjoying carving pumpkins. We had a fun day of experimenting in the Kitchen making Candy Corn Cupcakes, Roasting pumpkin Seeds and more..

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

One medium sized pumpkin
Olive oil
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.
2 In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
3 Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating. Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole.

Baking: Candy Corn Cupcakes

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Candy Corn Cupcakes

1 18.25-oz. white cake mix
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow and orange Gel food coloring (about a heaping 1/2 tsp. of each)
A double batch of Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 24-cup muffin tins with white paper liners (although you may not make it to 24 cupcakes). Combine all ingredients except for food coloring in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium for 2 additional minutes.
Divide batter equally into two bowls; you should have about 2 1/4-2 1/2 c. of batter in each bowl. Mix about 1/2 heaping tsp. of yellow coloring into one bowl of batter and 1/2 heaping tsp. of orange coloring into the other bowl.
Divide the yellow batter evenly among the muffin tins. I used a standard cookie scoop, which measures about 1 Tbsp. I only had enough to make 20 cupcakes with the cups filled about halfway. Holding the edges of each pan firmly, bang the pan a few times on the counter to level out the batter. Repeat the process with the orange batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by

3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.
Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)

One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes .

After trouble-shooting with a lot of people, here are some helpful Notes:

1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.

2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!

3. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Baking: Halloween Cookies Witchy Tricks and Treats

A Halloween Collection of Cookies Baked up for a Benefit Auction.

The Tags that I created went great with my witch cookies.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roasted-Tomato Basil Soup

I made this Yesterday for Dinner last night. Perfect Recipe for right now. We got our first frost for the season. I harvested the remaining Basil from the garden and used up the last of the garden tomatoes from the Local Farmer's Market. This recipe calls for tons of tomatoes and 4 packed cups of Basil!

Perfect Simple Soup from Barefoot Contessa cookbook

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baking: Husband Cake from a 1949 recipe booklet

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A Very Popular Cake from the past. It is sometimes called Spiced Tomato Soup Cake. I found it called Husband Cake in a vintage recipe booklet from 1949 that I picked up at a garage sale. I baked the cake in a 9x13 pan but found many similar recipes online that were baked in bundt pans.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 can tomato soup
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup chopped nuts and raisins or nuts and dates

Cream shortening and sugar.

Rinse soup can with 2 Tablespoons of water and add to soup. Add soda to soup. mix well, and add to creamed mixture. Sift Dry ingredients together and add fruit and nuts. Beat Well and bake in a rectangular pan 40 minutes at 350 degrees.


Cream together 1 pkg cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Add 1 egg yolk, last and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes, then spread on cake.

(I left out the egg yolk and added a few tablespoons of whole milk)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Caesar Club Sandwiches and Pesto Pea Salad


Canned chicken- chopped
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Powder
4 ounces thinly sliced ham
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
Italian Bread Rolls
2 ounces baby spinach, washed and spun dry
Roma Tomatoes, sliced thinly
2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved

Place the chicken in a colander and drain. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix in 1/4 cup Dressing ( recipe Below) Set Aside.

To Make Dressing:

Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)

Slice the ciabatta or Italian buns in half. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the 1 Tablespoon Caesar dressing. Place a few spinach leaves on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: 2 slices of tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, 2 to 3 slices of ham, and 1/4 cup chicken mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and secure with a pick.


2 cups of frozen peas- Thawed
2 tablespoons pignolis, toasted (see note)
2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons Prepared Pesto
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Defrost Peas

To assemble, place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas over the spinach. Add the pesto and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and some parmesan.

Plate Salad and then top with a sprinkling of parmesan and pine nuts.

Note: To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fun Day of Treasure Hunting

I had a great day of treasure hunting! Beautiful weather and lots of great finds! I am trying to decide what to keep and what to sell on Etsy. I just love the Vintage Jar full of old buttons!

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