Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dulce De Leche

This delicious caramel tasting sauce can be used for SO many things. I used it this past weekend for a shortbread cookie recipe I will post soon. You can store it in the fridge for up to a month and drizzle it on ice cream YUM! Warning: it does take 1 hour to make this with your undivided attention. So plan ahead.

Dulce de Leche

4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the milk, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a large, heavy-duty 8 quart (8 liter) saucepan or Dutch oven. THIS IS IMPORTANT!! The milk will foam at least twice in size so you need a large pot so it doesn't boil over.  Place over medium to medium-high heat and bring just to a boil. Watch carefully, and as soon as the milk begins to foam up, stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, and reduce heat until the milk is just at a low rolling boil. (If the milk foams up too much, remove the saucepan from the heat until the foam starts to subside. Then return to heat.)

Continue to cook the milk, stirring the bottom and sides of the saucepan frequently, until the mixture becomes very thick and sticky and caramel colored (this will take about 40 - 60 minutes). It is important to frequently stir the milk so it does not burn. Adjust the heat as necessary, you want the milk to be at a low rolling boil.
Note: There are several stages the milk goes through during the cooking process. When the milk first comes to a boil there is a lot of foam. Eventually the foam subsides and after about 15 minutes, you will notice that the milk turns a light beige color. As it continues to cook, the milk thickens and gets darker and darker in color. The more you cook the Dulce de Leche, the thicker and more caramel colored it will become. Once the Dulce de Leche has been reduced to about 1 1/4 cups it is ready. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before covering and storing. The Dulce de Leche can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a month.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

I have to say, this dish is definitely delicious and my kids ate it so a winner in my book. I am planning on making this dish the week I have my baby. So simple to put together and keep in the fridge or freezer until ready to heat and eat.

Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef

1/4 large onion, minced

2 1/2 cups salsa (I used Pace, Mild)

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

4 flour tortillas (8 inches)

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream 

2 cups (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped 

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning and cumin. Spoon a generous layer of meat mixture on bottom of 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place a flour or corn tortilla on top of meat mixture. Layer with half of the meat mixture, and cheese. Repeat as many layers as you like. The last & final layer should be a healthy dose of grated cheese. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with pam or other and bake at 400° for 25 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.  Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro. Yield: 8 servings.

I got this recipe from here. I made a few little adjustments.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed into fine crumb
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Crush your graham crackers. As you can see from the picture above. I like putting them into a zip lock bag and rolling them with a rolling pin. Then add sugar and butter. Press into pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min then cool before filling.

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups cold milk, divided
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
for garnish, whipped cream and more sliced fresh strawberries

Combine strawberries, sugar in bowl. Pour into cooled crust. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; gradually add 1/2 cup milk. Add pudding mix and remaining milk. Beat for 1 minute or until well blended. Pour over strawberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Garnish as desired.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers

 I have a confession. I hate football season. When my husband and I got married his thought about me was college athlete must = college sports fan. WRONG. Sorry BYU. I love you and it was a great 4 years but I really don't care to watch your games. I do care about their swimming but since I can't watch that on TV I am out of luck. The reason for the hostility towards these next few months is the monster my husband turns into. Some of you may know what I am talking about. Our life the next few months will revolve around sports. Not the new baby coming in 7 weeks but the Boise State football season. I try my best to be supportive. He works hard and loves this time of year so I won't take ruin that for him. To help get in the "spirit" of no date nights for the next few months I made these jalapeno poppers for my hubby. I mean, at least he needs some good food to eat during these games right?

These little puppies aren't too much to look at I know (I should work on my styling) but they were better than any restaurant appetizer I have ever had. I have a fryer but I just did these on the stove top so anyone can do them!

Jalapeno Poppers

10 jalapeno peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1.5 quarts oil for frying (may not need that much depending on your pan size)

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves. Put the milk the flour and the breadcrumbs into separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated. In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F. Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shepherds Pie

While my husband and I first started dating he offered to make me dinner one night. My roommates were lucky enough to sit in on this meal. He made shepherds pie. I had NEVER had it before in my life. I was a little skeptical  because I used to be the type of person that liked all my foods to stay on their respective sides of the plate. Well this particular time he made this dish he used instant potatoes. Poor guy, they were so runny. My roommates and I forced this mushy, runny food down our throats and complimented him. Now that we are married I tease him about the time he made me shepherds pie. I loved his effort but now over the years I love this dish and have perfected it. It's a great throw together meal but so comforting.

Shepherds Pie

Mashed Potato topping:
5 good sized russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 stick butter
2.5 oz. cream cheese
milk, just enough to soften the mash
salt and pepper to taste

boil chopped potatoes in pot of water until potatoes are soft. Drain. Add butter, cream cheese and a little milk (like 1/4 cup). Hand mash them with a tool or use a hand mixer to blend until smooth. If you need more milk add it. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can green beans, no salt added
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, no salt added
Cheddar cheese as a topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute your onion in pan over med-high heat for 3-4 min. Add garlic. Cook one more minute and then add beef. Brown the beef. Once it's ready, drain the fat from the beef and pour in an 8X8 baking dish. Season the beef mixture with salt and pepper. Next,  drain REALLY WELL the beans, tomatoes and corn. I just throw them all in the strainer together to mix them up. Pour the veggies on top of the beef mixture. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Scoop the mashed potatoes on top of the veggies. Top with large cut pieces of cheddar cheese and cover with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the over or until heated through. The last 2-3 minutes I turn the oven on broil to really brown the cheese. That's how we like it:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

German Pancakes with homemade syrup

This dish is obviously great for breakfast but I also love it as a last minute dinner. You can make the syrup ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a few days. Just heat it up when you are ready to serve. YUMMY!!

German Pancakes

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

confectioners' sugar for garnish

Place the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Pour the butter into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish; add the batter. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Dust pancake with confectioners' sugar; serve immediately with the syrup.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the first five syrup ingredients; bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

chicken lime soup

I tried a similar recipe a little while back from Rachael Ray. It was a little too spicy for me and especially for my kids. I love all the ingredients so I made some changes. Here it is.

See what you think.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 hass avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Crushed tortilla chips

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Increase the heat to high, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the chicken and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming any foam. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place 2 avocado slices in each soup bowl and pour in the soup. Top with the tortilla chips and a little more cilantro.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bathroom solutions

I don't know about you but I have been having a major towel problem in my master bath. There isn't a linen closet very close and not enough cupboard space under the sinks for towels. My solution, a $15 dresser from Goodwill. This baby can hold all my towels. Gave it some cute yellow paint and now my towels are hidden in the drawers and it's close to the the bath and shower. I love it.