Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thirty Minute Thursday


4 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 green pepper, sliced thinly
2 tbs. Mrs. Dash
1/2 tsp garlic powder
olive oil

1. Sautee chicken, onion and pepper in olive oil with seasonings.

2. Serve with flour tortillas, and shredded cheddar cheese, spanish rice, black beans, quacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc. to add to fajitas as wanted.


4 ripe avocados
1/4 c. ready made salsa (I use Pace thick and chunky)
garlic powder to taste
onion salt to taste

1. Cut and peel avocados, mash with fork in a medium size bowl.
2. Add salsa, garlic powder and onion salt to avocados and mix together.

(not under 30 minutes, but it goes so well with fajitas)

5 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and 1/2 tsp. of the vanilla, beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tbs. at a time, mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Pierce top of cake all over with a fork.
6. Combine the milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip whipping cream, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar together until thick. Spread over the top of the cake. Cut up fresh fruit, I recommend raspberries, strawberries or peaches and top cake with cut fruit. Be sure to keep cake refrigerated.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dallas Dining

I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most adventurous person. I enjoy trying new things, but I'm a creature of habit and I like routine. I watch Man vs. Wild and feel weak every time Bear eats a grub or a snake and I've never been closer to vomiting at the dinner table than the first time I ate sushi. That being said, I ate the sushi and I love it now. When we went to Pappadeaux's in Dallas this weekend I about died when my brother and sister-in-law ordered frog legs for the appetizer. After a lot of convincing I took a bite and who knew that they weren't that bad. To top off the meal I ate crawfish and catfish too, not a big deal to a lot of you...big deal to me! Utah doesn't exactly have restaurants that carry the same sort of food as Pappadeaux's so I haven't ever had an opportunity to eat frog legs, crawfish, catfish, and etouffee with dirty rice, I'm glad that I had the chance. In honor of my new found foods I'm posting a copycat recipe from Pappadeaux's restaurant.

Title: Pappadeaux'S Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Yield: 8 Servings


1 1/4 c cooked, mashed sweet 'taters
- (about; 2 medium potatoes)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 ts vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
3/4 ts ground cinnamon
3/4 ts allspice
3/4 ts nutmeg
3 tb softened butter
1 unbaked pastry for a single
-crust 9; -10 pie shell
1 pecan filling and bourbon
-sauce (in; gredients below)

------------------------PECAN PIE FILLING-----------------------------
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c dark corn syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tb unsalted butter, softened
1/4 ts vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
3/4 ts ground cinnamon
1 1/4 c chopped pecans

--------------------------BOURBON SAUCE-------------------------------
1 1/2 c heavy (whipping) cream
1 c milk
1 package instant vanilla
-pudding mix; (4-serving siz
3 tb bourbon, brandy or rhum
1 ts vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine mashed sweet potatoes, sugars,
egg, cream, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and butter in
an electric mixing bowl and beat at medium-low speed until smooth, do
not overmix.
To assemble pie, spoon sweet potato filling into the pastry-lined
pie pan. Fill shell evenly to the top with with pecan filling. Bake 1
1/2 hours or until a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes
out clean. Store pie at room temperature for 24 hours. Serve pie
slices with Bourbon Sauce on top or to the side.

Prepare Pecan Pie Filling: Combine sugar, syrup, eggs, butter,
vanilla, salt and cinnamon in an electric mixing bowl and beat on low
speed until syrup is opaque, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in pecans, mix

Prepare Bourbon Sauce: Combine cream and milk in a large mixing
bowl. Slowly whip in pudding mix. Add bourbon and continue whipping.
Add vanilla and whip until mixture is well blended to sauce
consistency (should not be as firm as pudding, but should not be
runny). Sauce should be made about one hour before use; it will
thicken as it sits.

From: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
Adapted from source: WTTW11, Chicago

1 1/2 lbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 quarts yellow onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup garlic, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups bell peppers, chopped fine
1 cup dark roux (gumbo roux)
1 cup blond roux
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
6 cups shrimp stock
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, 74/40s

In a saucepan, melt butter until almost clarified, then add yellow onions and garlic, cook for 20-30 minutes until onions start to brown and caramelize. Stir.

Add celery and bell pepper, cook until limber (about 10 minutes).

Pre-heat roux in microwave.

Add black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper, paprika, salt and blond and dark roux to butter and vegetables in pan. Cook until roux dissolves (about 10 minutes).

Heat shrimp stock. Add shrimp stock to pan mixture and bring to simmer; let cook for 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes, blend and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and place in container. Cool. (If not serving, store in refrigerator)

Add shrimp or crayfish to the etouffee and warm before serving.

Yields 1 gallon

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thirty Minute Thursday

As grateful as I am for recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prepare, I've decided to dedicate Thursdays to recipes from my file that are quick, easy and yummy! I don't use recipes that often, or if I do use one I usually make lots of variations and then forget to write them down. Sometimes, like today's recipe, it's a food that my mom used to make and never used a recipe for, so I'm trying to make a recipe for something that we never measure...sorry!

Chicken Pasta Salad

1 (12 oz) package of pasta (I usually use garden rotini)
1 (12.5 oz) can of all-white chicken breast
1 (15 oz) cans of mandarin orange slices, drained (I use two cans, my kids love them)
3/4 c. miracle whip
2 tbsp. worchestershire sauce

1. Cook pasta as directed on packaging

2. While pasta is cooking, combine chicken, mandarin orange slices, miracle whip and worchestershire sauce in a large bowl

3. When pasta is done, rinse with cool water and drain; add to chicken mixture and serve.

This is a great recipe for the summer months when a light, refreshing meal is what you want. Kids love it for the chicken and the oranges. If you reserve a little of the mandarin orange juice and mix it in with the sauce it makes it even better!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lentil Soup

It's finally cooled down here in Midland, at least for a little while. It's been so hot that I've hated cooking, or eating, anything too hot. Yesterday it stayed pretty cool all day long and I decided to make Lentil Soup. The kids love it and it's so easy, plus it's good for you. It's full of fiber, protein and vegetables and it's low in fat. It was a nice, light meal accompanied with fresh cut fruit and breadsticks.


1 (16 oz.) package of lentils
5 cups water
4 carrots, cut
1 tbsp. onion salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 lb. polish or smoked sausage, sliced

1. Rinse lentils in water, then drain. Add 5 cups water to lentils in a large pan and bring to boil.

2. While lentils begin to boil, cut carrots and add to lentils in pan. Add sliced sausage, onion salt and garlic powder.

3. Once soup has reached a boil with all ingredients included, reduce heat to low/medium and simmer for 50-60 minutes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


FYI, for those who care. I resurrected the potatoes today for dinner and they were great! Yeah! Also, menu is coming along great, I think I'm actually going to have a good menu to work off of by the time school starts in a week. (amazing...)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Recipes from Yesterday

These are the recipes from last night's dinner, including the potatoes (yes, I'm still bitter, but I did them wrong so it's my fault!)


2 lbs. chicken tenders
1/2 c. ketchup
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ready-made white horseradish
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced

1. preheat broiler, heat a charcoal grill until coals form white ash, or preheat a gas grill to medium

2. prepare sauce, in a medium bowl, by combining ketchup, vinegar, horseradish, brown sugar and garlic

3. combine tenders with sauce, chill and marinade for at least 30 minutes for better flavor

4. broil or grill 3 inches from heat, basting with excess sauce and turning until no longer pink in center, about 5 minutes per side


10 russet potatoes
2 c. sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing
3 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

1. preheat oven to 425°, scrub potatoes; pat dry. Pierce several times with a fork. Microwave pierced potatoes on HIGH for 12 minutes; bake for 15 minutes

2. while potatoes are baking, mix together 2 c. sour cream, ranch dressing and 1 c. cheddar cheese, set aside

3. cut cooked potatoes lengthwise; scoop insides into bowl with cheese mixture and mix together

4. brush potato skins with olive oil

5. spoon potato mixture into potato skin shells, sprinkle with remaining 2 c. cheddar cheese. place on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes

(for a 4 qt. ice cream maker)

1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. half and half
1 tbsp. vanilla
4 c. whipping cream
3 c. chopped peaches, mixed with 2 tbsp. sugar

1. Mix whipping cream, half and half, sugar, salt and vanilla together until sugar and salt dissolve. Add peaches, stir.

2. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes before freezing.

3. Freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions, usually freezes within 25 minutes.

4. Once frozen it will be soft set. If you prefer a harder texture to your ice cream place in freezer to 'ripen' for an hour or so.


15 jalapeno peppers
1 package (12 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 package thick cut hickory smoked bacon

1. preheat oven to 350°

2. prepare jalapenos by cutting stem off and cleaning out all membranes and seeds, leaving the hollow jalapeno whole

3. mix cream cheese and cheddar cheese together in a bowl

4. stuff cheese mixture into jalapeno

5. wrap with bacon all around jalapeno, secure with toothpick

6. bake for 30 minutes

Friday, August 15, 2008

Get togethers

I love having people over to eat and to socialize. Maybe it stems from being from a really small family and never having enough people to talk to, I don't know. Anyway, there isn't much I love more than planning a get-together be it a nice family/friend dinner, a party or a shower. I LOVE it! However, even as much as I love planning the get-together I sometimes don't give myself enough time to get everything done that I want to get accomplished. (this has a lot to do with the emergence of twins in the last year!)

Case in point, tonight: four families, eight adults, eleven included bbq chicken, stuffed jalepenos, rebaked potatoes and homeade peach ice cream. Thankfully a green salad and fruit salad were being brought by invitees. BBQ chicken worked great, jalepenos were wonderful (if not a little spicy, my hands and eyes still burn...), the ice cream was refreshing, the potatoes - not so much. We ended up scrapping the original rebaked idea and falling back on garlic mashed potatoes. I just didn't bake the potatoes long enough the first time and disaster followed, I swear, it was ugly. Thankfully it was fun and everything else tasted great. Hopefully our guests forgive me for the lack of really good rebaked potatoes! :) It was fun and I can't wait to get together again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Menus and memories

One of my resolutions when we moved out here to West Texas and I started being home more, was to make a monthly menu and stick to it. I thought it would be easy and it would simplify grocery shopping...not so much. Menu's don't make themselves and I'm more of a "what should I cook tonight" sort of planner. Today I started working on the menu again, I vow I will conquer this! We have sort of a list of foods we fall back on when I'm not feeling very adventurous, or when we're out of time. Most of the recipes my family is used to take no longer than 30 minutes to make because I had little to no time to cook when working. I could probably publish a recipe book for people who have no time to cook, and who also have kids.
Shane is not a picky eater, thankfully neither are the kids (most of the time). Savannah is trying to be picky and she succeeds more than anyone else in the family, currently she doesn't like peanut butter, anything wrapped up, anything baked...Lincoln doesn't like to see onions or peppers, but likes the taste of them in his food. I'll report back in the next couple of days on whether I was able to get the menu done!
Also, while preparing the menu I started thinking about foods that we can't get out here in West Texas. Mostly restaurants that don't exist here in the middle of nowhere, ie; Cafe Rio, Tsunami, SubZero Ice Cream, Z'Tejas, Ottavios, Asuka, Sakura....I really, really miss eating out in Utah! Apparently the closest place to get good sushi is in Dallas or San Antonio, both 5 hours away. Shane and I both really miss sushi. I'm sure that there are a dozen or so mexican restaurants in town that would put our old favorites to shame, we'll eventually venture out of the house and start trying them. There will/can be no replacement for Cafe Rio though, I can't explain to you the craving I'm having for a salad with cilantro vinagrette dressing...I'm homesick now!

Italian dinner

We had a couple of people over for dinner last night and I decided on an italian theme. I love homeade lasagna but it's a little time consuming and tedious to make with kids running around. I also haven't found a great recipe that sets well and doesn't run all over the plate when served...until now! I finally worked out a recipe that was near perfect (in a humbling way!) Yeah! Supplementing the lasagna was a green salad with tomatoes, green onions and avocados, and breadsticks. I used refrigerator rolls for the breadsticks as a short cut. Dessert was an italian cheesecake topped with peaches, chocolate and/or caramel, mmmm!


12 no-cook lasagna noodles
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 c. + 1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 eggs - beaten

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle pasta sauce (I used ragu traditional); separate 1 c. of pasta sauce

1. preheat oven to 350°

2. make filling - combine in bowl; ricotta, 2 c. mozzarella, and parmesan cheese and eggs

3. make sauce - brown beef, drain grease, combine with oregano, italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper and pasta sauce (excluding separated 1 c.)

4. in a 9x13 pan pour 1/2 c. reserved pasta sauce and spread evenly over bottom of pan. alternate layers of noodles, sauce and filling, ending with noodles. use remaining 1/2 c. of pasta sauce to cover the no-cook noodles or they will be crunchy. Cover in remaining shredded mozzarella and cover. Bake for 40 minutes covered, then uncovered for 10 more minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes covered before serving.


2 cans refrigerator rolls
melted butter
garlic salt
italian seasoning

1. preheat oven to 350°

2. take each roll and roll briskly between hands to make a long worm. lay on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with garlic salt.

3. bake for 10 minutes or until tops of rolls are lightly tan

4. remove from oven, place in bowl, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with italian seasoning


2 containers (15 oz. each) ricotta cheese
1 c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
1 large egg

for the crust
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter

1. preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Prepare the crust; in a bowl, combine crumbs, cinnamon, sugar and melted butter; mix well.

3. Press crumb mixture into bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes, place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

4. To prepare filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, beat ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon juice, flour, salt, egg whites, and egg until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

5. Bake until just set, about 50 minutes. Turn off oven and let stand in oven for 30 additional minutes. Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, for at least 3 hours. Garnish with fresh cut fruit, also good drizzled with chocolate or caramel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Welcome to Brooke's kitchen musings. I welcome the opportunity to join two things I love together, blogging and food. I love to cook and I'm excited to blog about my adventures in the kitchen.