Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

This is probably my favorite soup in the world. It is healthy and so delicious. Plus it's super easy!

Tomato Basil Soup
2 medium onions, chopped
4-5 (15 oz) cans stewed tomatoes, pureed
1/3 c. vegetable base (or chicken base)
4 quarts water
5 T. basil
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. garlic powder (or a few garlic cloves, minced)
1 1/2 c. raw brown rice 
In a very large pot, saute the onions in olive oil. Pour in all the ingredients, except for the rice. Stir well. Mix in the rice. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until rice is done. When serving, top with fresh Parmesan. (Note: this recipe makes a lot of soup! When I made this, I divided it by a fourth and it made about 3-4 servings.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I know this may look like is came from some horror movie, but it is actually really tasty and healthy for you! You assemble it like you would normal lasagna...I layered mine with sliced stewed tomatoes. Yum :)

Eggplant Parmesan
  • 2-3 eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 2-3 (15 oz) cans sliced and stewed tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Sweat the eggplants: peel, slice, and sprinkle them with salt. Place slices in a colander in the sink for about 20 minutes. (This pulls out any bitterness and makes the eggplant less mushy.) Rinse slices well with water and pat them dry with paper towels before breading.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
  4. In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Place a layer of stewed tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Layer like you would a lasagna: repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil and oregano on top.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Dinner

Happy Valentine's Day! This weekend, Lon, his fiancee Carolyn, and I came home. Lon and Carolyn went to look at places for their wedding reception and I just came along for the ride. I made a yummy Valentine's Day Dinner for the family. I made Stuffed Chicken Valentino and Fettuccine Alfredo with Tomato Bruschetta. For dessert I made Strawberry Cream Cake and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (homemade, of course). Everything was really good. These recipes are fun to make and delicious too.

Stuffed Chicken Valentino

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or garlic salt, basil, and oregano)
1 (6 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained (or just roast some red peppers and onions together)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil 
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice a chicken breast in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached on one side: opened and laid flat, the chicken breast should resemble a butterfly. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound flat. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken breasts. At one end of each breast, place 3 strips of roasted pepper (and onions). Top with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese. Roll each breast up, starting on the side with the peppers and cheese. Insert a toothpick in each roll to prevent unrolling. Place in prepared baking dish. Season rolls with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Set oven to broil, and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, slice to display the colorful filling, and serve. 

Alfredo Sauce

1 stick butter
2 T. cream cheese
1 pint heavy cream
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
garlic powder, salt, pepper, basil
*Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add in the cream cheese and stir until soft. Whisk in the heavy cream. Stir until warm (on medium heat). Whisk in the cheeses until they are melted. Add the seasonings to your liking. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. Serve over Fettuccine noodles, chicken, shrimp, etc. (Beware: once you try this Alfredo sauce recipe, you will never use another again).

Strawberry Cream Cake

1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (65º to 68ºF)
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and position an oven rack in the center. Line the muffin pan with paper liners or coat the pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium until very light—almost white—in color, 4 to 5 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the bowl with the spatula.
  3. Add the eggs: Beat the eggs and vanilla in the small bowl to blend. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then resume adding the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.
  4. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately: With the fine-mesh strainer, sift the cake flour, baking soda, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk together. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half the sour cream; repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary.
  5. Bake the cakes: Portion the batter into 9-inch round cake pan. Leave 1/4 inch at top to allow for expansion. (Note: you will have extra batter, I just made a mini cake with mine). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check every so often and make sure a toothpick comes out clean when it is placed in the center. After baking, cool cake for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and put a on serving plate.
  6. Serving: Slice the cake in half (horizontally). Place whipped cream (homemade is the best) on the middle layer and on top. Place strawberries on top of whipped cream. For this, I sliced up strawberries and stirred in 2 T. sugar, and then let set for a few minutes.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream 

2 1/2 cups half and half
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
20 crushed Oreo cookies
  1. Heat half and half until very hot (not boiling), stirring often.
  2. Mix egg yolks and sugar until well blended and slightly thickened, very gradually blend in hot half and half.
  3. Add mixture to a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat until steamy and bubbles form around edge, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
  4. Once hot, pour into a large bowl and stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Cover and chill thoroughly.
  6. Add to ice cream maker per your manufacturer's instructions, stir in crushed Oreos during last stage of freezing. (Note: this is the best ice cream you will ever eat, I am not kidding...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

This stuff is a flavorful comfort food. It is a creamy and scrumptious soup that will warm you up on a cold winter day. Eat with hot rolls to complete the deliciousness!

Butternut Squash Soup
6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut
squash (2 butternut squashes)
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, basil, curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, basil, curry powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
2. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

Friday, February 5, 2010


APPLESAUCE! Yes, you can actually make it rather than buy's a miracle! If you want it really smooth: cook the apples longer and put them in the blender. For me, I like it to be a bit chunky :) Enjoy!

Sarah's Applesauce
4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 c. water
1/4 c. sugar or any other sweetener
1-2 T. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
*Put apples in a pot, add in all the ingredients and stir. Cook on high heat (uncovered), stirring constantly, for about 15-20 minutes. (Other people usually cook them on low, but I like to get things done fast, so I like this method better). When soft, put the apples in a large bowl and either mash them with a potato masher or with a hand-held mixer, or blender for a smoother texture. (I prefer the hand-held mixer). Mix until you reach the texture you desire.  For easy pouring, put the applesauce into a baggie and snip the corner. It will work as a spout as you pour into a canning jar or any other small-mouthed container. Put applesauce in fridge as it will taste better when it is cooled.
**I don't throw away the peelings...I put them in a small pot with sugar, spices, and water and boil them down. Then I puree this in the blender while adding in something like dried cranberries (and additional water). The result: Apple Butter! It's really yummy on toast :)

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