Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

I could eat these every day for the rest of my life.

My sister-in-law Cathy made them a while back and after I had about a dozen I had to force myself to leave her house (with one to-go popper in my hand). This time they were delicious but not quite as good as Cathy's, maybe because I had to do all the jalapeño coring myself. Plus, even though I had my thermometer in the oven to check the temp, these took over an hour to cook. I had to turn up the heat toward the end. But when they came out of the oven they were very well received. I used cranberry jalapeño jelly on top and I even skipped the toothpicks and had no problems.

Perfect Pot Roast

This pot roast was easy and really tasty.

I added mushrooms and potatoes, since the whole benefit of crockpot cooking is that I don't have to fix any sides. Except the Yorkshire pudding my husband insists on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Looking forward to becoming a Pioneer Woman

Between "pseudo" bedrest for 5 weeks and now a 3 week old little boy, I haven't had a chance to make any recipes yet. Finally getting to go to the grocery store was such a treat, maybe even more so for my husband, as he puts it, he becomes the dumbest person he knows the moment he walks into HEB. I have enjoyed reading everyones posts and have marked the recipes I want to try first. But, the best part about the book right now is the pictures. My 2 year old loves looking at the cows and horses! Thanks for letting me live and cook vicariously through y'all.

Olive Cheese Bread

Yum!! My husband loves olives, so I was very much looking forward to making this for him, and I wasn't disappointed! It's definitely not diet food, but it was delicious and easy to prepare! I also love that you can freeze it - I ended up baking one-quarter of my loaf of French bread and freezing the other three-quarters for later use. The only thing I changed up was to use Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos in it - I wanted a little extra kick, and liked the result very much. I highly recommend this as an appetizer or an accompaniment to a soup (we had ours with minestrone soup) or salad.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Burgundy Mushrooms, and Creamy Rosemary Potatoes

Beef Tenderloin: I have to admit that I don't have a jar of bacon grease in my refrigerator (though I have been meaning to start one!), so I used butter instead of bacon grease in the rub. It still tasted great once the meat was cooked, so I guess it's an okay substitute (though bacon grease might taste even better!). My biggest problem with this recipe was the suggested cooking time - it wasn't nearly long enough for (a) my strange oven and (b) my taste for fairly well done meat. My meat thermometer doesn't actually go as low as 120 to 125 degrees, but we cooked the tenderloin until it was about 140 degrees - and, to be honest, it still wasn't cooked enough even for the medium-rare lovers in the group. So, we had to cook the meat for at least an extra 10-15 minutes to get it to the right amount of "done-ness" that we wanted. Other than that, though, it was a delicious main dish and I'd love to try the rub again the next time we're making a fancy dinner!

Burgundy Mushrooms: These were DELICIOUS and I didn't even get to cook them for the full amount of time. [Side note: I've been having a little trouble with the instructions in this cookbook - I tend to read them from right to left across the page instead of up and down in columns, and that led me to miss completely the extra 6 HOURS of cooking PW suggested for these mushrooms - oops!] In the end, I probably cooked them for about 4 hours total, and I thought they were delicious. They even re-heated nicely the next evening.

Creamy Rosemary Potatoes: I really loved the flavor of these, even though some of them were still undercooked by the time we got around to eating. Next time, I shall heed PW's advice about slicing the potatoes VERY THINLY much better - I thought I had done a good job on that, but they just didn't cook enough. I suppose another way around this would be to blanch the potatoes for a few minutes and then and then drizzle them with the half-and-half/cream mixture in Step 3.

All around, this was a very tasty meal - definitely a menu for special occasions. I'll have to do it again sometime to see if I can get everything perfect the second time around! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pizza- Potato and Leek and Tomato and Mozzerella

Since I knew her pizza recipe made enough for 2 large pizzas, I tried both of hers Friday night. 

Potato and Leek

I was very surprised we liked this one as much as we did- such unusual flavors but they went together so well.  I had ready cooked bacon, and crumbled it, added a bit of oil and cooked it until it was very crisp.  Worked great! 

I would consider blanching the potatoes next time- they were still a bit tough for us

Tomato and Mozzerella

I loved this one!  The fresh mozzerella was to die for on it- I used Buitoni refrigerated pesto and it was yummy.

For the other pizza, I made pepperoni using spaghetti sauce and my hubby and son enjoyed it the most!

Hint for next time- don't put both pizzas in the oven at the same time, they took longer to cook and didn't crisp up as I would have liked.

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

My precious hubby cooked these for us Saturday morning- I liked them a lot!  You couldn't taste the sour cream, but they did make them extra fluffy, but yet still a bit dense. 

He said they were better than Bisquick, but not as good as Guenther House pancake mix.  That is our personal favorite!  And you can order it by mail if you aren't in San Antonio to pick up a few.


I fixed this brisket for my Cook a Book friend Michelle and her hubby and sweet baby boy Elijah- it was not my favorite! 

I was very leary of the soy sauce and that ended up being the taste I didn't like about it.  Noone else seemed to mind and thought it had great flavor.  I did add the liquid smoke, as she suggested.

I didn't cook it nearly long enough!  I would do about an hour a pound for it to cook the way she wants it to fall apart.

I will post my mom's easy brisket recipe on here next week- it is my personal favorite and super easy!

Comfort Meatballs ~

Josh and I had a hearty Sunday lunch yesterday--thanks for pw's "Comfort Meatballs for Hungry Moms!" I tried to make it a little healthier by adding a side salad. My meat-and-potatoes husband was found shoving carrots from his salad onto my plate not 5 minutes after we had sat down. :) Note: this picture was not a single serving; i forgot to take a picture of my plate so I made a platter with the leftovers! I did not want you to think we ate 8 meatballs each!

Well, this post must be short since, as my friend Ashley says, our kids gave up sleeping for lent. Gotta make the most of it while he's down for his nap! ~Courtney
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To be honest, I was really nervous to make this because my mother-n-law has mastered lasagna, but of course I didn’t have anything to worry about with the PW. For the whole tomatoes, the PW never said to cut them and I was nervous that they might end up being too chunky, so while they were simmering, I ran a knife through them. Because I didn’t have enough of all of the kinds of cheeses, I mixed what I had until I had enough. I had enough mozzarella, but used shredded (instead of grated) parmesan and some sharp cheddar for the topping. This was yummy, and I can’t wait to have the left-overs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oatmeal Crispies

Easy and yummy! I love anything with oatmeal!

I omitted the nuts because I didn't have any but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Each roll made 24 cookies. Put one roll in the freezer wrapped in the wax paper. I pulled it out about 3 weeks later and it definitely tasted like the freezer. I think I should have put it in a ziploc instead of only the wax paper. Think I will use butter next time because butter makes everything even better! Also want to try with dried cranberries.

Chicken Spaghetti

We don't do casseroles in my home! I think it all began 21 years ago after I had my first child. We had very nice friends who brought us food after Anna Laura was born (the best gift you can receive!) I was nursing and gobbled up everything in sight but after the 4th chicken spaghetti type casserole, my husband was done with them! I have never made chicken spaghetti and if a recipe calls for cream of anything soup, I will not make it! However, in the spirit of Julie and Julia, I decided to give this a try!

Easy, easy recipe and it makes a lot! Enough for 2 casseroles, one of which I took to a friend who just had a baby! I went light on the seasonings and it was bland - needed a little more cayenne for my taste but I was trying to be considerate of a nursing mom!

Husband was willing to eat this but still does not like casseroles so I won't be serving this again to the fam!!

Delicious Cheddar Puffs

This appetizer is not in the PW’s cookbook but it is on her website. The cheddar puffs were pretty easy to make, but I have to say that I wouldn’t recommendation making the puffs. Instead if you like fondue, this is the perfect recipe for cheese fondue. You could dip fruit, bread, or vegetables in this cheese and it’s fantastic. Here is the link:

Spicy Pulled Pork

We were fairly happy with how the spicy pulled pork turned out, but I think I made a mistake by using my slow cooker instead of roasting the pork in the oven. My hubbie thought the meat wasn't crispy enough (which I'm pretty certain would not have happened if I had used the oven as PW suggested). Otherwise, though, I thought this was a very simple recipe to throw together early in the day - and it went great with black beans and rice and fried plantains. If anyone's interested in another pulled pork recipe - I HIGHLY recommend Carissa's pulled pork recipe (e-mail her for it - you won't regret it!). :)

Comfort Meatballs

I loved these meatballs - I thought they were super easy to throw together, and they definitely reminded me of bite-sized meatloafs. My son devoured them, but my husband, Matt, wasn't as thrilled (he claims to not like meatloaf, but he's still willing to test PW's meatloaf when I get to that recipe). I served mine with some of PW's mac and cheese (still have leftovers of that in my freezer - yay!) and green beans.

Beans and Cornbread

In preparing this dish I decided to put my own spin on it but still using the recipe in the PW cookbook as my guide. I opted for using a crock pot so I would be able keep the beans warm since I prepared the dish early in the afternoon. I also used regular bacon instead of the thick-cut bacon because I had it already. In the cookbook, she gave additional seasonings that could be used and I chose to use the following: 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic, and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I also added some additional seasonings I thought would add to the taste. I added 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, ½ a red onion (she recommended it as an optional garnish) and a small amount of parsley. I like to season my food before I cook it, so I added all of these seasonings as well as the salt and pepper at the start of the cooking process. After the beans cooked for 3 hours, I then turned the temperature on the crock pot to keep warm and let them continue to simmer until dinner time. Cook it and forget it! :)

I hate to admit this but I took the easy way out with the cornbread. I used a pre-packaged cornbread mix, but I did try to stick with the theme. I bought “Pioneer” brand. I topped the beans off with fat free sour cream and cheddar cheese. When my husband ate his second serving he did not add the cheese and said he liked it better that way. All in all, the dish was very tasty and easy to make.

simple and perfect enchiladas

These were good and pretty spicy despite using mild ingredients!  I thought these were a little bit better the second day, but my husband loved them and let's face it - the entire pan was gone in three days, so obviously I did too!  I made quite a few modifications to make them healthier and utilize what I had in my freezer.

1.  I used ground turkey instead of beef (couldn't really tell a difference)
2.  I used whole wheat flour tortillas (again, no major difference noticed here)
3.  I did NOT fry the tortillas.  I am a dietitian, for heaven's sake, so I have to draw the line somewhere.  I thought they turned out just as moist and delicious.
4.  I used 2% cheese.  Granted, it doesn't melt as well, but it's definitely not fat-free rubber either.  I also mixed Montery Jack and Cheddar because that's what I had on hand.

The only problem I had was I could not get the oil/flour mixture to bubble.  Perhaps I did not let the pan heat up enough with the oil?  It ended up making a paste and the result was the sauce didn't thicken.  This didn't really end up affecting the taste, but the texture, I guess.

I tend to be a Mexican food snob (living in Texas, and all) and prefer to eat my Mexican food out at Lupe's or another fine local establishment, but these were definitely tasty and quick to prepare.

For dessert, I recommend a pina colada frozen fruit bar.  Perfect way to cool off those taste buds!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Perfect Pot Roast

I have wanted to try this recipe ever since the PW made it on Good Morning America; however, I seem to be a bit of a rebel and can only follow instructions but so far. I followed the recipe for the carrots, onions, and braising the roast…but after that I was gone and decided to put everything in the crockpot. I had all of the ingredients in the crockpot at about 6pm on Sunday and by 6pm on Monday, after cooking on low for about 24 hours, it was so tender and juicy! The PW’s Perfect Pot Roast + her Mashed Potatoes = one very happy husband.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sherried Tomato Soup Minus the Sherry

Since it was a little cooler yesterday, and maybe our last cool weekend for a while, I made this easy tomato soup. Like Michelle said in an earlier post, this soup is a nice creamy bisque. I omitted the sherry, used the chicken bouillon cubes, and only used 4 tablespoons sugar, instead of the 6 she recommended. Next time, I will make sure to finely dice the onions so that they aren’t so chunky. As a testament to the flavor of this soup, as I was writing this blog entry I got an email from my husband at work telling me that he really liked the soup I packed him for lunch.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pinto Beans

These were very yummy. I was wondering if the reason alot of my beans were split was because I didn't soak them before hand. To get them to cook in the time PW says, you have to simmer them while they are bubbling, which probably makes them split open more. I didn't mind alot of the beans split, and they certainly tasted good. They made the house smell great!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pizza Crust and Pie

After an incredibly long week, my husband and I broke down and ordered a pizza pie last Friday night. The hour and 45 minute wait for the pizza to arrive was a sign in itself for how the pie was going to taste. Needless to say, it was by far the worst pizza I had ever tasted. This week I turned to the PW with high hopes for a better pie; Mrs. Drummond did not disappoint! Last week I could have made an incredible tasting pizza and been gorging on it, in the time that it took for our pizza to arrive. It took no time at all to mix the dough for the PW's pizza crust. I came home from work, mixed the dough and sat it in the sun. I topped my pizza with marinara, pepperoni, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella (only 1 layer compared to the PW’s 2 layers), and some parmesan. This was a great pie, and we definitely won’t be ordering out pizza any time soon! I’m really glad that I only did one layer of the cheese; I can’t imagine how cheesy 2 layers would be!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Green Velvet Cake

Growing up, my mom used to dye everything edible green on St. Patrick’s Day. It was something that my sister and I always looked forward to. For snack at bible study last night I made the PW’s Red Velvet Cake, and in the spirit of St. Patty's, dyed it green. This was so much easier than I was expecting and pretty yummy too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sherried Tomato Soup

I made the Sherried Tomato Soup. I found it to be more like a bisque than your typical tomato soup. That was a nice surprise! I went with the chicken bouillon instead of the chicken base because I already had the bouillon. I opted not to use the sherry because I was hoping our son would eat some. But that didn’t happen unfortunately. :( She recommend in the recipe to use 3 to 6 cups of sugar to help with the acidity of tomatoes. I used 6 like she did because I too like my tomato soup sweeter. I let the soup simmer for a long time before serving it and found that helped really bring out all the flavors. We had the soup as our main dish with no other sides, etc. It was very filling! The recipe makes a lot so there was enough to go back for seconds and/or even thirds. When I served it I topped it off with large croutons just to add a little something. I will definitely be making this again. It was a huge hit at our house. I forgot to take pictures but here is the one from the PW website.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pizza Dough and Brisket Come Together

I made Pw's pizza last week, and have had the second half of the dough hanging out in my fridge, so I pulled it out and let it warm back up and rise good. Then I halved it--which makes it 1/4 the recipe now. I rolled out one of the halves (or quarters, which ever you want to call it) into a small pizza. I made 2 good size flattened balls of the rest of the dough and put them on a baking sheet to rise. Then I lightly baked it all.

 The little crust I then wrapped and put in the freezer for a quick pizza some day. The 2 rolls I saved for the next day for lunch. Then I split them, and put the last of PW"s braised brisket mixed with BBQ sauce on the rolls, along with some thin Swiss cheese on both sides (for the "glue"). Then I put them on the Panini Press, after brushing the tops and bottoms with olive oil. Then I toasted them. And then hubby and I had a really good lunch!

Potato Bundles (PW Blog)

I forgot to take a photo so forgive me, but I tried the potato bundles on PW's site.  Super-duper easy! And tons of different variations you could do with this.  Plus, easy clean up. (Easy clean up makes me happy.)

* Use non-stick foil if possible or just spray your foil with cooking spray!
* Don't skimp on the onion, the onion gives the potatoes a fantastic flavor but then again, I'm an onion lover.

Here is the photo from PW's site:

Spinach Artichoke Dip...from the website

I had my first Bunco experience last week and decided to take spinach dip- without figuring out that it isn't in her cookbook :)  So, I found it online.

WOW- a lot of cheese!  The flavor was just what I wanted in a hot spinach artichoke dip-

I didn't like that it wasn't as easy to eat when it cooled down (which it is tough to keep it warm and not let the cheese overcook at a party).

Give it a try- easy and yummy!


I made her lasagna for dinner Saturday night- YUMMY!  We love lasagna and I usually follow the recipe on the back of the lasagna noodle box.  This was my first attempt at cooking noodles (and I loved it!).  I never use ricotta (can't stand the taste), so a recipe that follows my own heart of using cottage cheese was delightful. 

The difference in using fresh herbs and whole tomatoes was amazing!  I will never again use Italian seasoning in my lasagna :)

I will say that the sauce was a bit thick for us, so I added 1 can of low sodium diced tomatoes (with the liquid) and it was better. 

My dad's comment was, "Can you please teach your mom to make it this way?"

I don't think I will go back to my other recipe anytime soon!

Cinnamon Rolls

I made PW's Cinnamon Rolls this weekend because we have the 3 of us, 2 temporary live in guests, and 4 guests for Saturday morning breakfast- we still had enough to take a plate to my in laws, a plate to my neighbors and freeze a plate!

I did half white flour and half wheat flour- noone could tell in the taste :) I also made one 9x12 tray full and then was able to make 3 9"inch aluminum pie plates full. 

I thought they were WAY to sugary- but everyone else seemed to love them.

Next time...
- let the dough rise in the fridge overnight as she suggested in a BIG bowl
- cut back the butter to 1 cup per roll (I used about 3/4 cup and I had way to much squishing out as we rolled them up)
- possibly look at melting the sugar and butter together and then smearing it on- I wasn't too thrilled about the gritty sugary taste- but noone else complained :)
- use Carissa's idea to cut with dental floss b/c mine were a bit squished
- make sure you put PLENTY of space- like 1 1/2 inches- between each roll
- if you don't put space in between, you need to add to the cooking time and watch carefully
- only make about half the icing b/c I threw a lot away

I can't wait to make these before the holidays and freeze them for future use :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

PW's Potatoe Skins

josh's mom was coming into town this weekend. we usually go out to eat when she is in town, but this time, i was glad to have something yummy to offer as an appetizer! these potatoe skins were fun! modification: i used turkey bacon. i don't know if this is discounted with all of the other ingredients----or at least a small redeeming quality when its all said and done. i must admit--most of the time i was bathing these beauties in canola oil, i couldn't stop thinking about amanda's "so long french fries" post. :) LOL. Love, Courtney
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Cinnamon Rolls

So I guess I didn't use a big enough bowl for my dough to rise in the fridge in! Here it is the next morning ...spilling all over the shelf! To cut the rolls I used a trick I learned years ago from Food floss! Slip it under the roll and cross the floss on top, then pull. It cuts perfect every time, no more squished cinnamon rolls.

Here is the before and after baking pictures, they rose quite a bit! I don't have a picture of them iced. I made them a week before my in laws were coming in town, then froze them till I needed them. They all agreed that these were the best cinnamon rolls they had ever had!

The only thing I did different was to cut the whopping 2 cups of melted butter down to 1 cup. Other than that I made it by the book. None of my guests missed the other cup of butter! I will definitely make these again, I loved that you can divide up the mess and do half of the work one day and the other half of the work the next day. Makes it not feel like such a big project. I made a full batch and it filled two large rimmed cookie sheets perfectly. YUM!!! -Carissa

Sunday, March 14, 2010

edna mae's sour cream pancakes, take 5?

hello everyone!  i am so excited to be part of this fun little blog!  i received PW's cookbook for my birthday this past week, so I was giddy to dive in this weekend with my first recipe and post.  and I want everyone to know that I was unabashedly made fun of by my husband and sister for taking pictures of the goods.  see if i make them pancakes again any time soon! :)

i thought these were really good.  i am a pancake person, so i feel that i have a rather experienced palette.  they were dense, but not flat - and rich but not too heavy.  does that many any sense?  i thought the sour cream was perfect.  i used light, by the way.  i think the key to this recipe is following the instructions specific to not overmixing.  i tried to follow her steps exactly, and the results were yummy!

for those of you who are blessed with a gas stove, i'm sure you didn't have to wait as long for a hot pan, but having electric, i did.  and i definitely had to cook them longer then 1.5 minutes and 75 seconds on either side (i think those are the suggestions she gives).  with a stove setting of around 4-4.5, it took a couple minutes for each side to avoid a gooey center.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Potato-Leek Pizza, pg.110

This is the recipe that has most intrigued me about this cookbook. I kept hoping someone else would make it to hopefully answer the BIG question with this recipe....DO THE POTATOES WORK? But I gave up and decided to find the answer myself. First off, the crust in absolutely lovely.
I must admit, I did do 2 things different though, so now I don't know how much they added to the "wonderfulness" of my crust. I used the last of my Italian Bread Flour I had bought some time ago from King Arthur Flour. Also, I used a spice from KAF called, Pizza Dough Enhancer. My husband said I messed up big time, and now we don't know if this is truly a wonderful crust recipe or not...
I have a trick I like for baking pizza crust: I sprinkle the pan with cornmeal (rather than oil, like PW suggests). It seems that makes the pizza kind of "float" above the surface of the pan to make the crust crispier. And I used my handy pizza roller instead of my fingers to spread the dough. (It is a lovely dough to work with.)
Here is my next "cheat:" I sprinkled the oiled top of the crust with a special pizza seasoning that has salt in it, rather than just the plain salt the recipe calls for. I was very fugal with the spice though, as I feared getting the whole thing too salty. I would use more next time. This pizza needs salt. We were salting it at the table (and I don't even use much salt normally)
NOW FOR THE POTATOES....I laid awake nights thinking about these potatoes...imagining if they would cook or not, and if not, would raw potatoes taste very good on pizza?? The whole idea just really threw me for a loop. I finally decided I would just make the pizza like she said with raw potatoes....then halfway through arranging the slices on the crust, I quickly picked them all back up again. I just could not imagine this was going to be a good idea. So I decided to cook them a little first.
I put the slices in a microwave bowl and nuked them for one minute. They seemed about half cooked with that, and so I settled down and put them back on the pizza. Oh--one more change (sorry!) I sent hubby to the store for 3 leeks and he came back with one, claiming at $1.78 each, he was not buying 3 of them! (Hubby is very frugal.) So I felt I must fill in a bit. I added some sliced onion, since they are similar, ( I guess) then I decided I needed to use up the last of some fresh spinach. I did not have any bacon, but I do always have bacon grease in my fridge (it is how I grew up!).So I sauteed the leeks and onion in the bacon grease. I am not sure it is quite the "not to be believed" flavor PW thinks it is...but I am a fan of bacon grease, so I was sure it would be nice.
I did use only half the amount of fresh mozzarella, after reading on the package that 1 pound is 16 servings! So I used half (she said you could freeze it, so I did.) I used less of the goat cheese just because I think it is quite strong tasting. My cheese situation worked just fine. Oh, and I layered the raw spinach under the cheese. I think spinach should be included in the recipe. It paired perfectly with everything else.

So what is the verdict on the potatoes?? I was wrong. I think I would have preferred the potatoes half raw, like they probably are if you don't pre-cook them a bit like I did. Mine were soft enough to feel a bit out of place on the pizza I think. I just had this feeling that a little crunch in the potato would be a good thing.  I kind of think PW should have said that, to reassure ones like me to not go changing it up! All in all though--we liked this pizza. I served it with a soup because I feared my husband, who does not like potatoes, would maybe not eat it,  so I figured he could eat the soup then. I did have to hold my breath when he took a bite, then dug into the pizza with his finger and proclaimed, " What is this a POTATO!!" But then he just went on eating it like it did not bother him a bit. However, I think this pizza goes very well with soup, as it almost seemed like bread with a vegetable/cheese topping on it.

I will make this again. We really did enjoy it. (We had leftovers twice, and it heated up nicely.) The other half of my crust dough is still in the fridge....haven't decided what to do with it yet.