Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fun Times in the Kitchen

I love cooking. While I’m definitely not as good as my mom or mother-in-law, I really enjoy trying new recipes. Due to our schedules right now, Chris and I don’t get to cook as much as we’d like to. But this Sunday we decided to cook some new things throughout this week. One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a stack of cookbooks and make a menu for the week. Chris and I did this on Sunday and chose several items that we wanted to try this week. So I thought I would share the recipes we’ve made so far!

I’ve made the chicken and wild rice soup before and I LOVE this recipe! It tastes a lot like the chicken and wild rice soup from Panera:

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped - I usually double
1 celery rib, chopped - I usually double
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour 
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice - I use Zataran's Louisiana style wild rice
1 cup cooked chicken breast, cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup evaporated milk

In a large saucepan, saute onion, carrot and celery in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Stir in the rice, chicken, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened. Stir in milk; cook 5 minutes longer until thickened. Yields 10 servings. 

This was my first time making bread with yeast... It’s really fun - I liked watching the dough double in size and using a rolling pin!

Golden Crescent Rolls
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup shortening

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, softened

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 2 hours). Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 2 hours). Bake at 400 degrees  for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out.

I was craving pasta and wanted to try cooking on of my restaurant favorites. I think it turned out pretty good!!

4 uncooked manicotti shells
½ pound bulk Italian sausage (I used the spicy kind)

1 ½ cups meatless spaghetti sauce

1 cup ricotta cheese

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Italian Blend

(or any mix of Italian seasoning, garlic and pepper)

Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Drain manicotti and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and spices.  Carefully stuff the manicotti. Place in a greased baking dish. Top with sausage mixture.

Bake uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.

And finally, this is my favorite – my mom’s coffee cake recipe! Growing up, this was a treat my mom made for our birthdays and holidays... or whenever my dad wanted it!

Kathy Cook's Coffee Cake

1 ½ cups flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ cup sugar

½ stick butter

½ cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup nuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in soft butter. Add milk, egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add half of the batter into a greased 8 X 8 pan. Then sprinkle half of the topping mixture on top of the batter. Carefully layer the remaining batter onto the cake and finish with the remaining topping. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. 

We still have pork tenderloin with pineapple salsa and chicken cordon bleu to try! Stay tuned!

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