Monday, November 29, 2010

this week's craving: crock pot

This is one of the busiest times of the year, what with all of the shopping and parties and baking!  Give yourself a break and let the slow cooker do some of the work for you.

Here are some of my favorite crock pot recipes...

Now it's time to add some of your own!

Crock Pot!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

pineapple crisp breakfast

Today, I'm excited to introduce a guest contributor...Tina from MOM'S CRAZY COOKING!  Tina is fairly new to blogging, but she's already got quite a collection of fabulous looking recipes.  I hope you enjoy the treat that she has for us today!

Hello to everyone at Delightful Country Cookin’!  My name is Tina, and my blog is at MOMS CRAZY COOKING. I love to cook and bake and my all time passion is scrapbooking. I live in Southern California with my husband and 4 kids. Like most moms, I live a busy and crazy life.

My love for cooking has always been there, but it's been more or less on the back burner. A year ago I began a journey of “Cooking Everyday for a Year and Sharing my Recipes” on facebook; when I completed the year, I was so sad and wanted to continue. I didn’t know much about blogs, but began reading and following and just fell in love.  Thus began my MOMS CRAZY COOKING blog.  I bake and cook and my family LOVES to taste. Then we all vote and decide if they are “keepers” or not.

Today I have a very simple recipe for Pineapple Crisp Breakfast. We have been making this for so long...I think the recipe came from a Dole Pineapple Can. My twin daughters just absolutely love this for breakfast. Even though oatmeal is not a favorite of mine, this breakfast is so tasty, I like it too!

Pineapple Crisp Breakfast
1 cup Pineapple Chunks, drained
¼ cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp brown sugar

In a small microwave-safe bowl mix together pineapples, quick cooking oats and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 60 seconds.
Makes 1 serving.

Here are a few of my other favorite breakfast recipe posts.  Stop on over and take a look!

Monday, November 22, 2010

this week's craving: thanksgiving leftovers!

Thanksgiving is almost here!  Hopefully you've got your menu set for the big day.  But what about after the big day, when the guests are all gone and your fridge is full?  We're here to help!

This Week's Cravings is all about Thanksgiving leftovers!!!  Check out the ideas being linked up below...and be sure to link up your own!

Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

nature's wonders

I mentioned a few months ago that I was growing a garden.  It was my first garden, and I'd say it didn't go horribly.  Sure, the strawberries died before producing any fruit.  Yes, my pumpkin plant got eaten up by mites and mold.  But I did manage to get one miniature pumpkin to grow...

and this...

This little freak of nature is a green pepper...and a red pepper...all rolled into one.  It has yet to fully ripen on one side, which makes me smile.  The other thing that makes me smile?  It's about the size of a walnut.  :-)

I think next year I'll be asking you all for a bit more gardening advice.

As exciting as that little pepper is, I'm about to go off and experience even more amazing wonders of New Zealand!  I leave in a few hours and will be there for 3 weeks!!!  I'm incredibly excited, and I can't wait to share all about it when I return.  Until then, though, there will still be plenty to check out here at Delightful Country Cookin'.  I've got a few scheduled posts of my own as well as some great guest posts lined up for you.  See you in a few weeks!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

roasted vegetable lasagna

As much as I've always complained about how bad dorm food was, I have to admit that there were several things I liked.  I loved the hamburgers, crispitos, foot long corndogs, and the all-you-can-eat ice cream (so did my hips).

And then there was the vegetable was vegetarian, healthy, and all of the things that my other favorite dishes were not.  And yet...I loved it.

Sometimes I even surprise myself.

Although my college days are past me now, my stomach still growls when I think of that vegetable lasagna.  I had to make it, so I created my own recipe.  I'm sure it's quite different than the dorm version, but it satisfied my craving nicely.  I couldn't get enough of this stuff.

The stars of the show...eggplant, mushroom, green pepper, and carrots (not pictured).  (You should feel free to use whatever vegetables you choose.)

Peel and chop your eggplant and sprinkle with salt.  Let it sit and sweat for about 30 minutes or so...this takes the moisture out and reduces the bitterness.  After it has sweat a while, rinse it off.

Chop up the rest of the veggies and combine with the eggplant in a roasting pan.  Toss the veggies in olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil.  Roast at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

While those beauties are roasting, make your cream sauce.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and then whisk in 1/2 cup of flour.  Let this brown for a minute or two.

Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of milk, whisking to get out the lumps.  Bring this to a boil, and boil until it's thickened.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon basil, and 1 1/2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese.  Stir until the cheese melts.

Then, place 11 ounces of fresh spinach in a nonstick skillet (yes, I know, this recipe requires a lot of dishes!).  Stir it over medium heat until the spinach wilts.

Once the spinach has wilted, add the roasted veggies...

...and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture.  Mix it well.

To assemble the lasagna, thin out the rest of the sauce by mixing in 1/4 cup of milk.  Spread 1/2 of the sauce over the bottom of a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Layer three cooked lasagna noodles on top of the cheese sauce and then top with 1/2 of the vegetable mixture.

Lay down another 3 lasagna noodles, the rest of the vegetable mixture, 3 more cooked noodles, and then the rest of the cheese sauce. 

Sprinkle with a little oregano to make it pretty, and then pop it in the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
3 T. butter
1/2 cup flour
2 3/4 cup milk, divided
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
2-3 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. salt, divided
1 t. basil, divided
1/4 t. Tabasco
2 cups fresh mushrooms
11 oz. fresh spinach
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 T. olive oil
9 lasagna noodles, cooked

Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let it sweat for 30 minutes; rinse.  Toss all vegetables in oil and place in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle with salt, basil, and pepper (to taste) and roast at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour; let brown for 1-2 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups of milk and boil until thickened.  Remove from heat and add Parmesan, Tabasco, mustard, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/2 t. basil.  Stir until cheese has melted.

Wilt spinach in nonstick pan and then add the veggies.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture and stir until mixed.  Mixed 1/4 cup of milk into the rest of the cheese mixture until smooth.  Pour 1/2 of the cheese sauce into a greased casserole dish.  Layer cooked lasagna noodles, vegetables, and sauce in the following order - 3 noodles, 1/2 vegetable mixture, 3 noodles, 1/2 vegetable mixture, 3 noodles, then the rest of the sauce.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serves 12-15.

Gluten-free Variation - This works very well with gluten-free noodles and flour...that's what I used!

Monday, November 15, 2010

this week's craving: thanksgiving dinner

I have been very slow about getting recipes up lately, and today will be no exception.  I'm getting ready for a 3-week international vacation, and have been busy, busy, busy!  Hopefully I'll have one up tomorrow...maybe Wednesday...but until then, let me help you out a bit with your Thanksgiving dinner plans.

Do you know what you are having?

My friends at From My Tiny Kitchen and MOM'S CRAZY COOKING have joined with me to bring you weekly collections of foods.  On week one, we featured pumpkin recipes.  Week two was all about Thanksgiving sweets and treats.  And today...Thanksgiving dinner!

We encourage all food bloggers to link up any post - past or present - that features an entree or side dish that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving dinner (don't forget to link back to us!).  If you don't have a blog but have a recipe to share, go ahead and post it as a comment.  Hopefully by the end of the week, we'll have quite the collection of recipes and plenty of ideas to help you prepare for the big day.

What am I sharing?

Can't wait to see what you link up!

Thanksgiving Dinner!

Friday, November 12, 2010

kale is keen

Where has kale been all my life?

I can't ever remember eating kale as a child...or as a teenager...or as a college student.  I don't think I discovered the stuff until after I got married.  How sad is that!

Kale is one of the best greens out there.  It holds its shape so well that it works excellently in soups.  But, as I recently discovered, it also tastes amazing when it is roasted.  If you've never tried it, I encourage you to give it a go.  It's one of those "superfoods" that really does taste super!

Kale chips are one of the easiest ways to eat kale.  After washing the leaves, run a knife along the stalk on either side.

Put your leaves in a bowl and drizzle with just a small amount of olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper or (my favorite) Creole seasoning and toss.

Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or just until crispy. 

Eat these immediately!  They are definitely better when fresh and make a delightful garnish to any plate.

Kale Chips
1 cup kale leaves, separated from stalks
1/2 t. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss leaves with olive oil and seasonings.  Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy. 

Nutrition (entire recipe): 53 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 29mg sodium, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 2g protein, 206% vit. A, 134% vit. C, 9% calcium, 6% iron.

Monday, November 8, 2010

chocolate pecan pie tartlets

Last week, I joined together with my friends from MOM'S CRAZY COOKING and From My Tiny Kitchen to gather the tastiest pumpkin recipes the blogging world can dish up.  We collected a full buffet of fabulous recipes and encourage you to link up your favorites from your own site (or, if you don't have a blog, just add your recipe in a comment)!  

So...what's this week's craving?  Thanksgiving sweets and treats!  

Nothing says Thanksgiving to me like pecan pie.  Ironically, I've never really been a huge fan of it...never, that is, until I had a chocolate version.  There's something magical about adding chocolate to a dessert.  

While I'm not going to do a darn thing to make this chocolate pecan pie any healthier (sorry, folks), I am going to show you some ideas for making the portion sizes a bit smaller.  These miniature versions of one of America's favorite pies will be a big hit at your Thanksgiving get-together!   

To make the pie filling, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan.  Add 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa.  Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  

Tip: Don't just rely on a quick glance to make sure the sugar has dissolved.  Instead, rub a little bit of the mixture between your fingers...if you can still feel sugar granules, it hasn't dissolved!


Remove your saucepan from the heat, and let it cool slightly.  Then, add 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, mixing well.

Finally, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1/2 cup coconut flakes.

To assemble the tartlets...

To make the tartlets, you need pie crusts...lots and lots of pie crusts.  You will use at least 4, possibly 6, when you make these variations on the chocolate pecan pie.  To save myself time and energy, I used the store-bought version, but any pie crust recipe will do.   

Roll it out and cut it into large squares.  If you have one round store-bought crust, cut it into four squares (as shown below), and then combine and roll out the scraps to make at least two more squares.

Place a heaping tablespoon or two into the center of the square.

Fold the square into a triangle, pressing on the edges to keep the pie filling from running out.

Use a fork to crimp the edges and then place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To assemble the mini-pies...

If you've got a lot of extra filling, whip up some mini pecan pies!

Place large squares of pie crust into a muffin tin, pressing down gently to form small cups.

Fill cups with pecan pie filling.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

I'd love to hear what desserts you are cooking up for your Thanksgiving get-together!  Also, don't forget to link up your favorite Thanksgiving treat or sweet down below for This Week's Cravings.  This Thanksgiving is going to be delicious.

 Chocolate Pecan Pie

1/2 cup butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
pie crusts

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add corn syrup, sugar, and cocoa; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and mix well.  Stir in pecans and coconut.

To make 9-inch pie: Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.

To make tartlets: Cut unbaked pie crust into large squares.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of pie filling in the center and fold into a triangle, pressing the edges together.  Use a fork to crimp the edges.  Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

To make mini-pies:  Cut unbaked pie crust into large squares.  Press squares into muffin tin and fill with pie filling.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe is linked to This Week's Cravings: Pie!

Thanksgiving Sweets and Treats!

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