Saturday, December 10, 2011

Soupe à L'oignon

An onion soup that could give Panera's a run for its money. This is a great, easy soup that is absolutely delicious. For some protein and extra veggies, I whipped up a few chicken meatballs and steamed carrots. Surprisingly, when I made the soup, I was able to burn the bread twice and near burn the meatballs. Make sure to keep your eyes on the stove and oven! Don't get distracted by the playlist on your computer... No, I wasn't listening to the Glee Christmas Album 2... Okay, maybe. Happy Cooking!

Onion Soup

Thinly slice 1 and 1/2 to 2 white onions,  and finely chop 2 pieces of garlic.

 Brown the onions and garlic in 3-4 T of butter in a soup pot.

When the onions are ready, add 6 cups of beef broth and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup cooks, brown a few pieces of french bread under the broilers until it's crispy.
Ladle the soup into a bowl, add the bread and top with parmesan cheese.
Simply Perfect.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Broccoli Pasta

This, my friends, is a dish that I love, and a dish that I semi-bombed. It's always the cheese sauce I mess up. I used milk and cheese, melted them together, but I think the cheese I used was too meltable, because it all congealed together, and I got a big glop of cheese, with some cheesy milk sauce. Oops! Fear not though, it was still delicious, and once I put it in the oven, it seemed to melt over everything. But it's on my to-do list to do over. I will not let this sauce get me down. Any thoughts on a good cheese sauce (like a Mac & Cheese) Sauce, would be great! Here's a picture of my end result.

Pasta, broccoli, cheese sauce (yet to be pin downed), bread crumbs and tomatoes! Baked at 350˙ (or you can use the broiler to make the top crispy and brown. Enjoy!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Simply Baked Potato

There are just some nights where I don't want to fuss in the kitchen. And if on those nights I'm patient for a potato to bake in the oven, then I'll bake a few potatoes and have one (or two) for dinner, depending how small they are.

Baking a potato is so very simple. Wash the potato thoroughly (skins on) and pat dry. With a fork, poke a bunch of holes all around the potato to allow the heat to escape while it cooks. Then with a drizzle of oil, coat the potato and rub on a bit of salt. Throw them on a baking sheet or directly on the rack. Bake at 350˙ for an hour to an hour and a half. If you make extra, they are even faster to heat up (if you have a microwave, or about 15 minutes in an oven at 350˙).

Split the potato open, add a pat of butter, some shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt (or sour cream) and a little sprinkle of Mrs. Dash's Onion and Herb Seasoning. Voilà! A baked potato. Make it an MYO by adding whatever toppings you have on hand (bacon bits, onion, broccoli, cheese sauce, beans, etc.). A great way to get kids to have fun with their meal. Simplicity is sometimes the best. Enjoy!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pad Thai-ish Stir Fry

You never think that after graduating from college you'll miss anything, but I often think about how much I miss The College of Wooster's Stir Fry station in the cafeteria. Let me just say, it was probably one of the best ideas, when it comes to cafeteria style food. You could stir fry just about anything! Pasta with veggies, rice with chicken, and they had sauces galore to add even more variety! I'm not sure if it's been done, but I bet that you could create a different stir fry every day for a month.

One of my favorites to make, thanks to a good friend of mine, was Pad Thai, or noodles with chicken, peas, shallots and peanut sauce. During my senior year, I came home on break and was craving the delicious stir fry and decided to give it a try. I attempted two or three different recipes before realizing it was much easier to add, mix and taste the ingredients, no recipe needed. I googled a few recipes, found the common ingredients and just dove in. Here's what I sort of came up with (but I suggest you add, mix and taste to get what tingles your tastebuds)!

Peanut Sauce: 

Peanut Butter
Soy Sauce
Brown Sugar
Chili Powder
Ginger Powder
Lime (juice)
Greek Yogurt

I start with about 1/2 c of Peanut Butter, 1/4 c Brown Sugar, 1/8 c of soy sauce and allow it to melt and simmer in a small sauce pan on low. You must keep your eyes on this, because of the sugars in the recipe, it will stick and burn to the bottom. Stir frequently. Then I add a few shakes of Chili Powder and Ginger Powder (my guess is probably 2 T Chili, 1 T Ginger). Stir together and taste. A dash of vinegar next, and some water to thin it out (maybe about 1/4-1/2 c). You want the sauce thin but not watery, so it sticks and coats the pasta but doesn't congeal to it. Remember you can always add more but you can never take it away. So add small amounts. Add some lime juice, a few dashes at a time so you get a hint of it when you taste the sauce. Stir it all together, never allowing it to boil, only simmer (small little bubbles). When you taste the sauce it should have the taste of peanut butter, but only slightly. If it is overwhelmingly peanut buttery, add a bit more soy sauce. It should have a soft sweet taste (from the brown sugar) but not overly sweet. I have found that this recipe is a science of taste. Taste as you go! Lastly, when you have a peanut sauce you like, add a little bit of greek yogurt (or any PLAIN yogurt). This will ease the strong taste of the sauce and help give it a bit of thickness. Give it a taste. It shouldn't taste too much like one ingredient. You should get a mixture of flavors with every taste.

To make this into stir fry, I cook up some chicken and pasta, throw them all into the frying pan used for the chicken (if you're not using left over chicken), add frozen peas, chopped shallots, and then drizzle in the sauce. The stir fry just needs to be heated up a bit, be careful not to burn it! Serve with a wedge of lime and crushed peanuts on the top. This is a great meal when you're craving exotic food and want to have some fun experimenting in the kitchen.

I encourage you to look up recipes and give it a try. Some recipes call for hot sauce or garlic, others cilantro and fish sauce. Do what you like and let me know what you've found to taste the best. Enjoy!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

Tonight, I had left over rice that I needed to use, some frozen chicken and a few backs of frozen veggies. It was the perfect excuse to make Chicken Fried Rice! Here's how I did it.

Heat frying pan to medium heat. Spray pan with oil, allow to heat, then add chicken (one piece (breast) per person). Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and ground ginger. Turn over after 4-5 minutes, or until browned on the side. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and ginger. When it is cooked through thoroughly or almost all the way (still a bit pink), cut into small pieces in the pan and allow it to continue to cook. Add frozen veggies. About one cup per person. I used Stir Fry veggies, but you can use what you like. Allow those to cook down and the water to evaporate. Add 1/2 cup of cooked rice (per person) to the frying pan. Turn up the heat a bit, sprinkle ginger and low-sodium soy sauce (about 2 T). Let the mixture fry up, stirring it every now and then so it doesn't burn to the bottom of the pan. Add more soy sauce and ginger as wanted. Let it fry for just a bit longer, then serve up! Enjoy!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blackberry Trucker Pies

So, I'm bringing out the country in me. A Blackberry Trucker Pie is also known as a Blackberry Turnover. The name came from my sister, who when I asked what the 'small little pies are that we get at the farmers' market' she responded with, 'you mean trucker pies?'. The idea is that they're small little pies that can be eaten with one hand, no fork, knife or spoon needed! They're also so very easy to make, your kids can even help!

1 sheet of pastry puff
pint of blackberries (eyeball it)
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
1-2 Tablespoons of flour
lemon juice
1 egg with a dash of water

Heat oven to 350˙. Roll out the pastry puff on a lightly floured surface to make it a square. Cut it into four equal squares.

Put the blackberriessugarflour and a few dashes of lemon juice in a bowl and smash them together. Smash as much or as little as you wish.

Spoonful the mixture onto 1/2 a side of each square leaving room around the edges to pinch the edges together.

Using your finger, wet the edges of the half that has the blackberries with a touch of water.

 Fold the other half over.

 Press the edges together. Place on a greased baking pan.

Using a fork, poke a few holes in the top to allow the heat to exit, so the turnover doesn't explode!
Lastly, brush the top of each with a small mixture of raw egg and water. This will give it that brown look that everyone loves. Bake at 350˙ for 15-20 minutes, or until brown and the blackberries are bubbling.

Final product! Add some fresh blackberries on the side and have as breakfast, an afternoon snack or enjoy in the evening with a glass of wine.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Semi-Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This week, I was so kindly given the cold by the little boy that I nanny. Feeling under the weather and in no mood to eat anything, I decided to run to the store to pick up the fixings for Chicken Noodle Soup. Now, I usually would purchase a whole uncooked chicken, boil it, use the stock and chicken to create my own soup, but yesterday was not the day for such an event. (A) It can take a while to cook, (B) I was not in my own home and (C) I just wanted some soup. So, I decided to make a semi-homemade chicken soup. I picked up a rotisserie chicken, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley and noodles (along with some cold medicine and honey, not used for the recipe)! In about 30-40 minutes, it made the house smell wonderful, filled my tummy and soothed my sore throat. Here's the simple recipe for chicken soup!

Drizzle 2 T olive oil in a medium to large pot on medium heat. Add one sweet/white onion chopped and 2-3 cloves of garlic minced to the pot. Allow those to cook for about 5 minutes, until tender, but not browned. If they begin to brown, lower the temperature. In the mean time, chop 3 stalks of celery, 3 carrots and a handful of parsley*.  Chop more or less for your liking. Add 2 quarts of chicken broth** to the pot. Throw in the celery and carrots. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer. Add some of the parsley to the pot. Start a pot of water for noodles. (Follow directions on package for noodles). While the broth is simmering, and the celery and carrots are softening, tear into the chicken. Pull off all of the meat from the chicken and put it in aside. Dark meat is the best in soups, but both white and dark will work wonderfully. Depending on how much chicken you like in your soup, you might only use half of the chicken. Save the rest for chicken salad, sandwich or just a little snack! By this time the soup has been simmering for about 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken to the soup, a handful at a time pulling the chicken apart so it's somewhat shredded while still in tact. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the soup to simmer for 10-15 minutes. When the noodles are done, drain them and let them sit. I have always liked to add the noodles to the soup when it is served, because that's how my Grandma Lucy always did it. She handmade noodles prior to making the soup, chilled them, and the noodles helped cool the hot soup. To this day though, I still like to add my own noodles, rather than have the noodles already in the soup. You'll know when the soup is ready by testing the softness of the carrots and celery. Add the remaining parsley. Stir and serve with noodles. Enjoy!

*I like to use flat leaf parsley. Others like the more traditional parsley. Either is fine.
** When I choose a broth I look for Fat Free, NO MSG and sometimes Light. MSG often causes migraines (I'm prone to them) and the Light usually means there's less sodium. I like to get this kind because I can always add salt to it. Some broths are way too salty when you get them. Always check the label!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spiced Apple Bread

This recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking book. I added some spices to give it more depth and I think it turned out great! You can supplement prune, apricot, cranberry and much more in place of apple.

Preheat oven to 350˙
Sift together in a medium bowl 1 1/2 c flour, 1/2 t salt, 1 t baking soda, 1 T cinnamon, 1 1/2 t nutmeg*. Add 1 1/2 c flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream 1/4 c shortening/butter/margarine with 1/2 c sugar. Beat in 1 egg. Then add 3/4-1 c of apple sauce/chopped apples/grated apples** and sifted ingredients alternately into the large bowl. Add 1 c buttermilk***. Stir just until everything is blended. Do not over stir. Pour into greased loaf pan and put in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

*I added the spices tot he recipe. If you would rather just have the apple bread, don't add the spices. When I made it, I didn't measure. This is about what I added. Adjust at the end to your taste before baking.
**When working with the apple, do what you would like. However, from past experience, we once had grated apple in a pie and it was like eating hair. I've never had it in bread, but I would make sure that if you do choose to grate the apple, make sure the pieces are small, like grated cheese, and not long. I used my homemade applesauce recipe without the cinnamon.
***If you don't have buttermilk and don't want to buy any, take 1 cup of milk and add 1 T of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is my famous Banana Bread recipe with Chocolate Chips added in for a little extra sweet taste. It's considered a quick break because no yeast is involved, so it's fairly easy to fast to make. It's always a crowd pleaser, and during college I was often asked to bring loaves back after we'd been on fall or winter break. Everyone likes it!

Heat oven to 350˙. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of flour (keep an extra 3/4 cup to the side for later), 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t baking soda, 1/4 t salt. Mix together thoroughly. Add 2-3 mashed bananas, 1/3 c shortening/margarine/butter, 2 T milk. Mix thoroughly for about 1-2 minutes (hand or stand mixer) or until completely combined by hand. Add 2 beaten eggs and 3/4 c flour (set aside earlier). Add 1/2-1 c chocolate chips and/or 1/4 c chopped nuts if you so choose. Grease and flour a bread pan and add mixture. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Careful not to over cook or else the bread will be tough. I advise checking on it after 50 minutes and if it needs more time add it in increments of 5 or 10 depending on how much batter was on the toothpick. When the banana bread is done, allow to cool on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and allow to finish cooling on the rack.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Homemade Applesauce

With my Jazz Pandora station playing all the great hits of Michael Buble, Rosemary Clooney and Billie Holiday I got to baking in the kitchen this morning. There are TWO recipes, so far. I began by making homemade Applesauce, a very simple recipe with so many variations, then whipped up a quick Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. These are great recipes for those busy mornings where you have a laundry list of things to do but want something delicious and healthy to snack on later. Each recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and bakes between 50 minutes and 3 hours. Set the timer on your oven or iPhone and check some things off that list, while the aromas fill the house! Bon Appétit!


This was my Grandma Lucy's recipe that I've adapted a few ways. Take your pick, depending on what kind of time you have!

Peel and chop apples, (as many as you'd like, or will fit into your crock pot), discarding cores. Place in the crock pot on low and allow to bake until extremely soft (2-3 hours). Use a whisk or potato smasher or whatever you have on hand, and smash the apples to the consistency you prefer. Add cinnamon, as much or little as you please, mix. Taste. If you like your applesauce sweet you can add sugar but I strongly advise adding a little at a time and tasting as you go. Once you have the taste you want, allow the applesauce to cook for just a bit longer, 15-30 minutes, until you're completely pleased! Enjoy hot, cold, or warm. Freeze some for later, or serve it all up for lunch or dinner!

This is a great one to do with older kids, and younger (if you're careful with what tasks they can do). My grandmother taught me this way, and when I have the time I love doing it.
Heat oven to 350˙. Wash apples and cut in half. Core the centers and make sure the stem is removed. Do NOT peel. Fill an baking sheet (with sides/rim) with the apples flat side down. They can touch, get as many on as you can without overcrowding too much. Drizzle some water over them, about 2-3 Tablespoons. Bake 10 minutes or until the center of the apples are soft. Remove tray, carefully scrape and scoop the apple out of the peel, taking with you the color of the peels (that's why you leave the peel on) and put it in a bowl. Depending on the type of apple you use, your applesauce can end up being a traditional tan color, or end up a pink or even red. It's beautiful to serve. Dispose of the peels, and continue this process of baking the apples, scooping and putting it in the bowl. Some of the apples may take longer, so be patient. When you have all the apples cooked you can either leave it chunky, or put it through a food processor to make it a puree. Add sugar and cinnamon to your liking. Enjoy!

Suggestions for types of apples to use: Gala, Macintosh, Red Delicious, Melrose, Pink Lady (will produce a pink sauce if done in the oven!), Fuji

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

This is a great, quick coffee cake to make for any morning. It takes 35 minutes to bake, and in that time you can do so many thing! Get the kids up, take a shower, make the bed, clean the house, read the news paper, take a nap... I love this recipe, from The Joy Of Cooking and make it a few times a month. I hope you enjoy it!

Preheat oven 350˙.

Combine in Medium bowl: (Dry ingredients)
2 c sifted Flour (you don't have to sift it, but if you do it's lighter)
2/3 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine in Large Bowl: (Wet ingredients)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 beaten egg
1/2 c yogurt (I used greek)
1/3 c light corn syrup
3/4 c raisin (optional), also try apples

Blend Dry into Wet

Pour into greased 8x8 pan

Streusel Topping:
2T Flour
2T Butter
5T Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle topping on batter

Bake for 35 minutes

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bread Chicken with Parmesan Baked Acorn Squash

Here's a great start to fall dinner! It's simple and will have everyone saying 'Yumm!!'. The cost is quite low too. Coming in at about $3 a person, if not less!

Cut acorn squash in half, de-seed and cut into thin 1/2in to 1 inch thick slices. Place a greased pan with lightly coat with olive oil, grated parmesan, salt, pepper and thyme (if wanted). Bake at 400˙ for 25-35 minutes or until brown and soft.

While the squash is cooking, in the last 10-15 minutes, begin to make the couscous (follow the directions on the box, it will take approximately 8 minutes to make) and coat chicken breast with a blend of bread crumbs and Mrs. Dash's Table Blend (or whatever herb blend you have on hand). Fry in 1-2 Tablespoons of EVOO and Butter.

Dab the chicken breast to remove any extra oil, and place on a plate with the acorn squash and couscous! Drizzle couscous with a bit of EVOO and salt. Enjoy!

The acorn squash recipe was taken from Real Simple.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chipotle-esque Burrito Bowl

I, as most people I know, LOVE Chipotle. It's a splurge, especially when throwing on the guac and adding a drink and chips to the mix. So I was inspired Sunday evening (Football Sunday) to create my own dish. I enjoy the Burrito Bowl, then eating the delicious contents with their tortilla chips. It is so yummy, plus it'll save almost half the bowl for another meal! The whole meal takes about 10 minutes to put together. I highly suggest getting everything ready before hand, as I have struggled twice now to have the toppings prepared before the meat is done. This is a great MYO (Make Your Own) where each family member can combine the ingredients however they choose. Also, make it vegetarian by removing the meat, add tofu if you like. Enjoy!


Guacamole: Peel an avocado and mash together with 1 T of EVOO and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Salsa: Chop 1 tomato, small handful of cilantro and 2 slices of onion, mix together with the juice of half a lime. (Or use salsa from a can, whatever you choose!) Set aside.

Chop up some lettuce (however much you like). Set aside.

Drain 1 can of black beans, but we'll only use about 1/2 the can. Set aside.

Grate a handful of cheddar cheese. If you have shredded cheddar cheese already in the refrigerator, use that!


Take 1-2 slices of onion and cut in half. Add a half of a green pepper, sliced thinly. With a small pat of butter, fry these until soft (3-5 minutes on medium heat). Set aside.

Next, brown meat* 5-10 minutes, depending on choice, then add a few sprinkles of McCormick Taco Seasonings (comes in little pouches) and a dash of beer. Allow it to simmer down to very little liquid.

If you have left-over rice, this is a great way to use it up, otherwise make 1 cup of rice by following the directions on the bag (you might have to make 2 cups, and just divide 1 out). Add the juice of half a lime, and a small handful of chopped Cilantro. If you are using leftovers, throw the rice, lime juice and cilantro into a small pot with about 1T of water. Heat on low (it will take only about a minute or so). Then remove from heat and put into the bowl you are going to eat/serve out of.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup of black beans to the rice.

Add the browned meat.
*Meat can be chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, pork, etc.

Add the green peppers and onions.

Add the guacamole. 

Add the salsa (tomatoes, onion and cilantro), and the lettuce.

Eat by yourself or share with a loved one. Either way, kick back with a beer, watch the game (or a good movie), and enjoy your Chipotle-esque Burrito Bowl!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

'Morning Glory!' Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Since beginning Graduate School two weeks ago I've learned two very important things: eat before you go to class, and take food with you. Classes start at 5:30 and end at 8:30, but with commuting the whole process usually takes up about 4.5 hours of my evening. So last night, since my 'vacation' started, I planned on making some blueberry muffins before class to take with me. I try to make bites like those healthier because, really, it's like eating a cupcake or a donut with the amount of sugar that's in them. So I found this great recipe on Cooking Light for Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. It got rave reviews so into the kitchen I went to test it out. Here's the recipe, but I also added some flaxseed meal to make it a bit healthier. They're fantastic! I'm calling them 'Morning Glory!' Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins because they are a perfect start to the day. Enjoy!


  • 1 2/3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 33/100 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • large eggs
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • 2. Place oats in a food processor; pulse 5 to 6 times or until oats resemble coarse meal. Place in a large bowl.
  • 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
  • 4. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  • 5. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.
*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder

Another crummy day inspired a need for comfort food. With the "James Taylor" Pandora Station on, I began looking up recipes to find the best one that would boost my mood. I decided to go with a Corn, Potato and Cheese Soup from Soup Bowl by Love Food. I had made this once before and loved it. Most of the ingredients it called for I had and I fudged what I didn't. Here's the approximate recipe I created from what the book dictated. Remember, when I cook I don't usually measure. Eyeballing is how I roll... ha :-)

This is one of my "One-Pot Wonders"

Heat 1-2 Tablespoons EVOO in large pot on medium and add 1/2-1/3 cup onions chopped. Cook about 3-5 minutes, until soft. Do not allow to brown. Add 2 cups chopped potatoes* and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of flour**. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay) and 1-2 cups milk (1%, etc.). Stir and allow to boil. Bring down to a simmer. Add 1- 1 1/2 cups corn, 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese*** (white, yellow, sharp, mild, etc.) and salt (and pepper) to taste. Stir and add Herbs**** and 1 cup cream/evaporated milk. Stir frequently. If the chowder looks to thick and gloopy (yes, that's a technical term), add some water or extra milk in small amounts. If it looks too thin, hold off on add an extra tablespoon of flour until it has time to simmer and cook together. Cook anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes, until chowder is thick. Serve with croutons and extra shredded cheddar on top!

*The original recipe calls for 'potatoes'. It does not specify whether raw or cooked. I used raw and it took much longer and more attention until they were cooked through. If you want to SAVE TIME pre-cook the chopped potatoes.
** Add flour one tablespoon at a time. You can always add more, but once the soup is thick it is difficult to thin it out without loosing flavor.
*** Cheese gives the soup extra flavor. If you're feeling AMBITIOUS try using different kinds of cheeses. Stay with those that are soft and don't have an overwhelming taste; gouda, sharp/light cheddar, etc.
**** Experiment with herbs. Be AMBITIOUS. The original recipes called for Sage. I used Parsley and Oregano instead. If you are nervous, spoon out a sample of the soup, add a piece of herb and taste!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

While looking through the October 2011 Food Network Magazine, I spotted a delicious meal that was perfect for the overcast, rainy day. The chicken pot pie featured required many steps, and as many others might experience, I tend to loose energy when the sun doesn't shine. I decided that I couldn't muster up the almost 3 hours it would take to make this meal, so into the freezer and pantry I went. I found frozen mixed veggies, Pillsbury crescent rolls and a chicken breast, and in the pantry found chicken broth, evaporated milk and flour. Perfect! Here's my recipe.

Recipe Makes 2-3 servings in a 5'x5' ceramic dish

Heat oven to 350˙.

Boil 1 cup of chicken broth with 1 (defrosted) chicken breast until cooked through. Remove chicken, allow to cool then shred or cut into small pieces. Add 1-1 1/2 cups mixed veggies, pinch of salt and pepper and 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped oregano*. Allow veggies to thaw and cook, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, about a 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or whole, 2%, etc.) and about a 1/4 cup dry white wine (i.e. Chardonnay). Bring to a boil then add 2-3 Tablespoons Flour. Simmer until it thickens, stirring regularly as so not to allow clumping. The consistency should be like a thick potato soup. If too thick add a dash of water. If too thin add a bit more flour. You want to avoid clumps and bumps.

Grease pan. Roll out crescent dough and lay enough to fill the bottom and sides of the dish. Spoon in filling until it reaches the top. Cover with more crescent dough to reach the edges. Cut excess off if necessary but leave enough to pinch the bottom and top dough together, like a pie. Bake 20 minutes, or until brown on top. Enjoy by yourself or with a loved one!

* Veggies, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper can be increased or decreased depending on your palate.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Banana Ice Cream

This is a great treat for everyone, especially if you love banana! It's very simple and can be done in about 2 minutes (or less)!

1-2 Frozen bananas
chocolate chips (optional)*
peanut butter (optional)*

Blend the frozen bananas in a blender or food processor. You want the bananas to come to ALMOST the consistency of soft serve ice cream. If they need some help, put a dash of milk, about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. Throw in however many chocolate chips you want, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Finish blending. Use a spatula or spoon to scrape sides if ingredients stick so you get a well blended product.

*You can add whatever you want to make this ice cream tasty. I advise putting in small amounts of the 'extras' at a time, taste it, then add more if you like.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Inspiration from a 6 by 5 Kitchen

I recently heard about a woman who made a recipe for what she calls, 'The Engagement Chicken'. Many women who were chomping at the bit to get engaged made this oven-roasted chicken for their man. A high percentage of the woman who made this chicken said that either that night, or within so many days of making it, their boyfriends proposed. It got me thinking, so many women are told, 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach' and after hearing that I'm even more convinced. But what interests me more is that women (and men) want to create delicious meals for their loved ones but don't want the hassle of a long recipe, an expensive trip to the store or the need to hire a professional team to assist in the complexities of the meal. So I thought, give them what they want! On this recipe website I will be posting pictures, recipes, the good and the bad, of what I make in the kitchen. Each recipe will be lower-budget and include options for a quicker meal or homemade meal, ingredient replacements and so much more. I want these recipes to be accessible to all. I have a kitchen that is smaller than 30-square-feet with very basic equipment and I've managed to roast an entire chicken, make soup from scratch and a bake and decorate a two layer cake. So fear not, you can do this too! Stop by to see what new thing I have cooked up! Give them a try and feel free to leave comments, questions and suggestions. And who knows, maybe one of these recipes will help snatch you a man (or woman). Happy cooking!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved