Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cider Glazed Bratwurst with Butternut Mash

I get several food magazines in the mail every month, but I always tend to find more recipes that I want to make in the fall and winter month issues. I just really enjoy fall flavors. Like the apple cider glaze for the bratwurst in this recipe. The original recipe called to use chicken sausages, but I really like bratwurst and I thought the apple cider would give it a good flavor.
I was right, I really enjoyed the sweet flavor the apple cider gave the bratwurst. It was a great pairing with the butternut mash. Phil and I really enjoyed the mash. I always found it strange to add the apple with butternut squash, but it is a really good flavor combination. This was a great fall dinner. We will be filing this one away for sure!

Cider Glazed Bratwurst with Butternut Mash
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound bratwurst
3 cups apple cider

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup Greek yogurt

In a large dutch oven heat oil over medium high heat.

Add bratwurst and cook until they are a deep golden brown, about 6 minutes.

Add cider and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan combine squash, apple and potato. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain vegetables and apple and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth. Add yogurt and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with bratwurst.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Bread: Regular and Gluten Free

Cookbook Recipe #21

What better treat to celebrate Halloween, then with pumpkin bread! I wanted to bring a treat into work for Halloween but my boss is gluten free. Bread is easy to make so I figured I could make one loaf of regular pumpkin bread and one loaf of gluten free pumpkin bread for my boss. I found the Streusel Topped Pumpkin Bread recipe from my newest cookbook in my collection, The Picky Palate Cookbook By Jenny Flake. I heard about this cookbook from Jenny's blog the Picky Palate. I have been subscribing to the Picky Palate for a while now, because I too can be picky about food. I was excited to see a blogger come out with her own cookbook. I already marked several pages of recipes to make! I only changed a few things from the recipe. I added ground cloves and ground ginger to the recipe as the gluten free recipe called for those and I like the spice flavor that cloves and ginger give to baked goods.

I found the recipe for the gluten free pumpkin bread on Betty Crocker's website. I liked the recipe because it uses a box of gluten free cake mix, so I did not have to worry about other ingredients like baking powder or baking soda. I wasn't sure I would be able to find gluten free cake mix, but I did at Target. Target has a nice selection of gluten free products. I am excited to see if Geriann, my boss, likes the bread tomorrow!

Streusel Topped Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from The Picky Palate Cookbook, By Jenny Flake

3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cup flour, divided
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9x5 bread pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the oil, eggs and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until well combined. Add the pumpkin and beat on low. Slowly add 1 cup flour, sugar, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix on low until well combined.

Pour batter into prepared bread pan.

In a medium size bowl mix brown sugar, remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry mixture until crumbly.

Sprinkle over the bread.

Bake for 55-65 minutes, until cooked through.

Let cool completely before slicing.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Adapted by Betty Crocker

1 Box Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9 x 5 bread loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl stir all ingredients until well combined.

Pour into prepared bread pan.

Bake 55-65 minutes, or until done.

Let cool before serving.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

Sometimes it is nice to pull out a recipe that is quick and easy. Mexican lasagna is one of those recipes for me. When my mom, Kristy and I got back from the jewelry show we were exhausted. I knew we would be from prior experience so I figured I would quickly throw together this Mexican lasagna so we could relax on the couch.

This is another recipe that is really versatile and can easily be switched up every time you make it. I usually make it with shredded chicken or ground turkey. I also do not like peppers mixed in so I leave those out but you could easily add peppers and onions for more flavor if you want. When you are not in the mood for being in the kitchen for a long time, this is the perfect recipe.

Mexican Lasagna

Whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 28oz can enchilada sauce
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, assemble the lasagna. First pour a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish. Then layer 2 tortillas. Next add 1/3 each of the shredded chicken, black beans, and frozen corn. Pour over more sauce then top with 1/3 of shredded cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times ending with shredded cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Top with sour cream if desired.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Berry Dutch Baby

My mom and her best friend (my other mom growing up) Kristy came into town this weekend to go to a big jewelry show that we have here several times a year. The jewelry show is like an auto show of jewelry, purses, accessories, perfume, clothes, scarves...just to name a few items. It is always a fun time and I have gone with friends in the past, but I knew it would be something my mom and Kristy would love so I told them to make a weekend out of it and we would go together. Kristy owns a bed and breakfast in the town I grew up in Iowa. She always made really good breakfast food, so I wanted to make a fun breakfast for her when she came.

I decided to make a dutch baby because they are really impressive but super easy at the same time, which is really cool because people think that you went to a lot of work to make it. Dutch babies are also very versatile and easy to switch up to your liking. I have done this berry one several times. I really like it because the fruit is really refreshing and light. You do not feel disgusting after you eat it which is always nice. I have also done an apple one before too which is really good, but the berry is definitely my favorite. One thing that you have to keep in mind when making this is that you have to get it to the table to eat right away when you take it out of the oven because they do deflate quickly and do not look as fancy anymore. So be sure to have your timing down good when making this.

Berry Dutch Baby
Adapted from the Taste of Home

2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons triple sec
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) if using frozen, thaw them
Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place butter in a 9 inch pie plate. Place pie plate in preheated oven to 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk.

In another bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Whisk into egg mixture until well blended.

Pour into prepared pie plate.

Bake for 14-16 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in orange juice and triple sec. Bring to boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Mix berries and sauce together and pour over pancake.

Dust with confectioners sugar.

Serve immediately.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spinach Manicotti

Cookbook Recipe #20

My mom gave me this series of cookbooks not to long ago. Each cookbook is designated for a certain type of dish. The books are all from the 80s so the dishes are all really classic. My type of recipes! I decided to make Spinach Manicotti for the first recipe out of the books in this series. Normally if I make manicotti or stuffed shells I would only do cheese. I have recently discovered that I like spinach so I have been trying to add spinach to things now that I typically would not in the past. So I decided to add it to the manicotti and it was really good.

I learned a new way of cooking pasta before baking for this recipe. It calls to bring water to a boil and pour the water over the manicotti noodles and let them sit for 5 minutes. The noodles get done enough to cook in the oven to finish off. I have never seen that before in a recipe so I was a little skeptical, but it came out great. I think I will start adding spinach to more of my pasta dishes.

Spinach Manicotti
Adapted from Famous Brands Pasta Dishes

8 Manicotti Shells
1 Jar favorite tomato sauce
1 Package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed very dry
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl place manicotti shells, cover with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.

Combine ricotta cheese,spinach, parmesan and eggs together in a bowl and mix well.

Stuff manicotti shells with mixture and place in a baking dish. Cover with pasta sauce and bake for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Roasted Almond and Herb Crusted Pork Loin

My coworker Jane sometimes puts several recipes for me in my mail box at work. I always get really excited when I see that she has printed some new stuff out for me. This pork recipe was one of the recipes that she gave me and I have made it a couple times already and it is really good! I am much more of a bone in pork chop fan myself, but I do like a pork loin, it just needs to have some sort of marinade or breading on it.

I really like the crunch the almonds give to the breading of this pork loin. It would probably be good to do pistachios or cashews as well. I think it also gives the pork a really nice presentation with the breading because it is a little thicker than a flour or breadcrumb only breading would be. It really dresses it up.

A mini food processor is a great tool for making breading. This mini food processor helps to get the nuts chopped really small, which could take a while to do if chopping by hand. Then you can mix in all the rest of the ingredients to blend together. I think it is a great kitchen tool to have!

Roasted Almond & Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Women's Day

1/4 cup roasted almonds
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablesoon dijon mustard
1 (1 1/4 pound) pork tenderloin

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor finely chop almonds. Add breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley and pulse until blended.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Then rub pork with dijon mustard. Then coat with the bread crumb mixture.

Place pork on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until desired doneness.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Cake Roll

I am all about pumpkin right now. I really love the flavor that it gives to desserts, or in the french toast a couple weeks ago. I decided to put it in a cake roll this time. Phil and I went over to his parents house for dinner last night and I said I would bring dessert. I have made a cake roll before but it wasn't near as good as this one. I tried a red velvet one a while ago.  It is kind of a scary dessert to make because the cake can easily crack in the rolling process. I learned last time that you do not want to let it rest to long because it starts to dry out and it will crack. I also put this one in the freezer over night and it just changed the way the cake came out. It was awesome. It was super moist and it held together really nice. Everyone loved it!

Pumpkin Cake Roll
Taste of Home

3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

Line a 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan with waxed paper. Grease paper and set aside.

In a large bowl beat egg yolks on high until thick. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin. Beat on high until sugar is almost dissolved.

In a separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture.

Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until cake springs back.

Cool for 5 minutes.

Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners sugar. Gently peal off wax paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly roll style starting with short side. Cool completely.

In a small bowl beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Unroll cake and spread with filling evenly within 1/2 inch of edge. Roll up cake again.

Cover and freeze until firm.

Remove from freezer 15 minutes before cutting.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I really like roasted pumpkin seeds so I figured why not try to make my own. So I saved all the seeds from pumpkin carving on Sunday. What a pain and a mess that was! Pumpkin is super slimy. It is hard to get all the pulp off the seeds as well. I quit doing it after I had about a cup and a half. Then my friend Katie, who was also saving seeds, got in the groove and ended up filling up a whole zip lock bag for me.

I didn't know anything about roasting pumpkin seeds. I was told to dump all the seeds in a bowl full of water and get as much pulp out as possible. Then to spread them out on baking sheets and let them dry for 24 hours. I saw a couple different ways of baking them. One way was to simmer the seeds in salty water for 15 minutes then to bake. To me then drying the seeds for 24 hours seems counterproductive if you are just going to soak them again in water and then they have to dry again. So I liked the second way which was to skip the simmering salty water and to mix them with melted butter and salt and then roast.

They came out pretty good. I can see why you may want to soak them so they are saltier. But they still have a really good flavor to them. You could easily put any type of popcorn seasoning on them too to flavor them differently.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

3 cups dried whole pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Mix seeds with salted butter and salt. 

Spread out on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 Cookbook Recipe #19

Cajun food always smells and looks so good to me, but being a somewhat picky eater, a lot of the recipes call for things I am not a big fan onions, seafood and used to be celery. I always had this thing that I was not going to like celery in things so I just never put it in anything. I decided to try putting it in this gumbo recipe and I actually really liked it. I think I have just had overcooked celery before and it seemed slimy and mushy to me. I am also not a seafood fan. I am recently starting to somewhat like shrimp. It definitely has to be in a sauce or have some sort of seasoning on it for me to even taste it. So since this was going to be in a sauce I decided to add the shrimp to the pot. Phil ate the shrimp for the most part. I did try one and it was pretty good. Still not sure if I want to eat a whole bowl of them though, ha! I am starting to become more willing to give the Cajun recipes a try and when I do, I always really enjoy them. 

This recipe was a really easy rendition of gumbo. Traditional gumbo takes hours to make where this only took about 45 minutes. The only changes I made in the recipe were that I used red bell pepper instead of green bell pepper, I used crushed tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes and no onion of course! This recipe did not have the rich, deep flavor that traditional gumbo has, but it was still really good. Phil absolutely loved this one. It was a good fall comfort dish. 

Adapted from Favorite Brand Name Low-Carb Recipes

4 Skinless chicken thighs
4 Skinless chicken legs
2 cups, thawed, peeled and de-veined baby shrimp
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 14.5oz crushed tomatoes
1 14.5oz chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, diced
Rice for serving

Combine flour and Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Add chicken a few pieces at a time and shake to coat. Reserve excess flour mixture. 

In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. 

Saute celery and garlic for 5 minutes. Add reserved flour mixture and cook 1 more minute, stirring frequently. 

Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and bell pepper. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to saucepan and add shrimp. 

Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, stirring occasionally. 

Serve over rice. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Poke Cake

 Our friends Ryan and Sarah have a pumpkin carving party every year. Everyone brings a pumpkin to carve and a dish to pass. It is always a fun time.
Phil carved the pumpkin king and I carved a bat. The bat took a long time as it was very intricate. It is always cook to see how they turn out once you put the candles in them.

They look pretty good huh!

Here are some pictures of the fun:


Brian and his son Henry



Cristy and Henry

Courtney and her daughter Callie, and Sarah and Ryan Son's Collin

This year I decided to try a Poke Cake. I remember having these in school but I think we called them Punch and Pour Cake. It was always one of my favorite desserts.

Poke cake is super easy to make and very versatile. You can use any kind of base cake mix and also interchange the types of jellos used for the inside as well. I used a marble cake and orange jello to make it like Halloween. I would't suggest the Frankenstein's for kids, they were super hard. The cake turned out really good. I love how moist the jello makes the cake and I like how the jello makes the cake look like its dripping. It is a fun festive cake that you could decorate for any occasion.

Halloween Poke Cake
Adapted from the Taste of Home

 1 (18 1/4oz) package fudge marble cake mix
2 (3oz) packages orange flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup water
1 can prepared chocolate frosting

Prepare cake according to package directions using a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water then stir in cold water.

With a skewer poke holes in cake about 2 inches apart in all directions.

Slowly pour gelatin over cake.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

Frost with prepared frosting. And decorate with sprinkles, candy corn, etc.

Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oven Fried Turkey Burgers

I found this recipe in my Rachael Ray October issue. Rachael Ray has so many unique burger recipes. Like she makes everything into a soup, she also makes everything into a burger. I have never seen an oven fried burger before. Sounded pretty amazing to me. Phil is a really big burger guy to. He likes to try all sorts of different kinds of burgers. I thought this would be a fun way to try a new kind of burger that isn't too terrible for you either.

It seems odd to me to use cereal to bread meat. But it is surprisingly good. I added some poultry seasoning to the recipe because I really love the flavor that it gives to meat. I would probably use less thyme next time because I am not a huge fan of is a strong flavor. It was really good though. I like the crunch the cornflakes gave the burgers.

Oven Fried Turkey Burgers
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 pound ground turkey
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 eggs beaten, with a few dashes of hot sauce added
1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
Cooking Spray
Hamburger Buns

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine turkey, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties. Coat the patties in the flour then the eggs, then the cornflakes.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place patties on baking sheet and spray them with cooking spray,

Bake until crisp 18-25 minutes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vegetable Pot Pie

Cookbook Recipe #18

Another Ina Garten recipe this week. I also saw her making this on the Food Network this weekend and have looked at it several times in her cookbook that I have. I always thought it looked and sounded so good.  I have been reluctant to make it though because I love chicken pot pie so much. It is really hard to stray from your favorites I think.

The best thing about this recipe was that I made homemade cream of chicken basically. I was mixing up all the ingredients and tasted it and was like "wow it tastes like real cream of chicken!" I know I have said it before but I love the feeling of making something homemade and it tastes like a store bought convenience item.

Although I liked this recipe it is probably my least favorite that I have made so far. Phil really liked it. I think I should have boiled the vegetables less because the vegetables were a lot softer then I would have liked. Other then that the flavor was really good. It is hard to compare to regular chicken pot pie!

Vegetable Pot Pie
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties by Ina Garten

12 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced white potatoes
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced carrots
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 box refrigerated pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and reduce heat to low and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add heavy cream and season to taste.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes. Take out and add asparagus, carrots and squash. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain well and add the vegetables and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

Put one pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate. Pour the filling into pie plate and top with other pie crust.  Pinch the pie crusts together. Make vents in top of crust.

Bake for 45 minutes.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins

 I was looking for something that I could make to work for snacks throughout the day. I was watching Ina Garten on the Food Network this weekend and she made these muffins, so I decided to give them a whirl. I really like bran muffins because they help keep me full longer which is always nice while at work.

I have never made bread or muffins with chunks of bananas before, they are always the old bananas that you mash up. The chunks made the muffins heartier, which was a nice change. The only thing I did not like about these was that they are hard to get out of the muffin wrappers. I am guessing because of the sticky molasses that is in them. Other then that, they are a nice hearty muffin.

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
Adapted from Ina Garten

2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
2 cups buttermilk
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins
2 cups bananas, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the bran and the buttermilk in a bowl and set aside.

Mix the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl, then add the molasses and vanilla. Then add the bran mixture and combine.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into the the bran mixture with the mixer on low. Fold in the bananas and raisins.

Put muffin liners in muffin tins. Fill each muffin cup full with mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chicago Style Dogs and Homemade Fries

Phil and I were watching the Sandwich King on the Food Network this morning. Jeff Mauro, the host of the show, went to Gene and Jude's in River Grove, IL. Gene and Jude's is Phil's all time favorite hot dog spot. At Gene and Jude's they make homemade french fries and put them on top of their hot dogs. I do not like hot dogs, I know, crazy right! Jeff also made a bratwurst on his show today, which I really like so I decided to go get ingredients to fill both of our cravings today. There is a German Sausage shop close to where we live that I have been wanting to try, so I went and picked up Brats and Chicago dog ingredients. I decided to feature the dog because, well it looks much more appealing then my brat did.

Chicago dogs require a lot of ingredients  sport peppers, Chicago style relish, onion, dill pickle spear, mustard, tomato slices, celery salt. The dog must be Vienna Beef, and the bun should be steamed. Generally the bun is a poppy seed bun, I did not do a poppy seed bun because Gene and Jude's does a regular bun. Gene and Jude dogs only have mustard, relish, onion and sport pepper. Phil did a more traditional dog today and put all the ingredients. One important thing to note is that in order for a hot dog to be considered Chicago is that is must NOT have ketchup on it. A lot of Chicago hot dog stands do not even have ketchup because they consider putting ketchup on a hot dog a cardinal sin. Phil said that the dogs came out as good as any hot dog he has gotten from anywhere around Chicago. We even made homemade fries to top it off and boy were those AMAZING!

Chicago Style Hot Dogs and Homemade Fries


All beef Vienna Hot dogs
Hot dog buns (poppy seed or regular)
Tomatoes quartered
Dill pickle spear, sliced
Onion, minced
Sport peppers
Chicago style relish
Celery salt

Fill a large pot partway with water and bring to a boil. Place a steamer basket in pot.

Steam hot dogs for 15 minutes with a lid on the pot.

Take out dogs once they are done and steam buns the same way for 1 minute.

Top will all ingredients and enjoy.

Homemade Fries

4 medium baking potatoes
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt

Fill a large dutch oven halfway with vegetable oil. Heat oil to a temperature of 375 degrees on a deep fry thermometer.

Wash potatoes and cut into french frie size strips, leaving skin on.

Once oil is hot enough cook fries in oil for 8 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and top with kosher salt.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

I really enjoy making breakfast food. It is definitely my favorite meal to cook for. I am always looking for different versions of waffles and french toast. I found this recipe on the Closet Cooking blog. I really like Kevin's blog because he has a lot of recipes that are similar to my style of cooking. I found this recipe in his 25 outstanding pumpkin recipes post. This is going to be the first of many pumpkin recipes to come I think because I have been printing out so many pumpkin recipes recently.

I definitely do not have the patience to scoop out the pulp in a pumpkin so I used can pumpkin for this recipe. All the spices in this recipe make the french toast really savory. I really liked this one a lot. For the small amount of pumpkin that is in this recipe it is packed full of flavor.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast
From Closet Cooking

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 slices of bread

Mix all ingredients except for bread in a shallow dish.

Dip bread into mixture on both sides until covered completely.

Grill in a pan until lightly golden brown about 2-3 minutes per side.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Shake

Cookbook Recipe #17

Bobby Flay is known for his burgers so it is kinda funny that I would choose to do a shake recipe out of his cookbook, but I LOVE shakes. Whenever we go for ice cream I almost always get a shake. One of my favorite shakes is from Coldstone....the Cheesecake Fantasy sundae made into a shake. So when I saw this shake recipe for a cheesecake shake I figured it would be a close bet. The recipe was originally for a blackberry shake, but I really like strawberry shakes so I decided to switch it up. This recipe was definitely the most prep work I have ever done for a shake, but the shake came out awesome. You have to make a fruit base and let it sit for a few hours to thicken up before you can make the actual shake. The fruit base is like a jam, so you can make any fruit that you want to mix in. The only thing is that you do a lot of work with not a lot of shake to go around. It was a great treat though!

Strawberry Cheesecake Shake
Adapted from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries and Shakes

Fresh Fruit Base

1 pound fresh fruit
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Hull and slice strawberries into quarters.

Put sliced strawberries, 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons jam in a saucepan and heat over medium high.

Mash strawberries with a potato masher and stir occasionally until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar if needed.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.


1/3 cup fruit base
1/4 cup whole milk
3 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream

Mix fruit base, milk and cream cheese in blender. Then add ice cream and blend until smooth.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Never thought I would ever want to make a vegetable lasagna. Ever since I tried and liked eggplant parmesan I have changed my feelings about vegetables in pasta. I have seen several versions of roasted vegatable lasagna made with broccoli and carrots, but carrots in lasagna just doesn't sound so good to me. I decided to go with eggplant, zucchini and mushroom for this lasagna. I was thinking vegetable lasagna equals healthy lasagna, but not so much because there is still a load of cheese in it. Can't have lasagna without cheese right?! I did use reduced fat cheese. So it was better than regular lasagna. I did really like this version because it reminded me of eggplant parmesan. It was a delicious new rendition of lasagna to change up an old favorite.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Adapted from Taste of Home

1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch thick slices
8 oz portabello mushrooms, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
15 oz carton reduced fat ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzerella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
28 oz can smashed San Marzano tomatoes
28 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
12 no-cook lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat 2 baking pans with cooking spray. Spread out sliced vegetables on pans and top with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip vegetables and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the sauce. Combine tomatoes, sauce, wine, oregano and garlic in a large pot. Mix well and simmer until vegetables are ready.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and egg and mix well. Set aside.

Once vegetables are done reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish coated with cooking spray spread a thin layer of sauce. Top with one layer of noodles. Top with half of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with half of roasted vegetables. Top with 1/3 or remaining sauce. Then top with 2/3 cup of mozzerella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with final layer of noodles, rest of the sauce and cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take off foil and bake for 5 more minutes.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

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