Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Curry Cream Potatoes

Curry is one of my top 5 favorite spices to cook with. I think a lot of people think of spicy Thai or Indian food when they think of curry. Not the case. My German mother in law makes a lot of curry dishes that are anything but spicy.

I created this dish when I was in the mood for creamy potatoes but tired of the same old funeral potato recipe. Plus this sauce is fat free and you would never know. This yellow curry sauce I created tastes like Hollandaise sauce which is why I decided to toss in asparagus with the potatoes. My husband loves this dish!

urry Cream Potatoes
  • 6-8 peeled Yukon Gold Potatoes (yellow potatoes)
  • 1 bushel of fresh asparagus
  • 3 cups of fat free half & half (tastes like regular half & half)
  • 2 1/2 cups of fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp Island Spice brand curry powder (yellow curry)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp lemon pepper
Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tsp salt (This heats up water quicker and flavors the potatoes). Place potatoes in pot and boil until tender (about 15 minutes). While potatoes are boiling, in a small sauce pan mix together yogurt and half & half until well blended. You made need to use an electric mixer. Once it is smooth and creamy, turn heat on low to medium low - just enough to warm the sauce. You do not want the temperature to get any higher or the sauce will curdle and separate. Add remaining spices and continue to stir. Remove from heat. Do not leave on burner unattended.

Begin to steam your asparagus in microwave or on stove. You don't want to boil or it will be soggy and stringy. Once steamed cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces. When potatoes are finished boiling drain water and cut potatoes into 1-2 inch chunks. Toss in asparagus and place on serving platter or dish . You may need to rewarm your sauce. Pour sauce over potatoes and serve.

Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip

I have hear rumors about this yummy recipe and missed out on every event where this was being served. I finally decided to hunt down this recipe and try it for myself. It was better than what they say. I recommend this for any baby shower, Luau, or get together you have this summer. My husband couldn't stop eating it and he is not a big sweet tooth guy.

Caramel Toffee Fr
uit Dip
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese (you can use light cream cheese)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla (you can add more to taste)
  • 1 bag of Toffee bits (found by the chocolate chips)
Beat together cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in as many toffee bits to your liking. Serve with fresh fruit of your choice. I used these fun sea creature toothpicks for the kids. We had this for desert.

You'll have plenty of toffee bits left over which you can use for ice cream or yogurt. I made a banana pudding parfait.

Homemade Marinara

I am a big fan of making quick meals that look like they took longer to make. I love mixing frozen with fresh so that the meal is 50% from scratch and only took me 15 minutes to make.

I love to buy frozen ravioli or tortellini it's less than $4 a bag. I always make my pasta sauces from scratch. This time I was able to use my garden onions, basil and tomatoes. It was so yummy!

Homemade Marinara

  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cans of water (using your tomato paste can)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dice onion
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Simmer all ingredients for 10 minutes. The frozen pasta takes 3 minutes to cook. Top with fresh basil and cheese.

Luau Meatballs

 This recipe is so delicious!Above is how it looks with the cherries and below is how it looks without them. Big difference huh? Either way, I love this dish - it's so tasty!

This dish tastes really good over a bed of white rice, in the second picture I used Ramen noodles and it was really good as well.

Luau Meatballs
  • 1 package of frozen meatballs (2 - inch meatballs)
  • 1 large can pineapple juice
  • 2 (20 oz) cans pineapple chunks or tidbits
  • 1 jar of maraschino cherries
  • 2-3 green bell peppers chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of red wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Bring all ingredients to a boil. At this point I like to take a Tbsp of cornstarch and mix it with 1/4 cup of pineapple juice or water and add it to the boiling mixture. Then reduce heat to a simmer. This will thicken the sauce and continue to cook your meatballs. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over noodles or rice. This is very filling and feeds a lot of people.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kabob Marinade and Tzatsiki Sauce

Shish kabobs are really something anyone can do. There is no need to follow a recipe. Just slice your favorite meats and veggies and grill or broil in the oven. The secret really is in the marinating. I did steak, potatoes and zucchini and created a yummy marinade. I broiled my kabobs on high in the oven on a broiler pan for about 10-12 minutes. My husband likes his meat super well done so we cater to him.

I served the kabobs with garlic wild rice and fresh basil. It was delicious. Though we like our A1 steak sauce and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, t's always delicious to dip kabobs in a cool, creamy Greek tzatziki sauce. I included a recipe for that as well.

Kabob Marinade
  • 1 cup Sprite
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • a dash of salt
Marinade meat and veggies for about 6 hours or overnight. This marinade will tenderize the meat and sweeten it. Once ready to place kabobs in oven, brush the remaining sauce over kabobs. If using steak, sprinkle sea salt on each piece before placing in the oven. This is a Brazilian BBQ technique that does wonders to meat! Broil or BBQ.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large cucumber - peeled, seeded and shredded or finely diced
Mix all ingredients together and chill for 2 hours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crepe Cake

Once again I was looking through a German cookbook and salivating at the pictures. Like always, I'm too lazy to translate so I like to take on the creative challenge of looking at the picture and creating what I think it would taste like or what it is made out of. German sweets are not sweet enough for the American taste bud so I don't mind going by the beat of my own drum.

I saw a picture of stacked pancakes that looked very thin, with cream and berries on each layer. I thought to myself "Crepes!" They would be perfect for this feat. They are firm and don't get soggy like pancakes. Then I would need a thick cream that worked like glue so the crepes don't slide around. I have a recipe I have used on this blog and I use in many of my pies and cakes. Perfect! Then I just used a bag of frozen berries but of course pie filling would work as well and be just as delicious! This took me no more than 20 minutes to make - it was so easy. This cake is so easy to cut as the slices hold together very well and it is so pretty to see all the different layers - it's art!

Crepe Cake


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup half & half (or milk)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Heat skillet on medium high. When you can drop water on the pan and it sizzles the temperature is right. Grease pan with oil. Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto pan while tilting the pan to evenly distribute the batter. You have to do this quickly so that the batter doesn't begin cooking right where it landed. When crepe is light brown on bottom flip over and brown the other side. They brown very quickly - sometimes less than 30 seconds on each side. You should get about 6 (8 inch) perfectly round crepes from your batter. Set crepes aside.

Crepe Filling
  • 1 8oz package of neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl beat cheese and cool whip together. Beat in powdered sugar until thick and smooth. Blend in vanilla.

Assemble: Spread topping on crepes and arrange your berries or spread on pie filling. Stack crepes. Top with cool whip and berries. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gourmet Gnocci

This is Italian soul food! There is something about a dumpling that just speaks to my soul. Gnocci (pronounced "no-chi") is my favorite kind of dumpling. I first tried this masterpiece in Germany about 9 years ago. My mother in law made if for me. You can also find it on the menu at the Olive Garden.

You can enjoy this in soups, with your favorite pasta sauce, or try a creamy spinach Alfredo sauce with mushrooms. I made a fresh marinara sauce with ingredients all from my garden. It is very filling. 1 cup sized servings will fill up the biggest appetite. I love making this for other families because it is cheap to make and so filling!

Gourmet Gnocci

  • 8 potatoes (or to save time use 10 servings of instant mashed potatoes)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool slightly and peel. Mash potatoes with a masher. (Tip: for s short cut just make about 10 servings of instant mashed potatoes - follow instructions on box) Place in large bowl and make a well in the center. Put butter in well and allow to melt. Once this has cooled add flour and knead into a soft dough.

Divide dough into fist sized balls. On a floured surface roll each ball into a long rope. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces. Press each piece with a fork.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in dumplings and cook 3-5 minutes until they float to the top. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and fresh basil.

Peachy Pockets

I created this in my mind this week after seeing a picture in a German cookbook of some kind of burrito looking thing with a creamy sauce with apricots in the center. I didn't feel like translating the recipe and some of the ingredients are not even available in Utah so I let my creativity loose.... and Viola! The Peachy Pocket. A puffy, flaky, golden pastry pocket with a creamy warm peach sauce inside.

By the way, these are delicious served cold. Kind of like an eclair - it's so good when the filling inside is cold. So we had them warm for dessert and then the next morning we had the rest cold out of the fridge for breakfast. So yummy!

What I love about this recipe is that you can switch out the fruit. If you are not a peach fan then try your favorite berry or apple. Replace the peach preserves in the recipe with the fruit preserves of your choice. I'd like to try cherries with Smucker's cherry preserves.

Peachy Pockets
  • 1 box of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (the recipes for a puff pastry are ridiculously strenuous)
  • 8 oz of Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp peach preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peaches

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl mix cool whip and cream cheese with electric mixer. Once smooth, add powdered sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and peach preserves. Mix well. Fold in peaches.

Make sure your pastry puff has been unthawing for 45 minutes. Open up both sheets and slice along lines. You should have a total of 6 rectangular strips. Slice those horizontally across the middle for a total of 12 rectangles. Sprinkle some flour on prep surface and roll out 6 of the rectangles slightly with a rolling pin. Place them on a cookie sheet. Scoop about 1/2 cup of peach mixture onto each one.

Roll our the remaining rectangles so they are larger and thinner. Place them over the top of each filled rectangle and fold the edges over and under the bottom rectangles. Take your forefinger and press down and seal at least an inch from the filling to the edge. If you don't seal them good enough they will leak. Take a fork and press down around the edges to confirm seal and for a pretty design.

Baste each pocket with egg whites for a golden look. Place in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. When tops are puffy and golden brown they should be ready. Garnish with fresh peaches and a drizzle of caramel syrup.

Chewy Gooey Caramel Cookies

I created these yesterday while being caught in a bind when I realized I was out of brown sugar half way through making another cookie recipe that I had already planned on making changes to.

Apparently molasses is a great substitute for brown sugar when you are out, but I didn't have that either. So...I got creative and used two different ice cream toppings and WOW it was a good decision. My guests couldn't stop saying how delicious these cookies were.

The lesson to be learned here...whenever you are out of ingredients don't let that stop you. Get creative and use your brain - usually you can end up making something even tastier than the original recipe!

Chewy Gooey Caramel Cookies
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Smucker's Pumpkin Pie Spice desert topping (It's a limited edition - 88 cents at Walmart)
  • 1/4 cup Hershey's Caramel Syrup ice cream topping
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag of Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 small bag of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, desert toppings, baking soda and salt. Mix until blended. Beat in eggs, oil and vanilla. Beat in flour a cup at a time. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1 -1/2 inch balls. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes or until golden. 9 minutes in my oven is perfect. Cool for 2 minutes and serve.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunshine Through a Straw

Whenever you have ample amounts of ripe fruit laying around and you don't know what to do - smoothies are your solution!

I created this delicious drink tonight that my family sucked clean through the straw and licked the glass. I found it to be the perfect fusion of spices and fruit; and mixed with some ice it was pure paradise!

ne Through a Straw

  • 1/3 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 mango peeled and sliced
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a dash of ginger
  • cinnamon to garnish
Add first 6 ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth liquid. Add vanilla and ginger. Blend for 10 seconds. Pour into glasses and garnish with a swirl of cinnamon. Enjoy!

Garden Soup

If you have a garden and you're like me - it's hard to keep up with finding different recipes that will utilize everything you are harvesting before it goes bad. If you bottle or freeze often - then not a problem. I decided to make something that would allow me to take everything sitting on my counter and put it all into one meal. Piece of cake!! That's what I love about soup.

I call this garden soup because you can literally take anything out of your garden, throw it in the pot and it tastes delicious!! I used broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, celery, tomatoes, onions, and fresh basil. I wanted some protein but wanted to keep it a light soup, so I used imitation crab meat. It was perfect. The juices from the tomatoes gave the broth some tang and simmered a delicious flavor into the crab meat.

I have listed the base ingredients below for my garden soup. These flavor notes blended together make the perfect bath for any vegetable. You just can't go wrong. I wanted to keep mine healthy so I topped it with parsley and plain yogurt rather than sour cream. There's nothing better than a dollop of cool, creamy goodness on top of a bowl of steamy soup. Not to mention delicious french bread, rolls or bread twists make a great companion. This is a healthy, hearty and nutritious meal that hits the spot on a cool day. My kids devoured it!

Garden Soup
  • 1 - 32 oz box of chicken broth
  • 32 0z of water
  • 5 shakes of garlic powder
  • dash of cumin
  • dash of salt
  • 4 shakes of lemon pepper
  • a couple shakes of thyme
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • fresh ground pepper
Bring to a boil and add all of your diced vegetables. Boil for 10 minutes until veggies are tender. Then simmer on low for 5 minutes. You can puree in blender for a creamy soup - especially if your kids are picky with vegetables. Serve with your favorite soup toppings (sour cream, yogurt, chives, bacon bits, shredded cheese etc.) The toppings make it fun for the kids and bread sticks make it appealing for them because dipping is fun!