Saturday, July 13, 2019

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Here is another version of the cookies I posted last.

Apple Cinnamon Whippersnappers

Modified from Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke

1 pkg spice cake mix (I have a hard time finding it, anyone local - Carrs has it, not Fred Meyer)
1 large egg
2 cups Cool Whip (a container is 3 cups so a triple batch uses 2 containers)
1/3 cup apple pie filling (this is a pain in the rear....a can makes a LOT of batches....I ended up making like a 5-times or 6-times batch to use it up....which then throws off the Cool Whip!  VERY ANNOYING!!!!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat to 350.

Whisk egg and then mix into Cool Whip.  Chop up apples (they used a knife and all that...I used a potato masher).  Add into Cool Whip.  Then add in spice cake mix.  They make a big deal about over mixing to keep in the air.  This is HARD to mix so I found it a lost cause and the cookies were fine.  I just got less.  

Mix powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Drop teaspoonful of dough into powdered sugar mixture and roll (they used chilled spoon..I didn't feel it helped..this is just sticky and messy).

Bake for 12-15 minutes and then move to the cooling rack.  

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies (I got less).

These should be find on countertop but they are very moist and keep better in the fridge.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Red Velvet Cookies

These are one of my new favorite cookies. They are pain to mix/roll, but they are very yummy and only a few ingredients!

Red Velvet Cookies

Modified from Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke

1 box red velvet cake mix (I've been using Duncan Hines)
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups Cool Whip, thawed (a container of Cool Whip as 3 cups, so I do triple batches so then I can just use 2 full containers)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar

Beat the egg, then add in Cool Whip and vanilla and mix.  Then mix into the cake mix (so they make a big production about not over mixing...this is a PAIN in the REAR to mix and so I mixed a lot and I probably didn't have the "air" they wanted...but they still tasted good!).   Add in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat to 350.  Form dough balls (the dough is VERY sticky...seriously, I end up with super red hands!) then roll in powdered sugar and then put on cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes (I said 10-12, but it took me longer).

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies (I just got about 7 dozen out of a triple batch so this is probably an "air" thing as well as that I make big cookies).

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ice Cream Sandwiches

These were great as I can do any flavor, which I really like.  When I do it again, I need to work on spreading as that was my biggest issue.

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Modified from Taste of Home

1 package cake mix (any flavor - I did strawberry and chocolate)
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 gallon ice cream (I made my own and did chocolate and vanilla so then had 4 combinations)

 
Combine all but ice cream until well blended. This is VERY thick.  They rolled theirs out....so I used the Pampered Chef ice cream sandwich makers.  That hardest part was spreading the batter.  They got 32 squares out of theirs by rolling and cutting.  I got a dozen.  

 
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until cooked.  Theirs puffed and then they pricked them. The PC ones do that for you.

 
Fill with ice cream (the PC ones make this easy) in sandwich form.  Freeze and then serve frozen.

 
Makes 12-16 servings (they got 16, I got 12).

Honey Soy Bass

Adam went halibut fishing and caught a "sea bass" - or rockfish or something. Anyway, that means we have it and have to cook it. Adam even helped cook! This was a big hit!  I'll be honest - I'm not a fish person, so the fact that this could be ANY fish works for me.  If you LIKE the taste of fish, this might be pretty strong for you.

Honey Soy Bass
Modified from Balducci's

6 pieces of sea bass (or any fish really), up to 8 oz each
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp minced garlic (they topped with scallions, I put garlic into the marinade)

Season fish with pepper (they said salt and pepper, but soy is so salty, we just did pepper).  Whisk the soy and honey together.  Add garlic.  Marinate the bass for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 450.  Remove fish from marinade and place in a baking dish.  Drizzle some marinade over the top.  Place fish in oven for 12-15 minutes (until at least 145).  They topped with scallions.

Serves 6.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Quick and easy...and one muffin is just one 1 SmartPoint!

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Modified from Genius Kitchen

1 box spice cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's and it was 15.25 oz...they said 18 oz for theirs...it took me two stores to find this one so I'm good with it!)
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients in mixer.  I ended up hand stirring after it as it hard to get the mix mixed in...I might just hand mix next time.

Put into mini muffin pans (24 to a pan).

Cook for 20 minutes at 350.

Makes 72 mini muffins. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sunshine Salad

This is a simple little recipe that works really well.  I think it will even work if you switch out the fruits, which I might try in the future as my mother doesn't like pineapple (I do). 

Sunshine Salad
Modified from Genius Kitchen

1 can (15 oz) mandarin oranges
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks
1 small pkg fat-free sugar-free instant vanilla pudding

Do not drain the fruit and you will use the pudding mix dry (the juice from the fruit will replace the milk).  Combine all ingredients and blend well.  Chill for at least an hour.  

Serves 6-10 (it says 6, I say more).

Parmesan and Prosciutto Muffins

These are a nice savory treat!  And only 2 WW points each.

Parmesan and Prosciutto Muffins
Modified from Weight Watchers

2/3 cups white flour
2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I felt there was too much pepper in here)
2 egg whites
4 oz prosciutto
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray (I've done this in puff pans and it works that way as well).

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cheese, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.  In a second bowl, whisk egg whites, prosciutto, ricotta, milk and melted butter until the mixture is smooth.  Pour wet into the dry and stir until there are no dry pockets left.  Spoon into muffin pans.

Bake until browned on top and it passes the toothpick test, about 12-14 minutes.  Cool in pans for a few minutes and then put on wire racks to finish cooling.  

Makes 24 mini muffins (or about 48 puffs).

Pesto Chicken Risotto

This is very yummy!  We really liked the other risotto I tried in the Quick Cooker, so I wanted to try a second one and this was also very good.

Pesto Chicken Risotto
Modified from 365 Days 

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/3 cup pesto (we made a bunch of this in the summer and froze it in ice cube trays - I just defrosted a few of the cubes)
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cut in half
salt and pepper

My chicken was frozen, so I took a cup of the broth and first cooked the chicken.  I did it to the minimum as it would get cooked a 2nd time.  I then pulled the chicken and broth out and set aside for now.  

Turn to sauté and add butter.  Once it is melted, add in onions and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Now add in garlic and rice and stir for 1 minute.  Now add in 1 cup of broth (so I added back in the broth I'd pulled earlier) and stir for 2 more minutes.  Then add in rest of broth, pesto and chicken (as a note, it took me quite awhile to get my pesto to dissolve - a lot of stirring - but I think that was more because mine had been frozen and so was in the cubes).  

Cover pot and secure lid. Turn to poultry and set for 10 minutes.  When time is up, cancel and then let it sit for 10 more minutes.  Then manually release the rest of the steam.  Then open the pot and stir the rice.  

Serves 6.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Apple Cider Pork Chops

Ray really liked this recipe - he likes pork chops (which I don't make all that much) and a mustard-apple sauce is always good!   Everyone - including the kids - ate it and liked it.  The vegetables were delicious.

Quick Cooker Apple Cider Pork Chops
Modified from Sweet and Savory

6 medium potatoes (I probably didn't use quite this much as I had tiny ones, but I did use more although I don't think I quite doubled it]
2 cups carrots, cut into small chunks (1-2 inches)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (they only used 3, I used 4)
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.  Turn on the Quick Cooker and set to saute/sear.  Once it heats up, add in oil and then add in pork chops to brown. I had to brown in batches.  You just want to get a good sear on each one, not cook it as that comes later. Hit cancel once all the pork chops have been seared.

Add in potato chunks and then broth.  Place the trivet in, covered in foil that you poke with holes.  Add in carrots then pork chops. 

Close the lid and set to beef/pork (or high).  I did 25 minutes.  Depending on if you have little chops, this could be as short as 15 minutes, but I had really thick ones and I had to 4 so I went long.   When time is up, hit cancel. I let it do the natural release for a few minutes (they said 10-15 minutes...I was about 5), then I used manual release to finish releasing the steam. 

Open the lid and remove the goodies.  You will want to drain off the broth (I used a slotted spoon to get the veggies and then just dumped the broth into another bowl).  Now they mashed the potatoes, using the broth and milk (or cream).  I didn't bother and just served them as is, which was delicious. 

In the now empty Quick Cooker, turn back on saute/sear.  Add in apple cider, brown sugar and mustard.  Cook until reduced by about half.  Then add in cornstarch and water slurry to thicken it up.

Serves 4.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Kid Recipes

We bought the kids a junior cookbook and they decided that they wanted to try some things out.  They both have already done some cooking, but we are trying to get them to cook more.  Obviously letting them choose the ingredients hopefully will make them try more new things - although honestly both are pretty good about trying whatever I tell them they have to.  I don't make anything too crazy so it isn't too hard on them.  Andrew actually has a much wider palate than Adam, but if Adam declares something "gross" then Andrew will often follow along, even if he actually might like it.  But again, both are pretty good about trying new things. 

Andrew's first choice
Egg Sandwiches
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook

4 oz sausage, cut in half and sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 roma tomato (optional - we didn't use it...if you do use it, put it in after sausage, but before the eggs)
4 English muffins

Cook sausage on medium high for about 4 minutes or until the sausage starts to brown, stirring constantly.  Now pour eggs into skillet and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to set on bottom and around the edges (I think Ray and Andrew might cooked these separately).  Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through.  [If your child hasn't made scrambled eggs before you'll need to show them how to work them.]  Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt for a minute.  Spoon mixture over muffin bottoms and then top with other half. 

Makes 4 servings. 

Adam's first choice
Pasta Salad
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook

1/3 cup dried small pasta (they used wagon wheel, which I could NOT find...so we used regular elbow)
1/ 3 cup carrots, diced (they used rinsed and drained black beans)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (they used halved cherry tomatoes...I made Adam pick something for each item, but I didn't require he use their choices)
1/4 cup frozen peas (they used corn....which I didn't have so we used peas...Adam actually wanted broccoli which I think would have been a good choice, but I didn't have any on hand..and that would have had to be fresh.)
1 tbsp ranch salad dressing
1/4 tsp chili powder

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain a colander and then rinse with cold water.  Put pasta and next three items (either what I used, what they used or whatever you pick, but I'd make your child pick three items to use) in medium bowl and stir.  Mix ranch and chili powder in a small bowl and then pour over pasta mixture and mix until pasta is coated. 

Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours before eating. 

Quick Cooker "Basic" Times

I wanted to list my most common "basic" Quick Cooker (Instant Pot) times for easy access.   The settings listed go with my Quick Cooker, but as I understand it the Instant Pot has very similar ones. I know that when I use instant pot recipes, I've usually been able to convert directly.   So there are a ton more that come in the Quick Cooker cooking guide (and I'm sure the instant pot has a similar one), but these are what I use.

Grains and Rice
All listed below are for 1 cup of the item in question.  All should include 1 tbsp oil.  The amount of liquid necessary (water is the basic choice, but you can, of course, also use stock or other options like that) is listed in parentheses.
Whole Grains Setting:
Barley (2 1/4 cup liquid) - 25 minutes, natural steam release 10 minutes
Steel-cut oats (3 1/4 cup liquid) - 10 minutes, natural steam release 10 minutes
White Rice Setting:
Long grain, basmati and jasmine white rice (1 cup liquid) - 4 minutes, natural steam release 10 minutes
Brown Rice Setting:
Long grain, basmati and jasmine brown (1 cup liquid) - 15 minutes, natural steam release 10 minutes

Vegetables
These all need at least 1 cup of liquid. They do not have their own setting and should use manual steam release.
Carrots (1 lb) - cut into 2 inch pieces, 4 minutes
Potatoes (2 lbs) - cut into 1 inch pieces, 5 minutes
Sweet Potatoes (2 bs) - cut into 1 inch pieces, 4 minutes (this actually mashed on its own for me after I did this....like you couldn't serve this as chunks)

A big selling point for me on the Quick Cooker was being able to cook frozen meat....you'll see my thoughts as I try to work with these....pretty much assume all comments go with frozen.
Meat
Always add at least 1 cup of liquid (water or broth usually) to the Quick Cooker first.  Always use manual steam release.
Beef/Pork Setting:
Ground beef (1-2 lbs) - 8-10 fresh or 12-14 frozen (I've yet to this to work at this time...much to my aggravation....)
Roast (3-4 lbs) - 50-60 fresh or 85-95 frozen (I had issues here again....it was cooked, but it wasn't as tender as I wanted and had to do it longer...now I do think that I have to adjust due to the fact I'm using moose, so we'll see as I keep working on this)
Pork Tenderloin (2-3 lbs) - 16-18 minutes fresh or 30-35 minutes frozen
Chicken/Poultry
Boneless chicken breasts (2-4 lbs) - 6-10 minutes fresh, 8-12 minutes frozen (I would suggest to go with the maximum...I find I need it because I usually do have the full 4 lbs.)

Full list is here.