Monday, May 31, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Above: Vanilla Ice Milk, Burnt Almond Fudge Ice Cream, Pralines and Caramel Ice Cream, Blackberry Ice Cream, and finally, Toasted Coconut and Almond Ice Cream.

Nothing compares to homemade ice cream. Even the very best store bought ice creams can't hold a candle to what you can make at home. Sadly though, due to the expense (both money-wise and calorie-wise) homemade ice cream is only something you should make once in awhile. We decided to make some for Memorial Day.

In addition to the flavors pictured here, we also made Cake Batter Ice Cream and Blueberry Ice Cream.

I hope you like them...but pace yourself! You could gain 10 lbs in a day if you go overboard on this stuff!

Vanilla Ice Milk


3 cups skim milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Thoroughly combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Freeze as directed. Stir after freezing to blend any unfrozen skim milk into frozen mixture.

Makes: This recipe is designed for a 4 quart-size ice cream maker.

Source: Rival Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Maker user's manual.

Burnt Almond Fudge Ice Cream


1 cup toasted, chopped almonds
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
6 beaten eggs
2 cups canned milk
6 cups half 'n' half
4 cups whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon almond extract


Toast chopped almonds in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend sugar and cocoa together and add 6 beaten eggs, 2 cups canned milk, and 4 cups half 'n' half. Stir and heat until almost boiling. Cool; then add remaining 2 cups half 'n' half, 4 cups whipping cream, and 3/4 teaspoon almond extract. Add nuts just before freezing. Pour in 6-quart ice cream freezer container and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Each 1/2 cup serving contains: 195 calories, 14 g fat, 16 g carb, 40 mg sodium, 68 mg cholesterol.

Source: Deseret News, submitted by Diane C. Anderson, of Fruit Heights, Utah. May 21, 2002.

Note: I was actually able to fit this into my 4 quart ice cream maker. It took a little longer to freeze and I had to ripen it in my freezer (in a freezer safe container) a little longer before it was ready, but it still worked. It would definitely have frozen faster in a 6 quart ice cream maker, however.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes 2 quarts


4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk, or half-and-half


In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Transfer to an ice cream maker, and freeze following manufacturer's instructions. Store in an airtight, freezer safe container.

Source: Martha Stewart website, Copyright 2010.



3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Butter bottom of a heavy 3 quart saucepan. Cook brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugars dissolve; stir in pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 238 degrees (soft ball stage). Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla; let stand 3 minutes. Beat with a wooden spoon 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Working rapidly, drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand until firm.

Source: Southern Living, November 1999.

Note: I used a full package of pecans--which measures 2 cups (instead of 1 1/4 cups). I didn't have a candy thermometer, so as soon as the mixture started boiling, I timed it at exactly eight minutes. I also let the mixture cool a little over 5 minutes. This made it so that when I started stirring it, it crumbled into individual caramel covered nuts. I spread the individual nuts onto a wax paper covered jelly roll pan and let them cool completely.

Pralines and Caramel Ice Cream


2 recipes Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream (see recipe above)
1 recipe Pralines
1 jar caramel ice cream topping


Prepare Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream and freeze in a 4 quart ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. During the last five minutes of mixing time, add pralines.

When you are transferring your ice cream to a freezer safe container, do it in layers. Ice cream, caramel ice cream topping, ice cream, caramel ice cream topping, etc. Lightly swirl the caramel topping before putting ice cream on top of it.

Makes 4 quarts.

Source: Pretty much from my own brain, but it is a compilation recipe. Ice cream recipe from Martha Stewart, pralines from Southern Living. I just love pralines and caramel ice cream and shakes and I had never found a great recipe for it before, so I figured I would have to come up with it myself. This was to die for! Mission accomplished.

Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, or Mixed Berry Ice Cream
(see notes below for more options)


2 recipes Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream (see recipe above)
3-4 cups berries of your choice (see note below)


Depending on how you want the consistency of your ice cream, you can either keep the berries whole, blend all of your berries in a blender, crush them with a fork, or blend half of the berries and put the rest of the berries into the ice cream mixture whole.

Prepare Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream and stir in berries. Freeze in a 4 quart ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Source: Martha Stewart and your own creativity!

Notes: Be creative. If you don't like berries, use this vanilla ice cream recipe and mix in crushed Oreos, crumbled cookie dough, crumbled brownies, your favorite candies, etc. To make cake batter ice cream, simply mix in a box of dry cake mix into the vanilla ice cream recipe of your choice.

Cake Batter Ice Cream


1 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup white cake mix, sifted
Sprinkles, optional


Whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cream, and cake mix in a saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator or freezer until liquid is cold.

Pour the chilled mixture into a 2 quart ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until it reaches "soft-serve" consistency. Transfer ice cream to a one or two quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Note: If you would like sprinkles in your ice cream, you can add them to the ice cream mixture during the last 5 minutes of mixing, or you can fold them into the ice cream as you transfer it to a freezer safe container.

Source:, submitted by Ekho

Toasted Coconut and Almond Ice Cream


1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
3 cups low-fat milk (divided)
3 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) nonfat sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds


Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.

Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pod.

Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3-5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of a 2 quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add coconut flakes and almonds to the ice cream maker. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

Serves 8 (Yields 1 quart, 8 1/2 cup servings).

Tip: To toast chopped dry nuts, cook in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2-4 minutes. Cool toasted nuts completely before adding them to the ice cream maker.

Nutrition Information: 276 calories, 9 g fat, 91 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 10 g protein.


Vanilla Ice Cream


2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups half and half
5 cups whipping cream


Scald milk until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in half and half, vanilla extract and whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Freeze as directed.

Strawberry: Add 5 cups pureed strawberries to chilled mixture before freezing.

Banana: Add 3 1/2 cups mashed bananas to chilled mixture before freezing.

Peach: Add 5 cups pureed peaches to chilled mixture before freezing.

Mint Chip: Omit vanilla and substitute pure peppermint extract (to taste). Chop your favorite bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate bar into tiny uneven pieces. Add the chopped chocolate during the last 5 minutes of mixing.

Source: Rival Ice Cream Maker user's guide.

Notes: I thought you might appreciate having another version of vanilla ice cream. The Martha Stewart recipe is amazing, but if you're looking for a less decadent version of vanilla ice cream, this one is for you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Birthday Cakes!

When you're a kid, you don't tend to notice the taste of your birthday cake very much. Basically, to a kid, a cake is a cake. What really counts to kids is how the cake is decorated (what kind of cool toys are on it, what it is shaped like, etc.). For instance, I know that a favorite cake for me and my sisters when we were little was a cake baked in a funnel shaped pan so that it would look like a hoop skirt. You would pop a Barbie doll into the hoop skirt cake and decorate the cake to look like an elaborate ballgown.

But as an adult, the taste of your birthday cake is what really counts. This year for my birthday, I was fortunate to have two birthday cakes (and they were both wonderful, moist, scrumptious concoctions).

I am a sucker for almond flavoring. The first cake was a beautiful pink and white almond cake. As one of my anti-frosting family members put it "wow, this is the only frosting I have ever liked!" This is a wonderful cake and paired with vanilla bean ice cream, it was to die for.

The second cake was a devil's food cake with rich chocolate frosting. I was trying to find a cake that would come close to those horribly tempting chocolate cakes that are sold at Costco (if you've ever seen the movie "Matilda," it looks like the chocolate cake in that movie. It is massive and a dark chocolate color). I thought it was very similar and a few of my family members thought it was even better than the store-bought version. Yummy!

Pink Almond Party Cake
Prep Time: 40 min
Total Time: 2 hours 20 min
Makes: 12 servings


1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil, and egg whites called for on cake mix box
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 drops red food color


4 oz vanilla-flavored candy coating (almond bark), chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Red food color


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk


Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom and sides of 2 (9 or 8 inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour. In large bowl, beat cake ingredients, including 2 teaspoons almond extract and 6 drops food color, as directed on box. Pour into pans.

Bake as directed on box for 9 or 8 inch round pans or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small microwavable bowl, microwave candy coating uncovered on High for 1 minute, stirring twice, until melted and smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons oil. Spoon about half the melted coating into another bowl; stir in 2 or 3 drops red food coloring to tint it light pink.

Line 6-ounce custard cup or other small bowl with foil. Pour half of the untinted coating into foil-lined bowl. Drop half of the pink coating on top; pull a knife through coatings to make marbled design. Repeat with remaining untinted and tinted coatings, adding on top of marbled coatings. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until set; remove from refrigerator. (If refrigerated longer, let stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.)

In large bowl, beat butter, shortening, 1 teaspoon almond extract, the powdered sugar, and 4 tablespoons of the milk with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat on medium speed, adding enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk until fluffy and spreadable.

Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on serving plate; frost top. Top with second layer, rounded side up. Frost side and top of cake.

Remove coating from bowl; peel off foil. With vegetable peeler, make curls by pulling peeler around the outside edge of block of coating. Place curls on top of cake.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude directions on cake mix box for 2 (9 or 8 inch) round cake pans.

Time-Saver Option: Stir a teaspoon of almond extract into a container of Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White frosting for a fast and delicious frosting.

Nutrition information: 1 serving: 570 calories, 26 g fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 79 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website. If you want to see an absolutely beautiful picture of this cake, click here

We forgot to take a picture of the cake before we started cutting into it, but here is a partial view of the completed cake!

Old-Fashioned Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting


Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans
Flour for dusting the pans
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix or devil's food cake mix with pudding
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fluffy Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)


Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 9 inch round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, cocoa, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again, if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divde the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 28-30 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the Fluffy Chocolate Frosting.

Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting


2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water, plus additional, if needed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter; at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar; sifted, plus additional, if needed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Place the cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the cocoa comes together into a soft mass. Add the butter and blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Place the confectioners' sugar and vanilla in the bowl, and beat with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 2 minutes more. Add more boiling water, a teaspoon at a time, or more confectioners' sugar, a tablespoon at a time, if the frosting is to thick or too thin to your liking.

Use the frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake or cupcakes of your choice.

Source: Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn, published 2001

Notes: I wanted to deepen the chocolate flavor even further, so I added about 1 ounce (3 squares) of melted baking chocolate (semisweet) to the cake batter and about another ounce (3 squares) of melted baking chocolate (again, semisweet) to the frosting. I didn't have to do anything further to the cake mix batter. But I did have to experiment with the wet and dry ingredients in the frosting. I added a little more powdered sugar (I eyeballed it) and I added a few tablespoons of milk to keep the frosting moist (the extra chocolate dried it out too much). Both the frosting and the cake were fantastic. I made this another time and accidentally used Ghiradelli 60% Cacoa bittersweet chocolate and I didn't like the flavor as well. It was too dark. Don't go darker than the semisweet baking chocolate, in my opinion.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Treat Yourself to a Trip To India!

My BFF Jen sent me some recipes for some Indian Food. Now, typically Indian Food is not my favorite, mostly because Indian Restaurants are very hit or miss. I know in Utah there is the Bombay House which is yum, but here in Ohio, we haven't had as much luck. Anyway... good Indian food is not to be discredited, and so I was curious about these recipes. Well let me tell you...Its a day later and I am still thinking about how tasty it was. Now let me include a little disclaimer. I made the mistake of making these recipes on a weekday. That much I wouldn't recommend if you are working full time, because they took about 2 hours from start to finish to make the bread, peas, rice and chicken. Not to mention I had a sink full of dishes. (Good thing for me I have a very nice husband who helps with the dishes. ) Next time I make these recipes, I will do it on a Saturday or Sunday. But I'm telling you, these are really restaurant quality yummy, I'm not kidding. Oh and also, they are probably not as healthy as our usual everyday fair, so I'd only make these for a splurge! :) Also, as usual, I try to use less oil and salt then the recipe calls for, and it turned out fine. I am posting the recipe as is, not as I modified it, unless otherwise noted.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground corriander
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
2 lbs boneless chicken breast
1 cup plain yogurt (I used lowfat, the recipe calls for whole milk)
2 T veg oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T grated fresh ginger

3 T veg oil
1 Med onion , diced fine
2 Med garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger
1 serrano chili, seeded, ribs removed, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 T garam masala
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 t sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cilantro

for chicken, combine cumin, corriander, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture. Place chicken on plate and refrigerate 30-60 min.
In large bowl combine yogurt, oil, garlic, ginger. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat oil in dutch oven over med. high heat. Add onion and cook until light golden, 8-10 min. Add garlic, ginger, chili, tomato paste, and garam masala. Cook 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 t salt. bring to boil. Reduce heat to med low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to a simmer. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, heat oven to Broil. Dip Chicken into yogurt mixture. Coat well. Broil for about 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken half way through. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1 " squares and stir into warm sauce. (Do not simmer chicken in sauce) Stir in Cilantro.


2 1/2 cups bread flour ( I used all purpose flour because I was out of bread flour)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour, sifted to remove course flakes
1 package rapid rise yeast
2 t sugar
table salt
1 cup water, room temp
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 T olive oil
4 T melted butter ( I omitted this to make a healthier option and it still tasted great)

1. Combine flours, yeast, sugar, and 1 1/2 t salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk water, yogurt, and olive oil. Using wooden spoon stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough forms . Turn dough onto floured surface, knead for 12-15 min. adding extra flour 1 T at a time as needed. ( I added quite a bit probably 1/2 cup) Shape dough into ball and place in a oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a place free of drafts about 1 hour or until doubled in size
2. Turn onto clean work surface. Cut into 8 equal portions. roll each into a ball, let rest 10 min.
3. Working one ball at a time, roll out on floured surface into 6" circle.
4. Heat 12 " skillet over med high heat about 5 minutes. working with one piece of dough gently stretch about 1 inch larger and lay in skillet. Cook until small bubbles form about 3o sec. then flip. Cook 2 min, then flip again, cook 2 min.
5. Transfer to wire rack, brush with melted butter.

Curried Peas

2 T olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 Med garlic, minced
1 t cumin
1/2 t curry
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 t brown sugar
1 lb frozen peas, not thawed
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup plain yougurt

heat oil in med skillet over med high heat. Add onion, 1/2 t salt and cook until softened, about 5 min. Add garlic, cumin, curry cook about 1 min until fragrant. Add broth and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Stir in peas and almonds, and cook, uncovered until peas are tender about 5 min. Off heat, stir in yogurt and cilantro

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated May 2009 .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Breakfast....It's What's For Dinner!

I love pancakes and bacon and waffles and french toast and hash browns and scrambled eggs. But who has time to make any of that stuff in the morning? Not me! So sometimes, not too often, I love to have breakfast for dinner.

Well, compliments of my church newsletter, here are two recipes that will make it worthwhile to get out of bed in the morning...even if you don't plan on eating them until dinner. They are bonafide hits! Make the french toast the night before and pop it in the oven when you get home.

The bacon sounds a little out there and it is...out of this world, that is! You'll love it!

French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup and Confectionery Sugar Dusting

1 9x13 pan, 12 servings
(1) 1 lb. loaf french bread, cubed into 1 1/2" chunks
(1) 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
(8) large eggs
2 1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. sugar
6 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. pure maple syrup (divided)
1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar, for dusting


Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place half the bread cubes into dish and evenly distribute cream cheese chunks over bread. Top this with balance of bread. Whisk 1/4 c. maple syrup, eggs, milk, sugar, and melted butter and pour over bread, pressing bread with spatula to soak up egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Drizzle top with reserved maple syrup, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Strawberry Glazed Bacon

8 servings; 2 strips each


1 lb. thick sliced bacon; about 16 slices
6 Tbsp. strawberry preserves
2 tsp. orange juice


Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line large, rimmed baking sheet with foil, then lay out bacon in single layer. Bake 12-14 minutes until lightly browned.

Combine preserves and juice. Remove excess drippings from bacon and spread preserve mixture over bacon. Bake additional 3-5 minutes or until crisp.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Ground

Over the past two weeks, I have discovered two wonderful new recipes using ground beef.

The first one is a Thai recipe. I don't tend to think of ground beef being used in Thai food, but this recipe really works.

The second one is a Greek inspired recipe. It is a fun salty and sweet combination using a spice pairing of cayenne pepper and cinnamon. The dusting of confectioners' sugar on top might seem odd, but it is delicious!

Try them yourself and let me know what you think!

Thai Beef with Chilies and Basil over Coconut Rice


1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
coarse salt
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long hot pepper or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2 inch matchsticks
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
lime wedges, for serving


In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe.

Notes: There is no need to add salt to the beef mixture. The fish sauce/soy sauce mixture is plenty salty enough. In fact, I would recommend using low sodium soy sauce. The lime wedges squeezed on top adds a very nice touch. The coconut rice also adds a very subtle flavor to the meal.

Also, I am kind of a slow vegetable chopper (at least it always seems to take forever), so I didn't wait until the rice was almost done--as the recipe suggests--before working on the rest of the recipe. I proceeded to the rest of the recipe as soon as the rice was simmering.

In the magazine, it was also suggested that if you don't want to use ground beef, you could use any of the following ground meats: pork, lamb, turkey, or chicken.

I first saw this on the Everyday Food PBS cooking show. It was also in my Everyday Food monthly subscription. It can also be found on the Martha Stewart website.

Ground Beef Pie


5 tablespoons olive oil (see note below)
1 onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 pound ground beef
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
8 phyllo sheets, thawed
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onoin until translucent; about 4 minutes. Add beef, cayenne, cinnamon, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until beef is browned, about 10 minutes. Add almonds and parsley; cook 3 minutes more. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, season eggs with salt and pepper; add milk, and whisk to combine. Fold into beef mixture.

Lay 1 phyllo sheet on a clean work surface. Brush lightly with oil; lay another sheet on top, staggering corners. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and oil, rotating sheets slightly each time. Gently place dough in an 8 inch pie plate; fill with mixture. Fold edges over top. Brush with oil. Bake until golden brown and filling is set, 20-25 minutes. Dust top with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Serve hot, sliced into wedges.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe.

Notes: This has a fantastic flavor. None of the flavorings are overwhelming--there is a wonderful lemon undertone, the cayenne pepper gives it a small kick, but it isn't overpowering. The cinnamon is very understated and the powdered sugar on top is the icing on the cake!

Oh, and I used Pam cooking spray instead of olive oil on most of the layers of phyllo dough. When I brushed olive oil onto the first layer, it was so hard to keep the phyllo from breaking up. So, I sprayed the rest of the layers with Pam and then brushed olive oil on top of the phyllo once I had folded it over the beef mixture. It was a lot easier, it still tasted great, and it saved me some calories!

Again, I first saw this on the Everyday Food PBS cooking show. It can also be found on the Martha Stewart website. It's a great show (on KUED Channel 7 at 3 p.m. every Saturday, if you're interested--Utah).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Man Meals!

Lest you think that we are a family that just sits around drinking lemonade with our pinkies extended, you should know that we have real men in our family; strong men who like man meals with lots of meat. So in keeping with my trend, this post will include one old favorite and one new.

The ribs are so, so, so good. It's not a good idea to give you the nutrition information, but let me say that even big, strong guys who burn lots of calories won't want to turn this into a weekly meal. Two of our guys love this so much that they pick it every year for their birthday dinners, so that's the two times of the year we have it. The coke adds sweetness to the ribs and the carbonation helps tenderize the meat. This recipe is finger-licking, falling-off-the-bone good. Oh, and spraying cooking spray inside the slow cooker is most necessary. Your life will be better if you remember this tip. Even better, use the Reynolds brand slow cooker liner bags. You'll be glad you did! BTW: For a big group, I double, triple or quadruple this recipe.

Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs

Cook: 10 hrs.


3 1/2 lbs pork loin back ribs
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 T. liquid smoke flavoring
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 c. cola
1 1/2 c. barbecue sauce


Spray inside a 4 - 5 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray.

Remove inner skin from ribs. Mix brown sugar, pepper, liquid smoke, garlic and salt; rub mixture into ribs. Cut ribs into 4 inch pieces. Layer ribs and onion in slow cooker. Pour cola over ribs.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until tender. Remove ribs from slow cooker. Drain and discard liquid. (I like to save the onions to serve with the meat. They are tasty.)

Pour barbecue sauce into a shallow bowl. Dip ribs into sauce. Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour any remaining sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on low heat setting 1 hours.

4 servings

Betty Crocker "Soup & Crock-Pot Meals" Jan. 1999

This second recipe is my new pick for a good old-fashioned Southern favorite. I've only made it twice, but it was easy, easy and got mm-mm good reviews.

Slow Cooker Southern Pulled Pork 


1 T. butter
2 lbs boneless pork roast
1 T. Cajun seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups water
1 T. liquid smoke flavoring
Barbecue sauce (for this recipe, my son favors KC Masterpiece Hot & Spicy)


Cut the pork roast into large chunks. Season generously with the Cajun seasoning. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork, and brown on all sides. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a slow cooker.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the water scraping the bottom to include all the browned pork bits from the bottom of the pan, then pour the whole mixture into the slow cooker with the pork. Stir in liquid smoke flavoring.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or until meat is falling apart when pierced with a fork. remove pieces of pork from the slow cooker, and shred. Return to the slow cooker to keep warm while serving. Serve over buns with barbecue sauce (optional).

6 servings

Notes: Shredded meat is very freezer friendly. Simply put in a freezer friendly container or zip top bag and label and date it. When you are ready to use it, defrost it in the fridge overnight and reheat it in the microwave. So easy!

And remember, real men like barbecue! And real women like to do it easy!

Updated 9/12/2012: My Mom challenged me to find some additional uses for this pulled pork recipe since we often have leftovers when we make big batches.  I will add my additions as I find them!

Above: Forgive the blurriness of this picture.  There was steam rising off of the food that made all of my pictures blurry.  As I was looking for different ways to use up this leftover pulled pork, I searched through my old cookbooks and food magazines for inspiration. A suggestion I found in one of my old Everyday Food magazines was to serve leftover pulled pork over mashed potatoes or polenta.  You can find that recipe here.  I had a package of corn grits (aka polenta).  I simply followed the package directions for the polenta and topped it with the reheated leftover pulled pork.  It was fantastic.  You can cook the polenta to your desired texture and thickness.  The Martha Stewart recipe served the pork over a much creamier polenta.  I cooked mine a little longer so that it would be thicker--more like the texture of mashed potatoes.  Which would also be heavenly served with this pork.

Above: The quest for different uses for this leftover pulled pork continues! It makes a fantastic BBQ Pork pizza. Use your favorite BBQ sauce in place of the pizza sauce, top with shredded mozzarella, and top that with leftover shredded pulled pork that has been warmed. Delicious! Don't skimp on the barbecue sauce. It is integral to the success of this pizza! I also thought I would get creative one time and I used pepper jack cheese in place of the mozzarella. I didn't like that nearly as much as the mozzarella.