Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cheddar and Potato Soup

This is in response to Heather's call for favorite potato recipes. It's probably similar to Mom's potato soup but when we lived in Chicago, this was in the newspaper recipe section. It recommended using Wisconsin cheddar cheese and we all know to use Idaho potatoes. Actually our favorite cheddar has to be Tillamook Medium Cheddar blocks (alas, only found in the west that we know of!) This is our favorite cold day soothing soup. (This is not my photo :).

Cheddar and Potato Soup
Serves 6
(From the Chicago Tribune recipe section)

¼ c. butter
Grated onion to taste or ¼ c. chopped onion
¼ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. dry mustard (optional-I use)
3 ½ c. chicken broth
1 cup grated carrots
2 medium Idaho potatoes diced
2 ½ c. half-and-half
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in butter over moderate heat until soft. Stir in flour and dry mustard. Continue to stir for 1-2 min. without browning flour. Add broth and bring to a simmer, stirring until soup is smooth. Add carrots and potatoes.
  2. Simmer for 30 min. partially covered. Add half-and-half and bring again to a simmer. (Recipe may be done ahead to this point. Reheat soup before continuing.)
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


  • Use 4 chicken broth cubes and 3 ½ cups water if you don’t have chicken broth.
  • Use milk if you don’t have half-and-half—use potato flakes or potato pearls to thicken if it’s too thin using milk (this works great).
  • Use rehydrated dry carrots if you don’t have fresh (I blend them up first).
  • Use minced onion- about 1 tsp. (add with carrots and potatoes) in place of fresh.
  • Sliced celery added with carrots and potatoes is a nice variation.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, or serve with broccoli or little smokies.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Blue and White Oatmeal Chippers

These are tasty cookies Heather led me to from

Blue and White Oatmeal Chippers

1 Cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 Cup quick oats
1 1/2 Cups frozen blueberries (we bought some tiny ones in a tub that were great!)
1 Cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 bag white chocolate chips (12oz)

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt, quick oats, blueberries, coconut and chocolate chips until just combined.
2. Chill dough for a few hours until firm.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop or scoop dough by the Tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges start to crisp. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I've been blessed with oodles and oodles of really big and yummy Idaho Potatoes. Please, please share all your potato recipe ideas. What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Coffee Cake

So, I had never made coffee cake before, but last weekend I had run out of muffin mixes and needed a ready breakfast for the next morning that was faster than cold cereal for on the run, and I found this... it is really yum and easy.


3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sour cream
Filling (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup bundt pan. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt alternately with sour cream. Spread 1/3 of batter (about 2 cups) in pan and sprinkle with 1/3 of filling (about 6 tablespoons). Repeat twice.

Bake 60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This is my best coffee cake recipe and the one that always gets the most compliments.

FILLING: Mix 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. (no walnuts for me)

Easy Chicken Corn Chowder

I made this last night for dinner--it was so easy, SO fresh, and SOOO Tasty! I got it from this blog.

Chicken Corn Chowder with Alvocado and Tomato
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 14 oz cans chicken broth
2 lb bag frozen corn or 8 fresh ears of corn, kernels cut off
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
½ Cup heavy cream
8 oz sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, sauté onion, carrots and celery until slightly softened, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for for 1 minute then add chicken broth, corn and chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, until heated through. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.

2. Top with avocado and tomato. Add fresh ground black pepper if desired.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Advice? Help? Please???

Hey everyone, I need some ideas here. We're having two couples from Jeff's work over for dinner on Saturday and I need menu advice. I'm thinking (very tentatively) about Parmesan chicken with homemade spaghetti sauce, lasagna/manicotti with bread sticks, or ribs (Carol, I'm thinking of using your recipe, but you may have to talk me through it!). Other thoughts?

I need side dish help. I've got nothin' there.

For dessert maybe apple dumplings or chocolate sheet cake.

What say you my culinary friends? Should I throw in a relish tray or Pioneer Woman's Holiday Bacon Appetizers (have you tried these yet? Yum!)? How much is too much?

Oh - drink ideas (other than the leftover Mountain Dew from the dumplings)?


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Apple Dumplings

Pioneer Woman is nothing short of a culinary genius!!! I will forever be singing her praises after tasting these dumplings. I was treading very lightly going into this experience because the term 'dumpling' kind of freaked me out. It just never sounded appetizing before. Holy moly - my opinion has changed! You must try these. You must, must, must!

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter (I KNOW - 2!!!)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew (about 8 ounces)

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream (we did whipped cream), and spoon some of the sweet sauce from the pan over the top.

So ridiculously good. Read her post here.

Oven Fried Chicken

This recipe came from the weekly emails I get from "Cuisine at Home" where we found the yummy turkey, our favorite roast and potatoes and the soon to be posted grilled pizza recipes. Thank you Grandpa Beck for subscribing to this gem so I could find it! Anyway, this is a recipe our whole family recommends!

For the Brine --
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups hot water

4 cups ice cubes

8-10 chicken pieces* (thighs, legs, and breasts), skin removed, pierced

For the Coating --
3 cups all-purpose flour
2-3 Tbsp black pepper (I did 2, but next time 1 will be plenty for us)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp paprika

2 egg whites

1 cup buttermilk

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

Dissolve salt and sugar for brine in hot water in a large container.

Add ice and stir to cool mixture.

Prepare chicken pieces by removing the skin and piercing the meat with a knife. Add to brine and refrigerate for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Preheat oven to 450. Coat a 4-quart Pyrex baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, pepper, salt, and paprika in a one gallon Ziploc bag. Remove chicken pieces from the brine and lightly pat dry. Place a few pieces into the bag of seasoned flour and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour and place on a rack. Let sit 10 minutes.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks.

Add buttermilk and stir gently. Dip floured chicken pieces into the egg white/buttermilk mixture. Put the dipped pieces back into the seasoned flour bag. Shake gently and transfer to the rack. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Heat oil in the prepared Pyrex dish by placing it in the oven for 5 minutes. Set the prepared chicken pieces, meaty-side down, into the hot Pyrex dish; roast for 30 minutes. Remove dish from oven and carefully turn the pieces over. Return to the oven and roast 20 minutes more. Remove chicken from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

*I used 12 drumsticks because it's what my kids like the best.