LOL/LOL stands for Lots of Littles/Lots of Laughs. It is a blog series by moms who are overrun by small children have 3 or more little kiddos, talking about parenting, marriage, & life. After you read this post, make sure you check out Jamey's take on this same topic at Zehlahlum Family. And then please play along! Tell us what you think in the comments OR blog about it and post a link in the comments.
Recipes—yay! Now here is a post that I am really going to enjoy. I love to cook. It is so enjoyable for me to put different flavors and textures together and see what comes out in the end. That being said, I'm not the most creative cook. I like to follow a recipe… so someday when Lamb wants me to hand down our family recipes, I'll be handing her my Betty Crocker & Rachael Ray books.
Oh, and because I like to cook and like to follow recipes, I have a humungous cookbook collection. I collect cookbooks the way that some people collect trinkets. I love them! From the 4-simple-ingredients-to-make-a-gourmet-meal type to the it's-not-cooking-unless-it's-from-scratch type, I love to look at the pictures, see the ideas, compare recipes from one book to the next. Love. it.
So this morning I'm here to share a few of my favorite recipes with you. I hope these whet your appetite a bit, and I hope that you will share some of your favorites with me, either in the comments or on your own blog. Remember, I always love a new recipe! J
BreakfastThis is a tough one, because I'm not a big breakfast person, so I don't cook a lot of breakfasts. On Saturdays we have pancakes or waffles, but I typically use the "Supreme" pancake recipe from the back of the Bisquick box and a waffle recipe from the instruction manual that came with my waffle maker. But I will share one recipe that I like to make on Christmas morning.
Brunch Egg Nests
I'll admit, I almost didn't make this the first time I came across it. It sounds like an odd combination of flavors… but it is fantastic, and it is highly requested on Christmas morning.
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
- (10-ounce) container refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- (10-ounce) package frozen puff pastry shells, baked
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
- Pepper, paprika, and parsley (optional)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and ham, and sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to low; whisk in Alfredo sauce, sour cream, and milk, stirring until thoroughly heated. (Do not boil.)
Fill each pastry shell with 1/3 cup mixture. Sprinkle evenly with chopped egg. Sprinkle with pepper, paprika, and parsley, if desired.
Crock-PotAhhhhh, the crock-pot. Isn't it a wonderful invention? I am using mine more and more. It's so nice to just throw things in and know that dinner is already cooking by 9 in the morning. This recipe is one that our entire family—including my kids, who pretty much have no desire to eat meat ever—loves.
Crock-Pot Beef SandwichesThis recipe is actually from a freezer cooking cookbook, and it multiplies (and, obviously, freezes) easily.
- 2 ½ lbs beef/chuck roast
- 1 cup water
- 2 packages dry dressing, Italian or Ranch
- 1 pack buns
Place the roast in the crock-pot, top with water and dressing packets. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours or overnight. Shred beef. Serve on buns.
(PS – My hubby loves this with horseradish sauce.)
DinnerWe eat a lot of chicken in our house. It's my meat of choice, and since I do the cooking… that's what we eat! It's also generally the easiest meat to convince my kids to eat, although those beef sandwiches above are actually their favorite.
Basil Cream Chicken
This is actually one of my more creative recipes. I found one online that I liked, then I tweaked it a bit and it turned out FABULOUS. I haven't made it in a while, though, so I hope everything is correct…!
- 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Noodles (I prefer fettuccini)
Heat oil in skillet. Pound chicken flat with mallet. Dip in milk, then in bread crumbs. Cook in skillet on medium-high heat until cooked through, just a few minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Add the broth to the skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to loosen browned bits from pan. Stir in the cream; boil and stir for one minute. Reduce heat; add the Parmesan cheese, bacon, tomato, basil, and black pepper. Simmer and stir until heated through. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with noodles.
DessertOK, this is one of my absolute favorite cake recipes, mainly because the cake itself is a little different from your typical carrot cake, and the decorating makes it look so cool. BUT it is very work-intensive, so I don't make it often. I was supposed to make this for Thanksgiving, but couldn't because I was so sick. L But I have all of the ingredients on-hand now, so I may be making it soon for some holiday party or another. This is actually a mish-mash of two recipes—the carrot cake itself came from Debbi Fields (as in Mrs. Fields' Cookies), but the candied carrot strips on the outside are a Martha Stewart creation. I love how this looks when it is done!
24 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup pure apple juice
1 ½ cups grated peeled carrots (3 or 4 medium)
1 cup shredded peeled sweet potato (about 1 large)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 layer cake pans.
Make the cake layers:
Put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and cream together until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, using electric mixer on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape the bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients in thirds to the butter mixture, alternating with the apple juice. Beat for 45 seconds after each addition and begin and end with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl. Stir in the carrots, sweet potato, apple, pineapple and pecans, and blend thoroughly. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in the centers come out clean. Remove the cake pans to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto the racks and let cool to room temperature. While the layers are still warm, brush each with 1 Tablespoon heavy cream.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
Put the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth using the electric mixer on medium speed.
Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, and beat until combined. Gradually beat in the sugar on low speed until well blended and smooth.
Assemble the cake
Place a cake layer on a serving plate with wax paper under the edges and spread the top with a thin layer of the frosting. Place a second layer on top and spread it with a thin layer of the frosting. Place the remaining layer on top and frost the sides of the cake. Spread the remaining frosting over the top. Remove the wax paper. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. (This is essential or the cake will fall apart when you try to cut into it.)
Candied Carrot StripsIngredients
12 large carrots
7 cups sugar
Using a mandoline, slice carrots lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips, and set aside.
In a small stockpot, combine 4 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Add carrots, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until carrots are translucent, about 25 minutes.
In another small stockpot, combine the remaining 3 cups sugar with 1 cup water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer candied carrots from the syrup in which they boiled to this new sugar syrup. Let stand until completely cooled; discard the old syrup. Transfer carrots and new sugar syrup to an airtight container, and store, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
To decorate cake
Set a wire rack over a baking pan. Using your fingers, lift one candied carrot strip from the sugar syrup, holding it over the container. With the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, gently squeeze the carrot strip and slide your fingers along its length, removing as much excess syrup as possible; lay the carrot strip on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining carrot strips.
Gently place tapered end of a carrot strip in center of cake, and gently press it down the side of the cake; place a second strip next to it. Continue applying strips around entire cake. Form 2 or 3 strips into a decorative bow, and place on top. Cut cake, and serve.
If all goes well, you'll be left with something that resembles this:
OK, I could share tons more, but I think I'll call it quits for this morning. Speaking of cooking, I am actually cooking for my supper-swap group tonight, and having friends for dinner tomorrow, so I need to get my grocery list together… not to mention shower and get dressed before Lamb is up! Have a great day!