French Fries for Adult Tastebuds

I think I once heard that President Obama’s food weaknesses is for French fries. I don’t think he is alone. Although I really don’t enjoy fries at most places, I do on occasion crave McDonald’s French Fries. I get really frustrated though when my craving is disappointed by cold and/or over cooked fries. I don’t understand how this happens since a machine does the process and they are always busy.

I ran across this recipe designed to satisfy the taste buds of a more refined pallet in current issue of Simple and Delicious. It reminded me of those wonderful rosemary fries they serve at Smashburger so I thought I would give it a try. Enjoy!

Seasoned Fries by Maribeth Edwards
6 c. frozen shoestring potatoes
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt

Place fries on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Sprinkle with seasoning and cook 3-4 minutes longer.

Notes:If you aren’t making fries for six people, just put leftover seasoning in a Ziploc and refrigerate until the next time you bake them.

With a Flare

I once dated someone whose parents were Hondurans. He was born in the U.S. while his father was attending graduate school. P wasn’t much of a cook before we met but I have to say we really enjoyed cooking dinner together. Although, I did eat a lot of marinated chicken breast and black beans and rice back then.

This is a recipe his mother cooked but he didn’t think it was a Honduran dish. They lived in the Dominican Republic for a few years so he thought that might be where this recipe came from. It isn’t an exact recipe so feel free to tweak to your liking.

1# of ground beef
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 or 2 potatoes, diced
1 can of tomato sauce
Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce (just a drop or two)
cooked rice

Cook rice according to package instructions. In deep pan, sauté onion and potatoes til cooked.  In a separate pan, cook ground beef. Add ground beef, tomato sauce, and hot sauce to the sauté pan. Once hot, serve over cooked rice.

Notes:

  • We used Minute Rice but you could use a whole grain rice if you wanted to be healthier.
  • P was particular about using Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce. At first it seemed a little ridiculous but I realized it is the best hot sauce because it isn’t too hot. They sell it at Price Chopper, Hen House, Hy-Vee, and Wal-Mart in Kansas City.
  • I modified this recipe a little bit. I make a cilantro lime rice (fresh cilantro, half a lime squeezed, a touch of oil, and Minute Rice) for the base. For the top, I used taco seasoned meat and mixed it with salsa. I think my version is a little more flavorful and a great way to use leftovers.

Turkey Crescent Roll Bake

I think this recipe came from a Pillsbury email around Thanksgiving time 2011. Always looking for something different to do with leftover turkey, I thought I would give it a try. Pretty simple and contains all the flavors you love of your Thanksgiving feast.

Leftover Turkey Crescent Bake
1 1/2 c. turkey cubed
1/2 c. turkey gravy
2 c. prepared stuffing
1 package of crescent rolls
1 c. cranberry sauce

In a large saucepan, mix stuffing, turkey, and gravy. Heat to boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Spoon into ungreased 13 x 9 pan. Separate crescent rolls into four rectangles. Place on stuffing mixture, leaving space for steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Top with cranberry sauce before serving.

Nutritional Facts: (Makes 6 servings) 430 calories (160 from fat), 17 g. fat (5 g. saturated fat, 2.5 g. trans fat), 45 mg. cholesterol, 740 mg. sodium, 49 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 20 g. sugar, 19 g. protein.

Notes: Buy reduced fat and low sodium products, use all white meat, and omit cranberry sauce to make healthier.

Pumpkin Crunch

I can’t believe I almost forgot to share this pumpkin recipe. It’s perfect for your holiday feast.

I got the recipe from on our volunteers at SAFEHOME. Nothing better than a personal chef as volunteer. She made lots of great recipes for our monthly tours. I made this recipe for my family two years and last year for our Komen Thanksgiving luncheon. It was a big hit. I hope you enjoy this dish that got me to eat finely chopped nuts.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package of yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. melted butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely serve with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Rosemary Au Jus

A couple of years ago, I won a free two night stay at the Marriott City Center Denver at my company holiday party. My sister and I took advantage of it with a long weekend trip the following November. We even met up with an old friend from a junior high camp and a college roommate. Steph and I had a blast visiting a candy factory, educating ourselves at The Denver Art Museum, shopping at a holiday mart at the Denver Botanic Gardens, attending a film festival, and sipping on libations at a wine festival. Plus, we met some of the friendliest people using the public transportation.

Although I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, I had one of the most amazing sandwiches of my life there. It was a turkey sandwich with a rosemary au jus (turkey version of French dip). It’s probably when I feel in love with the seasoning rosemary. I’ve searched the internet and haven’t been exactly able to recreate that dip but this recipe is pretty good. I’m going to give it to you with the turkey recipe but you can always just mix the ingredients with the dripping from however you cook your turkey this Thanksgiving on your stovetop.

Roasted Turkey Breast with Herbed Au Jus by Campbell’s Soups and Martha Stewart*
1 tsp. flour
1 plastic turkey oven bag
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
6 to 8 pound bone-in turkey
1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
1 can turkey gravy

Add flour to bag, close, and shake. Place bag in 13 x 9 baking dish. Add broth, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Add rinsed and paprika topped turkey to bag. Close bag with tie. Cut six (1/2 inch) slots into the top of the bag. Roast the turkey at 350 degrees for two hours, until meat is done. Let is stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Take leftover juices and mix with on can of gravy on the stovetop.

*Two websites list different sources.

Scalloped Corn

When my mother gave me this recipe, I assumed it was my Grandma Fletcher’s recipe for the longest time. The reason, the recipe card said, “Mom’s Scalloped Corn”. I went to make Scalloped Corn with Grandma Fletcher, I noticed her recipe was different. That’s when I realized “Mom’s Scalloped Corn” was actually referring to my mother.

I seen several versions of this recipe over the years but this is still my favorite. I prefer to cook it in the oven because I like the crisper crust. Just remember to decrease cooking time if you half it and microwave it.

Mom’s Microwave Scalloped Corn by Kathy Bourek
4 T. flour
4 T. sugar
4 T. butter
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cans of cream-style corn
soda crackers, crushed

Combine first four ingredients, then add eggs and mix well. Add corn and mix again. Put in a large greased baking dish (about 2 quart sized) and add crushed crackers. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high for 20 minutes, turning and stirring halfway after 10 minutes.

If you bake in the oven, cook at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. If halved, only bake 20-30 minutes.

Sweet and Salty

One of the reasons we love sweet and salty combinations is because it tantalizes two totally different taste bud sections on our tongues. This recipe was a must with words like “pumpkin”, “salt”, and “caramel” in the title. It came from Pillsbury.com. I have to say, this is one of the best new recipes I have tried this year. But I should warn you, it does have a few more steps than I usually prepare.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
4 T. butter, melted
6 oz. cream cheese, soften
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 sugar
5 T. flour
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 c. pecans, finely chopped
2 cans seamless crescent rolls
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
5 T. caramel syrup
4 T. cinnamon sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush baking sheet with 2T. of melted butter. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixture on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 T. flour and pumpkin pie spice, beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 tsp. of pecans; set aside. Stir remaining nuts into creamy mixture.

Unroll a one can of dough onto a slightly floured surface. Press dough to 14 x 12. Lightly score dough with pairing knife in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half into 12 squares (approximately 3 x 2 1/4 in.). Spoon heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling into center. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press down with handle of a wooden spoon to seal. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole into the top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter, cut between each ravioli, place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining 1 T. flour, dough sheet, and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 T. melted butter.

Bake 9-14 minutes or until golden brown.

In the meantime, beat whipping cream and salt with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Beat in 2T. caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle with 2 T. cinnamon sugar, turn, and sprinkle back side. To serve, place 2 raviolis a dessert plate. Drizzle each with caramel syrup and a sprinkle of pecans. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream onto plate. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information: (12 serving) 380 calories (220 from fat), 25 g. fat (13 saturated and .5 g. trans fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 35 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 4 g. protein. 45% Vitamin A and 6% calcium.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and used regular crescent rolls.
  • I used only 1 T. of butter by baking on an Air Bake cooking sheet.
  • I used Egg Beaters egg white instead of an egg yolk.
  • I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese.
  • I substituted fat free Cool Whip for the heavy whipping cream. I think it worked and had less fat.
  • I didn’t have cinnamon sugar so I mixed cinnamon and sugar together to make 1 T.

From Scratch

When I was a kid, my dad had a very limited list of things he could cook. Potato Buds were one of those items. For that reason, I’ve never really felt the need to cook mashed potatoes from scratch.

While looking for a potato recipe to use up some spuds starting to spout, I ran across this recipe from Kraft Food and Family 2009. It seemed like the perfect dish because I had just made a few other recipes with the ingredients needed. I hope you enjoy this lower fat version of mashed potatoes.

Tracy’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 10 potatoes pealed and cubed)
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. (4 oz.) cream cheese 1/3 less fat version
2 tsp. onion powder
1 slice cooked bacon, crumbled
2 green onions

Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain water. Place potatoes back in pot and use a mixer on low until creamy. Add sour cream, cream cheese, and onion powder. Blend until mixed and smooth. Pour into 2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with bacon and scallions and return to over for another 15 minutes.

Nutritional Facts(make 16 servings –  1/2 c. each): 120 calories, 3 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat), 10 mg. cholesterol, 60 mg. sodium, 20 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, 6% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 0% iron.

Notes:

  • I made this with reduced sodium bacon.
  • I didn’t have scalions so I added fat free cheese. For future reference, I think it does need the green onions to add flavor.
  • I halved the recipe and baked for 30 minutes, added cheese and bacon before cooking an additional 12 minutes.
  • According the author of original recipe, you can make this ahead (without onions and bacon) and refridgerate for up to 2 days. Just let it sit out about 30 minutes before you make. You can also freeze it for up to one month before baking.

Giving Thanks

Yesterday, my co-workers and I hosted a special thank you luncheon for our Komen Kansas City volunteers. These women and men are some of the most passionate volunteers I have ever worked with. It was just our little way of saying “thank you” for your ongoing commitment to ending breast cancer.

The following is a recipe I made for the first time for this Thanksgiving themed meal. A few of our volunteers requested this recipe for pumpkin bread pudding. I found it a few weeks ago in the coupon section of the paper. I had to go to C&H Sugar’s website to get the sauce recipe so I’ll provide you with both to save you a step.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • 4 cups white bread, cut into cubes (about 7 slices of bread)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (I substituted vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13×9 baking pan. Dry bread cubes on cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes. Place dried bread cubes in sprayed pan. In large mixing bowl, whisk together all pudding ingredients except butter. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Let sit for 10 minutes to make sure bread is fully soaked. Dab butter over top. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Pudding should be set in center, but not dry. When baking, pudding edges will puff up higher on the sides, but will deflate once it’s removed from the oven.

Crème Anglaise Sauce

  • 1 cup milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoons ginger, ground
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, bring milk, cream and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. In medium mixing bowl, beat yolks with sugar until pale and thick, 3-4 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine strainer over egg mixture, discarding ginger and skim from sauce. Stir constantly until blended. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, just until thickened. Do not boil or sauce may curdle (this happened to me – see Quick Tip). Add vanilla. Pour into small container; cover and chill. Warm sauce before serving over warm bread pudding.

Quick Tip – If sauce curdles (which it did for me), remove from stove and whirl in a blender. As hot liquids tend to splash (and they did for me), be careful the hot sauce does not splash out of the blender while blending.

Note: I used an empty water bottle to pull out the egg yolks. Crack egg in bowl. Invert empty water bottle with air deflated over egg yolk. Release and as air fills bottle it will pull up egg yolk into bottle. To release into recipe, deflate air and yolk will release into your bowl. It wasn’t as simple as it looked on The Today Show but it worked. I would recommend using a bottle with less ridges to make it work right. Dispose of water bottle after doing this. Save egg white for future egg white omelets.

Sausage Breakfast Pockets

Growing up in a rural community, I am used to getting meat for holiday gifts. With an abundence of sausage, I was hunting for some new recipes to try from Taste of Home. It’s another one of my “you can cook anything with a crescent roll”.

Sausage Breakfast Pocket by Cheri Harrison
1 package of crescent rolls
1/4 lb. cooked pork sausage
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese
1 T. dried parsley flakes

Seperate crescent rolls into four rectangles. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread on crescent rolls. Bring all four corners together at the center and twist together. Bake at 375 degrees for 14-16 minutes. Makes four servings.