Sunday, October 27, 2013

Whole Roasted Chicken

I usually cook with boneless chicken breasts because of the convenience, but once in a while I'll cook a whole chicken like this. It's easy, and the chicken turns out moist and tender. Also because I cook veggies in and around the chicken, the whole meal cooks in one pan.

1 roasting chicken (about 3 pounds)
1/2 celery rib, cut in pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut in 2" pieces
fresh herbs, optional
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast side up. Place veggies and herbs (I like rosemary) in the cavity and any extras on the sides. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook for at least for 90 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Chicken is usually falling off the bone.

Butternut Squash Bisque

This is a great fall soup and one of my all time favorites. You can add a little cayenne pepper if you like some kick.

1 T canola oil
1 T margarine or butter
1/4-1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 large squash)
3 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oil and melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender.

Mix carrots and squash into the pot. Pour in vegetable broth and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.

In a blender, puree soup mixture until smooth. Return to pot, and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie
This was really yummy! Recipe adapted from here.

2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium potato, cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

3 Tbls butter
3 Tbls flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups heavy cream (I used milk)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/8 tsp ground sage

2 cups cooked chicken
Pie Crust Pastry, prepared (enough for the bottom plus the top of a pie)

In a saucepan, cook carrots, potato, onion and peas in a small amount of water, covered, about 10 minutes or until crisp tender. In another pan (skillet), melt butter. Add flour, cook and stir until mixture is golden brown. Slowly add broth, cream (or milk), salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Add veggies and chicken and stir until combined.

Place first pie pastry in the pie pan. Top with sauce/chicken/veggie mixture. Place second pastry over and cut slits on top.

Bake 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes (watch crust for browning).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Filipino Lumpia

Growing up, my family went to visit relatives in the Bay area at least once a year, usually in the summer. My grandparents, and two sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins lived there. Now that I'm older and my grandparents are gone, I really miss going. Sometimes when we were there, the family would gather at my cousins' house, and my aunt LaDonna, who is part Filipino, would cook lumpia for all us. Lumpia is basically ground beef and ground pork with finely diced veggies, all rolled up in a wrapper and deep fried. I remember us kids would sometimes help, although looking back, I am pretty sure my aunt could have made it more quickly without our "help." Anyway, it was a special treat and we all loved lumpia. This year I decided it was high time we made Filipino food for our Christmas Eve around the world tradition, centered, of course, around lumpia.
{lumpia and sweet and sour sauce}

In addition to the lumpia for dinner, we had rice, pancit (a noodle/veggie dish side dish), and fried bananas.
I had been in touch with Aunt LaDonna about how to make the lumpia and what else we could serve with it, and she was very helpful. In fact the afternoon of Christmas Eve we were surprised by a package in the mail from her. She had sent some cookies and tamarind which she remembered eating in the Philippines. We ate those, along with mangos, mango pudding (probably not authentic), and some sesame ball treats I bought at an Asian market.
Christmas Eve food is always an adventure at our house. I don't know if we'll eat the other stuff we made again any time soon, but I am super excited about the leftover lumpia I have stashed in the freezer! Here's the recipe:


Ingredients (no exact measurements, but it's hard to go wrong):

ground beef and ground pork*
green onions
large square lumpia wrappers**
garlic powder, salt, pepper
flour and water mixture
*Equal parts of each, or to your preference. One pound total of meat makes a lot of lumpia. I think next time I will use more pork than beef. Some recipes call for shrimp also, but we never had it that way.
**You can find lumpia wrappers in a refrigerated or frozen section at Asian markets. They are pretty similar to spring roll wrappers, which might work in a pinch. Won ton wrappers are too thick.


Defrost lumpia wrappers completely on counter if frozen. Finely chop or dice veggies (I used my food processor). Mix raw meat, veggies, and seasonings in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together some flour and water to make a paste. Open lumpia package and cut large lumpia wrappers into four smaller squares. Keep wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Pull off a small square lumpia wrapper from the rest. Place filling along one edge and roll up, sealing the seam with a flour/water mixture. Leave the ends open. Repeat. Keep filled lumpia covered with another damp towel to prevent drying out. Deep fry lumpia in a wok or deep fryer (I did mine four at a time in our deep fryer).

Serve with sweet and sour sauce (recipe below).

Notes: It is very helpful to have a second person working with you because the wrapping is time-intensive and the wrappers dry out easily. Also, I make the smaller lumpia and wrap them with the ends open because that is how my aunt did it. You can use the full sized square wrappers with a larger volume of filling and wrap it like an eggroll if you prefer, but I think you may need to precook the meat if you go that route.

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add 5-6 tablespoons of ketchup and stir until well mixed and bubbly. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water. Mix till consistency is smooth. If too thick add more water. Add 1/2 of cornstarch mix to pot, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken as it heats; if it doesn't add more of constarch mix. Once it gets to the consistency you like remove from the heat. It will thicken a little more as it cools.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sticky Buns

This is another Thomson Christmas tradition. It's very quick and easy to prepare, and a hit with the kids.

Sticky Buns

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
14-16 Rhodes frozen rolls
chopped walnuts or pecans

Spray pan(s) with cooking spray (a large bundt pan or several bread pans - something with a higher edge than just a casserole pan if possible. If not, the casserole pan will still work). Sprinkle half of the nuts on the pan, then place rolls on top. In a small saucepan, warm margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over rolls and sprinkle remaining nuts on top. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise until rolls are double in size. (Usually I put it together right before I go to bed and let it rise overnight.) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for just a few minutes, then turn over unto serving plates.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green Salsa

Quick, easy, and delicious! Eat with chips, tacos, burritos, or with a spoon. :o)

Green Salsa


1 28 oz. can tomatillos, drained of water
1/4 bunch of cilantro - stems mainly cut off
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (to taste)
1/3 of a 4 oz. can of chopped jalepeno peppers*


Blend all together in a blender and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

*I didn't have any, and I like it mild, so I used a partial can of green chiles

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The BEST Homemade Granola Bars

I previously posted another granola bar recipe that I really like, but this one has totally replaced it in my kitchen. They are just the right balance between chewy and crispy, and they freeze great if you can manage to keep any around long enough. They disappear quickly around here. I've been making double the recipe (two pans), cutting them and freezing them in snack sized ziplocks. My 2nd grader loves them and can grab one out herself and stick it in her backpack for mid-morning snack time at school.

I slightly changed the original recipe, decreasing the peanut butter and adding some regular butter/margarine to make them a little less rich/dense. Thanks to my sister-in-law Tiffany for fabulous original recipe!

Granola Bars


2 & 1/2 c. oats

2 c. rice crispies

1/4 c. nuts (almonds, pecans, peanuts, etc.)*

1/4 c. flax seed or wheat germ*

1/4 c. shredded coconut*

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. honey

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

*You can use whatever you want for all three of these 1/4 cups. Some ideas to consider: raisins, Craisins, a second nut, mini chocolate chips, etc. If you choose to put in chocolate chips, reserve them and press them into the top after you have spread the bars into the pan - otherwise they will melt right in. I often do the three ingredients listed and in addition press in chocolate chips at the end.

Grease or line a 9x13 pan. In large bowl mix the oats, rice crispies, salt, nuts, flax seed, and coconut. Set aside.

Measure the brown sugar, honey, and peanut butter into a small saucepan. Stirring, bring these to a boil. Boil for about a minute. If you boil too long, the bars will be too crispy (in my opinion--some people may like them crispier).Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Dump the gooey stuff into the dry stuff and stir. Press it into your pan. Let them cool, then cut into bars.