Archive | July, 2013

Barbecued Ribs

14 Jul

I was originally going to make these ribs for dinner last Wednesday so I started marinating them that morning (a huge feat for me considering it took me two days to remember I wanted to make ribs in the first place). But then my husband had an early Scouting activity that was going to run late, so I decided to save the ribs and do something simpler for just me and the kids. Thursday rolled around and I thought, “An extra day of marinating! Those ribs will be so flavorful!” Then, I remembered that the gallery featuring my mother-in-law’s art was having its grand opening of the exhibit, which, of course, we wanted to support – so it ended up being fast food on the way home. Day three! I decided no more messing around – into the crock pot, first thing in the morning. We were going to have ribs or bust! Turns out it was a bust. 🙂 I completely forgot about our ward/neighborhood party at the local splash pad. Give your kids the option of playing at the splash pad while they have dinner, or ribs and ten times out of ten I’m pretty sure they’ll go with the splash pad. Baby and I stayed home while the other four headed off for some fun (he voted for naps over splash pad and ribs)…and I had ribs for dinner. And the dog got the bones.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs country style pork spareribs

2 quarts water

1 bay leaf

1 onion, quartered

1 (18 oz) bottled prepared barbecue sauce OR 2 cups Homemade BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium onion, sliced

4 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 medium green pepper, sliced

Trim excess fat from spareribs, then place in 6-quart sauce pan with water, bay leaf, and onion. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove ribs and discard broth. Place ribs back in saucepan with BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes until tender. Add sliced onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in green pepper slices and cook just until crisp-tender.

*I cheat a little…ok a lot…when I make ribs. I don’t always have time to do all the prep, so I marinate in BBQ sauce and throw them in the crock pot on low and let them cook 6 or so hours. They end up fall-off-the-bone tender and are much faster! Also, my husband is not an onion, mushroom, or pepper eater so that’s why there are none in the picture of the dish I prepared. 🙂

Banana Bread

11 Jul

My basement smells like a dead crawdad – and I wish that was a metaphorical statement…although I guess it’s more of a simile because I used ‘like.’ My AP English teacher would be so proud. If you are wondering what dead crawdad smells like, it is not pleasant. If you are wondering why it smells like dead crawdad, it most certainly is not because my oh-so-adventerous-and-animal-loving husband came home from a Scout campout with twelve crawdads in a bucket (there of course had not been fifteen previous to them eating three for dinner), for the express purpose of raising a little crawdad family in the pond in our backyard. Three crawdads did not die in the pond seeing as how they were put in there too early and got too cold. The rest of the crawdads did not in fact kill each other despite my husband’s best efforts, leaving one solitary crawdad in the tank in our basement. And of course, my husband has better judgement than to put the last crawdad standing into our regular fish tank where he might make a meal of one of our frogs while my children stood around the tank screaming, “Dad! The crawdad is eating the frog! Save him!” (subsequently frog #2 was rescued in this hypothetical situation, only to die a week later…my husband blames it on old age, I think he was traumatized). So, of course I did not insist upon the removal of said crawdad, along with my four year old who reminded me to remind Daddy that he needed to move the crawdad because it was “freaking them out.” So, the crawdad was not banished to the basement tank once again, where I assume he began to feel guilty for murdering a poor, defenseless frog and stopped eating all together. And lastly, I did not find a floating, very moldy looking crawdad a couple of days later. In short – how on earth do you get dead crawdad smell out of your basement? Bake banana bread.

I stole this recipe from my roommate in college, which she stole from her grandma. If it’s made by a grandma, you know that is has to be good. So far, I have yet to find a banana bread recipe that comes even close to this one. I love when there’s a little bit of crunch to the top – crunch isn’t the right word…but it’s the best I can come up with. A little trick to preserve that ‘crunch,’ – don’t cover the bread with anything more than a paper towel or light cloth until it is completely cooled, otherwise it softens everything up. Still yummy, but missing the best part!

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Ingredients:

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium sized bananas)

3 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325^F. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. Lightly beat eggs then add oil and sugar until combined. Add mashed bananas and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into two greased bread pans. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown, the top springs back, and a toothpick test comes out clean.

*For extra flavor fun – try adding blueberries! I underestimated how many I should add, so this loaf is a little berry-shy…next time I will put in a few more scoops.

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Alice Springs Chicken

10 Jul

I made ice cream for dinner last night. Well, I guess I made ice cream instead of dinner last night. Unless you can count boiling eggs as preparing dinner. Now, before you pass too quick a judgement – no, I did not feed my family only boiled eggs (my kids would have been excited, but I personally hate boiled eggs) – we made Chef Salad. You have to have at least a few nights a week where dinner requires no more than five minutes of prep! Our Chef Salads, though pretty darn tasty, aren’t going to make the cut for the blog because I really don’t need a recipe to whip one of those up. My ice cream, on the other hand, will…but I haven’t taken pictures yet :). You’ll have to wait for that one (coconut banana! – you can’t wait, I know…patience…I’m sure I’ll have some today and I’ll do my best to take a picture before I eat it all). Luckily, I cook more often than I manage to blog, so I have a few recipes waiting in the wings for such an occasion as this.

Ever been to Outback Steakhouse? Ever been to Outback Steakhouse and ordered something other than steak? If you have, you can join the ranks of those of us who have tasted the heaven that is Alice Springs Chicken – yum.

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Ingredients:

4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breasts

6 pieces bacon – fried crisp

1/2 tsp Lowry’s season-all

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3 cups shredded cheese – Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack

honey mustard

Preheat oven to 350^F. Rub chicken breasts with season-all and set aside to marinate for 1 hour. While breasts are marinating, fry bacon crisp and drain (or, you can save the bacon grease and use it to cook the chicken in Рit gives a little extra flavor). Shred cheese and set aside. Take chicken from marinade and saut̩ on medium heat in pan with just enough oil to prevent sticking. Cook on both sides until a slight, golden color and cooked in the middle. Remove from pan. Place chicken in oven-safe pan and cover with honey mustard. Cover with layer of mushrooms, three slices of back, and then cover each piece with cheese. Bake in oven until cheese is melted Р15-20 minutes. Serve over rice.

*You can also add chopped artichoke hearts!

Honey Mustard:

1/2 cup prepared mustard

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Blend all together until completely smooth and free from lumps.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

6 Jul

Two days late…but, Happy 4th! We spent the holiday out of range of cell phones or internet, so my post is a bit tardy. My parents bought my great-grandmother’s house in a little mining town called Eureka about ten years ago – and when I say ‘little mining town’ I mean ‘little.’ The first time I went there I was about thirteen or fourteen. We went with my grandpa, who was raised there. We were going to go on a bus tour of the old mines (they ran out of silver quite awhile ago) and were all sitting outside the town museum waiting to get going. We saw the same three cars drive by about twenty-five times…and I’m not exaggerating. When there are new people in Eureka everyone knows, and apparently they wanted to get a good look. 🙂

Great-grandma’s house was a bit of a mess when it came back to the family. It was filled with crickets – Mormon crickets to be exact. If you know anything about Mormon history, you know that these crickets are super human! If you don’t know anything about Mormon history, the term doesn’t hold reference to Mormon’s themselves being like huge, nasty, invasive crickets :)…way back when the Pioneers were settling the valley, their crops were being eaten by said crickets. After much prayer, the miracle of the seagulls occurred – a huge flock of the birds came down and ate all the crickets, saving the much needed crops. Hence, Mormon crickets, and why Utah’s state bird is the seagull. Didn’t know I was a history buff, did you? 😉 So anyways!! Lots of crickets in the house, lots of really bad decorating and ugly paint. Nasty carpet, smelly cellar…you get the idea.I personally suffered from an entire day’s worth of what I’m pretty sure was black lung after cleaning out old insulation from the cellar. But after a lot of TLC, Grandma’s house is one of our favorite places to go. They’ve got a couple 4-wheelers stashed up there, a little play set for the kids, and with the addition of a new hammock and big-kid swing this year, I think there’s little else we can do to improve the place. I had someone ask me once what we do up there, and I had to pause and think before truthfully answering, “Nothing, really.” It is nice to have a place, a little remote but not so far that you can’t justify running up for the weekend, that is quiet and away from the real world. My kids call it “My-reka.” My oldest started that – she hears Eureka as “Your-reka,” so whenever someone asked if she wanted to go to “Your-reka” she assumed that meant the Reka was hers. We get variations depending on the context: “Her-reka,” “Our-reka,” etc. She can read now, so I’m just waiting for that dreaded day when she figures it out.

Nothing says 4th of July to me more so than fresh strawberry pie! My mom put this  one together, and I cheated and took pictures. Hers are always prettier than mine. Of course, she cheated a little and bought a frozen pie crust ;); but, even though love me a good, homemade crust, they are a pain to make! And mine always shrink! They look so nice before I bake them, but something happens in that oven…guess I need to work on my technique. I digress… This pie is the best you will ever taste, and when we got up to Eureka, it was the first thing I scoured the fridge for – only to find it wasn’t there!!! Apparently, feeding three families requires brining more food than a little Eureka fridge can hold. Something had to give and it ended up being the pie. 😦 I’m still waiting for a piece.

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Ingredients:

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp Karo syrup

4 Tbsp strawberry Jello

4 drops foor coloring

Mix sugar and cornstarch (this will help to avoid clumping) in medium saucepan. Add water and Karo. Simmer over medium heat until thick and clear. Add Jello and food coloring. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Cut up fresh strawberries and stir into cooled mixture. Pour into prepared pie crust and refrigerate until set. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

*Another yummy substitute for this recipe is fresh peaches in place of strawberries. Also replace the strawberry Jello with peach flavor.

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Lemon Syrup

3 Jul

When my mom was young, their family lived in Tonga. At that time, Tonga relied heavily on the boat that brought supplies and conveniences once a month to the island. They had most everything a family could need – except one thing. Maple syrup. They didn’t even have maple extract! I count this as a blessing in disguise, because had that simple ingredient been available, my grandma would never have ‘made do’ with her lemon extract. I don’t really even like maple syrup for the simple fact that I grew up on something way better. 🙂 My husband is another story – he doesn’t like my syrup at all. So, in my house, we have Mommy Syrup and Daddy Syrup – it’s a bit of an unspoken rivalry. I get a secret, small pleasure when the kids pick mine. Maybe not so secret… 🙂

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Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp butter

cinnamon to taste

Dissolve sugar in water in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil – until liquid is clear. Remove from heat. Add lemon extract, butter, and cinnamon. This is an easy recipe to make according to your taste – keep the sugar to water ratio 2:1 – the rest you can adjust according to your liking. Add a little more lemon if you like a stronger flavor. If you like a thicker syrup, you can also add 1 Tbsp karo syrup or cornstarch.

 

German Pancakes

3 Jul

This blog is getting to my subconscious. The last two nights I have had dreams about my recipes – and that is impressive because my baby has not been sleeping well, which means I have not been sleeping well. I’ve had barely enough time to close my eyes, let alone dream! The first one was about the Sugar Cookie Bars. My aunt was apparently preparing to feed a lot of people and needing an easy dessert. I pitched that baby to her like a used car salesman! That’s some serious recipe love, my friends. Last night, it was lasagna. The ironic thing is that lasagna isn’t even on the blog menu right now…maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something. The great thing about my lasagna dream was that I was apparently some sort of spy or secret agent – I was also apparently attending a potluck that required me to bring an entree. It’s hard to balance one’s super secret life of espionage and make dinner as well, so I did what any self-respecting agent would do – I broke into someone’s home to bake my lasagna and fought off six bad guys as I carried the hot pan back out to my awaiting escape vehicle. And I’m not even making this up. I have a pretty potent imagination. I made it out without spilling a drop, only to find that the other lasagna I had stashed in the trunk (doesn’t everyone carry around a spare lasagna in their trunk?) had been dumped upside down leaving a mess of marinara and noodles everywhere. I blame the get away driver. And on that note! Today’s recipe is German pancakes, or as my kids call it, “eggs with syrup” (real original, I know). It’s breakfast food, but I tend to make breakfast for every meal except breakfast. 🙂

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Ingredients:

6 Tbsp butter

6 eggs

2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 380^F. Melt butter in 9×13 baking dish in oven while oven is heating. Mix all ingredients. When butter is melted, pour batter into baking dish. Cook for 20-25 min. The sides of the pancakes will rise high above the edges so make sure your racks are low enough in the oven to accommodate. Serve with Lemon Syrup! 

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