Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wisconsin Cauliflower-cheddar soup

This was SO yummy! Everyone loved it and I will definitely be making it again. Got it at

Wisconsin Cauliflower-cheddar soup

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped (I of course ommitted the onion)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 package (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (2 cups)

1. In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.

3. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth.

4. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

I didn't have a blender on hand so I used a food processor and it came out with little chunks of cauliflower instead of smooth. I actually loved it this way and think I will continue to make it with little chunks. Yum! Also, I didn't have an onion and used part of an onion soup mix packet instead. It still tasted great and I hate dealing with onions anyway.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Hearts!


1 (16 ounce) package confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon milk
8 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening


In a mixing bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter and milk (if needed for moisture) until blended. Shape mixture into two 1/2 pound eggs or make a bunch of smaller eggs. Freeze eggs for 1 hour.
While the eggs are freezing, cut semi-sweet chocolate into small pieces and place in top of double boiler with shortening. Melt over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Stick a long-tined fork in top of each peanut butter egg, dip it in melted chocolate to cover then drain on waxed paper. When the eggs are cooled and set, decorate the eggs to suit your fancy.

I looked at a couple other recipes and some said add rice krispies which sounds yummy. Also, others added 1 tsp vanilla. I ended up adding the vanilla to this recipe because it wasn't quite moist enough. In fact, next time I would add the vanilla instead of the milk and see if it needs the milk for moisture after it's been mixed. It shouldn't be crumbly. Also, make sure the baking chocolate is fresh next time. I have no idea how long the stuff I used had been in the pantry ('m living with my mother-in-law right now) so it might have had kind of a weird taste. No one else noticed it though. This was a fun valentine's treat. I think I'll make do the egg shape for Easter.

Sloppy Joes

These are always a hit, yet I forget about them a lot. I just used the sloppy joe seasoning packet for the ground beef. It called for tomato sauce or tomato paste. I didn't have either so I put a can of italian style stewed tomatoes in the blender and used that. It was really tasty! I think I'd do it again.

sloppy joe seasoning packet
italian style stewed tomatoes
1 lb hamburger

Baked Spaghetti


Baked Spaghetti
16 oz pkg spaghetti noodles cooked (I usually use a little bit more noodles.)
2 24 oz jars spaghetti sauce
2 lbs ground beef browned
4 T butter
4 T all-purpose flour
4 T grated parmesan cheese
2 t salt
1/2 t garlic
12 oz can evaporated milk
3 c cheddar cheese shredded and divided

Combine spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce and ground beef together; set aside. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter; add flour, parmesan cheese, salt and garlic. Stir constantly over heat until smooth and bubbly. Add evaporated milk and one cup cheddar cheese; stir until thoroughly melted. Pour 1/4 of the spaghetti noodle mixture into each 9x13 casserole dish and pour 1/2 cheese mixture over top in each pan. Pour remaining nood mixture into casserole dishes; top with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 mins.

The above makes enough for two 9 x 13 in pans. You can freeze one for later. Rob approved. I though it could have been a bit more saucy, but I think I erred on the side of too much spaghetti. But remember if you add more spaghetti than it calls for, also add more sauce.
I need to have everything out and measured for the creamy middle before I start it. The butter melts really fast and I can't be fumbling for the other ingredients because I need to stir constantly and make sure I do it quick so the butter doesn't burn. Make sure you have all the ingredients. Even though it is just spaghetti, there's stuff I don't always have.


I'm going to get these breadsticks down so they're really good. I think my problem was that the rack was way too low in the oven. The bottom got cooked too fast and the dough not fast enough. They needed to be fluffier. I googled it and I think I needed to also make the water warmer. If you add 110-115 degree water to room temp flour then it should be 78 degrees which is perfect for yeast. Also, err on the side of too much water and make sure you don't add any more salt than it asks for. I also didn't add enough seasonings. I thought I was adding a lot but it needed even more.
Amendment 1: I made these again and they were awesome! Turned out the first couple times I omitted the 30 min rise all together. How did I miss that? The only thing I would change this time would be cook even less time. I was right around 15 min and they were just a tad crispier than I would have liked. Right when you start to see a little golden brown on top, take them out.

Divine Breadsticks

*Makes about 20-25 breadsticks, depending on how thick or thin you cut them

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cups flour (I usually use a combination of unbleached all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour but use whatever you have on hand!)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)

Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet. Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice (I vary this depending on my mood but it usually consists of rosemary, basil, or thyme in some form and crushed finely) and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cheese ball

1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temp.
1 ranch dressing mix packet
1 to 1 1/2 cups cheese, grated

Mix together and form into a ball. Serve with crackers.

Yum! Use the full 1 1/2 cups cheese.

Lentil Soup

I'm also testing this one for the festival of trees cookbook. It was really good. Very flavorful.

1 lb sausage, browned and drained
2 cups lentils, washed
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
2 quarts water

2 cups tomatoes, diced (V8 juice can be used)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

In a large pot, combine sausage, lentils, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley, salt, oregano, pepper, and water. Simmer for 1 1/2 hrs. Then add tomatoes and vinegar. Cook another 15 min. Serve and enjoy!

I cheated and used canned great northern beans. I used 3 cups instead. I used V8 juice but my mom said she would have done tomatoes. Maybe try half and half? It was much faster this way. I should try it the real way when I have time. I used the regular country style fresh ground sausage. Rob liked it but wasn't crazy about it.

Pudding Cake

I've made this twice now and have yet to make it right. It's going to be so good when I finally do. I'm testing it for someone for the festival of trees cookbook.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional

3 cups water
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking soda, salt, milk, 1 tbsp butter, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, nuts and raisins together to make batter. Spread batter in a deep baking bowl. Make syrup by boiling water, remaining butter, remaining sugar, and brown sugar together until dissolved. Pour syrup over batter. Bake at 350 for 45 min OR 375 for 30 min. Serve hot with whipped cream or icecream.

The first time I burnt it--I thought I read AND 375 for 30 min. The second time, I realized I was doing the syrup wrong. I thought that the water had to pretty much dissolve until it became the consistancy of syrup. I really means until the sugars are dissolved which happens really quickly. So my syrup was mostly pretty crunchy. My family still liked it but it's going to be so creamy and gewy next time! And don't over cook it just because it looks that way. The cake underneath the gew is cooked. Also I didn't use nuts and raisins of course. :) This was (should be) a pretty easy homemade cake!