Thursday, February 26, 2009

Polish Mushroom Soup

So I once again stole a photo from the Martha Stewart website because we once again ate all the food before it had a photo opp. But here is the deal: this photo sucks! Sorry, Martha it is true. I guess I have no right to complain because after all, I should have taken my own picture, but come on. So I apologize for the crappy photo. But this soup is amazing! You may question it when you see the ingredients (sour cream in soup?) but it is so good!
This recipe has a few odd ingredients so I modified it slightly. Here is what I did: The recipe calls for Polish borowik and shiitake mushroom, but try finding those in Cache Valley, so I just used just over 1 pound of white button mushroom. I also don't keep beef stock around that much so I added boullion to 3 quarts of water and that seemed to work just fine. Now for orzo. For those of you who don't know what the crap that is (I didn't), it is a small seed-shapped pasta. They are sometimes called melon seeds. I found them in the Hispanic section in my grocery store.

Any other changes I noted on the recipe. Let me know if you try this. Shawn and I think this soup is fantastic. So did my girls and that is saying something where mushroom are concerned.

Polish Mushroom Soup

Serves 8 to 12

5 to 6 ounces (about 4 to 6) dried mushrooms such as Polish borowik or c├Ępes

12 large dried shiitake mushrooms

3 quarts beef stock

5 medium ribs of celery, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

5 carrots, chopped

1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced- I quarted the, becuase I think they taste better that way. Yes I know it is strange, but it is true.

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped- I used 1 tsp dried parsely

2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped- I used 2 tsp. dried dill

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 cup orzo

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup sour cream

Table salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the dried mushrooms. Place mushrooms in 2 cups of cold water, and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer. Add the celery, onions, and carrots. Strain the dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the strained soaking liquid to the soup. Chop the hydrated mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces slightly larger than the diced vegetables, and add to the soup. Add the sliced white button mushrooms.

3. Cover, and cook the soup until the vegetables are tender, about an hour. Bring the soup to a boil. Stirring constantly, add the orzo. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking, cook until the orzo is cooked through, another 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the broth from the soup, and add to the roux, whisking constantly until slightly thickened and free of lumps. Stir the thickened liquid into the soup. Add the chopped parsley and dill.

5. Finish the soup with sour cream: Add 1/4 cup of the thickened soup to the sour cream. Whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream to the soup, whisking constantly until it is well incorporated, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Barbecue Rub

So this isn't a full dish per se, but I think this rub is very versatile. Credit for this recipe goes to my brother, Mike. He may be my brother. . . but the guy can do meat! He is great a grilling, barbecuing, etc.
This rub really packs some punch (POW!) so consider yourself warned. That being said I love to use a lot of this rub when I grill chicken for fajitas, tacos, and BBQ pizza. I will thin slice (fajitas, tacos) or cube (pizza) the chicken, then really coat the chicken in this stuff. I'm talking like 1/4-1/2 a cup depending on how much meat I have.
You can also use it for blackened chicken. Take a whole breast of chicken and rub this spice all over it. Then grill or pan-brown your chicken over medium heat until done, and the rub is black. About 8-10 minutes per side.

Barbecue Rub

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sweet paprika
3 Tbs. black pepper
3 Tbs. coarse salt- if using table salt, cut in half
1 Tbs. Hickory salt or more salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. mustard seed

Combine all ingredients well. Store in an air-tight container as you would other spices. This makes quite a bit so you could easily half this recipe.

This is not a great picture but it gives you an idea of what the meat looks like after it's cooked. We ate this meat like tacos: lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, lime juice (yum), cilantro, salsa, wrapped in flour tortillas. We ate it all up and I didn't get pictures. Sometimes I am just to hungry!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Since some of you think I should get off the treats *cough* Becca *cough*, here a a great recipe that is super easy, healthy, and very yummy. I got this recipe from my Everyday Food magazine. It is my happy mail for the day.
We love avocados at our house. Even Syd and Brynn have acquired a taste for them. It really kind of disappoints me because that means that I have to share with them now. They thought this chicken was "kinda spicy, mom" but still ate it up with lots of water. They loved the avocado salsa. I didn't tell them about the onions. So tricky.
By the way, I love you Bec, and I was seriously going to post this today anyway. :)

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6-8 oz. each)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

1- In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
2- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8-10 minutes per side.
3- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

If anyone can tell me how the picture has been photo-shopped, you will get bonus points that are good for. . . a surprise!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes

Oh my goodness, I LOVE Nutella. I could eat it by the spoonful. Wait, I do eat it by the spoonful. It is just the perfect combination of chocolate and hazel-nutty goodness. But I have never tried baking with it before. I don't know why but the thought just never occurred to me. I came across this picture on Tastespotting (love that site) and decided I had to try these out. They turned out delicious and wonderful!

Nutella Self-Frosted Cupcakes
(I thought they turned out more the consistency and density of a muffin)

10 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 c. white sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
12 tsp. Nutella (1 tsp for each cupcake)

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don't worry if the batter doesn't look smooth. Add vanillla. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be about 3/4 full. Top each supcake with 1 heaping teaspoon of Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the Nutella.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Watch carefully, I overbaked mine and they are dry. Very yummy, but dry. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Southwestern Meatloaf Burger

I got this recipe out of Martha Stewart Everyday Food. I love that magazine! But I stole the picture off the website (sorry Martha). We ate this all up before I could take a picture. I have made these burgers several times before and they are a hit. The girls even like them. A spicy burger without a bun, but kind of like a thick slice of yummy meatloaf. And we all know how I feel about meatloaf! We had these with corn and a side salad. I'm sure the tortilla that Martha suggests would be good. We were out of tortillas. I really need to go grocery shopping.

Martha says "Glazing the burgers with chili sauce keeps them moist and adds extra flavor. Look for chili sauce (actually a spicy ketchup) in the condiments aisle of your grocery store. If you are making them ahead, store the burgers in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to overnight; otherwise, bake burgers as soon as they are formed. Serves 4."


  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (about 1 bunch) scallions, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons tomato-based chili sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Warmed tortillas, for serving (optional)
  • Pickled jalapeno slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, scallions, garlic, 1/2 cup chili sauce, egg, chili powder, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix just until combined; do not overmix.
  2. Divide beef into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a 4-inch-diameter patty, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place on a plate; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in center. Transfer patties to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until browned, about 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly brush tops and sides of patties with remaining 3 tablespoons chili sauce. Return to oven; cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 160 degrees. 5 to 10 minutes more. Serve immediately, with tortillas, jalapenos, and radishes, if desired.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I found this amazing little cookbook at Borders for, get this. . . $2. Can you believe that? It is a great little book. Full of good recipes and lots of pictures (I love seeing what things are suppose to turn out like) and a really good variety of muffins, cookies, and bar cookies. So here is one that I tried that was super yummy.

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 c. chopped fresh cranberries (I used frozen and they were great. Let them thaw on counter for about 5 minutes then coarsely chop.)
1/3 c. chopped pecan- we skipped the nuts because of Syd
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins. I used mini-muffin tins.
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, butter, and egg in a small bowl until blended; stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in cranberries, pecans, and lemon peel. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack. These muffins are best served warm. We had them for breakfast. The muffins will keep several days if stored in an airtight container.
Makes about 36 mini muffins

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One More Sandwich--The Ruben (Robyn Style)

A sandwich for those with strong tastes and strong noses!
Growing up I did not like this sandwich at all. I remember when my mom would pull out the sauerkraut and I would plug my nose and run! I still haven't convinced my husband or the kids that sauerkraut is yummy, but I guess that just leaves more for me. We make these whenever Dave is out of town on a business trip so he doesn't have to smell the cabbage.
You will need:
Bread (some like rye) I go for a good wheat or white
thousand island dressing
Swiss cheese
Prep bread with butter on one side. Put bread butter side down on griddle or frying pan--on medium heat. Layer pastrami, cheese, and sauerkraut on top of bread-in that order so the cheese binds the meat and kraut together. Place second piece of bread on top butter side up. Cook until cheese melts and bread browns then flip and brown the other side. Remove from pan--slather on thousand island dressing and layer on a good amount of pickles. Eat while hot! mmmm...............
For kids and husbands you can leave off the sauerkraut.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meatloaf (Sandwich)

I love meatloaf sandwiches. Think what you will but it is true. The meatloaf, chilled and sliced, the pickles, the mustard, the soft white bread (this is a must). I love it all. I adore it. When there is leftover meatloaf in the fridge nobody dares go near it afraid of incurring my wrath if they eat it. I will make meatloaf just for the sandwiches. But I didn't make this meatloaf. . .

I have been sick. Coughing, headache, body aches, chills, fever, etc. My dad came over yesterday and took one look at me and said "You go back to bed. I will help the kids to their homework and make you a meatloaf." So I shuffled back down the hall in tears. (A good way to get me to cry is be nice to me). I'm not sure what brought the tears, the fact that I wouldn't have to do homework that night or that dad was making me MEATLOAF. It is just what a sick girl wants.

So thank you for the meatloaf dinner, dad. It was fabulous. So was the sandwich that I made for my lunch today. There is still enough left for one more tomorrow. So if you come over to my house, eat the cake, have some cookies, but stay away from the meatloaf!


1 1/2- 2 lbs. hamburger
1/4 c. onion- diced
4 slices bread
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard , or a squirt of regular mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

In a Kitchen Aid mixer, or by hand combine bread, milk, and eggs. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Form into loaves. I like to make 2. Dad made 1 giant one.
Place in a Pyrex baking dish and add about 1/2 cup water to bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Slice and serve with ketchup, BBQ sauce, or relish.

For a Meatloaf Sandwich (Which I highly recommend)

Wrap any leftover meatloaf in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Wait in great anticipation for lunch time the next day. When you can't stand it any more, gather up the meatloaf, white bread, dill pickles, mustard, mayo, and salt and pepper. Prep your bread with the mustard and mayo. Slice your meatloaf and stack it as thick or as thin as you like on the bread and top it with sliced dill pickles and salt and pepper to taste. Top with bread and slice the sandwich. Now you better find a chair because you are going to want to be sitting down when you eat this sandwich. I would suggest enjoying it with a Diet Pepsi. See, I told you it was good. Your house now has a new meatloaf hoarder too!