Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

My favourite resolution is the one I started in 2010 - to cook one new recipe each week. I've managed to keep it quite well, and I've discovered a number of new favourites this way. In no particular order, here are my 10 favourites of 2013.

Chicken Chili - a spicy chicken soup with chili and cream cheese. Lots of spicy goodness in this one! I made it an evening Lars wasn't home, so I could make it as spicy as the recipe called for. Yum!

Chicken Philly Sandwiches (Crockpot) A nice alternative to smothered burgers.

Roasted Bell Pepper and Avocado Soup. A delicious and creamy soup. You can't really taste the avocado, but it does wonders for the creaminess of the soup.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits. I've made these 4 times already. They're SO good :)

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad. Even Lars loved this enough to ask for leftovers the following day. Drat, I'd hoped to keep it all to myself! ;)

Nacho Potatos We both love nachos and I make it far too often ;) This will make a nice alternative.

Moroccan Chicken (Crockpot) A lovely and warming stew.

Southwestern Bean Salad I think I mostly love this because of all the avocado ;) But the different tastes go really well together.

Baked Chicken Tapenade Even my not-too-fond-of-chicken husband loved this :) I think the olives helped ;)

Oven-Baked Chimichangas. What can I say? I love pretty much anything that gives me an excuse to eat avocados ;)

... and then two that aren't really new recipes, but traditional Danish meals I finally got the hang of this year :)
Fried Pork with Parsley Sauce... with homegrown potatoes and eaten while sitting out on our porch. It was just the perfect meal for a Danish summer evening :)

Ham with Apple-Horseradish Sauce. One of Lars' favourite dishes, and I got the recipe from his mother - I HAD to get this one right! And fortunately I managed :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Week 52 - Thai Curry Soup

The Recipe
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red curry paste
1/2 can (~150-200ml) coconut milk
1l chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lime
salted peanuts

Sauté onion and carrot in some olive oil until tender. add garlic and bell pepper and cook for another minute. Add red curry paste and mash/mix until evenly distributed. Add coconut milk, chicken/vegetable broth, curry powder, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are done.

Add lime juice to taste before serving and garnish with peanuts.

The Verdict
Great base to a soup, but I didn't think the vegetables fit the base. It was okay, but nothing more... unfortunately.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Week 51: Chicken Chili

The Recipe
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (I couldn't find fresh jalapenos, so used 1.5 red chili instead)
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (no, this is FAR too much - use just ½lb instead)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 (14 oz) can tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans
2 (7 oz) can corn
200g cream cheese
175g bacon, sliced, cooked crisp and crumbled

In a large pot heat the oil and sauté onion, jalepeno, and garlic until tender.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Add cumin and oregano and cook until the chicken is lightly cooked on all sides.

Stir in diced tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and beans and increase heat to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Add more chicken stock if too thick.

The Verdict
Made this a day where DH wasn't home, which was probably a good thing. It was kinda hot, but not too hot for comfort - just enough to give a nice "bite" to it. I might even try it with 2 chilies next time. Tasted fantastic! I love the cheesy-chili flavour :) Will definitely make this again.

Edit: Okay, made this again, and despite adding 2 chilies it had practically no *bite*. Perhaps Danish chilies are just really weak? Or perhaps I was too diligent in removing seeds? Either way, it had very little heat to it, but that was easily remedied by adding extra chili-flakes at serving time.

More importantly, I thought the soup had FAR too much chicken! It definitely only needs about half of what the recipe calls for. I'll have to remember that for next time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Week 50: Chicken Tortilla Soup

(From "Baked by Rachel")

The Recipe
400g chicken breast
2 small cans corn (~15oz total)
1 can tomatoes, (~15oz)
1 liter chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chili powder (NB: leave this out if you don't like things spicy. Because it simmers all day a little goes a VERY long way, and this was far too much heat for my DH. I loved it, though :-D )
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp ground pepper, divided
shredded cheese
tortilla strips or nachos

(Fits a 3.5L crockpot)

Add the first 8 ingredients (chicken through chili) to a crock-pot. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Just before serving, remove chicken breasts to a bowl for easy shredding. Season chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Return the chicken to the crock-pot and stir.

Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla strips/nachos.

(Tortilla strips can be made by frying a cut-up tortilla in butter (don't forget the butter!) until golden and crisp).

The Verdict
The original recipe had extra serrano peppers added to the soup, but I know DH doesn't do well with a lot of heat, so I left those out, and just had some to add to my bowl at serving time. ...And it's good without as well - definitely has enough flavour to carry it through. I'll definitely be making this again! (But with less chili powder - even just 1/4tsp was too much for DH)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week 49: Avocado and Egg

The Recipe
1 avocado
2 eggs
parmesan cheese
salt, pepper
Spices according to taste.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Halve the avocado and take out the pit. Put the two halves in an oven-proof dish. Crack an egg into the pit hole of each half. Garnish with cheese and spices according to taste.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how done you want the egg to be.

Serve immediately.

The Verdict
There's a first for everything. I usually love avocado, but I did not care for this at all. I ate the egg, but left the avocado behind. What a waste of a good avocado. Won't be making this again.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 48: Tortilla Noodle Soup

The Recipe
2 cans (15oz) tomatoes
1 liter beef stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili
Juice from a lime (or half a lemon)
2 tbsp sugar
300 g diced chicken
2 diced bell peppers
Tortilla Noodles (made from cutting up 4 tortillas into 1/4-inch strips),
Shredded cheese for garnish

In a pot, cook the diced chicken until no longer pink in the middle. Put aside. Add the stock and stir a bit to pick up the charred bits from the bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Add salt, chili, lime juice and sugar to taste. Add chicken and bell peppers and bring to a boil. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Add tortilla noodles and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese on top.

The Verdict
There were FAR too many tortilla noodles! They basically overpowered the entire dish! It tasted alright, but seemed more like soggy tortillas than anything else... not the concept I was going for.

We had quite a bit left for the next day, so I removed 90% of the tortilla noodles, added a can of beans, a can of corn and a can of coconut milk, and brought to a boil again. That turned it into a MUCH better soup... but very similar to old favourites, so I probably won't be making this particular permutation again.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 47: Garlic Bread

The Recipe
1 loaf ciabatta bread, horizontally cut in half (about 300g)
3 tablespoons salted butter (soft)
2 cloves garlic, minced
250g fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1dl balsamic vinegar
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place both sides of the bread on a large baking sheet with the cut side up.

In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic and spread evenly on bread halves. Place the mozzarella cheese slices on top of the bread. Bake the bread for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Meanwhile make the balsamic reduction. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring the vinegar to a boil, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by about half - about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the bread from oven. Top the bread with tomato slices and put back in the oven for 1-2 minutes, just to soften the tomatoes a bit. Season with salt and pepper, add the fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Cut into slices and serve.

The Verdict
DH didn't care for the balsamic reduction, so I served that on the side, and could probably have made do with half (but that would have made it awfully difficult to reduce!). I liked it though :)

But otherwise, what's not to like? Good bread, yummy garlic butter, and the lovely mix that is mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. It was VERY garlicky, so you'd want to be aware of your plans for the rest of the day, but it tasted delicious :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 46: Chicken Philly Sandwiches

The Recipe
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp honey
1/8 tbsp vinegar
pinch of ginger
pinch of garlic powder
450gr chicken breasts, sliced
salt, pepper
sliced Mozzarella cheese (approx 250g)
burger buns

Add first 9 ingredients (butter through chicken) to a crock-pot. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.

When it's done, shred the chicken with a spoon or two forks.

Preheat the oven to 200C

Slice the burger buns in halves and cover one half with sliced mozzarella. Heat in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

Cover with the chicken mix and serve.

The Verdict
Loved it, loved it, loved it!!! It was a bit bland at first, but with some added salt and chili sauce it worked perfectly. The melted cheese gave it that "something extra" to make it really delicious. Next time I might serve it with salsa instead of chili sauce, or perhaps even add a tablespoon or two of salsa to the crock-pot.

But really yummy no matter what and DEFINITELY worth a repeat!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 45: Stuffed Bell Peppers

The Recipe
70g thinly sliced roast beef
8 slices cheese
2 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise
1 large onion, thinly sliced
200-250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
1dl rice, precooked

Preheat oven to 200C. Boil the rice.

Saute onions and mushrooms over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper. Saute until onions and mushroom are nice and caramelized. About 25-30 minutes.

Slice roast beef into thin strips (I found it easiest to cut them with scissors) and add to the onion/mushroom mixture. Allow to cook 5-10 minutes.

Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of cheese. Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing. Top each pepper with another slice of cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.

The Verdict
I served this with garlic bread, which was fine, but another time I might try to cook a cup of rice and mix it with the onion/mushroom mixture - just to make for a more filling stuffing. Also, I think I'll add another onion and another clove of garlic... either that, or use a tiny bit less meat.
I tried making it again with more garlic, a larger onion and less meat and it turned out SO much better. I've updated the quantities in the recipe above so it reflects the new measurements.

I really liked it, and will definitely be making it again. I think it would work well with other types of meat as well. Easy to make and tasted great :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week 44: Chicken Parmesan Cupcakes

The Recipe
1 egg
1 lb ground chicken breast
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 small/medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
6 fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)
salt and pepper
Mozzarella, cut into cubes.
1/2 cup panko / breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Pasta / Spaghetti
Pasta Sauce

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust, mix until evenly coated and set aside.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then add the next 7 ingredients (chicken through salt and pepper) and mix thoroughly.

Coat a muffin tray with oil, place a blob of the chicken mixture in each well. Nestle a cube of mozzarella in the center of the mixture. Pat the chicken over the cheese to completely cover it.

Sprinkle the panko/Parmesan mixture on top of each chicken mound, lightly pressing it into the meat.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the panko is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes. Then lightly loosen each cupcake from the muffin tin.

In the meantime, warm the pasta sauce and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

The Verdict
The original recipe had you mix TWICE as much panko/parmesan for the crust. I was VERY generous and still had heaps left over. I'll definitely be using these measurements next time.

Because there absolutely will be a "next time". I'm not usually a huge meatball/meatloaf fan, but possibly the fact that this was made with chicken instead of beef meant that it was much lighter and it tasted great :) I didn't have any mozzarella, so I substituted for a cheap cheese, which was probably a mistake. I'll try to find a better cheese next time.

Definitely worth a repeat :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 43: Tapas Tartelettes

The Recipe
1 leek, finely chopped
10 slices of bacon, thinly sliced (about 150g)
1dl white wine
2dl cream
1 package puff pastry - about 250g

Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the leek and the bacon for a couple of minutes until the leek is soft and the bacon is cooked but not yet crisp.

Add the white wine and let it simmer until mostly reduced. Add the cream and warm it up until just before boiling. Let it cool down.

Cut the puff pastry into pieces suitable for a muffin-thingie (yes, I'm sure that's the official word for it!), shape it as a tartelette and distribute the leek-bacon mix into each.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes.

The Verdict
Strangely boring! I had not seen that coming at all, but I was very unimpressed. I like the idea though, so may try again with different filling.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 42: Beef Bourguignon

The Recipe
3/4 lb carrots
3/4 lb pearl onions
1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
salt and pepper
½ tbsp oil
3 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp beef broth
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1.5 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp flour
250g white mushrooms

Place everything in a crock-pot, stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

Serve with baked potatoes.

The Verdict
Another freezer meal (except the mushrooms which were added at cooking time), and once again I can state definitively that carrots do NOT freeze well! They turned all weird and icky. I'm not usually a picky eater, but had to put those aside.

Apart from that it tasted alright. Not an instant favourite though, so I may or may not make this again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 41: Slow Cooker Nachos

The Recipe
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can (15oz) beans, undrained
2 tbsp salsa
1 pkg. taco seasoning (~1oz)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder

Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Salsa, Guacamole... whatever strikes your fancy.

Brown ground beef in skillet on stove. Add ground beef through garlic powder to crockpot.
Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.

Serve with toppings.

The Verdict
I've made stove-top nachos more often than I can count (and love it!), but needed a crock-pot version of it. I didn't expect it to taste all that different from stove-top nachos - and it didn't - but somehow the texture of it was better. Probably not something I'll make too often, as I prefer crock-pot recipes where I don't have to cook the meat in advance, but it's a nice recipe to have available for those lazy Sundays where I'd rather have my cooking over and done with early in the day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week 40: Cheesecake with Raspberries

The Recipe
200g / 400ml soft vanilla ice cream
150g biscuits, crumbled (I used hobnobs)
60g butter, melted
200g rinsed raspberries - save 12 for decorating
8 small meringue, crumbled
200g ricotta
25g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Can preferably be made 1 day in advance and frozen (leave off the decorating raspberries). Take it out of the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving.

Mix the biscuit crumble with the butter and press the mixture into a spring form (20cm) - leave it to cool.
Put the ice cream into a large bowl and mash it with the back of a spoon. Mix in the ricotta and the vanilla, and then the meringue crumble and the raspberries. Mix gently and distribute the mixture on the now cool biscuits.
Put into the freezer for at least 1hr, preferably until the next day.

The Verdict
Pretty good, but not as awesome as most other cheesecakes I've tried. A LOT easier to make though, which is always worth taking into account :) Another time I'd probably mash the raspberries as well though, rather than mixing them into the ice cream whole.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 39: Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup with Bacon

The Recipe
(Serves 2)
3-4 red peppers
1 avocado, pitted
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ lime, juiced
2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
½ avocado, diced (to garnish)
Peanuts (to garnish)
7-8 slices of bacon (approx 150g), cut into thin strips

Preheat the oven to 225C. Rinse the bell peppers, and put them on their sides in an oven proof dish. Roast for 20 minutes, turn them over and roast for another 20 minutes. They should be slightly black on top when done - if not, give them a few minutes extra. Chop up the peppers, discarding stem, seeds and as much of the skin as will come off easily.

Place a pot over high heat and cook the bacon until most of the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot, but leave the fat in. Decrease heat to medium and add your garlic and onions, cooking until the onions are translucent.

Then add in your roasted red peppers with broth and coconut milk along with the smoked paprika, paprika, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Once everything has simmered, scoop out the avocado and add to the saucepan along with the lime juice. Use an immersion blender to mix until soup is smooth and creamy.

Top soup with diced avocado, bacon and peanuts.

The Verdict
Unfortunately I let the bell peppers roast for a bit too long, so it had a bit of a burnt flavour. (They were small - the time mentioned above is fine for regular sized bell peppers.) It's good, but more appropriate for lunch/starter than a full meal - but that's mostly due to my personal preference that soups should have more bite / texture.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 38: Pizzadillas

The Recipe
6 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded mozzarella
30 (approx.) pepperoni slices
1 med. bell pepper
1 small onion
A hand full of olives
6 (approx.) mushrooms
1 can (~15oz) stewed, chopped tomatoes

In a casserole over medium heat, warm up the canned tomatoes until hot and bubbly. Add spices according to taste.

Meanwhile prep the ingredients by thinly slicing all vegetables.

For each pizzadilla: Measure 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Sprinkle half of the cheese over one half of the tortilla, add toppings and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the toppings.

Place the pizzadilla in a prewarmed pan (medium heat) and cook until brown and crispy on the bottom. Carefully flip the pizzadilla over and cook until brown and crispy on the second side. Add a bit of oil to the pan if you want them extra crisp. Once both sides are crisp and the cheese is melted inside, transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest (my skillet was large enough that I could cook 2 at a time). Serve with hot tomato sauce.

The Verdict
Super-easy and a nice alternative to both pizzas and tortillas. Of course you can easily use other "toppings" as well, but this suited our tastes nicely.

DH and I ate 3.5 between the two of us, so this would be suitable for 3 people with average appetites :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 37: Strawberry Buttermilk

The Recipe
125g strawberries
1.5 tbsp sugar
5dl buttermilk
1/2 dl heavy cream (38%)
lemon juice

Put strawberries, sugar and 1/2 of the buttermilk in a blender. Add the rest of the buttermilk until smooth. Mix with the cream and lemon juice according to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

The Verdict
Usually I don't bother making this from scratch, because it's actually cheaper to buy already mixed in the supermarket. However, I had some left-over buttermilk from the Avocado dressing that I knew I wouldn't get around to using otherwise.

But DH and I both agreed - it's a fine way to use buttermilk that would otherwise just be thrown out, but though it's sacrilege we both agreed that we actually prefer storebought to homemade -- at least homemade by THIS recipe. However, there are as many recipes for buttermilk desserts as there are households, so it's probably just a matter of trying another. I picked this one as it seemed suitably easy and only used ingredients I already had.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week 36: BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

From Closet Cooking

The Recipe
4 small chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I discovered too late that what I thought was BBQ sauce was in fact BBQ oil! I don't think it made too much of a difference though)
6 cups lettuce, sliced or torn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed (I used chickpeas instead)
4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, torn
2 pitas - cut into 1" squares

Avocado dressing
1 medium avocado
1 lime, juice
1 green onion
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything for the avocado dressing in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge and finish within a few days.

Cook the bacon until crumbly. Put bacon aside, but keep the juices in the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side basting the chicken in the BBQ sauce as you go.
Let the chicken cool a bit. Meanwhile, roast the pita croutons in the reserved BBQ oil & fats until crispy.

Assemble salad and enjoy!

The Verdict
The Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad was better. I can't say exactly why, but something was missing from this, making it less than perfect. It might have been the chickpeas and that it would have been better with the beans instead. It was good enough for me to want to make it again, but not an instant favourite the way the BDCB salad was.

Oh, and there was FAR too much avocado dressing. I've tried freezing the rest in ice cube trays, not that I know if it'll be any good once they thaw, but I figured I might as well make the attempt and throw them out later rather than sooner :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 35: Coconut Cookies

The Recipe
250 g flour
250 g margarine
130 g coconut flour
130 g sugar
½ tsp ammonium bicarbonate (hjortetaksalt in Danish)

300 g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp water
Essence of rum (optional - I didn't have any)

Mix first 5 ingredients thoroughly and roll them to 6 "sticks" about 40-50cm long (whatever fits your baking sheets). Don't worry too much about the thickness of them - they'll spread out as they heat up. Put them on a baking sheet and bake them at 200C until they're golden brown - about 12 minutes.

Mix the icing sugar and water to a thick paste. Add more icing sugar or water as necessary.

While the "sticks" are still warm put a thin layer of icing along the middle and cut them into 3-4cm pieces. They're very soft while warm, but will get more crisp as they cool down.

The Verdict
I was certain I was doing something wrong, because the dough was so sticky it was almost impossible to roll into sticks! I ended up just shaping them directly on the baking sheets rather than rolling them. It all evened out as they baked though, and once I added icing and they cooled down they ended up being just as I remembered them. Absolutely delicious :) I'll definitely be making these again.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Week 34: Chicken, Mushroom and Bacon Fettuccine

The Recipe
250gr chicken breast, cut into pieces
250gr fresh mushroom, sliced
4 slices of bacon, sliced
1 onion, diced
250gr sour cream
1 package fettuccine noodles

... You know, I'm not even going to bother typing out the directions for this one. It is the only meal ever that I took two bites of and then threw the rest out. I really, really, really hope the 250gr sour cream was a typo, because it completely ruined the dish. It had smelled fantastic until then, but with that much sour cream it ended up dominating the dish completely.

It might have been worthwhile with half that amount of sour cream (or even less), but honestly I don't feel like giving it a second chance.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 33: Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits

Inspired by Lizard from Debora Geary's "WitchLight" trilogy.

The Recipe
2 cups flour (~5dl / 300g)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika (for more of a kick, replace half with chili)
1 tsp onion powder
2.5dl milk
125g butter, melted
8 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
2.5dl shredded Cheddar cheese
1 egg

Heat the oven to 200C.

In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, and onion powder. Mix to blend then add the milk, butter, bacon and cheese. Mix gently. The dough will be wet and sticky. Using a table spoon, portion the batter onto a baking sheet, leaving an inch or so around each biscuit.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with a splash of water and then brush this mixture on the top of each biscuit. Bake in the oven until the biscuits are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, approx 15 minutes.

The Verdict
I had one straight out of the oven, and three the following day for breakfast. They're better warm than cool, but taste great either way. It's really odd how you can't really taste the bacon or cheese in any distinct way - they just combine to give the biscuits an overall savoury taste.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Week 32: Omelet Muffins

From Mark's Daily Apple

The Recipe
6 eggs
1/4 – 1/2 cup bacon - cooked crisp, crumbled and drained (optional)
1/2 cup diced vegetables (I used squash)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp water
1/8 cup water

Preheat oven to 175C. Use greased muffin tins or silicone baking cups. This recipe makes 6-7 muffins depending on the size.

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add bacon, vegetables, salt, ground pepper, and any other ingredients and stir to combine.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until done.

Can be eaten straight away or cooled and saved for another day.

The Verdict
I made these for breakfast. Had three one day and saved 3 for the next. I hadn't expected them to, but they actually kept me quite sufficiently full until lunch! That was a pleasant surprise :)
I liked them well enough, but by the 6th one I wished for a tad more variation. I think next time I'll try several different types of vegetables instead of just one - and possibly make a couple of smaller batches so I can make several different ones at once.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 31: Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad

From Closet Cooking.

The Recipe
(serves 2 as a main course)

60-70g bacon, cut in thin slices (half a package if you're in Denmark)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped and divided
250g ground beef
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp bacon grease oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I used 1.5tbsp red wine and 0.5tbsp balsamico instead)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp oil or bacon grease (I used half oil with basil and half oil with chili)
2 hamburger buns, cut into 1 inch cubes (didn't have any, so I used pita bread instead)
4 cups lettuce, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until nice and crisp - about 5-10 minutes. Set aside the bacon and drain the bacon grease from the pan (I only got about 1 tbsp - you might get more). Add the onions and half the garlic and saute until tender and fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Mix in the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, simmer to reduce, remove from heat and set aside. Add the vinegar to the pan, deglaze it and then add 1 tbsp bacon grease, sugar, mustard, the rest of the garlic and season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, toss the buns in the oil / bacon grease and bake in the oven until lightly golden brown (about 10 minutes).

Toss the lettuce and tomatoes along with the pan sauce dressing, beef, bacon, croutons and cheese. Yes, it looks like a lot of cheese, but it works :)

The Verdict
SO GOOD!!! Even my husband loved it and asked for left-overs the following day (drat! I had hoped to keep them all for myself!). Really delicious and definitely something I'll be making again. The substitutions worked perfectly and I can't think of a single thing I'd do to change it or make it better. Definitely worth a repeat!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 30: Fried Pork with Parsley Sauce

This is one dish I'm ridiculously pleased I got right. It's quintessentially Danish and one of my husband's favourite dishes. For some reason I hadn't dared attempt it before now, but with our home-grown potatoes being ripe for harvesting it was time :)

The Recipe
500g of sliced pork belly. You'll want the stuff that looks like spareribs - just thinner. Like this.
6-700g new potatoes
15g flour
1/2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1dl chopped fresh parsley (about half a pot)
Salt, pepper

Heat the oven to 200-220C.

Place the slices of pork belly on a grill tray / gridiron. Make SURE to have something underneath to catch all the drippings or you'll be cleaning the oven for the next year. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and cook for about 40 minutes - checking ever 10-15 minutes. You'll want them crisp but not burnt. Once they're done remove them from the tray and put them on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up the last juice.

Meanwhile boil the potatoes and prepare the parsley sauce:

In a small put, melt the butter over medium heat. Pour in a little of the flour at a time until the butter cannot take any more - this is probably only about half the flour. Add in some of the milk and stir until smooth again. Add the rest of the flour - the sauce should be able to incorporate it now - and then the rest of the milk (this sounds more complicated than it is). Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Finally mix in the chopped parsley and bring to a quick boil again.

Serve with preserved beetroots or other pickled vegetables.

The Verdict
I feel like doing a happy dance here. I got the meat exactly right. It was perfectly crisp, not too hard, not too chewy and not burnt at all!!! So proud of myself :) The parsley sauce turned out okay - I didn't put nearly enough salt into it, but then I never do :-P and it was easily remedied. DH loved it, and I'm very satisfied with how this attempt went :) Definitely something I'll be making again :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 29: Omelet with Tomatoes and Cheese

The Recipe
3 eggs
~1/2dl water (I eyeballed it)
1 large tomato
1 thin slice chili Gouda
Salt, Pepper

Crack the three eggs into a small bowl. Whip them to a frenzy - you really want to get some air into the batter. When you feel like you've whipped them sufficiently, add the water (or milk... I didn't have any though, so water it was) and whip them all over again. Add a couple of dashes of tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.

In a pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Pour the batter into the pan and resist the urge to scramble them - scrambled eggs are delicious as well, but right now you're wanting an omelet :) Just let them cook on their own for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and cheese up into small pieces. Add them to the top of the omelet once the 2-3 minutes are up, and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Fold the omelet in half, covering up the toppings. After another 2 minutes it'll be done.

Serve with chili sauce if desired.

The Verdict
I definitely didn't use enough cheese! I'll probably take twice that next time. But that aside I loved it! It was my first attempt at making an omelet, and it turned out perfectly! :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Week 28: Ravioli w. Garlic Cheese Sauce

The Recipe
500g Ravioli with filling of your choice
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 bell pepper
2dl cream
150g garlic cream cheese
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2dl pasta water

In a pot, boil the ravioli according to the instructions on the package. Drain, reserving 2dl of the water (~1cup).

In a pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Add bell pepper, cream, cream cheese, white wine vinegar and pasta water. Bring the sauce to a boil and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and basil according to taste.

Mix pasta and sauce and serve.

The Verdict
Not bad :) Very simple - took less than 30 minutes to make, and most of that was getting the water to a boil - but I liked the way it tasted :)

Week 27 - Crock Beef and Ale

The Recipe
2 tsp olive oil
500g beef stew meat, cubed
1 onion, in wedges
2 sliced carrots
1 bell pepper, sliced
6 oz beer
3 oz tomato paste
15g Italian salad dressing mix
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients in a crock-pot. Stire to combine. Cover and cook on LOWfor 6-8 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

The Verdict
Not my favourite crock-pot meal, but not bad either. Even though I don't generally like beer, it gave an interesting taste to this meal.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Week 26: Cannoli with Minced Meat

The Recipe
1 package of fresh lasagna pasta
500g minced beef
250g mushrooms
250g spinach
100g sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
200g mozzerella

In a pan brown the minced beef until no longer pink. Add mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add half the mozzerella.

Split the pasta into 6-8 pieces, and fill them with the meat sauce like a tortillas. Put in an oven proof dish and pour a bit of boiling water over. Top with the rest of the mozzerella. Put a piece of foil over and cook at 200C for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese on top has started to brown.

The Verdict
Really boring. Not something I'll bother to make ever again.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 25: Spicy Sausage Pasta

The Recipe
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 lb sausage
1 diced onion
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
5 oz salsa or stewed tomatoes
4tbsp milk or cream
2dl pasta
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cheese, shredded

Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes, milk / cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in half the cheese. Top with remaining cheese and broil until cheese is melted.

The Verdict
Quick and easy to make which is always a plus, but the dish as a whole was just okay. It's a good way to use up left-over sausage though. The recipe as stated serves 2 people nicely as long as they're not too hungry ;)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 24: Nacho Potatoes

The Recipe
3 cups potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces (that corresponds to ~3 large potatoes. Next time I'll use more though!)
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1lb minced beef
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
6tbsp (~1dl) vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 1/2 a lime
12 olives, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream
Guacamole (I just mashed an avocado with the rest of the lime juice)

Preheat the oven to 230C. Line a baking sheet and spread out the potato chunks and lightly spray with olive oil (or drizzle about 1 teaspoon of oil over them). Add spices and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to fully coat each piece. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping once.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Brown the beef in a large pan. Add vegetable broth, bell pepper, corn and the spices. Turn heat to low and cook until the liquid has mostly cooked away. Add spring onions and olives and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and add salt and pepper to taste - don't forget this step, I did!

If necessary, (re-)heat the queso.

Transfer the potatoes to a large plate or oven proof dish and mix with about 1 cup of the queso... or according to taste. Pour the sauce over and mix thoroughly. Serve with garnishes.

The Verdict
Now you see why I tried making my own queso ;) Apart from the failure of a decent queso, this dish turned out fabulously! I'll definitely be making this again. Although next time I'll use more potatoes - the ratio wasn't quite right, so it's probably better with 4 cups instead of just 2-3.

Delicious dish though :)

Week 23: Queso Dip

The Recipe
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a small pot, mix in the corn starch and stir until fully incorporated. Add sour cream and stir until it starts bubbling.
Add the cheese and stir until it has fully melted.

The Verdict
Not the best queso I've ever had - but I'm not entirely sure whether that's due to too much sour cream, not a high enough quality cheese or simply a bad recipe. Guess I'll just have to keep trying.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Week 22: Braised Carrots

The Recipe
1/2kg carrots
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
50-75g bacon
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tbsp chicken stock
salt, pepper
a handful or two of rucola / rocket salad

Preheat the oven to 200C
Peel the carrots and cut them into long sticks. If you use new carrots, just leave them as is.
In a pan, heat up the olive oil, and cook the onion, garlic and bacon until the onion is translucent.
Add the carrots and chicken stock and stir briefly to get all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Transfer to an oven-proof dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

The Verdict
Loved it :) A very tasty side dish to e.g. pork chops or turkey. I may make it without the bacon next time to make it healthier... on the other hand - everything is better with bacon ;)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 21: Moroccan Chicken

Yet another freezer meal. They really make sense when it comes to crock-pot meals :)

The Recipe
3 chicken breasts
1 can beans of your choice
6oz plum (Roma) tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into squares
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp peanut butter

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
About 15 minutes before serving, add peanut butter; blend well.

The Verdict
Really easy to make and very tasty :) I liked the special taste the peanut butter added. Originally the recipe was also supposed to have raisins, but neither DH nor I are particularly fond of raisins, so I left those out.

Will definitely make again :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week 20: Nell's Nutella Cookies

Credit goes to Ai-vy.

The Recipe
1.25 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (more if you use unsalted butter)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
113g softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (farin)
2 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla essence
1/2 cup Nutella, room temperature
1/3 cup milk
Extra Nutella for topping

Make the batter 1-3 days before you want the cookies.

In a freezer bag, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Toss in bag to mix well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds. Add in Nutella and beat until smooth and well incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add in the milk, mixing until well incorporated. Add in the rest of the flour mixture and mix completely.

Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight (or as long as 2-3 days).

When ready to bake cookies, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll tablespoon sized amounts of dough into balls and place them on a lined cookie sheet, allowing about 2 inches between the dough balls.

Lightly press the dough balls with the flat of your palm. Make an indention with your thumb in the middle of the dough balls. Add a scant amount (around or less than 1/8 teaspoon) of Nutella to the dip of the dough balls.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are crackly on top and soft, but starting to set. Remove from the oven and allow them to stand for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

The Verdict
They were every bit as yummy as they looked and smelled while baking :) If anything, they may be a tiny bit too rich, so I'm thinking about adding some nuts next time... either by adding chopped nuts to the batter, or by putting nuts on top instead of the extra Nutella. I tried to add peanut butter to some which also turned out really well and was what gave me the idea.

Do NOT skip the step on refrigerating the batter! It makes it so much easier to work with. In fact, if I ever make a double portion of these, I think I'll only take half of the batter out of the fridge at a time, as it became increasingly more messy as time went on. For the same reason I'm glad I put all the cookies on baking sheets at the same time, instead of using my usual method and only preparing one sheet at a time.

But absolutely without a doubt worth a repeat :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week 19: Southwestern Bean Salad

The Recipe
1 can (450g) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (285g drained) corn
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
1 medium avocado, diced
1 diced jalapeno (optional)

In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, spring onion, salt and pepper. Squeeze fresh lime juice to taste and stir in olive oil. Marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes. Add avocado and jalapeno just before serving.

Alterations: I couldn't find spring onion, so added a bit more red onion instead. The ratios looked off, so I added another tomato and another avocado. Left out the jalapenos for DH's sake, but added some chili flakes to my portion.

The Verdict
LOVED it!! I served it with paprika/oregano marinated pork chops and it just fit the bill perfectly. Extremely delicious and will definitely be made again. DH wasn't too keen on the beans, so I'll have to try something else next time... chickpeas might work quite nicely as well.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 18: Baked Zucchini Sticks

The Recipe
1 thin zucchini
1tsp salt
3/4dl bread crumbs
1/3dl parmesan cheese
1 egg
olive oil

Cut the zucchini into sticks - about 1x1x3cm. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave for at least 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
In one bowl, mix up the egg; in another, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, oregano and paprika.
Preheat the oven to 225C. Prepare a baking sheet by drizzling it with olive oil
Dredge the zucchini sticks through first the eggs, then the bread crumbs. Place them on the baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes, turn over the sticks and bake for another 8 minutes.

Serve with sweet chili sauce :)

The Verdict
I really loved it :) I don't think I rinsed mine thoroughly enough, as it was a tad on the (too) salty side, but it still tasted great! I only ate half of them, but the recipe says that they can be reheated at 175C for 15 minutes, so I'll have to try that.

It's a lot of work, so I don't know how often I'll be making them, but they're very delicious :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Week 17: Baked Chicken Tapenade

The Recipe
1lb boneless, skinless chicken pieces - preferably breasts
5-6 olives, finely chopped OR 4 tbsp olive tapenade
8 slices of pancetta or parma
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1dl (~6.5tbsp) white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 bell pepper, cut in chunks
Salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C.

With a sharp knife, cut some deep wedges into each chicken piece. Put the chopped olives/olive tapenade into the wedges and wrap each piece in 1-2 slices of pancetta. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish and place the tomato and bell pepper pieces around them. Pour wine and olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Cover with some foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with ciabatta bread that's been sliced, brushed with olive oil and grilled for 2-3 minutes.

The Verdict
After a couple of weeks with disappointing results, I am very happy to say that I loved this. It tasted just as good as it sounded, and my not-too-fond-of-chicken DH liked it too :) I think I'll chop of the garlic finer and add it to the olives next time though - they rather disappeared in the sauce. The ciabatta would only improve with some garlic as well ;)
I tried chopping the garlic finer and adding it to the olives - it DEFINITELY needs less garlic if doing it that way. I used 2 large cloves, and it was almost overpowering. So one should be more than enough.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 16 - Chocolate Pudding Cake

The Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups hot water

Grease your crockpot with butter. In a bowl, mix together all of the cake ingredients. Beat until smooth. Put the batter into the crock pot, and pat it down evenly.

In a smaller bowl, mix the cocoa and brown sugar. Add the hot water. Mix until smooth. Pour this sauce evenly over the batter but do not mix!

Cover. Cook on HIGH for about 3 hours until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Turn off the crockpot and let the cake sit for half an hour.

The Verdict
So very, very bad :( Neither my husband nor I could stomach eating more than a couple of mouthfuls of this. It actually tasted gross. I never thought the day would come that I'd pick throwing chocolate cake out over eating it, but here there was no contest. I never knew chocolate cake could taste that bad. Erdk.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 15: Beer Crock Chicken

The Recipe
4-6 pieces of chicken
1 can of beer
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp basil

Dump everything in the crock pot.
Frozen chicken: 5-6 hours on HIGH / 8-10 hours on LOW.
Fresh/thawed chicken: 3-4 hours on HIGH / 7-8 hours on LOW.

The Verdict
Just... not good :( Can't pin-point exactly what was wrong with it, but I didn't care for it at all, unfortunately.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 14: Sweet Garlic Chicken

The Recipe
2 pieces of chicken
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar.

Preheat the oven to 225C.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet and briefly saute the garlic until it's soft and fragrant. Take off the heat and add brown sugar and any other seasoning (+ salt / pepper) you might like.
Bake for 15-30 minutes or until the juices run clear.

The Verdict
Unfortunately I didn't care for this at all. It was much too sweet. Odd, because generally speaking I like things that have been caramelized. The exception that proves the rule, I guess?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 13: Crispy Edamame

The Recipe
No real recipe for this. Just take frozen edamame, toss with olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, put in oven-proof dish. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.

The Verdict
Hmm... I think I may have made the mistake of crowding the edamame, because they didn't turn out crispy at all. Either that or I just didn't bake them for long enough. Better luck next time I guess?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 12: BBQ Crock-pot Chicken

Another freezer meal...

The Recipe
2 chicken breasts
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground red pepper flakes
1/3 tsp garlic powder

Defrost and pop in the crock-pot. Cook for 3-5 hours on HIGH or 7-9 hours on LOW.

Serve with rice.

The Verdict
I thought it looked a bit boring as I popped it in the crock-pot, so I added 1 small can of corn and a chopped bell pepper - definitely an improvement!
It was okay... nothing spectacular, but a decent meal. Probably not something I'll make again, but only because I've got a lot of similar recipes that are equally good or better.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 11 - Oven Baked Chimichangas

The Recipe
1lb ground chicken
1 package taco seasoning (~30gr)
2.5dl water
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tomatoes, diced
2 spring oniones, chopped
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
~50g butter - melted
6 large flour Tortillas
GARNISH: Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cheese, Guacamole, Salsa, Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 225C. Saute meat until cooked through and starting to brown. Add taco seasoning and stir. Add water and stir. Cook until liquid has reduced 2/3.

Add cumin, oregano, tomatoes and green onions. Simmer until the rest of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and Cheddar cheese.

Lay tortillas on a plate and brush both sides with the melted butter. Spoon 1/6 th of filling into center of tortilla and fold like and envelope.

Put tortillas, seam-side down on a non-stick sheet pan. Spaced so they DO NOT touch. Bake 15 minutes or until golden and crisp (careful - they suddenly get too much). Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven to melt.

Serve with the garnishes.

The Verdict
A lot of work, but so totally worth it! It tasted fantastic, and I was disappointed I could only eat the one. Definitely worth a repeat. Would probably taste just as good with any other form of ground meat I think.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Week 10: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

The Recipe
6 large potatoes
1 tsp salt
A dash of pepper
60g butter
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup hot milk
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream

Scrub potatoes, pierce skins and bake at 200C for 60 minutes. Cut potatoes and scoop out pulp; mash. Add salt, pepper, butter, and cheese; beat well. Add hot milk and beat until fluffy and cheese is melted. Stir in green onions and sour cream; blend. Reduce oven temperature to 175C. Spoon potatoes into an baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

The Verdict
I usually love mashed potatoes and especially baked mashed potatoes, so had high hopes for this one. And it was okay... just not as terrific as I had expected. Part of this was because of the green onions - 15 minutes just wasn't enough to get them properly done, so they were too crunchy and tangy compared to the rest of the dish. I should probably just have left them out. In the end, too much hassle for not a particularly satisfying result.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 9: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese

The Recipe
4 slices bread - the better the quality, the better the dish, but I just used toast bread and it was still fine.
2 slices sharp cheddar
2 slices spicy cheese
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1.5 tbsp butter
2 tbsp BBQ sauce

Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter in a skillet. Add the sliced onion and stir occasionally until color changes to slightly brown and taste is sweet, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from skillet and set aside.

Spread 1 tbsp of the remaining butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Divide BBQ sauce evenly among 2 of the slices, and spread evenly opposite the butter side. Lay cheddar cheese on top of sauce. Divide caramelized onion among the sandwiches, then top with pepper jack. Finish assembly by placing remaining bread slices on top. The butter sides of the bread should both be on the outside of the sandwiches.

Melt the remaining butter in the skillet on medium-low. Cook sandwiches two at a time, flipping when bread is golden brown on one side and cheese begins to melt. Serve while hot.

The Verdict
While I've had grilled cheese before, it's always been made in a toaster. This was the first time I tried it on the pan and it is SO much better!!! I tried not to think too much about the amount of butter that went into it though ;)

I couldn't find any spicy cheese nor any cheddar, so I used Havarti and added a bit of chili instead. Not enough though - I couldn't really taste the 'bite'. Also, the cheese really does need to be sharp. This was much too mild to give any proper taste. It was still delicious, but gave me an idea of what it could have been if I had stuck to the 'right' ingredients.

Very yummy and very easy. DEFINITELY something I'll be making again!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 8 - Greek Crock Chicken

The Recipe
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 carrots cut into chunks
2 onions, cut into 6 thin wedges
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey

Mix everything together in the crock-pot and cook for 6-7 hours on LOW. Serve with baked potatoes.

(Freezer meal)

The Verdict
Not as good as I had hoped. The carrots especially turned out really weird. I think they probably didn't handle being frozen and then cooked all that well. It was okay, but no more - and definitely not something I'd make again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Week 7: Spicy Raspberry-Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

The Recipe
Spice Rub: (Don't shy about doubling this to make sure all the chicken is thickly coated)
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp powdered ginger
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tsp powdered garlic (I know, the fresh stuff is better, but this way you can get the same amount of garlic and ginger quite easily, which is the goal.)
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar (I couldn't find raspberry so used cherry instead. Am going to assume it didn't make a difference :) )
4 tbsp honey
The Rest Of The Dish:
2 tbsp oil
1 lb chicken, cut into stirfry-sized pieces
2 bell peppers
(4 oz bamboo shoots) (I don't like bamboo shoots, so I left them out)
4 oz sliced water chestnuts

Dredge the chicken thoroughly in the spice rub. Make more rub rather than let parts of chicken escape spicing. In a wok or large frying pan, over medium-high heat, stir fry the chicken in oil.
Once the chicken has been cooked on each side (but not all the way through), add the bell peppers, the bamboo shoots, and the water chestnuts.
Make sure all ingredients are tossed together well, then add the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice or flat noodles.

The Verdict
Really yummy! I liked the spice palet and how the spicy/sweet/tart flavours meshed. Might be a tad too spicy for DH, so I'll probably mainly make this on days when I'm home alone.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week 6: Tomato Soup with Garnishes

The Recipe
~125g bacon (optional)
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
3 cans (~15oz each) of stewed tomatoes
1 dl water
3 tbsp oregano
a dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 dl cream

Feta Cheese
1 tbsp crunchy Peanut butter mixed with 100g greek yogurt

Cut the bacon into thin strips. Chop garlic and onion finely. Blend the tomatoes.
In a pot cook bacon over medium-high heat until desired level of crispness. Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, water, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
Add cream, heat the soup and serve with garnishes.

The Verdict
This recipe was perfect for DH and me for dinner with left-overs for my lunch the following day. The garnishes makes this very different from most tomato soups. I really liked it, but think it's a better lunch than dinner dish.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Week 5: Hungarian Goulash Soup

The Recipe
125g bacon, diced
1lb beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
2 tbsp paprika
1.5 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Dash sugar
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Add beef cubes and brown on all sides. Add bell pepper and onions; cook until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, paprika, salt, pepper and sugar.

Cover and simmer for about 1-1.5 hours or until beef is tender. About 1/2 hour before serving, add the potatoes and reserved bacon; cook until potatoes are tender.

The Verdict
I used pork stew meat instead of beef stew meat. It was fine, but I think it would have been better with beef -- possibly minced beef would have been even better.

Apart from that, I really liked it. I was so tired last night that even chewing was a chore, so soup was just the thing :) And fortunately it tasted great too :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 4: Caroline Crock Pork

The Recipe
1lb pork chops
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1tsp mustard
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together everything but the pork chops. Add the pork chops to a slow-cooker and pour everything else over. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

Serve over rice.

The Verdict
I can definitely understand making this as a freezer meal! The best thing about a crock-pot is that it's quick and takes little to no preparation time. Sure, chopping up garlic and onion doesn't take forever, but it's still great to be able to leave out even that small step. I put this on a Saturday I was going out to a birthday brunch, and it was GREAT not to have to worry about dinner when I got home.

Unfortunately the pork chop I got was slightly 'off' in its taste, which ruined the dish for me somewhat, but DH loved it, so I'm definitely willing to give it a second chance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week 3: Greek Gyros

The Recipe
250g ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dried oregano
2 onions, sliced into rings
Pita breads
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/4 cup cucumber, finely chopped
Oregano, kebab powder

Mix yogurt, cucumber and spices according to taste into a dressing for the gyros. Refrigerate.

Mix together beef, garlic powder and oregano and cook over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add onions and cook until done.

Serve with heated pita bread, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and shredded lettuce.

The Verdict
Yet another freezer recipe that really don't gain much from being frozen in advance. There's still quite a lot of preparation to be done at serving time.

The meal in itself was okay. Neither terrific nor horrible. I don't really see myself making this again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 2: Easy Beef-Bean Burrito

The Recipe
250g ground beef
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2/3 cup chunky salsa (~1 jar)
1 (16-oz.) can black beans
10 ounces of chopped spinach
1/3 cup shredded cheese
8 tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ground beef and the oatmeal thoroughly. Warm some oil in a wok over medium-high heat, and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the next 4 ingredients (chili through beans) and cook for 10 minutes. Add spinach and cheese and stir until the spinach is wilted and the cheese has melted.

Serve on tortillas with extra shredded cheese and salsa as garnish.

The Verdict
I was hesitant about both the oatmeal and the spinach, but both additions turned out really well :-) This was originally billed as a freezer meal, but after making it as such, I see no reason to do so. There's hardly any preparation involved, so it seems unnecessary to do the work ahead. I think it saved me a total of 5 minutes.

Worth making again as a 'regular' meal though.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fondue Dips

I made these for our NYE celebration, and they turned out really well :) I personally preferred the first one though.

Curry Dip
1/2 cup sour cream
Soy Sauce
Oregano/Basil/Thyme mix

This one was made entirely to taste, so I have no idea how much I put in of the various spices.

Spicy Roast Garlic Dip
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
Chili Paste
Lemon Juice
In a small frying pan on low heat, add butter and chopped garlic, cooking until browned. Once the garlic is done, add it into a bowl with sour cream and a few drops of chili paste (add as much or as little as you want, depending on your heat preference). Mix it all together with a spoon, mashing up the garlic as much as you can. Add lemon juice according to taste once it is thoroughly mixed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Week 1: Ham with apple/horseradish sauce

Third year running and I'm still going strong :) I'm loving trying out all these new recipes, and keeping a blog is keeping me accountable. This year I want to try to remember to take and add photos though.

This first recipe of the year is one my mother-in-law has handed down to me. It's one of my husband's favourite dishes, so obviously important that I got it right. Fortunately he was very appreciative :D

The Recipe
1lb ham
4 apples
2 tbsp shredded horseradish / horseradish paste (in Danish: revet, ikke høvlet)
4 tbsp water

Bake the ham in the oven or boil it in a pot, depending on your preference. Either way, the interior temperature should be 75C when it's done.

Prepare the apple/horseradish sauce in advance, as it's best cold.
Peel and deseed the apples, and cut them into wedges. Put them in a pot and add the water. Heat over medium-low heat until the apples are soft enough that they can be mashed with a spoon. Add the horseradish a little at a time until the sauce has reached the desired level of spiciness.

The Verdict
This was the first dish my mother-in-law served to me, and I started out being very dubious as I thought it just sounded weird. Being polite, I just took a small helping, figuring it couldn't be too bad. It wasn't - it was AMAZING! and I ended up kicking myself for not heaping on more ;) Fortunately my first attempt at trying to replicate it turned out really well, so I'll definitely be adding it to my repertoire as well :)