Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 47: Basil Tomato Soup

The Recipe
(Serves 4 - note to self, make half portion next time!)
2 (14 oz) cans tomatoes with juice (I used one with chili, one with basil and oregano)
1 finely diced bell pepper
3 finely diced carrots
1 finely diced large onion
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 liter chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1dl flour
1 cup parmesan cheese
100g butter
2 cups light cream / half-and-half
150g bacon, chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Transfer to a plate. Prepare a roux in the same skillet by melting butter and adding flour a bit at a time. Turn the heat down to low and stir constantly until the flour is incorporated in the butter. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add half-and-half and another 2 cups and stir until smooth. Add back into the slow cooker, together with the bacon and Parmesan cheese. (NB: this takes longer than expected - about 20min).

Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional basil and oregano if needed.

Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes.

The Verdict
The roux was a bit of a hassle to make, but well worth it, as it added some lovely creaminess to the soup. And the taste was awesome! Definitely worth a repeat. DH enjoyed it too, but said it could use a bit more meat, so I might just double up on the bacon next time.

Also it made the kitchen smell LOVELY all during the day!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 46: Baked Chicken Legs

The Recipe
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
chili flakes - not sure how many, but probably somewhere between 1/2-1 tsp
6 chicken drumsticks
~100g butter, melted

Heat oven to 225C.

Mix the first 6 ingredients (flour through chili) in a bowl.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave in another bowl.

Dip each drumstick into the butter and then into the flour mix to coat. Do this twice to make them extra crisp!

Place the drumsticks in an ovenproof dish and - if relevant - pour the extra butter and flour-mix over.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until done.

The Verdict
SO GOOD!!! Mind you, there was a LOT of chili, so it would probably have been too hot for some, but I absolutely loved it! And if you're not a fan of heat, you can just leave it out. But for a chili-fan like me? Absolutely yummy! One of the most successful new dishes I've made in a long time, and definitely something I'll be making again. The coating was perhaps not quite crisp enough to be completely perfect, but it came close enough, and the taste couldn't be faulted.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 45: Pasta Bake

The Recipe
300g pasta
500g spicy sausage, cut into pieces
~150g spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 190C

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in 1tbsp butter until browned. When almost done, add garlic and cook briefly.

Place the spinach in the bottom of your pasta strainer. When pasta is done, pour pasta and water over the spinach allowing the spinach to wilt slightly.

Add pasta, spinach and tomatoes to the pan together with tomato sauce, yogurt, milk 1 cup of the cheese and spices. Mix well. Pour into oven-proof dish and top with remaining cheese.

Cover dish with foil. Cook for 30 minutes covered and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

The Verdict
Slightly boring. There were far too few vegetables, and the spinach turned out weird. If I make this again (rather than just using it for inspiration) I think I'll leave out the spinach and add a couple of bell peppers or a squash (or both!) instead.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Week 44: One Pot Chicken Burrito

The Recipe
450g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion
1 cup uncooked rice
1 can tomatoes
1 can beans
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
6dl chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheese
Salt and pepper
3 fresh tomatoes

Season diced chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Sauté onions in 2tbsp olive oil until they start to soften. Add chicken to pan and cook over medium high heat until chicken has started to brown. Move chicken to one side of pan, in the other side of the pan add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté uncooked rice for about 2 minutes or just until some grains start to turn golden brown.

Stir in beans, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low.

Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with cheese and leave for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and guacamole.

The Verdict
This sounded awesome, so I was very keen to try it. It tasted okay too, but a bit more bland than I had expected. And when I found myself making excuses to postpone using the leftovers, I figured that this probably wasn't something I should make again. It's not bad - not at all! Just slightly dull.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 43: Goulash Soup

The Recipe
(Serves 4)
150g bacon
1 large carrot
1 onion
1 medium-sized potato (~75g)
2-3 gloves garlic
500g minced beef
2 (140z) cans tomatoes
3/4l beef stock
2 bell peppers
1/2 tbsp paprika
tomato paste

Chop carrot, onion and potato into small cubes. Chop garlic and slice bell peppers.

In a pot, cook bacon until some of the fat is rendered. If it doesn't seem to give off enough fat, add a bit of oil before adding the onion, potato and carrots. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the minced beef and cook until brown. Add garlic and bell peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding tomatoes, beef stock and paprika. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

Just before cooking add salt, tomato paste and milk according to taste.

Serve with Parmesan cheese

The Verdict
I used one can of tomatoes with chili instead of the paprika, but don't think it made all that much of a difference. I liked it well enough... not an instant favourite like some of the other soups I've tried, but good comfort food. DH liked it too, so I'll probably make it again :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 42: Greek Pasta Salad

The Recipe
300g penne pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 red onion, chopped
450g chicken, cubed
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp oregano
salt, pepper

Cook pasta till al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil in a pan. Add garlic and onion and cook for about 5 minutes - until translucent. Add chicken and cook until chicken is done.

Reduce heat to low and add tomato, feta, lemon juice and oregano. Add pasta and stir until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The Verdict
It seemed slightly heavy on the pasta, but appart from that I really liked it! The tastes meshed wonderfully together and the tanginess of the lemon worked very well with the chicken and the feta.

Definitely worth a repeat.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 41: Italian Chicken

The Recipe
3 large potatoes in wedges
3 large carrots in pieces
450g chicken breast
2 tsp Italian Seasoning (I made my own using basil, thyme, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika)
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Put the potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crockpot and cover with everything else (including the cheese). Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until the chicken and vegetables are done.

Serve with a nice salad.

The Verdict
The chicken was so unbelievably moist and yummy! The potatoes were great too, but the carrots kinda weird -- almost as if they hadn't been cooked properly. So next time I think I'll leave them out, and just serve them on the side instead.

Even DH who isn't a huge fan of chicken had seconds :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Week 40: Rucola Salad with Pastachios and Chocolate

The Recipe
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
2.5 tbsp olive oil

100g rucola
1 tbsp chopped pistachios (for serving)
1 tbsp chopped dark chocolate (for serving)

Make a vinaigrette by combining mustard, vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Add olive oil and whisk vigorously. Taste and adjust as needed.

Put the rucola in a large bowl and add a modest spoonful or two of dressing. Using your hands carefully toss the rucola, taking care to handle it lightly. Taste and add dressing as needed.
Divide the dressed rucola among 4 plates. Serve with small bowls of pistachios and chocolate on the side, allowing each eater to sprinkle salad as desired.

The Verdict
Basically I had to try this because the idea of putting chocolate on salad just seemed so weird that it had to be tried. And it totally works! I really liked the mix of the tart rucola, the different tartness of the vinaigrette, the saltiness of the pistachio and the sweetness of the chocolate fit perfectly together.

You do have to like rucola to appreciate this though, so it wouldn't be suitable for my DH.

Week 39 - Mocca Ice Cream

The Recipe
1/2L cream
100g powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 (cold) espresso shot (~4 tbsp)
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Mix egg yolkes, sugar, cocoa and vanilla.
In a different bowl, whip the cream.
Add the coffee to the egg yolks and carefully fold in the whipped cream.

Pour into an ice cream maker and proceed according to the machine's instructions.

The Verdict
I added chopped dark chocolate as well - I felt like it could use it ;) And the espresso was from my Nespresso machine... unfortunately I've forgotten which flavour, but I think the strongest one... I also think it doesn't make too much of a difference. Really good and definitely worth a repeat!

Week 38 - Elder Flower Ice Cream

The Recipe
4 egg whites
125g sugar
1 dl cream
2.5dl concentrated elder flower juice (~1 cup)

Mix egg whites and sugar thoroughly.
Whip the cream
Add elder flower juice and whipped cream to the sugared egg whites and mix.

Pour into an ice cream maker and proceed according to the machine's instructions.

The Verdict
I added a tad extra elder flower juice as I didn't think it tasted strongly enough of elder flower, but as the taste intensified as the ice cream froze, I'm not sure that was necessary. In the end it's become one of my favourites :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 37 - Chicken Korma

The Recipe
1lb chicken, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tsp ginger
2 heaped tbsp korma curry paste
125ml coconut milk
150ml chicken stock
1 tbsp ground almonds
1dl natural yogurt
1 tomato, diced
Chapatis, to serve

Heat oil in a pan and cook the chicken until golden. Remove from pan and transfer to crockpot.
Add the onions, bell pepper, ginger and curry paste to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, stock and ground almonds. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper according to taste. Transfer to crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. 15 minutes prior to serving, add yogurt and tomato.

Serve with chapatis.

The Verdict
First the confession - I was too lazy to cook things ahead of time, so just dumped everything in the crockpot raw. My fault, and may have influenced the final outcome of the meal, as the chicken ended up being really dry. I don't usually have that problem any longer - even when I don't cook the meat ahead of time - but it was rather bad here. Somebody once told me that the meat is dry if I don't leave it long enough in the crockpot - I've never understood that reasoning, as I would have thought it was the other way around.

Anyway, as it was I wasn't too impressed, but I guess it's unfair to base my opinion of a dish on an attempt where I cut corners, so I may still make it again another time -- properly this time!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 36: Garlic Pork Chops with Cheese

The Recipe
4 pork chops
1 large tomato, sliced
4 slices of cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt, pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

Rub the pork chops with salt, pepper and minced garlic. Heat the oil in a pan, reduce to medium-high heat and cook the pork chops for about 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Transfer to an oven-proof dish, put 1 slice of cheese and 1-2 slices of tomato on top of each and broil in the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.

Serve with baked potatoes and last week's carrot dish.

The Verdict
Really good! I find that pan-cooked pork chops often get too dry, but that wasn't the case here at all! Whether that was due to the tomato and cheese, or just because I finally stopped over-cooking them, I'm not sure. Either way, I thought it was great :)

Week 35: Spanish Carrot Dish

The Recipe
1 tbsp olive oil
3 carrots cut into thin staves
2 spring onions, sliced
5 slices of salami, cut into thin stripes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 dl pine nuts

Heat the oil in a pot and cook the salami until crisp - about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pot and leave to drip on a plate covered with paper towels.
Add the carrots, spring onions and cinnamon to the pot and cook for 4 minutes. Add the salami and cook for another 4 minutes. Finally add the pine nuts and give a quick stir (1-2) minutes to give the pine nuts a bit of flavour.

The Verdict
I really liked it, but DH wasn't too fond of the salami. He thought it would be better with bacon... but then, everything is better with bacon ;) Quite a bit of work for a side dish though, so I don't know how often I'll be making this. It did taste nice though :) The original recipe also had you add raisins and caraway. I don't care for either, so I just left both out. Next time I might actually also leave out the cinnamon.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 34: Nougat Ice Cream

The Recipe
150g soft nougat
4 egg yolks
1dl sugar
5dl cream
2 egg whites
Chopped almonds.

Soften the nougat in a water bath. Let it cool down.
Mix the egg yolks and the sugar until creamy white. Whip the cream and egg whites in separate bowls.
Mix the softened nougat with the egg yolks. Fold in the whipped cream and finally the whipped egg whites.

Proceed according to the ice cream maker's instructions. After about half the time, add the chopped almonds.

The Verdict
Very creamy and very, VERY rich! I didn't care too much for it, simply because it was too rich for me - the taste couldn't be faulted :) DH loved it :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 33: Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate and Almonds

The Recipe
4 egg yolks
120g sugar
2.5dl milk
2.5dl cream
2 vanilla pods
50g almonds
1 tsp butter
1 tsp honey
50g chopped dark chocolate.

Split open the vanilla pods and separate seeds from pods - don't discard the pods!
Mix egg yolks together with sugar and vanilla seeds.

Bring milk and cream to a boil together with the vanilla pods. Remove the pods and let the milk cool down a bit.

Whip the eggs vigorously while slowly adding the milk - a little at a time.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and let it stand on very low heat until it's thick and creamy. Let it cool completely - preferably to the following day.

Meanwhile, prepare the almonds - chop them finely and roast them on a pan in melted butter and honey. Let them cool down completely.

Proceed according to the ice cream maker's instructions. After about half the time, add the almonds and the chopped chocolate.

The Verdict
So. GOOD!!! Definitely one of my favourites, and DEFINITELY one that will be made again and again and again...

It's a bit more complicated than some of the other ice creams I've made, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Week 32: Chocolate Ice Cream with Baileys

The Recipe
100g dark chocolate
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks
A dash of vanilla
0.5dl sugar
2dl yogurt naturel
1 tbsp Bailey
2dl cream

Whisk the yolks together with vanilla and half the sugar.
Melt the chocolate (I used the microwave - just be careful you don't burn it!)
Mix together Bailey, chocolate and egg yolks while whisking thoroughly.
In a second bowl, whip the cream and mix in the yogurt.
In a third bowl, whip the egg whites together with the rest of the sugar.
Carefully fold whipped cream and egg whites into the chocolate mix.

Proceed according to the ice cream maker's instructions.

The Verdict
Really good! Tasted more of chocolate than of Baileys, but still - really good :)
I've made this twice - the first time I accidentally left out the egg whites - it's definitely better with :)

Week 31: Caramel Ice Cream

The Recipe
100g sugar, divided
5dl cream, divided 1-4
75g chopped walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
4 egg yolks

Melt half the sugar on a pan over medium heat. This will take awhile, resist the urge to touch it as it's melting, but keep an eye on it - suddenly it's done! Slowly add 1dl cream and bring to a boil. The cold cream will make the caramel stiffen, but it'll soften again after a bit. Add walnuts and let the mixture cool down. The caramel will stiffen a bit as it cools, but it should end up being sticky rather than hard caramel.

Mix egg yolks and sugar until the egg is creamy white. Add the caramel and whisk it until the eggs and the caramel is thoroughly mixed.
In a different bowl whip the cream and add the salt. Carefully fold this into the caramel mix.

Proceed according to the ice cream maker's instructions.

The Verdict
I made this for my DH as he loves caramel ice cream. I've always claimed I didn't like caramel ice cream. I don't like (most) caramels, so it would stand to reason I don't like the ice cream either.

I think a truer statement would be that I don't like most storebought caramel ice cream, because this? This was awesome!!! DEFINITELY something I'll make again!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 30: Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

The Recipe
4 green, red, or yellow bell peppers
1 cup cooked rice (1dl pre-cooking)
1 (15oz) can chili beans with chili gravy
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 finely chopped onion
175g shredded ham (optional)
1 (8oz) can corn

Remove tops, membranes, and seeds from bell peppers. Chop tops; set aside. If necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pepper so they sit flat. In a medium bowl stir together rice, ham and undrained beans; spoon into peppers. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of a slow cooker; stir in reserved chopped pepper, corn and onion. Place peppers, filled side up, in cooker.

Cook for 6-7 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH.

Serve with shredded cheese and chili.

The Verdict
I know it seems like a cliche to say that everything is better with bacon, but I actually do think this would have been better with cooked bacon rather than ham. Ah well, I still liked it well enough. It wasn't fantastic, but definitely good enough to make again some other time.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 29: Crockpot Teriaki

The Recipe
1lb chicken pieces - I used drumsticks
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sherry (I didn't have any, so used red wine instead)

Dump the chicken into a crockpot and cover with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

The Verdict
It was alright. I wasn't crazy about the sauce by itself, but liked the way it coated the chicken. NOT something for my husband though.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week 28: Watermelon Ice Cream

The Recipe
1 watermelon, without rind and seeds
2.5dl cream (1 cup)
1 lemon
2.5dl milk
2 tbsp rum or vodka
~1 dl sugar or to taste
~50g chopped dark chocolate

Cut the watermelon into pieces and run through a blender or similar.
Whip the cream until stiff and add the watermelon juice (strain it if you want - I didn't). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir carefully.
Pour mixture into ice-cream maker; proceed according to manufacturer instructions. I left mine for about 45 minutes.
Transfer to freezer tubs and freeze for another couple of hours until solid.

The Verdict
This recipe almost made for more than could fit into my ice cream maker! Just a heads-up. Again the consistency turned out weird, because the whipped cream gathered on the top, leaving the juice still completely liquid below. I stirred it when putting it into the freezer tubs, and again 2-3 hours later, which I think did the trick. The alcohol is to keep the watermelon juice from freezing too solid, but I don't think it worked too well - took forever to soften up after I took it back out of the freezer a couple of days later!

Not my favourite - almost too sweet despite the lemon - but I have a friend who I think will love it :)

Week 27: Orange Sorbet

The Recipe
5 oranges
2 egg whites
50g icing sugar

Press the oranges. Mix together eggwhites and icing sugar until stiff. Carefully fold in the orange juice.
Pour mixture into ice-cream maker; proceed according to manufacturer instructions. I left mine for about 35 minutes.
Transfer to freezer tubs and freeze for another couple of hours until solid.

The Verdict
The consistency turned out really weird here, because the orange juice and the egg-whites froze at different speeds. The taste couldn't be faulted though :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Week 26: Raspberry Cheese Cake

The Recipe
100g cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pureéd, strained raspberries (~300-350g pre-pureéd)
1 cup cream
1 cup milk

In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth; add sugar and continue whisking until combined. Whisk in raspberries, followed by milk until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk cream. Fold into the berry-mix.
Pour mixture into ice-cream maker; proceed according to manufacturer instructions. I left mine for about 45 minutes.
Transfer to freezer tubs and freeze for another couple of hours until solid.

The Verdict
Not very cheese cake'y... I couldn't taste the cream cheese at all. That's not to say it was bad though! Not at all :) I love raspberry ice cream, and this turned out excellent! The original recipe called for 1 full cup of sugar! I thought that sounded like waaaay too much, so started out with just half that... which turned out just fine. It would have been much too sweet had I added the second half as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week 25: Strawberry Ice Cream

I'm starting to see a trend here... ;)

The Recipe
(Makes just over 1L)
2 egg yolks
2dl milk
2.5dl cream (1 cup)
140g icing sugar
20g vanilla sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
400-500g strawberries

Clean the strawberries and blend them together with milk and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl mix together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
In another bowl, whip the cream and carefully mix in the egg-mixture and the strawberries.
Pour into the ice cream maker and proceed according to the machine's instructions. I left mine for about 45 minutes.
Transfer to freezer tubs and freeze for another couple of hours until solid.

The Verdict
Very delicious :) My DH loves strawberry ice cream, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with this, and I was right :) I wasn't blown quite as much away by it as I was by the orange ice cream, but it was still really, really good! Definitely worth a repeat.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Week 24: Strawberry-Raspberry Smoothie

The Recipe
100g frozen strawberries
100g frozen raspberries
25g sugar
1dl orange juice
2dl yogurt natural or A-38

Put everything into a blender or similar and run until smooth.

The Verdict
LOVED this! My favourite smoothie so far. I think I want to try it with just plain milk instead of the yogurt though, to see how that will change the taste.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 23: Chocolate Ice Cream with Nuts

The Recipe
2 egg yolks
~100g sugar (the original recipe called for 140g - I think that would have been too much!)
40g cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
100g assorted nuts (I used almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts)
40g chocolate
2 tsp butter
2 tsp honey

Heat a pan over medium heat and melt the butter and honey. Chop the nuts and roast them for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool. Try to keep them spread out so they don't stick together.
Whisk together eggs, sugar and cocoa. Add the milk a bit at a time.
Whisk the cream until stiff and fold it into the cocoa-mixture. Chop the chocolate and add it as well.

Transfer to ice cream maker and proceed according to instructions, adding the nuts about halfway through. I left mine for 40 minutes total. Transfer to freezer tubs and freeze for another couple of hours.

The Verdict
One of the best ice creams I've made! SO rich and lovely! It has a LOT of nuts, but I like it that way :) If you're not as keen on nuts, you might go with just half... or leave it out altogether. But definitely one of my favourites :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 22: Orange Ice Cream

I just bought an ice cream maker the other day, and of course it had to be tried out as soon as the freezing element was cold enough!

The Recipe
3-4 egg yolks
60 g sugar
2 1/2 dl yogurt natural (~1 cup)
Juice from 1 orange (~1dl)
2 tsp orange zest
50 g dark chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 dl cream
2-3 egg whites

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and frothy. Add yogurt, orange juice, orange zest and chocolate.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Carefully mix it together with the orange-egg yolk mix
In another separate bowl, whip the egg whites. Carefully fold it into the cream.
Pour mixture into ice-cream maker and proceed according to machine instructions. I gave it about 45 minutes.
Transfer to freezer-proof tubs and freeze until completely solid (although do have a taste before then! 45 minutes is long enough to wait :) )

If you don't have an ice-cream maker, put it in the freezer straight away, and stir regularly for the first 4 hours.

The Verdict
GELATOOOOOO!!!!! :-D This was AWESOME! I'm so glad that my first try ended up so delicious :) I may do without the orange zest next time though - or at least grate it more finely. DH also suggested chopping the chocolate more finely. I liked the bigger pieces, but I do see what he means :)

But all in all - YUM! This was lovely :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 21: Strawberry-Melon Smoothie

The Recipe
2dl yogurt natural or A-38
125g frozen or fresh strawberries
250g melon
30g sugar

Put everything in a blender or similar and run until smooth.

The Verdict
At first taste I absolutely loved it, but after awhile I started thinking it had undertones of banana. I can't STAND banana, so that was a real dealbreaker for me. I tasted some of the melon on its own afterwards, and I think it had gone overripe, which must have caused the banana-like taste, so it would probably have been excellent with a better melon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 20: Mashed Potato Patty Cakes

The Recipe
(makes 4 patties)

1 egg
1/2 tsp onion powder
A dash of salt
A dash of pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups leftover burning love

2 slices bacon
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

Mix the burning love, egg, onion powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Add cheddar cheese.
Form the mixture into 4 patties. Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat and pan-fry the patties until crisp on each side - about 4-5 minutes per side.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from pan, leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet.
Mix the mashed potatoes, eggs, onion powder, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl; stir in the crumbled bacon and Cheddar cheese.
Form the mixture into 4 patties. Reheat the bacon drippings over medium heat, and pan-fry the patties in the drippings until crisp on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side.

The Verdict
Sooooo good! I love mashed potatoes, and this is a terrific way to use up leftovers. Definitely something I'll be making again. I made these for brunch which worked out extremely well, but they could easily be used as lunch or a side for dinner as well.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 19: One Pot Wonder

The Recipe
150g bacon
12 ounces linguine pasta (couldn't find any, so I used spaghetti instead)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 onion, cut in thin strips
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1/2 squash, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch (about 10 to 12 leaves) basil, diced
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Cook bacon in a large stock pot until almost done. Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper and squash. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add basil leaves and stir pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot evenly throughout the pasta as you are serving. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

The Verdict
I had a bunch of asparagus from the garden, which I thought I might as well add as well - worked very nicely :)

The liquid did not evaporate at all! So this ended up more as a stew than a pasta dish. Never mind - it still turned out absolutely delicious, and is definitely something I'll be making again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week 18: Crispy Edamame, take 2

I've tried crispy edamame once before, and wasn't too impressed by that recipe, so when I found a different one, I thought I'd give that one a try to see if it turned out any better.

The Recipe
Defrost shelled edamame beans, sprinkle with olive oil and coat with a mixture of parmasan cheese (2 tbsp), garlic powder (1/4 tsp), salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 200C and cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese is crispy.

The Verdict
Better than my first try, but still not as good as I had hoped. I do think part of that was too much parmasan cheese and garlic powder though, so I may try again with less of both.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 17: Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushroom Sauce

The Recipe
Enough spaghetti or other pasta for 2 people
300g chicken breast, cut in thin slices
1 tbsp olive oil
30g butter
125g bacon, cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
0.8dl white wine
1.7dl light cream
4 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp water

Cook the pasta, drain and put aside.

Meanwhile heat oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Add bacon, garlic and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are slightly wilted. Add white wine and let it reduce by about half. Add spring onions and cream and bring to a boil.

Mix water and flour together and add while stirring until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper and chili.

Pour sauce over pasta, mix, and serve with parmesan cheese.

The Verdict
I think I'd cooked the chicken for too long, as it had gotten rather dry. I liked the dish well enough, but it was very similar to other pasta dishes which I prefer. So I probably won't be making this again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Week 16: Chili Chicken Cashew

The Recipe
1lb chicken breasts, cubed
1 tbsp cooking sherry or red wine (optional)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 spring onions, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts
sesame seeds
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp white vinegar

Combine soy sauce and sherry in medium sized bowl. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, put it in the bowl and stir until all the chicken is coated with the mixture. Set aside while you prepare the rest.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add red pepper flaked to oil and stir. Add chicken and leave without stirring for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook chicken until golden on all sides. Drain as necessary. Add cashews, bell pepper and spring onions. Turn heat down to low. Pour in sauce and stir to make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated. Leave for a couple of minutes until sauce thickens (you may have to turn up the heat a bit).

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

The Verdict
I really liked it, but it is very similar to other dishes I make, so I don't know how often I'll be making this particular version of it. But anything that adds cashews to a dish is A-OK with me :)

Week 15: Baked Potato Buffet

The Recipe

Serve baked potatoes a la pita bread... set up all the toppings and let everybody build their own.

Plan for 2-3 baked potatoes per person - depending on size.

Diced ham
Diced chicken
Spring onion
Bell pepper
Butter (I can recommend garlic butter)
... anything else that catches your fancy

The Verdict
Why had I never thought of this before? Very easy and sooo good! But then I've always had a weakness for baked potatoes. The perfect dish for a low-key evening with friends. Definitely something I'll be making again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 14: Chinese Chicken

The Recipe
6 chicken pieces with skin and bones
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp red wine
salt and pepper

Mix together everything but the chicken in a small bowl. Put the chicken into an ovenproof dish and baste with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Bake at 225C for 45 minutes or until the chicken is done.

The Verdict
Easy and tasty! The marinade had penetrated the meat nicely, and left the skin crisp and the meat moist. Definitely something I'll be making again.

Week 13: Tomato-Pepper Casserole

The Recipe
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 large tomatoes
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp thyme

Heat the oil in a pot, add onion and let it cook at low heat until tender. Add bell peppers and let them simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, brown sugar and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes.

The Verdict
A nice side dish for pretty much any meat. Nothing special, but it's easy to make and tastes good.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Week 12: Pasta with Pesto and Asparagus

The Recipe
1/2lb pasta
150g bacon
1 lb asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup basil pesto (~130g)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup mozzarella cubes
Fried eggs for serving

Preheat oven to 200C. Place asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 8-12 minutes until tender and crisp. Let them cool before cutting them into 1-inch pieces.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

In a pan, cook sliced bacon until crisp. Put aside, leaving drippings in pan (use them for frying the egg later).

In a bowl, toss together pasta, bacon, asparagus, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella.

Serve immediately with a fried egg on top.

The Verdict
Okay, the original recipe didn't have the bacon, I added that myself. Everything tastes better with bacon ;)

I absolutely loved it! I don't think the egg did anything either way, but the rest was extremely yummy! The only thing lacking was roasted pine nuts, so I'll have to add that next time :) Unfortunately DH isn't too keen on that much pesto, but I thought it was fantastic. Will definitely be making this again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 11: Giant M&M Cookies

The Recipe
2 tbsp butter (~30g) at room temperature
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mixed egg*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp peanut butter (the recipe called for creamy, I used crunchy)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mixed M&Ms (I used half ordinary, half peanut)

* Make omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast, and put aside 2 tbsp of the eggs before you add all the other things.

Preheat oven to 175*C

In a bowl, mix the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. This is easy if the butter is really soft. Add egg and vanilla and mix until it's well combined. Add peanut butter and then flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until about half combined, then add the M&Ms.

Scoop onto a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through. Let cool completely before eating.

The Verdict
The recipe said this made for "1 giant cookie or 4 regular ones" -- I went for the 4 regular ones. They didn't melt down quite as flat as I had expected, so they turned out less crunchy than expected. Next time I think I'll push the dough down further before placing them in the oven.

I like my "regular" M&M Cookies better, but for a quick fix, these'll work really well :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 10: Crock-Pot Fajitas

The Recipe
1lb chicken
3 bell peppers
1 onion
1 package taco seasoning (~40g)
Toppings: Guacamole, shredded cheese, salsa

Slice bell peppers and onion and put them into the crockpot. Pour half the package taco seasoning over the vegetables.
Put chicken on top and pour the rest of the seasoning over the chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4.

Take out the chicken and slice thinly. Stir back into the crockpot.

Serve with tortillas and toppings.

The Verdict
A new favourite! This was awesome. Extremely easy and tasted delicious. Definitely the best fajitas fillings I've tried yet. This one is a keeper :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 9: Spanish Bell Pepper Soup

The Recipe
600 g bell pepper (~3 large ones)
1 onion
4dl chicken stock (just under 2 cups)
4dl vegetable stock
125g cream cheese
1 clove garlic
200g chorizo (bacon can be used instead)
Salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil (chili-oil if you like it) in a pot over medium-high heat. Cut the bell pepper and onion in smaller pieces and cook them for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and garlic, bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the chorizo into halves and then into thin slices and cook them in a pan over high heat until they turn brown and crisp. Transfer to a place covered with paper towels and pour the resulting oil into the soup for extra taste!

Use a blender to puree the soup and add the cream cheese. Bring to a simmer again and season with paprika, thyme, salt and pepper according to taste.

The Verdict
Pretty good. I prefer soups with more "bite" (texture, not heat), but the crisp chorizo added enough that it was suitable for an evening meal. Not an instant favourite, but probably something I'll make again. And it'll be easy to adapt it for vegetarian cooking as well.

Week 8: Creamed Corn

The Recipe
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup corn
30g (~1oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 green onion, sliced
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the corn and cream cheese, stir until the cream cheese has melted.
Mix in the milk, roasted red pepper, bacon and green onions and cook until hot, about 5 minutes.

The Verdict
Tasted alright, but didn't seem like anything special. I may or may not make this again if I get tired of my usual sides.

Week 7: Butter Chicken Crockpot

The Recipe
~500g chicken
1 tbsp oil for cooking
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
a dash of chili
1/2 tsp ground ginger
25g (~1tbsp) butter
2.5 dl chicken stock (~1 cup)
5 tbsp cream
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a dash of cardamom and fennel (optional)
1 tsp tumeric

Chop the onion and garlic very finely (or use a blender or food processor) and mix it with the chili and ginger.

Heat the oil in a pan. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Add to the crock-pot.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the butter to the pan and once it's melted cook the onion paste until it just starts to change colour. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Add to the crock-pot, cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours.

Serve on rice with sliced almonds as topping.

The Verdict
Not quite restaurant worthy but really, really good :) I thought it lacked something but can't quite figure out what. Perhaps just a bit of mango chutney? ;) Some vegetables would also be nice - think I may add corn and/or bell pepper to the crock-pot next time.

But all in all I loved it :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Week 6: Crockpot Beef and Peppers

The Recipe
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb stew beef
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for about 4 hours.

The Verdict
Can't give an honest verdict of this one, as I thought the meat tasted "off" which of course coloured my opinion of the entire dish. I thought the sauce and the veggies tasted fine, so may make this again another time, and hope I'm more fortunate with the meat.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 5: Cheese Pancakes

The Recipe
2 eggs
5 dl (~2cups) shredded cheese
1 tbsp psyllium husk
1 tsp oregano

Mix everything together in a bowl. It won't look like pancake batter at all - basically like wet cheese ;).

Heat some butter in a pan, and bake the pancakes until golden brown on both sides.

Makes about 5 small'ish pancakes.

The Verdict
I'd never heard of psyllium husk before and was intrigued. Besides - cheese pancakes? What's not to like?!
The batter looked totally weird, and I didn't think they'd ever turn into pancakes, but the end result looked decent enough, and it tasted good too. But very, VERY rich! I'd thought I could eat them "as is", but their richness really needs to be "cut" with something. I had some avocado which worked nicely, but I think salmon or sausages of some kind would do the trick too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week 4: Chicken Thai Nachos

Chicken Pad Thai Nachos

The Recipe
2 tbsp lemon concentrate or 1/2 fresh lime juice (1/4 lemon I guess...)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 heaped tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chili sauce
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
450g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (200g) bag nachos
1 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
2 spring onions, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced

Pour the nachos into an ovenproof dish.

Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium heat, and cook the chicken until cooked through and easily shredded. Break into smaller pieces if necessary. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, chili sauce and peanut butter and stir frequently until the peanut butter has melted and all the chicken is nicely coated. Pour mixture over the nachos. Top with carrots

Add bell pepper and spring onions to the pan and give a quick stir to pick up the last of the sauce. Pour over the nachos.

Top with cheese.

Broil until the cheese has melted - about 5 minutes in my oven, but keep an eye out.

Serve with avocado and chili sauce.

The Verdict
DH and I love nachos, and this was a nice chance from the usual mince sauce I make. The peanut butter gave it a nice twist - I really like the way it tasted :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 3: Tortillas Pizza

The Recipe
2 pizza tortillas per person (thicker than regular tortillas, but I guess you could use one regular one and fold it double for thickness)
1 tbsp tomato paste per tortillas (70g was enough for 4 tortillas)
Pizza toppings such as...
bell pepper
salami / pepperoni
Onion sliced thin
Sausages sliced thin
Gorgonzola (I cannot stand gorgonzola... except on pizza!)
Shredded mozzerella cheese

Preheat the oven to 250C.

Prepare all the toppings.

Put the pizza tortillas on a baking sheet and spread thinly with tomato paste. Add toppings to taste, ending with the cheese.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Mine weren't quite done after 7 but nice and crisp after 8.

The Verdict
A new favourite! All the great taste of pizza with none of the hassle. I absolutely loved it! And since you make individual pizzas, it's easier to cater to everybody's taste as well.

Really yummy, really easy - DEFINITELY something I'll be making again!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week 2: Stuffed Pepper Soup

The Recipe
1 dl rice (can be omitted)
1 lb ground beef
2 bell peppers
1 finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (~15oz) tomatoes
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and fresh pepper to taste

In a large pot brown ground meat on high heat and season with salt. Add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes on low heat. Add rice and mix thoroughly.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes or until the rice are done.

Serve with cheese for topping.

The Verdict
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce is a lot of acidity without any sugar to cut the taste! And it did turn out rather sharp, but fortunately that was easily remedied by adding sugar at serving time. Otherwise I liked it well enough, but it didn't "rock my world". It was a solid soup that was really easy to make, but which didn't bring anything spectacular to the table.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week 1: Honey-Mustard Chicken with Pretzels

The Recipe
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard (optional)
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
450g chicken breast, pounded thin
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup pretzels or nachos chips crushed
1/4 cup chopped cashew nuts
6-8 slices (rounds) of bell pepper ~1cm thick.

Heat the oven to 200C.

Mix the honey, mustards, oil, lemon juice and garlic, season with salt and pepper and divide in half.
Mix pretzels, cashew nuts and breadcrumbs together.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, dip in half of the dressing, press into the breadcrumb / pretzels mixture and place on the bell pepper slices in an ovenproof dish.
Bake until cooked and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.

Serve straight from the oven with remaining dressing.

The Verdict
I don't like pretzels - not the ones found in Denmark anyway, so went with the crushed nacho chips. Good call :) I think it would also have worked well with just cashew nuts or a mixture of nuts. The sky's the limit.

There was far too much flour and breadcrumbs mix - I think I could probably have made do with 2/3rds of each. I'll try that next time.

But it was absolutely delicious. The coatings made the chicken so extremely tender and moist - completely preventing the dryness that's so common with ovenbaked chicken. DH didn't care overly much for the breadcrumb coating but loved the dressing. I loved it all :) So next time I'll probably make half-and-half to cater to each of us :) I love it when catering to different tastes is so easy as just leaving out the final step.