Dec 14, 2006

Crock Pot Blog Update

I can't believe I haven't updated my Crockpot Adventures blog since ther summer! I finally added a new recipe today. If you're a crock pot lover like me, hop over and take a look. If you try it leave me a comment, my family loved it!

Dec 13, 2006 Coupon Codes

Here are the newest promo codes. Enter the coupon code (in bold) at checkout, you can use them all at once! The link to is to your right under "Great Deals" , the $20 off offer is for new customers only. I think all of these are good until the end of December 2006.

Buy Lucene brand sour cream and a package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing or dip mix and save $1- HIDDEN1

Buy a 6 double roll package of Quilted Northern bath tissue and get a FREE package of Vanity Fair napkins. - FREE

FREE delivery on your order of $150 or more - HOLIDAYS

$10 off of every order of $200 or more (for email subscribers only) - ENJOY

Dec 12, 2006

Celebrity Chef Cookbook Reviews

I am one of those people who could spend an entire day watching celebrity chefs at work on tv. A lot of the meals they prepare are a little too complex or not practical for my tastes, but I have learned so much from just watching and of course all the great ideas for new meals I receive from watching them can't be beat! So when I received two celebrity chef cookbooks in the mail the other day I was pretty excited to see what new ideas lay in store.

The first book is Dave's Dinners from David Lieberman.

Although I have never seen Dave's television program, I have heard lots of good things about him before and was excited to take a look at his newest cookbook. One thing I really enjoy about this book is the photographs. They are so colorful and almost every recipe has a photo. I also like that the recipes are geared towards home cooks. They are all fairly simple and include ingredients that are easy to find and not too pricey. A definite plus! I also really enjoy the intros to each recipe that either give added information or a history of the recipe. I have not tried any of the recipes yet but do have one down on my list for the next couple weeks (check back for a review!) . A couple of the recipes that really caught my eye are Roasted Red Peppers and Ricotta Crostini (only 6 ingredients and they look so good!) and Pan Grilled Skirt Steak with Smoky Cowboy Beans and Minted Chimichuri Sauce (all the flavors my family loves and it sounds very simple too).

The second book is jamie's italy by Jamie Oliver.

I have only seen Jamie a couple of times on TV and really love his easy-going approach to cooking. That along with Italian food... this HAS to be a great book was my very first thought :) This book is like a story and cookbook combines. It tells the tale of Jamie's trek around Italy... all the people he met, food he ate and sights he saw. It was a very interesting read. The recipes are amazing. They are all totally authentic Italian recipes gathered on his trip around the country. One drawback to this book, for me at least, is that a lot of the ingredients are not available to me where I live. Also, some of the things served are not things my family would eat (like squid and wild boar... as if I could buy that here anyhow...). The photography is gorgeous as well. A word of caution though... if you are squeamish, skip the meat chapter. In his efforts to show the "real Italy" there are a few pretty gruesome photos of butchered animals. However, all in all it is a great book. If you want to prepare REAL Italian food I would highly recommend it. A couple of recipes that caught my eye were pizza fritta (fried pizza) and pasta al forno con pomodori e mozzarella (baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella).

If you're looking for a new addition to your cookbook shelf or a great Christmas gift, I'd suggest you try either of these books. They would be a great addition to any cookbook collection.

Dec 10, 2006

The BEST Smoked Turkey

Our whole family was really sick over Thanksgiving so our "feast"( as my kids like to call it), had to be postponed. We finally had our turkey dinner this weekend and it was wonderful! My mother-in-law told me how to make the BEST smoked turkey! This recipe is a variation of hers and I don't think she would mind me sharing it with all of you. It is delicious!

The BEST Smoked Turkey

(I always use a Butterball turkey and cook it according to the directions that come with it.)

After thawing your turkey, remove all the gizzards, giblets, etc. and rub it with butter or margarine on the outside. Season it well inside and out. I used Penzey's English Prime Rib Rub to season mine. (Even though this seasoning is intended for beef, it is GREAT on turkey). Place your turkey in a large bowl, roasting pan or stock pot. Submerge it half way in a mixture of 1/2 water, 1/2 milk and about 1/2 a bottle of liquid smoke. Allow it to set in this mixture in your refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the container from your fridge and then turn your turkey over. Allow it to soak for 24 more hours. Remove the turkey from the soaking liquid and make sure to pour all the liquid out from the cavity. Season the turkey again inside and out. I used Seasoned salt this time and a little sage. Stuff the cavity with a couple carrots, a couple stalks of celery and an onion (cut them all into large chunks). Roast the turkey according to the directions that came along in the packaging. Allow the turkey to rest about 15 - 20 minutes before slicing. It is delicious!

Dec 5, 2006

Five Spice Cookies

We're participating in a cookie swap with our homeschool group on Friday so today was cookie dough day :) Each family brings 5 dozen of the same cookie and leaves with five dozen different kinds. I wanted to do something full of nice warm spices like cinnamon and ginger... but gingerbread men seemed too "boring". I came up with this recipe based on some ingredients we had on had. One word for these - YUM!

Five Spice Cookies

4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder (I used Penzey's)
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c. raisins

Combine flour, baking soda and salt and five spice powder in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange extract and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Dec 4, 2006

Lasanga Bianca

This is a recipe I created tonight to use up some things in the fridge and pantry. It turned out great and best of all the kids LOVED it :)

Lasanga Bianca

12 uncooked lasanga noodles
1 lb. ground beef
2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 carton ricotta cheese
1/2 lb. frozen spinach, drained well
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper

Boil lasanga noodles for 10 minutes, drain well.

Brown ground beef along with seasoned salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Spread a couple spoonfuls of the alfredo sauce into a 9 x 13 in. pan. Layer ingredients in the pan as follows:

Layer 1 - 3 lasanga noodles, spinach, ground beef, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese;
Layer 2 - repeat layer 1
Layer 3 - repeat layer 1
Layer 4 - 3 lasanga noodles, alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese

Cover dish with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Dec 1, 2006

Creole Chicken

I found this recipe in a cookbook I have had for many years. It's called The Southern Living Five Star Recipe Collection... one of those cookbooks that is in a three ring binder and you buy the recipe cards to fill it up over a period of time. I love this cookbook so much! Tons of great recipes. This one is so good, if you love southern food, give it a try. It takes a bit of time but it's fairly easy and delicious!

Creole Chicken

1/2 c. plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 c. plus 3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Creole Seasoning
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

Combine 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. canola oil in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes (or until roux is caramel colored). Add onions, bell pepper an garlic. Saute 4 minutes. Add broth, tomato sause and bay leaves. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Combine remaining flour, garlic powder, Creole Seasoning, oregano, pepper and thyme in a large Ziploc bag, seal and shake well. Add chicken then seal and shake well once again.

Add remaining oil to a large skillet and heat to medium. Brown chicken in oil in batches then add to Dutch oven. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice or grits.