Saturday, September 15, 2012

Slow-cooked Steak Bacon Rollups

FOUND IT: This is an old family recipe, typically made with venison.

A few months ago, I emailed my mom asking for a recipe we made all the time when I was younger. Here it is.

  • Roughly two pounds of something like round or chuck steak
  • 1 lb bacon, give or take
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup beef stock (I think I used chicken)
  • One large onion, sliced
  • Fresh garlic, minced
Cut the steak into roughly 2" wide strips and pound to tenderize. Place a strip of bacon over each strip of steak and roll the long way, securing with a toothpick. Brown the steaks in a skillet with the butter, then add the beef stock, onion and garlic to the skillet and bake at 300 for three hours.

Lemon Cherry Cheesecake

FOUND IT: A google search led me to a website called "Fleur de Sel."

We made this recipe for my mother in law's birthday. I had been saving it to make again once we had fresh cherries, but this year there wasn't much of a cherry season. I'll save it for next year, I guess.


  • Nine graham crackers
  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 4 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ounces of white chocolate, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups cherries, pitted
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Combine the graham crackers and almonds in a food processor, then add the butter. Line an eight inch springform pan with this mixture, including the sides. Bake it at 325 until golden, about ten minutes.

In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Once they're combined, add the melted chocolate. Pour this mixture into the crust and bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes, until " the edges are set but the middle still jiggles when you give it a shove."

For the sour cream topping combine the sour cream, 3 tbsp sugar and vanilla and allow to rest at room temperature until the cheesecake has baked.

Combine the cherries and 1/3 cup sugar and wait for a few minutes, then add the cornstarch and cook over medium heat for about five minutes or until the juices start to thicken.

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then spread the sour cream mixture on top. Return it to the oven and bake for five more minutes. Once it's cooled again, spread the cherry mixture on top. Allow to cool overnight.

Lemon Squares

FOUND IT: In the August 2012 issue of Cooking Light

The same night we made the BBQ chicken sandwiches, we served these lemon squares as a light, somewhat summery dessert. Our guests had also brought dessert but pretty quickly set theirs aside and had seconds of these.


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
Toast the pine nuts by placing them in a 9x9 pan in a single layer and baking them at 350 for five minutes or so.

Place the toasted pine nuts, the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, the 3/4 cup flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and oil and process until the mixture "resembles coarse meal."

Coat your 9x9 dish from before in cooking spray and press the processed mixture into it. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp flour, lemon rind, lemon juice, eggs and egg white in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture over the crust and bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then cover and chill them for two hours. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining powdered sugar before serving.

Peach French Toast Bake

FOUND IT: In a July issue of USA Weekend

I'm sorry I didn't share this earlier, as we've made it multiple times during peach season.


  • cooking spray
  • About half a loaf of a hearty bread, cut into large cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or more)
  • 1 1/2 cups light yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, then spread the cubes of bread out in the pan. 

Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and vanilla, then pour that mixture over the bread. Scatter the peach slices evenly over the bread and eggs, and sprinkle them with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350, and serve topped with the yogurt and maple syrup.

Layered Pizza Dip

FOUND IT: This recipe was in the Appleton Post Crescent, and is also similar to one my aunt shared with me at one point.

This is a great, flexible party dip - feel free to change the ingredients to include your favorite pizza toppings, make it vegetarian, or whatever works for you.

I also saved some of the leftovers from this and had it on top of a sliced, grilled zucchini the next day.


  • One 8 oz package of light cream cheese, softened.
  • 1/2 tbsp (or more to taste) dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I use one of these pouches, which is about perfect)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, diced (I got this from the deli but the slices were too thin and kind of melted away.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used all mozzarella, but it's flexible)
Spread the softened cream cheese on the bottom of a nine inch pie plate, and sprinkle the oregano over that. Spread the pizza sauce over the cream cheese, then sprinkle the chopped bell pepper and pepperoni over that. Top with the cheese, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

FOUND IT: In the May 2012 issue of Cooking Light

I usually don't like to make a new recipe for the first time when we have company coming over, but earlier this summer Laura convinced me to try this one and I'm glad I did.

Laura and I have a difference of opinion on one of the methods here, though: I went with more chicken than the recipe called for, which created a dish with a barbecue flavor but relatively limited sauce, then served it with extra BBQ sauce on the side so everyone could determine what level of sauce they wanted individually. If you want a better sauce-to-meat ratio, though, then stick with the proportions below.

You can also, of course, make your own coleslaw. I misunderstood the initial ingredient list, though, and bought some premade from the deli counter. I think that worked fine.

I also used the leftover chicken to make a barbecue chicken pizza the next day, and that may actually have been more popular.


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a dash of salt
  • 3 cups shredded boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken (a full chicken makes about 4 cups)
  • 3 cups premade coleslaw (I cheated here accidentally).
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 6-8 hamburger buns
Combine the ketchup, mustard, water, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, Worcestershire sauce and salt in a saucepan (I used a deep skillet, which I think turned out to be easier). Bring the sauce mixture to a simmer and cook for ten minutes. Combine the sauce and the chicken, stirring to coat.

Place about half a cup of the chicken mixture on a bun, top with the coleslaw and green onions, and serve.

Chicken And Wild Rice Soup

FOUND IT: Nowhere in particular. I followed the instructions on the box of wild rice, but eyeballed the rest.

I tend to eyeball soups, so some of my measurements here are imprecise. I think they're pretty close, though.

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 3 cups water (probably could use chicken stock here)
  •  1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Half of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 or 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • Four large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (for me this was frozen leftovers from two rotisserie chickens)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp each cayenne pepper, dried thyme, sage and rosemary (I would've used parsley too, but I was out)
  • 2 cups skim milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)

Bring the water, salt and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, reduce heat and simmer for 55 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, saute the red ball pepper, zucchini, carrots, celery and onion with the olive oil in a large soup pot. When they're almost translucent, add the garlic. Cook the garlic for a few minutes with the vegetables, then add the chicken, stock, cayenne pepper, thyme, sage and rosemary. Stir to combine, then allow to cook over medium-low heat until the rice is done.

Drain the excess water off the rice after 55 minutes (there will be a fair amount of excess water, don't worry about it), and add the rice to the soup along with the milk. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or so, then serve with oyster crackers, a crusty bread and butter.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chocolate Beet Cake

FOUND IT: My friend Liz was kind enough to share it.

This is the only way I've ever cooked beets. It's certainly not healthy, but having the beets in there probably makes it a little better than a normal chocolate cake.

The frosting was also Liz's suggestion, but the two recipes don't have to be tied together. Frost it with whatever you like, or just serve it warm with ice cream.

Ingredients for cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3-4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 cups shredded beets (this was about a bunch and a half of beets for me, peeled and then shredded)
Ingredients for frosting:
  •  1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
Grease two nine inch cake pans (I used a 9x13). Combine dry ingredients. Melt the chocolate slowly, either stirring every 30 seconds in the microwave or using a double boiler, then set the chocolate aside to cool.

Once the chocolate has cooled, combine it thoroughly with the eggs and oil. Add half the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stir, then add half the beets. Repeat this process with the other half of both. Pour the batter into your cake pan (or pans).

Bake at 325 until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean, around 40-50 minutes.

To make the frosting, melt the butter and stir in the cocoa. Add half the powdered sugar, then half the milk, then repeat with the other halves. Add milk if you'd like the frosting to be smoother. Stir in vanilla, then spread over the cooled cake.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grapefruit Pound Cake

FOUND IT: My wife tore it out of an issue of Cooking Light.
MODIFIED IT: I accidentally included a couple of extra ounces of cream cheese, but that was it.

I'm frequently skeptical of Cooking Light dessert recipes, since they're often healthier but also not very appealing. They usually look great but you can tell the good stuff is missing. This cake is different from their usual in two ways: First, it's better than you'd expect. Secondly, it's not actually very healthy. 1/16th of this cake is a pretty small serving and still contains almost 300 calories.

With that said, I'll probably make this again because it's good. One regular sized grapefruit is likely more than enough for both the grated rind and juice.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt plus a dash, divided
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar (some could probably be replaced with Splenda or another substitute)
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (I used a full eight ounce package. You only live once.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp grated grapefruit rind
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Combine the flour, baking powder and all but a dash of the salt in a bowl. Cream the butter, sugar and cream cheese with a mixer in a large bowl, then add the eggs, oil, grapefruit rind and vanilla in that order.

Add half the dry ingredients to this mixture carefully, then half the milk. Repeat that process with the other half of both, finishing with the milk. Be careful not to overbeat the batter.

Spoon the batter into a greased 10 inch tube pan and bake at 325 for an hour and ten minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out "with moist crumbs clinging."

Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then tip it over onto a wire rack and allow it to finish cooling there.

To make the glaze, heat the grapefruit juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Allow it to cook this way until about a third of the liquid has boiled off, then put it in the fridge to cool. Once it's cooled about 10-15 minutes, stir in the powdered sugar and the dash of salt from earlier. Drizzle this mixture over the cake and serve.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Turnip Poutine

FOUND IT: On Hungry Girl on Cooking Channel
MODIFIED IT: I changed the cheese and gravy, and added some seasoning.

Poutine is a somewhat interesting current food fad. Gravy on french fries is still a little weird to me, but it turned out pretty well here.

Turnips, meanwhile, turned out to be a pretty genius healthy substitution for potatoes.

  • 24 ounces turnips, scrubbed (This was six smallish turnips for me, but 2-3 large ones would be better if available.)
  • 12 ounces potatoes (one large baking potato should do it.)
  • 1 or 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fat free condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
Clean the vegetables (no need to peel them) and cut them into french fry spears. Place them in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme, give them a quick stir and bake at 425 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Once the potatoes and turnips are browned remove them from the oven, stir again and rearrange them in a pile on the cookie sheet. Combine the condensed soup and water and drizzle it over the pile of fries, then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Broil this on high until the cheese has melted and browned just slightly.