Friday, April 24, 2009

Roasted Vegetables

I am not going to take credit for this one- and I think they put it in better words than I did. So, enjoy this recipe. I know I have. I did my vegetables at 400 degrees. I started with my harder veggies four about 40 minutes, then added the softer ones for about 20 additional minutes.

You can find this recipe and others at

How to Roast Vegetables

You might have had roasted vegetables at a restaurant or friend's house that seemed to be nearly as much oil as veggies. But roasted vegetables really don't need to be made with a lot of oil. Here are the four basic vegetable roasting steps:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil, and coat the foil with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Cut your vegetables into small chunks or hearty bite-sized pieces.
  • Add vegetables in a single layer to the foil-lined pan and spray the top with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of canola or olive oil (use no more than a teaspoon of oil for every cup of vegetables). If you use oil, toss the veggies about on the pan to coat as much of them with oil as possible.
  • Sprinkle on any desired seasonings, such as rosemary or basil, parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper. Coat the tops of your veggies again with canola or olive oil cooking spray, if desired, especially if you didn't drizzle with oil in Step 2.
  • Bake until veggies are lightly browned in areas, and tender. If your vegetables look like they are starting to dry out during the roasting period, drizzle some broth, apple juice, or low-fat Italian dressing or vinaigrette over the top. Different vegetables require different cooking times. Check your roasted vegetables after 25-30 minutes (this is probably the halfway point), turn them over with a spatula, then cook until they're tender and nicely browned around some of the edges (about 25-30 minutes more.)

How Long Should I Cook Roasted Vegetables?
Keep in mind that these lighter density vegetables have the fastest cooking times:

  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Eggplant

These can take as little as 20 minutes to roast at 350-375 degrees. But if you're baking them in a 400-degree oven along with medium and high density vegetables, just cut them in larger, thicker pieces and they will handle the higher temp and longer cooking time just fine.

These medium-density vegetables take a bit longer to cook:

  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Winter squash

These higher density vegetables, meanwhile, have the longest cooking times:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Pumpkins

Medium- and high-density vegetables tend to roast better at 400 degrees and can take up to 60 minutes to cook.

Taco Soup

The first time I had this soup was right after I had Elizabeth and people from our Sunday school class were bringing us meals. We really enjoyed. I asked Catherine if she would share the recipe with me. I am looking forward to making it this weekend. I think it would also make a great freezer meal- prepare it without the water and place in freezer. Thanks to Catherine Gatlin for this one.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion (I use frozen onion)
1 package taco seasoning
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix
1 can beans (I use chili beans)
1 can corn (I use sweet white/yellow corn)
1 can green chilies
1 can Ro-tel
2 cans water
1 can sliced black olives

Brown ground beef, add onions until translucent. Add dry seasonings and stir. Add all canned products and water, bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
I usually serve with fritos and cheese.

White Wine Cream Sauce

We had some friends over the other night, and I was looking for a vegetarian ideas for my meal. I don't do it very often, and it is a fun challenge for me. I served this sauce over bow-tie pasta and roasted vegetables. I loved it, and it was great for leftovers, too.

Yields about 2 cups

2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons minced shallots
1/2 cup white wine
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute 1 minute.

Add wine and cream; cook 12 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Add salt and parsley. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to serving bowl.

Note: If you prepare sauce ahead and refrigerate, it will need to be reheated. Warm 2 ounces of cream in a saucepan and bring to simmer. Then add refrigerated cream sauce by whisking in slowly. Continue whisking until hot and bubbly; add 1 tablespoon butter to finish.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day I am posting a clip that was on today's Oprah. Even though I am not typically a fan of hers, I am a fan of Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. My grandfather gave it to me about a year ago. I am amazed at the changes in food from his to my generations. On this Earth Day think about what you can do to reduce your own carbon foot print. I really liked the idea he has about "Meatless Mondays." I find myself thinking more and more about this subject- What do you think we should do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ham and Macaroni Bake with Broccoli

So I have tons of leftover ham from our wonderful Easter Day Lunch. While it was a great meal and great leftovers as well, I felt like I needed to disguise it a little bit for tonight's dinner so that we don't get too sick of it. I found this recipe on the internet and it is a good, easy basic.

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 package (10 ounces), frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups cubed cooked ham
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs tossed with 1 tablespoon melted butter

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a medium saucepan melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add flour, green onion, salt, mustard, and pepper; stir until well blended. Gradually stir in milk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Stir in broccoli, macaroni, ham, and cheese. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over ham and macaroni casserole.Bake ham and macaroni casserole recipe at 350° for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nana's Twice Baked Potatoes

Nana's Twice Baked Potatoes
Submitted by Jane Foster Stauffer and Tracie Stauffer Nutter

As a kid it was always a treat when Mom made Twice Baked Potatoes for us. It still is. This is also one of Joe's favorites. It's basic comfort food.

Mom remembers her Nana, Jamie Foster, making twice baked potatoes when she was growing up. She said it was always one of her and her brother's favorite dishes. Mom also remembers that as Nana's friends were getting older, she would often whip up these potatoes when they were not feeling well and deliver them to their houses. Nana would do this because this was economical and everyone likes a twice baked potato.

This is a great dish to serve anytime...just for yourself, or for company.

5 lb bag of baking potatoes
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 - 1 stick of butter (depending on taste)
Salt to taste (be generous...very important!!)
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash baking potatoes. Rub the outside of the potato with Crisco. Bake in oven for about 1 hour or until they are soft through the middle.

When potatoes are still warm, cut in half and scoop out the middle. Add butter to taste (don't be scimpy). Add 1/2 cup of sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat with a hand mix until they are whipped. Spoon back into potato shells.

Add cheese to the top (or anything else you prefer) and bake at 350F in the oven for 20 to 30 mintues or until heated though.

Good recipe to make ahead and bake for the second time later. They can also be frozen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This is a recipe that my mom found. It is a crowd-pleaser, as well as a space saver. I have to watch how many things I have going into the over, range, etc. This really helps and is very tasty. This will be served tomorrow for our Easter lunch.

12 pkg of elbow macaroni cooked al dente
13 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup of butter, melted
2 large eggs slightly beaten
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese divided
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, according to your taste preferences
1/8 tsp. white pepper (I use black)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a slow cooker, combine lightly cooked macaroni, evaporated milk, whole milk, melted butter, eggs, 3 cups of Cheddar cheese , salt and pepper.
2. Top with remaining Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.
3. Cover. Cook on low 3 hours.

Hard- Boiled Eggs

Happy Easter everyone! I am trying to figure out my Easter menu for tomorrow. I have a small ham and a turkey breast, I don't know what else I am going to do at this point. But, I do know that we decorated eggs last night. Every year I have to call my mom to remember how to boil eggs. Every year she tells me that she still calls her mom, my Mimi, to remember also. So, with her being out of town this weekend, I turned to my "red-checked" cookbook, or the Betty Crocker cookbook, our family has used for four generations. I couldn't cook without it. So, here is how to do a perfect hard-boiled egg. On a side note, as I typed this I remembered an all important "Stauffer Family Tradition," you have to crack the eggs you eat on your head. Painful, but memorable. I carry on the tradition with my kiddos, too.

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add enough water to just cover the eggs. bring to a rapid boil over high heat (water will have large rapidly breaking bubbles). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes; drain.

2. Run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water until cool enough to handle; drain.

3. To peal eggs, gently tap each egg on the counter top (or if you are a Stauffer, on your head). Roll the egg between the palms of your hands. Peel off the eggshell, starting at the large end.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Daag Curry Base

I am really excited about sharing these recipes today. Clay and I have loved Indian food for a long time, but we recently took our kids to an Indian restaurant in Little Rock. After the meal, Hannah and Elizabeth asked if they could move to Little Rock, so we could eat it more often. We were both surprised and excited. So, I have been on the hunt for a while now to find some Indian dishes I could make at home. Lucky for me, I didn't have to look far. One of my dearest friends in the world, Lee Anna, was kind enough to share some recipes with me. I will be sharing the recipes as I try them, or in this case, as I prepare to find the ingredients. She is worked on them with her husband, Ankur. They have adapted them from his families' recipes.

So, Thank you Lee Anna and Ankur for sharing with us this wonderful food.

Lee Anna Darji
Makes 4 freezer bags, 4 servings each


2 lbs diced onions
4 t ginger puree
6 t garlic puree
2-3 t chopped green Thai chilies
6 grated tomatoes (or 1 28-oz can of tomato puree)
½ C oil
4 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
½ t tumeric powder
1 t garam masala
½ C chopped cilantro
1 t salt
2 C water


Dice the onions; puree the ginger, garlic, and chilies; puree the tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Fry the onions until dark brown (about 20-30 minutes). Add the ginger, garlic, and chilies; fry for 3 more minutes. Add the ground coriander; sauté for 5 more minutes. Stir so the onions don’t stick and add a little water if it is sticking. Add the cumin, tumeric, garam masala. Cook one minute; then, add the tomatoes and cilantro. Stir together and add 2 C water and 1 t of salt. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Divide evenly into four freezer-safe containers. Freeze until ready to use.

Use one portion of the curry base with 2 C water and one of the following:
1 – 1 ½ lbs of cubed chicken breast or whole chicken pieces
1 – 1 ½ lbs of lamb or goat pieces
1 – 1 ½ lbs of white fish (like tilapia)
Variety of vegetables, e.g. potatoes or canned chick peas
6-8 boiled eggs (can also add potatoes with the eggs)
Empty the curry base into a heavy saucepan. Add 2 C water and heat until boiling. Add the meat or vegetables. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Soupy Chicken

Lee Anna Darji

Serves 6-8


3 large onions
4 large tomatoes (grated into liquid) - or use a 14oz. can of tomato puree
3 T oil
2 cinnamon sticks
2 pods of cardamom (green)
5 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
5 whole black peppercorns
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and skinned or 1-1 ½ lbs of chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces
2 t garlic paste
3 t ginger paste
1 t chopped green Thai chilies
½ t salt (to taste)
½ t tumeric
½ t red chili powder (cayenne)
1 large or 3 small potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 T lemon juice
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro
½ t garam masala


Dice the onions and grate the tomatoes. Heat 2-3 T oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, and black pepper corns. Sizzle for one minute. Add the diced onions and sauté until a little darker than golden brown.

Add the garlic paste and ginger paste, as well as the chopped green chilies. Saute about 5 minutes.

Add salt, tumeric, red chili powder, and tomatoes. Cook 5-10 minutes.

Add chicken; cover and simmer. Stir after 15 minutes. Cook 15 more minutes. Add some water if it isn’t soupy enough.

Add the chopped potatoes and lemon juice. Continue simmering until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and garam masala. Serve with steamed rice and naan or rotli.

Inda Bread

Inda Bread

Lee Anna Darji Serves 4


3 eggs
¼ t tumeric
1 t chopped green Thai chilies
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
1 t ginger paste
1 t garlic paste
¼ C milk
6-8 slices of sandwich bread


Mix all ingredients together in a shallow dish. Soak slices of bread in the mixture like you would for French toast. Brown both sides on a hot griddle for about 2 minutes each. Cut diagonally in half and enjoy hot.