The Best 5 Soup Recipes

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

One of my favorite times of year is when the leaves start falling and the air is cool and crisp.  This season has a direct correlation to me having the deepest desire to spend the entire day in my kitchen.  These soup recipes are some of my very favorites! 

2 sticks unsalted Butter
1 cup flour
1 qt chicken stock
2 cup milk or Greek yogurt
2 carrots small dice
4 stalks celery small dice
1 medium onion small dice
2 potatoes unpeeled, small diced
1 lb frozen sweet corn
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a  sauce pan add your butter and allow to melt
add all of the diced vegetables and allow to sautee for about 7-10 minutes
add in the flour and mix well, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes to let the flour cook.  This is your roux with the veggies, if the mixture looks too greasy add a little more flour to take the shine off the roux.
add in the hot chicken stock and mix well to get all of the roux incorporated.
add the milk and corn, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
If the chowder appears to thick, thin it out with additional milk, stock or water.
If you really want to kick it up a bit and aren’t worried about all the calories and fat, add in a half a cup of heavy cream!
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite sandwich or salad.

- See more at: http://www.askchefdennis.com/2011/03/corn-chowder-and-ask-chef-dennis/#sthash.yU3UfG3p.dpuf

turkey1

turkeyrecipe

 

 

tomato2Creamy Tomato Bisque recipe from A Farm Girl Dabbles

tom bisque

 

 

 

 

frenchonion1frenchonion2

2 sticks unsalted Butter
1 cup flour
1 qt chicken stock
2 cup milk or Greek yogurt
2 carrots small dice
4 stalks celery small dice
1 medium onion small dice
2 potatoes unpeeled, small diced
1 lb frozen sweet corn
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a  sauce pan add your butter and allow to melt
add all of the diced vegetables and allow to sautee for about 7-10 minutes
add in the flour and mix well, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes to let the flour cook.  This is your roux with the veggies, if the mixture looks too greasy add a little more flour to take the shine off the roux.
add in the hot chicken stock and mix well to get all of the roux incorporated.
add the milk and corn, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
If the chowder appears to thick, thin it out with additional milk, stock or water.
If you really want to kick it up a bit and aren’t worried about all the calories and fat, add in a half a cup of heavy cream!
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite sandwich or salad.

- See more at: http://www.askchefdennis.com/2011/03/corn-chowder-and-ask-chef-dennis/#sthash.yU3UfG3p.dpuf

 French Onion Soup Recipe from A Thousand Soups

2 sticks unsalted Butter
1 cup flour
1 qt chicken stock
2 cup milk or Greek yogurt
2 carrots small dice
4 stalks celery small dice
1 medium onion small dice
2 potatoes unpeeled, small diced
1 lb frozen sweet corn
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a  sauce pan add your butter and allow to melt
add all of the diced vegetables and allow to sautee for about 7-10 minutes
add in the flour and mix well, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes to let the flour cook.  This is your roux with the veggies, if the mixture looks too greasy add a little more flour to take the shine off the roux.
add in the hot chicken stock and mix well to get all of the roux incorporated.
add the milk and corn, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
If the chowder appears to thick, thin it out with additional milk, stock or water.
If you really want to kick it up a bit and aren’t worried about all the calories and fat, add in a half a cup of heavy cream!
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite sandwich or salad.

- See more at: http://www.askchefdennis.com/2011/03/corn-chowder-and-ask-chef-dennis/#sthash.yU3UfG3p.dpuf

 

 

 

bakedpotatopotatoandcheese

lasagna1lassoup

   Lasagna Soup recipe from A Farm Girl Dabbles

 

 

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Best Easter Dinner Recipes

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Easter, Holidays, Recipes

In our family Easter is a special holiday and a day where we get together and share an Easter meal together. I've gathered a list of the best Easter Dinner recipes and if your family is like mine, they are sure to become a tradition. So here are my Easter Dinner Recipes, enjoy!

 easter dinner recipes

Glazed Easter Ham

      eater ham recipe 

Twice Baked Potatoes

easter potatoes recipe

Honey Glazed Carrots

Honey-Glazed-Carrots-easter-recipe

 

Colorful Deviled Eggs
deviled eggs for easter

 

Honey Butter Rolls

honey-rolls-easter-recipe

Cucumber Strawberry Salad

easter-salad-recipe

Better Than Easter... Carrot Cake Poke Cake

carrot-cake-easter

German Chocolate Bird's Nest

birds-nest-easter-recipe

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The Best Thanksgiving Dinner Menu & Recipes

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Holidays, Recipes, Thanksgiving

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta Recipe! Plus, a healthy version too.

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

With the start of this new year,  I am excited to get focused on cooking and eating healthy again.  My family comes from Italy, so naturally pasta is my favorite thing to cook and eat.  It's not easy to make a creamy pasta that is good for you, but I found a way.  With a few simple substitutions, this recipe is a healthy, fresh meal with a lot less fat and calories.  It was sooo tasty too, so I was very pleased!! This recipe is very quick and easy.  Look below for the regular recipe along with the healthy substitutions that I used. 
 
Creamy-Tomato-And-Spinach-Pasta
Creamy Tomato And Spinach Pasta
 

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ lb. penne pasta
  • ½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Healthy Substitutions:

-whole wheat pasta instead of white

-1/4 cup fresh basil instead of dried (sooo much better)

- fresh chopped tomato instead of canned

-my favorite marinara sauce instead of the tomato paste and water mix

-8 oz plain greek yogurt instead of cream cheese

-add grilled chicken breast for extra lean protein

This recipe tasted amazing with the healthier, fresher alternatives. 

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  5. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from www.inspireddreamer.com

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Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

I found this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything and instantly knew that I needed to make it.  Bacon is one of our main staples at my house so I knew it would be a hit with my family...and it was!!  The candied bacon barely made it into the cookie dough because it was sooo incredibly delicious!

Bacon seems to be everywhere lately.  I've seen it on doughnuts, inside cupcakes, topping for ice cream and an ingredient in brownie recipes.

To begin to make this recipe you need to make the candied bacon.  It’s really easy. Start off with thick cut slices of bacon placed on a foil-lined pan, and sprinkle generously with brown sugar.

Candied-Bacon-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

For the candied bacon:
8 slices center cut thick bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
For the cookies:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place bacon in a single layer on a foil lined sheet.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on top of bacon strips. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until crispy, making sure to turn bacon over after 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for cooling. Once bacon has cooled chop it finely.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Sift flour and baking soda.
  • In a medium bowl, cream butter with the white and brown sugar.
  • Add vanilla, egg, and egg yolk to the bowl and beat until light and creamy.
  • Add flour mixture and mix well.
  • Add diced candied bacon and chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
  • Place golf ball sized balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cookies sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack.

 

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Kneaders French Toast Recipe

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

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Here in Utah we have a delicious cafe called Kneaders Bakery.  They have the most amazing french toast, omelets, sandwiches, salads and homemade desserts.  Whenever I eat at a restaurant and I love their food, it is my quest to find out the recipes and try to reproduce them in my kitchen.

Last year I was in charge of my family's Thanksgiving breakfast.  I decided to make a variety of different breakfast options and one of the main dishes was the glorious Kneaders French Toast!  My family was amazed and raving the entire day about it...I just smiled because it is soooo simple.  You can also make it the night before, so it is the prefect dish for Christmas morning or a special first day of school breakfast!

Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon French Toast

1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut into 8 thick slices (you can substitute this bread for any type of cinnamon swirl bread recipe)
8 eggs
3 cups milk
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter

Butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish generously. Place the bread flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter.  Dip the bread thoroughly in the egg mixture, then place flat in the baking dish.   Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate over night or at least one hour.  Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 8.

Kneaders Caramel Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup light Karo syrup
Blend together and heat on stove top until sugar is smooth. Serve warm.

I like to add fresh strawberries and make homemade whipping cream to make this french toast perfect.  Enjoy!! Your family will love you even more after you make this for them!

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How to Frost a Cake!

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

When I was 14 years old, I got my first job at Baskin Robbins.  I totally lied about my age to get it and I'm glad I did because I made some long lasting friendships there.  Plus, I got to eat all the free ice cream that I wanted!  I often think back on that time of my life and I have some very sweet memories.   My first love, my first car, trying to be responsible, trying to make good choices, but also being very dumb at times too.

Besides eating my fair share of ice cream, I learned how to decorate the ice cream cakes.  My boss ended up putting me in charge of making and decorating all of the cakes and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Ever since that time, I have used those skills to create and decorate my own cakes and I just can't seem to stop making, decorating and eating them! Heaven help me!!  I am not a perfectionist, but I do appreciate perfection when it comes to the beauty of a perfectly frosted cake!  

I found this amazing step-by-step guide tutorial  from www.whisk-kid.com on how to frost a cake.  These steps are pretty easy and the final product looks amazing!  YUM!  

 

Materials
Offset Spatula(s)
Spoons or knives may cut it when it comes to frosting cupcakes, but these are the way to go when it comes to frosting cakes. They're available in a variety of sizes and shapes, but I think the best two to have in your arsenal are the  8" model  and the  13" one .
Bench Scraper
In my opinion, this is the secret to getting a smooth layer of frosting. With a little practice, this will become one of your favorite tools.
Dishers/Portioners/Ice cream scoops
If you don't have one of these, a large spoon will get the job done, but since I have a few (they're good for portioning cookies), I'm using a  #24 (1 1/3 oz) scoop  today.
Turntable
I always use a turntable to frost cakes. It's an unnecessary investment if you don't frost cakes with any regularity, but if you do, you'll be so happy if you buy one. Look for them at small cake supply stores - they usually sell them there cheaper than you can find them at craft stores. If you really, really don't want to buy one,  rig one up yourself  like Alton Brown did in Season 6 Episode 15 of  Good Eats .
Non-Slip Pad
Slip one of these under your cake on the turntable and you will thank me, I promise.
Rubber Spatula
I never leave the house without one!
Additional Bowl
You will use this for collecting crumby frosting.
A filled and stacked cake on a stand or cardboard round
Yeah, yeah - I know this and the next point are obvious, but I'm just covering my bases. You've got to frost  something , right? (P.S. I got this cake stand at Home Goods)
Frosting
Use whichever kind you like - this technique is universal. Feel free to head over to my tutorials for  Swiss Meringue  and  Italian Meringue , if you'd like some help with those, too!

I don't have a photo for the first step, but it's important, so listen up!  Before you begin , you'll want to "deflate" your frosting a little to remove what may become obnoxious air bubbles. To do this, beat you frosting on the lowest speed possible of your stand/hand mixer for about five minutes, then proceed. 

Starting with a stacked cake, drop on a small amount of frosting for your crumb coat. I used 2 scoops from a 1 1/3 oz disher. You don't need too much; this first layer of frosting will be very thin because it just there to hold in crumbs and prevent them from getting in the final coat. 

Press the mound of frosting down and out with your offset spatula, spreading from the center to the edge. You can drag the offset along the top of the cake, but don't scrape it so hard that it tears. 

This whole task is easiest to do if you use a swiveling motion with your wrist; tilting it gently left and right as you spread to more easily maneuver the frosting. This technique might not make much sense when you read it, but I think it's a natural movement. Truthfully though, the most important thing is to make sure that you're comfortable. Do what works for you!

Continue spreading the frosting outward from the top so that it hangs over like this. This is how you will crumb coat the sides.

Using the same swiveling motion, begin spreading the frosting around the sides of the cake. Don't be alarmed if working at this angle feels awkward - it always feels kind of strange. Also, don't worry if dabs of frosting fall off the cake. Just scoop any stray bits up and keep working with them. However, whatever you do,  DO NOT  use your offset spatula, which is surely covered in crumbs, to scoop additional frosting out of its container. If you need more frosting for your crumb coat, use the disher/spoon to put more on top. Once you get crumbs in your frosting, they can be very difficult to get out, so be careful.

Also, if you'd like to scrape the built-up frosting on the back of the spatula off, don't be tempted to do so on the cake's corners (the 90 degree angle consisting of the top and the side). Scrape the spatula on a  separate  empty bowl, then scoop up the residual frosting to add back to the crumb coat, if needed.

Continue working the frosting around the sides of the cake until every inch - from the top to the bottom - is covered. 

Now it's time to thin the frosting, which helps really seal in the crumbs. Start with the top, using your offset to pull frosting from the edge of the cake, over the center and sweep the excess off. Run the underside of your spatula over the edge of a separate bowl (mentioned in step 4), then sweep across the top repeatedly until most of the frosting has been removed.

Use your bench scraper, held at about a 45 degree angle to the cake, to scrape off additional frosting by spinning the turntable toward it. Don't press too hard, which could cut the cake, but press firmly enough that it scrapes some frosting off. Transfer frosting to your designated bowl and set aside.

Congratulations - you've got yourself a crumb-coated cake! Most of the frosting has been removed, leaving you with a nice, thin coat to seal in crumbs and prevent them from bugging you in the next few steps. 

Using your disher, scoop on a pile of frosting. Some people put on what they estimate to be enough to frost the top and bottom of the cake at this stage, but I don't like to do it that way. Seeing that much frosting all at once freaks me out and I always have a problem with it falling off the cake before I've finished applying it. However, that method does work for some people, so I advise you to do whatever makes you comfortable! 

I put on 3 scoops, which I thought would be enough to cover the top of the 6" cake and a little bit over the edges. However, this amount won't be enough for every size of cake, so be sure to adjust accordingly. One thing to learn from the alternate method is that more  is  better for this job, so don't be frightened about piling it on!

Using the same method that you used when you  filled the layers of the cake , flatten out the mound of frosting with your offset spatula and work it out just over the edge (like in step 3), maintaining an even layer of frosting. It can be as thick or thin as you like; just make sure that you can't see the cake beneath it. Turn the turntable while you work, and spread in circular motions to even things out. Don't worry about getting it too perfect at this point because we'll come back to it later. 

Before applying more frosting to the sides, flatten out the overhang. 

After that's done, use a clean rubber spatula to scoop more frosting out of the bowl and  transfer  it to your offset spatula. You can simply scoop with the offset, if you like, but doing so increases the risk that you will get crumbs into your batch of frosting. Gently touch the loaded spatula to the side of the cake and begin spreading, being careful not to sweep your offset outside of the available frosting, which could introduce crumbs. 

I worry about crumbs a lot. Have you noticed?

Continue spreading the frosting around the cake, applying excess frosting around the top rim of the cake which we will be using later to smooth out the top. Begin on the high side of the edge and work your way...

...to the bottom. It doesn't need to be too smooth for now, just try to make sure the coat is fairly even without too many low spots. Also, note the raised edge that I mentioned in the previous step. Make sure that you have this, or it will be difficult to smooth out the top later. If you've forgotten, add it at any time by applying small dabs of frosting to the top edge. 

Ok, you're in the home stretch! The cake doesn't need to be any smoother than this at this point, and it would be just fine if it was messier. The next few steps will even everything else out. 

This is the trick to a smooth cake: the humble bench scraper! You'll use it just as you did before (by holding it still at about a 45 degree angle and turning the turntable toward it), but this time you have to be very much in control of the pressure you're applying so you don't leave marks. Keep your hand very steady and still, and remember that you aren't necessarily trying to remove the frosting, you just want to even it out. Be sure that the bench scraper is perpendicular to the stand so that your cake isn't at all conical.

This step takes practice, but don't be discouraged. Keep at it! After two or three sweeps all the way around, move on to the next step. 

Ok, so you've probably noticed that there are some uneven spots on your cake. Don't worry - you haven't done anything wrong! Use a  CLEAN, DRY  offset spatula to apply small amounts of frosting to the low spots, then use a  CLEAN, DRY  bench scraper to re-smooth. 

After you are satisfied with the edges of your cake, move on to the task of smoothing the top. Use a longer spatula, if you like, but this 8" one is what I was comfortable with for a cake this size. Place your spatula just beyond the side furthest from you at about a 45 degree angle, aligning the bottom edge with what you estimate to be the height of the inner layer of frosting...

... And scrape the frosting toward you, sweeping off when you get to the center of the cake. Clean your offset spatula. 

Repeat this technique around all sides of the cake, cleaning the spatula each time, sweeping the last raised edge into the center, just as before. 

Professionals would probably tell you to stop there. However, sometimes I'll add a  little  more frosting on top and spread it thinly over any imperfections, being very careful not to sweep it over the edges. But really, if there are a few marks on the top (or sides) it's not a huge deal!

Guess what? YOU'RE DONE! Continue decorating the cake any way you like or just leave it as is. 

Don't stress yourself out over getting the frosting  just so . If you start getting frustrated with it, stop and remind yourself that you're doing this for fun. Who cares if it's perfect? It's a cake. You're just going to eat it, anyway!

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