October 16, 2011

Back to menu planning? Who knows, but going to give it a try!

Fall is officially here in South Carolina. Finally. I've had my crock-pot and soup on my mind for weeks, waiting for the perfect weather. I have selected four family favorites that I can either toss together quickly or crock-pot. It's going to be a GREAT week!

Utility Belt Penne
Tomato and White Bean Soup
Jules' Homemade Tomato Soup
Cinnamon-Beef Noodles

I still can't believe I made this. However, I am not surprised the family devoured it!

  • You won't believe how five simple ingredients can combine to make a heavenly breakfast pull-apart!
  • Prep Time: 25 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Min
  • Makes: 12 servings

  • Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cans (7.5 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated biscuits
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar

  • Directions:
  • * 1: Grease or spray 12-cup Bundt® cake pan.
  • * 2: Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in 1-gallon bag. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each in quarters. Shake quarters in bag to coat; place in pan. Mix butter and brown sugar; pour over biscuit pieces.
  • * 3: Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Turn upside down; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
This year, Chinese New Year (Year of the Hare!) fell on February 3rd. With Emi's birthday on the 2nd, that was just too much going on in two short days. Add to that, both Jeff and Emi had the flu, no one was really interested in doing much except sleeping. So we decided to do our celebrating this weekend.

Planned menu:
  1. Simple noodles - I found some fun curly long noodles and will serve them unbroken (long life) with soy sauce, which is Emi's favorite way to eat noodles
  2. Eggrolls
  3. New Year Dumplings
  4. Asian-Style Grilled Tilapia - Emi has just recently rediscovered her love of Tilapia and since this marinade is SO amazing, it's a perfect fit for our special dinner
  5. Chocolate Won-Tons

BTW, we made Chinese Tea Eggs last year. They were a lot of fun, but none of us really liked the taste. I've decided to not make them this year, mainly as time is getting away from me. But they are so fun to make, and the house smells so wonderful - so if you have time, go for it! (Emi and I may make them for a 'rainy day' project later this week, not to eat, just to do the project and then display them. They really are quite pretty!)

We aren't doing the entire menu that many do, there are just the three of us after all. But, if you are looking for a good go-to menu, more ideas or just "why eat that for CNY", I found this post: What to Eat for Chinese New Year. I am sure in years to come we will attempt each dish, they look amazing!
Feast For One: Utility Belt Penne

Kiy Note: I have many authors that I love. I wait patiently (yeah, right) for their new books to come out, marking the date on my calendar, salivating. But I have a TOTAL favorite. Dana Stabenow, specifically when she writes her "Kate" books. I can't get enough of Kate and Mutt. The fact that she writes about life in Alaska and I still like her books, is amazing. You see, I am not a fan of snow. AT.ALL. However, she makes me dream of someday seeing Alaska, and actually living there (not that that is going to happen). If you haven't found the wonderful Ms. Stabenow and enjoy suspense/thriller, be sure to pick up her first Kate novel, A Cold Day for Murder.

Thankfully, I follow her on Facebook or I would have never known that she also has a very cool cooking blog. Here is a soup that she posted today. I can't wait to try this, I know we will all love this and while it's "cooking for one", I can see it will easily double or triple. I wonder if Emi will let us have any. That gal and soup, a true love affair!

Utility Belt Penne

You know how Batman always has everything he needs fastened to his all-purpose, super-duper utility belt? In the same way, you've always got everything you need in the refrigerator for one-dish pasta.

Start with some olive oil. Add some chopped onion of any kind, yellow, green, sweet. Saute for about two minutes.

Add a couple of cloves of sliced garlic, and a couple of sliced anchovies. Saute for another minute.

Add four or five Roma tomatoes, chopped, or a can of stewed tomatoes, or a can of chopped tomatoes. Add some hearty shakes of dried Italian herbs, stir, and cook down for a minute or two. Add salt, but only a little because there is plenty in the anchovies and capers and cheese, and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar if you feel like it.

Add a cup or two of chicken broth. It's better if you make your own, but canned is fine. Add a glug or two of wine, red or white, whatever you have on hand.

Bring to a simmer, and add a couple of handfuls of penne pasta. Yes, I know you're supposed to cook it separately, but why dirty another pan, especially when the pasta will soak up all that lovely broth you're putting together?

Bring back to a simmer and let cook for twelve minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Feel free to test, you'll know it when you bite into it.

Just before serving, toss in a tablespoon or so of capers. Garnish with parmesan, the good stuff, the stuff you should always have on hand, and serve.

Found this today and didn't want to lose it. Looks work trying!

Creamy Mushroom Soup
Creamy Mushroom Soup recipe

2 Tbsp. butter
1-1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 lb. baking potatoes (about 2), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 qt. (4 cups) water
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

MELT butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions and celery; cook 6 to 8 min. or until onions and celery are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

RESERVE 1 cup vegetable mixture. Add next 5 ingredients to vegetable mixture remaining in skillet; stir. Bring to boil; simmer on medium-low heat 15 min. or until potatoes are tender.

ADD 1/3 of the potato mixture to blender; blend until smooth. Pour into large saucepan. Repeat with remaining potato mixture.

WHISK in Neufchatel; cook and stir 2 min. or until melted. Stir in reserved vegetable mixture and parsley.