Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smoothie

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

Ok, just about everyone knows how to make a smoothie. You throw a few fruits and some other stuff along with ice in a blender and whip away! But I like having a basic recipe on hand sometimes for those nights when you really want a smoothie but are too brain-dead to remember how in the world you are supposed to make one of these delicious things! Tonight is such a night for me.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you probably already know that I have been having an ongoing battle with our local delivery guy. Now not to bash the company or anything, they did successfully deliver a package to me tonight after my hour long rant with both corporate and the local office. For some reason our driver thinks it's cool to leave packages not at our door, but instead at our trash can... I'm so not kidding you. Both times this has happened has been with food items, and guess what they smelled like by the time I found them.... Yeah I'm pretty sure you get the picture. Well anyway, after spending my day ranting and talking so much at one point today I had very little voice left, I am one extremely exhausted Momma! Luckily for me dinner was easy as we ended up not eating the dinner I made last night (individual pan pizzas!! Yeah, they were pretty bomb!), but then there's the dilemma of dessert, because we all know that after a long day you HAVE to indulge in some sort of dessert! And since I'm tired, lazy and trying to still keep on track with losing weight, smoothies sounds amazing to me right now!

But here's the kicker... I actually made these a few days ago, lol! And unless someone wants to jump through the computer screen and make one for me, I really am too tired to even blend. Haha! I'm such a loser I know, blogging instead of drinking a smoothie... Don't you feel the love and loyalty?!? You really should... Cus now I'm thirsty... Oh and yeah, I get kinda loopy and take lots of rabbit trails when I'm tired... ;-) Ok anyway, this is an easy basic recipe, that is very low in fat and calories, and goes great with Banana Cinnamon Chip Waffles!!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 - 2 cups of halved Strawberries
1-2 Banana's
1/2 cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 6oz. Container of Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt (I used Walmart's brand, only 80 calories!!)
1 6oz. Container of Lowfat Raspberry Yogurt
1/2 cup Milk (I used 1%)
16 oz. of Ice

Directions:
Remove the leaves from the strawberries, and slice in half. Place into your blender. Then add in the banana, raspberries (and any other fruit you would like), yogurt's and milk. Puree until smooth. Then add in the Ice and pulse until broken up, then puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into 8 oz. glasses, this recipe made 3 8 oz. glasses.

Review:
I told you it was basic, but it really was tasty and hit the spot! My boys just love this, and you can mix it up with different fruits and yogurts! 4.5 Stars!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Spicy Bean Burritos

 Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats.

Happy Monday all! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, we had a fairly relaxing one for a change which was nice. Now I have to be honest, I've been putting off blogging about this recipe for awhile. I've made this at least 3 times since I first saw the post on Annie's site, each time changing it just a little because though I loved it the first time, I just felt like it needed something more. I finally figured out what it needs, a little extra garlic, and little more chipotle! I like my burrito's spicy, I will admit that. But remember we live in the heart of the southwest where food is generally really spicy anyway, so I understand if this is too spicy for most of you.

I wasn't formally introduced to the bean burrito til I moved out here to Arizona and married my Hubby. I mean we had the occasional Mexican food growing up, and of course Taco Bell (which even I have come to admit is not real Mexican), but the food was nothing like what we have here. Now at first I will admit to having to adjust, since I can't eat Cilantro, which is prominent in almost all truly authentic Mexican food. And luckily my Hubby's family has been willing to adjust their recipe to leaving it out, or making a small batch without for me and my love for authentic Mexican food has grown tremendously! And though I'm not sure I would classify this a truly authentic, it is absolutely delicious! I was a little worried, since my Husband is pretty picky about his Mexican, but he loves this recipe too! I think it has just the right amount of heat, and I love that it is so low in calories and fat, but is loaded with protein and a ton of flavor. And I have to be honest, I don't always serve it up burrito style, as we have found this makes an amazing bean dip, or tostada topper. This was what we had for my Hubby's Birthday dinner on his actual birthday, and it was delicious! It comes together so quickly which was wonderful since I didn't want to spend the entire day in the kitchen cooking. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:
For the bean filling:
2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely diced
1 tsp. chili powder
2 minced chipotle's in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water, vegetable broth, chicken broth or beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh salsa

Filling/Toppings:
Tortilla's, Tostada Shells, or Tortilla chips
Sour Cream, lowfat or even Greek Yogurt
Shredded Cheese, I like cheddar but a great blend would be good too
Diced Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce
Diced Green or Red onions
Extra Salsa

Directions:
In a skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the garlic, chipotle, and spices cooking until fragrant. About 30-60 seconds. Then add in the water or broth and your drained beans. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes. Once the beans have cooked, remove from the heat and add in the salsa and using a potato masher or fork, slightly mash the beans and mix in the salsa. Then serve warm etiher in a burrito with your favorite topping, or as a base for a bean dip or tostada.

Review:
We really just love this, I think I prefer to eat it as a bean dip personally, but I love dips. haha! I give this 4 stars.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Banana Cinnamon Chip Waffles

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

It's that time of week again, you know, the weekend... For me it's the time that I think about breakfast constantly, am I going to make something, are we going to be home in the morning, do I even care to make it, I'm cool with just a cup of coffee why aren't the boys?!? (I know I know, my son is too little for coffee, but in my half awake head I don't consider his age! lol!) But you also know that I LOVE making breakfast for dinner, which is where this recipe comes into play, let me set the scene for ya!

Thursday afternoon, relaxing on the couch after a long day of shopping and cleaning, watching food network (duh!) and I see Giada De Laurentiis making waffle's. And as I sit there watching her make waffle's from a boxed mix I gasp! How on earth could she do that, now I'm not judging, I too have made waffle's from a mix before, and I get the premise of making it easy. But waffle's are the simplest breakfast food you'll ever make! And from that came the idea to suddenly make waffle's for dinner. Ok, I have to be honest, I battled with myself for about an hour as to whether or not to actually make these. Haha! I'm such a doof, I mean I was tired, feeling lazy and knew that the next day was going to be hectic, so my plan had been to have leftovers. And here's where the weekend comes into play, I finally decided that if I made them for dinner that night, we could eat the leftovers for breakfast this weekend and thus ensues my lazy weekend plan! ha!! I know, you're probably laughing your heart out at me right now, and I'm so totally cool with this so long as you give these waffle's a try soon! I couldn't just make boring waffle's for dinner either, it goes against every grain in my body anymore to make the bare essentials (sorry, can't help it, I've become a food aholic! Please don't have me committed!!!) but still these were simple, delicious and honestly my new favorite breakfast food!

Ingredients:
2 cups of All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
Dash of Nutmeg
2 Eggs
1 3/4 cups Milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Banana, Mashed (add more banana if you want more banana'y flavor)
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon Chips

Directions:
Heat your waffle iron. In a large bowl mix together your dry ingredients with a whisk, make a well in the center, then set aside. Next in a medium bowl beat the eggs slightly, then add in the milk, oil, vanilla and banana. Whisk that together then add to the dry mixture, whisk until just combined, should be slightly lumpy. Add your cinnamon chips, and mix. Next grease your waffle iron well, then pour about 1 cup (depending on the size of your waffle iron, make sure the little crannies are all covered) of batter on, spread it out with your ladle and close the lid. Do not open until the waffles are done. Bake according your manufacturer's directions. Use a fork to lift the waffle off the grid, repeat with remaining batter always greasing again before adding more mix. Serve warm.

Review:
I must say I was highly impressed with these baby's. My little sous chef absolutely loved his waffle, and after a few minutes I realized he was using his fork to cut his side of sliced banana's into smaller pieces to eat with each bit of waffle, which gave me the idea to garnish with sliced banana's, and let me just say he had the right idea with that one! I got a dozen waffle's out of this recipe, so it makes a lot! 5 stars.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tortellini, with Tomato Basil Sauce

 This is a Farmers Wife original, adapted from Sausage and Tomato Basil Tortellini.

You all know that I've been working to lose some weight recently, but it is really hard to find low calorie meals that my whole family will love, so I've been working to adapt my recipes as much as possible. Now the original is not all that bad for you, but I feel incredibly guilty eating pasta. I love it to death, but that is also my problem... I can't get enough of it!!! haha! I'm sure I'm not the only one out there with this problem, but you get the gist, Me + Pasta = Happy Momma! I've actually changed how I make this recipe quite a bit over the years since I first made it, I no longer add spinach to it, since my Sous Chef loves this dish, however spinach does not like him... Plus the original tomatoes I used are no longer available in my store. But here's the kicker... We actually love it this way better than the original!!! Don't you just love when that happens? It doesn't taste like it's low in calories and fat by any means, which makes my hubby happy, and it doesn't add inches to my waistline which makes me happy, and my little Sous Chef loves anything pasta which also makes me happy. I want to talk about the pasta itself for a minute though, I have started using Barilla's Three Cheese Tortellini found in your pasta aisle, and I really love it. They are smaller tortellini than the original that I used, but are perfect size for my little guys mouth. No more need to cut it, and have it fall apart, which makes it easier for him to feed himself. I highly recommend giving this a try, oh and for you calorie counters out there... 348 Calories per serving on this baby!! YUM!!

Ingredients:

2-3 Chicken Sausages, Sun Dried Tomato
1 12 oz. package Barilla three cheese tortellini
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Cook the sausage til browned. Then chop in into bite sized pieces.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the tortellini, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
While you get the tortellini going, combine the tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture begins to bubble.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and cream. Stir this mixture into the saucepan along with the Parmesan cheese. Heat through, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick, about 2 minutes.
Drain the tortellini, but do not rinse, then pour them into the saucepan with the sauce, and add the sausage. Stir to coat, and serve.
Review:
Now I get that this is not exactly a *New* recipe, but it's a redo and I really like it. Plus I'm trying to weed out some of my old pictures as my photography has improved. Anyway, we really, really loved this dinner, all 3 of us which is saying a lot! I hope you'll give this lower cal version of an already great recipe a try! We give this 5 stars. 

 
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Marmalade Bread

 Adapted from Bread Machine Magic.

*YAWN* Hey guys! It's a sleepy day here in AZ for me. We've been insanely busy recently, which has kept me away from my blog world more than I would like, what can I say?!? I enjoy sharing these stories from my crazy life and my recipes with y'all! But this particular day reminds me of another day just like this a few weeks ago...

It was still chilly here, and it was a dark cloudy day, and all I wanted to do was sleep and drink coffee (seriously... Somebody should just hook an IV up to me with coffee flowing through it.). Of course being a Mom, the sleeping all day thing never happens, so I was coffee'd up all day (I think by dinner I was on my 5th 16oz. cup... haha! And would you believe I had no problem sleeping that night?) and of course what goes better with coffee than a delicious homemade bread? Ok yes I know, cinnamon rolls or donuts would've been my first choice too, but work with me here, remember I was being lazy. So I got out my trusty Bread Machine Magic cookbook, and flipped through it. Decided what to make about 4 different times, each time changing my mind, til finally I landed on this bread, and it did not disappoint! I was seriously surprised at how great it smelled while baking, and just how light and fresh it tasted. Even my little sous chef ate an entire slice with his eggs and bacon, which for him is pretty unusual, he's not big on breads (Yes I am aware of the fact that he is weird... How can you not like bread?!?). And of course the winner for me is this bread is low in calories and fat, at only 162 calories and 1.9 grams of fat per slice, I was a very very happy eater! As always I changed it up just slightly by adding in the dried cranberries, you know me and my cranberries, my addiction to them is almost as bad as my addiction to coffee... (And don't worry guys, I also drink loads of water a day) 

Now though my personal drink preference is coffee, I remember how fun it was having tea parties as a little girl. In fact, when I was really little, my dad was the one home with me during the day and I remember making him have tea parties with me all the time. And one of our favorite things to do was to get a big slice of bread and put butter on it, and have it as our tea party snack! This bread brings back all those sweet memories of serving "tea" to my dad, as he sat on the floor in my bedroom while I buzzed around my play kitchen (yup, was obsessed with cooking even at the age or 4), and complained about my imaginary friends and family. haha! Why am I bringing this up you ask? Well Foodbuzz and Electrolux are partnering to host a Top 9 Tea Party Takeover on Friday, March 25th. In a Top 9 Takeover, Foodbuzz asks all Featured Publishers to construct a post around a theme and then, for one day only, all Top 9 posts reflect that theme.We're doing this in support of Ovarian Cancer Research, you can check out the website for Kelly's Confidential for more information and to support this wonderful cause! And for your next tea party, I hope you'll enjoy this bread, and for you Mom's of little girls, or even Dad's, I hope you will treasure each and every tea party you share with your little girl, as much as I treasured the ones I had with my Dad!

Ingredients: this is for a 1.5 lbs. Loaf. If you'd like the recipe for the 1lbs or the 2 lbs loaf let me know!4
2/3 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 1/4 cups Milk (I used 1%)
2/3 cup Orange Marmalade
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Butter or Margarine, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
3 cups Bread Flour
3-4 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries
2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

Directions:
Place all ingredients in the loaf pan, in order listed or according to your manufacturer. Bake on a standard cycle, for a 1.5 lbs. loaf on a medium crust setting. Once it's done baking, remove the bread from the pan, and allow to cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm, we liked ours topped with more marmalade.

Review:
Don't you just love easy bread recipes? I know I do. Now if your machine has an "addition timer" where it beeps partway through the kneading process to add in raisins or nuts, you can add in the cranberries then and they won't get so broken up, which is what I did. But that is optional. As I said, if you want the recipe for the other loaf sizes message me, or get a copy of the book at my Amazon Store! 4.5 Stars.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Birthday time, and Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

 Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Today is my amazing Farming Hubby's Birthday!! Now I know I usually use this section to talk about my delicious food creation, but today it's dedicated to my man! Birthday's are not a big deal to him, and I fully support him on that. However, I can't let his birthday go by without making a bit of a fuss. ;-) Now as you probably already know, I am so head over heels (ok, I've not literally flipped over while wearing heels for him... but you get the picture) in love with this wonderful husband of mine, which to me makes this day extra special. But first I want to transport you back a few years...

See not only is today my Husband's birthday, but it is also my little Brothers 13th birthday!!!! AHHHH! I cannot believe with any part of me that my little bro is a teenager today! Talk about a scary thought... I remember the night my mom went into labor with him, and watching a scary twister movie while timing her contractions... haha! (By the way I totally did not clear this with her, so sorry mom! But I love you!) Little did I know that while I slept (or lack there of) on a cot at my mom's best friends house, while my little brother made his grand entrance into the world, that the man of my dreams was celebrating his own birthday 2,000 miles away! Talk about a crazy coincidence right?

Now I don't know about in your families, but in ours the birthday person (or in my case boys) get to choose their own dinner and dessert options for their celebration. Now I don't know what my brother is doing for his birthday, but I know that he got my card and gift in the mail and he called me about to jump out of his skin (did you know that I'm like the coolest big sister ever? haha! Ok maybe not, but hey he loves me!), but my Hubby asked to go out to a little Mexican Taco Stand near our house, and for these amazing little Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Ok... Ready for a fast forward to the present?

About a month ago I was doing my usual evening routine of perusing food blogs, and I stumbled across this recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker's site, and was looking at it drooling over my laptop. Well next thing I know my wonderful man is asking me what I'm looking at, so I tell him. (Did I mention that his family is obsessed with Red Velvet Cake? No? Oh... Sorry. They're obsessed with it. haha!) Well he immediately informs me that is his dessert of choice for his birthday. Then he promptly forgot about it, luckily for him I didn't. So when we planned a last minute birthday dinner last week for him, I mentioned that I would probably not get these done for his impromptu party. Hehe!!! I lied, well ok, not really. I actually didn't think I would have time to make these, but I did and thoroughly enjoyed surprising him and the rest of his family with these delicious treats! And though I was a little skeptical since they are such Red Velvet fans, and I've never made a Red anything cake to save my life before, that they'd like it, but they were a huge hit and I'm pretty sure at least one of them ate 2 pies... haha! With that said, I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! And thanks for reading about the leading man in my life, and the little brother who I will always hold dear to my heart!

Happy Birthday boys! I love you both!

Ingredients:
For the whoopies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons red food coloring (or like half a tube of gel food coloring... ahah!)
1 cup buttermilk

For the cream cheese filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon milk

Directions:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time (tip, crack eggs into seperate bowl first to make sure no shell gets into the batter), beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended. Add 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated, repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Using a spoon (or an ice cream scoop), drop a tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10-12 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the filling… In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and milk and increase the speed to medium-high; beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes. To assemble: Spread the filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife of spoon. Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip (I used a ziploc bag fitted with a round tip) to pipe the filling onto the cake. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.
Storing: Assembled whoopie pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you need to stack layers, place a piece of wax paper between layers.

Review:
These were absolutely amazing! I would recommend using the liquid food coloring for these, but since my store was sold out and I didn't have any on hand the gel worked fine. I upped the cocoa because it didn't seem chocolatey enough to me, lol! And I ran out of vanilla for the frosting, but didn't miss it one bit! My birthday boy gives these 5 stars.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ignore the pink claws about to devour that coated roll... ;-)
Adapted from my Grandma's recipe.

Broccoli Cheese Soup... Yum! I think this is the quintessential chick food, or so my Hubby says. (He's not a huge fan... lol!) I however absolutely love the stuff, I used to live off of Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheese Soup, especially in a bread bowl. But when I moved out to the desert with my Farming Hubby, I discovered that there are NO Panera Bread's in the state!!! *GASP* I know! I miss it so dearly, but I do swear this is the next best thing! Now I ate this soup growing up, and I loved it then, but because we often ate at Panera it wasn't something we made. But since moving, I make this just for myself a few times a year at least because I start to crave it something awful. This soup is so easy and flavorful, I think I hear the last of the leftovers calling my name... haha! I've made this several times since the start of this blog, each time getting all excited to share it with you, and each and every single time I forgot to take a picture... *Slaps forehead* So I purposefully made a big ole pot of this soup this week so I could share it with y'all, don't you feel special?!? You really should, I don't share my secret recipes with just anyone (haha! That makes me laugh since I actually do...). The only person who's never tried my soup is my Hubby, why you might ask? It has no meat in it. Teeheehee! Boys... But it's cool because that means more for me and my girlfriends. ;-)

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons Margarine
1/2 cup Celery, diced
1/2 cup Onion, diced
1/3 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Quart of Milk (I use 1%)
1 Jar Cheez Whiz
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar
4-5 cups Cooked Broccoli and Cauliflower (I buy 2 of the frozen steamable bags, cook according to bags directions)
2 Carrots, Shredded

Directions:
In a large pot, melt the butter over med-low heat. Once melted add in the celery and onion and cook until soft. Meanwhile cook your broccoli and cauliflower, once cooked place in a food processor and pulse until slightly puree'd but still chunky (This is optional, I don't like huge chunks in my soup). Set aside and shred the carrots. Once the celery and onion are soft, add in the salt, pepper and flour stirring to form a ball. Add in the chicken stock and the milk. Cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add in the cheez whiz and shredded cheddar, and stir til melted. Do not let the soup boil! Once the cheese is all melted, add in your broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, just to let all the flavors combine. Serve warm.

Review:
This really is a simple soup, especially with the steam able bags they make now for the microwave. It helps it come together so much faster, and it really is inexpensive especially buying the store brand. Also since we don't really like broccoli or cauliflower outside of this soup for us it'd go to waste to buy fresh. But I have made it with fresh and it tastes delicious both ways! You could go with all shredded cheddar if you wanted, and not use the cheez whiz, but it melts so smoothly into the soup and I just love it! 5 stars.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Colcannon

 Adapted from Food Network.

Happy St. Patty's Day!!! Now I have to be honest (I always am though... haha!), I really don't care about this holiday. I know, I know, I am part Irish and that's a horrible thing to say so I'm sorry to my Irish Ancestors, but I really don't get the point of turning everything green, and since I've never seen a leprechaun (other than on my lucky charms box) I'm pretty sure it's just a silly holiday. I do however enjoy one particular Irish dish, Colcannon! Haven't heard of it? Not surprised... It's not the most famous Irish dish there is (Corn Beef and Cabbage = yuck in my book but that's just me!) but it is my family favorite and is what I grew up on for St. Patty's Day. Traditionally this can be made with either Cabbage or Leeks, and without Ham (though most recipes do add it these days). For a little bit of background info on Colcannon, it was not traditionally served for St. Patrick's Day. *In Ireland colcannon was associated traditionally with Hallowe'en (31 October) festivities, when it was used for the purposes of marriage divination. Charms hidden in bowls of colcannon were portents of a marriage proposal should unmarried girls be lucky enough to find them, whilst others filled their socks with spoonfuls of colcannon and hung them from the handle of the front door in the belief that the first man through the door would become their future husband.* Pretty interesting huh? Yeah I thought so too, now to be honest I did not hide any charms in my Colcannon tonight, ah the joys of being happily married! haha! Now I have to tell you the one thing that totally made me laugh out loud, when I was at the store the other day and bought the ingredients to make this wonderful dish, I got home and was perusing my receipt just to double check some things I realized I was charged for a head of lettuce... I did not buy any lettuce... I already have lettuce in my fridge... I start scratching my head... Suddenly I realized, she rang up the cabbage as lettuce!! HAHA!!! Oh I laughed so hard, it was to precious a mistake to upset me whatsoever, but it did make my day! 

Ingredients: this serves 4, you can double it to make more
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 Head of Cabbage, Shredded
1lbs. Pre-cooked Ham Steak
2-3 Green Onions, diced
1 stick +1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
1/2-3/4 cup Milk (I used 1%, and eyeballed it for the right texture)
Freshly Ground Pepper

Directions:
Peel, and wash your potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a large pan and cover with water, and boil. Cook until fork tender and drain. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, shred the cabbage. Place into a medium sized pot, cover with water and boil til darkened and tender. Turn off the burner and add the 1 Tablespoon of butter and let it sit with the lid on for 2 minutes, drain and set aside. Once the potatoes are done, drain and place back into the pot. Add in the stick of butter and milk, and using a hand masher, mash the potatoes just like normal. Add in the pepper and stir. (Taste to see if you need more milk, butter or pepper) Cut the ham into small cubes, and chop the onion. Add the ham, onion and cabbage to the potatoes and mix. Serve warm with a dab of butter in the middle, and some green onions on top. Tip: You can make this ahead of time and place in a well greased crock pot on warm until ready to serve. Especially nice if you're serving this at a party for St. Patty's Day

Review:
For me this brings back so many memories, so I just love this meal. Now I am going to shock you with this fact.... This meal... 1 serving... 392 Calories!!! Yes, you read that right!!! It's comfort food, without the guilt! This is different, and not everyone may like this as I do. My hubby is on the fence about it, but hey he's eating it! 4 stars.

*---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 203) 

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chicken and Rice Casserole

 Farmers Wife Original.

Just about everyone I know grew up with a recipe similar to this one. The basics, chicken with creamy rice, baked in a casserole dish = yummy, fatty, goodness. And don't get me wrong, I love the recipe I grew up on, I really do. I don't, however like using an entire stick of butter to make it, and fatty loaded condensed soups. YUCK! I've been trying to lose weight the last year, and so far I've been pretty successful, I've lost almost 12 lbs. in the last 6 months and am very happy with that number, gone down 3 pant sizes (if you're a girl you'll get just how significant that is!!) and have been trying to feed my family healthier foods. Well this was one of my attempts to lower the fat in a favorite recipe to fit into my limited calorie intake for a day. And I have to say, I think it was pretty darn successful! We really liked this recipe, even my little sous chef devoured his portion, and I've never gotten him to eat it before now. This is not a difficult recipe by any stretch of the imagination, but it is tasty, and filling without all the unnecessary calories. I highly recommend this recipe, and you can make it based on your preferences too. My original recipe calls for 1 can of each Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery and Cream of Mushroom soup, but my Hubby doesn't like celery, so we just do 2 cans of Mushroom and we love it.

Ingredients:
5-6 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/4 cup Long Grain White Rice (you can use brown, but the cooktime will be longer for the rice)
1 Can Low Fat, Low Sodium Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cans Low Fat, Low Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder

Directions:
Lightly grease a 9x13 in. pan. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. While heating, season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic. Place in the hot skillet and cook until lightly browned. Once done, set aside. Pour the rice and soups into the pan and cook until boiling. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. While your oven in heating, continue to cook the rice. Once the rice is starting to plump, about 10-15 minutes, pour into the greased pan. Place the chicken on top and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm.

Review:
Now I know it's still not the lightest meal in the whole wide world, but at only about 573 calories (depends on the brand of soup you use, mine was only 50 cal. per can most are still closer to 80cal.) per serving (and it's a large serving), I'm still very pleased with it. Overall it is much lighter than the original, and is far better than a giant burger and fries! lol! To me a good dinner is between 350-600 calories, and dinner is my largest meal of the day. Anyway, I hope you give this a try, the cook time is long, but it is an incredibly easy meal, and one that if you do dishes while cooking will only leave you with the casserole dish and the dishes you ate with to clean after dinner! 4 stars.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Raspberry Buckle

 Farmers Wife Original.

It's no secret we love breakfast foods, It is my go to meal idea when I'm tired and don't want to stand at the stove for hours, breakfast can usually be thrown together fairly easily. Now I wish I could say this recipe was born out of something spectacular, but it wasn't. I had purchased these raspberry's for no good reason. haha! They looked so good, and I wanted them, total impulse buy. I can't even tell you all the ideas that ran through my head trying to decide what to so with these delicious berry's, like seriously I was on berry overload. Then it came to me, I love blueberry buckle (for those who don't know it's a coffee cake) but why can't I use a different berry?!? So... I did! haha! And we just loved this. It was so moist, and a perfect blend of sweet and tart. My little sous chef adored it, which is always a good thing. And the Farming Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed having the leftovers for breakfast the following day! It reheats beautifully in the microwave in just 20 seconds, and that always makes me a happy girl. For those who follow me on Facebook, you may already know this, but I recently mastered cracking eggs one handed. Well this is the recipe that got me started, granted there is only one egg in this recipe, but it was when I made this that I first attempted to do this. Now I think it went pretty well, I didn't find any shell in the bowl, but I did have egg white all over my hands. haha! I've since worked on it, and gotten better, but I owe my attempt to this delicious recipe!

Ingredients:
2 cup All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of Cloves
1/2 cup Shortening
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 cups fresh or frozen Raspberries (can also be made with blueberries, or blackberries)

Topping:
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup Butter or Margarine

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, and grease a 9x9x2 or 8x8x2 in. square pan, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices; set aside. In your mixer, beat the shortening on medium speed for 30 seconds, then add in the sugar. Beat on medium to high speed until fluffy. Add in the egg, and beat well. Add in the flour mixture and buttermilk in increments, alternating them until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into your greased baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle your berries on top of the batter. In a medium bowl, mix your topping mixture and using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle that on top of the berries, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or til golden. Serve warm.

Review:
This is a simple, yet impressive coffee cake, one that is versatile to your tastes in berries, or to whatever you can find easily in your local store. We really enjoyed this for both dinner and breakfast the next morning, and the raspberries had a great sweetness to them from the topping. 4 stars.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Club Sandwich

 Original Recipe, unknown.

We all like easy dinners right? Well this is incredibly easy, and is one of our favorites. I don't remember where I got the original recipe for this, I have it memorized now and can't find the original anywhere! But I just have to share it with y'all. I have never met a club sandwich I didn't like, I'll admit it. But this just takes it to a whole new level. Not only does this smell AMAZING, but it just tastes so good. I've made this a few times for friends and family too when I need a quick dinner or lunch for unexpected guests, and it is great for that because it's fancier than just a sandwich, but it's still simple and comes together quickly. I can't say as my little sous chef is a huge fan, because this sandwich is bigger than his mouth (haha, if you knew him you'd see just how funny that is since he NEVER stops talking!), but he does enjoy the individual aspects of this meal, so I would say it's totally kid friendly, just more so for slightly older kids than my little sous chef. In fact this meal is so easy you could have your little ones (with supervision) help you make this, they can layer the meats and help assemble. It's always fun to get to play with your food, even as an adult it's fun to play with my food sometimes! Ha! Enjoy this incredibly easy meal, and have fun playing with your food!

Ingredients: for 4 sandwichs
4 Soft French Rolls, I like Aunt Hatties
Butter
Garlic Powder
Oregano
12 slices Turkey lunchmeat
12 slices Ham lunchmeat
12 slices Chicken lunchmeat
4 slices Provolone Cheese
8 slices Turkey Bacon
Mayo
Sliced Tomato
Lettuce

Directions:
Cook Turkey Bacon according to package directions, and set aside. Slice the rolls in half, and lightly butter both sides. Sprinkle evenly with Garlic and Oregano. On the bottom half, layer 3 slices of Turkey, Chicken and Ham, then place 2 slices of bacon on top of that. Cut each slice of provolone in half, and place lengthwise on top of the meats. Place both halves of the bread on a baking sheet and stick under the broiler for 2-3 minutes (keep a close watch on them as they will burn quickly), until golden and the meats are warmed through, and the cheese is melted. Remove from the broiler and spread a little mayo on the top slice of bread, and finish off with tomato and lettuce, Serve warm.

Review:
The addition of Garlic and Oregano just takes this sandwich to a whole new level. We just adore this meal with a fresh fruit salad, it's a great spring/summer time meal too. I know it may not be the fanciest meal in the whole wide world, but it's easy, versatile as you can use whatever meats you like and top however you want with veggies. This would be great with some sliced red onion too. 4.5 Stars.

P.S. I've been nominated on Babbles Top 100 Food Mom Blogs 2011!! I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd vote for me, The Farmers Wife, it's easiest to find if you search alphabetically!

The Farmers Wife

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

 This is my Mother In Law's recipe.

I promised you all this recipe a week ago, and I'm sorry for the delay! This is not your typical spaghetti sauce, there I warned you. It's a sweet sauce, yes you read that right, I said sweet. Now don't go away, you really do have to try this sauce. It is different from your typical pasta sauce, and is so different from the kind I grew up with, however I have come to seriously love this spaghetti sauce (this is also what I use as my pizza sauce, I just love the rich flavor it adds). I will admit, it took some getting used to, I mean when you were raised on traditional meat sauce full of Italian spices, this is a major switch. But being my Farmer Hubby's favorite sauce, I ate this a lot while we were engaged, (yes I worked out a lot during that time too so I could fit into my dress. haha!) And honestly now, several years later, I find myself craving a giant bowl of this spaghetti, and don't really care for most meat sauce's anymore! The awesome thing about this sauce is you throw a few ingredients in the crock pot and make a giant batch, and then you can freeze the leftovers for several months and it keeps so nicely. Now my hubby likes his slightly burned (don't ask... he likes most things burned... he's weird.), but you don't have to burn yours. haha! I have served this often to guests and have always gotten rave reviews and they want the recipe, so I very highly recommend this sauce next time you want something a little different. This is also a very cheap sauce to make, I buy the store brand tomato products as I haven't noticed a different in taste, and since this does make such a large pot of sauce you get a lot for a very low cost! This always makes for a happy Mommy, and Daddy! ;-)

Ingredients:
2 29 oz. Can of Tomato Puree
1 29 oz. Can of Tomato Sauce
1 15 oz. Can of Tomato Paste
1 1/2 cups Sugar

Directions:
Spray a 6 qt. crock-pot with cooking spray, then add in all ingredients in order. Mix well, then cook on low for 6 hours. Stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta and top with your favorite cheese.

Review:
Told you it was easy! ;-) This is possibly the easiest meal you will ever make, and it is so tasty and cheap too. I mean how can you beat that? We like to use Rotini Noodles with this sauce, as it gets all the thick yummy sauce in each and every little spiral, and we also top it with Cheddar Cheese and a sprinkle of Fresh Ground Pepper. I know we're weird, but it's so good... And this is very kid friendly too! 5 stars.

My little sous chef's first taste of spaghetti, 2 years ago!

Sweet Spaghetti Sauce on Foodista
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Focaccia Bread

 Adapted from Bread Machine Magic.

If you've never had Focaccia bread, you really must give this a try. For those who may not know what Focaccia is, let me explain. Focaccia is a flat, rustic Italian Herb bread. Now I've seen some that are thicker than mine turned out, but traditionally it is pretty flat. I love me some garlic bread, like seriously. I'd be happy to just sit and eat that all by itself, but I've had a love affair with Focaccia for several years now. There's something so... almost elegant to eat your pasta with a side of Focaccia, especially when you just tear a wedge off... So yum! I will tell you that since making this, I have had all sorts of ideas run through my head as to different variations I can make upon this, and next time I make my Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, I think I may add some of the roasted peppers to the bread itself, doesn't that sound good?!? I have to admit, I was a little surprised at the simplicity of this recipe, and once again all 3 of us just loved it! In fact if I remember correctly my hubby even enjoyed it as a midnight snack... haha! It reheats beautifully, and is a great change from the typical garlic bread!

Ingredients: this makes 1 12-14 inch loaf
Dough:
3/4 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Dash of Dried Basil
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast (I like Red Star Brand Active Dry)

Topping:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
Dash of Fresh Ground Pepper
1/3 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Sprinkle of fresh or dried Parsley

Directions:
Place dough ingredients in bread machine, in order listed or as recommended by your manufacturer. Use your machines dough setting. Grease a 12-14 inch rectangle pan, using your hands gently stretch the dough and press it evenly into the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm oven for about 30-45 minutes until doubled in size. *Tip to warm your oven, turn it on to 200F degrees for 1-2 minutes, then shut off and place pan in there, take the bread out before preheating the oven.* Once the dough has risen, remove from the oven, and preheat to 400F degrees. With 2 fingers, poke holes all over the dough. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, garlic and pepper; drizzle evenly over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with the cheese and parsley. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, and you can cut it into squares are tear off wedges, serve warm. Once cooled, wrap in plastic or foil. The bread will stay fresh for 2-3 days stored at room temp.

Review:
This is a pretty basic version, but seriously packed with flavor! You can totally mix it up and add sun dried tomatoes, or roasted peppers, or pretty much whatever you want! I can't express enough just how much we enjoyed this bread. It was a really nice change from our normal Garlic bread! 5 stars.

Herbed Focaccia Bread on Foodista

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


Farmers Wife Original.

I love pasta, like seriously love it. I don't make it that often because I can't let myself eat something that loaded with carbs (as much as I may want too...). And here's the thing, I don't think I've had a pasta I didn't like, including a sauce. Now I'm not a huge meat sauce fan, just seems way too heavy to me. But a nice white sauce such as Alfredo, or my special spaghetti sauce is always a huge hit. But this roasted red pepper sauce... Let me just say Wow!! I was blown away, I didn't expect too much from this, I just have always wanted to try it. I certainly didn't expect my boys to like it at all, and guess what?!? They BOTH loved it!!! I was just amazed at how a simple sauce like this had so much flavor and was such a great meal that I didn't feel guilty about because it's a pretty light sauce. Now I will tell you, this is a different flavor from your typical pasta sauce, and I'm not going to say it's necessarily kid friendly, because I don't see most kids liking vegetables the way my little Sous Chef does, he would sit and just eat fruits and vegetables all day long if I let him (I know, my kid is awesome! Aren't you jealous? hehe!). The other thing I love about this sauce is it's simplicity. I threw this together in the 20 minutes it took my Farming Hubby to get home from work, as you already know I love to have dinner practically served up the moment he walks in the door so this was a huge plus to me. I also made a fresh homemade Foccacia bread to go with this, I'll post that recipe later! Enjoy~

Ingredients: makes 4 servings
3-4 Roasted Red Peppers (either homemade roasted peppers, or store bought)
1/4 -1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/4 Onion, finely diced
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
Dash of Basil
Sprinkle of Fresh or Dried Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 box Cooked Pasta, I used Angel Hair

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. In the same pot (or you can do in a separate pot) heat olive oil and saute garlic and onion. In a blender or food processor, puree the peppers until smooth (I left a few chunks in mine) and pour into the pan with the garlic and onion. Once warmed, add in the cream, spices and Parmesan cheese. Stir occasionally, til the cheese is melted (at this point you can taste test it and if you need to add more spices or you want more pepper you can puree some more pepper and add it in). Once ready, add the pasta back to the pot, and toss to coat. Serve warm with shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Review:
Told you it was simple didn't I? I really has a great flavor, and we just loved this. I did use jarred peppers, as I had them on hand and wanted to make it easy on myself. But I can just imagine how amazing this would taste using freshly roasted peppers! Next time I want to try that. But I give this a 4.5 rating, as we all loved this SO much!

This is the sauce itself! So beautiful and nummy!

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