Tangy Lemon Curd

Making your own lemon curd sounds scary, but really is rather simple.  Make your own and impress your friends (and your taste buds) with this quick recipe.

Ingredientslemon curd
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon zest*
slightly less than 1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 Tbs unsalted butter

*Zest the lemons before juicing them

Directions
1. Combine ingredients in a heat safe mixing bowl.  Place on a simmering pot of water as a double boiler.  Be sure not to let the water touch the bowl.
2. Whisk the ingredients in the bowl over the heat until they have thickened and will coat the back of a spoon and have a smooth texture.
3. Do not let the egg mixture get too hot or the eggs will begin to scramble and your lemon curd will have lumps of scrambled eggs, weird…
4. Place in fridge to cool until it is thick and spreadable.

Serve as a filling for a cake, alongside shortbread cookies, as a spread on toast, or however your creative mind wants.

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Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Soups and comfort food has been my thing recently, so here’s a recipe for mac and cheese.

Ingredientsmacaroni and cheese
For the macaroni
1 lb bite size pasta of choice*
2 cups milk
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
~0.5 lb grated cheddar cheese
For the delicious bread crumb toping
1/2-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
pinch smoked paprika
pinch cayenne
~1 Tbs butter

*elbow pasta is traditional, but I chose to try Trottole because I love pasta

Directions
1. Boil noodles according to package directions.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter for bread crumbs and add pinch of smoked paprika and pinch of cayenne.  Add bread crumbs and stir occasionally until toasty.
3. Drain noodles and set aside.
4. Melt butter and add spices and flour.  Stir butter and flour mixture until it is a light caramel color.
5. Add milk and stir until desired thickness is reached.  It should be the consistency of a sauce.
6. Slowly add cheese and stir to melt.  Do not add all of the cheese at once or it will stick to itself.
7. Add pasta to cheese sauce and mix.
8. Pour macaroni into baking dish.  I used an 8×8 but a 9×13 would also work.  Top with bread crumbs and extra cheese if desired.  Bake at 350 for about 7 minutes.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Make elevated broccoli and cheese soup with more veggies than some recipes include.

Ingredientsbroccoli cheddar soup.jpg
~ 1 1/2 heads broccoli with stems or 2 heads of just florets*
2 stalks celery, diced
3 grated carrots
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups veggie stock
2 cups half and half
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional extra cheese for garnishing
3 1/2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste

*I like to leave the broccoli in bite size pieces and cook it until its tender-crisp

Directions
1. Heat 1/1 Tbs butter in pot over medium heat.  Saute onions for about 1 minute before adding celery.  Cook until for about 2 minutes then add carrots.  Cook until onions are translucent.
2. Remove the veggies and about 1/3 cup veggie stock.  Place in blender and blend until smooth, adding liquid as necessary.
3. Melt 3 Tbs butter in pot.  Add flour and stir to create a roux.  Cook until caramel colored.
4. Add veggie puree to the roux.  Slowly add veggie broth while stirring.  Add the broccoli.  Add the half and half. Heat until right before boiling.*
5. Right before the soup boils remove it from the heat and add the cheese in portions and stir to melt it into the soup. **

*If you let the soup boil after adding the half and half, it will begin separating.
**If you add all the cheese at once you risk letting it form clumps.

Mushroom and Dumpling Soup

Warm up this winter with a bowl of slightly creamy mushroom and dumpling soup.

Ingredients
mushroom dumplingsFor the soup
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed and finely diced
1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning (or to taste)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or to taste)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary (or to taste)
1/2 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
32 oz veggie broth
32 oz water
corn starch and water slurry
For the dumplings
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash cayenne
dash Italian seasoning
1/2 cup milk (I use non-dairy milk)
1 Tbs melted butter or olive oil
2 tsp baking powder

Directions
1. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add herbs and spices and cook for about 90 seconds.
2. Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add carrots and celery; cook about 7 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid releases and the mushrooms decrease in size some.  Add wine if using.
4. Add vegetable broth and water.
5. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.
6. Add corn starch and water slurry to reach desired thickness.  I left my soup only slightly thickened and it was perfect.
7. In a separate pot, boil water to cook dumplings.*
8. Mix dry dumpling ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.  The mixture should form a soft dough.
9. Use two wet spoons (wet so the dough doesn’t stick) to create about 1 inch pieces of dough, they won’t be perfectly round.  Drop them in the boiling water, but do not overcrowd the pot; you may need to cook them in more than one batch.
10. Cover and cook about 3 minutes.  Flip the dumplings and cover for about 2 minutes longer.  Transfer cooked dumplings to the soup and serve immediately.

 

*You are free to cook the dumplings in the soup itself, but be aware that they will absorb some of the liquid.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Step up your dewhipped cream postssert game a notch with homemade whipped cream!

Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar

Directions
1. Combine cream and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Whisk (or beat with an electric mixer) until stiff peaks form.

Serve immediately.  Try it on hot chocolate, dessert, or get creative with it!  Store left over whipped cream in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.  You may need to whisk it again for ~15 seconds.whipped cream hot chocolate

Mixed Bean Chili

Warm yourself with a hearty bowl of chili this winter.  This comes together quickly and only needs one pot, hooray less dishes!

Ingredients

chili blog post.jpg

2 stalks celery, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 can Rotel (optional, but I wanted to use what I had left from something else)
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 15oz can black beans (drain half the liquid)
1 15oz can dark red kidney beans (drain half the liquid)
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Tbs chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 Tbs ground cumin (or to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
grated cheese garnish (optional)

Directions
1.  Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a pot and add spices.  Cook about 1 minute.  Add the onions and saute until translucent.
2.  Add garlic, celery, serrano, bell pepper, and tomatoes to pot.  Cook about 7 minutes.  The celery should still be slightly crisp.
3.  Add beans and simmer until slightly thickened.
4.  Garnish with grated cheese and serve.  Try with toasty bread or rice for a variation.