Friday, December 12, 2014

Gemma Stafford's No-Churn Ice Cream

We make ice cream all the time and it is really delicious. However, this time, I decided that instead of using the regular churn method with cream, milk, sugar and eggs I would use Gemma Stafford's recipe. Gemma has a cooking show on youtube that I watch. You can check her out here. Her no churn ice cream recipe looked so easy I knew I had to try it and see how close it was to the real thing.

Have you ever had marshmallow ice cream? I have, we made s'mores ice cream once and it was great BUT it had a weird texture...not weird bad, just silky and marshmallowy. This no-churn ice cream has the same texture but it's still great. I brought it to my Mommy & Me class potluck and it was well liked so I think you will like it too. The best part? You can make whatever flavor you can think of  all with the same base AND you can do it in the 15 minutes your baby is occupied in a bouncy chair.

Watch the video!

Ingredients for the base:
2 Cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk, cold (place it in the refrigerator overnight)

1. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. I did this in the stand mixer but if you want to get some exercise do it by hand!
2. Once stiff peaks form, turn down the mixer speed and add the condensed milk and combine together.
Yields 3 1/2 pints of ice cream with flavoring/mix-ins added

And now make it fun! I made two flavors, Blueberry Pie and Chocolate Candied Orange.  Both were good but the chocolate one was AMAZING.  This is what I did:

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream
2 slices blueberry pie
4 cups ice cream base

1. Put the 4 cups of base in a large bowl.
2. Add pie and break up with a fork or potato masher
3. Stir together until well combined
4. Put in containers and freeze for a few hours or overnight before eating

Chocolate Candied Orange Ice Cream
2 T chopped candied orange peel (we made our own...)
1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
scant teaspoon butter
zest of one orange
remaining ice cream base

1. In a microwave proof bowl place chocolate and butter. Melt on half power for 30 second increments until mostly melted. Then stir to melt completely.
2. pour chocolate into the base
3. Add the zest of one orange and the orange peels
4. Stir together until combined. Put in containers and freeze for a few hours or overnight - if you can wait!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Autumn Panzanella

Last week was my week to bring treats to Mommy & Me. I decided I wanted to bring some kind of autumn thing but nothing that was hard, too much like Thanksgiving the next day or contained meat. So, I decided to make a panzanella! I used two different recipes as inspiration and then came up with my own twist. The dressing I made for the class was dull but the one I had later was awesome. I recommend this recipe whole-heartedly. Also, these sweet potatoes are awesome and I recommend them on their own.  This would also be great with nuts but our classroom is listed as nut free. Add pecans if you don't have that trouble. I also don't really have measurements for this but anything will work.

Except for cutting the apple, you make make this whole thing 24 hours ahead. This made enough salad for about 10 people.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Two large packages spinach or one spinach + one mixed greens
One loaf of bread or one bag of 'bread for stuffing' cubes of dry day old bread (this was a variety pack and it was perfect)
dried cherries
dried cranberries
parmesan cheese, shaved or use a long zester to make strips, or just shred.
cayenne pepper
ground cloves
olive oil
balsamic or lingonberry balsamic vinegar
1 large apple, diced just before serving
lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Toss bread in olive oil and salt and put on a rimmed baking sheet. On a separate sheet, toss sweet potato, olive oil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cloves and salt.  Roast bread 10-15 minutes until hard. Roast potato for 30 minutes or until tender, tossing in the middle if you remember.

2. Meanwhile, combine lettuces, cherries, cranberries, cheese, bread and a dash of salt in a bowl.
3. Make the dressing. In a lidded container add 1/2 C olive oil, 1/3 C vinegar, dash of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Shake and set aside
4. Remove potato from oven and toss into salad. Dice the apple and add.
5. You can either serve the dressing on the side or tossed. If you toss it, the bread gets a little soft and it is true panzanella.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Pies

Every Thanksgiving we spend in San Diego we make the pies. The required pies at the Smith Thanksgiving are pumpkin and apple. However, Joey likes to experiment and make other pies too. This year, we decided to make mini pies so we could make a lot of different things. And as an added bonus, Joey's Aunt & Cousin made the pumpkin and chocolate pies.

We didn't really deviate too much from the recipes so in this post, I am going to review the recipes, note the pie types and leave the picture awkwardly sideways.

Dutch Apple Pie - I secretly think Joey makes up this recipe but he says he uses Betty Crocker. This year, he messed up the crumb topping so that there was less crumb and it didn't cover the pie completely. Although the pie didn't look super appetizing it was delicious.

Cranberry Ribbon Apple Pie - This was my favorite. It is a traditional apple pie with a layer of cranberry sauce in the bottom.  The cranberry sauce by itself is also very delicious and would've been great on our Thanksgiving table. These little pies looked pretty adorable. We used some leftover maple glaze on the top to make them brown but you could use an egg wash.

Cranberry Maple Pecan Pie - This is a pecan pie that has a little maple kick and then a bit of tartness from the cranberries. It calls for walnuts but we were using pecans so we stuck to one nut. I think this is a really good pie too. It tones down the sweetness of traditional pecan.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie - Last time we made this pie I loved the combination of chocolate and pecan, but this time, I didn't notice it as much. The chocolate has the same effect as the cranberry in the previous pie, toning down the sweet-sweet of pecan pie.

We didn't make the chocolate pie (but a whipped cream topping is added and it is delicious). We also didn't make the pumpkin pie but it was your standard pumpkin and the perfect one time per year treat!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Braised Chicken Thighs with Red Wine and Cherries

Joey and I went to Costco this weekend and bought one of those 6 packs of chicken to put in the freezer. We left one pack out and I was immediately craving braised chicken thighs. We had some red wine we've been wanting to use up and finally had the opportunity!  I revised this recipe from this similar one I posted back in 2008. This new recipe, however was MUCH more flavorful and loved by the whole family!  It also doesn't take too long to make. 30 minutes total and it would be less if all your chicken was comparable size.

Serves 4 or 2 really hungry people

4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (you can always remove the skin yourself)
2 C red wine
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C dried cherries
salt & pepper
Mashed Potatoes for serving (I used Fresh & Easy heat and serve)
1 T olive oil
1/2 T flour

1. Salt & Pepper chicken and remove skin if necessary.
2. In a large pan with a lid (such as a dutch oven), heat olive oil. Add chicken and brown for 6-8 minutes a side.
3. Once chicken is brown, remove to a plate. Add onion to the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes until brown.
4. Add flour and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring 30 seconds.
5. Add wine to the pot and place chicken thighs in the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook 6-8 minutes until chicken is opaque. Stir in cherries and simmer 1 minute.
6. Serve chicken and sauce over mashed potatoes (or polenta is probably good too)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

10 minute prep Roast Beef

Some days I really want to cook but Hazel wants to be held the whole time. Thursday was one of those days. However, I decided to put her down for 5 minutes and get a roast in the oven WITH vegetables! Once you prep it and get it in the oven, roast beef takes a little bit to cook but it's completely hands off so you can go back to holding the baby. This dish also makes plenty for leftovers and I highly recommend beef dip sandwiches which are super simple as long as you have fresh bread and that au jus mix from the store.

I prepped this in 5 minutes total but I am giving you 10 minutes in case you want to be a bit more exact.

2 1/2 lb rump roast, rib roast or other roast, boneless
1/2 large onion
3-4 yukon gold or other thin-skinned potato
6 carrots
seasoning of your choice (I used English Prime Rib Rub but you can just do S&P)
1 T olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 325, prepare a thermometer
2. Slice the onion in four thick slices
3. Roughly chop the carrots and potatoes so they are like-sized
4. On a rimmed backing sheet toss the carrots and potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan in a single layer
5. Place the onion slices in the middle of the pan
6. Rub the roast all over with salt, pepper and spices and place on the onions fat side down if there is a fat side
7. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer reads 130-135 for medium rare. If you cook your meat medium rare tonight it will be a little bit more well done tomorrow when you have your beef dips.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

Last weekend we did some grocery shopping intending to make three meals at home. We made two. However, this meal that we saved for later has all the kind of ingredients that have a great shelf life. The main reason I didn't make this earlier is that it includes cooked bacon which would mean it takes longer. So last week we had breakfast for dinner, made the bacon and saved some slices for this meal so that it would be fast. This meal really took a total of 15 minutes. I only made one change and it probably wasn't necessary. This dish is delicious! Even though I ate a full portion and am not really hungry this 'eat more' food makes my mouth water for more! I plan to eat the rest tomorrow!!


1 pound red potatoes, cubed

3 T water
3/4 pound Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 T brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar1 T apple cider
1 T spicy brown mustard
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t pepper
salt to taste
4 cups fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
optional: One apple, chopped (we didn't use this but I think it would be a great addition)

1. Place the cubed potatoes in a microwaveable dish and add 3 T of water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 4 minutes in the microwave
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and sausage and cook 3-5 minutes until browned. Add potatoes and apples if using and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir together the sugar, vinegar, apple cider, mustard, thyme, pepper and salt with a fork. Add this mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil (this was immediate for me). Simmer 2 minutes.
4. Add bacon and spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Serve warm.

You know what would be good with this? Cheddar Biscuits!

Cheddar Biscuits

A few weeks ago, I made a turkey chili one-pot dinner. The turkey chili portion was so-so. The cheddar biscuits on top were delicious! Ever since we've been wanting to make more cheddar biscuits. What I love about these is that they are drop biscuits--aka no rolling out and cutting dough. You just make rounds of dough like cookies and it works fine! They were still fluffy if not misshapen.

I didn't have buttermilk so I did that thing where you make it with vinegar. You take 1 scant cup milk and add 1 T white vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes until it curdles. This makes too much buttermilk for this recipe but then I just took 1/3 of it.

Next time you're hankering for a biscuit, this is your recipe! And, definitely consider doubling it.


1 C Flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 C buttermilk (I used whole milk with vinegar)
3 T cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 C grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Stir together flour, powder, soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives
3. Add cheese and buttermilk and stir until just combined
4. Drop 1/4 cup balls of batter on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes until golden brown and enjoy warm!