Tuesday, August 3, 2010

from the blue chair

I will no longer be posting on this blog. I am combining all my creative endeavors into one new blog. Follow me at fromthebluechair.com. I will post cooking ideas there as well as including my quilting and sewing projects. Thanks for following. I will leave Kati's Kitchen Tips active for archive purposes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pineapple "Ice Cream"

I made this dessert for my class with my church group last week. I did a post on this months ago, but I thought I would revisit it with pictures now that it is finally starting to warm up--at least for some people. We got snow today.

This is a fabulous and healthy dessert. Claire loves it and calls it pineapple ice cream.

Pineapple Ice Cream
1 pineapple (frozen in 1 inch chunks)
1/4 cup sugar or the equivalent of your desired sweetener

I chop many pineapples at once. It makes a mess, but you only have to make a mess once.

Freeze in Ziploc bags. Usually you can fit about 2 pineapples per bag. During the freezing process, pull them out about every hour and move the pineapple around in the bag. This will help it freeze individually rather than one huge pineapple chunk.

To make the ice cream, microwave 1 pineapple at full power for about one minute until it's just starting to get soft on the outside of the chunks. Place in the food processor (You really need a food processor. A blender won't work for this unless you have a pretty impressive blender.)

Start mixing. You will have to smash it down several times. The large chunks get stuck at the top and sometimes have a hard time mixing in. Just smash them down with a rubber scraper.

Keep mixing. Smash again.

Almost Done! Keep mixing until completely smooth and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Taste and add a bit more sugar if needed. Mix again until sugar is incorporated.

Store in the freezer. Like homemade ice cream, this is best immediately. It gets pretty hard in the freezer. Use within a few days.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Freezer Cooking Handout

I did a class tonight on freezer cooking for my church group. I put together a handout for the class. Most of the information on the handout is from various posts here on my blog, but if you are interested in having it all together you are welcome to download the handout:

Freezer Cooking Handout

Cafe Rio Sides

Here are a couple ideas to help you use the Cafe Rio chicken. The chicken is fabulous in a burrito with these black beans, some Spanish rice, fresh cilantro and cheese. Drizzle the salad dressing on top.

Crock-pot Black Beans

2 cups dried black beans
About 3 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp cumin

Wash the dried beans pick out any rocks or beans that look funky. Pour them into a pan and add water till it is at least 2 inches above the beans. Let soak overnight (or for 8 hours.)
Drain off the water and pour beans into a crock pot. Add the 3 cups of water and the remaining ingredients. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. During the last couple hours of cooking, you can add extra water if you want them saucy.
(I added about 1 1/2 cups more water than the recipe called for. I also cooked them on high for about 6 hours and then turned them down to low for another 3-4 hours. I'm not sure that 8 hours on low would be enough. They are also a tad salty. I now use about 2 tsp salt).

Cafe Rio Salad Dressing
1 cup mayo
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 of a bunch of cilantro with stems chopped off
1/2 - 1 small jalapeno (if you don’t like it spicy, remove the seeds)
1 tsp lime juice
1-2 tomatillos (remove outer papery skin and cut up)
1 garlic clove

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stuffing and Swiss Cheese Chicken

This recipe is so easy to assemble and just pop in the freezer. No pre-cooking required. I do recommend thawing this one completely in the fridge before cooking. Otherwise you may be cooking it for a very long time to ensure the chicken is cooked through.

1 lb uncooked chicken breast meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 box stuffing (I use Stove Top)
4-6 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
water & milk

Arrange chicken pieces in an 8x8 pan. Cover with slices of Swiss cheese.

Sprinkle with entire box of stuffing. (If you don't want as much stuffing in your dish, just use 1/2 a box and decrease the amount of soup mixture you pour over stuffing. I happen to like stuffing a lot so I use the whole box).

Mix together 1 can of soup, 1 can of water and 1/3 can of milk. Pour over stuffing. Stir carefully with a spoon to gently incorporate soup mixture and stuffing.

Wrap with heavy foil, label and freeze. Thaw in the fridge. Cook covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Taco Soup

Taco soup is a pretty common recipe. I imagine all taco soup recipes are pretty similar. It's a super simple recipe that freezes great and kids love it. This is the one dish that I can almost guarantee Claire will eat, which is saying a lot. She is a very picky two-year-old.

Taco Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 onion, diced
2 cans kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 pkg taco seasoning
1-2 cups frozen corn
2 cans (8 oz ea) tomato sauce

Brown hamburger with onion, drain grease. Add remaining ingredients, cook on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serve with chips, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and olives.

Freeze in Ziploc bags--either quart or gallon size.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pasta Fagioli

Original recipe from Crockpot Tuesdays

I am alone for dinner tonight, and soup is often one of my favorite things to pull out of the freezer when I'm on my own. I pulled a bag of Pasta Fagioli out tonight and realized I had not posted this recipe yet. I love this soup, and it's great out of the freezer. I made this recipe a while back. It makes a lot, and after a day or two, it became evident that we were not going to make it through all that soup before it went bad. I put about 3 quart bags of it in the freezer to save for another day. It froze great although the pasta is really soft. If I were making this as a freezer meal, I wouldn't technically cook the pasta. I would mix it in the hot soup after turning off the heat.

I substituted Italian sausage for the ground beef. It definitely adds to the flavor.

Pasta Fagioli
1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup dry pasta (to add at end)


Brown the meat and drain well. Add carrots, onion, and celery to the crockpot. Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper and oregano. Stir in the meat. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. At end of cook time, stir in 1/2 cup pasta. Cover and cook for another hour on low.

Serve with parmesan cheese if you’d like. Enjoy! This recipe makes about 8 generous servings.