Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick & Easy Homemade Donuts (Using Canned Biscuit Dough)

The other day I was looking for a fun treat to make for our Family Night.  We were having neighbors over to join us, and I wanted something different and exciting for my kids.  Monica told me how she had recently made homemade donuts and what a hit they were.  But her recipe took over night to accomplish (the dough had to rise, and refrigerate, and multiply and replenish, etc.).  This conversation took place at about 2:30 PM, on the day of our Family Night, so that idea was out.  However, she also knew of friends who had made donuts using canned biscuit dough.  I searched and found this recipe on food network, ran to the store, bought some Grands Biscuits, and we had (semi) homemade donuts that night!  They were so easy and really so delicious.  In fact, the comment from my neighbor was "This is the best homemade doughnut I've ever had!"  Wow!  And it was such a fun cooking project for us all to do together.  I had as much fun as the kids did!

Quick & Easy Homemade Donuts
adapted from:

1 package of canned biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury Grands)
cooking oil

For Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a large pot, heat about 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees.  Cut the centers out of your biscuits.  Fry the biscuits (and holes that you cut out) in the oil until they are golden.  Using tongs, flip the donuts and fry the other side until golden.  Take them out and set them on paper towels.  In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until it is smooth.  While the donuts are still warm, dip them in the glaze.  You can then sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar or sprinkles, or just leave them alone.  And then hurry and eat them!  They were so delicious while they were still warm.  We had some leftovers the next day, and they were definitely better fresh.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Russian Potato Soup

I absolutely loved this soup.  I wasn't sure what to think about dill, and I'd never cooked a leek before, so I was a little unsure, but it turned out so delicious.  I will definitely be making it again.

Russian Potato Soup

5 Tbsp butter, divided
1-2 leeks, chopped*
3 large carrots, sliced
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced (original recipe called for 2 lbs)
6 cups chicken broth
2 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lb fresh sliced mushrooms (next time I make this I am going to try canned, since I like them better)
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup flour
fresh dill weed, for garnish (optional, I didn't use this)

First, chop your vegetables.  *Now, the leek... I didn't even know what a leek was prior to making this recipe, let alone how to chop it, so I googled it and found instructions on cutting a leek.  Except, I wasn't paying close attention, and I chopped up the long leaves, too.  Apparently those usually get thrown away.  I've read up on it since, and apparently some people don't like the texture.  I thought it was delicious the way I made it though, so if I do it again I'll prepare it the same way.  The original recipe called for 2 leeks but they were huge so I just bought one.

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook your carrots and leeks for 5 minutes.

Pour in your broth, and add the seasonings (dill, salt, pepper and bay leaf).
Add the potatoes and cook covered for 20 minutes.
Saute the mushrooms in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes, and add to the soup.
Mix the half and half and flour in a small bowl, and then add to the soup.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This may be my new favorite recipe.  It was so, so good. It made a lot and my kids would only eat the noodles, so I got to enjoy this as leftovers a few different times.  Note: This is a little spicy, so maybe use less Cajun seasoning if that's not your thing.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Adapted from

8-12 oz linguine Pasta (I probably used about 10 oz)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
3-4 tsp Cajun seasoning (I started with 3 tsp and added about an additional tsp at the end)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Green Pepper
1/2  Red Pepper, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I used 1 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup half & half with 2-3 tsp cornstarch)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese,shredded (optional)

Cut your peppers and onions, and set aside.
Slice your chicken breasts and put them in a bowl with the Cajun seasoning, and toss to coat.
Combine all your seasonings in a small bowl and set aside.
Start your water boiling for the linguine and cook it while you are cooking the chicken.
Stir fry the chicken in the 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Add the peppers, onions and mushrooms and stir-fry for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Reduce the heat, and add the heavy cream (and/or half & half already mixed with cornstarch) and seasonings.  Simmer until heated through and the sauce thickens.  At this point I added the additional Cajun seasoning and some salt until it tasted right to me.
Add the cooked linguine and serve with shredded Parmesan cheese and bread of your choice.