Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Corn Beef Noodle Casserole

This is a family recipe that we frequently have on Saint Patrick's Day. The casserole is good but even better warmed up the next day.

Corn Beef Noodle Casserole

1 tin of corn beef
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into pieces
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
16 oz. bag of egg noodles.
1 cup cheddar cheese
Cook egg noodles and set aside. (I used about 4 cups cooked)

Fry bacon until crisp-tender. Remove from pan. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. fat. Add chopped vegetables. Cook until tender. In a casserole dish, combine corn beef, cream of mushroom soup, bacon, and vegetables. Add egg noodles. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Real Belgian Waffles

In America, we think Belgian waffles are just waffles with big squares. While big squares are part of the equation, they are oh-so-such-a-small part of them. (I'm not sure that was proper English). Actually, there are two kinds of REAL Belgian waffles. The kind I'm going to teach you to make were invented in a town in Belgium called Liege (which Jacob and I passed through during our trip to Europe last summer). These waffles have two very special ingredients: yeast and pearl sugar. Pearl sugar is something that is difficult to find in America (you can order it at for a ridiculous price) so I suggest using something like this:
This is raw sugar which comes in much larger crystals than our typical granulated sugar. You want large crystals. They will give the waffles a slight crunch and cause carmelization around the edges. Yum! (It really stinks that it's Fast Sunday as I'm adding all these recipes).

So, here are the ingredients:

1 package of yeast (typically one package is about 2 1/2 tsp. of yeast)
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup Belgian pearl sugar

Mix the yeast, water, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl and let it develop or sit for 15 minutes.

Place the flour in a separate large mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until blended on medium speed.

Add the eggs one at a time, melted butter a bit at a time, and the vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well after each addition. Batter will be thick and very sticky.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and let the dough rest until it doubles in volume inside the bowl.

Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 more minutes.

While the dough is resting, heat the Belgian waffle iron. Spoon about a 2" ball of dough into the center of the waffle iron. This should make about a 4" waffle. (These waffles are smaller than traditional waffles, but they are very rich and that's how they make them in Liege, so that's how you should make them too).

I cooked this waffle a little too long. Don't be like me.

Recipe makes 8-10 waffles.

Top with any multitude of wonderful toppings, such as strawberries, bananas, chocolate, whipped cream, ice cream, etc.

Chicken Enchiladas with Special Sauce and Guacamole

I have been making chicken enchiladas for years. I have always felt like they lacked a certain je ne se quois. (Please excuse my French. I don't speak French). I finally decided to try a recipe I have had forever, but mostly ignored. I ignored the special sauce, but once I made it, I knew I had found the missing element. Also, I think my guacamole is pretty awesome, so I figured I'd share that recipe as well. But make the special sauce from now on until you die. O.K? That's all I ask.

4 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 medium onion, finely chopped (it's up to you whether or not to saute these before adding them)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 package flour tortillas

Put several spoonfuls of filling in tortillas and roll up. Place seam-side down in slightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Special Sauce:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cube or 1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 can diced green chilies (I never have a can of green chilies, so I just left these out, and the sauce was still fantastic).
1/4 cup salsa
3 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup evaporated milk.

Mix together and pour over enchiladas when ready to bake. If desired, you can sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until sauce is hot and cheese is melted.

Ripe avocados
Finely chopped red onion
Chopped cilantro
Lime juice
Salt to taste

Mash ripe avocados with fork on a plate. Add remainder of ingredients and mix. Cover and refrigerate. If you put an avocado pit in the guacamole, it will stay bright green longer.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Everybody likes this chicken. If you don't like this chicken, there is something wrong with you (just kidding). I have found that you cannot go wrong when you include honey in your cooking. This recipe is also very versatile. You can either bake it in the oven with large pieces of chicken, or cut up the chicken and cook it for less time. Or you can do it all on the stovetop if you want to eat sooner (guess which way I always do it).
You can also mess with the proportions of the ingredients. In fact, I am just going to guess right now since I mostly just throw this together. Don't worry. You really can't mess this up.

2-4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard (please, not the hoity-toity fancy kind. Just use the yellow bottle).
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup butter.

To bake in oven: Melt butter in oven-safe pan. Mix honey, mustard, and curry into melted butter and add chicken. Cover chicken with sauce. If baking whole breasts, bake for 40-60 minutes. If baking cut-up chicken, bake for 30-40 minutes.

To make on the stove: Cut up chicken and cook in butter. When chicken is almost cooked through, add remainder of ingredients and stir.

Serve over rice.

Swedish Apple Pie

For Christmas, Jacob was given a Harry and David gift package with some lovely pears in it. The only problem was that I knew nobody would eat those pears except for me. So I decided to make this wonderful dessert with them. The recipe calls for apples, but you can substitute pears, and I think the result is divine. Plus, this pie is super easy and has no bottom crust. (Pie crust is my nemesis). This is actually more like a cobbler, but hey--if the Swedish think it's a pie, who am I to argue?

4-6 apples (or pears)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
6 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt

Place sliced apples or pears in bottom of pie plate. Mix the 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. sugar and sprinkle over apples. Mix remainder of ingredients and pour over apples. (I find this mixture to be very thick and often add a little milk or water. I also find it impossible to pour, and rather scoop and drop spoonfuls on top of the apples). Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

I have also made this with only 1/2 cup of sugar and it still tastes great, especially if you are going to top it with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thai Peanut Noodles

This is another recipe I got from LDS Living magazine. I love Thai food, especially if it has peanuts or peanut butter in it. These noodles are so delicious. This recipe serves 4-6.

8 oz. Udon or linguine noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1-2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce (I don't know what this is, so I just used sweet Thai chili sauce. The more you use, the hotter it is).
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
chopped green onions
chopped cilantro
chopped peanuts
2 limes, cut into quarters

Cook noodles in salted water according to package instructions. While noodles cook, combine chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Toss cooked noodles with sauce and divide among four bowls. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, chopped peanuts and garnish each serving with two lime quarters. Before eating, squeeze lime juice over noodles and stir to combine.