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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Perfect Fresh Squeezed Lemonade {or Lemon-Limeade}



I like to tease my husband about his love for juice. When we buy it I rarely think about drinking it and then I realize it's about gone, and look at him like...."who drank all the juice!?!"  

He's quite the cook, baker and now lemonade maker.  He's tried several recipes. And this is THE ONE.  Some are too sweet, some are too watery. This one is perfect. One thing about this recipe is how you dissolve the sugar.  You cook it with the water on the stove until it's totally clear and dissolved.  I think that helps give it the perfect texture. No grainy sugar granules that didn't dissolve all the way.  



This drink is great fresh, and it's also good kept in the fridge a few days.  That is, if you can keep it around that long...

Fresh lemonade is the perfect drink for a hot spring/summer day or to accompany you to any BBQ or get together.  


Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (or lemon-limeade)

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cup white sugar
8 cups water
1 ½ cups lemon juice (or ¾ cup lemon juice and ¾ cup lime juice)

Directions:

In a saucepan, stir together sugar and 1 cup of the water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Juice lemons/limes and discard any seeds, leave the pulp with the juice. Add the syrup to the juice and the remaining water.  You can let it chill in the fridge to get nice and cold or add ice.

Enjoy!

Recipe Source:

lightly adapted from allrecipes.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fluffy Potato Pancakes

 


Do you have a favorite pancake recipe? I have a few. This oatmeal pancake mix makes delicious, hearty pancakes, I'm also a huge fan of the classic ones my mom made us growing up (I sometimes use all white flour and sometimes all wheat and sometimes half and half), I also love these blender pancakes (especially made with kamut berries), and now I have a new favorite, it's taking front stage now and it's the only pancake recipe I've made the last 10 times we've had pancakes. So I think that is saying something considering I have so many other pancake recipes I love.  

Meet these fluffy potato pancakes. They are cousins with my husband's grandma's recipe for potato puffers, which we also love.  You might think it sounds strange to add potatoes into pancakes, but if you've had our yummy cinnamon rolls that have a potato dough, you will know why these pancakes are so good.  The potatoes make the dough of the cinnamon rolls and the batter of these pancakes so tender, soft and fluffy!  I won't tell you how many of these I eat when we have brinner.


This is the kind of thing you need to make when you have leftover potatoes.  But I actually love these so much I will go the the effort of peeling, cooking and mashing potatoes just to make these light and fluffy things.

So if you think you have all the pancake recipes that you could ever possibly need/want, you might just need to try this last one.  

Enjoy! 

-Lu


Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅔ - 1 cup milk

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl or 8 cup measuring cup combine the mashed potatoes, salt, and eggs. Mix well with a hand mixer.  Add 1 teaspoon baking powder and mix. Add milk and flour and mix until smooth - adding more milk if you’d like a thinner pancake batter.

Cook on a buttered griddle over medium heat until bubbles come to the surface of the pancake and start to pop (check to see if the under side is turning golden brown), flip and cook the other side a few minutes until it is golden brown and the pancakes are cooked through.

Recipe Source:

A Leesh & Lu Original, by Lu - adapted from an old family recipe for potato puffers




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Creamy Balsamic Crockpot Chicken with Tomatoes

I have been pretty absent from the blogging world lately.  I have the cutest excuse ever, too:


Meet Evan.  Now that he is almost 3 months old, we are finally starting to figure out a routine and find our new normal.  Our new normal is called crazy.  Although, I guess I have to admit we were already a little crazy before.  This whole 3-kid-thing is kinda throwing me for a loop, which is where easy dinners like this one are a huge lifesaver.  


I had this thing for balsamic vinegar when I was pregnant, which is when I came up with this dish.  We've had it several times since and I shared the recipe with Lu and they have had it a couple times, too.  I love how easy it is to throw together and the depth of flavor that the balsamic vinegar gives to the sauce is incredible. 


We had it most recently on Sunday and my 4-year-old has asked for the leftovers at each meal since. Kid friendly, minimal prep work, and made from pantry staples.  Definitely my kind of post-baby meal.  We sopped up the extra sauce with garlic ciabatta rolls and it was a hit with the hubby and the kids, so I knew I had to share it with you.  


Creamy Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I've blended up 2 cans of diced tomatoes when I didn't have crushed tomatoes and it worked great)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with onions & garlic)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (I like to use the light, but the full-fat would work fine too)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 average sized chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and seasoned on both sides with seasoning salt & pepper
16 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Grated asiago or parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

Lightly grease the inside of crockpot.  Combine crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper in crock pot.  Lay seasoned chicken breasts on top.  Cook on HIGH for 3-5 hours.  Dice block of cream cheese into 1 inch pieces and add to mixture last 30 minutes of cook time.  Remove and shred chicken breasts, if desired.  Add balsamic vinegar to taste. Stir cooked pasta into sauce.  Serve with asiago or parmesan cheese for sprinkling.  

Notes:

Cream cheese can be cooked the entire time if stirred every hour to prevent burning.   

For the pasta we have use penne, spaghetti, and elbows and it was great with all 3.

Lu made a gluten-free version using Barilla brand gluten-free pasta with great results as well.

Recipe Source:

Leesh and Lu Original--by Alycia

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spicy Hawaiian Pizza


We have a favorite brick oven pizza and pasta restaurant (Scarpas) that we like to go to when it's our date night.  I think we've been there about 5 times in the last year, and 3 or 4 of those times I've ordered one of their non-menu specials, Spicy Hawaiian Pizza.  It's seriously so good. They use thick sliced strips of Canadian bacon, fresh pineapple, real mozzarella, green chile (it's a big thing in New Mexico), roasted red pepper, and cilantro.  I'm a sucker for it.  It's seriously my favorite pizza combo.  


Last fall during chile season we had 40 pounds of chiles roasted. Here in New Mexico during chile roasting season anytime you go to a grocery store or farmers market there are huge bins outside where they will roast your chiles for free.  It smells so good!  So, we naturally use our famous NM chiles on almost anything, but you can easily used canned ones (or roast your own as shown in this post).


After eating this pizza time and time again at Scarpas, I decided that if I love it sooo much, I needed to be able to make it at home and enjoy it fresh from my oven whenever I wanted. I used our best pizza tips for making the dough and sauce (check out our pizza series here) and then added the flavors I wanted for Spicy Hawaiian. After Easter last week, we had this leftover ham (best ham ever) and I decided that I needed to make this pizza with it. If I didn't have this ham I would have bought some quality Canadian bacon (but I'm sure you could use diced or sliced ham if you have that on hand).  And I'd highly recommend fresh pineapple too, it really was amazing!

So, here is my version of Spicy Hawaiian Pizza, I hope you'll enjoy it! My husband declared this our best combo of flavors yet and told me I was a pizza ninja! :) I'll take it!

You'll want to make sure to make a few of these if you have a bunch to feed, becasue at our house with 4 the pizza went fast!
 
 Going...
Going....
 better grab that last piece...
 and GONE!

 Here is a handy picture for your pinning pleasure. 
And the recipe with printable version below. 
Enjoy!

Spicy Hawaiian Pizza

Notes:

This will yield 2 12-16-inch pizza crusts  if you use our dough recipe. I didn’t list amounts for the ingredients because you can really put on as much or little as you want.  
Ingredients:

Real mozzarella or blend of colby and mozzarella cheese
Thick slices/strips of Candian bacon
Fresh pineapple, sliced into bite size pieces
1 can diced green chile, or fresh roasted  (use as much or little as you want)
Roasted red pepper, diced (do it yourself or by bottled)
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Directions:

1. Make pizza dough recipe.
2. Pre-heat oven (according to your dough recipe - 475-500 for ours). Divide dough into 2 and roll into 16 inch circle. Place dough on a pizza pan and top with sauce.
3. Sprinkle with the desired amount of cheese and top with as much of the toppings as you like.  Garnish with cilantro and sprinkle with a tad bit more of cheese to kind of seal it all together.
4. Bake according to pizza dough recipe (we do 475-500 degrees for 6-12 minutes).

Recipe Source:

A Leesh & Lu original, by Lu


Friday, April 10, 2015

How To Roast Red Peppers {or any other pepper}

I love roasted red peppers!  The sweet and smoky taste compliments so many things. Pizza, pasta, quesadillas, soup, salad, quiche, etc. The options are endless.  Sometimes I buy them in a bottle, but when they are on sale and I have lots of things I want to make with them, roasting them at home seems to be the cheaper option. And since it's super easy, why not?  

So today I'm going to share with you a step by step picture on how to roast them in the oven.  You can do as many peppers as will fit on a single layer of a baking sheet and fit under your broiler. Pictured here are just two peppers.



1) Wash the peppers, cut them into quarters and cut and rinse out all the seeds and membranes. Shake most of the water off of them over the sink. 


2) Next you'll lay them with the insides face down on a foil lined baking sheet (here I used a 9x13 metal pan lid since I only had 2 peppers).  You can press them so they lay as flat as possible. 


3) Place them on the top rack of your oven and turn it to broil on low for 10-20 minutes or until the skin is black and the flesh is still moist and fork tender. You may want to rotate your pan part way through depending on how even your broiler is roasting them. 

*You can do this with any kind of pepper - but the thinner the skin and flesh the less time you'll want to broil. Red peppers are pretty thick when it comes to peppers. 


4) As soon as you remove them from the oven place them in a zip locking bag and let them sit for at least 10 minutes. As they steam in the bag the skins will loosen and will be really easy to peel off with your fingers or by softly scraping them with a knife. 


5) After 10 minutes the skins should be able to be peeled or slid off with a knife quite easily. If not, then you probably didn't get them black enough.


6) Once they are all peeled you can chop/blend them up to use in whatever you want. If I don't use them all I freeze them in little snack size bags, putting about the amount I'd want for a meal in each bag and then putting the snack bags into a freezer bag.  They thaw quickly on the counter or in warm water for quick and easy use. 



Here is a handy printable and all the instructions in one place without pictures.  Hope you'll enjoy some roasted peppers! 

-Lu

Roasted Red Peppers {How-to}

Ingredients:


Red peppers (or any other pepper - see note below)
Foil
Baking sheet
Zip locking plastic bag

Directions:



NOTE: *You can do this with any kind of pepper - but the thinner the skin and flesh the less time you'll want to broil. Red peppers are pretty thick when it comes to peppers.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Wash the peppers, cut them into quarters and cut and rinse out all the seeds and membranes. Shake most of the water off of them over the sink.

2. Next you'll lay them with the insides face down on a foil lined baking sheet (here I used a 9x13 metal pan lid since I only had 2 peppers).  You can press them so they lay as flat as possible.

3. Place them on the top rack of your oven and turn it to broil on low for 10-20 minutes or until the skin is black and the flesh is still moist and fork tender. You may want to rotate your pan part way through depending on how even your broiler is roasting them.

4. As soon as you remove them from the oven place them in a zip locking bag and let them sit for at least 10 minutes. As they steam in the bag the skins will loosen and will be really easy to peel off with your fingers or by softly scraping them with a knife.

5. After 10 minutes the skins should be able to be peeled or slid off with a knife quite easily. If not, then you probably didn't get them black enough.  

6. Once they are all peeled you can chop/blend them up to use in whatever you want. If I don't use them all I freeze them in little snack size bags, putting about the amount I'd want for a meal in each bag and then putting the snack bags into a freezer bag.  They thaw quickly on the counter or in warm water for quick and easy use.

Source:



Similar methods as seen on here and here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies


Last week I was supposed to bring a dessert to a BBQ.  I didn't have any regular chocolate chips on hand and I was talking to Leesh on the phone about what to make. I did have white chocolate chips and some mini-chocolate chips. Leesh mentioned the yummy Orange Creamsicle Cookies she posted a few years back, but I didn't have any oranges.  But I had lots of lemons, so I was thinking I could just do them with lemon, but then I decided that I really wanted some dark chocolate in there. I'm not a huge fan or white chocolate, it's so sweet. I do love it in those orange creamsicle cookies though - but dark chocolate will always have my heart! Forever and ever! 

So I found a cookie recipe I'd been wanting to try and then switched it up to make these dreamy lemon chocolate chunk cookies! They were to die for. I mean, I thought they'd be good, but I was kind of blown away by how good they were.  I took 2 dozen to the BBQ and they were gone before I could even load up my plate full of a burger and salads.  So I guess that speaks for itself. 


I did save some at home though for myself, cause I'm selfish like that.  I've had a few people ask for the recipe, so I wanted to share it soon! I hope you'll love it too! I've been on a huge lemon kick lately. I had this lemon cheesecake (holy yum! so dreamy!) for my birthday a few weeks ago - and we had lemon meringue for my husband's birthday just before that. Whenever I see something lemon it catches my eye.  


These cookies will be baking on repeat around here. If you can't stop by, you'll have to make some!

I hope you'll enjoy them too! 

Xo,
Lu



Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter (I used salted), at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla  and 1 teaspoon lemon extract or 2-3 drops of lemon oil
Zest of 1 lemon
⅓  cup white chocolate chips
½ cup mini-chocolate chips ( *see note below)

Directions:


Notes: You can really use all white or all chocolate chips if you’d like. If you use the regular size do at least 1 cup total of chocolate chips. I feel like the mini ones go a bit further than the regular sized ones.

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats, or grease them lightly if you don’t have those.

2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cornstarch, soda and salt with a wire whisk until combined and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer bowl add the butter and sugars and mix on low until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon extracts or oil and the zest and mix until combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix one last time.  

5. Shape cookies into round balls by the tablespoon full, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes (they will cook a bit more as they cool).  If you bake them til they are browned all over they will be dry and crumbly.  Remove cookies from the baking sheets and let them cool on a wire rack completely.  

Recipe Source:

Used this cookie recipe, and altered it to make it lemony and chocolaty.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Buttery Scored Potatoes

Buttery Scored Potatoes

I spied a recipe for these scored potatoes on Taste of Home's facebook page. I immediately sent the recipe to Leesh, cause that's what we do, telling her they looked so good. And I made them a few days later.  My 4 year old saw them in the oven and was so excited. And I was excited becasue she's never really loved potatoes in any form, besides that I can sneak them into quiche, breakfast taquitos, and breakfast casserole.  But a potato in true potato form has never been something she'd eat.  She thought they looked good and she ate them and loved them. My husband and I loved them too! They were loaded with flavor and tasty as can be!

Scored potatoes give the perfect home for drizzled butter.  Topped with paprika, sea salt and pepper and some parsley for garnish (you could also season them with any other herbs that compliment your meal), these were eye and tummy pleasing.  I also thought they'd be fun for Easter dinner too. We'll be having them Sunday when our friends come for dinner. We'll also be having, ham, salad, rolls, and apple pudding (requested by my husband). 

Buttery Scored Potatoes

Buttery Scored Potatoes

Ingredients:

4  large potatoes (yellow or baking potatoes)
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
paprika to sprinkle
parsley to sprinkle (or any other herb(s) that compliment your meal)
sea salt & pepper to taste


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub potatoes under running water to clean off any dirt.  Cut out any bad spots on the potato. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice each half every ¼-½ inch, but not all the way through the potato. Fan the potatoes open a little bit.

2. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking liner or lightly sprayed with grease. Place potatoes on sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush potatoes with about half the butter. Sprinkle them paprika, sea salt, black pepper and fresh or dried parsley.  

3. Bake uncovered for 50-70 minutes or until potatoes are tender and cooked through. You can test them with a fork for done-ness.  Drizzle them with the remaining butter.  

Recipe Source:

lightly adapted from Taste of Home