Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

This recipe is slightly different than the traditional Libby's mix because the fresh pumpkin is has a higher water content.  You can let the pumpkin sit and drain off the water, or place it in cheesecloth overnight and let the water drain off the bottom.

This will be enough for TWO pies!

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
**if you do not have cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger, you can substitute 3 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice".
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin sieved, cooked pumpkin
1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk
2 pie crusts, 9', grahm or fresh dough, it's your preference!


Directions

Combine all ingredients, make sure they are well mixed.  Pour the pie into pie crusts and bake at 425 F  for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Buon appetito!!
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Meatballs and Polenta



Meat mix: 3 lbs meatloaf mix (beef, veal, pork)
1 package thick-sliced smoky bacon, uncooked, raw
2 whole eggs
⅓ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
8 garlic cloves, minced
Herb mix: ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 tbsp chopped oregano, 2 tbsp chopped rosemary

Combine above ingredients and mix well, kneading the mixture with your hands like dough.

⅓ cup  bread crumbs
½ cup whole milk

Slowly add milk to bread crumbs, stirring until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Immediately add to the meat mixture,  and mix well.

olive oil for browning
about 12 cups good-quality tomato sauce, kept warm over low heat
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
two rolls of polenta, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape meatballs, preferably using an ice-cream scoop (to reduce air inside meatball). In a large skillet, heat about a quarter-inch canola oil until very hot. Working in batches, brown all sides of each meatball.  As they finish, transfer browned meatballs to a deep, ovenproof casserole. Cover meatballs with tomato sauce. (Don't skimp — they must be totally submerged.) Place in oven and bake until well done, about 1 ¾ to 2 hours.   While they are baking: brown polenta in oil, turning occasionally, lay on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

To serve: Spoon sauce & meatballs over polenta (2 or 3 per person), top with grated cheese, and pass crusty bread. Makes 25 to 30 meatballs. Buon appetito!!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fresh Pumpkin Ice Cream


Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice or (2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice)

Technique
Combine the cream, milk and sugar and whisk until completely combined.  Slowly add the spices and then the pumpkin.  Make sure is is thoroughly mixed.  Prepare according to ice cream makers instructions.  Buon appetito!!


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Carmel Apple Jello Shots



Ingredients
(makes about 40 slices/shots)
10 small granny smith apples
1 envelope knox gelatin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 drops yellow food coloring
1 envelope caramel hot chocolate (Regular would do just fine if you can't find caramel)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps
lemon juice

Directions

1. Half and hollow out  apples cutting them from the stem down. I used a melon baller to hollow the apples and it worked well. After hollowing them squeeze some lemon juice on top to reduce browning.

2. Mix your 1/2 cup water with your envelope of hot chocolate in a medium sized sauce pan. Whisk it to make sure all the chocolate is combined. Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk, whisk again.

3. Sprinkle your gelatin on top and let it sit a few minutes. Turn on low/medium heat and mix the gelatin until all is combined.

4. Add 1/4 cup sugar and simmer slightly until sugar is combined. Add your food coloring until you get the caramel color desired. I used two drops. Let mixture cool to warm. Pour in your 1/2 cup of butterscotch schnapps.

5. With your apples arranged so they fit tightly and secure on a cookie sheet, pour your caramel jello mixture into your apples. Refrigerate overnight.

6. Cut halves in quarters and those quarters in half again. Serve immediately. (The lemon juice can only prevent the browning for so long). Trim off the sides of the apples that have browned too much!

Adapted from That's So Michelle  Buon appetito!!

Zucchini Soup

I normally love zucchini and sour cream in any sort of combination, but this just didn't do it for me.  But let me know what you think!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds zucchini, roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups Summer Vegetable Stock
1/2 cup julienned basil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Sour cream or plain yogurt to top

Directions
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot, add zucchini and onion. Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and zucchini is crisp and tender. Then add stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and partially cover and cook for 25 minutes. Add basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Mix the butter and flour together into a paste. Remove 1 cup of simmering stock and whisk in butter mixture until smooth. Add back into soup, stir until thickened. Remove soup from heat to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and serve with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.
Buon appetito!!


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sarah's Mom's Chicken Paprikash

I have never had a more delicious chicken paprikash, and I assure you I've made an extensive search!

Ingredients
2-3 large chicken breasts, cubed and sprinkled with lemon juice
2 large onions, chopped
Butter 2-4 tbs to taste
16 oz carton sour cream
Paprika 2-3 tbs to taste
Spaetzle, Dumplings, Noodles or Rice

Directions
Melt the butter in the pan and saute onions until translucent.  Add the chicken and cook on medium until fully cooked.  Scoot the chicken and onions to the side and add the sour cream.  Stir in the paprika until everything is a light orange.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the spaetzle or dumplings and heat to warm all ingredients, or spoon over noodles or rice.  Serve and enjoy! Buon appetito!

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Eggy in a Helmet


Also known as Eggy in a Basket this is a simple fun breakfast!

Ingredients
1 Egg
1Piece of Toast
Butter or Pam

Directions
Using the cookie cutter of your choice (or you can cut out a circle) cut a whole in the middle of the bread.  Butter the skillet and lay down the bread.  Crack the egg right into the middle of the bread, flip, and cook until desired firmness.  I like to toast the center of the bread on the side of the skillet and serve with jelly.  Buon appetito!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Golabki (Stuffed Cabbage)

Ingredients
2 c. cooked rice
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. raw ground beef
1/4 c. diced, minced onion
1/4 tsp. salt & pepper
1 med. green head of cabbage
For the Sauce
1 can tomato soup
2 tbs sour cream
1 tsp paprika

Technique
Mix together the rice, meat and onion.  Core the cabbage and boil it, only for a few minutes to loosen the leaves.  Remove one leaf at a time and fill wilt 2 tbs of mix.  roll it over, folding in the ends and place in a large casserole dish.  Cover and bake at 350* for 1 hour.  Once finished spread the sauce over the golabki and serve!  Makes 6-8 servings. Buon appetito!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients

One bottle of ranch dressing
One bottle of Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
One brick of cream cheese
Three cans of chicken breast
Four cups of shredded cheddar
Chips for Dipping

Technique

Combine all the ingredients in the crock pot.  Cook on high for three hours, stirring frequently.  Serve with tortilla chips!  Buon appetito!

** Leftover Idea**
Reheat and Serve in burritos ;)

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Eggplant Parmsean

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplant (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
  • 5 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive Oil for frying
  • Flour for dredging
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 7 cups or two jars of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions

Arrange the eggplant slices on several baking sheets and sprinkle generously all over with kosher salt. Set aside to let the juices weep from the eggplant, about 1 hour.
Transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink, and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer eggplant to a work surface and blot very dry with paper towels.  The more water you get out the better they will fry
In a large bowl, mix together the, breadcrumbs, oregano, and season with pepper.
In another medium bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. In a large straight-sided skillet, pour the oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 400 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer. (The oil must be heated to 400 degrees F. so that the breaded eggplant, when added, will drop the temperature of the oil to the proper frying temperature of 375 degrees F.)
Working in small batches, fry the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush a 15 x 10- x 2-inch-baking dish with olive oil.  We are going to layer it like a lasagna.  Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1/3 of the marinara sauce and arrange half of the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with another 1/3 of the sauce. Scatter half of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella over the sauced eggplant. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.  Buon appetito!!



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Monday, August 22, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup


When I get a craving for soup, I make it, and I make a ton! To freeze or distribute at will...

You can use leftover chicken, or bake 2 pounds of chicken thighs (they're the best!) or like me, cheat and get 2 roaster chickens from the grocery!

2 pounds of chicken or two roaster chickens
1 Bunch of carrots, chopped
1 Bunch of celery, chopped
1 Large onion, chopped
1 Bag frozen corn
10 cups of chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and simmer for 1 hour, serve with your choice of noodle! Easy Peasy!

*You'll notice I didn't say anything about the "Noodle" portion.  I make my noodles separately and then add them when I'm ready to eat.  It works out nicely when you want to freeze the soup!  Buon appetito!!




Radish Salsa


4-5 Medium Radishes, Chopped
1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1 English (seedless) Cumcumber, Chopped
6-7 Green Onions, Chopped
Lime Juice, Salt, Olive Oil to taste

Mix all and enjoy with some chips or mix it into hummus and dip with carrots!  Buon appetito!!


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Zucchini Pizza


Did you know August 4th is National -Leave Zucchini on your Neighbor's Porch- Day?  I didn't either, but I can see why it is!  I am overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes.... But I can't complain because it's all delicious!  While I cheated and bought the dough from a local Italian Bakery, it was whole wheat dough and delicious!

1 Lb Pizza Dough
3-4 Zucchinis, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
Olive Oil for Sauteing
2 Cups Pizza Cheese Mix (Mozzarella, Prove lone, Romano, Parmesan)
Italian Seasoning.

Saute the zucchinis and onions with olive oil in a large pan, until caramelized.  In the mean time let the dough come to room temperature (if it was in the fridge), and spread onto pizza pan/stone.  Lightly put some olive oil on top and cover with Italian spices.  Take the zucchini pan  and liberally spread veggies over pizza.  Top with cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven (so the cheese browns slightly) at 375* for 20 min, or until dough is firm and cheese is the right color brown.  Slice and Serve!  Buon appetito!! 

Cold War Brownies


I recommend Pillsbury Family Size Brownies, it fills the 9 x 13 pan quite nicely.

1 Box of Brownie Mix (and the necessary ingredients to make it)
6 Tablespoons Nutella or more!
1 block of Cream Cheese, room temperature.
1 Egg Yolk
5 Tablespoons Sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl mix the brownie mix, and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  In a smaller bowl mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Glop the nutella and cream cheese mix into the brownies, being as heavy handed as you'd like. Swirl lightly. Bake the brownies according to the box directions adding 5-7 min more so the middle isn't so gooey!  Buon appetito! 
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Aaron's Corn Salsa


Ingredients:


1 package frozen sweet white corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 c Parmesan shredded
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Corn/Tortilla Chips for dipping


Directions:

Combine corn, black beans, peppers, onions and cilantro in medium size bowl, set aside.  Place garlic in microwave safe bowl, cover with olive oil and microwave for 20-40 seconds until almost hot (you are infusing the oil with the garlic flavor).  Sprinkle seasoning (salt, cumin, pepper) into the bowl, stir.  Pour olive oil and lime juice into the bowl, mix throughly.  Serve with chips.  Buon appetito!!


  
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lemon Fish with Stuffed Mushrooms


Ingredients
Four pieces of tilapia
Two lemons
Salt and Pepper to taste

Eight small button/white mushrooms
1
/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated provolone
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Two large Portobello mushrooms
Corn Salsa (it holds up better than tomato based salsa to grilling)
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
Technique
Slice the lemon and place one slice on each filet, salt and pepper to your taste.  Grill fish for 7-10 min until moist but not slimy anymore.
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Stir the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.   Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom.  Top with shredded cheese Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Or grill for about 10 minutes until cheese bubbles.
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Place Portobello mushrooms top side down and fill with salsa and sprinkle on cheese.  Grill for 10 minutes until cheese bubbles.  Buon appetito!!


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Vegetable Marinara

So hearty and sweet even the meat lovers will be asking for more!
Ingredients
One large onion
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 ½ cups celery
¾ cup Italian parsley
4 cups crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt (to your taste)
Extra virgin olive oil
Technique
Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and parsley. In a large pot (I suggest a stock pot) sautè the chopped vegetables in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes until tender on a medium flame, without browning. Add tomatoes and salt. Simmer for 1 hour on low. Serve over your favorite pasta with ridiculously huge quantities of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Tips
§  About 10 minutes before the sauce is finished cooking, add a couple spoonfuls of red wine…Mamma mia, che buono!!!
§  Don’t have time to chop up carrots or want to add more veggies? Add in a few jars of stage 2 organic baby food. The more carrots the sweeter your sauce, try adding sweet potato puree!
§  Use for lasagnas, a minestrone soup base, or on your next homemade pizza!




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Gnocchi with Italian Sausage

Delicious and easy gnocchi is one of mine and my husband’s favorite kinds of pasta.
Ingredients
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, extra large
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups
vegetable marinara

1 ½ pounds fresh Italian sausage
Technique
Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups near boiling water.
Make a well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup olive oil and set aside.
Cut the Italian sausage into 1 inch sections and place in sauté pan.  Adding a small amount of water to the bottom to prevent sticking/burning cook sausage thoroughly or until crispy brown.  Add sauce right before serving.  Pour sausage/marinara mixture over gnocchi and serve.   Buon appetito!!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions 

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Beat in eggs, vanilla and bananas until thoroughly blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into a greased 9-in.x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 60-70 minutes or until the bread tests done with a wooden pick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Buon appetito!




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Crêpe Suzette


 Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar

Butter for frying

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, 1.3 cup confectioner's (powdered sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest


Technique:

Measure all ingredients into blender vessel and blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and blend for 15 seconds more. Cover and let sit for an hour so that flour absorbs liquid).

Fry using melted butter in small skillet. Turn carefully when golden brown.

After cooled, fill with cream cheese, fold over and fry a little more till cream cheese is warm.  Serve Immediately!  Buon appetito!






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Brent's Butter Cupcakes

Named for one of my co-workers who is *slightly* obsessed with these lil gems....

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine (1-1/2 sticks) softened
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs 

Technique:

Preheat oven to 350*. Line twenty-four  muffin-pan cups with paper liners.
In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add butter, milk, vanilla and eggs, and beat just until blended. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.  Spoon batter into muffin-pan cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cupcakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.  Frost and embellish to  your heart's desire!  Buon appetito!



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Turkey Vegtable Barley Soup

Ingredients:
1 turkey carcass leftovers/bones, cooked
56 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat
1 (16 ounce) package frozen okra
1 cup uncooked barley (not QUICK barley)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
Technique
Place the turkey carcass in a large stockpot. Pour the chicken broth over the turkey add in the onion, celery, and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the carcass and bones from the stock and set aside to cool.
Remove as much cooked turkey meat from the carcass as possible and add the meat to the stock. Stir in the chopped turkey meat, frozen okra salt, pepper, oregano, basil and paprika. Bring the soup to a boil, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender, 40-60 minutes.  Buon appetito!



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Strawberry Pie

Ingredients:
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water


Technique:
Set aside 4-5 berries for decoration on top. Mash remaining berries (by hand, it's yummier that way!) and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture in pastry shell, add strawberries on top. Chill for several hours before serving. Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream! Buon appetito!

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Ben and Jerry's French Vanilla

My father-in-law's favorite, the kids too!!

Ingredients:

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Technique:

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream, milk, and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Buon appetito!

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Valentine's Day Cooking for Boys


If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, using pizza is the express train.  This is just a special treat I put together for my boys (3 & 4.5 & 30) on Valentine's Day!

Ingrediants:

Pizza Dough
Pizza Sauce
Mozerella Cheese
Peperoni


Technique:

Spread the Dough on your pizza pan or pizza stone.  Spread sauce and cheese on the dough.  Arrange peperoni in a heart shape.  As an added adult treat I like to cover the crust in olive oil and fresh ground Italian seasonings.

Have some cupcakes for dessert and you've got LOVE!


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Scallops and Greens

Ingredients

1 lb large scallops, patted dry
1 container spring mix letuce
2 tbs butter
Salt
Pepper

Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs Italian spices

Technique

In a saucepan melt the butter, meanwhile salt and lightly pepper the scallops on both sides.  Add the scallops to the pan once all the butter is melted.  Brown for 2-3 min each side.

While the scallops are browning whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and spoon over the lettuce mix.  Remove scallops from pan and place ontop of lettuce.  Serve with your favorite wine.  May I suggest a dry Riesling.
Buon appetito!


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tortellini Soup

This picture doesn't portray well the deliciousness of this soup, but then again it's not a very pretty soup.  It's perfect for a winter weekday meal as it's easy and takes very little prep work.  It's one of my family's favorites.


Ingredients:
2 T. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. onion, chopped
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 bag (9oz) frozen cheese tortellini
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (petite diced is the best for this soup)
5 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 egg
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

How:
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium.  Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the broth and water and bring to a boil.  Add the tortellini and cook for 5 minutes, or less if using fresh pasta.

Add the tomatoes, including their liquid and simmer about 4 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cook 1-2 minutes.

Whisk together the egg and cheese and slowly add to the soup, whisking the soup as it's added.  Cook about 3 more minutes in order to cook the egg.

Enjoy!

~At the end of the summer, I'll add basil from my garden.  It's not essential, so I won't buy it in the winter specifically for this soup, but it's nice when it's "free" from my garden.

~adapted from this recipe

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Lemon Tarragon Peas

This is a really nice flavor combination.  The tarragon isn't too strong and the lemon adds a little brightness to it.  Yum!


Serves 4 adults as a side dish.  Takes about 15 minutes to cook from start to finish.

Ingredients:
16 oz. bag of frozen peas
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 T. butter (I recommend using 1 1/2 T.)
1 t. minced fresh tarragon (or 1/2 t. dried)
1/2 t. grated lemon peel
1 t. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

How:
Place peas, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and add just enough water to cover.  Boil, then reduce and simmer for 6 minutes.  Drain

Return the peas to the saucepan and add all the remaining ingredients.  Stir until the butter is melted.  

Enjoy!

~Original recipe found on food.com


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not Your BoxedTuna Cassarole

I heartily dislike crunchy things on top of my casseroles or macaroni and cheese.... 

Ingredients

1 package shell noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (extra for topping)
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
2 heads broccoli, chopped
 
Technique
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.
Boil noodles according to package directions or until al dente.
In a medium saucepan, combine flour, butter, and salt. Stir until butter is melted and ingredients are combined evenly. Add milk, and stir until the sauce thickens.  Add cheese to mixture, and stir until cheese is melted and mixture is well blended. Stir in tuna, broccoli, and noodles. Spread evenly in prepared dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.


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Snickers Surprise


 So good and so easy, if you don't eat all the snickers first!

Ingredients


2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 Snickers miniature candy bars, unwrapped

Technique

 In large bowl, combine sugars, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Shape about 1/4 cup of dough smoothly around candy bar making sure bar is completely covered.  Place 4 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375°F for 13-14 minutes or until light golden brown and puffy.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from cookie sheets.



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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Italian Beef Stew

This stew is so delicious. The beef is very tender and the sauce is thick without the use of a typical thickening agent. Served with a crusty bread, this warms you up on a cold evening!

7 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 c. flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
1 c. dry red wine
2 lbs. plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 c. low sodium beef broth
1/2 c. water
2 t. chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pkg. baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
3/4 c. sliced carrots
2 T. chopped basil
1 T. chopped parsley

Heat 1 tsp. oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and chopped carrots. Saute about 8 min. Add garlic stirring constantly, about 1 min. Remove from pan.

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Add 1 T. oil to pan. Saute beef in oil in 2 batches until browned, about 6 min. each batch. Remove beef from pan.

Add wine to pan, scraping browned bits. Cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Return meat and onion mixture to pan. Add tomatoes, broth, water, thyme, bay leaf, and mushrooms. Cover and simmer about 45 min., stirring occasionally.

Stir in carrots and simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil and parsley.

Adapted from Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2011)


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brendan's Mac and Cheese

This is my go-to side dish for nights when I have no idea what to serve with dinner.  This quickly became a favorite in my house and is now known simply as "mac and cheese".

Ingredients:
1 1/2 T. butter or margarine
1 c. orzo pasta
1 3/4 c. reduced sodium chicken broth
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper (optional)
basil, cut into a chiffonade(optional)

How:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When melted stir in the orzo to coat and toast for a minute.  Pour in broth and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is barely gone.  Stir in parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper, and basil if you choose.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Simple Buttercream

I think my mom makes a very yummy buttercream that's perfect for cakes and cookies.  I just never knew how easy it was.  I'm in search of the right buttercream for my daughter's first birthday cake and this one got her seal of approval immediately.

Ingredients:
1 lb. of powdered sugar
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. 2% milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract

How:
Mix the sugar, shortening and butter in an electric mixer until combined.  It will look very grainy, like soft sand.  At this point, gradually add the milk in while mixing until it reaches a spreadable consistency.  Then mix in the vanilla and almond.

I love this on sugar cookies that are slightly cold, but then again, I just ate a whole bunch from a bowl!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Enchiladas Verde con Pollo

I started making these when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. If you choose the correct tortillas, each enchilada can have only 17 grams of carbs. Don't be scared off by the thought of "diabetes food", though. My baby is almost 11 months old, and I'm still making them. Low on carbs, high on flavor!

Ingredients:
1 c. mild green salsa
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 c. parsley
1 T. lime juice
2 garlic cloves
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 flour tortillas (or any tortilla of your choice, as long as it's 6 to 8 inches in diameter)
1 medium lime, cut into wedges

How:
Preheat to 350. Spray 11x7 baking dish with cooking spray. Place green sauce, cilantro, parsley, lime juice and garlic in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on high speed about 30 seconds or until smooth.

Mix half of the sauce mixture, the chicken, and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Spoon about 1/4 c. chicken mixture onto each tortilla. Roll around filling and place the seam side down in the baking dish.

Pour the reserved sauce mixture over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. cheese. Bake, uncovered 20 minutes or until hot. Serve with lime wedges.

~If you are not watching your carbs, I recommend using a little extra sauce on top. Instead of 1 cup of salsa, I would use 1 and 1/4 cups to make the sauce, so you'll have a little extra to go around.

~Original recipe from Betty Crocker's Diabetes Cookbook by Richard Bergenstal, Diane Reader and Maureen Doran
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Amatriciana Sauce

This is easy enough to be a go-to dinner, but tasty enough for company. I first had Amatriciana sauce in Murano, Italy and knew that I had to find a recipe so that I could relive the experience back home. Giada came to the rescue with this delicious and easy sauce.

Ingredients:
2 T. olive oil
8. oz. pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can of tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes
1/2 t. sea salt (or just salt if you don't have sea salt)
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 c. Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the can of tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, on medium low until the sauce thickens, between 15 and 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

~I recommend using a long pasta for this sauce. In Italy it was served with Bucatini, but I can't find that anywhere near me. I use spaghetti or linguini.
~Serve with a salad and enjoy!

~Original recipe can be found in Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
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Orange Pound Cake and Raspberry Jam Trifle

I love a good trifle, and this is definitely a good trifle! It takes a decent amount of work as you make your own cake, pastry cream and whipped cream, but it's worth it. I made it for my family as a Christmas dessert and I found that it could easily serve 10 people. If you plan on doing this, give yourself a couple of hours, but, again, it's worth it!

Ingredients:
1 orange pound cake (recipe follows)
1 jar of seedless raspberry jam
2 half-pints of fresh raspberries
Orange pastry cream (recipe follows)
1 c. cold heavy cream
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract

How:
Cut the pund cake into slices and spread each slice on one side with raspberry jam. Set aside.

Place a layer of cake, jam side up, in the bottom of a trifle bowl or a 2.5-3 quart serving bowl, cutting the pieces to fit. Top with a layer of raspberries and orange cream. Repeat and then end with a third layer of cake, jam side down and then raspberries.

Whip the cream in with an electric mixer using the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Put on top of trifle. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


ORANGE POUND CAKE
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2.5 cups sugar, divided
4 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/3 g. grated orange zest
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3/4 c. orange juice, divided
3/4 c. buttermilk, room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat to 350. Grease and flour to 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper

Cream the butter and 2 c. of the sugar with an electric mixer with the paddle for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. On medium speed, beat in eggs one at a time and the orange zest.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 c. of the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake between 45 minutes and an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cook the remaining 1/2 c. of sugar with the 1/2 c. of orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pans and put them on a cooling rack over a baking tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool.

Enjoy one cake, and save the other for the trifle.

ORANGE PASTRY CREAM
1.5 c. milk
1 t. orange zest
5 extra large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. heavy cream

Combine the milk and orange zest in a medium saucepan over medium and bring almost to a boil, then remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with the paddle until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, sprinkle on the cornstarch. Beat on medium-low until combined, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low speed, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. KEEP STIRRING! When it starts to look thick on the bottom of your stirring utensil keep going a little longer until the mixture itself is actually thicker.

Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, butter and heavy cream. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold.

~Original recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/raspberry-orange-trifle-recipe/index.html
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