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.

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

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.  


~Original recipe found on

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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.... 


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
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!


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


 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".

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)

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mushroom and Feta Frittata

~1 c. chopped onion
~1 T. olive oil
~1/3 of a 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
~3/4 c. chopped button mushrooms (or any other kind you like)
~3/4 c. crumbled tomato and basil feta
~1/2 mozzarella cheese, shredded
~7 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 casserole dish, or a 7x11 casserole dish On the stove in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until warmed.

Put the veggie mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Add the feta to the eggs and add to casserole. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in a 9x9 or 25 minutes in the 7x11, or until eggs are set. Cool for a few minutes.

~Next time I think I'll add some sun-dried tomatoes.
~If this is dinner, add a side salad.

~Original recipe can be found at:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I thought I hated lima beans and then I tried this. It comes from an unlikely source; a baby food book. We had no food in our house except for baby food, and as I was preparing this for Clare, I was overcome by how good it smelled. So I mustered up the confidence to try lima beans again, tasted it, and now I'm hooked. I doubled the recipe to serve as a family side dish.

If you make this for baby food, you can serve it to babies 10 months and up as finger food, or mashed up. If food allergies run in your family, you may want to delay introducing corn until your baby is 1 year old.

1 T. unsalted butter
1 c. frozen lima beans, defrosted
1 c. frozen corn, defrosted
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. paprika
1/2 c. chicken broth

In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add beans, corn, salt and paprika and saute for about 3 minutes. Then add the chicken broth, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until beans and corn are tender.


~original recipe from Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious foods for 6 to 18 months by Lisa Barnes
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pork Chops with Onions and Apples

My husband had no idea that people regularly pair pork with applesauce. I didn't want to introduce him to the flavor combo with a plain chop and a bowl of applesauce (although I make some good applesauce) so I searched for and found this recipe. I made a couple of changes and, while I haven't had the recipe exactly as originally printed, I think it's delicious. And so does my husband.

4 (3/4 inch) thick bone-in pork chops-lightly dipped in flour
2 T. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 c. apple juice
2 T. brown sugar, divided
1 t. salt
1/4 t. dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. cold water
1 large apple (I used a fuji), sliced
1/2 of a medium sized onion, cut into slices
2 T. butter

In a large skillet, brown lightly floured chops in oil. Add the juice, 1 T. brown sugar, salt, rosemary and thyme. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or until meat juices run clear. Combine the cornstarch and water until smooth and add to the skillet. Boil. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until thickened.

In another skillet, cook the apples, onion, butter and 1 T. brown sugar over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Serve over pork chops.

~I think this would be good with rice, as it makes a decent amount of sauce. We also had a simple side salad.

~Original recipe can be found here:
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