Monday, March 31, 2008

Brats and Sauerkraut

1 1/2 lb. sauerkraut( rinsed, drained)
1 lb. Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3/4 tsp. caraway seeds, lightly crushed
3/4 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1/2 tsp. pepper
2/3 C beef broth
2T ketchup
2 T sugar
6 Smoked Bratwurst( I used smoky and cheesy)
In a large slow cooker, layer sauerkraut, apples and onion, sprinkling as you go with the caraway and fennel seeds and pepper. In a small bowl blend the beef broth, ketchup and sugar. Pour the broth mix evenly over the sauerkraut mixture. Push down bratwurst into the onions and apples. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. reduce temperature to low and cook cover on low for 3 1/2-4 hours.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 (12oz) package egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 (6oz.) cans tuna, drained
1C forzen peas
1 (4oz.) can mushrooms, drained
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C grated Parmesean cheese
1 1/2 C milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C crushed Ritz crackers
3T butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine noodles, tuna, peas and mushrooms. Combine soup,cheese, milk salt and pepper, pour over noodle mixture and miwx well. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan. Combine butter and crackers, sprinkle on top. Bake uncover for 45 minutes.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract1 16 oz. container sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel:1/2 cup light brown sugar,packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts( I did not use)
For the glaze:1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork .

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deviled Eggs

Peel hard boiled eggs and cut in half. Mash yolks with a fork until they are crumbly. Add mayo so the yolks come together but do not over do it or the filling will be thin like mine were today. Now add mustard and red hot sauce ( just a touch of each or the mix will be thin) season with salt and pepper and some chopped dried parsley. Fill and enjoy!

Peanutbutter Bars

Peanut Butter Bars:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup all creamy peanut butter
2cups sugar
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
4 T. more peanut butter
In a food processor pulse graham crackers until super fine. To the fine crumbs add the melted butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Pulse until mixture is blended and smooth. Press the peanut butter mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan. Melt the chocolate chips and 4 T. peanut butter in the microwave in 25 second increments until melted and smooth. Pour over peanut butter batter and spread evenly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Remove to room temperature for at least 15 minutes then slice into bars.

Dulce de Leche

I have seen this on many web sites and finally had to try it for myself. This great website gives perfect directions.

First Challenge For Daring Bakers

My first daring Bakers challenge was Dorie Greenspan's Party Cake.I had fun making the cake. I used a bit more of the jam than the recipe called for I used about 1 cup( I really love seedless raspberry jam). The cake was great I loved the lightness. The butter cream was a real challenge as I have never made the butter cream with a meringue first, I was glad I was able to try this method. The butter cream was super light , I would have liked it a bit sweeter but the jam took over that. I have made layer cakes in the past but not this type of frosting. Overall it was a really great experience and I enjoyed it. I would like to experiment with the cake and maybe the whipped cream next time. My biggest fear with this recipe was curdling with the meringue, luckily I kept the heat low and I was diligent about my whisking! No curdling, luckily. I cannot wait to see what the next challenge will be. Now I am off to look at the other Daring Bakers great creations.

For the Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the Buttercream:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Finishing:2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
Getting Ready Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.To Make the Cake Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).To Make the Buttercream Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.Remove the bowl from the heat.Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.To Assemble the Cake Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.Spread it with one third of the preserves.Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.ServingThe cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cabbage Roll Casserole

2 pounds meatloaf mix
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked rice
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 medium head cabbage (2 pounds), shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in one can of tomato sauce and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat: cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and bacon; heat through. Remove from the heat. Layer a third of the cabbage in a greased crockpot. Top with half of the meat mixture. Repeat layers; top with remaining cabbage. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top. Top with cheese. Cook in crockpot on low for 4-5 hours.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Double Eggplant Parm Baked Ziti

Recipe from Rachael Ray.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
2 medium eggplants, 1 peeled and chopped, 1 thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4-1/3 cup milk or cream (eyeball it)
1 pound ziti (pasta with lines) or rigatoni
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (3 generous handfuls)
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (4-5 sprigs), chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (28 ounces)
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups provolone cheese, shredded
Heat the oven to 500°F and place a large pot of water on to boil. When the water comes to a boil, salt it liberally and add pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid before draining.
Place the chopped eggplant on a nonstick baking sheet. Pour about 1/4 cup of the EVOO in a small dish then, using a pastry brush, coat the eggplant with EVOO. Season the pieces liberally with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes until the eggplant pieces are dark and tender.
Pre-heat about 1/4 cup EVOO in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Beat the eggs with the milk or cream in a wide, shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine the grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and rosemary. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, then coat them in the breadcrumbs. Cook in the hot skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side, working in two batches if necessary. Drain the eggplant slices on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
Remove the chopped eggplant from the oven and switch the broiler to high. Put the roasted pieces into a food processor and process them until they're smooth.
Pre-heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add in the remaining two tablespoons of EVOO and the garlic, red pepper flakes and the processed eggplant. Cook for about one minute, then add tomatoes, parsley and some salt.
Toss the drained, hot pasta with half of the tomato-eggplant sauce and a ladleful of the pasta cooking liquid. Spread half of the pasta out in a baking dish and top it with half of the breadcrumb-coated eggplant.
Add the remaining pasta to the baking dish and top it with the rest of the breadcrumb-coated eggplant. Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with provolone cheese. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Molten Chocolate Cakes

This recipe is from Kitty Homespun Touches.

NOTES : Cake on the outside with molten chocolate in the middle. These can be frozen.
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. unsalted butter
8 squares bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate -- coarsely chopped
8 eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. flour
Lightly butter a 12 cup muffin tin. Sift cocoa, then use to 'flour' butter muffin tin, as you would for a floured cake pan. Shake to make sure the cups are evenly covered, shake out excess. Preheat oven to 400 deg.. Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over LOW heat, stirring until smooth, from 4-5 min. (or micro. on med. power stirring a couple of times 2-3 min.) Separate 4 eggs, save whites for another use. Put the yolks into a large mixing bowl, add remaining 4 eggs and beat until light in color 4-5 min. Beat in sugar.Then while whisking constantly, pour in warm chocolate mixture. When smooth, gradually beat in flour until just combined. Dividing equally, pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake until sides are crusty but centers are still soft, about 10 min. Do NOT OVER BAKE. Remove from oven. Let stand for 5 min. during which time cake centers will become flattened and appear to fall. Run a knife around the edges and using a fork to help get underneath, remove each cake from the tin and invert onto a heat proof serving plate. Serve hot with a few berries and softy whipped cream or ice-cream. To MAKE AHEAD, cool baked cakes on a rack, wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze. To reheat, remove wrappings and place bottom side up on a plate. Microwave each for 30-45 seconds or heat uncovered on a baking sheet in a preheated oven 450 deg. for 4 min. Do not overheat.
These would have been better with ice cream but rich and delicious on there own.

Amish White Bread

2 C warm water(110 degree F )
2/3 C white sugar
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C vegetable oil
6 C bread flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy froth. Mix salt and oil into the yeast mix. Mix in flour 1 C at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl. Turn to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place into 2 well oiled loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1" above pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chicken Marsala

Dredge 1 1/2 lb. thin boneless skinless chicken cutlets in flour mixed with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook chicken, in batches for about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Place aside. Heat a pan with salted water and boil 2 1/2 C sliced mushrooms for 15 minutes, drain. In skillet used for chicken heat 4T butter and 2 T olive oil. Brown 6 cloves garlic. Add drained boiled mushroom and cook for 2minutes. To the skillet add 3 C chicken broth and 2 C Marsala wine. Place chicken back in the pan and cook down liquid for about 30 minutes. Serve.

Pistachio Cake

1 package white cake mix
3/4 C vegetable oil
1C lemon lime soda
3 large eggs
2 ( 3 oz.) packages instant pistachio pudding mix
2 envelopes whipped topping mix( I used Dream Whip)
1 C mix
Beat cake mix, oil, soda, eggs and 1 package pudding mix until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 9"X13" pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cake tests done in the middle. Cool completely. Beat Dream Whip, milk and last package pudding mix. Beat until stiff peaks form. Chill for at least 1 hour before spreading on cake. Frost cake and refrigerate any leftovers.

Pretzel Baguettes

I found this recipe at Desert Candy ?????? ???????: Pretzel Baguettes These baguettes really turned out great, excellent for a sandwich
2 3/4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast or SAF instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup hot water
for boiling and baking:1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 egg white, beaten to blend
1. Place the yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Add the hot water and let sit a few minutes until bubbly. Gradually add the flour with the salt, stirring to form a dough. Knead the dough a minute just so that it is smooth and combined (I knead it in the bowl, but you could knead it on a board if you prefer). Rinse the bowl out and grease it. Place dough in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.2. Lightly flour a work surface. Knock the dough down and divide it into four pieces. Shape each piece into a mini-baguette and cut deep slashes in the top with a sharp knife or razor blade. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring 8 cups of water to boil in a large deep pot. Add the baking soda and sugar to the boiling water (caution it will bubble up!!). Lower the heat slightly so the water is simmering but not boiling violently. Add the mini-baguettes one or two at a time and boil about 30 seconds on each side. Carefully use a slotted spoon to remove them.4. Arrange boiled mini-baguettes on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg white glaze and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.5. Best stored at room temperature loosely covered with a towel. Do not place in a plastic bag or they will become soggy

Boiled Cookies

Combine in a saucepan : 2 C sugar, 3 T cocoa powder, 1/2 C butter, and 1/2 C milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 full minutes. Add 1/2 C peanut butter and 3 C uncooked rolled oats. Drop by spoonfuls ( I used a small ice cream scoop) onto waxed paper. Let cool.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bankok Noodles and Crispy Chicken

For the chicken, I took 3 egg whites( beaten until real foamy and light), and about 6T cornstarch. I fried in batches until the pieces were golden brown( in about 3"-4" vegetable oil). The noodles were in a boxed set we purchased at BJ's. They were really tasty and makes a lot. The box says feeds 16, I made half and we still had a ton left over.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!!

Quick Yellow Cake
2 1/4 C cake flour
1 1/3 C sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C shortening
1 C half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Add shortening, milk and vanilla. Mix well, scrap bowl, add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9" round pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Buttercream Frosting
1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
4 C powdered sugar
Beat butter in mixing bowl until creamy. Add half and half, vanilla, salt and 1 C powdered sugar. Beat until well blended. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar. Can add some milk of half and half if necessary to thin out the frosting.
In between the two layers ,I warmed 3/4 C strawberry preserves until it was a good spreadable consistency. I then spread it and a bit of frosting topped with second layer and frosted the whole cake.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 lb. linguine
2 cans Snow's Ready to serve New England Clam Chowder
2 Cloves garlic, left whole
2 T olive oil
2 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 ts. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
To a saucepan add olive oil and garlic, cook until golden. Add all other ingredients. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Braided Easter Bread

2 1/2 c all purpose flour, divided
1/4 C white sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
2/3 C milk
2 T butter
2 egg
whole raw eggs( up to 5)
egg wash( 1 egg beaten with 1 Tmilk)
sesame seeds
In a large bowl stir together 1 c flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until milk warm and butter is melted. Gradually add milk mixture to the flour mixture while stirring. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 c flour, beat well. Add the remaining flour 1/2 C at a time, stirring well after each addition. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat top. Cover and let rise until double in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down dough. turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 36" roll that is 1 1/2" thick. Braid leaving spaces for the eggs. Place eggs between the braids. Place loaf on a greased pan and let rise covered for 45 minutes. Prior to baking brush egg wash on braid and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

1 C quick cook oats
1 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C raisins
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C vegetable oil
3/4 C applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Grease or paper line 12 muffin cups. Combine oats, flour, sugar, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. combine applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry ingredients. Divide evenly among prepare muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Blueberry Muffins

2 C flour + 2T
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 C blueberries( I used frozen)
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a pan to fit 18 muffins. In e medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. in a separate bowl, toss 2 T flour with berries. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining flour mix alternately with milk and vanilla. Stir berries into batter. Spoon into muffin cup and if desire ed sprinkle with sugar on each muffin top. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Chicken Breast Valdostana and Braised Lentils

I found this recipe at Elly's Blog. 5 posts tagged “fontina” - Elly’s Blog on VoxToday I tripled the recipe.

Chicken Breast Valdostana
2 b/s chicken breast halves,2 thin slices prosciutto (today I used ham)flour, seasoned with salt and pepper,1/2 Tbsp. butter,1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil,1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup chicken stock,2 thin slices fontina cheese,1/4 cup diced tomatoes, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper,2 tsp. grated Romano
Preheat oven to 375.
Fit a piece of prosciutto over each chicken breast, so the slice of prosciutto is as close as possible to the size of the chicken breast. Using the back of a knife or the flat side of a mallet, pound the chicken lightly, just to get the prosciutto to adhere.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour.
Heat a skillet over moderate heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is foaming, add the chicken, prosciutto side down.
Cook chicken for about 2 minutes before flipping and browning on other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken.

To the pan, add the chicken stock and wine. Cook over medium high heat until reduced by half.
Place the chicken back in the skillet and top each breast with 1 slice of fontina, 2 Tbsp. of diced tomatoes and 1 tsp. grated cheese.
Put the skillet in the oven and cook until chicken is done, about 15 minutes.
Braised Lentils with Spinach
1/2 cup brown lentils( today I used green),1 bay leaf,2 tsp. olive oil, 1 sprig thyme or a pinch of dried( I used dried),1 small carrot, diced,1 small piece celery, diced,1/2 small onion, diced,4-5 mushrooms, chopped,,1 clove garlic, minced3 Tbsp. chicken or vegetable stock,1 cup fresh spinach, shredded or chopped,salt and pepper to taste
Place lentils and bay leaf in a small pan and pour cold water in the pan so that it reaches about 3" above the lentils. Cook at a rolling boil until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over moderate heat and add olive oil and thyme. Saute the onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms until tender.
Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced enough to coat lentils--a couple minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: spoon lentils onto a plate, top with chicken and spoon sauce from chicken over entire dish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Risotto with Cheesey Chicken and Broccoli

For Risotto: 3 T butter, 1 medium onion, chopped, 1 C Arborio rice, 1/2 C dry white wine, 2 C chicken broth, 1 C shredded Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cook 5 minutes , stirring occasionally. Add rice and cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, cook until liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 C broth, stir until liquid is absorbed. Repeat 3 times. Cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat , stir in cheese. Can top with fresh chopped chives or parsley.

For chicken and broccoli:( I adapted from Cook's Country original recipe) 8 thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts, salt and pepper, 8T butter, 1 onion chopped fine, 1/2 C all purpose flour, 2 C chicken broth, 1 C half and half, 1 C red wine, 2 lb. broccoli florets, 3 C grated Parmesan cheese. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat broiler. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 T butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until golden on each side. Add remaining butter and onion to skillet and cook until onion is beginning to brown. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk in broth , half and half and wine and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. return chicken to skillet to heat through for about 10 minutes. Transfer to 9"X13" baking dish. Meanwhile steam broccoli. Add broccoli and 2C cheese to skillet, toss to coat. season with salt and pepper. Pour mix over chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and broil until browned and bubbly, 2-4 minutes.

Basic White Bread

4 1/2 tsp. yeast
6 T sugar
1 C warm water
1 C milk
1/3 C butter( at room temp.)
5 C all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs( at room temp.)
Dissolve yeast, plus sugar in warm water. Heat 1 c milk , do not boil, just warm. Add softened butter to warm milk to melt, let cool. After yeast has bubbled a little add it to mixing bowl with 2C flour, salt and eggs. Mix. When milk mix is cool enough not to kill the yeast add to mixing bowl with 3 more C flour. Add enough flour to knead by hand 3-5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turn to coat top of dough, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled , 40-60 minutes. Punch down dough, divide in half, place each loaf in greased loaf pan. Let rise again until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Neiman Marcus Cookies

2 C butter, at room temp.
2C sugar
2 C brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 C all purpose flour
5 C blended oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
18 oz. Hershey's chocolate bar, grated
3 C pecans, chopped
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour. In a food processor, measure oatmeal and process to a fine powder. Add to mix with rest of ingredients. Mix well. Chill for at let 30 minutes( easier to work with). Roll into balls and place 2" apart on silpat pads. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Today i halved the recipe.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Grandma Joan's Cheesecake Squares

This recipe is simple and tastes great. I will post the recipe tomorrow.

On the stove top thicken 1 large can of crushed pineapple and 1 small package vanilla pudding. Cook until thick and set aside. In a bowl mix 2 1/4 C flour, 1 stick of butter( at room temp.), 4 T sugar, and 1 tsp. baking powder; mix well. Add 1/4 C milk and 1 beaten egg. This should be a pie crust consistency. Spread this crust on the bottom and up the sides of a jelly roll pan ( 12X17 or so) For filling cream 6T sugar and 3 8 oz. packages cream cheese(room temp.) on medium. Next add 2 T all purpose flour, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 C fresh lemon juice, 4 eggs and 2 1/2 C milk. Mix. Pour cooled pudding mixture over crust and spread evenly.. Now top with cream cheese mix, pouring slowly. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sour Cream Banana Bread

1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
I found this recipe at

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

I found this recipe while reading through some foodblogs. Here is the food blog where i found the recipe:A Consuming Passion I made my chicken with a heavier coating( i upped the egg whites and cornstarch and let sit for about 10 minutes) below is her recipe, I did everything else the same except I made a larger portion and I also increased the sauce, i love extra sauce)

Sliced Chicken with Broccoli
Adapted from Shun Lee Cookbook
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large egg white
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups plus 1/3 cup chicken stock
10 ounces broccoli florets
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp rice wine
Vegetable oil
2 scallions, white part only, trimmed and minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally. Flatten the chicken breasts by pounding them on both sides with the flat side of a cleaver or a flat meat mallet until 1/8 inch thick. Slice the meat on a shallow diagonal to make 1-inch wide strips. Cut the strips into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Mix the chicken, egg white, 1 tbsp of the cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp of the salt in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
Bring the 4 cups chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the broccoli, and cook it is crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a strainer to drain, and discard the broth.
Mix the remaining 1/3 cup chicken stock with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, the sugar and the rice wine in a small bowl. Dissolve the remaining 1 tbsp corn starch in 3 tbsp cold water in a small bowl. Set the bowls aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come about 1 inch up the sides of the wok, add heat it to 300F. Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and stir gently, so the pieces don't stick to each other, until the chicken turns white, about 1 minute. Using a wide wire-mesh strainer, transfer the chicken to a colander to drain. Discard all but 2 tbsp of the oil from the wok.
Return the wok with the oil to high heat. Add the scallions and garlic, and stir fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the stock mixture and the cornstarch-mixture, and bring to a boil. Return the chicken and broccoli to the wok, and stir-fry until the sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chicken Marsala

I found this recipe on a google search from Cook's Illustrated:
4 -6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to tasteu
2T olive oil
2 1/2 ounces pancetta, cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide ( Iused 6 slices of bacon chopped in small pieces)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place large heatproof dinner plate on oven rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees F. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until very hot (you can hold your hand 2 inches above pan surface for 3 to 4 seconds), about 3 minutes. Pat chicken breasts dry. Meanwhile, place flour in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Season both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper; working one piece at a time, coat both sides with flour. Lift breast from tapered end and shake to remove excess flour; set aside. Add oil to hot skillet and heat until shimmering. Place floured cutlets in single layer in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip cutlets and cook on second side until golden brown and meat feels firm when pressed with finger, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to heated plate and return plate to oven.
Return skillet to low heat and add bacon ; saute stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits until bacon is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; saute stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, and cooked bacon ; saute while stirring until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off heat, add Marsala; return pan to high heat and simmer vigorously, scraping browned bits from pan bottom, until sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes. Off heat, add lemon juice and any accumulated juices from chicken; whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings

Irish Soda Bread

Here is the recipe I am using for Sugar Plum's blogging event. You can click here to find out all the details:Sugar Plum: I'm hosting a blogging event!

This bread is really great. i love to make it around Saint Patrick's Day
1 1/4 C beer
4 C all purpose flour
2/3 C sugar
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
1C raisins
1/4 C butter, melted
2 eggs
Let beer stand at room temp for 30 minutes( or more) until flat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cook spray. In a large mixing bowl combine: flour, sugar , baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in raisins. Stir in beer, butter and 1 egg until a dough forms. On a floured surface knead dough until smooth. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a baking sheet. With kitchen scissors slice an X on top of the loaf. Lightly beat remaining egg;brush over dough. Bake 55 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
If you like a raisin bread you will love this loaf. I love this bread.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Italian Wine Cookies

These cookies are great, light and crisp. I found the recipe at
2 c. white wine2 c. oil4 tsp. baking powder2 tbsp. anise seeds2 c. sugar, plus some for dipping8 c. flour
Mix all ingredients together. Take handful of dough, hand roll to cigar-like rope. Cut into 3 inch pieces and dip in sugar. Bake sugar side up on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. Should be crispy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


3 lb. meatloaf mix
2 C Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 c dried parsley
1T granulated garlic
2 medium onions, chopped into large pieces
3 medium bell peppers, chopped into large pieces
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
4 C of your favorite sauce
2 C ketchup
1/2 C beef stock
3 T balsamic vinegar
6 T brown sugar
6 T bold and spicy mustard
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c grated pecorino Romano
In a small bowl combine tomato sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar ,mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock. in a separate large bowl, combine meatloaf mix, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper, 1C tomato mixture( in other bowl reserved), and pecorino Romano. Form into a loaf. Place 1/2 C tomato mixture on the bottom of a Crockpot, then place meatloaf. Arrange peppers and onions around the meatloaf, top with remaining sauce. Cook in crockpot on high for 8-10 hours. Serve with extra pecorino Romano cheese.

Saint Patrick's Pistachio Cookies

I found this recipe at the King Arthur Flour website:

1/2 cup(1 stick) butter,1/2 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup , vegetable oil,1/4 cup water,1 large egg, 2 packages (3.4-oz. each) pistachio instant pudding mix, Jell-O brand preferred*1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor OR 1 teaspoon vanilla ( I used the vanilla extract),1/2 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon baking powder,2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour,1/2 to 2/3 cup chopped pistachios( i did not use the extra nut as these cookies are great without them)*Jell-O gives the best color. Your cookies won’t be nearly as green if you use a store brand.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. Beat the butter, sugar, and vegetable oil in a bowl till combined, then add water and egg, beating until smooth. The mixture will look curdled at first, but will become creamy as you beat. Add the pudding mix, pistachio flavor, salt, and baking powder, beating until smooth; the mixture will turn a lovely pastel green. Stir in the flour and nuts. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well) onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between cookies. Flatten the cookies, if desired, using a fork, the flat bottom of a drinking glass, or the end of the pusher from your food processor. If you don’t flatten the cookies, they’ll bake up in softly flattened mounds; they’re lovely either way. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until they’re starting to brown on the bottom. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pans.Yield: about 32 cookies.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Raisn Monkey Bread

Bread ingredients:
1 C raisins
1/2 c orange juice
4 1/2 C flour
1 3/4 C granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 C milk
3/4 C butter
1 egg
In a pan place raisins and orange juice, warm a few minutes and set aside to cool. In large bowl combine 4C flour, 1/2 C sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt. Heat milk and 1/4 C butter in a saucepan until very warm ( 125 degrees F). Stir milk mixture and egg into flour mixture until a dough forms. Drain raisins. Stir raisins into dough, May need to add last 1/2 C flour to dough so dough holds a ball shape. Dough will be slightly sticky. Coat a large bowl with cook spray and place dough inside, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. coat a bundt pan with cook spray. Lightly punch down dough. Shape dough into 50 small balls. Melt remaining butter. Sprinkle remaining sugar onto a plate. Coat each dough ball in butter;roll in sugar. Arrange all around pan and then stack. Cover, let rise in a warm place until doubled, for 45 minutes. Bake 45 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Cool 15 minutes. invert onto rack to cool completely. For Glaze: combine 2/3 c confectioners sugar, 1 T butter, melted, 1 T corn syrup and 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest. Stir in enough milk to make a smooth pourable glaze( approx. 1-2 T). Using a fork drizzle glaze over bread.

Pepperoni Ring

On a pizza dough roll out into a rectangle approx. the size of a jelly roll pan. Over the entire dough place 1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced pepperoni, then sprinkle about 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese. Roll jelly roll style and place into a ring shape on a greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Reuben Loaf

On a pizza dough ( roll out to fit a jelly roll pan) spread Dijon mustard down the middle( approx. 2T), Then layer 1/2 lb. thinly sliced swiss cheese, about 2 C drained sauerkraut, 1 lb. shaved deli corned beef and top with about 1 C thousand Island dressing. Slice sides and braid loaf. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with additional dressing for dipping.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pumpkin Date Loaf with Cream Cheese Swirl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together 4 oz. cream cheese, softened, 2 T granulated sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 large egg white , slightly beaten. Place aside.In a mixing bowl, beat together 1 large egg, remaining egg yolk and 1 1/4 C packed dark brown sugar. Add 3/4 C canned pumpkin, 3 T vegetable oil and 3/4 C pitted dates, chopped. Gradually add: 2 c all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. baking soda. add just until moist. In a greased loaf pan, add pumpkin mix and then top with cream cheese mixture. With a knife make swirls throughout . Bake in 350 degree F oven for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

I guess I have been on a Rice Krispies Kick. Last night I made Chocolate Treats

Chocolate Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats® Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 12Ingredients:3tablespoons butter,,4cups mini marshmallows, 6 cups Chocolate Rice Krispies®. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.3. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool. Best if served the same day.

Utica Tomatoe Pie

My first Challenge for : Please check out this great blog for info:PROUD ITALIAN COOK

Tonight's dinner was Utica tomato pie, salad and a wonderful glass of Liberty School Paso Robles 2005 Cabernet. The pizza is a local dish I will give my recipe that I doctored a bit and the original recipe. For the salad i just used a bag salad, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and my favorite Olive Garden dressing( I love this dressing, we always buy some for home).

Tomato Pie( My recipe):

In 2T olive oil saute 4 cloves garlic minced and 1 whole medium onion, brown but do not burn. Now add 2 8 oz. cans Muir Glenn tomato sauce, 1 14 oz. can Muir Glenn diced tomatoes, 2 tsp. dried basil, 2 tsp. sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for 45 minutes. Toss onion ,out and cool for a bit before using. On a pizza dough( I used homemade, but you can use store bought) place cooled sauce and top with 3-4 to 1C grated pecorino romano cheese. Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Tomato Pie ( original) In a saucepan heat 4 T olive oil. Add 2 crushed cloves garlic and saute briefly, taking care not to let garlic brown. Add a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and drop a whole small onion. Add 1 tsp. dried basil and 2 tsp. sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Toss onion and cool sauce. Top a pizza crust with sauce and sprinkle approximately 1/2 C grated pecorino roman cheese. bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Now for the wine, the Liberty School tonight had a great fruity taste that was not to overpowering. No aftertaste whatsoever. Excellent mellow taste that really was great with the sauce.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pork Ragu with Bowties

In a deep soup pot, brown 1 lb. ground pork in 2 T olive oil. Crumble pork and in the remaining oil ( may need to add 1 T more) saute 2 medium green bell peppers, minced, 1 medium onion, minced, and 4 cloves garlic, left whole. Saute for 5-10 minutes. Now add 3 small cans of mushroom stems and pieces, 2 28 oz. cans Cora black label peeled tomatoes, 2T dried basil, 2T dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste. With the back of a spoon crush tomatoes into small pieces. Let simmer on low for 1 hour. Serve with 1 lb. pasta. and lots of grated cheese.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bryant's Banana Bread

In a mixer cream 3/4 C room temp. butter, 1C sugar and 1/2 C brown sugar. Add 2 room temp. eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla, beat until smooth. In a separate bowl sift together 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and 2 1/2 C all purpose flour. Alternately add dry ingredients to mixer with 1 1/4 C sour cream. Add 4 small mashed bananas and if you want to add 1/2 C chopped walnuts. Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a toothpick in the center of the loaf comes clean.