Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maria's Birthday Cake

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

1 pound spaghetti
 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
6 anchovy fillets
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
A couple of generous handfuls chopped parsley
Directions:Bring a pot of water to a
boil, salt it, add the spaghetti and cook until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, and the anchovies over medium heat until the anchovies melt, about 11/2 minutes. Lower the heat and add the garlic; season with the crushed red pepper and black pepper. Let the garlic cook gently in the anchovy oil, stirring. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and the parsley, then the pasta. Season with more black pepper and toss the pasta for 1 full minute to absorb all the flavors.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chicken POt Pie with savory Crumb Topping

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Recipe from Cooks Illustrated, September & October 2010 issue



1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into slices

2 small celery ribs, chopped fine

1 pkg mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp tomato paste

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves

3/4 cup frozen baby peas

Crumble Topping

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

6 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream (not regular milk)


Preheat oven to 450.

For the chicken: Bring the chicken and broth to a simmer in a covered Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until chicken is done, then transfer chicken to a bowl. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and save.

For the topping: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle the butter pieces in and incorporate with your fingers until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the parmesan, then add the cream and stir until just combined. Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake 10-13 minutes until becoming fragrant and browning. Set aside.

For the filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in the empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and stir well. Cook until vegetables are tender, and while they are cooking, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to the bowl with the chicken and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pot and then add mushrooms, cover and cook until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in the soy sauce and tomato paste. Cook, stirring until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies.

Heat butter in the pot and when the foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to get those browned bits up. Simmer about a minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Stir in chicken and vegetable mixture and pease into the sauce. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle crumble topping evenly over the top. Bake until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, about 12-15 minutes.

Chili Mac

I made the chili portion and served with oyster crackers.

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 medium onions, cut into small dice (about 3 cups)

1/4 C jarred jalapenos
2 to 3 teaspoons salt, plus more for the pasta water

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef

5 tablespoons Mexican chili powder

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons minced garlic

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, broken with your hands, with juices

Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained

1/2 cup water

1 pound elbow macaroni

1 pound medium sharp cheddar cheese

Sour cream, for serving (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapeños (if desired), and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Cook until the onions are soft, 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and garlic, and cook, breaking up any clumps of meat with a spoon, for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beans, and water. Stir, and bring the chili to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to chili consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add 1 more teaspoon salt if needed.

2. While the chili is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Place a 9 × 13½-inch or other 3-quart baking dish on a baking sheet. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook until just tender, 6 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse under cool running water, and set aside. Grate the cheddar cheese and set it aside.

4. Once the chili has finished cooking, fold in the cooked macaroni and one- third of the cheddar. Transfer the chili- mac mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the chili is heated through and the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary's Crown Coffe Cake Fease Day 11/17/2010

Hungarian Coffee Cake

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. brown sugar (not packed)

1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 c. butter, softened

2 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 c. sour cream

2 c. flour

1 1/2 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a Bundt or ring pan.

Combine cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts. Reserve.

Cream butter and granulated sugar.

Add eggs and beat well.

Add vanilla and sour cream and mix.

Add flour and baking powder and beat for a minute or so until well combined.

Spread half of batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle half of nut mixture over batter (try to avoid getting sugar against the pan).

Spread remaining batter over nut mixture.

Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the top.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Do not overbake.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack or plate.

Cool completely.

Frost with white glaze and top with colorful gumdrops.


2 T. butter, melted

2 c. powdered sugar

2 - 4 T. milk

1 t. vanilla extract

To prepare the glaze,

mix in a bowl all ingredients until a thick drizzling consistency,

adding a few more drops of milk if necessary.

Rachael Ray's Popcorn Chicken Bites

Vegetable oil (11/2 quarts), for frying 21/2 cups plain pancake mix 11/4 cups water 8 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco 11/4 pounds chicken tenders or skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces Salt 2 scallions, finely chopped 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper (one-third palmful) 1 cup good-quality refrigerated blue cheese dressing, such as Marie’s brand Store-bought celery sticks Test the frying oil

Add a 1-inch cube of bread to the hot oil. If it turns deep golden brown within a count of 40, the oil is ready.

Directions:In a deep skillet, heat 11/2 inches of oil over medium heat.

While the oil is heating, make the batter: In a wide mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the pancake mix, the water and 6 teaspoons of hot sauce. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of pancake mix in another wide mixing bowl. Arrange the batter and the bowl of pancake mix near the stove. Line a plate with a few paper towels and keep within reach.

Once the oil is heated, toss the chicken pieces with the remaining 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, then toss them in the dry pancake mix, coat evenly and shake off the excess. (The dry pancake mix will help the batter stick to the chicken pieces.) Add some of the chicken to the batter (you’re going to batter and fry in 3 to 4 batches) and toss with your fingers or a fork. Remove the first batch from the batter, shaking off the excess, and carefully add the chicken to the hot oil. Fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, flipping once, until deep golden brown. Remove the fried chicken from the oil and drain on the paper towel–lined plate, then season with salt. Repeat until all the popcorn chicken bites are fried.

Stir the chopped scallions and pepper into the blue cheese dressing. Serve the chicken immediately with the dressing on the side. Garnish the platter with the celery sticks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Jack Cookies

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening
1 egg 

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped unpeeled apples

Cream together sugar and shortening then beat in egg.

Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture then beat until well blended and stir in apples.

Drop in the shape of a ball on a greased cookie sheet and Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef
 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup minced onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 C grated Parmesean Cheese
 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, salt and pepper and parmesean, and mix well. Place half of the meat in a crockpot. Make a channel for the cheddar cheese. Place the cheddar cheese in the channel and place the rest of the meat on top. pinch the sides to close the meat in . Cook on high for 4 hours.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

1/2 C chocolate chips

2 1/3 C HODGSON MILL buckwheat flour
1  tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 C brown sugar

1 C  mashed ripe bananas


Combine all ingredients and mix just until blended. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 45-60 minutes at 375 degress F.

Fragrant Coconut-Lime Beef Stew

Fragrant Coconut-Lime Beef Stew

From Jim Romanoff, AP

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

2-inch strip lime zest

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2 bay leaves

1 pound baby carrots

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

In a large Dutch oven over a medium-high flame, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and saute until pieces begin to color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the mixture to a large plate.

Return the Dutch oven to the stove. Increase heat to high and add another 1½ teaspoons of oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add a quarter of the beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the plate. Brown the remaining beef in 3 more batches, adding oil as needed.

Return the onion mixture and browned beef to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, bay leaves and baby carrots. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, then place in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1½ to 1¾ hours, or until the beef is tender.

Season with salt. Serve over rice, garnished with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Note: The stew also can be simmered over low heat on the burner.

Sandra Lee's Chocolate Coffee Waffles

1 packet instant coffee, Nescafe® Taster's Choice (0.07-ounce)

1/3 cup hot water

2 cups all-purpose baking mix, Bisquick

1/3 cup mini chocolate morsels

1 cup whole milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Garnish: 1/4 cup mini chocolate morsels

Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 200°. Preheat waffle maker; grease with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine coffee packet and 1/3 cup hot water, stirring until coffee dissolves. Add baking mix, chocolate morsels, milk, egg, and oil. Whisk together until well combined.

Cook, in batches, according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Carefully

remove waffles from waffle iron and keep warm in the oven. top with maple syrup.

Angel Hair Pasta Shrimp and Spinach


8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons lemon juice

6 cups coarsely chopped spinach

2 tablespoons capers


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

While pasta cooks, sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 30 seconds. Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes. Remove shrimp mixture from pan. Add chicken broth and lemon juice to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add cooked pasta, shrimp, spinach, and capers, and heat 1 minute or until spinach wilts, stirring frequently.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce

1 bunch fresh mint
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C + 4 tsp. water
1 C rice vinegar
1 T potato starch
1 red onion sliced
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 7lb. boneless leg of lamb
salt and pepper
To make the sauce, remove the tough stems from the bunch of mint and coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside. Combine the sugar and the 1/2 C water in a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vinegar and the chopped mint, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Meanwhile mix the reaining 4 tsp. water and potato starch in a small bowl, whisk until smooth.  Add the dissolved starch to the mint mixture, beating with a whisk until blended. Boil until slightly thickened., about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate covered, until chilled, 1-6 hours. To prepare the lamb: pour 2 T olive oil on the bottom of a crockpot. Place onion and lamb in the crockpot. Place fresh herbs, salt and pepper on top of the lamb. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Carve the roast and serve with the mint sauce.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Easy Ciabatta Bread


In a medium bowl throw in:

1.5 tsp yeast

1.5 tsp salt

2 cups of hot water and stir briefly

Add 4 cups of flour and stir.

It will be a sticky wet mess. This takes no more than 5 min. total



Place a clean towel on top  and place on the counter.

Let it get really bubbly and rise for up to 18 hours.

Dump the wet dough on a floured area. Do not punch or knead. Cut in half

or into four pieces. Manipulate with your hands into the shape you want.

Then place on a Silpat lined baking pan. 

Dust with flour. Let rise for about 1 hour

Heat oven to 450 and put the bread in. Squirt the bread with Hot water.

Bake for at least 30 min.

Beef Stew with Butternut Squash and Peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

2 cloves garlic

1 pound beef tenderloin , cut into 1" cubes
2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons curry powder
Dash cayenne

1/4 cup red wine

6 cups beef stock

1 1/2 C frozen peas
3 cups butternut squash cubes (1inch cubes)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Heat oven to 325F. Heat oil in heavy stockpot over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add beef and cook without stirring about 4 minutes.

2. Mix flour with curry powder and cayenne and sprinkle over beef and vegetables, then stir to coat all. Deglaze with red wine, then add beef stock. Bring all to boil then reduce to simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in oven for 1 hour. Stir in squash and cook another 30 minutes until squash is soft. Add peas and cook for 15 more minutes.

3. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin from Food Network Magazine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the dish

Kosher salt

1 pound Brussels sprouts,outer leaves and stems removed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese

1/2 cup breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain the Brussels sprouts and coarsely chop. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste, then spread out evenly. Pour the cream on top, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.

Bake the gratin until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Creamy Mushroom Skillet Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

8-ounces sliced white button mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken broth

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons potato starch

1/4 cup cool water

2/3 cup low- or no-fat sour cream

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic, then saute for 4 minutes.

Add the chicken and cook, turning to brown evenly, for 4 minutes. Stir the onions and mushrooms as needed to prevent burning.

Add the chicken broth and thyme, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to simmer. Partially cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken reads 165 F at the thickest part. Check the liquid level now and again and add additional broth as needed.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Return the skillet to medium heat. Remove the thyme stems.

In a small glass, mix together the starch and water. Add to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken over rice or pasta.

Edible Eagles


1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
6 large marshmallows

Finely shredded coconut

Chocolate sandwich cookie

6 Cashews

Black decorators' gel

Melt 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips (or candy melts) according to the package directions.

For each bird, drop a large marshmallow into the melted chocolate, using a spatula to coat it well.

Remove the marshmallow from the chocolate and roll it in finely shredded coconut, leaving one end uncovered.

Immediately set the marshmallow, coconut free end down, atop a chocolate sandwich cookie.

Let the chocolate set a bit, then use a toothpick to make a hole in the side of the marshmallow and insert a cashew for a beak. (We attached our peanuts with a bit more white chocolate.)

Finally, add black decorators' gel eyes.

Cottage Pie from Everyday Food Magazine

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter – melted

1 Large Yellow Onion – diced medium

2 Large Carrots – cut into 3/4 inch pieces

Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

1 Pound Ground Beef or Lamb – I used ground sirloin

2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Cup Dark (Porter) Beer

2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Frozen Peas

1 Large Russet Potato – 3/4 lb. thinly sliced – mine was on the giant side, had a lot left over


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper.
Next step – stir in the tomato paste. Add the meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until almost cooked through – about 3-5 minutes. Add thyme.Then add the beer.
Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced – 2-4 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 cup water and cook until mixture thickens, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.
Arrange potatoes in a circular pattern on top of the meat mixture. Season potatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter. Note: I will not use that much butter next time – a tablespoon at most.

Place casserole dish into the oven and bake until potatoes are browned around the edges and tender when pierced with a knife. 40-45 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Candy Corn Bark

16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped 1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels 1/3 cup raisins 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares 2 cups candy corn orange and brown sprinkles


Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily.

Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Ham and Cheese Crescent Loaf

1 can (8oz) of crescent dinner rolls or seamless dough sheet

4 (large) slices of ham

4 slices of sliced provolone cheese

1/2C shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2%)

1T italian dressing

2T low fat mayo



Preheat oven to 375

1. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out dough. If using dinner roll dough, press the seams together.

2. Mix together mayo and italian dressing in a small bowl.

3. Spread the dressing mixture over the dough.

4. Lay out ham on dough, followed by sliced provolone and top with shredded cheddar.

5. Roll up the dough jelly roll style, start with the long end.

6. Once you have your roll, pinch the ends together so that all the goodies stay inside.

7. Bake at 375 for 15-20 mins until outside is golden brown.

8. Allow to cool and slice!