Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

Another contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year. SO much better than the marshmallow-covered version :)


Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potatoes
7 LBS (6–8 medium) sweet potatoes {or yams, depending on what you call them!}
Streusel
5 TB unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened,
plus more for greasing pan
½ cup (2½ oz) all–purpose flour
½ cup (3½ oz) packed dark brown sugar
¼ tsp table salt
1 cup (4 oz) pecans
Filling
5 TB unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp table salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 TB vanilla extract
4 tsp juice from 1 lemon
Granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1½ cups half–and–half


Sweet Potatoes
•Adjust oven rack to lower–middle position and heat
oven to 400°
•Poke sweet potatoes several times with paring
knife and space evenly on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
•Bake potatoes, turning them once, until they’re very tender and can be squeezed easily with tongs, 1 to 1½ hours (or 45 min for small ones)
•Remove potatoes from oven and cut in half lengthwise to let steam escape
•Cool at least 10 minutes
•Reduce oven temperature to 375°
Streusel
•While potatoes are baking, butter 13 x 9–inch baking dish
•Pulse flour, brown sugar and salt in food processor until blended, abt four 1–second pulses
•Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until crumbly mass forms, six to eight 1–second pulses
•Sprinkle nuts over mixture and pulse until combined but some large nut pieces remain, four to six 1–second pulses
•Transfer streusel to medium bowl and return empty workbowl to processor
•Once potatoes have cooled slightly, use spoon to scoop flesh into large bowl; you should have about 8 cups
•Transfer half of potato flesh to food processor
•Using rubber spatula, break remaining potato flesh in bowl into coarse 1–inch chunks
Filling
•Add melted butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla and lemon juice to potatoes in food processor and process until smooth, about 20 seconds
•Taste for sweetness, then add up to 4 TB granulated sugar, if necessary
•Add yolks
•With processor running, pour half–and–half through feed tube and process until blended, about 20 seconds
•Transfer to bowl with potato pieces and stir gently until combined
Assembling
•Pour filling into prepared baking dish and spread into even layer with spatula
•Sprinkle with streusel, breaking up any large pieces with fingers
•Bake until topping is well browned and filling is slightly puffy around edges, 40 to 45 min
•Cool at least 10 minutes before serving

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Thanksgiving Stuffing

This was one of my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Stuffing has got to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

Classic Bread Stuffing

serves 12-16

12 TB (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
4 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 onions, minced
½ cup minced fresh parsley
3 TB minced fresh sage or 2 tsp dried
3 TB minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 TB minced fresh marjoram or 1 tsp dried
3 LBS high–quality white sandwich bread, cut into ½–inch cubes and dried
in oven (I used 2 bags of plain dried bread cubes from Harmons and increased chicken broth to 7 cups)
5 cups low–sodium chicken broth
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper


•Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°
•Melt the butter in a 12–inch skillet over medium–high heat
•Add the celery and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes
•Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
•Transfer to a very large bowl
•Add the dried, cooled bread, broth, eggs, salt and pepper to the vegetables
and toss to combine
•Turn the mixture into a buttered 10 x 15–inch baking dish
•Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes
•Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden, about 30 minutes longer
•Let cool for 10 minutes before serving
*This can be assembled in the baking dish, then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. To bake, let the stuffing stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and proceed to bake as directed above.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

October Gourmet Dinner Recipes

I am finally getting around to post the recipes from dinner at my house in October! Enjoy!

Holiday Cranberry Spread
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup apricot preserves
8 oz. cream cheese

Cook sugar and cranberries in saucepan over med heat until the cranberries have all popped and sugar dissloved. (About 20 minutes or more) Stir in apricot preserves and pecans. Chill. Spread cream cheese over plate and pour over desired amount of cranberry sauce. Serve with crackers.


Hot Cranberry Drink
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 quart cranberry juice
1 quart water
2 cups orange juice
2 T lemon juice

Simmer water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks for 10 minutes. Stir in rest of ingredients. Simmer, without boiling, for at least 30 minutes. Serves 12.

Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Parmesan Dressing
Salad:
10 C mixed baby salad greens
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices of bacon, crumbled
2 ripe avocados, peeled, sliced
2 C cherry or grape tomatoes

Arrange greens evenly on large platter. Arrange all ingredients in even rows on to of lettuce. Serve with dressing.

Dressing:
1 large egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c grated parmesan
1/4 c green onions, green tops only
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c buttermilk
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 v vegetable oil
Place egg, lemon juice, parmesan, green onions, garlic, buttermilk, salt and pepper in bowl of food processor (or blender) and process on high speed for 30 seconds. With motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and process until in forms an emulsion.

Chicken Lasagna
8 oz lasagna noodles
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 T sour cream
2 cans cream of mushroom(or chicken)
3/4 c milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 c cottage cheese
1/3 c onion, chopped
1/3 c green pepper, chopped
1/8 c. parsley, chopped
4 c chicken, cooked and cubed
mozzarella cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, grated

Cook noodles according to the package. Beat cream cheese, onion, green pepper, sour cream, and seasonings together. Add soup and milk and mix well. Layer noodles, chicken, soup mixture, grated cheeses. Repeat and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 min at 375 or until browned and bubbly. Let stand for 10 mins before serving.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake
Crust:
1 1/2 c chocolate cookie crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
Filing:
3 bricks (light) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
3 eggs
1/2 c light sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 c milk chocolate chips
1 c canned pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Put crumbs in small bow, stir in butter. Press firmly over bottom of greased spring form pan. Bake 8-10 mins. Let cool, wrap outside of pan with heavy duty foil. Reduce oven temp to 300. Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in a larg bowl on med speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Divide batter evenly between 3 bowls. Stir melted milk choc into 1 bowl, pour over crust. Whisk pumpkin and pumpkin spice into another bowl. Carefully spoon over choco layer (do not let layers run together). Stir semisweet choco into remaining batter and spoon over pumpkin layer. Set springform pan in center of roasting pan. Place roasting pan in oven and add boiling water to come halfway up sides of the springform pan. Bake 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hrs until set, but center still jiggles. Turn off oven and let cool in oven for 1 hour. If cake has not pulled away from sides of pan, carefully run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove foil, cool cake in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hour or over night.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Matt asked me the other day why I never make pies. Truthfully, I'm not a big pie fan. But now I'm on a mission! You may be seeing more pies from me in the weeks to come {or you may not. Like I said, not a big fan}. This one was SO good! I could have eaten the whole thing myself!!

*not the greatest picture, but trust me, it was yummy :)


Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
1 C graham crackers
2 T melted butter
2 C sour cream
¾ C sugar plus 2 T sugar
2 ½ T flour
1 egg
¼ t salt
1 c blueberries (I used thawed frozen blueberries)
1/3 C flour
1/3 C chopped pecans
4 T butter
2 T sugar

Combine graham crackers and melted butter in food processor. Bake for 6-10 minutes at 375. Combine 1 C sour cream, ¾ C sugar, flour, egg and salt until combined. Pour blueberries into pie crust and pour filling over top. Bake for 15 minutes. Combine 1 C sour cream and 2 T sugar, pour over pie and continue to bake 10 minutes. Combine remaining flour, pecans, butter, and sugar for topping (pulse in food processor), sprinkle on top and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

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Green Juice

I've grown up drinking this juice. It wasn't a trip to Grandma's house without "Green Juice" and carrot muffins! I know, it looks scary........be brave & try it. You may be pleasantly surprised {or you may not}. My kids LOVE it, but Matt won't even go near it. Won't even take a sip!!





Parsley Pineapple Juice
1 bunch parsley
1 48 oz. can pineapple juice (or 1 can frozen pineapple juice concentrate)

Remove stems from parsley. If using concentrate, mix with recommended water to make juice. In a blender, combine parsley and half of the pineapple juice. Blend thoroughly (a couple of minutes).

Drape cheesecloth or and old {clean} kitchen towel over pitcher and strain parsley mixture, squeezing out all juices. Pour in remaining pineapple juice and stir to mix.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicken With Wild Rice Soup

I've made this soup a lot lately, my whole family loves it! I don't know where I got the recipe, I just have it written down on a piece of paper, but it's really good. I just made it again today for a new mother, and added Darla's Pizza Hut Breadsticks and a salad. Mmmm. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. chicken boullion granules
1 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 c. butter or margarine (for roux)
1/4 c. flour (for roux)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3-4 c. cooked wild rice
2 c. cooked chicken cubed.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gourmet Night- Natalie's Pizza Night

Thanks for coming, everyone! It was a fun night, as usual. I forgot to take some photos of all the pizzas before we dug in, but I did get a few shots....





Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix yeast with water. Add remaining ingredients, mix, and knead for a few minutes until smooth dough forms. Place dough in oiled bowl. Cover and let rise about an hour. Divide dough into 2 balls, flour and wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Let rise another hour. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. You can also make it in your bread machine according to manufacturer's directions for dough.



Pizza Hut style Breadsticks
1 ½ cup hot water
2 Tb sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup non fat dry milk
1 Tb yeast
approx. 3 cup flour ( I often use ½ whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup melted butter

Dissolve sugar, salt and dry milk in hot water. Add enough flour (about 1 cup) to make a soupy mixture. When the mixture is no longer hot but still warm add the yeast and stir well. Then add the rest of the flour, enough to form a moderately stiff dough (I always have to add more than the recipe calls for). Knead the dough until smooth. Roll dough into a rectangular shape the size of your baking pan. Spread half of the butter onto the baking pan, then place your dough into the pan and spread the remaining butter on top of the dough. Top the breadsticks with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, or whatever you want. Cut the dough into breadsticks with a pizza cutter and let raise for 10-15 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 20- 25 min.




Italian Salad
Romaine lettuce
Fresh baby spinach
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
1 handful of kalamata olives
5-6 slices of salami, quartered
1/4 fresh red onion sliced thinly
Toasted pine nuts
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Add the pine nuts to a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook stirring frequently until golden brown, remove from heat and let cool. Mix the romaine and spinach and add the tomatoes, olives, onions, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, top with Fran's vinaigrette, toss and serve.

Vinaigrette
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper)
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly before tossing on your favorite salad.







Roasted Garlic Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Roasted Onions, Red Peppers and Feta
2 large heads of garlic, whole and unpeeled, the tops sliced off - cloves exposed
1 large red onion, peeled, cut into thick wedges
About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain the oil before chopping the tomatoes
About 1½ cups (100 g) grated mozzarella cheese
1 large red pepper, charred on/under the grill, cooled, seeded, peeled and cut into ½-inch strips
About 1 cup (100 g) crumbled feta
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Make the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the onion wedges into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with about 1½ tbsp of oil, season with the salt and pepper, toss well to coat the onions with oil (I put the red pepper strips in with the onions, rather than charring on the grill). Free a small space somewhere in the corner of the roasting pan and nest the garlic heads inside. Drizzle the garlic with about 1½ tbsp of oil. Roast the onions and garlic for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring the onions after first 20 minutes. The onions should become tender and lightly caramelized, the garlic should be very soft and golden. Remove from the oven, cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 500F.

In a food processor, combine the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and squeezed roasted garlic cloves. Process, adding the rest of the oil if necessary, to produce fairly smooth paste. The sun-dried tomato and garlic spread can be made 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated.


Spread the sun-dried tomato and garlic paste evenly over the shaped dough leaving 1-inch bare border. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, followed by the roasted onion wedges, grilled pepper strips, and then feta. Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes until the crust is puffed and golden brown, and the cheese bubbles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cool for 2 minutes. Top with the fresh herbs and serve.






Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Bacon
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small onions, peeled, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup farmer's cheese (can use cream cheese if you can't find farmers)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
In a medium size saute pan, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until the bacon is very crispy and all of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and discard. Place the pan over high heat. Add the onions to the hot bacon fat and cook until the onions are well browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and farmer's cheeses. Season with nutmeg and black pepper. Reserve.

On a lightly floured surface, stretch or roll the dough as thinly as possible, about 14 to 15-inch circle. Evenly spread the mascarpone mixture over the dough (I always have extra...). Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, bacon, thyme, and sauteed onion. Bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove pizza from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, cut into slices and serve immediately.





Prosciutto and Portobello Pizza

2 Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
3 tsp.Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Yellow cornmeal for dusting
6 Marinated quartered artichoke hearts, cut in half lengthwise
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese
6 Very thin slices prosciutto
½ cup Fresh arugula
½ cup Homemade pizza sauce (recipe follows)

To preheat the baking stone and roast the mushroom:
Place a large baking stone on the bottom shelf in the oven, then preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Heating the baking stone well in advance will allow enough time for it to become very hot before baking the pizzas on it. Baking on the very hot stone will create pizzas with crisp crusts. Place the Portobello mushroom on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon/5 ml of olive oil over the mushroom. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the mushroom is tender and its juices exude. Allow the mushroom to cool. Cut the mushroom into 3/4-inch/2-cm slices. Combine the mushroom strips and any accumulated juices in a bowl. Season the mushroom strips to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare the pizzas:
Lightly dust the work surface with flour and press 1 ball of dough on the work surface into a circle. Once the pizza dough is formed, lightly dust the pizza paddle with cornmeal and place the dough on the pizza paddle. Spread 1/2 cup/65 ml of pizza sauce in a thin layer over the pizza dough, leaving a ½-inch/1-cm border around the edge. Arrange half of the mushroom strips and artichokes over the pizza. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pizza. Immediately transfer the pizza from the paddle to the hot baking stone in the oven. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the bottom is crisp and deep golden brown and the cheese has melted and become pale golden on top. With 3 minutes cooking time left, drape the prosciutto over the pizza. Using the pizza paddle, remove the pizza from the stone and transfer to a cutting board. Scatter the arugula over the pizzas, then drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons/10 ml of oil.


Homemade Pizza Sauce
Serves: 3 cups

1 TB. Olive oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 TB. Chopped fresh oregano
2 sprigs Fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
5 Extra ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can Whole peeled tomatoes (14 oz.)
1 tsp. sugar

Heat oil in heavy saucepan over med-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaf. Add large pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes or until onions are translucent but do not brown. Stir in fresh and canned tomatoes and sugar. Press down on canned tomatoes with back of spoon to mash them slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook over med-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard the thyme and bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend sauce until just smooth. Let sauce cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper.







Banana Split Brownie Pizza
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

1 (20-ounce) box fudge brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
2 tablespoons sugar
2 bananas, sliced and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup chopped nuts
Chocolate ice cream topping or chocolate syrup, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15-inch pizza pan (I didn't have a pan with a lip, so I just used a 10 inch round baking dish & cooked the brownie longer). Prepare the brownie mix according to box directions. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until done. Remove from the oven and cool. Beat the cream cheese, pineapple, and sugar together in a bowl. Use any reserved pineapple juice at this time, if needed, to soften the mixture to a good spreading consistency. Otherwise dispose of or save the juice for another use. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownie crust. Arrange the banana and strawberry slices over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping. Refrigerate. To serve, slice as you would a pizza, and enjoy!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I made this on Halloween night {just for me} while everyone was out trick-or-treating! Okay, I shared.....but I didn't want to!!!



peanut butter popcorn

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (can use 1 bag microwave popcorn)

Pop corn in an air popper and place in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until bubbly and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth. Evenly pour the mixture over the popcorn and combine well. Let cool for 2 minutes before serving (best eaten with fingers).

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