Friday, December 10, 2010

Vege Lasagna with Goat Cheese


Vege Lasagna with Goat Cheese
-adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1-1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts cut in quarters
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

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Are You Tired of Winter Tomatoes Having No Flavor?



Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I make a whole pan of these and when they cool I put them in the fridge for future meals. I serve them on panini sandwiches and wraps. My husband and I also love them warmed, spread on crusty bread topped with warmed goat cheese! Soooo good!! It is our favorite snack these days. I am into goat cheese as of late! The Barefoot Contessa serves these with fresh mozzarella and basil! Yum!

Ingredients
plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
tablespoons balsamic vinegar
large garlic cloves, minced
sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup



Tomato Basil Soup

1/3 cup olive oil
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 T. dried basil
4 T. flour
2 cans (28 oz. each) Italian style tomatoes
2 (49 oz each) chicken broth
1 (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat oil, add carrots and onion and dried basil sauté until softened, 10-12 minutes, stir occasionally. Add flour and cook a couple minutes. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and use hand blender to puree the soup or put in blender in batches. If you want a chunkier soup remove some of the vegetables before puree then put them back in after. Add cream. Don’t boil once cream is added. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love This Blog!!

I want to thank all of you contributors to this Blog! You are great friends as well as excellent cooks! I needed a stuffing recipe and a dessert recipe for Thanksgiving dinner so I came to the Blog for help. I made Natalie's Herb Stuffing and Amy's Apple Cake! Everyone loved them both! I also made my Herb Roasted Turkey and Raspberry Honey Butter. I put the herb rub on the turkey the night before and it made it even more flavorful, so I will add that to that recipe! Thank you all for helping me with my Thanksgiving!
Love a girl who loves to cook,
Andrea

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Gourmet Dinner at Lisa’s


Roasted Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta
Ingredients:
1 loaf Whole Grain Baguette, Sliced Into Rounds
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 whole Pears, Chopped (I Used Red Bartlett)
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
½ cups Mascarpone
1 teaspoon Honey
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F. Lay baguette rounds on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown and toasted. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add butter. Add pears, then sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Allow to caramelize slowly for about 10-15 minutes.
In a bowl, combine mascarpone and honey. Spread on baguette slices.
Once pears are caramelized, add balsamic vinegar and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add spoonfuls of pear mixture on top of mascarpone on baguette. These can be served warm or cold.
*Tasty Kitchen Blog by HowSweetEats

Fall Pumpkin Dip
Ingredients:
8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese (fat Free Or Reduced Fat Works Well Too)
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
¾ teaspoons Ground Ginger
½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
15 ounces, weight Pumpkin Puree (1 Can)
Instructions:
In a food processor (or in a bowl by hand), pulse the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and spices and blend well.
Empty cream cheese mixture into a bowl, add the pumpkin puree, and mix well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Tasty Kitchen Blog by missamy.

Winter Salad
Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup cranberries
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of pepper
In a saucepan, combine vinegar and craisins. Cook over medium-high heat until Craisins soften. Remove from heat and cool. Add to a blender with remaining dressing ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate. -This is a very thick dressing.
*Dressing from Keep up Cooking

2 bags baby spinach
1 pear pealed and sliced very thin
Pomegranate
Gorgonzola cheese
1 Avocado diced
¼ cup walnuts
Combine all ingredients.

Cranberry Fluff Salad
Ingredients:
2 cups raw cranberries, ground
½ cup sugar
2 cups diced apples, pared or unpaired as desired
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 cups miniature marshmallows
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Directions:
Combine cranberries and sugar; cover and chill overnight. Add apples, walnuts marshmallows, and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Chill. Serve as a salad or as dessert. Makes about 12 servings.
*Lion House Cookbook

Lion House Dinner Rolls
Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (110-115) degrees
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter, shortening, or margarine
1 egg
5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose or bread flour.
Directions:
In large bowl of an electric stand mixer, combing water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg and 2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are moistened, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 cups flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are moistened, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff, and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand.) add about ½ cup flour and mix again, but hand or mixer. Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour.)

Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about one tablespoon vegetable oil on and around sides of bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so it is covered with oil. (This helps prevent dough from drying out) cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Scrape dough out on floured board. Turn dough over so it is floured on both sides; gently flatten to about 1 inch thick. With rolling pin, roll out to a rectangle about 18 inches long, 8 inches wide, and ¼ -inch thick. Brush with melted butter. With a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut dough in half to make two stripes about 4 inches wide. Make cuts through strips of dough every 2 inches. Making about 18 pieces of dough.

Start with short end, roll up one piece of dough, with butter on the inside. Place roll on parchment-lined pan with other short end down on the paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Be sure all rolls face the same direction on baking pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light to medium golden brown. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter.
*Lion House Cookbook
Reuben's Creamed Corn
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules or 2 bouillons cubes
dash of white pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen corn
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced
Directions:
Blend together cream, bouillon, pepper and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add corn and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Melt butter in a separate saucepan and add flour. Stir until paste is formed. Add flour mixture to corn and stir until blended. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
*Favorites

Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients:
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
4 1/2 tsp. firmly packed golden brown sugar
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pork tenderloins, about 2 1/2 lb. total, trimmed
Salt, to taste
Directions:
To make the balsamic-rosemary marinade, in a food processor, combine the vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and pepper and pulse until blended. With the motor running, drop the rosemary and garlic through the feed tube and continue to process until fairly smooth. Place the tenderloins in a no reactive dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover and let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, for up to 2 hours.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, reserving the marinade.

Grill the meat over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill. Turn the meat every 4 to 5 minutes and baste with the marinade for up to 5 minutes before the meat is done until cooked to your liking, about 20 minutes total for medium (slightly pink at the center and juicy).

To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloins; it should register 140°F. The temperature will rise another 5° to 10°F while the meat is resting.

Transfer the tenderloins to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve into slices across the grain and at an angle to the cutting board. Season with salt. Serve the tenderloins hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.
*Williams-Sonoma

Cheddar-Chive Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients:
4 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
Kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions:
Put the potatoes in a large stockpot, add water to cover by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well in a colander and let stand for 5 minutes. Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and pass the potatoes through in batches.

Preheat an oven to 450°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the half-and-half and butter until the butter melts and small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Add the half-and-half mixture to the potatoes and stir until just combined. Add 1 cup of the cheese and 3 Tbs. of the chives and stir until just combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the potatoes into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. chives. Serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.

Make-Ahead Tip: Peel and quarter the potatoes 1 day in advance; place them in a bowl, add cold water to cover and refrigerate. If desired, cook and mash the potatoes up to 2 hours before serving, but do not add the cheese and chives. Cover the potatoes tightly with plastic wrap and keep warm in a bain-marie (hot water bath). Just before serving, fold in the cheese and chives and bake as directed
*Williams-Sonoma

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies:
Ingredients:
FOR THE BLONDIES:
3 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
10 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
3 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cups Chopped Walnuts
1 cup White Chocolate Chips

FOR THE SAUCE:
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
3 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
Optional Garnish: Vanilla Ice Cream, Chopped Walnuts
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt & baking powder. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, mix melted butter with brown sugar until well-blended. Add in beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir well.
Slowly add flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir thoroughly but take care not to over mix your batter. Fold in nuts and chocolate. Batter will be thick.
Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray, then pour batter into 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
For the sauce:
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat (do not allow butter to burn). Then add heavy cream, maple syrup and corn syrup. Allow this mixture to simmer over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. This is the hard part: waiting for the mixture to reduce and thicken. You don’t want to bring this to a boil, just a nice, slightly bubbly simmer. Stir it occasionally. Once it has reduced by about a 1/3, it’s ready.
To serve: you can heat up blondie on a cast iron skillet and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or you can just heat a slice of blondie on a plate in your microwave for about 25 seconds. Add a scoop of ice cream on top then pour the warm maple butter sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Cook’s note: if using a glass pan, adjust heat to 325 degrees F. You may have to bake slightly longer than given time. Also, you may want to double up the maple butter sauce recipe. It really is the best part.
*Tasty Kitchen Blog by thecountycook


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz (about 2 cups) chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 cups fat free vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • toasted coconut for garnish (optional)

Add oil to a medium soup pot, on medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, garlic and sauté. Add roasted cumin, garam masala and curry powder and mix well cooking another minute. Add broth, light coconut milk, butternut squash and cook covered until squash is soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove cover and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Season with salt and fresh pepper and serve.

 

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carmel Apples

Our family makes these every year! They are so good!popsicle sticks

5-7 apples
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tbls. Crisco
14 oz. caramels
2 Tbls. room temperature water
parchment paper
Rice Krispies
Cinnamon and Sugar

Wash and dry apples and remove stems. Push stick through top center of apples about 1/2 way down.

Unwrap caramels and combine with water in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring each time until creamy. (Be careful not to over heat or else carmel with harden.) Immediately roll apples in caramel, coating completely. Then roll in Rice Krispies.

Place on parchment paper.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening also in a microwave-safe bowl for same 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Roll apples in the white chocolate, then cover with cinnamon and sugar. Place on paper in the fridge until serving. Cut into slices for easier serving and eating.
So yummy! And fun to make together as a family. And whether they are perfectly dipped or clumpy because your kids did them, they are still delicious!

* You can also use milk chocolate, peanut butter or mint chocolate chips. Can also top with nuts, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, M&M's, Reeses Pieces.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Ranch Ham & Broccoli Pinwheels


Ranch Ham & Broccoli Pinwheels

1 recipe for rolls or homemade bread (I used my recipe for quick rising pizza dough because I didn't have time to let the dough rise)
Filling Layer:
12 oz. cream cheese

1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. butter

1 ranch dressing packet

1 t. parsley (dried or fresh)

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. black pepper

Dash of cayenne

Inside:
2-3 c. Ham, chopped (I used deli sliced ham)
2 c. Broccoli (fresh or frozen--just chop up pretty fine. I had a frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix and used that)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped  
1/4 c. green onions, sliced (I used 1/2 of a yellow onion. I also added chopped celery- you can add pretty much whatever you like)
2-3 c. shredded colby or cheddar cheese (you could also use parmesan cheese--the more cheese the better in my book!!)

Make the dough as you would normally. Once the dough has risen for the first time, punch it back down and divide into your two large mounds (each mound will make about 12-15 pinwheels). Roll the dough into a large, thin rectangle (get it as thin as you can--about 1/8 inch thick).

Mix the filling ingredients together and spread half of the mixture over the rectangle dough evenly. Sprinkle the ham, vegetables and cheese over the filling on the dough. Roll the dough like you would a cinnamon roll, tucking each roll in as tightly as you can. Once you have a long log of the pinwheel, begin cutting pieces into 1 inch thick slices. Place the slices face up on a greased cookie sheet. Place cookie sheets of pinwheels into the oven at 170 degrees. When slices have doubled in size, turn the oven to 350 degrees (without opening the oven door) and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.



Quick Rising Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
4 cups
All purpose white flour
2 pkgs
Rapid-rise yeast
2 tsp.
Salt
1 tsp.
Sugar
2 tsp.
Olive oil
1 ½ cup
water

Directions:
1. In mixer combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
2. Heat 1 ½ cups water and oil to 125-130 degrees.
3. With motor running, gradually add hot liquid.
4. Process, adding up to 2 TB. cold water till dough forms a ball, then process 1 minute to knead.
5. Turn out onto lightly floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies

Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS Toffee Bits, divided
1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup bits; reserve remainder for topping.

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; top each with reserved bits.

4. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies. 

I had a package of toffee bits hanging around and decided to make the recipe on the back. These are to die for!!!
 

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Friday, October 8, 2010

October Gourmet Night at Natalie's




The Menu:
Italian Spread for Bread or Crackers
Focaccia
The Punch
Apple & Spiced Pecan Salad
Spinach Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce
Chicken, Pine nut and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust






























Italian Spread for Bread or Crackers
Ingredients:
2
Red or yellow bell peppers
1
Red onion
6
Roma tomatoes (or about 4 regular tomatoes)
6 oz.
Jar of Capers (with juice)
¼ tsp.
Salt
1-2
Cloves garlic

Whipped cream cheese

Olive oil
Directions:
1.  Dice peppers, onion, and tomatoes (I dice pretty small)                                                              
2.  Add salt, capers, and garlic.
3. 
 
Stir well. Drizzle with olive oil.
4.  Spread whipped cream cheese on crackers or sliced crusty bread (sourdough is good).
5.  Put spoonful of mixture on top of cream cheese.













Focaccia Bread
Original recipe by Tyler Florence
  • 2 tsp rapid rising dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/2-4 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt + 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • Olive oil to brush surface of the bread

Toppings:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

Directions

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stove top or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add caramelized onions, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.





Apple & Spiced Pecan Salad
6-8 cups assorted greens (anything but iceberg)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red-skinned apple, diced

dressing:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
dash Tabasco sauce
2 TB. sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

Spiced Pecans:
3 TB. butter
1 1/2 TB. sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Over medium heat, melt butter in a pan and add sugar, spices and salt. Add pecan pieces and stir until well coated. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until sugar caramelizes and pecans darken slightly in color. Transfer mixture to foil or parchment paper to cool. Break up pieces.

Assemble salad ingredients and top with cooled pecans. To avoid browning, apples can be added directly to dressing, or diced just prior to serving. Toss salad with dressing and serve.


 This was the only ravioli picture I got! Sorry, it's sans sauce and I don't even have a picture of the other ravioli!

Basic Egg Pasta
4 large eggs
1⁄2 cup water
31⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl.
Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and
mix 30 seconds.
Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. 
Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment. (or roll out to desired thickness)
Yield: 1 1⁄4 pounds dough.

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce
Ravioli
1 recipe Basic Egg Pasta
1 tbs  olive oil
11/2 cups  finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Sauce
1 large head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs  butter
1 tbs all-purpose flour
11/3 cups whipping cream
1/8 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp  salt
1/8 tsp  black pepper


Prepare pasta dough; let rest.
In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté
cheese, salt, and pepper; stir in mushroom mixture. Refrigerate until ready to fill ravioli. Fill ravioli with mixture using whichever method you prefer (I used my KitchenAid Ravioli Maker attachment).

For Sauce:
Peel loose, paper-like skin from outside of garlic. Cut 1/2" slice from top of garlic to expose cloves. Place cut side up on 12"  square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil; wrap securely in foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife point in center meets no resistance; cool. In small bowl, squeeze garlic out of cloves; mash with fork.
In heavy 2 qt  saucepan over medium heat, heat butter until hot. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in cream, mashed garlic, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling; boil and stir 1 minute, or until thickened. Serve hot over cooked ravioli.


Chicken, Pine Nut and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
 
Ravioli
1 recipe Basic Egg Pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup  finely chopped roasted chicken
1 package mild goat cheese with garlic and herbs
 
Sauce
1 tbs  olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbs packed fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp packed fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 jar (7 oz) roasted red bell peppers, undrained
1 cup half-and-half
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Prepare pasta dough; let rest.
On baking sheet, place nuts in single layer. Toast in oven at 350°F (180°C) for 5 to 7 minutes, or until light brown and aromatic. Cool slightly; chop. In medium bowl, combine nuts, chicken, and cheese; refrigerate until ready to fill ravioli.
Fill ravioli with mixture using whichever method you prefer (I used my KitchenAid Ravioli Maker attachment).

For Sauce:
In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion; sauté until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; set aside. In food processor work bowl, position multipurpose blade. With motor running, add basil and oregano. Process until
chopped, 5 to 10 seconds. Add onion mixture and bell peppers. Process until smooth, scraping sides if necessary. Add onion-pepper mixture to skillet. Over medium heat, heat to simmer. Add half-and-half, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook until mixture is thickened and heated through. Serve hot over cooked ravioli.

*I made and filled all my ravioli a week prior and froze them. Huge time saver!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust
Recipe by Our Best Bites

Crust:
1 3/4 C gingersnap crumbs (about 30 small cookies)
6T real butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
3/4 C ground pecans

Filling:
3 8oz blocks cream cheese
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
6 oz melted white chocolate (that's about 1 C white chocolate chips)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/4 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves

Topping:
- 1 C whipping cream, beat with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 4 Tbs powdered sugar until medium peaks form.
- 1/3 C roughly chopped pecans, either toasted or caramelized
- 2 Tablespoons jarred caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Using 2 large pieces of heavy duty foil, securely wrap the bottom and outside of your cheesecake pan. This will prevent leaks when using the water bath.

For Crust:

Use a food processor to crush gingersnaps. Then do pecans. Combine gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar, and butter and stir well to combine. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Evenly spread across the bottom of pan and up the sides about 1 inch.
To melt chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

With the mixer running, slowly add in white chocolate in a steady stream (or steady blobs).

Pour mixture on top of the crust.
For water bath:

Place cheesecake pan inside of a larger pan. I use a roasting pan. The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth. Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle or pitcher filled with hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center should be just a tad bit jiggly still. It will finish cooking while cooling.

When it's done, remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.  This is a very soft cheesecake so sufficient chilling is a must!

When ready to serve spread sweetened whipped cream on top, drizzle caramel sauce over it, and sprinkle with pecans.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Ever Sunday Roast!

Here is the way I make my pot roast. I am sure there are lots of great ways to cook a roast, but this is how I have found makes the best roast. Believe me, I have tried it dozens of times....

1. Buy the meat. I always get mine at Costco. This recipe works with several types of meat; chuck, top round, bottom round. Just pick what ever looks best. Poke it with your finger (it sounds nasty,but it works) the more tender, the better.
2. Season meat with salt and pepper
3. Brown meat in large pot / dutch oven. This step is very important. Make sure your pan is VERY hot, I preheat my pan on High heat. Place meat in pan and do not move it for several minutes, if the meat ripes then it needs to brown longer, then it will release from pan. Do this on all sides.
4 After meat has browned, remove meat from pan and deglaze with pan with about 3/4 cup of water. Just pour water in pan and scrape the brown bits from the bottom. This is where lots of flavor comes from. Be careful, since the pan is so hot it will boil and steam a lot.
5. In a seperate bowl, Mix togeher 2-3 packets of McCormick Au Jus to 2-3 cups of water.
6. Add the browned meat and au jus mixture pack into the large pan.
7. Add 4-5 tablespoons of Worchestershire Sauce.
8. Add 2-3 onions to pan. (These can be left whole or just cut in half)
9. Then, just cook the meat on low temp for 4-5  hours until tender. (I cover the meat and cook it on the stove top, you can also cook in the oven, or in a crock pot)

To make the gravy:
1. Remove the meat and onions from the pan and pour about 1/2 cup of au jus sauce over the meat to prevent the meat from drying out. Let it rest.
2. In a small bowl, mix together about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour with about 1 cup of water. Make sure there are no lumps.
3. Slowly whisk the four mixture into the au jus sauce. Make sure to adjust the water levels to desired thickness and taste for seasons. You may add more salt and pepper if needed.

We always serve it with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables! Enjoy!!!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Dinner at Amy's



Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper & Kalamata Olive Toasts (nobiggie.net)

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz goat cheese
2 TBLS fresh oregano finely chopped (more or less to taste; I like a lot!)
Combine and spread on toasted baguette slices then top with:
roasted red peppers
chopped kalamata olives (uses about 1 1/2 cups)

I prefer the bread toasted, but toasting is optional. If you do toast, it cooks quickly, so watch it!

Bruschette - Ivory Favorites

3 large tomatoes, seeded, adn chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 green onions, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbl. fresh basil, chopped
1 thin French bread baguette
1 cup grated Mozarella Cheese (I didn't use cheese because we had other cheesy dishes).

Combine tomatoes, garlic, green onion, olive oil, and basil; set aside. Slice bread into thin slices, place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Toast under broiler until cheese is melted and light golden brown. Remove from oven and top each slice with a little tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Ceasar Salad:

Romaine lettuce
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Ceasar Dressing. I like Litehouse or Ken's
Homemade Croutons:


  • 1 loaf French bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons creole or cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil ( I added a little extra because I kept my crusts on)
  • 1 teaspoons minced garlic
Preheat oven to 350.
To make the croutons, put the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl and combine with seasoning. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon garlic in a blender and process on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil mixture to the bread cubes and toss with a spatula to coat evenly. Spread the bread cubes evenly on the foil lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.






Caprese Salad:
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil, to taste

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Sea salt to taste
Pepper, optional

Layer tomatoes, mozarella and either put a basil leaf the middle, or sprinkle with chopped fresh basil. Drizzle oil and vinegar on top.

Farfalle Pasta
3 T. Butter
1/2 c. Mushrooms, sliced
2 T. Garlic, minced
2 c. Spinach
1 c. Whipping Cream
1/4 c. Tomatoes (chopped or sun-dried. I prefer the latter)
1 16 oz. Package bowtie/Farfalle pasta (leave some out if you like it more saucy)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. Fresh basil, chopped
3 T. Pinenuts
Cooked Chicken. I usually bake chicken breasts or tenders and add. You could saute, broil, or grill your chicken.

Melt butter in skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Stir in spinach. Add cream and tomatoes. Boil, stir until thickened, approx. 5 min.

Meanwhile, cook pasta.
Add pasta and Parmesan cheese to sauce in skillet. Stir in basil and pinenuts.

Note: The original recipe calls for cheese tortellini (instead of bowtie pasta) and no chicken. It's good that way too.

Penne with Five Cheeses - Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.
Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.


Note: I don't use the ceramic gratin dishes, rather a 9 x 13" pan. Also, when I make it for my family, I skip all the fancy cheeses and throw in two bags of pre-mixed Italian cheeses. It will have 4-6 different cheeses in the package. I also add more shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. I actually might even like it better this way! You can also substitute cottage cheese for ricotta.



Swedish Almond Cake:
1 c flour
1 c sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 t. almond extract
2 eggs

Mix together. Pour into a regular pie tin. 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
3 times the recipe in a jelly roll sheet pan for a big crowd .
So good to serve warm. Top with mixed berries and whipped cream.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets? If not, you MUST check it out! I get a TON of produce every week for $15. Here's what I got this week:

8 ears of corn
6 peaches
4 plums
5 tomatoes
5 apples
1 bag of green grapes
2 heads of cabbage
1 package of mushrooms
1 honeydew
1 huge butternut squash

I love it because you never know what you're going to get, and it's fun to find new recipes for the ingredients you have. I made these last night:



Wanna-be PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Pouring sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chicken Stir-fry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″
1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage
Stir-fry sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Begin by making the pouring sauce. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and throw in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Combine 1 teaspoons hot water with dijon mustard and garlic and set this aside in small bowl.
Combine oils and add to wok or large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, then remove from the pan and cool. Keep oil in the pan, keeping it hot over a low flame.

Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.
Take pan that you cooked the chicken in (with the still warming oil, riiiight?) and turn it up to medium-high heat. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked, about four minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
Add mustard/garlic mixture to the pouring sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.

Serve stir-fry with iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage leaf wraps and top with pouring sauce.

*I doubled this recipe for our family, but the pouring sauce makes a lot and I wish I hadn't doubled it......maybe I'll use it as a marinade tonight!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicken Bacon Alfredo



Baked Chicken-Bacon Alfredo
Recipe by Our Best Bites

8 oz. penne or bowtie pasta
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (1 16-oz. jar would work in a pinch)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1 14-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, prepare Guiltless Alfredo sauce. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss with chopped chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and 1/2 c. mozzarella. Season to taste.
Transfer mixture to an 8x8" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

*I made this for the freezer meal group I belong to. Delicious, and easy to double, triple, quadruple...... or in my case Duodecuple (x12)!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back To School Cupcakes

I made these for our Back To School Celebration, and they were divine!!




Lemon-Kissed Buttermilk Cupcakes with the World's Fluffiest Cream Cheese Frosting
from Brooke McLay

  • 2 cup(s) of sugar
  • 1 cup(s) of water
  • 3 tbsp. of cornstarch
  • 1 juice of a single lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1 pound(s) of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 zest of a single lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking powder (**double if baking at an altitude below 5,000 feet)
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of flour
  • 3/4 cup(s) of buttermilk
  • 4 ounce(s) of PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE
  • 6 cup(s) of powdered sugar
  • 1 jar pre-made lemon curd (available in the jelly section of most grocery stores)
Steps
  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1/2 c. sugar, water, cornstarch, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 2 sticks of butter, eggs, and the remaining granulated sugar until very light a fluffy.
  3. To the creamed mixture, add lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds (discard pod), salt, baking powder, flour and buttermilk.
  4. Beat batter together just until well mixed. Be careful to not overbeat the mixture!
  5. Spoon batter into a standard-sized muffin tin which has been lined with paper cupcake liners
  6. Bake cupcakes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or just until the centers have set and spring back to the light touch.
  7. In another large bowl, spoon the cooled cornstarch and lemon juice mixuture made in Step 1.
  8. Add 2 sticks of butter, the PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE and 4 cups of powdered sugar to the cornstarch mixture. Beat with an electric mixer until frosting is very light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar by the quarter cup, if a thicker frosting consistency is desired
  9. Spoon frosting mixture into a large plastic, zip-top bag, snipping off the corner of the bag so the frosting can be easily piped onto the top of the cupcakes.
  10. To complete cupcakes: Scoop a small amount of cake from the center of each cooled cupcake. Place a scoop of lemon curd into the center of each cupcake. Pipe cream cheese frosting over each cupcake.
  11. Serve immediately, or store well-covered in the fridge for up to three days. Enjoy!

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Ham Braid


Ham and Swiss Braid
4 Cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
2 pkg. quick rise yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Cup water
1/4 Cup dijon mustard
2 T. butter
1 lb. thin sliced deli black forest ham (I used diced honey ham)
1/4 Cup mayo (I mixed in some mustard,too)
1 C. shredded swiss cheese (I used cheddar)
1/2 C. chopped dill pickles
1/8 C. chopped jalapenos from a jar (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a mixing bowl, combine 3 C. flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a microwave dish, heat water, mustard and butter to 120-130 degrees (butter will be melted). Add to flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be stiff). Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (if by hand 6-8 min.) or use kitchen aid to knead.

Roll dough into a 14X12 inch rectangle on a piece of parchment. Arrange half of the ham down the middle of the dough. Brush with mayo if using. Top with cheese, pickles, jalapenos (if using) and remaining ham. On each long side, cut 3/4 inch wide strips about 2.5 inches into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across the filling. Pinch the ends to seal. Cover with a moist towel and let rise about 15 min. (it will not rise much. I do however let it go for about 45 min if I have time.)

Brush with egg. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.


*my kids LOVED this! My 5 year old said "Mom, I just can't stop eating this!" Ü

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

S'more Bars


I stole this recipe from my cousin, Lisa's blog. It is so good I had to share the recipe! I hope you like it too!

S'mores Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 graham crackers)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 king-sized milk chocolate bars

1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows) *I used a whole jar


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and/or line an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

4. Place chocolate bars over dough (2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate if necessary to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick).

5. Spread the marshmallow fluff over the chocolate.

6. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles or panels and laying them together).

7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
(I put chocolate chips on top because I am JUST that desperate for more sugar, calories, and deliciousness.)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen Sink Pizza

I'm trying to use up all my produce before we go out of town....hence this pizza:


Here's what I used:

Caesar dressing (I had some in the fridge. You could use Alfredo, or even Ranch dressing...whatever you like)
Spinach
White Asparagus, cut in half lengthwise
Sun dried Tomatoes
Green Pepper, sliced
Feta Cheese

1. Make some pizza dough. Roll it out.
2. Add dressing (thin layer on dough) and toppings.
3. Bake at 400 degrees until crust browns and cheese is melty.


Even the kids liked this!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Classic Barbecued Chicken



Classic Barbecued Chicken
from Cook's Country

Serves 4 to 6

You can use a mix of chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, making sure they add up to about 10 pieces. Any more than that and you won't be able to line them up on the grill. Although our jazzed-up barbecue sauce is best, this recipe also works with plain store-bought sauce; our favorite brand is Bull's-Eye.


Quick BBQ Sauce
3 cups barbecue sauce (bottled)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/or drumsticks), trimmed and breasts halved

1. For the sauce: Whisk all ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is thick and reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

2. For the chicken: Mix salt, pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub spice mixture all over chicken pieces.

3. Open bottom vent on grill. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 100 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on one side of grill and pour coals in even layer over other side of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, open lid vents completely, and let grill heat for 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean.

4. Oil grate and place chicken skin side down on cooler side of grill. Cover, with half-opened lid vents over chicken, and cook until chicken begins to brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Move chicken into single line close to coals. Begin flipping chicken and brushing with 2 cups sauce every 5 minutes until sticky, about 20 minutes. Slide chicken pieces over coals and continue to brush chicken until sauce on chicken becomes crusted and internal temperature of breast meat registers 165 degrees and legs, thighs, and drumsticks register 175 degrees, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.


*I used a gas grill. I turned the back burner on high and the middle and front burners on low and placed the chicken toward the front of the grill for the first 30-35 minutes. Then I turned the burners up to medium while turning and basting the chicken. Finally, I moved the chicken to the back to finish cooking.






I made Jill's Grill Bread also (before the chicken 'cause that sauce is thick 'n sticky!!). YUM!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Indoor Smores

Indoor Smores
2 1/2 packages Graham Crackers (enough to fill the bottom of a large cookie sheet)
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 pkg. mini marshmallows
1/2 c. chopped pecans (I left out)
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Spray a large cookie sheet heavily with Pam spray. Spread a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and pecans over the graham crackers. Set aside. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and then add the brown sugar. Cook on medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Add vanilla when sauce is creamy and smooth. Pour sugar/butter sauce over the top of the crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. Put in the oven and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (until marshmallows begin to brown and sauce is bubbly). Serve warm or cold.

*next time I make these I might try cutting the butter/brown sugar mixture in half. It was really good, but really rich.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Corner Bakery Chicken Salad

I made this for Landon's blessing, too. It's good to have a nice chicken salad recipe in the arsenal....this is definitely a keeper.




Corner Bakery Chicken Salad
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup dried currants (or chopped dried cranberries)
1 large red apple with skin, diced
1/3 cup finely minced celery
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

dressing:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TB. lemon juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir together dressing ingredients. Fold in chicken and remaining ingredients. Best if refrigerated for several hours or overnight to let flavors come together.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

THE Party Punch


Once you make this punch, you'll never have another party without it!!

THE Party Punch
1 can frozen pina colada concentrate, thawed
1 can frozen orange pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
4 liters diet lemon-lime soda
1 bag pebble ice (you can buy it at Sonic Drive-In. DO NOT insult the punch by using regular ice!)
1 bag frozen raspberries

Pour thawed concentrates into punch bowl and stir.
Use one of the empty cans and fill it with water four times and add to mixture. Stir.
Add diet soda.
Add about half the bag of ice (don't add before the soda or you'll get an ugly foam at the top of the bowl)
Add frozen raspberries to the top.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My New Favorite Pasta Salad

I made this for Landon's blessing and it was a HUGE hit! I wanted to eat it all myself Ü

*it was gone before I could get a picture!!

Favorite Pasta Salad

22 oz. Mezzi Tubetti pasta
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
7 green onions, chopped
2 zucchini, unpeeled and chopped
5-6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen peas

dressing:
1 pint mayo
1 pint miracle whip
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
1 envelope + 2 tsp. Hidden Valley Ranch buttermilk dressing mix
1 tsp. prepared mustard

Combine salad ingredients in large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients and stir into salad until combined. Refrigerate.

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