Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna

My co-worker and I have been talking about making food for the freezer lately so I've been searching for a new lasagna to try and found this. Thank you Martha! I will probably adjust a bit but I like the thought of adding proscuitto and such an easy recipe too.

This weeknight lasagna is fast, thanks to no-boil noodles, frozen spinach, and jarred sauce; chopped prosciutto elevates the dish.
· 2 package(s) (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach , thawed and squeezed dry
· 1 1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta
· 1 clove(s) garlic , minced
· Coarse salt and ground pepper
· 2 1/2 cup(s) jarred tomato sauce
· 4 ounce(s) thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
· 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
· 1 cup(s) (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling: In a medium bowl, stir together spinach, ricotta, garlic, teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In another medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce and prosciutto.

2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, spread cup tomato sauce. Layer 2 noodles, 1/3 filling, and 1/3 remaining tomato sauce; repeat twice. Top with mozzarella. Bake until browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Cake

I feel like I've been wanting to make this cake for a month (sure enough, I flagged it back on September 17). Finally got around to making it this weekend. What I liked most is the strong ginger flavor, backed by the richness of the pumpkin.

Also, the cream cheese frosting is more sweet than cream cheese, which is good in my opinion. I think there's nothing worse than biting into a pumpkin bar with frosting that tastes too much like cream cheese and not frosting.

Sometimes there's a fine line between quick breads and cakes. This is definitely a cake.

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin (15 oz can)
cream cheese frosting, below
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl; stir into oil mixture, beating well. Stir in pumpkin puree.

Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool. Frost pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl; beat well until smooth. Makes enough for 2-layer pumpkin cake.

I omitted the nuts and baked it in a bundt pan because I am lazy and wasn't presenting it to guests.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Easy Thai Chicken Curry

I have heard good things about the curry sauces sold at Trader Joe's so I found this easy recipe to test out TJ's Green Thai Curry Sauce. I added light coconut milk to taste for each of us (a little for me, more for Joe and a lot more for the kids) to cut the heat and servied it with TJ's brown Jasmine rice. We all liked it a lot. Next up to try is TJ's yellow curry sauce.

Thai Chicken Curry

1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch slices
1 red or other bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) package curry sauce

In a well-oiled skillet, saute onions until slightly softened. Add green beans and stir-fry until bright green (add a tablespoon or 2 of water if needed to keep from sticking). Add red pepper and chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add curry sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through, stirring frequently.

Chose your favorite veggies, just make sure to add them in the order needed to cook, or parboil them before adding. Substitute broccoli or snow peas for green beans, or choose other colored bell peppers. The same goes with the protein; substitute beef, pork, shrimp or tofu. For a massaman curry, add cooked potatoes and top with avocado.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic & Garlic

I've had the Food Network Kitchen Making it Easy cookbook for awhile, but I didn't get around to this recipe until last week. Hello keeper.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic and Garlic

2 T vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 T flour
2 T unsalted butter, softened
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 sprig rosemary, plus 4 for garnish
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1 2/3 C chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. Dry chicken, season with salt and pepper. Lay smooth side down and cook, turning over once, for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to dish and cook for 10 to 12 minutes while you make the sauce.

While chicken cooks, use a fork to work flour and butter into a paste.

Add garlic and 1 sprig rosemary to skillet over medium-high heat and toss to toast slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, scraping browned bits and simmer until vinegar begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in flour mixture a bit at a time and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Put chicken on platter, pour sauce over and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

My notes: this made a lot of sauce for my three breasts. So I could see making half the sauce. Also, I omitted the rosemary and it turned out great. The chicken was so tender and flavorful, and the sauce was like a balsamic gravy. I served with acorn squash and salad.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup

I made this delicious soup a few weeks ago. It is the kind of recipe that is totally open to interpretation-take a look at the reviews, there are all kinds of ways you could go with this. Fresh Romas or canned San Marzano tomatoes. Strain the mixture or not. Thyme or oregano. Like a choose your own adventure soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup from Gourmet
4 lb tomatoes, halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Accompaniment: Parmesan wafers
Garnish: fresh oregano sprigs

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan and add garlic to pan. Drizzle tomatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes and garlic 1 hour, then cool in pan on a rack. Peel garlic.

Cook onion, oregano, and sugar in butter in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and stock and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force through a sieve into cleaned pot, discarding solids. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste and simmer 2 minutes.

Divide soup among 8 bowls and float 1 wafer in center of each.

Soup can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat just before serving.

Here's what I learned: My supa-powerful food processor is no match for fresh tomatoes. Next time I'll use my blender.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Far Too Easy Treasure Brownie Cakes

This is no earth shattering recipe by any means, but they were tasty.

Treasure Brownie Cakes
  1. Mix up brownies. I used the Betty Crocker mix, you could make your own
  2. Butter muffin tin, including around the edges
  3. Scoop in 1/4 cup or less of brownie mix, place candy on top, then cover with more brownie batter
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven and the candy

I used York peppermint patties (which explode) and Rolos (which sink to the bottom). Both were good and made for completely different tastes. Others to try: Hershey kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups, caramels, chocolate chips or Andes mints.

What I liked best (besides the taste) was ease of transport. These would be good for camping or tailgating (why I made them).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Amanda requested soups...I have made this one before and just made it again this past Monday. It's easy to make. It's also something that I usually have the ingredients on hand for and can add other things like the carrots that I added this week.


2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I often use more)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil. Add broccoli and onion. Cook for five minutes, or until broccoli is tender.
In a separate bowl, slowly add milk to flour, and mix until well blended.
Stir flour mixture into broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is thick and bubbly. Add cheese; stir until melted. Add seasonings and serve.

The broccoli is pretty easy to break down in the soup but if I'm adding something like carrots, I will usually puree the soup for a creamy texture.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I was talking to my sister-in-law Rachel last night about soup (she made a yummy spicy, cheesy potato soup for dinner). Anyone have any awesome soup recipes you haven't shared yet? Its so chilly and cold, just the thought of soup warms my heart and tummy.

Buttermilk Substitutes

In a pinch and you’ve run out of buttermilk? Check out these substitutions from Joy the Baker.

Lemon and Milk
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Top the lemon juice with with skim, low fat or whole milk. Stir and let sit for two minutes. After two minutes, your milk is both acidic and curdled. Perfect!

Yogurt and Milk
Mix 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk. Stir and make it a quick substitution for buttermilk.

Milk and Cream of Tartar
Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 Tablespoons of milk. Once mixed add the rest of the cup of milk. Cream of tartar is an acid and will simulate the acidic environment of buttermilk in a pinch.

I keep this in the fridge, but these are good to know.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert Cake

I made this cake for the first time yesterday and while mine came out just slightly undercooked, it was still delicious, easy and I would make again any time! It tasted like fall to me :) Also, per some other recommendations, I added 1 cup of mini chocolate chips to the recipe as well - fold in at the end. Enjoy!

"This fabulous pumpkin cake is so moist you may weep, and the creamy frosting will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth!"

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch Bundt pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat together 3/4 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, applesauce, and eggs. Mix in 1/2 cup heavy cream and pumpkin. Stir into the flour mixture just until blended. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
3. Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan over a wire rack. Invert cake onto a serving plate.
4. Place the brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/3 cup heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring to blend until smooth. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the confectioner's sugar, and drizzle over the cake immediately.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oh Wow! Gooey Cookie Pie Bites

I just came across this recipe for Gooey Cookie Pie Bites. The pictures make it look delicious and there are a lot of good Fall Recipes shown on side of the page as well. I would cook each and every one of those foods! Check out the Single Serving Pie in a Jar and the Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes. Oh My!