Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

We got almost 20 inches of snow over the weekend so on Monday and Tuesday, school was cancelled and I had my kindergartener home from school. We had some leftover granny smith apples from making applesauce over the weekend so I found this recipe for healthy-ish whole wheat apple muffins from Smitten Kitchen. They are really good!

Slow-Cooker Recipe: Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

I am trying to use what I have before we go away for Christmas and what I had were several cans of chickpeas left over from summer pasta salad recipes. I wasn't sure if we'd like this recipe but I like to try different things so I made this stew from The Kitchn last night and we really liked it. The cauliflower breaks up so you don't feel like you're eating big chunks of cauliflower if you're not a big fan, like me. The recipe makes a lot of soup and I had some for lunch today and it was just as good, if not better.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Everyday Food, November 2010
Makes 12

10 T (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 C all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t coarse salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1/3 C buttermilk
1 1/4 C pure pumpkin puree
3/4 C light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Heat over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture and beat to combine.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Pan Chicken = Awesome

Yesterday, I was looking for an EASY and TASTY dinner option that did not require a trip to the grocery store.  Rachel Ray's "one pan chicken" fit the ticket.

Here's the original recipe

Here is what I did to make it "my own"...
- 3 large boneless chicken breasts
- "Large" teaspoon of minced garlic
- Entire yellow onion (Barry requested more, but I think this was plenty)
- Handful of mini carrots (cut in 1/2) - wish I would have added more
- Handful of celery slices
- 5 yellow potatoes (sliced as Rachel Ray recommended)
- Thyme springs and ground thyme
- Olive oil
- Salt/Peppter

Directions - Just as Rachel recommended:
  1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan, rub with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots and parsnips with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the vegetables around the chicken and scatter 8 thyme sprigs on top. Roast until the vegetables are tender and the chicken juices run clear when a leg is pricked, about 40 minutes. Pick the leaves from the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and sprinkle on top.
This dinner was so easy to make, tasty and on the healthy side of things. A five star meal and one that I'll replicate in the future.

I'll also be checking out more options from Rachel Ray's website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halibut with Leeks

I cooked this recipe for Halibut and Leeks from the latest issue of Cooking Light last night. I haven't cooked much with leeks so I didn't know what to expect with them but it was a pleasant surprise that was quick and easy to cook.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dutch Letter Bars

Dutch letters are a central Iowa specialty and treat. This recipe turns these pastries into a bar. Yum!

Dutch Letter Bars
1 cup butter

1 can almond paste
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white)
1½ cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds
Coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Melt butter and mix in almond paste. Add in remaining ingredients and blend well. Spread in 9x13 pan. Brush w/ beaten egg white; sprinkle w/ almonds and sugar

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

We tried this Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken from Cooking Light this weekend and it was a nice summery meal.

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light

Pioneer Woman's Asian Noodle Saiad

I've made The Pioneer Woman's Asian Noodle Salad several times and it is so good. You can substitute whatever you have on hand for veggies and omit anything you don't have. Be warned that it makes a HUGE salad. Seriously HUGE. So unless you are having a gathering, you may want to use half the box of pasta and cut the veggie portions as well.

Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

I made these this weekend and they were delicious!

Chocolate Nutella Cookies Recipe


  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of Nutella
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts


1 Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter in an electric mixer for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and Nutella and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each. Add the vanilla and mix for 10 seconds.

3 Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda (do not skip this step as sifting eliminates clumps of cocoa). Mix into the butter mixture on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides at least once to ensure even mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough for ten minutes.

4 Spoon tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 6 dozen.

Recipe found on Simply Recipes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brown Rice, Tomatoes and Basil

Made this last night with big cherry tomatoes. Yum! Lots of fresh flavor, good way to use up basil and would be an easy entertaining side since it is served at room temp.

Brown Rice, Tomatoes and Basil
1 cup Texmati brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's brown rice)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup Champagne or rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ripe tomatoes, large-diced
1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil and add the rice and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. Transfer the rice to a bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, remaining teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour over the rice. Add the tomatoes and basil. Mix well and check the seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Herb Cooking in the Summertime?

Ladies-anyone out here!? We have a much beefed up herb garden this summer and I'm in need of some recipes. We've got:
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint
  • Sage
I have plenty of uses for dill and basil (though I can always use more). Any awesome recipes or simple things to throw together using any of these?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cold Drip Iced Coffee

I know this method was all in the news last year, but I just got around to trying it this weekend. This makes two weeks worth of concentrate and is significantly less bitter than hot brewed coffee poured over ice. And, its easy.

3/4 lb (1 12 oz bag) of good quality beans, coarsely ground
8 C cold water

Soak grounds in filtered or distilled water overnight in the fridge. Strain grounds through sieve or cheesecloth and store concentrate in a pitcher. To serve, pour into a tall glass filled with ice and top with water or milk.
A few notes from the InStyle article:
  • Use micro-lot organic premium beans, grown in the shade for the best quality brew. I used beans from Cameron's.
  • Using filtered water makes the coffee smooth and more flavorful, same goes for ice cubes.
  • This type of coffee is much sweeter and less acidic
I'm buzzing from my cup this morning, the concentrate is much more concentrated than I realized. I could have added a lot more ice cubes! I added some mint leaves from our garden and used the grounds as mulch around our tomato and pepper plants.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad

Found this recipe via Smitten Kitchen, but its originally from Bon Appetit. Yum! So good. Two things I did different: only had white wine vinegar on hand, used one regular cucumber instead of two hothouses.

Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad
6 T distilled white vinegar
4 t coarse kosher salt
2 1-pound English hothouse cucumbers, very thinly sliced
1/2 C plus 3 T chopped fresh dill
3 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 10 medium), unpeeled
Additional coarse kosher salt
1 C very thinly sliced white onion
8 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
3/4 C mayonnaise
Small radishes with green tops

Stir vinegar and 4 teaspoons coarse salt in small bowl until salt dissolves. Place cucumbers and 1/2 cup dill in heavy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add vinegar mixture; seal bag. Turn several times to coat. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Pour cucumber mixture into large sieve set over bowl. Drain at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Discard brine.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Cool potatoes completely. Peel potatoes; quarter lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place potatoes in large bowl; sprinkle generously with coarse salt and pepper. Add drained cucumbers, onion, sliced radishes, and remaining 3 tablespoons dill; toss to blend. Let stand 1 hour. Stir mayonnaise into salad. Season generously with salt and pepper, if desired. (Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mound salad in bowl; garnish with whole radishes. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Asian Pear Mojito

Anthony and I ate at PF Chang's on Friday night and since we were trying to make a movie, we ate at the bar. I had the Asian Pear Mojito, which was excellent. Not too sweet, not too overpowering, just right. When I told the bartender how much I liked it, she offered to give me the recipe. Uh, yeah!

Asian Pear Mojito
1.5 oz Bacardi Limon
1 oz Apple Pucker
mint leaves
3 lime slices
Splash of pineapple juice
Soda water

Pour Bacardi and Apple pucker into glass, add mint and lime slices. Muddle together at bottom of glass. Add ice, pineapple juice and soda water. Enjoy.

Hashbrown Cakes

Some of my favorite recipes from cooking magazines are the little side bar ideas with just a few ingredients or an article about how to use an everyday ingredient. This recipe is from the April issue of Cooking Light.

Hashbrown Cakes
1 1/2 C shredded ham
1/2 C chopped green onions
2 1/2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 20 oz bag hashbrowns*
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Combine ham, onions, flour, salt and potatoes. Add eggs and mix well. Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1 T canola oil. Scoop mixture by 1/4 C spoonfuls into skillet, flatten slightly and cook 5 minutes on each side until browned.

This recipe made enough for two meals. I cooked up a couple of cakes as part of our breakfast, then froze the rest in patties for use another time.

*I hate buying bags of stuff like that when I can just as easily prepare the potatoes myself. I boiled 6 russet potatoes (of varying sizes, not the big huge ones) until they were cooked through. I let them cool a little (I was pressed on time and would have rather they cooled completely, but hey) then shredded them skin on into the bowl.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Budget Recipes: Feed 4 for $10 -

I think we had thrown around meals for $10's a new link for just that on Cooking Light:

Budget Recipes: Feed 4 for $10 - Photos -

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

These look divine and perfect for Easter!

Coconut cupcakes
Ina Garten, makes 18 to 20 large cupcakes

• 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
• 2 cups sugar
• 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Cream cheese frosting
• 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
• 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
• 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with the remaining coconut, and jellybean for an Easter touch!

Cupcakes: I use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups.
Frosting: It is very important that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature and that the confectioners’ sugar is sifted to ensure no lumps in the icing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Balls of cake..dipped in chocolate = YUM!

Ok I haven't exactly had these yet but I love cake, and creamcheese and who wouldn't love both even more in a little bite-sized ball dipped in chocolate?! I had never heard about doing something like this so I'm intrigued, could be really fun for a kids birthday party or holidays.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

1 box red velvet cake mix
(or any other flavor you desire, cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)

1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)

1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)

wax paper

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)

3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)

4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

Note: I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Toasted Rice

I found this recipe on a little, eensy weensy corner of spread about New Orleans inspired cuisine in one of the recent Food Network magazines. The nutty flavor from toasting the rice prior to cooking really elevated the flavor and kick. I will make again and soon. Total of my time spent cooking and prepping this dish: maybe 8 minutes, tops.

Toasted Rice
4 T butter
2 cups converted long-grain rice (Like Uncle Ben’s)
1 t salt
½ t pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Green onions

Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Stir in n rice, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the rice is golden, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and water; bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat, 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in chopped scallions and parsley.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yummy Baked Salmon

On Saturday night Laura's husband Barry made the most delicious salmon dish. I'm sharing here with his permission. In his words: Share it. Modify it. Make it your own. For someone like me, whose salmon repertoire includes grilled or in a foil pouch, this recipe is a welcome addition. So, so good. It reminded me of dishes I've had at Thai-fusion places.

Medium onion, slightly caramelized in bacon grease and butter.
1-2 Serrano pepper seeded and finely chopped (I used one, but a little more heat with coconut can be good. You could also use jalapeños or other hot pepper.)
½ yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
1 red sweet pepper
¼ to ½ tsp ground cardamom
1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
3 tomatoes peeled and diced
2 cloves minced garlic
Handful of crushed mint leaves. I used dried but would prefer fresh.
1 14oz can of coconut milk. To this add a healthy sprinkling of sea salt and gradually whisk in the fresh-squeezed juice of two limes.

Rinse salmon fillets or steaks and place in glass casserole dish. Mix all ingredients and pour over fish. Bake at 300 for 40-60 minutes. Fish is done when it is opaque temp 135-140 degrees.

I’ve sometimes used other spices like cloves and allspice.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

More and new veggies are on my list of 2010 to-dos. Last night, I finally made brussels sprouts. I realize they aren't exactly an earth shattering new vegetable, but my mom did not make them when I was growing up so they were new to me.

I knew boiling/sautéing them wasn't going to work (texture didn't sound appealing and I had three pots on the stove last night). Plus, my Mad Hungry cookbook said roasting them was the best way to eat them (in her opinion).

At the grocery store, I picked small sprouts with tightly formed leaves. They were really, really good. Crunchy, salty and fresh tasting. The only issue I have is the smell. Brussell sprouts are related to cabbage and you can smell it.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Small, closed sprouts
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Heat the oven to 350 or 375. Wash the sprouts, slice off the ends and remove any sad/overly green leaves. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the sprouts with a fork.

Next time, I might hit them with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice after the come out of the oven.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sherried pineapple pork tenderloin

I've always loved Cooking Light recipes so when I saw their cookbook '5-Ingredient Cookbook: Fresh Food Fast' I just knew I had to have it. Unfortunately it was one of those books I set aside forever - until yesterday...I started browsing and easily bookmarked about 25 or more pages of recipes I can't wait to try. And I also tried 2 out which were fantastic and SO easy - here they are:

Sherried Pineapple Pork Tenderloin
A thick and glossy sauce makes any dish feel elegant, but this one takes all of five minutes to make. The Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw is a great side with this.

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray
1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
2 tablespoons sugar - I used brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1. Sprinkle pepper evenly over pork.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray; add pork. Cook pork 3 to 4 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 10 minutes. Turn pork over; cook 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink).
3. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 3 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
4. While pork stands, combine pineapple juice and remaining 3 ingredients; add to pan drippings. Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. Spoon sauce over pork slices.

Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
3/4 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage
3 tablespoons unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing gently to coat.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homemade Brownie Comparison

Before this week I don’t think I have ever made brownies from scratch. 1) I love me some Betty Crocker fudge brownies and 2) I’m largely disappointed when I try homemade brownies at bake sales, etc. Some restaurants do it right (mmmm, I’m thinking of you Wilde Roast Café), but I’ve never had a homemade version that made me ask for someone’s recipe.

I’ve had this Fudgy Chocolate Brownies recipe from Martha Stewart Living saved for about three years. I made them last Saturday in hopes of bringing them to a party. Sadly, they were overcooked and dried out (egad, is there anything worse than dry brownies?) Beyond baker's error, they were just too rich and not the right consistency for me. I didn’t love them and ended up tossing them out.

Now that I was started on this brownie path, I figured I may as well keep going. Last night I made Mark Bittman’s brownies and they were/are heavenly. Fudgy and sweet, with just the right crusty crunchy top.

What I thought was interesting were some glaring differences in the two recipes:
Martha’s called for eight ounces, Mark’s called for two (the online recipe calls for three)
Eggs, sugar, flour
Whatever Martha’s recipe calls for, Mark’s calls for roughly half that amount

Obviously that would lead you to believe Martha’s recipe would be bigger/thicker/more to the brownie, but I didn’t find that to be the case. They were slightly bigger, but not by much.

Survey says: Mark Bittman brownies win.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Easy & Yummy Cranberry Pot Roast

From here:

2-3 pounds beef or pork roast or stew chunks
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes, or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 (16-ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce
that's it!

The Directions.
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Plop in the meat (frozen is fine), and add the onion and soy sauce. Pour in the entire can of cranberry sauce over the top. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. If you are cooking on high, you may need to "help" the meat break apart by taking it out an hour or so before serving by cutting it into chunks, then returning to the sauce. Serve over mashed potatoes, and with a green salad.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork Chops with Horseradish Sauce

Please, I beg of you, do not be afraid of that horseradish in the title. You don't taste it at all when you taste how good these are. I'm visiting my grandparents in Florida and we had these last night, something I had a quite a bit when I lived with them for a summer. YUM.

Pork Chops with Horseradish Sauce from Italian Country Cooking

4 pork chops, 1/2 lb each (can do bone-in or boneless)
Fresh ground pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 T red wine vinegar
1 cup brown stock (beef stock)
Couple good spoonfuls of horseradish (recipe calls for 3 ounces peeled horseradish root, grated, but let's be honest here)
Chopped parsley

Pound pork chops to flatten slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate dishes. Dredge each chop lightly in flour, dip in egg mixture and coat lightly in breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so mixture adheres to chops.

In skillet large enough to hold chops, melt five tablespoons of butter. Over medium heat, cook chops about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm while making the sauce.

Discard grease from skillet. Deglaze with vinegar. Add stock and scrape up anything left on the pan. Cook over high heat until sauce reduce and begins to thicken, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in horseradish and whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon sauce over chops and sprinkle with parsley.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Italian Meatloaf

This is based on one of the versions of meatloaf in the Joy of Cooking. I found some Italian seasoned ground turkey at the grocery store last weekend and thought it would be a good accompaniment to the manicotti I was making.

Next time I’ll skip the seasoned turkey so I can I have more control of the flavor. It was a little spicy for me. I also think I’ll try sautéing shallots and red peppers, as well as adding some parmesan cheese.

Italian Meatloaf
1lb ground meat
1 to 3 eggs, depending on how dry your meat or bread crumbs are
¾ to 1 cup bread crumbs (I love panko breadcrumbs for meatloaf, but used herb & garlic this time)
1 to 2 cups onions or shallots (I liked the shallots myself)
1 t salt
½ t pepper
Seasonings of your choice: oregano, Italian seasoning, parsley, basil
½ cup of marinara sauce

Heat oven to 350. Mix ingredients through sauce and mound together in a greased pan. Spread marinara sauce over meatloaf and bake until thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 1 hour.

Bar Recipes?

Anyone have a good bar recipe? I swear, before moving to the Midwest I'd never really thought about bars, just cookies.

There's a place in Des Moines that makes a cookie/brownie bar where there is a layer of brownie on the bottom with what tastes like chocolate chip cookie dough on the top. I can't find a recipe like it online and I haven't searched my cookbooks, but thought I'd see if anyone has one yet. Or even just a link to one you haven't tried.

I'm open and I need a new baking recipe for next week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rose's Vinaigrette

This is the first recipe I've made from my new cookbook, Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn. Yum!

Rose's Vinaigrette (makes 1 cup)
1 T minced shallot or garlic
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t light brown sugar
3/4 t coarse salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 T red wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
3/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

In bottom of well-sealable jar, mash together shallot, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Pour in vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Cover tightly and shake well to combine and emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in refrigerator for up to six months.

I used garlic and I'm looking forward to making it with a shallot. I think it will give it a really lovely flavor.

Lemon Pound Cake

I have chronicled my search for lemon bread, but what I really should have admitted is that I was searching for something similar to Starbucks' lemon pound cake. This recipe from Dozen Flours is pretty darn close.

Her post is much more detailed, and gives some hints and tips. I'm just reposting the main instructions. I tend to shy away from four bowl recipes, but this one was worth it.

Better Than Starbucks Lemon Pound Cake
4 lemons
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, completely softened
3 cups superfine, Baker's or caster sugar
6 eggs, warmed for 10 minutes in hot tap water before using
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

2 lemons
2 cups powdered-sugar*, sifted

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 16-cup tube pan and dust with cake flour; tap out any excess. Be sure to grease and flour the center column too.

Zest four of the lemons. With a very sharp paring knife, cut the tops and bottoms off of each lemon. With one cut side down on the cutting board, trim the pith off the lemon, vertically, going all the way around each lemon, exposing the flesh of the lemon. Over a bowl, cut segments from membranes, letting fruit and juice fall into the bowl, being sure to discard the seeds and the remaining membranes. With a fork, break segments into 1-inch pieces.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter for 2 minutes at medium speed in the electric mixer. Add half the sugar and mix for 2 more minutes, then add the rest of the sugar and mix again for 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl and the beater blade.

Remove the eggs from the warm water. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition (about 30 seconds). On the lowest setting, mix in the dry ingredients, then the sour cream. Lastly, gently fold in the lemon juice and segments. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about an hour and a half. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, juice the remaining 2 lemons. In a small bowl, slowly add the powdered sugar to the and stir until smooth. It should look thick, opaque, and should be thin enough to it should be pourable. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more lemon juice. Poke small holes all over the top of the cake using a fork or toothpick. Carefully pour about 1/2 the glaze over the tops and the sizes of the cake. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours or overnight.

Cover the remaining glaze and keep at room temperature. About a half hour before you're ready to serve, pour the remaining glaze over the cake.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crazy Easy Granola

I got this recipe from the Everyday Food Twitter feed and made it last night. My favorite kind of recipe: simple and tasty.

Here's the recipe in 140 characters or less: Simple granola: Mix 3c oats+ 1.5c nuts+ 1/2 cup ea maple syrup & olive oil. Toast at 350, then add salt & your fave dried fruit.

Simple granola
3 C oats
1 1/2 C nuts, chopped (I used 1 cup organic, salted cashews and 1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds)
1/2 C maple syrup (I don't think there's any point to making this if you don't use real maple syrup!)
1/2 C olive oil

Mix ingredients together and toast at 350, then add coarse salt and your favorite dried fruit (I used dried blueberries). In my oven and on a smaller rimmed baking sheet, this took about 20 minutes to toast up nicely.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cream of Harvest Soup

I bought the Harvest Medley from Trader Joe's the other day and then didn't quite know what to do with it. That's where good ol' Google comes in and I found this recipe for Cream of Harvest Soup.

Rather than use the food processor in the first step, like the recipe says, I just cut the pieces a little smaller. Then I made the soup and at the end, I used my new stick hand blender.

The soup was good and my kids both liked it too. We added a little fresh parmesan on top as everything is better with cheese.

Baked Lemon Pasta

We made this Baked Lemon Pasta this weekend from The Pioneer Woman. OH MY! It was so good. The only problem was wanting to eat too much. Next time, I would probably make both a salad and grilled chicken or salmon to help fill up with something a little healthier. Mmmm, I'm definitely making this again soon. Beware, that clicking on the recipe and seeing the picture will make you instantly hungry.

Spinach and Feta Turnovers

I've been making these Spinach and Feta Turnovers from Everyday Food Magazine for a while but they don't have the recipe on their site so I never posted it. I was passing the recipe onto a friend and found the link listed.

As a side note, like one of the comments, I always have way too much filling left over. So, I either buy two boxes of puff pastry and freeze them with directions from the magazine. Or I will use the filling the next day (or two or three) cooked with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Sort of a Greek Breakfast Scramble, if you will. It is a win-win in my book.

To freeze: Freeze unbaked turnovers on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, wrap turnovers individually in plastic wrap; store in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To bake from frozen: Unwrap frozen turnovers, and bake as directed, adding 5 to 10 minutes to baking time.

Tomato sauce with butter and onions

I just saw this recipe for tomato sauce with butter and onions over at smitten kitchen and thought I'd share. It is beyond simple with only three ingredients but really does have rave reviews. I might have to try it one of these days.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bacon and Artichoke Jambalaya

I’ve had this recipe from The Kitchn saved for at least a year or more. Made it last night and now its going into the rotation. Likes: one pot, little chopping, even more flavor reheated/after it has sat for a little while. Would add: maybe a hit of fresh Parmesan.

Bacon and Artichoke Jambalaya
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups short grain rice (I used regular long grain Uncle Ben’s)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 can diced Italian tomatoes, well-drained
1 can black olives, well-drained
3 cups chicken stock, or stock mixed with water
Fresh black pepper

Cook the bacon in a heavy Dutch oven or stockpot until cooked and getting browned. Add the pepper flakes and artichokes. Cook until fragrant, then add the rice. Fry until golden, then add the vinegar, tomatoes, and olives. Fry for a few moments, then add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Kale, Blood Orange and Hazelnut Salad for Two

Last night I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, found via The Bitten Word, for two instead of ten.

For two
1 bunch of regular kale tied up like you find at the grocery store. Stems and ribs removed, shredded
2 blood oranges
Maybe 1/8 cup roasted filberts
1 2/3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 2/3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

I peeled one orange and sliced it up, then juiced the other one. My neighborhood grocery store only had filberts, so I roasted those for about 15 minutes @ 350 until they smelled roasted. Then I rubbed them together with my hands to remove the skin. I poured the orange juice over the kale, orange slices and filberts, then combined the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Poured that over and let sit for 30 minutes.

For ten
1 1/2 pounds Tuscan black kale or regular kale, stems and ribs removed, leaves shredded
4 blood oranges, segmented, juices reserved
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine kale, oranges and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil and reserved orange juice; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving

It was really good. The roasted nuts really take over and the blood orange is delicious. 30 minutes was enough time to break down the tough kale leaves. It was yummy and seasonal! And good for you: antioxidants, fiber, vitamin A, calcium, beta-carotene and lutein.

Photo from here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Omelet for Two

Mmmm, we started 2010 off right with this breakfast from Barefoot Contessa. What I liked most (besides the taste) is that everything is all mixed up together: meat, eggs and potatoes.

Omelet for Two
1/4 pound good thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup medium-diced Yukon gold potato
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
5 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, diced, plus extra grated cheese, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the bacon crosswise in 1-inch slices. Cook the bacon in an 8-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan, and then add the potato and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced Cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, (it took more like 30 minutes for me) until the omelet puffs and the eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute. Serve hot directly from the pan.

The nice thing about this is that you could easily switched up the meat or cheeses, or add more veggies or use egg whites for a different flavor. I found I had enough cheese and did not have to add more at the end.