Thursday, April 25, 2013

Favorite Comfort Food Alert - Turkey Meatloaf

Did you ever remake a favorite comfort food and find that you love it as much, if not more, than the original?  I found a recipe a few years back that I modified a bit and now make it as often as the old standby.  Who can resist Turkey Meatloaf with Sun Dried Tomatoes, wrapped in Pancetta? 

This was a Giada recipe for Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches.  I would rather have it as a meatloaf dinner with a  baked potato and salad along as sides so I removed the mayo recipe that followed it.  The pancetta makes the meal when it gets crispy during baking.  And the baking method is pretty cool.  No meatloaf pan to clean, just unwrap and throw away the parchment paper.

This was also a  great meal for when we have our foodie friends, "Giada" across the street and husband and our backyard peeps down for wine tasting. We paired this up with a great spicy mac and cheese and a couple of great bottles of wine and we had a party!

Turkey Meatloaf


1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup grated Romano
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
10 ounces sliced pancetta, about 10 slices


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out the pancetta, overlapping the slices, into a large rectangle shape. In the middle of the rectangle, place the turkey mixture, shaping into a loaf.

 Using the parchment paper, wrap the pancetta up and around the turkey loaf to cover completely. Squeeze the parchment-covered loaf with your hands to secure the pancetta and solidify the shape of the loaf. While still covered in parchment, bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chef and Dietitian in training! Sloppy Buffalo Joes

It was a rare night when our kids made it home before us.  The dinner menu had been planned,
meaning the hubby picked up the ingredients while he was working that day.  Something very simple, yet full of flavor.  Something quite easy to make during the week.  It is from Rachael Ray and a twist on an old classic.

When we do get home at night after working the last thing we really want to do is jump right into making dinner.  You know you want to get it over with, but you also want to just rest for a few minutes, change your clothes, have a cup of coffee and not do anything.  Well, when you 16 year old daughter is home and loves to cook, take advantage of it.  Say "Here's the recipe, can you put this together for dinner?"  Surprise!  She jumped at the chance. 

Our "little girl" is a junior in high school and is interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian.  We have already visited 4 colleges and another one coming up this weekend.  It is wonderful to hear that she has focused on a career choice, she knows what she wants to do already.  Now the down side of this might be that she will start analyzing my meals and tell me what is good for me and what might not be in my best interest.  (Note the mixed vegetables as the side to this dish.  Not one of my favorites.  Lima Beans, yuck!)But hopefully she will leave me with some sinful choices to indulge in. 

Sloppy Buffalo Joes


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
8 good quality burger rolls, split and toasted
1 cup blue cheese crumbles


Heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and break it up with wooden spoon, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, onions and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cook 7 to 8 minutes more. In a bowl combine the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and stock. Pour into the pan and stir to combine.

Simmer a few minutes more. Pile sloppy Buffalo filling onto buns and top with blue cheese.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Parmesan Chicken - oh so good! I want to make it again.

This is the one recipe you have to make!  This chicken was absolutely delicious and you will wish you made more that you did. 

Hubby was looking for a dish to make last week and was tossing around some stir fry dish ideas when he opened up the Fine Cooking Make it Tonight magazine and found this treasure.  He stopped by the grocery store to pick up some chicken breast that we didn't have to defrost or didn't have to pound out ( so Chicken Breast Cutlets is what you are looking for).

A simple Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture gives these breasts a crunchy coating and keeps them moist inside. Serves six however, I only had 4 chicken breast that night so I adjusted the recipe.  .       

For the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz. each)
6 Tbs. Dijon-style mustard
1 Tbs. white wine or water
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the coating:
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup fresh English muffin crumbs (I used Panko Break Crumbs)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbs. melted butter

For the chicken: Rinse the breasts and pat them dry. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard, wine, salt, and pepper and add the chicken. The chicken can be coated immediately or held in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.

For the coating: In a large, shallow dish, mix the cheese, breadcrumbs, and pepper. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumb mixture and toss until well combined.

To coat and cook the chicken: Heat the oven to 450°F and butter a baking sheet or rack. Take a breast from the marinade with one hand--this is now your "wet" hand. Don't wipe off the marinade. Lay the chicken on the crumbs. Scoop and pat the crumbs over the breast using your other hand (your "dry" hand), patting until both sides are thoroughly coated. Put the breast on a buttered baking sheet or rack and repeat with the remaining breasts. Roast the chicken until it's crisp, browned, and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Check after 15 minutes. If the chicken is getting too brown, reduce the heat to 400° and add 5 minutes to the total cooking time.
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 360; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 43; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 6; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 990; Cholesterol (mg): 130; Fiber (g): 1;

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ode to Meat and Potatoes Mary!

This was always a staple in my house when I grew up.  We were a meat and potatoes family.  Up until a couple of years ago, if you went to my mom's house for dinner you would get meat and potatoes  for dinner.  It would be meatloaf, pot roast, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes and if you were lucky, creamed potatoes.  Well, if it was Christmas Eve then you would get creamed potatoes and Prime Rib!  Yeah, more meat and potatoes.  

So with Easter wrapping up and some leftover ham in the refrigerator wither waiting for split pea soup or a quick dinner.  But, you really don't need to wait until you have leftovers to make this dish.  Just pick up a couple of ham steaks in the meat case, cut them up to about 2 inch cubes.   I like to leave the skins on the potatoes and use my mandolin slicer to make them super thin.  Putting this all together and waiting for it to bake makes me want to call my Mom and thank  her for her meat and potatoes inspirations!

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes



6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil or dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups 2% milk
6 cups thinly sliced potatoes (I leave the skins on, but some recipes call for peeled)
1-1/2 cups chopped fully cooked ham
1 small onion, grated


In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, thyme and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Combine potatoes, ham and onion; place half in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Top with half of the sauce; repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 375° for 65-75 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving (1 cup) equals 521 calories, 28 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 99 mg cholesterol, 2,343 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein.

Originally published as Scalloped Potatoes with Ham in Taste of Home April/May 1999, p39

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Quick, Easy and Low Fat

Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon!

Yes, you heard right.  I said Bacon!  Bacon seems to be the big thing these days.  But chocolate covered bacon or bacon flavored ice cream are not for me.   

This was a quick dish to make on a weeknight as long as you have the ingredients on hand.  I made this recently when my hubby was at a dinner meeting and I needed something that both kids would eat, that could be prepared quickly and tasty.  Any anytime we have something with noodles, I have hit a home run with my little man.


1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine
2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle flour over garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in salt and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta to pan; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley, and pepper.
When you're short on time and the ingredient list is short, make every ingredient the freshest and best you can find. A real wood-smoked bacon imparts lots of flavor: Applewood is mild and slightly sweet, while hardwood, such as hickory, is more assertive.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Delicious Dip!

Parmesan Dip

I have posted this recipe recently with a link to the recipe site, but it is just so good I had to post the actual recipe.  It is a bit pricy to make, but it makes a ton of dip and is just so good!  Make your own crostini to serve this with and impress your friends. 


1/2 pound Parmesan, not too dry
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, not too dry
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Remove any rind from the cheeses and chop the cheeses into rough 1-inch chunks. Place the cheese in a food processor with the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and pulse until reduced to the size of fine pea gravel. Stir in the green onion, olive oil and black pepper and pulse again. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours before using.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pictures don't do it justice

We hosted Easter dinner this past Sunday at our house for my husbands Mother, sister and brother-in-law and for my mother as well.  With our family we had a total of 8 and then additional guest for dessert.  We wanted a simple, yet flavorful dinner that would provide some leftovers and a ham bone to make split pea soup.  When I mentioned tat we were hosting Easter at our recent dinner club and preparing a ham, our southern artist friend mentioned that she makes a Whiskey and Cola Glazed Ham form Emeril Lagasse that is very tasty.  So I asked her to send the recipe along via email when she got a chance, and she did.  We received the ham recipe and then a link to her blog for a sauce to make for the ham called Jezebel Sauce,  from a recipe book her grandmother had given her.

The ham recipe was pretty easy and instead of a fresh ham I got a semi boneless Sugardale Ham to make it that much easier.  The kicker to this ham was the sauce.  I am sure you will be puzzled at the ingredients, but trust me, it was delicious.

Pictures really don't do this ham any justice! 

Fresh Baked Ham with Whisky and Cola Glaze


1 (8-pound) fresh ham (shank and leg of pork)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Whole cloves
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whisky
4 cups cola drink


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

With a sharp knife, puncture and score the skin of the ham, making parallel 1/2-inch-deep incisions. Turn the ham and score again to make a grid-like pattern.

In a small bowl combine the salt, Essence, pepper, and cayenne. Rub evenly all over the ham. Place the ham, fatty side up, in a large roasting pan. Place 1 clove where the lines intersect on the ham. Rub the sugar evenly over the ham, pressing to pack. Pour 2 cups of cola into the bottom of the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. In a container, combine the whisky and the remaining 2 cups of cola.

Baste the ham with the whiskey and cola and continue to bake, basting every 15 minutes with the whisky and coke mixture and pan juices, until the ham is cooked through, the skin is crisp and dark, and a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving. To serve, slice the meat thinly across the grain and arrange on a platter.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Jezebel Sauce

You find it in cookbooks from Louisiana back to the 1950s at least, and it probably goes back farther than that. Jezebel sauce can be served as a side to pork, beef, or chicken, or it can be poured over cream cheese and eaten like a dip with crackers.

10 oz. jar pineapple preserves
1o oz. jar apple jelly
6 oz. jar horseradish
1/2 can dry mustard. (1 1/2 0z. size)
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Let chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour before using.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Look what Peter Cottontail left us!

Easter Dinner was a big success!  An afternoon surrounded by family, whether for dinner or just dessert, it was a wonderful way to spend the holiday.

Our dinner club friends sent me a recipe for a Ham with a Whiskey and Cola Glaze and a recipe for Jezebel Sauce, a favorite of our beautiful artist friend from the south .  They turned out great and I will share them a bit later.  But the star of our Easter dinner was the desserts!  Hubby made a Coconut Cake that is to die for from Ina Garten and I whipped up a fresh Lemon Mousse from Ina as well.  I know that Easter is over and you might have wished that these recipes were posted earlier, but these dessert can be made anytime of the year.  I actually have a request for the cake recipe for our dear friends upcoming birthday and the lemon mousse would taste so delicious on a hot summer day (if we will every get one).

If you haven't figured it out already, we love her recipes.  We have never been disappointed with anything we have made from her. So, this is a special bonus post.  You get two recipes in one!

And if you have some time, visit our friends blog post and her online store. Hedges and Hares Blog
Topiary Art/Topiary Design

Coconut Cake



3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
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, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.  (NOTE: CHECK TIME AND OVEN TEMP - HUBBY SAYS IT IS ONLY ABOUT 30 to 35 MINUTES)

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Fresh Lemon Mousse


3 extra-large whole eggs
3 extra-large eggs, separated
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup good bottled lemon curd, at room temperature
Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
Sliced lemon, for garnish


In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture is thick like pudding. (I change to a whisk when the mixture starts to get thick.) Take off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until completely chilled.

Place half the *egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula. Place the cream in the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean the bowl) and beat on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Fold in the lemon curd, and pour into a 7-inch-diameter, 3-inch-deep souffle dish. Decorate with sweetened whipped cream and lemon slices that have been cut into quarters. Chill and serve cold.

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs
Due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium and then high speed until the cream just forms still peaks. Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.