Monday, November 20, 2017

Super simple Bacon Bow Tie Crackers


Oh so simple and tasty, you won't be able to eat just one.  Found
these in my fall Southern Living magazine and had to try them.  Very easy to make with just two ingredients.  I think that these will be our Thanksgiving appetizers.  Give them a try.

8 thin bacon slices
24 club crackers


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Cut each bacon slice into 3 pieces. Wrap each piece around the narrow end of each cracker overlapping ends.  Arrange in a single layer, seam side down on wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until bacon is crisp and look like bow ties, about 1 1/2 hours.  Let cool 5 minutes.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

One Pan Sausage and Penne Skillet

Hubby asked me to create a Pinterest board for One Pot Meals.  This is one of the first recipes that we added to it.  To me, a one pot meals are easy clean up, easy meal planning and something that is hearty and delicious as the days get shorter and colder.  Just add a salad and beverage and you should be all set.  And with a pasta dish our son is always happy.  If he is working after school he will call  and ask what dinner was.  If we say Pasta, then he doesn't bring home something from work.  


INGREDIENTS

4 links Italian turkey sausage
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (Optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
2 cups crushed tomatoes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
5 cups Penne  pasta
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Remove turkey sausage from casings and fry in large skillet over medium-high heat until crumbled and brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add spinach, red pepper flakes, salt, parsley, oregano, basil, tomatoes and broth and stir until combined. Stir in the pasta. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender, about 12-15 minutes (smaller pasta will take less time). Top with cheese, cover and let sit until cheese is melted. Serve.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wiener Schnitzel

One of my son's favorite dinners is Wiener Schnitzel, so when hubby was away for a couple of weeks for work, I catered to him.  This is pretty easy to make and very tastyUsing the pork tenderloin and cutting it small pieces and pounding it down to small rounds gives you the scallop size you need for this recipe. Topping it off with fresh lemon juice keeps it moist, but you can also use a dipping sauce or dressing as well.  

And don;t confuse this recipe with our little wiener dog! 



Ingredients


1 1/2 pounds pork scallops, divided by 4 and pounded thin as for scaloppini
1/2 cup flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lemon


Directions

Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 individual shallow dishes. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shake of excess, dredge through egg, and last in bread crumbs.

Heat the oil in large skillet, add butter, and heat until foam subsides. Add 1 Schnitzel at a time to pan, brown from both sides about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels and place in 250 degree F oven to keep warm. Repeat with other Schnitzel. Serve with lemon wedges.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chicken Casserole - An oldie but a goodie



How many of you have recipes still on cards and use them frequently?  Haven't we moved on to the electronic age and look up our favorite recipe on the internet or Pinterest?  Well this one is classic.  I believe that it was from right after we were first married some 26 years ago.  Hubby asked for a recipe that used cooked chicken.  I looked around Pinterest but then remembered I had a couple of older recipes in my recipe box.  This wasn't the first one I was thinking of, but it caught my eye.  I think I would rename it Chinese Chicken Casserole.


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cans cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 cup warm chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 large can of chow mien noodles
1/2 cup cashews

Directions

Combine all ingredients reserving 1/4 cup noodles for topping.  Place in 1/1/2 or 2 quart casserole.  Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Sprinkle reserved noodles on the last 15 minutes of baking. 


Monday, September 18, 2017

Raspberry Almond Crumb Tart for the birthday boy!



What does the Birthday Boy get for his special birthday treat?  How about a Raspberry Almond Tart!  Shame on me that I did not ask him what he wanted for his birthday cake, but I think I know him pretty well.  In the past we have had a Raspberry pie for his special day so why not try and make a Raspberry Tart on my own.  I still love to bake and make a special treat now and then even though he has taken over the kitchen quite a bit lately.  This is adapted from Eating Well and was pretty easy to make.  I prepared this the day before his birthday and because we had our last "Meet the Teacher" night to attend right after work on the actual day.  That is right - 17 years of meet the teacher if not for both of the kids, then one of them.  When we finally got home, dessert was waiting and was very tasty.  Present too!

Ingredients  for  8 servings

½ cup sliced almonds, (skins on) 
6 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1⅓ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
 ½ teaspoon salt
 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
 1 large egg yolk
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
¼ teaspoon almond extract
 4½ cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries 
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. 

Combine almonds and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the almonds are finely ground and incorporated with the sugar. Set aside ½ cup of the mixture. Add 1⅓ cups flour and salt to the remaining sugar mixture and pulse briefly to blend. With the motor running, add butter a few pieces at a time until well incorporated. Stir egg yolk, vanilla and almond extracts together in a small bowl until blended. 

With the motor running, add to the processor and pulse until the mixture begins to clump and form a dough, about 1 minute (the mixture will look like crumbly sand). Set aside ⅓ cup of the mixture for the topping. Transfer the remaining dough to the prepared tart pan; spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. 

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to the reserved almond mixture; stir to blend. Gently toss raspberries with 2 tablespoons of this mixture in a medium bowl until coated. Spread the berries evenly in the tart pan. Sprinkle the remaining almond mixture over the berries. Pinch the reserved dough into small clumps to make crumbs and sprinkle the crumbs on top of the berries. 

Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the crust and crumbs are golden brown, about 45 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Remove the pan sides; place confectioners' sugar in a fine sieve and dust the tart just before serving.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Baked Ravioli Lasagna


How easy can this get!  4 ingredients, a little prep time, then 30 minutes in the oven. Plus this is perfect now that the weather is slowly beginning to change.  Think if it as a little bit of comfort food when you don't have the time to make real lasagna from scratch.  We are making this extra special by using one of our favorite sauces from a little restaurant that recently closed.  Canale's traditional sauce is my hubby favorite and we stocked up before they closed their local restaurant.  They still have the original restaurant but that is about 45 minutes away from our house.  It is good thing though that we can get the sauce at the local grocery store.  

So, give this a try and let me know what you think.  


Easy Ravioli Lasagna



1 – 25 oz package frozen cheese ravioli
1 lb cooked ground beef
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 quart or 32 oz tomato sauce


Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9″x 13″ baking pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer with half ravioli. Pour 1/2 of the remaining sauce over mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Add half the cooked beef.  Layer remaining ravioli on top of sauce. Layer 1 1/2 cups cheese, top with cooked beef and remaining sauce. Add remaining 1 1/2 cup cheese to top of casserole.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with a little fresh basil.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Christmas Time in the Summer!  

Who doesn't like homemade ice cream?  What about Peppermint Flavored?  This is one of my favorite flavors and reminds me of when I was a kid going to Howard Johnson's for Ice Cream.  Mom, Dad and I would go in to the one nearby and sit at the counter and get a dish of ice cream.  Now I did like the Swiss Chocolate Almond flavor and use to play this game with Mom on how many almond pieces we would get, but my all time favorite was peppermint stick.  

Around here you only see this at Christmas Time.  So this past Christmas season, i picked up a couple extra boxes of peppermint sticks for just this occasion.  We unwrapped them, put them in a storage bag and then into another Ziploc bag.  Took out the meat tenderizer and went to work crushing the sticks to bite size chunks.   Too bad I didn't make this in June for Leon Day


Prepping the ingredients

Crushing the peppermint sticks



PEPPERMINT STICK ICE CREAM

Preparation: 5 – 10 minutes, 25 – 30 minutes chilling time; optional 2 hours to
“ripen” in freezer.

Makes about ten 1/2-cup servings.

 Ingredients


1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup crushed hard peppermint candies

Directions

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and
granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 – 2 minutes on low
speed. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla and peppermint extract. Turn the
machine ON, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and
let mix until thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes. Add the crushed peppermint
candies during the last 5 minutes of mixing

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Chicken Piccata - oh so good and light!


This was absolutely delicious! Browsing through my new Cooking Light magazine, I found this recipe for Chicken Piccata.  I love the flavor of lemons and the saltiness that the capers bring to this recipe.  The lemon flavored orzo is just right.  One error I made is that I thought that draining the orzo on wax paper rather than a cookie sheet would be easier - it is not.  Just use the cookie sheet. I also did not have a shallot on hand so I just added extra garlic.  The best part is that this recipe is light and lower in calories, so I do not feel guilty taking a small extra helping. 


Ingredients


1 cup uncooked whole-wheat orzo  (I used regular)
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 (4-oz.) chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
8 thin lemon slices, seeds removed
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions


Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Spread orzo on a baking sheet; cool 10 minutes. Place orzo in a bowl; add 1 tablespoon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring to combine.

Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a platter (do not wipe out pan).

Add shallot and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons juice and lemon slices, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; add capers and butter, stirring until butter melts. Spoon lemon mixture over chicken. Serve with orzo.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip for Dinner Club


(I forgot to get the picture of it completed before it was devoured!)

We had dinner club last night at our neighbors across the street.  The theme was pot luck, with just the main course recipe provided.  Each couple was assigned a course and told to bring their favorite recipe.  Ours was the appetizer and we made our Blue Cheese and Artichoke Dip and served it was Kettle Chips.   This is inspired from a appetizer we got a few years back at a place called Tin Pan Galley in Sacketts Harbor.  Homemade Kettle Chips with a warm Blue Cheese dip.  

Several other restaurants now make this and when we see it on the menu we have to order it.  A few years ago I had to make an appetizer for our family Christmas dinner and I made this.  Topped it off with kettle chips and sat it down in front of my mom who just loved it.  If she liked it I knew it was a hit! As you can see from my picture, it was well received at our dinner. 




Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip with Kettle Chips




1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Light Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled  Blue Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
4 green onions, sliced

Kettle Chips

Preheat oven 350°F. Place all ingredients in food processor container; cover. Process just until blended, but not completely smooth.

Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Kettle Chips

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Zucchini Time


Zucchini Saute

It is that time of year when gardens are plentiful with summer vegetables.  One of my favorite summer veggies is Zucchini. This is a quick dish that the flavors will change with the herb choice.  I used tarragon this time.  Tarragon does have a unique flavor. You can omit the scallions or shallots if you choose or use summer squash as well.   


1 pound (about 3 medium size) zucchini and or yellow squash
1 shallot or 2 scallions
2 tablespons fresh herbs leaves such as tarragon, parsley or dill or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or dillweed
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Scrub squash and trim ends.  Shred using a shredding disk in food processor.  Mince the shallot or trim and thinly slice the scallions.  Finely chop the herb.





Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallot(if using scallions, they will be added later) and stir over medium-low heat - 1 minute until soft.  



Increase heat to high.  Add zucchini and cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring and turning constantly.

Stir in herbs and scallions.  Cook and stir 15 to 30 seconds longer until any liquid reserved from the squash has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Garlic Herb Potato Salad



I am sure that it is no surprise to people who know me that I have always been a picky eater.  No, I don't like sandwiches, condiments, etc.  Lunch to me is a hot lunch or now a good yogurt and granola bar to hold me over.  It took me a while to warm up to summer salads because I really am not a mayo fan.  So when I saw this recipe that has no mayo I gave it a try and loved it.  It is very easy to make and taste great warm and cold too.  Give this a try!


Ingredients



3 lbs small red potatoes , scrubbed and rinsed and diced into small even size chunks (about 1-inch)
1 1/2 Tbsp salt , divided
1/2 cup olive oil (I prefer 1/4 cup extra-virgin 1/4 cup regular)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic , minced (1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (from about 1/2 cup cup packed leaves with some stem)
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives*
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Instructions


Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover potatoes with water (water level should come about an inch or two above potatoes), season with 1 Tbsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender all the way through, about 10 - 15 minutes (they should pierce easily with a knife, but you also don't want them really tender/mushy). Drain potatoes and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes (cooling is recommend so they don't fall apart while tossing. If you want to serve them hot then plate individual servings of potatoes and spoon dressing over each serving rather then tossing everything together).


While potatoes are cooking prepare the dressing - in a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper, parsley, chives and thyme. Season with remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste. Let mixture rest while potatoes continue to cook and cool slightly, then once potatoes are ready, pour drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently toss just a few times to coat. Serve warm or chilled.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chickpea Salad

Looking for a different kind of salad?  Not macaroni or potato?  Try this one my hubby whipped up that was super easy to make.  It is a crisp and cool treat.  Not your traditional summer salad by any means.  Hey, what are you waiting for?  The weekend is coming and you know you are going to cook out again?

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

2 (19-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pasta and Baked Meatballs



  

You never know what I am going to find when I browse through my board called Looks Yummy, Have to Try.  This one had been there awhile and when I decided to make it our daughter said, oh, I wanted to try that one night, but Dad picked another recipe.   I am glad we finally gave this one a try.  One pot pasta dished are my favorites.    Too bad the kids were working that night, because they only got the left overs!

ORECCHIETTE WITH BAKED MINI CHICKEN MEATBALLS IN TOMATO CREAM SAUCE

Meatballs
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
½ lb. ground chicken
1 egg
2 Tbsp. grated or shredded (in food processor) onion
1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
1 Tbsp. sour cream
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Pasta & Sauce

2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta
¼ - ⅓ cup reserved pasta water*
1 cup jarred Tomato Basil pasta sauce
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mini mozzarella balls 
fresh chopped parsley or basil


INSTRUCTIONS


Meatballs

In a large mixing bowl, combine Panko with milk. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until milk is absorbed. To the Panko, add the chicken, egg, onion, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper. The mixture should be quite wet.

Turn on your broiler on HIGH.

Shape the chicken mixture into 1¼-inch meatballs (I used 1 tsp. measuring spoon) and place in a single layer on a lightly coated with cooking spray or oil baking sheet.

Broil the meatballs on HIGH for 3-4 minutes (I had my oven rack set in the middle) or until lightly golden and almost fully cooked but still slightly pink on the inside. Keep an eye on them so they don't overcook! Remove and let stand at room temperature while preparing pasta+sauce.

Pasta & Sauce

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Reserve ¼ - ⅓ cups of pasta water and drain the rest.

In a large saute pan, heat pasta sauce over medium heat. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer over low/med heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and meatballs are cooked through. (Meatballs should be super moist, tender, and white on the inside).

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and the reserved pasta water.** Give it couple stirs with a spoon and then add the mozzarella balls.




Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Homemade Donut Holes

Recently there was an offer for a year's subscription to Cooking Light and Southern Living that was $10.  I like both magazines so I thought I would give it a try.  While browsing through Southern Living I found a recipe for Snickerdoodle Donut Hole Muffins.  Three things I love combined - Snickerdoodles, donuts and muffins!  I made them this past Saturday and boy, they remind me of the cinnamon donuts my mom would make when the had the diner years ago.  So much delicious cinnamon and when you eat them warm they tasted just like my childhood memories. These were so easy to make and taste so great!  Using the mini muffin tin gives them the donut hole shape.


1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Prepare the Muffins: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 24-cup miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Stir together sour cream, oil, egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk sour cream mixture into flour mixture. (Batter will be very thick.) Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each prepared muffin cup, keeping batter rounded on top

Bake in preheated oven until golden and springy when touched lightly on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack; cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Prepare the Coating: Place melted butter in a small bowl. Whisk together 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in another small bowl.

Dip 1 Muffin in butter; immediately dredge in sugar mixture, and place on a serving platter. Repeat with remaining Muffins, butter, and sugar mixture.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I just started to get Cooking Light again and found this great recipe. Very easy to make but best at room temperature, even with the heat wave we have now. 

Ingredients


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds multicolored fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


Directions


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by 3 inches; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain well. Add hot potatoes to dressing; toss gently to coat. Add onion and chives; toss.

From Cooking Light

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lovely Lemon Pound Cake


This spring the weather has been horrible.  We really can't catch a break, especially on the weekends.  So wen it is not warm enough to work or relax outside on our patio oasis,  I bake!  This weekend was just that weekend.  This was our dessert course after grilling some tenderloins and zucchini on the grill  and  roasting up some crispy red potatoes.  Crispy potatoes that are a smash

This cake with out any glaze, turned out very moist.  Our son made it his breakfast yesterday morning!  I think I will keep this recipe handy. 

Lemon Pound Cake


Ingredients



3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested


Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray or butter and flour one large Bundt pan. (I use the Pam baking Spray) Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.  Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each one. Add dry ingredients in three additions to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and zest. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.  Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Crockpot Pizza

Spring has been very busy with late baseball practices or games, and when you get home after 7:30 or so you really don't want to cook. Takeout or fast food for us is not really on our menu.  And we like to sit down as a family and enjoy a meal together.  So crock pot meals are our go too.  Especially ones that don't take too long to cook.  this recipe has been around for a few years and we have tweaked it lately with using Italian Sausage and adding green pepper.  This is adapted from Taste of Home Slow Cooker Meals.


Ingredients

1 package (16 ounces) wide egg noodles
1-1/2 pounds ground sausage or ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni, halved
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


Directions

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Drain noodles. 

In a 5-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray, spread a third of the meat sauce. Cover with a third of the noodles and pepperoni. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice. Press down to compact.
Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Snickerdoodles!




Cinnamon Yummy!



I love Snickerdoodles!  A cinnamon covered cookies that is soft and very tasty.  Normally in our house when cookies are made it is generally around Christmas time or it is our favorite chocolate chip cookie.   One Saturday a couple of weeks ago I had a hankering for Snickerdoodles.  I hadn't made these in a really long time.  I am not sure where the recipe came from, other than my handy recipe box.  These were so good!  I might have to make them again real soon.


Snickerdoodles

Ingredients


2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tblsp. Baking Powder
1 cup of Butter
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 Tblsp. cinnamon


Directions


On wax paper, stir together flour and baking powder, set aside.  In large saucepan or heat resistant bowl melt butter over low heat.  Remove and stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs until smooth. Gradually stir in flour until smooth dough forms.  Cover and chill for 1 hour  or up to 3 days.

On wax paper or small bowl, mix remaining sugar with cinnamon.  Drop round teaspoon full of dough into mixture and turn to coat well.  Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes.  Cool on sheet for 1 minute and remove to cool.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk! I like to cool cookies on a clean dish towel

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday Night Dinner for two!


With one kid in college and one still in high school, but working most weekends gives us some time for quality dinners together as a couple. When we want to spoil ourselves we head to a small local grocery store  that has the best meat department and pick up some tenderloin steaks.  Those are prepared using Ian Garten's Steakhouse Steak recipe.  Now top that off with a homemade blue cheese sauce (melted butter and blue cheese)and sautéed mushrooms for a dinner that melts in your mouth. 

This dinner was accompanied with roasted potatoes and a Parmesan Roasted Asparagus that was very easy to prepare and delicious.  Asparagus is in season now so grab a pound and give this a try.  And to top off the dinner - Dirty Martini's!  These were made with a Dirty Martini mix I found at Marshall's and some Bombay Sapphire East Gin.  

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.

Combine asparagus and olive oil in a large zip close bag and shake to coat. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the bag and shake to coat.
Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is still
slightly crisp-tender.

Steakhouse Steaks

Ingredients

          

2 (2-inch-thick) filet mignons ( 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoons fine fleur de sel
1 tablespoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

                      

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat dry the filet mignons with paper towels. Brush the filet lightly all over with the oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the filet on all sides in the mixture, pressing lightly to help the salt and pepper adhere. The steaks should be evenly coated with the salt and pepper.

When the pan is extremely hot, add the steaks and sear evenly on all sides (top, bottom, and sides) for about 2 minutes per side. (Be sure the cooking area is well ventilated.) You'll probably need about 3 turns to sear the sides and about 10 minutes total.

Remove the pan from the heat and arrange all the filets flat in the pan. Top each with a tablespoon of butter, then place the pan in the oven. Cook the filets for 8 to 12 minutes to 120 degrees for rare and 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.



Cocktails anyone?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pepperoni Lasanga

 We were at the grocery store this afternoon and I saw a large display of mozzarella, lasagna sheets, ricotta cheese in the dairy case on an end cap.  At first I thought it might be the Italian foods festival , but then I realized that Easter is a week away and Lasagna is a staple dish in many houses for Easter dinner.  So why not share my recent Lasagna creation we made a couple of weeks ago.  This one feature pepperoni that is either fried or baked to a crisp.  Adds a unique flavor, plus you can't help sampling the pepperoni after you have heated it up!  This makes a ton of Lasagna, so plan on a few meals for the upcoming week.


Ingredients




Ready for the oven
Salt
1 pound lasagna sheets
8 ounces sliced pepperoni (about 2 cups)
4 cups Tomato Sauce
1 pound ricotta
1 pound shredded mozzarella
2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cooked
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.        
 
Boil 6 quarts of water, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta to almost done, about 7 minutes. Remove from the water and shock in an ice bath. 
           
In a medium saucepan, add the pepperoni and sauté over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes ( or you can place the pepperoni in a single layer on a backing sheet covered with parchment paper and bake about 5 minutes to crisp up.Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. 
            
In a 10- by 14- by 3-inch baking pan or dish, pour 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce in the bottom and around the sides. Layer lasagna sheets on the bottom of the pan, overlapping by 1/2 inch. Add one-third of the ricotta and one-quarter of the mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and Parmesan. Spoon 1 cup of tomato sauce over the top. Repeat this two more times. 
           
On the top sheet, finish with the remaining cup of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni and dust with Parmesan. Bake until the cheese bubbles around the edges and the top is melted and light golden brown, about 45 minutes. If baking the dish from the freezer, add 15 to 20 minutes to the cook time, or until it's bubbly. Cover loosely with foil if it's browning too quickly. Remove from the oven; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with more sauce, if desired.   
 



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lemon Cake with Whiskey Glaze

 
It  is back. Hubby made this a week ago and it was a hit!
Well now it he made it again.  You know something is good when you quickly recreate the recipe in a short period of time. 

This cake has a light lemon flavor, moist and easy to make.  The glaze has wonderful flavor with the Whiskey added.  My 89 year old mother loved it!   



Ingredients


1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup vegetable shortening 
2 cups granulated sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken 
Reba's Royal Glaze, recipe follows
Reba's Royal Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon Canadian whisky 
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons lime juice 
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice 

Directions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat 5 minutes more. 

Add the eggs one at a time, beating only until the yolks disappear into the batter. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and juice.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and beat only until well blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then turn the cake out of the pan while it is still warm onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Drizzle with Whiskey Glaze before serving.

Whiskey Glaze:
Mix together the confectioners' sugar, whisky, lime zest and juice and lemon zest and juice in a bowl. The glaze should be thick, yet pourable. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dueling Gnocchi


A couple of weeks ago we made this dish with some homemade sausage from a class we took at a local Italian market .  This was requested  by our son following his ACL surgery.  The recipe is from a few years ago, but always a favorite. How can you not take request for dinner when some has just had surgery, and knows he has a long road to recovery. His basketball season was cut short and there will be no spring baseball.

Butter and Sage Sauce (or Thyme)


1 16 oz package of Gnocchi
1/2 cup butter
9 fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces or 2 Tbsp. dried
4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Heat butter and sage in saucepan over low heat 5 to 7 minutes.  Prepare Gnocchi and add to butter sauce, coating well. (We heated the Gnocchi up in frying pan with olive oil, but you can cook to package directions)  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and enjoy immediately.

*  Note that this is called dueling gnocchi because we made two batches of sauce - one with Sage and one with Thyme leaves.  Our son loves them both!


Penne and Smoked Sausage



This recipe appeared in a flyer we received from the realtor we used 18 years ago when we bought our house. It was a pretty easy fix on a weeknight that was quite tasty.  The red pepper flakes gives this a kick.  And the pasta and sausage is a kid pleaser. Need a quick and filling recipe?  Then give this a try.  


Ingredients


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (pork or turkey sausage), sliced into 1 inch pieces
½ cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
1Tbsp. minced garlic
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
½ cup  milk
8 oz  dry penne pasta
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
½ cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium  heat until just smoking. Brown sausage & onions.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and continue cooking for 30 seconds. 

Add broth, tomatoes, milk, red pepper and penne to the skillet. Bring to a boil, cover & reduce heat to low. Simmer until pasta is tender & liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle on cheese. Cover  for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese melts.  Top with scallions and serve.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop Cookies






Love these cookies!  This recipe has been around for quite sometime.  I think I got this from one of my oldest sister and I hadn't made them in a long time.  I thought about them strolling thru the baking aisle and saw the peanut butter chips.  I decide to bake up a batch and send a few down to our daughter at school.  She loved them and asked for the recipe.  So here it is.

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
12 oz. Peanut Butter chips
1 tsp. Vanilla
Cream butter and sugar; add eggs.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Add baking soda to sour cream and add to mixture. Then add flour and vanilla. Mix together well and then fold in peanut butter chips.
Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stir Fry Chicken and Asparagus


Sunday morning was spent pondering the daily question, what is for dinner?  No one really wanted to go to the store again.  The morning perusal of the freezer yielded stir fry chicken strips from our area grocery store.  The chicken is already coated with a light marinade and ready to go.  What needs to be decided is what to use as the vegetable part of this recipe.  We had some beautiful asparagus ready in the refrigerator and with this combination we found a recipe in our big binder for Stir Fry Chicken and Asparagus that we made a few years ago from Food Network.  Whip up some Jasmine Rice and you have a recipe that  taste as good as something you would get at PF Changs.


Ingredients


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon dry sherry
3/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium canned, or homemade or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bunches medium asparagus (about 2 pounds), woody stems trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
Serving suggestion: Brown or white rice

Directions


Freeze the chicken breasts for 20 to 30 minutes and then thinly slice the chicken against the grain into strips. Toss the strips with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the sherry in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the broth.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus, scallions, remaining garlic, ginger, 1/4 cup of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry until the asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat the same skillet until very hot, then add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 minutes. Return the asparagus to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a full boil to thicken. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates; serve with rice.













Monday, February 6, 2017

Tex Mex Black Bean Dip

 
We needed a little pregame treat and something to enjoy while watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday.  I dug out a recipe from about 15+ years ago for a low fat Tex Mex Black Bean dip that is quick to make and packs in the flavor and a bit of protein.  This is made on the stove and ready in about 15 minutes. 



1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup bottled picante medium sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish   
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
 
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato and next 4 ingredients (tomato through beans); cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; partially mash with a potato masher. Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring until cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes


This recipe has been haunting my dreams for quite some time.  I love chocolate, and even love it more when there is peanut butter involved.  When I see a recipe like this on a menu, generally they tell you you will have to wait for it to be prepared.  It is a special order dessert.  Reading this recipe I saw how easy this was and having all of the ingredients on hand I made it for the special men in my life - my husband and son.  It was my turn to plan dinner and why not add a dessert to the menu.   The extra one did not go to waste.  The growing 16 year old had seconds!  This is so good and would make a great Valentine's Day dessert if you are planning ahead. 


CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER LAVA CAKE

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
8 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
Cocoa powder


Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius). Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with butter and dust insides with cocoa powder. Gently tap the ramekins to remove any excess cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a medium bowl. Microwave on high in 10 second increments, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until just combined. Add the flour and egg mixtures to the bowl with the melted chocolate, and mix until no lumps remain. The batter will be slightly thick.

Pour roughly half the batter evenly into the four prepared ramekins. Place 2 teaspoons of peanut butter into the center of each ramekin. Top evenly with the remaining batter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until the edges appear to be solid and firm. The top should look slightly soft.

Allow to cool slightly, then cover with an inverted plate and turn over. Remove ramekins with a towel or oven mitt. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Crockpot Mac and Cheese


Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Want a quick meal for a busy weeknight or weekend.  This was a quick throw together on a Sunday night when we had basketball games and Sunday family visits.  This was very easy to make and to me tasted a bit like a cheese soufflé dish we make.  I used a low fat evaporated milk, but stayed with the whole milk.  We used the bagged shredded cheese to make this even easy.  Paired with a salad and a light dessert and it was a quick comfort dinner.  I would make it again but is still no substitute for my traditional Mac and Cheese.


Ingredients



Cooking spray
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
1  teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
Dash of paprika
Directions

In a large 4-quart slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker, stir the mixture and serve hot.