Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mom's Baked Beans

Now, I know these aren't entirely "from scratch", but my mom has 9 kids. NINE. And little time for bean soaking. But these are delicious and one of my favorite "Fall Foods." The molasses and mustard are what really give it the great taste.

Baked Beans
4-5 strips of bacon (or MORE!! MMM... Bacon!), cut into pieces
1/2 to 1 small onion, chopped
2 cans stewed tomatoes
64 oz of canned baked beans
1/2 to 3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 or less Molasses
1 Tbsp Mustard

Cook bacon and onions over medium heat until onions are translucent and bacon is crispy. Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stovetop. Cook 1 hour on Med-Lo heat, stirring frequently. Place in a 300 degree oven for 1,2 or 3 hours, stirring every 1/2 hour or so.

I wish I'd have had more time to let these cook down longer. Not that they weren't delicious anyway, but they were more liquidy than I usually like.

Also, sorry we haven't been around. Jenny has been out of town in Vegas and also has computer woes. My excuse is less legitimate. I've been in a cooking funk and been really busy with Halloween preparations... we're really into handmade costumes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chicken with Ginger

I was a little skeptical about the size of the chunks of ginger at first, but this turned out great.

Chicken with Ginger

From: Martha Stewart

1 three inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/8" thick matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. white vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup sliced scallions

Soak ginger in cold water for 10 minutes; drain.

Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. brown chicken in two batches, 6-8 minutes, set aside.

In same skillet over medium heat, cook ginger, onion and garlic, stirring until browned 8-10 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Cook over high heat until thick, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and stir to warm. remove from heat, stir in scallions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cornflake Crusted Baked Chicken

This is another one of those great quick fixes. My husband really liked this one. it isn't one that I would make for company, but we'll definitely be making it again. The cayenne really gave it some pep.

Cornflake Crusted Baked Chicken

From: Martha Stewart

4 each, bone-in skinless chicken drumsticks and thighs (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large egg
1 Tbs. water
2 cups crushed cornflakes
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Season generously with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk egg with 1 Tbs. water. In a large bowl mix cornflakes with oil, cayenne and 1 tsp. salt.

Dip chicken in egg mixture and then coat in cornflake mixture. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken


Sweet and Sour Chicken

From: Smitten Kitchen

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbs. ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Cut chicken into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until browned but not cooked through. Place in a a single layer in a baking dish.

Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.

Bake for 1 hour at 325 degreees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. I think next time I'll serve this over a little rice as this makes plenty of sauce.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This is another great quick fix. I will probably posting a lot of my good quick fix recipes over the next little bit as I've been crazy busy.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite sized pieces.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet until hot. Add remaining ingredients except chicken and rice. Cook until peppers are crip-tender. Place chicken into pan and cook until done. Cook Rice. Serve chicken mixture over rice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Product Review- Microplane Grater

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned, we wanted to do some other special features, starting with product reviews. This is our first one.

Zesting lemons, oranges and limes on my crappy little zester has been making me die inside. So, finally, after putting it off forever, I got myself to Bed, Bath & Beyond for this sweet little toy. I was so sick of zesting one tiny lemon taking FOREVER and losing half or more of the zest on the zester, or worse, trying to pick it out.

Never again. If zesting is the bane of your existence, much as it was mine, buy one of these. You'll never regret it.

Mine was $15, though I know you can get them cheaper. I was desperate.

I've heard they're also great for hard cheeses like parmesan. Can't wait to use it on that!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas

This was so easy and oh so yummy. I love when those two things combine in a meal.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas

From: Martha Stewart

12 oz. fettucine
1 Tbs. butter
1 shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
3 oz. prosciutto, chopped
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, boil fettucine until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, make sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cream, peas and prosciutto. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until peas are heated through, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour sauce over pasta; add parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Add enough pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Serve immediately, topped with additional parmesan.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto

This was a deliciously filling and perfectly "Fall" recipe. I'd never made any kind of risotto before, and it was more labor intensive than I expected, but was totally worth it. I definitely want to try a dessert risotto now.

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe
from (I can't remember, but a lot of sources have the same recipe)

6-8 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 4 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped chives or garlic chives

Heat broth in medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan; add onion and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add rice to onion and squash. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine. Cook, stirring constantly until wine has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to barely cover rice. Cook over medium heat until broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding about 1/2 cup of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.

During the last minutes of cooking, add remaining tablespoon of butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and chives. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste. Serve with remaining grated Parmesan.

Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes. I could live off of mashed potatoes. My mom would probably tell you that I did when I was a teenager. These are the BEST mashed potatoes ever.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

From: The Pioneer Woman

5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and rinsed
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
3-5 heads of garlic
olive oil

Cut off just enough of the tops of the garls heads to expose all of the cloves. Drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of a pie plate and tilt until entire bottom is covered. Place garlic cloves in pie plate, cut sides up. Drizzle the exposed cloves of garlic with olive oil so they won't burn. When in doubt use a little more olive oil! Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to use Kosher Salt. Cover pie plate with foil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. After the garlic as cooled enough to handle, hold the head from the bottom and gently press the cloves out of the papery skin.

Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Drain water and return pot to the burner, mashing over low heat until a lot of the steam has escaped. Remove from heat. Mash in softened butter, cream cheese, half and half and salt to taste. Dump in 3-5 head of roasted garlic; mash in. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Matt's Quesadillas

Sometimes, after tending to the kids all day, the thought of making dinner just makes me want to go hide in a closet. On those occasions, Matt will lovingly step in and throw something together. Sadly, it's usually inedible. But on Sunday, he nailed it. The prosciutto really adds an amazing flavor to these quesadillas.

Matt's Quesadillas

corn tortillas
green onions, chopped
prosciutto, chopped
miscellaneous shredded cheeses (colby, monterrey jack, swiss, cheddar, etc)
olive oil

Heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of your pan. Place a corn tortilla (and because they're small, we were able to do 3 at once) into the heated pan. Throw down some assorted cheeses, onions and a Tbsp or so of chopped prosciutto. As soon as your cheese is melted, use your spatula to fold the tortilla in half. Cook till lightly browned on both sides, flipping as needed. We ate them plain, but they'd be amazing with some tomatoes or sour cream.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Manhattan Meatballs

The sauce on these meatballs was just too die for. The meatballs on the other hand were just a little thick for my tastes. So instead I substitute my favorite meatball recipe with a few adjustments to make this recipe just perfect.

Manhattan Meatballs

From: Blog Chef

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2/3 cup saltine cracker crumbs
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 cup milk
10 oz. apricot preserves
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

In a large bowl, combine beef, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Mix together and shape into meatballs.

Place meatballs on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees until browned on top but not cooked through. Once browned place meatballs into a casserole dish.

In a bowl, combine remaining barbecue sauce and apricot preserves. Double apricot preserves and barbecue sauce if you like a little more sauce, you won't be disappointed. Pour mixture over meatballs and bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicken Piccata

Jenny & I both made this recipe this week. And we both LOVED it. It became a contest to see who could post it on the blog first. I won. Neener, neener.

Chicken Piccata
from: Recipezaar

* 2 large lemons
* 1 1/2 lbs chicken cutlets or turkey cutlets or veal cutlets
* salt
* fresh ground pepper
* 1/2 cup flour
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large shallot, minced (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons drained small capers
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Halve one lemon lengthwise and slice one half crosswise into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices. Juice the remaining 1 1/2 lemons to obtain 1/4 cup juice. Salt & pepper each cutlet generously and coat each with flour.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, add 2 tbsp oil, saute half of the cutlets until medium brown (2 minutes per side). Transfer cutlets to warm plate. Add remaining oil and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Add shallot or garlic to pan over medium heat -- saute until fragrant (30 seconds). Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high and deglaze pan; simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup. Remove pan from heat, swirl in butter until it melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Butterscotch Ice Cream


Butterscotch Ice Cream

From: Sunset Magazine

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 tsp. bourbon (optional- I left it out)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half (next time I think I'll use half milk as this really coated the back of a spoon)
6 large egg yolks

In a 2 qt. saucepan, over medium heat, stir brown sugar and butter until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly, 3-4 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup whipping cream until smooth. Remove butterscotch mixture from heat. Add vanilla and bourbon, if using.

In a 3-4 qt. saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine remaining 1 cup whipping cream and the half and half; bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat egg yolks to blend. Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, then pour egg yolk mixture into the pan with the cream. Stir constantly over low heat, just until mixture is slightly thickened, 2-4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour through a fine strainer into a clean bowl and whisk in butterscotch mixture. Chill until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours or cover and chill up to 1 day.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Serve softly frozen or transfer to a container and put in freezer until firm.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Danish Puff

Hey Look, two recipes from Mom in two days! She must be famous.

And she is, round these parts. Especially for certain foods. Things like Coffee Cake, Sauerbraten & Spaetzles, Chimichangas and the list goes on. Perhaps we'll get around to making these recipes, but the reason my mom is famous for them is because they're so labor intensive that only SHE will undertake them. And only for special occasions.

Danish Puff is one of her special occasion foods. It was usually made for Christmas Breakfast. As my brother Andrew put it, "I always thought that Danish Puff required hours and hours of work because Mom would get up SO early in morning to make it. Turns out, Mom just likes to get up early, and Danish Puff is a cinch."

My husband claims Danish Puff is NOT a breakfast food. He strongly believes it to be a dessert and will only eat it as such. But not in my family; not with our history of sweet tooth.

Danish Puff
from Mom aka Ruth Solter

1/2 c butter, softened
1 c flour
2 Tbsp water

1/2 c butter
1 c water
1 tsp almond extract
1 c flour
3 eggs
1/4 c sliced, lightly toasted almonds (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1/2 c butter into 1 c flour until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle the 2 Tbsp water over flour mixture. Mix until pastry gathers into a ball. Divide into halves. Pat and press each half into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 3 inches on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place about 3 inches apart.

Heat 1/2 c butter and 1 c water to a rolling boil, and remove from heat. Quickly, stir in almond extract and 1 c flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about one minute. Remove from heat. Add eggs. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Spread half of topping over each crust rectangle. Bake until topping is crisp, puffed, and brown. About 40 minutes. Cool slightly. Topping will fall. Spread with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Sprinkle with almonds if desired.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1.5 c powdered sugar
2 T butter, softened
1.5 tsp vanilla
2 T warm water

Mix together the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Add water 1 tsp at a time to desired consistency.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Potato Pancakes

My mom makes amazing food. There are several meals that I remember from growing up as being amazing. This is one of my very favorites. I will purposely make too much mashed potatoes for dinner just so we can have these the next day.

Potato Pancakes

From: Mom

4 cups mashed potatoes left over from last night's dinner
1/4 cup flour
2-3 Tbs. onion, minced
2 eggs
salt & pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients. If batter it soupy add more flour. If it is too thick add a little milk or another egg. Melt margarine in the bottom of a skillet and press potato mixture in a pancake shape and fry until browned on the outsides and hot in the middle.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Corn Casserole

This is one of the few recipes I've made lately that come from an actual cookbook. I made this in lieu of cornbread, and it's always a huge hit for the kids. And of course, we adults like it as well.

This is definitely not a low-fat recipe, tho I think you could take some steps to make it healthier (low fat cream cheese, and sour cream, etc). I've included the nutritional information at the bottom because it was included in the cookbook.

Corn Casserole
from Easy Everyday Favorites

1 (8oz) container sour cream
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (8.5 oz) package corn bread mix (I used Martha White brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sour cream, butter, creamed corn, corn nibblets and corn muffing mix. Pour into a 1 quart casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes. Serves 9.

Amount per Serving: Calories: 323 Total Fat: 18.8g Cholesterol: 39mg Sodium: 693mg Total Carbs: 37.1g Dietary Fiber: 1.7g Protein: 5.2g

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

5 Minute Southwest Salad

I made this last week on a day I wasn't feeling good but the family still needed to eat. It is probably easier than jumping in the car to go get McDonalds, which is what we would have done otherwise. And I appologize for the haphazard look of the food on the plate but once again, I was not feeling well.

5 Minute Southwest Layered Salad

From: Kraft Foods

6 cups torn Romaine Lettuce (I didn't have any but had bagged salad and it was fine but not as good as with romaine)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
Shredded Cheddar
Ranch Dressing (not pictured because that was my plate and I hate ranch)
Tortilla Chips, broken

Layer desidered amounts of each ingredient and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Beef Vegetable Stew

I really loved that this was a Crock Pot recipe, so I didn't have to think about it all day, which was great because I had a busy day. I served this with Wheat Rolls (store-bought, I'm not a bread maker-typically) and butter and it was delicious! Perfect for the fall weather I'm pretending we're having.

Beef Vegetable Stew
from That's My Home

2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups peeled, cubed potatoes*
3 chopped carrots*
1-1/2 cups chopped onions*
2 cups tomato sauce
1 (10-3/4 oz) can beef broth, undiluted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf
1-1/4 each tsp dried marjoram and thyme (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and parsley in a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low setting for 9 to 10 hours. Stir occasionally.

Combine cornstarch with an equal amount water and stir until lump free. Add to stew and mix well. Cook for 1 more hour. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Note: Can use two packages of frozen stew vegetables in place of fresh vegetable is desired.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Pea Soup with Cheddar Scallion Panini

This was a really refreshing pea soup. I'm not a fan of split pea soup, and this was nothing like it. The soup was rich and creamy and my children loved it! Each asked for seconds and when you're talking about pea soup, that is nigh unto a miracle, eh?

I will add that it made WAY more than 4 servings worth of soup. I ended up freezing about half of it. We'll be having it some time this week for a quick and yummy dinner.

Green Pea Soup with Cheddar-Scallion Panini
from Dinner Tonight

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
* 3 boxes (10 ounces each) frozen peas
* 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)
* 8 slices rye sandwich bread (I used a crusty french bread)
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Add scallion whites, and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas, broth, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until peas are tender, about 5 minutes; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, toss cheddar with scallion greens. Make 4 sandwiches with cheddar mixture and bread.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low. Place sandwiches in skillet, and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adding remaining tablespoon butter to skillet to cook second side.
4. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth (filling blender only halfway to prevent spattering). If necessary, adjust consistency with a little bit of water. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Slice each panini into four "fingers," and serve with soup.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Asian Noodle Salad

This is the perfect summer meal. It is very refreshing, yet filling. The flavor of the dressing is to die for. I love making this salad because there is something about me that really just loves chopping and this salad involves a quite a bit of that.

Asian Noodle Salad

From: The Pioneer Woman

1 pkg. linquine, broken in half, cooked, rinsed, cooled
1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2-1 bag baby spinach
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
1 small bag mung bean sprouts (optional)
2 green onions, sliced
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
lots of chopped cilantro

juice of 1 lime
8 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. sesame oil
6 Tbs. soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. fresh ginger
3 cloved garlic
2 jalepenos, seeded and coarsely chopped
lots of chopped cilantro

Toss salad ingredients together.

Place, fresh ginger, garlic, jalepenos and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Add remaining dressing ingredients and pulse until combined. Serve over salad. (Some people like to toss the entire salad with the dressing. Keep in mind that leftovers will be soggy if you do this. And you will have leftovers!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Aw, Shucks.

I just wanted to tell all those within the "sound" of my voice how blown away we are by everyone who has been kind enough to let me know they read this blog.

Both Jenny & I really and honestly started this blog simply as a way to share our recipes with each other. We are SO thrilled that so many of you are actually making these recipes! And liking them!

I think I speak for Jenny (and if I don't, don't worry, she'll let me know!) when I say that we are open to suggestions! If you have made one of our recipes and didn't care for it, let us know! If you changed something to suit your tastes, feel free to email us (or leave it in the comments).

But mostly, if you have a recipe that you're DYING to share with us, we'd LOVE to try it! You can email me through my profile here.

We have some exciting things we've been talking about starting here, so stay tuned.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eggplant Marinara Pasta Casserole


Eggplant Marinara Pasta Casserole

From: Elizabeth's Edible Experience

6 cups Eggplant (about 1 lb.) cubed in 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 ounce pancetta, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 lb. uncooked penne
1 cup shredded mozzarella (original recipe called for fontina but I was feeling cheap)
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange eggplant on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tsp. kosher salt and let stand 15 minutes. Pat dry with additional paper towels. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring after 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool.

Cook pancetta in a dutch oven (or if your like me, a large frying pan) over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, oil and garlic to pan and cook for 6 minutes or until onion is lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add wine to the pan and cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen bowned bits. Stir in basil, oregano, remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; partially cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in eggplant.

Cook pasta and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add pasta and reserved water to tomato mixture, stir well. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Pulse the parmesan in a food processor about 5 times. Mix parmesan and your bread crumbs; sprinkle over top of the mozzarella.

Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mom's Macaroni & Cheese

Growing up, this was the Macaroni & Cheese we ate. Rarely, did we know the simplicity of Kraft's cheese dust.

I was recently talking to my mom and she was telling me about how some ladies will add Velveeta (VOMIT!) to their cheese sauce and well, basically just mucking around with perfection. If you like creamy Mac & Cheese, this recipe is not for you. This is a rustic, eggy, baked Mac & Cheese... and it's my favorite.

Mom's Macaroni & Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 pound cheddar cheese (shredded)
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, chopped finely (I usually do 1/2 a medium onion)
3/4 c milk

Boil your macaroni according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain macaroni. Combine all ingredients in a oven-safe bowl or casserole dish. Cook for about 1/2 hour, stirring after 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Orange Chicken

This was even better than I was imagining it would be. I never need to order this from a restaurant ever again. After I took the picture and tasted it, I remembered that these are best drenched in the sauce. And oh baby were they ever good.


Orange Chicken

From: BlogChef

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
oil for frying

Orange Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbs. orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbs. green onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. water

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg and shake in flour mixture to coat. Deep fry chicken in batches with oil at 375 degrees in fryer or use wok until completely cooked.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 1/4 cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and onion. Bring to a boil. Combine 3 Tbs. cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and mix. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken. garnish with green onions and red pepper flakes if desired.