Tuesday, September 30, 2008

White Chili

This was really wonderful. It helped me to pretend that it wasn't 90-something degrees outside. I've made white chili before, but this was WAY better than any of the other recipes I've tried.

White Chili

from My Kitchen Cafe

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (we only used one can and it was PLENTY spicy for us wimps)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips. Makes about 4 servings.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marinated Vegetable Salad


Marinated Vegetable Salad

1 can (15 oz.) Le Sueur Peas
1 can (15 oz.) "Shoe Peg" corn
1 can (15 oz.) French Style green beans, chopped
1 small jar chopped pimento
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2-3 green onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 extra light tasting olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder

Drain and mix together the first 4 ingredients. Add the next 4 ingredients.

Heat together the sugar, vinegar and oil until the sugar dissolves. Add garlic powder. Pour the heated mixture over the vegetables. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator over night. Good as a salad or served with tortilla chips as a dip.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pear Custard Pie

This was completely gone in a very short period of time. And I'm dying to get to the store for more pears. I've never really been a big fan of pears because I didn't know what to do with them! Now, I've got this go-to recipe. The thing is that it wasn't SO sweet that it would make you sick if you ate oh, say... half the pan by yourself. Which is why I probably ate half the pan, by myself.

Pear Custard Pie by Martha Stewart
via Katherine

* 3 Comice or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced
* 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch pie dish. Peel, halve, and core 3 Comice or Bartlett pears; slice 1/4 inch thick lengthwise. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in dish.
2. In a blender, process 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 1/3 cup each granulated sugar and all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth.
3. Pour batter over pears; bake until golden and firm to touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chinese Green Beans

These were absolutely fabulous. They were such an easy side dish to add to the meal, which is important to me because I have a hard time remembering to make side dishes as I get so focused on the main dish.

Chinese Green Beans
From: BlogChef
1 lb. fresh greenbeans, washed, strings removed and ends trimmed
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Place beans over boiling water in a vegetable steamer. (For me this is my rice cooker with a little wire rack in the bottom). Cover and steam 5 minutes. (I wish I would have steamed mine a bit longer) Drain and dump into cold water, drain again.
Add oil to a wok or large frying pan. Add garlic and ginger; saute 30 seconds. Add beans and saute for about 5 minutes.
Combine 2 Tbs. water with cornstarch, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and sesame oil; mix well. Add mixture to beans and stir fry for another 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pop-Up Pancakes

This is another recipe that comes from my blogless friend Melinda. She had us over for dinner on Friday night and made these, which I'd never before had the pleasure of having. I'm told they're also referred to as "Popeye Pancakes" or "German Pancakes." When I made them, I had two VERY ripe peaches to use up. They were perfect on top of these. And the real shocker here is that I actually made them for breakfast. Yes, we had a hot breakfast. It was a miracle.

Melinda says you can make them in a 9x13 pan or other high sided baking dish, but I loved the way they looked in the muffin tin. Little bites of happiness.

Pop-Up Pancakes
from Melinda

6 eggs
1 c flour
1 c milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs till frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix till smooth. Pour into well-greased muffin tins or 9x13 pan. For muffin tins, only fill about 1/2 to 2/3rds full. Bake 15-20 minutes for muffin tin or 25-30 minutes for 9x13 pan.

Top with whatever makes your mouth happy. We did pancake syrup, powdered sugar and peaches.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Bars

These were fabulous. I didn't have any fresh blueberries, so I just used frozen and they were still divine.
Blueberry Crumb Bars

From: AllRecipes

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x 13 pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and zest. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the bottom of your prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstach and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Crunchy Veg Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

This was seriously yummy. Very filling. My kids, well. For example, Abbie put one bite in her mouth and said, "Ew!" and then wouldn't touch it. She didn't care for the dressing. But liked the salad without the dressing. Apparently, she's not a fan of Tahini. But I am. And I loved the dressing.

The only thing I might do differently next time is to omit the parsley from the salad. I wasn't real fond of it, here.

Crunchy Veg Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
from Food Blogga

1 large head romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise
1 large carrot, sliced on the diagonal
2 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium apple of your choice, chopped
1/2 cup jicama, chopped (omitted, couldn't find)
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, and sliced into half moons
3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup raisins
3 tablespoons toasted shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons toasted chopped almonds
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I added a bit more)
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
several shakes of salt
2-4 tablespoons water, or as much as needed

In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients (except water). Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Pour dressing over salad and toss until well coated. Garnish with additional parsley, coconut, and/or almonds, if desired.

Feel free to add some grilled chicken, turkey, or tofu for added protein.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Deep Dish Pizza

Jason loves home made pizza. I'm usually just so-so about it. I loved this. The filling added so much flavor. I mean the sauce, ooooh the sauce.

Would you just look at the filling oozing out. I can almost smell it now.

Deep Dish Pizza

From: BlogChef

2 packages of your favorite pizza crust or homemade

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. garlic
1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes (I used petite diced because it is what I had)
3 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. red wine

1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked
1 package pepperonis (I surely didn't use anywhere near this much)
1 can sliced mushrooms (I left these out)
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped in large chunks
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 lbs. mozzarella cheese
1 Tbs. cornmeal

To make sauce, saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, minced onion, basil, oregano, salt, sugar and wine; mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thicken. (Just make sure you do it long enough. If you notice in my picture the sauce ran a little more than I would have liked)

Lightly grease a 10" spring form pan. Sprinkle cornmeal on bottom of pan. Roll out 3/4 of dough into a flat cirle so it's 3-4 inches bigger than the pan all of the way around. Place into pan letting it hang over the edges.

Spoon in half of the sauce, then all of the italian sausage, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Top with half of the mozzarella. Roll out remaining dough and place on top of the filling. Crimp the edges together with the bottom dough. Baking in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the pizza and add remaining sauce and cheese to the top half. Bake for an additional 1o minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tilapia Parmesan

I was a little worried about using Tilapia as it is typically very boring, flavor-wise. However, I needn't have worried. What the tilapia lacked in flavor, the cheese mixture more than made up for. I think next time, I'll skimp on the mayonnaise a bit as I don't think it needed quite that much. But it really was very yummy and not fishy tasting AT ALL. My children all requested 2nds.

Tilapia Parmesan
from Recipezaar
* 2 lbs tilapia fillets (orange roughy, cod or red snapper can be substituted)
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
* 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
* 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt (I like Old Bay seasoning here)
* 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
* black pepper
* 1 dash hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Lay fillets in pan in single layer. Brush the top of the fillets with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, butter, mayonnaise, onions and seasonings. Mix well with a fork. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven for 10-20 minutes or until the fish just begins to flake. Spread the cheese mixture on the tops of the fish. Cook about 5 minutes or until cheese is browned. Do not overcook.

Side suggestions: Rice. Steamed Veggies. I'm terrible at sides. Anyone have a suggestion?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Strawberry Muffins

These were so delicious. The strawberry butter really makes these muffins. The original recipe called for toasted pecans, but I had a 3 year old helper in the kitchen and I got sidetracked and burned my pecans, so I just substituted in some oatmeal for the pecans in the streusel and I'm convinced that it was meant to be.

Strawberry Muffins

From: Blogchef

1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped and lightly tossed in 2 Tbs. flour

1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbs. butter, melted

Strawberry Butter:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin tin. Mix together all streusel ingredients and set aside.

Mix together for the muffins the cups flour, cup sugar, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl mix milk, melted butter, beaten eggs and vanilla. Gently mix this into the flour mixture. Fold in the lightly floured strawberries.

Pour batter into muffin cups and top with streusel mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare strawberry butter by thoroughly mixing butter and powdered sugar. Fold in chopped stawberries. Chil until needed and soften before serving. Spread on inside of halved muffins.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Key Lime Meltaways

Dear Martha Stewart. I love you.

Now, I know that my key limes look like they're on their way out, but I learned was that a ripe key lime is a yellow key lime. Apparently, the same goes for regular Persian limes as well.

These cookies are perfection. The only downside is that they are so small that you can easily put away 10 without batting an eye. Also, they must be eaten with a glass of milk. Mmm... milk. I'll be making these again soon as my husband has requested them for the fundraising bake sale his work is holding.

Key Lime Meltaways
Adapted from Martha Stewart

You can make these with regular limes as well, but if you run into some key limes, they’re worth it.

You can also keep the logs frozen for up to two months.
Yield: 5 dozen

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Grated zest of 4 tiny or 2 large key limes
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (a.k.a. 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.

3. Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour. (I'm impatient so I froze it for 20 minutes.)

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

5. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, just three or four minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicken Breasts with Pepper-Potato Ragout

This was a definite comfort food recipe, perfect for the upcoming winter months.

Chicken Breasts with Pepper-Potato Ragout

From: Martha Stewart

2 Tbs. olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cut mine into strips)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 med. red onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 red peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves (optional) (I just sprinkled in some crushed rosemary)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup whole fresh parsley leaves (next time I will chop these)

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium low heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in skillet, turning to brown all sides, 18-20 minutes. Remove chicken.

Add onions, peppers, potatoes, rosemary (if using), and 1/2 cup water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cover skillet, and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to soften, 8-10 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet; add tomatoes. Cover skillet and cook until chicken is opaque throughout and potatoes are tender, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving plates. Stir parsley into vegetables and chicken. Serve.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Broccoli Calzones

The Dinner Tonight people tout this as being freeze-able. I did have one extra calzone that I threw in the freezer. Maybe I'll cook it sometime this week and see how it holds up?

Broccoli Calzones
from: Dinner Tonight

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* Flour, for rolling dough
* 2 packages (1 pound each) balls fresh or frozen pizza dough, thawed if frozen
* 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 1/2 cups shredded (6 ounces) part-skim mozzarella cheese
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* Prepared tomato sauce (optional)
* 1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broccoli, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form calzones: Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, stretch each piece out, first to a 3-by-4-inch oval, then stretch again, this time to a 6-by-8-inch oval. (Let dough rest a few minutes if too elastic to work with.)I just made rectangles because I'm not so worried about appearances.
3. Stir cheeses into cooled broccoli mixture; season generously with salt and pepper. Assemble calzones: Spread a rounded 1/2 cup broccoli mixture over half of each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; fold over to form a half-moon. Press edges to seal. With a paring knife, cut 2 slits in the top of each calzone.
4. Using a wide metal spatula with a thin blade, transfer calzones to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper; reshape if needed.
5. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, if desired.
6. To freeze: Prepare recipe through step 3. Tightly wrap each calzone in plastic; freeze until firm. Transfer calzones to resealable plastic bags; label and date. Freeze up to 2 months. To serve, unwrap calzones, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets; bake without thawing until golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas

"It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart!" That is all I have to say about this recipe

Linguine and Proscuitto Frittatas

From: Giada de Laurentiis

1/2 lb. linguine pasta
7 lg. eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
6 oz. diced proscuitto (I used 3 oz. and it was plenty, 6 would have been WAY to much)
1 cup smoke mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 cup Asiago Cheese, grated
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta into a colander. While still in the colander, use kitchen sheers to cut the linguine into smaller pieces. The pasta should measure about 3 cups.

In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, cream, and mascarpone. Blend until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the cut pasta, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, Asiago cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Stir until the ingredients are combined. Using a 1/3 cup measurer, fill each of the muffin tins until both the pasta and liquid are at the top. Bake until firm and cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from the tin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Texas Sheet Cake aka Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

My best friend in the world (if your bring over treats, you too, can earn this title), Melinda brought over a piece or two (or 6) of this cake last week and I was beyond smitten. And apparently, scarfing her pieces just wasn't enough for me. I had to have my OWN.

It was so good that I made an entire 9x13 pan and FORCED my husband to take all but 4 pieces to work the next day. I ate 3 of the aforementioned left home pieces.

Texas Sheet Cake
from Melinda (she claims it comes from the Betty Crocker cookbook)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c butter
1/3 c cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1.5 tsp vanilla

1/4 c butter
3 T cocoa
3 T buttermilk (I might use a bit more)
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Grease a 15X10X1-inch or jelly roll pan or a 13X9X2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. With an electric hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a 350° oven about 25 minutes for the 15X10-inch pan or 35 minutes for the 13X9-inch pan, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Pour warm chocolate frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly. Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.
Makes 24 servings.

In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons buttermilk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. If desired, stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Honey Peach Ice Cream with Maple Tuiles

This ice cream was so yummy. The maple tuiles truly add something special to the flavor. As well, they add a little crunch. Tab called them ice cream chips and it fit.

Honey Peach Ice Cream

From: Pete Bakes

4 large ripe peaches
1/4 cup honey
1 cup whole milk (I used 2 %)
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Chop 2 of the peaches into 1/2" chunks and toss in a small saucepan. Add the honey and bring to a boil over a low heat. Cover the pan and cook until the peaches are soft, about 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside.

Bring milk and cream to a boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and sugar until blended in a beatproof bowl. Drizzle in a litt of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs; make sure they don't curdle. Slowly add the rest of the milk mixture. Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan and heat while stirring until it thickens. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and stir in the vanilla and peach puree.

Regrigerate the custard until chilled. Scrape into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. While the ice cream in churning, dice the remaining 2 peaches into fingertip sized pieces and add them just before ice cream is thickened. When ice cream is ready, pack into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours or until it is firm.

Maple Tuiles

1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. flour

Beat the butter and brown sugar and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, mixing until incorborated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and regrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Roll small bits of dough between your palms to form small balls, about the size of marbles and place them a few inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees until they are golden brown and honeycombed.

Remove from the oven and let them sit fo about a minute and immediately lift them from the sheets with a thin metal spatula. (They have to be cooled just enough to be able to hold together but not so much that they are already brittle). Quickly lay them on a rolling pin or slender bottle to form them into curves. If they stick or harden too quickly on the sheet, place them back in the over for less than a minute and they will loosed up again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spinach Pie

I was a bit nervous aboout this recipe mostly because it's unlike anything I've ever made before. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, let alone the kids. But I was pleasantly surprised. It's very Greek, what with all the spinach and the feta and the phyllo dough. And I was a bit concerned about us actually finishing the entire thing. However, I needn't have worried. Even the leftovers were yummy.

This is another recipe from Martha Stewart's Dinner Tonight blog. I've really enjoyed every recipe I've tried from there so far, and they're not super snooty, which I love. However, they give you the quantities to make two pies (one intending to be frozen and cooked later) but I didn't want to make a second pie, so I'm posting just the recipe for one pie.

Spinach Pie
from Dinner Tonight

* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 3 packages frozen chopped spinach, (10 ounces each), thawed and squeezed dry
* 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
* 1 teaspoons dried dill
* 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 4 ounces frozen phyllo sheets, thawed and thinly sliced


1. Make the filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and 1 teaspoons salt; cook until garlic is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in spinach, feta, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, dill, 1 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fold in eggs until combined.
3. Place mixture into a 9-inch springform pans or 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plates; press firmly to flatten.
4. Make the topping: In a large bowl, gently toss sliced phyllo to separate, then toss with remaining 1/4 cup oil until coated (I used 1/4 cup, and thought it was WAY too much oil. I'd half it, at least).
5. Cover the tops evenly and completely with the phyllo dough. (To freeze, cover pies tightly with plastic wrap, being careful not to flatten topping. Bake within 3 months; do not thaw first.)
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes for frozen pie (30 minutes for unfrozen pie).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cafe Rio Burritos

This recipe makes A LOT of chicken or pork and rice. I always end up freezing meat and rice for another two meals. It is fantastic! We usually make the pork because it is sweet and oh so amazing.

Cafe Rio Burritos

From: Hot Out of the Oven

For Chicken Burritos:
5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle zesty italian dressing
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. Cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced

Mix ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on high for 5-7 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Pour juice over shredded chicken. Keep warm.

For Pork Burritos:
3.5 lbs. Pork Roast
1 8 oz. jar of salsa(I like a mango peach salsa but regular is still divine)
1 Tbs. cumin
1 cup brown sugar
1 can coke (NOT diet)

Put pork roasts in crockpot and cook 6 hrs on low. 3 hours before done, add remaining ingredients. Shred and keep with juices. Keep warm.

Lime Rice:

6 2/3 cups water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
2 cans (4.5 oz.) diced green chiles
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cups rice

Bring above ingredients to a boil in a large pot. As soon as it boils, turn heat to med-low and cover. Cook 20 minutes or until water is all absorbed and rice is cooked.

2 Tbs. butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

Saute above ingredients in a saucepan. Add to cooked rice.

Pico de Gallo:
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine Pico ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

Tomatillo Dressing:
1 pkg. Buttermilk ranch dressing mix (can use regular ranch mix if you can't find this, but it does make a little difference.)
1 cup buttermilk (I always use 1 Tbs. cider vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1 cup mayo
1-2 tomatillos
1/2-1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1/3 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/2-1 small jalepeno, seeds removed, chopped.

Coarsely chop tomatillos, garlic, cilantro and jalepeno and place in food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped very finely. Combine mixture with remaining ingredients. Serve over burritos.

Serve also with cheese, black beans, guacamole, etc.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes

The first time I made these, we had some of my husband's friends over. They were devoured so quickly that I didn't even get a chance to take a picture! They make a wonderful side dish.

Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes
from Ryan via Pioneer Woman

1 handful fresh Italian Parsley
1 handful fresh basil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8 Roma tomatoes
1.5 cups ricotta cheese (approximately)
plain bread crumbs
kosher salt
olive oil

Start out by washing and halving your Roma tomatoes lengthwise. After halving, "gut" the insides with a spoon (the seeds, etc). Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt inside each tomato half. Discard the guts and lay the tomatoes face down on a paper towel.

Chop up your herbs and garlic and mix with ricotta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Next, fill each tomato half with the ricotta mixture. Pour your bread crumbs onto a plate. Take each tomato half and dip it face side down into the bread crumbs, coating the entire open face with crumbs. Place face side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle each tomato with a tiny bit of olive oil. Place in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Roasted Peach Streusel

If you hadn't already noticed this, I have yet to post a dessert that contains chocolate. I hate to inform you, but I likely never will. Ok, I changed my mind, perhaps at Christmas. Why the disdain for chocolate? It is not mine, but my husband's issue to explain. However, because of his distaste for chocolate it is very rarely found in my house and I wouldn't know how to cook with it anymore, if I had it.
Roasted Peach Streusel

From: Epicurious

5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, divided
4 Medium peaches, halved and pitted
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted, cooled (Next time I will used sliced. It's a texture thing)
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup the 1 Tbs. sugar divided (Next time I'm going to use 1/3 cup brown sugar, my husband claimed the white sugar made it too sweet. I was fine with the sweetness, but then again I am a Solter)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle 2 Tbs. butter over the bottom of a 9 inch backing dish and arrange peach halves cut side up.

Pulse almonds, flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and remaining 3 Tbs. butter in a food processor until clumps form. Top peaches with this mixture and bake until peaches are tender and streusel is browned, about 20 minutes. (If it browns too quickly, loosely cover with foil)

Meanwhile whip cream with almond extract and remaining 1 Tbs. of sugar until it holds soft peaks. Serve peaches warm with cream.

Salmon with Mango Salsa

This meal was exceptionally easy and really yummy. Confession: I've never cooked anything under the broiler before. I was SHOCKED at how amazingly easy it was! Definitely doing this again. And the salsa in this was so so so good. So light and refreshing. Loved it.

Salmon with Mango Salsa
from: Dinner Tonight
* 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
* 1 jalapeno chile, minced (ribs and seeds included for more heat, if desired)
* 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 cup)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 1 small cucumber, peeled, and diced (about 1 cup)
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 4 skinless salmon fillets, (6 ounces each)


1. In a medium bowl, combine salsa ingredients, season with coarse salt and ground pepper.
2. Heat broiler. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Arrange salmon on a rimmed baking sheet, broil 4 inches from heat source until filets are opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. To serve, place fillets on serving plates, and spoon salsa over fish. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Asian Rotisserie Noodle Salad

This was super tasty and light. It was perfect for making it seem like summer is still lingering just a little bit longer. The dressing has quite the nice zing to it.

Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad

From: Martha Stewart

2 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and soft stems
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Course salt and ground pepper
4 cups rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
1/4 medium red cabbage, core and thinly sliced
1 Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces (I only used about 1/4 of a head)
1/2 cup cashews

Make Dressing: In a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, bell pepper, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, toss lettuce with 1/2 cup dressing. (I didn't do this. I just drizzled each individual bowl with dressing. This is because I wasn't planning on consuming the entire dish in one sitting and didn't want the veggies and such to get soggy and nasty in the fridge). Divide among bowls and top with chicken mixture. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with cashews.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Turkey & Vegetable Hand Pies

A couple of things that I really loved about this recipe. First, it was good. Really good. Second, making the dough in the food processor was so easy. Definitely doing that again! Third: The filling would be great over rice, or pasta even. I had some leftover that wouldn't fit in my pies (note: make 1.5x the dough), and my husband ate the filling with some croissants for lunch at work the next day. I didn't expect to like these as much as I did, but I did.

(Sorry for the not so great picture, we had people over and were eating immediately.)

Turkey & Vegetable Hand Pies
from: Dinner Tonight

* 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled, cut into chunks
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 small onion, minced
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
* 1 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean, dark meat)
* 1 box (9 ounces) frozen French-cut green beans, thawed, squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup heavy cream

1. In a food processor, combine flour, butter, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. While pulsing, gradually add ice water, until a dough begins to form. Turn onto a piece of plastic wrap, and pat into a 1-inch-thick square. Wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrot is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add green beans and cream; cook until sauce is slightly thickened and green beans are tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll chilled dough into a 16-inch square; cut into 4 equal squares. Dividing evenly, place filling on one half of each square, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the filling. Brush border with water; fold dough over filling to enclose completely. Press edges to seal, then crimp with a fork. With the tip of a paring knife, cut 2 to 3 small vents on top. Transfer pies to two rimmed baking sheets; bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Key Lime Pie, Attempt 1

Again we visit my love of the lime. Last Saturday, we went to the Farmer's Market here in Orlando. Yes, there's really only one. I couldn't stop drooling over the site of all that glorious fresh produce. So, I purchased a bucket of Key Limes.

I also happened to pick up How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It contains a bunch of what look to be (since this is my first attempt) delicious recipes. It contains not one, not two, but THREE recipes for Key Lime pies. The stars aligned.

In her introduction to the recipe, Nigella (we're on a first-name basis) states, "although there is little chance of using fresh key limes..." Ha! I've got them here in my hot little hands, Nigella! So take that! The point is that you don't have to use key limes. Regular limes are just fine (and won't leave your fingers cramping from juicing them.)

Now, I think my lack of a decent mixer is where I screwed this recipe up. I mean, it was delicious, and we had NO PROBLEM devouring it. However, I'm fairly certain it's supposed to be taller than 3/4 of an inch. I *think* I needed to beat the egg whites longer. And well, my arm was tired. So, don't be like me. Beat your eggs longer.

Key Lime Pie

for the crust:
3/4 c plus 2T graham crackers
1/4 c softened butter
1 tsp cocoa (She suggested this in her notes on the recipe, I'm not sure 1 tsp is enough to make the crust taste chocolatey)
9 inch springform pan

for the filling:
5 large egg yolks
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
zest of 3 limes
1/2 c plus 2T lime juice (4-5 limes or 25 key limes)
3 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and put in a baking sheet.

Put the graham crackers and butter into the food processor and blitz till all's reduced to oily crumbs. Press these into the pan, lining the bottom and going a little way up the sides, and chill while you get on with the rest.

Beat the egg yolks until thick, add the can of condensed milk, grated zest, and the lime juice. Whisk the egg whites separately until soft peaks form, then fold gently into the yolk mixture. Pour into the lined pan and cook for 25 minutes, when the filling should be firm. It may puff up and then, on cooling, fall, but that's the deal. Leave to cool on a rack before unmolding, and chill well.

I have several other recipes and more key limes waiting. Aren't you lucky?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Roasted Balsamic Chicken


Roasted Balsamic Chicken

From: Sweetnicks

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 lbs. chicken thighs

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrett and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag, seal the bag and toss to coat. Regrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. I just put it straight into the pan because I don't usually plan far enough ahead to let the chicken marinate. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from the bag and arange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Serve over rice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Apple-Broccoli Salad

This recipe was wonderfully delicious. It does originally call for 1 cup of mayonnaise, and considering that we're trying to eat healthier around here, that was just WAY too much. So, instead of 1 cup of mayo, I only did 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and supplemented with 1/2 cup of yogurt. It was perfect! My 2 year old son ate all the broccoli and left the apples and raisins. Weird kid.

This would be the perfect dish to take to a potluck dinner or summer BBQ.

Apple-Broccoli Salad

4 c broccoli florets
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted
2 Lg Red Delicious Apples
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 c mayo
1/2 c plain yogurt
1/2 or less c sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Make sauce in a small bowl by combining the mayo, yogurt, sugar and vinegar. Pour sauce over broccoli mixture. Stir to coat. Cover & chill until time to eat!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lemon Parmigianno Chicken

This recipe had a little tang to it between the wine and the lemon juice. It was perfect. I doubled the sauce from the original recipe as we like a little sauce for ou rice too. The quantities below are doubled.

Lemon Parmigianno Chicken

From: Sweetnicks

6 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Vermouth (I used white wine)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 Tbs. Butter, melted
2 tsp. rubbed sage
2 tsp. garlic, minced
8 small chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
3 Tbs. fresh grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the lemon juice, wine, mustard, butte, sage and garlic. Place chicken in a baking dish. Pour lemon mixture over top. Srinkle with parmesan, salt and pepper. Bak until done, about 45 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Molasses Spice Cookies

I'm a HUGE fan of Gingersnaps, but if you've ever tried to find some at the store, they have approximately ONE brand. And they're not all that great. I happened upon this recipe this week which just blew me away (and earned me compliments from my husband's boss!) from Cook's Illustrated.

If you like gingersnaps, you will NOT be disappointed.

Molasses Spice Cookies

2.25 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
12 T (1.5 sticks) butter
1/2 c dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
1/2 c Sugar plus 1/3 c for rolling
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c molasses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves & allspice. Set aside. With mixer, cream butter for 2 min. Add brown sugar, and 1/2 c sugar. Beat 3 min. Add egg, vanilla, & molasses. Beat til combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until combined. (Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until dough is easily rolled.) Roll into balls & roll in the 1/3 c sugar. Bake 11-13 minutes. If you overbake, they won't be soft. I take them out at exactly 11 minutes. I like 'em soft.

My hints/suggestions/alterations from the original recipe are in italics (as they will be from now on.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fettucine Paolo

Fettucine Paolo

Fettucine Paolo

1 1/3 cup red bell pepper, thinly slice
4 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 pkg fettuccine
1 1/3 cup chicken stock
4 tsp. basalmic vinegar
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (I chopped mine up really small because I don't like big pieces)
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts with liquid
1 1/2 cup grilled chicken sliced
2 Tbs. fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tsp. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers and cook 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic ans sute for 30 seconds. Add stock and vinegar, bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half. Add sun dried tomatoes, artichokes with liquid, chicken and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. In large pot cook fettuccine and drain. Add to pasta sauce and mix thoroughly. Top with parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Frozen Watermelon Lime Bars

These were out of control yummy. A perfect summer treat. My husband begged me to just let him eat the watermelon sorbet, but I made him hold out for the finished product and I do believe it was worth it. The original recipe, (which I didn't write down where I got this one from), called for tequila and that just isn't our thing, so I just left it out and it was fine. Next time I will be ommiting the seeds. The recipe said to blend the watermelon seeds and all, but I just don't like the texture that they added, then again, there were a ton of seends in my melon.

Watermelon lime bars

Frozen Watermelon Lime Bars

For Sorbet
1 (2 1/2 lbs.) piece of watermelon
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

For Lime Semefreddo:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

To make Sorbet: Line a 9" square baking dish with plastic wrap, making sure to leave so plasic wrap hanging over the edge, so it can be removed. Put lined pan in freezer.

Coarsely chop watermelon flesh, then puree enough to yield 2 1/2 cups in a blender. Add sugar and lime juice and bland for 30 seconds.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream maker. Transfer to lined baking dish, smoothing top. Put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.

To make Semifreddo: Whisk together condensed milk, zest, and juice. Beat cream until is just holds stiff peaks, then gently fold into condensed milk mixture.

Spread over sorbet, smoothing top. Freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. To serve, lift dessert from pan using plastic wrap. Cut into 12 bars and serve on chilled plates. (The chilled plates are important if you don't want the sorbet melting right away as you can see in my picture).