Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cappuccino Biscotti

Cappuccino biscotti

2 cups flour
2 envelopes of cappuccino mix (I used Nescafe instant)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of finely chopped nuts (I used pecans, hazelnuts would be great, too!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in dry ingredients; flour, cappuccino mix, baking powder and salt. Stir in nuts.  Divide dough into 2 equal portions.  Shape into 2 logs approximately 14 inches long, (I use a floured surface and sort of roll and shape them) and place on cookie sheet covered with parchment (about 2 inches apart).  Bake 25 minutes at 325, or until lightly browned.  Remove from cookie sheet, cool about 5-10 minutes.  Put on large cutting board, and slice the logs on a diagonal about 3/4 inches wide.  Place on cookie sheet, and bake again for about 10 minutes, or until slightly dry. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Trash for Christmas!

White Trash - Funny Name, Great Snack!

4 1/2 cups of Cheerios cereal
4 1/2 cups of Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups of Corn Chex
2 1/2 cups of small pretzels (I use alphabet letters - at Wegmans)
2 cups of lightly salted roasted peanuts
1 lb. bag of Holiday colored M & Ms
2 bags of white chocolate chips, or one large bag
3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
Put oil in large glass bowl.  Add chocolate, and melt in the microwave for approximately 1 minute.  Stir.  Continue to melt about 1 more minute.  Do not overcook - white chocolate burns easily!  Once it is mostly melted, take it out and stir - the remaining morsels will melt each other.  Add peanut butter and stir till blended.  Mix all remaining ingredients together in a very large bowl.  I have a big Tupperware bowl with a cover I use for this - a 32 cup size.  Pour melted chocolate mixture over all, and stir well to coat.  Spread wax paper on the counter (several sheets - this makes a lot!) and let dry.  Break into pieces and ENJOY!  PS - This white trash won the white trash contest in Susan's DECA class at Mercy.  Just sayin'!  This is also great at Halloween or Valentine's day parties.  Thank goodness for the Holiday colored M & M's!

Sugared Pecans

Sugared Pecans for Christmas

1/2 cup butter, (1 stick) melted
2 egg whites - room temperature
1 cup sugar
dash of salt
4 cups (1 pound bag) of good quality pecan halves (I get the Delta Gamma ones from Georgia right before the holidays - yum!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Beat egg whites at room temperature until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and salt, beating until very stiff.  Fold in pecans.  Spread pecan mixture in greased pan, (use some melted butter).  Drizzle the remaining butter as evenly as possible over pecans.  Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes, tossing and turning pecans about every 10 minutes or so to allow the pecans to brown evenly.  When finished, the nuts should be browned and all butter is absorbed.  Remove nuts and cool on wax paper.  Store in airtight container.  These are great to just eat, for hostess gifts (I wowed my then future mother-in-law with these years ago, and are fantastic on Christmas salads as a crunchy, sweet topping. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kielbasa Chowder

Kielbasa Chowder, with potatoes, corn, and red bell peppers

(Sarah's soup!)

1/2 package of turkey kielbasa, quartered and sliced
1/2 of a large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 small to medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
about 32 ounces of chicken stock or broth (I used the low salt, non fat variety)
3 medium red potatoes, unpeeled and cubed into bite sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 cups (about a half a package) of frozen corn kernels
1 cup of half and half
1/4 cup of freshly chopped parsley

In a large soup pot on medium heat, combine sausage, onion, garlic and bell pepper.  Saute until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.  Use olive oil if needed.  Add the chicken broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add corn, half and half, and parsley and simmer, uncovered until flavors are blended - about 5-10 minutes longer. 

Recipe from The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana  Vollstedt

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like fresh, US shrimp)
1/4 cup of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of chopped peppers (mix up red, yellow, and green)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups of fresh or frozen sliced okra
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons of Cajun spice mix, like Bayou Blast
3 cups cooked rice
1 103/4 ounce can of cream of shrimp soup
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (red if you like it hot, black if not)
1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese
1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion, peppers, and garlic.  sautee about 5 minutes, or till tender.  Stir in okra, lemon juice, bayou blast, saute another few minutes.  Add shrimp, and cook till shrimp turn pink (3 minutes).  Stir in rice, soup, wine, soy sauce, and pepper.  Pour into a lightly greased (PAM) 13 x 9 casserole dish.  Sprinkle with Romano cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or till casserole is bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ice Cream Cake

David's favorite Birthday dessert - Ice Cream Cake

This is another classic recipe, one I got from a friend - Cindy Swift.  It has become one of my family's favorite treats.  You can change the cake by changing the flavor ice cream - simple!
30 Oreo sandwich cookies, reduced to crumbs in food processor
1/3 cup of melted butter
2 containers of vanilla ice cream (size - USED to be a 1/2 gallon, now 1.5 quarts)
1 jar of hot fudge (I use Mrs. Richardson's)
1 8 oz container of cool whip (light or regular)
colorful sprinkles
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with PAM.  Use a pan with a lid if possible.  Mix the crushed oreo crumbs with the melted butter.  Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Freeze for 20 minutes.  Have the ice cream in the frig, then the counter during this time to soften it for easy handling.  Spread the softened ice cream over the crust.  Again, freeze for 20 minutes.  Microwave the fudge for 30-50 seconds, and spread as evenly as possible over the ice cream.  Freeze for 20 minutes.  Top with the cool whip and sprinkles.  Freeze.  Remove the cake from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving so it is easier to cut.  I generally use vanilla ice cream for this cake, but mint chocolate chip works very well, too. 

Breakfast Casserole

A Classic - Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole.  This easy dish is a standard on holidays for me.  You can make it the night ahead, put it in the refrigerator, and everyone can heat up a slice in less than 30 seconds in the microwave when the wake up for breakfast.  Here's the recipe:

1 8 oz can of crescent dinner rolls (now Pillsbury makes a sheet of crescent dough - Perfect!
1 pound of sage breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
6 eggs, beaten
4 Tablespoons of milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of grated cheese - I usually use a sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with PAM.  Line the pan with the crescent roll dough.  Brown the sausage, drain on a plate covered with paper towels.  Spread the sausage evenly over the dough.  Beat the eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper.  Pour over the sausage.  Sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool, and place in frig.  It is better if made a day ahead. 

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie - a new Thanksgiving Favorite!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Either make one pie crust, or use a Pillsbury ready crust.  Put 1 1/2 cups of pecans on the bottom of the crust.  I use 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, and 1 cup of halves.  Mix the following ingredients:
2 lg eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons of molasses
2 Tablespoons of Bourbon
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Pour the mixture over the pecans.  Don't worry, the pecans will float to the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  After 20-30 minutes, check the crust edges, and either cover with a pie safe or tin foil to prevent the edges from getting too brown.  I like this pie served warm with real whipped cream.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Sausage & Pasta

This is a tasty meal that you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Serve it with Texas toast and a green salad, and you are good to go!

Turkey Sausage Pasta

12 oz. of thin spaghetti, or pasta of your choice (I use Healthy taste, or enriched fiber pasta)
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
6 links of turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes & sauce
1/3 can of water
1 lg garlic clove, minced or pressed
red & black pepper to taste
about 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of dried basil
2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Warm oil in electric skillet.  Cook sausage (remove casings) till done, and chop up as you cook.  Stir in tomato sauce, water, garlic, pepper, basil, and vinegar.  Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta according to directions.  When sauce is hot and blended, top pasta, and top with cheese.  You don't need to add any sugar to the sauce - the balsamic vinegar sweetens it up nicely!

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade "red" chicken noodle soup

Nothing says love like homemade soup.  It is the ultimate comfort food - especially in winter, or if you don't feel well.  My mom used to make this soup, and it was my favorite.  It usually was a part of my birthday meal.  When my mom died before I married, one of my biggest losses was she didn't write down a lot of her recipes.  My brother and I tried to figure out why my mom's soup was red, and finally figured out her secret ingredient - a can of V-8 juice!  This is a great recipe to make after you roast a chicken or turkey.  If you are not roasting a bird, just buy a Wegman's cooked Roaster, trim some of the meat, and throw that in the pot!  I usually use the plain roaster, or lemon garlic - be sure to remove the lemon first!

2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, or sage
bones and trimmings of 1 turkey or chicken
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
10 cups of water
1 5.5 oz can of V-8, or slightly larger can up to 8 oz.
3-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks celery
1 onion, cut in chunks
1 bunch of fresh parsley, or 1 Tablespoon of dried parsley
2 cups of dried noodles, rhen cooked (usually I like thin egg noodles or stellini - star pasta) it will yield about 4 cups of noodles - adjust if you like thinner soup.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except pasta.  Simmer about 1 hour.  Remove chicken and bones, and veggies.  Strain the broth into another pot.  Slice carrots, cut up meat and add to the soup.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta, rinse and drain.  Add pasta to the soup.  My kids don't like the onion or celery in the soup, so I don't add it back.  You get the taste from simmering it the first hour.  Simmer to blend all ingredients, and serve.  If you re-heat, you may need to add some chicken broth.  We like LOTS of noodles, so you can cut back a bit if it suits your taste.  Great with crusty rolls or french bread and a nice salad for dinner.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crumble Pie

1 pie crust
Topping:  3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup EACH brown sugar and granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/3 cup pecans if desired
7 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1-2 Tablespoons apple cider (optional)
Preheat oven to 450.  Use a large pie plate.  Let apples mix with filling ingredients.  Mix topping ingredients in large bowl with a pastry blender.  Put apple mix in crust, top evenly with crumb mixture.  Place on a cookie sheet to catch drips!  Bake at 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then LOWER temperature to 350, and bake an additional 45 minutes.  You may have to use a pie crust shield or cover the edges with foil to keep the edges from getting too brown.  Cool slightly and serve.  Great warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever!

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Pillsbury Kitchens Cookbook, 1979 edition)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Crisco shortening (I use the sticks, 1 stick)
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
4 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda (not baking powder)
1 teaspoon of salt

Cream sugars and shortening.  Add in peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and eggs, and blend well with a mixer.  Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing well.  Shape dough into small balls, and flatten with a fork in a criss cross pattern.  Sprinkle with sugar.  They should look like this:
Sheets do not need to be greased.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or till light golden brown.  Remove as soon as possible, gently with a spatula, and let cool on wire racks.  Makes about 5 dozen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie

1/3 cup of milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 Tablespoon of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium packet)
red cayenne & black pepper to taste
1 14 3/4 ounce can of cream-style corn
1 8.5 oz box of corn muffin mix (Jiffy)
1 4 oz. can of chopped green chilies, drained
1 10 oz. can of Red Enchilada Sauce
2 cups shredded or bite size chopped cooked chicken (can use a roaster)
1 Tablespoon of taco seasoning mix
3/4 to 1 cup of shredded Mexican blend cheese
fresh cilantro or parsley, guacamole, or sour cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chilies) stirring till moist and blended.  Pour mixture into a large glass pie plate that has been sprayed with PAM.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or till light golden brown.  Take out of oven, pierce entire surface liberally with a fork, and then pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top.  Toss the chicken with 1 Tablespoon of the taco seasoning.  Top the pie with the chicken (I had made fajitas last night and reserved the two cups of meat.  You can use leftover chicken or turkey, or the Wegmans grilled lemon garlic chicken breasts or a roaster chicken).  Sprinkle with the Mexican blend cheese, or shredded cheese of your choice.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 additional minutes, or until cheese is nice and melted.  Remove from oven and let stand about 5 minutes before cutting.  Top with fresh parsley or cilantro.  Serve with either a dollop of sour cream or guacamole.  Yummy!

Banana Cream Pie (the easy way)

Banana Cream Pie - The Easy Version :)

1 Keebler ready-crust Graham cracker crust
1 package (4 serving size) instant banana cream pudding
1 envelope whipped topping mix (Dream Whip)
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 medium bananas, thinly sliced

In mixing bowl, combine pudding mix, whipped topping mix, milk and vanilla on low speed of electric mixer until blended.  Increase speed and beat until very thick, about 2-3 minutes.  Put a thin layer on bottom of pie crust.  Slice bananas on top, spread evenly.  Pour the rest of the pudding on top, and spread evenly.  Top with cool whip or whipped cream as desired.  Funny story about this pie.  When I was dating my then husband to be, I found out his favorite dessert was banana cream pie.  For his birthday, I decided to bake one from scratch - homemade pie crust, custard, and meringue.  I was so proud.  When I asked him how he liked it he said, "Not bad, but do you know how to make the kind with the instant pudding? "  Needless to say, I never made another homemade banana cream pie again!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Cookies (with Jello Pudding)

Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Kraft Pudding Recipe)

1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 package (3.4 oz) Jello instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 package 12 oz chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter, sugars, dry pudding mix and vanilla in a large bowl with mixer.  Add eggs and baking soda.  Gradually beat in flour.  Fold in Chocolate chunks.  Drop about
a tablespoon of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, or till light golden brown.  Cool 2-3 minutes on cookie sheets, and remove with spatula to wire rack to cool. 

These are really good! Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili


1 -2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 cooked chicken breasts, diced
48 oz. non fat/low sodium chicken broth
2 4oz. cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
dash cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cans Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. frozen corn
shredded Mexican blend cheese, crushed tortilla chips
Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add onions and garlic and saute till tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the chicken, broth, green chilies, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, add the beans and corn.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Serve in individual bowls topped with crushed tortilla chips and Mexican blend cheese. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Homemade Pizza


Homemade Pizza Crust is a wonderful thing!

Using the new Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast (or "Quick yeast") makes it easy to make your own homemade crust.
Preheat over to 425 degrees.
Combine 2 cups of flour, 2 envelopes of quick pizza yeast, 3 teaspoons of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.  Add 1 1/3 cups of warm water and 6 Tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Blend well for about 1 minute.  Gradually add another cup of flour, or enough to make a dough ball.  Put flour on a counter, and knead the dough till smooth and elastic (a few minutes)  Add additional flour if it becomes too sticky.  I roll into a large circle, and them put into a large pizza pan sprayed with PAM.  Top with sauce (I like Contadina's 4 cheese pizza sauce).  Top with cheese, and your favorite meats or veggies.  I used bacon on this one - my personal favorite!  Bake for about 13 - 15 minutes - give or take a minute or two depending on your own oven and how brown you like your crust. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fabulous Fall Grilled Cheese

Fabulous Fall Grilled Cheese

I think I just created the best fall sandwich - ever! 
2 sliced of Ancient Grain w/ Cranberries bread (Wegman's bakery)
2 thin slices of Perdue Bourbon Peppercorn Chicken Breast (deli)
very thinly sliced Empire apple slices
Lite Havarti cheese, sliced (brie would be great, too)
New England Cranberry Cranberry Pepper Jelly
Margarine or butter
Butter the bread on the outside.  Put one side in non stick pan.  Layer the turkey, apple slices, and Havarti slices on top.  Spread the Cranberry Pepper Jelly on the inside of the other bread slice.  Place on top of sandwich in pan.  Heat till brown on both sides.  A panini maker would probably work great with this sandwich. 
You could serve this with a nice green salad and small cup of soup - maybe butternut squash or tomato?  for a great, easy, fall dinner. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Harvest Pasta

Harvest Whole Wheat Pasta

8 oz. of whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
20 oz. of butternut squash (I use Wegmans' recipe ready, and cut in bite size pieces)
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
about 1 Tbsp of Wegman's basting oil (oil with herbs)
4 slices of bacon
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup of sherry
1 bunch of spinach, washed, stems removed, and chopped
13 oz. of lite Alfredo sauce
about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
Romano cheese
Toss squash and onion with basting oil.  Roast squash and onion at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until tender and edges are beginning to brown.   Cook 4 slices of bacon in microwave till crisp enough to crumble.  Drip some of the bacon grease in a large skillet, and saute garlic.  When garlic is golden, add wine, reduce slightly, and stir in the jar of lite Alfredo sauce.  Simmer the sauce mixture, and toss in the spinach to wilt.  Add the squash and onion, and drained pasta.  Top with crumbled bacon, toasted walnuts, and Romano cheese. The original recipe called for escarole instead of spinach, and pine nuts instead of the walnuts, so feel free to substitute if you like!  This is one of my favorite fall dishes.  If you want, you could even make it a "Meatless Monday" dish by omitting the bacon crumbles.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Cake - a Perfect Fall dessert

Apple Cake:  A Perfect Fall Dessert

3 cups of diced apples (peeled - I used Empire, about 3 large)
1 cup of lightly toasted walnuts (or pecans)
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly spray a bundt pan.  I used a new silcone bundt pan and it worked great!
Beat sugars, eggs, and oil.  Add vanilla, cinnamon, flour, baking soda, salt.  Batter will be stiff.  Fold in toasted nuts and apples.  Pour and spread in prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Cool in pan about 10 minutes, place rack on top, flip, and slowly lift cake pan.  Allow cake to cool completely if frosting.  I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and served it with whipped cream.  Everyone loved this cake!  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My favorite side salad

My Favorite side salad

My favorite salad mixes seasonal fruits, nuts, plenty of greens, and fresh veggies.  Here is a list of my favorite ingredients:

Red leaf, or Red Romaine lettuce
fresh spinach leaves
red, yellow, and green bell peppers cut in thin strips
carrots, sliced
celery, sliced
English Cucumber, sliced
grape tomatoes
strawberries, sliced
blood oranges, sliced
apple or pear, peeled and sliced
Top with Emerald glazed pecans, and Ken's lite Raspberry walnut vinaigrette.

Awesome!  I eat salad nearly every day, and change the fruits with whatever is in season.  In a pinch, you can always use canned mandarin orange segments.

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

2 pounds of lean, cubed stew beef
2-4 scrubbed, peeled (optional - you can use skin, esp with red potatoes!) potatoes
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced in chunks
2-3 ribs of celery, sliced in chunks
1 large onion, cut in large pieces
seasoned flour
1 can beef broth (low salt)
1 can of either Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup or 8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup of red wine or cooking sherry
salt, pepper to taste
1 heaping teaspoon of herbs De Provence or Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1-2 cups fresh green beans cut in pieces (optional)
Dust beef with seasoned flour.  Brown in veg or olive oil.  Layer in a pressure cooker - beef, potatoes, and cut vegetables.  Mix the soup, broth, seasons, and wine or sherry and pour over all in a pressure cooker.  Make sure the pressure cooker is not over 2/3 full!  Put lid on securely, and lock.  Heat till the pressure indicator is rocking, and time for 10-12 minutes.  Cool cooker at once.  Mix 1-2 tablespoons of flour in a small glass of water, and add to the stew to thicken as desired.  I serve my stew on top of either rice or wide egg noodles.  I love this meal in fall with homemade biscuits and a salad!

Mediterranean Cod Fillets

Mediterranean Cod Fillets in a Skillet


4 cod fillets, approximately 1 lb. of fish
1 cup of chicken broth
1 bunch of spinach (or a bag of baby spinach leaves)
1 can 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, any variety - I used garlic fire roasted
2 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed
several large black olives, sliced
Romano cheese for garnish
Take the cod fillets, dust with seasoned flour, and sear in a hot skillet with olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan, not to have the fish "swimming" in oil).  Remove fish from pan, and briefly saute garlic in remaining olive oil.   Add broth, spinach leaves (rinsed, chopped, and de-stemmed), and tomatoes.  Simmer till spinach is "wilted".  Put the fish on top, top with sliced olives and Romano cheese.
  This is a relatively quick, healthy dinner!  Serve with either pasta or risotto. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blueberry Pomegranite Smoothie

Blueberry Pomegranite Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
6-8 oz. of vanilla yogurt
1 cup Blueberry Pomegranite Juice
about 1/2 - 1 cup of milk
a few ice cubes
1 -2 scoops of blueberry/pomegranite sorbet
Put all in a blender - YUM!  Serves 2-3.

Cajun Pan Seared Scallops with corn salsa

For the scallops:

2 Tablespoons of pan searing flour (Wegmans brand)
2 Tablespoons of corn meal
1 teaspoon of Emeril's Bayou Blast seasoning

Mix well.  Rinse and pat dry (cut in half if large) about 1 1/2 pounds of sea scallops.  Dredge in flour mixture.  Heat about 1-2 Tablespoons of butter AND olive oil in a large frying pan or electric skillet.  Pan sear till brown and gold, and scallops are opaque.  Turn once to brown both sides. 

For the salsa: (Make ahead of time)

Boil 2 ears of corn about 4 minutes.  When cool, cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.  Take about 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, and cut in half.  Slice two green onions thinly.  Peel and cube a ripe avacado.  Mix up about 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil (or Wegmans Basting Oil),  the juice from 1 lime, and about 1 Tablespoon of white wine vinegar.  Add garlic powder, cumin, pepper and salt to taste.  Whisk well, and drizzle over corn mixture.  Toss gently.  Top with fresh cilantro or parsely, chopped.

I served this with rice pilaf - a nice summery meal!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stuffed Peppers with Orzo, not rice!

Stuffed Green Peppers!

4 green peppers, blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes, then sliced in half, de-seeded
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup cooked orzo
1 1/2 cups your favorite tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese, Italian blend cheese for tops

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Blanch peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Remove, drain, split in half, and remove seeds and inside ribs.  
In a medium skillet, brown beef, onion, garlic until onions are tender, and beef is no longer pink.  Add seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and cooked & drained orzo.  Stir till well blended. 
Spray a large dish with PAM, place peppers inside.  Add about 1 Tablespoon of sauce in each pepper, fill with meat mixture, top with another spoonful of sauce, then cheese.  Pour remaining sauce around peppers.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or till tender.  I cover the dish with foil.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Zucchini Bread

Favorite Zucchini Bread Recipe

2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup veg. oil
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins or chopped nuts (or combo!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in order.  Fold in chips, etc. last. Bake for 1 hour.  These freeze well - makes 2 loaves.  If halving the recipe, use 2 eggs. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Scones

3 cups flour
1/3 cup of sugar
5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter, still chilled
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 heavy cream 
1 cup of blueberries
zest from one lemon

half a bag of powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1/4-1/2 cup milk (or cream)
4 Tablespoons of softened butter
2-3 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon extract 

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the sticks of butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  It is work, and will take awhile.  Do not skip this step - incorporating the butter makes the scones light and fluffy.  Add in egg, cream, and lemon zest.  Stir or beat till just combined.  Turn the mixture onto a floured surface, gently add the blueberries, and knead slightly till dry crumbs are all incorporated.  With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large (about 10 inches) circle.  With a sharp knife, cut an X, then a + (this gives you 8 equal wedges - a trick from the Pioneer Woman!)  You can make then smaller if you have them again - if you are serving them for a brunch as part of a meal for example.  Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with parchment.  Place the wedges on the parchment, slightly apart.  Bake for 22-26 minutes, or till just golden on the edges.  Remove from oven, and cool the pan on a wire rack.  When just warm (not hot-fresh from the oven) frost with the lemon icing, and while icing is soft, sprinkle with more fresh lemon zest.  These are good - I prefer the coffee scones, but these are very nice with fresh blueberries!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Homemade Granola

Maple Cinnamon Coconut Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup almond flour (I bought this in Organic Section of Wegmans) can also use ground Flax seeds
1 cup chopped nuts - I like pecans and walnuts
1 1/2 sticks of melted butter (12 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of Maple Syrup (the real stuff)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg or cloves, or both
dash of salt

1 cup dried fruit of choice (I've used raisins, and blueberry craisins) Sometimes, I like to add the fruit when I eat it - it makes it less crunchy when you mix the fruit in and store it!

Preheat over to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, almond flour, and nuts.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter.  Add brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of salt.  Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, until they are clumpy and coated thoroughly.  Line a 15x 10 sheet with rims with parchment.  (I use a jelly roll pan) .  Spread the granola mixture evenly, and bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden brown.  Remove pan, and place on a wire rack to cool.  When completely cool, mix with your choice of dried fruits - I am partially to the blueberry craisins. I reserve some plain for Susan, who doesn't want the fruit in hers.  This is outstanding with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast.  This is what I eat nearly every day.  A serving size is about 1/4 cup. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

Coffee & Roasted Pecan Scones

Coffee frosted scones with toasted pecans

3 cups flour
1/3 cup of sugar
5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter, still chilled
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 heavy cream 
1/2 cup toasted pecans (reserve some to sprinkle on top)  
(to roast, put oven on 350, and spread pecans in a pan - cook about 5 minutes, or till fragrant.  DO NOT overcook - they will burn!)  Pulse 1-2 times in food processor, or hand chop.
1 teaspoon of coffee extract

half a bag of powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1/4-1/2 cup milk (or cream)
4 Tablespoons of softened butter
1Tablespoon of freshly brewed coffee
1 teaspoon of coffee extract 

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the sticks of butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  It is work, and will take awhile.  Do not skip this step - incorporating the butter makes the scones light and fluffy.  Add in pecans, egg, cream, and coffee extract.  Stir or beat till just combined.  Turn the mixture onto a floured surface, and knead slightly till dry crumbs are all incorporated.  With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large (about 10 inches) circle.  With a sharp knife, cut an X, then a + (this gives you 8 equal wedges - a trick from the Pioneer Woman!)  You can make then smaller if you have them again - if you are serving them for a brunch as part of a meal for example.  Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with parchment.  Place the wedges on the parchment, slightly apart.  Bake for 22-26 minutes, or till just golden on the edges.  Remove from oven, and cool the pan on a wire rack.  When just warm (not hot-fresh from the oven) frost with the coffee icing, and while icing is soft, sprinkle with toasted pecans.  These are truly delicious!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bruschetta Style Chicken and Pasta

OK, I'm wincing at my own photography, but this is my cell phone, folks, until I get my new camera out! It's really good, trust me!

Bruschetta Style Chicken and Pasta

1/4 cup sun dried tomato or garlic Italian dressing (I used light Italian garlic by Wegmans)
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled or sauteed
1 lg red pepper, seeded, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion (if you have vidalia, that's great)
1 14 1/2 oz. can Hunts diced tomatoes with oregano and garlic, undrained
1 cup mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese
pesto sauce
fresh basil for garnish, some fresh leaves cut in thin strips

Heat dressing.  add peppers, garlic, and onion, and cook till softened.  Add chicken to skillet.  Add tomatoes and fresh basil, and top each piece of chicken with a dollop of pesto sauce.  Let simmer a few minutes.  Top with cheese, and cover to let melt.  Meanwhile, cook 1/2 box of whole wheat thin spaghetti. Serve the chicken with sauce and tomatoes over the pasta, top with additional romano or parmesan if desired.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Easy Peasy Chicken Fahitas

Chicken Fajitas
A great way to use leftover grilled chicken for a "new" meal.  

4-6 grilled chicken breasts (any marinade works), sliced thin
1 can re fried beans
Garlic & Lime Salsa (or your choice) 2 jars
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend, 8 oz
sour cream (I use light)
fajita size tortillas

Spray a large baking dish with Pam.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Lay a out a tortilla, spread about 2 Tablespoons of re fried beans down the center.  Top with chicken strips.  Top with about 2 Tablespoons of salsa, 1-2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese, and a small dollop of sour cream.  Roll up, and place in dish, seam down.  Repeat steps till you have 6 fajitas.  Cover with all additional salsa, sprinkle with extra cheese.  Cover with foil, and bake in 350 oven for about 30 minutes.  I serve these with Zatarain's red or black beans and rice, and maybe glazed carrots or a sauteed zucchini and vidalia onion (liven it up with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a dusting of Romano cheese).  Great for lunch leftovers, too!

Maple Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon is one of my favorites, especially this time of year, when Wegman's gets Sockeye Salmon fresh from Alaska!  This is a great grill recipe, but since I rarely get out to the grill, I've adapted it for indoor use.

4-6 nicely sized salmon fillets (rinsed, patted dry)
Wegman's pan searing flour (I love this stuff- so versatile)
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup (not fake....don't go there)
2 Tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Dust fillets with pan searing flour.  Season with pepper as desired.  Melt butter (not alot - maybe 1-2 Tablespoons) in an electric skillet till bubbly and just slightly browning.  Add fillets, sear for a few minutes, then turn.  Sear that side, then whisk all other ingredients together and pour over the fillets. Lower heat, cover, and simmer till fish is cooked through.  Baste with sauce.  I served this with a grains side dish with pecans and garlic seasoning, fresh green beans, and salad.  The fresh salmon is SO GOOD!  Enjoy while it is in season. Use a leftover fillet (if there are any) to top a green salad for a delicious lunch the next day.  Add sliced oranges for extra color and a pop of flavor.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is not a difficult dish to make.  With only a few ingredients, it is so important that each one is fresh, and that the shrimp are wild caught, not the smaller, farm raised shrimp found in many stores.  Splurge on your ingredients - you won't be sorry!  Better to have this dish only a few times a year, and be truly satisfied with it, than to scrimp and be sorry for a mediocre dinner.

2 pounds large fresh shrimp (I prefer USA wild caught)
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup of olive oil (I use Carapelli extra light for cooking)
1/4 cup of chopped, fresh Italian style parsley
1 small shallot, chopped fine, or 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh scallions (green onions)
3 cloves of garlic, minced fine or pressed (invest in a quality garlic press like a Zyliss - worth every penny)
juice from one fresh lemon - no seeds!
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Rinse shrimp, peel and de-vein, and blot dry with paper towels.  Combine melted butter, olive oil, parsley, shallot or scallions, garlic, and lemon juice in a large, shallow dish (that is oven safe).  Add shrimp, and toss to coat.  Marinate about 30 minutes.  Preheat broiler setting on oven, and broil about 4-6 inches from heat in the dish.  They will cook quickly, about 3 minutes, turn or flip the shrimp, and cook another 3-4 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Shrimp will turn a nice shade of pink when done.  If you cook them too long, even the highest quality shrimp get rubbery.  Top with freshly ground black pepper, and Parmesan or Romano cheese.  I served mine over Barilla Plus (mulitgrain pasta with ALA Omega 3 and protein) angel hair pasta.  I like this dish with angel hair because it takes the buttery sauce well.  I also rounded out my dinner with Italian Green Beans (posted earlier) and a spinach salad with fresh cherries, candied pecans, sliced carrots, grape tomatoes, fresh radish slices, and fresh tangerine pieces.   I used a lite raspberry walnut dressing by Ken's. (my favorite lately)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

FunFetti Cookies!

Funfetti Cookies!

1 Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs

1 can Funtetti frosting

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In large bowl, combine mix, oil, and eggs.  Add the sprinkles.  When blended, roll into 1 inch balls.  I use a melon baller to help shape the cookies.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten to about 1/4 inch with a glass dipped in flour. Keep dipping and flattening, or they will stick. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.  Cook 1 minute on the sheet, remove and cool on racks.  When warm (not hot) frost with the icing and sprinkles.  Yum.  David was eating these as fast as I could frost them!

BBQ Beef Brisket

1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp paprika
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 pounds of brisket (Trim all fat!)
1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce of choice (I used Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce - awesome!)

Mix all dry ingredients together for rub.  Trim the brisket of all visible fat - yes, that means that big slab on the top, ugh!  Rub roast with liquid smoke, then dry spice rub.  Pour Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce in a slow cooker.  Place seasoned brisket on top.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Can cook on high for 5-6 hours.  I shred the meat, mix it back in with the sauce, and serve it on rolls like a pulled pork sandwich.  You can also slice it and serve it with the sauce.  This is SO good, and got rave reviews from the whole family!  I served it with seasoned roasted sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes and a salad. For the potatoes - peel and slice about 2 pounds of white and sweet potatoes.  Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil mixed with Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb and Garlic soup mix.  Bake at 450 degrees about 30 - 40 min, turning potatoes every 10 minutes.

Italian Wedding Soup

Makes 8 servings.  If using a Slow-Cooker, 6 hours on Low.  On stove, Simmer about 1/2 hour.

1 egg, beaten
1 lb. 95% lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 Tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (split)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, or 1 Tablespoon dried (split)
3/4 teasp salt, or to taste
1/2 teasp. pepper
8 - 10 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small head of escarole (8 oz) washed, trimmed, and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 1/4 cup of acini di pepe pasta

Mix egg, beef, onion, crumbs, 1 Tbsp parmesan, 1 Tbsp parsley, 1/4 teasp each salt & pepper.  Form into 1 inch meatballs (I use a melon baller!) and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Next, combine broth, carrots, escarole and oregano in either a slow cooker, or a large pot on the stove.  On stove, boil, then simmer for about 1/2 hour, add meatballs, and cooked pasta.  (I cook pasta, drain and rinse before adding to the soup).  If slow cooker, put all in, and for last 20 minutes add pasta. Sprinkle extra parsley and cheese on top before serving.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Banana Bread (Daddy's favorite)

Daddy's Favorite Banana Bread (no nuts!)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 very ripe)
several dashes of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the shortening, add sugar gradually, and beat well.  Add the eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the bananas.  Add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a well greased (or spray with PAM) 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Bake in a 350 oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.  Makes 1 loaf. Your father likes to slice this and top it with homemade strawberry jam at breakfast time. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 lg eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds


1/2 Tbsp. softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
few drops lemon extract
fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter, sugar, add eggs, extract, and zest.  Add buttermilk, then all dry ingrediants.  Mix well, fold in poppy seeds.  Bake at 350 in greased bread loaf pan for about 1 hour.  Glaze while warm.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Farfalle with Chicken and Asparagus

It's springtime, and that means fresh asparagus!  Here is a simple way to enjoy it for dinner:

4 cups uncooked bow-tie (farfalle) pasta, cooked and drained
1 lb. of fresh asparagus spears
1 Tablespoon of olive or canola oil
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into about 1 inch pieces
1/2 package (4 oz) of fresh mushrooms (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
4 medium green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped, or 1 Tbsp dried
salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Cook and drain pasta as directed.  For a healthier version, use whole wheat.  Meanwhile, break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and chop the remaining stalks into about 1 inch pieces.  In a large electric or non stick skillet, heat oil, and brown chicken.  Put the garlic in with it, and season with pepper and garlic powder.  When white, add asparagus and mushrooms, if desired, and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, till chicken is done, and veggies are tender, but not mush.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch in with the broth.  Stir into the chicken mixture.  Cook and stir one-two minutes, or till bubbly.  Add onion and basil.  Toss with pasta, and sprinkle with cheese.