Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easy Peasy Cherry Crisp

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick of butter
2 16 ounce cans of cherry pie filling
1 teaspoon of almond extract
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/4 of chopped slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put flour, oats, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the stick of softened butter, and using a pastry cutter, mix until the ingredients are crumbly.  Spray a large pie pan with PAM, and press about 1/2 the crumbs on the bottom and up the sides to form a crust.  Put in the two cans of cherry pie filling.  Drizzle with the fresh lemon juice, and the almond extract.  Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on the top to form a "crust".  Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Soup

adapted from Rachel Ray's Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Stoup

1 large bunch of Broccoli Rabe, cleaned and chopped
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 pound of turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
dash red pepper
garlic powder, thyme leaves to taste
juice of half a fresh lemon
few dashes of nutmeg
1 large can (49 oz) of 100% fat free, 33% lower sodium chicken broth) I use Swanson's.
1 cup of orecchiette pasta (I use the Wegman's gourmet kind)
grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

In large sauce pot, bring a few inches of water to a boil, salt the water, and add  the broccoli rabe.  Cook for 5 minutes, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.  Dry the pot, add the olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic.  I finely chopped mine in the food processor.  Add the turkey sausage (I use mild, but remove the casings to allow for it to crumble), and cook till sausage is no longer pink.  Stir in the seasonings, add the broccoli rabe, and add the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook about 10 more minutes, or till pasta is done.  Garnish with the grated cheese before serving.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Shrimp Etouffee'

Are you ready for some Cajun seafood?

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/1/2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
About 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning (such as Emeril's)
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash of ground red pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups hot cooked white rice

Combine broth, thyme, basil and bay leaf.  Set aside.  Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet.  When bubbling, add the 1/2 cup of flour.  Whisk continually, and cook the flour till golden brown - about 8 minutes.  Gradually add in the broth, about 1 cup at a time.  Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, add about 1 Tablespoon of butter.  Heat till bubbly, and add onion, celery, and peppers.  Cook till softened.  Add a little water if it starts to stick.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Add to the simmering Roux/broth.  Add in the tomato paste, cajun seasoning, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley.  Stir till combined.  Add in the shrimp, cook till pink (not long).  Serve with white rice.  

S'Mores Bars

2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
approximately 2 cups of Marshmallow Fluff (from 16 oz. container)
2 cups (1 bag) of milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.  Spray with PAM.  
In a large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar.  Add eggs.  Gradually add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking powder.  Beat till well blended.  Dough will be stiff.  Divide dough in half.  Press half (or slightly more) onto the bottom of the pan to cover.  I used a piece of wax paper to help me press the dough down in the pan.  Spread enough fluff to cover the crust.  I did not use the whole container.  Sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips.  Take the remaining dough and dollop over the top.  You want some marshmallow and chips to show through - don't make a solid layer.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  

My son says this was the best dessert I ever made! If you like S'Mores, you will love these cookie bars.  Recipe originally found in  "All You" magazine.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

King Cake!

Adapted from a Taste of Home Recipe

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) of Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of warm milk
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
Zest from one fresh lemon
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 -4 cups of all purpose flour
Cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup of granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)


1 Tablespoon of softened butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
few teaspoons of cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (or can use lemon extract)


1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of softened butter, milk, eggs, salt, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 2 cups of the flour.  Beat till smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Dough will be sticky!
2.  Turn dough onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic.  Add some additional flour if the dough is too sticky. 
3.  Place the dough in a greased bowl.  Turn dough.  Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour - here in Rochester, NY where it is cold, it takes longer!)
4.  Punch down the dough.  Dust a surface with flour.  Roll the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 16 inches by 10 inches.  Sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar, within 1/2 inch of each edge.  Roll up the dough, jelly-roll style from the LONG side.  Pinch the seams to seal closed.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper), pinch the ends together to form a ring.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about another hour. 
5.  Bake at 375 in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack till warm.  Spread Glaze over top, and let drizzle down the sides.  Sprinkle the cake with Mardis Gras colored sugars:  Purple (justice), Green (faith), and Gold/Yellow (Power).  If desired, put a slit in the bottom of the cake when cool and insert a "baby" token.  (I get the plastic babies from Michael's in the Cake Decorating section).  Traditionally, the person who gets the slice of cake with the baby inside has to make the King Cake for the next year.  In my house, we say the person who gets the baby has a year of good luck!