Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Light Pineapple Orange Cake

My friend Jodie made this wonderfully light and delicious cake at our book group last Spring and it was a hit! I made it for our family for Sunday dinner and then my husband and I enjoyed sneaking bites of it for the next couple of days until we had eaten every last bite! It is very cool and refreshing and really good!

Pineapple Orange Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, undrained
4 egg whites
½ c unsweetened applesauce

1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 pkg. (1 oz) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (8 oz) reduced-fat whipped topping

In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, oranges, egg whites and applesauce on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

In a bowl, combine the pineapple and pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping just until blended. Spread over cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (It is best when it is cold - straight out of the fridge!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Buca di Beppo Chicken Saltimbocca

My daughter in law is an amazing cook ( as are all of my daughters and daughters in law!). She gave me this recipe - knowing that it was something I would love. Boy was she right! This is just like you would get at a wonderful Italian restaurant. We LOVED it! It is packed with so much flavor - the wonderful smokey flavor from the Prosciutto as well as the tart flavor from the lemon juice and the wonderful tangy flavor of the artichoke hearts. It is SOOO good!

You pound the chicken breast- sprinkled with sage and covered with Prosciutto- until it is an even thickness. (This works great done in a gallon sized Zip Lock bag.)

The Prosciutto browns up beautifully!

This is the sauce that is PACKED with flavor


The finished product.

Buca di Beppo Chicken Saltimbocca
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Vittorio Renda, Buca di Beppo

The name "saltimbocca" means "jump into the mouth" - because a dish this delicious (pounded with Prosciutto and massaged with sage) gets eaten so quickly that it seems to leap from the plate right into your mouth.

4 (5 ounce) chicken breasts
4 thin slices Prosciutto ham
1 tablespoon fresh sage (I used less of dried rubbed sage sprinkled on and it worked out great)
3 ounces olive oil
1 ounce all-purpose flour
5 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 ounce capers (I don’t like capers, so I left this out)
½ c white wine (I substituted ginger ale with 1 spoonful of white grape juice concentrate mixed in)
¼ c fresh lemon juice
¼ c heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon salt

Lightly salt chicken breasts. Sprinkle evenly with chopped sage. Place sliced Prosciutto on top the chicken and pound it into the breast until the thickness of the chicken measures 3/8-inch.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan. Lightly flour chicken pressed with prosciutto. Place in heated oil, Prosciutto side down. Brown one side, turn and brown the other side. Drain off excess oil, and deglaze with 4 ounces of white wine. Add artichokes, fresh lemon juice, cream and butter and cook until sauce is thickened.

On a large platter, place chicken breasts topped with reduced sauce and garnish with capers.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes with Pork Chops

This is a great meal that my mother-in-law would often make when we would go to her house for Sunday dinners. It is very comfort food-ish. I love it! This is the before cooking shot.

This is the after cooking shot. Yummy!!!

The pork chops taste tender and juicy and the potatoes are perfectly cooked.

Scalloped Potatoes with Pork Chops

6 pork chops
½ c. chopped green onions or 2 TBSP dried minced onions
2 cans cream of mushroom soup ( I like the 98% fat free kind)
1 c milk ( I use skim and it works great)
5 c thinly sliced peeled potatoes

Brown chops, then remove. In another bowl, combine soup, onion and milk. Beat until smooth. Place layer of potatoes in greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with half of the soup mixture. Layer the rest of the potatoes, salt and pepper, then lay the pork chops on top. Pour the rest of the soup mixture over the chops and potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

We recently went to a local restaurant and had a Fire Roasted Tomato Soup that we loved! (Don't let the name scare you off - it is not spicy at all! - I don't do spicy.) We have been hunting for a similar recipe. I found this one and it is pretty close. It is a wonderful tomato soup recipe that has a rich full-bodied flavor. We like it a lot. Very easy to make too. At the restaurant, they add a swirl of sour cream into your bowl. We did the same. This is great served with Parmesan rolls ( see below) or with grilled sharp cheddar sourdough sandwiches.

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
original recipe by Jen Kershner

2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
28 oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes (she found these at Fresh Market - I used Muir Glen fire roasted ones)
14 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes (She found these at Target)
8 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste Italian style
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 c water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 c milk

In a dutch oven saute onion in olive oil until almost translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute a few minutes more. Add tomatoes, sauce, and paste as well as broth and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a blender until desired consistency. ( I like mine slightly chunky) Add milk and seasonings and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

The original recipe raved about the San Marzano tomatoes and she said they were worth getting. I use the Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes for both. On America's Test Kitchen, they swore by that brand of tomatoes. They are a little more expensive, but that's about the only thing that costs much in this soup, so I figured we could do it.

Easy Parmesan Rolls

When my oldest son was in 2nd grade, his teacher asked the class to write down a Thanksgiving recipe (from their point of view and memory) and she put together a kind of cook book showing their recipes. There were some very funny ones, including the time and temperature to cook a turkey - 1 hour at 700 degrees, and things like that. Well, my son, who very carefully had watched me cook , decided to give the recipe for Thanksgiving rolls. He said : "First you take the rolls out of the freezer..." , I was BUSTED!!! I love using Rhodes rolls. This is an oldie but goodie. Very easy and VERY GOOD!!! This is what the rolls look like when you first put them in the pan, after rolling them in the butter and cheese mixture.

The finished product. There is something about the cooked cheese that is so good!

Easy Parmesan Rolls

1 dozen frozen Rhodes Rolls (it works best if you can thaw them for about an hour and then roll them in the butter and topping before they begin to rise, but I rarely have the time to do that on Sundays, so I just do it while they are frozen solid - it still seems to work)

melted butter ( about 1/4 cup for 12 rolls)

a mixture of : (these amount can vary to your liking)
about 1 c Kraft grated parmesan cheese (the powdery kind in the jar)
1 TBSP of dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Spray a 9x13 pan with PAM. Roll each frozen roll in the melted butter and then roll it in the cheese mixture until covered well. Arrange the 12 rolls in the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise - in my house it seems to take about 5-6 hours. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Banana Cake

This recipe is from my good friend Debbie. She always makes the best food! I think this recipe is my all-time favorite cake. I love it because the cake is dense and moist and the frosting is light and not too sweet. The mix of banana and chocolate is SOOO good!

Chocolate Banana Cake
1 devils food cake mix
1 c mashed ripe bananas
1/3 c water
1 c sour cream (I use light)
2 eggs
Mix all together on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 8" round pans or 1 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans (if using the round ones). Let cool completely before frosting.
1 small pkg instant banana cream pudding
1 c cold milk
12 oz cool whip topping -if doing the layered cake, or if doing a 9x13 pan-use an 8 oz size
Mix pudding and milk together until thick-about 2 minutes. Fold in the cool whip. Put on cake and refrigerate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yogurt Salad

This is a very easy salad to throw together and is a nice change from Jello salads. I got this from my cousin Cathy probably 25 years ago, and it is still a family favorite. It is even loved by non-yogurt eaters (we have a few of those in our family). This salad can be made with either raspberries or strawberries. Both are great.

Yogurt Salad

3 small Yoplait yogurts - strawberry or raspberry
2 (10 oz) pkgs. frozen sliced strawberries or raspberries - partially thawed(the kind with the sweetened juice work best)
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
1 16 oz tub cool whip

Mix first 3 ingredients together, then fold in the cool whip. Refrigerate.
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