Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Light Sweet Potato Casserole


We have loved Sweet Potato Casserole for holidays over the years.  When I looked at the calorie count and the fat content of the recipes we have been using - I about died!  Holy Cow!  They are so high!  I went on a search this last Thanksgiving and found this light version.  We had them for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas.  I really liked them!  They aren't as rich or sweet as the original, but you can taste the sweet potatoes a little more and they are SO yummy- I couldn't stop eating them!  


Light Sweet Potato Casserole
from Cooking Light

Potatoes:
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c evaporated low-fat milk (I just used skim milk)
3 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
cooking spray

Topping:
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBSP melted butter
 1/2 c chopped pecans

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

To prepare potatoes, place potatoes in a dutch oven; cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender; drain.  Cool 5 minutes.

Place potatoes in a large bowl; add granulated sugar, evaporated milk, 3 TBSP melted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and vanilla.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs; beat well.  Pour potato mixture into a 9X13 baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine flour, brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt; stir with a whisk.  Stir in 2 TBSP melted butter.  Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over potato mixture; arrange pecans evenly over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or just until golden.  

Preheat broiler (remove casserole from oven)

Broil casserole 45 seconds or until topping is bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toasted Coconut-Golden Oreo Cookie Balls

I saw this on the Kraft Foods site and, as always, had my interest piqued by the word COCONUT!  I made this last week and they are yummy.  I would like to try them again with everything the same, except use regular Oreo cookies instead of the golden ones.  I think the chocolate - coconut combination would be good! (Note: I just made them with the chocolate oreos and LOVED them!  They are less sweet and are very delicious - I liked them better this way) These were very fun to make and turned out so pretty!

I found the cute snow-flake papers at Walmart

Toasted Coconut-Golden Oreo Cookie Balls
Adapted from Kraft Foods

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
32 Golden Oreo Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups) A food processor works great
1 1/2  c coconut, toasted, divided
1 bag of good quality white chocolate chips, melted

Mix cream cheese, cookie crumbs and 1 cup of the coconut until well blended.
Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.  (I used a 1 TBSP measuring spoon and it came out to be the perfect sized balls, but I only got 26 balls instead of 42)
Dip in melted chocolate.  Place balls in a single layer in a shallow waxed paper-lined pan.  Sprinkle with remaining coconut before the chocolate sets up.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

To easily coat balls with the melted chocolate, add balls, in batches to bowl of melted chocolate.  Use 2 forks to roll balls in chocolate until evenly coated.  Remove balls with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

My daughter found this in a magazine ( actually it was her husband who found it and asked her to make it).  She loved it, so I gave it a try.  What a wonderfully refreshing change from normal salsa!  So good for you too.  It is amazingly sweet - roasting the sweet potatoes and onions brings out the natural sugars.  I think it would make a great appetizer for a party this Christmas.  I served it with tortilla chips, but it would be delicious on a chopped salad or on tacos (which my husband tried and loved).

 Cut the sweet potatoes and red onions into small diced pieces and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast about 20 minutes.


Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa
Everyday Food Magazine


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together 1 large sweet potato (1 lb) peeled and diced small, 1 red onion, diced small, and 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil.  Roast until sweet potato is tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely.

Add 1 medium tomato, diced small, 1 avocado, diced small, 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro, and 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes).  Season with coarse salt and toss to combine.  Makes 4 cups.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick and Easy Homemade Hash Browns


My daughter had a hard time finding frozen hash browns when she lived in Florida.  She started making them this way and found that it takes only a few more minutes than the frozen ones and tastes SO much better!  I am a believer - I have made them many times since she told me how to do this. They  make a great side-dish to any meal.  They really are so simple and delicious!


Quick and Easy Homemade Hash Browns

2 lbs potatoes
1/4 c vegetable oil
salt and pepper or other seasonings of choice

Wash and dry potatoes, leaving skins on.  Cut into 1/2" cubes and toss with the oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave them for about 5 minutes - stirring half way through.  

Pour into a non-stick skillet (I have tried it in a regular pan - don't do it!  What a mess!).  If a little more oil is needed, add it.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the potatoes are well browned, then carefully turn the potatoes and allow them to brown on the other side.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sparkling Apricot Thanksgiving Drink

Several years ago I got this recipe from my friend Cindy.  We have had it for Thanksgiving and it is a beautiful and easy drink to make.  Thanks for the great idea Cindy!
 Pour 1 large can of Apricot Nectar into a 9X13 pan, cover and freeze

Sparkling Apricot Thanksgiving Drink

1 large can of Apricot Nectar
2 bottles of Ginger Ale

Pour the apricot nectar into a 9X13 pan, cover and freeze overnight.  About 5 minutes before serving, cut the frozen apricot nectar into 1" cubes.  Put 3-4 into each cup and pour ginger ale over  the top and serve.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Macaroon Kisses

My friend Jodie made these delicious cookies for an activity about a year ago, and I loved them.  They have a creamy texture and taste so good!  I was excited to make them for an open house this weekend.  I love anything with coconut and chocolate, but these are exceptionally good!  Thanks Jodie!

Macaroon Kisses

1/3 cup butter, softened

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 cups flaked coconut, divided

48 milk chocolate kisses


In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in 3 cups coconut. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Roll into 1-inch balls and roll in the remaining coconut. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is softened. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Acorns

I just saw this on Studio 5 and thought they were so cute!  They are REALLY simple too.  Any time you have peanut butter and chocolate together - you can't go wrong!  I think they will be a cute addition to our Thanksgiving table.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Acorns

Hershey Kisses
Peanut Butter
Chopped Nuts
Pretzels

Dip the flat end of the Kiss in peanut butter enough to make it rounded.  Roll the peanut butter in finely chopped  nuts and add a broken piece of pretzel to be the stem.  Couldn't be easier!



Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange Juice Syrup

Several years ago, someone at my husband's work gave us the cutest little glass decanter full of a delicious orange pancake syrup for Christmas.  We loved it - so I got the recipe from them.  My daughter made it for our family reunion meal of french toast (made with orange zest in it) and this orange juice syrup on top.  I had forgotten how delicious it is!  It tastes just like you are eating an orange roll  ( one of my all-time favs!).  It makes a whole lot of syrup - about 3 quarts, so if you don't want that much, you can cut the recipe down easily.  I just made it this week and made 1/4 of the recipe and it was plenty for one meal.  Give it a try - it is really delicious!
Orange Juice Syrup

8 c sugar
1 12 oz can of orange juice concentrate (thawed)
4 c water
1 c light corn syrup

Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan.  Heat slowly on stove until all sugar is dissolved, but don't allow it to come to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool (if not using it immediately).  Serve by reheating only the amount you will be using at one meal.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This soup is one my mom has made for years and I love it!  Baking the potatoes instead of boiling them gives this soup such a rich wonderful flavor! 

 Bake the potatoes ahead of time, 400 degrees for 1 hour, and let them cool completely to make it easier to cut into cubes.  Leave most of the skins on.  If there are pieces that are falling off - remove those.

The roux is made very simply by melting the butter and adding flour and cooking until bubbly.  Don't let the name scare you off!


Baked Potato Soup
2 cans chicken broth
2 celery stocks
1 onion
5 cups milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp salt (to taste)
Black pepper to taste
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
Roux – 1 cube butter + ½ c (plus a little) flour
½ jar cheese whiz
6 potatoes baked and cut up into cubes (leaving most of the skins on – if they are falling off – discard the skin pieces)
Crumbled bacon bits (not the imitation ones)

Chop celery and onion and boil in the chicken broth until tender.  Blend either with an immersion blender or puree in a blender until smooth.  Add the milk and continue cooking until it gets hot.  Add the seasoning and the roux (see below).  When thickened, add the cheese whiz and potatoes.  Garnish with crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.
Roux – melt the butter in a small frying pan.  Sprinkle the flour in and whisk, continuing to cook until it gets bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

I have decided to share a few of my favorite things in the kitchen.  I am not advertising for anyone, just telling you what I have found that I REALLY like and can't do without!  Let me know if you have anything that you can't live without in the kitchen - I would love to have you share -  Thanks!

This first one is from IKEA.  It is a hard plastic stirring spatula.  I love that it can handle high heat without melting, it doesn't scratch any pans, and it has this ingenious little ledge so it can sit on the side of the pan and not slip in!  I used to love my soft plastic spatulas that don't melt, but this is now my utensil of choice if it is clean.  It is only $4.99!  I have bought them for many people and they have all loved it too.  I can't do without it.  I highly recommend it!

This second item is from Pampered Chef and is a small curved whisk called the "Mini Whipper" that is perfect for getting to the edges in a round pan where a normal whisk can't reach.  Love it!   It is only $4.00.

This item is a strawberry slicer that my daughter gave me last year.  It is from Williams-Sonoma and it makes slicing strawberries a snap!  You just cut the top off the strawberry, lay it in the opening and push the handles together - voila - beautiful even-sliced strawberries in 1 second!  It is $14.95.

These last two are also from Williams-Sonoma.  They are rubs for meat.  My son and his wife gave these to us a few years ago and we have kept buying them because we LOVE them!  They are so simple and add SO much flavor to any meat or fish.  I love the Chili-lime rub on tilapia, and I love the Smoke House rub on pork chops or any beef.  It has a great real smoke flavor.  They are $10.00 each - and they last a long time because you only need a little of the rub to make a great tasting piece of meat!  Put the rub on the meat and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge - really good!

So these are a few of my favorite things.  I hope you enjoy trying them.  Please let me know if you have any favs that I need to know about!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chex Lemon Buddies

My friend Tirzah made these for her kids on the first day of school this week and posted about them on Facebook.  I am a sucker for ANYTHING lemon, so I gave them a try today since I had a box of Rice Chex that needed to be used, and many packages of white chocolate chips in food storage.  These were quick and easy and my husband and I loved how fresh and yummy they were!  I think I will make some of this to take on our upcoming trip for snacking!  YUMMMY!!!
Chex Lemon Buddies
from the Chex Cereal Web Site

9 c Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 c white vanilla baking chips
1/4 c butter or margarine
4 tsp grated lemon peel (zest)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 c powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal, set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute, stir.  Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. 
3. Add powdered sugar.  Seal bag, gently shake until well coated.  Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool.  Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barb's Raspberry Salad

My youngest sister Barb made this salad for a family party years ago, and I had forgotten all about it until my son requested it with his birthday dinner last Sunday.  It is really good and can be made in many different flavors. (I've made it with orange Jello and mandarin oranges for example)  I don't like pudding, and CERTAINLY don't like tapioca pudding, but I love this salad!  Give it a try - it's a nice change from the typical Jello salad.


Barb's Raspberry Salad

2 small boxes of tapioca pudding (non-instant)
1 small box of raspberry Jello
3 c water
1 16 oz container lite cool whip
1 bag frozen raspberries

Mix puddings and Jello with water.  Bring to a boil.  Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate until set up.  Stir in cool whip and fruit.  Refrigerate for at least one more hour.  Stir and serve.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fresh Raspberry Sherbet

This has been a bumper crop year for our raspberries.  I think that because we had a wet cool spring, our raspberry plants thought they were in Oregon!  I have made several batches of jam, and am always looking for new ways to use our raspberries.  I found this recipe last night and it was wonderful and couldn't be easier!  My husband said that this is his new favorite ice cream.  It comes out a beautiful rich red color and is bursting with a fresh raspberry flavor.  It is perfect just as it comes out of the ice cream freezer.  If you end up having any left over and freeze it, it turns quite hard, so let if soften up a bit before serving. 




Fresh Raspberry Sherbet
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

What you need:
  • 4 cups raspberries (or other berries), fresh and/or frozen
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice ( I used the juice of one whole lemon - I thought it tasted better, but add it to your taste)
  1. Puree the berries, milk and sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Strain to remove the seeds.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raspberry Lime Rickey

I have raspberries coming on in my garden like crazy, so when I saw this fun drink using fresh raspberries in the newspaper today, I thought I would give it a try.  The article was about creating your own sodas, and how much better they are than anything you can buy in a can or bottle.  It was really good - I loved the combination of flavors.  I actually squeezed in a little extra lime juice at the end to give it a little more zip.  Very refreshing!



Raspberry Lime Rickey
from "Homemade Sodas"

1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c sugar
Seltzer, chilled (I used club soda)
Lime wedges, to garnish

Mash raspberries in a small saucepan with a potato masher.  Stir in the lime juice and sugar until combined.  Warm over low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and raspberries have released all their liquid.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.  Let cool to room temperature and then strain.  This syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but is best used immediately. 

Combine syrup and seltzer (or club soda) to taste.  Garnish each serving with a lime wedge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Two years ago we planted a rhubarb plant in our backyard.  My parents have a plant that is over 50 years old and still produces beautifully.  This was my first time harvesting the beautiful rhubarb - I was SO excited!!!  I have just been waiting to make this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp that my friend Melinda made at book group for our dessert.  I couldn't get enough of it.  It is sweet and yummy and is even liked by those who think they don't like rhubarb.  So good and SOOO much easier than pie!

Serve it warm with ice cream.

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces
This is the fruit mixture just before adding the topping
 
 Here it is ready to go into the oven

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
from my friend Melinda
 
4 cups rhubarb pieces (about ½ inch long)

4 cups sliced strawberries

1 cup sugar

Mix together in a large bowl and let stand for a little while.

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

¼ teaspoon salt

Add to fruit and mix well. Pour fruit mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup butter

1 cup oatmeal

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix together above ingredients, cutting in butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Put on top of the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lacie’s Infamous Broccoli Craisin Salad

Last week I had to take a salad to a get-together.  I called my daughter Jen to see if she had any new and exciting salads.  She told me about a salad that her friend Lacie had made that Jen said was delicious - she couldn't stop eating it!  I made it and it was a hit!  It is a really nice switch from the typical broccoli salad.  Just in time for summer - thanks Jen and Lacie!




Lacie's Infamous Broccoli Craisin Salad

Dressing:
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. apple cider vinegar
Lightly sprinkle garlic and onion powder

Mix together and refrigerate at least 1 hour.


Salad:
2 lbs. broccoli florets
1 small head of cabbage finely chopped
1 6-oz. bag of craisins (Cherry Flavored or Original)
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2-1 cup diced red onion
2-3 stalks of celery chopped
Sunflower seeds - raw unsalted (I put in about 3-4 ounces)


Mix with dressing just before serving

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

My husband loves fish tacos and I have been trying to find a good recipe for them.  This one is really good!  I especially love the lime-cilantro crema!  I think next time I make this I will double the crema sauce - I couldn't get enough of it's fresh lime zip!  Give them a try - I think you will really like them! 


Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos each)

Ingredients

Crema:

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced

Tacos:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets (I used tilapia)

Cooking spray

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded cabbage

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.


To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. (I made this about 1 hour ahead of time and kept it in the fridge - I think it helped the flavors come together nicely)


To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. (My tilapia package said to cook my fish for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, so it might differ with different kinds of fish)  Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scotch Teas

 When my daughter was a teenager, she would get a craving to make some quick cookies, and this was her go-to cookie.  It only uses 5 ingredients, all of which you always have on hand, and is simple and yummy!


Scotch Teas
From Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies


½ c butter or margarine

1 c brown sugar

2 c quick-cooking rolled oats

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

Combine butter and sugar in saucepan; cook and stir until butter melts. Stir in salt and baking powder. Stir in the oats and mix well. Pour into greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool; cut into bars.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

My daughter discovered this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks - The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  (I've given one to each of my daughters and daughters-in-law, as well as given many as shower gifts)  I love the way this cookbook spells things out really well - no question what you are to do. 

  It is very easy for a lasagna and is all made in ONE pan!  Thanks for the great idea Rach. (Rachel said she put some shredded mozzarella cheese on top and put it under the broiler until bubbly-yum!)


Skillet Lasagna


from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes (includes 20 minutes simmering time)

Any brand of curly-edged lasagna noodles will work here. Do not use no-boil noodles.



1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 TBSP olive oil

Salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound meat ( ½ lb ground beef and ½ lb ground pork – or if you like a little spiciness –use 1 lb Italian sausage)

10 curly-edged lasagna noodles (8 ounces), broken into 2-inch lengths

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated ( ½ c)

8 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese (about 1 c)

1/4 c minced fresh basil (I didn't use this much, just a little sprinkled on top)

1. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a quart measuring cup. Add enough water to t he tomatoes to measure 4 cups.

2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the meat and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

4. Sprinkle the noodle pieces over the meat. Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should look water after 15 minutes of cooking. If dry, add up to ¼ cup additional water to loosen the sauce.)

5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in ½ c Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the skillet and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes.

6. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the extra Parmesan cheese separately.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Edible Bird Nest

I saw this idea in the magazine "Taste of Home" and thought it would be fun for our Easter dinner.  It is made of pretzels, melted white chocolate chips and a peep.  It is supposed to have some jelly beans as eggs, but I forgot to buy them.  They were very easy to make, and I think they will taste really good -  I love chocolate dipped pretzels! 
HAPPY EASTER!

Our nest with no eggs!

This was my VERY creative husband's idea for the eggs in my picture.  Please disregard the word "Aleve" that somehow got onto our bird eggs!  ( I promise they won't be on there for our dinner tomorrow - although it could help with that sugar headache!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rustic Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

My daughter told me about this recipe that she saw on a local TV station where she lives.  It is probably the FASTEST meal I have ever made!  You can make the entire thing in less than 15 minutes!  It is very healthy and has great flavor (if you like balsamic vinegar - which I definitely DO!) .  Thanks for the great recipe Jen!

This is a rustic Italian dish that is great and SO easy!

Simply put the chicken, tomatoes and asparagus on a cookie sheet.

 Pour the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil over the other ingredients.

 This is what it looks like after just 7-8 minutes under the broiler.

Pour all the ingredients over pasta, add the cheese and enjoy!

Rustic Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

Adapted from a recipe by Laura Wolford


1 lb. penne pasta

4 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

1 carton of grape tomatoes

½ c olive oil

½ c balsamic vinegar

about 12 fresh basil leaves chopped or dried basil

10 spears of thin asparagus cut into 1” pieces

1 tsp minced garlic

4 oz grated Parmesan cheese


1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile toss chicken pieces, tomatoes, asparagus, oil, vinegar, garlic and basil on a cookie sheet that has a 1” lip.

3. Broil for 7-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (I wasn’t sure it would cook that quickly, but it does!) Pour the entire mixture over pasta. Use a rubber scraper to get every bit of the yummy seasoning from the baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quick and Easy Manicotti

This was my daughter Jenny's favorite dinner growing up, and she would request it every birthday.  It is also one of my favorites.  It is SO simple, that I was a little embarrassed about putting it on my food blog, but I decided that there might be busy mothers out there who want a quick and very easy idea for a  dinner.

A nice change from spagetti!
Cut 14 pieces of mozzarella cheese about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and the length of the manicotti noodles.
 Rinse the cooked manicotti noodles in cold water, and put a piece of cheese in each one.
I cook mine in a square microwave-safe casserole dish, but you could also do it in the oven if you wanted.

Quick and Easy Manicotti
from my mom

1 box of manicotti noodles (14 in a box)
1/2 lb of ground beef
about 1 lb of mozzarella cheese (good quality like Cache Valley)
1 bottle of spaghetti sauce (I like Prego)

Bring about 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan.  Add the manicotti noodles and stir gently to make sure they don't stick to together.  Cook for 7-8 minutes until tender.  Remove from heat and put cold water into the pan until cool enough to handle.  Drain water off. 

In a frying pan, brown the ground beef, seasoning it with salt and pepper.  Add the bottle of spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes. 

Cut the mozzarella into 14 sticks about 1/4-1/2 " wide and around the length of the manicotti noodles.  (this is all extremely variable - just cut the cheese you have into 14 sticks)

Assemble the manicotti by spreading enough of the sauce to cover the bottom of the microwave-safe pan.  Put a piece of the cheese into each manicotti noodle and laying them side by side on top of the sauce.  Finish by pouring the rest of the meat sauce over the noodles.  Cover and microwave for about 10 minutes at 50% power, or until the cheese is melted. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roasted New Potatoes

This recipe comes from the Kraft Foods website.  It was very easy and turned out to be really yummy!  It is kind of like a warm potato salad, but with great roasted potato flavor.  I loved the bacon - (I love anything with bacon!)  A nice change from the standard potato side dishes.

What a great mix of yummy flavors!

This is the way it looks right before it goes into the oven.

Roasted New Potatoes
from Kraft Foods

2 lb. new potatoes, halved lengthwise
6 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, chopped
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1/3 cup KRAFT Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

Make It

HEAT oven to 400ºF.

COMBINE potatoes, bacon and dressing; spread onto bottom of 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 45 min. or until potatoes are tender and crisp around the edges, stirring after 25 min.

MEANWHILE, mix mayo, lemon juice and garlic.

SPOON potatoes onto platter; top with mayo mixture, cheese and parsley.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars

My daughter gave me a subscription for Everyday Food Magazine, and I love it!  This month had several really yummy looking bar cookie recipes.  This one stood out to me and I tried it yesterday and my husband and I both LOVED it!  It is not too sweet and has a fresh taste from the raspberries.  I know it is one I will be making often.

Pulse the natural almonds in the food processor until finely ground.

This is what the bars look like before they go in the oven.  The parchment paper is optional, but sure makes it easy to lift the entire thing out and cut into bars!  Neat little trick.

Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars
from Everyday Food Magazine

3/4 c natural almonds (I always have raw almonds on hand to snack on - yummy!)
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (I used regular salted butter)
10 oz frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides.  In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup).  In a large bowl, whisk together ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt.  add butter and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moistened.  Press about two-thirds of the dough into dish.  Scatter frozen raspberries over top and crumble remaining dough over raspberries.  Bake until top is golden brown, 35-40 minutes.  Let cool in dish on a wire rack before cutting into 9 bars.  (Store, lightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature, up to 3 days.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Help! Too Many Spices!

I love my kitchen, but it is small and doesn't have much cabinet space.  For years I have struggled with where to store my spices so I can find things!  The other day when I was getting ski gloves out of my closet (we have this shoe holder on the back of our closet door to keep gloves and hats, etc in) and I thought - "Why couldn't I keep my spices in this on the back of my pantry door?"  I tried it today and it works!  I am SO excited that I can see everything at once before me and I don't have to dig through bottles trying to find what I am looking for.  Yahoo!!!  It has 26 pockets in it.  I put the spices in alphabetical order and could fit 2-3 bottles in each pocket.  It works for me.  (Now I need to go buy another one for the gloves and hats!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have never had much luck with making biscuits in the past! (think hockey puck-ish) Several years ago my daughter found this recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook that changed my luck.  They don't look like your typical biscuit - they are a little more rustic looking, but they are light and fluffy and really yummy! 

The hot and flaky finished biscuits!

This recipe uses cake flour along with all-purpose flour.

This recipe is made in a food processor.  This is right after the cold butter is added.
The dough is cut into 12 pieces.
You quickly form the dough into rough balls.

Buttermilk Biscuits
adapted from  The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

A wet dough creates steam when the biscuits bake and promotes a light, airy texture.  If the dough is too sticky for you to shape easily, lightly flour your hands and then form the biscuits.

1 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
1 c cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 TBSP  (1 stick) butter, cut into 1/4- inch cubes and chilled
3/4 c cold buttermilk

1. Adjust oven tack to middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Pulse the flours, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a food processor to combine.  Scatter the butter evenly over the top and pulse to combine, about 12 pulses. 

2.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball.

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and quickly form into a rough ball.  Do not overmix.  Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 12 even pieces.  Quickly and gently shape each piece into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.) Bake until the biscuit tops are light brown, 10-12 minutes. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...