November 30, 2010
For some inexplicable reason Oprah's pumpkin pie recipe calls for one and a little bit of another can pumpkin puree. This left me with a little Tupperware of pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge just waiting to make something yummy. What better on Sunday morning than pumpkin pancakes? Next time I would leave out the chocolate chips, or use much less. With a drizzle of maple syrup these are wonderful, they are even good toasted the next day!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes
makes 14 medium cakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups lowfat milk
1/2 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Lightly oil or coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Pour the batter onto the hot skillet using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, forming 4-inch pancakes. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancakes and the bottoms turn golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cooking spray and batter.
November 29, 2010
Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
First up is Oprah's Favorite Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie!! To get a feel for that, say it out loud in your best Oprah voice, "ITS THE BEST PIE EEVVVEEERRRR!!!!" It was more of a custard consistency than a regular pumpkin pie, but tasted so good! I took out the walnuts and substituted more cookie crumbs.
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp butter, melted
2 cups canned 100% pumpkin
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl combine cookie crumbs and butter, transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Press crumb mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of pan (I used the bottom of a glass to pack in). Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack.
In a large bowl, gently whisk remaining ingredients together. The mixture should be smooth and have no bubbles. Place cooled piecrust on a baking sheet; pour in pumpkin filling. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon to smooth the top; transfer to oven. Bake until pumpkin filling is set but still has some wiggle in the center, 60 to 75 minutes. (If edges of pie get too dark toward the end of baking, cover them with aluminum foil.) Cool on a rack.
For the decoration I traced a turkey cookie cutter onto a piece of card stock and cut out shape leaving all edges intact. Lay paper over pie plate. Place 1 Tbsp powdered sugar into a sifter or sieve and dust sugar 5 inches above over paper cut out. Carefully remove paper from pie.
|Voila! An easy touch to fancy up a pie!|
Say it with me now in your best Oprah voice, "YOU GET A PIECE! YOU GET A PIECE! YOU GET A PIECE!"
French Apple Pear Tart
I knew immediately the apple dessert I wanted to make was Ina's French Apple Tart. Lately my husband has been wanting pears, so I substituted two pears for two apples. I cut back on the sugar and butter in this recipe, it bubbled over and burned with the amount called for in Ina's (I made the changes in the recipe below).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
2 Granny Smith apples
2 Bosc pears
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water and brush the filling and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
Leftover Hand Pies
One of my favorite parts when baking pastry like pies is what to do with the leftover dough. Sometimes I will make small "cookies" out of it, this time I made small hand pies.
Left over dough
2 Tbsp filling of your choice
(apples, pears, chocolate chips, jam)
1 egg beaten with a touch of water
Sanding sugar for decoration
Roll out the dough and add cut into two matching shapes per hand
pie. For the filling I finely minced pears, mixed with cinnamon and sugar. Place filling in between layers of dough. Brush egg wash around the edges, pinch to seal. Brush the top of the shape with egg wash, cut slits for steam, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven with your pie or in a toaster oven until cooked through. Keep an eye on it, it will cook quickly. Eric was so impressed by these "leftover" creations!!
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Nothing goes better with pumpkin pie than whipped cream. And I thought it would be so much better with a touch of cinnamon!
1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Start by placing the bowl and whisk attachments in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. When ready to make the whipped cream start by slowly mixing the cream. As you speed up the mixer add the remaining ingredients and whip until soft to medium peaks form.
I think its needless to say the desserts came out great! Everyone was impressed and I had leftovers for breakfast all weekend!
November 28, 2010
Very Quick Tortellini Soup
1 cup beef broth
2 cups chicken stock
1 pkg frozen cheese tortellini
Bring stock and broth to a boil, add one pinch each powder. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. Finish with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.
Next time I make this I am going to saute some onion slices to add to the soup, and possibly some frozen spinach.
November 21, 2010
Thai Chicken Tacos
makes 15 tacos
Small Flour Tortillas
1 lb chicken tenders
Thai Pickles (recipe follows)
1/2 red cabbage, shredded finely
2 carrots, shredded finely
Toasted sesame seeds
Sesame garlic Asian sauce (I used Simply Enjoy, from Stop & Shop)
Toss the chicken tenders with 3 Tbsp sauce and let sit for 1 hour. Heat skillet over medium heat, add sesame seeds and cook until the turn a golden brown. Remove immediately and set aside. In the same pan cook tenders until done, you do not want a crunchy crust, just cook through adjusting temperature if they are getting too brown. Let chicken cool for 10 minutes, then shred into a bowl using two forks or your hands. Add 1-2 Tbsp more sauce to taste and set aside. To build your tacos layer the ingredients starting with chicken, veggies, then pickles. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
1/4 small red onion
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
Slice cucumber in half the long way and seed. Cut into paper thin slices. Slice onion into thin slices. Place into a Tupperware. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumber and onions. Let sit in the fridge for 2 hours then drain and serve. The pickles are good on fish tacos as well!
November 18, 2010
My question is this: does my food taste better to me because I made it, or does it taste good to others because they know the effort that went into making it. Something to ponder next time I have a dinner party.
November 16, 2010
Easy Mac and Cheese
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 lb American cheese (from the deli)
2 cups small macaroni
Set water to boil. In a small pan melt butter over medium-low heat. When melted add flour and whisk until a light blonde color, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add milk whisking constantly. Return to heat and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir cheese into sauce until melted. Mix macaroni into cheese sauce, season with salt and pepper. Makes 2 dinner portions or 4 sides.
November 14, 2010
No good deals or major purchases at the store, just milk, eggs, potatoes, and bread.
Meal Planning this week is also going to be easy. I will pretty much just choose something out of the fridge every morning and surprise Eric at dinner! Tonight we had sausage and pepper sandwiches! I am also playing cards with my girlfriends this week, stay tuned for what I bring!
Sausage and Peppers
1 lb sweet italian sausage links (you can mix in hot if you like), sliced into rounds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium peppers (I use a mix of red and green), sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 cup red wine
In a skillet or dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage rounds and cook through. Remove from pan and drain fat (you can use the rendered fat from the sausage here if you like, I try to keep it a bit healthier and drain it). Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and add garlic, peppers, onions, and red pepper flake . When the peppers and onions soften add the wine, let cook off a bit and add tomatoes and spices. Return cooked sausage to the pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Sausage and peppers is a versatile meal; you can serve it over pasta, with a salad, or on a torpedo roll! This recipe makes about 6-8 servings and freezes very well!
|can you smell how good this looks?|
I had the butcher at Whole Foods cut me a night piece of flank steak, about 3/4Lb. Rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flake, and Worcestershire sauce. Tossed arugula, red peppers, Craisins, and walnuts with homemade honey mustard dressing. Thinly sliced the steak and arranged on top. This was so filling I almost didn't miss the mac and cheese!
2 Tbsp each Honey, Dijon Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
Whisk together everything except oil. Once combined continue whisking while slowly adding the oilve oil in a stream. Season to taste.
This dressing has been a huge crowd pleaser and is not full of sugar and who knows what from the bottled kind!
November 12, 2010
|ignore the impending avalanche!|
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 serving pea soup (from my mom for Eric!)
- 4 servings beef stew
- 4 servings chili
- 1 serving lentil soup
- 2 servings chicken cacciatore
- 7 pizza crusts
- 1 lb hamburger
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- 2 1/2lb pork tenderloins
- 2 can's worth black beans
- 4 cups white rice
- 4 servings sausage and peppers
- 1/2 lb kielbasa
- 3 chicken breasts
- package of goyza
- frozen shrimp
- and much, much, more!
|We sure like our frozen veggies!|
November 10, 2010
While talking about this dinner a friend pointed out that this is not a genuine French Cassoulet (oh la la) and I should not call it that on my blog. He dubbed it Cassou-Lazy. I was going to argue with him (this dish takes some work after all) but I looked into what a cassoulet really is and was quite surprised. The Internet told me that a traditional French cassoulet is a slow cooked peasant food with white beans, tomatoes, ham, pork sausage, and duck. It would cook in the fire for up to 3 days using any scraps they had left over. Three days!! Well there is no way I have time for that! This dinner only takes about 1 1/2 hours. I was even able to make sausage and peppers for another night using the left over ingredients from it! Cassou-Lazy it is!
|Two dishes in one night means less work later!|
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook through. Remove the sausage, leaving the drippings in the pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook in the sausage drippings until they begin to soften — about 5 minutes, add more oil if needed. Add the carrot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally to help break down the tomatoes, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans.
Spoon half of the tomato and bean mixture into a 3 quart casserole dish or dutch oven. Scatter the turkey and sausage over it, then top with the remaining beans. Sprinkle the bread crumbsover the top, then drizzle with olive oil.
|mmmm look at those crunchy breadcumbs!|
November 9, 2010
Whole Wheat Pizza
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 packets yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp honey or sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups AP flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
Combine water and yeast, let sit for approximately 5 minutes until foamy. Oil large bowl, set aside. Mix yeast mixture, honey, oil and salt. Stir in flours with wooden spoon until sticky. Transfer to oiled bowl, brush oil over the top of dough and cover with a dry dish towel. Let rise 1 hour. Punch dough down and divide into 8 pieces. Work each piece into a 5 inch circle. Place on a corn meal dusted sheet pan and place in freezer over night. To store layer pizza dough and parchment paper in a ziplock bag. Keeps for 3 months. You can also make two larger pizzas from this. I like to do the individual size for easy weeknight dinners or lunches.
|Pizza Party at my Place!!|
My Easy Pizza Sauce
1 8oz can unsalted tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp each onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and dried parsley
Mix together. This freezes extremely well. The individual pizzas use about 1 tablespoon of sauce.
red pepper flake to taste
To bake, preheat oven to 450°. If you are using a pizza stone leave in the oven while preheating. Do not take pizza crust out of the freezer until you are ready to bake, it will defrost and get messy. Get your toppings ready, I like to use sauteed mushrooms, pepperoni, peppers, chicken, pesto, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you have on hand is going to be good on the pizza! Once oven is preheated bake on a pizza stone of sheet pan for 15 minutes. The crust will be golden brown and delicious!
Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup
1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 large white potato, peeled and diced
1 inch cube Parmesan or small piece of Parmesan rind
1 cup milk (2% or whole is best)
Heat the oven to 400°F. Slice the top off your garlic and place on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil, and wrap foil up around it. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are very soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Melt the butter in the bottom of a saucepan. Add onion and thyme to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the stock and potato. Squeeze half the garlic cloves out of their skins and into the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until potato is very soft. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup or use a regular blender. Return to heat and stir in the milk. Cook until just heated through. Taste and season with additional garlic or salt as desired. This serves 4-6 depending on bowl size.
And now, I am on the couch not feeling so grumpy, thanks soup and pizza!
November 8, 2010
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my package had 5)
1 carrot chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 celery stalk chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 slices lemon
3-5 sprigs of thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400°. Layer all ingredients on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make foil into a packet and bake for 30 minutes. Open foil packet and bake 15 more minutes. I served with individual casseroles of stuffing and veggies.
For dessert I made baked apples with raisins. Slice one large apple (or two) and mix with raisins, cinnamon, and sugar to taste. Butter inside of casseroles and layer apples mixing raisins in between layers. Bake at 400° along with dinner. Eric was very happy to have something sweet at the end of dinner!
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 - 3 lbs chicken tenders, cut in half the short way
2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium red pepper sliced
1/2 box cremini mushrooms sliced
1 large can whole plum tomatoes
1 8oz can unsalted tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
Add all ingredients except chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer 40 minutes. Add uncooked chicken pieces and simmer 20 more minutes. Serve over pasta, with salad and bread, or as a sandwich!
November 7, 2010
Meet my new lover, Le Crueset 5.5 quart casserole!
Major Purchases: package sweet sausage, chicken thighs, and chicken tenders.
Good Deals: 1L Flavored Seltzer water for $0.75 each!
Chicken Thighs with Stuffing (so what if we are preparing for Thanksgiving!)
White Bean and Sausage "Cassoulet"
Pizza and Soup
Steak with Sweet Potato Fries and Arugula Salad (Date Night!!)
As much as I try and plan out my weeks, there is almost always a night that I can not pin down. This week we will have had red meat, chicken, seafood and vegetarian meals. Who has a suggestion for night 7?
2 fillets tilapia (about 6oz each)
3 medium red potatoes
1 cup baby carrots
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450° (I use my toaster oven for this). Cut potatoes into one inch pieces, cover by 1 inch with water, and boil for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and mix in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread out in a pan lined with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Boiling them for a short amount of time gives the insides a fluffy texture and roasting makes them so crunchy and delicious!
15 minutes before serving slice the baby carrots in half. Place in pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.
Fish cooks so quickly so you will want to start this right before serving. In a large nonstick skillet combine 1 tsp butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When butter has melted add 1-2 cloves crushed garlic. The garlic is just to flavor the oil so don't worry about chopping or mincing, just place your knife blade flat over the clove and bang with your fist. Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place fish into pan and cook 4 minutes. Flip with spatula, add 1/4 cup white wine, squeeze of lemon, and chopped parsley. Remove fish after two minutes. Heat remaining pan sauce over high to reduce, remove garlic and pour over fish to serve.
This is a quick and easy dish that can be made for a date night or weeknight! Enjoy!
November 3, 2010
Ingredients: Lentils, Rice, Onions, Cumin, Cinnamon, Olive Oil, Chicken, Hummus, Pitas, and additional condiments.
Caramelizing the onions is one of my favorite parts! Here's how they start out, just sweating a little bit.
And after 15 minutes you get these delicious little noms!
What a feast we had! The recipe claims 4 servings, judging from the amount of rice in that bowl I would say at least 6 or more! Sounds good to me, leftovers for lunch this week!
November 2, 2010
1 lb lean hamburger (90-93%)
1/2 small onion chopped
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Sweet Relish
1 Tbsp. Ketchup
2 small or 1 large Sweet Potato
1 stalk celery
salt and pepper
cross contamination. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into one inch pieces. Cut celery stalk in half the long way and then into 2 inch pieces. Toss on sheet pan with 1 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven while preheating.
An easy to make chicken soup! We call this one the "Get Well Sooner Soup" around here!
Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion and celery, cook for 5 minutes then add garlic and red pepper flake. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. When broth starts to simmer add corn, beans, and chicken. Heat through until hot. When ready to serve add pasta. If you are making this to freeze do not add pasta, it soaks up too much of the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste! Serve with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
If you are feeling under the weather I will sometimes add more garlic and red pepper flake! Always makes me feel better! And if you know someone feeling ill, cheer them up with some of this and send along a free package of Get Well Kleenex!
November 1, 2010
1 medium eggplant, heavy for its size
3 cremini mushrooms
1 handful spinach
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan
1/4 cup Shredded Mozzerella Cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 Lb. pasta of your choosing
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and layer in a colander. Add two pinches of salt and mix with eggplant, set aside for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Pat eggplant dry and arrange in an even layer on a sheet pan (or two). Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway. Slice mushrooms and saute in 1 teaspoon olive oil with a smashed clove of garlic until tender. Discard garlic and set mushrooms aside.
To build the Napoleons start with 4 large eggplant rounds, layer one spoonful of marinara, mushrooms, and mozzarella on the round. Add a smaller or similar sized eggplant round and continue layering marinara, spinach, and mozzarella. Continue layering ending with eggplant. You should have about 1/2 cup of sauce left over. Finish the napoleon with one more spoonful of sauce, the breadcrumbs, top with Parmesan cheese. We were able to make 4 napoleons, 4 eggplant layers high, and even had few rounds to snack on. Return pan to oven and cook for 7-10 more minutes.
Boil your pasta, drain, and add remaining sauce. If you are making this for more than two people or you like saucier pasta you may need more sauce.
Wondering what that colorful pasta is? Ronzoni Garden Delight spaghetti. Each serving has a full serving of vegetables! It was a GREAT deal at the store the other day! On sale 2 for $2 and I had a coupon to save fifty cents, and I only bought one....so it cost 50¢! So awesome!
Real Simple Magazine article on what to do with leftover candy I came up with a delicious treat! The recipe calls for white chocolate, but I am not a fan - too sweet! I used semisweet morsels, next time I will use darker chocolate. I actually made two different batches from this recipe. The first, above, was simple but the chocolate was too thick.
For the second try I took the already formed candy and broke it up into small pieces, then added more pretzels and Craisins. Cover the baking sheet with the new mixture and put the baking sheet in the oven set at 200° for 10 minutes. This allows the chocolate to temper and "glue" the pretzels and Craisins together. To serve just break into small pieces and enjoy!
Next time I will just add the extras from the beginning so it looks prettier! But hey, it still tastes good! I wish I had good pictures of the second batch, but we ate it up too fast! The candy never fully sets up, so its best to store in the fridge before eating it.