Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baked Crab Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

This was an ambitious dish for us, but I'm happy to say that it turned out really well. Since I'm sick (cough, cough), Jason did all the cooking, so I guess he should get the credit.

We combined two different recipes so we had some trouble figuring out how much pasta and sauce to make for a certain amount of filling. I'm going to post the recipes in their original quantities, but we doubled the crab filling (because we had a whole pound of crab), we increased the pasta recipe by 50% and then ended up having to make another batch at the regular quantity, and we doubled the sauce.

The pasta didn't seem to roll out as big as the recipe indicated, but maybe that's because we didn't use a pasta maker. We were able to roll it really thin though, so I'm not sure how a pasta maker would have made a difference.

Baked Crab Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce


1 1/2 c flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 T water

1) In a food processor, blend all ingredients until the dough forms a ball.
2) Process for 15 seconds longer, to knead. (My food processor didn't seem capable of ball-forming and kneading.)
3) Transfer to a flour surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, for one hour.


1/2 lb lump crab meat
2 T red peppers, minced
2 T red onion, minced
1 c parmesan, grated
1 T basil, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
2 T heavy cream

1) Combine all ingredients.
2) Season to taste with salt & pepper.


1 T unsalted butter
2 T red pepper, minced
2 T red onion, minced
3/4 c tomatoes, diced
1/4 c water
1/3 c heavy cream
1/2 c parmesan, grated

1) Melt butter in a medium skillet; saute peppers and onion until tender.
2) Add tomatoes and water and simmer for 5 mins.
3) Prepare but the rest of the ingredients, but don't add them yet.


1) Divide dough into 4 pieces.
2) On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 24" x 4" rectangle (we couldn't get anywhere close to this size).
3) Drop 6 (1 1/2 tsp) mounds 1 1/2" apart down the center of one half of the sheet.
4) Brush egg wash (1 egg white mixed with 2 T water) around each mound and then fold the other half of the sheet over the filling.
5) Press down firmly around each mound, forcing out air.
6) Cut pasta (between mounds) into squares; lay on a lightly floured kitchen towel.
7) Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.
8) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and gently drop in ravioli.
9) Cook until the pasta is tender, about 6 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander.
10) Put half of the ravioli in a baking dish; top with half of tomato sauce, half of the cream and half of the cheese.
11) Repeat with the remaining ravioli, sauce, cream and cheese.
12) Bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbly, about 15 mins.

Classic Brownies

You can't go wrong with a basic brownie. These are very chocolate-y and rich. I prepared the brownies as directed below. Next time I will likely skip lining the baking dish with foil and just spray the dish itself. Yes, I'll have to wash the pan, but using the foil is needlessly wasteful, in my opinion. The nuts didn't sink into the brownies as I thought they would, so stirring them into the batter first is always an option. I'm going to try freezing some of these, so I don't eat them all in 2 days :-)

Classic Brownies

1 c (4 oz) walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 1/4 c cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
12 T unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
2 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Line 9x13 baking dish with foil; coat with cooking spray.
3) Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-8 mins.
4) Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
5) Melt chocolate and butter in a double-boiler over almost-simmering water; stir until mixture is completely smooth.
6) Remove chocolate/butter mixture from heat and gradually whisk in sugar.
7) Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined.
8) Whisk in vanilla.
9) Add flour mixture in three additions, folding in with a rubber spatula until completely smooth.
10) Pour batter into prepared pan; use spatula to smooth the batter to the edges.
11) Sprinkle nuts evenly over the batter.
12) Bake for 45 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Note: The original recipe called for 30-35 min bake time. I used a glass baking dish, and I'm not entirely confident my oven is accurate, but my brownies were still slightly underdone after 45 mins.)
13) Cool to room temperature; lift foil to remove brownies.
14) Cut and serve.

Chai Tea Latte

My favorite cold weather beverage...

Chai Tea Latte

2 c water
2 tea bags
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c milk

1) Bring water, tea bags and spices to a boil in a small saucepan; boil for 5 mins.
2) Stir in sugar and milk; return to a boil.
3) Strain into two large mugs.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I had buttermilk left over from making Buttermilk Biscuits and this pancake recipe seemed to be a good way to use it all up.

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or slightly less if using table salt)
3 T sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 c buttermilk
4 T unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the skillet
blueberries or chocolate chips (optional)

1) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
2) Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter; whisk until just combined. The batter should have small to medium lumps.
3) Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1/4 c for each pancake.
4) While batter is still wet, sprinkle on blueberries or chocolate chips, if desired.
5) Flip; serve.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

White Bean Pasta

This is a good clean out the cabinets and fridge recipe. I think you could use whatever pasta, veggies and beans that you happen to have on hand.

White Bean Pasta

8 oz pasta
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c onion, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c bell pepper, sliced
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 c spinach
1/2 c parmesan, grated

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2) Saute garlic and onion in oil for 2-3 mins; add peppers and saute an additional 2-3 mins.
3) Add mushrooms and saute until soft.
4) Stir in beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper; bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 mins.
5) Add spinach and simmer until wilted.
6) Drain pasta and add to bean mixture.
7) Sprinkle with half of parmesan cheese; reserve the rest for the table.

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

This pumpkin pie recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Southern Living (with a few modifications).

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

1 c crushed gingersnaps (about 20 gingersnaps)
1/2 c pecans, finely chopped
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/8 c butter, melted
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place piecrust in a 9-inch pie pan.
3) Stir together gingersnaps, pecans, powdered sugar and butter; press mixture on bottom and sides of piecrust.
4) Bake for 10 minutes; let cool completely.
5) Stir together pumpkin, milk, eggs, sour cream, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger until well blended; pour into prepared crust.
6) Bake for 70 mins on baking sheet or until the filling is set, shielding the edges with foil during the last 25 mins of baking.
7) Serve with ginger-spice topping (8 oz whipped topping, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ginger).

Cashew Chicken

My attempts at Asian-style food usually flop, but not this one! To make it a little more hearty, I served it over rice with broccoli and bell peppers sauteed in a little bit of the marinade on the side. This was enough for dinner and lunch for both of us. I think next time I will make double the sauce and reserve half of it to pour on at the table.

Update: This recipe worked out really well by cutting back to one chicken breast and making up the difference with vegetables.  In addition to sauteing broccoli and bell peppers with the onions and mushrooms, I roasted a bunch of brussels sprouts and cauliflower and mixed them in at the end.  It made a really hearty meal, and we didn't miss the second chicken breast at all.  I didn't even need any rice.

Cashew Chicken
Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 c olive oil
1 T plus 1 tsp chili powder
1/4 c tamari (can substitute soy sauce)
1/4 c honey
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 c raw cashews
1 onion, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c green onions, chopped

1) Combine chicken, oil, chili powder, tamari, honey and ginger in a bowl. Let sit for at least 30 mins.
2) Saute the cashews in a hot skillet until lightly toasted; set aside.
3) In a large skillet, saute the chicken over med-high heat; reserved the marinade.
4) Once chicken is cooked through; set aside.
5) Put reserved marinade in pan and simmer for a few minutes to kill any bacteria.
6) Pour off and reserve all but 1 T marinade; saute the chopped onions until translucent.
7) Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until soft.
8) Add chicken, cashews and reserved marinade to the skillet and heat through.
9) Stir in green onions just before serving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Grandma K's Baked Beans

Love these.

Grandma K's Baked Beans

1 lb dry Great Northern beans
1 lb bacon, diced and fried
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1 c ketchup
2 tsp dry mustard
4 tsp salt
2 T worchestershire sauce

1) Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight, per package instructions.
2) Drain beans, return to pot and cover with fresh water.
3) Bring beans to a boil for 2 mins; cover, turn off heat and let stand for 1 hour.
4) Return beans to a simmer and cook for 30 mins; preheat oven to 300 degrees.
5) Drain beans and add remaining ingredients.
6) Bake beans for 5 hours in covered 9x13 pan.
7) Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until beans are soft; add water if the sauce gets too thick.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

It works great to freeze these biscuits before baking (and before brushing with milk). Then just pop them straight from the freezer into the oven whenever you want one.

Buttermilk Biscuits

4 c all-purpose flour (if using self-rising flour, eliminate salt and 2 tsp baking powder)
1 T sugar
1 T plus 2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2/3 c butter
2 1/4 c buttermilk, divided

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir well.
3) Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
4) Add 2 c buttermilk and mix just until moistened.
5) Roll out dough to 1 inch thickness and cut into biscuits (I used a floured drinking glass).
6) Repeat until all dough is used.
7) Place biscuits on lightly greased baking sheet; brush tops with remaining buttermilk.
8) Bake for 18 mins or until golden.

Peanut Butter Chicken Skewers

These are so tasty we've had them two weeks in a row now. We served them with rice and steamed broccoli.

Peanut Butter Chicken Skewers

1/3 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c water
2 T soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1 T brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 skewers

1) Soak skewers in water.
2) Cube chicken and divide between 4 skewers.
3) Place under broiler for 10-15 minutes until cooked through; turn/baste occasionally.
4) As the chicken begins to cook, combine peanut butter, water, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan.
5) Cook over medium heat until smooth (roughly 3 minutes); add more water, as necessary.
6) Set aside 2/3 of the sauce; use the remaining 1/3 to baste the chicken as it cooks.

Light and Crispy Waffles

These waffles definitely lived up to their claim of light and crispy, but I think the crispiness really came from putting them in the oven. As this recipe is a bit time intensive, I might try the oven thing with an easier recipe to see if I can achieve the same crispiness. The recipe below is as written. I had to make a few subs based on what I had on hand. I had no buttermilk and only 3/4 c whole milk, so I supplemented it with 1/4 c water. I replaced 1 T milk/water with 1 T white vinegar.


3/4 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c milk
6 T oil
1 egg, separated
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees; preheat waffle iron.
2) Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl.
3) Combine the milk, buttermilk, oil and egg yolk in a liquid measuring cup; whisk with a fork.
4) In a small bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
5) Gradually add the sugar to the egg white; beat until thick and glossy.
6) Stir the vanilla into the egg white.
7) Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended.
8) Fold in the egg white mixture with a spatula.
9) Pour batter into a hot waffle iron in the recommended amount (2/3 c in my case).
10) Keep finished waffles in the warm oven directly on the rack. Do not stack the waffles, or they will become soggy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Savory Carrots

I'm not a huge carrot fan, but these were pretty good. We had them tonight with a roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. I did not measure anything, just added all the ingredients to taste.

Savory Carrots

olive oil
garlic, minced
carrots, sliced
onion, chopped
salt & pepper

1) Saute garlic in olive oil.
2) Add carrots and onion; saute for a few minutes.
3) Season with salt & pepper.
4) Add water (maybe 1/2 c); cover and simmer for 15 mins.
5) Remove lid and simmer until the water has evaporated.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pan Roasted Sea Bass

This was one of our first attempts at making fish, and it turned out pretty well. The original recipe called for marsala wine, but we used a reisling we had on hand instead.

Pan Roasted Sea Bass

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 c wine
1 T butter
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c chicken broth
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 T grapeseed oil
approx. 1 lb sea bass

1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2) Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent.
3) Deglaze the pan with wine (remove the pan from the stove first to prevent the wine from igniting).
4) Once most of the wine is cooked off, add the butter and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender.
5) Add the broth, salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
6) In the meantime, season the fish fillets with salt and pepper.
7) Heat the grapeseed oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet until almost smoking.
8) Cook the fillets skin side down for approx. 5 mins; don't let the oil get too hot!
9) Flip the fillets and cook for another 30 sec.
10) Transfer the skillet to the oven for 3-4 minutes.
11) Serve fish over rice with the mushroom/onion sauce.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Steamed Clams

I was amazed at how quick and easy it was to prepare this. The clams turned out great and made a TON of broth. Next time, I will try to incorporate some different spices and maybe try to thicken the broth a bit.

Steamed Clams

50 littleneck clams
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic minced
1/4 c green pepper, finely diced
1/4 c red pepper, finely diced
1/4 c shallots, finely diced
1 c white wine (we used Little Penguin Chardonnay)
2 T butter
fresh bread

1) Thoroughly wash clams to remove sand/dirt. Discard any clams that are already open.
2) In a large pot, saute garlic in oil over medium heat. Add peppers and shallots; saute until soft.
3) Add wine; simmer until it reduces in volume by half.
4) Add clams, cover and steam over medium heat.
5) Once the clams begin to open, add butter.
6) Continue steaming until all (or almost all) of the clams are open (about 12-15 mins total).
7) Serve over pasta.

Crockpot Refried Beans

An easy and tasty recipe!

Crockpot Refried Beans

1 1/2 c dry pinto beans, rinsed
2 1/2 c water
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin

1) Stir together all the ingredients in the crockpot.
2) Cook on high for 8 hours; add more liquid, if necessary.
3) Mash beans to desired consistency.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chickpea Potato Curry

This curry isn't what I expected from a curry, but it was really tasty! Very quick and easy for a weeknight dinner. We served it over rice, but it was so hearty we found that rice wasn't really necessary.

Chickpea Potato Curry

2 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
2-15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles (or add a 4 oz can of green chiles)
12 oz Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T unsalted butter
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1-2 tsp salt (depending on your chicken broth, you may not need any)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 T cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne

1) In a large pot, combine all ingredients.
2) Simmer vigorously over medium heat for 35 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Crockpot Stroganoff

This is a great crockpot dish. We followed the many reviews/modifications on AllRecipes and it's perfect! Jason likes it with beef, but I made some modifications to make it with chicken (in parentheses).

Crockpot Stroganoff

1-2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat (cubed chicken)
2 cans golden mushroom soup (cream of mushroom/cream of chicken)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 T worchestershire sauce
1/2 c. water
1/2-1 packet onion soup mix
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
garlic, to taste
6 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. cream cheese
dollop sour cream
egg noodles, cooked

1) In a crockpot, combine the meat, soup, onion, worchestershire, water, onion soup mix, salt, pepper, and garlic.
2) Cook on low for approx. 4.5-5 hours; add fresh mushrooms.
3) Cook an additional 30 mins; stir in cream cheese and sour cream just before serving.
4) Serve over egg noodles.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We bought a mixed half bushel (approx. 25 lbs) of gala, fiji, golden delicious, and empire apples, along with 1/2 peck of macintosh and 1/2 peck of jonagolds. If we had bought all of these apples here in Nova, we would have paid about $2/lb and spent more than $50. We only spent $19 for all these apples in Gettysburg. This quantity (other than the 5.5 lbs we set aside to make apple butter) yielded 10 quarts and 3.5 pints of applesauce. We made this all in 3 batches and added cinnamon to one batch. We didn't use a food mill, food processor, blender sieve or anything else. We kept it pretty simple and just left our applesauce chunky.

2010 Results:  This year we bought 8 quarts each of golden delicious, empire, macintosh, and gala, and four quart of stayman and ozark gold apples.  In total, that is just over a bushel of apples, and it yielded 20 quarts and 6 pints of applesauce.  I believe we used 3 1/2 c of liquid (equal parts apple cider and water) for each batch.


apple cider
apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
sugar (opt)
cinnamon (opt)

1) Put about one inch of liquid (water/apple juice/apple cider, etc) in the bottom of a large pot.
2) Fill the pot with apples.
3) Cover and heat on med-high until it starts bubbling; reduce heat to medium.
4) Let cook until the apples are soft and mushy (about 35-40 mins).
5) Mash the apples and liquid together with a potato masher.
6) Taste and add sugar/cinnamon, if desired.
7) Ladle the applesauce into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Lightly tap jar on counter to remove air bubbles.
8) Wipe jar mouth clean and seal.
9) Process in a hot water bath for at least 20 mins but not more than 30 mins.
10) Set jars to the side and let cool overnight undisturbed.

Batch #1: We used half water/half apple cider in the bottom of the pot. The applesauce was super sweet.

Batch #2: We used water with just a splash of apple cider in the bottom of the pot. We added 1 T cinnamon (next time I would reduce to 2 tsp). The applesauce didn't seem sweet enough, so we added 2 T sugar.

Batch #3: We went back to the half water/half apple cider combo, and it was perfect.

Dill Pickles

We finally cracked open the first jar of dill pickles that we canned back in August. They are pretty good...a little salty and not quite as crunchy as I'd like, but I'd definitely make them again.

Dill Pickles

8 lbs. 3-4 in long pickling cucumbers
4 c white vinegar
12 c water
2/3 c pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
8 sprigs fresh dill weed
8 heads fresh dill head or dill seed (we used dill seed)

1. Wash cukes, trim off blossom end and place in an ice bath for at least 2 hours.
2. In large pot over med-high heat, combine vinegar, water, and pickling salt; bring to a rapid boil.
3. In each jar, place 2 half cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp. dill seed, and enough cukes to fill the jar (really cram them in there). Then add 2 more garlic halves and a dill sprig.
4. Fill jars with hot brine and seal.
5. Set aside and wait for the lids to pop. It may take a while and it may require a light finger tap on the lid. (Note: we did not do the hot water bath as called for in the recipe. Based on the reviews, this makes the pickles soggy.)
6. Let sit for 8 weeks before eating.

Variations: add jalapeno slices, crushed red pepper seeds and/or mustard seed

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Salted Fudge Brownies

These brownies turned out different than I expected but were still very good...and they got rave reviews from my colleagues. I totally thought I overbaked these as I put them in for the full 35 mins and the top looked really hard. However, the mix of a crispy outside and a fudge-y inside was great. I could do without the salt, so next time I might leave it out.

Salted Fudge Brownies

3/4 c unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 c + 2 T unsweetened cocoa
2 c sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease 8x8 inch baking dish (the original recipe called for 9x9).
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.
4. One at a time, whisk in cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.
5. Pour batter into prepared dish.
6. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over batter. Swirl through with butter knife.
7. Bake for approx. 35 mins. until edge is set but center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out coated with a bit of batter.
8. Cool brownies in pan for 1 hour. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
9. Cut and serve at room temperature.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

This recipe is hands down the most flavorful potato soup I've ever had! I followed the linked recipe as written, except I scaled it up to 6 servings and used 2:1 heavy cream to milk in place of the half and half. It actually made too much, so the 4 servings should suffice for a dinner and lunch for both of us. The below is how I intend to make it next time to give it a thicker texture.

Baked Potato Soup

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 c chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, 1 cubed and 1 mashed
1 c half and half
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
cheddar cheese, shredded
green onions, chopped

1. In large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp; set bacon aside.
2. Saute onion and garlic in the bacon drippings until tender.
3. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well.
4. Add the broth and bring to a boil; boil for two minutes.
5. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce.
6. Heat through, but do not boil.
7. Garnish with bacon, cheese and green onions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cheddar Beer Fondue

We made this last night as a final hurrah before we begin the pre-wedding diet :-) (we'll see how long it lasts!) We used apples, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and bread as dippers. This time we used Yuengling, but I've also used Miller Lite. Any beer will work, but darker beers definitely bring a stronger flavor to the fondue. Although the recipe calls for a fondue pot, it's easy to make on the stove.

Cheddar Beer Fondue

1 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
dash cayenne
3/4 c beer
2 tsp worchestershire sauce

1. In a fondue pot, combine beer and worchestershire.
2. Set temperature to 375 degrees and heat until bubbling.
3. Gradually add cheese mixture, stirring constantly until cheese melts smoothly.
4. Reduce heat to 200 degrees and serve.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mexican Corn Chowder

We made this corn chowder a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to make sure to post it before I lose the recipe. We used fresh corn from the farmer's market. I had to make a few substitutions on the spices based on what we had/could find. Next time, I hope to use the specified versions.

Mexican Corn Chowder

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (we used regular)
1/4 tsp ground chipotle chili powder (we used mexican chili powder)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 T corn meal
2 c chicken broth
1 c milk
1 tsp dried oregano
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob; reserve one cob
1 handful cilantro, chopped

1) Cook the bacon in a large pot; remove from the pot and set aside.
2) Saute onions, celery, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bacon grease until soft, about 5-7 mins.
3) Add the potato and cook for 5 mins.
4) Sprinkle the corn meal over the mixture.
5) Add the broth, milk, oregano, corn kernels and a cob.
6) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer covered for 30 mins.
7) Remove from heat and stir in the bacon and cilantro; remove the cob.
8) Serve immediately.

Apple Pancakes with Apple Topping

We had four apples (3 macintoshs and 1 mystery apple) from the farmer's market that I wanted to use up before we go on vacation tomorrow, so I made apple pancakes for breakfast this morning. The pancakes were a bit bland by themselves; however, they were fantastic with real maple syrup and the apple topping.

Apple Pancakes

1/4 c butter, melted
1 egg
1 c milk
1 c shredded apple
1 1/4 c flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 T sugar
butter for the skillet

1. Combine butter, egg, milk and apple.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar.
3. Stir flour mixture into the apple mixture, just until combined.
4. Fry pancakes in a hot, buttered skillet.

Apple Topping

2 small-medium apples, peeled and chopped
2 T butter
2 tsp lemon juice
pinch of sugar, to taste
pinch of brown sugar, to taste

1. Mix apples with lemon juice.
2. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
3. Add apples and sugars.
4. Simmer over med-low heat until apples are soft.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolate Frosting

A few weeks ago, we saw an episode of Bobby Flay's throwdown that featured German Chocolate Cake. After seeing that, we had to make the challenger's recipe. Since her chocolate frosting was a secret recipe, I had to find one on the internet. This is the one I decided to use, and it turned out great....except it made a ton. I cut the original recipe in half and had enough frosting to cover the top of my german chocolate cake and 12 cupcakes with a lot left over. I vacuum-sealed the leftovers and stuck it in the freezer. I just pulled it out today to use on the chocolate cupcakes I made. It tasted just as good as when it was fresh, and the texture was still smooth and creamy. My cupcakes were just a chocolate cake mix that I needed to use up (from now on, I hope to bake solely from scratch). After icing the cupcakes, I sprinkled coconut and chopped pecans on top. The below amounts represent a quarter of the original recipe and should be enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a 3-layer cake (I think).

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 c butter, softened
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c and 2 T baking cocoa
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c milk, plus a few extra tablespoons, as needed

1) Cream butter in a large mixing bowl.
2) Gradually beat in powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla.
3) Add milk, gradually, until the consistency is very smooth and spreadable.

Birdie Bread

I make this every few weeks for Morris, our CAG. It's a good way to trick her into eating veggies that she normally wouldn't touch (except to throw out of her bowl). I just use whatever fruits and veggies I have on hand, so each batch is a little different. This week I used kale and broccoli, but I've used carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, peas, blueberries and corn. I keep a week's supply in the fridge and freeze the rest in a ziploc bag.

Birdie Bread

1 c oatmeal, processed into a flour
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 T baking powder
2 eggs, whipped in food processor (shells included)
1 c no-sugar added applesauce
1 jalapeno, chopped
approx. 2 c veggies, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In an 8x8 pan, mix oatmeal, flour and baking powder.
3) Add eggs and applesauce; mix thoroughly.
4) Mix in jalapeno and veggies.
5) Bake for 25 mins.

Jason's (Almost) World Famous Lasagna

Jason made his lasagna today for us to take in our lunches all week. He would normally use ground beef, but because I'm going to be eating it too, he used ground turkey instead. He prepared 2 - 32 oz jars of Mid's sauce, and we had enough left over to freeze for a pasta dinner down the road.


2 jars of high-quality tomato sauce
1 lb ground turkey
2 T garlic, chopped
5 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt & pepper
italian seasoning
garlic powder
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped (opt)
hot sauce (opt)
1 box lasagna noodles
8 oz package of pre-sliced provolone
8 oz package of pre-sliced mozzarella
15 oz ricotta

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Warm sauce over low heat; bring to a simmer.
3) Brown ground turkey with garlic, mushrooms, onion and spices, to taste.

4) Drain excess liquid, if necessary.
5) Mix meat and veggies into the sauce.
Add basil and a dash of hot sauce.
7) In the meantime, boil 9 lasagna noodles, per the package directions.
8) In a 9x13 pan, spread a thin layer of sauce.
9) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
10) Spread a thin layer of sauce.
11) Layer in half of the provolone, mozzarella and ricotta.
12) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
13) Spread a thin layer of sauce.
14) Layer in the remaining cheeses.
15) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
16) Spread the remaining sauce.
17) Bake for 45 mins - 1 hour, until bubbly.

Baked Oatmeal

We make this recipe all. the. time. J likes to eat his breakfast at work, and since this reheats well, it fits the bill. The first time I made this I followed the recipe to a tee. It was very good but a bit too sweet for my tastes. I've reduced the brown sugar and usually just add a handful of the various mix-ins. I've also experimented with different proportions of milk/applesauce, depending on what I had on hand. It's always turned out fine. I even supplemented with water one time.

Baked Oatmeal

2 c rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c applesauce
1 egg, beaten
walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Combine oats, baking powder and brown sugar in a baking dish (roughly 8x8).
3) Stir in a handful of each of the mix-ins.
4) Add the milk, applesauce and egg; mix well.
5) Bake for 25 mins or until golden brown.

Hush Puppies

J has been dying to make hush puppies, so we gave it a shot last night. They went great with our roast chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes :-) We used a Rachael Ray recipe I found in a magazine. They are very corny and quite light, almost cake-like in the middle; not as dense and heavy as some hush puppies I've eaten.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c canned creamed corn
1/3 c milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
black pepper
cayenne pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

1) Mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2) Add creamed corn, milk, egg and onion; stir until combined.
3) Fill a medium-sized pot with at least 2 inches of oil; heat to 350 degrees.
4) Use a cookie scoop to drop small balls of batter into the oil.
5) Fry each batch until browned, turning occasionally, for about 5 mins.
6) Drain on paper towels.

Roast Chicken

Last night was my first attempt at making a whole chicken, and I'm pleased to say it turned out great. I read a bunch of recipes over at All Recipes and took those ideas and made my own. I put some carrots in with the chicken with about 45 mins remaining. They were a bit dry and a little too al-dente. I'll have to figure something else out for next time.

Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, approx. 3-4 lbs
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
garlic powder
olive oil
string or wire
1 c chicken broth

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Rinse chicken and liberally season inside and out.
3) Quarter onion and celery stalk; stuff inside the cavity.
4) Place 2-3 T butter inside the cavity.
5) Slide 2-3 T butter under the skin of the breast.
6) Tie chicken legs closed
7) Mist the entire bird with olive oil.
8) Bake on a roasting pan for about 1.5 hours or until the chicken is 180 degrees.
9) Baste every 30 mins with chicken broth.

Chicken Gravy

chicken drippings
remaining chicken broth
1/4 c flour

1) Combine chicken broth and water in a small sauce pan to create about 1 c of liquid.
2) Whisk in flour.
3) Whisk in drippings.
4) Heat until thickened.
5) Season with salt and pepper.
6) If the gravy becomes too thick, add more broth or water to thin.

Crockpot Yogurt

So I made yogurt for the second time today, and I'm sad that it didn't work out. The first time I used a quart of whole, regular (non-organic) milk from Wegmans because I couldn't find organic in that size. This time I used Homestead Creamery milk from Whole Foods. I bought it because it comes in a glass bottle which really appealed to me. Even though the milk is labeled "pasteurized" (vs. "ultra-pasteurized"), I found through subsequent research that they heat their milk to higher than required temperatures (170 deg vs 145 deg). I'm thinking that's why my yogurt didn't turn out this time. It makes me mad because it was a waste of expensive milk. Anyways, I will try again in a few weeks with a different brand.

The first time I made this, I didn't plan properly, and I let the yogurt sit for 12.5 hours (instead of 8). It turned out fine. I saved about 1/4 c from my first batch and froze it to use in my next batch. I read here that freezing does not destroy the cultures.

Here's a way to make yogurt without the crockpot. I think I'll give it a try next time. This crockpot recipe turned out great the first time, but I haven't been able to replicate that success for some reason.

Crockpot Yogurt

1 qt (4 c) milk (not ultra-pasteurized!)
2-3 T plain yogurt with live active cultures

1) Put milk in the crockpot and heat on low for 2.5 hours.
2) Turn crockpot off, wrap the crockpot in a few towels and let sit for 3 hours.
3) Ladle 1-2 scoops of milk from the crockpot into a bowl and whisk in the yogurt.
4) Stir the mixture back into the milk in the crockpot.
5) Wrap the crockpot in towels and let sit for 8 hours.
6) For greek-style yogurt, strain the finished yogurt through cheese cloth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

I've found a lot of great recipes in the Everday Food magazine, and this is one of them.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

2 T honey mustard
2 T ketchup
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
1 c cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Brush rimmed baking sheet with oil.
3) Mix together honey mustard and ketchup; set aside.
4) Combine turkey, egg, panko, 1/2 c cheddar, salt and pepper.
5) Form four 2x4 inch loaves.
6) Brush the loaves with mustard mixture and top with remaining cheese.
7) Bake for 15-20 mins. until cooked through.

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is my Mom's recipe, and we love love love these. This makes plenty of stuffing, so you really have to cram it in the mushroom caps. Tonight I used fresh cilantro instead of parsley because that is what I had on hand.

Stuffed Mushrooms

16 mushrooms
1 stick butter
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 T parsley
1 T onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Remove mushroom stems and finely chop.
3) Melt butter in skillet and saute mushroom stems, bread crumbs, parsley and onion.
4) Add salt and pepper.
5) Remove skillet from heat; mix in egg.
6) Place mushroom caps in lightly greased pan; stuff with filling.
7) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
8) Bake for 15 mins.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheese and Broccoli Baked Potatoes

This is definitely a more sophisticated cheese and broccoli baked potato than I'm used to (no cheez whiz!). It was very tasty and this recipe made enough topping for probably four potatoes instead of two (although we loaded it on two anyways). We weren't sure this would be enough for dinner, so we made BLTs and a couple ears of corn. Way too much food....

Baked Potatoes

2 baking potatoes
olive oil
kosher salt

1) Preheat over to 400 degrees.
2) Pierce potatos skins with fork.
3) Spritz with olive oil.
4) Sprinkle on kosher salt.
5) Bake for one hour.

Cheese and Broccoli Topping

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/4 c milk
salt & pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 c Jarlsberg or other swiss cheese, grated
1 small head of broccoli, steamed

1) Melt butter over medium heat.
2) Whisk in flour and simmer for 2-3 minutes; do not brown.
3) Stir in milk and bring just to a boil.
4) Add salt, pepper, cayenne and simmer 2-3 minutes.
5) Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.
6) Chop steamed broccoli and add to sauce.
7) Spoon over baked potatoes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

This is one of our favorite cakes. It creates a hot fudge sauce inside the cake as it bakes. It tastes best with vanilla ice cream!

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
2 T cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
2 T oil (olive or coconut)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa
1 3/4 c hot water

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix flour, sugar, 2 T cocoa, baking powder and salt in ungreased 8x8 pan.
3) Mix in milk, oil and vanilla.
4) Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 c cocoa over batter.
5) Pour water over batter; do not stir.
6) Bake about 40 mins. or until top is dry.
7) Serve warm.

Spinach Balls

We really enjoyed these... I made a few minor changes, of course.

Spinach Balls

serves 4 (approx. 15 pieces)

1 - 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and chopped
3/4c seasoned bread crumbs
3/4c grated parmesan cheese
1/4c butter, melted
3-4 T onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
3) Shape the mixture into 1" balls.
4) Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 25 mins.

Chicken Piccata

We loved the corn chowder we found on this blog, so I thought we would try another recipe. Neither of us are wild about lemony sauces, so I reduced the amount of lemon juice by half and added more wine. This was good, but next time I would replace all the lemon juice (approx. 1/2c) with chicken broth and maybe add some mushrooms to the sauce. I served this with jasmine rice and spinach balls.

Chicken Piccata

Serves 4

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2c all-purpose flour
salt & pepper, to taste
2T olive oil or coconut oil (organic, extra-virgin coconut oil)
2T butter, melted
3T all-purpose flour
slightly less than 1c chardonnay or other dry white wine
1/4c fresh lemon juice
1/2c chicken broth
1/4c capers, drained
2T butter
salt & pepper, to taste

1) Cut chicken crossways to create thin slices & pound chicken (if necessary) to 1/4" thickness.
2) In shallow bowl, mix together 1/2c flour; season with salt & pepper.
3) Coat chicken in flour mixture.
4) In large heavy skillet, sauté chicken breasts in oil over medium-high heat until golden and no longer pink inside, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.
5) In a small bowl, mix 2T melted butter with 3T flour until smooth. Set aside.
6) In same skillet, bring wine, lemon juice, & broth to boil. Whisk in butter-flour mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
7) Stir in capers & 2T butter. Add chicken to skillet; cover & simmer for 2-3 minutes.
8) Season with salt & pepper, as desired.
9)Serve immediately.