Friday, December 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chicken Enchiladas

8 corn tortillas

A few tablespoons of cilantro

Chicken, shredded (maybe a pound)

Optional: roasted green chiles, chopped small

6 oz. of white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


1 can of pumpkin puree (15 oz)

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 jalapeno (remove seeds and membranes if you don’t need extra heat)

1 teaspoon chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or water


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, puree pumpkin, jalapeno, chicken stock, garlic, chile powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Place 1 cup of this sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch glass casserole dish. In a bowl, combine shredded chicken with green chiles, cilantro, and/or scallions and season with salt and pepper. Place some of the chicken mixture on each tortilla and then lay the tortilla seam side down in the casserole dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 11″- x 7″-inch pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until passes toothpick test. Cool completely before cutting.

Chicken Parm Meatball Subs

So. Stinking. Good. And super easy to make a lot ahead of time and freeze. I even threw them in the crock pot right out of the freezer with a can of Marinara for a couple of hours (just ignoring the cooking/tomatoe-y part, basically) and it was perfect!


1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large egg
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Handful of chopped parsley leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus, plus 3 tablespoons, 3 turns of the pan
2 large cloves garlic, cracked from skin and split
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, a healthy couple of pinches
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)
1 cup chicken stock
8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
4 (6 to 8-inch) crusty sub rolls
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, half of the grated cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and a serious drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl. Mix the meat and form 12 large meatballs. Squish the balls to flatten them a bit like mini oval meatloaves. Be careful not to form the balls wider than your bread. The flattened balls will stay put on your sub, no roll-aways! Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm. Switch the broiler on.

While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and garlic and cook 5 minutes then remove the cloves. Add crushed red pepper flakes then tomatoes and stir in the chicken stock. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasonings and stir in the basil. Reserve a extra sauce for dipping on dinner table.

Remove the meat from oven and loosen with a thin spatula. Turn meat balls in sauce.

Cut sub rolls making the bottom a little deeper than the top. Hollow out a little bread and lightly toast the sub rolls under broiler. Fill the bottoms of the breads with flattened balls and sauce. Combine the provolone and remaining Parmigiano. Cover the subs with cheese and return to broiler to melt the cheese until golden.

Buffalo Chicken Bites


3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce (to taste)
3 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions. Roll a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a 1½-inch ball and place onto a plate or separate baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture.Place flour in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, place eggs. In a third shallow dish, Place cornflakes. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Super Easy Super Yummy Crock Pot Soup

Can of Rotel (any kind)
Can of corn
Can of black beans (drained & rinsed)
2 frozen chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese
1 packet dry ranch dressing
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook 6-8 hours. Shred chicken. Enjoy! (Good with tortilla chips!)

Baked Ziti with Pumpkin and Sausage

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 cups (12 oz.) dry regular or whole-wheat ziti
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.)Nestle Carnation Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • 4 links (12 oz.) fully-cooked Italian-seasoned chicken sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) or about 4 cups pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim or 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425º F. Spray 4-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and set aside for later use. Drain pasta; return to cooking pot.

Meanwhile, combine pumpkin, flour, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in medium skillet over medium heat. Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Pour over pasta in pot. Add sausage and reserved pasta cooking water; stir well.

Spread half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with spinach. Cover with remaining pasta mixture. Lightly spray piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Cover ziti with foil, greased side down.

Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in small bowl. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Veggie Bars

2 packages crescent rolls
2 packages cream cheese (8oz each-so 16oz total)
1C mayonnaise
Package of dry Ranch dressing mix
1C chopped carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower (more or less if you want)
1C shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9x13 pans. Press one package of crescent rolls into each pan, pinching the seams together. Bake until golden brown according to the time on the package. Cool. Meanwhile, mix together cream cheese (the softer the better!), mayo, and Ranch. Spread the mixture over the crusts. Chop the vegetables (I've used a food processor before, usually I end up chopping them finely by hand so I don't haul out the processor just for that much) and sprinkle over the mixture, and sprinkle cheese over the vegetables. Press with waxed paper and refrigerate overnight (I keep the waxed paper on until I'm ready to serve).

Cheerleader Dip

Big tub of sour cream (biggest you can find)
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 packet taco seasoning

Mix together, top with cheese and, if desired, any other taco toppings. Good with tortilla chips or Fritos!

Bacon Squash Saute

This is NOT on the healthy list. I made this because we had the stuff for it and ironically nothing else to make (I searched for things to make with zucchini and bacon and found this). It was tasty-but I wouldn't make it all the time, just because it's not the best for you I'm sure!

  • 6 bacon strips, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices (I used the 4 zucchini I had on hand-no yellow)
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I omitted)
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. In the drippings, saute the zucchini, yellow squash and onion for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

I took it a bit further and sprinkled cheese on top and popped it back in the oven until it melted. Yum!

Pizza Pockets

This is a fun little thing I've been making since I had a babysitting job way back when... super easy and super fast!

1 can biscuits
Pizza sauce
Pizza toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten half of the biscuits, and place on baking sheet. Top with sauce (use sparingly!), cheese, and toppings. Flatten the rest of the biscuits and place on top of the little "pizzas"-stretch them, carefully, and pinch the seams around the edges with a fork-creating a little stromboli effect. Poke holes carefully in the top to vent. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Zesty Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

This was pretty good! I was going to make barbecue chicken anyway, so I thought I'd try something just a tiny bit different. It added a little bit of a kick to it-I don't think I'd make it every time because I really like using honey barbecue sauce with my chicken, but it's good for a change! Recipe found here.
  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low. Link

Friday, October 7, 2011

Taco Potion #19

We started making our own taco/fajita seasoning! Easy and tasty. Sometimes I just don't need as much as is in a packet... and it's just plain fun to make your own stuff. Alton Brown's recipe found here.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Put all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

French Fries

We tried a different way than usual. Not the healthiest for sure! Pretty good but nothing mind blowing. Recipe found here. It says that the sugar solution does something to the carbs so that it doesn't soak up as much grease-so they get crunchier and they are a little more healthy.
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 large russet potatoes - peeled, and sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 6 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • salt to taste
  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water. Soak potatoes in water mixture for 15 minutes. Remove from water, and dry thoroughly on paper towels.
  2. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Add potatoes, and cook until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. drain on paper towels. Season with salt to taste. Link

Friday, September 30, 2011

Asian Beef with Mandarin Oranges

Hands-On Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 10 hours (LOW) or 5 to 6 hours (HIGH)
Yield: 6 servings


    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1⁄2-inch strips
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    1⁄3 cup soy sauce
    1⁄4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    1 small green bell pepper, sliced
    1 package (about 3 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    1 head bok choy, cleaned and chopped
    1 can (5 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
    2 tablespoons corn starch
    1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained and syrup reserved
    2 cups beef broth
    6 cups steamed rice


  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning to brown all sides. Transfer beef to 4 1⁄2-quart CROCK-POT® slow cooker as it is browned.
  2. Add onion to same skillet. Stir over medium heat until softened. Add next soy sauce, salt, ginger, green pepper, mushrooms, bok choy and water chestnuts and cook until bok choy is wilted, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture over beef.
  3. Whisk together corn starch and reserved mandarin orange syrup in medium bowl. Stir in beef broth and pour over ingredients in CROCK-POT® slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours or on HIGH 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender.
  4. Stir in mandarin oranges. Spoon steamed rice into shallow serving bowl and spoon beef over rice.

Almost Lasagna

This made SO MUCH. I put a ton more vegetables in than was called for-almost an entire bag of spinach, two zucchini, and a red pepper-basically what's in the Farmer's Market Lasagna that we love. There was enough that we ate (large portions) for dinner and lunch the next day, and then had enough to freeze... which we unfroze a few days later when I forgot to take anything else out. That batch was better-the sauce was able to soak into everything, and we made it with cheddar cheese because we had no mozzarella-and that was a good switch (I think we'd use cheddar next time-it makes it different!)


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, (or other similarly shaped pasta-like small shells)
  • 1 pound Ground turkey, (or beef, chicken, sausage or tofu crumbles)
  • 1 jar Pasta Sauce, (26 ounces)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound Ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups veggies , (diced zucchini, matchstick carrots, etc.)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Brown meat and drain well, if necessary.
  2. While meat is cooking, stir together eggs, ricotta, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix cooked meat, macaroni, sauce and veggies. Add ricotta mixture and blend well.
  4. Coat a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil and spread half of macaroni mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with a cup of mozzarella and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Add the remaining macaroni mixture and top with another cup of mozzarella and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  5. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the cheese on top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

The measurements on this one are dumb-must have originally been metric or something. Recipe from my muffins cookbook.

3 1/2oz butter, softened
5oz superfine sugar (I just used regular)
4oz brown sugar
2 large eggs
5oz sour cream
5 tablespoons milk
9oz flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon allspice
7oz semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners. Place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and milk until thoroughly mixed. Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and allspice into a separate bowl and stir into the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. Divide evenly into muffin liners, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

**I think cayenne would be REALLY good in it-I'll try it next time! Also, the chocolate chips all sank to the bottom. Next time I'll stir in half, bake the muffins for a few minutes then sprinkle the rest on top.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ginger Stir-Fry Marinade

Super simple but our current favorite stir fry marinade :)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until cornstarch is dissolved. Mix in salt and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger.

Pureed Chickpea Soup - Passato di Ceci

Recipe from Food Network (and I copied and pasted it-the chef must have written it herself, it's written in the same animated way in which she talks!) Patrick and Maya were huge fans of it, I liked it but couldn't eat a ton of it because it was kind of like flavor overload. We'll definitely make it again though! (And also-we made grilled cheese with it out of the rest of the loaf of fresh bread which was a huge win!)


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed, divided
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 (1/2-inch) slices country style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Coat a large pot with olive oil, add the pancetta and bring to a medium heat. When the pancetta starts to become crispy, add the onion, celery, carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, pinch of crushed red pepper and season lightly with salt. Sweat the veggies for 6 to 7 minutes or until they become very aromatic and start to soften.

Drain the water from the soaked chickpeas, rinse and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock, thyme bundle, bay leaves and 1 quart of water. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are very soft and falling apart, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn off the heat, season the water with salt and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Fill a skillet with olive oil until it is about 1/2-inch deep, and the remaining 3 garlic cloves, the rosemary leaves and a pinch of crushed red pepper and bring it to a medium heat. Remove the garlic once it is golden; it has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the bread cubes and cook until they start to become crispy and golden. (They will absorb a LOT of the oil. That's why they taste good!) Season with salt and remove the croutons from the oil to a bowl, reserving the rosemary oil. MMMMM!

Add the infused oil to the soup. Puree the soup in a food processor, blender, or good old fashioned food mill. Correct the consistency and seasoning, if necessary. If the soup is too thick, cook it a little more to reduce it, or thin it by adding more stock or water. Taste to be sure the seasoning is perfect.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with the croutons and finish with a large drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

California Black Bean Chili

Recipe from Kas! Sooooo good.

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained
1 can (7oz) diced green chilies
1 can (14oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
3 cups diced Zucchini
1 cup frozen onions
1 packet (1.5oz) chili seasoning mix
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed garlic

Brown turkey in a skillet and throw it all in the crock pot for 4-6 hours. (Our house smelled soooo good when we walked in after being gone all day!)

Paula Deen's Lemon Blossom Cupcakes

They were meant to share but I ate most of them. Whoops. Recipe from The Food Network.


4 large eggs
3 1/2 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray miniature muffin tins (I used regular size with cupcake liners) with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel.

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they’re still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about one hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

So good. I can't wait to warm up the leftovers for dinner tonight! I found that, at least making this for the first time, that the directions made me feel unorganized and it took me a lot longer than the hour and a half the recipe suggested. Next time I'd make the innards ahead of time and when ready make the bechamel sauce and noodles at the same time. This one also goes on the list of freezable meals-as a whole dish or portioned out into servings. Recipe from the Food Network.

Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)


To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barefoot Contessa's Mac and Cheese

I liked this recipe, Patrick couldn't get past the fact that, to him, it smelled like bacon dog treats (from the intense flavor of the Gruyère-good thing we only used 8oz!) Next time I'll try a different cheese. Also next time I'll use homemade bread crumbs like suggested-I had arranged the tomatoes all pretty,a nice star shape in the middle-but you can't even see it. Recipe from Food Network.

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyère, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Slow-Cooker Brisket Sandwich

This was good. So so so good. I burned my hand pretty bad searing the brisket (the hot oil splashed me when the brisket hit the pan) but it was amazingly delicious. We used the juice it made to dip it in and next time I think steak fries would be a nice addition to dip as well. Recipe from Food Network

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 5-to-6-pound first-cut or flat-cut brisket, cut into 3 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 12-ounce bottle stout beer
4 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
2 brioche or other rolls, split open and toasted
Coleslaw, for serving

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the brisket with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides, about 10 minutes, adding the garlic in the last 2 minutes. Transfer the meat and garlic to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. Pour the beer into the skillet and simmer 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits from the pan; add the beer mixture to the slow cooker.
Nestle the celery around the meat and add the brown sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, bay leaves and paprika. Stir, then cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 6 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes, then thinly slice.

Serve on brioche halves with coleslaw; drizzle with the cooking liquid.
You'll have plenty of leftover brisket: Use it in tacos, quesadillas, chili or even on a pizza.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cran-Apple Pancakes

1 1/2C flour
3T sugar
1 3/4tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1T margarine, melted
1C skim milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/2C fresh or frozen thawed cranberries

(Note about the cranberries: we had to pull a really ghetto move with this, but it worked. Our store here only carries cranberries-both fresh and frozen-around the holidays. So we took two cans of whole berry cranberry sauce, dumped them in the strainer, and sprayed the "jelly" part off them... leaving just the berries. Silly but it was fine!)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well. In a medium bowl, combine egg, margarine, and milk. Mix well. Stir in apples and cranberries. Stir fruit mixture into flour mixture until just combined (batter will be lumpy). Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour batter into skillet making 3-inch rounds, repeat with remaining batter. Cook until tops are bubbly, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes. Cook until golden, 1 minute longer. Place on a plate, cover to keep warm.

Another note: These cooked on the outside just like pancakes we normally make (Saturdays are pancake days here) but they ended up a little undercooked on the inside. Next time we'll cook them on a little lower temperature than we normally do-my guess is to accommodate the fruits!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Farmer's Market Lasagna

This is a recipe I found I think in Parents magazine a couple of years ago-it's a favorite of ours, and better lasagna than one with meat, in our opinion!

1 zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2C carrot, shredded
3C baby spinach
1 jar pasta sauce (I tend to use a bit more)
lasagna noodles
15oz Ricotta cheese
1C shredded Mozzarella (I use a bit more of this too... of course!)

Combine zucchini, pepper and carrots in a bowl and pour in 2T water. Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes; drain (or you can do like we do and just put it in a pot with a tiny bit of water on the stove till it gets all nice and steamy). Stir in spinach. Layer a bit of sauce, then noodles (I don't cook mine before-personal preference), then half of the veggies, then half of the Ricotta. More sauce, a third of the Mozzarella, noodles, the rest of the veggies, the rest of the Ricotta, another third of Mozzarella, noodles, the rest of the sauce, and then the rest of the Mozzarella (I go heavy on the sauce each time since I don't pre-cook the noodles). Cover tightly with foil. Cook for one hour on 350 degrees if you precook noodles, an hour and a half at 320 if you don't. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Paula Deen's Cheesy Squash Casserole

This is another one we had at Lady & Sons on Mother's Day-we've had it twice and it SURE is delicious! This makes a LOT-a lot more than the three of us can eat at one sitting so feel free to back off on the squash use if you need or want to.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz, or I sprinkle mine with French's French Fried Onions)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alton Brown's Cinnamon Rolls

I made these for Christmas morning 2010 and definitely forgot to post. They are YUM... if you have the time to devote to them, you won't be sorry!

The Food Network

Prep time: 45 minutes
Inactive prep time: 10hours 30minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes



  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray


  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups


For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.