Monday, November 30, 2009

Triple O bread

Onions, olives, and oregano! This quick bread is packed with flavor.

Triple O Bread

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped

2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T butter, melted
3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/3 c olives, chopped
1 T fresh oregano or 1 t dried

Saute the onions in olive oil until soft. Mix the flour through salt in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup. Add the milk and eggs, and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add the onions, olives, and oregano and mix in.

Bake in a well-greased 8 x 4 loaf pan at 350 for about 50 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

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More treats with the leftover turkey

Turkey and Squash Stew

Turkey and squash stew

Grilled chutney, avocado, and turkey panini

Turkey salad & cranberry sauce panini
Shredded turkey mixed with cranberry sauce or chutney and plain yogurt

Friday, November 27, 2009

What to do with the leftovers?

All that leftover turkey! What to do besides have a fabulous Turkey Sandwich?

How about spending a session in the kitchen whipping up some Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) meals to take you through the busy days ahead? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to reach into the freezer and just pull out a meal that you’ll thaw and heat at the end of a busy day? Click on the link above to see how the basics of OAMC work, and try some of the recipes below, which are specially designed to freeze well. Some of them use chicken rather than turkey, but you can easily substitute the poultry of your choice!

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Split-Pea Soup with Turkey

Greek Style Chicken

Baked Jambalaya - add turkey to the sausage and ham, or substitute some of it

Cider Chicken Stew

La Sita Chicken

Turkey and squash stew - not so much OAMC as for right now!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Happy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some wonderful cakes by Dani

Hedgehog Cake for Hannah

My daughter has no aspirations to become the next Ace of Cakes, but she still enjoys creating an amusing cake for her friends!

Jack in the Box Cake for 'Sley.

Yes, it really opened when it was cranked :-) Dani has a little video of it on her blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Popovers with gremolata

Gremolata (an Italian garnish) is made from flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. It's a wonderful thing to add to the basic popover recipe!

Popover recipe
1/3 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 t grated lemon zest
Large clove of garlic, minced fine

Add the gremolata to the batter. No other adjustments are needed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

RuthAnn's scallops

Served with baby peas on top of spaghetti (half lengths)

Mom makes these scallops that you just can't get enough of. They're so simple, but really really good. She also does shrimp this way sometimes, or a mixture of the two.

RuthAnn's Scallops (and Shrimp)

1 lb scallops and/or shrimp
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
Clove of garlic, minced
Fresh parsley


Marinate seafood through parsley together for about an hour. Pan fry in butter and olive oil, adding thyme.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

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A taste of Thanksgiving everyday

Any day can seem like Thanksgiving with the addition of cranberry sauce to the menu! Tonight, we’re having some chicken and sweet potatoes cooked in the crock pot, and I’ll add a green salad and cranberry sauce. When I make cranberry sauce, I make a lot, because it freezes really well and can be packed into small containers for later use.

Cranberry Sauce

Bags of fresh cranberries
As many whole oranges as there are bags of cranberries
Sugar…lots of sugar (I prefer raw)

Rinse and sort out the cranberries. I only remove the ones that are rotting, which you’ll get occasionally. In a deep stock pot, dump all the cranberries plus a couple cups of water. Boil and turn down heat to medium, keeping a gentle simmer going. Stir from time to time while the cranberries swell and pop (that’s why you want a really deep pot!). While they heat and cook, cut your oranges, including peels, into quarters and remove any seeds. Place them in a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Stir them into the cranberries and heat. Begin to add sugar or other sweetener. You will have to taste as you go and decide how sweet your family will like it. I use about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of sugar for each bag of cranberries. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens. Allow it to cool and pour the sauce into containers for freezing and for current use.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quick Jambalaya

Not quite as labor intensive as some jambalaya recipes, but this one still packs a very tasty punch.

Quick Jambalaya

Olive oil
1 lb sausage (or ham)
Onion, chopped
Green pepper, chopped (or other colors)

14 oz tomatoes, crushed or chopped
14 oz chicken stock
1/2 c barbecue sauce

Optional: beans, cooked shrimp

Prepare rice and keep it warm.

In a large skillet, brown the sausage through the peppers in olive oil. Add and stir together the tomatoes, stock, and barbecue sauce. Dish the stew over rice in a shallow bowl. Add beans, and/or cooked shrimp if desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meat loaf

Classic comfort food! Probably no one even needs a recipe, but still... Wish it didn't take so long to cook, but otherwise it couldn't be easier.

Meat Loaf

2 lbs ground beef
2 c stuffing crumbs and water to moisten
2 eggs
T or so of Worcestershire sauce
Sauteed chopped onions, optional

Mix by hand. Form into a loaf pan. cover with foil and bake at 350 for 80 to 90 minutes.

Chipotle Variation

Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 c chipotle sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red pepper risotto with Italian sausage

Making risotto is not the basis of a thirty minute meal. Nonetheless, it is delicious and comforting in a way that just can’t be achieved by boiling up some instant rice. Yuck! It is actually the perfect dish to introduce during, November, our month of Comfort Food :-)

Here are the basic directions for risotto, and I’d suggest just reading through them if this is your first time so that you understand how the process works. The directions below are a bit abbreviated, so check the link above if anything doesn’t make sense.

Red Pepper Risotto with Italian Sausage

5 c (40 oz) chicken broth
1/2 lb sausage
Olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1-1/2 c arborio rice
1/3 c white wine (non-alcoholic cooking wine is fine)
1/2 t salt
Parmesan cheese, fresh

Bring the broth to a simmer and keep it warm. Brown the sausage in a large skillet or stock pot. Remove sausage and brown the veggies. Remove veggies and drain fat. Set both the sausage and veggies aside. Add some olive oil and heat. Add the dry rice, stirring and heating for a minute or so. Add the wine and salt; cook one minute stirring constantly. Add the broth, 1/2 c at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed. This usually takes at least 20 minutes. Add sausage and veggies back in and heat through. Top with grated or thin sliced cheese to serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Carnival time!

The Make It From Scratch carnival is posted today over at Frugal Changes! Thanks for hosting, guys!

Another no-brainer stir fry

I’m planning a fairly lazy afternoon today, after a very busy weekend. It may even include a long nap this afternoon, and I haven’t thought ahead much to dinner. Fortunately, we had some saffron rice left over from the weekend, and I have a bin full of beautiful peppers and collards in the fridge. We also have black olive paste on hand, so we’ll use that to season our dish.

Olive oil
Peppers – red, yellow, green
Black olive paste
Saffron rice

Slice the onions and peppers into strips. Stir-fry the veggies, adding some black olive paste in the last minute or so. When they’re almost done, reheat the rice.

Serve the veggies on the beautiful yellow rice and enjoy the color mix!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mediterranean vegetable stir fry

This is another family favorite that I throw together when we’ve got very little time and want something delicious. I can’t tell you proportions, because it turns out different every time, based upon how much of each ingredient we happen to have around. You can easily substitute ingredients that better suit your family. You don’t really need to add anything to this vegetarian entree, but a green salad with Greek dressing is nice!

Mediterranean Vegetables


Olive oil
Onion, chopped
Red & green peppers, chopped
Green beans, whole or cut

Artichoke hearts
Black olives (Greek kalamata preferred)
Canned diced tomatoes
Oregano, basil, black pepper

Feta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Pine nuts

Prepare the couscous or other pasta (or rice) while cooking the vegetables as follows: stir fry onions, peppers, and beans in olive oil. Add artichokes through spices and heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses and serve over couscous, topped with pine nuts.

Image: MorgueFile

Saturday, November 14, 2009

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Warm broccoli cheese spread

Courtesy of The Taste of Home Cookbook and website!

Warm Broccoli Cheese Spread

I cut this recipe out of a newspaper a year ago and decided to trim it down by substituting fat-free and reduced-fat ingredients. Whenever I make this for an occasion, I end up being asked for the recipe. -Patricia Moore of Toledo, Ohio




TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 25 min.

* 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
* 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
* 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
* 3 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained and patted dry
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
* Reduced-fat wheat snack crackers

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and salad dressing mix until blended. Fold in the broccoli and 1-1/2 cups of cheese.
Spoon into a shallow 1-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve warm with crackers. Yield: 3-1/2 cups.

Here’s mine…note that I used white cheddar cheese, so it doesn’t look quite as cheesy as theirs, but it was!

Don’t miss my review on this wonderful cookbook!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cookbook review: The Taste of Home Cookbook

I want to tell you about a really delightful cookbook that I received to review called The Taste of Home Cookbook, the new revised edition. It’s a companion book to the cooking magazine by the same name! I love everything about this book: it’s got a notebook style binding, so that you can remove sheets if you need to, it’s well-organized, prep and cooking times are clearly marked…I could go on and on. But the best thing about it is the selection of recipes

I’m kind of appetizer-challenged. We’ve all got a weak spot, and this is mine, so I’m always looking to delicious stuff that won’t destroy my waistline. Well, the first one I tried was such a hit that I’m going back for more! I’ll share this particular recipe and my results in the next post.

Another feature that I like are the multitude of recipes that give you 4 preparation options:
“Classic Recipes” (Taste of Home) for traditional preparation techniques
“Time-Saver Recipes” (Simple & Delicious) for minimum effort
“Light Recipes” (Healthy Cooking) for trimming calories, fat, etc. but not flavor
“Serves 2” (Cooking for 2) for scaled-down versions for smaller households

Cool idea, huh?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some comfort food recipes needed!

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

Open-Faced Melted Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple tarts

When you're in too much of a hurry to make apple pie, or if you're running short on enough flour to make two pie crusts, maybe a rustic apple tart will suit! We love these, and they are so quick and easy to make it's almost ridiculous how good they taste.

Rustic Apple Tart

Single pie crust

3-5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
Dots of butter, optional

Roll out the pie crust and place in a deep dish pie pan. Pile the apple slices on, and top with spices and butter. Loosely pleat the pie crust around the top, leaving a good sized hole in the center. Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes. Slice like a pie; serve in a bowl with milk.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Farmer's market this weekend

Some friends and I went to Northampton MA on Saturday, just to stroll around, buy stuff, and eat good food. We found good food at Bela, a vegetarian restaurant very near Smith College (on Masonic Street).

Here is one of my finds for the day, at the farmer's market. All the fresh Brussels sprouts seem to be gone already in my area. These were amazing last night, grilled in salted butter :-)

Middle Eastern lamb stew

Although this stew can be made by just throwing all the ingredients into the slow cooker and letting it simmer for the day (still adding the chickpeas and spinach at the end), it will be much more flavorful if you've got the time to brown the meat and cook the spices first!

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew
Olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 lb lamb meat
2 t cumin seeds
2 t coriander
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt & pepper
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 c stock
20 oz can of chickpeas
6 to 8 oz spinach

Brown the lamb in the olive oil. Add the spices, onions, and garlic and cook until softened. Place mixture in slow cooker over medium heat and add the tomatoes and stock, allowing to cook for 3 to 5 hours, until the lamb is very tender.

Just before serving, mash up about 1/2 the chickpeas with a fork and stir both mashed and whole chickpeas into the stew. Add the spinach and serve.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Pear and blue cheese pizza

This is an unusual but delicious pizza pie, especially appropriate for the fall. It will only take about 30 minutes to make.

Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza

For each pizza pie:

Olive oil
Onion, thinly sliced halves
Balsamic vinegar
1 t dried sage
Salt & pepper
Pizza shell
Pear, cored and sliced very thin
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1/2 c Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Cook onions in oil until they begin to brown. Lower heat and continue to cook until very soft. Stir in the Balsamic vinegar, sage, and the salt and pepper. Spread the onions out on the pizza shell. Top with pear slices, walnuts, and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or so at 400, until the cheese is melted.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cauliflower with Gruyere sauce

Gruyere makes a really nice smooth cheese sauce. You can mix in other cheeses if you'd like, but I like this one just as is. Experiment with using different colors of cauliflower for fun.

Cauliflower with Gruyere Sauce

Large head of cauliflower, cut up into bite-sized pieces.
1 c milk
4 t flour
1/2 c Gruyere cheese, shredded
Fresh chives, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper

Steam or microwave the cauliflower until tender. Whisk the flour with a little milk until smooth. Heat the rest of the milk to a low simmer in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour mixture and cook until it thickens. Stir in cheese and spices. Add the cauliflower to the pot and turn to coat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Earl Grey ice cream

This is one of the most unlikely flavors I think I've ever heard of for ice cream, but the result is an amazingly tasty mix. It's subtle, but creamy and delicious. Substitute other tea flavors if you'd like.

Earl Grey Ice Cream

1 c heavy cream
1/2 c vanilla soy milk (or 1/2 c milk plus t vanilla)
1/4 c sugar
3 tea bags

Place the milk in a microwavable cup and heat for about a minute. Add the tea bags and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Press all the liquid out of the tea bags and discard them.

Mix with all the other ingredients. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Pour into small ice cream maker and process. Recipe can be doubled.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spicy split pea soup

Nothing warms you up better than a hearty bowl of soup or stew. This spicy split pea soup is great for crisp fall days right through the winter. All you need to add is bread.

Spicy Split Pea Soup

Ham bone and water to cover
1 lb dried split peas (2 1/2 c)

2 T butter
Onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 T curry paste
1 t coriander seeds, crushed

Place the ham bone in a crock pot with water to cover it, and cook on high for at least half a day. Scrape the meat off and remove the fat and the bone. Add enough water to equal 4 cups. Add the split peas and cook for several hours, adding more liquid if needed.

In a small saute pan, cook the vegetables and spices until soft and fragrant. Add to the split pea mixture for the last 20 minutes to half hour.

Variations: Add milk or light cream and cooked vegetables like sweet potatoes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Panini with leftover chicken tikka

Italian combinations are not the only possible ingredients for panini. These tasty grilled (or oven-heated) sandwiches are also a wonderful way to use up leftover Indian meats and curries. Whenever I make chicken tikka, for example, I always make extra so that we can have some panini a few days later.

Here’s what I like to do with the chicken tikka. You can use plain pre-cooked chicken and just add Indian spices to the sauce if want. Leave the chicken out, or substitute tofu if you’d like a vegetarian meal. These hearty sandwiches can be ready in under thirty minutes.

Panini with Chicken Tikka

Crusty bread slices or rolls, toasted
Shredded chicken tikka (or plain chicken seasoned spices from chicken tikka recipe)
Crushed tomatoes, fresh or canned
Olive oil
Garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt, and allspice

Mix the shredded chicken with the yogurt and some cayenne pepper. Mash or process most of the chickpeas until roughly chopped. Stir in the rest of the chickpeas, some olive oil to moisten, and season with the spices listed.

Spread a layer of the chickpea mixture on each sandwich, top with the chicken mixture, and roll in foil to grill or heat in the oven. About 10 minutes at 350 does it.