Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Baked French Toast perhaps?

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half  (is light cream, made with: half milk half whipped cream)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
Praline Topping:
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breakfast Lasagna

Breakfast Lasagna
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pound raw loose breakfast sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 14 oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes
  1. Make the sauce: Brown up the sausage and remove from the pan. In the same pan, cook the onions to lightly brown. Add in the butter and flour and stirr well, cooking for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the sausage back in. Strain the diced tomatoes and stir into the sauce.
  2. Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water until tender.
  3. In a small bowl, crack and whisk two eggs. Prepare a frying pan to cook the eggs that is the same size as your round baking dishes.
  4. In the baking dish, start with a thin layer of sauce, followed by the first layer of noodles, then some more sauce and all three cheeses. Cook the first egg round for only a few minutes without flipping until it has just barely set on top. Transfer the egg to the top of the noodles then repeat with another layer of everything.
  5. Top with a final pasta layer and a little more cheese and sauce and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.
  6. If you want to save this in the fridge or freezer, that's fine, but I would suggest boiling the pasta a little less and baking it for a bit longer before serving.
  7. Recipe makes enough for two 8-inch baking rounds.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A little baking, perhaps?

Raspberry Swirl Rolls
Adapted from :
Yields: 8 rolls
For the dough –
1/2 cup milk, warmed to 95-100 degrees F
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
For the filling –
5 ounces frozen raspberries, unthawed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
For the glaze –
Just under 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm milk, sugar and yeast and stir to combine. Let sit 5-10 minutes until yeast is foamy.
Add butter, egg, lemon zest, salt and flour; stir with paddle attachment until dough is well combined, about 3 minutes. Replace paddle attachment with dough hook and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes, adding more flour as needed (1 tablespoon at a time) until dough is soft, smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Remove dough from bowl, knead a few times by hand and shape into a ball. Place ball of dough in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Remove dough from bowl and punch down on a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a 12-by-5-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, toss together frozen raspberries, sugar and cornstarch to combine. Sprinkle raspberry mixture over dough. Roll up dough from the long end into a 12-inch log, pinching edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, slice log into 8 equal slices. Place slices, cut side-up, into a greased 9-inch round cake pan (or your pan of choice). Spoon any extra raspberry mixture over the rolls. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover rolls and bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 30 minutes in pan.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter and milk until a smooth, spreadable glaze forms (add more powdered sugar or milk as needed to achieve proper consistency). Pour glaze over warm rolls and use a spoon or offset spatula to spread evenly. Serve rolls warm or at room temperature.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maryland Crab Cakes

  • 1 pound backfin Blue crab meat or other lump crab meat
  • 8 saltine crackers
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Carefully check the crab meat for any cartilage. Put meat in a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Crush the saltine crackers very fine and mix with all the other ingredients. Gently fold in the crab. Only mix enough to combine ingredients. You don’t want to break up the crab into fine shreds. Shape into 6 crab cakes, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Sauté until golden brown on each side. This will only take about 3-5 minutes per side.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Q n E: Mozzarella Sticks

6 to 8 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (16-ounce) blocks pasteurized mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
  1. Stir the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  1. In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mini Apple Pie Recipe

  • 6 large apples
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ cup white sugar (and a little more for dusting)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry fresh dough
  • An egg

  1. Turn the oven to 175 º( 350 F)
  2. Peel the apples and cut into thin pieces (like potato omelette).
  3. Place in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon.
  4. Mix in a small bowl the flour, sugar and spices.
  5. Place over apples and stir so that all the pieces are soaked in the mixture.
  6. Coat the molds with butter.
  7. Choose two round dough cutters (or glasses). Larger one for the base and another, slightly larger than the size of the mold to the top.
  8. Spread a puff pastry and cut the larger circles.
  9. Place on the molds, stretching and squeezing a bit so they are well adapted. It has to stand out a little dough at the top to close the cakes.
  10. Fill the molds with the mixture, not spend.
  11. Pour a dash of apple butter on top of each small cake.
  12. Cut smaller circles to the top.
  13. Place the lids. Using your fingers, close the tarts, joining the top and bottom together and turning up.
  14. Cut with a knife three dashes in the center of the top to allow air to escape.
  15. Beat the egg and paint with it the surface of the cakes. Sprinkle a little sugar.
  16. Cover lightly with a bit of  baking paper and put in the oven 25 minutes. It serves the same role that came with the pastry. After 25 minutes, remove the paper and leave 10 or 15 minutes, until well browned. If, instead of mini cakes, we make a big, we would leave it another 10 or 15 minutes.
  17. Remove from oven, let cool 5 to 10 minutes were spent on a tray. They are very rich warm.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Butter Cake Bars

So, yeah, it's all in the name...I'm not a big fan of box mixes, but they do have a place. This is unhealthy, but tasty.

  • 1 box Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake mix
  • 1 (1/2 stick cup) butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 lb bag (about 3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter, and 1 egg until a soft dough forms. Press into the bottom of the baking dish.
In a stand mixer, combine together the cream cheese, 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over the cake mix layer.
Bake bars for 45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown,and the center has set to a soft consistency.
Cool COMPLETELY before slicing into bars and serving.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Breaking Brie

Brie and Caramelized Onion Bake

2 large Vidalia or yellow onions, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8 ounce) Brie wheel
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Caramelize onion in olive oil with sugar and salt in a heavy skillet over medium low-heat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching, but do not stir too often. They will brown better if left alone. After 5 minutes of cooking, cover the pan (the lid keeps moisture inside so the onions won’t burn easily). Cook until brown and very soft, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.
Roll out thawed sheet of pastry to a 12″ square (not bigger, get the ruler out if you need to). I would do this on parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking. Place the onions in the middle of the pastry sheet and place your Brie wheel right on top.
Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and fold the pastry over the Brie, completely enclosing the Brie and the onions in the dough. Make sure all the seams are pressed together and sealed. Place the round on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, seam side down. Brush the pastry with egg so that it browns nicely. Bake at 400o F until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Wait a good 15 or 20 minutes before cutting into the pastry..

Buon Appetito!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Desserts make people happy...

Cherry Berry on a Cloud 

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 packages cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 can cherry pie filling (21 oz)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • dash vanilla (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until foamy. Start adding sugar, 1 TBSP at a time, to the mixture until all 1 3/4 cups are incorporated and the whites form stiff, glossy peaks.
  2. Spread into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for one hour. Shut off oven, DO NOT PEEK, and leave in oven for 12 hours with the door closed.
  3. Remove from oven after 12 hours and prepare filling by mixing cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Fold in whipped cream and marshmallows. Spread over meringue.
  4. Chill for 12 hours and make topping by combining cherry pie filling with lemon juice and 1 pint of sliced fresh strawberries. Add a dash of vanilla if desired. Spoon filling over individual portions of dessert and ENJOY!

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Q n E Cuban!

Cuban Sandwiches
  • 1 loaf soft French bread, or four soft hoagie rolls
  • mayonnaise
  • Cuban Style Roast Pork, thinly sliced (recipe follows)
  • 8 very thin slices Virginia Ham
  • 8 thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 kosher dill pickles, very thinly sliced longways (I like the kind from the refrigerated section of the supermarket)
  • butter, for brushing on the outside of the bread
1. Preheat a panini press or a sandwich press (or just warm up two cast iron skillets on the stove). Slice bread in half longways, and then cut into 4 equal sections to make the sandwiches.
2. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the inside of the bread. Divide the sliced pork evenly among the sandwiches, then layer with ham, cheese, and pickles. Brush a very small amount of butter on the outside of each sandwich. Toast sandwiches in the press (or place in one cast iron skillet, and place another skillet on top of the sandwich). Remove when the cheese is melted and the meat is warmed through. Slice on the diagonal, and serve.

Buon Appetito!

Ah, just what the "el doctor" ordered!

¡Tortilla soup!

  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, other high smoke-point oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped (Depending on the hotness and flavor desired. You can also mix chiles – 1 Anaheim and a half jalapeño.)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (recommended Muir Glen fire-roasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

1 If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don’t have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
2 Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.
3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ok, fine, something bit healthier...

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Here is what you need:

- 3 cups of grated raw cauliflower (use a cheese grater or food processor)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites) scrambled
- 3 TBSP soy sauce

1. In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil on a medium/high heat, until onions become soft and transparent. (about 2-3 minutes)

2. Next add in peas, and carrots and cook until carrots begin to soften and peas are heated through, about 3-4 minutes

3. Next stir in scrambled eggs , cauliflower and soy sauce. Cook stirring frequently for about 5-7 more minutes. 

Enjoy adding in your favorite protein and veg. Possible add-ins: baby corn, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, water chestnuts, chicken, tofu, and shrimp!

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh yeah, hazelnut and chocolate, match made in Heaven!

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.
3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A bit decadent, for the holiday, perhaps...

For the Cheesecake:
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1¼ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Red Velvet Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons red food coloring (liquid)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1. Make the Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and then tightly wrap the outside with heavy duty foil. (I find that double-wrapping helps prevent leaks in a water bath.) Put a pot of water (or a tea kettle) on to boil.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and beat until completely incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the springform pan; place the springform pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
4. Bake until the cheesecake edges are set but the middle still jiggles a bit, about 45 to 55 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour. At this point, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the springform pan on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until well-chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. Make the Red Velvet Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with a parchment round, butter the parchment paper, and then flour the pans.
6. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about a minute after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
7. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
8. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining buttermilk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
9. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
10. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cakes from the pans and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
11. Make the Frosting: Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
12. Assemble the Cheesecake: If needed, level the tops of the red velvet cake layers with a serrated knife or cake leveler so that the tops are level and not domed. Next, slice the cheesecake in half horizontally to create two layers. Place one layer of the red velvet cake on your serving plate. Spread a very thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over it (it creates a type of glue so that the layers stick together and don’t slide around). Top that with one layer of the cheesecake, and again top with a very thin layer of frosting. Repeat, adding the second red velvet layer, and then placing the second cheesecake layer on top, with a layer of frosting between them. Using the remaining frosting, cover the cake in frosting and decorate as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and refrigerate any leftovers.

*A lot of work, but looks great. I'll update when I try this one...

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Homemade Irish Creme Liqueur

  • 2 cups Irish whiskey
  • 4 oz eagle brand-sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons prepared chocolate syrup (we used Hershey’s)
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Combine all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender.  Blend until smooth. At this point it is ready to serve. To Store: Place in a clean tightly covered container and store for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Buon Appetito!

Sorry, looked good...Bacon Breakfast Cupcakes

Ok, ok, I will post some healthy recipes, some point...My only thoughts on this are that, I might try to void the vegetable oil and also use real potatoes, shredded...

  • 1 bag (20 oz) refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup crumbled crisply cooked bacon
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (3 oz)
  • Sriracha sauce
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place foil liner in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. Generously spray with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix potatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Divide evenly among cups; press lightly.
  3. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. In medium bowl, beat eggs and milk. Stir in bacon and cheese. Firmly press potatoes in muffin cups with bottom of 1/4-cup dry measuring cup. Top each with slightly less than 1/4 cup egg mixture.
  5. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until knife inserted in center of egg comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Easy and unhealthy, yea!

  • 3 cups Original Bisquick® mix
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • Barbecue sauce, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch.
  2. Stir together all ingredients, using hands or spoon. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place in pan.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

*I know these are not great for you, maybe save them for a special occasion like the Superbowl. My only input is that a little heat with this is very nice, whether it be hot sausage or a pinch of red pepper flakes...

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Individual chicken parm's, perhaps?

  • 1  cup panko
  • 1/2  cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1  tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  egg
  • 1  pound ground chicken breast (or dark meat)
  • 1/2  cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup diced white onion
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6  fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1  pinch salt and pepper
  • 16  small mozzarella cubes, cut from a block
  • 2  cups Muir Glen marinara sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the panko, half of the Parmesan cheese, and the olive oil. Using your fingers, combine the mixture until it's evenly coated. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then add the chicken, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, the remaining Parmesan, basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands.
  4. Lightly coat a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Place a couple of tablespoons of the chicken mixture in each well. Nestle a cube of mozzarella in the center of the mixture. Pat the chicken over the cheese to completely cover it.
  5. Sprinkle the panko/Parmesan mixture on top of each chicken mound, lightly pressing it into the meat.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the panko is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. If needed, you may broil the panko to further brown it.
  7. Let rest 5 minutes. Then using a knife, lightly loosen each cupcake from the muffin tin.
  8. In the meantime, warm the marinara sauce in a small saucepan.
  9. Serve meatloaf cupcakes with warmed marinara.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sticks to your ribs...

Slow Cooker Ribs
  • 2 Racks pork ribs (4-5 pounds)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 Ounces BBQ sauce
  • 1 18-ounce can Progresso Fire Roasted Tomato Recipe Starter
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Liberally season ribs with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
  2. Bake ribs for 15 minutes per side. They should be browned a bit on all sides.
  3. Mix all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add ribs to a large six or seven quart slow cooker. You will probably have to chop them in half to get them to fit.
  5. Pour sauce over ribs and cook them on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 6 hours. Rotate the ribs every few hours so they cook evenly.
  6. Remove ribs from slow cooker and return to a baking sheet.
  7. Pour cooking liquid into a medium saucepan. Use a spoon to scoop off any extra fat. You should be able to scoop off about 1/2 cup of fat but it's okay if you don't get it all.
  8. Bring sauce to a simmer and let cook until it thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Liberally coat ribs with reduced sauce. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F again. Once ribs are coated in sauce, return to oven and let caramelize for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Serve ribs with extra sauce and pasta salad on the side.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Coming up on that's a delish looking side idea.

Easy Baked Potato Gratin
  • 4 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (+ some for finishing the dish)
  • 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the potatoes. Peel the onions and thinly slice those as well. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a slicer attachment on your food processor. You can also just cut the potatoes and onions thinly with a knife, but if you do this, shave one side of the potato off first so that it sits flat on the board while you cut it. Layer a greased baking dish with one layer of potatoes, one layer of onions, another layer of potatoes, another layer of onions, and one final layer of potatoes. Set baking dish aside.
  2. Next, make the bechamel sauce. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it melts. Add the flour and stir for one minute until a paste forms and the flour becomes a very light golden color. This will ensure that the raw flour flavor is cooked out. Add the cream, the leaves from the thyme sprigs, the nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat until the cream thickens, about four or five minutes. The bechamel will continue to thicken as it bakes in the oven.
  3. Pour the bechamel sauce over the layered onions and potatoes. Top with the grated Gruyere cheese and a few pats of butter. Bake in the oven for about forty minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when you insert a knife and the bechamel and cheese are bubbly and golden brown. Cool for about ten minutes before serving.
  4. Note : To decorate use chopped chives and almond flakes … these know very well with potatoes

Buon Appetito!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another copycat...

Cheesecake Factory Copycat Recipe
Serves 12
  • 28 golden oreos, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (13.4 oz.) can nestle la lechera dulce de leche caramel
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 c up heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar,packed
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees. In mixing bowl mix crust ingredients together. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Wrap pan with heavy duty foil. Freeze for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl beat cream cheese, add brown sugar and vanilla at med, speed until blended.
Beat in nestles caramel, sour cream and heavy cream. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Slowly beat in flour.
Important : Do not use electric mixer , add all ingredients gently , do not allow the eggs to be beaten . If the eggs are beaten , then your cheesecake will have cracks .
Place spring form pan in a large baking pan. I use a 9×13 pan. Pour filling into spring form pan over crust. Batter will come to a 1/4 inch of top of pan. Fill pan 1/2 way up the side of the spring form pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to touch. The center should move but not ripple.
Note: 45 minutes that is the time that my oven need to cook this cheesecake, but every oven is different
Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for 4 hours not to open
After it cools refrigerate over night.
Heat butter over med. heat in pan until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling. stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk and heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to luck warm. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Place sauce pan of frosting in a bowl of cold water. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, one teaspoon at a time. Remove cheesecake from pan and ice. Keep in fridge.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Not one of mine, but a cool idea...

Chocolate Cake Layer
  • 9 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons hershey’s cocoa powder ( not dark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • chocolate icing ( your favorite recipe)
Oreo Cheesecake Layer
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • Oreo cookies, original flavor ( not double stuffed)
Oreo Mousse Layer
  • 0.5 (1/4 ounce) package knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 ounces white baking chocolate
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey or 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 Oreo cookies, crushed
Chocolate Ganache Layer
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces mini chocolate chips ( 1/2 bag)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the chocolate cake by combining the sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl and mixing with an electric mixer on high for 2 minute. Add the oil and shortening and mix well, then add the water and mix until smooth.
  3. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour this dry blend into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into a well-greased 10-inch springform pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  4. While the cake is in the oven, prepare chocolate icing. Once the cake is completely cool, spread icing over the top of the cake, reserving some for garnishing the cake later. Freeze cake with icing for 1 hour.
  5. Prepare the oreo cheesecake layer by mixing the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high until the cream forms stiff peaks. Mix in the softened cream cheese until smooth. Spread 1/3 of the mixture over the icing on the cake. Place whole oreo cookies in a single layer across the entire cake. Follow with the remaining cheesecake mixture. Chill for 1 hour.
  6. Make the oreo mousse layer by mixing ½ packet of the powdered gelatin with the hot water. Refrigerate until set. Once set, place in cold water to soften gelatin enough to loosen it from the pan. Place softened gelatin into a double boiler and melt.
  7. In a separate double boiler, melt the chocolate, being careful not to burn it. Add melted chocolate to gelatin and mix well.
  8. Whip egg yolks by hand in a small bowl to soft foamy peaks. Mean while, bring honey to a boil. Pour hot honey onto the yolks stirring constantly. Fold the melted chocolate into the yolk mixture. Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Stir the milk into the chocolate mixture.
  9. In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture. Add the crushed oreos to the mixture and mix well.
  10. Pour enough mousse over the cheesecake layer to form a layer about ½ inch thick. There may be mousse left over. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  11. Prepare chocolate ganache layer by whisking together the egg, cream, and sugar in a medium metal bow. Set the bowl over water that is simmering in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat (you can also use a double boiler pan for this) and whisk for 6 minutes, or until thick. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the chocolate chips (not the mini chocolate chips), and mix with a spoon until smooth. Spread over the oreo mousse layer. Chill at least 1 hour.
  12. Load the reserved chocolate icing into a piping bag. Remove cake from springform pan and pipe icing into 12 even circles around the side of the cake. Lay ½ oreo cookie with cream filling removed back onto each mound of icing.
  13. Press mini chocolate chips around the sides of the cake. Press firmly so that the chips stick. Chill the cake for at least another hour, then use a serrated knife to cut the cake into 12 slices.
  14. Serve with a mound of whipped cream and oreo cookie pieces to the side.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Looks fun and tasty...

Ok, so I'm not entirely a fan of "pre-made" but there are times...My kids really like virgin pina coladas so I imagine they will like it when I make it.

Pina Colada Monkey Bread
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut milk, divided
  • 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury Grands! refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (20 oz) canned crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and 1/4 cup coconut milk until smooth. Remove from heat.
  • Separate both cans of dough into biscuits. Cut each biscuit into fourths.
  • Carefully dip each biscuit piece into butter mixture, then roll in sugar and place in prepared bundt pan. Cover entire bottom of pan with a layer of about 20 biscuit pieces, then sprinkle half of the crushed pineapple over the top. Top pineapple with another layer of dipped and rolled biscuits, then sprinkle the rest of the pineapple on top. Top pineapple with remaining dipped and rolled biscuits.
  • Bake until deep golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; cool 10 minutes in pan. Carefully invert monkey bread onto a plate.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and remaining 3 tablespoons coconut milk until smooth, like a glaze.
  • Drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread. Top with chopped dried pineapple; serve warm.

Buon Appetito!

PS: I made this and the kids loved it. I think it needed a little more coconut flavor. Maybe next time I will toast some coconut and sprinkle it in as well. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

More unhealthy, but looks good enough to eat!

Since these balls need to freeze before frying- please make overnight or at least allow 2 hours for freezing time allowance.
  • 1  3/4 cups of marinara sauce
  • 1  3/4 cups alfredo
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 lb Large elbow macaroni
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 cups whole milk heated and warmed
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1lb (16 ounces) grated White Sharp cheddar
  • 1lb (16 ounces) smoked Gouda
  • salt/pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Box panko bread crumbs.
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish only.
  • vegetable oil for frying.
  1. Cook your double elbow macaroni according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. (Please make sure you under cook these noodles just a little).
  2. Start grating your cheeses with your grater. Place the cheddar and Gouda cheese in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a big saucepan on the stove melt your 3 Tablespoons of butter. Once it melts add your flour by sprinkling it in the saucepan and mix well with the whisk- stirring out the lumps. Whisk in your 2 cups of the warmed milk into the mixture. Cook for approx 4 minutes till the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cheeses you grated from your cheese bowl. Stir well melting the cheese until it is melted and smoothed.
  5. Add your cooked drained macaroni to your cheese sauce. Fold in the macaroni well and mix well with the cheese sauce. Season with salt pepper.
  6. Butter a large square glass pan. Put your macaroni cheese mix in the glass pan. Place the pan in the fridge till the mac and cheese is cold- about 2 hours.
  7. Using a Tablespoon Shape the cold mac and cheese into balls- about the size of an inch 1/2.
  8. Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with foil in the freezer for about an hour.
  9. Take the balls out of the freezer, and one by one hold them in your hand and compress the balls to make them firmer and tighter.
  10. Place them back on the cookie sheet lined with foil and stick them back in the freezer for one more hour.
  11. In a small bowl place your 3 eggs and your 3 Tablespoon of milk and whisk set aside. In a zip lock bag place your Panko bread crumbs set aside.
  12. Heat up your vegetable oil (You want enough to cover the mac and cheese balls).If you have a fryer than heat the fryer up. You know your oil is ready when you sprinkle water in the oil and it crackles.
  13. One by one take your mac and cheese balls and dip in the egg mixture- then drop in the Panko bread crumbs. Coat each Mac and cheese ball good.
  14. Dip the coated mac balls in the heated vegetable oil. They will be a light brown when they are done. Set on a paper towel to drain the oil. When all your balls are done- place in a warm oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Heated sauce for the mac and cheese balls
  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat add the marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce and stir well to combine.
  2. Add the ricotta cheese, the Italian cheese, and the red wine. Stir well.
  3. Add in the heavy whipping cream, and garlic powder. Stir well. Keep the sauce on low till you are ready to serve the Cheesecake factory Fried Mac and Cheese Balls.
How to serve
  1. Put a little sauce on your plate or bowl first.
  2. Add approximately 2 balls to your serving plate.
  3. Add a little sauce on the top of the fried mac and cheese balls.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ahh, back to the unhealthy!

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 6 (8-inch) soft flour tortillas
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced strawberries, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Equipment: toothpicks; deep-fry thermometer

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in 3/4 cup of the sliced strawberries.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly between the tortillas, slathering each portion in the lower third of each tortilla. Next, fold the two sides of each tortilla toward the center and then roll the tortilla up like a burrito and secure it with a toothpick. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining tortillas.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set it aside. Line a large plate with paper towels.
  4. Add 3 inches of oil to a large, deep saucepan, leaving a minimum of 2 inches from the top of the oil to the top of the saucepan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360ºF on a deep-fry thermometer.
  5. Working in batches, fry the chimichangas until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes, flipping them as needed. Transfer the chimichangas to the paper towel-lined plate to drain for 1 minute, and then roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Repeat the frying and rolling process with the remaining chimichangas, returning the oil to 360ºF between batches.
  6. Remove all toothpicks from the chimichangas and transfer them to serving plates. Top each with a portion of the remaining 1 cup of sliced strawberries and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A bit late in the season, but...

Very Veggie Hummus Wrap
Serves 1
1 large collard green leaf
Hummus of your choice
3-4 Slices of Avocado
3-4 Slices Tomato
3-4 Slices Onion
6 Slices Cucumber
Handful of Sprouts 
Sprinkle of Lemon Juice

1. Trim stem off bottom of collard leaf, and use a sharp paring knife held parallel to your cutting board to shave the rib that runs down the leaf’s center until it’s approximately the same thickness as the leaf. 
2. Spoon flat layer of hummus down the center of the leaf, making sure there is a 1-inch border all around. Arrange the rest of the ingredients on top of the hummus. Top with lemon juice or flavoring of your choice. Fold sides of leaf in toward the center. Roll leaf away from you as you would a burrito, making sure to tuck side edges in as you roll. Eat right away or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours for later. Enjoy! 

Peanutty Chicken Collard Wrap
Serves: 1
1 large collard green leaf
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (or bagged coleslaw mix)
2 tablespoons peanut sauce (or satay sauce)
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded or sliced chicken breast
1 teaspoon hot sauce

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine cabbage and peanut sauce, mixing well.
2. Trim stem off bottom of collard leaf, and use a sharp paring knife held parallel to your cutting board to shave the rib that runs down the leaf’s center until it’s approximately the same thickness as the leaf. 
3. Spoon cabbage-peanut-sauce mixture onto bottom one-third of leaf, making sure there is a 1-inch border all around. Arrange chicken over carrot mixture and top with hot sauce. Fold sides of leaf in toward the center. Roll leaf away from you as you would a burrito, making sure to tuck side edges in as you roll.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hot Italian soup, for the upcoming cool of fall...

Zuppa Toscana 

1 lb. Italian sausages (use spicy to get that signature Olive Garden flavor)
4-6 russet potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. REAL bacon pieces (optional)
2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
32 oz. chicken broth
1 c. kale or Swiss chard, chopped
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp flour

1. Brown sausage links in a sauté pan.
2. Cut links in half lengthwise, then cut slices.
3. Place sausage, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and onion in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and meat.
4. Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.

30 minutes before serving:
5. Mix flour into cream removing lumps.
6. Add cream and kale to the crock pot, stir.
7. Cook on high 30 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
8. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.

Buon Appetito!