Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cream Cheese & Raspberry Coffee Cake

1 8 ounce Pkg Cream Cheese, Room Temp
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Butter, Room Temp
2 C Flour
2 Eggs
1/4 C Milk
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 t Vanilla
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
2 C Raspberry Preserves or your favorite preserve flavor
1/4 C Sliced Almonds

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan with Pam. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, & butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add flour, eggs, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat about 2 minutes or until well mixed. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Place preserves in a bowl and stir with a fork until smooth. Dot batter with preserves. With a knife swirl preserves into batter to marble. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees fro 30 -35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool, can be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lentil Pumpkin Soup

This is an easy, pretty soup that goes together in a snap!
All these ingredients should be pantry staples so you can throw it together at the spur of the moment. I love curry, so sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of curry for a twist! Sooo yummy! You can serve with Naan bread and an arugula salad.
Also can be garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro.
As always don't forget the love and enjoy! xo



2 T Butter
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
1/2 t Dried Thyme, Crushed
1/4 t Dried Marjoram, Crushed
4 C Chicken Broth
1 C Water
1 15 ounce Can Pumpkin
1 C Dry YellowLentils, Rinsed & Drained
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add onion, garlic, thyme & marjoram. Saute until onions are transparent and herbs are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, water, pumpkin and lentils, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 side dish servings. Easily doubled. Can be frozen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tunisian Chicken with Carrots & Olives

4 T Olive Oil, Divided
1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Lemon, Seeded and Thinly Sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
3 Large Carrots, Thinly Sliced
1 T Water
1 t Cumin
1 t Sweet Paprika
1/2 t Cinnamon
1 C Chicken Broth
1/2 C Pitted Green Olives
1/2 C Pitted Kalamata Olives
1/4 C Sliced Almonds

In a very large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil. Cut chicken into strips and season with salt & pepper and add to skillet in a single layer over medium-high heat. Brown turning once, but not cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Using tongs transfer chicken to a plate.

Add lemon slices and brown on both sides about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 T olive oil, along with the carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots have softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the water and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika and cinnamon, cook for 1 minute.

Return the chicken and any juices that have collected to the skillet and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and olives, taste for seasonings and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving bowl and sprinkle with almonds. Serve over cous cous.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

1 #10 Can Diced Tomatoes in Juice, Drained, liquid reserved
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 T Kosher Salt
1 1/2 t Pepper
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 C Onion, Chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 T Butter
4 C Fresh Basil Leaves, Packed
1 T Fresh Thyme
1 Quart Chicken Stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain diced tomatoes, reserving liquid for later. Toss diced tomatoes together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8 quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 T olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Add the roasted tomatoes with the liquid from the baking sheet and the reserved liquid, the basil, thyme and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Using an immersion blender, food processor or blender, blend soup until smooth. Taste for additional seasonings. serve hot or cold. Can garnish with fresh basil pesto, a garlic crouton or a basil leaf. Serves 8-10

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shelley's Creamed Spinach

2 lb Fresh Spinach
3 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
1 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper

Roughly Chop fresh spinach, place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, poke a hole in the plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. In a heavy saute pan melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, add whipping cream, cheese and salt and pepper. Stir until thickened, once the sauce is thickened add wilted drained spinach. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve. Serves 6-8.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Red Velvet Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

2 1/2 C Flour
1/2 t Salt
3 T Cocoa Powder
1/2 C Butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Buttermilk, (If you don't have buttermilk on hand you can use 1 C milk and add 1 T white vinegar)
2 T Liquid Food Coloring
1 t White Vinegar
1 t Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with pan and line with parchment.

In a mixing bowl place flour, salt and cocoa powder, whisk until combined.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk and red food coloring together. While the mixer is on low speed alternately add the flour mixture and the butter milk mixture.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting

3 C Heavy Whipping Cream
3 8 ounce tubs of Mascarpone
2 t Vanilla
2 C Powdered Sugar, sifted

Place mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla in mixer bowl, whip until fluffy, add whipping cream and whip until fluffy.

To assemble cake, cut both layers in half. Layer cake layers with whipped frosting and then cover outside of cake completely. May be garnished with coconut.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coconut Lime Jasmine Rice

1/2 C Butter
1 Leek, Chopped
Zest of 2 Limes
1 C Jasmine Rice
1 Can Coconut Milk
3/4 C Chicken Broth
2 T Fresh Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute butter & leeks until leeks are soft, add lime zest and rice. Saute until rice is light brown. Add coconut milk, chicken broth and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is soft. Season with salt & pepper. Garnish with lime zest & serve.

Background: When the kids were in elementary school my friends and I donated a Hawaiian Dinner for a school auction and I came up with this yummy rice. Everyone love it and wanted the recipe....xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Arugula Pesto, Gorgonzola & Endive Appetizer


1 – 6 ounce Bag Arugula or Rocket
1 T Olive Oil
1 T Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Endive, Seperated
1/2 C Gorgonzola, Crumbled
Spicy Candied Pecans, Chopped (purchased)

In the bowl of a food processor place arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Process until it looks like pesto. Place in a bowl and add Gorgonzola, mix well.
Separate endive leaves, cutting large ones in half. Spread a thin line of arugula, Gorgonzola mixture down the middle, sprinkle with candied spicy pecans, serve.
Makes 30.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Potato Phyllo Bites

1 Pkg Frozen Phyllo Dough, Defrosted
6 C Frozen Hashbrown Bits, Defrosted
6 Scallions, Chopped
3 C Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1/2 C Real Bacon Bits
1/3 C Mayonnaise
1 t Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take phyllo dough out of package and cut into 3 x 3 squares of 3 sheets each. Place in a pam sprayed mini muffin tin. Fill each phyllo cup with 1 T of potato mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the phyllo is browned.

Remove and serve. Makes 48 appetizers.

Great for a brunch!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spicy Sausage & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

2 lbs Spicy Breakfast Sausage, browned and drained
Half loaf Sliced Sourdough Bread Cubed
2 Cartons Egg Substitute or 16 Whole Eggs
2 t Dry Mustard
¼ Cayenne Pepper
2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 C Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 C Milk, separated

Spray glass 9X12 baking dish with pam. Spread cubed bread evenly in bottom of pan, add cheese and spread evenly on bread, top with cooked sausage. Combine eggs or egg substitute & 1 C milk cayenne, mustard and pour over bread, cheese and sausage. Whisk together Cream of mushroom soup & remaining 1 C milk, drizzle on top of sausage. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let sit for 20 mins before serving.

Background: This is our traditional Christmas morning dish, I like it because it can be made days ahead and bake when you need it.xo

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Italian Herb Bean Salad


1/2 C Olive Oil
3 T Balsamic Vinegar
5 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
2 T Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
3 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped
2 T Fresh Sage, Chopped
3 T Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 t Pepper
1/2 Salt
1/4 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, Drained
1 Can Kidney Beans, Drained
1 Can Black Beans,Drained
1 Can French Cut Green Beans, Drained
1 Can Black Olives, Drained
1 Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Drained
1/2 Red Onion, Sliced Thinly

In the a large bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, oregano,sage, basil, pepper, salt & red pepper flakes. Whisk until well blended, taste for seasoning. Add garbanzo, kidney, black, green beans, olives, artichoke hearts & red onion mix to coat. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nonnie's Crab Cioppino



1/2 C Olive Oil
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 C Garlic, Finely Chopped
5 Bunches Italian Parsley, Chopped
1 #10 Can Tomato Sauce
8-10 Crabs, cracked & cleaned

In a large (10 quart) stock pot over medium heat, place olive oil, red pepper flakes, & garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Add Italian parsley, saute for another 5 minutes, add tomato sauce and stir until well blended. Add crab and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh Sourdough French bread for sopping up that wonderful Cioppino sauce.

Background: We have been having this Crab Cioppino on Christmas Eve since I was born. And couldn't imagine one without it! My Nonnie, my Dad's Mom, who was an amazing cook, would start our Christmas Eve meal with Italian Cold Cuts, Italian Bean Salad and fresh sourdough French bread. Then we would have the long awaited Crab Cioppino. This is a family favorite and definitely leaves you wanting more. xo

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dried Cranberry Pecan Biscotti



2 1/2 C Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Butter (1 Stick), room temperature
3 Eggs
2 t Almond Extract
1 1/2 C Dried Cranberries (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 C Pecans
Melted White Chocolate For Drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, & salt in a medium bowl, whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, eggs and almond extract in a large bowl until blended well. Mix in flour mixture, then cranberries and nuts. Using floured hands divide dough into two logs. Place logs on prepared baking sheet. Whisk an egg white until foamy and brush on top of each log.

Bake logs until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer logs to cutting board and cut on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Arrange slice, standing, on same baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Melt white chocolate and drizzle cooled biscotti if desired.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crab Deviled Eggs

6 Large Eggs
2 Cups Packed Arugula
4 Ounces Lump Crab Meat
1/4 C Best Foods/Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 T White Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and peel eggs, let cool.

Place arugula in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until wilted. Place on a paper towel and get rid of excess water. Chop the arugula finely. Cut cooled eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites in tact. Mash the yolks in a bowl with a fork or pastry cutter. Add all remaining ingredients mixing well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place egg yolk mixture in a gallon zip lock bag, zip and move all mixture to a corner, you will be using the zip lock bag like a pastry bag. Cut the corner where all the egg mixture is about a half inch up, pipe into each egg half, refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with paprika, line serving plate with arugula and place eggs on top.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate Biscotti






2 1/2 C Flour
1 C Cocoa Powder
1 t instant coffee granules
Pinch of salt
1/2 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Baking Powder
4 Eggs, plus one beaten for brushing on biscotti logs
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C Toasted Pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, place flour, cocoa powder, coffee granules, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk together so well blended, set aside.

Beat eggs lightly in with a mixer, add sugar, beat until blended. Beat in flour mixture until mixed well. Divide dough in half and make a log out of each approximately 12 inches long, (but you can make the log as large or as small as you want this will determine how big your biscotti are, a thinner log will yield smaller biscotti and so on), place logs on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out log til its about 1/2 to 3/4 inch high. brush tops with egg.

Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Let cool and cut on an angle into slices. Return cut slices, standing, to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 more minutes. A longer cooking time will make a crisper biscotti. Cool and serve!

You can also drizzle with white chocolate if desired. To melt white chocolate place 1 C white chocolate chips in a pyrex measuring cup, microwave for one minute, stir, continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. d

Background: These biscotti are not the ones my Nonnie used to make but are delicious just the same. They are a rich dark chocolate that is not too sweet. They are great with red wine. xo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

1 T Butter
4 Boneless Pork Chops, 3/4 inch thick
1/4 C Orange Marmalade
2 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 C Dry White Wine
1/2 t Fresh Thyme, can used dried
1/2 t Grated Orange Peel

Melt butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add pork chops, cook 7-9 minutes on each side or until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan add marmalade, dijon, wine, thyme, and orange peel. Cook over medium heat untl sauce has reduced to a glaze, stirring occasionally. Add pork chops, turning to heat and coat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mushroom Manchego Chicken

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite size pieces
2 C Flour, Seasoned with Salt & Pepper
3 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter
½ t Red Pepper Flakes
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 lb Crimini Mushrooms, Quartered
2 C Milk
2 C Dry White Wine
1 C Greek Yogurt, Non Fat is fine
2 C Manchego Cheese, Shredded
Salt & Pepper to Taste.

Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour. Melt butter & olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook chicken until browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onions, red pepper flakes, garlic, cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, milk, & wine, cook until sauce thickens. Add yogurt and manchego cheese stir until blended and return chicken to pan, simmer until chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.

Serve over rice and steamed broccoli.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dried Cherry Brie In Puff Pastry

1/2 C Dried Cherries
1/2 c Pistachios
3 T Brandy
1 Medium Size Round of Brie
1 Sheet Puff Pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place all dried cherries and pistachios in food processor and pulse until combined and roughly chopped. Place brie in the middle of the sheet of puff pastry and put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke the top of the brie with a fork several times, spread pistachio cherry mixture on top of brie, drizzle with brandy. Bring all sides of puff pastry to the middle pinching to close. Brush with milk and bake for 10-15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Herb Grilled Shrimp

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Minced
1/4 C Fresh Basil, Minced
1 t Dry Mustard
2 t Salt
2 t Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Black Pepper
1/4 C Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 lb Jumbo Shrimp (16-20 per pound), Peeled and Deveined

Combine garlic, onion, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and marinate (this can be done in a zip lock bag) for at least one hour at room temprature or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Grill shrimp for one and one half minutes on each side. Serve on a platter as an appetizer or over pasta or rice as a main course. You can make another batch of the marinade and heat to a simmer and use as a dipping sauce or sauce for your pasta with the shrimp!

Background: I had these shrimp at a party at my friend Nancy's house. I thought they were so good I asked Nancy who made them, she told me it was another friend of ours....so I asked Pam for the recipe! Thanks for sharing, Pam this is a great one! I know you'll think so, too! xo

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tortilla Soup a la Luba

Saute until softened, not brown:
4 Scallions
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 T Oil, I always use Olive Oil :)

Add the following ingredients, cook until the chicken is cooked:
4 Small Cans Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Chicken Breasts on bone but skin removed, can use boneless, skinless
4-5 Dashes Tobasco
1 1/2 t Oregano
1 1/2 t Marjorum
1/2 t Black Pepper
Salt to taste
1 28 ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder

Add towards the end:
1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped

Remove chicken, de-bone if necessary, shred and add back to soup.

Garnish with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or jack, lime and avocado.

Background: I love this easy soup, and I love Luba! She is so fun and sweet! I had this soup at her daughter Barbara's in New Jersey. I was happy to find out how easy it is to make! So thanks Luba and Barbara for sharing this great recipe with me! To me this is true comfort food, so don't hesitate to add your favorite beans or corn to it! xo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ang's Almond Cake

2 Sticks Butter (1 Cup)
2 C Sugar
1 t Almond Extract
4 Eggs
2 C Flour
1 t Baking Powder
8 oz Almond Paste

Spray a round spring form or removable bottom pan with Pam and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Add eggs and extract. Add flour and baking powder mixture in 3 parts, beating until incorporated after each. Pour half the batter in the pan, roll almond paste between 2 pieces of saran wrap and use the bottom of your pan as a guide for size. Ang cuts the paste into 3 strips lengthwise to make rolling easier. Place on batter in pan but don't let it touch the sides. Pour remaining batter on top. I like to top with sliced almonds. Bake for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with fresh raspberries.

Background: I love almond anything and had been looking for an amazing cake recipe. Ang brought this to Jacque's for dessert one day and I knew I had found the best almond cake ever! I have even adapted the recipe to make mini cakes by using a mini muffin tin and making balls of the almond paste and inserting them in the batter, still topping with the sliced almonds! Sooo good! xo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marinated Burgundy Ham

1 8 lb Smoked Fully Cooked Ham
6 C Water
2 C Cranberry Apple Juice Drink, Divided
2 C Burgundy Wine or other Dry Red Wine
3 C Brown Sugar, Packed
2 3" Cinnamon Sticks
1 T Whole cloves
Fresh Whole Cranberries for garnish.

Place ham in a Dutch Oven. Add water, 1 C Cranberry-Apple juice, 1 C Wine, 1 C Brown Sugar, Cinnamon Sticks & cloves. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool. Place ham and marinade in a large non-metallic bowl, cover and chill for 8 hours, turning once after 4 hours.

Remove ham from marinade, reserve 2 cups marinade and add 1 C brown sugar. Place ham in a roasting pan sprayed with Pam.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with marinade. Bake 20 minutes more or until meat thermometer reaches 140 degrees basting ham occasionally with pan juices. Remove ham from a carving board, reserving pan juices.

Combine pan juices, remaining 1 C cranberry-apple juice, 1 C wine, and 1 C brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 40 minutes. Serve sauce with ham. Garnish with fresh cranberries.
This is great on a Christmas table or party buffet. xo

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

French Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola & Candied Pecans

1 24 oz Bag Frozen French Green Beans (thawed)
3 T Shallot, Minced, If you don't have shallots, mince one garlic clove and 1/4 of a red onion!
3 T Cider Vinegar
3 T C Seasoned Rice wine Vinegar
2 T Dijon Mustard
3 T Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 C Crumbled Gorgonzola, plus some for garnish
3/4 C Candied Pecans, Chopped

Thaw French Green Beans and discard excess water. Place beans in a large zip lock bag. Mix shallot, vinegars, Dijon, olive oil, salt & pepper, whisk until well blended. Add Gorgonzola and vinaigrette to beans in zip lock bag, close bag and manipulate until Gorgonzola and vinaigrette are evenly distributed. Let sit for at least 2 hours. Place in serving dish and garnish with additional Gorgonzola and pecans. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Shortbread Squares

1 C Butter
1 C Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 t Vanilla Extract
2 C All Purpose Flour
1/4 t Salt
4 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, 1.55 ounces each, Broken into rectantles
1/2 C Walnuts, Chopped

In a mixing bowl, cream butter & brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Press into a 15" x 10" baking pan sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Upon taking out of the oven, immediately place candy bar pieces over crust. Let stand for 1 minute or until candy is softened, spread chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with walnuts. Cool and cut into squares.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

3 Hot Italian Sausages, Casing Removed
1 1/2 T Dried Oregano
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded, plus some for sprinkling
1/2 C Romano Cheese, Shredded
1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1-8 ounce Package of Cream Cheese
1 Egg
24 Mushrooms, Stemmed
1/3 C Dry White Wine

Saute sausage, garlic and oregano in a skillet over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and brown, breaking into small pieces, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer sausage to a large bowl and cool. Mix in Parmesan, Romano, and cream cheese. Season filling with salt and pepper, mix in egg.

Place mushrooms on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each mushroom cap with wine. Add about 1 T of filling to each mushroom. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Can be made one day ahead, covered and chilled until use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered until tops are browned, about 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tomato Garbanzo Bean Curry

1 T Olive Oil
1 C Chopped Onion
1 T Minced Ginger (available in a tube in the herb section of the grocery store)
2 T Garam Masala
2 t Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 t Cayenne 0r more if desired
1 Can Coconut Milk
1 T Chopped Fresh Jalapeno
1 t Sugar
1/2 t Ground Turmeric
3 15 ounce Cans Garbanzo Beans
1 28 ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 8 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
4 T Fresh Cilantro, Chopped


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic, cook 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, mustard and cayenne, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk and remaining ingredients except cilantro, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro. Garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cilantro. Great over rice!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast (3 teaspoons)
3/4 C Warm Water from tap
3/4 C Warm Milk
1/2 C Sugar
3 T Vegetable Oil
2 t Salt
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 C Flour

Filling:
1 1/2 C Butter, Softened
1 C Sugar
6 T Cinnamon
3/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
2 C Heavy Cream
2 C Coarsely Chopped (optional)

Spray a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with Pam. Combine brown sugar and heavy cream, pour in greased baking pan and sprinkle with pecans.

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, oil, salt & 1-1/4 C flour. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl sprayed with Pam turning once to get the Pam on the top of the dough. Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18 inch by 12 inch rectangle. Spread butter on entire surface, sprinkle with sugar, then cinnamon. Roll up, jelly roll style, starting with the long side. Cut into slices and place in prepared baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until well browned. Cool 1 minute before inverting onto serving platter. Makes one dozen.

Background: For as long as I can remember I have been making these yummy sticky buns with my Mom and kids every 4th of July and taking them to our downtown parade. We all look forward to the holiday for this reason. We have become quite popular on the 4th with friends and strangers stopping by to say hi and to have a sticky bun! xo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

4 lb Boneless Pork Shoulder, Trimmed of Fat and Cut into 8 pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T Olive Oil
1 C Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)
4 oz Bacon, Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 lb Bulk Chorizo Sausage
3 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 35 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
2 C Chicken Broth
3 Cans Great White North Beans, drained or 6 Cups Raw cooked Al Dente
6 Cloves Garlic, halved
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Chopped

Salt and pepper pork, set aside.

In a stove-top safe insert of a slow cooker or Dutch oven, cook oil and panko over medium-high heat. Cook stirring constantly, until panko is toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Mix with Italian parsley and set aside.

Add bacon and cook until crisp, add Chorizo and saute until just cooked. Remove bacon and Chorizo. Add half of the pork and cook until brown on both sides. About 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and cook remaining pork.

Add onions and wine and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth. Remove from heat and add beans, pork, Chorizo, bacon, and garlic.

Place in slow cooker, cover and set to low for 8-9 hours. For Dutch Oven cover and place in a 250 degree oven for 3-4 hours or until pork pulls apart easily with a fork. Before serving skim off fat and fold in panko and parsley. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve with Crostini.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry

1 Bunch Scallions
1 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts
Salt & Pepper for seasoning Chicken
3 T Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
1 Can Bamboo Shoots, Drained
1 4 oz Pkg Snow Peas, Roughly Chopped
2 Celery Ribs, Sliced
4 Garlic Clove, Crushed
1 1/2 T Ginger, Chopped (found in a tube in the fresh herb section of the market)
1/4 t Red Pepper Flakes
3/4 C Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 T Soy Sauce
1 1/2 t Corn Starch
1 t Sugar
3/4 C Roasted Whole Cashews

Chop Scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry and then cut into 3/4 inch pieces, season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat wok or large skillet (preferably non stick) over medium high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, bamboo shoots, snow peas, celery, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and scallion whites to wok and stir fry until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir into vegetables in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate.

Serve over rice or Asian noodles.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Easy Jambalaya

1/2 lb Smoked Sausage, Quartered and Sliced
2 C Cubed Cooked Ham
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Celery, Chopped
1 Medium Green Pepper, Chopped
5 Green Onions, Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Can (14.5 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 t Dried Thyme
1 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1/4 t Cayenne
2 Cans (14.5 Ounce) Chicken Broth
1 C uncooked Long Grain Rice
1/3 C Water
4 1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 Lb Cooked Shrimp, with out tails

In a Dutch oven or large saute pan, saute sausage and ham in oil until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. In the drippings, saute celery, onion, green pepper, green onions and garlic until tender. Add tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne, cook 5 minutes.
Stir in broth, rice, water & Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in sausage, ham and shrimp, heat through. Serve! Serves 10-12.