Monday, November 30, 2009

Coconut Cloud Cake

1 Box White Cake Mix
1/3 C Oil
1 C Coconut Milk- Unsweetened
3 Eggs
2 t Coconut Extract

1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 C Powdered Sugar
2 t Coconut Extract

1 Bag Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl place cake mix, oil, coconut milk, eggs and coconut extract. Mix until well blended. Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam (this insures your cakes will come out of the pan perfectly). Divide cake mix between them and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, approximately 2 hours.

Meanwhile beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and coconut extract until the whipping cream stands up in stiff peaks. Refrigerate until use.

Place one 8 inch round on your serving plate, top with whipped cream, place second 8 inch round on top. Frost whole cake with remaining whipped cream, sprinkle with coconut. If you like toasted coconut you can toast it and then put it on top of the whipped cream.

To toast coconut place on a baking sheet in a thin layer, bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, watching carefully until golden brown.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prawns & Papperdalle

2 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
1 Onion, Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Crushed
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 C Dry White Wine
3 Large Tomatoes Diced or 2 15 oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
1- 8 Ounce Tub Basil Pesto
1 Lb Raw Shrimp or Prawns
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 16 oz pkg Papperdalle Noodles

Take tail off of prawns, butterfly and remove the black vein.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes, saute until onions are translucent. Add wine and saute on high for 10-15 minutes. Add tomatoes and Pesto stir until blended. Cook pasta as directed on pasta package. Add prawns 5 minutes before pasta is done. When pasta is done add to shrimp mixture in saute pan, toss to coat and serve.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Roasted Turkey Salad

3 C Cooked Turkey, Cubed
1 C Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 C Mayonnaise, Best Foods
3/4 C Greek Yogurt, Nonfat is ok
2 C Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
1/2 C Walnuts, Chopped
1 C Celery, Chopped
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Chopped, plus some for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Lb Spring Mix or Favorite Greens

Mix together red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Toss turkey in red wine mixture. Drain off excess vinegar. Mix mayonnaise and yogurt in a large bowl. Add turkey, grapes, walnuts & celery, mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve place desired amount of greens on plate top in the middle with turkey salad. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve.

Background: I always love left over turkey, but by the third of forth day I want to use the turkey in a completely different way. I came up with this refreshing salad. This would be great in a sandwich or with a bowl of French Onion Soup! xo

Friday, November 27, 2009

Savory Cheesecake Bites with Red Grape Relish

1 C Panko Bread Crumbs, Japanese Bread Crumbs
1/2 Stick Butter, Melted
6 T Parmesan, Shredded, Divided
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 C Dry White Wine
1/2 C Shallots, Minced
6 oz Marscarpone Cheese
1 C Boursin Cheese, Crumbled
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat two mini muffin pans with nonstick spray. Combine Panko, butter, 2 T Parmesan and pepper in a bowl. Spoon 2 t panko mixture into each muffin cup and press down with the back of a tablespoon measuring spoon. Boil wine and shallots in a small sauce pan over high heat until liquid is nearly evaporated. Reduce heat to low, then whisk in marscarpone until combined, stir in Boursin and remaining Parmesan until smooth, then whisk in the egg. Spoon 1 T cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set in the center. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin.

Red Grape Relish

1/2 C Red Grapes, chopped & drained
1 t Fresh lime juice
1 T Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped

Toss grapes, lime juice and parsley together in a small bowl. Top cheesecakes with relish just before serving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

French Onion Soup

10 C Water
1 C Beef Base Paste
5 Large Onions, Sliced Thin
2 C Dry Red Wine
1 T Thyme
Fresh Ground Pepper & Salt to taste.
1 lb Gruyere Cheese

Mix all ingredients and simmer until onions are very tender about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 Loaf Rosemary Focaccia or Ciabiatta Bread

Cut bread into medium size cubes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until hard.

Ladle hot soup into ovenproof bowls. Top with croutons and a slice of Gruyere cheese. Broil until hot, bubbly and browned. Serve!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dijon Chicken or Turkey Salad

3 C Roasted Chicken or Turkey, Chopped roughly
1/2 C Non Fat Greek Yogurt, Fage brand is preferable
1/2 C Best Foods Mayo
3 T Dijon Mustard
2 T Capers, drained
1/2 C Celery Chopped
3 Scallions, Sliced thinly
1/2 t Black Pepper

Place all ingredients in bowl and toss to mix thoroughly. Serve on toasted bread as a sandwich or on a bed of spring mix.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Asparagus & Red Swiss Chard Saute

1 lb Asparagus, washed & trimmed
1 Bunch Red Swiss chard, including stems, Chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
3 T Olive Oil
3 T Butter
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes, saute for 3-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add asparagus pieces and saute for 5 minutes, add chopped swiss chard, saute 10 minutes or until chard is wilted and asparagus is soft but still crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Background: This is a great side dish and is so pretty with the red from the chard and onions. So tasty and fresh! xo

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deb's Gorgonzola Salad Dressing & Chop Salad

2 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped
1 C Fage Greek Yogurt, nonfat
1 1/2 C Best Foods Mayonaise
1 t Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 C Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
8 oz Crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese
1/2 C Half & Half
1 1/2 t Ground Pepper
1 t Salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor, using an immersion blender or whisk. If you desire a chunkier dressing process half cheese and add the other half at the end. Refrigerate. Keeps for 1 week.

Chop Salad

2 Heads Romaine, roughly chopped
2 Large Tomatoes, cut in small cubes
2 T Chopped Red Onions
1/4 C Bacon Bits, homemade or purchased
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, Drained

Toss with 1/4 C dressing and serve.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pistachio Prosciutto Crusted Turkey & Amazing Gravy

Prosciutto Pistachio Butter

1 1/2 C(3 sticks) Butter, room temperature
6 T Chopped Pistachios
1 1/2 T Sherry Wine Vinegar
1 T Chopped Fresh Thyme
2 T Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 t Salt
9 Ounces Cubed Prosciutto, available cubed in the deli meat section of the grocery store
3 Green Onions, chopped

Place butter in large bowl. Mix in pistachios, vinegar, thyme, pepper, garlic, and salt. Mix in prosciutto and green onions.

Gravy base

Neck, heart, and gizzard reserved from one 16- to 18-pound turkey
3 Large shallots, finely chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 C Dry White Wine
1 Large Fresh Thyme Sprig
1/2 t Chopped Fresh Rosemary
4 C Low-Salt Chicken Broth

Melt 2 T prosciutto butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add neck, heart, gizzard, shallots, and bay leaf; sauté until brown, about 20 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and rosemary; boil until liquid is reduced almost to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until giblets are tender, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf, neck and thyme sprig. Remove giblets and chop or process in a food processor until giblets are finely chopped. Place chopped giblets in gravy base and refrigerate until use. (Prosciutto butter and gravy base can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill butter; bring to room temperature before using. Chill gravy base until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)

1 16- to 18-pound turkey
If not stuffing turkey with your favorite stuffing,stuff with the following:
1 Large Onion, quartered
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled, Halved
5 Large Fresh Thyme Sprigs
2 Large Fresh Summer Savory Sprigs
1 T Black Pepper, Freshly Milled
2 C Low Salt Chicken Broth

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast, thigh, and leg meat to loosen skin. Set aside 1/4 cup prosciutto butter for gravy. Spread 1 cup prosciutto butter over turkey meat under skin. Spread 1 cup prosciutto butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper; place on rack set in large roasting pan. Place onion and next 4 ingredients in main turkey cavity if not stuffing. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely.

Roast turkey uncovered 1 1/2 hours. Tent turkey with foil; add 2 cups broth to pan. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160°F, occasionally basting with pan drippings and adding more broth to pan, about 2 hours longer. Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees).

Amazing Gravy:

2 C Flour
5 C Low Salt Chicken Broth, approximately
1/4 C Whiskey

Heat pan juices in roasting pan on stove top over medium heat. Add reserved 1/4 cup prosciutto butter and melt. Add 2 cups flour, cook 5-10 minutes scraping bottom of pan and stirring constantly. Add reserved gravy base and enough chicken broth to mixture to measure 8 cups total. Boil, whisking frequently, until gravy has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. I gravy is too thick add more chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with gravy.

Background: This is by far the best turkey and gravy recipe I have ever tasted. I first had it at my sister Lisa's when she took over the Thanksgiving tradition. We still stuff the turkey with my Mom's Italian Sausage & Wild Rice stuffing. I have modified the recipe a bit, as I always do to make it my own and hopefully a little easier. This is definitely worth the time! xo

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 Can Whole Cranberry Sauce
1 Can Mandarin Oranges, drained
1 C Pecans, Roughly Chopped
2 t Fresh Rosemary, Finely Chopped
1-2 T Grand Mariner or Orange Juice

Mix together and refrigerate until ready to use!

Background: I am not a huge fan of the jelly Cranberry Sauce my Granny used to put out at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But a Holiday is hardly a holiday without some sort of Cranberry Sauce....sooo I mixed it up a bit with this version! So yummy and earthy. It is also great on Brie for those after holiday parties! xo

Friday, November 20, 2009

Garlic Herb Olives

1 Can Black Olives, Drained, can also use Kalamata if desired
2 C Green Olives, Drained
1/4 C Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped or Crushed
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes

With Dried Herbs:
1 T Italian Seasoning
2 t Dried Basil
1 T Dried Parsley

With Fresh Herbs:
1 T Fresh Basil, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Rosemary, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Sage, Chopped Finely

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat, refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve.

Background: My friend Shelley made these olives at a party I attended at her house! I asked for the recipe and she said her Mom, Dian had been making them since she was a kid and everyone loved them. Well I loved them and haven't stopped making them. They are great on a cheese platter as an appetizer or as a side dish at dinner. Enjoy these easy, tasty olives. xo

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Butternut Squash & Apple Bake

1 butternut squash – cut in ½, cleaned, peeled and sliced
3 fuji apples – peeled, cored and sliced
¼ C apple juice or water
½ C maple syrup
1/2 C Butter

Arrange squash and apples alternately in single layer in 9x13 baking dish. Pour water/juice over all, sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.

Background: My friend Kristi shared this amazing recipe with me. It is simply delicious and sure to be a family favorite for Thanksgiving or anytime. This dish is also great with pork roast or chops. xo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto & Parmesan

1 lb Brussels Sprouts, Stemmed and Quartered
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Prosciutto, Cubed or Real Bacon Bits, Prosciutto available cubed in the deli meat section of the grocery store
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 t Montreal Steak Seasoning

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place quartered Brussels sprouts and leaves in a bowl, add olive oil, bacon bits, Parmesan & seasoning toss to coat Brussels sprouts thoroughly. Place on a parchment paper lined large cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goat Cheese Pesto Garlic Bread

1 Stick Butter
1/2 C Olive Oil
8 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
3 T Dried Parsley
Pinch of Salt
Melt together and simmer for 5 minutes.

1 Large Loaf of Ciabatta Bread or your favorite French Bread
Cut loaf lengthwise and spoon on above mixture. Make Goat Cheese Pesto.

Goat Cheese Pesto
8 oz Goat Cheese
4 oz Prepared Pesto
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 C Shredded Parmesan or Romano Cheese
Mix together in food processor to make a paste.
Spread on bread over Garlic Butter. Top with grated parmesan. Broil on a low rack until light brown. Serve!

Background: I first made the Goat Cheese Pesto years ago when developing products for Trader Joe's, it ended up on their shelf as Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms. I loved it so much that I have used it on appetizers (recipes to come) and now this amazing garlic bread. This bread always gets rave reviews, just as it did at Suzi's party this weekend. So Suz this one's for you! Enjoy! xo

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tuscan White Bean Salad

2 Cans White Beans, Drained & rinsed
1 Bunch Fresh Basil, Chopped
4 Roma Tomatoes, Cut into small cubes
3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped or crushed
2 t Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 C Olive Oil
2 t Balsamic Vinegar

In the bottom of your serving bowl add the garlic, seasoning, red pepper flakes, olive oil & balsamic. Add beans, basil and tomatoes, toss gently but thoroughly. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

This would also work well warm as a saute over pasta or spinach.

For a warm dish heat olive oil, red pepper flakes & garlic in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir for 5 minutes, add beans, balsamic, seasoning, tomatoes and basil. Toss gently until heated through. Serve!

Background: I made this bean salad for my friend Tori's 50th Birthday party. My friend Tammy loved it and wanted the recipe... so Tammy baby here it is! xo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cinnamon Apple Bundt Cake

5 Apples, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
1/4 C Sugar
2 T Cinnamon
1 C Olive Oil, not extra virgin
2 t Vanilla
4 Eggs
6 T Orange Juice
2 C Sugar
3 C Flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
3 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

Mix together apples, 1/4 C sugar and cinnamon, set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine oil, vanilla, & eggs, beat well. Add orange juice. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Mix wet and dry thoroughly. Spray a Bundt pan with Pam. Layer batter and apples in pan, starting and ending with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done through. Invert on serving plate.

Background: I love this moist simple cake. I find my self making it when I have an excess of apples or apples that are less than perfect for eating as is. Garnish each serving with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, or you can even used canned whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon on top. xo

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mom's Italian Sausage & Wild Rice Stuffing

1 C Wild Rice
1 C Long Grain White Rice
4 C Chicken Broth
In a medium sauce pan over high heat place wild rice and white rice with 4 C chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes.

1 lb Spicy or Mild Italian Sausage, cooked & drained of excess oil
2 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
2 C Diced Onions
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped or Crushed
1 C Chopped Celery
1/4 C Chopped Italian Parsley
2 C Stuffing Bread Cubes
1 t Sage
1/2 t Thyme
1/2 t Oregano
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium heat place olive oil, butter, onions, garlic, celery,Italian parsley, sage, thyme & oregano. Saute until onions are transparent. Add sausage, wild rice mixture, stuffing cubes and chicken broth. Mix well. Salt & pepper to taste. Stuff turkey or bake in a covered baking dish for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Background: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! My Mom has been making this stuffing since I was a kid and Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same with out it! I hope you try it!xo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Amazing Honey Pecan Cheese Topper

½ Cup Mango, Fig or Apricot Jam
½ Cup Honey
½ Cup Chopped Pecans, Can be toasted
2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes

Mix together and pour over any soft cheese such as Brie, Delice de Bourgnone or goat cheese and serve. This is even good over a wedge of Gorgonzola.

If you don't have the jam on hand, you can double the honey.

Background: My sister, Lisa gave me the original recipe for this which only asked for the honey. Needless to say I loved it and felt I could play with it by adding the jam. Whenever I serve this, it gets rave reviews! It is a staple on my cheese platter for catering gigs. I hope you try it next time you're serving cheese.xo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

1 T Olive Oil
1 Lb Carrots, Cut diagonally in 1/4 inch pieces
1 C Pomegranate Juice
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
1/2 t Cumin
1 C Pomegranate Seeds

Heat oil in a large saute pan, add carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add pomegranate juice, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper and cumin and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, 20-25 minutes. Add pomegranate seeds. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, can be served hot or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Pea & Ham Appetizers

1 16 oz Bag Frozen Baby Peas, thawed & drained
1 T Greek Yogurt
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 T Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Baguette
1/4 lb Thinly Sliced Ham

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut baguette into thin slices, then halve the slices. Toast slices in oven until edges are golden, 7-9 minutes. Cool toasts.

Place peas, yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper, parmigiano in processor and process until smooth. Chill until ready to assemble.

Baguette slice or Water Cracker
Small Square of Ham
Dollop of Pea mixture, so ham is still visible

Makes 48.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Pie/Pudding

1 29 oz can Pumpkin
1 5 oz can Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
1 C Sugar
1/2 t Salt
2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1 Yellow Cake Mix with Pudding
1/2 lb Butter, melted
1 1/2 C Chopped  Roasted Salted Pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cake pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Pour into cake pans. Combine cake mix & chopped pistachios, divide in half and sprinkle over each pan. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 1 hour. Chill and when ready to serve turn onto serving plate and garnish with whipping cream and caramel sauce, if desired.

This recipe is great on purchased pumpkin pies, too. Just sprinkle cake mix & pistachios mixture on 2 prepared pumpkin pies, drizzle with butter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool & serve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

4 Large Tomatoes, Cut in half
4 C Cooked Rice- Can be leftover
1 C Shredded Romano Cheese
1 C Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and clean out center, save the inside minus the liquid, chop and add set aside. In a bowl combine tomato insides, rice, cheese, oregano, salt & pepper. Place tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stuff with rice & cheese mixture and lay a sprig of oregano on top of each. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

French Green Bean Saute

1 24 oz Bag Frozen French Green Beans or Fresh
8 oz or more Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 T Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 t Montreal Steak Seasoning

In a large saucepan over medium heat, place olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and seasoning. Add mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green beans, saute until hot but still crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Background: My Mom (love her!) always made amazing vegetable side dishes growing up. This is a variation of her recipe. These beans are an all time favorite in my catering business and at home. They make an easy vegetable addition to dinner. xo

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Simple Salad Dressing &Things I Can't Live Without In The Kitchen

Everyday Simple Salad Dressing
1 C Olive Oil
1/4 Vinegar, Balsamic, White Balsamic, Red Wine or your favorite
1 T Montreal Steak Seasoning

Combine all in a jar with a lid. Shake until mixed. Taste. Add more seasoning if desired. Use on your favorite salad.

Things I Can't Live Without In The Kitchen
Montreal Steak Seasoning: I use it on Tritip, chicken, steak and in dressings and dips. This great blend of spices adds zip & zing!
Parchment Paper: Line your baking pans with it and nothing will stick, like french fries & cookies. It makes clean-up a breeze. Yay!
An Immersion Blender: I call it a wand. I use it to make dressings, dips, hummus. It really makes making dips so much easier, you can do it right in the bowl. You can smooth out a sauce or soup right in the pan! Most also come with a mini chopping bowl accessory, I like this to chop garlic, herbs & vegetables. xo

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grilled Tri tip, Arugula & Wild Rice

1 3 lb Tritip
Rub tritip generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning and grill 12 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, cover with aluminium foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

2 8 oz Bags of Arugula
Lemon Dressing:
1 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Combine in a glass jar with lid and shake.

Wild Rice:
1 C Long Grain Brown Rice
1 C Wild Rice
4 C Chicken Broth
1 T Olive Oil

Place chicken broth in a medium size saucepan. Add the rice, wild rice & olive oil heat to low & cover. Let cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat.


Place Rice on plate (can be warm or cold), toss arugula with lemon dressing and place on top of rice, slice tritip thinly and place on top of arugula. Serve.

Background: This recipe is great for entertaining because the components can come together at the last minute and it is great served at room temperature. I served this at a birthday luncheon for a friend and everyone raved. Recently I learned that two of the party guests had run into each other at the store gathering ingredients to make this that very night for their famlies! I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!xo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Best Beef Chili

3 T olive oil
3 lb Ground Chuck
3 Large Yellow Onions, Finely Chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Jalapeno, Finely Chopped
½ C Chili Powder
2 T Cumin
1 T Oregano
2 t Ground Corriander
1 ½ c Beer
2 ½ Cups Beef Stock
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 15 oz Can Kidney Beans, Drained
1 15 oz Can Pinto Beans, Drained
1 15 oz Can Black Beans, Drained
3 T Masa Harina
Salt & Pepper to taste.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add 3 T Olive Oil, Onions, Garlic, Jalapeno and Spices. Saute until onions are soft. Add beef and brown. Add beer, beef stock, tomatoes, & tomato paste and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
Add Beans and Masa. Simmer until the chili is slightly thickened, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 8-10, can be frozen.

Background: I love chili and this recipe has great flavor and punch! Whenever I make it I get lots of compliments! Garnish with grated cheddar, fresh cilantro and chopped onions. xo

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Southwest Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Avocado Lime Dressing
In the bowl of a food processor add:
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Bunch Cilantro
1 Avocado
1/4 Medium Onion
3 T Lime Juice
2 T Cider Vinegar
Zest of one Lime
1 t Cumin
1/2 C Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Process until smooth.


1 8 oz Bag Spring Mix
1 Head Romaine, Cut into bite size pieces.
1 Can Black Beans, Drained
1 Can White Corn, Drained, Can use fresh corn if in season!
2-3 Scallions, chopped
1 C Jicama, Chopped
Grilled Chicken, Roasted Chicken or Shrimp also great in this salad! Toss and serve!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ragu Bolognese (Spaghetti Gravy)

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
4 T Butter
2 Large Onions, Chopped
2 Carrots, Finely Chopped
5 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1 Lb Ground Turkey
1 Lb Ground Pork
1 Lb Ground Beef
1/2 Lb Pancetta, Finely Chopped
1 C Half & Half
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 oz Can Tomato Sauce
3 cans Tomato Paste
3 Cubes Chicken Bouillon
1 Cup Dry White Wine

In a 8 quart stock pot, over medium heat add olive oil & butter. Add onions, carrots, celery, & garlic saute until translucent. Add turkey, pork, beef, & pancetta, brown over high heat, stirring to keep meat from sticking, will take 15 to 20 minutes. Add Half & Half and simmer until reduced, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, bouillon and wine. Salt & pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Background: I usually get together with my friends Jacque and Angela to make massive amounts of this bolognese. We have 3 huge pots on the stove and we all put our two cents in to make this rich amazing sauce (or gravy as I grew up calling it). I freeze the sauce in quart size freezer bags so we can enjoy it for the next few months! Serve it over noodles, ravioli, tortellini & in lasagna. xo

Monday, November 2, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

Makes about 2 cups.

1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, Pressed
1 1/2 C Feta Cheese, Crumbled
1 7 ounce Jar Roasted Red Peppers, Drained
1 t Cayenne Pepper

In a pyrex measuring cup add olive oil and pressed garlic. Microwave for 45 seconds. Blend peppers, feta and cayenne in a food processor or with an immersion blender. While machine is running add garlic and oil. Blend until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste. Chill until thickened. Serve with pita chips, fresh veggies, or as a spread on sandwiches.

Background: This dip is a favorite of my catering clients, everyone loves it and it is so easy!xo

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Creamy Baked Pasta

1 Lb Bow tie Pasta or your fave
2 C Grated Gruyere, + 1/4 C for sprinkling on top
1 C Creme Fraiche
1 C Greek Yogurt
1 C Grated Romano
1 C Grated Parmesan
2 C Chopped Spinach, fresh
8 oz Black Forrest Ham or Cooked Chicken, roughly chopped
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1 t Fresh Thyme, Chopped
1/2 t Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil pasta in salted water. Cook until Al Dente, tender but still firm on the bite. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta boiling water.

In a large bowl combine the pasta, pasta water, and all other ingredients, toss gently to coat pasta. Place pasta mixture into a baking dish sprayed with Pam.
Top with remaining Gruyere cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until golden on top.

Background: I came up with this recipe when my friend Jacque decided to have a Macaroni & Cheese Cook-off one Saturday night. The combination of the ham & gruyere is amazing and I think I won the cook-off! Don't tell Jacque or Ang! xo