Tuesday, March 29, 2011
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
Chicken Thighs or Chicken breasts
In a glass dish, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon juice and zest. Pour into a plastic ziploc bag. Place the chicken pieces in the mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours up to 24 hours. Bake chicken at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through. I couldn't resist beautiful fresh strawberries I got on sale at the market and a simple grape and strawberry salad was a perfect compliment to this dish. Greek chicken also goes well with a feta and tomato salad with kalamata olives, antipasto, or on a bed of wild rice. Enjoy!!
Well, "my friend" (only she will understand the quotes) emailed me today for a recipe for an old fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie. She is one of my dearest and best friends of all time and no lie, if I were to call her up today, we'd pick up right where we left off. She is like the Spongebob to my Patrick. The flower to my garden. The bean to my chili. Well, of course I am always glad to hear from her and happy to offer her a recipe! Considering my love of all things lemon in springtime, I had to share this with you as well. A few basic ingredients. No baking required. Perfect for a springtime get together.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Don't be alarmed. I realize that this may seem an unholy combination at first glance, but let me assure you this combination is actually in fact holy. I know, I know, you're probably thinking raisins in cookies? Who eats raisins anymore?
Just kiddin'. I know bacon seems an uncanny choice for a cookie. But Really, when you think about it a sweet cookie with a bit of bacon shouldn't really taste bad. It's like when you eat a waffle and your syrup drowns your bacon by accident, but you really don't want to waste your bacon so you eat it and you like it, because it's actually good with the sweet syrup!!
I consider it a breakfast cookie because it indeed has breakfast in each bite. Egg, butter, bacon, raisins, cereal.....hmmm, and now I'm craving my mom's cooking. These cookies bake beautifully and in fact tasty good.
Your first bite will make you sing and dance as if you were actually in a Broadway show. Not like Cats or anything, but maybe Hairspray.
Try it. I think you might just surprise yourself. A batch of these lasted all of an hour at the office, everyone really loved it.
12 oz. package of bacon
1 stick of softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of corn flakes (Honey Bunches of Oats cereal would be good here too)
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp, drain well and crumble into pieces. I prefer to bake my bacon and allow the fat to drain off to make it extra crispy.
Beat together butter and sugar till fluffy. This works best if you allow the butter to soften. If your butter isn't soft you'll have coarse crumbs and not a creamy consistency.
Beat in egg. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; stir into butter mixture. Stir in bacon, corn flakes and raisins.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Space 2 inches apart. Bake for roughly 15 minutes or until cookies are set and golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes on a cooling rack.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Well, the wonderful lady I was to prepare a fun party for is an avid RV'er. She loves to travel across this great nation with her family. So, when I considered a party theme, I decided "Road Trip" it should be. The most important part of any party is FOOD, right? And decor. However, one lemon was that I could not find travel partyware ANYWHERE. Another lemon, She is on Weight Watchers. How could I possibly have a decadent birthday feast with no thematic partyware?
Sunday, March 20, 2011
But, wouldn't that make the gravy full of veggies? Who does that? That's not really gravy. Well, those veggies are full of flavor and nutrients and I certainly do not want them to go to waste.
Here's a great way to make a thick flavorful gravy and a chance to break out the blender for something other than a smoothie.
After removing your meat and veggies (that your family will eat) from the crock, skim the fat from the juice, then ladle the juice into the canister of your blender along with your veggies, and add 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. Set it to puree or give it a fine chop so those veggies get blended into the juice. This is when I usually break out a saucepan, and heat up the gravy to let that flour incorporate the gravy to thicken it, stir it occasionally until it's the thickness your heart so desires and smother your dish, or if you own a gravy boat, this would be the time to fill it up!
*Tip: Putting the flour in the canister as you blend will help prevent lumpy gravy.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
My favorite part of the report is the amateur sketch of the wee little guy. Hysterical.
Well, St. Patrick's Day is around the corner and I'm making a traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie or if you're a Brit or Aussie, you might call it a cottage pie. Shepherd's Pie is basically a casserole made of a cooked meat (lamb or beef) with veggies like corn or peas, then it's topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
The trick here is to season it really well, because you want your beef to have a nice thick tasty gravy baking under the spuds. Shepherd's Pie isn't a great dish if it's bland. Another thing about this dish, is it's fairly inexpensive and easy to make, so you can always double the recipe and make two. Bake one and freeze the other, or as I often do, take something to a friend or neighbor. These can also be made as individual portions in small pie pans.
Mash potatoes with 1/2 cup of sour cream and 4 Tbl. butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, add green onion or chives and 1 cup shredded cheese.
*I prefer the whisk attachment on my hand mixer to make the potatoes smooth and creamy.
Layer meat and veggie mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Smooth potatoes over the meat.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until potatoes puff up slightly and are a beautiful golden brown. You can pop this casserole under the broiler for a few minutes to brown it slightly if needed.
Voila! Here's a winner that you'll find at the end of a rainbow!! Yum!! Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
If you'll recall Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, you may remember that Mr. Daly needed to crack the combination of the tablet in which he races to find the Einstein bobbleheads and they give the obvious answer of the combination as pi and their nice bobble rendition of KC and the Sunshine band's "That's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it" and now you're probably singin' that little diddy in your head. You're welcome.
The reason that Pi is celebrated this month is the date's representation of 3/14 (month/day combination) The first celebration was held in 1989 in San Francisco. And it's only fitting that most Pi celebrations involve eating pie.
Okay, okay, enough of the math talk, although I think my high school math teacher would appreciate my knowledge of pi....and my home economics teacher would appreciate my knowledge of pie!
So, why not celebrate both? Who doesn't love a good pie....especially when there are so many to choose from?
Here's a homemade Cherry Pi Pie recipe that is scrumptious!!
4 cups cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Combine cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl, stir and let sit for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Drain off and reserve cherry syrup.
Combine a small amount of syrup to cornstarch to make a paste, then whisk cornstarch paste back into syrup. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the drained cherries and almond extract.
Cool, and store in sterilized, airtight jars or freeze in heavy freezer bags. Makes about 5 cups.
Spoon pie filling into your favorite crust (freeze the rest) and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown.
My daughter's homeroom teacher also happens to be the grade level math teacher, so she will get a special individual Cherry Pi Pie on Monday morning as will some other special math geeks :)
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I thought I'd share this super simple recipe for Creamy Lemon Sandwich Cookies. I turned these babies into shamrocks and am giving them as gifts to some favorite Irish lovies this week.
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbl finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
2 cups ap flour (spooned and leveled), plus a little more for rolling
2 Tbl granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Creamy Lemon Filling:
1 (4-ounce) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon(s) finely grated lemon zest
1 cup(s) (up to 1 1/2) confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add flour (dough will still be stiff); finish mixing with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour (and can be chilled up to 3 days).
Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter (re-roll scraps once, chilling of too soft), I scored a shamrock cutter for a mere 25 cents last year after St. Patty's Day...time to break it in!!
To make filling: In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and zest until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, mixing until smooth. Mix in remaining sugar as necessary to create a firm but spreadable filling.
To form sandwiches: Place about 1 teaspoon Creamy Lemon Filling between two cookies, sugared sides facing out; squeeze gently.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The daffodils are blooming all over the city and their happy yellow hello, reminded me that I still had lemons in the kitch begging to be juiced. So, I decided on the pucker power of these irresistible Lemon Blondies.
1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 large egg yolks
1 can(s) (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup(s) fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
Make crust: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, and mix on low just until combined. Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares, and dust with confectioners sugar.
This recipe has nothing to do with sour cream at all. This recipe is for Oui Oui Pie (In French that would be "yes" pronounced WeeWee, or if you asked me, I'd say..."YES, PIE!!") so there you have it.
Imagine a creamy coconut custard meets roasted marshmallow flavored filling in a flaky crust with a billowy cloud of exuberant meringue and bits of toasted coconut. It's pretty much like tasting heaven and it's actually quite simple to make.
For the custard filling
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked per directions below
For the meringue
4 large egg whites
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 375°. (I learned how to make the degree symbol, I can hardly contain the excitement!!! .....it's the little things I know.)
Line a 9-inch pie pan with your favorite pastry crust, then crimp the edges decoratively.
Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or rice or pie weights.
Bake until the crust is lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Remove the pie pan from the oven, carefully lift out the parchment paper and weights, and return the pie crust in the pan to the oven until it is dry and nicely browned, 10 minutes more.
Let it cool to room temperature.
Now, let's make the custard:
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, flour and salt over a medium heat; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from heat.
Separate the egg yolks from whites (keep the whites, you'll use them for the meringue). Beat the egg yolks slightly. Gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into yolks to temper the eggs. If you add the eggs to the mixture you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your custard. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan and bring the entire mixture to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes before removing the pan from heat.
Stir butter, vanilla, and coconut into the hot mixture. Pour the hot filling into the baked pie crust. Cool slightly.
Now, let's make the meringue!!
Reduce oven heat to 350° Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat the egg whites until they swell up into plump, shiny, soft clouds that hold firm, curly peaks.
Scoop the meringue on top of the cooled custard filling, spreading the meringue all the way to the crust and mounding the meringue up slightly in the center of the pie. Create swoops and swirls in the meringue for decorative effect and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the coconut over the top of the meringue.
Place the Oui Oui pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the meringue is a beautiful golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Place the pie on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
3/4 lb smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cans red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups water
Hot pepper sauce
Check out how bright and beautiful this dish is! YUM! My youngest little girl asked, "Are we eating leaves for dinner??" when she saw the bay leaves!! In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add kielbasa, onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, bay leaves and thyme; cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I have had a wonderful day complete with reminiscing over birthdays past. When I was 7 I had an Alf party...a sleepover no doubt. I had my fair share of skating parties, Chuck E Cheese party when it was actually Showbiz Pizza before Chuck E Cheese, there was one year I had a troll party, a simply lovely sweet 16, I was a senior in high school when I turned 18...as most of us are, and expecting my first sweet little girl when I turned 21, that's a lot of cake and a lot of happy birthdays. .
Not only did I receive beautiful flowers, cards, gifts, and happy wishes, I was given the most special hugs and kisses from my sweet little girls. As I get older I'm just thankful to have so many friends and family who are still so loving and care enough to send a sweet birthday wish.
Some people would say the best part of a birthday is the cake. It's definitely the most delicious part of the birthday, anyway!!
I've been craving cream cheesy delights lately and for my birthday I knew I definitely wanted a Vanilla Cheesecake Torte.
I'll share this super easy recipe with you. It's kind of like a cheese danish and would be great to take to your coworkers or over to a friend.
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, if desired
In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat on low speed until blended.
Unroll 1 can of dough into 1 large rectangle; press seams and perforations to seal. Press onto bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Spread with cream cheese mixture.
In small bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the pecan mixture over the cream cheese layer. On lightly floured surface, press or roll out remaining dough into 13x9-inch rectangle. Place over filling. Sprinkle remaining pecan mixture over top.
Bake at 375°F 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
Friday, March 4, 2011
This decadent cupcake is truly incredible, if you like peanut butter cookies, you'll want to try this. The recipe makes about a dozen cupcakes, which is perfect for sharing. And they're actually pretty easy to make.
Actually, I made these to share with some guys at the office. I'm nice like that. And one of them even said the cupcakes were so good he would birth my babies. That good, eh? Well, try them for yourself and see how you like them.
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
3/4 stick butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
6 T milk
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until blended. Add vanilla and egg. Add milk and flour mixture alternately while still mixing. Pour into lined cupcake pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out almost clean.
Melt chocolate and cream in a metal bowl set in simmering water.
Beat peanut butter and vanilla until blended. Add 3 Tbl milk and sugar while beating. Add the rest of the milk and sugar and beat until smooth. If you want it a little more thin, add a couple more tablespoons of milk.