Tuesday, August 24, 2010

herb butter

I love to have herb butter on hand to mix in with sauted vegetables or on cooked chicken, fish or beef. It's great in or on any kind of potatoes too.
It is just softened butter with fresh herbs mixed in. So why make ahead and freeze? Well, fresh herbs are in abundance right now just outside my back door and so why not? Also, it's great to just slice some from the freezer and not have to make it each time I want some.

I do not have a recipe. I wash and chop basil, parsley and chives then keep adding softened butter till it is a good ratio of herbs to butter. If I am making it to use right away, I add salt and pepper as well as grate in some garlic. Then I don't add salt and pepper to the dish. For the freezer batch I prefer the more basic recipe.

I then scoop it on plastic wrap and form a log. Wrap it tight and place in freezer. I just chop off a chunk as needed.

butter tarts and fall :)

So the freezer is filling up with produce and herbs from my garden. Whole tomatoes waiting to be used in soup,stews, tomato paste and pizza sauce. Basil leaves in zip lock bags with just enough olive oil to coat them and prevent them from turning brown. Parsley leaves, again in zip bags but no oil, to use in soups and stocks etc over the winter. And lets not forget the pile of pesto. I freeze it in large 'plops' then place in zip bags to easily get just the amount needed. And now butter tarts. That can only mean one thing. Fall is fast approaching :)
I love summer, but mostly because it means fall is up next.

Growing up my mom was always baking something. For me, baking is just the means to the end.....yummy treats! So, yes, I "cheat" and buy tender flake tart shells.

Hope you enjoy these very easy to prepare butter tarts

12 (2 inch) unbaked tart shells
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Arrange tart shells on a baking sheet. Distribute raisins evenly into shells.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, shortening, egg, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth, and pour over raisins in shells.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until done.
Be careful not to over bake. They should jiggle when you shake 'em......*GRIN* the butter tarts I mean.

Monday, August 23, 2010

taco spiced chicken

This recipe caught my attention on the Betty Crocker web site.

We had it tonight and sliced up the planned-overs to have next week on bbq chicken pizza. So they are in the freezer now waiting to be the star again.
Love that kind of dinner :)

2 tablespoons Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix (or use Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix)
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat gas or charcoal grill. In shallow bowl, mix taco seasoning mix and oregano. Brush chicken with oil; sprinkle with taco seasoning mixture.
Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, mix barbecue sauce, chili sauce and cumin. Cover; microwave on High 30 to 60 seconds or until hot. Serve sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings

So, I put the taco seasoning and oregano mixture on the chicken in the morning and then placed it in the fridge till dinner. I also doubled the sauce mixture and put some aside to baste the chicken with while it was on the barbecue.
This was simple and flavourful. I will make it again.

peach and blueberry crisp

So I basically took my Grannies apple crisp recipe and played with it a bit.

Preheat oven to 450. Not a typo......just to get the topping yummy!

In a baking pan (8 or 9 inch square or 9x13 lasagna style pan) place
3lbs sliced fresh peaches (I left the skin on)

1 generous cup of washed blueberry's
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/4 water
Squeeze of lemon juice to just perk it up!
Toss gently to mix

In food processor combine
1 t cinnamon
1/4 white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 flour
Pulse to mix and then add in
1/4 cup COLD butter cubes
(butter should be cubed and placed in fridge to keep cold till right as you are going to use it)

Pulse till butter is still in chunks but mixture is combined
Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake immediately.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes.
The 40 minutes is actually for the apple crisp time and this took about 30.

P.S. I ALWAYS double the topping if lasagna size pan :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

oven roasted tomato slices with parmesan topping

3 medium tomatoes cut into 3/4-inch slices
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely snipped chives
1 teaspoon mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the tomatoes on a foil lined baking pan or on a broiler pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.

Combine the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, chives and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the mayonnaise mixture on the tomatoes; sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

Bake the tomatoes 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Turn on the broiler; broil the tomatoes 4 to 6 inches from the heat source about 2 minutes, or until the topping is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley; serve hot.

basil & walnut pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup
Can be frozen BUT do not add cheese till you thaw.

Warm Roasted Potato Salad

4 cups quartered unpeeled small red potatoes
3/4 cup Hellman's mayo
4 slices Bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup green onion,chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Make It
PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Place potatoes in 15x10x1-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. I like to toss them in a little veg oil here but it's not necessary.

BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, stirring after 20 minutes.
MIX dressing, bacon, eggs, onions, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add potatoes; mix lightly.
If I have fresh basil I like to chop some and add that in as well.
Serve warm or chilled.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches

This is a re-working of a recipe I saw in a magazine. It said to make using garlic bread. I found these new rolls and wanted to try them. With that in mind, I spread the rolls with butter and lightly toasted them before spreading on the mayo and topping. I make these in the toaster oven. Very quick and easy to prepare.

2 tuscan herb flavoured focaccia rolls
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 small-medium onion, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove, grated)
4 tsp butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 large slices deli style roast beef
4 slices Monterey Jack cheese

Split rolls. You will have 4 separate rolls. Lightly butter and toast, just to melt the butter.
Combine mayo and honey mustard. Taste to see if amount is to your liking. Spread onto rolls

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onion in butter and olive oil till golden. Stir in garlic and cook stirring often for a minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. layer each of the 4 rolls with roast beef, mushroom mixture and cheese return to oven bake 1-2 minutes till cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cottage Pie

This is sooo worth the effort in my opinion:)
Yield 4-6


4 tbsp vegetable oil
1lb ground beef
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup diced onion,
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp flour
1 cup red wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 sprig rosemary (you can use dried, just a tiny pinch)
1 sprig thyme ( or again, a pinch of dried)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

7 medium cooking potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 clove garlic, smashed
1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup 35% whipping cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

For Assembly:
1 9-inch square casserole dish
Extra grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional)
Salt and pepper

Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to large saucepot over medium high heat. Add ground beef.
Allow excess liquid to bubble away; stir and cook until meat is well browned and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain excess fat using a colander.
De-glaze pot with red wine, scraping up browned bits and let reduce slightly.
In another large pot, add remaining vegetable oil and butter over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook until golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Add garlic, stir briefly and add tomato paste. Brown paste slightly and sprinkle in flour. Cook out for a minute or two
Add in red wine from de-glazing beef, scraping up crispy brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add beef stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Return browned meat to pot. Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.
Remove lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes; liquid will reduce and thicken. Remove rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add quartered potatoes and smashed garlic to medium pot. Fill pot with cold water just to cover potatoes; season cooking water well with salt (it should taste like the sea) and bring to a boil.
Boil on medium high heat until potatoes are tender but not overdone, about 15-20 minutes.
Strain potatoes; let dry out slightly in colander before returning to pot. Add cream, butter, pepper, Parmesan cheese and more salt if necessary.
Mash roughly with fork or potato masher.

For Assembly:
Preheat oven to 400. Spoon filling into the bottom of a 10-inch round casserole dish. Top with potatoes.
Grate Parmesan cheese on top and dot surface evenly with butter. Season with salt and pepper and, if using, sprinkle over bread crumbs
Bake on middle rack until top is golden and filling is warmed through, about 20-25 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Breakfast Rounds

Toasted English muffins are spread with a layer of peanut butter, then topped with sliced apple and drizzled with a sweet cinnamon glaze.

1/2 cup peanut butter
4 English muffins, split and toasted
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter onto each English muffin half. Top each one with a few apple slices. In the microwave, melt together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, stirring frequently until smooth.
Drizzle the cinnamon mixture over apple slices.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scottish Apple Crumble

1 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 water
8 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced

1/4 white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 flour
1/4 cold butter (cubed and refrigerated till ready to make topping)

Combine first 5 ingredients in 9x13inch lasagna style dish. Add apples as they are sliced and stir well to combine the base ingredients.

Combine first 3 topping ingredients in food processor and pulse to mix well.
Add in cold cubed butter and pulse JUST TILL LIGHTLY MIXED IN! There needs to be pea sized pieces of butter left in the mixture in order for them to melt in the oven and form the chewy bits in the topping that makes this so yummy.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 40 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

I have been known to double the topping ingredients :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Honey Curried Chicken

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon-style prepared mustard
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl combine the melted butter, honey, mustard, curry powder and cayenne powder. Mix well.
Place chicken breasts in a 9x13inch baking dish and pour honey mustard mixture over chicken. Cover and place in refrigerator. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Remove dish from refrigerator and bake, covered, in the preheated oven for
10 minutes. Remove cover and bake about 10 minutes more, or until done and
juices run clear (baking time will depend a little on how thick your chicken
breasts are).

Sausage Stuffing

Sausage, onion, and celery give this stuffing great flavor. Use fresh or canned chicken broth in this recipe, along with fresh herbs if you have them. Serve this sausage stuffing with a holiday turkey or serve with a pork or chicken dinner.

1 pound chorizo sausage or spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup butter    Don't roll your eyes! Butter makes everything better:)
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped celery
10 cups cubed French bread or white bread
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
dash freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups chicken broth

Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking up and stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink. Remove to paper towels to drain. Wipe out the skillet and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread cubes with the herbs and seasonings. Add the vegetables with the butter and the drained sausage. Stir in chicken broth until well moistened, but not mushy. Pack gently into the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or just until browned on top.

Serves 10 to 12.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Adding fresh lemon juice and zest makes all the difference.

One Lemon Cake Mix (515g) I use duncan hines
One 4-serving size instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons poppy seeds
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with non-stick spray a Bundt or angel food cake pan. Combine dry cake mix and dry pudding mix in mixer. Add eggs, water and oil and mix until well blended. Stir in poppy seeds, lemon zest and juice. Pour mix into Bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. If top of cake looks wet after that time, turn oven off and let it bake a few more minutes. Remove cake from oven and let it cool at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, then invert into serving plate.

When completely cool, sift powdered sugar over the top, OR make a simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice and let it dribble over the cake.

Monday, March 22, 2010

oven roasted asparagus

This is the only way to eat cooked vegetables in my opinion :)
Other vegetables may take longer to cook.

1 lb of asparagus
1 tablespoon of butter
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. My cookie sheet is dark. If you are using a light coloured cookie sheet you can increase the temperature to 400.

Trim and wash asparagus and spread in single layer on cookie sheet.
Lightly salt and pepper ( maybe a pinch of salt and 2 grinds of fresh pepper)
Dot the butter over the vegetables.
Once oven comes to temperature, place cookie sheet into oven on middle rack. Roast 10-15 minutes turning after 7 minutes.
Thin asparagus will cook faster so be sure to watch that it roasts but does not burn.
Place on serving plate and sprinkle with cheese.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ham-Stuffed Shells with Basil Cream Sauce

serves 4

16 jumbo pasta shells
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped ham
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1 cup milk

1. In large skillet, saute onion and turkey ham in butter until tender.
2. Drain peas in sieve.
3. Combine peas with sauteed onion mixture, Ricotta cheese, egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, salt and pepper.
4. Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling salted water about 8 minutes, until tender, but firm. Drain well.
5. Lightly stuff shells with ham mixture, divided equally.
6. Prepare Cream Sauce. Spoon a little on bottom of 7 by 11 inch baking dish. Arrange filled shells in dish.
7. Spoon on remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and bubbling.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve.

Cream Sauce: In 2 cup micro safe measuring cup, microwave 2 tablespoon butter at High power for 45 seconds until melted. Stir in flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dash pepper. Add milk, stirring to combine. Microwave at High power for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring every minute until sauce begins to thicken.

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

You can make this in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet.
Just brown chicken in saute pan with a little olive oil and then place on cookie sheet and add toppings. Bake at 350 for 25-40 minutes depending on thickness of chicken
Makes: 4

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb./450 g)
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomato and Oregano Dressing, divided
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup KRAFT 4 CHEESE ITALIANO Shredded Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

Place large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of barbecue grate; heat barbecue to medium heat. Meanwhile, place chicken in resealable plastic bag. Add 2 Tbsp. dressing; seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with dressing. Refrigerate 10 min. Remove chicken from bag discard bag and dressing.

Grill chicken on uncovered side of barbecue 6 min. Meanwhile, combine remaining dressing, tomatoes, cheese and basil.

Turn chicken over; place, cooked-side up, on foil on barbecue. Top with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill 8 min. or until chicken is done (170ºF).

Mexi Shells

I used pasta suace in place of the salsa and it was okay!
Make an easy pasta dish pepped up with salsa, beans, chilies and cheese.
Makes: 6 serving's

18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
1 can (14 oz) Heinz original beans in tomato sauce
2 jars (16 oz each) Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on package.
Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in cilantro, cumin, chilies and beans.

In 13x9-inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of the salsa. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons beef mixture into each shell. Place shells, filled sides up, on salsa in dish. Pour remaining salsa evenly over shells. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

...don't email be about the butter......just make this and then you won't care:)
Yummy with or without the dipping sauce. Also, you can skip the pounding and just cut into thick pieces. Remember to adjust cooking time.

Servings: 4


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup butter, melted....just do it:)

honey mustard sauce:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp liquid honey

Honey Mustard Sauce: In small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, Dijon and honey. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

Between sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken with flat side of meat pounder or with rolling pin until 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Cut lengthwise on diagonal into 4- x 1-1/2-inch (10 x 4 cm) strips. In bowl, whisk eggs. In shallow bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and paprika.

One at a time, dip chicken strips into eggs, letting any excess drip back into bowl. Dredge in cheese mixture, coating generously and pressing to adhere. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate, layered between waxed paper, in airtight container for up to 24 hours. Or freeze for up to 2 weeks; bake frozen, adding 5 minutes to baking time.)

Arrange on greased baking sheets; drizzle with butter. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven until golden, crispy and no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

Honey Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Makes: 4 servings

2 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup KRAFT CATALINA Dressing, divided
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Brush meat with 2 Tbsp. of the dressing. Mix dry ingredients; rub onto meat.
Place on foil lined and sprayed cookie sheet
Mix remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing and honey; set aside
Bake 15 min.; brush with dressing mixture.
Bake an additional 10 min. or until cooked through (160ºF).
Remove meat from oven; cover with foil.
Let stand 5 min. before slicing.

How to Prepare on the Grill
Preheat grill to medium heat. Prepare meat as directed, rubbing with spice mixture. Place meat on grill; cover grill with lid. Grill 20 min., or turning occasionally. Brush with some of the honey mixture. Continue grilling 5 to 10 min. or until meat is cooked through (160ºF), turning and brushing frequently with honey mixture. Let stand covered with foil, 5 min. before slicing.

chili rubbed tilapia

simple and delicious!
serves 2-4

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
Dash cayenne
1 tsp paprika
4 tilapia fillets
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Add all spices together in a small bowl and mix. Sprinkle spice mixture over tilapia fillets and rub into fish. Heat stove top grill or large non stick pan; add butter and oil. When oil is hot add fish. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until just cooked through.
If you prefer you could bake on lightly buttered foil lined cookie sheet. 350 for maybe 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pecan Coffee Cake

All I can say is make this......you'll be glad you did :)

Yields: 12 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon, nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. To make the Pecan Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar,flour, pecans and cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

bacon and cheese stuffed potatoes

These hit the spot every time! If you are feeling adventurous you can caramelize lots of onions and add them into the potatoes with the BBQ sauce or you can mix them into the mashed potatoes with the bacon and chives.

Makes: 4 servings, well, it's supposed to anyway:)

2 large baking potatoes
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. milk or much more depending on how you like your potatoes mashed
2 Tbsp. butter again, maybe you will need more
1/4 tsp. salt
Couple of cracks of pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives or green onions
2 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
Diana BBQ sauce for filling bottom of potatoes

PREHEAT oven to 375°F.
Scrub potatoes and cook in a microwave safe dish till tender. About 15-20 minutes. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out centers, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Place empty potato shells on a foil lined cookie sheet and place into oven to brown the edges a bit. This helps them to be crunchy after you fill and bake them. I like crunchy in case you haven't noticed that already!
Mash potatoes in medium mixing bowl. Add cheese, milk, butter, salt and pepper; beat with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. (If potatoes are dry, beat in small amount of additional milk.) Stir in chives and bacon. Once potatoes have been in the oven for about 10 minutes remove from oven and pour about 1 tablespoon of Diana honey garlic bbq sauce into the bottom. Spoon potato mixture evenly into shells. Place back into oven
Bake 20-30 min. or until heated through. Garnish with additional chopped chives, if desired.

vegetable borscht

It's been snowing the last 2 day's and that means soup around here for lunch.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 large fresh beets, peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken or beef stock (combination of both is nice)
1/4 of a small cabbage, shredded
1 fresh tomato, diced or 1/2 cup of canned, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
fresh ground pepper
salt to taste (Store bought stock or bouillon will be salty so take that into consideration)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In a sauce pan heat olive oil and butter. Add onions and saute till softened and lightly brown. Add in beets, carrots, potatoes and stir well to combine. Allow to cook stirring often for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add cabbage, tomato, parsley and dill and allow to simmer another 30 minutes or till vegetables are fork tender. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

asian chicken and vegetable stir-fry

Mmmm best tasting stir-fry in my humble opinion!
Servings: 4

Recipe ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup bottled teriyaki sauce
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1 cup regular-strength chicken broth
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup butter
1 cup 1-inch/2.5-cm julienned carrots
1 cup diagonally-cut snow peas
1 cup bean sprouts
1 medium onion, quartered, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Cut chicken into strips. Combine 2 Tbsp each of the teriyaki sauce and cornstarch with garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. In a second small bowl combine remaining teriyaki sauce and cornstarch. Stir in chicken broth and hot pepper flakes; set aside.
Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a large non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat until foamy. Gradually add chicken pieces and stir-fry 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked; remove from pan. Heat remaining 1 tbsp butter in same pan. Add carrots, snow peas, bean sprouts and onion. Stir-fry 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Stir chicken and reserved teriyaki sauce mixture into pan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, if desired, over cooked noodles or rice.

beef chili

This is the only recipe I use to make chili!

(adapted From Lighthearted Everyday Cooking by Anne Lindsay)

Beef and vegetable Chili
serves 6

1lb lean ground beef
2 medium onions, cut to a small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped celery, cut VERY small, (we are being a bit sneaky. I make mine smaller than the beans)
1 cup chopped carrots, again, very small
1 cup chopped sweet pepper, you guessed it ....very small :)
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, blended smooth ( I use PC Blue Menu, no salt added)
2 14 oz cans of Heinz original beans in tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (use more or less depending on personal taste)
If you use no salt added tomatoes you will maybe need some salt. again, to taste.
fresh ground pepper if needed to round out flavours.

In large skillet brown beef till nice and brown. Add onions and other vegetables and cook till they are softened.Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Check seasoning and simmer till desired consistency.

Freezes well as long as you let it thaw well before stirring. The thawing beans tend to break apart if not fully thawed.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

braised bok choy

Servings: 4

1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch each white sugar and black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb baby bok choy, left whole and halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

In small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, cornstarch, salt, sugar and pepper; set aside.

In wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry garlic for 5 seconds. Add bok choy; stir-fry until bright green, about 2 minutes. Cover and steam, stirring occasionally, until stalks are tender-crisp, 4 to 8 minutes.

Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until nearly no liquid remains, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate; drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

chipotle crusted pork tenderloin

serves 4-6

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
(I used 1 tablespoon good ole' grocery store chili powder to rave reviews)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
In a small bowl combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, salt, and brown sugar. Place tenderloin on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle spice mixture over the pork. Rub it in with your hands covering all the pork.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes maximum OR place in fridge if you wish to leave it longer.
Place pork in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or till it reaches an internal temp of 155 degrees.Loosely cover with foil and allow to rest several minutes before slicing.

roasted fingerling potatoes

The benefit to using this type of potato is that they make it very easy to get even sizes. This makes cooking time more predictable. You could however use any type of potato you have. These just look, well, dare I say pretty!

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry everyone is :)

8 white or red fingerling potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if table salt is your preference)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pinch of garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (save 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on top after cooking)
1 green onion chopped (save 1/2 to sprinkle on top after cooking)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees.
Wash, slice potatoes and pat dry. Toss the potatoes in a large bowl and coat with all the ingredients.
(reserving half the cheese and green onions for the end )
Place on baking sheet of your choice.I like to use a non-stick cookie sheet
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Turn potatoes after 15 minutes to ensure even browning.
Place into serving bowl and sprinkle on reserved cheese and green onions.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dutch Butter Cake

This is the easiest and quickest way to satisfy a sweet craving.

Dutch Butter Cake

Turn on oven to 350.

1 egg with 1 cup of white sugar.
Mix well with wooden spoon or spatula.

        Add in 1/2 cup of softened butter.

Mix well
Add in 1 Tbsp of milk
dash of salt and
1 cup of all-purpose flour

Pour batter into a well greased 8 inch round pan. 

Sprinkle 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips on top.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 35 minutes or till lightly browned and set.