Monday, February 28, 2011

Easy Caesar Salad

Here is a quick,easy salad recipe.The dressing is a Martha Stewart recipe,and it is very tasty.It does call for anchovies,but if you do not like them,the dressing still works without them.I have decided to use anchovy paste instead.For this recipe,I have also added homemade croutons.I usually use foccaccia,but you really can use any type of fresh baked bread you like. Here is what you will need:
2 heads of romaine lettuce,chopped
parmesan cheese(grated or peeled off the rind using a veggie peeler)
Dressing Ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic
4 anchovy fillets(I used 1 tsp. ofanchovy paste)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. mayonnaise(for creamier dressing,can be left out if desired)

 
  Using a fork,mash the salt & garlic cloves (and anchovies,if using) into a paste.Place in a small bowl,and whisk in pepper,lemon juice,mustard,worcestershire sauce,and mayonnaise.Slowly,whisk in olive oil.

Croutons:
Foccaccia ,cut into cubes
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

  Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan,and drizzle with a little olive oil.Sprinkle with salt & pepper.Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.Croutons should be golden.These can be stored in an airtight
container for up to 2 days.
To assemble the salad,place the chopped romaine in a large bowl.Drizzle with the dressing,and add the croutons and parmesan.Toss and enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cookbook Alert!

A new cookbook is on the way from Food Network Magazine.It is available for pre-order now and will be released on March 15th!Love new cookbooks!

Zucchini Cheddar Frittata

This is a great breakfast,that is definitely enhanced by using very good cheddar cheese.I like to use Kerrygold Irish cheddar.It makes all the difference in the world.You may also add chopped onion or green onion if you like.If using a regular onion,saute it with the zucchini.If using a green onion,just chop and add it to the egg mixture.
Ingredients:
5 eggs,lightly beaten
1 c. good quality cheddar cheese
2 small-medium zucchini
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp.olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
salt &pepper
    In an oven proof  skillet(preferably a 9 inch pan),heat the olive oil & butter.Saute the zucchini until
tender,about 5 minutes,and arrange them in the pan so they lie flat.Season with salt & pepper.In a bowl,combine the eggs,cheddar,and parsley.
   Pour the egg mixture over the zucchini and cook over medium heat until the eggs start to set around the sides of the pan.Place the pan in the oven and bake about 5 more minutes until the top is golden and set.Slice into wedges and serve.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate Souffles

   Don't get nervous...this dessert is really not difficult,and it tastes wonderful!This recipe is from Chef Jamie Gwen,who I have admired for a long time.She doesn't seem to be in the spotlight often,but she does have her own radio show on sirius.Love her,and her recipes!
Ingredients:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 oz. of good quality bittersweet chocolate
2/3 c. milk
1/2 tbsp. corn starch
2 egg yolks,lightly beaten
3 egg whites
1/4 c. sugar

    Butter and lightly sugar 3- 6oz. ramekins.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a double boiler,melt the chocolate.Set aside and let cool.In a medium saucepan ,heat the milk & cornstarch,stirring constantly ,until the mixture begins to thicken.Stir the milk mixture into the chocolate and set aside to cool.Once cooled,add the egg yolks,mixing well.
   In the bowl of a mixer,beat the egg whites and the sugar until stiff peaks form.Slowly,fold  the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture  1/3 at a time.Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins and fill to the top.Bake for 15 minutes.Dust the tops with powdered sugar,and serve immediately.

Friday, February 25, 2011

French Onion Soup

We had a very stormy day here today,and this soup seemed like the perfect thing to make.It is very easy,and so rich & delicious.A perfect comfort food.
Ingredients:
4 tbsp. butter
2 c. thinly sliced onions
6 cups of  beef stock
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
4-6 slices of french bread,toasted
3/4-1 c. gruyere cheese
   Melt the butter in a large saucepan.Add the onions ,and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes,until the onions are tender.Add the beef broth and the worcestershire sauce.Bring to a boil,then reduce the heat .Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  While the soup is simmering,place the bread slices on a sheet pan.Brush lightly with olive oil,and sprinkle with salt & pepper.Bake at 350 until toasted,about 5 minutes.

    Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls.Place a few slices of the toasted bread on top,and sprinkle with cheese.Broil until the cheese turns brown and bubbly.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cinnamon Donuts


Okay,I have to admit,this was basically an experiment for me today.I had seen this recipe in Better Homes & Gardens,and thought it might be fun to try,and it definitely was.One of my sons helped me,and loved shaking the donuts in a bag filled with cinnamon & sugar.Cutting out the shapes was also fun.This is a great recipe to make with your children,except of course,cooking them in the hot oil...adults only for that!
Ingredients:
3-1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. butter,melted
4 eggs,beaten
2/3 c. sugar
vegetable oil for frying
cinnamon/sugar mix and/or powdered sugar
   In a large mixing bowl,beat eggs & sugar for 5 minutes.Add milk & butter.Add flour,baking powder,salt ,cinnamon & nutmeg.Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.Cover with plastic and refrigerate fo 2 hours.
   Remove dough from the refrigerator,and roll out on a lightly floured surface.The recipe calls for rolling it out about 1/2 inch thick.Next time,I would go a bit thicker.Just my preference.Using two round cookie cutters(large & small) ,or an actual donut cutter,cut out the donuts.
     In a large heavy duty pot,heat vegetable oil to about 350-375 degrees.There should be enough oli to easily cover the donuts and allow them to float.Using a slotted spoon,carefully place 3-4 donuts in at a time.They should take between 1-1/2 - 2 minutes per side.Watch then carefully ,as they may burn quickly(I know,I burned some)! Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.While still warm,shake them in a paper bag,one or two at a time,filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture,or powdered sugar.
     If desired,fry the donut holes as well,watching carefully so as not to burn.Have fun!
Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture:
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix together and use to coat donuts.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Clovers

Here is a fun recipe/activity to do with your kiddies.Similar to a rice krispy treat,but no marshmallow.The kids can really get their hands in this one,and cut out the treats using their favorite shaped cookie cutters. Ingredients:
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. peanut butter
1-1/2 c. light corn syrup
6 c. rice krispies
2 c. chocolate chips.
   In a large bowl,mix together the cereal and chocolate chips.In a medium saucepan,heat the sugar,peanut butter & corn syrup over medium heat.Stir constantly,until all of the ingredients are melted together.Pour the peanut butter mixture into the cereal mixture.Mix together well(this gets a bit tough to mix)and spread out the mixture in a square  13x9 baking pan lined with parchment.
  Once the mixture has cooled ,pull the parchment up,lifting the mixture out of the pan.Cut into shapes using your favorite cookie cutter.If desired,turn into pops by adding popsicle sticks!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pie

   This is a delicious,gooey pie.It is a great addition to any party because not many people make it,so it usually stands out.Again,I make my own pie dough,but feel free to use a frozen pie shell or refrigerated pie dough from your grocery store.
Pie Dough:
2-1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 sticks of VERY COLD butter,cut into small pieces
4-6 tbsp. ice water
    In the bowl of a food processor,blend the flour,salt & sugar.Add the butter and process until the butter is the size of peas.With the food processor running,slowly add the water,one tbsp. at a time,until the dough feels smooth and comes together easily.It should not feel gritty or overly wet.If needed,you can always add more water,but if you put in too much,the dough will be mushy.Separate the dough into 2 balls,and flatten them both into disks.Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.Use one for this recipe,and one for later use.It can be frozen until needed.After chilling for 30 minutes,roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface,and fit into your pie plate.Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Filling Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c.-3/4 c. chopped walnuts
     In a bowl,blend together the butter and sugars.Add the eggs and vanilla,then the flour & salt.Blend in the milk.Mix in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared,chilled pie crust.Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes,turning halfway through the baking time.The top will be dark and the center may jiggle a bit.Cool on a wire rack.
This pie can be served warm,chilled or at room temperature.However you like it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes


Here is a quick,easy and delicious breakfast.It is a family favorite in our house.My mother-in-law made these for us many years ago,and I have added my own twist to make it healthful as well.This recipe works perfectly well without the flax seed & wheat bran,so if you do not have them,have no fear.I like to add it to get my children's day off to a  good start!
Ingredients:
2 c. bisquick
2 c. applesauce(I use all-natural)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tbsp. wheat or oat bran
2 eggs
Butter or cooking spray for your griddle
   Mix all of the ingredients together.Melt butter on a griddle and spoon batter onto the griddle(the size of your pancakes is up to you). When the pancakes start to bubble on the surface,flip and cook about one minute more.Enjoy with butter and maple syrup.
***Truth be told,these are so moist,they do not even need butter on them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grilled Shrimp/Green Beans with Almonds

Okay,time to change gears a bit.No sweets.Today I am going to share a delicious recipe for shrimp with you.This is a recipe from one of Ina Garten's first books "Barefoot Contessa Parties."The green bean recipe is from yours truly.I love this shrimp dish because you can marinate the shrimp up to 2 days ahead,and they literally take 3 minutes to cook!Who doesn't love a quick,easy,delicious dinner?
Shrimp Recipe:
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium onion,diced
1/4 c. fresh parsley,minced
1/4 c. fresh basil,minced
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. dijon  mustard
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2lbs.jumbo shrimp(16-20 count) tails left on
   Combine all of the above marinade ingredients,add the shrimp and marinate for at least one hour at room temperature,or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.The shrimp can be grilled on skewers(soak  skewers first in cold water for 30 minutes if using wooden skewers),or grilled individually.
   Grill on an outdoor grill or a grill pan on your cooktop for approximately 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Green Beans Ingredients:
10-12 oz. of frozen haricots verts(thin green beans)
1-1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 garlic clove,minced
1/4 c. finely ground almonds,or slivered almonds
  Cook the green beans in boiling water for about 4 minutes,drain.They should be tender-crisp.
Melt the butter in a saute pan.Add the garlic ad cook for one minute.Add almonds and stir until they begin to color,about 2 minutes.Add the beans and stir until heated through.Season with salt & pepper.
Add rice of your choice,or couscous,and you have a great meal!Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies

   Who doesn't like brownies?A simple chocolate brownie is a special treat in and of itself,but when you add cream cheese,you take it to another level.This is an easy recipe,and so delicious!
Brownie Ingredients:
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 stick of butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1-1/4 c. sugar
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Melt butter & chocolate in a double boiler.In a large bowl,mix together the dry ingredients.When chocolate mixture is melted pour into a bowl and add the sugar,mixing well.Add eggs,one a a time.Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.DO NOT OVERMIX! Set mixture aside.
Cream Cheese Mixture:
4 oz. softened cream cheese(the bar,not whipped)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter,softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. flour
Mix all of the ingredients together until smooth.
  
     Butter an 8 inch square baking pan,line with parchment,and butter the parchment.Pour in half of the brownie mix.Top with the cream cheese mixture,the top with the remaining brownie mix.Using a butter knife,swirl the layers together.Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes,until a knife comes out clean.Cool the brownies, cut into squares and enjoy!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

More Springtime Decorating Ideas

Bunnys made out of gourds...love these!This can be used purely as decoration or filld with your favorite spring treats..www.gourdshop.com.

Never too Early for Easter!

How cute are these?Chocolate inside(of course),and perfect for Easter baskets!These delicious sweets can be found at http://www.williamssonoma.com/ .

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cute Cookie Idea

   Tomorrow is my son's class party before the winter break.Since Valentine's Day has passed,I was thinking about what kind of cookies I could make.Hearts didn't seem to be a good idea.Then,after looking at old blog posts at www.thecelebrationshoppe.com, I saw the perfect cookie!So appropriate after all of the snow we have had,that is now melting.....how cute are these melting snowman cookies?
   Love this idea,and my son Timmy helped decorate!Great family project!

Caramel Custards





   This is a rich dessert,also known as flan.The best thing about this one is that it can be made up to two days before you need it,making it a great dessert for entertaining.Your guests are sure to be impressed.
Caramel Ingredients:
3 tbsps. water
3/4 c. sugar
Place 6 -6oz. custard cups on your counter.
   In a small saucepan,heat the sugar and water over medium-high heat.Stir when first combined,to dissolve sugar.Bring to a boil,then let the mixture cook for approximately 8 minutes ,without stirring,until it turns a golden,amber brown color,as shown above.Do not let it burn!As soon as you notice the change from white to brown,remove from the heat,as it will continue to cook for a few minutes.Be careful,the mixture is extremely hot!Carefully ,but quickly(the mixture will harden),spoon a small amount of the caramel into the custard cups and swirl immediately to cover the bottom of the cup.Set aside.
Custard Ingredients:
3 c. of milk
1/2 c. sugar
3 whole eggs,plus 3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla

   In a medium saucepan,combine the milk & sugar and stir to combine.Cook over medium heat until small bubbles surface around the edges of the saucepan.Remove from the heat,and slowly whisk in (a little at a time) the milk into the egg mixture.If you pour it in all at once without stirring,the eggs will cook,and that is not what we want.Carefully pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup.Pour the mixture into the custard cups,dividing it evenly.
   Place the cups in a large baking pan,and pour very hot water into the pan,so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the custard cups.Cover with aluminum foil,and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.Test to see if they are done by inserting a knife in one and see if it comes out clean.
   Remove cups from the pan and refrigerate immediately.Keep refrigerated for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.When ready to unmold,carefully run a knife around the edges of the custard and invert onto a small plate.Let the caramel run down the sides.Serve immediately.

Some Changes....

I am going to be playing with some different blog designs over the next few days,so leave a comment and let me know which ones you like!Thanks!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Cake

                                          Here is another classic flavor combination,lemon & blueberry.When I go to the farmer's market in the summer,I stock up on  fresh berries.I spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze them for about 1 hour.After they are frozen,I store them in freezer bags so I have them whenever I need them.This is a great way to get the fresh taste of summer all year long.This recipe calls for fresh blueberries,but frozen can be used as well.A taste of this,and you will be thinking about summer.......


Ingredients:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/3c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
zest of one lemon
1/4 c. sour cream
3 c. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4c. milk
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

   In the bowl of your mixer,beat the butter & sugar until mixed well.Add the eggs,then the vanilla.Add the sour cream,and the lemon zest.In another bowl,combine the flour,baking powder,and salt.Add both the flour mixture,and the milk,(alternating between the two)starting and ending with the flour mixture.     
   Spoon half of the batter into the prepared cake pan.Sprinkle with half of the blueberries.Add the remaining batter.Smooth out the top and sprinkle with the remaining berries.
    Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for one hour.Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.Invert onto a plate and let cool completely.Once cool,drizzle with the  glaze.
 Glaze:
1/4c unsalted butter
1 tbsp. water
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
In a small saucepan ,heat the butter & water until butter melts.Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.Add the sugar and whisk quickly until smooth & slightly thickened.Drizzle over the blueberry cake.
***If the glaze becomes too thick to drizzle,rewarm over low heat for a few seconds.

A Great New Snack

Okay,I am usually skeptical of snacks for my kids that are made with veggies,and have all of the "bad stuff "removed and still claim to taste great.Today ,I actually found one that does taste good!One of my sons loves to snack,and this will be perfect for him.Found this at BJS and am so happy I did!Here is why they are good for your kiddies(and for you too)!
If you see them,give them a try...I think you will enjoy them!I hear that they make rosemary veggie straws too!Once I try them,I'll let you know how they taste.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Think Spring!!

Everyone is thinking about spring!Check out these cute chocolates.They can be found at http://www.godiva.com/

Orange Pound Cake

For those of us who have had enough chocolate this week(if that is even possible),and could use a little sunshine in our lives,here is a quick,easy pound cake recipe.Lemon can easily be used instead of the orange.
Ingredients:
3/4c. unsalted butter,softened
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp.of salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
zest of one orange(or 1 1/2 lemons)
1-1/4c. cake flour(NOT ALL PURPOSE)
   Blend the butter and sugar together in the bowl of your mixer.Add the eggs and the zest.In another bowl,mix together the flour,baking powder and salt.Slowly add to the butter mixture.Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated.
   Pour the batter into a loaf pan that has been buttered,lined with parchment,and buttered again.This will allow it to be removed easily from the pan.Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.The cake should be golden brown on top.Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.Remove from the loaf pan and let cool completely.
***Cake flour gives this cake a lighter consistency than all-purpose flour.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

We found this at the local lobster farm....it was great!Have a Happy  Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cream Puff Heart


This is an amazing dessert.The cream puff and chocolate syrup recipe are based on recipes from the Ina Garten cookbook "Barefoot in Paris."Both are incredibly delicious.Once you make the cream puffs,you can fill them with a variety of things such as ice-cream,whipped cream,even fruit,but today I have chosen chocolate pudding.This is ideal for Valentine's Day.The puffs can also be arranged into different shapes for other occasions.
Cream Puff Recipe:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. flour
4 eggs
   In a small saucepan,bring butter,salt & milk to a simmer.Let it simmer for a few moments until it is very hot,but do not boil.Add the flour and using a wooden spoon,mix until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan.Remove from the heat,and add the eggs,one at a time,stirring well after each is added.Place the thick mixture in a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe onto a parchment lined baking sheet.If you do not have a pastry bag,you can spoon the mixture nto the baking sheet.The size of the puffs is up to you.

   After piping them onto the baking sheet,they will have peaks on top.Carefully push them down,so that your puffs come out nice and round.
  Bake at 425 degrees,until golden.Remove from the oven and carefully pierce the bottom of each puff to let the steam escape.Once cooled,carefully slice each puff horizontally and fill with the desired filling.
   I have filled each puff with chocolate pudding,arranged on a platter in the shape of a heart,and sprinkled them with powdered sugar.I then drizzled chocolate syrup on top.Here's the recipe:
  12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  1/2 c. heavy cream
  2 tbsp. honey
  2 tbsp. prepard coffee
In a double boiler,melt the chips in the cream.Once melted,add the honey and coffee.Stir until combined.

***Puffs can be frozen before filling,just reheat in an 325 degree oven.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a little delightful: little valentine

Check out this adorable free download for your child's Valentine's...so cute!From a very creative,crafty mom.a little delightful: little valentine: "Looking for something sweet and simple to give out for Valentine's Day?I made up these little bag toppers to share with you all. You could u..."

Chocolate Cream Hearts

Okay,since we are so close to Valentine's Day,here is another quick,fun treat.The kids will enjoy making and eating these!This is so simple to make and everyone loves them!
Ingredients:

1/2 c Oreo cookies crumbs
2 tbsp.melted butter
pinch of salt
Your favorite pudding
Fresh Whipped Cream Ingredients:
1/2 pint of heavy cream
1-2 tbsp.sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
   I found these cute little heart cups in Target,so this is what I will use for this recipe.You can use any type of cups or ramekins you like.In the bowl of a food processor,pulse cookies,salt and 1 tbsp. of sugar.Place in a mixing bowl,and add melted butter.Distribute crumbs evenly among the cups,and bake at 325 for 10 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cool.
   Once the cups are cool,evenly distribute the pudding among the cups.To make the whipped cream,combine the cream,vanilla and 1 tbsp. of sugar.Whip until stiff peaks form when you lift up the whisk attachment.Place the  fresh whipped cream on top of the pudding and decorate as desired..Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
***Keep leftover cookie crumbs in a sealed containe in the freezer for later use.They taste great over ice-cream or in pudding and even yogurt!