Sunday, August 26, 2012

Strawberry Crisp

Even though I love fall, I'm trying to hang on to summer just a little bit longer.  My strawberry plants are still producing so they're trying to hang on too.

Strawberry Crisp

4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered - fresh or frozen
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of butter, softened

Grease a 9 x 9 cooking pan.  Spread out quartered strawberries in the pan.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Spread over top of the strawberries.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Honey Carrots

Carrots were another veggie courtesy of my CSA that I have only had in one basket so far.  I remember having glazed carrots years ago that were really good.  I decided to use honey for a light glaze today.

Honey carrots

3 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp parsley
freshly ground pepper to taste

Braise carrots in the chicken broth.  Cook until tender and broth has evaporated.  Add in butter and honey.  Stir and add spices.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cotija Corn & Bacon

I'm getting overwhelmed from my CSA.  I've already frozen corn three times and seeing another 10 ears didn't exactly have me jumping up and down with joy.  I was thinking today how to use some up and came up with a very tasty solution.

Cotija Corn & Bacon

3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the ears
1/8 cup Cotija cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 dash paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a medium frying pan.  Remove from pan and place on paper towels to remove the rendered fat.  I wiped the fat from the pan and put in the 2 tbsp of butter and the corn.  Cook over medium heat until corn is tender.  Add bacon back in and reheat.

Place in a serving bowl and top with the Cotija cheese.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baked Cheese Ravioli

The perfect meal for meatless Monday.  

Baked Cheese Ravioli

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
dash cayenne
24 cheese ravioli

Pour buttermilk in a bowl.  In a second bowl, mix together bread crumbs, spices and grated cheese.  Cook ravioli per package directions.  Drain and allow to cool slightly...just enough so you don't burn your fingers when handling.  Dip a ravioli in the buttermilk, then roll in bread crumbs and place on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.
Serve with your favorite red pasta sauce.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies

I love fall and I'm looking forward to it's arrival.  I was looking on Pinterest at fall crafts and suddenly remembered that I have a bunch of pumpkin that I froze last fall when hurricane Irene was supposed to cause a pumpkin shortage.  There is no shortage.  It's all in my freezer and I need to start using it.  I made these cookies with white chips.  I think I'll try cinnamon next time or a half white/half cinnamon mixture.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup white or cinnamon chips

Cream softened butter and sugar.  Add in egg, vanilla and pumpkin.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients (I recommend using a hand mixer if you have one since this is a very dense dough).  Hand mix in chips.

Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.  Makes 4 1/2 dozen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon with a hint of cayenne ~ I love the combination.  I combined the two (again) last night as a sweet side dish.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 dash cayenne

Cover a baking dish with aluminum foil.  Place cubed sweet potatoes and pecans on top.  Drizzle honey over sweet potatoes and then sprinkle spices over it.  

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until fork tender.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cabbage Rolls

This is another food that I never had until one trip to Toronto.  I loved it at first taste.  It's a little time consuming to make but I cooked it in the crock pot...still not sure it's a real favorable aroma to have circulating throughout the house all day long so making it on a day that I could have the windows open was a good idea for me.  I read lots of ways to freeze cabbage to make it more pliable.  What I never read was when thawing, place in a bowl in your refrigerator to prevent it from making a mess.  Live and learn.  

Cabbage Rolls

Rice ~

1 cup water
1/2 cup rice

Bring water to a boil and add rice in and stir.  Cover and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes.  

Stuffing ~

Brown 1 pound ground beef with 1/4 cup onions and 1 clove of garlic diced.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  When done, add into cooked rice, add in one large egg and 1/2 cup beef broth.  Stir and set aside.  

Put a leaf in a soup bowl.  Grab an old fashioned ice cream scoop and one scoop should be the perfect amount of stuffing.  Fold in sides and roll up from bottom into a little packet.  Put seam down in your crock pot.  Repeat 11 more times.  

Pour 8 ounces of tomato sauce and 1 cup of V8 juice on top and cover.  Sprinkle paprika on top.  Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 5 hours.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grilled Apple & Brie Sandwich

I've been thinking about this sandwich for over a week now and I'm happy that I finally got around to making it.  It can be a fun breakfast or snack.  I even tried it with a caramel dipping sauce and it tastes great that way too.

Grilled Apple & Brie Sandwich

Sliced bread - I used french bread
Softened butter
1 Granny Smith apple, cored & sliced
Dash cinnamon

Caramel sauce (optional)

Assemble just like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Butter the outside slices of bread and place one piece face down in a frying pan.  Add apple slices on top of the bread along with a dash of cinnamon.  Place slices of brie on top of the apple and top with a second piece of bread, butter side on top.  Grill until a nice golden brown, carefully flip and grill the second side.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Apple & Bacon Puffins

Puffins.  What a weird name for food.  Puffins are kind of cute birds but I'd never consider eating one, although some do.  I've seen this kind of puffin (pancake/muffin) popping up everywhere.  I decided I'd try them out.  I do love the idea of not destroying a pancake when trying to flip it and they are a fun finger food for breakfast.  

Apple & Bacon Puffins

1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, cored, peeled and diced
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Melt butter in a medium sized bowl.  Allow to cool and add sugar.  Stir in one egg and buttermilk.  Mix in the dry ingredients.  Allow to sit a few minutes while your oven is preheating to 325°.  Gently fold in bacon and apple.  Use a large cookie scoop to fill a greased mini muffin pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Serve warm with a bowl of your favorite syrup.  Makes 30.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cheddar Chicken Breasts

I was excited to use my Applewood Smoked Cheddar in a couple of new ways.  I used it on chicken breasts and smashed new potatoes.  It's an easy recipe that's perfect for the work week and only causes a minimal amount of dishes for the breading process.  

Cheddar Chicken Breasts

3 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
1 cup Applewood smoked cheddar or plain cheddar, grated
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp paprika (if you don't have the smoked cheddar with paprika in it)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Set up an assembly line with bowls.  Pour the milk in the first bowl, the grated cheese in the second and the Panko bread crumbs and spices in the third.  At the end of your assembly line, have a foil lined baking sheet (this is your one dish that will not have to be run through the dishwasher since it will stay clean).  Dip your chicken breast in the milk, then the cheese (you may have to pat it on firmly so it stays), roll in the Panko mixture and place on your baking sheet.  Any leftover cheddar and Panko crumbs can be sprinkled on top of the breasts after you've coated all that you are making.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I'm starting off the week healthy.  My intentions were for really healthy but somehow my hand grabbed the mini chocolate chips instead of the Craisins.  Oops.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

2 cups granola
2 cups old fashioned oats, toasted
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup yogurt covered raisins
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup honey

In a large bowl, mix together granola, oats, peanuts and sunflower seeds.  Melt peanut butter in a small saucepan.  When it has melted, add in honey and pour over granola mixture.  Mix well.  Add in mini chocolate chips and yogurt covered raisins when it has cooled enough so they do not melt.  Pat into a greased pan.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Au Gratin Potatoes in ramekins

I was happy at how easy these were to make and how well they turned out.  I have another fun new cheese that I like ~ Applewood smoked cheddar with paprika.  It was the perfect addition to these potatoes.

Au Gratin Potatoes in ramekins

4 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup onions, minced
6 tbsp cream
1 1/2 cup Applewood smoked cheddar, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Grease ramekins and put in a baking pan.  Put layer of potatoes down, then cover with onions, salt and pepper and then top with another layer of potatoes.  Add a tablespoon of cream to each dish.  Fill pan with 1" of water and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 1 hour at 350°.  Remove from oven, uncover and top each ramekin with 1/4" cheese of your choice.  Leave uncovered and return to oven until lightly browned.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Parmesan Chicken & Green Beans

Mid-week always calls for a quick and easy dinner option.  Tonight I used fresh green beans.  The cheeses give this dish lots of flavor.

Parmesan (and Romano) Chicken & Green Beans

1 pound chicken breast, cut into pieces
2 cups fresh green beans
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, brown seasoned chicken.  Add in chicken broth and then top with green beans and cover.  Cook over medium heat until green beans are tender.  Remove from head and sprinkle cheese over and stir in.

In honor of World Cat Day, here's a picture of mine ~

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

I was almost dreading another zucchini from my CSA, but it turns out after tasting this bread, I want more from them.  I almost made another orange cranberry bread to put in the freezer and now I hope I get more to make this bread again and put in the freezer.

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

1 1/4 c zucchini, grated
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
6 ounces Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

In a large bowl, place zucchini, oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.  Add in sugars and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients and spices.  

Put batter in a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350° for one hour.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pork Chop Hash

I know some people consider a hash as a way to use up leftovers.  For me, it's a way to use up vegetables from my CSA before the next basket arrives on Tuesday.  

One of the spice mixtures I used in this dish is Vegeta.  If you never have used it, put it on your grocery list.  It's commonly found in Eastern European markets and also can be found on  Vegeta is a versatile mixture of spices and vegetables that are commonly used in soups but it tastes great sprinkled on pork chops too.  Use with a light hand though, it can turn your food into being too salty to eat.  

Pork Chop Hash

2 center cut pork chops, cooked seasoned with Vegeta, diced
2 potatoes, diced
3 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
1/4 tsp paprika
salt & pepper, freshly ground to taste

Cook pork chops in pan and remove from pan when done.  Add diced potatoes in same pan.  When potatoes are done, add in corn and cook for a couple minutes.  Put diced pork chops back and and serve when completely heated.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cheese Manicotti

This was my first attempt at making cheese manicotti.  I've made a ground beef and cheese manicotti in the microwave many times.  I was just pleased that the cheese stuffing ratio to the noodles worked out perfectly.

Cheese Manicotti

Sauce ~

15 oz tomato sauce (regular)
8 oz tomato sauce (no salt)
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp Italian Seasoning, crushed in hand to release the oils
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Cook onion in a large frying pan in olive oil.  Add in garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce and Italian seasoning and let simmer.

Cook manicotti per manufacturer's instructions.

In a large bowl, combine ~

15 ounces ricotta 
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg

Drain manicotti and let cool until you are able to handle.  Carefully stuff noodles with cheese mixture and place in a greased baking dish.  When done, cover with tomato sauce.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325° for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Baked Tomato & Garlic Bread

Friday finally...time to pamper myself with an easy dinner.  Luckily my CSA delivered some of the sweetest tomatoes that I've had in a long time and I put them to good use tonight.  This picture does not do it justice.  I tried to get enough light but I have a storm coming in.

Baked Tomato & Garlic Bread

French bread sliced 1/2" thick
Garlic Butter ~ see this post ~
tomato sliced 1/4" thick
fresh oregano, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated

Bake garlic bread for 5 minutes at 350°.  While baking, slice your tomato and grate cheese.  Mix cheese with oregano in a small bowl.  Remove from oven and top with tomato slices and sprinkle oregano/cheese mixture on top.  Return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Have a wonderful weekend ~

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Preserves

I canned 12 half pints of strawberry preserves, that I like to think of being adult preserves, last weekend. It doesn't have the sweet, sticky quality that we all grew up eating from the grocery store.  I waited to post until I picked up some tastes excellent this way.

Strawberry Lemon Preserves

4 pounds strawberries, hulled
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/2 cups honey
1 package liquid pectin

Place strawberries in a bowl with the honey and let sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours.  Drain juice and cook over medium heat in a large saucepan until it starts to thicken.  Add in strawberries and cook until it starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and add pectin.  Put in sterilized jars and can right away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Breasts

This is the same recipe that I used on chicken wings.  I liked the flavors so well that I used them on skinless chicken breasts for an easy mid-week dinner.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Breasts
4 chicken breasts - works with skinless or skin on
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, blend together brown sugar and spices.

Dredge chicken breasts in brown sugar mixture and place on a foil lined
baking sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350°