Saturday, March 30, 2013

Peach Sweet Rolls

I'm always looking for new ways to use my favorite fruit and this morning was no exception.  This was worth waking up early on my day off to put together.  

Peach Sweet Rolls

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed and allowed to fully rise (overnight is best)
1 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup peach jam

Peach Icing

3 tbsp butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp peach extract or vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Spread out bread dough until a large rectangle.  Mine was 14 x 17 - the same as my cutting board.  Rub softened butter over dough.  Evenly sprinkle the dark brown sugar and cinnamon on top.  Spread out peach jam in three lines - see picture ~

Gently roll up.  Cut into 12 equal pieces.  I cut in half, in half again and then in thirds.  Place in greased 9 x 12 baking pan.  Allow to rise until the dough has doubled or more.  This is a good time to take your butter and cream cheese out to allow to come to room temperature and soften.  When the rolls are ready, bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until a golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes before adding icing or it will melt.

For icing, mix together softened cream cheese and butter.  Add in extract and stir completely.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  Spread icing on top of slightly warm rolls.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Buttered Noodles

Sounds bland doesn't it?  Well if I had only put butter on them it would be.  My secret flavor kick this time is Romano cheese.  Romano adds a touch of salt and a nice tangy flavor.  It was a perfect side to some Italian meatballs that I made but I can't think of too many proteins that these wouldn't be great with.

Buttered Noodles

1/3# Dumpling Egg Noodles 
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp Romano cheese, grated
1 tsp parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook dumpling noodles per package directions in a large saucepan.  Drain and leave or return to saucepan.  Stir in butter, sour cream and Romano cheese and gently stir until butter and sour cream melt.  Fold in parsley, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Four Cheese Chicken Rigatoni

Back on my mission to use up my cottage cheese and the on hand ingredients lead to this dish.  The oregano and red pepper flakes combined to make this very appetizing.

Four Cheese Chicken Rigatoni

2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded
8 oz cooked rigatoni
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Cheddar, shredded

Grease a 2 quart baking dish.  Place cooked chicken and pasta in the dish.  In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, milk, broth, and half of each of the cheeses.  Stir and pour over pasta and chicken.  Gently fold in and then top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Looking through my refrigerator and figuring out what to create from the ingredients that I find.  I'm starting to shop and use up ingredients that will spoil.  It seems again this year that a flood is going to happen once the temperatures rise.  Oh joy - the sound of CNN and other news stations helicopters filling the air drowning out those of the birds.  So I had bought a 22 oz cottage cheese (which I do love) and now I want to find other ways to eat it than with some fruit.  These pancakes the perfect way and I've discovered that separating the eggs and beating the whites until fluffy make the pancakes so much lighter which I was worried about when using the heavy cottage cheese.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

3 eggs, separated
1 pinch Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Separate the eggs putting the whites in a small bowl that you can fit your mixer blades in.   In a larger bowl, place the egg yolks.  Whip the egg whites until fluffy and add a pinch of Cream of Tartar and give another quick whip.  In the larger bowl, combine egg yolks, cottage cheese, milk and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients in.  When all combined, gently fold in the egg whites.  Let sit 5 minutes before cooking on a griddle.  When the pancakes are bubbling on the first side, flip and finish cooking.  Serve with your favorite syrup.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cheeseburger Pasta

I miss grilling outdoors and I'm not one that enjoys wearing my winter coat, gloves and hat to stand outside and grill when there's still 2' of snow at the one end of my deck and more in the backyard and the thermometer hasn't gotten above freezing.  I do have two indoor grills but it's not the same.  I made this for a quick meal so I could be reminded a little of a cheeseburger fresh off the grill.  I hesitated when it came to choosing the cheese since I love my cheeseburgers topped with cheddar and pepper jack equally so I put some red pepper flakes in as I was finishing cooking the ground beef and onions.

Cheeseburger Pasta

1/2# lean ground beef
1/8 cup onions, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup Orzo pasta, cooked
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook Orzo, drain but do not rinse.  Cook ground beef with the onions and season with salt, freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.  Place both Orzo and ground beef in a greased casserole.  In a medium sized pan, melt the butter and add in flour.  Stir and gradually add in milk.  Allow to cook until thickened and stir in cheddar cheese.  Pour over the hamburger and pasta and stir well.  Bake at 325° and bake for 30 minutes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Peach Coffee Cake Muffins

It's a great way to finish waking up to the smell of peaches and cinnamon in the air.  

Peach Coffee Cake Muffins

Topping ~

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 pinch of salt

Batter ~

6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup peaches, sliced

Combine all the ingredients together for the topping in a small bowl.  Make sure they are completely mixed and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add in buttermilk, egg, sour cream and vanilla.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Place 3/4" of batter in the bottom of a greased or lined muffin pan.  Place 2-3 peach slices on top and cover with another 1/2" of batter.  Top each muffin with a sprinkling of the topping.  I made jumbo muffins to I baked them for 20 minutes at 350°, adjust accordingly for regular size muffins.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Italian Chicken Enchiladas

Yes, I mixed two food cultures together to make one delicious dinner.  I had thawed chicken, an open jar of my homemade red pasta sauce and too many fajita flour tortillas in my refrigerator that I needed to use up.  

Italian Chicken Enchiladas

2 large skinless chicken breasts
1 - 5 oz can V8 juice
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp Italian spices, crushed
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
3 fajita flour tortillas
1/2 cup red pasta sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook the chicken breasts with the V8 juice, tomatoes, Italian spices and salt and pepper in the crock pot on medium until chicken is cooked.  Shred in the crock pot using two forks.  Scoop out and place in the center of the tortillas and wrap.  Place seam down in a greased baking dish.  Cover enchiladas with the red pasta sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mint Blossom Cookies

It's officially Spring today despite the snowbanks and chilly temperatures outside.  I baked these cookies for an actual Springtime feel.  If you're missing that certain store in the mall that sells the mints at Christmas, you can find them on or make them yourself.  

Mint Blossom Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
36 mints

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in egg and extracts.  Combine dry ingredients and fold into batter.  Roll into 1" balls and roll in 2 tbsp of sugar.  Bake at 325° for 12 minutes or until dough starts to crinkle.  Remove from oven and place a mint in the center of each cookie.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sausage Potato Bake

Sunday breakfast is always a treat and full of flavor.  I'm not really an egg fan.  I'll eat them if someone makes them for me but they are not something I'll prepare myself.  I always see lots of recipes for different egg breakfast casseroles so I decided to make an non-egg one.  Also note that I chose to precook my hashbrowns because I like them to have a little crunch factor.  Another plus of this dish was that is came out of the casserole and kept it's shape.

Sausage Potato Bake

1 french baguette
1# breakfast sausage, cooked 
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
2 cups southern style hashbrowns, cooked
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Slice and cube the baguette.  You can lightly toast the cubes (recommended).  Place at the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 12 casserole dish.  Brown sausage.  When cooked, stir in flour until the sausage is coated.  Gradually stir in milk.  Let thicken and season to taste.  Spoon evenly over the baguette.  Top with hashbrowns and then the cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Baked Spaghetti

I finally got to make baked spaghetti.  I had made Baked Chicken Capellini a few months ago and loved it so I wanted to try it with ground beef also.  It turned out just as well.  One can never have too many comfort foods.

Baked Spaghetti

1 pound ground beef
1 tbsp Italian Seasonings
8 oz spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp parsley
1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
Parmesan cheese

Place cooked spaghetti at the bottom of a greased 6 x 10 baking dish or a round casserole.  Microwave cream cheese and milk for 30 seconds, stir and add parsley and then spread over the spaghetti.  Top with the ground beef mixed with pasta sauce.  Bake at 325° for 30 minutes.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Herb Spaetzle

After Mother Nature dumped 4" of unwelcome snow yesterday, she further showed her miserable sense of humor by plummeting the temperatures into negative single digits this morning and a high of 10 during the day.  The sunshine was welcome though.  The cat soaked it up on top of the sofa and I caught some of the rays through the kitchen window.  The weather (and empty spaces in the freezer) said it was time for a big pot of chicken soup and what better time to try making something new ~ spaetzle.  Did I mention there's more storm watches up for tomorrow?  

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Herb Spaetzle

Chicken Soup ~

4 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1/8 cup onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup peas
1 tsp oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Herb Spaetzle

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp parsley
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk

Gently saute seasoned chicken breasts in olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Add in onions and cook until translucent and then add in the garlic and cook for another minute before adding in chicken broth.  Add in carrots and simmer until tender.  Add in peas and oregano.  

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and spices.  Add in eggs and milk.  The easiest way to make the spaetzle is to hold a large slotted spoon (Oxo Good Grips make an excellent one for this) half full and work a rubber spatula back and forth while holding it approximately an inch over the soup.  Keep working the dough through the holes until it's all in the soup.  Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  I tried using a colander and it was messy.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Turkey & Brie Grilled Sandwich

It's garbage day.  So after a long work day, hauling garbage and recycling to the curb and trying to embed the containers in a snowbank that slightly resembles Mount Everest, it's time for an easy dinner.  Digging into my pantry and refrigerator resulted in this tasty sandwich.

Turkey & Brie Grilled Sandwich

2 slices of your favorite bread (in my case my favorite is the one on hand)
sliced turkey
2 oz brie, sliced to fit the bread
1 tbsp cranberry orange jam (recipe below)

Butter outsides of the slices of bread.  Place one butter side down and top with brie, turkey slices.  Place cranberry orange jam on the inside of the second slice of bread and place face down on turkey.  Butter the outside while in the pan.  Grill until a golden brown on both sides.  

Cranberry Orange Jam

2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup strawberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

Place cranberries in a food processor to break down into small bits.  Combine in medium saucepan with orange juice, strawberries, sugar, zest and liquid pectin and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Pour into clean canning jars and seal in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mexican Pie

I admit I've never tried my hand at making a pie crust.  I only eat pie crusts with savory filling and sweet ones normally get left on my plate.  I'm certain I could do it since I've made other crusts and they have turned out well, it's just a matter of time management.  This recipe uses two of my previous recipes ~ refried (healthy) beans in the crock pot and my salt-free taco seasoning mix.

Mexican Pie

1 baked pie crust (homemade or dough/frozen)
1 cup refried beans
1 # extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup onions, diced
2 tbsp taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sour Cream or any other of your favorite toppings

Place refried beans at the bottom of your baked pie crust.  Cook ground beef with onions, adding in the taco seasoning at the end.  When fully cooked, place beef on top of refried beans and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.  Top with your favorite toppings.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hazelnut Krispie Bars

I've always loved Rice Krispie bars as I was growing up.  They are a comfort food.  I think I made an adult version of them today when I added in chopped Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Hazelnut Krispie Bars

4 tbsp butter
5 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
12 Ferrero Rocher candy pieces (cut each into 8 pieces)
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate if you prefer)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add in marshmallows and stir until all have melted and you have a cream sauce.  Pour into a large bowl with the Rice Krispies with Ferrero Rocher candy pieces mixed in).  Stir will and press into a 9 x 12 greased pan.  In a small saucepan, melt the 12 oz of chocolate chips.  Spread over bars like icing and top with chopped hazelnuts.  Allow chocolate to harden before cutting and serving.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cornbread With Canadian Bacon

Another snowy day which made chili sound like a good choice for dinner.  I decided to make a corn bread to go with it and added in some Canadian bacon that I had in the refrigerator to make it a savory style bread but I still couldn't give up my drizzle of honey on top.

Cornbread With Canadian Bacon

1 cup corn meal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup Canadian bacon, diced

In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Add in wet ingredients and stir until it's completely combined ~ it will be lumpy.  Fold in Canadian bacon.  Place in a greased bread pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Peach Ricotta Cookies

Another winter storm...they just don't want to seem to end this year and let Spring begin.  This is a nice, light cookie with a hint of peach flavor.  If you are looking for the flavoring - I used Natural Peach Flavor from Bakto Flavors, LLC.  It's gluten free, no sugar added, GMO-free and no color added.  

Peach Ricotta Cookies

4 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup ricotta
1/2 tsp peach flavoring
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg, ricotta and flavorings.  Gradually mix in the remainder of dry ingredients.  Bake at 325° for 10 minutes.  Makes 40 cookies.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

It is true when you hear on a cooking program that a recipe needs a touch of lemon to brighten the flavors.  

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook green beans as you normally do.  Drain and while they are in the strainer, melt the butter in the saucepan you used for cooking.  Mix in garlic olive oil and lemon.  Place green beans back in the pan and toss to coat them evenly.  Season as you like with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Parmesan Pork Chops

Some days it's fun to play with your food and I got to use both sides of my meat tenderizer today.  

Parmesan Pork Chops

2 butterfly cut boneless pork chops
8 butter crackers, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the pork chops in half and then pound with the flat side of your tenderizer until 1/4" thin.  Use the spiked side to embed the seasonings and crackers, flip and do the same to the 2nd side.  Place in a hot skillet with extra virgin olive oil and cook until almost 145°.  Divide out grated Parmesan cheese on each of the pork chops and place in a 350° oven until melted and golden brown - about 5 minutes.  Be sure to test the temperature again to make sure it's at least 145°.