Monday, December 29, 2014

Bacon & Cheddar Meatloaf

I was trying to think of something new to make with a pound of extra lean ground beef that I had.  I had already made a bbq meatloaf but I wanted to change it up a little.  Bacon was the answer, and there's very few times that it isn't.  




Bacon & Cheddar Meatloaf

1 # extra lean ground beef
2 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 large egg

1 cup Mild Cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup onions, diced
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup barbeque sauce


In a medium bowl, add in all of the ingredients.  My method for combining is getting both hands in and mixing until it's all combined evenly.  Shape and place in a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and pan.  Cover and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Italian Sausage Bites

Ever buy ingredients for Christmas baking and run out of time before you get them made?  That's what happened to me this year and I had 3 packages of Puff Pastry in my freezer that I needed to start using.  Perfect timing to make a hot snack for the Vikings & Bears game today.  Besides the Puff Pastry, I had a package of mild Italian Sausage in my freezer that was already cooked and drained to make this an easy game day treat.






Italian Sausage Bites

1 package Puff Pastry, thawed for 45 minutes
1 # mild Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cut each piece of Puff Pastry into 3 equal strips.  Line your Italian sausage and cheese down the middle of each piece.


Gather the edges together starting at the middle and pinch firmly to close.  


Cut each roll into 8 equal pieces.  Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  

Melt together ~

1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Brush the tops of each Italian Sausage bite.  Place in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese on top and return to oven for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Creamy Cannellini Chicken Soup

There's still only a dusting of snow on the ground but the mercury is taking a dive into winter mode.  I made a half-hearted attempt at cleaning my pantry today since my New Year's resolution is going to be more organized.  Actually have my home organized like my top of my work desk is.  Back to my pantry...I found 2 opened boxes of Orzo so that needed to be remedied and I love cannellini beans.  Since I had some chicken breasts in the refrigerator, I combined them into a delicious soup.





Creamy Cannellini Chicken Soup

1# chicken breasts, cut into small bite-size pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 - 19 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup Orzo 
3/4 cup milk
2 dashes hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat up olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or soup kettle.  Add in chicken pieces and lightly cook.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for a minute.  Stir in cannellini beans and carrots with chicken stock in the dutch oven.  Sprinkle in parsley, stir and cook partially covered until carrots are tender.  Stir in Orzo pasta and milk. Cook until the pasta is tender.  Taste and season accordingly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.  Thank you for reading my blog and trying out my recipes and/or craft projects.  

I'll be back soon with more recipes and crafts ~

Michele

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

As Christmas preparations wind down (or maybe speed up in a frenzy), here is an easy to make candy for gift giving or to have on your Christmas buffet ~






Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Bottom layer ~ line a 8 x 8 baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil and melt together ~

1 - 4 oz Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar
1 - 4 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate bar 60% Cacao

When melted, stir in 1 tsp peppermint extract and pour into the bottom of the lined baking pan.  Chill to harden.

When chilled melt ~

2 - 4 oz Ghirardelli White Chocolate bars

When completely melted, stir in 1/2 tsp canola oil and spead over chilled chocolate in the pan.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup crushed candy canes on top and chill.  When cool, cut into small bite-size pieces.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chocolate Pizzelles

It's the weekend before Christmas and I'm finishing up my baking and adding the finishing touches to gifts.  These are one of things on my making list and they turned out delicious but I'll admit I did have some problems making perfectly round cookies.  I'm thinking about making Nutella sandwiches with them so odds are the slight imperfections will not be noticed.





Chocolate Pizzelles

3 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz chocolate, melted and slightly cooled ~ I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate
3/4 sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour

Cream together eggs, oil, vanilla, cooled chocolate and sugar.  Add in flour and baking powder.  Make pizzelles per your manufacturer's instructions.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Turkey Broth

The thermometer said 16 but the wind chill was much colder and my car needed gas.  My way to warm up after that was to heat a cup of turkey broth that I had made on the weekend (and froze a bunch for later use) with a couple of dashes of Frank's Hot Sauce in it.  There's been a lot of new studies conducted on the benefits of bone broths to your joints and other areas.  I grew up with my mom making pots of beef broth and it was time I started making some of my own.  I use it all the time for recipes but forgot how comforting having a cup or bowl was. It was the perfect time to make it because my work had given away turkeys for Thanksgiving.  I'm not a dark meat fan so it took a couple minutes to break down the turkey and the breast was heading to the oven later on in the day.  It was a 13 pound bird so it made lots of broth.





Turkey Broth

Approximately 6.5" turkey dark meat, including legs
9 gallons water
1 onion, skin removed and cut in quarters
4 carrots, rough chopped
2 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1 head of garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
1 - 15 oz can tomatoes, drained


Bring the turkey and water to almost a boil.  Skim off the foam and add in the remaining ingredients.  Turn down the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 hours at least.  Strain the broth through a fine sieve.  Refrigerate and skim off any fat.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hamburger Wild Rice Hotdish

Another foggy day but considering it could be below 0 temperatures, 46 degrees is looking pretty good even with the fog.  I happened to have a package of white & wild rice on my kitchen counter and a pound of ground beef in the refrigerator so I decided to make a Minnesota comfort food staple ~ hotdish (or a casserole for everyone not from the upper plains area).  





Hamburger Wild Rice Hotdish

2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 cup wild & long grain rice
1 pound ground beef, seasoned and cooked
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup carrots, diced1 tbsp celery flakes
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth and butter to a boil.  Add in the rice, stir, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a half hour or until the water/broth has been absorbed.  Stir in the milk and sour cream.  Mix in the remainder of the ingredients and placed in a greased casserole.  Bake for a half hour at 350°.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Italian Cheese Ball

It's a football weekend here in the valley.  Congratulations Bison on your win today.  What better snack to watch football or any other sporting event with than a cheese ball?  Today's was a combination of 3 Italian cheeses.









Italian Cheese Ball

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano

1 tbsp parsley
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup cashews, chopped

Mix together softened cream cheese, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Add in the garlic and spices. Shape into a ball shape in bowl and cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and roll in chopped
cashews.


Return to refrigerator. Remove 15 minutes before
serving.  Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dark Chocolate Pudding Cake

Growing up, hot fudge pudding cake was always a treat.  The crunchy cake top with the warm, thick pudding below topped with melting ice cream.  Decadent, sure but so worth it as occasional winter dessert.  I tweaked my family recipe slightly.




Dark Chocolate Pudding Cake

Bottom layer ~

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark cocoa (I used King Arthur Flour Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp canola oil

Mix together in a bowl and spread into a greased 9 x 9 pan.

Top with ~

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa

Combine in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Pour 1 3/4 cup of hot water on top.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mac and Italian Cheese

My refrigerator is always well stocked with cheese.  Lately there's been an abundance of Italian cheese and what better way to use them than with a comforting mac and cheese.  Extra creamy thanks to the Mascarpone and Fontina with a touch of saltiness from the Parmesan.





Mac and Italian Cheese

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour

1 small garlic clove, grated
2 cups milk
2 cups Cavatappi, or your favorite pasta
4 oz Mascarpone, room temperature
8 oz Fontina, grated

1/3 cup Parmesan, grated

1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt 4 tbsp butter and stir in flour.  Allow to cook for a minute before adding in the grated garlic.  Cook for another minute.  Gradually add in milk, stirring constantly.  When thickened, remove from heat and add in cheeses.

In a casserole, put cooked Cavatappi and cheese sauce.
In a small pan, melt 1 tbsp butter.  Add in Panko bread crumbs and spices.  Top macaroni mixture.

Servings: 8

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Italian Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Occasionally even mashed potatoes need an update and what better than with some creamy Mascarpone cheese and a touch of salty Parmesan cheese blended together.  






Italian Cheese Mashed Potatoes

2# potatoes (I used russet), peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes with salt in a large saucepan until fork tender.  Drain and mash with the butter and cheese.  Add parsley and season to taste.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken & Parmesan Dumplings

Crock pot meals usually equal comfort food and this one covers all the bases with creamy chicken, vegetables and tender dumplings.  





Crock Pot Chicken & Parmesan Dumplings

1# chicken tenders
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Place chicken tenders at the bottom of your crock pot.  Season with salt and pepper and then add the chicken broth to the pot.  Cover and heat over medium heat for 4 hours.  Fork shred chicken and add in the carrots to cook.   After 1 hour add in the peas and milk.  Cook for an additional half hour.  In a small plastic container that has a cover, shake together 1/4 cup milk and 2 tbsp flour.  Stir into chicken mixture and allow to heat up.  After it's thickened, turn up the heat and drop in the Parmesan dumplings (recipe below).  Cover and cook for 12 minutes before gently turning over and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Parmesan Dumplings

In a small bowl, mix together

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
2 tsp canola oil


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sausage & Cheese Muffins

Sundays are always a good day for something warm and filling to start off your day.  I like to make these muffins.  Normally I use hot Italian sausage and cheddar but I mixed it up and used mild Italian sausage with creamy Fontina cheese.





Sausage & Cheese Muffins

1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, browned and excess fat drained off
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg slightly beaten
3/4 cup Fontina cheese shredded

Mix together dry ingredients.  Gradually add in milk, butter and egg.  Add in cooled Italian sausage and cheese.  Grease standard or large muffin pans and fill each cup 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 350°.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from cups.

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkey & Brie Poutine

Also known as Thanksgiving poutine because it's a great way to use your leftovers and this is the last of mine.






Turkey & Brie Poutine

Fries ~

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a small bowl.  Mix spices in a separate small bowl.  Drizzle olive oil over potatoes.  Toss in spices and make sure the fries are evenly coated.  
Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Gravy ~ I used my leftover gravy from Thanksgiving

1 cup turkey breast, cut into small pieces
3 oz brie

Place baked french fries at the bottom of an oven ready pan. Top with turkey and brie.  Return to oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with 1/4 cup turkey gravy.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp parsley on top and serve.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkey Fried Rice

Besides Black Friday, it's the national day of what to do with those Thanksgiving leftovers.  I decided to make some fried rice which is pretty much a delicious opposite of what I had yesterday.  





Turkey Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups turkey, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups rice, preferably cooked the day before but 4 hours before works too
1 large egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup carrots, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Chili garlic sauce

In a large frying pan or wok,  put in carrots and olive oil and cook until tender.  Add in peas, onions and garlic and cook for a couple minutes.  Pour beaten egg on top and stir until cooked.  Add in turkey, rice and sauces and mix together.  Serve when the turkey and rice are heated.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving ~

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with good food shared by family and friends ~

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Peach Salsa Chicken

Usually the night before Thanksgiving is a night to start preparations for the next day and you need an easy dinner to make.  This chicken is so easy to make that you can still work on cranberries or a salad as you make it.  It has lots of flavor and the chicken is moist...perfect combo.






Peach Salsa Chicken

2-4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of your favorite peach salsa

Brown the chicken breasts in extra virgin olive oil.  Season with freshly ground pepper and salt (the amount depends on how salty your favorite salsa is).

Place in a baking dish and cover with one cup of salsa.  Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cranberry Chambord Ice Cream

Everyone needs a holiday ice cream and what better for Thanksgiving than a cranberry ice cream.  I added the Chambord for fun but you can leave it out if you are serving children or someone that prefers not to have alcohol.  





Cranberry Chambord Ice Cream

12 oz fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water

Rinse and sort the cranberries and then place in a large saucepan with the water.  Cook over medium heat until the berries pop...approximately 15 minutes.

Allow to cool before running through a food mill and returning to the saucepan.

Add in with cranberry sauce ~

1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup milk

Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, cool and place in the refrigerator for a couple hours.  When chilled, add in 2 tbsp Chambord (optional) and place in ice cream maker and run per manufacturer's directions.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Bread

I managed to escape making pumpkin anything so far this fall.  The marketplace seems to be filled with pumpkin spice coffees, teas, everything.  I went back to my roots and made this simple but moist bread.





Pumpkin Bread

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins

Cream together shortening and sugar.  Add in pumpkin and eggs.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Fold in raisins.  Place in a greased bread pan.  Bake for 1 hour at 375°.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Orange Ricotta Waffles

I opted for waffles instead of pancakes to use with my cranberry syrup.  Maybe I just like the way the syrup pools in the little pockets or it could be that I didn't feel like my pancake flipping technique wasn't going to make pretty cakes this morning.  It turned out delicious so that's what matters, right?






Orange Ricotta Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange zest
2 large eggs, separated
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup ricotta
3/4 cup milk

Sift all dry ingredients and zest into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  Gradually mix milk, egg yolks, butter, ricotta, orange juice into dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the egg whites.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 6 waffles

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cranberry Pear Sauce

I started playing with recipes for Thanksgiving a little early for some of the sides this year and as you might have noticed, cranberries has been the star of quite a few now.   I've mixed cranberries with applies before and orange juice so I wanted to try something a little bit different and decided on pears.  The mellow flavor of the pears works well with the slight tartness of the cranberries.







Cranberry Pear Sauce

12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup cranberry juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup pears, diced


Put cranberries, juice, sugars and salt in a medium saucepan.  Set at a medium heat and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally and wait until the berries pop, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the pears.  Gently pour into your serving dish and allow to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cranberry Syrup

I do enjoy cranberries in all forms.  I was tempted to use fresh cranberries to make this syrup but opted for a more traditional clear syrup this time for pancakes and waffles.  This is a wonderful start for your holiday breakfast plans.  I'm going to make orange ricotta pancakes to go with mine but a nice cinnamon pancake or waffle will also be pretty tasty.







Cranberry Syrup

2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of the cranberry juice.  Add to the remainder of the juice, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large saucepan.  Thicken over a low heat, stirring frequently.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cranberry Ketchup

It's cranberry season and I've stocked up for the coming months.  Has anyone else noticed that the berries seem smaller this year?  I decided my first cranberry recipe would be a ketchup.  I really enjoyed the blackberry ketchup that I made this summer and wanted to try it with these tart, little berries.







Cranberry Ketchup

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries, rinsed and sorted
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup onions, minced1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp honey1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ancho chili pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix the cranberries, onions, vinegar and water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until the berries pop.  Remove berries from pan and run through a food mill.  Return strained mixture to the pan, add spices, dark brown sugar and honey and simmer until it thickens to a consistency that you like.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Italian Cheese Flatbread

I wanted something to go along with my Tuscan Chicken & Corn chowder.  I decided to stay with the Italian flavors and make a flatbread.  It takes over a little over an hour and a half to make this so I started the yeast as I was starting my soup.  I added ground red pepper flakes to the bread but if you don't like heat, they can easily be left off.  





Italian Cheese Flatbread

1 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar

Mix together in a large glass measuring cup or glass bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.  

In a large bowl, combine the following ~

2 cups bread flour
1 tsp sea salt

After the 10 minutes, stir in the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp garlic olive oil in the flour with a wooden spoon.  Mix until the flour is all incorporated and the dough naturally forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.  Cover and let sit for a half hour or until the dough has doubled.  

Knead on a floured surface (it may take up to another 1/4 cup of bread flour) for 5 minutes.  Roll out the dough to the size of your greased baking sheet.  Lay down on the sheet and top with the following ~

1/4 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground crushed red pepper flakes

Bake at 350° for 22 minutes.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Tuscan Chicken & Corn Chowder

It's been on the chilly side outside and unfortunately snow has made a reappearance.  Time to make soup to help keep you warm inside and out.  I had some frozen corn and carrots from summer that worked great for this soup and dried herbs to add an Italian taste.





Tuscan Chicken & Corn Chowder

1# chicken breasts, cubed into bite size pieces
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups sweet corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf 
2 dashes hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in the bottom of your soup kettle or dutch oven.  Add in cubed chicken and cook until it's no longer pink, stir often.  Once cooked, add in chicken brother, carrots, corn and herbs and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.  Add in milk and hot sauce and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add in the salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste.  Allow to cook for another 15 minutes before serving.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Apple Butter Meatballs .

It's already time to use some of that fresh apple butter that I made and what better way to use them but for snacks for watching football and hockey.  And the sauce is so delicious that I'm going to make some ribs with the same simple recipe.





Apple Butter Meatballs

1# extra lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp parsley
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Hand mix until all the ingredients are combined.  Form into 1 1/2" meatballs.  Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes at 350°.  Place in a crock pot or large saucepan that has the following combined in ~

1/2 cup apple butter
1/2 cup bbq sauce ~ I used Minnesota Lakes BBQ Sauce

Stir to coat the meatballs and allow to cook for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dr Pepper Roast Beef

Don't worry...that roast that you just spent a small fortune on will not taste like Dr Pepper but it will be moist and tender.  Plus all you do is put all the ingredients in your crock pot early in the day, turn it once halfway through and it's done.



Dr Pepper Roast Beef

1 - roast beef - I used a 2 1/2# Eye of Round Choice Roast
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Dr Pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the beef broth and Dr Pepper in your crock pot.  Add in roast and season.  Cook for 4 hours at a medium low heat.  Turn the roast and continue cooking for an additional 4 hours.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple Butter

It's that time of the year again.  Actually it's a little late but the apples are still good so it was time to get some apple butter made for the winter.  I made it in the crock pot so the apples cooked down overnight and were ready to go first thing in the morning.



Apple Butter

3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Put sliced apples into a crockpot with water and lemon juice.  Cook until apples are tender. Puree apples in a food mill or I took an easy way and used an immersion blender.

Add sugar and bring to a low boil.  Add spices and stir well.

Put into clean, dry jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Put into boiling water bath for 12 minutes.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Buttermilk Chicken

There's a lot of ways to make buttermilk chicken and I've made quite a few and will continue doing so because it always is the most moist and flavorful chicken.  Today I used bread crumbs instead of the typical flour breading and it turned out great.  I marinaded these for 8 hours but it works leaving them overnight in the refrigerator too.





Buttermilk Chicken

3-4 bone-in chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place the chicken breasts, buttermilk and lemon juice in a gallon size plastic bag that seals and place in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours.


1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Place all these ingredients in another gallon plastic bag or empty bread bag works too.  Close the opening and shake so they are all mixed together.  Add in chicken breasts, one at a time, and shake.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Dip

A wicked strong wind in the valley and a neighborly state football game is a good time to stay indoors and watch tv with a fun snack.  Today's snack is a tasty combination of marshmallows, honey & cinnamon to dip sweet potato fries in.  The fries today are plain but you can easily spice them up with a little cumin, paprika and garlic powder.  The dip only takes a few minutes to create so you have plenty of time while the fries are baking.






Sweet Potato Marshmallow Dip

3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Stir frequently over a low heat until the marshmallows melt and the dip is warm.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Romano Noodles

There's a first time for everything and mine was grating garlic.  I've crushed it, minced it, baked it...but I had never grated it with the same cheese grater that I used with the Romano cheese.  It's a fast way to get the garlic into small pieces perfect for sauces.  




Romano Noodles

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp parsley
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, grated
3/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup pasta water

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large saucepan.  Add in garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley and Romano cheese.  Cook 8 oz of pasta.  I used linguine.  When it's cooked al dente, remove 1/2 cup of the water for the sauce and drain the remainder.  Stir the sauce and add in the pasta.  Toss until coated and turn into a large serving bowl.  Top with a tablespoon or two of additional grated Romano cheese.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Parmesan Meatballs

Some freshly grated Parmesan adds a little cheese flavor and a bit of saltiness to these easy to make meatballs.  A dash of crushed red pepper flakes adds a little heat.  





Parmesan Meatballs

1# extra lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp parsley
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Hand mix until all the ingredients are combined.  Form into 1 1/2" meatballs.  Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes at 350°.