Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Apples and pork always go well together.  This is an apple cider glaze that you place on top of the chops after you fry, bake or grill them.  It will caramelize so you don't want the glaze to make contact with your cooking surface or else it might stick.

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

4 pork chops
salt & freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil 

Grill or bake your pork chops until fully cooked.  While they are cooking, mix together the following ~

1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground crushed red pepper

Cook to a simmer.  In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup cold water and 2 tsp cornstarch.  Whisk into cider mixture.  Cook until it thickens.  Brush onto cooked pork chops.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blackberry Lemon Bars

It's Spring or supposed to be.  It's kind of hard to tell when the wind is blowing at around 30 mph.  A good day for baking and crafting.  I took an old recipe and tweaked it.  I hadn't made jam bars in years but I have lots on jam on hand so I updated my old recipe into something new.  I used the lemon juice and zest to cut some of the sweetness of the jam.

Blackberry Lemon Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup blackberry jam
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Cream together butter and dark brown sugar in a medium sized bowl.   Add in cinnamon, baking soda and flour.  Mix until the flour is all incorporated.  Using a pastry blender mix in the oats.  Pat 2/3 of the mixture in a greased 8 x 8 baking pan.  Spread out jam mixture on  top, leave a space of 1/4" next to the edges so it doesn't bubble over and cause you problems when you try to remove the bars from the pan. Sprinkle the remaining dough on top of the jam evenly.  Bake for 35 minutes at 350°.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

Are you planning on feeding a group an Italian meal?  Maybe a lasagna, salad and some garlic bread.  This is perfect for that.  Pull apart breads are always fun.  Normally I use a round sour dough but I wanted to try using a French bread for this recipe.  It was soft on the inside and crusty on the out.  Perfect for any Italian meal.

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

1 French bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp parsley
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cross hatch cut the French bread in generous 1" slices.  Cut down, but not completely through to the bottom.  Stop about 1/4" before you hit bottom.  Place the bread on a large sheet of aluminum foil and draw up the sides around the bread.  In a small pan, melt the butter and stir in the garlic powder and parsley.  Pour evenly over the bread, trying to hit every square.  Cover the bread with another piece of aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 350°. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Italian Twice Baked Potatoes

These twice baked potatoes are a tasty side to a serving of ham, chicken or beef.  Creamy and cheesy, you could just make a meal of one of these on it's own.  I chose to bake mine in the oven without being wrapped in aluminum foil for a crispy exterior that makes it easier to scoop out the potato and refill.  I used an ice cream scoop to remove the center of the potato.

Italian Twice Baked Potatoes

 2 large Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup Fontina, grated
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
2 slices Prosciutto, cut into small ribbons
1/4 tsp sea salt (taste before adding to adjust the amount)
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Wash potatoes.  Poke holes into skin with a fork and bake under fork tender.  The length of baking time will depend on the size and type of the potatoes.    Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Cut the upper third of the potato off and scoop our the middle and put into a bowl.  With a fork, stir in the butter and cheese.  Add in seasonings and then the prosciutto.  Spoon mixture back into the shells and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Breakfast Fried Rice

Today was one of those mornings that I had the perfect collection of breakfast odds and ends to throw together to create a tasty start to the day.  And I had some leftover rice to complete the fried rice breakfast but I did omit the onions and garlic that I normally add to my fried rice dishes.

Breakfast Fried Rice

4 pieces bacon, cut into small slices, cooked and drained
1 apple sausage link, sliced into coins
4 oz breakfast sausage, crumbled and cooked
2 cups rice, preferably cooked the day before but 4 hours before works too
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup carrots, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup peas
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 and cook for a couple minutes.  Pour beaten egg on top and stir until cooked.  Add in meats, rice and sauces and mix together.  Serve when the meats and rice are heated.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Double Dark Chocolate Bread

I have an excess of buttermilk and have been finding different ways to use it.  What better way than with a decadent dark chocolate bread.  It's moist and you get an extra treat with dark chocolate chips mixed throughout and in every bite.  

Double Dark Chocolate Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 extra large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup double-dutch dark cocoa

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp flour

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs.  Mix in baking powder, soda and salt.  Alternate adding in some of the buttermilk and flour and cocoa.  In a small bowl, mix together the dark chocolate chips and 1 tsp flour.  This will coat them so they do not sink to the bottom of the bread.  Gently fold the chips into the batter.  Pour into a greased bread pan.  Bake for 70 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Turkey Cutlets & Sauce

I've long forgotten the turkey overload at the holidays and picked up some turkey cutlets from the grocery store.  I liked the sauce that I made last week so I tweaked it just a bit and served the cutlets with some orzo pasta and peas for a light dinner.

Turkey Cutlets & Sauce

1.3# of turkey cutlets (that was what was in the package I bought but any size will do), pounded 1/4" thick and cut into smaller serving size pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

Create a flour dredge with the above ingredients.  Heat a large frying pan with 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and dredge the breast pieces before placing in the pan.  Lightly brown on both sides and place in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and cover with aluminum foil while finishing cooking the remaining pieces.  Heat your oven to 350° and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the turkey is 165°.  

In the pan you used to brown the cutlets, add in the following ~

1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk

Heat and allow to reduce until it's cut in half.  Stir in 2 tbsp lemon juice and serve over the turkey cutlets.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cinnamon Pear Chips

Healthy snacks that taste good are always a welcome idea in my home.  The last one I had was dark chocolate raisins...well it's fruit and dark chocolate is good for you, rigth?  Today I made some pear chips with my dehydrator so that gets used more than once or twice a year.  It seems no matter what time of year, pears are always hard as a rock in the grocery store. For these treats, that is a good thing.  I just sprinkled them with a little cinnamon sugar mix that I keep on hand in a salt shaker that I've somehow amassed a collection of salt & pepper shakers through holiday gift giving.  

Cinnamon Pear Chips

2 Bosc pears, I used the mandoline and cut slices at 3/16"

My cinnamon sugar mixture ~

3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle each slice lightly.  Place on the racks of your dehydrator, do not crowd.  Run the dehydrator for 8 hours until the edges start to turn up on the pears. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Prosciutto & Grape Pizza

You know how sometimes you get a craving for a unique combination.  Well this happened to me on Monday night and I went with it.  I won't hesitate to make this again but only when red grapes are back.  The black grapes I bought had no sweetness to them at all and ended up as squirrel and bunny food. 

Prosciutto & Grape Pizza

Dough ~

1 tsp quick rising dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water

Mix together and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

 In a medium bowl,  combine 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp sea salt.  Slowly mix in water.  Mix together (using your hands works best) until it forms a ball.  Knead for a couple minutes on a lightly floured surface and return to the bowl and rub 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil on top.  Cover with a towel and let rest for about 45 minutes.

Spread out dough on a greased pizza pan.  Top with slices of Fontina cheese (I used about 12 oz).  Top with small pieces  (4 slices cut up) of sliced Prosciutto and 1/2 cup of sliced grapes.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp oregano on top.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lemon Cake

My mother loves all things lemon and since her birthday is coming up soon, I decided it was time to make a cake that she would enjoy.  This cake is light and has a nice lemony glaze to complete it. 

Lemon Cake

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 extra large eggs
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 of the lemon
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups cake flour


1 cup powdered sugar
juice from 2nd half of lemon

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, zest, lemon juice and buttermilk.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Grease and flour your bundt pan.  Scoop in the batter and evenly distribute in the pan.  Bake for 1 hour at 350°.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Ease a knife along the edges and center core to help loosen the cake.  Invert on a plate and allow to finish cooling before adding the glaze.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice until it's smooth and will gently slide down the side of the cake.  Form a circle of glaze at the top and let gravity take it down the sides.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Saltimbocca Chicken

If it's a new way to try chicken, sign me up.  This recipe is a keeper.  A light, tasty sauce and flavorful chicken breasts which you can serve with potatoes or rice.

Saltimbocca Chicken

2 chicken breasts, butterfly cut
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sage leaves, chiffonade cut into ribbons
2 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat the olive oil in large frying pan.  I cut my chicken breasts in half after butterfly cutting them and pounding them to an even thickness.  Season the breasts with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the ribbons on sage over the breasts and then top with a slice of prosciutto (it will stick).  Dredge lightly in the flour and then place in the hot frying pan.  Cook until lightly brown on the first side and then flip.  Cook until 160°, remove from the pan and place on a serving plate.  Cover with aluminum foil so it finishes cooking. 


In the pan, place ~

1/4 cup white wine
1  cup chicken broth

Simmer until it reduces in half.  Stir in 1 tbsp of butter and serve over the chicken breasts.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Honey Wheat Biscuits

Good morning and happy time change!  For me it was a complete fail.  I tried going to bed early and getting up early and I did not do well with either.  I'm a true believer that Arizona has the right idea with ignoring the time changes.  As a treat for losing an hour, I wanted to make a good breakfast and decided to try making wheat biscuits in my food processor.  It worked.  I did kind of cheat making sausage and gravy.  I used half a package of sausage crumbles and stirred in 1 tsp of flour and some milk instead of starting from scratch. 

Honey Wheat Biscuits

In your food processor, add in ~

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp honey
6 tbsp cold butter

 Pulse in the food processor until butter is incorporated.  

Pour in ~

1 cup buttermilk.  Pulse just until the dough comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat out dough until it's 1" thick and cut into rounds.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 450°.  Pull the biscuits from the oven and brush with buttermilk.  Return to the oven for another minute.

Makes 12 biscuits.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ricotta Gnudi & Pomodoro Sauce

Light, tender dumplings that are amazingly easy to make.  This was my first time making them and I used a two spoon technique that I had only seen done on a cooking show.  This is not the last time I'll make these.  They are that good.  The sauce I made was also simple.  I pretty much left it on it's own and it thickened to a great consistency that went well with the gnudi. 

Ricotta Gnudi

15 oz ricotta, I used whole
1 extra large egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Sprinkle some flour on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Using 2 large soup spoons, mold the gnudi into football shapes and place on the baking sheet.  Cook in salted boiling water for 7-8 minutes.  The gnudi will sink at first and then rise.  Continue cooking for the entire time.  When done, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan.  Spoon some sauce on the gnudi and then sprinkle some Parmesan on top.

Pomodoro Sauce

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Allow to cook for a half hour over a medium low heat.  Run an immersion blender stick in so you have a smooth sauce.  Continue cooking over a low heat until it thickens.  This recipe makes extra so you can freeze it for next time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Peach Bars

I was torn on how to label this peach dessert.  The texture is almost like a cake but you can cut and serve it like a bar.  I recommend serving it warm with a dollop of whipped cream.  I used frozen peach slices.  I allowed them to thaw and then opened the package and added the corn starch right in the bag so I did not have to dirty another dish.

Peach Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour

Combine together ~
1 10 oz package frozen peach slices, thawed
1 tbsp. corn starch

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Add in baking powder, salt.  Alternate adding the flour and milk in 1/2 cup portions.  Fold in the oats.  Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan.  Place 3/4 of the batter in the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly.  Top with peach slices.  Dot the remaining batter on top of the peaches.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Crepes

The sun shown brightly yesterday and you could tell by the brightness that Spring is indeed returning.  The wind made it chilly but that didn't matter to my cat who returned to his favorite sleeping spot on top of the couch, in the sunshine, after hibernating next to the heating register for that last 3 months.  It was a nice day to relax with crafting and making a somewhat labor intensive meal.  It was worth it.  Plus I made it with a lot of veggies, so it had to be healthy, right?

Chicken Pot Pie Crepes 

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the chicken pot pie made

1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.

Chicken Pot Pie Mixture ~

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup peas
1 tbsp celery flakes
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and allow it to cook for a minute before gradually stirring in the chicken stock and milk.  Allow to heat and thicken for about 10 minutes before adding in the vegetables and shredded chicken.  Continue cooking until it completes thickening.  If it gets too thick, add in some more milk.

Heat a 10" non-stick frying pan.  I sprayed a coating of cooking spray as it was heating.  Add in 1/4 cup of crepe mixture and tilt the pan until the batter is evenly spread.  Cook of medium heat until the edges start to turn brown.  Use a spatula to gently flip the crepe over.  Cook for another minute or two until the 2nd side is done.  Place on a plate.  Insert a piece of wax paper between all the crepes so they do not stick.

Place a crepe on a plate.  Place some chicken pot pie mixture down the middle and fold up the sides over it, burrito style.