Sunday, February 28, 2016

Parmesan Potato Cakes

These are a wonderful way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.  Just throw a few extra potatoes in to boil the night before and you'll be able to make these gems.  The best part is that you can make them of any meal of the day.  A savory breakfast or as a side to lunch or dinner.

Parmesan Potato Cakes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 large egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley

Mix together completely.  Form into same size patties - I used a meatball sized scoop.  Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.  Place patties in the heated pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Italian Meatball Stew

Spurts of winter.   Some days it seems like Spring is here and the snow is melting and then other days the wind and snow returns.   It’s nice to have the breaks but I made this stew on one of those wintry days and used my oven for a bit and to bake the meatballs and a loaf of homemade bread to go with it.

Italian Meatball Stew

Meatballs ~
1# ground beef (I used extra lean)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tbsp parsley
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Mix everything together, roll into balls and bake for 25 minutes at 350°.
In a large soup kettle, heat up 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  When heated, add in 2 cloves of minced garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Add in these ingredients ~

1 – 28 oz can tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 – 19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf

Start cooking over medium heat and add in the meatballs when they are ready.  Continue cooking until the carrots are tender and then add in 1 cup of Ditalini pasta.  Cook until al dente and add in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dark Chocolate Crepes

Are you a dark chocolate fan?  I am.  Well, in truth a chocolate fan in general.  As winter is determined to linger on, weekend breakfasts are turning more decadent.  These are easy to make and a great way to pamper your family and yourself.

Dark Chocolate Crepes

1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
1/2 cup Perrier

2 tbsp Double Dutch Dark Chocolate Cocoa
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit for a half hour.

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 whipped cream and strawberries down the middle and fold up the sides over it, burrito style.

Makes 8 crepes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pear Butter Bread

It's always nice to have a quick bread on hand to serve guests, snacking on or for gift giving.  I had given away some of the pear butter I made a couple weeks ago and made this from one of the jars that I canned.  Here's the link to the pear butter - Pear Butter  

Pear Butter Bread

3/4 cup pear butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

Beat together and gradually add in the following ~

1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 2/3 cups flour

Put in a greased loaf  pan. Bake for 70 minutes at 350°.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Orange Ricotta Muffins

Craving sunshine at this time of year is nothing new to me.  The upper midwest can give you lots of snow, bitter cold or both.  I had some oranges in my refrigerator that needed a home along with some ricotta that I had intended to use for stuffed shells but never got around to it and used the other ingredients for a pizza.  These muffins are very moist and give you a nice hint of orange in both the muffin and the glaze.

Orange Ricotta Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ricotta
1 large egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Mix in the ricotta and egg.  Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and the orange juice.  Fill the baking cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Peach Prosecco Syrup

Happy Valentine's day ~  It's a little late for you to make this today but there's always next weekend.  Plus you can make some Peach Bellini's to serve with the pancakes or waffles.

Peach Prosecco Syrup

16 oz frozen peach slices
1 cup Prosecco
1/2 cup peach nectar
1/4 cup sugar

Place everything in a large saucepan and turn to medium heat until it starts to simmer.  In a small dish (or your measuring cup) mix together 1/4 cup peach nectar and 1 tbsp cornstarch.  Stir into the peaches and cook until it thickens.  Mix in 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

I made ricotta pancakes to use the syrup on.

Ricotta Pancakes

In a medium bowl, melt 1 tbsp butter in the microwave and cool.

Add in ~

2 large egg yolks (beat the whites in a separate bowl to add in later)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup milk

Mix together and then add in ~

1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Fold in the egg whites.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  Heat your griddle.  Melt a little butter on it before starting your pancakes.  When the pancakes are bubbling and turning golden on the first side, flip carefully and cook the second side.

Makes 6 pancakes

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Custard Rice Pudding

This is one of my favorite comfort food desserts.  It's creamy plus the hint of cinnamon and nutmeg that enhance each bite. I make extra custard this time.

Custard Rice Pudding

3 large, room temperature eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk, scalded (heated to 180°)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup raisins ~ I used golden raisins 
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash cinnamon

In a large greased casserole, combine eggs, sugar and salt.  Gradually add in scalded milk (tempering).  Stir in rice and raisins.  Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  Set the casserole in a large pan and pour in hot water until it's 1" deep.  Bake at 350° for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pear Butter

The aroma of pears and cinnamon will spread throughout your home chasing away the winter blues with this pear butter.  I chose to use the crock pot but you can make it on the stove top.  

Pear Butter

8 Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Place the pear chunks and lemon juice in your crock pot or large saucepan.  The pears will release juice as you cook so there is no need to add in additional liquid.  Turn the heat to medium and cook the pears until they are soft.  Use an immersion blender or run the pears through a food mill and return to the crock pot/saucepan.  Add in the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Cook until it thickens.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Three Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

If you're looking for a delicious side that you can serve with any meat selection, these potatoes will work out wonderfully.  Or you can just make them as the  meal since they are quite a big portion.  You can make them in advance and reheat too.

Three Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

 2 large Russet Potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup Fontina, grated
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
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 of the potatoes.  Check after an hour.  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 cheeses.  Add in seasonings.  Spoon mixture back into the shells and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 350°.