Sunday, October 30, 2016

Brown Butter Orzo & Parmesan Chicken

A delicious meal that is quick to fix on a busy work night.  All you need to add is a vegetable side and it’s complete.  The orzo takes on the rich, nutty flavor of the brown butter to make it so much tastier than just plain pasta.

Brown Butter Orzo & Parmesan Chicken

Heat in a large saucepan –
2 cups chicken stock
In a large frying pan –
Heat 2 tbsp butter, melt and let it heat until it turns a light brown color.  Add in 1 cup Orzo and cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in ¼ cup white wine and cook until it is absorbed and then add the orzo to the heated chicken stock.  Cook until all the stock is absorbed into the Orzo.  Stir in 2 tbsp parsley and 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Chicken Tenders
14 oz chicken tenders
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp  Parmesan cheese
Mix all the flour, spices and Parmesan together in a bowl for a dredge for the tenders.  Cook in a large frying pan with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  

Friday, October 28, 2016


My neighbor introduced me to Naan when I was home sick with a bad cold and she brought some over with a large pot of chicken soup (best neighbor in the world!)  I was making some soup to freeze to have on hand for days that you just don't want to cook after a long day at work or if you're not feeling well, and decided it was a good time to try making Naan myself.


1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp honey

Combine in the bottom of your mixer (with the dough hook) and let sit for 10 minutes.  Mix in the following ~
3 tbsp milk
1 large egg
2 tsp salt 
3 1/2 cups bread flour

Blend until it forms a ball.  Remove from bowl and add in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil into the bowl.  Return the ball of dough and turn so all sides are oiled.  Cover the bowl and let sit until the dough has doubled in size.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Form into balls.  Roll out into circles with the dough 1/4" thick.  Place on a heated (and sprayed with cooking oil) cast iron frying pan.  Cook until a golden brown on one side and then flip and cook on the other.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Tostadas

This is a perfect game day lunch or serve it with scoop chips for a warm snack.  It's a great way to sneak vegetables in to those are are a little fussy about eating them.  

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Tostadas

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade recipe below)
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 - 14.5 can petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp mild green chilies

Place all the chicken breasts in our crock pot.  Place all the other ingredients on top and stir.  Cook over medium over 4 hours.  Remove the chicken and fork shred.  Return the chicken.  Place on top and tostadas and sprinkle some Mexican cheese mix on top.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin Crepes

These crepes can be served for a Fall breakfast or as a dessert.  They are not overly sweet but you get a mild hint of pumpkin flavor in every bite.

Pumpkin Crepes
1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier

3 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
1 dash salt
½ cup whipping cream, whipped to firm peaks
8 oz mascarpone, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

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.

In a small bowl, whip the cream.  Add in the mascarpone, brown sugar and cinnamon and whip until blended.

Place a crepe on a plate.  Place some whipped cream/pumpkin mixture and fold up the sides over it, burrito style.

Makes 8 crepes.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pumpkin Scones

Fall means pumpkin everything.  I’m not a coffee drinker so I can bypass the creamer commercials.  This is the first of a couple ways that I’m enjoying using pumpkin early in the morning. 

Pumpkin Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp milk
1 large egg


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

1 dash cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter or fingers, cut in the butter until the dough turns into course crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together milk, pumpkin puree and the egg.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined. Turn out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a circle that is approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 slices and put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are spread out since the scores will spread slightly.  Brush 2 tbsp whipping cream on top of the scones.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then spoon glaze over the scones.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dinner Buns

When you make a big pot of soup it’s nice to have some fresh baked buns out of the oven to go along with it.  The smell of fresh baked bread is welcome any time of the year, especially in the Fall and Winter seasons.

Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm milk
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp instant active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large eggs
2 ¾ cups bread flour

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter (until melted).  Stir in the sugar and yeast.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  In your mixer, gently mix the egg and salt with the dough hook.  Blend in the milk mixture.  Gradually add in the flour until it forms a ball.  Remove from machine and cover the bowl for one hour.  Divide out the dough and roll into 12 balls.  Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Allow to rise.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Spread 1 tbsp of softened butter on top of the hot buns.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Italian Mac & Cheese Soup

Cooler temperatures bring the need for comforting soups, stews & chili.  I saw mac & cheese soup recipes popping up and thought I'd like to try it but using some of my favorite Italian cheeses.  I added in a shredded carrot just to add a vegetable in there and it adds a lovely color.

Italian Mac & Cheese Soup

1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups organic chicken stock
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 cups milk
8 oz Italian 5 cheese mix
4 oz Fontina cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cooked pancetta for topping

Melt 3 tbsp butter and stir in flour.  Gradually add in chicken stock, stirring frequently.  Add in the shredded carrot and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and milk.  Stir until completely melted.  Add in garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Monster Cookies

Soft cookies filled with peanut butter, M&M's and chocolate chips are a great snack for school, football watching or just snacking while they are still warm from the oven.  I used the Fall M&M's to give some as a neighbor gift but these are wonderful all year long

Fall Monster Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup M&M's

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  Add in egg and vanilla.  Gradually add in the flour and baking soda.  Fold in the oats, chocolate chips and M&M's.  Place in the refrigerator for a half hour.  Scoop out the dough in 2 tbsp measures.  Roll into a ball and then gently pat down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Top with 3-4 additional M&M's.  Bake for 9 minutes at 350°.  Allow to cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Three Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes

Cooler temperatures and not wanting to break down and turn the furnace on yet gives me lots of reasons to do some baking and making potatoes in the oven instead of the crock pot.  I decided to make a meatloaf and made these potatoes to go with them.

Three Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes

7 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
4 oz Monterey cheese, grated
4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the flour and allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Stir in the garlic and onions and cook for another minute.  Gradually stir in milk, allowing to thicken and then stir some more in.  Add in spices and then the cheese and allow to melt completely.  In a greased casserole dish, layer the potatoes in 3 layers.  Pour cheese mixture over each layer of potatoes.  Place in the over for an hour (depending on the thickness of the potatoes at 350°.  Remove from the oven, top with an additional 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Applesauce Bread

What better way to warm your home than with the oven on with the scent of cinnamon surrounding it?  I had leftover applesauce so I decided it was time to make a quick bread which will be great for snacking or breakfast.

Applesauce Bread

1 1/4 cups applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)


1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Cream together applesauce, sugar, eggs, oil and sour cream.  Mix in the dry ingredients and nuts (optional).  Place in a greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle topping evening over the top.  Bake for 1 hour at 350°.