Thursday, April 28, 2016

Parmesan Rice Pilaf

Lots of flavor and easy to kind of side.  I always use the Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice because you cannot go wrong (and I have in the past with rice).  However you choose to make it, you just need to end up with 2 cups of cooked rice - white or brown.  

Parmesan Rice Pilaf

2 cups cooked white rice
2 tbsp slivered almonds
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Add all the ingredients together into the hot white rice.  Stir and serve.  Can it get any easier?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pancetta Wrapped Turkey Breast

I'm still not sure why I picked up pancetta but it turned out to serve a very good purpose.  I was wondering how to make the turkey breast yesterday and saw the pancetta out of the corner of my eye and grabbed it out at the same time.  I made of quick rub of different spices and dark brown sugar that I had on the counter for the turkey and then covered it with the pancetta.  The pancetta cooked and turned crispy while it kept the turkey breast tender and juicy.

Pancetta Wrapped Turkey Breast

1 - 1-2# turkey breast or tenders
3 oz pancetta slices

Rub -
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine all the spices and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Rub over all sides of the turkey breast and place into a greased pan.  Cover the top of the turkey breast with the pancetta slices.  Cover the roasting pan with a lid or aluminum foil for the first hour of baking.  Uncover for the last 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mounds Bar Ice Cream

Warmer temperatures outside, windows open and the music from the neighborhood ice cream truck made me think of this idea for ice cream.  I’ve had an ice cream drink made out of various liqueurs to taste like a Mounds bar but wanted to try making an ice cream.  The chocolate took over the coconut flavor so I added some coconut into the ice cream.  If you prefer an Almond Joy, just chop up some almonds or use almond slivers to add into your ice cream when it’s in the machine.

Mounds Bar Ice Cream
1 pint whipping cream
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 oz Ghiradelli 60# Cacao Bittersweet
1 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine the cream, coconut milk, sugar, salt, cocoa powder and chocolate. 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 vanilla and coconut.  Place in your ice cream maker and run per manufacturer's directions.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dr Pepper Baked Beans

It's time to fire up the grill and what better to have as a side than baked beans.  I made these using Dr Pepper for an unique flavor that works well with all the ingredients.  I used the crock pot but you can make it in the oven also.

Dr Pepper Baked Beans

1# extra lean ground beef
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup Dr Pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 16 oz can light red kidney beans

Cook the ground beef.  When it's almost done, add in onions and garlic.  Finish cooking and place in crock pot with beans.  Stir in spices, brown sugar, molasses and Dr Pepper.  Cook for 4 hours over medium heat.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Beef Short Ribs & Gravy With Mascarpone Polenta

There’s nothing better than spending a Sunday doing things you love and having dinner cook itself.  Last Sunday, I made this fall apart it’s so tender short ribs and an easy to throw together Mascarpone polenta.

Crock Pot Short Ribs & Gravy
1.5# boneless short ribs
12 oz beer, use your favorite
1 cup beef broth
2 shallots, cut in half
Season and brown the short ribs in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Place into the crock pot with the beef broth, beer and shallot.  Cook over medium low heat for 8 hours.  Remove the meat to make a gravy.  In a plastic container with a tight lid, place 2 tbsp flour and ½ cup water.  Put the lid on and shake until the there’s no lumps.  Turn the crock pot on high and stir into the juices.  Return the meat to the crock pot and it should thicken in 10 minutes.  Taste to see if it needs any additional salt and pepper.  Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.
Mascarpone Polenta
3 cups water
½ tsp salt
1 cup polenta
½ cup Mascarpone
½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated

Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Stir in polenta and keep stirring for 3 minutes.  Add in Mascarpone and Parmesan and stir until it’s fully incorporated.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Peach Bellini Jam

Peaches and Prosecco...a match that is made in heaven.  I combined the two a few months ago to make an ice cream topping.  I decided to pair them up again to make jam.  I did not use any pectin.  I just allowed the jam to gently boil until it thicken naturally.  I froze the extra containers instead of canning.

Peach Bellini Jam

2# peaches, I used frozen and thawed
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup Prosecco
2 tbsp lemon juice

Chop the peaches into small pieces in a food processor.  Place in a large saucepan with the sugar, Prosecco and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Skim off foam from the top.  Continue to boil until it thickens.  Place into containers that you can put in the freezer. Allow to cool completely before putting covers on containers and placing the freezer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Crock Pot Mashed Apple Sweet Potatoes

This is the easiest side dish and will make the entire family happy.  They'll think they are getting a sweet dish but there is no added sugar in the potatoes.  They are sweetened naturally with the sweet potatoes, apple and apple juice (I used an organic apple juice).  Just a little cinnamon was added in at the end.

Crock Pot Mashed Apple Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 apple, peeled and cut into slices
3/4 cup apple juice

Place the above ingredients into your crock pot and cook over medium for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  When tender, mashed with a hand potato masher and stir in 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

I'm still loving the plump, juicy raspberries in the grocery store these days.  I bought another 2 for baking and another for snaking.  Yesterday I made this moist and tasty muffins with a tangy lemon glaze.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries


2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and lemon zest.  Add in the milk, yogurt, eggs, canola oil and lemon juice.  Fold in the raspberries.  Using an ice cream scoop, place 1 scoop in each cup of a greased muffin tin.  Bake for 22 minutes at 350°.  Let cool.  In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Spoon over the muffins.  Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Chicken Alfredo

The aroma of garlic and a creamy Parmesan sauce top noodles and chicken in this tasty casserole.  Winter hasn't made it's departure so comfort food was needed to battle the bitter wind and chilly temperatures and what better way than with a cheesy baked pasta dish.

Chicken Alfredo

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz of your favorite pasta, I used Pasta Artigianale
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp parsley

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil.  Cook the minced garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk in the flour.  Allow to cook for a couple minutes before whisked in the remainder of the milk and broth.  Cook until it thickens and add in seasonings and Parmesan cheese.  Toss in pasta and chicken and pour into a greased casserole.  Top with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 325°.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lemon Berry Trifles

Berries were on sale.  They are so juicy and sweet they can be eaten alone but I decided to create a simple dessert with them (ok, I did snack on a few during the layering process).  I've always liked lemon with both berries that I used, so I went with a mild lemon sponge cake and a lemon mascarpone cream.

Lemon Berry Trifles

Cake -

3 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a medium bowl, whip together the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.  In another medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add in the egg yolks, water and lemon zest.  Gradually fold in the egg whites.  Be careful not to over mix.  Line a 9" cake pan with greased wax paper.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  Let cool before turning out and cutting into small cubes.

Lemon Cream

8 oz mascarpone, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.


Cake Cubes
Lemon Cream 
Berries - I used blackberries and raspberries

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Chicken Orzo Soup

It's a chilly day outside - still in the 20's at noon which is unusual for this time of year.  I was out doing projects and decided to make a pot of soup to help warm me up.  I had a Parmesan rind in the freezer so I threw that in for extra flavor and then topped the soup with some freshly grated Parmesan for an extra salty bite.

Chicken Orzo Soup

6 cups organic, salt-free chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 tbsp celery flakes
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Parmesan rind
1 cup peas
1 cup Orzo pasta
Salt to taste

In a soup kettle or dutch oven, heat broth.  Add in the shredded chicken, carrots, celery flakes, thyme, pepper and Parmesan rind.  Cook over medium heat until carrots are tender.  Stir in peas and Orzo and cook for another 10 minutes.  Taste and add in salt.