Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Parmesan Ricotta Herb Dip/Spread & Italian Won Ton Crisps

Looking for something to serve for the big game this weekend?  This easy to make dip comes together in minutes and only needs to sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving so you can make it in advance.  Serve it with toasted baguette slices or Italian Won Ton Crisps (recipe below)

Parmesan Ricotta Herb Dip/Spread

16 oz whole milk Ricotta
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp freshly minced parsley
Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper together and place in a sealable container in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  When ready to serve, place in your favorite serving dish and top with the parsley.
Italian Won Ton Crisps

Won Ton Wrappers – as many as you’d like
Garlic olive oil
Parsley flakes
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut won tons diagonally.  Spread out on parchment lined baking sheets.  Brush garlic olive oil over the top of each won ton.  Sprinkle parsley flakes on top and then add a pinch of Parmesan cheese to each crisp.  Bake for 7 minutes (be sure to check) until golden brown at 350°.  Store in an air tight container.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Peach Pie Calzones

Peach pie filling wrapped up in a nice package that is perfect for business or school lunches.  Send along a plastic knife and it can be shared with a friend.  I thought of this as I was watching a commercial for calzones and thought too bad they don't have desserts like that...aha moment.  I used my easy to make pizza dough recipe that you make in a food processor.

Peach Pie Calzones 

Peach Pie Filling ~

1# frozen peaches, diced
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Allow peaches to thaw.  It's easiest to cut them when they are partially thawed.  Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken.

Calzone dough ~

2 cups flour
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil

Place the warm water, honey and yeast in a large measuring cup and let sit for 10 minutes Put the flour and salt in a food processor with the chopping blade.  Pulse until mixed.  Add in the yeast mixture and pulse again until it's all incorporated into the flour.  Switch to run and pour in canola oil and let the dough knead in the machine.  Remove dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Knead for a couple minutes.  Cut in 4 equal pieces and roll into a ball.  Let dough sit for about 30 minutes. Roll out into 8" circles and place the filling in the center.  Pull over the back side and roll up edges.  Seal by pressing fork tines down along the edges.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush on the top of each calzone.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blackberry Lemon Waffles

These waffles are so delicious that you do not need to add any syrup.  I recommend just a little powder sugar dusting or some whipped cream.  Blackberries and lemon compliment each other to make this a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Blackberry Lemon Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs, separated
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
6 oz blackberries, rinsed, dried and cut into half or 3 pieces

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, sour cream, lemon juice and beaten egg whites into dry ingredients.  Gently fold in blackberries.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 8 waffles

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Parmesan Garlic Knots

Soup and bread are on the menu at the time of year quite often.  These knots are covered with a topping of freshly grated Parmesan, garlic powder and parsley so you get a taste of eat with every bite you take.

Parmesan Garlic Knots

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg yeast
1 tbsp sugar

Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes until yeast starts foaming.

In your mixer bowl combine -

3 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt

Pour water into the mixing bowl with the mixer turned on medium speed using a dough hook.  Allow to mix for 5 minutes until completely kneaded.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for another 2 minutes.  Pat into a pie shaft and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Cut into 8 equal pieces and tie into a know.  Place on a parchment covered baking sheets.  Beat one egg and brush the tops with it.  Sprinkle Parmesan mixture on top and bake for 22 minutes at 350°.

Parmesan mixture -

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp parsley

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mexican Won Ton Cups

These are a fun meal or snack to make to eat while watching the football playoff games.  The won ton wrappers turn crispy in the oven and all the flavors meld together with layers of refried beans, taco meat and cheese.  Serve with additional toppings of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, taco sauce...whatever you wish.  I used my own taco seasoning recipe (recipe below) because I can control the sodium.  Normally I have my own refried beans that I made in the crock pot and freeze but I'm out at the moment and need to restock.

Mexican Won Ton Cups

24 won ton wrappers
refried beans, fat-free
1/2# extra lean ground beef
1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
shredded cheddar of Mexican blend cheese

Cook ground beef.  Stir in the taco seasoning and water and cook down.  Spray cooking spray evenly over a standard size muffin pan.  Line each up with 2 won ton wrappers.  Place 1 tbsp of refried beans at the bottom of each cup.  Add in 1 tbsp of taco mixture.  Top with 1 tbsp of cheese.  Bake for 12 minutes at 375°.    Serve immediately with your favorite toppings on the side.

Taco Seasoning - I usually double or triple this recipe

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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti

Winter comfort foods are always a day brightener and this dish is so fast and easy to make.  Freshly made alfredo is lots better than one that comes from a jar and has no preservatives (win-win). 

Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp extra light olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup butter
½ cup cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 oz spaghetti, cooked per package directions – keep 1 cup of water from pasta
Season the chicken breasts on both sides before placing in a heated frying pan with the olive oil.  Remove the chicken when the internal temperature reads 165 and set aside for 10 minutes before slicing.  Add the garlic to the pan and allow to cook for 1 minute, stirring often so it does not burn.  Add in the butter and stir until it melts before adding in the cream and Parmesan cheese.  Add cooked spaghetti  to the pan with the sauce and mix it around.  If the sauce is too thick, gradually add in leftover pasta water.  Season to taste.

Serves 4

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Blueberry Lemon Scones

Blueberries burst with a light lemon flavor in these tender scones.  I froze the blueberries to make them easier to work with in the dough and it turned out quite well.  

Blueberry Lemon Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar

1 lemon - use all the zest in the dough
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg

1/4 cup
6 oz frozen blueberries


3/4 cup powdered sugar

 lemon juice from 1/2 of the fresh lemon

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the dough turns into course crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together sour cream,egg and milk.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined.  Fold in frozen blueberries. 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 18 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes and then spoon glaze over the scones.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rum Banana Bread

I’ve always loved my mother’s banana bread recipe but when it’s a winter storm warning outside, it’s time to play in the kitchen.  Bananas and rum go together in a variety of different recipes so I decided to add some rum (real and extract) to my banana bread and it had delicious results.

Rum Banana Bread

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups flour
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ tsp rum extract

2 tbsp rum

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and mashed bananas.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for 70 minutes at 325°.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Dr Pepper Short Ribs

This was a great way to start off the New Year with an easy meal of short ribs cooking all day in the crock pot.  They have lots of flavor and you can use as a topping for potatoes, polenta or just use in a sandwich and use the strained Dr Pepper crock pot juices as a dip.

Dr Pepper Short Ribs 

2# boneless short ribs
1 1/2 cups Dr Pepper
3/4 cup beef broth
2 shallots, cut in half
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp adobe or chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Season and brown the short ribs in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Place into the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Cook over medium low heat for 8 hours.  Remove the meat and cut or shred (it should fall apart).  Taste to see if it needs any additional salt and pepper.