Sunday, February 28, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Alyssa felt like baking today, and this is what she chose to make. This is a great version of soda bread! We all loved the flavor and texture. Alyssa is now our designated Irish Soda Bread baker!

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup raisins
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (or combine these ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to "sift"). Cut in butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs (Alyssa used the food processor for this step—pulsing just a few times until the mixture looked like fine crumbs). If you used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add raisins. Add buttermilk. Mix with a fork (or use a dough whisk) until moistened.

Knead gently about 1 minute. Shape into a ball. Place dough on a greased cookie sheet or pie plate (or use a Silpat-lined baking sheet) and flatten into about a 7-inch circle (dough should be about 1 ½ inches thick). Bake at 375°F for 20 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. (Optional: you can brush the top of the loaf with 1 tablespoon melted butter and dust with flour if desired.)

Makes 1 delicious loaf.

Sesame Chicken Wraps

Here's another yummy lettuce wrap!

4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups chicken breast strips
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
6 butter lettuce leaves (or more)

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl; pour over chicken strips and stir to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes. In a frying pan, melt butter over low heat. Add sesame seeds and cook until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. In a separate skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Quickly stir-fry the chicken in the heated oil just until cooked through. Combine sesame seeds with chicken. Spoon one-sixth of the mixture atop the center of each lettuce leaf. Fold lettuce into a wrap to be eaten by hand. (We served ours with diced cucumber as well.) Place on a platter. Makes 6 sesame chicken bundles.

Jasmine Rice

Bart made these as a side dish to serve with Sesame Chicken Wraps. We all really enjoyed this side dish!

1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup olive oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10 oz.) cans beef consommé soup
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional—we used it)
2 cups jasmine rice
½ cup currants or Craisins
½ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large pan, briefly sauté onions in 4 tablespoons olive oil or butter. Add garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add beef consommé soup, salt, water, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Stir in jasmine rice; cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until moisture is absorbed. Add currants or Craisins. In a small pan, sauté pine nuts or slivered almonds in 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Just before serving, add pine nuts or almonds and fresh parsley to rice. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Carrot Cookie Bites

These cookies taste like miniature carrot cakes--and like carrot cake, I think they are even better made ahead. I made these for breakfast last weeek, freezing the leftovers. We have enjoyed the leftovers throughout this past week. These would also be yummy with a cream cheese glaze or frosting drizzled on top if desired.


2/3 cup (4 ¾ oz.) shortening
1 cup (7 ½ oz.) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (4 oz.) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ½ oz.) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (6 ¼ oz.) quick-cooking oats
1 cup (3 ½ oz.) shredded carrots
1/2 cup (1 7/8 oz.) chopped pecans


In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the oats, carrots, and pecans.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned (baking time will depend on size of cookies made). Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 7 dozen TINY cookies (made with mini cookie scoop) or about 3 dozen cookies if made with “regular” cookie scoop.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I bought a bunch of broccoli from Costco and decided to use some of it in soup. This soup had a great, fresh broccoli flavor with just a subtle hint of cheese. I served the soup in homemade bread bowls made from Mom's French bread recipe.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
Fresh thyme leaves or a pinch dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
8 cups chicken broth
32 ounces broccoli (fresh or thawed from frozen)
½ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato, thyme, and broth and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered until the potato is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return soup to the pot and add the cream and cheddar cheese. Bring to a simmer, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with optional toppings (crumbled bacon, shaved Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, croutons, etc.).

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Chicken Korma

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine. I couldn’t find ground chicken, so I used ground turkey. I didn’t know what “korma” was, but when I tried it, I was delighted to find that it is an Indian dish. This was quite easy to make. I served it on the Soft Wrap Bread from The Baker’s Companion (p. 184). I used the leftovers to make calzones a few days later (as pictured above). The korma was great served both ways!

1 large red onion; ½ chopped, ½ sliced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
¾ pound ground chicken
¼ cup plain yogurt, plus more for garnish (I recommend Greek yogurt for the garnish)
¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 pocketless pitas (I recommend the Soft Wrap Bread from KAF Baker’s Companion)
Chopped cashews and/or hot sauce, for garnish (optional)

Puree the chopped onion in a food processor with the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup water.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, until slightly dry, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until opaque, breaking up the meat. Mix the yogurt with ¼ cup water, add to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is cooked through, 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the peas and cilantro and season with salt.

Meanwhile, heat another skillet over high heat. Brush the pitas with oil, season with salt and toast in the skillet, about 1 minute per side. Divide the chicken mixture among the pitas. Top with more yogurt and cilantro. Garnish with cashews and/or hot sauce, if desired.

To make the Calzone Dough:

2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (110°F)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, stir together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor (with the dough blade), combine 2 ½ cups flour, salt, and olive oil. With the processor running on dough speed, slowly pour in yeast mixture. The dough should come together into a large ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl; it should be moist but not sticky. Add additional flour or water if necessary. Process for 45 seconds to knead.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour. Divide into 6 balls and roll each out thinly (about 8-inch round). Place about 1/3 cup meat mixture on half of each circle. Fold remaining half of dough over; crimp edges to seal. Brush top of calzone with olive oil. Cut 3 small slits in the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, or until calzones are nicely browned.

Salad on a Stick

This is based on a recipe from Rachael Ray. It is recommended as a kid-friendly side-dish to serve with pizza. We actually ate it as a dinner by itself. We found it very satifsying and quite delicious. I wish I had remembered the homemade Boursin-style cheese (from the recipe I just posted) to use, but I ended up using the store-bought. It was a yummy dip--although you could use any favorite salad dressing as a dip. You can also vary the skewers with whatever salad ingredients you like.

Salad on a Stick

½ cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 (5.4 ounce) container garlic-and-herb flavored soft cheese (such as Boursin)
Salt and black pepper
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
1/3 seedless cucumber, diced
½ pint grape tomatoes
4 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 (1-inch thick) pieces Genoa salami from the deli, cubed
OR substitute deli ham, rolled into tubes and cut into 1-inch pieces
Other salad ingredients as desired (iceberg lettuce leaves stacked and cut into 1-inch pieces, snow peas, olives, etc.)
Wooden skewers (thin)

To make the dressing, blend together the cream or milk and cheese. Pour into a dipping dish and season the dressing with salt and pepper. Place on the dip on a platter.

To make the Salad Sticks, spear the ingredients, alternating between green and red. Arrange salad sticks on the platter around the dip.

Boursin-Style Cheese

I forgot this recipe was in a recent issue of the King Arthur Flour's Baking Sheet, so I actually ended up buying Boursin Cheese. But I'm sure this recipe would be great. Susan Reid of the baking sheet commented, "I collected this recipe while working as sous chef at the American Bounty restaurant, at the Culinary Institute of America. It's one of those wondrous amalgams of pedestrian ingredients that becomes MUCH more than the sum of its parts. Your budget (and your tastebuds) will be happy. I promise."

Boursin-Style Cheese
(From KAF Baking Sheet Winter 2010)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons dried finely chopped chives
1 ½ teaspoons dried finely chopped dill
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Beat all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 48 hours, to let the flavors talk to each other. Yield: 1 heaping cup.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken Ole

I found this recipe on my friend's recipe blog. It turned out quite tasty. The only ingredient I was missing was the flour tortillas, so I made my own to avoid a trip to the grocery store. Thanks, Mom, for teaching us how to cook and make these things so we don't always have to purchase things at the store.

10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup (or use 2 chicken if you don't like mushroom)
1 cup sour cream
2 T grated onion (I sliced some green onions I needed to use up)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
12 flour tortillas, each torn into 6-8 pieces
3-4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
7 oz jar salsa- (I used a whole pint of our homemade salsa)
1/2 grated cheddar (for garnish)

In separate bowl, combine soups, sour cream, onion, and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray to avoid the tortillas sticking!!! Place one third of each of the following in layers in slow cooker: torn tortillas, soup mixture, chicken, salsa. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cover. Cook on Low 4-5 hours. (This recipe does not respond well to cooking on High.) Gently stir. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover. Cook on Low another 15-30 minutes.

You can also serve with tortilla chips and lettuce. I served mine on a bed of lettuce and it was yummy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blackberry Fizz

Bryn saw this recipe in one of my cookbooks and begged me to try it. So yesterday I completed the process. This is a picture of 3 of the 8 pints I made. (I don't know why, but seeing the results of my canning always gives me a great thrill and contented feeling.) I had about 1 cup left over that we mixed up and tried. It was pretty tasty. Bryn liked it and so did Bryce, though he said that it wasn't quite the flavor he was expecting. So here is something Marcia can do with all of her blackberries. I actually finished up the blackberries in my freezer that I got from Marcia with this recipe.

3 qts. fresh or frozen blackberries
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
1 Tbsp. whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks (4 inches), broken
Lemon-lime or white soda

Crush the blackberries in a large kettle. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag (or cheesecloth), reserving juice and discarding pulp.

Add water to juice if necessary to equal 2 qts.; pour into a large kettle. Slowly stir in sugar until dissolved. Place spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to juice. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil; remove the spice bag and discard.

Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. To serve, mix about one-third concentrate with two-thirds soda. Yield: about 4 pints concentrate.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big Ole Tex-Mex Burrito Omelet

We rarely have omelets for breakfast, but we love them for dinner! This recipe might seem long, but if you make the sauce ahead and prepare the fillings first, the omelet comes together quickly. It is very yummy! If you're in a hurry, you could just use salsa instead of the tomatillo sauce (although the tomatillo sauce is delicious). I just folded the omelet in half like I usually make omelets rather than in thirds as the recipe indicates.

For the Sauce

1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1 medium Vidalia onion, quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh cilantro

For the Omelets

1 link Mexican chorizo, casing removed (I used the fully cooked kind)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of paprika
1 cup mixed canned beans (pinto, cannellini and/or black beans), drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Mexican crema or sour cream, thinned with half-and-half, for garnish
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped, for garnish


Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the tomatillos, onion, jalapeno and olive oil on a baking sheet and season with salt and black pepper. Roast until browned, about 45 minutes. Puree in a blender with the cilantro, thinning with water as needed. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, prepare the omelet: Cook the chorizo in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, breaking it up, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Stir the cumin, cayenne and paprika into the drippings in the skillet. Add the beans and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, then add the bell pepper and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Whisk the eggs and milk in another bowl. Wipe out the skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add 1/2 tablespoon butter. Pour half of the egg mixture into the skillet and cook until the center is no longer liquid, loosening the edges with a rubber spatula and tilting the skillet to let the uncooked egg run underneath. Shake the pan to loosen the omelet, then spoon half of the bean mixture, chorizo and cheese down the center. Fold in both sides to cover the filling, then flip the omelet so it is seam-side down and cook 1 more minute. Repeat with the remaining butter, egg mixture and fillings to make another omelet. Top with the tomatillo sauce and garnish with the crema and tomato.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

This is a quick and yummy dip I made last Friday for Bryn's class Valentine Party. I used reduced fat cream cheese and 3/4 cup brown sugar because I didn't feel like going downstairs to open a new package of brown sugar just for 1/4 cup.

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
sliced apples

Combine the first four ingredients and beat until smooth. Serve with sliced apples.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Marinated Chicken

Alyssa prepared a double recipe of this marinade recently. The next night, Bart cooked the chicken. We have been enjoying the leftovers in a variety of ways throughout the past week. This recipe is from Food Network Kitchens "How to Boil Water" episode: Your Freezer, Your Friend. I think it's a great idea to freeze your chicken already in the marinade, so the meat is ready to cook and use when you defrost it!

Marinated Chicken Breasts

1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar, like cider, balsamic, or red wine
2 to 3 teaspoons dried herbs, like thyme, oregano, rosemary, or crumbled bay leaf
1 to 2 tablespoons mustard, whole grain or Dijon
1 to 2 teaspoon garlic or onion powder, optional
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, each about 6 ounces
Put the vinegar, herbs, mustard, powders if using and oil in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Close the bag and shake to combine all the ingredients. Open the bag, drop in the chicken breast in the bag. Close and shake the bag to coat evenly. Freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, under cold, running water, or in the microwave at 30 percent power for 1 minute at a time.

Heat a grill or grill pan. When the grill is hot, place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. You can also bake the thawed chicken in a 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Maple-Nut Twist

Bart's go-to cookbook for recipes with yeast is the yeast bread book Mom and I put together a couple years ago. I was looking in that book for the "Sweetheart Cinnamon Roll" recipe that I like to make for Valentine's day, when I noticed the Maple-Nut Twist recipe next to it. I decided to make the Maple-Nut Twist, but shape it according to the directions for the Sweetheart Cinnamon Roll. It was a very yummy Valentine's breakfast!

Maple-Nut Twist

¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter or margarine
2 ¾ to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maple extract

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water
½ teaspoon maple extract

In small saucepan, heat milk and butter until very warm (120° to 130°F). In large bowl, blend warm liquid, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, yeast, extract and egg at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl; turn greased-side-up. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. In small bowl, combine Filling ingredients; set aside.

For shaping, you have several options.

Original shaping instructions:
Grease 12-inch pizza pan. Punch down dough; divide and shape into 3 balls. On floured surface, roll or press 1 ball of dough to cover bottom of prepared pizza pan. Place in prepared pan. Brush dough with about 1/3 of melted butter; sprinkle with 1/3 Filling. Repeat layers of dough, melted butter and filling. To shape, place a glass about 2 inches in diameter in center of dough. With scissors, cut from outside edge to the glass, forming 16 pie-shaped wedges. Twist each wedge 5 times. Remove glass. Cover; let rise until light and doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. In small bowl, blend Glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm twists.

For the heart shape:
On lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Spread with the butter. Sprinkle with maple-nut sugar filling. Starting from a long side, roll into a spiral; seal. Place seam up. Fold half of the roll over the top of other half; seal ends. Place on greased large baking sheet. Starting ¾ inch from sealed end, cut down the center through all dough layers, cutting through the folded end. Turn cut sides out so they face up and touch each other, forming a heart. Cover; let rise in warm place 30 minutes or until nearly double. Bake as directed above.

Other options:
You can make these into normal cinnamon roll shapes or twists. Have fun!


I realize this is a recipe blog, but I just wanted to share with you pictures of the Valentine's Joshua made for his class and his Valentine box. I thought they all turned out great!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caramel-Pecan Monkey Bread

I thought it was about time I tried a sweet monkey bread (after the many buttery monkey breads I have made). This makes a great breakfast!

5 cups flour, divided
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup powdered milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups warm water
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup (5 ounces) packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, cubed
¼ cup heavy whipping cream

¾ cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted

In large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, yeast, powdered milk, sugar and salt. Add water, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

For caramel, in a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour half into a greased 10-inch fluted tube pan; sprinkle with half of the pecans.

Punch down dough; shape into 40 balls (each ball will be about 30 gm). In a shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Place melted butter in another bowl. Dip ball sin butter, then roll in sugar mixture.

Place 20 balls in the tube pan; top with remaining caramel and pecans. Top with remaining balls. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Place cookie sheet and/or large sheet of aluminum foil on bottom rack of oven to catch any drips. Bake monkey bread at 350°F for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Layered Rice Pesto and Pepper Bake

I found this recipe in one of the Costco cookbooks I got for free during Thanksgiving weekend. This is an extremely delicious way to serve rice. We didn’t have any goat cheese on hand, so we used Chive ‘n Onion cream cheese instead. It worked great. We served it as a side dish with Costco meatballs.

3 cups cooked rice
1 ¾ cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and ground pepper
½ cup prepared basil pesto sauce, divided
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided OR 4 ounces Chive ‘n Onion cream cheese
10 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and chopped, divided

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 7-inch soufflé dish or springform pan with nonstick vegetable spray.

Combine rice, 1 ½ cups Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

Place half of the rice mixture in the prepared dish; pat down well. Spread half of pesto evenly over rice and sprinkle with half of goat cheese (or place small bits of cream cheese over layer). Layer half of red peppers over goat cheese. Repeat above layers. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Parmesan over top.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until heated through (if using cold rice, you may need to bake this a bit longer). Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Muffaletta Calzone

Sandwiches are one of my favorite foods to serve for dinner--there are infinite variations and they are so satisfying. We have loved muffaletta sandwiches we have had in the past, so I was excited to try this calzone recipe when I saw it in my recent Cook's Country issue. As the magazine states, the "sharp, briny olive relish balances the richness of Italian meats." And, if you've tried making pizza dough in the food processor, you know how quickly this meal can come together.

6 ounces thinly sliced deli salami
1/4 cup pitted olives (kalamata, green, etc.--use a mix), chopped
1/4 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers , chopped
2 tablespoons drained jarred banana peppers , chopped
1 garlic clove , minced
1 (1-pound) ball ready-made pizza dough (use your favorite recipe and weigh out 1 pound of dough)
6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
6 ounces thinly sliced provolone
6 ounces thinly sliced deli mozzarella
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange salami on large plate lined with paper towels. Cover with 2 more paper towels and microwave until fat begins to render, about 1 minute. Combine olives, red peppers, banana peppers, and garlic in bowl.

2. On lightly floured work surface, roll dough into 14-inch round about ¼ inch thick. Layer half of salami, ham, provolone, and mozzarella on half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border around edges. Spoon olive mixture over mozzarella and layer with remaining salami, ham, provolone, and mozzarella. Brush edges of dough with water, fold over filling, and crimp to seal.

3. Brush 1 tablespoon oil over rimmed baking sheet. Transfer calzone to prepared baking sheet and cut four 1-inch slits on top of calzone. Brush with remaining oil and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Old-Time Cake Doughnuts

The last issue of Taste of Home had a section on “DIY (Do-it-yourself) Doughnuts.” After trying the recipe for the yeast doughnuts, Alyssa thought I should also make the cake doughnuts so she could analyze the difference between the two different types of doughnuts. Bart tends to prefer cake doughnuts while I tend to prefer yeast doughnuts. I obligingly made the batch of cake doughnuts. My summary? Both types of doughnuts are very delicious. The yeast doughnuts are easier to make (the dough is much easier to work with), but each type of doughnut has its place. With this batch, I had fun trying different toppings for the doughnuts. Joshua enjoyed sampling doughnuts this past week and is now dreaming about opening a doughnut shop!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup 2% milk
Oil for deep-fat frying
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Confectioners’ sugar glaze, vanilla frosting, and toppings as desired (coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc.)


In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (I recommend refrigerating overnight—the dough is much easier to work with cold).

Turn onto a heavily floured surface (I recommend only rolling out 1/3 to ½ the batch at a time, leaving remaining dough in the fridge); pat dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-in. doughnut cutter. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°.

Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon; roll warm doughnuts in mixture. Alternately, you can dip warm doughnuts in glaze, then frost and/or dip in toppings as desired.

Yield: about 2 dozen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

American Macaroni Salad

We have been enjoying watching old “Matlock” episodes together as a family. Consequently, we have been craving hot dogs (with the works!). So, for our recent hot dog dinner, Bart made this salad as a side dish. It is yummy!

2 cups dry elbow macaroni (or other small pasta), cooked, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup diced vine-ripened tomato (optional)
1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine the macaroni, celery, onion, parsley and tomato, if using. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, sour cream and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Store covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

First-Prize Doughnuts

I did it! I finally made doughnuts that were cooked all the way through without being overcooked! This recipe is from Taste of Home. I’m sure you can add a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg to the dough with the flour if desired.

2 packages active dry (or instant) yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup warm milk (2% or whole recommended)
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) sugar
½ cup (3 ¼ ounces) shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Oil for deep-fat frying
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 – 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; roll out to 1/3 to ½-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-inch doughnut cutter. (I stretched my doughnut shapes open a bit after cutting them to make sure the hole wouldn’t fill in as the doughnuts rose.) Place on greased baking sheets (or leave on counter). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°F. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

In a shallow bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla until smooth. Dip warm doughnuts in glaze. “Hang” doughnuts over tall bowl using a dowel or handle of wooden spoon. Once glaze has set up, transfer doughnuts to a cooling rack. Frost top of doughnut or dip in glaze as desired. Possible toppings include thinned chocolate frosting, maple frosting, or vanilla frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, nuts, coconut, etc. if desired.

Yield: 20 doughnuts

Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze

I made this for breakfast this morning. I have been wanting to try this recipe for quite some time after reading the numerous positive comments this recipe has received on We agree with those positive comments--this cake is really delicious.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (11 ¼ ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup (3 ¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 cup (3 ¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch pan or spray with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together ½ cup butter and 1 ½ cups brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuna Melt Sliders

Bart made this for dinner and we all loved it. The tiny "burgers" made us all think of summer. (He even made the buns himself!)

1 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 (5-ounce) cans white albacore tuna in water, drained well
¼ cup shredded carrot
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
4 slices American or cheddar cheese, quartered diagonally
8 dollar buns, cut in half horizontally
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 small lettuce leaves

Place ½ cup breadcrumbs into shallow bowl or pie pan; set aside.

Combine remaining ½ cup breadcrumbs, tuna, carrot, onions, eggs, lemon pepper seasoning and salt in medium bowl; stir until well mixed.

Divide tuna mixture into 8 equal portions; flatten each to 3-inch patty (or about the size of buns). Place patties into breadcrumbs in bowl, coating both sides.

Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until sizzling (do not crowd skillet—cook patties in two batches if necessary). Add tuna patties. Cook, turning once, until outsides are crisp and insides are heated through (5 to 6 minutes). Top each patty with 2 pieces cheese during last minute of cooking.

Spread cut-sides of top half of buns with mayonnaise. Place tuna patties onto bottom half of buns; top with lettuce leaves and top half of buns. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crunchy Caramel Corn

Thanks, Marcia, for posting the gooey caramel popcorn recipe. I love that kind of popcorn! The crunchy caramel corn has it's advantages, too: it's easier to pack on trips and less messy. So for those who want the crunchy kind, here is our favorite version.

6 quarts unbuttered, unsalted popped popcorn (about ¾ cup unpopped popcorn kernels)
1 cup peanuts, if desired
1 cup butter
½ cup (5 ½ ounces) light corn syrup
2 cups (15 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 200°F. Set two 15x10-inch jellyroll pans or a large roasting pan aside. Place popcorn and peanuts in a very large bowl. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Place over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Stirring occasionally, let boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Immediately pour over popcorn and nuts, turning to coat each kernel. Spread mixture in pan(s) and place in oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container to retain crispness.

Makes 6 quarts.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

We love pizza! I like to use my pizza stone (I start it preheating early so it is plenty hot by the time I'm ready to bake the pizza). I assemble the pizza on a peel, then slide it off the peel onto the hot stone. That way, I get a nice, crisp crust that doesn't sag when I hold my slice of pizza to eat it.

• Pizza dough (using favorite recipe)
• 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 jar (10 ounces) sun-dried tomato pesto
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup bacon bits
• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
• 1 cup (4 ounces) sharp shredded cheddar cheese

• Prepare pizza dough. Set aside to rise (or make in advance and let rise slowly in fridge).
• In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, garlic and pepper until meat is no longer pink; drain.
• On a floured surface, roll dough into a 15-in. circle. Transfer to a greased 14-in. pizza pan. Build up edges slightly. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake at 450°F for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
• Sprinkle crust with Parmesan cheese. Top with pesto, meat mixture, onion, bacon bits, and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Pizza Dough

This is my favorite way to make pizza dough--in the food processor. This is the recipe that was in the instruction booklet with my food processor. I don't want to risk losing it, so I decided to post it here.

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water
3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a 2-cup liquid measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Insert dough blade in food processor work bowl and add flour, salt, and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

With machine running on dough speed, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour will absorb it. Process until dough cleans side of work bowl and forms a ball. Then process for 30 seconds to knead dough. Dough may be slightly sticky. Coat dough evenly with 1 teaspoon olive oil; transfer to a plastic food storage bag and seal the top. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. While dough is rising, prepare any pizza toppings.

Use dough according to pizza recipe.