Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dinner for a Friend

Today was the first day of my baby gift to a friend -- one meal a week for four weeks. This is what I fixed for her family (and my family). In addition to these foods I also took some frozen corn from Mom and Dad's garden that I did this year. These recipes are all from Taste of Home or Quick Cooking.

Italian Mini Loaves

* 2 to 2-1/4 cups bread flour
* 4-1/2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
* 1 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 tablespoons butter, divided
* 1 egg
* 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, yeast, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and parsley. In a saucepan, heat milk, water and 1 tablespoon butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough; beat until smooth.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into thirds; shape into loaves. Place in three greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 3 loaves (4 slices each).

Sausage Pasta Sauce
This one has a little bit of a kick, so it doesn't taste like a regular spaghetti sauce. But it is yummy, and the veggies are all blended up, so you just have the chunks of the sausage in the sauce.

* 2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 2 medium sweet red peppers, chopped
* 2 medium green peppers, chopped
* 6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 cans (29 ounces each) tomato sauce
* 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian stewed tomatoes, drained
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 4 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1-1/2 pounds uncooked bow tie pasta
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* Shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In a Dutch oven, saute the onions, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, brown sugar and seasonings.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a blender, process tomato mixture in batches until smooth. Return to the pan. Add sausage; heat through. Gradually stir in cream. Cook and stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; top with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 12 servings.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tart

I used Kendra's chocolate chip cookie recipe today and just measured out 18 ounces to put in the pan. I'm thinking this could also be made in a pie pan for those people who don't have a springform pan.

* 1 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
* 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
* 1 tablespoon butter, softened
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Press cookie dough onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350° for 20-24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Place crust on a serving plate. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust to within 1/2 in. of edge. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Yield: 10-12 servings.


  1. Wow! What a fabulous gift! All the recipes look delicious. I've tried the Italian Mini Loaves before and we all loved it.

  2. I agree . . . what an awesome gift! I hope your friend enjoyed the meal. Everything looks delicious!

  3. Your friend is lucky to have you as a friend! When I had my babies, all I wanted was someone to cook for me and clean the toilets. I got a few meals, but I don't know why no one every took me up on the "clean the toilet" job!

  4. Tell me about it, Teresa. Once I mentioned to a friend that there is nothing worse than throwing up in a disgustingly dirty toilet. This was towards the end of my morning sickness time with Seth or Erica. Anyway, about 1 hour later she showed up at the door to clean all 3 of my bathrooms. And after Logan was born a neighbor came over and cleaned my house, mopped all the floors and everything. She just told me to sit and relax or take time to play with my children. It was awesome.

  5. I just found out today that Paige won Best of Show at the county fair with her Italian Mini Loaves. So it is now a prize winning recipe!