Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tomato, Zucchini, Squash and Caramelized Onion Gratin

I found this recipe from the For the Love of Cooking Blog. I made it for dinner on Saturday night and everyone is still raving abou it.

Tomato, Zucchini, Squash and Caramelized Onion Gratin
• 6-7 large Roma tomatoes, sliced
• 1 large zucchini (or 2 small ones), sliced
• 1 large yellow squash (or 2 small ones), sliced
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 onions, sliced
• 1 clove of garlic, sliced very thin
• 1/4-1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
• 1/2 tsp dried basil
• 2-3 leaves of basil, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large and deep baking dish (I used a large corning ware casserole dish) with olive oil cooking spray. Slice the zucchini, yellow squash, onion and tomatoes into thick slices.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the onion slices and sauté for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized- make sure you season with sea salt to taste. Add the garlic to the onions and sauté, stirring frequently for 60 seconds then remove from heat and let cool.
Layer the dish with first tomatoes then yellow squash, a bit of Parmesan then the layer of caramelized onions and garlic, then the zucchini and finally the last layer of tomatoes. I seasoned each layer (except the onions) with a little bit of sea salt and pepper. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle the dried basil on top and cover with a lid or tin foil.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the lid or tin foil and broil for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top. Let cool for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shredded Beef Tacos

It has been a really long time since I have posted anything new on the blog. I am going to try to be better about it.

Last night I made a new recipe for shredded beef tacos that I found off of the For the Love of Cooking Blog and we loved them. We will definitely be making these tacos again.

Shredded Beef Soft Tacos

2 lb lean chuck roast (trim most of the outside fat off)

•Cumin, to taste
•Chili powder, to taste
•Paprika, to taste
•Oregano, to taste
•Coriander, to taste
•Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
•2 cups of beef broth (plus more if needed)
•1 7 oz can of whole green chiles
•1 jalapeño, seeded, de-veined, and chopped
•6 cloves of garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Trim the outside fat off of the chuck roast. Season the chuck roast evenly with cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, coriander, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper on both sides of the roast. Place them beef in the hot Dutch oven for 2-3 minutes on each side to sear the meat. Add the beef broth, whole green chiles, jalapeno, cilantro, and minced garlic. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and place into the oven for 2-3 hours making sure to check each hour to make sure you don't need to add more broth. The beef is done when the meat is tender and shreds easily with a fork. Carefully, remove any fat that you see in the beef then shred the beef using a fork.

Other Ingredients:

•Small flour tortillas
•Refried beans, warmed
•Lettuce, shredded
•Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
•Grape tomatoes, halved
•Green onions
•Roasted tomato salsa

Heat the refried beans. Place the tortillas in a damp cloth and microwave for 20 seconds to warm up. Spread a bit of refried beans down the center of the tortilla then add some shredded beef followed by lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Serve with salsa and guacamole. Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Fudge Cake

Hot Fudge Cake

1 ¾ cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons baking cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, combine 1 cup brown sugar, flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking power and salt.

In another bowl, combine the milk, butter and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined.

Spread evenly into a 3 quarter slow cooker coated with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

In a bowl, combine the remaining brown sugar and cocoa; stir in boiling water. Pour over batter (do not stir).

Cover and cook on high for 4 to 4 ½ hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

4 medium tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 ½ cups cooked rice
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic salt

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp, leaving ½ inch shells; discard seeds. Chop pulp and set aside. Sprinkle the insides of tomatoes with salt; invert onto paper towels to drain.

In a small skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Add reserved tomato pulp; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat; stir in the rice, cheese, parsley, basil and garlic salt.

Stuff into tomato shells; dot with remaining butter. Place in a greased i9 inch square baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Yields: 4 servings

Buttermilk Mac N Cheese

Buttermilk Mac N Cheese

6 eggs
3 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 ½ cups buttermilk
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (7 oz) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the cheese, buttermilk, butter and salt. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160.

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Cinnamon Snaps

Cinnamon Snaps

¾ cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into 1 inch balls, then roll in additional sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 4 ½ dozen

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

3 cups uncooked wagon wheel or spiral pasta
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, undrained
1 package (3 ½ oz) sliced pepperoni, quartered
¾ cup chopped green pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, pepperoni, green pepper and onion. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste and cheddar cheese; mix well.

Transfer to a greased 3 qt baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings

Italian Sausage Strata

Italian Sausage Strata

½ cup butter or margarine, softened, divided
12 to 16 slices day-old bread, crusts removed
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups sliced onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
5 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustartd
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Using ¼ cup butter, spread one side of each bread slice with butter. Place half of the bread, butter side down, in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms and onions in remaining butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon half of the mushroom mixture over bread in prepared pan. Top with half of the sausage and cheese. Layer with the remaining bread, mushroom mixture, sausage and cheese. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, Dijon mustard, nutmeg and ground mustard. Pour over cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, covered at 350 for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yields: 12 servings

O’Brien Sausage Skillet

O’Brien Sausage Skillet

1 package (28 oz) frozen O’Brien hash brown potatoes
1 pound fully cooked kielbasa or polish sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare potatoes according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the sausage, apples and onion in oil for 10 minutes or until apples and onions are tender; drain.

Spoon the sausage mixture over potatoes, sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

No Fail Fudge

No Fail Fudge

1 teaspoon plus ½ cup butter, softened, divided
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup baking cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup M&M miniature baking bits

Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and grease the foil with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and salt. Melt remaining butter; add milk and vanilla. Stir into sugar mixture until blended; whisk until smooth. Stir in M&M’s. Immediately spread into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1 inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: 1 ½ pounds

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 package (10 oz) frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, partially thawed
1 medium firm banana, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ice cubes

In a blender, combine all ingredients. Cover and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup
3 points per serving (8 servings)

14 oz pizza sauce
42 oz water
1 bell pepper
½ small onion
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
8 oz raw chicken sausage
¼ lb turkey pepperoni
1/3 cup uncooked macaroni

Use a 5 or 6 quart crockpot for this recipe. Wash and prepare veggies. Dump them into the crockpot. Cut up the sausage into small pieces. Add to crockpot. Cut up the pepperoni; add it too. Add basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or 3-4 hours on high. Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta and turn to HIGH.

Grasshopper Pie

Grasshopper Pie

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons shortening
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

35 large marshmallows
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons green crème de menthe
3 tablespoons clear crème d cacao
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate curls, optional

Line a 9 inch pie plate with foil; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, cream and shortening; cook over low heat until chips are melted. Stir in walnuts. pour into prepared pie plate; spread evenly over bottom and sides of plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the marshmallows, milk and salt; cook over low heat until marshmallows are melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until slightly thickened.

Carefully remove foil from chocolate crust and return crust to pie plate. Fold whipped cream into filling; pour into crust. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired.

Serves 6-8

German Chocolate Pie

German Chocolate Pie

1 package (4 ounces) german sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, cubed
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut, toasted
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly.

Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in chocolate mixture. Spoon into pastry shell.

In a small saucepan, combine the evaporated milk, sugar and butter. Cook and stir until butter is melted and mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot liquid into egg; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour over filling. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 8 servings

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
½ cup sugar
1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 chocolate crumb crust (8 inches)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot fudge ice cream topping, divided

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add 1 cup peanut butter and sugar; mix well. Fold in 3 cups whipped topping; spoon into crust. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 2/3 cup hot fudge topping for 30 seconds. Pour over peanut butter layer and spread to edges of crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Spread remaining whipped topping over pie. Cut into slices. Place the remaining hot fudge topping and peanut butter in two separate plastic bags. Cut a small hole in the corner of each bag; pipe topping and peanut butter over each slide of pie.


8 servings

Chicken with Herbed Dumplings

Chicken with Herbed Dumplings
Sandy via The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T olive oil, divided
3 T unsalted butter
½ yellow onion, peeled and diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup dry sherry
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
¾ cup frozen peas

Herbed Dumplings
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
7 T chilled butter
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1 cup milk
½ tsp kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425.

To prepare the chicken, rinse the chicken breasts, pat them dry, and cut into 1 inch strips. Season with salt and pepper and divide into 3 batches. Heat 1 T of the olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (or small dutch oven). Add the first batch of chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining 2 batches, adding another tablespoon of olive oil for each batch. Set the chicken aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Slowly add the chicken stock, cream, and sherry, whisking often, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the carrots, bay leaf, nutmeg, oregano and thyme. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Return the chicken strips to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Mix in the peas.

To prepare the dumplings, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the chilled butter into tablespoon-sized slices. Using a pastry blender and working quickly, so the butter remains cold, cut in the butter until the pieces are pea-sized. (You can also transfer the flour mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times.) Gently mix in the rosemary, using your hands or a spatula. Add the milk and mix gently just until the ingredients are wet.

Using a large spoon, scoop up some of the dumpling mixture and drop it on top of the hot chicken mixture. Repeat until all the dumpling mixture is used (you should have about 10 dumplings). Sprinkle the tops with the kosher salt and put the skillet into the oven. Bake until the dumplings are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. If you want to brown the tops of the dumplings more, brush the tops with melted butter and turn on the broiler for the last few minutes, keeping a close eye on the dumplings at this point. Serve from skillet.

Sandy’s Notes; For the liquid, use ¾ cup heavy cream and two cans of reduced-sodium chicken broth, skip the dry sherry. Increase the vegetables. Next time sub a can of evaporated skimmed milk for the heavy cream.

Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

• 2 cups crushed sour-cream-and-onion-flavored potato chips
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 6 chicken breast fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/3 cup butter, melted
• Honey Mustard, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the crushed potato chips in a shallow dish. Beat together the egg and milk in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken cubes into the egg mixture and then dredge them in the chips. Place the chicken nuggets on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. The chicken nuggets can be frozen after baking. Serve with your favorite sauce, such as honey mustard or ranch dressing.
Honey Mustard:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons orange juice (more or less as needed)
Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Flavorful Mashed Potatoes

Flavorful Mashed Potatoes
Taste of Home

4 pounds red potatoes (about 12 medium)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup fat-free milk
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

Scrub and quarter potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. In a large bowl, mash potato mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Yield: 12 servings

Sausage Bean Soup

Sausage Bean Soup

¾ pound bulk Italian sausage
½ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (15 ½ oz) butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ½ oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 ½ oz) beef broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook sausage, onion and garlic until the sausage is browned; drain. Add beans, tomatoes, broth and basil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Chocolate Chip Banana Cream Pie

Chocolate Chip Banana Cream Pie

1 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups milk
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3 medium firm bananas
1 ½ cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Cut cookie dough in half widthwise. Let one portion stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften (return the other half to the refrigerator for another use). Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Spread 1 cup filling into prepared crust. Slice bananas; arrange over filling. Pour remaining filling over bananas. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar and remaining vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings