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Archive for March, 2012

Ingrediants
4 cups sliced strawberries, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (about 8 cookies)
1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Preparation

Place 2 cups of strawberry slices and granulated sugar in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Set strawberry puree aside.

Combine ricotta and next 4 ingredients (ricotta through vanilla) in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Spoon 2 tablespoons cookie crumbs into each of 4 parfait glasses. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons strawberry puree, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, and 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture; repeat the layers. Drizzle the remaining strawberry puree over each serving. Chill for 2 hours. Top each parfait with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds.

Recipe found here: Strawberry Parfaits

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Crusty French Bread

Ingredients

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
Cornmeal
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
Directions

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide with tapered ends. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.

Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe found here: Crusty French Bread

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Homemade Four Cheese Ravioli

Ingredients

Ravioli Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Ravioli Filling:
1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley

Pesto-Alfredo Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions

Mound the flour and salt together on a work surface and form a well. Beat the teaspoon of olive oil, 2 eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough.

Knead the dough until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes; add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling. Combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, egg, and parsley and mix well. Set the filling aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and pesto sauce and cook for one minute. Pour in the heavy cream, raise the heat to high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, warm the marinara sauce over medium-low heat.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat the egg with the tablespoon of water to make the egg wash.

Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets no thicker than a nickel. To assemble the ravioli, brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta. Drop the filling mixture on the dough by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart. Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta, pressing out the air from around each portion of filling. Press firmly around the filling to seal. Cut into individual ravioli with a knife or pizza cutter. Seal the edges.

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the ravioli, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Grease a baking sheet. Place the cooked ravioli on the sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven until brown, about 4 minutes.

To serve the ravioli, divide them among four warmed serving bowls. Drizzle the marinara sauce over the ravioli and then top with the cream sauce.

Recipe found here: Homemade Four Cheese Ravioli

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Chicken and Rice Cordon Bleu

2 packages (6.2 ounces each) quick-cooking long-grain and wild rice
4 cups water
4 thin slices baked ham, cut into 1-inch strips
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
1 jar (16 ounces) Parmesan and mozzarella cheese pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 Heat oven to 350°. Spray rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches, with cooking spray. Mix rice, contents of seasoning packets and water in baking dish. Place ham over rice. Place chicken tenders over ham. Spoon pasta sauce over each chicken tender; sprinkle with paprika.
2 Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes longer or until rice is tender and chicken is no longer pink in center. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe found here: Chicken and Rice Cordon Bleu

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Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.

Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe found here: Sloppy Joes

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St. Patrick’s Day Mint Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Ingredients

1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup Creme de menthe
50 Chocolate or mint chocolate wafer cookies
12 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate, oughly chopped
Green sprinkles (optional)

Preparation
Step 1:
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.

Step 2:
Prepare mint butter cream filling. Beat butter in an electric mixer on high speed until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar and Creme de menthe and mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to high and mix until filling is light and fluffy.

Step 3:
Put together sandwiches. Spread 1 tablespoon of filling onto bottom side of half of the cookies. Press remaining cookies down onto butter cream to make sandwiches. Place cookie sandwiches on prepared baking sheets and put into freezer for an hour.

Step 4:
Once cookies have chilled, melt chocolate for dipping. Place chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave in 30-second increments stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. Dip half of each cookie sandwich into chocolate and cover with sprinkles if desired.

Step 5:
Recipe found here: St. Patrick’s Day Mint Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

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Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon And Black Quinoa Recipe

Ingredients:

1 lb small artichokes
1 half medium shallot
1/4 c. shelled pistachio nuts
Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 c. black quinoa cooked
1/4 c. + 1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
If you haven’t cooked your quinoa, start that first. Remember that it expands to four times its original volume when cooked, so you don’t need to make a lot.

Directions

Whisk 1/4 c. olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Clean your artichokes by cutting off the top third and the bottom, then removing all the tough leaves. You do not want the artichokes to be stringy, so it is better to remove extra leaves than too few.

Cut your clean artichoke in half then submerge it instantly in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Artichokes quickly oxidize and turn black when exposed to air. The acid from the lemon juice will prevent this from happening. As you’re cleaning the artichokes and adding them to the bowl, stir the mixture regularly to be sure none are exposed to air for too long.

Thinly slice your shallot. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan on medium high heat. When the oil swirls easily in the pan add the shallots and pistachio nuts. When the shallots begin to brown, add the zest and stir. Cook the mixture for another minute or two until the shallots have almost completely caramelized.

Add the artichokes and liquid to the pan and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the artichokes so their faces are touching the surface of the pan and allow them to brown and the liquid to reduce. Stir the artichokes every few minutes until the liquid is almost completely reduced and all surfaces of the artichokes start to brown. If the pan dries before the artichokes have finished cooking, add 1/8 c. of water to prevent the shallots and nuts from burning.

The artichokes are done cooking when then are tender all the way through. At the last minute, toss in the quinoa and mix well. Make sure to scrape the caramelized bits of shallot and zest into the quinoa. Adjust salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Makes one main course or 2-3 side dishes. This would pair beautifully with roasted rosemary chicken.

Recipe found here: Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon And Black Quinoa Recipe

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Here is a good demonstration to help with artichokes:

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

This page gives more information, including how to buy artichokes and make an artichoke cup for dips:

Artichokes – Cooking Artichokes

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Microwave Peanut Brittle

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup salted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Butter a cookie sheet. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in peanuts and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes more, then stir in butter and vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.

Recipe found here: Microwave Peanut Brittle

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This is my favorite pie. I love it! It is hard to find in the store, bakeries, etc. This is a good recipe for it, too!

Grandma’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 pie shell (9 inches), baked

MERINGUE:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar

Directions
In a small saucepan, place raisins and enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a large saucepan, the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in sour cream and milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir for 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 for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Drain raisins, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Gently stir liquid into filling. Add raisins, and nuts if desired. Pour into pie shell.

For meringue, in a small bowl, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Spread over hot filling, sealing edges to crust.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

Recipe found here: Grandma’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie

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