Month: September 2016

Ratatouille

I have 2 children, one 13 the other 19. My 19 year old is my extreme picky one, virgo and set in her ways. When it comes to vegetables there is no way this child will touch them until this year and Ratatouille. Not only is this dish beautiful to look at it tastes amazing. This is my version, the secret, the cast iron pot. My mother gave this to me as a Christmas gift. It’s the best gift I’ve ever received. I absolutely love it and use it for everything. 

Supplies:

  • 5 quart cast iron pot with lid
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Oven mitt

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 yellow squash (small size, 1 if large)
  • 2 zucchini (small size, 1 if large)
  • 1 large red tomatoe
  • 1 red onion (you may use sweet Vidalia if desired. We are a red onion house)
  • Olive oil
  • Herbes De Provence


Preheat oven to 350°. Pour, coating just the bottom of your pot with Olive oil.

Slice your vegetables  about 1/4 inch thick. Now your going to layer your vegetables in a spiral formation on the bottom of your pot, continuous till you reach the center. Alternate your vegetables, try not to double up on vegetables if possible. It’s ok if you do. 


Drizzle Olive oil over your vegetables then sprinkle your spice over the top, be sure that your vegetables have an even amount of spice, cover. Bake at 350° for about and hour till vegetables are tender.

Serves about 6.

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Almond Cherry Bread

If you love sweet cherries and crunchy almonds this is definitely the perfect combination for you. With just a touch of cinnamon and vanilla baked into this incredibly moist bread, you won’t be disappointed. When served warm it pairs perfectly with a cup of hot cocoa. 

Supplies:

  • 2 bread loaf pans (I prefer glass)
  • 1 mixing bowl and 1 wooden spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 1 cup of vetegtable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 table spoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1 – 2o ounce can of cherry pie filling
  • 1 can of spray butter (pam)

Preheat your oven to 350°. Using your spray butter coat each baking loaf pan.

In your mixing bowl cream together your eggs, butter and oil. Next add your sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir well. Now add your flour and cinnamon mix well. Finally gently fold in your cherry pie filling and almonds.


Divide your batter evenly between your bread pans. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes for each loaf. Bread should be golden brown, when pierced with a toothpick it should be clean and free from batter. Serve warm.


Makes 2 bread loaf pans

Philly Chicken Sandwich

Everyone loves a good hearty sandwich from time to time. Especially during the fall. The family is out side, raking leaves, it’s chilly you need something to warm their insides. This is a great sandwich to make the guys during the game. Piled high on this sandwich you have a perfectly buttered toasted roll with garlic, chicken breast cooked to perfection, sweet green peppers, red onion, mushrooms, crisp bacon, garlic and 2 cheeses. Then its put back in the oven to melt everything together, topped with mayo, its definitely a great way to end the day.

Supplies:

  • 2 large fry pans
  • 2 knives (1 for chicken the other your vegetables)
  • 2 cutting boards (1 for chicken the other your vegetables)
  • Large baking sheet lined with foil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Tongs
  • Large jar to hold bacon grease
  • Oven mits

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts (sliced your chicken, about 1/4 inch strips)
  • 1 package of bacon 
  • 1 green pepper (remove membrane and seeds. Rinse and slice into 1/4 inch strips)
  • 1/4 of a large red onion (sliced into 1/4 inch strips)
  • 4 large white mushrooms (remove stem, rinse and slice into 1/4 inch strips)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • Heaping 1 – 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 stick of butter softened
  • 1 jar of minced garlic
  • 4 soft hoggie rolls

Using a large fry pan and tongs cook your bacon till crisp, do not over cook. Drain your bacon grease into a jar, leave just enough in your fry pan to cook the chicken. About 1/4 of an inch. Place your chicken strips in pan and cook on medium till pink is gone. Do not over cook, chicken needs to stay moist. Set aside.

In the second large fry pan combine 1/4 stick of butter and all your sliced vegetables and garlic. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper on your veggies. Saute´ till green peppers are tender. 

Remove from the fry pan into your bowl and set aside.


Using the fry pan for your vegetables, spoon 1 heaping spoonful of minced garlic into the fry pan, spread. Slice your hoggie roll long wise, do not cut all the way through you want them to stay together. Using your soften butter, spread over each half. Place them face down on the minced garlic fry pan. Toast on medium low til golden brown. Repeat this method for the other 3 rolls. 

Once toasted place them on your foiled lined baking sheet. First layer each roll with chicken divide evenly on all 4 rolls, next your vegetables and bacon. Using all of your cheese cover your toppings on each roll. Place your rolls in the oven and set on broil. Only toast till cheese is melted. You don’t want to burn your buns. Remove from oven and serve with mayo.

Makes 4

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

Muffins are a quick little treat anytime of the day. Perfect with a cup of warm coffee for your morning breakfast, afternoon tea or late night snack. My daughter is in college, to keep her mind focused on her studies a quick little snack helps. These muffins have the right combination of cinnamon and sweet banana to please your pallet. Served warm with a pat of butter takes them to another level of flavor. 


Supplies:

  • Muffin tin and muffin cup papers
  • 1 mixing bowl and a wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • Cutting board and knife for bananas
  • Oven mit

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas peeled and diced small
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of butter soften
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line your muffin tin with your paper cups.


In your bowl combine eggs and milk, lightly beat. Now combine your flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon stir, next add your butter and gently mix, just enough to combine. Next fold in your diced bananas. Do not over mix. Spoon your batter into your baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes till muffins are golden brown and are firm to touch. Let cool for about 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool another 5 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar. Serve warm.
Makes 12


Cake Frosting Tips

Planning ahead can give you amazing frosted cake results. Use these helpful tips to be successful.

  • You can bake your layers of cake up to 3 weeks in advance. Once layers are cooled, wrap in foil and freeze upside down so the layers will be flat when stacking. For best results do not stack the layers on top of each other in the freezer. Once ready to use, unwrap and allow to stand for 2 to 3 hours before frosting. It is not necessary to freeze your layers, you may chill them for a few hours as well in the refrigerator, always frost a cold cake the frosting will stay in place.
  • Place a spoonful of frosting on your cake stand before you add your first layer. This prevents your cake from shifting.
  • Place the first layer with right side up so it will sit flat on your stand.
  • Now spoon 1 1/2 cups of frosting on the top layer of your cake, smooth evenly using a spatula, allow frosting to fall to the sides, this will help you frost the sides of the cake and will prevent your second layer from shifting as well. Set the second layer on top, center upside down, this will give you a flat top.
  • Start with 1 1/2 cups of frosting, using a spoon, place frosting top center, with a spatula start spreading your frosting evenly over the top of the cake just past the edge, this will assist you on frosting the sides.
  • Now begin your sides by taking one section at a time using your spatula and turning the cake stand as you go. Cover the sides first then you can go back and be creative, create swirls or flat a surface.

  • To create a flat surface, use a long metal cake spatula, dip in hot water, shake the spatula a bit to remove excess water and smooth your frosting. Continuously dip your spatula as you go as needed.
  • Place your finished cake in the refrigerator 30 minutes and up to over night to set.
  • Be very generous with your frosting. You will get less cake crumbs if you do. If it becomes to much you can always remove some after.

Goulash

As an adult I think about growing up and what kind of dinners my mom made my sister, brother and I. One of the dishes she made and definitely was one of my favorites was Goulash. Living in Conneticut my mom and dad had this huge garden in the back yard it was full of vetegtables. I remember going out there pulling weeds and picking the vegetables when ripe, eating them right from the garden. It was perfect. This recipe is inspired by her and memories of growing up. 

Supplies:

  • 2 fry pans, 1 for your ground beef the other your vegetables
  • Large pot for pasta
  • Cutting board and knife
  • 2 spoons for stirring
  • Large serving bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs package of ground beef (I use market ground from my grocer, its ground fresh daily, you can ask your meat counter for it)
  • 1 – 16 ounce box of medium shells
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of tomatoe sauce
  • 1 green pepper (remove seeds, membrane, washed and diced small)
  • 1/2 of a red onion (peeled and diced small)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and diced small)
  • 1 large red tomatoe (diced small)
  • 4 large basil leaves (diced small)
  • 1 table spoon of paprika
  • 2 table spoons of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Grated cheese of choice if you like

Boil your pasta till tender, drain and set aside. Cook your ground beef, be sure your beef is chopped small and cook through, do not drain. Set aside.

In another fry pan combine your butter, vegetables, garlic and basil. Cook medium with lid on till peppers are tender, add your tomatoe sauce to warm only, stir occasionally. Do not drain.

In a large mixing bowl combine your pasta, beef and vegetables stir till mixed well. Now add your salt, pepper and paprika. Transfer to a large serving bowl garnish with cheese if desired. Serve warm.

Serves about 8 hearty bowls.

Garlic Knots

Garlic knots, they honestly speak for themselves. How can anyone resist fluffy white dough, baked golden brown, soaked in sweet butter with garlic and then topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese. These knots are absolutely devine, so easy to make, you can’t eat just one. They will be the hit of any party so be sure to make plenty.

Supplies:

  • Baking sheet
  • Rolling pin
  • Butter knife for slicing dough
  • Sauce pan and spoon for stirring
  • Oven mitt
  • Serving platter

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces of fresh Italian pizza dough
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • Spray butter (pam)
  • 1/4 cup of flour for rolling your dough

Preheat your oven 350°. Spray your baking sheet with your spray butter.


Dust your clean counter top and rolling pin with flour, next roll your dough to about the size of a medium pizza. 


Next slice your dough in 1/4 inch slices and about 5 inches long. When you tie your dough it will strech a little so you can get a full knot. 


Now tie each strip of dough into a single knot. They don’t need to be perfect. You should get about 20 knots. It depends on how far you rolled your dough, next place them in your baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or golden brown. Do not over cook. In your sauce pan combine your butter and minced garlic. Heat on low till melted, stirring constantly. 


Once your knots are golden brown place them on a serving platter. Drizzle your butter and garlic over top then garnish with cheese.

Serves about 20