Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Bliss Cookies

Last night I made Banh Mi sandwiches and they continue to be one of our favorites.

Yesterday my goal was to make cookies to mail to Annie. The problem was due to human error - I halved the recipe, but I added the full amount of chopped chocolate (well, chocolate chips, in my version). This led to them being extra fudgy. That is not a bad thing at all, but it is not mailable. One slightly warm draft on the box and all the cookies would melt.

Melting may not be a terrible thing though, because these cookies... well, they look like poo. If you make them (and you should, because they're easy and good and only dirty one bowl in preparation), remember that they retain the shape you give them when you drop them on the pan. And for the love of god, avoid the walnuts. Two words: Corn Poo. They are quite tasty though!

In sum, I failed at making cookies for Annie but at least was left with some delicious cookies for me to eat this week. I will simply have to try again!

cookie

Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Bliss Cookies
KraftFoods

Serve one of these decadent chocolatey cookies along with a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk as a special after-school treat.

2 packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate -- (8 squares each) divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter -- (1/2 stick) softened
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon CALUMET Baking Powder
2 cups chopped PLANTERS Walnuts

1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Coarsely chop 8 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Microwave remaining 8 chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in chopped chocolate and walnuts. (Note: If omitting nuts, increase flour to 3/4 cup to prevent excessive spreading of cookies as they bake.)

2. DROP rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.

3. BAKE 12 to 13 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.

Yield: 2 dozen

Alternate Cookie Sizes
Bite-Size Cookies: Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough, 1-1/2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 6 to 7 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Makes 5-1/2 doz. bite-size cookies or 33 servings, two cookies each.

Larger Cookies: Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls, 3 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 13 to 14 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Makes 18 large cookies or 18 servings, one cookie each.

Bar Cookies: Spread into greased foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 22 to 24 min. or until puffed and shiny. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Makes 24 servings, one bar each.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Oh, it has been way too long since we've had a truly amazing new recipe. This is quite delicious, with roasted vegetables and tons of delicious cheese. It isn't particularly light, but we all have to make sacrifices sometime. It has a big serving of vegetables, right? And cheese = calcium... so it's all good. I halved the recipe but still ended up having to use my small casserole dish, so if you make the full recipe in a 9x13, it's going to be packed. My dish was completely full. This was pretty sweet because it allowed for leftovers. We agreed that this recipe is delicious and must be made again. I think it would be particularly good if we were to ever have company for dinner because it's so hearty that I don't think anyone would miss the meat. Delicious! Giada is awesome. Yum!!

penne

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
Giada de Laurentiis, Everyday Italian

2 red peppers -- cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini -- quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash -- quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms -- halved
1 yellow onion -- peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt -- divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper -- divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce -- (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas -- thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter -- cut into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs . Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander .

4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce , cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

5. Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Servings: 6

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baked Crab Dip

I was totally excited for this dip, only to discover that I do not really like crab dip. He loved it. Well, he didn't like the red bell pepper. But he ate the rest of it. I'm disappointed with myself. I thought I was doing better with the whole seafood thing. Oh well!

dip

Baked Crab Dip
Diane Morgan, Skinny Dips
via Epicurious

Fresh crab meat is so rich, fabulous, and sweet that, for this dip, I wanted to highlight the texture and flavor of the crab without masking it. Served bubbly hot with a crisply browned, lemon zest?panko topping, this dip will be a party favorite—easy to put together, quick to bake, and quick to disappear, too.

6 oz/170 g fresh crabmeat -- well drained
1/2 cup/75 g diced red pepper/capsicum
1/2 cup/25 g finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1/2 cup/120 ml reduced-fat mayonnaise
4 oz/115 g whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce -- such as Tabasco
1/4 cup/20 g panko -- (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Crostini -- Baked Pita Chips, Baked Wonton Crisps, baked potato chips

1. Place the crabmeat in a medium bowl and flake with your fingers. Stir in the bell pepper/capsicum, parsley, and chives. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Transfer to a 1-qt/1-L shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko and lemon zest.

2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/gas 7. Just before baking, sprinkle the panko mixture on top and bake until the panko is toasty brown and the dip is bubbling at the edges, about 12 minutes. Serve hot.

3. Dip Do-Ahead: The dip, without the panko topping, can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. The topping can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead and sprinkled on just before baking. add your own note

Yield: 2 cups

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

This is from a Buitoni advertisement in a magazine, and it's what I would consider a "cheater recipe" because it requires a very Sandra Lee-esque combination of prepared ingredients. Fortunately, this turned out to be very good. I did not use Buitoni (ahaha suck it!) and instead used a locally-made alfredo sauce. Organic canned pumpkin, some fresh ravioli... it was a good combination. The shallots and white wine are a great addition. We really liked it. Don't skip the green onions because they are nice. This is a great lazy weeknight meal, definitely.

alfredo

Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce
Buitoni advertisement

Alfredo sauce, luscious pumpkin and four-cheese ravioli make a festive and savory dish seasoned with white wine, shallots and fresh sage. Nectar, soft bread sticks and a crisp green salad add contrast and flavor.

1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 container (10 ounces) BUITONI® Refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon ground sage
2 packages (9 ounces each) BUITONI® Refrigerated Four Cheese Ravioli
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1. COOK wine and shallots in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Stir in sauce, pumpkin and sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

2. PREPARE pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water. Stir reserved water into sauce; toss with pasta. Sprinkle with green onion. Season with ground black pepper.

Servings: 4

Mushroom and Fontina Quesadillas

Mushrooms. Fontina (my favorite). Quesadillas. What could go wrong?

I absolutely abhorred it. I have no idea why I hated it. I just didn't think it was good. I don't know what happened. I'm not going to make it again, and that surprises me.

quesadilla

Mushroom and Fontina Quesadillas
Cooking Light, May 2007

Substitute Monterey Jack cheese for fontina, if you wish. Chop the vegetables in advance; refrigerate. Finish the recipe just before serving.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
2 1/2 cups finely chopped portobello mushroom caps
4 cups finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (8-inch) wholes wheat flour tortillas
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese -- (1 ounce) divided

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and jalapeño; sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and salt; sauté 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Remove mushroom mixture from pan; keep warm.

2. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Return pan to heat; add 1 tortilla. Cook 1 minute; turn tortilla over. Arrange about 1/3 cup mushroom mixture over half of tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold in half; cook 30 seconds on each side or until cheese melts and tortilla is golden. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, mushroom mixture, and cheese. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Servings: 8

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Toffee and M&M Monster Cookies

He put it well when he described these cookies as being "three cookies in one!" Or something. The wonder of monster cookies is that a) they are large, and b) they have everything in them. Oats, chocolate chips, M&Ms, toffee bits, peanut butter? Delicious. These are wonderful. I would make these again. I have a feeling they would be good to ship to people, too. I will probably test this out at some point.

monster

Toffee & M&M Monster Cookies
Joe's Blog
adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or bittersweet chips (about 4 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup toffee bits
3/4 cup dark chocolate M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, sugars, vanilla and corn syrup until combined. Stir in melted butter and peanut butter. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and set the dough aside to rest for 30 minutes.

4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets - slightly flatten each piece of dough. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 24 LARGE

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza

I had a minor snafu with this, because I did not make my own pizza dough and instead purchased some from Wegmans. For some reason, the pizza dough got ginormous in the oven and it took about 10 minutes extra to cook all the way through. But it was worth it! It was very good! I did make the sauce from scratch and it was good (and usually I don't like sauce!), and the pizza itself is quite delicious.

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza
Cooking Light, July 2009

Humble ingredients create a deliciously rich and satisfying entrée.

1 portion Homemade Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup New York–Style Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese -- (5 ounces)
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 plum tomatoes -- cored and thinly sliced

1. Remove Homemade Pizza Dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 500°.

3. Coat a 12-inch perforated pizza pan with cooking spray.

4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to prepared pan, shaking off excess flour. Brush dough evenly with oil. Spread New York–Style Pizza Sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle with Parmesan; top evenly with spinach and garlic. Sprinkle mozzarella over spinach. Spoon teaspoonfuls of ricotta over mozzarella. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes or until mozzarella melts and crust browns. Let stand 5 minutes; top with tomato slices. Cut into 6 wedges.

Servings: 6

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast -- (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water -- (100° to 110°)
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
26 1/10 ounces unbleached bread flour -- (about 5 1/2 cups) divided
Cooking spray

1. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Combine 1 1/4 cups cold water, oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon 24.9 ounces (about 5 1/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, yeast mixture, and cold water mixture in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low 8 minutes or until dough begins to form. Let rest 2 minutes; mix on low 6 minutes or until dough is smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes); add enough of the remaining 1.19 ounces (about 1/4 cup) flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

3. Divide the dough in half, and place each portion in a large zip-top bag coated with cooking spray. Seal and chill overnight or up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

4. Note: You can freeze the dough in heavy-duty, freezer-safe zip-top plastic bags for up to 2 months; thaw dough overnight in the refrigerator.


New York-Style Pizza Sauce

7 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
14 1/2 ounces petite-cut diced tomatoes -- undrained
6 ounces tomato paste

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

Kung Pao Shrimp

One of our fall-backs when I don't feel like cooking is to order Chinese food. (Or pizza.) We enjoy take-out a lot, but I do not enjoy the grease of it all. Well, I do at the time. Just not in retrospect. So I decided to jump on this and make some Kung Pao Shrimp. It did, in fact, taste better than the Chinese restaurants' kung pao shrimp. It still wasn't the Most Amazing Thing Ever, but it was very good. We had it with a jasmine rice blend and really enjoyed it. I would consider making it again.

Note: I did not use any of the more bizarre ingredients, like Chinese black vinegar. But you are certainly welcome to try it.

pow!

Kung Pao Shrimp
Cooking Light, September 2008

For a spicier kick to the pungent glaze, leave the seeds in the chiles. Chinese black vinegar has a deep, almost smoky taste. Look for it in Asian markets, or substitute balsamic vinegar for a sweeter flavor.

Shrimp:
1 tablespoon Shaoxing -- (Chinese rice wine) dry sherry, or sake
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp

Sauce:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Remaining Ingredients:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced green bell pepper strips -- (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 small dried hot red chiles -- (3 to 4) broken in half and seeded
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice

1. To prepare shrimp, combine first 4 ingredients; cover and chill 10 minutes.

2. To prepare sauce, combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (through sesame oil).

3. Heat a 14-inch wok over high heat. Add canola oil to wok, swirling to coat. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, and chiles to wok; stir-fry 1 minute or just until chiles begin to lightly brown (do not burn). Add shrimp mixture to wok; stir-fry 2 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir sauce; add sauce to wok. Stir-fry 30 seconds or until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve over rice.

Servings: 4

Roasted Red Pepper Mini-Bagel Sandwiches

It's not my fault I haven't posted much these past few weeks. A lot of family members died and their funerals were scattered over the past few weeks. But it's all finally settling down. Fantastic.

This week do have several recipes I will be trying out, and I am looking forward to it. I also decided randomly to make these little mini-bagel sandwiches for lunch yesterday. Super-easy, very yummy. I would make these again if I had it all on hand.

mini

Roasted Red Pepper On Mini-Bagel Sandwiches
Cooking Light, September 2004

3/4 cup 1/3-less-fat cream cheese -- (6 ounces) softened
1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese -- (2 ounces) softened
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves -- minced
12 mini bagels -- halved and toasted
12 ounces roasted red bell peppers -- rinsed, drained, and chopped

1. Combine first 6 ingredients.

2. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cut sides of bagels. Arrange the chopped red bell peppers evenly over bottom halves of bagels; top with top halves of bagels. Cut each sandwich in half.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegetarian Poutine

When I was in high school, I aspired to eventually become president and invade Canada. I wanted to take over their land, populate the world with penguins, and eat nothing but poutine for the rest of my life. Obviously this goal has pretty much shifted over the years, but the desire to try poutine has never left me. Poutine, as you may know, is a Canadian dish consisting of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Yup. There were two challenges, however. First: poutine is typically made with a meat gravy. Second: no one serves it here. Therefore, I had to take matters into my own hands. I came across a recipe about 5 years ago for a vegetarian poutine recipe and brushed it aside, but luckily I kept it. I tried it out tonight and it was very good! I have no idea if it is how poutine is supposed to taste, but we enjoyed it. I don't think I would make this again. I probably will just wait til we go visit our friend in Canada some day and then we'll go to the place that has vegetarian poutine near her. But this was a fun foray into Canadian cuisine!

poutine

Mr Wiggles' Vegetarian Poutine
All directions were copied off of a forum post on SomethingAwful.com circa 2006. I (Lauren) tweaked them and edited them a bit.

French fries
Queso fresco or cheddar cheese curds

Gravy:
1 onion
Some garlic
4 or 5 shiitakes
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup whole wheat flour shaken into 2 or 3 cups of water
Sage
Thyme
Plenty of olive oil or butter

Saute the chopped up onion in the fat until transluscent, then add garlic and sliced shiitakes. Cover and let it go for about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce, and the flour/water, and get it boiling while whisking the whole time. Once it's almost gravy consistancy, remove from heat and add the herbs. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and the consistancy will set up to where it needs to be.

Pour the gravy over the fries and top with cheese curds.

Chickpea Croquettes with Greek Salad Topping

Last night I made these easy chickpea patties. I have never used chickpea flour before, so that was new. I was a little bit freaked out pouring it into the pan because the batter just seemed so thin. But it set up almost immediately in the pan. It was very tasty. We enjoyed this. I don't know if I would make it again, since we have made so many things similar to this before, but I probably will have to since I don't know what else to do with the chickpea flour!

chickpeas

Chickpea Croquettes with Greek Salad Topping
Vegetarian Times, October 2009

Whole chickpeas give these sautéed croquettes a hearty texture.

1 cucumber -- quartered and sliced (1 cup)
1 cup cherry tomatoes -- quartered
2 green onions -- chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled low-fat vegan feta cheese -- optional
1 cup chickpea flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 ounce can chickpeas -- rinsed and drained
4 green onions -- chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic -- minced (2 tsp.)

1. To make Topping:

Toss together cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, lemon juice, and oil in bowl. Gently stir in feta crumbles. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and set aside.

2. To make Croquettes:

Whisk together chickpea flour, cumin, chili powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk in 3/4 cup hot water. Stir in remaining ingredients, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Scoop 4 1/4-cup dollops of chickpea mixture into skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden.

4. Flip with spatula, and cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Repeat with remaining chickpea mixture. Serve each Croquette topped with 1/4 cup Topping.

Servings: 4

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Salmon Rösti

If you've known me for awhile (and I've been doing this blog for more than 5 years now, so probably someone remembers), canned salmon freaks me out. One time I bought a big can of it and discovered all the bones and skin and I nearly threw up. I was very careful this time to buy cans of skinless, boneless salmon. And all was well! This came together quickly and was enjoyed by all. The dill sauce is nice but the capers don't add much to it. I followed the suggestions for a side of lemony green beans and that was a good accompaniment. We enjoyed this and I would make it again.

salmon

Salmon Rösti
Eating Well, Jan/Feb 2010

Convenient frozen hash browns and flaked salmon come together for a twist on this traditional Swiss favorite. We love the creamy dill sauce, but a dollop of ketchup is tasty too. Serve with: Steamed green beans tossed with sliced scallions, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.

2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon -- drained
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 large eggs
1 large egg white -- lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 3 teaspoons dried -- divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups frozen hash-brown shredded potatoes -- (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- divided
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon capers -- rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine salmon, onion, eggs and egg white, mustard, 2 tablespoons fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried), pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add potatoes and stir to combine.

2. Preheat oven to 200°F.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Fill a 1-cup measure two-thirds full with the salmon mixture and firmly pack it down. Unmold into the pan and pat to form a 3-inch cake. Repeat, making 3 more cakes. Cover and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently turn over and cook, covered, until crispy on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the cakes to a baking dish; keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the skillet and cook 4 more cakes with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining salmon mixture.

4. Combine sour cream, capers, lemon juice and the remaining dill in a small bowl. Serve the salmon cakes with the dill sauce.

Servings: 4

Cranberry-Hazelnut Coffeecake

I found a bag of cranberries in the back of the freezer yesterday so I went on a quest through my recipe collection to find something to use them up. I came up with this coffee cake, which was a lovely choice. It's very tasty and fluffy and not too tart from the cranberries. I'm unsure as to whether I'd make it again, but I would be happy to eat it again!

coffeecake

Cranberry-Hazelnut Coffeecake
Cooking Light, December 2000
and Cooking Light Holiday Cookbook

Streusel:
1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine -- melted

Cake:
1 2/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces fat-free sour cream -- divided
1 large egg
1 large egg white
5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine -- softened

Remaining Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 cups fresh cranberries -- chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare streusel, lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/4 cup flour and next 4 ingredients (1/4 cup flour through 1 tablespoon butter) in a bowl; toss well. Set aside.

3. To prepare cake, lightly spoon 1 2/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 2/3 cups flour and next 4 ingredients (1 2/3 cups flour through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Combine vanilla, 1/4 cup sour cream, egg, and egg white in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Place remaining sour cream and 5 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

4. Spread half of batter into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cranberries over batter. Spread remaining batter over cranberries. Sprinkle streusel mixture over batter. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Servings: 10

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Greek-Style Panini

I swear, this is one of the easiest and yummiest weeknight meals we make. And we do make it regularly. Greek-Style Paninis are delicious.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Garlic-Roasted Kale

I've been hearing about the wonders of roasted kale a lot lately so I finally decided to try it. We had it as a side dish to Sweet Potato and Avocado Sandwiches with Poppy Seed Spread. It was great. Oh my goodness. I'm so glad I bought a club pack of kale so I can make it again and again this week. It's addictive, too! You don't even need the sherry vinegar if you don't want to use it. Olive oil and salt is enough. Oh this is just a delicious and easy side dish. We will definitely make it again.

kale

Garlic-Roasted Kale
Cooking Light, November 2010

Roasting kale is amazing—the leaves turn from a dusty dark green to dark emerald with brown-tinged curly edges that crunch. This vegetable side is delicious served hot from the oven; the leaves lose their crisp texture as the dish stands.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves -- thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds kale -- stems removed and chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1. Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°. Place 2 large jelly-roll pans in oven for 5 minutes.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Divide kale mixture evenly between hot pans, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425° for 7 minutes. Stir kale, and rotate pans. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.

3. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Servings: 10

Heirloom Squash Farrotto

The comparison to risotto for this is definitely inaccurate. It has nothing in common with risotto and more in common with other large-grain dishes I've made before (such as ones with wheat berries or barley). I was thrilled to finally find farro at the grocery store, so that was fun. This is really good, but if you're expecting a risotto you should look elsewhere. This is also more southeast-Asian than Italian. With the cumin seed, yogurt, and cilantro, it has a definite Indian flair. But it is delicious! And even though it sounds like it's really complicated, it all cooks at the same time and is done in about half an hour. I popped in a steamable bag of brussels sprouts and voila! A tasty dinner. We would make this again.

farro

Heirloom Squash Farrotto
Bon Appetit, October 2010

For this twist on classic risotto, The Kitchen uses farro (hence the name "farrotto") instead of rice. No endless stirring required!

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice -- (or more) divided
3 garlic cloves -- 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil -- divided
2 cups semi-pearled farro
2 tablespoons chopped Fresno chile or red jalapeño chile with seeds -- divided
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
15 ounces garbanzo beans -- (chickpeas) drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredient info: Farro is available at specialty foods stores -- natural foods stores, and Italian markets. Semi-pearled farro, or farro perlato , cooks faster. It can also be found online at gustiamo.com.

1. Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook farro in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain farro and cool.

4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

5. Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve. add your own note

Servings: 4

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Very Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

Tonight I made Very Creamy Potato Cheese Soup for maybe... the second time? See, this is what happens when I say something is a "make again." I keep the recipe, and maybe I come back to it four years later. This is why recipes that make it into the regular rotation are so special! So anyhow, it was still delicious. Without even realizing it, I heeded the advice from my 22-year-old self and didn't puree the whole thing, leaving a bit of chunks from the potato and carrot. Good job, self!

WEIRD FACT: When I first made this recipe, Gibby had been living with me for, oh... four days? Five? That's insane. That was a long time ago!

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Baked Pasta

You'll probably notice in the next few days that I, for some reason, am really wanting squash and root vegetables. I have no idea why. So this recipe was perfect! My roux mixture never quite thickened up, even after baking, so that was a little disappointing. And husband accidentally purchased some pungent sheep's-milk Pecorino Romano rather than the fresh Parmesan I'd asked him to pick up, but that worked pretty well anyway. Wouldn't do it again, but it wasn't bad. I'd probably toss in some rosemary if we make it again, because everything is better with rosemary. I would probably make this again though. It was quite tasty.

pasta

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Baked Pasta
Cooking Light, November 2002

This meatless dish combines two autumn vegetables that I love. It's warming, spicy, and very satisfying. It's homey enough to serve on weeknights and festive enough to serve during the holidays.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves -- minced
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash -- (1/2-inch)
1 cup chopped parsnip
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper -- divided
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese -- (2 ounces) divided
Cooking spray
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add squash and parsnip; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in sage, parsley, nutmeg, allspice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; remove from heat.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Combine squash mixture, pasta, and 1/4 cup cheese in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, tossing gently to combine.

4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add milk; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add reserved cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

5. Pour milk mixture over pasta mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Servings: 4

Couscous-and-Feta Cakes

This was pretty easy and yielded yummy results, even though I didn't use an electric skillet (which I have, I just didn't use). It worked just fine in a pan on the stovetop. We had it on top of some homemade marinara sauce and it was very good. I would make this again.

couscous

Couscous-and-Feta Cakes
Cooking Light, January 1996

An electric skillet or griddle works well for this recipe because there's more room for the cakes. Otherwise, use a nonstick skillet, and cook in batches. They're delicious plain or served with marinara sauce.

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous
4 teaspoons olive oil -- divided
1 cup minced red onion
1 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves -- minced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese -- (4 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Place 1 teaspoon oil in an electric skillet; heat to 375°. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Combine couscous, onion mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; stir well.

3. Place 1/2 teaspoon oil in skillet; heat to 375°. Place 1/3 cup couscous mixture for each of 4 portions into skillet, shaping each portion into a 3-inch cake in the skillet. Cook 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning cakes carefully after 3 minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and couscous mixture.

Servings: 12

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Vegetable Stew with Potato and Cheese Pancakes

WHY DO I MAKE RACHAEL RAY RECIPES? Somebody needs to sneak into my Living Cookbook and freaking delete all her crap. You know why I was drawn to this? The gouda. Because I am a sucker for gouda. And I had some mushrooms I wanted to use up. Sigh. So the stew sucked. Cumin and rosemary? It did not go together and the soup was unsure of what it wanted to be. The potato pancakes were good, but how could they not be? Not a make-again. Surprise!

stew

Vegetable Stew with Potato and Cheese Pancakes
Rachael Ray

3 cloves garlic -- smashed
1 pound -- 16 to 20, crimini mushrooms, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream
1 medium zucchini -- quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion -- chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15 ounces chick peas -- garbanzo beans , drained
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
28 ounces diced tomatoes -- in puree
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves -- finely chopped
2 pounds all purpose potatoes -- such as Russets, about 3 large potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 small onion -- grated
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese -- the yield of an 8-ounce piece
Olive or vegetable oil -- for frying

1. In a medium pot over moderate heat saute garlic and mushrooms in extra-virgin olive oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add zucchini and onion to the pot and season vegetables with salt and pepper. Saute another 5 minutes. Add beans, cumin , tomato and chopped rosemary. Bring stew to a bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil or vegetable oil to the pan, just enough to coat the bottom. Combine potatoes with onions and flour. Mix in shredded cheese. Spoon piles of potato and cheese mixture into the pan, making 3-inch rounds, 1-inch apart. Cook cakes until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove cooked cakes and repeat process.

3. Arrange cakes, 3 per person, on dinner plates and top with ladles of mushroom and zucchini stew

Servings: 4

Colcannon

While we've made many iterations of colcannon, this is the first straight-up colcannon recipe I've made. I was a little wary of it due to the boiling of the cabbage and onion, but you can't really go wrong with potatoes and cabbage and cheese, right? Right. Especially when you use a beautifully aged sharp cheddar. Oh boy. I used savoy cabbage instead of regular green because I like the texture better. And it was fantastic. This was delicious and definitely aced the Lunchbox Test today. He liked it even better than Rumpledethumps. We would definitely put this into the rotation.

colcannon

Colcannon
Jane Brody's Good Food Book via CLBB

1 pound potatoes, unpeeled
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
3 ounces cheddar or other hard cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.

2. Drain,reserving the liquid,and set them aside to cool Using the reserved potato water, boil the cabbage and onion for about 5 minutes- Drain and set aside.

3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle,peel and mash with milk,butter,and salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Add the reserved onion and cabbage mixture.

5. Mix 2/3 of the cheese with the potatoes and transfer to a greased casserole or shallow baking dish.

6. Sprinkle with remaining cheese on top.

7. Heat in a moderately hot oven (350-400 for 30 minutes or so) and let cheese on top brown slightly.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Chocolate Passion Bowl

I DID make dinner tonight but I can't post about it because the picture is not ready. So you'll have to wait. But the goal is to cook at least 5 times this week. I promise!

On Friday, the 31st, we went to Connecticut to have a re-do of Christmas. My mom was back from her dad's funeral, we were all together, and we opened presents and had Chinese takeout and it was fun. To go along with the festivities, I prepared this trifle. Super-simple, not the most natural of ingredients, but it was exactly what my dad had asked for and everyone really liked it. Especially my brother, who is very picky! I would make this again.

I used No-Pudge Brownies with vanilla Greek yogurt, fat-free Cool-Whip, and sugar-free pudding mix. No one could tell!

trifle

If you're oddly observant and wondered why there is no Cool-Whip layer in the photo, it is because I mis-read the directions and accidentally added all the Cool-Whip to the pudding mix.

Chocolate Passion Bowl
KraftFoods

3 cups cold milk
2 packages (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP French Vanilla Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-1/2 cups)
1 pint (2 cups) raspberries

1. POUR milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

2. PLACE half of the brownie cubes in 2-qt. serving bowl; top with layers of half each of the pudding mixture, remaining whipped topping and raspberries. Repeat all layers.

3. REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour before serving. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

Servings: 16