Sunday, April 23, 2017

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

I can not think of an easier dinner. I put the ribs in the crock pot at 9AM and we sat down for a delicious dinner at 6PM. I made this recipe back in September of last year. It is from the Stay At Home Chef Blog. Click here the recipe for Crock Pot Ribs.

I made a rub of onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. I did not remove the membrane for the under side of the ribs as the original recipe suggests. I brushed both sides of the ribs with BBQ Sauce. I used Stubbs Original. 8 hours in the slow cooker. I removed the ribs from the Slow Cooker and placed them on a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet (easy clean up is so important). I brushed the ribs with more sauce. They went under the broiler set on low for almost 5 minutes. They were tender and the BBQ sauce was caramelized.

The side dish was Potato Salad!

1 1/2 pounds unpeeled potatoes cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-cubes1 bunch radishes, trimmed, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Steam potatoes on steamer rack set in large pot over boiling water until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Cool slightly. Add radishes and onion.

Whisk next 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk in Parmesan. Season dressing with salt and generous amount of pepper. Add dressing to potato mixture; toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cooking With Nonna

I bought my brother-in-law the cookbook, Cooking with Nonna, for his birthday. I have been following the Cooking with Nonna blog for awhile. This is where you can find those recipes that your grandmothers and aunts cooked when you were growing up. When I purchased the book for Ralph I got myself the Kindle version. This week we had 3 meals from the book. I will not be putting the recipes on my blog because I think you should buy the book. Sorry, but it is filled with recipes you will want to try. Trust me.

Pasta Fagioli. The recipe in the book called for dried beans. Well, of course, I did not have time to soak and cook the beans so I used canned beans. Wow, this is the recipe I have been searching for. This may be my go to Pasta Fagioli recipe.

Lemon Chicken. I can not even attempt to describe how moist and delicious this was. The recipe is similar to the chicken cutlet recipe I have been using but the cutlets are fried. The sauce of chicken broth, white wine, and lemon juice so light and flavorful.

And the Stuffed Artichoke. Wow! The recipe in the book instructs you to scoop out more of the inside of the artichoke than other recipes I have used. The bread crumbs are toasted, yes I used fresh breadcrumbs.  An absolutely perfect dish and Chris ate more of the artichoke than he usually does.

Thank you to all the Nonnas that helped write this book.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Baking - Toffee Shortbread

Someone was looking for cookies last night. Today I made a new recipe. Literally! Toffee Shortbread. I love shortbread cookies. Shortbread is a blank canvas waiting for whatever flavors you want to add to it. I had some toffee chips in the pantry. I found a couple of recipes to use as guides. This is what I came up with. And damn they are good!

Toffee Shortbread

½ cup butter softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup toffee candy crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Add Toffee candy crumbs. Combine. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten into a 1” disk. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until about ¼“ thick.

Cut out in desired shapes. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. 

Adult "SpaghettiOs"

Neither Chris nor I have ever had "SpaghettiOs" from the can. Even without having something to compare it to we love this dinner. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. The sauce used ingredients that I never add to a sauce. Paprika and sugar. I know some sauce recipes call for sugar but my Mom never added it. It was quite delicious. And the meatballs were fried. Another thing I don't do. This is something I may start to do. How often do we have meatballs? Frying them once in a while should be okay...
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon coarsely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more
Kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten to blend
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large sprigs basil
12 ounces anelletti, ditalini, or other short tubular pasta

Purée tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth; there should still be some dime-sized pieces remaining. Set aside.

Whisk panko, cheese, oregano, garlic powder, ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, and 1½ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in egg and cream. Add beef and mix with your hands until just combined, being careful not to overwork (if packed too firmly, meatballs will be dense). Form into 1"-diameter balls (you should have about 24); transfer to a plate.

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook meatballs, turning occasionally until lightly browned on all sides but not fully cooked through about 5 minutes. Transfer to another plate.

Cook onion and garlic in the same skillet, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and begins to soften, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until brick red, about 1 minute. Add paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar, basil, and reserved tomato purée. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced and flavors have melded about 20 minutes. Add meatballs and any accumulated juices; continue to cook until meatballs are cooked through, 5–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and return to pasta pot. Pour sauce and meatballs over pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with cheese.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pizza Pie

It seems like it has been forever since we have had pizza on a Sunday night. Tonight's was especially delicious with Roasted Sausage and Peppers for a topping. The crust was crispy and the sauce was perfect.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Black Bean Soup and Cheddar Scones

Not sure which I liked better. The soup or the scones. The soup was so darn easy to make but the scones were very, very good.

Black Bean Soup

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cans (15 oz.) Black Beans (drain liquid from 1 can)
Black pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and pepper in hot oil for five minutes.
Stir in cumin, chili powder and oregano. Puree one can of beans (the can that was not drained) add to pot. Add remaining can of beans, the can that was drained. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add black pepper to taste. Garnish with salsa, shredded cheese or fresh herbs on top.

I found this scone recipe on Delicious scones. I made half of the recipe and it was plenty for us with leftovers.

2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup old cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method -
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne pepper and salt.

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in the cheese.

Add the buttermilk all at once, stirring with a fork to make a soft, sticky dough.

With lightly floured hands, press the dough into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, knead gently 10 times.

Pat out the dough into a 3/4-inch thick round.

Using a 2-1/2-inch floured cutter, cut out rounds.

Place on a ungreased baking sheet.

Gather up the scraps and repeat dough once; cut out more rounds.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg.

Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Behind the scenes at So What Are You Making For Dinner?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lentils and Egg Stew and Homemade Bread

You know the routine by now. It snows and I bake bread. Today was Blizzard Stella. It was more stress than snow. They forecast high winds and wide spread power outages. I hate loosing power. We do not have a generator and we have well water. Thank God we did not loose power. If we did how would I have baked my bread?

This recipe is an oldie! I cut it out of Cooking Light Magazine in 1994. French Wheat Baguettes.

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 c Whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 1/4 c Bread flour
1 tsp Sugar
1 1/2 c warm, water, (105˚ to115˚), divided
Vegetable cooking spray
1 tbsp Cornmeal  

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. 

Place bread flour, whole-wheat flour, and salt in food processor, and pulse 4 times or until blended. With processor on, slowly add yeast mixture and remaining 1 cup warm water through food chute; process until dough leaves sides of bowl and forms a ball. Process 15 additional seconds. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. 

Punch the dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half, and roll each portion into a 17 x 9-inch rectangle. Roll up each rectangle, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch ends to seal. Place each roll, seam side down, in an 18-inch-long baguette pan coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. 

Uncover the dough; using a sharp knife, make 6 diagonal cuts 1/4 inch deep across top of loaves. Spray loaves with water. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves, 12 servings per loaf. 

Dinner was Lentil and Egg Stew from Bon Appetit. Comfort food at the end of a stormy day.

 Lucy rode out the storm next to the heat vent.

Monday, March 13, 2017

National Chicken Soup Day!!!

It never works out that we actually eat the food which is being celebrated on the right day. After dinner tonight I found out that today was National Chicken Soup Day. And yes we had Chicken Noodle Soup!

We are getting ready for a Blizzard. Stella is it's name. They are saying we should be prepared for power outages. I don't remember this happening so often when I was growing up. Hopefully I will be able to do a post tomorrow night. Stay safe and warm!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Crockpot Corned Beef and Guinness Beer Recipe

Let's be honest. I have never been a fan of Corned Beef and Cabbage. That was until today. One of my favorite blogs to follow is What's Cookin' Italian Style. The posts remind me so much of the food my mom and aunts use to make.

Tonight's dinner was so good that we will have it again on Friday night, St. Patrick's Day. Yeah it's Lent but the bishop said it was okay.
Every part of this dinner was delicious. The cabbage was amazing! Click here for the recipe.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Slow Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken

The star of a few upcoming meals will have started with this dinner.  Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken in a Slow Cooker. This is definitely a favorite slow cooker recipe.

3 teaspoons salt
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
zest of one lemon, then take the lemon & cut in half
4 carrots, cut into thirds
4 celery, cut into thirds or quarters
1 lemon, quartered   
4 to 5 pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel, neck & gizzards removed (if any)

Gravy (optional but too good not to make!)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 white wine
salt & pepper

Mix salt, cayenne pepper, ground pepper and lemon zest together in a small bowl and set aside.

Chop vegetables and add to a 6 to 7 quart slow cooker.

Prep the chicken
Fold wings back below the chicken. Put lemon pepper spices inside and all over the skin of the chicken. Add the quartered lemon pieces to the inside cavity of the chicken. Taking the lemon you halved, squeeze one-half over the chicken and over the vegetables. Add the two halves on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Lay the chicken inside the slow cooker on top of the vegetables. (No need to add water or broth). Turn slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Remove chicken with turkey lifters and place into a baking dish and broil for 4 to 6 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Keep an eye on the chicken under the broiler it can brown up pretty fast!

Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables from the slow cooker if desired.

Remove vegetables and pour chicken broth from the bottom of the slow cooker into a fat separator or use a spoon to remove any extra fat. Strain the liquid.

In skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon to cook the flour.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

 I have found a go to Tomato Soup recipe. It is a variation of the Buddy Valastro's Easy Tomato Soup.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juice
1 cup chicken stock, plus more if needed
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, washed and coarsely sliced or torn by hand
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until it is melted and foamy. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and their juices then stir in the stock. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid is simmering. Continued to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the basil, and stir the rest into the pot. Using an immersion blender, or working in batches in a standing blender, puree the soup until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the remaining basil.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pasta with Peppers and Sand

The first Friday of Lent. We start with one of my favorite recipes. We have been making this recipes for years. The recipe is from Jeff Smith's "Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian." Peppers, Bread Crumbs, Crushed Red Pepper, and Pasta. Oh, I did add sliced Zucchini to the recipe tonight. Perfect for a Friday night when work went a little longer than planned.
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper
1 zucchini sliced
4 cloves garlic
12 cup fresh breadcrumb
14 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
12 lb spaghettini or 12 lb angel hair pasta

Place a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Remove core and seeds from pepper and slice thinly--julienne style.
Heat a large frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Add the pepper and saute over high heat for two minutes.
The peppers should remain a little crisp.
Remove from the pan and set aside uncovered.
Heat the frying pan again and add the remaining oil and the garlic.
Saute just a few seconds. Add the bread crumbs and red pepper flakes.
Gently toast the mixture, stirring often, until very lightly browned.
Boil the pasta until al dente and drain well.
Return to the pot and toss with the red bell pepper and the bread crumbs.
Salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew

Ah, Lent. I love the challenge it presents. What to have for dinner that is nourishing, delicious and fairly easy to make. Our first meal met all the criteria. From we have Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew. I believe Chris said it was quite delicious, or something along those lines.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bunches Tuscan or Lacinato kale or 1 medium bunch curly kale (about 20 ounces total), thick stems discarded and leaves sliced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans butter, cannellini, or corona beans, rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
kosher salt and black pepper
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (about ¼ cup), plus more for serving
6 thick slices country bread, toasted

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the broth, beans, tomatoes (and their juices), 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan.

Tear the toasted bread into large pieces and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. (I served the bread on the side. Homemade bread, of course!)

Serve warm topped with the bread. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with additional Parmesan.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quick Beef Stroganoff

Spend today at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show with my friend Heidi. Lots to see. Lots of great ideas!!!

For dinner, I made Quick Beef Stroganoff. Cooking Light recipe. So good. It took a little over 25 minutes to make. Loved the flavors. And anything with egg noodles can't be bad! The recipe calls for mushrooms. I substituted zucchini.

6 1/2 cups water, divided
4 ounces uncooked egg noodles
1 pound flank steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1 (6-ounce) package presliced exotic mushroom blend or sliced zucchini
1 cup lower-sodium beef broth, divided
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add noodles; cook 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

Cut beef across the grain into 1/4-inch-wide strips; cut strips into 2-inch pieces.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Add 1 cup onion, black pepper, salt, paprika, and mushrooms to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium.

Combine 1/4 cup beef broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture, beef, remaining 3/4 cup broth, and remaining 1/2 cup water to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover and cook 8 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, green onions, and butter. Serve beef mixture over egg noodles; sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Yes I Have a Food Blog!

Not that I have been posting on it but yes I have a food blog. And yes it has been 20 days since my last post. Sigh. I can not complain about being too busy. I am glad I have been busy. But today is President's Day. I am off from work. So let's play catch-up. These are in no particular order. I don't have that much free time today...

 Trust me I did a lot of dishes over the past 20 days.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Sausage and Spinach. No recipe.

 Potato Gnocchi with Marcella Hazan's Butter, Onion, and Tomato Sauce
The Gnocchi recipe is at the bottom of this post. It is from Giada De Laurentiis

Hey It's My Birthday!! Chocolate Cake with White Frosting!!

 It snows and I bake. That's the way I roll. No pun or bun intended.

 Sticky Sesame Chicken. I have to remember to get Sesame Seeds at the store!

 Yeah Feb 10 my birthday. My Birthday = I do not cook. Quattro's did the cooking this year!

 Valentine's Day Chicken Orzo Soup

 Hand Pie! Filled with Meat and Red Peppers and Onions. Delicious. 
It was the homemade crust that put this over the top.

 Tomato Soup. Not my favorite recipe. Was like a bowl of sauce.

 Pasta and Meat sauce. Homemade bread! Walnut and Olive Loaf. Excellent!

From Bon Appetit. Lentil and Egg Stew. Again with homemade bread.

Slow Cooker Soy Braised Short Ribs. The best meal so far this month!

Chicken Tenders, Roasted Potatoes, and Sauteed Zucchini. Simple and good.
Yeah that is homemade Honey Mustard Sauce.

 A weekend breakfast treat. Cinnamon Scones.

 Super Bowl 2017. Nachos and Short Rib Steak and Cheese. This recipe is a keeper!

Gnocchi! Potato Gnocchi. Little puffs of air surrounded by our favorite sauce. The gnocchi recipe is from the Giada De Laurentiis book, Every Day Pasta.
1 (1-pound) russet potato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Mash in the salt and pepper. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg; discard the remaining egg. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and knead just until blended.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a 1/2-inch-diameter rope (about 20 inches long). Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.

The gnocchi was cooked in a large pot of boiling salted water until it rose to the surface, about 1 minute. It continued to cooking until the gnocchi was tender, about 4 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, the gnocchi was transferred to a bowl and topped with the Marcella Hazan Onion, Butter, and Tomato Sauce.