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Recipe: Garlic Mustard Butter


This little recipe for Garlic Mustard Butter is such a great add-on to other recipes… I found it at a site for recipes for pork… it’s a great addition to pork and chicken...and even beef… it’s sensational on top of a grilled steak. It’s quick and easy to make.. and I highly recommend you try it….

TIPS

The original recipe says to stir the ingredients together… I used my mini chopper and pulsed it to combine the ingredients…

It’s fabulous on Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops… another recipe from the same site.

I hope you try it!

Recipe: Garlic-Mustard Butter

All you need:

¼ cup butter ( ½ stick), softened
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

All you need to do:


Chop the garlic clove in a mini chopper… pulse until well minced.

Add the butter and mustard and pulse until well mixed…




Then scrape it out of the processor bowl and put it on a piece of plastic wrap… form it into a log with the plastic wrap and refrigerate it to get it semi-hard.




When ready to serve… cut it into fourths and place on the hot meat just before serving.

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Recipe: Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet


This recipe for Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet combines some traditional elements of a French Bean Stew with some different ingredients. Traditional cassoulets use a variety of meats… beef, pork, chicken even duck have been used and in various combinations. Some variations even use Italian sausage.. I recently came across a recipe that used Kielbasa which grabbed my attention.. we love Kielbasa. It seems the kinds of beans used can vary also but not seen as often.

I decided to use cut-up boneless skinless chicken breasts with the Kielbasa … I used Northern White Beans which is traditional … and the rest of the ingredients are typically found in Cassoulet recipes. The result was delicious… we had it with a large Cuban bread…. a terrific meal.

TIPS

One recipe added a crumb topping toward the end of the baking… against my better judgment … I tried it… while it added additional seasonings to the Cassoulet…. I wouldn’t do it again… most of it sunk in and we decided we didn’t care for the texture it left. … so I added the seasonings to the recipe and omitted the bread crumbs.

The baking time is 1 hour and 15 minutes… which is pretty accurate… any longer the beans and carrots will get too soft…

I used a Dutch oven… you can use a large casserole dish.

If you decide to use a casserole dish… you will need to use a large skillet first to sauté the sausage, chicken, onions and garlic.

I used Sauvignon Blanc for the white wine.

You can omit the wine and use additional chicken broth in its place… but the wine does give this dish a wonderful flavor.

I hope you like this as much as we did!






Recipe: Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

All you need:

2 medium onions, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 Kielbasa, cut into slices
Olive oil cooking spray
2 cans (15.5 oz.) Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) Delmonte Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Onion
1 Hillshire Farms Kielbasa, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons plain tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced carrots
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a large Dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray.

Add the sliced Kielbasa and chicken breast chunks.

Brown lightly over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until onions are soft.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir well.

Cover the Dutch oven and bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes.

Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Recipe: Tropical Trifle


This Tropical Trifle is another quick and easy recipe … after making the Banana Strawberry Trifle… Warren got to talking about what other combinations would be good… and we were off and running…. We love tropical flavors… especially coconut… so what better way to start than with a coconut cream pudding…

TIPS

I do recommend you make the whipped cream from scratch… I make Chantilly Cream… a touch of vanilla… it really adds a wonderful flavor to the dish.

You can use fresh sliced strawberries instead of pie filling… the problem I have with fresh is that after a day or so… the strawberries start to get a tang to them… so if you know the dish won’t get completely eaten in a day… use the pie filling.

I made the pudding with whole milk.. if you want to cut the fat and calories a bit.. use non fat milk or a lower fat milk… the pudding will not be as thick.. but the dish will still be very good.

Instead of vanilla wafers… I found coconut cookies at the grocery store and broke them into pieces … it truly added to the wonderful coconut flavor which is mild in the pudding….you can also use pound cake… either one makes for a great trifle.

I used a 7 inch bowl that has 3 inch sides… this recipe makes just enough for that size bowl. It should make 6-8 individual trifles depending on the size of the trifle glasses.

I hope this terrific trifle with its tropical flavors gives you tasty relief from the tropical heat now hitting almost everywhere in the States!






Recipe: Tropical Trifle

All you need:

For the pudding:

1 box (5.1 oz.) JELL-O Coconut Cream Instant Pudding mix
3 cups cold milk

For the Chantilly Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla (to taste)* I use 1 teaspoon

Other ingredients:

Coconut cookies, broken into pieces
1 can (21 oz.) strawberry pie filling
1 small can of pineapple tidbits, drained

All you need to do:

To make the pudding:

In a large bowl, whisk or beat with an electric beater for 2 minutes, the pudding mix and cold milk. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, pudding will thicken.

To make the Chantilly Cream:

Whip all the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until the cream forms soft peaks.

To assemble the trifle:

Spread half the pudding in the bottom of a large glass bowl (see tips for size bowl).

Place a layer of broken coconut cookies over the pudding.

Spread half the pie filling over the cookie pieces.

Sprinkle the pineapple tidbits liberally over the pie filling.

Spread half the Chantilly Cream over the pie filling.

Repeat the layers in the same order except don’t completely cover the top layer with pie filling… instead make a large circle of pie filling leaving about a 2 inch border.

Sprinkle the pineapple tidbits all over the top (including the border and pie filling).

Pile some Chantilly cream over the pie filling leaving a border of pie filling showing for a pretty look.

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Recipe: The Denver Frittata


This recipe for The Denver Frittata is really the ingredients for a Denver (or Western) Omelet but baked in a deep dish pie plate or quiche dish. It’s quick to put together … while it’s baking… you can be enjoying that first cup of coffee.. a totally stress-free weekend morning.

TIPS

I used a quiche dish.. I personally think the presentation is really nice… looks like I worked harder than I did.

I used frozen shredded hash browns… this would work also with frozen diced potatoes. I did not thaw the potatoes.

You can use egg substitute for those trying to watch the cholesterol.. just use the equivalent to 8 eggs.

Note that I did not add salt or pepper… I find the ham to be salty enough … you can add it if you prefer.

Serve this with fruit salad and English muffins for a really great breakfast or brunch.

So here’s a truly delicious and easy weekend breakfast….






Recipe: The Denver Frittata

All you need:

8 eggs, beaten
Dash of milk
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onions (about 3 large)
1 cup diced cooked ham
3 cups frozen shredded potatoes (Country style hash browns)
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
3 slices of tomato (garnish)
Cooking spray oil (butter flavor preferred)

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Generously spray with cooking oil spray either a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or a quiche dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the dash of milk.

Add the frozen potatoes and stir well.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Pour into the prepared dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. (test the first time after 45 minutes)

Keep an eye on it and don’t let it brown too much… if it begins to brown too much lay a piece of foil over it.

Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

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Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato


Continuing on in my Ice Cream Making Series.... Gelato

I have been a gelato devotee since the first time I tasted it…. as an ice cream lover… it isn’t rocket science that I would love it…. but what exactly is gelato?

Gelato is an Italian version of ice cream… the primary difference is that gelato has a lower butterfat content. For example… I have a basic gelato “base” recipe that uses 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream.... my “base” ice cream recipe uses the reverse… 1 cup whole milk to 2 cups heavy cream….

Gelato is creamier and softer than ice cream… it just melts easily in your mouth… and because of that… the flavors seem enhanced…. If you haven’t tried gelato… you really need to… the Italians knew what they were doing when they made this.

As far as making gelato… it’s not hard… you have a few extra steps in there… you cook the milk/cream mixture with sugar then chill it before putting it into the ice cream maker. … which brings me to the next thing… the ice cream maker… there are recipes out there for making gelato without the ice cream maker… I even posted one last year .. a Peach Gelato…. they’re good… no doubt… but gelato is unbelievable made with an ice cream maker.. no comparison whatsoever… and I wouldn’t lie to you… if I thought they were equal I’d tell you.. they just simply are not.

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis… she took the basic gelato recipe (it’s a pretty common base) and flavored it with Nutella…. The result… absolutely fabulous… genius.. true genius… she suggests toasting hazelnuts and crushing them to use as a garnish… a terrific idea… I omitted it, however… we have nut issues.

TIPS

If you’re having a dinner party this summer and want to dazzle your guests … make this gelato… serve it in a fancy glass… add a gourmet cookie… you will be the star for sure….

But a word of warning… people do have nut allergies … so even though they don’t show.. the Nutella contains hazelnuts… be sure no one has an allergy…. AND people have digestive issues with nut pieces as well… so before you sprinkle anything with nuts… be sure everyone can have them.

This is just fabulous… you really need to try it.






Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato

All you need:

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar, plus ¼ cup
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup Nutella
½ cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)

All you need to do:

(I used my standing mixer)… beat the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar for about 4-5 minutes until the eggs are thick and pale yellow.

Combine the milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved… stir constantly (about 5 minutes).

Pour ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks and use a whisk to mix completely then pour it back into the saucepan…. Don’t whisk it… stir it… the whisk is just a good tool to use to get it mixed well.

Cook over very low heat until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 7-10 minutes). I stirred this constantly.

Place a strainer over a medium to large bowl. Suggestion: I used a batter bowl with a spout this will make it easier to pour into the ice cream maker after it was chilled.

After straining the warm mixture into the bowl, add the vanilla extract and Nutella. Stir until the Nutella dissolves…. Be sure to mix it well….. I used a whisk to stir it to get all the chocolate off the bottom of the bowl… the mixture will look like a light colored chocolate milk.

Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Note: My mixture developed a little skin on the top… I whisked it into the mixture as well as I could.. there were some dark flecks… but after freezing in the ice cream maker, they disappeared.

After mixture is completely chilled… pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have the same Cuisinart ICE-20 model as I do… flip the machine on and pour the mixture through the spout. Allow the machine to freeze for 30 minutes. The gelato will have the same consistency as soft serve ice cream… scoop the gelato into a freezer container and freeze.

The gelato should freeze hard but it will be a bit softer than ice cream freezes.

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Recipe: Veggie Lasagna


Veggies.. veggies and more veggies.. this recipe is chock full of veggies and flavor… just delicious… and very easy to make..

Lasagna doesn’t have to be intimidating to make.. just take it a step at a time…. and speaking of taking it a step at a time.. you can make this in steps too…. make the filling on one day… refrigerate it and assemble the lasagna the next day…. you can partially bake it one day and finish it the next… a perfect solution for the busy household or when planning a dinner for guests…

TIPS

I usually use a 9 x 13 baking pan… it works great… however.. you really only get two complete layers of lasagna since the sides are only deep enough for two… if you want 3 layers… you will need to use a true “lasagna pan” or a roasting pan works well… just keep in mind that you will need to double this recipe.

If making 3 layers… divide the filling and cheese mixture into thirds instead half when layering each layer (see instructions below).

The vegetables “cook down” or shrink as they cook… so at first these ingredients will almost fill a standard size Dutch oven or comparable pot. If you decide to double the recipe you will have to use a larger stock pot to make the filling.

Since the filling is chock full off vegetables… instead of spreading the filling on the bottom of the pan and the very top layer of the lasagna… I use plain tomato sauce.. you can use any type you either make from scratch or commercially made. I just think everything lays better with a “non-chunky” sauce on the very bottom and the top.

I usually use garlic powder in my cheese mixture for lasagna.. but in this recipe I didn’t because of the garlic in the filling mixture.. the vegetables just seem to enhance the garlic and I didn’t want to overpower the dish with even more garlic.

To cook the lasagna noodles.. I use a large pot … boil the water and boil about 5 noodles at a time.. when they are “al dente” .. I remove them with tongs and adding more water as needed… then when the water boils again… add the next batch of noodles…

When removing the cooked noodles.. I drop them into a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process and make them easier to handle. I then lay them on a wire rack to dry a bit before using them.

I used carrots in this recipe.. I hadn’t used them before.. but saw it on an ingredient list for one of Emeril’s recipes and decided to give it a try… I found the carrots really stood out the first night we had this dish but when eaten as leftovers… the carrots seemed to blend into the other flavors better.

How to Make it the Day Before Serving it

This dish is truly best the next day… so if you can.. I would recommend you bake it on one day and store it in the fridge and reheat it the next day and serve it then… when doing that… I make sure I have my top lasagna noodle well “sauced” but I leave the top layer of shredded mozzarella cheese off… and cover it in foil… bake it… allow it to cool and store it…

The next day I let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.. spread the mozzarella cheese over the top… cover again with foil…. then put it into a COLD oven … set the temp at 375 degrees F… and bake for 20 minutes… remove the foil.. and continue baling for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and browned… and sides are bubbly.

Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.. it will cut into “blocks” easier.

So let’s get cooking…






Recipe: Veggie Lasagna

All you need:

For the cheese mixture:

1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
Pinch of salt

For the veggie filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 package (16 ounces) mushrooms, thick sliced
2 small zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 summer squash, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Remaining ingredients:

Lasagna noodles, cooked al dente according to package directions
6 cups tomato sauce (homemade or commercial)
1 bag (4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the lasagna noodles al dente according to package directions. Set aside.

Combine all the cheese mixture ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onions and peppers, cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently to prevent browning.

Add the chopped garlic, mushrooms and carrot. Continue cooking until vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes).

Add the canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning and tomato paste. Stir to mix well.

Cook for about 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked (carrots will be a little crisp).

Take the pot off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes (it will be easier to handle this way).

Spread about 3 cups of tomato sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13 pan.

Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. DO NOT overlap. You will probably need to trim the noodles so they don’t overlap.

Spread half the veggie filling over the noodles.

Drop large dollops of cheese mixture over the veggies mixture…. spread carefully with the back of a spoon.

Spread 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over the cheese mixture.

Lay another layer of lasagna noodles.

Spread the remaining vegetable mixture.

Spread the remaining cheese mixture over the veggie mixture.

Spread 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over the cheese mixture.

Lay another layer of lasagna noodles.

Spread 3 cups of tomato sauce over the noodles.

Spread the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese over the noodles.

Cover with foil and back for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Remove the foil and continue baking for about 20-30 minutes until cheese has melted and browned a bit and sides are bubbly.

Let stand for 10 minutes before baking.

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Recipe: Spicy Remoulade Sauce


This is my favorite Remoulade Sauce… it has a little kick to it… not so much to set your nostrils on fire.. but a definite bite.



I love it over sliced hard cooked eggs… the combination is perfect… I like to put a layer of lettuce or fresh spinach on a plate… put a sliced egg on it.. and a little remoulade.. makes a great little lunch or appetizer.



TIPS

I used jarred horseradish… by Reese’s… be aware horseradishes vary by brand.. and the ones you find in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store tend to be hotter than this one… this one I found by the mustards and ketchups… so add the horseradish in small “doses” tasting it after each addition… to be sure it is as hot (or not) as you prefer.



I used my mini chopper… it was the easiest way to make this… chop the green onion, parsley and garlic first…




Then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until it is well mixed… now how easy is that?

This is wonderful with a sliced hard cooked egg or try this with crab cakes… yummmm!






Recipe: Spicy Remoulade Sauce

All you need:

2 large green onions, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
About 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley leaves
¾ cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons horseradish (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons ketchup
About ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
About 1/8 teaspoon pepper to taste)

All you need to do:



In a small processor… pulse the green onion, garlic and parsley until well chopped.







Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well mixed.








Adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

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Recipe: Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Garlic


I love vegetables… and asparagus ranks right up there with my favorites… now I need to be clear on this.. I love fresh asparagus.. not that awful canned stuff….

A while back I wrote a post all about Fresh Asparagus and various cooking methods… I did not include oven roasting… I have no idea why… but it is really easy… and quick… adds so much to a meal.. I felt I should write a post about it.. so here I am.

TIPS

Some people say using thicker asparagus makes for better oven roasting.. well to each his own I suppose.. I still prefer the thinner asparagus.. and have had no problem roasting them … you do need to reduce the roasting time for thinner ones.. but that’s about it.



I used finely chopped garlic… instead of mincing.. I chopped the garlic in my mini processor.. I just like the way it finely chops it… it’s quick and easy…




I used extra virgin olive oil… evoo to those of you that are Rachael ray devotees…. It has a higher heating temp tolerance … I always use it for roasting and grilling.

To trim the asparagus.. simply snap the bottoms off.. it will naturally snap in the correct place.

Keep an eye on them and when they are slightly brown and to desired tenderness.. they’re ready!






Recipe: Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

All you need:

Fresh Asparagus (1 bunch)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse and dry the asparagus.

Snap off the bottoms and lay them in a single layer on a foil lined pan.



Brush generously with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.






Sprinkle the finely chopped garlic over the asparagus.





Roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes for thicker asparagus and 6-7 minutes for thinner asparagus or until they are lightly browned and to desired tenderness.

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Recipe: Hungarian Cottage Cheese


I love ethnic foods.. foods that are not the usual fare... recipes that are passed from one generation to the next... this is one of them.. my Grandparents made this.. both sides of the family... and so did my Mother... and I did as well...

This recipe is for a cottage cheese mixture ….something I call Hungarian Cottage Cheese…. I couldn’t begin to translate what we call it…. even my Mother was stumped… so for lack of anything better… I call it Hungarian Cottage Cheese…. it’s something my family has made all my life… actually before I was born… I don’t know where it originated or even how or why these ingredients were put together… but I grew up eating it and loving it.

Growing up we ate it a lot in the summer… with fresh Italian bread… My Mother and I serve it with crackers sometimes too.

Like typical Hungarians… we like things with a little zip to it… especially my Father… so it uses paprika… what would a Hungarian dish be without paprika?

It has four basic ingredients… cottage cheese, sour cream, onion (usually diced green onions … I also use diced red onion sometimes… as I did for the picture above) and paprika.

TIPS

The paprika can be any paprika you chose… I use a combination of hot and sweet Hungarian paprika…. the quantities listed are a suggestion.. you need to make it to your tastes…. so add as much or as little as you want.

As for the quantities of sour cream and cottage cheese.. these too.. are flexible… I like the tang of the sour cream with the slight sweetness of the cottage cheese… use my quantities as a guide and make it to your tastes.

The picture above doesn’t do it justice.. it has a slight pink color to it… because of the paprika.

This recipe serves four or makes a great munchie with crackers.

I hope you try this.. it really is delicious… makes for a great munch on a hot summer night.






Recipe: Hungarian Cottage Cheese

All you need:

1 (8 ounces) container cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
¼ - ½ cup chopped green or red onion (to taste)
½ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika (to taste)
¼ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika (to taste)

All you have to do:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with fresh bread or crackers.

Save about a tablespoon of the chopped onion for garnish on the top.

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Recipe: Banana Strawberry Trifle


This Banana Strawberry Trifle is a quick and easy recipe … perfect for a family dessert or even for company… you can make this as one big dish or make individual trifles… whichever is easier for you.

I used a boxed banana pudding mix… yes… I know a boxed mix… the blog snob would shoot me now… but sometimes you just don’t have the time for making everything from scratch…. oh and I used a canned pie filling… I heard those gasps!... but again… time is essential… and I made a promise to you readers to include some quick and easy “throw-togethers” for those times when time is really an issue.

TIPS

I do recommend you make the whipped cream from scratch… I make Chantilly Cream… a touch of vanilla… it really adds a wonderful flavor to the dish.

You can use fresh sliced strawberries instead of pie filling… the problem I have with fresh is that after a day or so… the strawberries start to get a tang to them… so if you know the dish won’t get completely eaten in a day… use the pie filling.

I made the pudding with whole milk.. if you want to cut the fat and calories a bit.. use non fat milk or a lower fat milk… the pudding will not be as thick.. but the dish will still be very good.

I used vanilla wafers… you can also use pound cake… either one makes for a great trifle.

I used a 7 inch bowl that has 3 inch sides… this recipe makes just enough for that size bowl. It should make 6-8 individual trifles depending on the size of the trifle glasses.

Well… I hope you try this.. it really is yummy… the kids are sure to love it!






Recipe: Banana Strawberry Trifle

All you need:

For the pudding:

1 box (5.1 oz.) JELL-O Banana Cream Instant Pudding mix
3 cups cold milk

For the Chantilly Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla (to taste)* I use 1 teaspoon

Other ingredients:

Vanilla wafers
1 can (21 oz.) strawberry pie filling

All you need to do:

To make the pudding:

In a large bowl, whisk or beat with an electric beater for 2 minutes, the pudding mix and cold milk. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, pudding will thicken.

To make the Chantilly Cream:

Whip all the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until the cream forms soft peaks.

To assemble the trifle:

Spread half the pudding in the bottom of a large glass bowl (see tips for size bowl).

Place a layer of vanilla wafers over the pudding.

Spread half the pie filling over the vanilla wafers.

Spread half the Chantilly Cream over the pie filling.

Repeat the layers in the same order.

Leave a little border of pie filling showing around the edge of the bowl for a pretty look.

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Recipe: Cheesy Confetti Egg Pita Pockets


Who doesn’t love a great breakfast you can eat on the run…. This recipe for Cheesy Confetti Egg Pita Pockets is not only delicious… but also a great breakfast you can make mostly ahead… perfect for hectic weekday mornings.

You can scramble these eggs the night before and store them in an air tight container in the fridge… just reheat them in the microwave… and you’re off!

These are also a delicious breakfast for a leisurely slow morning too… read the paper… do the crossword puzzle… enjoy your coffee.. while eating these one handed… if that’s your type of a breakfast.. this recipe is for you.

The ingredients are chock full of flavor … the little bit of sweet corn in it adds just the right amount of sweetness… the green onion adds a little zip… just perfect.

TIPS

To make this lower fat

Make this with an egg substitute… and use non-fat milk when you beat the eggs. Use a low fat margarine instead of butter.

To make this lower carb



Eat them as scrambled eggs and forget the pita pocket.





To add even more flavor

Serve this with some salsa.

I hope you enjoy these!






Recipe: Cheesy Confetti Egg Pita Pockets

All you need:

1 cup frozen corn
¼ cup diced green pepper
½ jar (2 ounces) diced pimentos
3 large green onions, diced (both green and white parts)
½ cup diced fully cooked ham
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 pita breads
1 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
Dash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:

In a medium to large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

Microwave the corn for about 3 minutes in a small microwaveable dish. Set aside.



Add the diced green pepper, diced white parts of the green onion, ham, pimentos and corn. Sauté them until the green pepper and onion begin to get a little soft, about 5 minutes.



Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk until well mixed.


Add the eggs to the skillets and stir well, making sure everything is evenly mixed.

Sprinkle the chopped green parts of the green onion over the eggs.

Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the eggs, stir well.


Continue to stir and cook the eggs as you would any other scrambled eggs. When eggs are no longer wet, remove from the heat.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut about a half inch or so off the pita to make a pocket.

Fill each pita with the confetti eggs and serve.

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Recipe: Very Berry Tart


I call this my Very Berry Tart… a simple fruit tart … I use strawberries and blueberries… you can use raspberries instead of strawberries or a combination of all three… or even one of them only… this is so easy to make.. and so eye appealing… it will definitely wow your family and friends.


And its wow appeal is what I’m going to rant about a little now… nothing irks me more than all these fabulous looking desserts in magazines and websites… and I’m talking the major professional sites… that woo into buying the magazine so you too can make the featured unbelievable looking dish. They do a little write up and give you the recipe… and with the exception of Martha Stewart (sometimes) … they don’t show you how to get it to look like that or even give you pointers on how to get it like that.


I know mine isn’t totally professional looking .. and honestly.. I’m not sure I was aiming for that anyway.. but I did want a little wow factor… so trial and error … lots of trial and error later … and this is the result… I hope you like it… because this is about as good as it gets for me.

TIPS

Arranging the strawberries


I spent many an hour trying to get my strawberries to look good on a cake…. I’ve cut them in half and put them cut side down…. which looks nice… but inevitably the filling does show quite a bit.. something I didn’t want.. I put them cut side up.. but they don’t lay right… so how do you get a more professional look? …. slice them.

Simple answer… took me a long time to figure it out… guess I’m not quite as smart as the average baker.

The trick for me… is to … first…. find medium to large ripe strawberries. Cut the top off, then slice them in even slices. The end slices you will need to cut a sliver off so the bottom will be flat and lay better.

Then lay them in little piles with each strawberry pile separately … the reason for this.. is that the strawberry will lay easier and better when piled on its exact match… start at the rim and work inward, laying one slice down and the next one overlapping it slightly.

I use blueberries to fill in the little “in-between” triangle of exposed filling along the rim… I like the color contrast. When I’ve covered the entire tart.. I make a pile of blueberries in the middle… again I like the color contrast… and it also hides any unevenness of strawberries in the middle.

Color


Don’t fret if your strawberries look too light… unless you happen to get perfectly ripe strawberries.. you get some white in the center … and you’re right… it takes away from the look… BUT… you need to glaze the tart to add that glisten to it… I use melted jelly… in this case I used red raspberry jelly… about a tablespoon and a half.. put it in a small custard cup and cover with waxed paper.. nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted. Then use a pastry brush and lightly brush your fruit… all the fruit… including the blueberries….. refrigerate and it will look perfect.

I like to use red raspberry jelly because it adds a bit of raspberry flavor… and it’s very red… so it adds great color to the tart.

The filling recipe is a slight version from others I’ve seen …particularly Paula Deen… however.. I use more cream cheese and a little more powdered sugar… I also add almond extract or vanilla extract… I prefer the almond extract… but vanilla works equally as well.

For the tart shell… you can use any pie crust you prefer… homemade or commercially made… bake it as directed and allow it to cool completely before filling.

This recipe works best if refrigerated at least two hours before serving.

I hope you like it!






Recipe: Very Berry Tart

All you need:

1 (9- inch) tart shell, baked
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ -1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract (to taste)
Strawberries, sliced
Blueberries
1 ½ tablespoons red raspberry jelly, melted

All you need to do:

Prepare the tart shell as directed in your pie crust recipe or commercial pie crust.

Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the heavy cream, almond or vanilla extract and granulated sugar until soft peaks.

Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the filling into the cooled tart shell and top with sliced strawberries and blueberries.

Brush the fruit lightly with the melted red raspberry jelly.

Refrigerate 2 hours.

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Recipe: Peach Melba Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt


Putting together the combination of peaches and raspberry was pure genius.. we really ought to pay homage to the French chef credited with its invention… Auguste Escoffier ….. and if you haven’t had Peach Melba.. you really need to try it.. I have a number of recipes here in the archives … the Classic Peach Melba and a couple of recipes that are a twist on it… (Individual Peach Melba Trifles and my version of a Peach Melba....and Peach Melba Waffles) ....all fabulous.

As promised… I am continuing the Ice Cream making series by doing a frozen yogurt… the peach portion of the recipe is from the Cuisinart cookbook that came with the ice cream maker… the only change I made is that I used non-fat yogurt instead of low fat yogurt.

Yoplait has become my favorite yogurt.. you can truly believe those commercials about their flavors… they really are darn close to tasting like their names imply… Cherry Cobbler.. really tastes like Cherry Cobbler… and Boston Cream Pie really tastes like Boston Cream Pie…. they have a Vanilla Non-Fat Yogurt that comes in a large size container… that is the vanilla yogurt I used in this recipe… you can use whatever yogurt you prefer.. but I highly recommend you try using Yoplait.

I was surprised the recipe simply used commercial yogurt.. I don’t know what I thought.. but I expected the recipe to be complicated… it was ridiculously easy…

This recipe used canned peaches and I thought for my first foray into yogurtdom (my word… it’s my blog I can invent words if I want to.. you understand what I mean the word)… that I would stick close to the recipe… but… you know me well enough by now… I just had to try something with it… so I …again.. kept it simple… added a raspberry swirl to it…

TIPS

This recipe was supposed to make a quart and a half… it made 2 quarts.. I have no idea why it “grew” the way it did when it was freezing in the machine… I popped it all in the machine… put the timer on.. and took a shower… came back and was shocked at the amount it made… but.. more for us!

I used Smucker’s Red Raspberry Seedless Syrup…. totally I used 5 tablespoons… I only drizzled in 1 tablespoon at a time… 2 went in while the machine was running (I let the machine swirl those) and the rest were added as I put the frozen yogurt into the container… swirling it with a knife after each addition.. like you swirl cake batter when you marble yellow cake batter with chocolate cake batter. As for the amount.. you need to use your judgment.. the amount I used worked well for me.

This is a terrific non-fat alternative to ice cream.. and the best part is… it tastes wonderful… you’d never guess it was non-fat.






Recipe: Peach Melba Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt

All you need:

1 can (14 ounces) peaches packed in juice (I used the light variety)
2 cups Yoplait Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons raspberry seedless syrup, divided

All you need to do:

Drain the peaches and reserve ½ cup of the juice.

In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, chop the peaches.

Add the yogurt, sugar and reserved peach juice and process until smooth and sugar is dissolved (about 1 minute).

Turn the machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl through the ingredient spout.

Process for 25-30 minutes until thickened. (Mine took 25 minutes).

Carefully pour 1 tablespoon of the raspberry syrup through the ingredient spout… allow it to process for about a minute… then add a second tablespoon and again allow it to process for a minute or two until the raspberry syrup has been mixed in.

Turn the machine off and remove the outer cover and mixing arm.

Pour about 1/3 of the yogurt mixture into the container… drizzle another tablespoon of raspberry syrup over the top.

Using a knife swirl the syrup throughout the yogurt.

Add the second third of the yogurt into the container and repeat the same process with the syrup.

Add the last third of the yogurt into the container and repeat the same process with the syrup.

The yogurt will be fairly soft… secure the lid to the container tightly and freeze at least 2 hours in the freezer.

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Recipe: Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers


Stuffed Peppers are truly an under-rated food… they can be made so many ways … and really good just about any way you make them. Not only do recipes vary by the stuffing itself.. they also can vary by the variety of pepper used.

My Mother always made stuffed peppers with a beef mixture and it was a raw mixture stuffed into green peppers and cooked in a tomato based sauce… she did vary it on occasion by making it using red peppers, which I preferred.

I came up with this recipe simply by using ingredients and spices we like and I wanted to use Italian sausage. I also cooked the stuffing before stuffing it into the peppers. I did search for a recipe that sounded like what I wanted the final dish to be and couldn’t find one… so I decided to try putting together one myself… we liked the result very much.

TIPS

Most recipes cut and clean the peppers then par boil them for a few minutes. I am assuming the reason for this is so the peppers cook a bit before they’re stuffed and then cooked with the stuffing. I found this step totally unnecessary… mine bake for over an hour and the peppers softened to a nice texture and still hold together… I see no reason to add the par boiling step in.

I cooked my stuffing before stuffing it in the peppers… my reason for this is that I wanted to be sure to render the Italian sausage grease before putting it in the pepper… depending on how lean the sausage is, you could end up with a fairly greasy dish if you stuff the meat in raw.

I cook the rice before adding it to the meat mixture… this way the rice doesn’t absorb the grease and liquids quite so much… and therefore doesn’t expand a lot… it’s easier to stuff the peppers and know exactly what it will look like after baking… makes for a nicer presentation.

I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs … you can use plain bread crumbs, but you will need to adjust the seasoning… I would recommend you add an additional tablespoon and a half of Italian seasoning when using plain bread crumbs.

I used plain canned diced tomatoes.. you could substitute fresh chopped tomatoes or diced tomatoes in a can with basil, garlic and onion for more flavor. Do not drain the canned tomatoes… it will provide moisture for the stuffing.

I used two pounds of bulk (not in casings)Italian sausage… one pound sweet (mild) sausage and one pound hot sausage… you can use 2 pounds of either instead of one of each if you prefer.


To easily chop the onions and garlic, I used my mini chopper and chopped them together.





I used a variety of peppers…green, red and yellow… you can use any combination you prefer… visually the variety looks the best… green will have a more pronounced pepper flavor … the red and yellow (or you could use orange also) are milder and sweeter.



This stuffing mixture can be used to stuff other vegetables as well, eggplant or zucchini would be good choices also.

I figure two peppers per person, this stuffing recipe will stuff about 8 fairly large peppers. If you need less… you can make up the stuffing mixture and freeze what you don’t need and have it ready for the next time… a great time saver… or you can easily cut the recipe in half. I would NOT recommend you freeze the peppers... just the stuffing.

I served this with spaghetti and tomato sauce.

I hope you try this terrific recipe.






Recipe: Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers

All you need:

8 medium to large peppers (green, red and/or yellow)
1 pound bulk sweet (mild) Italian sausage
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
1 medium onion, finally chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups uncooked rice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 cup dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Tomato sauce
Spaghetti

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes from the inside of the peppers. Rinse them in cold water and place them upside down on paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, break up the bulk sausage into small pieces and cook over medium high heat until brown in color. Drain off all but about 2 teaspoons of sausage grease (my sausage was pretty lean… that was all the grease I ended up with).

Lower the heat to medium and add the chopped onions and garlic, stir to mix well into the sausage and cook for about 3 minutes until onions are soft.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions.

When onions are soft, add the cooked rice, canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When mixture is cool, add ½ cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese, mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Stuff the peppers with the mixture by filling the peppers completely and mounding it a bit at the top (the stuffing will expand very little if at all).

Place the peppers in a baking dish so they sit up. Cover with foil.




Bake for 1 hour …. then remove from the oven…. remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over each pepper.




Return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Serve with tomato sauce and pasta.

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