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Recipe: Eggs Remoulade


When I was growing up we would go out periodically for Sunday dinner. The restaurants we went to were some of the best on Long Island. One of them served Eggs Remoulade as an appetizer. One try and I was hooked.

Remoulade Sauce has a definite bite to it.. not a fire breathing, set your nostrils on fire bite.. but a definite bite that lets you know it’s there. It really is a perfect combination with some salad greens and sliced hard boiled eggs… a simple but absolutely delicious combination.

TIPS

You can lay the eggs on a bed of lettuce or fresh spinach… either one will work well.

The sauce is simple to make … ckick here for the recipe.

This terrific dish also makes a great light lunch… it truly is delicious!






Recipe: Eggs Remoulade

All you need:

Salad greens or fresh spinach
Hard boiled eggs, sliced
Remoulade Sauce

All you need to do:


Lay the greens on a plate.

Lay the sliced egg over the greens.

Spoon a generous amount of sauce over the eggs.

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Recipe: Mini Cheese and Bacon Popovers


The other day I posted a recipe for Mini Crab Puffs… and if you remember I told you it was basically a popover batter .. but because of the crab in it.. it is a more solid mini… and more like a light muffin than a popover… well… if you like popovers.. you will like this new recipe…

Mini Cheese and Bacon Popovers are just that… mini popovers.. a little crusty on the outside.. and airy, soft layers on the inside.

They also make a terrific hors’dourves … easy to make.. and virtually fool proof.. they’re absolutely delicious… best of all .. they’re really is inexpensive to make .. a perfect addition to a party.

TIPS

Since popovers are basically an outer shell and soft layers on the inside with lots of air.. if you want a flavored popover.. you need strong flavors.

I know it sounds like a lot of bacon in the ingredients.. but you need quite a bit… otherwise you can barely taste the bacon… I know.. I tried this.

I used green onion in these.. I highly recommend you use green onion.. it gives the popover a really nice flavor and balances out the cheese and bacon.

As for the cheese… I used a sharp cheddar… I highly recommend you use it.. again.. it needs flavor and the sharp cheddar helps.. but you can try these with a lighter cheese if you prefer.

I used my mini chopper to chop the bacon, if it clumps up… don’t worry it will break apart when you make the batter.

The baking times and temps are slightly different than the other recipe.. this one took a bit longer to brown.

The recipe uses bread flour… again.. I highly recommend you use the bread flour as opposed to all purpose flour.. the brea d flour will help it rise nicely and will help keep them from collapsing..

These were just yummy... why wait to have guests to try them.. enjoy them yourself!






Recipe: Mini Cheese and Bacon Popovers

All you need:

1 ¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup bread flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup green onion, chopped green and white parts
6-9 strips of smoked bacon, cooked and finely chopped

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray the mini muffin tins with cooking oil spray.

Add the milk, flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and using the whisk attachment beat until smooth and no lumps.

Add the eggs, one at a time…beating the egg in after each addition.

Mix in spices, cheese, bacon and green onion.

Fill the muffin tin ¾ full.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Turn out onto a cooling rack.

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Recipe: Enchilada Pie


This recipe for Enchilada Pie is quick and easy.. perfect for a quick supper.. you don’t need a lot of ingredients and it bakes in no time…

I use my enchilada sauce.. which if I plan well.. I make that up the night before.. so it will save time the next day.

I like to serve it with chips and salsa… a side of refried beans and Mexican Rice… all easy things to make and leftovers nuke really well.

TIPS

I used small corn tortillas because that’s what I happen to have on hand.. if you have larger corn tortillas that fit when you lay them in your pie plate.. all the better.

If you have refrigerated or room temperature enchilada sauce.. put some in a bowl and microwave until just warm… so you can dip the corn tortillas in it.

I used cheese, chopped green onion and sliced black olives… you can use other fillings as well… left over taco meat sprinkled with cheese or refried beans…. any number of things will work well.

The pie will “deflate” when baking because the cheese melts… so use quite a bit of cheese on each layer.

Amounts have been left off… you use as little or as much as you like.

Serve this with more enchilada sauce to put over it and sour cream.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Hope you try this!

Recipe: Enchilada Pie






All you need:

Cooking oil spray
Corn Tortillas
Enchilada Sauce
Grated Cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)
Chopped green onion (both green and white parts)
Sliced black olives

All you need to do:

Spray the sides only of a 9 inch pie plate.

Dip the corn tortillas in warm enchilada sauce and lay them around the bottom of the pie plate.. if using small ones.. they will overlap.

Put a layer of cheese on top of the tortillas (be generous… about 1 cup)
Sprinkle generously with chopped green onions and sliced olives.

Repeat layer 2 more times.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until top layer of cheese is melted and gooey.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

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Recipe: Enchilada Sauce


A couple of years ago I posted a recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas … it used canned Enchilada Sauce… a reader emailed me advising how I should make it from scratch… I knew she was right… so I put it on my “To Do” list…. and that’s where it’s been all this time… oh I didn’t skip it.. I made several attempts at making the sauce… but I thought I could do better… so there it stayed… I never post a recipe that I wouldn’t make for my family again.

I came across a recipe recently at food.com that said the original source was a friend from Mexico City and this was “authentic”. Well … let me tell you about that word “authentic”…. while I’m sure the recipe was from someone from Mexico City… what exactly makes her authentic sauce any more authentic than many many others?… my theory on that is … everyone has their own little touches.. much like authentic marinara sauce… they’re all Italian.. but many are just slightly different… and it’s that slight difference that produces the volume of recipes out there to match individual tastes.

So does it really matter what is authentic or not?… I’m of the school of thought… if you like it… it’s all that matters. Look at celebrity chefs… they put their own spin on traditional recipes all the time.. so why can’t you?... the short answer is you can. Bobby Flay built an entire tv series around challenging local restaurants … they make their traditional recipes and he makes the same thing …often with a new twist… sometimes he wins … sometimes he doesn’t… are the losing recipes failures?... not necessarily… depends if you like it or not… so with that… I’m going to give you my recipe for Enchilada Sauce. I hope you like it.

That Mexico City recipe did have one interesting ingredient that was the “secret ingredient”.. I’m not sure that it is so secret.. but I kept it in… it’s cocoa… other than that..the recipe was fairly similar to many others… the recipe had the right consistency but … in my opinion.. lacked flavor… so the recipe you see here.. is mine.. I played mad scientist in the kitchen… adding spices until I liked the flavor… nothing super unique.. just what I like in my Mexican food.

TIPS

I like cumin… for me.. most Mexican dishes need cumin… just as onion and garlic are important… so is the chili powder…. For this recipe I used Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder… it’s not tremendously hot but gave the sauce a little zing… it’s by McCormick and you should be able to find it at your supermarket.

You certainly can use whatever chili powder you prefer.. there are some terrific ones out there.. but I used a brand that my readers should be able to find where they live or from the McCormick website…. different chili powders will slightly change the flavor of the sauce… definitely experiment to see what you like best.

Mix the spices in a bowl…I use a wire whisk to mix spice blends… it works extremely well getting the spices to blend evenly.

I used a plain tomato sauce by Hunts… they have a Fire Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce that might give this recipe a little more umpf… so you may want to try that… be adventuresome.. try different things until you get what you want.

So let’s get to it… here is my Enchilada Sauce…






Recipe: Enchilada Sauce

All you need:

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoon Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder (by McCormick)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can (8 oz.) Hunts Tomato Sauce (plain)
3 cups water

All you need to do:



In a small bowl combine flour and all spice ingredients.





Add about ½ cup water and whisk until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a small non-stick pot.

Over medium heat, stir using a coated wire whisk (one of my favorite kitchen tools).

Add the remaining water and continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thickens.



Add the tomato sauce and stir well.

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What is Bread Flour?


What is Bread Flour? … a really good question… remember all questions are good… I have been baking breads for over 30 years and have always used all purpose flour or the typical other choices…rye or whole wheat etc… I had noticed bread flour on the supermarket shelf… but just dismissed it.. since it didn’t appear in my recipes …I bought my usual choices…

Curiosity got the best of me.. if you follow this blog.. you shouldn’t be surprised… I’m always willing to try something different or learn something new… I decided it was time to investigate….

So just what is bread flour?


According to Pillsbury.. their Bread Flour is made from hard spring wheat and contains a higher percentage of protein than regular All Purpose Flour. Most major brands have their variety of Bread Flour as well. So why does the higher percentage of protein matter?

This protein is called gluten, which, when combined with water gives dough its elasticity. When you knead dough… what you are doing is getting the gluten to form a web of strands throughout the dough that are strong and resilient, thus giving the dough its rubbery consistency (if you remember my pizza dough recipe… I describe the intended consistency as soft and elastic like chewed bubble gum).

So how does this all work?

Well… it’s this web of strands that trap the CO₂ given off by the fermentation process of the yeast …. making the dough rise. For bread making you want the dough to rise and make full, well rounded loaves so the higher percentage of gluten will make the bread rise better and shape better.

All Purpose Flour contains 10-12% gluten. Bread Flour contains between 12-14% gluten.

I’ve used All Purpose Flour for all these years and my breads have always come out delicious and well shaped… so I was skeptical about whether it was worth it or not to store yet another kind of flour and use it for my bread baking. I decided to try it.

How to use it?

You can substitute the bread flour completely for All Purpose Flour in the recipe or substitute only a portion of the flour. For my first bread, I decided to completely replace the All Purpose Flour. Just as a side note… if making a Rye or Whole Wheat bread you can substitute up to half of the Rye or Wheat flour in your recipe.

When substituting bread flour in all or part of your recipe you will need to knead the dough for 10 minutes then let it rest for 15 minutes before shaping and rising. According to Pillsbury, rise time may be longer.

I followed a specific recipe that called for bread flour and followed the instructions exactly… even using the Rapid Rise yeast… the rise time was slightly longer… the recipe called for two rises.

Results


Was it worth the change to bread flour? … I have to say… drum roll please… a resounding YES!!!!



The rise was significantly better… I would say about 20-25% higher…. and that is not an exaggeration. What this meant in terms of the resulting bread… the inner portion of the bread had a perfect spongy texture… professional quality. The dough also shaped extremely well… while my breads always shaped well… this was far better.

TIPS USING IT FOR BREAD MAKING

Knowing when to substitute and how much to substitute is .. unfortunately .. a matter of experience. You will need to try it and decide how you prefer it. The type of bread and the texture and shape you are looking for will all weigh in the decision making. I, personally, found that when I made a Boule (French for round loaf of any type of flour…mine was originally for All Purpose Flour) I really liked substituting all of the All Purpose Flour. I will post the results when I try mixing it with Rye or Whole Wheat.


Always “proof” your yeast. What this means is… you add the dry active yeast to warm water with about a teaspoon of sugar. I add it to the quantity of water in the recipe.

What this does is… allows the yeast to ferment and “grow”. Very quickly, within 10 minutes, the yeast will start to ferment. Although, my yeast usually takes only a few minutes to start … I do wait the 10 minutes to be sure it has a good “head” on it. It will develop what looks like a foamy head on top of the water.. like a beer except it will be light brown in color.

You proof the yeast to be sure it is active and not dead… otherwise if it is dead.. your bread won’t rise and you will waste all that flour and time and effort only to have to start over.

While it rarely happens anymore… commercial packets of yeast sometimes don’t work.. I recently had one that just didn’t ferment… it takes only a few minutes and is well worth the effort.

TIPS FOR USING IT IN OTHER BAKING

POPOVERS

I also started trying to substitute it in other baking recipes.. for example Popovers… the results were different.

Before I go any further .. I want to talk about Popovers. If you haven’t tried making them… you should.. they are amazingly easy and delicious… here is my regular recipe for them.



I should note that the success of Popovers is mainly due to the high heat in the initial minutes of baking which produces a slightly crusty outer “shell” and soft layers inside. They need to be served immediately because they will deflate considerably as they stand at room temperature.

I had come across a recipe for Popovers that specifically called for bread flour. So I decided to try substituting it in the popover recipe. Popover batter should be fairly thin, so I did add an additional egg because I also decided to add cheese to the batter. Here is the recipe for the Cheddar and Herb Popovers.



The Popovers made with bread flour rose much larger.. they were enormous… (not a bad thing)… as with the breads using bread flour…the outer shells of the Popovers were much harder… I personally prefer the original texture better… BUT…. and this is an important BUT… the upside to the harder outer shell is that they hardly deflated at all… in fact.. I usually toss leftover Popovers … they just are not particularly good the next day… these not only held shape but ended up pretty good the next day.

So would I use the bread flour again when making Popovers?… depends… if I am serving it with a meal and know I will easily serve them immediately without any hassle.. I would use All Purpose Flour… if I’m making it for a meal where it would be tricky with oven space and timing to serve to guests… or if I want leftovers…. I’d probably opt for the bread flour…

MINI POPOVERS



I also experimented with Mini Popovers using Bread Flour in the recipe… I made Mini Crab Puffs… the bread flour is definitely the way to go with these… they weren’t “Popover-like”… they were more like little crab puffs… lighter than a muffin but not as light as a true Popover. They worked extremely well… I used a mini muffin tin and prepared them up to the baking… then popped them in the oven and they came out perfect.. a definitely easy food item for a party… and far cheaper and better than a commercially made frozen hors’dourvers.

COOKIES



I also thought that substituting bread flour in some cookie recipes would give some more substance… my first thoughts were about Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have several excellent recipes for chocolate chip cookies, but none of them come out “bakery-style”, they seem to collapse…

So I did some research and lo and behold.. bread flour is supposed make them chewier … I tried it and they held shape better and were indeed chewier… here is an excellent recipe using bread flour when baking Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies…. this recipe uses more vanilla than most recipes and I must say as one person put it… it rocks your socks!

So I think you get the picture… it’s well worth keeping bread flour on hand.. it really can make a good recipe great… stored properly.. according to Pillsbury.. the bread flour will stay fresh for up to 2 years.. so surely you can use it up in that time.

As I try using bread flour in additional recipes.. I will add additional posts… but I do encourage you to try it… I think you will be pleasantly surprised at your baking results.

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Recipe: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


This recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies is made with Bread Flour. You probably have an excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe… BUT.. I urge you to try this one.. it is slightly different and is well… insanely good.

The high protein or gluten content in bread flour makes it a perfect ingredient for chewy cookies… and besides you cannot have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes.. all the more reason to bake them more often.. I’m sure your friends and family will not complain.

I love chocolate chip cookies… a love affair that began as a child at Christmas… my mother always baked chocolate chip cookies at Christmas. It was a special treat because she really didn’t bake them all that much throughout the rest of the year.

The basic Toll House cookie recipe was a staple.. and it was mine while my son was growing up… but as I experienced food days at work and cookies brought in to church for the after church social time.. I began to realize there are other chocolate chip cookies out there… not that all of them were necessarily better… just different.. and some were definitely better.

Okay.. now it’s my time to gripe… for the life of me I do not understand people that hoard good recipes and refuse to share them or even share tips… I mean let’s face it.. no matter how good a chef is.. I’m sure there are more than a handful out there that are equally as good… same goes for the home cooks and bakers. I’ve met more than one person that made great cookies and when asked for the recipe or how they got them so good… answered with utter silence.. or a half laugh and said.. “it’s their secret recipe”… I mean really.. how insecure can you be… not to share something delicious…

(I’m now stepping off my soap box)…. Well obviously I share… and gladly share… so when I tell you this recipe really rocks… and to quote a reviewer..”this will rock your socks”.. it definitely will.

The use of bread flour makes these more solid.. the shrinking and deflating cookie will be no more… also this recipe uses more brown sugar than white and more vanilla than most recipes.. the resulting flavor is addicting… to say the least.

This recipe was adapted from Baking Illustrated and is very simple.

TIPS

You can use all purpose flour if you prefer.. they just won’t be as chewy.

Watch your baking time carefully… all ovens are not alike… if your cookies do come out dry … you baked them too long.

I used a 1 ½ inch scoop to make the cookies.. Use a 2 inch scoop for bigger cookies.

I used light brown sugar… you can use either light or dark brown sugar.

Refrigerating the scooped cookies before baking will help them hold their shape.

This recipe will make approximately 18 cookies.

Try another chocolate chip cookie recipe.. go ahead.. you know you want to… you won’t be sorry!






Recipe: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

All you need:

2 cups bread flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (from a large egg)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups milk chocolate chips

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars and butter until well blended.

Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until well blended.

Add the flour all at once, and using the paddle attachment, mix until a soft dough forms and ingredients are just combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place scooped cookie dough balls well spaced on the cookie sheet… my cookie sheets are large and I made 5 at a time, so they wouldn’t spread into each other.

Bake for 12-18 minutes… mine baked for about 16 minutes.

Cool on the cookie sheets to maintain the chewy texture (about 10 minutes).. then I finished cooling them on a rack.

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Recipe: Cheddar and Herb Popovers


I was experimenting with bread flour and decided to add some flavor to the original popover recipe… and I wanted to see if using bread flour would make a difference… all I can say is…. I’ll say it made a difference!!!

You can read all about bread flour in my post about it. But in a nutshell… bread flour contains more protein aka gluten and therefore will cause breads to rise more… and in this case it made enormous popovers… not a bad thing… however… the outer shell of the popover was definitely a little crispier… which I wasn’t sure was ideal… not bad … but I prefer the softer outer shell when using all purpose flour… the tremendous upside to it and probably well worth the slightly crispy crust.. is that they kept their shape beautifully… instead of the usual deflate that happens… they kept their shape really well.

Usually I end up tossing leftovers… the softer popovers just don’t store well … these were excellent… I enjoyed them the next day for lunch… so it really is up to you if you want to use bread flour or all purpose flour… I would highly recommend you try it…

TIPS

I added an additional egg to the batter since I was adding shredded cheddar cheese to the popover.

I used a commercial grade popover pan.. you can use a large muffin tin … my tin doesn’t require greasing.. if your tin does.. make sure you grease well with butter so they don’t stick.

These were absolutely delicious… I used cheddar cheese.. asiago and parmesan would be wonderful too or even Colby Jack… use whatever cheese you like best.

These were so good… a terrific addition to a meal and soooo easy!






Recipe: Cheddar and Herb Popovers

All you need:

1 ¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup bread flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Add the milk, flour and salt to a large bowl and whisk until smooth and no lumps.

Add the eggs, one at a time…whisking the egg in after each addition.

Mix in spices and cheese.

Note: My tin does not require greasing … if you are using a pan that does need it… then generously grease it so the popovers don’t stick.

Fill the muffin tin ¾ full.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Serve hot with butter.

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Recipe: Mini Crab Puffs


This recipe for Mini Crab Puffs is so quick and easy.. it’s a perfect party food… I find party snacks you can buy at the supermarket quite expensive… and there aren’t even very many in the box… it makes entertaining pretty expensive all around…

I was experimenting recently trying to perfect some entertaining recipes… and this is one of them. Using my basic popover recipe… adding spices and using bread flour.. I got these puffs to be not only excellent in taste, because of the bread flour they kept their shape perfectly… a perfect professional looking hors’dourves at a fraction of the cost you would pay for them pre-made… no preservatives or additives… just loaded with flavor… what more could you ask for?

TIPS

You can use imitation crab or real crab meat.. just chop it finely.

These are a little denser than the usual popovers.. because of the filling… I add a decent amount of crab in each.. but they are still light and delicious.

I used finely shredded cheddar cheese.. that I put on my cutting board and chopped using a sharp knife…

I listed chives as optional.. I highly recommend using them.. they give these a fabulous flavor and blend well with the crab and cheese.

The recipe uses bread flour… I definitely recommend you use bread flour.. so these will not deflate… and the bread flour gives them an extra boost in size too.

Make sure you spray the tin with cooking oil spray.. you don’t want them to stick.

In addition, a non-stick pan is preferred.. I still spray my non-stick pan.

I used my mini muffin tins… if you’re preparing these for a party.. you can get everything prepared ahead… set-up the muffin tin with a little crab and cheese in each mini muffin well… keep the batter in a large measuring cup in the fridge… just give it a quick whisk before pouring and bake.

This recipe makes 24 mini crab puffs.

I hope you try these delicious little puffs.






Recipe: Mini Crab Puffs

All you need:

1 ¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup bread flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
About ½ cup crab meat, finely chopped
Snipped chives, optional

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray the mini muffin tins with cooking oil spray.

Place about a heaping teaspoon of finely chopped crab in each muffin well.

Add about a teaspoon of finely chopped shredded cheddar cheese in each well.

Add a sprinkling of snipped chives to each muffin well.

Add the milk, flour and salt to a large bowl and whisk until smooth and no lumps.

Add the eggs, one at a time…whisking the egg in after each addition.

Mix in spices.

Fill the muffin tin ¾ full.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Turn out onto a cooling rack.

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Recipe: Simple Pasta Salad


I call this my Simple Pasta Salad… simple because it has few ingredients … no complicated flavors… and simple to make. I have posted other similar salads… this one is pared down a little… I serve it with foods that have lots of flavors.. I want the Pasta Salad to compliment the other foods not compete with them.

I served this particular salad with my Tuscan Chicken Sandwich…. because the sandwich has lots and lots of flavor… this went perfectly with it.

With BBQ season starting and picnics… this salad is perfect.. you don’t have to worry about it getting warm… if it lasts that long!

TIPS

Rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process immediately.

I keep a jar of Rotelle pasta … this way I can buy a larger box.. and simply use what I need each time… saves time and money.

Allow the pasta to drain and get to room temperature before putting on the dressing.

I used Kraft Free Zesty Italian Dressing – Fat Free …. I like it because it is fat free… so this salad is virtually fat free… I do add a bit of grated Parmesan cheese to it.. so that’s the only fat in it. You can use any oil and vinegar Italian dressing you prefer.

This will easily serve 6.

Hope you like it!






Recipe: Simple Pasta Salad

All you need:

2 cups of dried Rotelle pasta
1 small can sliced black olives
2-3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup Kraft Free Zesty Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

All you need to:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Allow pasta to cool completely.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate an hour.

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Recipe: Tuscan Chicken Sandwich


This recipe is one I created while trying to copy something my son, Erik made me. About 8 years ago I was laid up with a broken foot… and my son had to do the shopping and cooking etc… suddenly he realized everything I had to do… it was an eye opener to say the least.. but we got through it…

My son loves creating new dishes .. and he took the opportunity while he “was in charge” to do just that… create! I must say I never complained… I thought I was in heaven! He made me the most interesting things.. and one of them was a grilled chicken sandwich… over the years I tried remembering what he had done and for the life of me can’t remember all the ingredients.. and neither can he… so in trying to recreate it… I’ve made numerous versions of a grilled chicken sandwich… and today’s post is one of them.

TIPS

I used a fairly thin boneless skinless chicken breast… thick ones make the sandwich too thick and really thin ones are too thin… look for one in between.

For my Pesto Mayo recipe… click here.

I used jarred roasted red peppers in oil. I used some of the oil from the jar for the marinade. Marinate the chicken for about 4 or more hours.

We had soft Kaiser rolls for sandwiches… this recipe would be excellent on Ciabatta bread.

I served it with a simple Pasta Salad.

This makes two servings.

Try this easy recipe.. it’s wonderful!






Recipe: Tuscan Chicken Sandwich

All you need:

2 Sandwich rolls
2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, fairly thin
Jarred Roasted Red Peppers in oil
1 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Olive oil
Leaf lettuce
Tomato slices
Provolone Slices
Prosciutto
Pesto Mayonnaise

All you need to do:


Place the chicken in a glass bowl. Add the chopped garlic cloves and about 3 tablespoons chopped roasted red peppers. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the oil from the roasted red pepper jar (enough to cover). Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours or more.


When ready to cook the chicken, remove from the fridge and remove the breasts from the bowl removing any garlic or red peppers from the chicken.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.

Cut the rolls in half and brush the inside with olive oil and place face down on the hot grill. When toasted golden, remove to a cutting board.



Grill the chicken until cooked through, turning once. Before removing from the grill, place a thin slice of prosciutto on each chicken breast and then place a slice of provolone on top. cook until cheese has melted (about 3 minutes).



Spread the pesto mayo on both pieces of the roll. Layer with lettuce then roasted red pepper on the bottom and layer tomato slices on the top piece.


Place the cooked chicken with the prosciutto and provolone on top of the roasted red pepper. Place the top on and enjoy!

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Recipe: Pesto Mayo


This quick and easy mayo is fabulous on sandwiches… I keep pesto in the fridge so this is a snap to throw together.

TIPS

You can use either a commercially made pesto or make your own… you can use my recipe for pesto… click here to see it.

I use Hellman’s Mayonnaise … using a different mayo will alter the taste. I wouldn’t recommend using Miracle Whip for this.

This is terrific on my Tuscan Chicken Sandwich… try it.. it’s so easy!






Recipe: Pesto Mayo

All you need:

½ cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto

All you need to do:



Combine ingredients in a small bowl.. mix well.

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Recipe: Ham and Cheese Breakfast Panini


Last year I got a Panini maker… probably one of the best small kitchen appliances I’ve gotten in recent memory. I love paninis … all kinds… so it was a given that I would start making Breakfast Paninis.

A while back I attempted making one using regular sandwich bread… well ixnay on that… at least using the Panini maker… those you definitely have to grill on a grill pan and flip … otherwise the thickness is like a postage stamp.

Our local supermarket makes these sandwich rolls that are similar to the sturdy Kaiser rolls… yet they are softer in texture. We like them for sandwiches and burgers… and I thought.. now that would hold up in the panini maker.. and they did… perfectly.

So the first Breakfast Panini was a egg, smoked deli ham and cheese Panini…. very easy to make…

TIPS


I made this in my Panini maker… if you don’t have a Panini maker.. you can get a flat kitchen gadget… I saw one recently made of cast iron... that you place on top of the sandwich while grilling. They really aren’t that cheap and almost the cost of a Panini maker anyway… another downside is that you won’t get the grill marks on the sandwich…. the only plus side I see with these gadgets is that they are easier to clean…

You can also simply grill the sandwich, carefully flipping it over to cook on both sides… similar to making grilled geese.

I used thin sliced deli smoked ham… you can use Canadian bacon or other meats as well.

Any variety sliced cheese that you prefer will be fine… they make sliced cheddar, Monterey Jack, American.. etc.


I made a simple 2 egg omelet… in a medium sized non-stick skillet… allowing the egg to cook completely by leaving it alone over medium heat… then when the top was set… I flipped it in half .. then in half again… the resulting quarter omelet was the perfect size for the roll.

This is a yummy breakfast.. perfect for on the go.






Recipe: Ham and Cheese Breakfast Panini

All you need:

2 eggs
Dash of milk
Butter flavored cooking oil spray
3 thin slices of deli smoked ham
2 slices cheese (any variety you like)
Margarine or butter
Sandwich roll

All you need to do:

Spray the Panini maker lightly with cooking oil spray and heat it.



Cut the roll in half and spread a thin layer of margarine or butter on each half.

Place a slice of cheese on each half.

Fold the ham slices in half and place on top of the cheese on the roll bottom. Set aside.

Spray a medium non-stick skillet with butter flavored cooking oil.

Heat the skillet over medium heat.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and dash of milk.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and allow the omelet to set.

When the top is set, flip the omelet in half and then in half again.

Place the omelet on the ham slices.

Place the top of the roll with the cheese slice on the omelet.

Grill in the Panini maker until Panini is golden with grill marks and the cheese has melted… about 2 minutes or less.

Serve hot.

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Recipe: Brown Rice with Mushrooms Garlic and Onions


This Brown Rice Recipe came about when I was experimenting with instant Brown Rice. I have a lot of Brown Rice here at the house and need to use it… so what better way than to make recipes.

I decided to try sautéed garlic and onions with chopped mushrooms… peas were added to add color and a little more flavor.

This is quick and easy… I used instant Brown Rice but you can also use long grain, simply replace the water in the cooking instructions for the rice with chicken or beef broth… I use either depending on what I’m serving it with…

TIPS

As I mentioned, you can use either chicken or beef broth.. just be aware… beef broth is heartier and more flavorful… omit the thyme in the recipe since thyme really goes best with chicken. You can add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce to the beef broth version for a different flavor.. it will go very well with steak.

I used my mini chopper to chop the onions and garlic… throw them in together and they will be mixed perfectly.

I used butter… you can use margarine or olive oil… the only reason I used butter is for added butter flavor.

You can omit the peas if you prefer… chopped fresh tomatoes can be added instead… just add them just before serving… no need to cook them. Plum or Roma tomatoes work best.

This will make 6 servings.

This is a great little side dish… I hope you try it.






Recipe: Brown Rice with Mushrooms Garlic and Onions

All you need:

To cook the rice:

2 cups uncooked brown rice
Chicken or beef broth (use quantity in rice directions on box instead of water)

Remaining ingredients:

About 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, caps and stems, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:

Cook brown rice according to package instructions replacing the water with chicken or beef broth. *Cook until still a little chewy… if using instant brown rice … cook about 1-2 minutes less than the directions. I prefer to cook it in the microwave while I’m sautéing the onions, garlic and mushrooms.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring well. Cook until the onions have started to soften.

Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the cooked rice and the frozen peas, stir well.

Add the thyme and 1 cup broth. Cook until the peas are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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What is Cream of Tartar?


What is cream of tartar? … is a question I get periodically … so I decided today would be a good time to post an answer since a number of upcoming recipes have it in their ingredient list.

The technical name for cream of tartar is potassium bitartrate … and according to Wikipedia, is formed during the fermentation process of grape juice into wine. Click here to read more.

It is widely used in cooking to stabilize egg whites, increasing their heat tolerance and volume. In plain language, when a recipe calls for beating egg whites to stiff peaks, chances are the recipe has you add cream of tartar. Two such recipes that come to mine are soufflés and meringue toppings.

Other cooking uses include preventing sugar syrups from crystallizing, reducing discoloration of boiled vegetables, stabilizing whipped cream (after whipping) and Gingerbread House icing.

You can also make baking powder with it. Click here for the recipe.

Trivia: It is a common ingredient in Play-Doh.

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How to Make Baking Powder


Ever need baking powder and find you don’t have it? Here is a quick solution… make it!

All you need:

½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cornstarch

All you need to do:

Blend ingredients in a ramekin.

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How to Determine the Size of a Baking Dish

Have you ever read a recipe that specified a particular size baking dish to use and were unsure if your dish was the correct size? You are not alone…. it happens all the time. Many baking dishes don’t list the size in ounces on the bottom… or if they’re old and been through the dishwasher a million times, you can no longer read it.

A simple solution is to fill it with water and measure the water. Sounds simple?... it is!

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Recipe: Chili Mac Skillet


This recipe for Chili Mac Skillet is a family favorite… it’s not fancy … it’s not gourmet… it’s simple food that goes over big with kids and adults alike…. and for the Blog Snob… yes it is a from scratch version of a Hamburger Helper…

I know… Hamburger Helper… even I wince at it.. at least there are fresh ingredients added and the “from scratch version” is all spices no ingredients that you can’t pronounce or msg added…. it’s real food.. that my kid loved growing up.. and it was pretty good for him too… with the addition of kidney beans… it’s loaded with good stuff.

TIPS

You can add diced green and red pepper to add even more flavor…

You can substitute ½ medium onion diced for the dried onion in the seasoning… add it after you brown and drain the meat.

As with other spice blends… you can quadruple or multiply the ingredients even more and keep it in an airtight jar so it’s ready to use when you need it… add it to ground beef to spice up burgers… or add some to plain baked beans for some added flavor… there many ways to use this seasoning mix.

I add drained and rinsed kidney beans to this… it makes it even more “chili-like”.

Toppings are optional but they do add lots of flavor so I would recommend you serve them on the side… they include sliced green onions (white and green parts), shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream.

Cornbread makes a nice side dish to this recipe.

I buy large boxes of elbow macaroni and store it in jars, I just scoop out what I need… it’s economical and I always have some on hand for an “emergency” dinner… you know the kind.. when you should have gone to the market 3 days ago and now you’re scrambling to find ingredients for a dinner.

This quick and easy dinner is a great one pan dinner… easy to make.. easy to clean up.. and always a winner with the family.






Recipe: Chili Mac Skillet

All you need:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
2 cups water
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup diced green pepper (optional)
¼ cup diced red pepper (optional)

Chili Seasoning:

¼ teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika (sweet paprika is preferred but regular will be fine too)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried minced onion* see tips for substituting diced onion
¾ teaspoon garlic powder

Toppings:

Sliced green onions
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream

All you need to do:

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain off any fat.

Mix the chili seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.

If adding green and red pepper and substituting diced onion… add them now.

Cook for about 3 minutes… stirring a few times.

Add the dried macaroni, kidney beans and chili seasoning mixture.

Add the water and bring to a low boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until macaroni is tender and the mixture is at desired consistency… about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with toppings on the side.

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Recipe: Pina Colada Pie


This quick and easy recipe for Pina Colada Pie uses Jell-O Instant Pudding… Cool Whip… coconut, chopped cherries and pineapple…. Oh and did I mention rum?

I know the blog snob will definitely roll her eyes with this one.. after all… a boxed pudding mix.. how absolutely lazy!… she’d rather spend extra time in the kitchen making each ingredient from scratch… all the power to her… I want to enjoy the warm weather … and this pie is absolutely delicious the way it is.. no need for extra work.. so while she’s slaving in the kitchen.. I’ll be on the deck in the sun reading a book or better yet.. playing ball with Bubba and Duke (see support staff).

I came up with this recipe while trying to put together a dessert with ingredients I had on hand… and I started with Coconut Cream Jell-O Instant Pudding.. and went from there… I guess I had Pina Coladas on my mind.. lucky for us I did!

TIPS

I used a shortbread Redi-Crust… a graham cracker crumb will work just as well.

I highly recommend you use whole milk… a lower fat milk will not setup as well… even so.. with whole milk the pudding is not stiff but definitely servable (is that even a word?).

The JELL-O box says to use more milk than I have in the recipe for making a pie filling.. I felt the pie filling was too soft and had trouble cutting it when I used their amounts.

I made the pineapple topping from scratch (so there! blog snob… I do make some things from scratch)… but another thought would be to use pineapple ice cream topping.. just mix in the rum and it should work well.. I definitely will try it next time. Make sure you use chunky sauce.. you do want pineapple pieces. Another suggestion...use crushed pineapple instead of chunks.

If you don’t want to use real rum.. you can use rum extract… substitute 1 ½ teaspoons dark rum extract for each tablespoon rum… or ½ teaspoon extract for each tablespoon light rum.

When flavoring this with rum (or rum extract equivalent).. start with 1 tablespoon rum … taste it and then add the second tablespoon if you want.. everyone has different tastes… I used what is listed in the ingredient list.

You could leave out the rum altogether but… it really makes the pie taste like a real Pina Colada.

I used fat free Cool Whip.. any type works equally as well.

The instructions say to use 2 packages of the Instant Pudding… it will fill the over-sized Redi-Crust you can find in the grocery store or it will fill a smaller sized pie crust and you will have a little extra (like that’s going to be a problem for the cook…ha!)

If you need instructions on how to toast coconut.. click here.

Make sure you use sweetened coconut flakes… otherwise they won’t taste sweet.

If you like Pina Coladas.. you will like this pie… perfect for bringing to a party or barbeque.







Recipe: Pina Colada Pie

All you need:

For the Pie:

1 Redi-Crust graham cracker or shortbread
2 packages (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Instant Pudding coconut cream flavor
2 ½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons rum
2 cups Cool Whip

Pineapple Topping:

1 can (8 oz.) Dole Pineapple Chunks
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon butter

Other Toppings:

¼ cup toasted sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup chopped maraschino cherries

All you need to do:

Beat the pudding mixes, milk and rum with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.

Fold in the Cool Whip.

Pour into the shell.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make the pineapple topping by putting the pineapple chunks in a small bowl and the juice in another bowl.

Add the sugar and cornstarch to the juice and microwave on high for about 4 minutes, stirring once. Depending on your microwave, you may have to microwave a bit longer until juice is thickened.

Add the rum and butter and stir well.

Add the pineapple chunks to the thickened juice and refrigerate.

Before serving make a border of chopped cherries around the rim.

Pick out the pineapple chunks and place in the center of the pie. Carefully drip some thickened pineapple sauce over the pineapple chunks… do not add too much .. otherwise it will be runny. Use the leftover thickened sauce on ice cream or another use.

Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes over the top.

Refrigerate until serving.

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