Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 egg -- lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
5 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups thinly sliced escarole or spinach
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots

In medium bowl, combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, and onion powder; shape into 3/4-inch balls.
In large saucepan, heat broth to boiling; stir in escarole or spinach, pasta, carrot, and meatballs. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender to bite. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Smoky Shredded Pork Tacos

Tacos de Picadillo Oazaqueno
from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen

1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled, divided use
1 large white onion, diced, divided use
2-3 dried, stemmed chipotle chilies or canned chipotle chilies en adobo; see cook's notes
1 generous lb. (2 large round or 7-8 plum) ripe tomatoes
2 1/2 T. olive or vegetable oil or lard, divided use
Salt, about a scant 1/2 t.
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/8 t. ground cloves, preferably freshly ground
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. slivered almonds
16-18 warm corn tortillas (plus a few extra, in case some break)

In a medium size (2-3 quart) saucepan, cover meat with heavily salted water. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic and add along with half of the onion. Bring to a gentle boil, skim off any grayish foam that rises during the first few minutes, partially cover and simmer over medium-low until thoroughly tender, about 1 1/2 hours. If time permits, cool the meat in the broth. Shred it between your fingers or with two forks held back to back. (There will be about 4 cups of meat; reserve broth for soup, if desired).

Prepare the Quick Cooked Tomato Chipotle Sauce. For dried chilies, roast them on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning regularly and pressing flat until very aromatic, about 30 seconds. In a small bowl, cover chilies with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water. If using canned chilies, they only need to be removed from the can.

Roast the remaining 3 cloves garlic on a griddle or skillet, turning occasionally until soft, about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Roast tomatoes on baking sheet 4 inches below heated broiler until charred, about 6 minutes. Turn and roast on the other side, 2-3 minutes. Cool, then peel, collecting all juices with the tomatoes.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse tomatoes, chilies and garlic to medium-fine puree. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or lard in heavy, medium-size saucepan over medium-high. Add puree and stir for 5 minutes as it sears and thickens. Taste and season with salt.

Prepare the picadillo. In a large, heavy, well-seasoned or nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil or lard over medium-high. When hot, add shredded meat and remaining half of onion. Fry, stirring frequently, until crispy and golden, 12-14 minutes. Add cinnamon, peppers, cloves and raisins. Add tomato-chipotle sauce. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 4-5 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds in a small baking pan until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add them to picadillo mixture. Taste mixture and season with salt if necessary.

Guests will spoon portion of filling into warm tortilla.

Provide hot sauce for those who prefer a more picante dish.

Advance preparation: This filling can be prepared 2 days in advance and refrigerated well-sealed. Reserve and refrigerate a little of the cooking broth; add a little of it when reheating the mixture.

Yield: 4 cups, enough for 16-18 tacos

Optional: hot sauce

Cook's note: Canned chipotle chilies in adobo are sold in Hispanic markets and many supermarkets. Chipotle chilies are smoked, ripened jalapeno chilies.

Snickers Salad

1 package cream cheese (8 ounce) softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container Cool Whip (12 ounce) thawed
6 Snickers candy bars
4 granny smith apples (4 to 6)
  1. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until thoroughly blended.
  2. Fold in Cool Whip.
  3. Cut Snickers into bite size chunks and add to cream cheese mixture.
  4. Chop the apples into chunks and stir inches.
  5. Chill 1 hour before serving.
  6. Chilling for a long period of time (such as overnight)will result in liquid being released from the salad.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wolfgang's Beef Goulash

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 pounds beef shank, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Spaetzle, recipe follows
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and sugar until caramelized. Add the garlic and caraway seed. Cook for 1 minute. Add the sweet and sharp paprika, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Saute another minute, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste. Deglaze with the vinegar and the stock and add the pieces of beef shank, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with Spaetzle on the side.

4 egg yolks
1 egg
1 3/4 cups milk
1 pound (about 3 cups) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup peanut oil
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, egg and milk. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with hand until well blended. Do not overmix at this stage. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow the batter to rest for at least 1 hour.

Bring salted water to a boil. Place a perforated hotel pan on top of the pot. Place the batter on the pan and force through the holes to form spaetzle. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Transfer cooked spaetzle to a bowl of ice water to shock. When cool to the touch, drain well. Stir in half the oil. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days).

Over high heat, place a large saute pan until it gets very hot. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and the boiled spaetzle. Saute until golden. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Finish with butter and sprinkle with parsley.

Mars Bar Slice

from Miss Liss on CLBB

4 Mars Bars (3 Musketeers)
3 Tbsp butter
3 cups rice bubbles (rice krispies)

Grease and line slice tin (9x13 brownie tin) with baking paper or plastic wrap.
Melt Mars Bars with butter (you can do this in the microwave) and mix with rice bubbles.
Pour mixture into tin and press down evenly.
Let slice set in the fridge.
Remove slice from tin and cut into pieces (allow it to sit out for a few minutes before cutting otherwise it will crack).

Thursday, February 22, 2007


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 package mild chili seasoning mix (such as McCormicks)
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 (14.5 oz) can chili beans (with chili sauce)
2 (14.5 oz) cans kidney beans
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Additional Chili Powder and Cumin (optional)
Grated cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping.

Brown ground beef in a soup pot over medium high heat. Drain any grease. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until softened- about 5 minutes. Add seasoning packet. Stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cook for another 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes- add any additional seasonings as desired. Chili is ready to serve, or continue simmering until needed or refrigerate. Chili is always better the next day. Top with cheese and sour cream before serving.

For a thicker chili, eliminate 1 cup of beef broth and use 1 whole small can of tomato paste. You will want to add some chili powder and cumin in this case. You can also add jalapenos with the onion if you want a lot of heat in your chili.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

1/4 cup tamari sauce (or low sodium soy)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 packages pork tenderloins -- (1 1/2 lb)

Stir together first 11 ingredients in a shallow dish or heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag.

Prick pork with a fork, and place in marinade, turning to coat.

Cover dish, or seal bag; Chill 2 hours.

Remove from marinade, discarding marinade.

Place pork on a rack in a roasting pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickes portion of pork registers 160 degrees.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Herbed Focaccia/All-Purpose Pizza Dough

All-Purpose Pizza Dough (recipe to follow)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Roll prepared dough into a 12 x 8 rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme over dough. fold dough into thirds. Knead lightly 1 minute or until herbs are blended into dough. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Roll dough into a 14 x 12 inch rectangle. Place dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place 35 minutes or until doubled in size.

2. Preheat oven to 450ºF.

3. Uncover dough. Make indentations in top of dough using handle of a wooden spoon or your fingertips. Gently brush dough with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake dough at 450ºF for 15 minutes or until browned. Yield: 8 Servings.

Cooking Light's All-Purpose Pizza Dough

1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to yeast mixture and stir well. Add 2 cups flour, q cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), adding enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

2. Place dough into a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85ºF.) free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape dough according to recipe directions. Yield: Dough for 1 pizza or focaccia.

3. To make pizza, roll dough into a 15-inch circle on a floured surface. Place dough on a 15-inch round pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover dough, and let rise in a warm place 20 minutes, or until puffy. Preheat oven to 450ºF, bake topped pizza for 15 minutes or until golden, makes 4 servings.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Herbed Spaetzle

from Sara Moulton Cooks At Home

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the flour, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl and stir well. Whisk together the beaten egg and the water. Add to the flour mixture, beating until just smooth. The texture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. If too thick, whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons more water.

Drop the mixture through a spaetzle maker into a large pot of salted boiling water. Simmer until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. (Spaetzle may be made a day in advance. Keep covered and chilled.)

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Add the spaetzle and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tater Tot Pizza-Role

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
8 ounces pizza sauce
2 ounces turkey pepperoni
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese -- shredded
12 ounces frozen tater tots

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a casserole dish (any size, just be prepared to modify cooking times) with nonstick cooking spray.

In large skillet, over medium high heat, cook ground beef, seasonings, and onion until beef is cooked, stirring often.

Drain well.

Reduce heat to medium; stir in soup.

Cook mixture until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Spoon beef and soup mixture into prepared dish.

Spoon pizza sauce evenly over the top.

Arrange pepperoni and green pepper over sauce.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Arrange tater tots over mixture and cover with foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Dump Cake

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine pie filling and pineapples in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the fruit. Do not mix. Sprinkle with pecans if using, and drizzle melted butter over the whole thing, again, do not mix or combine. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbly.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

from the back of the chocolate chip package...

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixer bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Beautiful Burger Buns

from King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together- by hand or by mixer- until you've made a soft smooth dough. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it,and let rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a flattened ball. Place the buns on greased baking sheets, cover, and let rise 30 to 40 minutes, until they're quite puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the buns for 12 to 15 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool them on a rack. Split and use for burgers or sandwiches. For burgers, butter the split sides and fry them, buttered side down, until they're golden brown and warmed through.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Barbequed Kielbasa

serves 4

1 pound kielbasa, cut into coins
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light molasses
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans - pre-cooked or a 15 oz. can, well drained

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, combine well, and pour into a greased 3 quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

This could also be cooked in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground beef
1 small to medium onion, diced (1 cup onion)
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped in a food processor (or shredded on a box grater)
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups bottled barbecue sauce

Hamburger Rolls for serving

Brown ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat. Drain any grease. Add onion, bell pepper, and carrots to the pot. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until onions have softened.

Add stewed tomatoes, breaking up the larger pieces of tomato with a wooden spoon. Add barbecue sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Sloppy joe can be served up at this point or simmered gently until needed. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Sloppy joes are actually best made ahead of time and reheated. This also freezes very well for several months, and holds nicely in a crock-pot. Doubles and triples easily as well.

Makes between 12-15 sandwiches.

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook

6 medium baking or boiling potatoes (about 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups milk
Leftover ham- sliced or diced

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Wash and peel potatoes if desired (you could leave the peels on). Cut into thin slices (Or use a food processor/mandolin) until you have 4 cups of potato slices.

3. Place potato slices in baking dish, add ham as desired, and mix together with your hands, layering the potatoes and ham however you would like.

4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion in butter about two minutes, or until softened. Add flour, salt and pepper, whisking constantly. Cook and stir until smooth.

5. Gradually, pour milk into flour mixture, stirring to combine completely. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Once it's boiling, cook and stir for about one minute.

6. Pour sauce over prepared potatoes and ham.

7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 1 hour or a little longer until the potatoes are tender. (depends on the thickness of the slices) Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.