Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Very Berry Bruschetta

This is a family favorite . . . it's really good for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It even works after dinner as a not-to-sweet dessert option. It's so easy too! If you've got a smaller "crowd" to feed just scale back on the amounts.

10 slices Italian bread
1 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
3 or 4 tablespoons honey
1 pint each: blueberries, raspberries, & blackberries (fresh berries not frozen)
  1. Arrange bread slices on sheet tray and toast in broiler (or on grill pan set to medium-high heat) until golden brown, be sure to watch them closely.
  2. In a small bowl combine Ricotta cheese and honey; blend well.
  3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of Ricotta mixture on each piece of toast.
  4. Add fresh berries on top of each slice and serve.
  5. Drizzle some honey over the top for added yumminess

Friday, March 20, 2009

Quick & (not so) Dirty Colcannon

This year I made Colcannon to go along with our regular St. Patty’s Day dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage. It’s very easy to make and it tastes great! It’s basically mashed potatoes with the addition of sautéed onions and cabbage . . . and lots of butter too!

5 russet potatoes; small to medium sized peeled and cut into cubes
1-cup milk warmed on stove; low fat milk works well
1-½ sticks of butter
1 small onion diced
½ head of napa cabbage cored and cut into bit size pieces
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Butter for garnish
  1. Add cubed potatoes to a pot of salted water on med-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes (or until fork tender). Drain and then mash thoroughly using mixer. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter and the warm milk; continue mashing to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add 1 stick of butter to large sauté pan; add onion to pan and cook until tender and transparent; about 10 minutes; add cabbage to pan and cook until cabbage becomes a darker color and is tender-crisp; another 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked cabbage and onion mixture to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently. Serve in individual bowls. Make an indentation on the top and add a pat of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coconut Pie

Another dessert! I’ve been making this pie for about 7 years now and it hasn’t failed me yet. It’s so easy especially since you can get ready-made pie crusts at the store – by all means feel free to make your own crust if that’s what you’re into. Even people who “say” they don’t like coconut actually like this pie. It’s unlike any Coconut Pie I have ever had, and trust me I’ve had my share of coconut pie (amongst others). It’s not a cream pie so that’s the first clue that it’s different – it’s more like a Chess pie. I’m not exactly sure where the recipe originated from, maybe off of a package of shredded coconut? Honestly I can’t remember . . . and I’m guessing it doesn’t matter. Just in case you don’t figure it out before you start mixing things up – this recipe makes 2 shallow pies. I DO NOT recommend putting the entire filling in one deep-dish pie shell. It simply won’t cook properly and nothing good will come of it!!

2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
1 Stick Melted Butter
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
2 Pie Crusts (regular 9” pie crust)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix first five ingredients and pour equal amounts into pie shells & bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (about 30 minutes or so).
  3. Cool until set – about 30 minutes. Pies can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. If refrigerated allow pies to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Double Cherry Cake

This one is for Victoria an old friend from my school day’s at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart Germany – Go Panthers!! Go Piranhas!! Oh wow, I’ll have to remember to post the “Grilled PB&J” recipe that Victoria taught me back in the day -- still yummy. I guess I’ve always been “into” food LOL!

Anyway, best of luck to you Victoria on the Cherry Cake for Lakes! I know this recipe is a bit of a cheat . . . using a store bought cake mix . . . but there are several things to add to the mix so you still have to work a bit =)!

1 box french vanilla cake mix; dry (Duncan Hines Moist Delux)
1 stick margarine, melted (or butter if you prefer)
2 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling
1 cup chopped pecans (totally optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then grease and lightly flour a bundt or tube pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients, by hand, in a large bowl.
  3. Pour into prepared bundt or tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  4. Cool cake completely and then glaze.

Cherry Glaze

1/4 to 3/8 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 can of Classic Vanilla frosting (Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle or make your own vanilla frosting)

Prepare (or buy) your favorite vanilla frosting; then thin it with the maraschino cherry juice to create a glaze. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake and then top it off with whole stemmed maraschino cherries to decorate. You can even zap the frosting in the microwave for about 15 to 30 seconds to thin it out even more.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Easy Breezy Creme Brulee

Ok, this one is for my big sister Cassie. She asked me for an easy and very instructive recipe for Crème Brulee (I'm not good at "very instructive" but I tried). I love Crème Brulee; I’ve made it many times and many different ways. It’s actually VERY EASY to make. This version is even easier because it doesn’t require a water bath. It’s also served in one large dish, so it’s more of a rustic family style version. This recipe should be made well in advance, maybe even the day before you plan to serve it as it needs plenty of time in the refrigerator to set up properly. It’s worth the wait -- ENJOY!

4 large egg yolks (buy the extra large eggs at the store)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
  1. Beat egg yolks in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in 3 Tblspns of granulated sugar on high speed for about 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Heat (scald) cream in a 2-quart (medium) saucepan over medium heat, stirring regularly, just until hot (hot to the touch that is – not boiling).
  3. Gradually stir at least half of the hot cream into egg yolk mixture; be sure to stir continuously as you do this.
  4. Now, gradually add the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream. Cook this mixture over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). The liquid should be thick but runny, and very silky smooth like melted ice cream.
  5. Pour custard into ungreased pie plate, 9 X 1¼ inches. Refrigerate (uncovered) 8 to 10 hours but no longer than 24 hours. You can cover it after it has cooled for a couple of hours – that way you won’t trap any condensation underneath the cover keeping the custard from setting-up properly. The amount of time it takes to set-up will vary depending on how cold your refrigerator is. Do not freeze!
  6. Once the custard has set-up, put your oven control on Broil. Sprinkle brown sugar over chilled custard. Broil with top about 5 inches from heat for about 3 minutes or until sugar is melted and forms a glaze. You may need to put it back in the fridge to set-up again prior to serving. Refrigerate any remaining dessert. Makes 8 servings.

This is WAY more instruction than I usually get into, but I wanted to be sure to cover all the bases with everything -- per my sister's request!

Once again -- if anyone tries this and has a comment or change they think is interesting please let me know!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mustard Crusted Chicken with Wilted Spinach

Here's a great everyday dinner recipe. This version skips the flour and egg dredging that is usually standard when preparing breaded cutlets.

4 chicken cutlets, each 4 to 5 ounces and 1/4-inch thick
¼ Cup Dijon Mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian Seasoned bread crumbs
1 Bag of Baby Spinach Leaves (washed & well drained)
Olive oil, for frying
  1. Place cutlets in a shallow dish and coat thoroughly with mustard.
  2. Bread cutlets: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Then, in a shallow dish, whisk to combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, salt, and ground pepper. Coat each cutlet with the bread crumb mixture, patting the cutlets firmly so the coating adheres. Place coated cutlets on a plate or a large baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Pan-fry: Heat about 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat until it starts to ripple and/or slightly smoke. Cook cutlets until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Gently flip and fry until the other side is golden brown and cutlets are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.
  4. Wilted Spinach: After frying the Chicken, use the same pan for the spinach (leave any bits of olive oil and chicken coating in there). Add the Baby Spinach leaves to the hot pan and gently toss them around in the drippings allowing the leaves to wilt slightly – this doesn’t take long! Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the Chicken cutlets with your favorite mashed potato recipe and the wilted spinach. Serves 4.