Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Springtime Lemon Pasta with Prosciutto and Asparagus


Springtime cooking for me always includes foods with asparagus and lemons. Add pasta, prosciutto and cream for an easy deliciously simple meal. My passion for good food leads me to create easy meals that are fresh and flavorful with simple ingredients. Eating food for nourishment doesn't mean that we need to sacrifice on taste. Food is meant to be savored, enjoyed with family and friends not to be rushed eating standing up or walking down the street. Make an easy beautiful meal, invite family and friends to relax while you all create lasting memories to cherish.    

Ingredients

        1 pound spaghetti or linguine
        Kosher salt
        3 tablespoons olive oil
        1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 large)
        4 ounces Prosciutto, cut into thin strips
        1 cup asparagus, lightly steamed
        1 cup heavy cream
        1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
        2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
        Freshly ground black pepper
        Freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)
        1/2 lemon thinly slice for garnish

Preparation

        Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain, reserving 2 Tbsp. pasta cooking liquid.
        Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add shallots and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes (do not brown). Add Prosciutto , asparagus, and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest, 2 Tbsp. parsley, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
        Return pasta to pot. Toss with sauce and reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with salt and pepper. Place pasta on plate then top with parsley, Parmesan seasoning with more pepper. Garnish with lemon slices.

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Baked Stuffed Quiona Artichokes





   

Ingredients

    4 large artichokes
    2 quarts of water
    1 lemon, halved
    2 bay leaves
    2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    1/8 cup salt
    1/2  cup Quinoa cooked according to package instructions.  I like Earthly Choice
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons assorted fresh chopped herbs (such as parsley, basil and oregano)
    2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, toasted
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and black pepper

Directions

    Cut off the stem, trim the tips from the leaves and cut off the top quarter of the artichoke. In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add artichokes. Squeeze juice from the lemon halves into water, then add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt. Cover, reduce heat to simmering and cook until artichokes are tender, and base can be pierce with a knife,  about 25 minutes. Drain artichokes. Placing the artichokes on their base, spread apart the outer leaves and carefully remove and discard the center section and fuzzy choke, leaving outer leaves intact.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine Quinoa, cheese, herbs and oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully spread apart leaves of artichoke, leaving them attached. Pack Quinoa  mixture into all available spaces. Place on a baking dish and bake 25 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy!

www.gooddinnermrsmellen.com


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Panko Baked Scallops for two




I love the french recipe Coques St. Jacques which I bake and serve in beautiful scallop shells. The traditional recipe has many steps and requires time to make. Loving Scallops cooked in a casserole but not always have the time to prepare I created this easy baked scallops for a delicious weekday meal.  Prepare the casserole in the morning to bake at night having a wonderful fresh dinner in 20 minutes.


Ingredients

1/2 lb sea scallops
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup Italian Panko bread crumbs, I used Roland
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon butter

Preheat over to 375F. Place scallops in a bowl. Squeeze lemon over scallops. Add olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt tossing to combine. Place scallops in over proof baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and cheese. Place bread crumbs on top of scallops. Dot butter over break crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is brown. Serve over pasta tossed with butter and cheese or rice. 

Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blueberry Poppy Seed Scones





In my world of 24/7 where warp speed isn't fast enough, where quantity not quality is the norm, how luxuriating enjoying a cup of tea with all the accompaniments, so Downton Abbey -  tea hold a special place in my life.  Slowing time, if just a little, Afternoon Tea is a wonderful pleasure I thank the British for cultivating. My spirit fills with joy sipping a cup of tea from a beautifully crafted English china tea cup while eating dainty little tea sandwiches along with freshly baked Scones topped with a dollop of clotted cream. Over time I’ve amassed an extensive collection of English tea china and accoutrements to host my own teas which have marked special moments in my life. Christmas mother/daughter teas with my daughter’s friends and their mothers, Mother’s Day Teas to celebrate the women in my life and a Bridal Shower Tea for my daughter - afternoon tea shares many cherished memories throughout my life. When traveling I am not only on the hunt for an additions to my collection but for new venues to enjoy afternoon tea. I enviable find a uniquely special new place to enjoy afternoon tea; an elegant stately hotel , an Alice in Wonderland-Mad Hatter room, a Tea Houses among the roses, all sharing impeccable British style service, aromatic teas and delectable treats. Life doesn't get any better than this I’m reminded as I slowly savor life's pleasures one sip at a time!



Blueberry Poppy Scones:

    2 cups all-purpose flour - I use King Arthur Flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
    1 cup fresh blueberries
    1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

    Clotted Cream- Devon Cream Company
    Strawberry Preserves - Bonne Maman


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and poppy seeds. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Serve with Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserves.





Enjoy!

www.gooddinnermrsmellen.com



Monday, February 20, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower with Italian Tuna over Pasta



I love to create easy weekday meals that just burst with flavor. Being of Italian heritage I learned at an early age from my mother that you should only consume food that taste delicious. Meticulous preparation was so important to my mother who enjoyed the art of cooking instilling in me that food is love that your share with family and friends. I have continued her tradition preparing meals with the focus on flavor and taste. All you need to add as my mother is fond of saying is a pinch or this, a dash of that, just doctor it up! Still at ninety five she knows how to make food sing with flavor.

Roasted Cauliflower with Italian Tuna over Pasta

1 head cauliflower, chopped
six skin-on garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 red pepper flakes
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon butter
two tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Italian yellow fin tuna in olive oil
1 tablespoon capers

1 pound pasta or spaghetti


On a sheet pan, drizzle a head of chopped cauliflower and six skin-on garlic cloves with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Roast at 425°, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower is caramelized and crisp, about 30 minutes. Once cool, peel the roasted garlic cloves and chop.

In a large bowl, combine a cup of grated Parmesan, three tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, and a quarter-cup of toasted breadcrumbs. (Toast stale bread until lightly golden, then use a food processor to pulse into crumbs.)

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook a pound of short pasta (like cavatelli) or thin spaghetti. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower, garlic cloves, Parmesan butter mixture, and enough pasta water to mix it all together. Add flaked tuna and mix. Garnish with capers.


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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casseroles

Christmas morning I find myself returning to memories of my Christmas mornings as a child where we would wake before the moon was tucked away for the day. So excited to see what Santa had left under the tree we would rush into our living room eyes filled with delight holding my breath as we got our first peek at our tree and gifts. Christmas still holds that child wonderment for me even now all these years later. After exchanging gifts our tradition includes a large Christmas morning breakfast before we ready for our company to arrive for Christmas dinner. I love to make these easy breakfast casseroles which conveniently can be readied the night before just baking in the morning for an easy, delicious Christmas morning.





Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound chicken sausage links
6 slices soft hearty white bread
One 8-ounce package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, until browned, about 10 minutes; drain well on paper towels. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.

Cut and discard the crusts from the bread. Cut the slices in half, and arrange in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, cutting pieces to fit as necessary to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with the sausage and cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper; carefully pour the mixture over the cheese.

Bake casserole until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.



Cheese Grits and Sausage Casserole

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked grits
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 pound chicken sausage links
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking dish.
  2. Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Mix in 1/2 the butter and 2 cups cheese until melted.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned. Drain and slice into 1 inch slices. Mix into the grits. Beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl,  then mix into the grits.
  4. Pour the grits mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dot with remaining butter, and top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. 





Christmas Morning French Toast

1 loaf Italian bread ( 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
crumb topping
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Maple Syrup ( if desired, I don't think it is needed as the topping takes the place of maple syrup)

Slice Italian bread into 20 1-inch slices.  Arrange slices on a 9 x13 baking dish( spray with cooking spray)  in two rows, overlapping the slices.  In a large bowl combine eggs, half and half, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and beat with a mixer or whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over the bread, slowly, making sure to evenly cover all the bread.   Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup of butter( 1 sick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

The next day preheat oven 350 F.  Spread topping over bread. (It will not cover all the bread)  Top with cranberries.  Bake covered for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup if desired.

Enjoy!



Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies






Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate, caramel and sea salt, a perfect combination for a Christmas cookie. Each year I make copious quantities of Christmas cookies to give to friends and family. Sharing my creations with those I love is my personal way to celebrate the season. This cookie has become one of my family's favorite since they all love chocolate and caramel dusted with sea salt then drizzled with chocolate glaze!

Ingredients

    COOKIES
    1 cup flour
    Generous 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg yolk
    1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup fine granulated sugar

    CARAMEL Filling
    
   1/2 package caramels, unwrapped
   2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
   1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus about 1/2 tsp. for sprinkling
   2 oz semi-sweet chocolate bar
   1 teaspoon shortening 

Preparation

1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

2. Scoop dough into rounded 1-tsp. portions and roll into balls, then roll balls in sparkling or powdered sugar to coat. Place 2 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. With end of a thick-handled wooden spoon, gently press an indentation into center of each cookie. Bake until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (The depressions tend to fill in a bit as they bake, so as soon as they're out of the oven, give them another press with the spoon if necessary.) Slide parchment with cookies onto cooling racks and let cool.

3. Make caramel: Place caramels in small heavy sauce pan with cream. Heat to boiling lower heat stirring until caramels are melted.

4. Assemble cookies: Spoon about 1/4 tsp. caramel into each cookie, then sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt.

5. Microwave chocolate and shortening on high for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

Enjoy!