Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick and Easy Pasta Fagioli

Traditional Pasta Fagioli is made with a pork product such as pancetta, ham or pigs feet(old time Italian) but growing up my mother always made meatless Pasta Fagioli on Fridays. I have fond memories of eating Pasta Fagioli on crisp fall nights before rushing off to a Friday night football game. Over the years I have added my own touches to my mother's Pasta Fagioli to make it an easy totally vegetarian meal.

Pasta Fagioli

1 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 (16 oz) cans vegetarian baked beans
1 can (8 oz) no salt Tomato Sauce
1 can (15.5 oz) Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup dried ditali pasta
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. In large pot cook shallots, garlic and olive over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Sir in wine, baked beans, garbanzo beans, vegetable broth and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil: reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
3. Cook, pasta al dente(firm but not hard), drain. Stir cooked pasta, basil, oregano into bean mixture. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Make 4-6 servings.  Serve with fresh graded Parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fantastic Fall Apple Pie

I have made this apple pie for over 30 years with some changes along the way. A disclaimer this pie is very rich but sometimes you just have to let go and indulge.  You can't each low fat cottage cheese and fruit every day. I just tell myself an extra hot yoga class and this piece of pie has my name on it.

French Custard Apple Pie
Crust
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 lb of butter
2/3 teaspoon salt
6-7 tablespoon apple cider or water

Filling
6 large Granny Smith or Macintosh apples pared and diced (you can use a combination or just one kind of apple. I like the Granny Smith because they are tart and this is a sweet pie)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 2/3 cup sour cream
1 egg(2 if small)

1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla or 1 Tablespoon Brandy
1/3 cup flour

Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick butter

Crust: Combine all the ingredients expcept the apple cider in a food procussor, pulse until combined. Add one tablespoon of cider at a time and pulse after each addition. Dough will form a soft ball. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface 2 inches larger than the pie plate, fite a 10 inch pie plate. This is a solf cookie like dough what I do is lightly dust the pie plate with flour before I fit the dough. This will prevent the pie crust from sticking when you cut the pie. Fold and roll pastry under and flute.
Filling: Mix filling ingredients together and fill pie shell. Bake for 450 10 minuetes, then 350 degrees  for 30 minutes. Blend topping ingredients together and place on top of pie . bake for additional 15 minuets.

Enjoy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tortellini and Escarole Soup, a Good Dinner Mrs Mellen favorite

Now that the leaves are changing and the air is crisp my thoughts and taste turn to wonderful, warming soup. After working outside, getting my garden ready for a long winter nap, I just love to come inside and warm up with this Tortellini and Escarole soup. It's delicious and easy to make. And naturally good.

Tortellini and Escarole Soup
3 Tablespoon olive oil
3 clovers garlic crushed
2 shallots, chopped
1 head of escarole, thoroughly washed and cut into bit size pieces
1 box organic low salt chicken broth
1 package cheese tortellini(9 oz) fresh or frozen
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook garlic and shallots in olive oil on low for 5 just until shallots  are translucent. Don't brown garlic (it taste bitter if you do). Add escarole, stir, coating escarole with olive and cook for another 5 minutes just until the escarole is wilted. Add chicken broth, tortellini, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over individual servings if you want.   Serve with fresh Italian bread and a salad for a wonderful fall meal.

Enjoy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shout out to Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Italian Special Publication

I am a sucker for cookbooks and cooking magazines. I know why these magazines are just staring right up at me why I am waiting to pay for my order at the grocery story. I just can't resist the promise of wonderful new recipes, culinary delights just a few pages away. Racing home I can't wait to open the magazine to gaze on totally new and delicious delights.  Anticipation is high as I start to read through the magazine or cookbook and then more times than not, disappointment, same old retooled recipe or worst, like most long time cooks I can eye ball a looser recipe.  Well two weeks ago I brought home Better Homes and Garden Ultimate Italian Special Publication, yes, yes, yes, I was so excited to find wonderful delicious dishes, I could tell just by looking. Most of the  recipes are easy and quick to make with simple and ready available ingredients. I've made two of the pasta dishes this week and we really enjoyed both. And I'm not just talking good pasta recipes, but  also drinks, pizza, appetizers, soups, desserts and more. I highly recommend this magazine, well worth the $9.99 cost. Funny too, I was speaking to my mother, one of the best Italian cooks I know, and she just happened to buy the same magazine at the grocery store and she agreed with my assessment.
I am so looking forward to more great meals from this cooking magazine.

Enjoy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Easy Mushroom and Rice Soup

Now that the weather is changing and for the past three days the weather has been rainy and damp my thoughts turn to nice hot soup. I like to make this easy recipe for a tasty Mushroom and Rice Soup. And the soup is very filling and healthy.

Mushroom and Rice Soup
2 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic. crushed
2 Tbs olive oil
8 oz of sliced mushrooms, either white or baby portobello, you choose your favorite
1 cup Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley
2 32 oz boxes Organic low sodium chicken broth
Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add slice mushrooms, continue sauteing for an additional 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil. Add rice and lower heat, cover simmering for about 45 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
If you want you can add cooked chicken to make a hearty soup or leave it vegetarian.

That's it done. I freeze this soup and have wonderful homemade soup always ready for those days when you just need a nice hot bowel of soup.(Really nice after hot yoga!)  I  love soup but find that soup in restaurants can have too much salt. So I never order soup out instead of come up with low sodium, flavorful soups that I make at home. Using low sodium broth I can control the sodium content and by adding seasonings to my soups increase the flavor with out adding salt.

Enjoy