Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, December 31, 2012

Balsamic-roasted cauliflower



Roasting vegetables is my favorite method to savor the flavor of fresh vegetables.  I go against the school of cooking thought that veggies should be crisp, al dente,  pasta yes, my veggies no. Roasted, grilled, or sauteed are my standard cooking methods for vegetables.
I love this dish because the syrupy vinegar adds a wonderful flavor to the cauliflower.  I make this dish with either cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.  The toasted pecans add added texture and flavor to the dish.  I could go on and on about how yummy this tastes!

1 head cauliflower, break florets into bite size pieces or
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the center
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar, I like to use fig balsamic vinegar*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a large bowl toss cauliflower with oil and pecans. Place cauliflower in baking dish. Add pecans. salt and pepper. Toss to combine.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over cauliflower and toss again.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and browned.  Toss once again during roasting.  Serve hot.

Enjoy!

* You can make regular balsamic vinegar syrupy by boiling any good balsamic vinegar until it is reduced in half.

www.gooddinnermrsmellen.com

Friday, December 28, 2012

Aunt Anna Marie's Baked Stuffed Potatoes




I remember the first time I helped my Aunt Anna Marie makes these richly flavorful potatoes when I was a young girl. Aunt Anna Marie was a wonderful cook: you know no recipes just cook by experience and instinct. She was having a large family party with one of my jobs being to make about 100 baked stuffed potatoes.  Oh did I mention that Aunt Anna Marie was an Italian war bride so following  Italian tradition we were cooking in the basement kitchen since the main kitchen is for show. As she busied herself with the more important entrees she would stop by to check on how I was progressing with the potatoes instructing me to add a little of this, a pinch of that.  I loved every minute of cooking with my aunt.
After I started cooking for my family I added Aunt Anna Marie's baked stuffed potatoes to my repertoire making them my own.  I don't remember why but I always make these potatoes for Christmas eve dinner bring back memories of helping my Aunt Anna Marie so many years ago.

Enjoy! 


four large russet potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 milk
1/4 cup graded Parmesan cheese, plus two tablespoons for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Bake potatoes in microwave on high 4 minutes. Turn each potato over. Bake another 4 minutes. Turn all potatoes again. Bake on half power 2 minutes, turn and bake another 2 minutes. Remove from oven.  Cool 2 minutes.  Slice potatoes in half and gently scoop out the potatoes leaving a little potato attached to the skin.  Be careful not to break the skin as the potato skin is the shell.
Place scoped out potato in large mixing bowl. Mash potatoes until broken apart.  Add milk,  mash to combine, then add next three ingredients continuing until potatoes are smooth.  Fill potato skin shell with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese and paprika.  Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are golden on top and cheese is melted.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mandi & Elaine's Lattice Candied Apple Pie



Pies as I say over and over are so wonderfully fun to make and delicious to eat!  I made this apple pie with my daughter Mandi along with a classic pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner.  I changed the recipe up for a change by adding dried cranberries, pecans and brandy.

Mandi & Elaine"s Lattice Candied Apple Pie

Pastry:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water


Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut into shortening thoroughly with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the side of the bowl(1 to2 teaspoons water can be added if needed).


Gather the dough into a ball, then shape, divide the dough in half and shape into 2 flattened rounds.) Roll the dough 2 inches larger all around than the inverted pie pan. 


Filling:
7  Gala Apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoon butter

Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice in small bowl. In a large bowl combine apples, add sugar mixture, pecans, cranberries and brandy, tossing to coat.  Line the bottom of the pie plate with one of the dough rounds. Put filling in prepared pie plate.  Cut up butter and place on top of apple filling.  

Cut remaining round into 10 strips about 1 inch wide. Place 5 strips across the filling of the pie pan.  Weave a cross-strip through the center by first folding back every other one of the original strips. Continue weaving until the lattice is complete, folding back the alternate strips each time a cross strip is added. Trim ends of strips. 

Fold the trimmed edge of the strips, building a high edge. Seal and flute.
Brush lightly with milk for a golden crust.

Heat oven 425 F.  Cover the edge with a pie crust protector or strips of aluminum to prevent excessive browning.  Remove last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden.

 Enjoy! 

www.gooddinnermrsmellen.com 








Christmas Morning Baked French Toast



I love do ahead recipes when you are having a large group and want to spend time with friends and family: not doing last minute cooking!  My Christmas Morning French Toast Casserole is do ahead, easy and delicious.  Did I mention that it smells heavenly baking! 

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!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Candied Apple and Cranberry Pie



As I've said over and over I love to bake! For some unknown reason I am pulled to making pies. Everything from making the pie crust, rolling it out to preparing the filling and topping is just so much fun. I once thought that I'd like to get all my collection of pie recipes together into a cookbook. I can visualize turning the pages and finding picture after picture of mouth watering pies! How would I choice which one of my pies to feature on the cover, like a mother I love them all.  I do have to say that fruit pies are my favorite to make and eat.
Apple pies are the harbinger of fall with the fresh harvest apples ripe and juicy just shouting put me in a pie!  With so many apple choices I find it hard to decide which delectable apple variety to use in my pies.  Which apple you use in your pie set the flavor of the whole pie, from sweet, to tart, to crisp to softer, it does make a difference.  For my Candied Apple and Cranberry Pie I chose Gala apples which are sweet but crisp for an over all sweet apple pie especially with the addition of dried cranberries. Top this pie off with creamy vanilla ice cream for a mouthful of heaven!

Candied Apple and Cranberry Pie

Pastry
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2-3 tablespoon apple cider or water
1 egg, beaten

Crumb Topping
Mix one cup flour, 1/2 cup firm butter, and 1/2 cup brown packed sugar with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly.

Heat oven to 425 F. Prepare pastry: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. With pastry blender cut in butter to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle apple cider over top one tablespoon at a time, mix until pastry holds together. Shape pastry into ball.
On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into 11-inch round,  fit into 9-inch pie plate. Turn extra dough at edge into rim and flute or crimp a raised edge.

Filling: Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt: mix lightly with the apples. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate and sprinkle with Crumb Topping.

Cover the edge with a 2 to 3 inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake 40-50 minutes. If topping browns too quickly, cover with foil for the last 15 minutes. 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tiramisu Cake




A picture is worth a thousand words or so the saying goes.  Looking at the picture of my Tiramisu cake I think that is so true.  A light angel food cake soaked in coffee and liqueur with a mascarpone filling frosted with whipped cream, need I say more!

Enjoy!

Tiramisu Cake



1 Angel Food Cake 8-10 inch, homemade or store bought
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese or 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used mascarpone cheese)
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoon coffee liqueur or Godiva chocolate liqueur which I really like
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoon coffee liqueur
3/4 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
chocolate fudge sauce

Chill a medium mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer

For filling, combine mascarpone or cream cheese,  1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoon liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a electric mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth.

Combine whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoon liqueur in the chilled mixing bowl.  Beat till stiff peaks form. Fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.

Using a serrated knife to cut the angel food cake horizontally into three layers.  Poke holes in the top of the three layers with metal or wooden skewers. Combine coffee and liqueur in a small bowl; slowly drizzle over each cake layer allowing the coffee mixture to soak in the cake layers.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread half the mascarpone filling. Add second layer and spread remaining filling. Add the third layer. Frost with remaining whipped cream.

Heat 1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce till warm in a small sauce pan. Stir in enough liqueur(1-2 tablespoon) to make sauce easy to drizzle.  Drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cake.


Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Golden Baked Brie and Figs in Puff Pastry



I have to admit that I so enjoy entertaining friends and family with a spectacular assortment of appetizers. I aim for a variety of textures and taste that appeal to a variety of pallets and tastes.  One of my family and friends favorites is my combination of Brie, figs, pecans and candied cranberries wrapped in flaky puff pastry.  Puff pastry baked to golden perfection with warm Brie bubbling out as you cut through the delectable pastry.  One of my guilty pleasures to indulge in occasionally!

Golden Backed Brie with Figs in Puff Pastry

1/2 package of frozen puff pastry (one sheet)
1  egg
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup fig spread
1/3 cup dried cranberries, softened (microwave in small bowl with 1 teaspoon water on low for 30 seconds)
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 (8 ounce) Brie Round

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix egg and water. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface.  Roll into 12" square. Cut pastry to make a 10 inch circle. Spread fig spread to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and pecans. Place cheese round on top. Brush edges with egg mixture.  Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2" from edge of cheese.  fold these two side on the Brie. Press edges to seal. Place seam side down on baking sheet.  Decorate top with rolled out reaming pastry.  I used a mini leaf cookie cutter for a fall them. Brush with egg mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until golden.  Let stand 1 hour. Serve with crackers.

Enjoy!




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Red Wine Mussels Marinara



In the summer I love mussels in a garlicky white wine sauce served with just a salad and fresh baked bread. So delicious with the freshest herbs simmered in the white wine sauce. Now that I am enjoying the cooler fall weather with crisp morning and sunny days I turn to heartier dishes with more robust and richer flavors.  Instead of white wine mussels I changed my recipe to reflect the change in the season using a rich red wine, chopped tomatoes, and hot crushed peppers to mimic the strong flavors and scents of fall. 

Red Wine Mussels Marinara

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can(14.5oz) petite cut diced tomatoes (I prefer no salt)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
2 teaspoons Murals of Flavor (Penzeys Spices)
pinch of saffron
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley   
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1 pound thin spaghetti 

Heat oil in a large pot on medium.  Add shallots and garlic sauteing until translucent about 5 minutes.  Add next seven ingredients simmer on low for 15 minutes letting all the flavors combine.  Add mussels, cover, simmering for another 15 minutes turning occasionally coating the mussels with the flavorful sauce.  Boil spaghetti until just cooked, drain and place in large bowl. Pour mussels and marinara sauce over pasta. Serve with fresh ground Parmesan cheese. So good and easy!

Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healthy Quick and Delicious Tuna Salad



I love to cook but many times my friends complain that they just don't have time to cook a tasty and healthy meal.  Here is my answer especially with all the local farm fresh veggies coming to market.

Healthy Tuna Salad.

Place fresh greens on plate.  Add one can of water packed tuna to the center of the plate.  I used sliced cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery, red beets, one slice hard boiled egg sliced, and sliced yellow pepper.  You can use any assortment of fresh veggies.  I just splashed balsamic vinegar and I had delicious, totally healthy and visually beautiful salad for dinner.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Savory Bread Pudding with Heirloom Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella



First let me just say that this is a very rich dish not meant to be eaten in large portions. A wonderful lunch or dinner with a salad eating only a small serving size.  Eating rich dishes and staying thin is all about portion control and exercise.  It's important to me that I don't encourage anyone to eat too much.  With that said let's get on to this wonderful bread pudding.  Until recently I only thought of bread pudding as a rich dessert that I occasionally indulged.  This summer in New Hampshire I ordered a savory bread pudding and I was hooked.  I made my bread pudding with heirloom tomatoes that I picked fresh from my garden along with my fresh herbs. You can add different veggies to recipe. Experiment, have fun and enjoy a wonderfully richly flavorful dish.

Savory Bread Pudding with Heirloom Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella

1(1pound) loaf crusty white bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes

3 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella chopped into 1-in cubes
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 F. Butter or spray with cooking spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cut bottom crust and short ends off bread, discarding. Cut remaining bread with crust into 1-inch cubes(about 10 cups loosely packed). Place cubes in large bowl. Add oil, thyme, basil, oregano and garlic; toss to coat. Spread bread cubes out on large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until golden and slightly crunchy, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Return toasted bread cubes to the same bowl.

Add olive oil to large skillet. Add shallot and garlic saute about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes continuing to cook for additional 5 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk heavy cream, eggs, salt and ground pepper in large bowl. Mix egg mixture into bread. Place 1/3 of bread and egg mixture in prepared pan.  Layer with 1/2 tomato then cheese. Continue layering 1/3 bread then 1/2 tomato and cheese then finally remaining 1/3 bread mixture. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven 350 F. Bake uncovered until set and top is golden about 50-60 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farro Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Goat Cheese



I am really loving farro! A wonderfully nutty grain that you can prepare in so many interesting ways.  I decided to combine farro with another of my favorites portabella mushrooms. Combining cooked farro with garlic, shallots, tomatoes, pine nuts, fresh herbs, and goat cheese then stuffing the mushroom turned into a tasty main meal that was easy to make as well as delicious.  The mushrooms can be made vegan by replacing  the goat cheese  with creamy tofu.  Either way this is a very good meatless meal.

2 large portabella mushroom caps, remove stems and scoop out the mushroom, reserve
olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup farro
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers, minced
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

Wash and dry mushrooms removing stems and scooping out the mushroom to make a pocket.  Chop stems and insides of mushroom finely and set aside.  Brush tops and inside of mushroom with oil and place in baking dish top side down.
Bring one cup water to boil adding faro. Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Set aside.
Saute oil, garlic and shallots for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Do not over cook. Add reserve chopped mushroom, basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes capers and pine nuts continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until herbs seem wilted. Season with pepper then add goat cheese stir for 1-2 minutes until goat cheese is melted.
Fill mushroom caps with farro mixture.  Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 2

Enjoy!

Farro Salad with chickpeas, tomatoes and figs



I love salads and am always looking for different salads to spice up our dinner table.  Salads are so easy to make, can be done ahead and go with all different types of dishes.  I'm particularly fond of Farro which has a nice nutty taste and should be cooked al dente to retain some crunchiness.  I combined Farro with some of my favorite ingredients to make this sensational salad of Farro, chickpeas, tomatoes and figs.


Farro Salad with chickpeas, tomatoes and figs

Salad:
4 cups water
11/2 cup Farro
1 can chickpeas drained(reserve liquid)
1 bunch scallions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Tahini
1 tablespoon reserve liquid from chickpeas

3 fresh figs slice and grilled


Salad:   Combine water and Farro in sauce pan bringing to boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and place in serving bowl.  Add the remaining salad ingredients tossing to mix.

Dressing:  Add all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Pour over salad tossing gently until mixed. 

Lightly brush figs with olive oil and grill 2 minutes on each side.  Place on top of salad.

Served chilled.

 Enjoy!




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden Fresh Salad



This beautiful salad is fresh from the garden. I was given these picture perfect tomatoes and cucumbers from an avid home gardener. Just picked I knew that I wanted to serve these veggies right away very simply to savor all the wonderful fresh flavor.  I just lined a dish with Romaine lettuce. So easy and so good! I chopped up two cucumbers and two tomatoes. Layered first the cucumbers then the tomatoes. Topped with half cup crumbed feta then sprinkle two tablespoon fresh chopped basil.
Serve lightly dressed with half cup olive oil mixed with fourth cup white wine vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Just perfect!

Enjoy!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brocolini, Mushroom, Garlic Scapes and Goat Cheese Pie



How this dish came about is really funny.  I bought some Garlic Scapes (the new food darlings) this week at my farm market not really knowing how I was going to cook this new to me root.  Looking through my refrigerator pulling out a little of this, a little of that before I knew it I had the making for a tasty veggie pie!

1 pre-made refrigerator pie crust
All purpose flour for pie crust
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup garlic scaps, about 6, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced, whites only
2 bunches broccolini or broccoli rabe
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 ground pepper
8 ounces solf fresh goat cheese
8 ounces marscapone
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
3 large eggs

Preeheat oven to 375F.  Dust bottom of pie crust with flour and fit into pie plate. Crimp edges to form decorative rim.
Heat olive oil in medium skillet add garlic scaps and scallions saute for 5 minutes. Add brocollini and mushrooms; cook for another 5 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup vegetables spooning remaining vegetables into pie crust.
Whisk goat cheese and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in eggs.  Pour over vegetables. Sprinkle reserved vegetables on top.
Bake pie until edges of crust are golden brown and filing is set, 30-35 minutes.  Let cool for 20 minutes, serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet and Sour Oriental Cole Slaw




An easy and delicious summer salad that is just a little different take on a classic Cole Slaw.  I just keep adding and adding more tasty ingredients to make this dish even better.

Sweet and Sour Oriental Cole Slaw

1 package(14 oz) Dole classic Cole Slaw
8 oz bean sprouts
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 can pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, drained reserve juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 package of Ramen Noodles Oriental Flavor

Combine Cole Slaw, sprouts, scallions, almonds, sesame seeds, and pineapple in large bowl.
Mix oil, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice and Ramen Noodle flavoring package in a small bowl.
Pour over Cole Slaw, tossing until coated.  Crush ramen noodles until in small pieces; add to salad and toss again.

Enjoy!

Gooddinnermrsmellen@blogspot.com

Easy Roasted Turkey Breast



Very quick, easy and delicious.  I get a quarter turkey breast sold by Shady Brook Farms which feeds 3-4 people. 

I always soak my poultry for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator.  I add to the water sea salt, one sliced lemon, bay leaf and whole peppercorns. Rinse and dry turkey breast.  I then seperate the skin form the meat making a pocket. I slide  three slices of lemon in the pocket, three fresh sage leaves, three fresh basil leaves and two cloves of chopped garlic.  I rub just a little olive oil on the out side of the skin seasoning with pepper.  Grill on low for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until juices run clear.  Start with bone side down and turn over a few time during grilling.

Enjoy!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cake

A wonderful light white cake that is filled with whipped cream and strawberries! Need I say more. This cake is my sister's favorite and when  I lived near her I made this cake for her birthday.  I don't know why I haven't made this cake for such a long time but this year I brought it back for my twins birthday. Everyone just loved my version of strawberry short cake!

Cake:
6 eggs, separated
1 13/4 cup shifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 pints strawberries, washed and hulled

Cream Frosting:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup currant jelly,  melted

In a large electric mixer bowl let egg whites warm at room temperature for 1 hour.  Sift four with salt. With mixer at high speed beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until soft peaks form when beater is slowly raised.
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small mixer bowl at high speed and with the same beater, beat yolks until very thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in remaining granulated sugar; beat 2 minutes.
At low speed gradually beat in flour mixture.  Add lemon juice,  2 tablespoons water and the lemon peel, beating just to combine - 1 minute. With wire whisk,  with an under-and-over motion, gently fold egg-yolk mixture into egg whites just to blend.  Pour batter batter into an ungreased 10-by-4-inch tube pan: bake 40 minutes or until top springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Invert pan, let cake cool completely about 1 hour.
With spatula, carefully loosen cake from pan; remove cake.  Divide cake into thirds with toothpicks. With these as a guide, split cake into three layers, using a long bladed serrated knife. Place bottom layer, cut side up, on cake dish. Slice 1 pint of strawberries.  In a medium bowl, beat cream with confectioners' sugar; add vanilla.
Spread bottom layer with 3/4 cup cream and half of slice strawberries. Repeat with second layer. Top with the last layer, cut side down. Frost top and side with rest of whipped cream; toss 1 pint strawberries with jelly. Arrange on the cake.
Refrigerate 1 hour. Serves 12

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese Salad



Warning Warning, this is not a low calorie salad. With that being said every once in a while you have to eat something sinfully rich, high in calories and just plain yummy! Those of you who know me know that I do hot yoga three times a week, run 15-20 miles per week, weight train, boot camp and I love to work in my garden, hard. So it's not like I am a couch potato, stuffing my face with chocolates!  Every so often I love to each something that's totally fattening without any guilt or fear. I just plain savory the dish and move on.  Oh, don't forget it is about portion control too, I just eat a little.  This Three Cheese Mac and Cheese Salad I serve in the summer with other salads that are more healthy, lower in fat and calories giving my guest the option.  I must again warn that this salad is additive.  When I mentioned to my daughter another yogi and runner that I was going to blog this salad she said oh I remember that salad very well!

1 box of elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise ( I like mayonnaise made with olive oil)
1/2 cup milk (regular or low fat)
2 tablespoon dry mustard
1 bunch scallions, chopped, just the white part
1 cup celery chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
three hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
paprika

Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain macaroni and place immediately in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil. Add three cheese one at time, stirring to combine after each addition. Continue to stir until cheeses are melted and mixed.  In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, milk and dry mustard. Pour on cheese and macaroni thoroughly combining.  Add scallions, celery and pepper. Stir until evenly mixed. Place eggs on top of macaroni and sprinkle with paprika.
Chill until ready to serve.  This is great to make a day head with the flavors intensifying as the salad chills.

Enjoy!



Simply Fabulous All American Blueberry Pie

Sorry I have not been posting lately having an absolutely perfect reason - planning my daughter Mandi's wedding.  Now that she said "yes" to the dress I can get back to blogging! More about her dress and the wedding later.

You all know that I love to cook and through parties. This past weekend I had a wonderful birthday barbecue for my twins. I couldn't stop cooking especially baking.  I made this Simply Fabulous All American Blueberry Pie especially for my son Chad.  So good plain or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I just love to make pies, all kinds!


Fabulous All American Blueberry Pie

Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup sweet butter (love my Cabot!)
7 tablespoons cold water

Filling:
6 cups blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon sweet butter, cut into small pieces


Glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon whipping cream


Crust:
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. With a pastry blender cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse corn meal.  Sprinkle water over the top and work mixture together with pastry blender or fingers until it comes together to form a ball. Shape dough into ball, wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Filling: Place rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425 F.  (I like to put a piece of aluminum foil down or a baking pan on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips and keep my oven clean.) Place blueberries in large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the remaining ingredients except butter.  Add dry ingredients to blueberries and gently toss.
Divide pastry in half.  On a floured surface roll one of the pastry halves into a 12 inch round.  Fit into 10 inch pie plate, letting the pastry hang over edge.  Fill with blueberry mixture. Dot with butter. On a floured surface roll out remaining dough to 12 inch round. Place over pie. Seal edges and crimp to form decorative rim.

Glaze: In a small bowl whisk egg yolk and cream. Brush top of pie with glaze. Cut vents into pie top. You can use mini cookie cutters for a more decorative top.


Bake pie for 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Bake pie for 35 or 40 minutes longer or until nicely glazed.  Cool on rack







Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olivess




Warm weather and refreshingly different salads two of my favorite things.  I find salads not only fun to make trying different combinations of ingredients but easy to make.  Almost any salad you can think of is do ahead and easy to transport to family and friends homes or on a picnic. Being of Italian heritage I love the flavors of the Mediterranean areas with the wonderfully flavorful seasonings.  What I like most about this salad is the interesting combination of orzo, a rice shaped pasta, with chick peas, goat cheese and olives. Just add some lemon, garlic, oil and fresh oregano to bring out the other ingredients.  I almost forgot, I have been adding Sesame Tahini to many of my salads for a more intense taste.  I think you'll really enjoy this salad!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olives

1 1/2 cups orzo, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Sesame Tahini
15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup kalamati olives chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and sesame tahini. Add the chickpeas, orzo, oregano and pepper. Gently stir in goat cheese then olives.  Serve over a bed of lettuce.  Chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moroccan Couscous and Orange Salad





I just love fresh delicious summer salads, that sing with taste.  So wonderful to use fresh fruits and vegetables to add interest and color to a summer salad.  I enjoy all different types of food and I especially like to use seasoning from all over the world to punch up the flavor of a salad.  I started experimenting with Couscous and Moroccan spices and simply loved this salad.

Moroccan Couscous and Orange Salad

1 cup couscous
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup boiling water
1 large orange or yellow bell pepper cut into bite size slices
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced, just the white part
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 16 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoon olive oi
3 tablespoon white vinegar
juice of one navel orange
one navel orange, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces

Place couscous and cranberries in medium bowl. Add boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let set for about 5 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.
Add next seven ingredients to couscous and cranberries mix thoroughly.
Whisk oil, vinegar and orange juice together.  Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add cut orange.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Refreshing Spring Greens Strawberry Salad




I love making salads and I am always looking for new and different ways of combining all my favorite flavors into a wonderfully delicious salad. My Strawberry salad makes me feel as if I am savoring all the best that Springs offers!  Refreshing, crisp, sweet and tangy all in a wonderful salad.

Refreshing Spring Greens Strawberry Salad

1 1/2 (5 ounces) cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 (4 ounce) package of mixed spring greens
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup English cucumber, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled


Place snap peas in steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam for 1-2 minutes until tender.
Plunge peas into water to stop cooking; drain. Slice peas diagonally in half.  Toss together greens and next five ingredients and snap peas arranging on a large plate. Top with Gorgonzola cheese. Serve with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a blender except oil. Process until smooth. Slowly add oil in steady stream; process until smooth.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baked Polenta with Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella



Polenta is a wonderful alternative to pasta. Wonderfully versatile from creamy to baked to grilled, I love polenta any way I make it.  This dish is very easy to make and can be prepared in advance, just baking before you are ready to serve.  I chose vegetables that I like but you can use any combination for a different taste. I you like you can cook some sausage and add to the vegetables or leave it as a meatless meal. Either way this dish is favorable and satisfying!


Polenta
2 cup quick polenta
4 cups vegetable broth

Bring broth to boil.  Lower heat and slowly add polenta stirring until combined. Remove from heat and continue to stir until no lumps remain. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Put polenta in baking dish. Set aside.

Vegetables

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 large red peppers, sliced
1 can(14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, I like not salt added
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt(optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic and shallots, cooking until translucent. Add mushrooms and peppers.  Continue sauteing for 5 minutes on low until vegetables are cooked. add diced tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add Italian seasonings, salt and pepper.
Place vegetables on top of polenta. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Enjoy!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baked Goat Cheese Dip with Apricots, Cranberries and Nuts




Ah, goat cheese what can I say! I love to cook with this creamy cheese. What is so good about this baked goat cheese dip is the wonderful combination of goat cheese, herbs, with a dried fruit and nut topping. Spread this dip over crackers and enjoy the rich taste of all the wonderful  flavors.

Baked Goat Cheese Dip with Apricots, Cranberries and Nuts

4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces goat cheese
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and ground coarse
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup candied cranberries
2 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter or spray a 1 1/2 quart round baking dish. In a medium sauce pan on medium, heat the butter and then add shallots. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped thyme and cook for another minute. Add flour, stirring over low heat for 2 minutes. Add cream and milk whisking over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the base is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat adding goat cheese. Stir and let stand for 3 minutes until goat cheese is melted.  In the meantime, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling) and cayenne together in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup cream mixture to the eggs and whisk vigorously. This is called tempering so the eggs don't cook when you adding to the cream mixture. Add the rest of the cream mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.  Bake 30 minutes depending on the type of baking dish you are using.  Insert tester in the center and it should not be runny. Also it should puff all the way to the center.  You may have to cook an additional 5 minutes.  Let cool at room temperature before serving. 
Combine pecans, apricots, cranberries and oil. Place on top before serving.
I serve with an assortment of crackers.

Enjoy

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Greek Butter Cookies - Koulourakia



Greek Butter Cookies just melt in your mouth. Koulourakia are usually served at  Greek Easter along with other delicious baked delicacies. I like these butter cookies for their flaky buttery taste along with a hint of orange and brandy.

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup orange juice
3 eggs
2 tablespoons brandy
7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Sesame seeds

Beat butter, oil and shortening in a large bowl of  electric blender until well blended. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time blending well.  Stir baking soda into orange juice, stir. Add to butter mixture. Add eggs and brandy, mixing well.  Combine flour and baking powder. Add flour 1 cup at a time to creamed mixture. Remove from mixture when dough is heavy. Knead by hand until dough is smooth.  Tear off a piece of dough a little larger than a walnut. Roll between palms to form a pencil shape 6 to 7 inches long,  cross dough to form a twist. Place twists one inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake 350 F for 20 minutes or until golden. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mexican Tuna Salad



I was thinking  today that I wanted to make a spicy Mexican tuna salad for a change. Also I wanted not only a tasty tuna salad but a healthy tuna salad and I just started adding all these wonderful ingredients.  To add to the Mexican flair served the tuna on a bed of lettuce on toasted corn tortillas!

Mexican Tuna Salad

1 5 ounce can white Tuna in water, drained and flaked
1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 avocado chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped, just the white part
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet chili powder
1 cup chopped lettuce
1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
4 toasted small corn  tortillas

Combine tuna, yogurt, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add next four ingredients combining gently. Chill to let the flavors blend for 1 hour.  Lightly toast the corn tortillas. Place tortillas on plate, top with lettuce, tomatoes and then tuna in center.  Serves two.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

California Avocado and Mozzarella Frittata



A frittata is just an open faced omelet with many different ingredients that make it a delicious meal. I love the Calphalon Frittata pan, but a regular omelet pan is just fine. Depending on the size pan you can make your frittata for one or more.  One day I was feeling like I wanted an California style frittata so I just started layering different ingredients and the result was delicious.


California Avocado and Mozzarella Frittata

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella chopped
1/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
black pepper
alpha sprouts, optional

Slice and chop avocado.  Sprinkle lemon juice over to prevent avocado from browning. Spray pan with cooking spray. Heat on medium heat.  Pour beaten eggs into pan.  Cook eggs just until set.  Now layer your ingredients starting with the avocado, then mozzarella, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and black pepper.  If using Frittata pan cover and cook for 3 minutes, flip pan and cook 3 more minutes. With a regular pan cook an additional 5-6 minutes until done.  Top with alpha sprouts if desired. Serves one.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Red Quinoa Chick Pea Salad with Tomato and Avocado




Delicious and healthy salads that are crunchy are my favorites. I think that I like to make theses salad extra crunchy to satisfy my craving for crunchy foods. Crunchy salads keep me away from nachos and chips! I used red quinoa which not only so healthy but it takes wonderful. I added chick peas (another favorite of mine), scallions and radishes to the quinoa then toasted with a lemony dressing. To serve I place the salad on greens surrounding with tomato and avocado.  So good so easy. You can also add to this salad to make it more filling by topping with drained canned tuna or grilled ahi tuna or shrimp. Just use your imagination and taste buds!

1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Sesame Tahini
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Red Quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
4 scallions, slice, just the white ends
1/4 cup radishes
3 cups Romain lettuce leaves
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

Combine first five ingredients in small bowl. Next toss with Quinoa. Add red pepper, chick peas, scallions, radishes gently combining. Place lettuce on a plate, top with Quinoa then place avocado and cherry tomatoes on top.

Enjoy!
http://www.gooddinnermrsmellen.com
 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Luscious Lemoncello Squares




Spring is here when I start to make lemon squares. I don't know why but lemon squares, lemon cookies, asparagus with lemon, all remind me of spring.  My Lemon Squares are for adults since they are made with Lemoncello not lemon extract. I've given the ingredients for either the adult version or you can make them with out the alcohol. Either way my Lemon Squares are light and delicious.

Lemoncello Squares

Crust:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup flour, I like King Arther's
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Lemoncello or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an eight inch square pan. With an electric mixer cream butter until smooth, slowly combine the remaining ingredients until soft and smooth. Press dough evenly into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Topping:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Lemoncello or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract.
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar for dusting

With an electric mixer, beat eggs well and gradually add sugar, mixing until thick. Slowly add remaining ingredients, except powdered sugar.  Continue beating until mixture is thick and creamy about 3 minutes.  Poor lemon mixture over hot crust, return to oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake 25-30 minutes till top is golden. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge. Cool 20 minutes then cut into squares. Sift powdered sugar on top. Remove from pan to serving plate.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Potato Gnocchi



This is my mother's recipe for Potato Gnocchi.  We love her light Gnocchi that are so delicate to the taste.  Instead of baking the potatoes she uses Idaho potato bits.  Her Gnocchi is light and melt in your mouth.

2 cups Idaho potato bits
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 egg beaten

Place potato bits in large mixing bowl. Add boiling water mixing until all the bits become a dense mashed potato. Add rest of the ingredients except egg. Make a well in center of bowl and add egg.  Mix with wooden spoon then finish kneading  gently with hands to form dough. 
Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. You can cook these as is or I like to form them into the an indented pillow. I take the knuckle of my index finger and dip in flour. Using this knuckle I create a little pocket then I gently pinch the ends together with my thumb and index finger.   The indentation holds the sauce and helps gnocchi cook faster.

As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour and scatter them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. If you are using right away let them set to dry for half hour before cooking.  If you will not cook the gnocchi until the next day or later, freeze them.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a simmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.
Gnocchi go well with all types of sauces from red, to cream to pesto. Also you can use Gnocchi in your favorite soup instead of noodles or rice, Be creative.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Open Faced Asparagus and Egg Sandwich



I grew up eating my grandmother and mother's wonderful scrambled asparagus and egg sandwiches. So delicious the combination of fresh asparagus, eggs and Parmesan cheese you have to try to enjoy the favors together! I make this sandwich open faced with a little fresh mozzarella cheese broiled on top.

Open Faced Asparagus and Egg Sandwich

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped asparagus, use tender part
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 loaf Ciabatta bread
1/4 cup sliced fresh mozzarella

Place oil in medium saute pan,  heat on medium heat. Add asparagus, cooking for 5 minutes, do not brown. Combine eggs, Parmesan cheese and pepper.  Add to asparagus, scrambling until eggs are thoroughly cooked about 4-5 minutes.  Slice ciabatta bread, open the slices, place asparagus and eggs on bread.  Top with sliced mozzarella, broil for 3-4 minutes. Serve open or closed. Serves 2.

Enjoy!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fantastic Italian Mac and Cheese



Everyone loves Mac and Cheese. And everyone love Italian food! Combining the two make a wonderfully rich main dish or a small side. I personally like to serve this as a main dish adding some nice steamed asparagus with fresh lemon juice and garlic.  Add a vegetable filled salad creating a meal nice enough for company or Sunday dinner.  Eating well and in moderation allows you to eat rich foods. 

Italian Mac and Cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Topping
1 small clove garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese



Bechamel Sauce

 8 ounces slice mushrooms
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound pipette or elbow pasta
1 cup prosciutto, diced

Stir garlic into melted butter. Put breadcrumbs in medium bowl and drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Add Parmesan cheese to combined. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in saute pan. Add mushroom saute until cooked about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in heavy saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk over low heat for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk,  whisking constantly. Whisk until sauce is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, gently simmering and whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and gently whisk in cheeses. Add sage and nutmeg. Keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Return pasta to pan. Add the cheese sauce to pasta. Gently stir in prosciutto and mushrooms.
Transfer pasta mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Evenly top with reserved breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the top is golden.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spicy Mexican Turkey Meatloaf with a Kick!



Really good tasty food that is flavorful is so much more filling than salty fatty food. Your more likely to eat less because your so satisfied. That is the secret to eating well and keeping your weight down.  Meatloaf is a fond memory of my youth and my mother's wonderful cooking! I wanted to pay tribute to my mother by creating a spicy mouthwatering meatloaf like I remember growing up!  

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf

2 tablespoon oil olive
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white part only
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small hot green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh salsa

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a medium sauce pan add olive oil, saute  garlic and scallions, on medium heat for 5 minutes until translucent, do not brown. Add red pepper, tomato, hot green pepper continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add broth and hot sauce. Set aside until cool.
In mixing bowl combine turkey, breadcrumbs, chili powder and egg. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add cooled vegetable broth mixture to turkey. Mix together and form into oval place in baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with fresh salsa and continue baking for another 15 minutes until meet is thoroughly cooked to an internal  temperature of 160 degrees.
Serves 4.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Edamame Hummus So Good and Healthy



I'm always looking for ways to make healthy tasty food. I love love food! All kinds. I truly believe that if you eat well in moderation adding healthy alternatives to your favorites you will be able to keep fit and trim. Oh, I can't forget exercise! Very important for a healthy life!   Edamame is a favorite of mine especially shelled edamame which I like to cook different ways. Today I made a humus from edamame which is just delicious! I like to serve as a dip with pita chips or make a filling sandwich on pita bread. I added lettuce, slice tomato, sliced radish and sliced cucumber.  Mmm tasty!




Enjoy!

Edamame Hummus

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 leeks, sliced, use only the white part
4 cups frozen edamame
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon  pepper

In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add garlic and leeks. Lower heat, cover cook until tender 5-7 minutes. Add edamame cook 5 minutes. Add broth cooking an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in tahini. Spoon into bowl of food processor.  Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.