Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Treats

I decided to make some goodies and put them in a basket for the teachers at the girls' daycare. We made spritz cookies, English Toffee, and Fudge. I decided to share the pics and recipes here. I love baking and making things for people! There's something really satifying about it. It's also nice doing all this at my parent's house because they have an enclosed patio that is like having a second refrigerator to keep things in. Here's the basket:

And here are the treats


1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. almond flavoring/extract
2 1/2 cups flour

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix butter, sugar, egg yolks, and flavoring thoroughly. Work in flour. Using 1/4 dough at a time, force dough through cookie press on ungreased baking sheet in desired shapes Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until set but not brown. Makes about 6 dozen.

Cookie tips:

DO NOT use self rising flour. Dough must be pliable, chill if too warm but if too cold it crumbles. If the baking sheet is too warm the fat in the dough will melt and cookies will pull away from the sheet when press is lifted. For a festive look divide dough and add food coloring to dough to make different colored cookies.


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 6-ounce package semisweet chocoloate chips
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Butter well a 9-inch square pan. Combine butter and sugar in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 310 degrees F. At this point the candy should be a caramel color. A small amount of the syrup should form a hard ball when dropped into cold water and be brittle when removed from the water. Remove the candy from the heat while testing. Quickly pour the candy into the greased pan and spread evenly with a spatuala. Cool until hardened. Melt the chocolate chips in the top part of a double boiler over hot water and spread over the surface of the hardened candy in the pan. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. Cool again until the chocolate is hardened. Break toffee into pieces and store in a tightly covered tin for at least 2days to develop the flavor. Makes one pound.


4 cups sugar
1 large (12 ounce)can evaporated milk
1/4 lb. butter
12 oz. (3/4 of 16 oz jar) marshmallow fluff
1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla
2 large (12 oz)packages semi-sweet chocolate pieces (Giardelli is best)

Butter a 9 x 13 pan well. Combine first five ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir over low heat until blended. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Then boil slowly, stirring constantly until fudge sticks to itself (240 on a candy thermometer), this is the soft ball stage. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted. Pour into buttered pan and cool. Makes 5 pounds.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tuscan Salad and Orecchiette with Chicken Meatballs

Got these recipes that are from Giada De Laurentiis and they are soooo good! Unfortunately forgot about pictures until after we had plowed through the meal, lol.

Tuscan Salad

8 oz. green beans cut into 1-2 inch pieces (~2 cups)

1 head romaine lettuce torn

1 can cannellini beans, drain and rinse

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1/2 red onion, cut into slivers

1 lemon juiced

1/4 cup EVOO

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 oz shaved Parmesan (~1/2 cup)

In medium pot bring water with a little salt to a boil. Add the green beans and stir. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and cool 3 minutes.

In large bowl combine green beans with lettuce, cannellini beans, olives and red onion. Toss to combine. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Top with shaved Parmesan.

Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

1 pound orecchiette pasta (I used tortellini)

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp whole milk

1 Tbsp ketchup

3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground chicken

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved

1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and combine well. Using a teaspoon measure to scoop up the mixture, roll into 3/4 inch meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs and brown the tops, about 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce to low heat and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss to coat the pasta lightly, adding some of the pasta water to help make a sauce. Add the meatball mixture, bocconcini, and 1/2 cup of the basil and combine. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the remaining basil.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Layla's Birthday Cake

It's her first birthday today!! Can't believe a year has gone by! We will have a small celebration tomorrow with hubby's parents and brother's family. I made the cake this afternoon and loved the way it turned out. I have one of those Betty Crocker dome cake pans so made use of it. I also put some cake batter in a small bowl that was oven safe to use for the head.

It's a Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix. I used whipped creme frosting for between the layers on the body. The red and black are from those cans of Betty Crocker decorative frosting using the star tip.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Yum

Potato Salad and Macaroni Salad are two of the popular dishes served here during the summer. I went one step further today and made my own mayonnaise!! It was so easy and best of all the salad is ALL ORGANIC!!

Potato Salad

6 potatoes, boiled and cut into ~1 inch chunks

3 eggs, hardboiled, shelled and sliced into chunks

1 cup mayonnaise (see recipe below)

2 Tbsp mustard

1 med. onion, chopped

2-3 stalks celery, chopped



2 dill pickles chopped

1 Tbsp pickle juice or white vinegar if you don't have pickles

In large bowl combine ingredients and stir well. Cover and keep refridgerated.

Macaroni Salad

1 1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1 med. onion, chopped

2-3 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 cup mayonnaise (recipe below)

1/8 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder



Cook macaroni according to box directions, drain and rinse with cold water. In large bowl add ingredients and mix well. Refridgerate.


2 egg yolks

1 tsp. dry mustard

squirt of lemon juice (1/8 tsp)

1 1/2 tsp vinegar

1 cup canola oil

Put all ingredients except oil in blender and turn blender on lowest speed. Slowly drizzle oil in until desired consistency is reached, it thickens as you go. The secret is drizzling not pouring!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Corrie's Kentucky Pie

A super delicious pie from Paula Deen (Picture to follow)

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 (12-ounce)package semisweet morsels, melted
1 cup sifted self-rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks)butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
2 (9 inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells or 3 (9 inch) unbaked regular pie shells

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine eggs, sugar and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add flour and mix well, stirring in remaining ingredients except for pie shells. Bake 30-40 minutes. I found when I made this I had to bake it 55 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream. Freezes well!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Corn Fritters

Saw these on Paula Deen's show and we had to try them. I took this pic as I was frying them because the hubby kept snatching them, I was afraid there wouldn't be any left, lol. We did half of the mixture with a bunch of chopped scallions added in and it made them extra yummy!

1 1/4 cup self-rising cornmeal mix

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 (15.25 oz) can corn, drained (I used frozen and rinsed it under hot water to thaw it)

Vegetable oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk and eggs. Add milk mixture to cornmeal, stirring well. Stir in butter and corn.

Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven or use a deep fryer (heat to 325 degrees F). Drop by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook 2-4 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The "fancy" naan/roti

Ummadam asked for this recipe so here it is:

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
8 cups flour--I use 4 c. bread flour and 4 c. whole wheat
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 c. yogurt
2 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. melted butter

Sprinkle yeast into warm water and set aside. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In separate bowl beat the eggs, then blend in yorgurt and mil. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast and liquid ingredients. Stir in one direction until you have a soft dough that is hard to stir; add more flour if needed.

Spread melted butter on work surface. Grease hands with butter and gather up dough and turn onto surface. Knead dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and pliable. Rebutter surface and hands as needed.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to cover dough surface. Cover with a towel and place in warm place. Let dough rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Warm a skillet or tava on the stove over medium heat. Knead dough briefly. Lightly flour surface and hands. Take a ball of dough, about tennis ball size. Roll into ball and flatten, then roll out into circle with rolling pin, turning dough 90 degrees after a few rolls to keep shape. Then I flip the circle back and forth between my hands to enlarge and thin. Put bread on skillet/tava, when the dough starts to bubble and there is some brown on the underside flip bread over and cook other side.

The dough refridgerates really well and actually made softer bread I thought

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I've been experimenting with different roti recipes using the amounts, approximately, that my MIL uses. I have one recipe that uses milk, eggs, and yogurt which is super good but not as healthy. Here's a pic:


The recipe:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat durum (atta) flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour (it has extra gluten, very important)
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water

Mix together and knead until smooth and elastic. Let sit for about an hour before using. It can sit longer, in fact we put unused portions in the fridge for the next day. Taking a ball of dough a bit smaller than a tennis ball pat into a flat circle. On a floured surface roll until about a half centimeter thick then place it on the flat of your hand and slap it back and forth to stretch it to desired thinness. You can also just roll it but this works best for me. Place on a dry hot tava, or pan, cook until it has some brown spots then turn and cook other side.

I use the bread flour because it makes a softer bread.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mississippi Mud Cake

Cream together: 2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
2 Tbsp cocoa

Add: 1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs-one at a time
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups pecans chopped
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut

Pour into 9 x 13 x 2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove.

Cover with: a large jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme.

Let cool.

1 stick butter
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar (10x sugar)
1/4 cup whole milk or evaporated milk

Mix together til creamy then spread over marshmallow creme.

This is a super sweet cake so I don't usually use the full amount of frosting, just a very light layer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Super Simple Sticky Buns

My mom sent me this recipe and I tried it today------it's very easy and so yummy



In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Add pecans.
Spoon into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

In a shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Cut biscuits in half (so they are like half moons), dip in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place cut side down over brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes. Release from pan to cool. (Cool for at least one minute in pan and then turn out onto something like a jelly roll pan as the caramel sort of runs a little. It is easy to put it back on the rolls if this happens.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rice and Orzo Pilaf

This is a great simple rice recipe to serve as a side.

1 cup basmati or other long-grained rice
3 Tbsp. orzo
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt (I personally left this out as the broth gave it enough salt)
pepper (optional)

Wash rice several times. Place into a bowl and cover with hot water for at least 15 minutes. In medium saucepan on medium heat place orzo and stir continuously until it turns brown. Add butter and rice and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper if desired. Bring to a boil, cover pan with light dish towel or a couple layers of paper towel and put the cover on. Decrease heat to low and let cook 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chicken cutlets with coconut rice and roasted vegetables

This was such a good meal last night!! I got my hands on a new cookbook that I took the chicken and rice recipe from and so far it's awesome! The vegetable recipe came from the South Beach diet book. Tell me if you try it!

Parmesan-spiced chicken cutlets Serves 4

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground peppercorns
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. Garam Masala
1 3/4 cups bread crumbs ( I used Shore Lunch breading mix)
6 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil for frying

Mix the cilantro, garlic, oil, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp peppercorns, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Transfer to a gallon size resealable plastic bag, add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight.

Whisk the eggs with the Garam Masala, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp peppercorns in shallow dish. In a separate dish stir together bread crumbs and cheese. Place the flour in another dish. Dredge each cutlet in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, the coat with bread crumb/cheese mixture.

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Fry the cutlets until both sides are browned-3-4 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Coconut Rice Serves 8

1/4 cup canola oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
12 curry leaves (optional--I left them out)
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oil with the onions, curry leaves if using, mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the cumin is browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, cook for 2 minutes, and then mix in the coconut and cook, while stirring, until the coconut is fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the water, coconut milk, and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the rice for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Oven-Roasted Vegetables Serves 4

1 medium zucchini or green squash, cut into bite-size pieces
1 meduim summer squash, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
1 red onion
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450 F. Place the vegetables and onion in a large roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to mix and coat. Spread in a single layer in the pan. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender.

Addendum:I realized I should have named the new cookbook, it's American Masala by Suvir Saran. It's an awesome cookbook!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pasta Fagioli Soup

I love this soup!! Found a recipe online that's just awesome!

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth (I used a cube of dried broth with 14 oz hot water)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup ditalini pasta
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans with liquid

In large pan on med. heat cook celery, onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper, salt until onion is translucent.

Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low 15-20 minutes.

Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.

Add undrained beans and mix well. Heat through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Delicious Apple Salad

This is easy, great tasting and good for you!

1 red apple, unpeeled, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, chopped
(I use 2 golden delicious, usually)
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup orange juice
4 oz. plain or vanilla yogurt
Ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl combine first seven ingredients. Stir orange juice into yogurt. Pour over apple mixture, toss well. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

A great dessert option for diabetics!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Easy Chili

1 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can no salt added stewed tomatoes
1 can pink beans or kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder
Brown meat with onions and garlic. Add rest of ingredients and cook ½ to 1 hour. Serve with shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese.