Sunday, October 4, 2009

Greek Chicken Cutlets

A Martha Stewart recipe that rocks! I like to use the thin-sliced chicken cutlets.

Total time-15 min.-seriously!

1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. pitted Kalamata olives
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
½ c. fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tbs. olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 ½ lbs. thin cut chicken cutlets
Splash of dry white wine

In a med. Bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, mint and 1-2 tbs. oil. Set aside
Heat a pan over high and brush lightly with oil. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook, working in batches if necessary, until chicken is cooked through, 1-2 min per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Top chicken with tomato mixture and serve. I served this with mini ravioli and a light tomato and butter sauce.

Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

My favorite Giada DeLaurentiis recipe, from the Food Network. Very rich!

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces chopped pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 pounds short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 (14-ounce) can tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried
bay leaf

2 1/2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup red wine
1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle or fettucine
4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the pancetta to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones.

Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt,and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. 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, about 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta and 2 to 3 minutes for fresh. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta.

Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Do not leave out the chocolate. Serve immediately.

Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

A spicy but incredible way to use sweet potatoes.

2 cups heavy cream

1 heaping tablespoon chipotle pepper puree(puree entire can of chipotle in adobo)
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1/8-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together cream and chipotle puree until smooth. In a 9 by 9-inch casserole dish, arrange the potatoes in even layers. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream, and salt and pepper to form 10 layers. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, remove cover and continue baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cream has been absorbed and the potatoes are cooked through and the top is browned.

Hank's Pumpkin Soup

An amazing fall meal that is our traditional Halloween supper. Marc's family tradition for dessert on this night is sugared donuts and cider. This is great with kids. This recipe comes from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American.

2 small pumpkins, 2 lb each
1 jalapeno pepper

2 lg onions, peeled & chopped
2 lb smoked ham hocks
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped fine
2 lbs chicken thighs
2 tb peanut oil
Salt & pepper to taste
8 c canned chicken broth

Peel the pumpkins and remove the seeds. Dice the peeled pumpkins and set aside. In a large pot, brown the onions and garlic in the peanut oil. Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, optional pepper, ham hocks, and chicken thighs; season to taste. Cover and cook until thick and somewhat smooth, about 2 hours. Pull the meat off the bone and dice into bite sized pieces-put back into the soup. Do the same with the meat on the ham hocks.

Mama's Hot Semi-Kosher Dill Pickles

The best dill pickles ever; been making these for 30 years so I have no idea where the recipe came from.

Makes 6-8 qts.
5-6 lbs. small pickling cukes (Kirby or other, 25 small, about 3"-4" long)
Scrub the cucumbers to remove any grit, and soak them in cold water for several hours or overnight. Drain them while you sterilize 6-8 wide-mouth quart jars, or substitute several wide-mouth pint jars. A run through the dishwasher is all you need. Time it so they are used immediately after.

For each jar you'll need:
1 pinch powdered alum
2 cloves garlic
1 small hot red pepper
2 dill flower heads or 1 tsp. dill seed
1 grape leaf (optional)

Pack cukes in jars and add alum, garlic and hot pepper. Push dill down among cukes after you pack them in, and place the grape leaf on top. Place rings and lids in a pot of boiling water and keep them simmering on the stove.

1 qt. vinegar, 1 c. kosher salt, 3 qts. water, and bring to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved, and pour over cukes. If you don't have enough liquid to cover them, add a little more boiling water. Seal jars, and turn upside down on a rack; let cool upside down for several hours. Store in a cool dark place. Let the pickles cure for at least a month before eating, and refrigerate upon opening.

Pizza Sauce

You won't buy pizza sauce any more once you have tried this. Fabulous!

1 tbs olive oil
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp dried basil, crumbled
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft, about 5 min. Add garlic, cook 30 sec. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt and black pepper. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce is thick, about 10-15 min. Transfer sauce to bow and let cool. Use as base for pizza on par-cooked dough crust. Makes enough for 2 pizzas. Freezes well.

Couscous with Grilled Vegetables

One of my favorite summer sides.

1/4 c. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs. water
2 red peppers ( or 1 green, 1 red)
1 large red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 small yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise
1 10 0z. pkg couscous
1/2 c. pistachio nuts

For dressing, in small bowl combine oregano, parsley, lemon juice, oil, garlic and water. Brush the vegetables lightly with olive oil. Grill on the rack of an uncovered grill over med.
heat 12-15 min. or until crisp tender, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, prepare the couscous following pkg. directions. Transfer grilled veggies
to cutting board, cool, and dice. Peel the peppers before dicing (or use store bought
roasted peppers). Add chopped veggies to couscous, stir in dressing and toss.
Garnish w/chopped pistachios. Serves 6-8.

Beef Bulgogi

Another old favorite from "The Frug".

1 lb. ribeye beef, thinly sliced

2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tbs. salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 bunch scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbs sake’ or dry sherry
1 tbs red pepper flakes

For frying- 1 tbs peanut oil
For garnish-toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the beef. Mix the marinade in a bowl. Add the meat and toss. Allow to marinate 30 minutes.
Cook the meat over medium high heat in a frying pan or griddle. Heat the pan first and make it very hot. Add the oil. Cook meat for 1 or 2 min on each side, browning nicely. Serve aside steamed rice and garnish w/toasted sesame seeds. Also serve daikon and carrot pickle as a side dish. Serve with daikon and carrot pickle.

Mini Greek Lamb Burgers

Another recipe for ethnic sliders-not sure where we got this but it is great.


1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole milk yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

Lamb Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 small onion, minced (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and pepper
4 pieces pita bread (6 inches each)
Iceberg lettuce, for serving
2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, sliced, for serving

Heat grill or grill pan to high. Make tzatziki: In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make burgers: In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine lamb, onion, parsley, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Gently form mixture into 16 small patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Grill until medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
To serve, warm pitas on the grill or directly over a gas burner, turning occasionally. Halve pitas, and fill with lettuce, burgers, tomato, and tzatziki.

Serves 4. Great with Greek Pasta Salad

Mini Chicken Tikka Burgers with Mint Chutney

Not sure where we got this recipe but it is yum!

For the Burgers:

1 tbs tikka paste or ½ tbs curry powder
1 tbs. plain yogurt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
¾ “ piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 crushed garlic clove
14 oz ground chicken (I use 1 pkg which is 18 oz)

For the Mint Chutney:
1 small bunch fresh mint
¾ “ piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small green chili-chopped
Juice of half a lime
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 c. plain yogurt
S/P- to taste

To assemble: Cooking oil, 4 small Naan (Indian Flatbread) toothpicks
In a large bowl, combine the burger ingredients. Mix well. With wet hands, mold the mixture into 12 small patties. Place the patties on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hr. Make the chutney. In a blender, combine the chutney ingredients. Pulse to produce a thick sauce. Season to taste with S/P. Set aside. Heat a grill or grill pan over med-hi. Brush the burgers with cooking oil, and then grill for 5 min/per side until cooked through. Set aside. Cut each Naan bread into 3 wedges and toast or grill until crisp. Top each wedge with a burger, then spear with a skewer. Spoon a bit of chutney on each burger.We s
erve this with curried chick peas or curried vegetables.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Recipe Adapted from Gourmet Magazine; got from the Food Network
Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 (4-inch long) fresh hot red chile, such as arbol, thinly sliced crosswise
(I used one long jalapeno)
1 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
Jasmine Rice.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the curry paste, lime leaves, and chile and saute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the chicken and saute, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through. Add coconut milk, broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and scallion and simmer for about 1 minute more. Divide among 4 bowls and serve immediately with Jasmine rice.

Very fast, easy and tasty!

Angel Strata Pie

This recipe comes from my old neighbor Debbie O'Malley in Dalton PA.

Begin with one bottom crust, baked pie shell.

Beat: 3 egg whites, 1/2 tsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Add: 1/2 c. sugar until meringue stands in stiff glossy peaks. Spread on the bottom and sides of the baked pie shell.

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 6 oz. bag semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
2 egg yolks
1/4 c. water

Beat together and spread 3 tbs. of this mixture over the cooled meringue. Chill the remaining mixture.
Combine 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup whipping cream, and beat until thick. Spread half over the chocolate mixture in the pie shell. Combine the remaining whipped cream with the reserved chocolate mixture. Spread over the whipped cream in the pie shell. Chill at least four hours. Serve with dollops of additional whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Sausage-Bean Chowder

1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 16-oz cans kidney beans, not drained
1 quart water
1 bay leaf
11/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
half a large green pepper, chopped
4-5 small potatoes, diced

Brown sausage in a skillet, and drain off fat. In a large kettle, place all ingredients except green pepper and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add green pepper and potatoes and simmer 30 additional minutes. This chowder also can be cooked all day in your crockpot.

Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 chopped, peeled English Cucumber
1 chopped red bell pepper

1 1/2 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tbs lime juice
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 crushed garlic clove
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tbs. water

3 tbs. chopped cilantro
8 tortillas
romaine or leaf lettuce

Place chicken, cuke and red pepper in a bowl. Place dressing ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Add dressing to the chicken mixture and stir well. Mix in cilantro. Warm tortillas. Line tortilla with lettuce and add 1/2 c. chicken mixture and roll up. Yum!

Chicken Fajitas

This recipe comes from Jeannie Morgan in Bath County VA.

1 ½ lb. chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 c. sliced onions
2 sliced green peppers
2 sliced red peppers

1/3 c olive oil
2 tbs soy sauce
1/3 c lime juice
¼ c. tequila
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
Mix and put in Ziploc bag-add add the chicken and vegetables and marinate for 2-4 hrs.

Flour totillas
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
Mexican cheese
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green chilies

Take the food out of the marinade and sauté in a cast iron skillet until cooked-nice carmelization if you use cast iron. Serve in a bowl beside fajita fixings-sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, chopped cilantro, heated flour tortillas, and chilies. Wrap in a heated flour tortilla. Serve w/ refried beans.

Chicken Fajita Pizza

¼ c. fresh lime juice
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 or 2 pizza crusts
1 lb. chicken, diced
16 oz. jar salsa
2 c. Mexican blend cheese
1 diced red bell pepper
Sour cream
2 tbs. sliced scallions
2 tbs. chopped cilantro

Combine lime juice, oil and garlic in a bag and add chicken. Marinate 15 min. Saute chicken for 5 min-drain. Place crust on baking stone. Spread salsa on crust, top with chicken, cheese and red bell pepper. Bake in 400 degree oven 15-20 min. or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro.

Rigatoni with Pepperoni

1 crushed garlic clove
2 tbs. olive oil
1 diced onion
2 or more diced tomatoes
½ lb. sliced pepperoni
¼ c. cream
Salt and pepper
½ lb. cooked rigatoni
Grated romano or parmesan cheese

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until clear. Add tomatoes and pepperoni, sauté until tomatoes cook down a bit. Add cream, salt and pepper. Toss with rigatoni and top with cheese.

Creamy Bow Tie Pasta with Broccoli and Ham

When you are too lazy to cook much! sometimes I have substituted pulled rotisserie chicken.

1 box bowtie pasta
2 c. blanched broccoli florets
1 pt. jar alfredo sauce
2 c diced cooked ham (or pulled rotisserie chicken)
1 c. sautéed mushrooms (optional)

1 c. slided roasted peppers

Heat alfredo sauce and cook pasta to desired doneness. Drain, return to saucepan. Add broccoli, alfredo sauce, meat, and mushrooms. Toss and serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

Southwest Chicken Pizza

1 tbs. oil
1 chopped onoion
1 lb. small diced chicken breast
2 chopped red bell peppers
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
2 pizza crusts, ready to bake
1 c. salsa
2 large diced tomatoes
Slided avocado or guacamole
Sour cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil and cook chicken, pepper, onion, chili powder and salt, about 8 min, until chicken is not pink. Place pizza shells on stone, spread with salsa and sprinkle with tomato. Top with chicken mix and bake 8-12 min. or until hot. Top with guacamole and sour cream. Great with a hearty salad.

Tuna-Black Bean Salad

I had this at a luncheon at the Marriott in Baltimore. The chef came out to chat and I asked him what was in it-I pretty much guessed most of the ingredients. So-came home and created my own version of it! Serve on a bed of lettuce-great lunch with some crusty bread!

1 12 oz. can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained
2 tbs. chopped chives
2 tbs. chopped parsley
2 tbs. chopped red onion
1/2 c. chopped roasted red pepper
2 tbs. olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss together and serve on a bed of lettuce or over a sectioned tomato for a wonderful nutritious lunch or side.

Thai Curry Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Thanks to my friend Megan Wolfe for this recipe.

1 tb. vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chicken stock
14-ounce can coconut milk
2 tb. Asian fish sauce
3-4 tb. Thai red curry paste
1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 ounces boneless chicken breast (or 14 ounces firm tofu)in 1-inch cubes
4-5 ounces prewashed baby spinach

Heat oil in a skillet, add onion and saute until tender. Add stock, coconut milk and fish sauce, bring to a simmer, add curry paste and stir until dissolved. Add sweet potato and simmer 10 minutes until almost tender. Add meat or tofu and simmer 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Stir in spinach, a handful at a time, cooking until it wilts. Serves 4. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 3/4 pounds)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4-1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
Salt, to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil and sauté onion for 3 minutes until soft. Add sweet potatoes and stir to coat. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.
With a slotted spoon, scoop out 2 cups of sweet potato cubes; set aside. Puree remaining soup until smooth. Return soup to pot, add remaining sweet potatoes and black beans, and cook for 5 minutes longer.Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute, until just wilted. Stir in sour cream and salt to taste. Serve hot.

Moroccan Chicken Stew

1/3 c. flour
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs.ginger
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground cinnamon
6 chicken legs skinned
6 chicken thighs, skinned
2 tbs. olive oil
1 lb. carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 spanish onion, halved and cut into strips
4 chopped large garlic cloves
1 28 oz can tomatoes in thick puree
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 14 ½ oz can chicken broth
2/3 c. dark raisins
½ c. piemento stuffed olives
½ c. cilantro
Mix first seven ingredients in a plate, coat chicken all over. Reserve 2 tbs. of flour mix. Heat oil and brown chicken in 2 batches. Remove. Add carrots onion and garlic to drippings in pot. Saute 5 min. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, raisins, and olives, breaking up tomatoes. Return the chicken to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 45 min., stirring frequently, until chicken is tender. Stir in cilantro.

Italian Porketta

When I was growing up in Old Forge, PA, everybody served porketta for every major holiday, wedding, graduation, and any other special occasion. Though it is good hot, the best way to serve is cold, thinly slided, and on Italian hard rolls!

Mix dry rub:

4 tbs. fennel seed
2 tbs. dill seed
2 tbs. celery flakes
3 tsp. salt
4 tsp. dry basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. dry parsley
4 tsp. dry oregano
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper

Store in airtight jar.Coat a 3-5 lb. pork roast and bake at 350 degrees for 2-5 hours. Cool. Slice thin.

Ziti Salad

8 oz. ziti
4 diced tomatoes
3 tbs. olive oil
1 ½ tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
½ c. chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
½ tsp pepper
2 c. shredded Italian blend of 6 cheeses
Cook pasta, drain. Combine all ingredients with 1 ½ c. of the cheese. Toss well. Serve warm, and top with remaining cheese.

Confetti Salad

Found this in the newspaper-great fiber!

2 c. shredded red cabbage
19 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
11 oz, can drained mandarin oranges
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted
2 lg. sliced scallions
3 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. orange juice
Salt and pepper

Put vegetables in bowl. Whisk together dressing and toss with vegetables. Serve.

Broccoli Salad

1 head chopped broccoli or one bag of shredded broccoli slaw mix
½ lb. crumbled cooked bacon
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ small chopped red onion

Place ingredients in bowl and toss. Mix the dressing below:

½ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. sugar
1 tbs. vinegar
Mix well and toss with vegetables. Chill.

Cucumber Salad

Peel and trim 3 english cukes. Thinly slice and toss with ½-1 tsp. salt for every 4 c. cuke. Let stand in colander in sink for 30 to drain. Press out moisture in paper towels and toss with dressing below.

¼ c. cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
¾ c. oil
½ tsp. chopped dill
Salt and pepper
Shake in shaker jar, toss with cukes and chill.

Orzo, Corn, and Roasted Pepper Salad

2 chopped, roasted red peppers
3 ears roasted corn, kernels cut off
1 c. uncooked orzo, cooked to pkg. directions
1 lg. red onion, cut into ½ inch slices, grilled and then chopped
¼ c. thin sliced scallions
¼ c. chopped parsley
1 diced jalapeno
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp. salt
Put orzo into bowl and drizzle w/ 1 tbs. olive oil. Cool and add remaining ingredients. Toss. To the vegetables add 3 tbs. white wine vinegar and 2 tbs. olive oil. Toss and serve at room temperature.

Tortellini Salad

In a shaker jar, mix: ¼ c. olive oil, 3 tbs. lemon juice, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. ground mustard, ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper, 1 crushed garlic clove.

Cook an 18 oz. pkg. of tortellini. Toss with dressing while warm and cool. Add:
1 small diced red onion
2 tbs. chopped parsley
1 diced red pepper
1 diced green pepper
1 tbs. toasted pignoli
Mix well and chill, let sit at room temp. 15 min. before serving.

Black Bean Salad

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 diced green pepper
1 shredded carrot
1 tbs. chopped red onion
2 tbs. olive oil
¼ tsp lime peel
Juice of 1 lime
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbs. fresh chopped cilantro
Mix dressing, add vegetables. Chill.

Corn Salad

1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. cider vinegar
¼ c. vegetable oil
3 c. corn
1 diced tomato
½ c. chopped green pepper
¼ c. chopped red onion
1/4 tsp. celery seed
¼ tsp. salt

Beat together dressing ingredients. Add all other ingredients and toss. Cover and refrigerate. Serve cold.

Greek Pasta Salad

¾ c. olive oil
Juice of 3 lemons (or more as needed)
2 minced garlic cloves, S and P

Toss dressing. Cook 1 lb. bowtie pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with dressing. Cool to room temperature.
Add: 3 diced tomatoes
1 peeled and dice English cuke
1 small chopped red onion
¼ c. chopped Italian parsley
6 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
¼ c. slivered Kalamata olives
Toss together. Garnish w/ anchovy if desired. Keep chilled, but take out ½ hr. before serving.

Mediterranean Chicken Sandwiches

1 ¼ lb. chicken breast, sliced
Olive oil
1 large diced tomato
1 english cuke, sliced
½ sliced red onion
2 tbs. cider vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil
3 tsp. minced fresh oregano. Or ½ tsp. dried
2 tsp. minced fresh mint or ½ tsp dried
½ tsp. salt
Lettuce leaves and pita bread, halved
Saute chicken. Cool. Combine chicken, tomato, cuke, herbs, and onion. Drizzle w/vinegar and oil. Toss to coat. Serve in pita bread w/ lettuce, great w/ Greek Pasta Salad.

Easy Stuffed Peppers

I developed this one day when I was really lazy and craving stuffed peppers but too lazy to spend much time.

3-4 peppers
Meatloaf mix
1 can petite diced tomatoes
¼ c. chipotle salsa
1 tsp/ chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. arbol chili powder
Grated Mexican mixed cheese
Blend sauce ingredients w/hand blender in bowl. Halve and blanch peppers for 3 min. Rinse and dry. Stuff peppers w/ meatloaf meat and place in greased baking pan. Pour sauce mix over stuffed peppers, and top with 1 c. grated cheese. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until golden.

Italian Cauliflower

My mom used to make this when I was a kid-I could eat the whole thing myself!

1 large head cauliflower
1 16 oz. jar of prepared Italian tomato sauce
1 drained can of black olives
¼ tsp. hot pepper flakes
Clean cauliflower head but keep intact. Place in the bottom of a 2 qt. saucepan. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and black olives. Pour sauce over all. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 min. or until tender.

Italian Ciambellone

The only way to describe this is it's like a pound cake, Italian Style. My family always made it to celebrate the new year, and men love it!

1 c. sugar
3 eggs
4 tbs. butter
1 c. milk
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. anise seed
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. anise extract
3 ¼ c. flour
Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hr. or until done.

Crab Dip

My sister-in-law Donna shared this recipe and what is great it, you can use half and freeze half for a surprise appetizer.

1 lb. backfin crabmeat
2 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese
1 8 oz. pkg. sour cream
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tbs. mayo
juice of 1 lemon
3 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients (except crab) with 1/4 c. of the cheddar-mix well. Stir crab in last after all other ingredients are smooth-I fold it in. Put in a buttered casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. or until bubbly.

An alternative is to divide into two or three foil toaster oven trays and freeze. I thaw it in the refrigerator the day I am going to use it, or you can bake it from frozen-may take longer.

Banana Bread

A great surprise to pull out of the freezer or toast for breakfast!

1 c. sugar
2 med thin sliced, ripe bananas
1 stick butter, soft
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/ 2 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. PAM one regular loaf pan or 4-loaf mini loaf pan. In large bowl, blend first 4 ingredients. Beat 2 min. at med speed. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until moist. Stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake 50-60 min if using lg. loaf pan, 30 min. if making mini loaves. Check with toothpick for doneness. Easy recipe, mild-taste. Makes great muffins as an alternative.

Braised Chicken with Oven Baked Polenta

Not sure where this recipe came from but it is great.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs. olive oil
1 lb. sliced white or crimini mushrooms
4 halved garlic cloves
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 3/4 c. chicken stock
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper the chicken. If they are very thick, slightly pound them to an even thickness. Heat 1 tbs. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Saute the chicken until lightly browned, 2-3 min. per side. Transfer to plate. Add remaining tbs. oil to the hot skillet. Add mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover and cook over med. heat until mushrooms release their juices, about 2-3 min. Remove lid and cook over high heat, tossing, until mushrooms are golden, 4-5 min. Pour the wine into the skillet, and cook until mostly reduced about 1 min. Add stock and parsley, and cook over med heat about 8 min until mushrooms are tender. Return chicken to skillet, cover, and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 min.
Serve cutlets with mushrooms and cooking liquid, and buttered noodles or polenta. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.

Oven Baked Creamy Polenta
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a lidded baking dish, whisk together 3 c. water, 3/4 c. cornmeal, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Cover and bake 30 min, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, and add 1/4 c. milk, 2 tbs. butter, and 1 tsp of fresh marjoram, or 1/4 tsp dried and whisk briskly until smooth. Serve immediately. Fast meal.

Senate Restaurant Bean Soup

Got this recipe out of an old issue of Cobblestone when I was teaching in Scranton in the very early 80s and have been cooking it since. The story said this is served every day at the Senate Restaurant.

2 lbs. navy beans
1 ½ lbs. smoked ham hocks
1 diced onion
4 qts. Water
Butter, salt and pepper

Wash beans through hot water. Drain. Add four quarts of hot water and ham hocks. Simmer slowly in a covered pot for three hours. Remove ham hocks and cool. Pull the meat from the bones and return meat to pot. Cook onion in butter until slightly browned and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Add water or broth if needed.

Greek Style Pork With Celery

One of my favorite recipes from The Frugal Gourmet. More like a stew, this recipe is amazingly simple but deceptively flavorful. Serve with a hunk of crusty bread and your favorite white wine.

2 tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless pork, cut into large cubes
Cooking liquid:
4 c. chicken stock
½ c. dry white wine
5 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
S & P
4 cups chopped celery leaves and stalks

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil for browning and brown the meat. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, reserve celery for later. The liquid should come up about halfway on the sides of the meat. If not, add more stock or wine. Bring to a simmer and cover-cook for 1 ¾ hr. or until tender.
Add the celery and simmer another half hour or until celery is very tender. Uncover the pot for the last 15 min. to reduce the sauce. I like to serve it as is beside cooked orzo or rice. A variations is to add 1 c. orzo and another can of chicken broth when you add the celery, or serve with cooked orzo or pilaf.


Wimpies, Sloppy Joes- whatever you call them, great fast casual food. Chipotle makes all the difference!

1 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
¼ c. water
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½-1 tsp. chipotle powder
¼ tsp. pepper
6 burger rolls

Cook ground beef and onion until meat is browned. Drain fat. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until thick. Serve on burger rolls.

Turkey Meatballs

Great, fast meatballs.

1 ¼ lb. ground turkey
½ c. finely chopped onion
½ c. finely chopped parsley
½ c. dry bread crumbs, seasoned
1 egg, slightly beaten
S/P to taste
Mix well. Form into meatballs. Microwave in two batches, covered, for 7 min. at 70% power. Freeze or use immediately. For smaller, cocktail sized meatballs, cook for 5 min. You can substitute beef, or a beef/pork combination.

Ziti and Ham Salad

Not sure where I got this recipe but it is great when you need a hearty side.

1 ½ c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. chopped fresh basil
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ziti
6 c. zucchini, cut into ¼ inch matchsticks
4 c. carrots cut into matchsticks
¾ lb. cooked ham, cut into ½ inch cubes

Combine ingredients for dressing in blender. Whirl until smooth. Cook ziti, then drain but do not rinse. Transfer to bowl, pour basil vinaigrette over hot pasta, and toss to coat. Cool to room temp. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.

Cook zucchini and carrots in salted water for 2 min. Drain, rinse, drain, and cool. To serve, remove pasta from refrigerator and let stand 15 min. Add zucchini, carrots, and ham. Toss gently to mix.

Neopolitan Tomato Sauce

My take onn a Mario Batali recipe. This makes a good pot and freezes well. You can add any meat you like! I like to add sausage, pieces of beef, pieces of pork, meatballs, braciole, or a combination of all.

6 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 1 large red onion, chopped 3 tbs. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tablespoon dried 3(28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) tomato puree
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2/3 c. dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme, tomatoes, wine, puree, parsley, and hot pepper flakes, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and pepper.

As this sauce cooks, add all or your choice of the following:
4 pieces pork ribs, 4 boneless chicken thighs,4 links Italian sausage, 8 or more meatballs, diced beef.

If you wish to use this sauce for lasagna, add 2 lb. cooked crumbled ground beef to the sauce instead of the other meats, cooking until thick.

Cook all at least one hour. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Sausage and Peppers with Parmesan Grits

Not sure where this recipe came from but it is some mighty hearty comfort food!

19 oz. pkg. sweet Italian sausage
3 yellow, red, or green peppers (or one of each)cut into strips
1 lg. onion, halved and sliced thin
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt

Parmesan Cheese Grits and extra cheese

Remove sausage from casings. Crumble into a pan and cook all over at med-high heat until no longer pink, along with the vegetables and seasonings until veggies are tender. Serve over parmesan cheese grits. Garnish with extra cheese. Serves 4.

Parmesan Cheese Grits
1 c. grits
4 c. water
¾ tsp. salt
1 tbs. butter
5 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded
Cook grits according to package directions using 4 c. water. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Serves 4.

Quick Cook Meatloaf with Chipotle Ketchup

I developed this recipe after having a dish like this at Bizou in Cville. I loved it so much I just had to come home and create my own recipe so I could have it whenever I want!

1 c. plain dry bread crumbs
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp allspice
¼ c. milk
2 beaten eggs
1 lg. chopped onion
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. ketchup
Handful chopped parsley
2 lb. ground chuck or meatloaf mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put dry ingredients in bowl and mix-add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into 2 logs. Wrap in heavy duty foil, which has been sprayed w/PAM. Place on baking sheet and bake for 45 min-check temp. Serve with a dollop of chipotle ketchup.

Chipotle Ketchup
1 ½ c. ketchup
2 ½ diced chipotle chilies (from canned chilies in adobo)
2 tsp. of adobo sauce from the above can
Juice of two limes
1 ½ tsp. cumin
1 ½ tbs. tequila

Stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Chill. Serve with meatloaf or sandwiches.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sweet Potatoes w/Sausage AuGratin

Sounds crazy but is absolutely delicious.

1 lb. bulk pork sausage (I use hot sausage)
2 sliced leeks
1 tsp dry thyme
3 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 c. apple juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 X 9 pan. Cook sausage in large skillet until browned. Drain. Stir in leeks and thyme.
In greased dish, layer half of the sweet potatoes, sausage mixture, and cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes and sausage. Pour apple juice over the top and top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 min. or until potatoes are tender. Serves 4.Not sure which little recipe book this came from.

Tuscan Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

Quick, flavorful one skillet dinner. Fresh rosemary rocks!

1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 c. bottled zesty Italian salad dressing
4 boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 c. sliced carrots
1 1/2 c. sliced celery
1/4 c. coarsely chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed, or 1 tbs. fresh chopped rosemary
2 cans of cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

Sprinkle chicken w/s/p. Heat oil in skillet and brown chicken. Add salad dressing, cooking chicken 2-3 min per side or until lightly browned.
Reduce heat to low. Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, and rosemary. Cover and simmer for 10 min or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear. Stir in beans and cook until beans ar3 heated through. Serves 4. Yum! Not sure which little recipe book this came from.


No box mix again once you make these. Rich and gooey-delish!

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 c sugar
4 squares (4 oz)unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 c. flour
1 c. broken nuts
Combine butter and sugar in a pan. Melt over low heat and stir. Stir in sugar, then beat eggs in one at a time. Stir in flour, then nuts. Pour into well-greased and floured 9 X 12 pan and bake in 375 degree oven for 25 min. or until done. Cut into small squares and serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top, or cut large squares for brownies a-la-mode.

Chicken Stew

A great one pot meal that is very hearty. Sprinkle the top with some grated parmesan cheese if you like. I modified the recipe a bit to make it easier.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast halves, diced
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Serving suggestion: crusty bread, chianti

Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add thecelery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil,tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.

Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovereduntil the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surfaceand cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until theliquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread.
Source: Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis

Chipotle Bean Dip

Family favorite dip recipe with a little zing!

1 15 oz. can of refried beans
1 c. sour cream
1/4-1/3 c. diced pickled jalapeno peppers, or other pickled hot peppers
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin

Blend with a mixer. Garnish with grated cheddar and sliced scallions and a shake of chipotle. Serve with nacho chips.

Fran’s Chipotle Chili

My own creation won the chili cook-off at work in 2008.

2 dried chipotle chilies, 1 c. boiling water-steep the chilies in the hot water for 1 hr, then blend til smooth.

1 large diced onion
1 lb ground beef or diced beef cubes
1 diced green pepper
Drain liquid. Add:
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs ground cumin
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground New Mexico chili powder
1 tbs tomato paste
½ c dry white wine
½ c water
1 28 0z can diced tomatoes
1 c beer
1 rinsed and drained can of beans (your choice)
Simmer for at least 1 hr, adjusting salt and pepper seasoning to your liking.

Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew

The perfect Friday night supper, a one pot meal that is light and easy to make. I doubled the recipe so I could share leftovers with the girls.

2 tsp olive oil
1 c chopped green bell pepper
½ lb c thinly sliced smoked sausage
1 tsp minced garlic
2 c. chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
½ lb medium, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Hot sauce for serving

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add bell pepper, sausage, and garlic to pan and sauté until bell pepper is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp and beans; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 min or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4. Serve with crusty bread and hot sauce on the side. Source: Cooking Light, September 2009

Crispy Skin Salmon with Fiery Asian Slaw

Marc and I have been trying to decrease the starchy pasta or potato sides from many of our dinners. This is a great, quick and easy supper that is a light meal- guaranteed to please. Source:Cooking Light, September 2009.

4 6 oz. salmon fillets, skin on
¾ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ c. orange juice
1 tbs. rice vinegar
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1 tsp ground fresh ginger
½ tsp honey
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 16 oz pkg cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix (coarse is better)
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Combine rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chili paste, ginger and honey in a bowl. Whisk until blended. Add ½ tsp salt, cilantro, and coleslaw mix. Toss well to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salmon fillets evenly with ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add salmon to pan, skin side down; cook 4 min.Turn salmon over; cook 3 min. Add orange juice to pan; cook 30 seconds or until liquid slightly evaporates and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve salmon with slaw on the side. Serves 4.