Recipe Included


I like to cook. No, I LOVE to cook. Good thing since I need to feed my family. But I only really learned to cook about 10 years ago or so. Beautiful Daughter used to come home and ask me what I was burning for supper that night. I know. But I love her anyway. Cooking was just something I did. NOW it’s something I DO!! And thanks to blogs like Living the Gourmet, which was my Secret Recipe Club ‘assignment” this month, it gets easier all the time.  Catherine, Tammy, and Michael Pappas are the people behind the blog.  Catherine is the founder who wanted a way to leave recipes for her children.  Tammy, her daughter, is the photographer (and her photos are beautiful).  Michael, her son, is in charge of interviews and product reviews.  The three of them are quite a team.

As usual it was hard to find just one recipe, so as is my habit I narrowed it down to three. (Why three?  Once I get my assignment I take a week to read and then try to cook one recipe each week until the reveal.  Makes it easier.)

The first recipe I tried was

ASIAN STYLE MARINATED SALMON FILET 

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A wonderfully flavored salmon fillet marinated in

      3 tbs. teriyaki sauce
      2 tbs. rice wine vinegar
      1 tsp. orange marmalade or apricot sauce
      ¼ cup of Italian parsley – chopped
      1 large clove of garlic – chopped
      1 inch piece of fresh ginger – chopped
      1 tbs. sesame oil
      2 tbs. soy sauce

then baked grilled until the fish is flaky. I’m glad I made two fillets because it was delicious.

Next came

YELLOW SQUASH WITH SAUSAGE AND PASTA

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A delicious mix of pasta, Italian sausage, yellow squash {I subbed in a zucchini}
Catherine’s recipe called for Italian sausage, yellow squash, lots of garlic, red onion, Italian parsley, fresh basil, red pepper flakes and dried oregano for flavor. There is no way you would not like this one.

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And THEN there’s dessert….

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This is no-churn HONEY VANILLA AND BROWN SUGAR ICE CREAM.

I love making no-churn ice cream. I’ve made ice cream in a table top churn for eons but sometimes you just want something easier. And these no-churn definitely are. If you have made this you know it is super simple. Whip together 2 cups of heavy cream with 1 can sweetened condensed milk and a 1 tsp vanilla. Catherine added in ¼ cup brown sugar and 3-4 tbs. honey. Catherine garnished hers with mini cookies but I didn’t have any so I used turbinado sugar.  The honey definitely adds an extra layer of flavor.

I think this one just became my favorite one.

Thanks, Living the Gourmet for some great recipes still to come.

There’s more for Secret Recipe Club.  Click on the frog.

How many times over the past 20 or so years have we made New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight?  Or at least eat healthier?  Only to have those initiatives fade after a couple of months.  Diet is a four letter word.  I don’t use it any more.  I also don’t make resolutions any more.  I use the word suggestion and it is easier to follow.  So is eating healthier when Ellie Kreiger is around.

Our ‘assignment’ this week was to find something from Ellie to give us a FRESH START.  So, owning 5 of Ellie’s books I went recipe hunting.  It is cold and windy outside.  It is supposed to rain and thunder.  I needed comfort food. What about Mac and Cheese?  Perfect!

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Not as ooey-gooey as my regular M&C but tasty and definitely healtheir.

It’s all about not using as much cheese as you normally would and subbing in something to replace the flavor.  Like Winter Squash. And low fat milk.  And ricotta cheese.

    1 pound elbow macaroni
    2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
    2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
    4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
    2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
    1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon powdered mustard
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.    Original Recipe The recipe is also from The Food You Crave. page 168
We liked the sweetness of the butternut mixed with the spice of the cayenne and dried mustard. The only change I would make would to make the chess sauce ‘saucier’ before adding to the pasta, or using less pasta.

I only made 1/2 of the recipe and cut the ricotta in half because I didn’t have enough.  (I think that is why it was just a tad dry.) It was plenty for two people to have more than two medium servings each.  Ellie said the whole recipe made eight 2-cup servings and I didn’t need that much. Each serving is only 390 calories.

Definitely something to make more of this winter when the wind is howling.  The rain is blowing.  The night is dark and dreary.

Check out what the other IHCC members made for their FRESH START.

 

For me this cake is Naughty AND Nice. Nice because it is sweet and full of fruit. Naughty because it’s full of whiskey with a rum sauce. But also Naughty because I don’t like fruit cake. At. All. {Actually, the theme of Naughty or Nice refers to Savory or Sweet bundt, but….}

I know a lot of people joke about passing around the fruit cake to other people knowing that somewhere there is THAT someone who will finally eat it. THAT someone lives in my house. So I make fruitcake just for him. Just once a year.

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      2/3 cup packed brown sugar
      1/2 cup butter, softened
      1/2 cup fruit juice
      1/4 cup molasses
      2 Tbl whiskey or rum or brandy
      1 1/2 cups AP flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      1 tsp allspice
      1 tsp cinnamon
      1 tsp nutmeg
      1 {16 oz) package diced fruitcake mix
      1 cup chopped almonds

Heat oven to 300 degrees
Grease and flour pan
Mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl
Add eggs, juice, molasses, and whiskey (rum or brandy)
Add other ingredients and mix well.
Pour into bundt pan. Bake 90 minutes until done in the center.
Cook for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a rack.

At this point you can wrap tightly in plastic wrap until ready to use or drizzle with your favorite Butter Rum Sauce. {I also added some powdered sugar}

fruit

Recipe modified from Bundt Classics 

 

While I don’t like the cake itself I did taste the cake and it is quite nice. Spicy and full of holiday flavors. Maybe I should make it without the fruit?

 

BundtBakers


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

This week’s CHEF of the Month is Giada De Laurentiis.  I haven’t made a lot of her dishes but the ones I have tried are delicious.  Since I was going to a party and needed a ‘finger food’ I tried her marinara sauce to go with my mini meatballs.  Good Idea!!

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    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 small onions, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
    • 2 (32 ounces each) cans crushed tomatoes
    • 2 dried bay leaves
    • 2 cups basil, chopped
    •  I added 1 heaping tsp Italian Seasoning

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the chopped basil. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. Total cooking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

I loved the chunkiness of this marinara.  The little pieces of carrot and celery just added to the wonderful texture.  This was a definite winner. EVERYONE asked for the recipe.  Thanks, Giada.

Original Recipe 

For more dishes from Giada visit  I Heart Cooking Clubs.

 

As I look at this little basket of goodness I wonder why I haven’t made these before.  Crispy.  Not fried.  Lots of seasoning.  Pantry Items.  I have no excuse.

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These are simply thinly sliced potatoes (2 russets) tossed with olive oil (1 Tbl), Smoked Paprika (2 tsp), and salt (1/2 tsp).

Just put them on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake at 400 for anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes.  Mine took about 10 minutes but yours may take longer.  Oh, and check them about every 5 minutes.  They bake FAST!

I added a little onion powder (2 tsp) to my second batch.  GOOD!!

The theme for this weeks  I Heart Cooking Clubs is Nibbles and Noshes

The recipe is from Ellie’s comfort food fix (page 58) but I also found it on Ellie’s webpage. 

    ..of luck…

you get assigned to a blog for Secret Recipe Club that has lots of simple, and tasty, recipes. And that is what happened this month when my Secret Assignment was A Little Bit of Everything which is written by Julie WAY up in the plains Nebraska. And I mean way way up because I am WAY down in the Deep South of Louisiana. She has been blogging since 2009 and has a collection of recipes to prove it.

As usual, and we are all in the same boat each month, it was hard to find JUST ONE recipe for SRC so I tried several. And they were all good. And all simple.

It has FINALLY turned cool here which means I could enjoy a nice bowl of oatmeal {I don’t like oatmeal, or soup, in the summer. Just too hot! I know, I’m weird.} and lucky for me Julie had a Pumpkin Oatmeal on the blog.

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It is full of all those wonderful pumpkin pie spices, pecans, and maple syrup. It was just right. I wish I had made more than just 1/2 of the recipe.

There was also a recipe for Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins

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Talk about tasty. Ditto on the pumpkin spices and then add in the butterscotch chips and it was a definite winner.

    1 3/4 cup flour, sifted
    1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the middle of the mixture.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin and butter. Stir in the butterscotch chips. Pour into the well of the dry ingredients. Fold together just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not ove rmix.
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Place on a rack to cool.

    Oh, yeah, and then I drizzled some with caramel. MAYBE a little over the top, but hey….

We eat a lot of ice cream year round. Or at least The Hubs does. So I had to make Julie’s Cake Batter Ice Cream.

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Okay, it wasn’t completely her recipe. I have fallen in love with the No Churn ice cream so I used her amount of cake batter {3/4 cup} in the no churn. What a great Idea!!! You can have your cake and ice cream at the same time. Add some sprinkles and it’s a party in a bowl!!

So here it is the weekend before the reveal and I still have about 10 items on my list from Julie’s recipes:

Which just happen to be the next three on my list. I cannot put my whole list so you bettr just jump on over to A Little Bit of Everything and check them out your self. AND, when you click on her lists they come up in PINTEREST!! Now why didn’t I think of that?

And for the rest of the SRC delights you can find them by clicking below:

Or the name you might be more familiar with – Eggplant Parmesan.

When we visit antique stores and flea markets the first thing I look for is cookbooks. I don’t NEED any more but they are so fun to look through and sometimes I find one that is ‘reasonable’ and has great pictures and recipes. I found one just like that in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. Elodia Regante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking . Inside were 150 or so recipes handed down through 4 generations. And each one with a story, picture, and family hints. The whole book is full of stories with the introduction telling the story of Elodia’s grandparents arrival in the U.S., meeting in Little Italy, having children, losing children, and celebrating holidays with family and food. And that is what is wonderful about this book – family recipes: authentic, unchanged for 100+ years except to adapt to American ingredients. I have so many recipes marked and ready to share.

This one caught my eye immediately because I have found/tried so many recipes that really aren’t ‘real’. This one was simple and delicious. I even made her Marinara sauce {1 hour, maybe 2} to go with it.

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    3 medium eggplants, peeled if the skin is tough
    6 eggs, beaten
    4 cups Italian bread crumbs
    Olive Oil
    8 cups Marinara sauce {you COULD use your own recipe}
    2 cups grated Romano cheese
    1 1/2 lbs Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

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Slice the eggplants about 1/4″ thick. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with more paper towels. Weight them down to drain as much liquid as possible. This may take up to an hour.
Dip slices in the eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Fry them until olden brown, drain, and cool. {You can also bake them.}
Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer with eggplant, then Mozzarella and Romano cheese. Cover with sauce. Repeat until your pan is just about full. You may get 4 – 5 layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the Mozzarella melts.
Allow dish to sit for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients settle before slicing and serving. (serves 6)

Marinara Sauce Salsa al Pomodoro

    1/8 cup minced garlic
    3 Tbl olive oil
    5 lbs ripe tomatoes {I used some I canned this summer}
    1 cup red wine
    1 Tbl oregano
    1 Tbl basil
    1 tsp thyme
    1 pinch rosemary
    Salt and Pepper to taste

Sautee the garlic in a large saucepan until soft but not browned. Remove the pan from the heat.
In another pot boil some water and add the tomatoes just long enough to soften and slip the skins. Smash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Add the tomatoes, their juices, wine and some of the boiled water to the pot with the garlic. {If you used canned tomatoes you don’t have to do this, just add the contents to the pot with the garlic.}
Add the spices and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Two if you have the time. Stir periodically.
{Original recipe page 127}

This was delicious and one of the easiest recipes I have found for the Parmigiana. I made just 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two people.

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