Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole

Cooking spray
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Creamed Onions with Bacon

1 1/2 to 2 pounds pearl onions
3 strips apple smoked bacon, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cajun spice
2 tablespoons snipped chives


Fill a medium saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil. Add the pearl onions, cover, and set aside until onion skins are very soft and onions are easily peeled, about 10 minutes. Drain onions and refresh under cold running water or in an ice bath. When onions are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife peel away the tough outer skins. Set aside.
In a medium heavy pot render the bacon until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve and set aside.

Whisk the flour into the rendered bacon fat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until a blond roux is formed. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens. Add the heavy cream, thyme, salt, pepper, and cajun spice and cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pearl onions and continue to cook at a low simmer, partially covered, until onions are very tender and sauce is very thick and flavorful, 45 minutes to 1 hour. When ready to serve, garnish the onions with the reserved crispy bacon and sprinkle the top with the chives

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Crunch

12 large sweet potatoes
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily.
In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and flour together until it's crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and marshmallows; fold the crunchy topping together to combine.

Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Stuff the sweet potatoes generously with the crunchy topping and return to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and brown.

Lemon Maple Squash


Slice 4 pounds butternut or calabaza squash into thick wedges and remove the seeds. Place cut-side up in a baking dish. Combine 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup water, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of saltand pepper; pour over the squash and dot with 4 tablespoonsbutter. Bake 20 minutes at 350, then flip the squash and bake until caramelized and tender, 45 more minutes, basting halfway through.

Creamed Spinach

2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Squeeze all of the water from the spinach. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the low-fat milk and broth and cook, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the evaporated milk and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

Bacon & Green Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices bacon, diced
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
2 pounds green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed
1 cup chicken stock, canned low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Set a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green beans and toss to combine with the bacon and onions.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the chicken stock. As soon as the stock begins to boil, place the lid on the pan and cook the beans for about 6 minutes. Remove the lid, season the beans with the salt and pepper, and toss well. Replace the lid and cook until the beans are tender, 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and transfer the beans to a serving dish or small platter.

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
4 cups red bliss potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
3 medium parsnips (about1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Place vegetables in baking sheet and add the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil. Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry

Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Potato Gratin

4 large clove garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, peeled, seeded and diced (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
2 pounds Yukon gold or other waxy potatoes (about 4 to 5), peeled
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound plum tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rub 1 of the garlic cloves all over the inside of a large 1 1/2 quart oval casserole dish. Smear some of the olive oil all over the inside of the dish. Mince the rest of the garlic.
Heat the rest of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer to reduce by about half.
Using a mandoline or vegetable slicer, slice the potatoes about 1/8-inch thick and add them to the pan with the water, salt, pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the basil.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and shake the pan to distribute the potatoes evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the tomatoes about a 1/4-inch thick and arrange them in a shingled pattern on top of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender about 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake until brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let casserole cool 10 minutes before serving. This can also be served at room temperature.

Honey Glazed Carrots

1 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes 2 Ways

Make Classic Mash or Chunky Red Mash. Use 1 cup sour cream instead of milk; top with fresh dill.

Classic Mash
Cover 2 pounds whole russet or Yukon gold potatoes with cold salted water; simmer 45 minutes. Drain, peel and mash with 1/2 to 1 stick butter. Add 1 cup hot milk, and salt and pepper; mash until smooth and fluffy.

Chunky Red Mash
Cover 2 pounds whole red potatoes with cold salted water; simmer 40 minutes. Drain; do not peel. Smash with 1/2 to 1 stick butter, 3/4 cup hot milk, and salt and pepper.

Green Bean Casserole

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tortilla Soup Recipe with Shredded Chicken


8 tablespoons Canola oil
5 10" to 12" corn tortillas
1 onion
6 garlic cloves
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 - 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
14 ounces of canned or frozen corn
3/4 - 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon chili powder
4 bay leaves
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or try thighs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice from 1 lime


Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Wash and towel try the cilantro, remove stems and chop. Open your cans of tomatoes and have them at the ready. You don't have to measure out all the spices unless you like the way they have it all ready on the cooking shows. Rince the chicken under cold water and dry.

You can make this all in one large soup pot or fry the tortilla strips in one and make the soup in another. I like to clean as few pots as possible especially when I'm working one handed. Cut up 2 of the tortillas into 1/4 inch strips and fry them in 3 tablespoons of Canola oil. You want them to be a golden brown but be careful not to burn them, they cook quickly. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook several at at a t time. Remove the strips from pot and transfer to some paper towels to drain. Season with a little salt.

Heat the remaining oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Tear the remaining 3 corn tortillas into bite size pieces and add to the pot.

Now add the cilantro, stir, and cook for a minute more. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice and the chicken stock, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the corn, whole chicken breasts, and cayenne. Simmer the chicken breasts for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked throughout. Remove the chicken breasts and put aside to cool. Turn off the soup at this point.

Once the chicken breasts are cool, shred them with your hands and return to the pot. Add your lime juice and taste for spiciness. If you like it hotter, add more of the spices. Reheat, and serve with the fried tortilla strips, freshly diced avocado, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream. The sour cream really helped mellow out some of the spices and give the soup a wonderful creamy appearance.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Traditional Sage & Herb Turkey Stuffing

9-10 C. stale, hard bread, shredded into 1" chunks
3/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
12 oz. crimini or button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 lg. eggs, beaten
3/4 C. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 C. chopped freshly parsley
5 C. chicken broth, or as needed

1. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onions and celery and cook about 5 minutes.

2. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are barely tender, about 3 minutes longer.

3. Place mushroom mixture in a large mixing bowl.

4. Add salt, pepper, and other herbs and spices. Stir to combine.

5. Stir in nuts. Stir in bread pieces. Stir in beaten eggs and 1 C. chicken broth.

6. Add additional broth until this bread stuffing recipe reaches your desired level of moistness, at least 2 additional cups. You can add up to 4 additional cups for very moist stuffing.

7. Pour herb stuffing mixture into a large, buttered casserole dish.

8. Covered with buttered foil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven 45 minutes, or until hot throughout.

9. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, until top is crisp. And enjoy one of the best traditional turkey stuffing recipes ever.

Wild Mushroom Challah Bread Stuffing with Hazelnuts


1 loaf (1 3/4 lbs.) challah bread

2 C. chicken broth

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

1 C. chopped hazelnuts, toasted

1/3 C. unsalted butter

3 leeks, thoroughly cleaned, chopped

1 C. chopped shallots

4 cloves garlic, minced

20 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 C. chopped celery

1 C. chopped Italian parsley

3 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (3 tsp. dried)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (2 tsp. dried)

1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (1/2 tsp. dried)

salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 large eggs

Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

2. Trim crusts from challah and slice into 3/4 inch cubes. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Place in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a simmer. Remove from heat and add dried porcini mushrooms. Let soak about 30 minutes, until softened. Remove from liquid and chop coarsely, reserving broth for later.

4. In a very large skillet, melt butter. Add leeks and shallots, and cook about 5 minutes, until softened. Add fresh mushrooms. Cook about 10 minutes more, until tender.

5. Add celery, garlic, and porcini mushrooms to the skillet. Cook about 5 minutes more.

6. Add mushroom mixture to bread cubes in large mixing bowl. Add toasted hazelnuts and seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

7. Add eggs. Stir well to combine.

8. Bit by bit, pour in reserved mushroom broth until mushroom stuffing reaches the desired level of moistness. You won't want to use more than 1 1/2 cups, total. Use only enough liquid to moisten the stuffing; no more.

9. Dump stuffing into a large, buttered casserole dish.

10. Bake, covered in buttered foil, in a preheated 325 degree F oven until heated through, about 1 hour.

11. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes more, until crisp on top.

12. Watch all of your mushroom-loving guests drool over one of the best turkey stuffing recipes they'll ever try.

Sausage Stuffing Recipe with Pumpkin and Cornbread

3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage
2 jalepeños, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 C. prepared, crumbled cornbread
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 can (14 fl. oz) chicken broth
3/4 C. dried, unsweetened cranberries
3/4 C. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tbsp. dried rubbed sage
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Remove sausage from casings and crumble into a skillet. Cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

2. With a slotted spoon, remove sausage to a large mixing bowl. To drippings, add jalepeños and onion. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add to sausage mixture in bowl.

3. To bowl, add corn bread. Mix well to combine.

4. Gently stir in pumpkin puree, cranberries, walnuts, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chicken broth.

5. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, until browned and crisped on top.

Pecan, Pancetta and Sausage Stuffing

1 loaf (1.25 lbs.) country bread
1/2 lb. pancetta, chopped
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
3 med. onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 C. coarsely chopped celery
1/4. C. brandy
1 1/2 C. half and half cream
1 C. chicken or turkey stock
2 eggs
2 C. coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 C. chopped Italian parsley
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Remove crusts from loaf of bread. Slice into cubes 1/2 to 3/4 inches. You should have about 8 C. of bread cubes.

3. In one layer, bake bread cubes until dry, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

4. Cook pancetta in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and cooked through. Scoop pancetta (leaving any fat behind) into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

5. In the same skillet, crumble sausage. Saute until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

6. With a slotted spoon, scoop sausage out and add to bowl with pancetta. Discard all but 2 tbsp. of drippings from pan. (If you don't have enough drippings, add butter as needed).

7. Saute onions in drippings until tender, about 7 minutes. Add celery and saute about 3 minutes more.

8. Pour vegetables into mixing bowl with the pancetta and sausage.

9. Add brandy to the skillet, then return the skillet to the heat. Simmer over medium heat about one minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any burnt-on goodness. Pour brandy over veggies and meats in mixing bowl.

10. In a seperate mixing bowl, combine cooked, cooled bread cubes and half and half. Let soak about 15 minutes.

11. After the liquid has been absorbed, pour bread out into a strainer and press gently to remove any extra liquid. Discard extra liquid.

12. Stir soaked, strained bread into the meat/veggie mixture.

13. Stir in eggs, stock/broth, dried herbs, pecans, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

14. Transfer your sausage stuffing recipe mixture to a large buttered casserole dish.

15. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree (F) oven for 20 minutes.

16. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes more, until top and edges are crisp.

Grand Marnier and Apricot Stuffing

1 C. dried apricot, chopped
1 1/2 C. Grand Marnier, divided
1 C. unsalted butter, divided
2 C. celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 lb. herb stuffing mix
1 C. slivered almonds
2 C. chicken broth or homemade turkey stock
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions: 1. In a small, nonreactive saucepan, heat chopped apricots and one cup of the Grand Marnier to a boil. Remove from heat. Reserve for later.

2. In a good-sized skilled, melt a half cup of the butter. Stir in the chopped celery and onion and cook until tender.

3. Dump celery-onion mixture into a large mixing bowl (you'll use this to assemble the rest of the stuffing).

4. Return the skillet to the heat and crumble in the sausage. Saute til cooked through, then add sausage to the bowl containing the onion/celery mixture.

5. To the bowl, add the stuffing mix, sliced almonds, and boiled apricot-Grand Marnier mixture. Stir well.

6. In a saucepan, combine the last half-cup of butter with the chicken or turkey stock. When butter has melted, stir in the remaining Grand Marnier. Pour mixture over stuffing in bowl.

7. Add thyme, along with salt and pepper (taste first-- you may not need to add salt, depending on your stuffing mix and your broth/stock). Stir well to mix.

8. Butter a good-sized baking dish. Pour in your sausage stuffing recipe.

9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, til heated through and crisped on edges.

Chestnut & Sausage Stuffing

Chestnut Stuffing
Enough for a 9×13 Pan

- 1/2 loaf white bread, cubed
- 1/2 loaf wheat bread, cubed
Note: You can totally just use one or the other, but I like the mixing.

Sausage Base:
- 1 pound pork sausage. Spicy is good, but not essential
- 1/2 large onion, diced

- 1 Cup celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
- 2 Teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

Other Flavorings:
- 1 Golden delicious apple, cored, peeled, and cubed
- 1 pound roasted chestnuts (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 Cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 Cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 Cups turkey or chicken stock (this varies depending on your breading. More on this later)
- 1/3 Cup melted butter
- Salt and pepper

Prepping ingredients: The chestnuts are definitely the hardest part of this recipe. As for the other stuff, cube your bread up into relatively large pieces and toast it in a 300 degree oven until it’s super-crispy and dry. You don’t want it burned, but it should be crunchy like a crouton.

This should take about 20-30 minutes. Give it a quick stir halfway through just to make sure it’s cooking/drying evenly.

A white and wheat bread mix is good.

Then you can prep the stuff for your sausage mixture. This includes your sausage and onions. While you are at it you can chop up the aromatics also.

Sausage is optional I guess.

For the chestnuts, cut an X on all of them and roast them (you can do it at the same time you are toasting your bread) for about 20 minutes or until the shell peels back nicely on each chestnut.

This is a picture pre-roast.

Chestnuts roasting on a metal sheet...

When they are roasted, I halve each nut and then handle each half basically like a clove of garlic. Gently smash it with the side of a knife, the chestnut will pop right out. Do that for each one and you’ll have a big bowl of wonderful.

A good amount of chestnuts.

Cooking the sausage. Take the casings off your sausage and get it started cooking over medium-high heat in a large skillet. If your sausage is on the leaner side, you might need to add a tablespoon or two of oil just to help it out.

After it cooks for a few minutes and starts to brown, add your diced onion to the pan.

When the sausage is completely cooked and the onion is translucent, add your celery to the party and cook for just a few more minutes.

Toss all of this stuff in a bowl with your roasted chestnuts!

Just four ingredients, but a lot of flavor.

Bringing it all together. Add your other aromatics (herbs) and flavor ingredients to the sausage mixture and then toss that all together with your bread mixture.

Stir it together well to make sure the bread soaks up as much moisture as possible from the sausage and onion.

Then add your stock and butter to the party.

Add your stock in 1/2 cup batches and stir well after each batch. You want each bread cube to be well soaked, but there shouldn’t be any liquid left at the bottom of the pan. I probably used about 2.5 Cups of stock for my version and then mix in the melted butter last.

Also, add a big pinch of salt and pepper to the party. There’s no harm in giving this a taste at this point although it will be kind of room temperature. You are basically just tasting for salt and pepper levels.

Just remember, if it’s good now, it’ll be great later.

Warning: This will smell amazing.

Baking the stuffing. Pour your stuffing mixture in a 9X13 pan. You can really pack it in.

Ready for the oven.

Bake this at 350 degrees for a total of an hour. Bake it covered with foil for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 30 minutes.

And the trick to baking it is to make sure you give it a good stir every 15 minutes. This will prevent the bottom from getting too soggy and make sure everything cooks really evenly. I forgot to give mine a stir on one version that I made (I’ve made this twice in the past two weeks) and it was a noticeable difference.

Also, you may need to bake it for longer than an hour. Adding 15 minutes isn’t the end of the world. The end product should be moist, but not soggy and have some browned chunks throughout.

So, in review:

- If you are going to be making a stuffing outside of the bird, this is one of the best I’ve ever had in my life (I’ve never actually stuffed it in the bird although I’m sure you could).

- If you want a real chestnut flavor, I’d axe the sausage and increase the chestnuts in the above recipe.

- If you don’t care about chestnuts, just leave them out. The stuffing is great without them. (Sorry chestnuts, but it’s true.)

- Stir the stuffing while baking to ensure amazingness.

Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.

Wild Rice Stuffing with Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 large onions, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
6 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups wild rice
2 cups long-grain brown rice

2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked and coarsely chopped*
1 cup chopped green onions

Melt 1/2 cup butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté until onions are tender, about 1 minute more. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Add wild rice, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Mix in brown rice. Cover and simmer until rice is just tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes longer.

Stir cranberries, parsley and thyme into rice. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Mix in hazelnuts and green onions. Season generously with salt and pepper.

To Bake Stuffing in Turkey:
Loosely fill main cavity with stuffing. Butter ceramic baking dish. Spoon remaining stuffing into prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down. Bake stuffing in dish along side turkey until heated through, about 30 minutes.

To Bake All of Stuffing in Baking Dish:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Cover dish with buttered foil, buttered side down; bake stuffing until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Apple Walnut Stuffing


1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)

1 cup walnuts

2 cups each, chopped onion and celery

6 Tbsp butter

1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped

3/4 cup of currants or raisins

Several (5 to 10) chopped green olives (martini olives, the ones with the pimento)

Stock from the turkey giblets (1 cup to 2 cups) (can substitute chicken stock)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage (to taste)

Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


1 If you haven't already made the stock, take the turkey giblets - heart and gizzard - and neck if you want, and put them in a small saucepan, cover with water and add a little salt. Bring to a simmer; simmer for about an hour, uncovered. Strain the stock into a container for use with the stuffing. Alternatively, you can use chicken stock or just plain water with this recipe.

2 Toast the walnuts by heating them in a frying pan on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until they are slightly browned (not burned) OR put them in the microwave on high until you can smell the aroma of them toasting, about a minute or two. Let them cool while you are toasting the bread, then roughly chop them.

3 Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side. Note, if you aren't working with somewhat dried-out day-old bread, lay the cubes of bread in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to dry them out first, before toasting them in butter on the stove top. The bread should be a little dry to begin with, or you'll end up with mushy stuffing.

4 In a large Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions and celery on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add cooked chopped walnuts. Add chopped green apple, currants, raisins, olives, parsley. Add one cup of the stock from cooking the turkey giblets or chicken stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add sage, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.

5 Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every ten minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, ; separated into floret wedges (about 6 cups)
2 cloves garlic; minced, (up to 3)
2 to 3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps lemon juice; freshly squeezed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper; to taste
2 to 3 tbsps butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss cauliflower with oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread cauliflower evenly in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in hot oven until softened and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Test with a fork for desired doneness.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine cauliflower and browned butter in a bowl, and gently toss to coat. Serve warm.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Super easy and deeply flavorful. Roasting makes the Brussels sprouts all crispy and carmelized on the outside while the insides are perfectly tender with none of the bitterness typically found in brussel sprouts. The roasting also gives them a sweeter flavor than they get when sauteed, steamed, or boiled.

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
8 cups Cold water
1/2 cup Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; or to taste
Pecorino Romano; (optional)

Trim stems and remove any wilted outer leaves from Brussels sprouts; wash. Halve vertically any large brussel sprouts; set aside. In a very large mixing or deep container stir together the 8 cups cold water and kosher salt until salt is completely dissolved. Add Brussels sprouts to brine mixture; making sure the sprouts are completely submerged (weigh down with a plate if necessary to keep sprouts submerged). Let stand for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

Drain Brussels sprouts; do not rinse. Place

Spinach Artichoke Casserole with Fried Shallots

1 onion, diced and sautéed until soft
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cans (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
Sprinkling of Durkee fried onions or *Fried Shallots for top

Preheat oven to 350°F. In bowl, combine onion, spinach, artichokes, ½ cup cream, spices and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan.

In another bowl, with mixer at medium, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add 1 cup of cream, mixing just until well blended.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon spinach mixture into large casserole dish. Pour crème cheese mixture evenly over spinach mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes, then sprinkle Durkee or Fried Shallots on top. Bake another 10 minutes and let cool.
Fried Shallots
4 large shallots, sliced thin and separated into rings
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons olive oil

Toss shallots with salt, pepper and flour. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high until smoking. Then add shallots and cook, stirring frequently until golden and crisped. Transfer shallots to a paper plate lined with paper towels and let drain.

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole. A delicious blend of mushroom soup and onion crisps over green beans, this version also has sharp Cheddar cheese and chopped red bell pepper. It is great for holiday meals!

10 3/4 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup Milk
Dash; ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans; (I used two 15 oz. cans, drained)
1/4 cup red bell pepper; chopped
1 1/3 cups French fried onions; divided (These come in a can, or you can make your own.)
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese; divided

In a large bowl, stir 10.75 oz. cream of mushroom soup, ? cup milk, dash black pepper, 2 cans drained green beans, ? cup chopped red bell pepper, 2/3 cup French fried onions, and ? cup Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2/3 cup of French fried onions and ? cup shredded Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. This is a wonderful casserole, particularly for people who think they dont like vegetables!

Southern Corn Pudding

1 8.5-oz package Corn muffin mix; (preferably Jiffy)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar; (up to 1 teaspoon), (see *)
1 15.25-oz can Whole kernel corn; drained
1 14.75-oz can Cream style corn
1/2 cup Butter or margarine; (1 stick), melted and cooled, (see ***)
1 cup Sour cream; (see ***)
3 large Eggs; at room temperature, beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) a 2-quart casserole dish or 9- by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until blended. Do not overmix. Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, on center rack of preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

(If edges begin to brown too much, take a piece of foil large enough to cover the pan, quarter it, cut a 3 to 4 inch hole in the center, open the foil, and drape it loosely over the pan.)

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

* Note: Taste the corn meal mix that you use to determine how sweet it is. If using Jiffy or if the mix is sweet, use 1/2 teaspoon sugar, if not, use the full teaspoon to bring out the sweetness of the corn.

** Note: If you prefer, you can replace the canned corn with 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen thawed whole kernel corn that has been cooked.

*** Note: For a lower-fat version, use low-fat or fat-free sour cream and substitute applesauce for the melted butter.

Variations: Adjust the recipe to suit your families tastes by adding ingredients. Shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped onion, bell pepper or canned diced green chilies are wonderful additions.

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Sage Cream

2.5 big Yellow Squash; cut in half (dig out seeds and discard)
0.75 cup heavy cream or half in half
1 clove garlic
3 teaspoons fresh sage; finely chopped
0.25 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
diced black olives and red pepper flakes; (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 400F.

2. Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on squash

3. Prick squash in several places and bake 45 min until tender.

4. While squash is baking in the last 10 minutes,Heat cream, garlic and sage in pan over med. heat. Add a little butter for rich flavor

5. Cook 10 min until cream is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. when squash is done, and cooled slightly, use fork to pull out of skin, get every bit out, put on platter

7. Pour sauce over squash, toss lightly until combined.

8. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

9. Serve immediately.

Fall Squash Casserole

3 ea yellow squash; sliced thin
1 ea Onion; chopped
1/2 Bell pepper; chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Rotel tomatoes
1 ea Celery; chopped
1 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese; grated
4 slices bread; dried, toasted, and crumbled - see notes
1 ea Egg; beaten


Boil the squash, onion, bell pepper, and celery in salted water until tender and drain the liquid. Mix the tomatoes, egg, cheese, bread crumbs with the vegetables and transfer to a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

*You can substitute 2/3 cup of bread crumbs for the toasted bread. I used Italian flavored bread crumbs


Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey with Pecan Crunch Topping

5 medium sweet potatoes; scrubbed
4 each Bananas; unpeeled
1 cup Unsalted butter; (2 sticks) at room temperature
1/4 cup Honey
Kosher salt
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans; chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Pie Egg Rolls

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

for garnish:
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cooking Directions:

In a medium size pan, melt butter, add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until apples are tender. Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool, about 3o minutes.

Place about 2 tablespoons of apple filling into each egg roll wrapper, wet edges of wrapper with water, roll up sealing edges. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Heat oil to about 350 degrees, add egg rolls two at a time, turning to cook all sides, remove to paper lined plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, it’s good!

Pizza Egg Rolls

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
3/4 cup diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (15 ounce) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 dash pepper
1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
13 egg roll wraps
1 egg, lightly beaten
oil (for frying)

1 In a large skillet, cook the sausage, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2 Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings.
3 Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4 Uncover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; cool for 20 minutes.
5 Stir in cheese.
6 Place 1/3 cup sausage mixture in the center of each egg roll wrapper.
7 Fold bottom corner over filling; fold sides toward center over filling. Brush remaining corner with egg; roll up tightly to seal.
8 In an electric skillet or a deep fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 375*.
9 Fry egg rolls in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


For chicken rolls:
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup celery, small diced
1/3 cup carrot, small diced
3 Tbsp mild buffalo wing sauce
3 Tbsp barbecue sauce
Egg roll wrappers
4 to 6 cups peanut oil

For Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce:
2 cups ranch dressing
2 chipotle chiles (seeded and chopped)
1 tsp adobe sauce

To prepare chicken rolls:
In a medium saucepan, add 4 quarts of water and chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and allow to boil for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to cool.

Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and place in a medium-size bowl. Add the celery, carrot, buffalo wing sauce, and barbecue sauce. Mix well.

On each egg roll wrapper, place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Roll up the egg roll per package instructions (like an egg roll). Dab the last edge with water to help to help seal.

To Fry: In a wok or deep skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Deep fry the rolls, 3 to 4 at a time, until golden brown, turning only once. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

To Bake: You can also bake these in a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Spray the filled egg rolls with cooking spray and then bake for 10-15 minutes (turning half way through) until golden brown and crisp.

To prepare dipping sauce:
Place all three ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed. Serve with the Buffalo Chicken Rolls.

Taco Egg Rolls

1 (14 ounce) package egg roll wrappers
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies, drained
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
4 cups oil for frying, or as needed

Crumble ground beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until evenly browned, and drain off grease. Add taco seasoning, and cook according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet, or preheat a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Lay out one egg roll wrapper at a time, and place a little more than a tablespoon of the ground beef in the center. Top with a small spoonful of green chilies, and a little bit of shredded cheese. Roll up according to package instructions, and seal edges, wetting with water if necessary. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Fry the rolls in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil to drain on paper towels. Serve hot and fresh.

Taco Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked mafalda (mini lasagna noodles)
16 oz. jar pasta sauce (2 cups)
12 oz. jar salsa (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1-2 avocados, sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
In heavy skillet, brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain well. Stir in uncooked noodles, pasta sauce, salsa, water, chili powder, and drained beans. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover skillet, and cook for 15-17 minutes until noodles are al dente, stirring every couple of minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet.

Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese, cilantro, and cumin in small bowl until blended.

Spoon the cottage cheese mixture evenly over cooked mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese. Cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes until cheese is melted and mixture is hot. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced avocados and chopped tomatoes.

MAPLE GINGERBREAD CAKE with Maple Caramel Sauce


3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
Coarse kosher salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (1 1/2 to 2 ounces)
1 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3/4 cup hot water
2/3 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

1 1/3 cups chilled crème fraîche
1 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup maple sugar
6 tablespoons powdered sugar

Makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
5 to 6 drops imitation maple extract

*Chinese five-spice powder—a spice blend that usually contains ground fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves—is available in the spice section of most supermarkets. Crème fraîche is sold at most supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.


Place large piece of foil on work surface. Combine nuts and maple syrup in heavy medium skillet (do not use nonstick) over medium-high heat and bring to boil, tossing to coat. Cook until syrup is dark amber and almost cooked away and thickly coats nuts, tossing often, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Scrape nuts onto foil. Working quickly with 2 forks, separate nuts. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool until coating is crisp and hard, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Pecans can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Combine first 4 ingredients in processor; add ginger. Blend until ginger is finely ground, about 1 minute. Using mixer, beat maple sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time (batter may look curdled). Stir 3/4 cup hot water and molasses in small bowl. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture in 4 additions alternately with molasses mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter between prepared pans (about 2 1/2 cups each). Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks.

Combine crème fraîche, cream, and both sugars in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until very thick and stiff.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar. Whisk until sugar melts and mixture is thick and boiling, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream. Bring sauce to boil, whisking often. Boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon and is reduced to 1 cup, whisking often, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in coarse salt and extract. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cool, cover, and chill

Cut around pan sides to loosen cake layers; turn out onto racks. Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 1 1/3 cups frosting. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons caramel sauce. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting smoothly over top and sides of cake. Drizzle top of cake with 3 tablespoons sauce. Cover with cake dome; chill at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.
Cut pecans into pieces or leave whole. Press pecans into frosting on sides of cake. Cut cake into wedges. Spoon sauce over.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle


1 box Spice cake mix
1 (6 ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
2 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 (12-ounce) container frozen lite whipped topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Heath or Skorr bars, crushed, optional


Bake the cake mix according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin, sugar, and spices into the pudding. Mix vanilla extract into cool whip. Crumble one half of cake into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the cake, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining cake, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with crushed candy, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

1 fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
2 packages (13 ounces each) miniature peanut butter cups
4 cups cold 2% milk
2 packages (5.1 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cartons (8 ounces each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare brownie batter according to package directions; stir in peanut butter chips. Bake in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack; cut into 3/4-in. pieces.
Cut peanut butter cups in half; set aside 1/3 cup for garnish. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix well. Fold in 1-1/2 cartons whipped topping.
Place a third of the brownies in a 5-qt. glass bowl; top with a third of the remaining peanut butter cups. Spoon a third of the pudding mixture over the top. Repeat layers twice. Cover with remaining whipped topping; garnish with reserved peanut butter cups. Refrigerate until chilled.

Fudge Cobbler with Caramel Whipped Cream

6 tablespoons butter 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided 1 cup self-rising flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 4 tablespoons
1/2 cup whole milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee bits 1 1/2 cups boiling water
Caramel Whipped Cream, recipe follows
Ice cream and chopped pecans, for serving
Caramel Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons caramel syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the butter in an 8 by 8-inch baking dish and put the dish in the oven until butter is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and set aside. In a medium bowl combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, the flour, and 2 tablespoons cocoa. Add the milk and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Pour over the melted butter in the baking dish. In a separate medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar, remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa, the pecans, and toffee bits; sprinkle evenly over the sugar mixture. Slowly pour boiling water over top of the cobbler. Bake until top of the cobbler looks set, about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm with Caramel Whipped Cream, ice cream and pecans, if desired.

To make the Caramel Whipped Cream:

Combine the cream and sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a whisk or beater until soft peaks form. Add the caramel syrup, and lightly fold together.

Chocolate & Butterscotch Bread Pudding

1 (6-ounce) box butterscotch pudding, cooked according to package directions
4 bananas, sliced
4 snicker bars, chopped fine
1 (12-ounce) container whipped topping

Let the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding cool to room temperature.
Into the trifle bowl, add half of the croissant pudding. Spread it out evenly. Scoop in half of the butterscotch pudding, add a layer of banana slices and half of the chopped snickers bars. Smooth on half of the whipped topping. Repeat the layers, ending on whipped cream, top with a final sprinkling of snickers. 
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
6 chocolate croissants, very coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put chocolate croissant chunks in an 8-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs. Pour mixture over croissants. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
Bake for 40 minutes

Chocolate Rice Pudding


5 cups whole milk

2/3 cup Arborio rice

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest (from 1 medium orange)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons orange liqueur

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the milk, rice, sugar, and orange zest. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the bean to the saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Stir the cocoa powder and orange liqueur into the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon the rice pudding into serving bowls. Cover and refrigerate for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and up to 1 day ahead.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicken Milanese

Chicken Milanese

Chicken Milanese (literally, chicken in the style of Milan) is a chicken breast that has been butterflied and lightly flattened out, dipped in beaten egg, then into a breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture and fried in butter. This superb dish is super-easy to make and packed with flavor. The breading is so light and so melt in your mouth good, the meat is moist and tender. It's one of my favorite quick meals for a weeknight. These crispy cutlets not only make an exceptional main dish for dinner, but are equally delightful in a sandwich. I often serve these over pasta, drizzling Alfredo sauce over everything. My father likes them topped with fried eggs and covered with Hollandaise sauce and cheddar cheese...the possibilities for this versatile dish are endless.

1 cup Unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large Eggs
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
2 cups Panko, fresh, or dried bread crumbs; (*see note)
1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese; (or a combination of both), freshly grated
2 tablespoons Fresh Italian parsley; finely minced (or, 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 Chicken breasts; butterflied and lightly pounded
6 tablespoons Unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 each Lemon; sliced into wedges
4 each Fresh parsley sprigs; (for garnish)
-- Lemon-Butter Sauce (optional) --
3 tablespoons Unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Lemon juice; fresh squeezed


Spread flour in shallow baking dish. Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon oil in second shallow baking dish. Mix bread crumbs, cheese and minced parsley in third shallow baking dish. Season each with salt and pepper.

Prepare chicken breast: Remove tenderloins (reserving for another use) and trim away any cartilage or visible fat. Place breast on cutting board with tip facing you and thinner side opposite your cutting hand. Hold breast firmly with palm of your free hand on top. Holding a knife parallel to board, carefully slice into thickest part of breast, drawing knife almost but not all the way through breast (take care to keep breast attached on one side). Open breast like a book, set between two sheets of heavy plastic wrap that have been lightly spritzed with water and gently pound to an even thickness, about 1/4- to 3/8-inch, with a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Season cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper, pressing seasonings into meat with your fingers. Bread cutlets one at a time. Dredge cutlets in flour, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Then, using tongs, dip both sides of cutlets in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into baking dish to ensure very thin coating. Finally, dip both sides of cutlet in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs with fingers to form an even, cohesive coating. Place cutlets in single layer on wire rack set over baking sheet, allow coating to dry for about 5 minutes. (The recipe can be done ahead to this point; cover cutlets loosely with wax paper and refrigerate for up to one hour, or freeze for up to 1 month.)

Preheat two large nonstick saute pans over high heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil to each pan. Heat until butter is melted and sizzling. Place 2 cutlets in each pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-1/2 minutes. Flip over, reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking until golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes longer. Drain on rack set over a baking sheet, then transfer to a warm serving platter. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with parsley sprigs.

For Lemon-Butter Sauce: Melt butter in pan, when foaming subsides, add lemon juice, swirlling to combine, and pour over cutlets, if desired.

Orecchiette Pasta With Walnut Sauce and Broccoli Rabe

1 garlic clove; cut in half
3/4 cup walnuts; shelled
1 T breadcrumbs
1/3 cup fresh ricotta
2 T warm water
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan; plus additional for sprinkling (Pecorino can be substituted for some of the Parmesan)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T walnut oil
Salt to taste
1 bunch Broccoli Raab; stems trimmed, or broccoli, broken or cut into small florets (stems set aside for another purpose)
1 lb. orecchiette, farfalle or other pasta
1/2 cup pasta cooking water; more as needed


1. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, turn off and scrape down the bowl. Add the walnuts and bread crumbs, and process to a paste. Add the ricotta, 2 tablespoons warm water and Parmesan. Pulse until well blended. Add the olive and walnut oils, and process until smooth and homogenous. Taste and add salt as desired. Transfer to a wide pasta bowl.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the broccoli raab or broccoli. Boil four to five minutes, until tender but still bright. Transfer to the ice water. Drain and chop broccoli raab medium-fine (regular broccoli need not be chopped). Set aside.

3. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta al dente, following the timing instructions on the package but checking a minute or two before the indicated cooking time. Before draining the pasta, add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to the ricotta mixture and stir until well blended. The sauce should have a creamy consistency (add more of the pasta water if necessary). Just before draining the pasta, add the broccoli raab or broccoli back into the pot with the pasta to heat, then drain. Toss at once with the sauce, and serve, passing Parmesan or Pecorino on the side.

Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta

8 oz Fresh Spinach; well washed
1.5 knobs butter
4 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 size 2 Eggs; separated
2 oz Grated Parmesan; fresh
pn Nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 oz Butter; melted
Fresh wonton wrappers


Make filling. Cook spinach in a large pan with a knob of butter for a few minutes and drain well. Cool, wring out excess water with your hands. Chop and mix with the ricotta cheese, yolks and half the parmesan. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. . Place small spoons of filling on pasta in rows, leaving space around each mound. Brush edges of the wonton wrappers with lightly beaten egg whites then position second sheet of wonton wrappers on top. Press gently to exclude air, then firmly to seal. Use a pastry wheel to cut into ravioli parcels. Carefully slide ravioli into a pan of boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, hoping they dont fall apart like mine do occasionally . Serve drizzled with melted butter, more nutmeg and parmesan.

Tortellini Burro e Salvia (Sage Butter)

4 ounces Butter
1 cup Sage
Salt; to taste
Pepper; to taste
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano; grated
1 pound Tortellini


1. In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter, a pinch of salt and sage leaves over a very low flame.

2. After butter has melted, cook for 10-15 minutes. Do not allow butter to burn.

3. Toss piping hot pasta with butter sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

4. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.

Ravioli Nudi

1 lb spinach
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup parmigiano reggiano; shredded
2 ea eggs; lightly beaten
1/8 tsp nutmeg; fresh grated
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt; and pepper to taste
5 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


Okay, first things first, I have no idea if it was one pound of spinach. It was one very full salad spinner of spinach that we triple rinsed to get all that grit off. My best guess is it was about 1 lb.

Mix Ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, eggs, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper together.

Cook the spinach in a large saute pan over medium high heat until wilted, using only the water the was left after rinsing. Remove and press out water.

Chop the spinach and mix into the cheese mixture. Add in the flour. Then add in the panko in 1/4 cup increments until the mixture is thick enough to form into balls. (One recipe had no flour and neither had the bread crumbs but it just wasn't coming together for me and it worked out in my favor!)

Get flour on your hands to prevent sticking and scoop out an ice cream scoop sized amount. Work into a ball. Repeat like a million times until it's all gone. I might be exaggerating on the "million" part. Maybe it was more like 2 dozen.

Preheat a pizza stone on a grill at about 450-500f. On a Big Green Egg, that is plate setter in, "legs down" with the pizza stone on top. But you could do the same thing on any grill or even in your 'gasp' oven.

Sprinkle some flour on the stone to prevent sticking and put the naked ravioli on the stone. Cook until they firm up. Carrabba's recipe called for boiling them in chicken broth for 2-3 minutes which spelled disaster to me and Fabio said bake them 5 minutes at 500f. I ended up going 10 minutes at about 450f.

Note, you will get a little bit of browning but you are going more for texture, not a "golden brown" that you might with baking. You are going for a firm enough texture to pick them up. Just imagine a ravioli that has been cooked and then have the pasta shell striped off.

While they cool, melt a stick of butter and saute 2-3 leaves of sage until crisped. Drizzle sage butter over the ravioli (who doesn't like hot grease poured over them when they are naked, right?).

I was going to plate them with the crisped sage and shavings of parmigiano reggiano but the sage was butt ugly so I went with fresh sage and red pepper flakes for a garnish.

Jumbo Lump Crab Alfredo

4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese; (or more to Taste)
Salt and white pepper; (to Taste)
Few grains cayenne pepper; (optional)
6 cooked snow crab meat; (8 oz. size), Cut into chunks
Linguini; cooked al dente


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour, and cook briefly until the mixture looks sandy. Do NOT let it color. Whisk in the half-and-half, and stir until the mixture forms a thick sauce. Stir in the cheese, and season to taste. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors, and stir in the crab meat. Cook JUST until the crab is heated through. Serve over cooked linguini, with additional Parmesan cheese and hot red pepper flakes on the side.

Before some purist jumps me, I KNOW this isn't a classic Alfredo, but it is a very good dish, and remarkably easy to make. Also, the sauce is purposely thick because I like it that way =P, just add more liquid ingredient if you want it thinned!