• Warm Toasted Marshmallow S’more Bars

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    This is a Betty Crocker recipe from one of those Betty Crocker magazines at the grocery checkout stand, but the recipe is also here. This bar is super rich, so a little goes a long way. I found, at least with our oven, that it took longer to cook, and I let it stand for the requisite 10 minutes, and then when I cut it it looked more like melted goo than cohesive bar. But that melted goo tasted yummy! Next time, I’d let it cool a bit longer if you want it to look more like a bar.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 pouch (1lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
    • 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 c. butter or margarine, melted
    • 3 c. chocolate chips (18 oz)
    • 4.5 c. miniature marshmallows

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix cookie mix and cracker crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. In ungreased 14×9 pan, press dough evenly. Bake 18-20 minutes or until set (it took mine closer to 25 minutes, and the cookie should looked evenly cooked).
    2. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.
    3. Set oven to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 4 to 5 inches from heat for 20 to 30 seconds, or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.
    4. Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cur into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store tightly covered.
    5. To reheat the bars: put on a microwavable plate and microwave on high for about 15 seconds or until warm and chocolate is soft.

    Warm Toasted Marshmallow S’more Bars:

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    Update: I think I would halve the chocolate…there just seems to be too much chocolate (imagine that!). The cookie bar base is really exceptional, and I’m already thinking about what else I can do with the base. -s really liked the cookie bar base too, and on the second day he actually removed the chocolate and marshmallow and just ate the cookie base (shocking, I know, for -s to leave chocolate behind!)

  • Dilled Chicken Fricassee with New Potatoes and Asparagus

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    This recipe comes from the May 22, 1990 issue of Woman’s Day. This was one of my most favorite recipes my mom made when I was in high school. I loved it so much that for over 4 years I’d been asking her to send me the recipe. She never got around to it, and I made it my mission to locate this recipe when we visited her this summer. Mission accomplished! The recipe was every bit as delicious as I remember, and even -s loved it. In fact when I was looking at the pictures I asked him which one was best and he said “my mouth is watering just looking at that chicken.” The original recipe calls for bone in chicken, but I much prefer the boneless, so the recipe below is for the boneless chicken. I couldn’t decide on the photos, so you get two to tempt your palate.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 2 TBSP oil
    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 c. chicken broth
    • 1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
    • 8 small new potatoes (12 oz.), quartered–make potatoes pieces approximately the same size for even cooking
    • 12 oz fresh asparagus, trimmed
    • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of the entire lemon)

    Directions:

    1. Mix flour, salt, and paprika in a medium sized bowl.
    2. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
    3. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture, shake chicken to remove excess flour, then add to hot pan and cook each side until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Chicken will not be fully cooked at this point. Remove chicken and set aside.
    4. Meanwhile, pour broth into the remaining flour mixture, and whisk until smooth.
    5. Add broth mixture, potatoes, and 2 TBSP of the fresh dill to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
    6. Add asparagus and chicken and simmer covered for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and asparagus are tender. I promise that if you have to cook it longer, the chicken will not over cook.
    7. Remove from heat and add remaining fresh dill and lemon juice.

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    Dilled Chicken Fricassee with New Potatoes and Asparagus:

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  • Banana Peanut Butter Loaf

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    I once again had some overripe bananas on the counter. Trying to figure out what to do with them, I remember a recipe I found and gave to a coworker. My coworker made the bread and said it was wonderful, so I gave it a try. I’m not a fan of nuts in baked goods, and this recipe does have nuts in it, but I made it with the nuts anyway. It was good, but I much prefer the classic banana bread (minus the nuts of course), and -s much preferred the chocolate chip banana bread. After a tasting, I sent the bread to work with -s, and everyone who ate it loved it. So if you are a nut lover and peanut butter lover, I suppose this is a recipe for you.

    This recipe comes from the Seattle Times Food Section from March 7, 2007.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 TBSP butter
    • 1/3 c. crunchy peanut butter
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 bananas, sliced
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 c. all purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. chopped salted peanuts

    Directions:

    1. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside
    2. Cream the butter and peanut butter together with the sugar. Mix in eggs, bananas, soda, flour, salt and nuts; pour into greased pan.
    3. Place in a cold oven. Set oven to 300F and cook for about 1.5 hours, or until loaf tests done.
    4. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a rack, then unmold and let cool completely, right side up.

    Banana Peanut Butter Loaf:

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  • Bev’s Classic Baked Ziti and Meatballs

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    If you live anywhere outside the Northeast, you probably don’t know what Baked Ziti is, and if you do know what it is you probably haven’t had really great Baked Ziti. There are few things I think Italian restaurants do better in the Northeast than anywhere else, and one of those is Baked Ziti.

    These recipes come from -s’s Aunt Bev. They are both super tasty, and I served them both at a baby shower I hosted a few years back, and the dishes were very well received.

    Be prepared, this makes enough for an army, but it does freeze well.

    With -s out of town on business, I needed to make something I knew the kids would eat and would last multiple nights, so I made both the ziti and the meatballs (I did half the meatball recipe, but below is the full recipe). This is a great meatball recipe, because there’s so much less mess. The meatballs are baked (not pan fried), so they are much easier to prepare. We will be having leftovers at the very least for another night or two.

    Bev’s Baked Ziti:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. ziti, penne, or rigatoni
    • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
    • 24 oz. cottage cheese
    • 16 oz. shredded mozzarella (divided into 2 8oz portions)
    • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese (can use up to 3/4 c.)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
    • 2 tsp. garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1.5 (42 oz) jar of pasta sauce

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta in boiling water for about 1/2 the time it says on the box (it will finish booking in the oven)
    2. Mix all other ingredients in a big bowl
    3. Stir in pasta
    4. Spread 1/2 of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan
    5. Put pasta mixture in the pan
    6. Top with the remaining sauce
    7. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 350F. Last 10 minutes, remove foil and spread the remaining 8 oz of shredded mozzarella on top.
    8. If you don’t make the accompanying meatball recipe, I’d serve some sauce on the side and your diners can add some additional sauce if they’d like.

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    Bev’s Meatballs

    Ingredients:

    • 2 lbs ground meat
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 c. seasoned bread crumbs
    • 2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
    • 1/2 c. of Parmesan cheese (my addition)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 3 (24 oz.) jars of your favorite sauce (or however much sauce you like)

    Directions:

    1. Mix all ingredients together and shape into meatballs.
    2. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375F for 25 minutes.
    3. Place meatballs and a jar of your favorite sauce in a crockpot and simmer for as long as you can.
    4. Serve meatballs on the side with the Baked Ziti and spoon additional sauce over the ziti-if you’d like.

    Baked Ziti:

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    Meatballs:

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  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

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    We were sitting at the car dealership on Saturday waiting for the car to be fixed and the food network was on and showing Paula’s Home Cooking. While many of her dishes sound yummy, I don’t usually cook her food, mainly because they are usually not exactly good for you. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars I couldn’t pass up, and they didn’t disappoint! Very delicious, and I made -s bring them to work to share with his co-workers so we wouldn’t eat them all!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 sleeve of graham crackers)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
    • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Line a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
    2. Put 1 sleeve of graham crackers in food processor and blitz; then add the butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Process until the mixture forms a ball. Press into the foil-lined pan using your hands or a spatula.
    3. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave-safe glass dish in the microwave for 1 minute on high (100%). Stir. If the chocolate has not completely melted, microwave for 10 seconds more, then stir. Spread evenly over the cookie layer with a spatula. Chill for several hours.
    4. When ready to serve, allow the candy to come to room temperature before cutting into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars:

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  • French Bistro Night

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    When our kids are sick usually I do not plan nor do have any desire to prepare a project dinner. Yesterday we had one sick child and it was cold and rainy out, so we were house ridden. I was starting to go a bit crazy being stuck in the house, and since the sick one was content watching a movie and the well one was happily playing, I decided to take on a project meal. This meal was very good, but definitely not one to make during the week–way too time consuming. The dinner was herb marinated grilled chicken paillards, oven roasted potatoes, and beet and endive salad with garlic and herb vinaigrette. I did make some modifications, because I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

    Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Paillards with Pan Sauce

    Ingredients:

    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, 1 tablespoon juice reserved
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (I used green onion)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used about 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • Salt, for seasoning
    • Pepper, for seasoning
    • 1/2 cup white wine (omitted)
    • 1 cup chicken broth (I used 1.5 c. since I omitted the wine)1 tablespoon cold butter

    Directions:

    1. One by one, place the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, or inside of a ziploc bag, and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin or heavy-bottomed pan until about 1/2-inch thick. In a new ziploc bag, combine the zest and all but 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the shallots, garlic, and a little more than 2 tablespoons of each of the chopped fresh herbs. (Reserve the remaining chopped herbs.) Add the pounded chicken breasts to the herb mixture and turn to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper and put in the refrigerator to marinate, at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
    2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Cook the breasts 2 at a time if the pan is too small. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
    3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the white wine (if using) to the pan, scraping to loosen any brown bits, and reduce until almost dry. Add the chicken broth and reduce by half, then off the heat add the reserved herbs and cold butter, swirling to melt the butter and thicken the sauce. By the time my chicken was done the herbs and bits had really scortched, so the sauce didn’t turn out well, so I didn’t use it, but the chicken was fabulous anyway. Pour over the chicken paillards and serve immediately.

    Oven-Roasted Potatoes

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 pound purple Peruvian potatoes, scrubbed clean
    • 1/2 pound red bliss potatoes, scrubbed clean
    • 1/2 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed clean (I used all new potatoes)
    • 8 small garlic cloves
    • 2 large shallots, peeled and quartered
    • Rosemary or thyme sprigs
    • Salt and pepper
    • Olive oil

    Directions:

    1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Cut the Peruvian potatoes in half or in quarters, about the same size as the small new potatoes. Do the same for the red bliss potatoes. Place all potatoes, garlic cloves, shallot quarters and rosemary sprigs on a baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle oil on top. Toss all to combine and coat in oil.
    3. Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the baking sheet occasionally, until the potatoes are nicely browned and fork tender and the garlic cloves and shallots are caramelized.
    4. Remove rosemary sprigs and serve immediately.

    Beet and Endive Salad with Garlic and Herb Vinaigrette

    Roasting the Beets

    Ingredients:

    • 3 to 4 small-sized red beets, greens trimmed
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Salt, for seasoning
    • 4 large or 6 small heads Belgian endive, cored (I didn’t have endive, so I used spinach leaves)
    • Garlic and Herb Vinaigrette, recipe follows

      Directions:

      1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Place the beets on top, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then fold the long and short edges of the aluminum foil up to the middle and roll together, making a packet with the beets inside. Put in the oven and roast until fork-tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be done a day or two ahead of time.)
      2. Allow to cool, then slip the skins from the beets, trim the ends, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.

      Vinaigrette

      Ingredients:

      • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
      • Salt, for seasoning
      • Pepper, for seasoning
      • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
      • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (I used green onion)
      • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used 1 tsp. fresh rosemary)
      • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
      • 1/4 cup olive oil

      Directions:

      1. In a small glass bowl, melt the salt in the vinegar, then add the pepper, shallot, garlic, mustard, and herbs and combine well. Whisk in the olive oil in slow, steady stream until the dressing is thickened. Alternately, place all ingredients in a glass jar, close the lid, and shake vigorously.

      Assemble the Salad:

      1. Quarter the endives lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2-inch thick moons. Combine the beets and endive in a salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

      French Bistro Night:

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  • Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta Pesto

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    One of our children is a veggie eater and the other is not. The whole family loves pesto, so when I came across this pesto recipe I thought we should give it a try. It substitutes spinach for the basil, and we all know that spinach is quite nutritious. The non veggie eater doesn’t know the difference between basil and spinach leaves, so we gave it a whirl and it was a HUGE success.

    In our grocery stores right now basil is quite expensive, and to get enough to make a batch of basil pesto is a bit too spendy for my blood. The spinach is a great substitute in taste, and since it’s significantly cheaper than basil, it’s nice on my wallet.

    We added grape tomatoes to the recipe, and you can easily add chicken or keep it vegetarian. Until next summer’s basil season, I have a feeling this will become our winter pesto.

    This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds
    • 3 medium garlic cloves with skins on, threaded on a skewer (or no more than 2 cloves if you use raw garlic)
    • 2 c. packed fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
    • 7 TBSP olive oil
    • Salt
    • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan Cheese (we use pecorino romano)
    • Grape tomatoes, whole or sliced (our addition)
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice

    Directions:

    1. Toast the nuts in a small pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Lower the skewered garlic into the water and boil for 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold water. Remove from the skewer; peel and mince. Or skip this step and just throw in 1 or 2 raw garlic cloves, peeled of course.
    3. Place the nuts, garlic, spinach, oil, and 1/2 tsp salt in the food processor; process until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, stir in the cheeses, and adjust the salt.
    4. Add 1 TBSP salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 c. of the cooking water; drain the pasta and transfer it back to the cooking pot. Mix in 1/4 c. of the reserved cooking water and the pesto; use the additional 1/4 c. cooking water as needed to moisten the sauce. Add tomatoes.

    Enjoy!

    Pasta with Spinach Ricotta Pesto:

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  • Rustic Tomato Soup

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    Nothing says fall like grilled cheese and tomato soup. EtE asked for soup and sandwiches for dinner (he’s had that at preschool and liked it). So -s decided to make homemade tomato soup. I take no credit for this recipe, except for chopping the garlic and rosemary. The soup turned out excellent and is kid approved! It’s super easy to make, and we’ll definitely make this one again.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 15 oz cans of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
    • 3 TBSP garlic, minced
    • 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1.25 tsp dried)
    • 1.5 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped (or 1.25 tsp dried)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 4 TBSP fresh basil chopped
    • Olive Oil
    • Baguette

    Directions:

    1. Put tomatoes and juices in food processor and process until chunky or desired consistency
    2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes
    3. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme
    4. Add chicken stock; bring to boil
    5. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper
    6. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil. Transfer to large baking sheet. Broil croutons until golden, about 2 minutes per side. When the bread comes out of the oven rub a raw garlic clove over the bread to infuse the bread with a bit of garlic. You can serve the croutons on the side or in the soup. If you put them in the soup, it gives the soup great texture.

    Rustic Tomato Soup:

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  • Chili

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    One thing I love about chili is that anything goes.  I’m no purest when it comes to chili, so I will not enter the debate of tomatoes or no tomatoes, beans or no beans etc.  I threw this chili together tonight, not exactly having a plan, and it turned out really well.  -s even said he’d love to have it again, and it was kid approved…always a plus.  One great thing about this recipe is that it’s not spicy, and yet it has loads of flavor.  Each diner can add his/her own spice with the topping choices.

    Ingredients:

    • Olive oil
    • 1 lb. of ground turkey (you can use beef too or leave the meat out entirely)
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. coriander
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 2 15.5 oz cans of kidney beans
    • 4 15.5 oz cans of chili ready diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes (has chili spices already in the can)

    Directions:

    1. In a large pot heat a bit of olive oil over medium high heat; then brown the meat with the chili powder, cumin, coriander, and paprika
    2. When meat is just about cooked through, add beans and tomatoes
    3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or more
    4. Serve with cornbread or you can actually serve the chili over the pasta to make a quasi Cincinnati Chili.  Top with cheddar cheese, diced onion, green onion, sour cream, tobasco sauce etc.

    Chili:

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  • Cornbread

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    Here’s another family recipe from my Grandmother. Not sure if it is her creation, published somewhere, or from someone else’s kitchen. Regardless, it’s my favorite cornbread of all time! It’s simple to make, and absolutely delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 1.25 c. flour
    • 1 c. corn meal
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/3 c. sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. vegetable oil

    Directions:

    1. Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt together
    2. Add the egg, milk and oil
    3. Mix and put batter in a greased 8×8 baking pan
    4. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

    Cornbread:

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