Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grandma Jean's Oatmeal Rocks!

My Grandma Jean would have turned 96 years old today if she was still with us cooking in the kitchen, working on her crewel stitching, talking with fellow friends, reading her favorite mystery novels, and just being a grandma to us.

In honor of her, my daughters and I decided to bake one of her favorite cookie recipes...Oatmeal Rocks! (no they are not really rock hard, it is just what her family called them). I remember cooking in her kitchen, baking this special family recipe that her great-great grandma would make for her and her 11 brothers and sisters. We use to bake these cookies together and then create a special care package for my uncle who was in the military.

As the years have gone by, we still bake these oatmeal goodies. Today my daughters learned the family recipe. It was such a fun day and we wanted to share it with you.

Happy Birthday Grandma Jean! We love you!

Oatmeal Rocks!
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup lard or butter
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 Tablespoons sweet milk
1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolve in milk)
pinch of salt
Dates, raisins and nuts - as many as you like

Mix all together and drop on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

The girls also enjoyed dunking them in milk..ohlalala yummy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

A new little bundle of joy joined my sister/brother-in-laws family about three weeks ago.  My sister and brother-in-law had a little girl. We have been calling her “Sweet Pea” for many months. Her three big brothers are already protective of her, can you believe it? And my "little mamas" wanted to hold her and never let her go, they just love babies and of course, now they have a little baby girl in the family!

A group of ladies and I each selected a day to bring a meal over to my sister, brother-in-law and nephews, so that they did not have to cook. It was just one less thing that they did not have to do and be pampered for a little while longer! My family and I brought one of our favorite recipes, Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup. I made this recipe for my parents one night and the loved it too!

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

1 large onion, diced
3 T. olive oil
1 pound of smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces (we also have substituted turkey sausage)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
4 carrots cut into small cubes
3 cups of white beans
5 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of chopped kale (our family uses roughly about 1 ½ cups)
Salt and pepper

Chop and sauté your onions and garlic (until they are golden brown) in olive oil in a large stock pot. Add your sausage and cook until it is the desired tenderness that you like. Add carrots and sauté so that they are incorporated into the onion and garlic mixture.

Add the chicken stock, white beans and kale. Simmer for roughly for one-hour. It goes great with hearty bread.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Steak Goulash Stew

Stews are one of our favorite things to make during the fall season, it is actually a staple food in our family and requires very little time to make. I am a huge fan of goulash, this recipe is not a typical goulash that you would make based off of the Eastern European recipes (just as a heads up when reading the recipe).

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lb. sirloin steam, trimmed, sliced into to 2-inch strips (we cut our meat smaller in that our daughters can eat it more easily since they are younger).
2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 T minced garlic
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional if you are not a lover of caraway seeds)
2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. sliced roasted red pepper
1-2 T red wine vinegar
Sour cream

Combine the flour, 1 T paprika, salt and pepper and toss the steak so that it is covered with the flour mixture; set a side.

Add oil to your pan and sear your steak for roughly 1 minute per side. Remove steak and set aside.

Saute your onions, garlic in the same pan. Stir in tomato paste, 1 T paprika, caraway seeds, and remaining flour mixture.

Add your beef broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer stew until thickened, roughly 5 minutes. Add steak, peppers and vinegar; simmer. Add salt and pepper.

Serve stew onto of noodles, rice, etc. Can top with sour cream.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

We love just about anything pumpkin in our home, it seems like the only time that we eat pumpkin is in the fall. I guess it makes sense considering if you planted pumpkin in your garden, it ripens for the fall season. But to be honest, I can not complain, because we just love it. My mouth is just watering for some pumpkin pie right now, my oldest daughter even requested that we make a pumpkin pie this week...that will not be twisting my arm.

I came across this pumpkin pie spice that was all natural and "perfected" it a little to fit our tastes.

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

One of my favorite indian dishes is chicken tikka masala. We have a favorite indian restaurant not too far from our home that we have enjoyed dining at for many years.

One night while we were having dinner, my husband says to me, "You know what? I think you could make this." To be honest, indian was not one cuisine that I thought I could make just that wherever you go, each dish tastes different. But I accepted his challenge of thinking that I could make CTM. Six years later, I am still making our CTM for our family. It is one of our favorites. This dish is very easy to make and that is what I just love about it.

The Marinade
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl or even in a Ziploc bag, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and ginger. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for up to one hours. If you are marinading the chicken for a shorter period of time, you might want to cut the chicken in smaller pieces so that the marinade can soak into the meat.

The marinade also is wonderful if you are wanting to grill out in your backyard. We have had several small get togethers with family and friends where we had the chicken marinade for a couple of days, later grilled out and the chicken was moist and just full of flavor.

The Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
4 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
3 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream (1 pint)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

When cooking your chicken there are a couple of different ways. One way is to use the grill which makes it very tender but another route is, if you have a George Forman grill it works just as well, and can be done inside of your home. We have discovered that grilling just makes this dish have the right amount of flavor.

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens (about 20 minutes). Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

We serve our CTM over rice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing like Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

I love macaroni and cheese. I must admit once again, that I have not purchased a box of macaroni and cheese for many years. If I am going to have it, I want the real thing. My daughters ask for this recipe each time I mention..."would you like for me to make some mac and cheese tonight for dinner?" I know the answer will always be yes and they will not turn it down.

I remember when growing up. Each time that we got together with my family, my Aunt Bobbe always made the best macaroni and cheese for our family lunch/dinner (depending on which day you came over to their home).

We wanted to share with you our family favorite!

1 package (7oz) elbow macaroni
4 T butter
3T flour
2 c. milk
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 tsp. mustard
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Parsley if you would like to sprinkle a little on top of the dish.

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth, this is forming your rue. Gradually add milk. Bring it to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; and add cheese and cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. Constantly stir the cheeses until they are melted and the sauce is smooth. Next drain the macaroni and then pour it into your baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (we typically do it around 20 minutes).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out of this World Taco Seasoning

It has been about 10 years since I purchased store bought taco seasoning, I know it is a little extreme, but you know what, I have modified a taco seasoning recipe that I found when my husband and I were married. It has been a favorite of ours since our two-person kitchen in our condo.

I typically 3X's the recipe below but only double the red pepper flakes. It is super easy to make. I store it in with my spices/herbs in my kitchen in an spice container dedicated to taco seasoning, and just reuse the container each time that I make a new batch.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita
I have one daughter that loves yogurt and a daughter that has a huge dislike for it by itself. The funny thing about this dish is that my daughter who has a strong dislike for yogurt loves the raita. Now one trend that we have noticed is that if it has cucumbers in it, she will eat it. Guess what, it does. I know it is not nice to "slip" this in but my thought is if she will each yogurt this way than I am all for it.

Raita is a traditional Indian side dish or sauce that is cool and delightful, especially with spicy curries. We have had it accompany some of our favorite indian dishes, in addition to serving it with cucumber slices and various types of indian bread.

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Black pepper to taste

1. Mix the cucumbers, onion, and salt in a bowl. Let stand for 1/2 hour.

2. Drain off liquid, rinse well with cold water, and drain; then soak in cold water to remove as much salt as desired. Drain well.

3. Add the yogurt, cumin, and pepper and mix well.

4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chocolate | Peanut Butter Brownies

Our family is a huge fan of chocolate and peanut butter mixed together. I especially was craving something really chocolaty and peanut butter like this weekend. So my oldest daughter said, "lets make brownies!". I said to myself...ahh that sounds like a great idea. So we came up with this recipe. It was really easy to make and very quick to assemble. 

One thing that I would recommend is that it is hard to mix this recipe by hand, I would use a handheld mixer to help mix due to peanut butter being so sticky and thick.

If you are wanting more chocolate in the recipe, I might recommend adding chocolate chips or double the cocoa.

Chocolate | Peanut Butter Brownies

1 cup of brown sugar (or your preferred sweetener of choice)
2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
½ cup of peanut butter
2 eggs
4 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2/3 cup of cocoa
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and butter. Add the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; then beat until light and fluffy.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the other mixture and mix well.

Spread the batter evenly into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mamma's Meatloaf

I love meatloaf! One of our family favorites is "Mamma's Meatloaf". My daughters just devour it. Mamma's meatloaf has been a favorite for when we have made a meal for family friends if they just had a baby, surgury, etc. My MOPS group has loved this recipe when we have delivered meals. It is a really simple recipe and good for when you are wanting to make alot, freezing it and then pulling it out for a later meal.

Mamma's Meatloaf
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (may substitute your own sweetner)
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard

In a bowl, mix egg and milk together. Stir in the cheese, oats, chopped onion, and salt. Add the beef and mix well. I personally mix all of it together with my hands so that it gets well distributed. When well mixed, shape into individual meatloaves, place in a glass baking dish.

In a separate bowl, mix ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Make sure that the brown sugar is not too lumpy in the ketchup and mustard. Spoon the mixture over the meatloaves. The brown sugar will melt and carmelize.

Bake uncovered at 350F for 45-55 minutes. We like our meatloaves a little more well done so that the ketchup mixture caramelizes a little longer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Broccoli + Cauliflower Salad

Many times last year, after my husband played hockey, the teams and their families would tailgate in the parking lot of the ice skating rink. We would grill chicken, hamburger, and hot dogs. Many times the wives would bring different salads, so that we could try new recipes.

One of our favorite salads that we made was a broccoli + cauliflower salad. I must admit, broccoli and cauliflower are not one of my most favorite vegetables to eat, but my husband and daughters just love it. I learned during the course of the hockey pitch-ins that a lot of the families enjoyed it as well. So I made it a staple of the hockey grill outs.

One thing that you might want to note is that this is not a "sweet" salad. My husband tends to like dishes (or salad dressings) that might be a little sour to ones taste.

1 large head broccoli - cut up in nice size pieces
1 large head of cauliflower - cut up in nice size pieces
1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced and chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 T cider vinegar
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (we place this on top of the salad right before we are getting ready to serve the salad)

Clean, trim and chop broccoli and cauliflower into a large bowl. Add the red onion and sunflower seeds.

Mix together mayonnaise, and cider vinegar; stirring until smooth. Pour dressing over salad. Cover and refrigerate.

Top with bacon bits before serving.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Key Lime Cheesecake

Whenever we travel to Florida for vacation, one of the most delicious dessert for us to split is keylime pie. Oh the thought of it right now just makes my mouth water and my pucker, but oh is it is so good.

Recently we had a family get together. We each brought something to our celebration and I chose to bring the desert. After asking everyone in our family if they were craving anything special, one comment popped up...cheesecake.

Cheesecake is not something that I will say no to. I love to make it and you don't have to twist my arm. To add a little twist to it we decided to make Keylime Cheesecake.

Keylime Cheesecake
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese, softened (2 ½ package – 8oz)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
3/4 cup key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make your favorite graham cracker crust in a springform pan.

In a large mixer bowl, add cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sour cream, flour, keylime juice and vanilla. Mix the batter until it is smooth and no lumps.

Pour the filling over the crust. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and bake for 50 - 55 minutes longer, or until center is barely set.

Let the cheesecake cool on a rack, then chill, overnight. Remove the cheesecake from the pan and transfer it to a cake stand. You can add a thin slice of lime and whip cream to the top of each cheesecake slice, or even sliced mango.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Sisters Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister has been having "smell" issues since she found out she was pregnant. One fond memory that I have when I was pregnant with my daughters was that she and my mom, would every so often, make us a warm, tasty meal. No reason why than a "just a because" and "we love you" reason. It was dreamy!

So this week my mom and I are made a special meal for my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. I was incharge of the bread and the dessert. For dessert, I named our chocolate chip cookies "Little Sisters Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies". My daughters devoured these cookies, they when we tried them for the first time a few months ago.
Enjoy and happy baking!
Little Sisters Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar (you can substitute your sweeter that you prefer)
1 cup light brown sugar (you can substitute your sweeter that you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups sifted whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Generously grease cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, the sugars until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and eggs. Combine the two differen flours together, baking soda and salt, gradually blend into the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts if desired. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If you are interested in making these into bar cookies, press the dough into a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Easy Beef Stroganoff

For some reason, I have not been one to cook a good chuck roast unless it has been in a crock pot. I have tried it in the oven several different ways (roasting it with garlic, pepper spread, etc.) and it has just turned out "gummy". So needless to say when I saw the last slice of meat in our freezer titled, chuck roast, I knew that I needed to think of something that really needed to be good. So I thought...ahh beef stroganoff! 

Well low and behold, the beef stroganoff turned out to be a success in our family. My daughters ate every last piece on their plate, so I as glad to say this meal was a success.

* note this is not the most attractive looking dish but it was so good!

Beef Stroganoff
2 pounds beef chuck roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces butter
4 green onions, sliced (white parts only)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (10.5 ounces) beef broth
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 (6 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup white wine
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
First remove some of the fat off of your chuck roast, you still want some fat on the meat, just for taste and flavor, but not where if you take a bite and you bite down on fat. We like to sear the meat on both sides so that it locks in the natural flavors of the meat. Both my husband and I believe this is what makes beef (and even some pork) remain nice and moist when it is cooked. After seering the meat, place it in the crock pot with a cup of beef broth.

The beauty of having a crock pot is that the thought is for you to add everything within the pot too cook. Cut your onions and place in the crock pot along with the meat. Let it sit all day so that meat and onions are nice and tender.

Right before you are about to serve your meal, mix in the remainder of the ingredients and stir. Allow it to warm up a little bit so that the flavor can simmer for a little. While your ingredients are heating up, cook your egg noodles and then serve.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Apple/Pear/Almond Pancakes

Many times when my husband works late, the girls and I love having breakfast for dinner. There is just something so fun that they love when having a family favorite of cheese eggs, pancakes, quiche or even crepes for dinner. I remember too when I was little the idea of breakfast for dinner was a treat. Now why I thought this and my girls too, is a mystery but we have so much fun with it.

This past week, we created a new recipe and absolutely loved it! One of our family favorites has been apple and cinnamon pancakes. I did not have enough apples so I thought, well pears might compliment the apples. So we tried it and now we like it even better.


Apple/Pear/Almond Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Handful of sliced almonds

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and egg to the flour mixture and stir. Add the apples, pears, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir together.

On the stovetop melt butter in a skillet, pour the pancake mixture into the skillet to the size of the pancakes that you desire. We have had fun making silver dollar pancakes in the past. It really depends on what you like. Cook until brown on one side, flip and cook on the other side until done.

* another good combination that we have enjoyed when just making our apple/cinnamon pancakes is adding 1/4 cup of oatmeal. When you do this, you may need to add a little bit more milk, due to the batter being a little thicker.

Friday, February 19, 2010

All Time Family Favorite - Red Beans and Rice

My daughters ballet practice is right before dinner once a week. I always have a hard time that day thinking, hmmm what should I make for when we get home? One recipe that is always my standby is Red Beans and Rice. My two daughters and my husband just love it. It is so easy to make and I always make sure that I have the ingredients on hand.

Red Beans and Rice
1 (16 oz) can kidney (red) beans, drain the can and then rinse the beans
1 package of turkey sausage. You can also use polish sausage or other types of sausage. Slice the sausage in nice size bites.
1 onion chopped
2 T butter
2 carrotts - slice them into nice size bites.
2 stalks of celery - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of basil
To taste - red pepper flakes and salt
3 cups of quick brown rice

Saute the sausage in 1 inch pieces (I sometimes cut the sausage slices in half as well, so that my two year old daughter can eat it a little easier). After the sausage has been cooked, add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, basil, red pepper flakes and salt. Saute a little longer until the onions are translucent and your vegetables are also the desired tenderness your family enjoys.

In the meantime while you are sauteing the above, cook your quick brown rice. When your brown rice is done, toss in your sauted items above, red beans and toss together. You are ready to serve.

* Sometimes, I will add more carrots and celery just to add a little more variety. I have also added black beans with the red beans and rice recipe. It is a nice change. If you add them, be sure to rinse and drain the black beans so that you do not have the additional liquid to the rice. I also add the black beans at the end.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake

One of my favorite desserts to make is making New York style cheesecake. I love to bake them...I don't know the reason, but I can remember back in high school and college I loved to bake them for family and friends.

My husband always "joked" with me on our way to Chicago to visit friends and to go shopping, that we were going to buy this factory that was for sale and turn it into a homemade cheesecake "factory". Not really a factory but more of a location. I was just amazed at some of the preservatives that cheesecake manufacturers place into their desserts. Well as you can see we did not open that cheesecake factory, but the love of making cheesecakes continued.

This past holiday season, I made chocolate cheesecake. Oh it was so good! It just melted in our mouths...I can taste it now.

Chocolate Cheesecake
1 crumb-nut cheesecake crust or graham cracker crust
3 packages of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup turbinado (if you prefer you can replace with equal amounts of white sugar). I think the turbinado makes it less sweet
1 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate chunks (can be chocolate chips, broken chocolate pieces, etc.)

Preheat oven to 450° degrees. In a large mixer bowl place the softened sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Blend/beat on medium speed until smooth. Next add flour, blend 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well. Add eggs and beat well. Now add the cocoa powder and turbinado, oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and mix until well blended.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into your springform pan that has the graham cracker crust already formed within. Make sure the bottom of the pan and sides are latched on securely. Once the cheesecake mixture is in the pan, place the chocolate chunks throughout the cheesecake. Gently push the pieces within the cream cheese.

Bake at 450° degrees for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower temperature to 250° degrees and continue cooking for 30 minutes more. Without opening the oven door, turn off heat and let cheesecake sit in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and loosen sides with knife. Let cool and chill.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sausage Broccoli Bake

We love to try new recipes and this recipe we made over the holidays. It is one on the top of our list now. If you are not a lover of meat in your breakfast casserole dishes, you could remove the sausage and add another vegetable or another meat substitute.

Sausage Broccoli Bake

3/4 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
3 green onions, chopped (or use a small yellow onion)
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese or cottage cheese depending upon your preference
1/4 cup milk
seasoning salt (or use white salt)
black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 firm plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish or a medium-size oval casserole dish. In a skillet cook the sausage meat with onions over medium-high heat, stirring until the sausage is browned; drain fat and transfer to a large bowl. Add in cooked broccoli and 3/4 cup shredded cheese; toss to combine, transfer and spread into bottom of prepared baking dish. In another bowl combine the eggs with 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, cayenne, ricotta cheese and milk, then season with salt and pepper; pour over the broccoli/sausage mixture. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (or you can use cheddar in place of the Parmesan) then arrange the tomato slices over the top. Bake covered for about 30 minutes; remove from oven and uncover. Bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yummy Blueberry Ice Cream

One of the traditions in our family has been that you pick whatever you would like to eat for your birthday dinner. My nephew had a birthday and he selected some unique food combinations but all of it was yummy. Each family member brought a dish that he had requested, the dish that I brought was blueberry ice cream.

So I looked at various recipes and then created this recipe of my own. I must admit I was a little skeptical of blueberry ice cream, but you know what? I was pleasantly surprised.

2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Place the blueberries, sugar and salt in a sauce pan and turn to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, mashing berries and stirring with a fork. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes and then cool slightly.

In a blender, puree 3/4 of the mixture with milk just until smooth and stir in cream. Chill this mixture until cold in the fridge overnight. Place the remaining 1/4 mixture in the refrigerator as well.

The next day, pull out the "chucky 1/4 part of the blueberry mixture" that was in the refrigerator and place on your counter-top. Then pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and follow your ice cream maker directions.

Half-way through the ice cream making process spoon in the 1/4 of the "chunky" blueberry mixture that was placed in the refrigerator into the ice cream maker (very slowly). You need to be careful that the blueberry "chunky" mixture does not harden to quickly and stop the turning of your ice cream maker.