Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cheddar Sausage Strata

oh my.

Why hasn't strata entered my world (and mouth) sooner?

I cannot tell you. However, I can tell you that it will never leave again.

A FABULOUS way to use up bread. And eggs.

A FABULOUS way to entertain guests...that leaves you FREE from the kitchen.

A FABULOUS way for a two week postpartum Mama to actually get food on the table, since dinnertime is inevitably the time littlest babe wants to nurse. And edible food, no less.

And Strata ought to be synonymous with Simple. I'll take that up with Roget next opportunity I get.

Here is the recipe, plain and simple.

You'll need:

1 pound sausage
1/2 pound bacon

which you can brown. Right now.

While that is cooking, grab your bread and start cubing. I used unsliced bread-so I can't verify the amount of bread. If you were using sliced, I would say....it would be about 10 slices. cubed.

Of course, the cheese is one of the best parts~so don't be stingy. I used 1 1/2 cups. And SHARP cheese is a must. All others might just make this second rate.

Add the bread and cheese to a large mixing bowl, and when the sausage and bacon is fully cooked, you can add the meat mixture to the bowl too. Make sure the bacon gets crumbled, so everyone gets a taste!

Next pour three cups milk over everything. There is nothing worse than milk-soggy bread so this part sort of grossed me out. Momentarily.

Then, wisk 8 eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard together and pour THAT slimy concoction over the soggy mixing bowl. Stir together.

Then admire~ it doesn't look that gross after all.

Cover and stick in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight. Forget about it. Do something for YOU. Enjoy yourself-because you don't have to give another thought to dinner (or breakfast) (or brunch) for another 8 hours or more.

Give nice big sigh of relief.

Go nurse wailing, half-starved child. (oh wait. That's me.)

Take Strata from fridge 30 minutes before putting in oven. Preheat oven to 350 and then bake for 60-65 minutes.

Just wait until you open that oven door when it is all done. It is beautifully fluffy and golden, and just...a work of art. It tastes as good as it looks, too. Trust me. Better yet: don't. Go see for yourself.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quick Turtle Cheesecake

This "turtle cheesecake" relates more to the Hare than the tortoise, because while I love cheesecakes-I hate the waiting involved. I am just too spontaneous (read: procrastinating) to fix recipes the night before. This recipe works well for me, because it requires only adequate "cooling" time and no "chill overnight or else" threats are to be found anywhere.

The "Turtle" part of this cheesecake, as opposed to my nephews thinking, has little to do with the real lumbering shelled animal and more to do with those luscious pieces of chocolatey caramel covered pecans. Oh yes. THOSE turtles are what we are referring to today...and this cheesecake does not disappoint in the way of marrying all flavors. Just look at that layer of caramel by the crust!

What? You can't see it!? Well, by all means: take a closer look....

Yeah. A picture IS worth a thousand words.
Without further ado, the recipe that makes people fall in LOVE with love handles.

Turtle Cheesecake

You'll need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
14 ounces individually wrapped caramels
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

1. Melt the butter and combine with the vanilla wafer crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Place the evaporated milk in a 1-1/2 quart heavy saucepan, and melt the caramels in it over low heat. Remember- 14 OUNCES worth of caramel, not 14 caramels. (don't ask me why I find it necessary to specify this...) Heat and stir frequently until smooth. Pour mixture onto crust, and top with pecans.

3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla; beat well until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after adding each egg.

4. Melt the chocolate, and combine with the cream cheese mixture. Pour over the carmel pecan mixture in springform pan.

5. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Loosen cake from the edges of pan, but do not remove rim until cooled. Chill completely.

You can thank me later...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Butter (the easy way...)

I hate winter. I hate that I can't feel my toes for three months out of the year, and that the tips of my fingers are always blue. I hate that burrow myself in my homemade cave, and STILL can't find any warmth. And I hate that feeling I get, in Fall, when I bask in the sheer beauty of the season, only to remember that Fall is shortlived and winter is coming.

But, if I happen to be making pumpkin butter while in one of these particularly grumbly moods, my smell and tastebuds are powerful creatures, and can actually turn my mood around! (Matt is VERY thankful for my little mood switchers...) THEN, Fall is luscious and spicey and warm...and winter doesn't seem all that bad, IF I have a supply of pumpkin butter on hand.

I have never made pumpkin butter from a real pumpkin and here is why: I have never grown pumpkins (yet.) When you don't grow your OWN pumpkin, paying $4.00 for a pumpkin (plus doing all the prep work) doesn't seem worth it when I spy a can of pumpkin puree for $1.20 at the grocery store.

Next year, I hope to plant many Many MANY a pumpkin (because I am sick to death of the ridiculous prices that they are sold for and frankly, I LIKE having pumpkins around IF I didn't have to scoop into our retirement funds to do it!) When I do grow my own pumpkins, then it would be worthwhile to do it from scratch. But for now, I can get my pumpkin butter fix the easy way. And so can you!

Just four little ingredients are all you need:

29 oz. can of pumpkin puree
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg. sure jell

Mix first three ingredients together in a saucepan, stirring on medium high heat until really hot. Then, add sure jell and boil hard for 1 minute.

Ta DA!

Pumpkin products are not recommended for hot water bath canning, though I have known people to do it and get away with it just fine. But it SURELY wasn't me. Nope. Not I said the fly. Hear me now, as I shout from the rooftop:

I hereby state, that I do not endorse this sort of canning criminal act, and certainly don't recommend it! Nor do I accept any responsibility for the sickness thereby produced by inappropriate canning methods.

Pumpkin butter (and other pumpkin products) CAN be frozen so-there is a way for all to be right with the world this winter.

IF it can make it to the freezer.

Edited 3/19/13:  I have, since posting this recipe, had many successful years of growing pumpkins and have used my homegrown pumpkins instead of canned pumpkin very successfully.  Simply boil/roast fresh pumpkins and then puree insides.  I then measured 29 ounces of puree with my kitchen scale.  Either way- a winning recipe.  :-)
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caramel Popcorn Balls

Nothing says "old fashioned treat" as much as popcorn balls. And nothing says Fall as much as popcorn balls. And nothing says "easy, fun entertainment" as much as popcorn balls.

It was only fitting then, that I make them for an Octoberfest party. So I made them, about a hundred to be exact! (Have no fear, I doubled the recipe-you'll NOT end up with 100 popcorn balls. Unless you are a nitwit like me, and double it. Then, I am afraid, you'll be drowning in flying popping kernels.

These really are easy peasy and oh-so-good.

Try them. You'll like 'em.

You'll need:

1 1/4 cup unpopped popcorn

1/4 c. butter

1 c. packed brown sugar (I used the dark kind)

1/2 c. light corn syrup

2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk

1/2 t. vanilla extract

Now, to get started.

Pop your corn in an airpopper , on the stove with a bit of oil, or in the microwave (probably three bags I'd guess?). My handy dandy air popper was mode of choice. I love that thing. If you, like me, have/use/love airpoppers, please remember not to put ALL the corn in at once. Most poppers can only pop 1/2 c. at a time. There. Consider yourself forewarned!)

Once it is all popped, place all those light and luscious puffs in a large brown paper grocery bag (told you it was old-fashioned!) and get to work on the caramel. HOW, you ask?

Here's how:

In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Stir well. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Stir in milk (the sweetened kind. Don't forget!) and simmer, stirring constantly....until thermometer reaches 238 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour this wonderful ooey, gooey goodness overtop of your now-popped popcorn. YES. Do it right in the bag! It won't stick, promise. Just, you know, hit the POPCORN and not the sides of the bag, would ya? Then, close up the top and give it a good shake up. OR, mix it with a spatula. How you mix it reflects much of your personality. So, think on that.

Here comes a trick, so pay attention. Right about now that popcorn is just begging to be formed into balls. Because, let's face it. Caramel popcorn just isn't as old-fashioned as caramel popcorn BALLS.

One COULD butter their hands and get down to business. Or, the brave (and dumb) could jump right in without the butter and really regret their mistake in about....one nanosecond. But I have a little TRICK for you. See? I share the tricks AND the treats, because I am really giving like that. The trick for this treat is this (say that five times fast!): Put your hands in plastic sandwich baggies and scoop up some butter/crisco to lather them up. No sticking at all. No MESS at all. AND-it even helps to protect your hands from any still-scalding kernels that might be lurking about.

Kids enjoy this last step of the recipe too, so don't leave them out. In fact, why don't you just let them do ALL of the dirty work? Er, since you ARE using the plastic baggie tip I just shared with you, how 'bout you let them do just the WORK? ;-)

PS. Yes. The top photo shows dirty fingernails. I live in the COUNTRY, fer goodness' sake! Give me a break! Especially when I am making 100 popcorn balls, two apple crisps, two chocolate chip pumpkin breads, AND pumpkin butter.

Sheesh. Never catch a break, do I?!?
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bread


It's been 67 days: 10+ weeks: almost two months since I have had a stove or oven capabilities. The same story minus a few days for refrigeration. For those 67 days, 10+ weeks and nearly two months I have been thankful for the gallon of milk in the cooler-even though it didn't quite taste like fresh COLD milk, and for the grill-even though I got sick of 'grill food' about two days after I fired it up.

You see- we moved. Into a construction zone. Into a home with a shell for a kitchen, power cords for decorations and wood dust as a flour substance. Yes. It was bad (and good) and awful and amazing all at the same time. At times I laughed it up-other times I curled into the fetal position and sucked my thumb for hours.

So-if you wonder why this virtual kitchen 'o mine has been on a seemingly endless hiatus- there you have it. There were several times I made killer meals throughout those days, weeks, and months without a real kitchen-or countertops. Or even running water, for a while. But the truth is, the numbness of it all forced me to repress those times in order to maintain some form of sanity.

If I claw my way through all those deeply repressed memories of those horribly frustrating, fetal position days I may recall making a few winning things but I honestly can not think of a single thing presently. All I recall is...chicken nuggets. Hamburgers and Hotdogs. Kielbasa. Barf. Gag. Reel in horror. Even my coveted and much loved chicken spiedies eventually became something old and tiresome.

So-please don't blame me for not being a miracle worker and having five course meals from the microwave plastered on this blog. Trust me- it just ain't me. I never want to look another processed food in the face again as long as I live. Never ever, ever never.

That said:

I am pleased to report now, that I am on day number 5 of HAVING a stove/oven and it has been five days since I have even glanced toward the grill. Wait. Do we even still HAVE the grill? I might have burned it, along with all the empty boxes that pile up outside my door daily...

Needless to say: I hope to be a little bit more faithful in recipe posting from henceforth. I'll tell you one thing, right about now- cooking and baking and working in the kitchen is about the biggest luxury I can afford. And a little secret? I pretend I am on a cooking show as I prepare the meals now. BUt shhhhh- don't tell anyone that. My reputation would be shot. And DON'T look on youtube for my home video cooking show episodes. Please. Don't.


About at day 60 of my plight, after having one of those reverting to childhood tantrums, I opened a box (the last) labeled "kitchen" and found: my BREAD MACHINE. Then, I proceeded to fall to my knees in thanksgiving and cry amidst laughter.

Then, I got up and found my flour (the real stuff, not the wood stuff).

THEN, I suddenly felt at peace and all seemed right with the world.

Then my body began salivating in uncontrollable amounts and I was forced to add more flour to the recipe in order to compensate for the saliva spillage. (joking on that last part...maybe.)

One of my fresh from the bread-machine breads I made was this: Cappuchino Chocolate Chip bread. It sounds like a breakfasty-danishy type bread but I assure you- it is a normal bread consistency with just a touch of coffee taste and a bit of bitter sweetness. Makes a killer piece of breakfast toast, I assure you, but as with all bread machine recipes- fresh and warm from the pan is the best way to eat 'er up.

May the recipes begin!

Chocolate Chip Cappuccino Bread

3/4 c. warm milk
1 egg, beaten
3 T. cappuccino mix granules- I used vanilla toffee. Yum You can also use instant coffee.
2 T sugar
2 T water
1 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
3/4 t. salt
3 cups bread flour
2 t. active dry yeast
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Add all but chocolate chip ingredients into your bread machine pan in order suggested by manufacturer. Set machine on Basic or White bread setting.

Before final kneading, add chocolate chips.

After 3 hours of doing nothing but catching whiffs of baking bread and hearing the whirrrr of the machine going full throttle- presto chango! You've got a unique loaf ready to be slathered with honey butter. Or pumpkin butter. Or apple butter. Or pear butter...
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Belgian Molasses Bread

I know, I know- another bread machine recipe. But hey-that's what I was stuck with-so that is what YOU are stuck with. That is, until I can stop diving into my homemade meals with such vengeance that I actually take a moment to snap a photo before it is eaten to it's last crumb. After all, it would be a sin to post a recipe without a photo...

Belgian Molasses Bread
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* 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons molasses
* 3/4 cup warm milk
* 4 1/2 tablespoons warm water
* 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Place ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Basic or White Bread and 1 1/2 pound loaf settings.

I love the beautiful coloring of this bread. Honey brown-ish. And it goes superbly with Crockpot Pea Soup.

Hearty Split Pea Soup

You know what I love about homemade soups? They are great for using up leftovers. It is a rare occasion when I make a soup from scratch for the intent of making a soup, from scratch. Rather, my goal is usually to clean the fridge of it's bits of this or that. For that reason, it is hard for me to post recipes for soups- because soups are rarely alike in the Newman household and those phenomenal soups created once will likely never be created again.

But not THIS soup. THIS soup is made because the taste of it pervades me dreams and ONLY for that reason. It is not a "use this up, toss this in" sort of soup-but one that you make solely to smell it cooking away in its' crockpot for hours at a time- or to feel it's hearty thickness warm your innards on a cool day. This is, plain and simple, my own kind of comfort food.

You know what else I love about this particular soup?

1) It's cheap. Like feeds a family of 6 for under $4.00 kind of cheap!


2) It's a cupboard stocker. Being made with dry split peas means that you can have the ingredients in your cupboard and they can stay there for a LONG time, just WAITING to bail you out on that week when grocery money is non-existent or...catastrophic world events take place...or the internet crashes and the whole world goes insane...or the snowstorm of 2009 leaves you holed in your bear cave until 2011. That sort of thing.

Hearty Split Pea Soup

* made in the crockpot *

You'll need:

* 16 ounces dried split peas
* 2 cups sliced sausage/kielbasa
* 1 1/2 diced carrots
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 5 cups chicken stock (made simply with boiling water and chicken bouillion)
* 1 cup hot milk

In your crockpot, layer the first nine ingredients in order listed (do not stir). Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Before serving, pour in hot milk, stir. Sniff. Smell. Salivate. Then go fishing for bay leaves~ discard when found. (The bay leaves, not the soup!) THEN- discard the soup. RIGHT down your throat.

Lots of pea soups are made with ham and I *like* it that way, but I tend to go the whole sausage/kielbasa route for one simple reason. That is how Mom made it. That is how I grew up with it-and so, call me partial, but that is it for me. If your mommy dearest made it with ham, by all means- make it with ham. Or, if you have an extra hambone lying around- go ahead, TAINT it with leftovers! (ha! JUST KIDDING!)

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade

You know, it really isn't THAT much harder to make beverages FROM SCRATCH versus mixing a few glubs of powder into water. Really. It isn't.

And REALLY! It tastes SO much more refreshing. And it costs less. And it is healthier to use 'real stuff'. AND, it is way more elegant to say "Ah yes, Dah-ling. But of course this is made from scratch!" than to say, " Yup. I just threw a few bits of powder har and added water ober dar. You got a problem wid it? hehe. Totally joking, of course, on the last bit.

But. If ever you DO want to try something a bit more exotic, than I am sure you will find the results worthwhile.

First, put about 1 or 2 cups water in a saucepan and turn that baby up full throttle until the water boils. When that happens, add two cup of sugar and remove from heat: stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Put into a gallon pitcher and add 2 cups lemon juice. If you were to add the rest of the water now, you'd get yourself some right tasty, Plain 'Ole Lemonade. But. We want strawberries to perk it up a bit.

Next: Take a bag of frozen strawberries, and defrost half of them, then blend them to a PULP with your blender.

Add the pureed strawberries to the pitcher and mix, then fill the Gallon jug up with cold water and maybe a few icecubes (if you want.)

Then-take another pitcher or jug and pour your Strawberry Lemonade slowly through a fine mesh strainer into the serving pitcher or jug. This will strain out the seeds and large bits of pulp to give you a nice, smooth, refreshing drink.

Mmm Mmm Good.
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Jalapeno Jelly

*** Listen Here People: Do NOT discount this recipe if you don't like spicy things. Don't do it. Just DON'T DO IT! I have a FRAGILE tongue and I baby my tastebuds and even I love this. Please, make it. Try it. It will NOT disappoint you!***

This jelly sounds so spicy! In truth, I made it for my husband and never even opted to tastetest it myself. Then, I had some company who I knew loved SPICY things, so I brought out a jar, never intending to actually try it. But they gushed and gushed-eventually, I couldn't help myself. It is a teeny bit sweet and if eaten on it's own has a teeny bite at the end. BUT-if you put it on a cracker slathered with some cream cheese, there isn't any BITE at all-just sweet with incredible flavor!

Not to mention, it is handy to have on your shelf for unexpected company and it pretty enough to give away as gifts!

Here is the recipe, taken from the Ball Blue Book

3/4 pound jalapeno peppers
2 cups cider vinegar, divided
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
Green food coloring, optional

Wash peppers, drain. Remove stems and seeds. Puree peppers and 1 cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Combine puree, 1 cup vinegar and sugar in large saucepot. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, again, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a hot water bath canner.

Note: Wear rubber gloves when cutting or seeding hot peppers-and never ABSOLUTELY never rub eyes-if if they might turn all watery. ;-()

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Chive spread

Have you ever had those packaged crackers that are filled with 'Cream Cheese and Chives"? I decided it was high time I figured out how to make those myself so I created this dip using the plentiful chives out of my front door. When I served it, along with crackers, at a recent shower, it was gone in a flash. You might want to double the recipe.

You'll need:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. minced onion
about one T. snipped fresh chives.

Mix first three ingredients with an electric mixer. When smooth, snip chives and stir. Garnish with a purple Chive flowerhead. Serve with crackers.

(Yield: about 1/2 cup)
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Maple Cream

Delicious creme to accompany fruit!

1 oz. cream cheese
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 T. confectioners sugar
1 t. Maple extract (or maple syrup)

Beat cream cheese until smooth in consistency and then add heavy whipping cream. Beat this until thickened a bit. Add 1 T. confectioners sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Then add 1 t. Maple flavoring.

For an extra special presentation, cut strawberries into quarters being careful not to cut the whole way through and fill with creme.

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Pita Pocket Chicken Salad

My trip to Indiana was very productive-even resulting in a few new (and already well-used) recipes. These next three recipes are thanks to Mrs. Bibby with an adaptation here and there.

2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 ½ cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup sliced almonds
¾ cup mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup Kraft poppy seed salad dressing
6 pita breads (6 inches), halved
Leaf lettuce, optional

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, grapes, cucumber, almonds and mozzarella cheese. Add dressing and toss to coat (You may want more or less, depending upon your preferences..)

Line pita breads with lettuce if desired; fill with chicken salad. Yield: 6 servings

Mexican Lasagna

I first tasted this while visiting friends and it was so delicious I have made it several times since. So really-I stole her recipe but adapted it slightly to suit our family. The only real difference is that my host made it with noodles and I opt for tortillas. Seems to me tortillas finish off the 'Mexican' theme...AND they require NO prep and no addition cooking time! Can't beat that! But it really is delicious-no matter what you choose!

You'll need:

1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or ¼ t. granulated garlic)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 cans (10 ounces) enchilada sauce (I used 2 red and 1 green)
2 eggs
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
6 soft flour tortillas (or you could opt for noodles)
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a large skillet, cook onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in chicken and enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese and cilantro. Spread ¾ cup chicken mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Layer with two slightly overlapping tortillas, 2/3 cup ricotta mixture, ¾ cup chicken mixture and 1 cup shredded cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining tortillas, sauce and shredded cheese.

Cover and bake 375o for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ruby Relaxer

This is a tasty drink-and man, does it go down smooth!

If you like it strong, go with the 3 T. each, if you like to pare it down a bit- just use 2T. of each. I think it is delicious either way.

3 T. Malibu coconut rum
3 T. Vodka
3 T. Peachtree Schnaps
5 T. Cranberry Juice
6 oz. Pineapple Juice

Mix and fill remainder of glass with ice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cashew Brittle

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 c. butter
2 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Butter a cookie sheet and set aside. Mix water, sugar, butter and syrup in a 2 quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

Cook over medium low , stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches soft crack stage (275°F)~about 30 minutes) Stir in nuts and continue cooking until thermometer reaches 295, hard crack stage (about 15 minutes more). Stire occasionally to keep nuts from burning. Remove from heat.

Quickly stir in baking soda and butter. Will harden rapidly.

Pour quickly onto a buttered cookie sheet and let stand for about an hour to cool. Break up into pieces.

*adapted from the Better Homes and Gardening cookbook

Veal Parmesan

This was the first time I had ever made veal (come to think of it, the first time I had ever EATEN it too!) , and I was nervous about it. ESPECIALLY when I went to the meat market and saw the accompanying price tag. But, it was Matt's requested birthday feast and I wasn't going to disappoint~ and I didn't. If you are one of those people that don't mind eating baby animals then you'll love this. I can't tell you how full of compliments this meal was.

6 Italian style veal cutlets, about 1 1/2 lbs.
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. french fried onions, crushed
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Buy fresh veal from the meat market. Swallow your tongue and hand over the bills and baby that meat until it is gone!

Beat egg with salt and pepper.

Crush french fried onions until they are very fine crumbs, then mix with breadcrumbs and with the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Put crumbs in a shallow pan or plate.

Dip cutlets into egg, then put veal cutlets on crumbs, turn and press crumbs firmly onto meat.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown breaded cutlets on both sides. Put cutlets into a greased shallow baking pan. Top each with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce and shredded mozzerella. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

Serve on a bed of pasta and be sure to make more sauce available to those who would like it. And serve wine, because you are feasting like kings!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna

When I first found this recipe, I was looking for a dish to prepare for some friends of ours that were vegetarians. I got all the ingredients because it sounded so good to me. Matt saw the artichokes on the counter and said, "WHAT are THESE!?!?" The conversation that followed went something like this...

Matt: "WHAT are these?!?!"

Sugarbear: "They are marinated artichokes. When Nate and Julie come, I am making spinach and artichoke lasagna."

Matt: "Well, I am not going to eat it!"

Sugarbear: "WHY not?!?!"

Matt: "Because I don't EAT artichokes. I don't like them."

Sugarbear: "Have you ever HAD them before?"

Matt: "no..."

Well. I made it anyway. And know what? After the first bite-he proclaimed this to be his FAVORITE lasagna...even beating out (brace yourselves...) MEAT lasagna! So-even if you can't bear the thought of eating artichokes, this recipe might just surprise you. It did Matt!

Here it is, courtesy of allrecipes.com

  • cooking spray
  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (4 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp. Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.
  4. Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
  5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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Sausage Quiche

My husband does not like Quiche. I, on the other hand, not only LIKE it-but it holds a special little crevice in the food section of my enlarged, clogged heart.

Only on rare occasions do I make it, usually when I can blame it on hospitality-not my own cravings. This is how this particular quiche came about.

You will need:

1 pie crust
1 lb. sausage (I used sage sausage)
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 c. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 of an onion, chopped
9-11 eggs

Brown the sausage. Chop the veggies. Break the eggs and add to a large bowl. Beat the eggs a bit. Add all the ingredients (except of course, the pie crust.) to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Start with 9 eggs and see how 'wet' the bowl looks with all the other ingredients added. If it is too dry and there isn't an eggy glaze over everything-add two more eggs.

Place the pie crust in a piepan and poke some holes in the bottom with a fork. Add the 'filling'.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the quiche is 'set' (the middle does not jiggle when bumped) and the the top is nicely colored.


Quiche is wonderfully versatile-you can add whatever you like and omit everything you don't. It doesn't have to have meat. It doesn't have to have vegetables. It may or may NOT have crust, it make or may NOT be round. For example: This weekend we had four houseguests. Two were carnivores and two were herbivore. To accomodate both sets of homo sapiens, I decided to make two quiches's's's (whatever that word might be...)

So-I used the exact same ingredients except substituted 1/2 cup spinach (leftover from the lasagna) for the sausage.

But then~I realized I didn't have another pie crust made. So-I cut off the crusts of normal sliced bread and pressed that into a single layer upon the pie plate. The vegetarian version was JUST as delicious!

May you be confident in your quiche-making and find excitement in experimentation...it is worth it, and you CAN'T mess up!

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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

You'll try these and immediately shuffle through your cupboards with avengence-grabbing and promptly BURNING all those boxes of hideous dehydrated pieces of cardboard the stores CLAIM to be scalloped potatoes. Trust me. I used to like those boxes of scalloped potatoes. And then I made these.

This was one of those recipes that my husband talked about when we were first married. He loved it, especially how his mother made it. I sort of got sick of hearing how wonderfully his mother made scalloped potatoes, so I decided I needed to get her recipe so he could put ME and MY scalloped potatoes on a pedestal too. Thankfully, my mother-in-law Linda was happy to share HER way, which has now become my own. So, you can thank my Mother in Law Linda for this one!

10 potatoes, sliced

1 large onion

4 T. butter

4 heaping T. flour

4 c. milk

Melt butter in pan, stir in flour to make paste and slowly add milk and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Peel and slice onion and potato. Grease casserole dish and make a layer of potatoes and onions. When thick, pour over potatoes in a casserole dish. It's best to layer: potatoes, sauce, potatoes, sauce. I like to season each layer too...with pepper.

Put in oven at 350 for about an hour until bubbly, covered. Uncover it and let it brown on top for about 1o minutes.

Eating these potatoes has changed my whole outlook on life. Let them do the same for you....

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Dressed Up Rice

In a saucepan, combine 4 cups water, 2 cups dry rice, and 1 T. butter. Bring to a boil. Turn to low heat. Cover and Simmer 2o minutes or until all water is absorbed.

Shred about 1/2 c. SHARP or extra sharp cheddar cheese~ add to rice.

Add 1/8- 1/4c. black olives~ sliced.

Add 1/2 c. canned or frozen spinach.

Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and serve as a side dish.

Matt suggested this would be very good with seafood bits: oysters, clams, mussels, etc. I wouldn't know because the mere THOUGHT of those things turn my stomach! But-if they do not affect yours that way-try it out! ;-)
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Spiedie Marinade

Spiedies are a New York thing. A New York thing that made New York a wonderful place to live. A New York thing that I miss now that I live in Pennsylvania. A New York thing that caused many a cross-eyed stare at my request for them when I first moved this spiedie-forsaken land.

Spiedies are, basically, small pieces of marinated meat. Very versatile. They can be made from chicken, beef, lamb, etc. They can be used to make spiedie subs, make pizza amazingly delicious, fill up shish kabobs, or fancy up some salad.

When I lived in New York, I would buy the marinade from the store. Since moving here, I had to create my own version, a version only SLIGHTLY lesser than the store-bought one.

Here it is, in all its spiedie glory....

1 c. oil
3 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. basil
1/4 t. parsley
1/4 c. vinegar
1 t. oregano
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t. rosemary

Simply pop all the ingredients in a plastic ziploc bag and add small chucks of chicken breast (or other meat).

Marinate for 24 hours.

Here's some more versatility for you...

You can freeze them too! Freeze them uncooked, freeze them cooked...grill them, bake them, cook them on a skillet. Use them on pizza, salad, or just from the fork.

Go forth and spread the good news of the Spiedie and fill the land with them! :-)

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Chai Tea

This is not so much a recipe as it is an idea. One that didn't come to me until I was given a cup of this at the house of one of my dear friends.

I am sort of addicted.

What you do is make a chai tea concentrate and store it in a large pickle jar in the fridge. Then, whenever you get the hunkering, simply fill up a mug 1/3 the way with tea concentrate, fill it the rest of the way up with milk and then heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

If you want to be especially sinful, pour just a splash of heavy cream in it-that makes a heavenly, creamy froth on the top. Sprinkle with nutmeg-and with the first sip will come an audible sigh of contentment.


10 chai teabags ( LOVE the vanilla ones. And the chocolate enchantment...let's just say-enchanting...)
1 cup sugar or 1 1/2 depending on taste
1 quart water.

Boil water. When water is at a rolling bowl, remove from heat. Add teabags and steep for 8 minutes or so. Mix in sugar while still very hot and stir until dissolved. Store the concentrate in the fridge.

It is really wonderful. I know, I have been happily sipping away at my steaming mug while blogging ALL the of these recipes!

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