Friday, October 21, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

This was made using what was available in the fridge, (which was last nights roast chicken) it would have been better with an Italian sausage or more seasoned meat.
3 zucchini, cut in half and seeds removed
1 cup of diced, cooked chicken
1/4 red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup basil, rolled and sliced
grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter baking dish and put in zucchini halves. Combine chicken, red pepper, mushrooms, red onion, spinach and basil and stuff the zucchini. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Top with freshly grated cheese and cover with foil. Bake about 45 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Note: A variety of vegetables, meats and cheese can be interchanged.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Herb Goat Cheese

I found this in a Trader Joe cookbook and it is fall and festive.
1-8ounce log plain goat cheese
1/3 cup candied pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix pecans, cranberries, basil and pepper together.
Roll goat cheese log in mixture, covering all sides and ends.
Serve with apples, toasted baguettes or crackers

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cheese Crackers

My friend Kathleen sent this to me. She is a fabulous cook and among her friends, their chief organizer and fun-raiser. This recipe can be used combining any cheese you have in the refrigerator. If you do not use it all, it can be frozen until needed again.

2 cups grated cheese, I used 1 cup sharp cheddar and 1 cup Gruyere
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
chopped fresh chives
course sea salt
In a food processor combine all ingredients, except salt and chives, until well combined and crumbly.
Transfer onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least and hour and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Slice the roll into rounds 1/4 inch thick and arrange on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with chives and salt.
Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Potato Gratin

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and diced
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups heavy cream
4 Tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and thyme and cook slowly until caramelized (20-30 minutes). Remove thyme stems.
Combine potatoes and cream in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to warm, about 30 minutes.
Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan and place a layer of potatoes on the bottom and season with salt and pepper. Spoon 1/3 of onions over top and sprinkle with 1/3 of each cheese.
Repeat the layers to make 3, topping with remaining cheese.
Pour reserved cream evenly over top and cover with foil.
Bake 50-60 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cream is absorbed.
Remove foil and bake until top is golden brown.
Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baked Potato Bar

Candy recently mentioned how fun a baked potato party would be. What a great idea! This works very well especially for a large crowd. It can accomodate a variety of needs, for example meat eaters and vegans, dairy free, gluten free, etc.
Scrub clean and dry as many Russet potatoes as needed. On individual squares of foil, rub potato with olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh pepper or Alfies seasoning and wrap.
In preheated 375F. oven bake potatoes until cooked, about 1 1/2 hours, turning potatoes over half way through.
For the "bar" there can either be a theme, for example, Italian, Mexican, roasted vegetables, etc. or just a variety of everyones favorite toppings.
Butter, garlic butter, herb butter, different kinds of cheese, including herb cheese, etc
Meats, chicken, chili, smoked salmon, bacon, ground beef with taco seasoning, etc
Roasted vegetables, roasted garlic, green onions, peppers, jalapenos, corn, mushrooms, etc
Creams and sauces, BBQ sauce, cheese sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, sour cream, guacamole, etc
I wish I had taken a photo of the bar, but you get the idea. We round out the meal with a salad and dessert and had very unique, one of a kind creations!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spiced Apple Cider with Whipped Cream

1 gallon spiced apple cider (I used one from Trader Joes)
1 pint whipped cream (whipped)
jarred caramel sauce and cinnamon sticks, to garnish

Heat cider in large pot on stove or in crock pot, it will hold temp well if using for several hours. If using regular apple cider and want to spice it up, add cloves and cinnamon sticks.
In a mug, ladle in hot apple cider, top with whipped cream, and drizzle caramel sauce over top. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and if desired, a pinch of sea salt.

Enjoy this on cold, blustery fall days!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Italian Plums

The Bake picked the Italian plums from the tree this week and I was thinking of making a plum tart or crumble. But they are so great fresh and out of hand.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Curried Chicken in Phyllo Cups

This is my go to appetizer recipe. It can be used as a salad or sandwich filling. Put in phyllo cups or in phyllo pastry or puff pastry.
Since I usually roast a chicken once a week, I have left over chicken for this recipe. Buying a ready cooked chicken or roasting or poaching 2 chicken breasts will also provide enough chicken.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoon mayo
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons chutney
1-3 teaspoons curry powder
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Beat the cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Stir in chicken, chutney, curry and season to taste.
The phyllo cups pictured, were store bought in the freezer section and thawed for 10 minutes before filling.
If using phyllo pastry, thaw and cut into thirds. Fold each third in half and using melted butter, butter between each sheet. Spoon a teaspoon of chicken mixture in the corner and fold over forming a triangle. Continue to fold flag style, fold end over and brush with butter. May be frozen at this point. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet at 375F. until golden, about 20 minutes or 30 minutes if frozen.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

These are still my all time favorite brownies.
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa (Sharffenberger)
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter. Add the sugars and cocoa and blend well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir. Add the vanilla and nuts. Pour into 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Center will be firm but not hard. Cool.

1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoon hot coffee
Place butter, sugar, and cocoa in a food processor and blend for 4 seconds. Add vanilla, milk, and hot coffee and blend until smooth. Additional milk will make a thinner frosting.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Caesar Salad with Fried Capers

1/4 cup capers, drained
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 small garlic cloves
3-4 anchovy fillets (or anchovy paste)
1 Tablespoon mayo
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco
fresh pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
2 heads of Romaine lettuce

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix the capers and teaspoon olive oil in a pan and roast in oven about 18-20 minutes.
Combine the rest of ingredients, including 1/4 cup Parmesan in a food processor. Toss with lettuce and top with the rest of Parmesan cheese and fried capers.
The fried capers give the crunch that croutons would, the salad with be even better with both!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Quinoa Porridge

1 cup water
1 cup rice milk (almond milk, milk)
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
1 small apple, cored and peeled, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins or dates)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecans
maple syrup or brown sugar, to taste
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds, if desired

In a saucepan, heat water and rice milk until boiling. Add Quinoa and simmer for 5 minutes. Add apple, cranberries,
cinnamon and vanilla and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Serve and top with pecans, sugar, and flax seeds and more milk.