Thursday, June 23, 2011

Apple Crisp

4 apples
1 TBSP. Flour
1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour and sugar together and pour over sliced apples in a round, deep dish pie pan.

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
handful oatmeal

Mix together then add 1/3 cup melted butter and pour on top of apple mixture

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bran Flax Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
    • 2 apples, peeled, shredded
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1 cup chopped mixed nuts


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil; mix until just blended. Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
    3. Bake at 350 F (175 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Caramel Salted Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7) Pour caramel sauce over brownies.

8) Bake the brownies for about 20-25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Bacon Recipe


1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 pound bacon or pancetta, cut into batons
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2 While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them, as pine nuts go from toasted to burnt quickly. Set the pine nuts aside when they are toasted.

3 Add the bacon to the pan and fry gently over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside with the pine nuts. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute on medium-high heat, then add the cauliflower, pine nuts, bacon, oregano and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Do not let the garlic burn.

4 Turn off the heat and add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Recipe found here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rocky Road Bars

2 cups of graham crumbs
3/4 cups of margarine
1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 300 gram package of milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows
1 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk
3 or 4 squares of melted semi sweet bakers chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the crumbs and the softened margarine together. Press the mixture into a 13 x 9'" greased pan.
Sprinkle the coconut all over the place.
Then sprinkle the nuts all over the place. And the same with the chocolate chips.
Just put those mini marshmallows all over that mess
Now you get to drip and ooze that gooey condensed milk all over your sugary messiness.
Cook it. 30 minutes later take it out.

Oh and melt that baker's chocolate. 2 or 3 minutes in the microwave should do it. Don't let it burn. Now drizzle that melted chocolate over your nom noms.
Recipe found here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gooey Cookie Pie Bites

1/2 C butter (that's 1 stick), melted and cooled
1 C sugar
1/2 C flour
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 C chopped pecans, toasted
1 C mini chocolate chips (if you're using another flavor of chips that doesn't come in mini,give them a rough chop so they will distribute evenly)

9" unbaked pie shell (I use store-bought, but you can make your own if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine the butter, sugars, flour, eggs, and vanilla. When combined stir in chocolate chips and toasted nuts. Set aside.

Right out of the box the pie crust is way too thick. Lightly flour your rolling surface and roll out crust so it's about 13-14" in diameter. (See pictures on blog for example). Just remember you want it pretty thin, and it will expand while cooking. You will need to cut out some circles and then re-roll the pie crust.

A 2.75" circle fit my mini muffin pans perfectly. So use a cookie cutter, or grab a cup from your cupboard. Chances are you have one that's the perfect size!

Mix all ingredients and pour into pie shells. Bake 20-25 minutes. The tops will get crinkly and golden brown. Let cool for a minute and they should pop right out of the pan.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 medium shallots, thinly diced
20 oz. of a medley of cleaned, trimmed, and sliced mushrooms

(I used 8 oz. button mushrooms, 6 oz. portabella, 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, but you can substitute oyster, crimini, porcini, whatever is available.)

1 cup dry sherry
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp tarragon
2 ½ cups half and half
½ tsp white pepper
Salt to taste

Sauté diced shallots in butter and olive oil mixture over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, add sliced mushrooms and sauté 3-4 more minutes to soften, stirring frequently. Add dry sherry to mixture and bring to a low boil. Reduce liquid on low boil for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken (or vegetable) broth and tarragon, bring to low boil, then simmer on low another 8-10 minutes, reduce heat. Fully purée mixture in a blender, or with an immersion blender.

Return to soup pot, then add half and half, pepper, and salt to taste, reheat on stovetop on medium for 5 minutes, do not boil or burn. Serve hot with croutons & shaved parmesan, crackers or crunchy sourdough. Serves 6.

Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups good quality low sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh parlsey, optional
Sea salt
Black pepper

Heat a saucepan on low and add the olive oil. Add the onion and bay leaf and cook, without browning, until it becomes soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and saute for about 1 minute, just to coat it in the oil. Stir in the vegetable stock. Cover and let cook until quinoa is fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes. If you are using another grain such as rice, cook according to package directions and with a watchful eye. Fluff cooked pilaf with fork, season with salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice. Stir in fresh parsley, if using. Serve.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad

2 cups apple juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup quinoa
2/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
1 large apple, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

In medium saucepan, bring apple juice and cinnamon to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce to simmer and cook 20-25 minutes or until juice is absorbed. Remove and cool. In medium bowl, combine yogurt and honey until blended well. Stir in apples, walnuts and raisins. Add cooled quinoa to yogurt mixture and chill in refrigerator.

Maple Nut Granola

6 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup maple syrup (plus more for drizzling)
1/3 cup walnut oil
1 (heaping) tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup pecans

Mix everything together and bake on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan at 325 degrees for about thirty minutes, stirring and drizzling extra maple syrup every ten minutes or as needed. I didn't use dried fruits, but I do keep dried cherries and pomegranate seeds on hand and toss them in occasionally.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup


12 ounces lean ground beef or lean ground lamb
1 small fennel bulb, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup orzo pasta
4 cups shredded escarole, curly endive, and/or spinach
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or domestic Parmesan cheese with rind, cut into 4 wedges (optional)


1. In large saucepan cook beef, fennel, onion, and garlic, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until meat is browned and vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if necessary.

2. Add broth, water, oregano, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves.* Reserve for garnish, if desired.

3. Stir in orzo. Return to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, 10 minutes or until pasta is just tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in escarole.

4. To serve, place wedge of cheese in 4 soup bowls. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with reserved bay leaves. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

*Note: Bay leaves contribute a wonderful flavor and aroma to recipes. However, they should be removed before eating.

Nutrition Facts

Calories262, Total Fat (g)10, Saturated Fat (g)4, Cholesterol (mg)54, Sodium (mg)873, Carbohydrate (g)22, Fiber (g)7, Protein (g)21, Vitamin A (DV%)11, Vitamin C (DV%)11, Calcium (DV%)5, Iron (DV%)18, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oven-Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling before serving
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Rinse sprouts in cool water and then chop off the tough ends. Pull any straggly leaves off the sprouts and then chop each sprout in half. Place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle it over the chopped sprouts and then toss to combine. Spread the sprouts out evenly over the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender-crisp.

Remove from oven, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the reserved tablespoon of vinegar, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutella Shortbread Bars

For the crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and cooled

For the filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place aluminum foil in 8" square pan. Lightly cover foil with non-stick cooking spray. Toast hazelnuts for 2-3 minutes. Cool. In food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter until crumbly. Stir in hazelnuts. Press into bottom of foil lined pan. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 12 minutes.

While crust is cooking, combine cream cheese and Nutella in mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides and add melted butter. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Pour onto shortbread crust. Increase heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 minutes. Reduce to 350 F and bake 15 minutes more. Let cool and cut into bars.

Sour Cream Enchiladas


4 chicken breasts, fully cooked & shredded
2 dozen white corn tortillas
1 16 oz. can green enchilada sauce
2 ounces additional green chiles
14 oz. sour cream
4 cups shredded cheese (Jack or Mexican blend)

*using nonfat sour cream and lowfat cheese will decrease the calories!

Mix all ingredients together, reserving 1.5 cup cheese, 2 ounces green chile sauce, and 3 ounces sour cream for topping.  Heat corn tortillas 4 or 5 at a time in microwave on high for 30 seconds, then spoon 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the heated tortillas.  (Heating them helps avoid cracking when you roll them up!)  

Spray a large Pyrex or glass dish with cooking spray (you may need an extra dish), then align enchiladas in a row inside.  Blend remaining sour cream and green chile sauce together and spoon over enchiladas.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 20-24 enchiladas.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi


1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese
½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cups Grated Romano Cheese
½ cups Goat Cheese (chevre)
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 whole Garlic Clove, Peeled
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Minced Fresh Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Heat cream in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.

Rub garlic clove all over the inside of a large serving bowl.

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water, leaning toward the al dente side. Do not overcook! Drain pasta, then return to the cooking pot. Pour in cream, add butter, and add cheeses and salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine, adding hot pasta water as needed for consistency. Don’t overmix; if there are little clumps of cheese here and there, it’s fine! Taste and add more salt if needed. Mixing stage should happen very quickly.

Turn pasta into large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with a nice medium rare steak.

*Can use whatever four cheeses you’d like!

Recipe found here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stir-fry Brussel Sprouts

1 pound brussels sprouts
4 strips of hickory smoked bacon
½ small yellow onion
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
4 cups water (for boiling the brussels sprouts)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Wash and trim the ends of the brussels sprouts. Cut each brussels sprout lengthwise in half. Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces. Cut onion into ½ inch chunks. In a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.

To Cook:

Bring water to a boil. Add the brussels sprouts to the boiling water and blanch for approx. 7 to 8 minutes (until they are almost tender). Drain water and set aside. Heat a non-stick wok or a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon pieces. Cook and stir until the bacon caramelizes for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the cooked brussels sprouts, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar to wok. Stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add dissolved cornstarch to wok, and stir-fry for a few seconds until the liquid thickens and adheres to the sprouts.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Recipe found here.

Stir-fry Spinach

1 pound fresh spinach
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Wash the spinach thoroughly. Remove the stems if any and excess water. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:

Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown garlic for a few seconds. Add spinach to wok, stir turning the spinach for about 2 minutes. When the spinach is cooked down and soft, add sesame oil, salt and sugar. Cook and stir for 30 seconds longer. Transfer the spinach onto a plate and pour off any excess liquid. Careful not over cook the spinach. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 to 3 minutes

Chicken and Mushrooms

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 2 half breasts)
½ pound medium size fresh white mushrooms (about 14 to 15 pieces)
2 cloves garlic
1-½ tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil


3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar


Slice the 2 half chicken breasts lengthwise in half then crosswise cut into ¼ inch thin pieces. In a bowl, combine chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash the mushrooms and trim the stems (not necessary to remove the stems). Slice the mushrooms into ¼ inch thin pieces. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the marinated chicken into wok. Cook and stir for approximately 3 minutes until the chicken almost cooked through. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Add ½ tablespoon oil into wok. Brown the garlic for a few seconds. Add sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper to wok. Cook and stir the mushrooms for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Add the cooked chicken back into the wok. Mix well with mushrooms. Add sesame oil, stir-fry for a few seconds longer. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

Recipe found here.

Chicken Fried Rice

6 cups cooked rice
½ pound boneless and skinless chicken breast
½ small yellow onion
¾ cup frozen peas and carrots
3 eggs
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt


1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon sugar


Cut chicken breast into ½-inch small cubes. In a bowl, mix chicken cubes with the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Cut onion into ¼ inch small chunks. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

To Cook:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pour in the beaten eggs and lightly scramble until firm. Transfer the cooked eggs into a bowl. Add another 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, brown onions for a few seconds. Add the marinated chicken cubes into the wok and stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked. Add peas and carrots and the cooked eggs, stir-fry for another minute. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt into wok. Mix all ingredients together and cook for approximately 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

Recipe found here.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing


1 whole chicken breast or two halves (boneless and skinless, about 3/4 pound)
1 small head lettuce or 1 bag iceberg lettuce (10 oz.)
1 carrot
½ English cucumber
½ red bell pepper
½ cup roasted slivered almonds
2 oz. fresh cilantros


Boil chicken breast for about 10 minutes in boiling water. Let cool. Use hands to shred chicken into thin strips. Core lettuce and cut into quarters then shred the lettuce into ¼-inch thin strips. Peel the carrot, diagonal slicing the carrot into 1/4 inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Wash (do not peel), slice the cucumber diagonally into ¼-inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Cut the red bell pepper into 1-½-inch length pieces then cut into thin strips. Wash and break the cilantro into small pieces.


In a small bowl mix ½ cup smooth peanut butter with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until become smooth thin paste. Add:

2 cloves garlic (crush, peel and finely minced)
¼ cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (peel the ginger root skin)
1 tablespoon red hot chili oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel.

Mix above ingredients together thoroughly (makes 1-½ cups dressing)

To Serve:

Use 4 individual serving plates. Place 4 oz. lettuce strips in each plate first, then add 1 oz. carrots, 2 oz. cucumber strips, 3 oz. chicken strips, 1 oz. red bell peppers, 2 oz. almonds and 1 oz. cilantro leaves. Spoon the spicy peanut dressing on top of the salad to serve.

*Another serving suggestion is to layer the ingredients as outlined above in a large glass serving bowl. Serve with dressing on the side. This makes for a great presentation on any buffet table or (in my world) an impressive play date lunch!

Extra dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Do not freeze.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Shrimp With Lobster Sauce

1 pound medium size raw shrimp (31 to 40 per pound)
¼ pound lean fresh ground pork
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
1 scallion, including the green top
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry wine
½ teaspoon salt


Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. In a medium size bowl, combine shrimp with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Crush, peel and finely chopped the garlic. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop. In another small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.

To Cook:

Heat oil in a non-stick wok over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the garlic and onions for just a few seconds. Add the ground pork to wok, cook and stir for about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Mix well then add shrimp. Stir-fry the shrimp for about 1 minute before the shrimp turns pink. Add 1 cup chicken broth to wok and bring it to a boil. Stir the cornstarch again and slowly add to wok. Stir until the sauce becomes slightly thickened. Beat the eggs again and pour into the shrimp and meat mixture. Gently stir until the eggs are set. Mix with the shrimp and ground pork for a few seconds longer. Be very careful not to over cook the shrimp. Turn off heat and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

Recipe found here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake

Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa
black olives
ricotta salada (or Feta)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon honey

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove any powdery residue from packaging. In a microwaveable bowl, add rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 9 minutes.  Allow to rest for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Peel and cube cucumber, chop tomatoes, halve the olives, cube the ricotta salada.

Mix balsamic vinegar, oil, honey and basil in bowl and whisk. Season with salt and pepper.

Strain any water leftover from the cooking process of the quinoa. Add the prepared vegetables and pour the vinaigrette over the top. Toss well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water


1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Don’t be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 recipe Taco Chicken
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cans chicken broth
1 15-oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers (if you're scared, try serrano peppers; they're milder)
1/4 c. fresh lime juice (3-4 limes). Don't even think of buying the stuff in a bottle.
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Store-bought tortilla chips, or 2-3 corn tortillas, plus oil for frying
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Grated or crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 c. cilantro

Early in the day, begin marinating the chicken. Right before you start preparing the soup, start grilling it.

In a large stockpot, heat some olive oil (I can tell you right now that you'll never hear the words EVOO from my mouth. Or my fingers.) over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and minced jalapeno and cook a few minutes more until pepper is softened and garlic is fragrant. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, juice the limes and set aside. Start preparing the toppings: grate the cheese, chop the cilantro, cut up the avocado or prepare the guacamole, and fry the tortillas. Right before serving, add lime juice and chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into the bowls and add desired toppings.

Quinoa Meatloaf Muffins

2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup carrot, grated
1 onion, minced
1/3 cup egg beaters
dash of milk
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Combine meats, raisins, quinoa, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, oregano and worcestershire sauce together. Add the egg substitute and a splash of milk making sure everything holds together. Divide into 12 muffins in muffin pan, do not grease the pan. Each muffin will have a rounded top and be heaping full. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until done.

1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. splenda
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
heaping 1/4 cup onion, finely minced
dash or 2 of tabasco

Combine everything and cook for about 5 - 10 minutes on a low simmer until onions are slightly softened. Spread on meatloaf muffins as desired.

Total calories = 2697 calories

12 servings = 225 calories per muffin

Shrimp Scampi and Quinoa

1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Lay the shrimp in a 9x13 pan, sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.  Single layer, nobody crowding each other. Melt the butter. Add all of the ingredients, except the parmesan cheese. Pour over the shrimp. Stir it up well, get that buttery goodness all over every shrimp. Then lay them back down so they can cook evenly. Sprinkle the parm on top of it all. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes.
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash fresh lemon juice

Heat olive oil over medium heat, and add the garlic and quinoa. Cook for about 5 minutes, toasting the quinoa. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and lemon juice.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes nine 6-inch pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle


Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm

Recipe found here.

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Trifle


1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Peppermint Mousse:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candies or candy canes


8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candies or candy canes

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and coat that with cooking spray as well.

Bring milk and butter almost to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Put eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk and beat on high speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add hot milk mixture slowly. Add flour mixture and beat until combined. Pour batter into pan and bake until the center springs back when lightly touched (about 25 - 30 minutes). Let cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment and let cool completely. Cut cake in half horizontally.

Make the mousse:

Bring 1 cup cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Place white chocolate chips in a bowl and pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream while whisking. Transfer to a medium bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes.

Beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream to nearly stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture, then fold in candies. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thickened and almost firm, 4 to 6 hours.

Make the pudding:

Put chocolate into a large bowl; set aside. Bring cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk yolks in a bowl. Pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream, whisking. Pour mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Pour through a fine sieve over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Set bowl in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to hold ribbons on surface, about 15 minutes. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

To assemble:

Spread one-third of the mousse into bottom of a glass trifle bowl that is 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Top with a cake layer. Top with half the pudding, then another third of mousse. Place remaining cake layer on top. Top with remaining pudding, then mousse. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12 hours. Beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Top trifle with the whipped cream, and sprinkle with candies.
Recipe found here.

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

makes one 8×4 or 9×5-inch loaf

1 2/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup molasses

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4 or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Non-stick baking spray works well too.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk or yogurt and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine. The batter will be slightly thick, but not dry. Spoon batter into prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake loaf for 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on how evenly your oven bakes, you might want to rotate the loaf in the middle of baking. Be careful though. Don’t manhandle it too hard or it might deflate.

When a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the loaf pan. Run a butter knife along the sides of the pan and carefully invert onto a wire rack.

Loaf will keep, well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Serve with cream cheese, jam, salted butter or nutella.

Recipe found here.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 cups sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake papers. This quantity actually made 24 regular size cupcakes and an additional 12 mini cupcakes for me.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy, then add in sugar a bit at a time until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, and beat in the vanilla. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and add them alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. Pour the batter into a gallon size ziplock bag, cut a hole the size of your thumb in one corner and squeeze the batter into the cupcake papers, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched lightly. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly, and poke a hole in the center of each cupcake by pushing a wooden spoon handle all the way to the bottom.

Meanwhile, make the peppermint ganache.

Peppermint Ganache

1/2 cup butter
5 T. unsweetened cocoa
6 T. buttermilk
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. peppermint extract

In a small pan, melt the butter and add cocoa and buttermilk. Bring to a boil, then pour over the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add peppermint extract and stir until smooth. Pour into a quart size bag, snip off a small hole in one corner and drizzle into the holes in each cupcake, then around the top of each cupcake until a nice puddle forms. Allow to cool/set.

Peppermint Buttercream

8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2-1 t. peppermint extract
Crushed candycanes

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluff, then beat in the powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Scoop into a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe swirls of frosting on top of each cupcake. Garnish with crushed candy canes.

Store loosely covered. I put mine in a tupperware, and the moisture in the frosting caused the candy cane pieces to dissolve, leaving pink streaks in the frosting rather than tasty chunks.
Recipe found here.

Hot Crab Dip

Here are your options:

--Find someone local who will sell/give you crabs (this sentence sounds so wrong) for a good price or trade (not getting better). I know when it's shrimp and crawfish season here in Louisiana, people are constantly along the side of the road selling shrimp or crawfish, and a lot of times, they're willing to give you a great deal for some kind of trade.

--Check the seafood department of your grocery store for some plastic cannisters filled with fresh crab. This is quite expensive (like I've seen it for $14 for about 8-12 ounces), but it'll be pretty good.

--Frozen crab can be hit or miss. I found some frozen crab claws at our Kroger, but they had not been properly sealed (they had just been cellophane-wrapped) and they were all freezer burned. If this is the case, don't waste your money.

--You could actually use fresh or frozen crawfish or lobster if you can get it for a better price. Shellfish is shellfish (say that three times fast!), especially when lots of cream cheese and mayonnaise is involved, right?

--Apparently, there is a pretty good brand of canned crab called Phillips. It is found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and Costcos. Shockingly (I'm being sarcastic here), I am unable to find Phillips Crab at any of my local establishments, but I've read great things about it for those of you who can find it!

--There are other brands of canned crab (like Chicken of the Sea). There are mixed reviews about it and honestly, I kept thinking about how different canned and fresh tuna taste and I couldn't bring myself to try it. Has anyone tried those types of canned crab? Any thoughts feelings about them?

--Smuggle some crab legs into your purse from the Friday night buffet at the Chinese restaurant. I don't recommend this on so many levels.

--There is Krab. Imitation crab. I am opposed to it for the solitary reason that one of my biggest pet peeves in the universe is when people substitute "K" for "C" when it is not 100% necessary (and really, is it ever necessary?!) However, it is cheap. My husband hates seafood. I was not spending $15 on real crab for a dip that would go largely uneaten. So...Krab it was. And it was pretty good--not as good as the real thing, and I'm also opposed to meat that has the texture of string cheese, but hey, if you chop it up small enough, no one will ever know, right?

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (light is fine)
1 c. mayonnaise (light is fine, but no Miracle Whip)
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. (about 6-8 oz.) shredded crab (or Krab)
Juice of 1 small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
1 tablespoon of Creole or mild coarse-grain mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine shredded crab and lemon juice in a large bowl and then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and spread in a 9" pie plate or a medium baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Serve with slices of sourdough bread.
Recipe found here.

Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan


1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tikka Masala Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Combine all marinade ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 8 hours. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan (be sure to get a lot, but not all, of the marinade off the chicken before cooking). Discard marinade.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute. Add cumin, paprika and 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. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.


1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
clarified butter, for frying

In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir in the flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg and stir. Knead until you have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.

Divide the dough into 6 - 8 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval. Cook each naan in a nice hot skillet drizzled with clarified butter until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary. When the surface has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, flip it over and cook until golden on the other side. Spread with butter before serving and add chopped garlic and herbs, if desired.
Recipe found here.

Four Cheese Pesto Lasagna

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pound ground beef plus 1/2 pound sausage)
1/2 cup pesto (prepared or homemade)
3-4 cups tomato basil spaghetti sauce
1 box no boil lasagna sheets
2 cups fontina cheese, grated
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until meat is browned. Season with basil and oregano. Drain any fat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the fontina, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl. Set aside. Beat 2 eggs and fold into the ricotta cheese. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1 cup sauce on the bottom and spread it out evenly. Put a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of sauce. Spread out 1/2 of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle on 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat procedure ending with sauce on top. Sprinkle with the three cheese blend and dollop pesto sauce on top. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes or until browned. Cut and serve.
Recipe found here.

Chocolate Chip Caramelitas

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, divided
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup (12 ounces) caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine 2 cups of the flour with old fashioned oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter. Reserve 1 cup for the topping and press the remainder of the mixture into an ungreased 13" x 9" baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Combine caramel topping with remaining flour. Drizzle over chocolate chips and nuts. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan until bars are set enough to cut without crumbling. Serve warm.
Recipe found here.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzarella

*Serves 6-8


3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
8 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.

Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.

Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

*The casserole can be prepared in advance with the following steps: after the broccoli is removed from the boiling water, plunge it into a bowl of ice water and cool completely. Assemble the casserole following the directions in the recipe. After the casserole is spread in the prepared baking pan, let it cool for 5-10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for up to 8 hours. To bake, preheat the oven to 375 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Recipe found here.

Oat Pan Rolls

2 cups oats (quick cooking is best but old fashioned works also)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, cubed
1 T. salt
2 ½ cups boiling water
1 - 1 1/2 T. dry active yeast
½ cup warm water
5 ½ to 6 cups all purpose flour (may substitute half whole wheat flour)
Additional butter, melted

In a bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter and salt; stir in boiling water. Allow to cool to 110-115 degrees (the way I test for this temperature is to stick my finger in and see if it's hot, but not so hot I can't stand it - super scientific). In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add oat mixture and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 20 pieces. Place in a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack; brush with melted butter.

Recipe found here.