Monday, November 29, 2010

Pastitsio


Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I think I am just about baked out. I baked a number of pies and cakes and think my mixer needs a break!
I just made this dish and was going to wait to post it since I have some cakes to post but it was so good that I can't wait to to share it with you. This is a Greek dish that I have had before in restaurants but have never attempted to make this myself. I came across the recipe in the latest Taste of Home issue called "Come Home for Christmas." This is one delicious dish and most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry. So simple and so full of flavor....I will most definitely make this again and again. If you have ever thought of making a Greek dish but were not sure about it, I urge you to give this a try.

1 package (7 oz) uncooked elbow macaroni
1 lb ground beef or lamb (I used beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional (do NOT omit this)*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 egg, beaten

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, oregano, pepper and cinnamon; heat through.
Drain macaroni; place half of macaroni in a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Layer with meat mixture and remaining macaroni. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and remaining salt until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in remaining cheese. Pour sauce over macaroni.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

This is great with warm crusty bread and salad.

*The recipe as written states that the cinnamon is optional but I don't think it should be. This really adds to the flavor of the dish and I think the taste would be quite different without it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie and A Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Just for the heck of it I decided to try a different pumpkin pie this year. We all love pumpkin pie around here and the one that I normally make is good old Libby's. I wanted to try something different though this time. My husband had left me the section of the local newspaper that had some Thanksgiving recipes so I decided to try this pumpkin pie. This is a good pie if you enjoy a very creamy pumpkin pie. I prefer Libby's but there is nothing wrong with this one, it's just creamier and maybe some people prefer that. I saw such a great recipe for golden Yukon potatoes layered with sweet potatoes and can't get it out of my mind! If I decide to try that I'll post the recipe if it turns out good.

In the meantime, I want to wish eveyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

A&P Pumpkin Pie

1 can (1 pound) pumpkin, or 2 cups cooked, mashed winter squash

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 3/4 cups light cream or 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Unbaked 9 inch deep dish pie shell, chilled

Mix 2 Tbsp pumpkin with spices, combine the remaining pumpkin and sugar, blend well. Stir in cream and eggs, then pour into pie shell. Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees F) for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate (350 degrees F) and bake 25 minutes longer, or until filling is set and crust is browned. (Mine took about 35 minutes). A knife inserted near, but not at, the center should come out dry. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Ziti I


Boy has the weekend flown by. Why is it that the week sometimes drags on but the weekend never does!!!! I forgot to mention that I saw Paranormal Activity 2 last weekend....it was very, very good. I highly recommend it if you enjoy scary movies. I couldn't get the ending out of my head for a while afterwards. Very creepy and kind of stays with you. Do you believe in spirits or ghosts? I do, very much so. I watch a lot of those type shows...TAPS, Ghost Adventurers, Paranormal State and I believe it all. I've had some experiences similar to what TAPS and Ghost Adventurers explores but my experiences have all been positive. Never negative. I'm sure if I ever had any kind of negative experience it would scare the hell out of me!

This baked ziti is delicious. I think it is my favorite baked ziti. I definitely like it better with the sour cream and provolone cheese it uses instead of ricotta. I love ricotta cheesecake, that is my favorite cheesecake but I don't care for ricotta in baked ziti anymore since I've made this recipe. Hope you will try this if you find it interesting just so you can taste the difference. This is another recipe from Allrecipes. I use this site so often that I wonder why I even buy cookbooks anymore!

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes, drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaing sauce mixture. Top with greated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until cheese are melted.

Note: I baked mine covered with foil for 1 hour since I made this the day before and it came out of the refrigerator. Remember to coat your foil with cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the ziti. Uncover last 5 minutes of cooking. I also put a thin layer of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan before I layered in the ziti.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Raspberry Almond Coffeecake




I am so glad that half the week is over since I am ready for the weekend.....I'm having one of those loooong weeks at work? Know the kind I mean? The ones that just drag on and on....Ugh. Sometimes I think I just need a change. I wouldn't want to stay home full time since I enjoy working but when your job becomes a drag even part time then maybe it's time for a change. We'll see. Things where I work seem to change from week to week so we'll see what next week brings. In the meantime I bring you this coffeecake! This was absolutely delicious as long as you didn't eat the almonds! As I mentioned in my last post I didn't realize the almonds were stale and take it from me - stale almonds can ruin a cake! From now on I keep them in the freezer. Cheryl had commented that they stay fresh that way. Now that I know this that is where they'll be! Anyhow, I still enjoyed what I could of the cake and just sliced the top away. Since it was filled with raspberries it still held on to its taste. So easy to make. I found this at Allrecipes. I have made so many recipes from that site that when one of theirs gets 4 stars and tons of rave reviews I know I can trust it.


1 cup fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup sliced almonds


1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 inch round cake pan with cooking spray.


Combine raspberries and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.


In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine sour cream, butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla and egg and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread raspberry mixture evenly over the batter. Spoon remaining batter over raspberry mixture. Top with almonds.


Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.


Combine confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir well. Drizzle glaze over cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lasagna Primavera




This is another delicious recipe that I found at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I first tasted Lasagna Primavera several years back and became a huge fan. It had never really appealed to me before and I never thought it even looked that appetizing but tasting it convinced me otherwise. My husband and son also loved it. The only complaint was that I should omit the carrots next time. They just still had a tiny crunch to them and didn't cook quite through. I don't think I would omit them completely because carrots sweeten things up a bit and are complimentary to the sauce. What I will do is perhaps chop them super tiny or shred them. This dish does require some prep time but it is well worth it. I would definitely recommend making it. I don't post things that I wouldn't recommend or that have turned out badly. No way!!!! I don't want to waste my time or your time writing about them! But I do have disasters....Like using stale nuts. Oh yes...not the recipes fault but mine. In fact, the cake was delicious (I will post that one) but as soon as you bit into an almond, oh what a stale taste. Lesson learned - use up nuts quickly. Don't keep them too long. And they are too expensive to waste. Anyhow, on with the recipe!


1 cup chopped carrots (shred or diced very tiny)
3 zucchini, finely chopped, 1/4 inch or less pieces
2 squash, finely chopped, 1/4 inch or less pieces
2 cups chopped broccoli
20 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
3 cups ricotta cheese (I used low fat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups)
4-6 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 (24 ounce) jars pasta sauce or 6 cups of homemade sauce (I used a store bought marinara)
12 no boil lasagna noodles (I used Barilla brand) or 12 regular lasagna noodles, boiled and drained - I love the no boil ones!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all the chopped vegetables, (carrots, broccoli, zucchini and squash) with 1/2 teaspoon salt and steam briefly, for 2-3 minutes, to soften them just a bit (they will finish cooking in the oven).

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach and salt. Mix well.

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan. Spoon about 3/4 cup sauce onto the bottom of the pan and spread around. It will be a thin layer. Cover with four no-boil lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Spoon in 1/3 of the lightly steamed vegetables evenly. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the vegetables then sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella and 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese. Pour 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the cheese, lightly spreading it to the edges. Repeat the layers (noodles, vegetables, ricotta, mozarella/parm, sauce) two more times, ending with the last of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top. This lasagna will be piled high - above the rim of your 9x13 inch pan, but it will settle as it bakes.

Cover the lasagna with a sheet of lightly greased foil and place the 9x13 inch pan on a large baking sheet lined with foil (this is in case any bubbles up and spills over). Bake covered, for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Banana Walnut Tart




Now this was one delicious dessert. I found this recipe in a cookbook called The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri. I had gotten a book of his many, many years ago from the library and made the most delicious apple cake ever. Of course, I can't find that recipe and don't remember which book it was in but I did remember the author's name. When I saw this on the discount rack for $5.99 at Borders I just couldn't resist. I thumbed through it and was sold when I saw this recipe. I always have bananas here and there comes a point when you want to try something other than a banana bread or cake. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this. The bananas in the tart melt down when this is baked and they are all sweet and gooey. Perfect with the crust and nuts. Pretty simple to make too. So if you are normally saving bananas for a bread, give this a try instead. My bananas were not very ripe like those used in banana bread but just a great yellow color with only a very few spots. You don't want them overly ripe for this recipe.


I am off from work for the next few days and plan on taking in a movie with my son and a friend tomorrow and just do some clothes shopping on Friday. Did you know I LOVE to shop for clothes???? Not just clothes, but shoes, pocketbooks, cheap jewelry, scarves, make up, books....I can go on and on!!!!


I am including the recipe for the Sweet Tart Dough which worked great in this recipe but I would imagine you could you use any tart dough you would like. This dough is made in a food processor like most of the recipe and I just love that. So much less clean up and you dont' have a ton of bowls to clean.


Sweet Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water


Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix.


Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the butter is finely mixed into the dry ingredients - you do not want any visible pieces of butter.


Add the egg, egg yolk and water. Pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball.


Invert the food processor bowl over a floured work surface to turn out the dough. Carefully remove the blade and transfer any dough on it to the work surface. Form the dough into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it.


This dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


The Filling

2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Bananas and Finishing

3 large bananas (I used 4)
1/2 cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dark rum (I omitted this since I didn't have any)
One 10 or 11 inch tart crust, unbaked


Set a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.


For the fillling, pulse the walnut pieces and brown sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter, egg, egg yolk, cinnamon, vanilla, flour and baking powder. Pulse to make a thin batter.


Cut the bananas into 3/4 inch slices. Arranges slices evenly over the crust. Pour the filling over the bananas and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula. Scatter the chopped walnuts over the filling.


Bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and nicely golden.


Remove the tart from the oven, place on a rack, and immediately sprinkle with the rum (if using that). Cool the tart completely before slicing.


*Note: I used pecans for the topping since I ran out of walnuts. This took about 30 minutes to bake. The instructions at that point kind of threw me because I like to see a number regarding how long to bake something, but just keep an eye on it after 15 or 20 minutes......


Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken & Stuffing Skillet




This is another quick and easy dish from Campbell's Kitchen courtesy of my husband! He made this dish several weeks ago and it was so good. It's perfect for a weeknight meal and would be great with a side salad. I love these types of dishes when I just want something quick to make without a whole lot of fuss. Also very kid friendly since my son loved it too.


I can't believe that I haven't posted in almost a week! I keep telling myself that I need to post more and certainly mean to but for whatever reason something always comes up when I plan to. I am also wanting to change up my blog a bit and Ingrid from 3 B's has offered to help me since I am totally clueless. I mean clueless. She has no idea what she is in for!


Enjoy this recipe and I hope to be back more often than I have been lately...!!!


1 tablespoon butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1 box (6 ounces) Pepperidge Farm One Step Stuffing Chicken Mix
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese


Heat butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 15 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.


Prepare the stuffing in the skillet according to the package directions except let stand for 2 minutes.


Place the chicken on the stuffing. Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken. Top with the cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted.


Substitute Campbell's Condensed Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom Soup for the Cream of Chicken Soup.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Libby's Pumpkin Roll




This is one cake that I have been meaning to make for ages but just never have. I think I was always worried that when I rolled the cake it would crack and I'd have a disaster on my hands. I'm happy to report that this was not the case. This was soooo easy and simple to make. The only little disaster I had was that at one point I had powdered sugar everywhere! This was delicious and perfect for this time of year. I'm sure many probably make this a yearly tradition. The ladies that belong to the church I attend have a tradition of making a ton of these every year as a fundraiser and selling them the weekend before Thanksgiving. They are just so pretty! Now that I know how easy these are to make, I'll definitely be trying more cake roll recipes. Think a chocolate one filled with raspberries and whipped cream would be delicious!!!!


1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel - I used more and this was when I had powdered sugar everywhere!)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched (if using a dark colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For Filling:

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.


Cooking Tip: Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.