Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shrimp Cocktail Mold - Semi Retro!

Remember that Shrimp Mold served at holiday time with the Tomato Soup?  Along with the Deviled Ham Spread?   Hmmmmm...well that's what was popular back then.  I kind of liked that shrimp mold, but I wanted it to taste like shrimp cocktail instead of those bland ingredients in the retro version.  I combined the old with the new and I think I came up with a pretty tasty version! And still kept that "shrimp" color!
The recipe back then.

Shrimp Cocktail Mold
The recipe now.

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 pkgs. unflavored gelatin
  • 5 oz. cream cheese (room temp.)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. grated, prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 or 4 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, cooked and cooled (or frozen, thawed) - chopped
Bring chili sauce and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.  Add cream cheese and mix until combined.  Add remaining ingredients.  Spray mold or bowl with non-stick spray.  Add shrimp mixture and refrigerate until set about 6 hours or overnight.  Unmold and serve with crackers.  Garnish with additional horseradish, cocktail sauce and lemon zest, if desired.

If you don't want to serve this in a mold, you can put it in a pastry bag and pipe on to crackers.
Shrimp Cocktail on a cracker!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve Pizza - Pizza Sfincione

You can eat pizza your whole life, and somehow never get tired of it.  Pizza Sfincione is a soft, Sicilian-style pizza, almost like focaccia, traditionally served on New Year's Eve with a layer of crunchy bread crumbs on top.  Yes, we all need ANOTHER pizza recipe!  Although I love my thin-crust St. Louis Style Pizza , this is still comfort food to me.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour +3 Tbsp. (if necessary)
  • 1-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 28-ounce can chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsps. Oregano, Basil or Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces provolone, shredded
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano or Italian Seasoning
To make the crust, combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead to make a smooth, soft dough, using a stand mixer, bread machine, or your hands.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover and let rise until puffy and doubled, about 90 minutes.

While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings.  Peel and slice the onions and fry them with the garlic in a bit of olive oil until golden brown.  Add salt, red pepper flakes and a pinch of sugar to taste.

Add the tomatoes to the fried onions, along with the Italian Seasoning.  Simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.  Let cool.

Stir together the bread crumbs, oil and Italian Seasoning.  Set aside.

Spray a large baking sheet (13 x 18 half sheet pan) with non-stick spray.  Drizzle with olive oil and brush to evenly coat.  Gently deflate the dough and plop it onto the baking sheet and press it towards the edges.
    Cover the dough and let rise again; about another 90 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Uncover the dough, and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and provolone.  The cheese is going on first on this pizza.  Then spread the tomato/onion sauce over the cheese.  Top with the Parmesan and then the bread crumbs.

Bake the pizza for 35 minutes, or until the crust and crumbs are golden brown.  Cut into smaller pieces and serve as an appetizer!

Felice Anno Nuovo!
~Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp - SRC Reveal

My assignment this month for the Secret Recipe Club  is Hilary's  blog baking bad .  In my opinion, she bakes rather 'good'!  Her recipe index is awesome!  I chose to prepare the Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp.

I always have some kind of shrimp for the holidays - usually shrimp cocktail, but this one caught my eye.  It's simple to make, has a bit of a kick - and lot's of butter! :o)  The only change I made was to use peeled shrimp and some black pepper.

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
from Pioneer Woman Cooks
2 pounds Raw Shrimp, Deveined, Shells On
2 sticks Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 whole Lemon, Juiced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles over the shrimp.
Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly.
Serve with hot crusty bread. Peel and eat the shrimp, then dip the bread into the butter in the bottom of the pan.

Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nutella Cream Puffs

Gianduja is a Swiss chocolate - either milk chocolate or bittersweet - flavored with hazelnut.  It's expensive and available on the web.  For the holidays you can go all out - or simply subsitute Nutella.

The Puff Pastries (Pâte à Choux) are a simple type of pastry that can be easily transformed in many, sometime spectacular, preparations. Sounds fancy, but once you learn to make pate a choux — with butter, sugar, salt, flour and eggs — you can make a ton of savory and sweet delicacies, including gougeres, profiteroles, cream puffs and eclairs.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease a large baking sheet; set aside.
Ingredients for the pate a choux:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
In a medium saucepan combine water, butter, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously.  Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate.

You can see how the dough pulls away from the pot and leaves a thin film.
Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition until well incorporated.
Pipe dough with a decorating bag or drop 12 mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Smooth out any rough peaks in the tops of the cream puffs.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm; cool in the oven with the door ajar.
When cool, cut tops from cream puffs and remove soft dough inside.


  1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

In a large bowl, beat whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium until soft peaks form.  Beat in chocolate hazelnut spread.
Before serving pipe or spoon filling into cream puffs.  Replace tops.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
Source:  BH&G All Time Favorites

Monday, December 19, 2011

Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Grandma

This is one of those traditional Polish meals that has to be made in certain pots or pans.  You know what I mean don't you?  Certain things HAVE to be cooked in certain pots.  I think that's part of why it tastes so good - but mostly because its tradition and cooked with love.  There are sooo many names for stuffed cabbage.  Golabki, long as it has an "ki" at the end, it all boils down to stuffed cabbage - Eastern European cooking.  We always called it "gawumpki".  From start to finish it takes about an hour to prepare and 3 hours to simmer or bake.  Tastes better the next day and freezes beautifully. Every family has there own version - this is how I remember my mom making them.

You will need:
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika (or to taste)
  • 2 cups good quality tomato juice (or enough to cover cabbage rolls by at least 1")
  • 2 cans condensed tomato soup
Parboil cabbage in a large pot of simmering water, cutting leaves against the core and pull them off into the water and cook until pliable; about 5 minutes.

Let leaves cool slightly.

With a sharp knife, cut the thick membrane or stem off the back of each leaf, being careful not to cut through the leaf.  Lay the leaf down flat and keep your knife horizontal to slice off the thick part of the leaf.
Continue simmering the cabbage and removing leaves.
Any leaves that cannot be used at the end, reserve for later.
Reserve cooking water (yes, we are being very frugal here!)

Prepare Filling:
Saute onions in 4 Tbsp. butter until golden.
Cook 1 cup of rice in 1 cup of water with 1 tsp. salt for about 7-8 minutes.  Just parboil the rice.
Mix ground meats with sauteed onions and add rice.  Add Worcestershire, salt and pepper and paprika.  Add cooled rice and beaten eggs and mix well.  Hands come in handy.
Now we can roll:
Depending how big the leaves are, place about 1/2 cup of filling towards the end of the cabbage leaf.
Roll leaf up and over meat, fold in both sides and continue to roll into a bundle.

Arrange stuffed cabbage snugly in the pot.
Add any leftover cabbage leaves to the bottom of the pot.
If there is any meat leftover, just form them into meatballs and add to the pot. 

  Mix the tomato soup as directed.  Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage.  Add tomato juice to cover.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.  Simmer, covered 2 to 2-1/2 hours.  If you want to bake them, bake at 325 degrees F. covered, for the same amount of time

Get Grandma's Sauerkraut recipe here!
You can add sauerkraut to this recipe.

Grandma always served her stuffed cabbage rolls with home made mashed potatoes, adding the liquid from the stuffed cabbage rolls to the potatoes! YUMM!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Salted Caramel Pecan Pielets (Tassies)

I must confess that this is my favorite recipe for holiday cookies.  The original recipe...just changed slightly to satisfy my craving for salty/sweet.  With a crisp, buttery, cream cheese pastry and pecans coated in cinnamon caramel - touched with a hint of sea salt - these little pies are heaven sent.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened 
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  •  1 cup pecans (plus 24 halves to top the pielets
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten
A few pinches of coarse sea salt

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a mixing bowl.  With paddle attachment, add brown sugar, butter, cream cheese and egg yolk until well combined.  Chill for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling:  blitz the 1 cup pecans in a food processor until finely chopped.  Heat both the sugars, cinnamon, vanilla, butter and syrup until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.  Let cool for 10 minutes then beat in the egg and egg yolk.  Reserve 1/3 cup of the syrup mixture and set aside.  Add chopped pecans to remaining syrup.

Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray.  With a small scoop, fill each section with dough.  Press into each hole of the pan to form a cup.
Fill each mini pie crust with the chopped pecan mixture.
Top each pie with a pecan half

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the filling is set.  Take the pies out of the pan while still warm.  This is easiest done with a butter knife, pushing down the side of each pie and lift them out.

Put the pies on a wire rack with a sheet of foil underneath to catch any drips.  Heat the reserved syrup and brush it over the tops of the pies using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.  Serve warm or cold.
These will keep for 3 days if stored in an airtight container.  If you make them won't have any left.

~Adapted from Mini Cakes & Other bite-size Treats


Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Chocolate Hot Cocoa Cones - Stocking Stuffers!

This is a quick, yummy little stocking stuffer that can also be given to teachers, the mailman, anyone that you might have forgotten at Christmas time. 

You will need:
  • 2 disposable cake decorating bags
  • 1/2 cup instant Hot Cocoa mix
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • Candy cane or small ornament
  • Chenille stem or ribbon

1. Package hot chocolate mix. To make it easier to fill and package cone bags, insert them inside a tall, narrow drinking glass, votive or vase. Fold the cuff of the bag down over the lip of the glass, and add hot cocoa mix to the bag.
Remove cone bag containing hot chocolate mix, and secure with twist tie. This bag will be placed inside the second bag to hold the hot chocolate mix securely. Trim ends of bag to 1 inch.

2. Package candy treats and marshmallows. Place the second cone bag inside the glass, and fold down the top around the glass rim.
Place the sealed bag of hot chocolate mix inside the second bag, then layer chocolate chips over the top, followed by marshmallows.

3. Secure cone and decorate. Remove the filled bag from the glass, and use the chenille stem to secure the cone around the contents.  Add a candy cane (for stirring to add peppermint flavor to the hot cocoa) or a cute little ornament.
Each packet of will make approximately 4 8-ounce cups of hot chocolate.  The white chocolate will melt into the cocoa making an instant mix something special!

On a Christmas gift tag, add directions:
For a warming winter drink, add 2 Tablespoons
cocoa mix to 8 ounces hot water or hot milk;
garnish as desired, stir with the candy cane,
sip and enjoy!
~Adapted from Organized Home


Lamb Around

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Delightful Dumplings.....and some Chicken Paprikash

The focus of this dish - is the dumpling.  Smothered with gravy..yeah!  I could have absolutely done without the chicken!  Here is a version of how my Mom used to make her Chicken Paprikash.  Simple and delicious.

  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp. Hungarian Paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or used canned)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (optional)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large saute pan with a lid, melt butter and oil until hot.  Cook the chicken, turning once, until brown; 8-10 minutes.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add the paprika and onions to the pan and cook, stirring until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  Return chicken to the pan, add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered until chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

When chicken is ready, prepare the dumplings.
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Combine milk and egg in a medium bowl.  Combine flour and next 3 ingredients.  Add flour mixture to milk mixture; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moist.  Drop by heaping tablespoons onto chicken gravy.  Cook and cover about 7-8 minutes.
Do not remove cover until dumplings are done.

Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon to a serving dish.  If gravy needs thickening, mix 2 Tbsp. flour with 1/2 cup water and mix well.  Slowly add to pan dripping until gravy is the thickness you desire.  Stir in sour cream if using and just heat through.

Slowly pour gravy over dumplings.  Add freshly ground pepper and serve with the chicken.  These were so light and fluffy and the cornmeal gave them a little more flavor.  I hope you'll try this!

~Dumplings adapted from Cooking Light   

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beer-Battered Fish & Chips - London Style

There are not many "chippies" around anymore.  Getting a fish & chips dinner from the diner or Applebee's just doesn't cut it.  For an authenic British Fish & Chips, you could go into New York City to A Salt & Battery  in the Village.  Until I get there, here's a really good version of Fish & Chips.

  • 2-3 quarts of Peanut or Canola Oil
  • 4 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch sticks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bottle cold beer (light lager)
  • 2 lbs. haddock, cod or pollock fillets
Heat oil in a large deep pot over medium heat.  Bring oil to 325 degrees F.  Keep potato sticks in a bowl of cold water until ready to fry.  Remove from water and dry well with paper towel before frying.  Working in batches, fry the potatoes until tender but have no color.  Remove from oil and put on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Raise cooking oil to 375 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, seafood seasoning, baking soda and a pinch of salt.  Make a well in the center and gently stir in the cold beer.  Mix until just combined.

When oil is at the correct temperature, dip fish fillets in the batter mixture.  Coat generously.  Slowly slide the fish into the oil.  Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes.  When fish is done, remove and place on paper towel.  Arrange fish on a baking sheet with a cooling rack.  Keep fish in warm oven until serving.

Working in batches, fry the fries a second time until golden and crispy.  Drain on paper towels an toss with Kosher salt.
   Serve with Malt Vinegar, lemon and tartar sauce.  For authentic fish & chips, serve in a newspaper cone, lined with parchment.

~Adapted from Anne Burell
**When frying fish use caution as it does splatter from the moisture in the fish.

Tartar Sauce

1 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup dill pickle
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 Tbsp. capers
1 small scallion
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 drops hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor except mayo.  Add mayo and mix well; refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Roasted Broccoli, Beef and Potato Hotdish

When I stumbled upon this recipe, the first ingredient that caught my eye was Roasted Broccoli.
This is the only way I prepare broccoli now - so this recipe had my attention.  This is an easy casserole that can be made ahead and frozen.  Now who doesn't like broccoli and cheese!  With crispy potatoes on top - comfort food stuff for sure!

Roasting the broccoli before adding it to the casserole gives the whole dish a fresh, complex flavor.  If you want to keep it simple, skip roasting the broccoli and use 6 cups frozen and thawed in it's place.

  • 1-1/2 lbs. fresh broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. 95% ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 4 cups low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric (mainly for color)
  • 4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Additional cheese for top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Toss broccoli florets with 1 Tbsp. oil.  Spread out on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once, halfway through, until just soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large skilled over medium heat.  Add beef and onion and cook, breaking up beef, until beef is browned and onion is softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in Worcestershire, garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.
  4. Whisk milk and cornstarch in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often until bubbling and thickened; 6-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheddar, salt to taste and turmeric, until the cheese is melted.
  5. Spread the beef mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Top with the broccoli and pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top.

6.  Combine potatoes, egg, pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over casserole.  
Coat the top with butter-flavored cooking spray.
7.  Bake until casserole is bubbly and potatoes begin to brown, about 40 mins.  Sprinkle with paprika and
addition cheese (optional) and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead:  Prepare through Step 6.  Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month.
(defrost in refrigerator for 2 days before baking).  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
NOTE:  I could not find frozen shredded hash browns.  These were cubes, but they worked just fine.

~Adapted from Eating Well
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