Saturday, July 30, 2011

Italian Pepper & Egg Crostini

Nothing fancy here, just a plain ole Pepper & Egg Sandwich....

I'll bet you haven't thought of this in a while have you?
Fry up some peppers and onions, toss in and scramble the eggs.  If you want an exact recipe....

  • 2 green or red peppers washed, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 large Vidalia or Spanish Onion
  • 6 large eggs, scrambled in a bowl with 1Tbsp. water
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread sliced
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Hot or Sweet Cherry Peppers (optional)
In a large skillet, add olive oil and garlic and saute on medium-low until garlic is golden.  Add peppers and onions.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft.  Add eggs, stirring well and cook eggs through.  Sprinkle with cheese and red pepper flakes and serve on a roll..........OR.....

Turn it into something a little more fancy - Crostini!

 Chop up the peppers instead of slicing for the Crostini for easier eating.
When the eggs were done, I topped these with grated Manchego cheese and covered the pan just until the cheese melted and sprinkled with crushed red pepper.

These can be served warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breast of Chicken in Lemon-Herb Sauce

I'm always searching for recipes for chicken cutlets.  Especially where there is no breading and frying involved.  This is a light baked dish, a roulade that has the crunch of breadcrumbs in a light, lemony sauce.

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
  • 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves, garlic, peeled
 Cut each breast in half crosswise.  Pound gently to flatten them slightly, to about 1/2" thick.  Toss the breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. parsley, 1/2 tsp oregano and salt to taste, together in a bowl until blended.  Spread 1 tsp. of bread-crumb mixture over each piece of chicken, reserving the remaining crumbs.  Roll each chicken piece into a spiral and fasten with a toothpick.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Arrange the filled chicken breasts in a 13 x 9 baking dish.  Stir the wine, stock, lemon juice, hot pepper; the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and salt together in a small bowl.  Pour over the chicken.  Whack the garlic cloves and scatter them among the chicken pieces.  Bake 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Top the chicken with the remaining bread-crumb mixture and bake until the bread-crumb topping is golden brown, 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the chicken pieces onto a warm platter.  Pour the juices into a saucepan, remove garlic if you prefer and bring to a boil and reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.  Serve chicken with pan juices.

~Adapted from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen
Linked to Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chocolate-Coconut Joy Bars

Sometimes you feel like a nut - sometimes you don't!  I guess I fall into the "nut" category for putting my oven on in this heat, but it's much better today.   This is a sneak preview of one of the new Fall/Winter recipes from The Pampered Chef Season's Best collection.  These bars have the flavor of the popular candy bar and are so easy to make!

You will need:
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 bag (14 oz.) sweetened, flaked coconut, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups Devil's Food cake mix (1/2 box)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
  • Toasted sliced almonds for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Finely chop almonds.  Combine almonds, 1 cup of the coconut, flour, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  Add butter;  and mix until combined.  Press mixture onto bottom of  11 x 15 sheet pan.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, egg and water;  whisk 1 minute or until smooth.  Pour batter over warm crust; carefully spread to edges.  Sprinkle batter evenly with 1/2 cup of the chocolate morsels and remaining coconut.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until coconut is toasted.

Place remaining 3/4 cup chocolate morsels in 1 cup glass bowl.  Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1 minutes or until mostly melted.  Stir to fully melt chocolate.  Spoon melted chocolate into resealable plastic bag.  Twist top of bag; trim corner.  Drizzle chocolate over toasted coconut topping.  Garnish with toasted sliced almonds.  Cut into 24 bars.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
~Source:  The Pampered Chef  Season's Best Fall/Winter

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blueberry-Cheese Blintzes

Have you tried blintzes?  Isn't a blintz a kind of Jewish burrito?  A blintz is a crepe-like pancake that is folded around a filling, mostly cheese-based.

Blintzes are an Eastern European and Jewish brunch item or dessert.  They are like little pillows which you can keep in the fridge overnight and fry them up right before serving.  I hope you find these delicious!

For the crepes:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting
 For the filling:
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the sauce:
  • 1 pint blueberries (about 2 cups)
  • 6-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of coarse salt
Make the crepe batter:  Whisk together milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 Tbsp. melted butter, and eggs in a medium bowl.  Whisk in flour and salt; set aside.

Make the sauce:  Stir blueberries, sugar, butter, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring mixture to a low boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, stirring often, until berries begin to break down and release their juices, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Make the filling:  Puree cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a food processor.  Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in blueberries.  Set aside.

To make the crepes:  Stir together remaining 3 Tbsp. melted butter and the oil in a small bowl;  reserve 1/4 cup for cooking crepes.  Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Lightly brush pan using remaining butter-oil mixture.  Pour a 1/4 cup batter into pan; swirl to form an even layer.  Cook until bottom is lightly browned, about 1-1/2 minutes.  Using a heatproof spatula, flip crepe; cook 30 seconds.  Transfer to a plate.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Transfer a crepe to a clean work surface or plate.  Spoon 2 heaping Tbsp. filling onto crepe 1 inch from bottom and sides.  Fold bottom over filling.  Fold in sides and roll up.  Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.

Heat the reserved 1/4 cup butter-oil mixture (about 1 Tbsp. at a time)  Fry blintzes, turning once until golden and crisp.  Spoon warm sauce over top and dust the with confectioner's sugar.

I now have all the best blueberries recipes I could ask for from all my friends that linked up to my Blueberry Overload Party!   The party is still going on, so be my guest and add your best blueberry recipe!

These are not that difficult to make.  The most important thing to have is a good non-stick pan.  I brushed the pan again with the butter-oil mixture after about cooking 3 of the crepes.  The first one never comes out so just toss it!  There was a little confusion when I read this recipe.  Make the crepes:  Stir together remaining 3 Tbsp. melted butter and the oil in a small bowl; reserve 1/4 cup for cooking blintzes.  What were you supposed to do with the rest of it?  I added it to the crepe batter.  I did not fry them in the butter-oil mixture.  I just lightly sauteed them in butter.  If you like them crisp, then fry until golden.

Golden, delicate pancakes with a velvety, light cheesecake-like filling,
That's the only way I can describe them to you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Peach Bourbon BBQ Ribs

This dish is sort of an Asian-fusion that I came up with.  East meets The South!  These ribs are cooked in a slow cooker and finished off on the grill.  The ribs are sticky and sweet, the fresh peach salsa has a little kick, and the sesame jasmine rice pulls it all together.

For the ribs you will need:
  • 4 lbs. pork loin ribs
  • 1 12-oz jar peach preserves
  • 1 cup Saucy Susan
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Crushed Peppercorn and Garlic Rub*
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper   
Cut ribs into single-rib portions.  Place ribs in your 4-quart slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, combine peach preserves, onion, peppercorn and garlic rub, bourbon, mustard, vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper; pour over ribs and stir to coat.

Cover and cook on high setting for 4 hours.  Remove ribs from cooking liquid and place on a sheet pan.  Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Pour cooking liquid in a medium sauce pan.  Skim off as much fat as you can.  Bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

While sauce is reducing.  Heat up the grill.  When sauce is ready, pour over ribs.  Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Fresh Peach Salsa:
  • 3 large, ripe peaches, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 whole lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Cilantro for garnish
Combine all the above ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*A Pampered Chef Product

Sesame Jasmine Rice:
  • Prepare Jasmine Rice as package directs.  Add 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives and 1/2 to 1 tsp. sesame oil.  Top with sesame seeds.

 ~Adapted from Asian at Home

Summer's Simple Pleasures - One of my Favorite Things

When the first tomato comes off the vine, I get dibs - no questions asked!  I know many of you down South have already harvested your tomatoes.  Mine are just starting.  One of my favorite things that I look forward to each summer is a simple tomato sandwich.

We are famous here in Jersey for our tomatoes and corn.  After eating all those cardboard tomatoes throughout the winter, this is a real treat!

Just sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, a little bit of mayo on toast.  I'm a happy camper!

Happy Summer :o)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Super Nachos

I picked my first jalapeno pepper from the garden yesterday to make this recipe.  I don't know if because it was just picked but....that little sucker was volatile!  This recipe for the nachos called for two jalapenos;  one in the Pico de Gallo salsa, and one in the beef and beans.  I used half of this jalapeno for each, but if you prefer it hotter, stick with the original recipe.

Pico de Gallo Salsa:
  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (or substitute parsley if you hate cilantro)
  • Salt
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Beef and Beans Topping:
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1 can black beans, drained 
Cheese Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 lb. pepper jack cheese, shredded; about 2-1/2 cups 
Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil, garlic, onion and pepper to the pan and saute 2 minutes.  Add meat and crumble with a spoon and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper sauce.  Cook 5 minutes.  Stir in beans and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until beans are heated through.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add flour and cook for a minute or two to take out raw flour taste.  Add milk and bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.  Off heat, add cheese and stir until melted and combined.

Arrange a mixture or tortilla chips on a platter and pile it up!  You can add sour cream, chopped scallions, black olives, sliced avocado and really make them SUPER!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Today's reason to celebrate - National Ice Cream Day.  Go eat some ice cream!  It's your civic duty!  President Ronald Reagan declared July to be National Ice Cream Month and the 3rd Sunday of the month to be set aside for the eating of creamy frozen treats.

Sprinkles or Jimmies?  What do you call those little confections on top of Banana Splits?  I call them Jimmies.  I put the whipped cream, jimmies and a cherry "on the side" of this delicious ice cream cake.  The chocolate sauce is amazing!

You will need:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted plus 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4-5 medium bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1-1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream, softened (your choice of ice cream of course)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 8-ounce container whipped topping
In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter.  Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture, then press the remainder into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Place the bananas in a single layer over the crust.

Spread the softened ice cream on top and smooth.  Sprinkle the nuts on the ice cream, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth.  Add the confectioner's sugar and evaporated milk.  Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Cool the mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour the mixture over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with reserved crumbs.  Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer about 20 minutes before slicing.  Serves 18
Sharing this recipe with  A Musing Potpourri Ice Cream Social
                                     Kitchen Boquet Ice Cream Social
                                     Little Rays of Sunshine - So Sweet Sunday
                                     Melt in your Mouth Monday
~Adapted from Disney Family Fun

Banana Split Sundae Ice Cream Cake

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pan-Fried Cabbage & Noodles (Haluski)

Here is another traditional Polish comfort dish - we could really call it a deconstructed Pierogi!  All the flavors without all the fuss.  These make a great side dish along with some crispy grilled kielbasi - yum! 

  A favorite of all of Eastern Europe.  The cabbage prepared this way is very nutty and sweet.  Not what you would expect. I hope you will try it!
  • 4 cups egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced, sweet onion
  • 6 cups cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, sprinkle with brown sugar and saute, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until onions are softened and just beginning to turn golden.

Add cabbage to skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until cabbage starts to wilt and shrink down.  Stir in caraway (if using).  Add chicken broth, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in noodles and cook until noodles are heated through.  You can serve this with sour cream, or we even used to stir in cottage cheese.
Sharing with Vintage Recipe Thursday

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time for Basil Pesto Cubes!

I grow fresh basil every year in my garden. Now when the basil and parsley are plentiful, make extra pesto and freeze it into cubes or small containers to use through the winter.

1-1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley
4 plump garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups walnut pieces
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pesto;  Heap the basil, parsley, garlic, walnuts and salt into the food processor.  Pulse several times to chop everything together coarsely, then, with the machine running, pour in the 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow steady, stream.  

If using immediately, put all the pesto into a large bowl big enough to toss all the pasta in.  Use the pasta of your choice; spaghetti or linguine, or even a short pasta works well.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Shortly before the pasta is done, ladle 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water into the bowl, and stir to warm and loosen the pesto.  Toss the pasta and sauce together and sprinkle with a generous amount of grated Parmigano cheese.

To store and use the pesto later.  Scrape the pesto from the food processor into a small jar or container.  Smooth the top surface, and cover it with a thin layer of olive oil or a piece of plastic wrap to prevent discoloration.  Refrigerate for a week, or freeze for several months; warm to room temperature before using.

To freeze into cubes eliminate walnuts from recipe. Transfer the paste into ice cube trays.  When frozen, pop them out and store in zip-top freezer bags.  Add one cube (or more if you prefer) to your simmering sauce.  As the cube melts into the sauce, you immediately get the fragrance of the fresh basil as if you just picked it.  They last me all winter long, depending on how many times you make your gravy. 

This is a great condiment too;  put a spoonful on fish or chicken hot off the grill for a real treat!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mexican Fiesta Salad Pizza

Tacos are a quick, easy summertime meal.  Instead of piling up those favorites on a taco shell that usually falls apart and makes a delicious mess, try it on a pizza!

While the dough is baking, make the beef filling, get all the condiments ready and your done!

You will need:  
  • 2 pkgs. refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1-1/4 lbs. 93% lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1-1/4 cups medium thick and chunky salsa
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup pitted ripe olives, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to  375 degrees F.  Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles.  Arrange the triangles in a circle on a pizza pan or baking stone with wide ends even with the edge of the pizza pan.  Pinch seams to seal.  Bake 15-18 minutes.

In a skillet, cook ground beef or turkey over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking meat into crumbles.

Combine salsa, seasoning mix and garlic and add to beef in skillet.  Toss to coat.  Spread sour cream over crust.  Spoon beef mixture over sour cream.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and olives (if using).

Mexican Fiesta Salad Pizza

Monday, July 11, 2011

Make-Ahead Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

Homemade macaroni & cheese is a comfort food favorite.  After preparing and freezing, it's almost as easy as the store bought microwave version or boxed brand.  Give it a try!

You will need:  
  • 2 microwave-safe 8-inch square baking dishes for this recipe
  • 4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups shredded colby cheese
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
 Process topping:  Pulse bread, Parmesan, garlic and 2 Tbsp. butter in food processor until coarsely ground.  Divide crumb mixture between 2 zip-lock freezer bags and freeze.

Cook pasta:  Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. salt and macaroni and cook until barely softened, about 3 minutes (important to avoid mushy blown-out macaroni).  Drain pasta, then spread out on rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Make sauce:  Heat remaining butter, flour, mustard and cayenne (if using) in empty pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant; about 1 to 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Off heat, whisk in colby, cheddar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until smooth.

Freeze:  Stir cooled pasta into sauce, breaking up any clumps until well combined.  Divide pasta mixture between two 8-inch square baking dishes.  Cool to room temperature.  Wrap dishes tightly with plastic, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 2 months.
I used foil to freeze them and then transferred to a micro-wave casserole since I didn't have two 8" baking dishes.

Bake:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Remove foil from casserole and reserve.  Microwave casserole until mixture is thawed and beginning to bubble around edges, 7 to 12 minutes, stirring and replacing plastic halfway through cooking.  Discard plastic and cover pan with reserved foil.  Bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and sprinkle with 1 bag frozen bread crumbs.  Continue to bake  until crumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes longer.  Let cool 10 minutes.

Make-Ahead Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stuffed Peppers - Italian Style

Stuffed peppers are a Polish dish that I grew up with.  Bell peppers stuffed with beef and rice and a sauce made with tomato soup (that was my mom's way).  This is my Italian version of stuffed peppers using cubanelle or "Italian frying peppers".  They have a slight kick to them and are thin walled.

Yeah it's like 90 degrees and I'm still baking.  Crank up the AC!  You might think I'm looney tunes, but while this was baking, I was wishing we all had Smell-O-Blog!  After I took the peppers out of the oven and tossed in the garlic bread, I was just looking forward to this.

You will need:
  • 1/3 cup Arborio rice
  • Salt
  • 6-8 cubanelle or Italian frying peppers
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or a mix of pork and beef)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 3 cups tomato sauce (see below)
Cook the Arborio rice in a saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente - about 12 minutes.  Drain and cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare the peppers and start the filling;  Cut the stems from the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a teaspoon.  Heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until onions start to caramelize.  Scrape the onion mixture into a bowl, add the ground beef, grated cheese, parsley, oregano and cooked rice and stir together until evenly blended.

Divide the filling among the peppers, using about 1/4 cup to fill each pepper loosely.  Rub the outside of the peppers lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive, placing them in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish as you do so.  Roast the peppers, turning once or twice with tongs, until softened and lightly browned in spot, about 20 minutes.

Pour in enough of the tomato sauce barely to cover the peppers.  Cover the dish with foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through; 30-40 minutes.  In the last ten minutes of cooking time, remove foil and sprinkle with a 4 cheese Italian blend, a sprinkle of oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.  Cook until browned and bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tomato Sauce:  
  •  1- 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil  
  • Pulse in food processor just a few times to break up tomatoes 
~Adapted from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen

Polish Stuffed Peppers - Italian Style

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blueberry Overload Muffins

The following recipe for Blueberry Overload Muffins are extra-large and yummy with the sugary-cinnamon crumb topping.  I doubled the recipe and filled jumbo muffin cups just to the top edge for a wonderful extra-generously-sized muffin.

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease muffin cups or line with cupcake liners.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Place oil into a 1 cup measuring cup;  add the egg and milk and stir to combine.  Add oil, egg and milk to flour mixture and mix well.  Fold in blueberries carefully.

 Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To make crumb topping:  Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for regular size muffins - add about 10 additional minutes for jumbo muffins.  Check with toothpick for doneness.

Blueberry Overload Muffins

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Tomato Pie

Most people hear the words "tomato pie" and think pizza, or maybe green tomato pie, but this is neither.  It's an open pie heaped with slices of fresh, summer tomatoes.  I found two tomato pies that I wanted to try, so here's Number One.  The second is a double crust pie with a combination of tomatoes, cheddar and mayonnaise.  You be the judge!

You will need:
  • 1 (9-inch) frozen pie shell, thawed
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2" thick slices
  • Kosher Salt for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Blind bake pie shell lined with foil and fill with beans or rice.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool.

Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and drain on paper towel 10-15 minutes.  Pat dry.

Spread mustard over the bottom of the shell and sprinkle with cheese.  Arrange tomatoes over the cheese in one overlapping layer.

Bake until pastry is golden brown and tomatoes are very soft; 35-40 minutes.  In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, thyme garlic and olive oil.  Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon.  Serve at room temperature.

Summer Tomato Pie

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...