Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pineapple Pie Squares

Whenever I see those little Tastykake pies on the shelf - I grab 'em.  They seem to be dwindling away just like all the little packaged cakes we grew up with.  This is a version of one of my favorites - Pineapple Pie.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup Crisco Shortening
1 Tbsp. melted butter

2 large cans Dole crushed pineapple
1-1/4 cups sugar
7 Tbsp. Minute Tapioca
In a medium sauce pan, bring crushed pineapple (with juice) sugar and tapioca to a boil.  Cook on medium low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes; let cool.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar with Crisco as for pie crust.  Add milk to beaten eggs and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients and mix.  Roll out half of the crust to fit a greased 11 x 16" cookie sheet.  Spread cooled filling and cover with the other half of rolled dough.  When putting the top dough on, carefully roll it up on to your rolling pin and unroll onto filling.  You won't be able to move it once you place it on the filling.  Crimp edges to hold in filling.  

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.  Cool about 5 minutes and brush with 1 Tbsp. of melted butter.  Sprinkle liberally with confectioner's sugar when cool and cut into squares.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hamburger Buddy

More like a hamburger goulash, this dish is a quick, one-pot dinner that you can "sneak" in veggies for a healthy meal.  You may want to check this out:  Hamburger Helper Nutrition Information. 
With the help of your food processor, the prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes tops.

3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces white mushrooms, cut in half
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and Pepper
2 cups water
1-1/2 cup beef broth
8 ounces elbow noodles (whole wheat for more nutrition)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Parsley for garnish
Process garlic, carrots, mushroom and onions in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Cook beef in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking it up until no longer pink.  Drain fat.  Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until the vegetables start to soften and mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in water, beef broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender, 12 to 14 minutes.

Stir in the sour cream.  Simmer, stirring often until the sauce is thickened.  Serve sprinkled with parsley.
**Toss in some cheddar cheese and make a "Cheeseburger Buddy"**
~Adapted from Eating Well
Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1⅓ cups
  • Per serving: 204 calories; 3.0 g fat(2.0 g sat); 5.0 g fiber; 38.0 g carbohydrates; 9.0 g protein; 33.0 mcg folate; 9 mg cholesterol; 5.0 g sugars; 0.0 g added sugars; 3498.0 IU vitamin A; 5.0 mg vitamin C; 68.0 mg calcium; 2.0 mg iron; 534 mg sodium; 416.0 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (70% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 medium-fat meats

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Apple Pie Breakfast - Overnight Oatmeal (Slow-Cooker)

Who wouldn't want to wake up to a warm apple pie for breakfast?  It takes about 2 minutes to put this in your slow cooker.  Wake up, put the coffee on and breakfast is served.  This recipe uses steel cut oats, a little more sturdier than rolled oats.  Perfect for cold, winter weekday mornings to get you and your kids off to a nutritious, healthy start!

l cup steel-cut oats (or Irish oats)
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup half & half
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker, set on Low setting for 8-10 hours.  Add sugar to taste.
Easy Peasy!

Makes two hearty servings.
~Adapted from Good Eats

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple & Onion Beer Braised Pork Chops

Granny Smith apples add sweetness to this savory beer-braised pork chop dinner.  You can also substitute pears which would be just as delicious.  This is an old recipe that's marked "Yugoslavian Pork Chops". 

6 center cup pork chops, bone-in (3/4 to 1-inch thick)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups lager beer
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Trim chops of any excess fat.  I cut off the tail of the chop and dice into small pieces.  Brown fat and pork pieces until golden brown and crispy.  Set aside.
In the pan drippings, brown chops and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
 Add garlic, onions and apples and saute until golden brown.
Add apple onion mixture to your baking pan.
Top with pork chops.
Melt butter in same skillet and add flour.  Cook for about 1 minute.
Add beer and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits.  Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.
Pour gravy over pork chops and apple and onions, cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes and Harvard Baby Beets.

Harvard Baby Beets
(sweet & sour)

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2-1/2 cups cooked baby beets
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper

Mix sugar and cornstarch.  Add water and vinegar and bring to a boil until thickened
Add beets and cook slowly stirring occasionally until beets are heated through.
Add butter and season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake

It was 18 degrees this morning - perfect excuse to put the oven on, make the kitchen toasty warm, and whip up the easiest, tastiest "sticky biscuits" you'll ever enjoy.


1/2 lb. bacon, cooked until medium-brown
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
1 cup cold milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8" square pan.
Chop the cooked bacon into 1/2" pieces.  Combine the bacon with the remaining syrup ingredients, stirring until well combined.  Spread in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Whisk the dry ingredients for the biscuits together in a bowl.  Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Add the milk or buttermilk, stirring to make a sticky dough.

Drop the dough in heaping tablespoonfuls on top of the syrup in the pan.  Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes.  Turn the oven off, and leave them in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until golden.

Remove the biscuits from the oven, and immediately turn the pan over onto a serving plate.  Lift off the pan, and scrape any syrup left in the pan onto the biscuits.  Pull biscuits apart to serve.
~Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Cooks Note:  These do harden up a bit when cool.  Just pop in the microwave to 20-25 seconds to warm them.  You could also use 2 Tbsp. of the bacon fat instead of the butter in the syrup............just saying......:o)
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Matzo Ball Soup

We all know that chicken soup is closely associated with comfort and well-being.  In Jewish households, its earned the nickname Jewish penicillin.  Some matzo balls can be "belly sinkers".  In this recipe, we add a little seltzer or club soda to ensure that they turn our light and airy.

1 - 3 lb. whole chicken
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 ribs celery, diced
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 turnip, peeled and diced (optional)
 Salt and pepper to taste

Matzo Balls

2 large eggs
3 Tbsp. rendered chicken fat*, or vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. matzo meal
2 Tbsp. seltzer or club soda

OK...The original recipe for this soup contained Chicken Feet.  I respect everyone's culture, but I could not see chicken feet floating in my soup.  I looked up the benefits.  Collagen, they contain alot of collagen.  It is the secret why most people in Asian countries look younger than they are and consider this a delicacy.

Matzo balls are very bland.  If you add the rendered chicken fat, it gives them much more flavor.  *Prepare the soup, chill, and the next day removed the fat on the surface.  Now you can make your matzo balls.  You can also simmer the matzo balls in the soup, but the soup becomes cloudy.

Season the chicken with salt to taste and add it to a large stock pot, cover with about 4 quarts water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove any scum that comes to the surface.  Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery.  Bring to a gentle simmer and skim the surface if needed.  
After about an hour at a gentle simmer, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings.  Remove the chicken to a baking sheet and allow to cool for a few minutes.  If you like, break the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the soup - or make Chicken Salad.

Whisk together the chicken fat, club soda, salt and eggs in a small bowl.  Add matzo meal and whisk to combine.  Cover and chill the matzo mixture for 15 minutes.

Bring 2 qts. salted water to a boil over high heat.  With wet hands or a smalls scoop dipped in water, form the matzo mixture into 1-inch balls.  Reduce the heat to medium and drop in the matzo balls.  Cook covered, for about 15 minutes.  Stir the matzo balls gently and simmer, covered, until fluffy, about 10 minutes more.  Transfer the matzo balls to the broth.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

~Adapted from Saveur

Friday, January 6, 2012

Maccheroni with Fresh Lemon & Cream

Today it's called pasta.  Macaroni or maccheroni, to me, is what we always called it.  Unless it was spaghetti.
This is a fast, fresh pasta sauce with lemon and wine and all the cooking takes barely 5 minutes - less time than cooking the maccheroni.  I chose farfalle for this dish, but it would be just as delicious with any pasta.

Maccheroni all'Agro

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 heaping tsp.)
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed (about 1/4 cup)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. pasta
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino  or Parmigian-Reggiano (for a milder flavor)
Extra-virgin olive oil, best-quality, for serving

Drop the butter into a skillet and set over medium heat.  Add lemon zest and stir until sizzling.  Pour in the white wine and lemon juice, add the salt, stir and bring to a bubbling simmer.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Slowly pour in the cream, whisking into the simmering wine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced slightly; 2 to 3 minutes.  Have the pasta cooking and ready to go and cook till al dente.  Toss the cooked pasta into the sauce.  Turn off the heat and add your grated cheese and toss well.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve in warm bowls.  Pass cheese at the table.  This thickens as the al dente pasta continues cooking in the pot.
Buon Appetito!
 Lidia's Recipe Club

~Adapted from Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy - Abruzzo

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Corned Beef Hash - A Yankee Breakfast

The word hash comes from the French (but of course) hacher, meaning "to slice or chop up".  A breakfast tradition, especially with a freshly poached egg on top.  Take away the eggs, add a green salad, and dinner is served.  By adding chopped cooked beets to the mixture, you get Red Flannel Hash, a Yankee classic.

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups cooked cubed potatoes (or frozen hash browns)
2 cups chopped, lean cooked corned beef
1/2 tsp. oregano
Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-4 fresh eggs
Parsley for garnish

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, red bell pepper, garlic and potatoes and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the corned beef, oregano and black pepper and mash down lightly.  Cover and cook 10-12 minutes until browned.  Stir up the hash, add the cream and mash down again.  Make 2 wells and crack in your eggs.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until eggs are to desired doneness.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Porcini/Cremini Mushroom Beef Barley Stew - Crock Pot

I think a slow cooker recipe should taste as good as when you cook the food on the stove top.  As much as I love the convenience of the slow cooker, I have not found many recipes that I can say - tasted as good as cooking on the stove - except for this one.  Take a few extra steps at the beginning and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work.  Saute the meat first and deglaze the pan with a nice wine, makes all the difference.

  • 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small bag baby carrots
  • 1 10 oz. pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (about 7 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth (or homemade stock)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or homemade stock )
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Parsley (for garnish)
Dry the beef pieces with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown beef in two batches and add to slow cooker.
Browning the meat in two batches leaves you the caramelized fond.

Add more tsp. of oil into the pan and saute the onions, garlic and carrots with a little salt.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the wine, scraping up the brown bits.  Simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 1 minute.  Pour it all into the slow cooker.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, mushrooms, beef and chicken broth, thyme and barley and cover.  Cook 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.  Add fresh parsley.

When you serve this the day that it's made, it has more of a soup consistency.  The next day (which is always better) it thickens more like a stew.  Serve with crusty bread and butter. 

~From Dorothy

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Put the lime in the coconut, you such a silly woman!,
Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both together,
Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better.

How about we put the coconut in the banana bread and drizzle with a lime glaze?  Then you'll feel better!
When I went to make this recipe it called for 1/4 cup of plain low-fat yogurt.  I thought maybe I could subsitute applesauce, but I didn't have that either.  I did have some of my homemade Apple Butter  and since it was only 1/4 cup - I thought it couldn't hurt.  Maybe it was the Apple Butter with the cinnamon and spices, but this banana bread was delicious!  The lime glaze was sooo good with it!

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (apple butter substituted)
  • 3 Tbsp. dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add banana, yogurt, rum and vanilla; beat until blended.  Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.  Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.  Spoon batter into a 9 x 5 loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. coconut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire rack.  Remove from pan.  Combine powdered sugar and lime juice and drizzle over warm bread.  Cool completely.

~Adapted from Cooking Light

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