Category Archives: Recipes

Artichoke and Spinach Strudel

Artichoke+and+Spinach+Strudel
Just how many recipes are there that use refrigerated crescent rolls?  That inexpensive tube of premade dough is used to create so many things besides what they are actually intended for.  While I enjoy making my own dough, it is such a time saver (and stress reliever) to whack that cardboard tube against the counter, unroll the sticky dough and stretch/roll/cut it into whatever shape is needed.This recipe is a perfect way to hide a load of good for you vegetables in a flaky buttery package.  Even my sometimes picky 3 year old thought it was good eating.  The sun dried tomatoes add a sweet component to the dish but I think it’s the chopped walnuts on top that is the ‘piece de resistance’.

Artichoke and Spinach Strudel
adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1-1/4 cups chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 (4 oz) container of sliced olives
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

 

Directions

  1. In a nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and tomatoes in 2 teaspoons olive oil until mushrooms are tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the spinach, pesto, pepper and, if desired, pepper flakes. Add the artichokes, olives, mozzarella cheese, 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and mushroom mixture; mix well.
  3. Unroll crescent dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Roll out into a 14-in. x 9-in. rectangle.
  4. Spread filling in a 3-in.-wide strip down center of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips to within 1/2 in. of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Whisk egg and remaining oil; brush over dough. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese; bake 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 slices.

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Mushroom Cheddar Quiche

Mushroom+Chedder+Quiche
Am I the only one who can never remember how to spell quiche?  Whenever I am looking online to look up a new recipe, it always takes me a few tries before Google figures out what I’m asking for.  Don’t they know what I’m asking for when I type keesh?  Luckily I found this recipe in my King Arthur Flour catalog so no searching required.  I modified the recipe slightly to use a premade crust to speed up the process but otherwise followed the recipe as is.
One of the best things about this recipe is that it is wonderfully rich without the million grams of fat that usually come in a quiche.  Instead of the cups of cream that are standard in quiches it uses just a 1/2 cup of milk.  I don’t miss the fat at all.  It’s creamy, flavorful and purely delicious.
 
Mushroom Cheddar Quiche
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 premade pie crust

1 oz unsalted butter
1 med onion, chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs thyme
1/2 tsp salt plus 1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Heat butter over medium heat in a large pan until foaming.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook unilt mushrooms start to lose their juices.

3.  Mix in the garlic, thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper.  Remove from the heat.

4.  Combine the eggs, milk and remaining tsp of salt.
5.  Place the pie crust in a 9″ pie pan and crimp the edges.
6.  Place the cheese on the bottom of the crust, top with the mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture over the top.

7.  Bake the quiche for 35-40 minutes.

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Lemon Zest Shortbread

Lemon+Zest+Shortbread

 

When my friends invited us over for a summer BBQ in their backyard I knew this was the recipe to make.  Light buttery shortbread with a hint of lemony summerness.
Cut into thin wedges, it was the perfect handheld dessert to munch on while watching the little ones chase each other around the yard with the wild abandon only the young can truly embrace.  I left the last few pieces at the party when we left and got the evil eye from Steve when I got home and he found out that it didn’t come home with us.
I don’t remember which cookbook I copied it from but it seems like it was Martha Stuart or Williams Sonoma.  Either way, it’s quick, easy and totally delicious.

You can also add a little pink gel food coloring and wala, pink lemonade shortbread. Perfect for a little girls tea party.

image

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Lemon Zest Shortbread
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbs for sprinkling
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degF.
2.  In a food processor, combine the flour, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and salt.  Pulse briefly to combine.  Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a rough ball.
3.  Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 10 inch springform pan.  Press the tines of a fork around the edge to form a decorative border, and then pierce the surface every 2 inches with the fork. 
4.  Sprinkle the surface with the 1 Tbs of granulated sugar.
5.  Bake until lightly golden at the edges and the center is firm to the touch, 45-50 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
6.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Using a long sharp knife, score the shortbread into thin wedges, and then let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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Easy Tortilla Casserole

Spicy+Tortilla+Casserole
This casserole is a great quick and easy week night meal.  If you have some leftover chicken from a previous meal like I did, it takes less then 10 minutes to put together.  For me, these are the perfect type of recipes for week nights.  By the time I get off work, pick up Rose and get home, it’s generally after 6pm.  I don’t want to spend the precious few hours Rose is still awake making anything complicated.
You can spice this up as much as you want by using different temperatures of salsa.  I found a fire-roasted one at my local Raley’s that gives it a nice kick and a lovely smokey flavor.
Spicy Tortilla Casserole
adapted from Raleys
2 cups Salsa of your choice (fire-roasted preferred)
1 (7 3/4-oz.) can Tomato Sauce
6 taco-size Corn Tortillas, divided
1 (16-oz.) can Refried Beans (spicy or regular)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 small can Sliced Olives
1.  Preheat oven to 375°F and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  Combine salsa and tomato sauce in a small bowl.
3.  Place 3 tortillas on the bottom of prepared dish (tear to fit evenly). Top with beans, 1/3 of
sauce, 1/3 of cheese and olives. Place 3 more tortillas on top; top with chicken, 1/3 of sauce and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, remaining sauce and remaining cheese.
4.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Top with sour cream if desired.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Roasted+Sweet+Potatoes

 

These sweet potatoes can easily be listed in a cookbook for ways to get your toddler to eat vegetables.  My almost 3 year old eats them like the candy that she thinks they are.  While they do take an hour to cook, the prep time is almost nothing.  It does regulate these to a weekend meal for this working mommy but they are worth the wait.
The slow heating of the foil tented sweet potatoes in the cold oven allows for the starches to be gently converted in to the maximum amount of sugars and then the foil removed roasting after, caramelizes the outside to a slightly crispy deliciousness.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

2 lbs sweet potatoes, ends trimmed, peels and cut into 3/4 inch rounds
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp table salt
ground black pepper
1.  Toss potatoes in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste until evenly coated.
2.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.   Arrange potatoes on baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.
3.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and place potatoes in cold oven.  Turn oven to 425F and cook for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove the top layer of foil and continue baking for 15-25 minutes or until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown.

5.  Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully flip the potatoes over.  Continue roasting until potatoes are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Basmati Rice

Basmati+Rice
I have to admit that more often then not I don’t take the time to steam my own rice on the stove top.  I love those rice packages that you stick in the microwave for 90 seconds and then wala! You have rice.  However, when I take the time to make a delicious curry, I take the extra 20 minutes to make this rice.  The subtle spices hint of exotic places and truly enhance any Indian dish it is served with.
It’s actually fairly quick and easy with only one extra step before starting the rice on a simmer.  The spices are all whole so do be aware of them when you serve the rice.  That cinnamon stick might be a little woody to gnaw on.
In a pinch I have used regular white rice in place of the basmati and 1 tsp of onion powder instead of the onion.  Both times it was still fabulous.

Basmati Rice

slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick, halved
2 cardamom pods
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
2 whole cloves
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
1.  Heat oil in medium saucepan over high heat until almost smoking.  Add whole spices and cook, stirring until they pop.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
2.  Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

3.   Add water and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer until all the water has been absolved, abut 17 minutes.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

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Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas

Curry

 

I’m a big lover of Indian food but have to admit that I don’t frequent the local restaurants much.  Mostly because I have no idea what I’m ordering and am always worried I’m going to get something I don’t like.  Luckily, the wonderful people over at America’s Test Kitchen took all the effort out of searching the web for recipes to make at home.  Plus, if it’s from ATK, it has an 90% chance of being delicious.

I did slightly alter the recipe (I substituted mushrooms for the green beans) and chose not to seed the serrano chile (it was tiny and I like a little heat) but otherwise it uses all of their perfect portions of seasonings and cooking methods.  I would encourage you to do your own vegetable substitutions for whatever you have in the fridge.  Just add it at the appropriate cooking time (ie potatoes and squash take longer to cook then green beans).

The fragrance that will permeate you kitchen (and entire house) will make you think you were in your favorite Indian food restaurant.
Serve over basmati rice and/or with Nann.

Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
makes 4-6 servings
2 Tbs curry powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
4 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
12 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor until nearly smooth
1 1/4 cup water
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1.  Toast curry powder and garam masala in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until spices darken slightly and become fragrant, about 1 minute.  Set aside.
2.  Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and potatoes are golden brown on the edges.
3.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining Tbs of oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.  Add toasted spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add mushroom and eggplant and cook, stirring constantly until spices coat the vegetables, about 2 minutes.

4.  Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, and 1 tsp salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in cream or coconut milk; continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.

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Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon+Rolls
These came to me in a dream.  Literally.  I was dreaming that I was working in an office with Dwight and Jim from The Office. (I had just watched the latest episode) Dwight was running around trying to run the office like a crazy guy and Jim was trying to keep everything calm.  (I think I have seen the show too many times)  Dwight asked me to make something for the staff to eat so I went into the kitchen area and found a can of crescent rolls, butter, sugar and cinnamon.  “I know!”, I thought.  “I’ll make up some quick cinnamon rolls!”  Then I woke up to my daughter calling my name as (heaven forbid) it was 6:30am and she wasn’t up eating breakfast yet.
When I came downstairs and opened the fridge I saw that I had everything I needed to make what I thought up in my dream.  And they were every bit as easy and good as I thought they would be.  Start to finish, including baking, these took me 15 minutes.

To be fair, most likely I have seen these somewhere on the internet and buried them deep in my subconscious until my sleeping brain brought them to the forefront.  I had been trying to think of a use for the can of crescent rolls in my fridge.  Yay for brain power!

You don’t need to melt the butter, very soft butter will do.  I just didn’t want to wait for it to warm up as I didn’t have any already out.  I also used my staple Vanilla-Butternut extract from King Aurthur Flour instead of vanilla in the glaze.  It’s wonderful with cinnamon rolls but vanilla will work just fine as well.

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

Rolls
1 can crescent rolls (qty 8 rolls)
2 Tbs butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Glaze
1/4 cup powedered sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp milk
1.  Heat the oven to 375F.
2.  Open the can of crescent rolls and separate them into individual triangles.
3. Brush the butter on each of the triangles.
4.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle an even amount onto each triangle.  You can put as much or as little on as you like depending on how cinnamony you like things.
5.  Roll up each triangle to form the crescents and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
6.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
7.  While the rolls are baking, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together to make the glaze.

8.  Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes then drizzle with the glaze.  Serve to your family and friends, making sure to let them think it took you hours.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate+chocolate+chip+cookie

So yaaaah, I looked back at when I last posted a recipe on this blog and it was approximately 9 weeks ago, right when I found out I was pregnant and immediately began the morning sickness cycle which has prevented me from wanting to cook or bake anything.  However, things are a little better, and in a moment of feeling good, I signed up for a blogging cookie exchange.  I’m glad I did as it forced me to bake again, which I love, and I have gotten two packages of the yummiest cookies.  I can’t wait to get the recipes!

I got Festive Itailian Cookies from Carol.  These are sweet and crumbly and oh so very good.  Perfect with a cup of tea.  Or coffee.  Or milk.  Or by themselves.

Italian+Cookies

I also received some of the best and softest gingerbread men I have ever had.  When I took this picture there were already half missing.  These are from Elena.

Gingerbread+Man



I also just received some Spiced Cookies filled with cranberry jam from Erin.  I haven’t had time to photograph them yet but let me tell you, they are as beautiful as they are delicious.  Take a look at the link to see them in all the beauty.  They put my misshapen cookies to shame.  🙂

For my cookies, I baked my Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These are the cookies that I fall back on every time when I have a huge chocolate craving.  These are  soft and oh so chocolaty.  They take a little bit of effort but are soooo worth it.

And I learned something about myself when making them.  While I am an engineer, a hands on perfectionist I am not.  While the dough logs I made looked nice and symmetrical, the cookies came out all sizes.  I never claimed to be Martha Stuart!

The picture above was the original batch of cookies I made for the cookie exchange.  Somehow, either the way I weighted the packages or how the terrible printer at home printed the labels, it looks like the packages are floating around the post office system somewhere.  I just made another batch and sent them out, this time going right up to the post office window and having them figure out the postage.  Lesson learned!  I am so sorry to all my cookie recipients out there.  I hope you get your cookies soon!


I did change up the recipe a little for the next batch and decided to make them a little more Christmas like.  I thinned out the log to about 1.5 inches, lowered the cook time to 11 minutes and plopped a candy cane Hershey Kiss on top once they were out of the oven. Yum!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Ghirardelli

1 bag 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips


1.  In a double boiler (or a bowl sitting on a sauce pan of simmering water), melt the bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.


2.  With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick.  Stir in the chocolate mixture.


3.  In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and espresso powder.  Stir into chocolate mixture.


4.  Gently mix in semi-sweet and white chocolate chips.


5.  Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long.  The dough will be very soft so use the plastic wrap to aid in making the logs.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.   It also freezes well at this stage.


6.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Unwrap dough and with a sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch slices.  Place 1-2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.


7.  Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until a crust forms on top of the insides still look gooey.  


8.  Let cool on the cookie sheet.  Enjoy with a big glass of milk.

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Cheesy Beef Pie

Beef+Pie
This pie is fabulous.  It’s cheesy, mushroomy, beefy, and buttery.  The Guinness adds a depth of flavor that’s just fabulous. It take a bit of time to make but it worth every tortuous hour you have to smell it cooking.  It’s even better as leftovers.

All the yummy ingredients go into a pot……

Beef+Pie+1

and end up like this.  Then it all goes into a puff pastry crust with a bunch of cheese.  How can you go wrong?

Beef+Pie+2
Cheesy Beef Pie
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs butter
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb beef brisket, cubed
1 can Guinness
1 tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook onions in olive oil until soft in large dutch oven.
  3. Add rosemary, garlic, butter, celery, carrots, mushrooms, beef, Guinness, flour, salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 2 hours.
  4. Simmer on stove top without lid for 30 minutes until thickened.
  5. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate.  Put 1 sheet of puff pastry in the pie plate. Add ½ of cheese to bottom of pie.
  6. Ladle beef mixture into pie with a slotted spoon to drain the excess fluid. Add remaining cheese.
  7. Top with 2nd puff pastry sheet.
  8. Brush with egg wash (1 egg plus a splash of water) and cut vents.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is golden brown.
  10. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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