Sunday, March 30, 2014

Home made Granola

Ok I'm in. Home made granola a deliciously delightful treat, snack, meal .......
I had seen this  recipe via Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) and thought wow that looks delicious and really easy to make. So when I was asked to include some granola in a wedding breakfast basket I thought here is my chance to use the recipe.

It is easy, a one pot wonder as we say because all the ingredients go into one bowl then you bake it in 1 pan and 45 minutes later you have this great granola that you can put in your cereal mix into your yogurt or just put in a baggie and you have an instant snack.

Thank you Ina Garten you have done it again.

Please note that the add ins can be suited to your particular tastes. Add or subtract the fruit, nuts as you wish.

Here is how it all comes together


4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

2 cups sliced almonds

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup good honey

1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots

1 cup small diced dried figs

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container

Delicious! Enjoy! if you make this please leave me a comment saying how much you enjoyed it and if you changed any of the ingredients.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

Still on the hunt for new and different vegetable side dishes. Something that does not include roasting or steaming (not that there is anything wrong with either method).

Looking through my refrigerator full of veggie choices I picked up a Butternut Squash and thought mashed potatoes, that's different. Something I hardly ever make since I am not a big potato fan (I much prefer rice as a starch). I believe I'm on to something so lets get started.
Here is what you will need:

1 butternut squash peeled deseeded and diced
1 diced red onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 apple (I used a pink lady but any firm cooking apple will do) peeled and diced
salt -pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
4oz. Colby jack cheese shredded
1/2 cup chicken broth
Start by sautéing the onion and garlic in a small bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. In the meantime place butternut squash in a pot of water and boil until soft (about 10 minutes). At about the 8 minute mark toss in the diced apple and continue cooking. I wanted the apple to cook but still retain just a bit of its crunch. Drain the butternut squash apple mixture then return to the pot.

Add the onion garlic mixture, ginger and poultry seasoning.

With a emersion blender puree the mixture. Add up to 1/2 cup of chicken broth if the squash is too thick. I did not puree the mixture smooth I like a bit of texture to my "mashed potatoes" but that is entirely up to you. Make it as smooth or as chunky as you like.

Now fold in most of the cheese (leave a bit for topping.) until it is melted. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and if you like add a little bit of bread crumbs to the topping as well.

Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes just until the cheese melts and get a bit golden.

Now I did not get a picture of the finished product as my family dug in before I could snap one but you get the idea.

It turned out to be a hit. Soft and creamy yet still with a bit of texture as the apples were a little crisp and there were some chunks of squash.  I was pleased as I attained a delicious healthy dish without adding a bit of butter or cream. Score one for me. Oh and I was pretty pleased with myself because I had found yet another new use for Butternut Squash.

Hope you give this one a try. If you do please leave me a comment saying that you did and if you enjoyed it as much as my family did.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pizza de Broccoli Rabe and Prisutto

Today's post is all about America's favorite food. Yes, I am talking pizza. Personally, (I know you are all going to think me crazy) but I do not really like pizza. Never eat it order it or even think about it.
I am not sure when this hate-hate relationship with pizza began but it has been with me for at least 45 years or so.

Don't get me wrong, I love pizza dough, sauce, cheese and any or all the topping one might put onto a pizza, just not all together. There is something about the combination that leaves me, well with a bad stomach. I don't care who makes it I just don't like it.

Having said that I was in Italy for quite a few years and while I was there I must admit I did have pizza a few times. Over there the pizza crust is paper thin the toppings are sparse and the Italians eat their pizza with a fork and knife. I was swayed a bit but not to the degree where I could say I had found a new love in eating pizza.

But I digress as we are talking about the love of pizza. Here is a pizza I came up with filled with all my favorite things. Broccoli Rabe, prisutto and cheese. How could you go wrong. Its basically a broccoli rabe sandwich so whats not to love.

Here's what you need:
1 store bought pizza dough (or your favorite home made recipe)
5 oz. Philadelphia Italian cheese & Herb cooking cream
1 small head sauted broccoli rabe
1 tbs olive oil (for broccoli rabe sauté)
2 cloves garlic chopped (for broccoli rabe sauté)
Salt –pepper (for broccoli rabe sauté)
4 oz. Italian prosciutto
4 oz. pignoli nuts
1-2 tbs olive oil (for drizzle on pizza)

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees
In a skillet saute broccoli rabe with 1tbsp olive oil & 2 cloves chopped garlic salt and pepper until wilted. Set aside to cool.
Spread pizza dough out to fit a 12 pizza pan.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Layer (frost) 5 -6 oz. cooking cream onto pizza crust
Top with broccoli rabe, prosciutto and pignoli nuts.
Place in 500° oven 10 min cooking until dough is crisp and browned.

What you will have is the crispiest most delicious pizza that will convert any pizza hating critic.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Leave me a comment letting me know if you tried this,

Until tomorrow eat well, live well.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stuffed Acorn Squash Cups

Today's post  is all about breaking out of the same old same old veggie side dishes for dinner. Getting in the produce aisle and looking for inspiration.  These cute acorn squash just jumped out and said "pick me pick me!"  I couldn't resist  thinking I could use them as individual little vessels for a meal. They are just the right size for a single serving, and their cup like shape would hold just about anything I wanted to stuff into them. Yup they were coming home with me.

 Here are the ingredients I put together for their filling. You can modify any or all the ingredients to suit your needs. Even add some ground meat to the mix and viola! An entire meal in one fell swoop. Don't we  love that being as busy as we all are these days. I love to cook but sometimes I do not want or have the time to spend all day in the kitchen.

2 small acorn squash
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion ,diced
1/2 stalk celery, small diced
handful of fresh or frozen cranberries and raisins
salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste (I hardly ever measure these ingredients)

Sautéed the garlic, onion and celery until just translucent. Set aside.
Onto those cutie squashes. Cut the tops off  the squash and save to the side. I also removed a bit of the bottom (so they stand flat in the baking dish).Remove the seeds and any membrane. Hollow out so you have a nice well so to speak where you can place your stuffing mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Any extra squash meat can be chopped up and tossed into the stuffing mixture.

Now return your cooked veggies back to the stovetop and add the cranberries, raisins, seasonings and because I thought it would be extra delish added some par cooked rice. Heat through just until the cranberries start to pop and everything starts to come  together as one.
Cool the stuffing mixture  so you can handle it and divide equally among the acorn squash.

Don't they look great. Now add a bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. You can check doneness by piercing the side of the squash with a knife. If it slides in easily they are good to go.

Hope you try this soon. Leave me a comment and let me know if you did.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sausage Egg Pie

Todays recipe "Sausage Egg Pie" is a sure hit, soon to be favorite with family, friends, just about anyone you serve it to. I have found from personal experience that it is especially a  favorite among the men. Maybe because it is so hearty yet light (If that makes any sense)

 I even shared the recipe with my sister who has 5 growing boys and they repeatedly asked her to make it. To this day it is still one of their favorite breakfasts.

A while back I owned and operated a small café where I developed this recipe to put on my Brunch Menu. From the first time I served it to the last, customers raved about it and recommended it to other customers.  It is versatile in that it can be served hot or room temperature, I'm told it is good even right out of the fridge. You can eat it sitting down or out of  hand for an on the go breakfast.
It even freezes well.(But I bet you wont have any leftovers). Just cut it up place a square in an airtight freezer bag. When you are ready to serve microwave it for a minute or two on defrost, and you are good to go

Having sung all it's praises (Did I mention it makes a great appetizer, just cut it up into smaller squares) lets get to the recipe.

To make Sausage Egg Pie you will need:

1 lb Italian sausage removed from casing (you can use turkey sausage)
1 cup biscuit mix
8 oz mix cheddar and Swiss cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp garlic powder
6 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven 350°.
Grease 2 qt casserole dish
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain
In large bowl mix sausage & remaining ingredients
Pour into casserole dish.
Bake uncovered for 45-50 min
Remove from the oven and let cool just a bit before slicing. Then cut into squares.
I used to serve the Sausage Egg goodness with either a side salad or fresh fruit. Either way it is quite and enjoyable meal.
Hope you give this a go. It's so fast and easy to put together it could be what's for breakfast tomorrow morning. You can make it  tonight refrigerate then bake it off in the morning. See it's versatility goes on and on.
 Please leave me a comment if you do try it and tell me how much your family loved it!
Until tomorrow eat well, live well.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

D.I.Y. Cake Ball, Small Desserts Board

Sometimes when I am designing ,creating a cake the hardest part for me is the cake board. I can agonize over the look of it for hours. I know that first and foremost it is all about the cake but the board can make or break your design. It is the presentation platter if you will and it if it's not correct or unfinished it can take away from the beauty of your cake. It is supposed to compliment even make your cake pop.

So many times I have made my own cake boards. This way I have complete control, plus it is way less expensive than purchasing a finished board. I hate spending a gazillion dollars on something that is going in the trash. I would rather put my money into the cake.

Having said all that I was asked to make some small desserts for a wedding shower and happily agreed. I was going to make my famous Oreo cookie cake balls and pound cake petit fours. Great now how was I going to transport them to the venue with out having them slip and slid all over. No matter what I put them on they would not make the trip and I was not able to box them then set them up once they got to the function. What  to do........ Here is what I came up with and how I did it. I am pretty pleased with my self.

Maybe someone has already done this but I haven't seen it so I am going to take full credit until someone tells me other wise.

Here is what you will need: (most of these items were purchased at the dollar store)

Foam core board
Box cutter
Ruler - pencil
Glue gun and sticks
Lollipop sticks
Mini cupcake liners
Straight Pin
Wilton Color Mist (I do not have an airbrush)

First measure your board to fit however many mini desserts you have made. In my case I had 42 (Yup it's not an even no. I know) so I counted out 6 across by 7 down and leaving a small boarder on each end cut the board to size.

 Next I decorated my board. This is completely up to you. I placed a cut doily on the board and used the Wilton Color Mist to make the decorations. This was really just as a bit of a dress up as you really are not going to see the board until the desserts are all gone.

Next I took the lollipop sticks and measured approx. 1/4 inch and cut them up into little pegs if you will. Then I placed the cupcake liners back onto the board and with a straight pin marked where each peg would go.
On to attaching the pegs. Place a small amount of glue at the end of each cut lollipop stick and attached it to the board wedging it into the board making sure it is secure.
To finish  hot glue a coordinating color ribbon to the edges of the board. Make a small hole into each cupcake liner and place them back onto the pegs.



I finished it off with some flowers and viola a portable cake board ready for my cake balls or petit fours, or whatever small dessert I wanted to make. I can wrap this and not worry that my desserts are going to shift or move they are secure. I can deliver and present my desserts in one shot.

I think this is a little different then just a regular tray or platter and there are no worries; at the end you can just toss the board in the trash. I think its professional yet practical.

Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know what you think, or if you would give this a try.
I welcome ideas as to how you would make this board work for you.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Today's post is about trying to take a not so exciting (yet good for you) vegetable and giving it a bit of a kick. I like zucchini don't get me wrong but I do tire so of just sautéing or baking it. I thought I would stuff it but with what.
I began to search my cupboards for inspiration and came upon a jar of Pumpkin Butter that I had never given a second look. Great I would use this with the zucchini and began to build the rest of the
dish around it. Would it work, or better yet taste good? Well I was about to find out.

Here is a list of the ingredients
2 med sized zucchini sliced in half lengthwise
small red onion diced
stalk of celery diced
1/4 red pepper diced
3 cloves garlic (I like garlic)
2-3 tablespoons pumpkin butter
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Start by sautéing your onions, celery, red pepper and garlic in a saute pan with olive oil.Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the veggies begin to soften.

Hollow out your cut zucchini boats chop the flesh up and add to the rest of the veggies in the sautee pan. Cook until tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to the touch.

Once the mixture is cooled a bit transfer it to a bowl and add your pumpkin butter and nutmeg. Mix all the ingredients well and stuff into each zucchini boat.
Next prepare your breadcrumb topping by mixing 1/2 cup shredded Colby jack cheddar and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs together. Sprinkle over each zucchini boat.

Place in a 350 degree oven and bake covered with tin foil for 20 min. Remove the tin foil and return to the oven for another 10 min to finish cooking and melt the cheese topping a bit.

Plate and enjoy! I was pleasantly surprised at how well this dish turned out. The pumpkin butter added a bit of sweetness while the nutmeg was just a hint of hmmmmmm what is that. The crunchy topping was just the ticket as the cheese gave the zucchini the sharpness it needed.

All in all I would say success, as I accomplished what I set out  to do. Take a familiar vegetable and give it a surprising new taste.

The zucchini boats were accompanied by a simple salad and a turkey meatloaf. Yummy.

Please feel free to leave your comments. Let me know what you think of the recipe if you give it a try.

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Until tomorrow eat well live well.


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