Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I got this recipe from a Rachael Ray magazine a few years ago. Very yummy with or without bacon.


4 large Idaho potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground turkey (I only use 1 lb.)
Freshly ground pepper
2 onions, chopped (I only use 1 large)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (I used chicken boullion)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 teaspoon paprika


1. Place potatoes in a small, deep pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Salt the water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes, then add the turkey and break it up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; push it to the side and add the onion and carrots to the center. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then mix everything together. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and poultry seasoning. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan with a foil tent to keep in some of the moisture. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Preheat the broiler to high. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add 1/3 cup cream, salt, pepper, the egg, butter, and chives and smash until potatoes are almost smooth.

4. Remove the foil from the pan and stir in the peas and remaining cream. Scrape up any browned bits and turn off heat. Scrape the turkey mixture into a casserole dish and top with the potatoes. Broil until the top is golden. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vegetarian Chili

2 cans (each 19 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained or 4 cups soaked, cooked and drained
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, with juice
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies, with liquid
3 Tablespoons chili powder (I used Penzey's)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
for topping:
sour cream
more cilantro
In slow cooker, combine everything except the cilantro; stir it up.
Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours, until bubbling and hot, and somewhat darker than when it all went in. Add cilantro; cook another 20 minutes. Spoon into bowls and top with dollop of sour cream and additional chopped fresh cilantro.
The whole thing can be assembled up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated in the cooker stoneware. Just slip the insert into the cooker the next morning and cook away. I find that this is better cooked and eaten the following day; flavors meld and deepen.

Coconut Panna Cotta

I made this for dessert on Christmas; we needed a light dessert after all the chocolate, egg nog, and gingerbread goodness that was being consumed. This is SUPER EASY!!! It originally came from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.
We served it after a pretty rich dinner: crown of lamb, roasted garlic potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon and a green salad (arugula, blue cheese, walnuts). We served it with Asti spumante; Martinelli's would work well too. I made the crackers a week in advance and they kept nicely in a tupperware.
for the panna cotta:
1(14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk
1/3 cup natural cane sugar (I used 1/4 cup and it was fine)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Agar Agar flakes or 3/4 teaspoon agar powder (I used the flakes)

Lightly oil 6 ramekins and set aside. Place coconut milk, milk, sugar and agar flakes in a pan. Stir, then let rest for 10 minutes to allow the agar to soften and start to dissolve (this is critical or you get agar clumps, which are fine but the overall effect is more like tapioca than panna cotta). Very slowly, bring ingredients to a gentle simmer and simmer a few minutes until the agar is incorporated. If it doesn't completely dissolve, pour the mixture through a strainer, pushing the undissolved agar through as well. Pour into the ramekins and chill until set, about an hour.

for the coulis:
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (Florida Crystals or other light, organic whole cane sugar)
2 cups berries (I used frozen raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Mash the berries a little with the back of a spoon and chill.

for the cracker toppers:
1 package of 6-inch Wonton wrappers
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (Florida Crystals)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (Penzey's)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine-grained
1/4 cup assorted seeds (sesame, white and black, fennel, poppy, cracked cardamom, caraway)
1 egg
1 tiny splash heavy cream (or yogurt or milk)
cookie cutters, smallish, like 2-inch diameter

Preheat the oven to 350 F, position racks in the middle and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.

Combine sugar, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and cream together. Cut the wonton wrappers into various shapes, pressing down hard and cleanly cutting. I used a soft towel under the surface of the wonton to get my lame plastic cookie cutters from like 1982 to work. Brush the wonton shapes with a thin glaze of the egg mixture. Sprinkle each with seeds, and a generous dusting of the sugar mixture. Keep it all sort of in the middle, so you can see the cookie edges a bit.

Move the wontons into a single layer on the baking sheets and bake until the wontons are golden and crisp, 5-8 minutes. They go from not done to burnt really fast, watch 'em.

For the presentation: just turn the ramekins over on a plate, pour a little coulis on top, and stick a few crackers in the panna cotta.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I got this recipe for, but eventually made a few of my own changes after making it a few times. This recipe is great for several reasons: One, that it is a healthy version of most pot pies; Two, the chicken doesn't need to be pre-cooked; Three, it's really yummy! (otherwise I wouldn't be posting it, eh?)

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hr 10 min
Yield: 1 9inch pie


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
3 small cubed potatoes
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Add water (with chicken bullion cube) to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place bottom crust in pie dish, brush with egg whites and bake for 5 minutes
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush top with excess egg whites.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

French Bread

I had a friend over for Thanksgiving this year, and her husband (Jared Giatras) offered to make his mom's roll recipe. This recipe is normally made as french bread loaves, but can also be turned into rolls. I got the recipe and it turned out great! He said that the trick is to make sure the water isn't too hot or too cold. Yum!

Makes 2-11 inch loaves
Takes about 2 hrs, but only about 10 or 15 minutes of active time.


1 T salt
2 1/2 c warm water
2 T yeast
2 T sugar
2 T oil
6 c flour
1 egg + 1/2 t salt
sesame or poppy seeds (optional)


In a large warm mixing bowl, add salt; pour in water and yeast. Sprinkle sugar on top of the yeast. Add oil. Add flour to liquids and mix until flour is well mixed. Allow dough to rest 10 minutes and stir down. Do this 5 times. Turn onto an oil coated counter. Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll each part to 9x12-in rectangle, then roll like a jellyroll from long side. Pinch edge to seal. Put each loaf onto a French bread pan. Cut diagonal slits with a sharp knife. Pt a small pan filled with water in the oven, then preheat your oven to 400. Let the bread rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush with egg mixture of 1 egg and 1/2 t salt, beaten with a fork. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds or leave plain. Bake for 25 minutes

Variations: You may also roll this dough into hard rolls, hoagie buns, breadsticks or rosette rolls. You would brush each with the egg mix before baking. Bake only 20 minutes for the roll and breadsticks. Make sure and put the water in oven prior to preheating it. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

I made this cake that I found on the Pioneer Woman's website. It was a huge hit at the party I went to. I had attempted the same cake a few years ago with a different recipe. This one was definitely much better. Sorry for the bad photo, I forgot to take a picture and managed to get one after it was almost all eaten.


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla.
Pour egg yolk mixture over flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer on, pour in 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
Fold egg white mixture into other mixture very gently until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out surface.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small pitcher.
When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times.
Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.
Whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White Chili

I got this recipe from a friend. Not sure where she got it from, but it is yummy. The girls even liked it. It has just the tiniest bit of spice.


1 lb or 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 can corn (drained)
2 cans white beans (drained)
1 jar chili verde salsa (I use the Herdez brand)
1 chopped onion
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoons cumin
1/3 cup sour cream
1 can chicken broth


Sautee onions and garlic in a little oil till onions are soft. Add cumin and heat on med heat for 3 minutes. Add ground turkey, sautee till cooked. Add corn, beans, broth, salsa, and stir. Simmer on med heat for 5-10 minutes or heated through. Add sour cream and stir in completely.
Serve with grated monterrey jack cheese and olives if desired.

Butternut Squash Risotto

This is a really simple recipe, that happens to be from Real Simple magazine's website, though their recipe seems to have accidentally listed several ingredients twice, so I've edited it to be what I did. I never weighed the amount of butternut squash I used, but I suspect I used a lot more than it called for. Apparently it doesn't seem to matter... A hint about that: honestly, I wouldn't try grating this if you don't have a food processor- it would be much too painful. Also, I didn't realize until reading about it in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook but butternut squash can be peeled with a vegetable peeler! You just must first cut off each end. I think it is much safer to do it this way, rather than with a knife, as I was doing it before.

I had never made risotto before, but it was really simple, though a bit tiring to stir for so much time. I have read that it can be made in a pressure cooker, sans stirring, which I plan to experiment with. Also, I'm curious to see what would happen if I used regular rice, rather than arborio. I'll update once I've tried it.

After making this, it occurred to me what a great family-friendly baby food this is because it's not too hard for someone who barely has teeth, and also, it's quite sticky- great for a young toddler learning to use a spoon!

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a side
Hands-On Time: 25m
Total Time: 55m


5 c low-sodium chicken broth (I used bouillon cubes and water)
2 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 T finely chopped fresh sage (I used 2 t dried sage)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and grated (about 4 cups)
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped (I used a garlic press)
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c (2 ounces) grated Parmesan


1. Warm the broth in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and
pepper and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the squash and
garlic and cook until the squash begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and
cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
3. Add the 1 c broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3
minutes. Add the rest of the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting
until it is absorbed before adding more. It should take about 30 minutes for all the broth
to be absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Spoon into individual bowls.

Nutritional Information
• Per Serving
• Calories 609
• Calories From Fat 16
• Fat 11g
• Sat Fat 1g
• Cholesterol 0mg
• Sodium 977mg
• Carbohydrate 100g
• Fiber 7g
• Sugar 7g
• Protein 17g

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Better Than Apple Pie

A friend of mine brought this over one night when we had dinner together and pointed me to a recipe for Swedish Apple Pie from, but said she tweaked it. I also did a bit of tweaking and here is the final product! I call it "Better Than Apple Pie" because it doesn't use a traditional pie crust and the topping is better than apple crisp topping. It's almost more like a cookie! The original recipe calls for Granny Smith Apples, which I usually love in pies, but since my tree is bursting with apples right now, those are the ones that made it in. (I have no idea what kind they are) Just like apple pie, I love it with vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1 9-inch pie (6-8 servings)

20 minutes prep, 40 minutes bake time

1 1/2 lbs 5 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 5)
1/2 T sugar
some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, to taste

3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c flour (I've used whole wheat and white, both work great)
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c butter (1 stick), melted
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Toss apples with 1/2 T of sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste, and pour them into a pie plate. Thoroughly mix together sugars with the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and egg. Spread this evenly over the top of the pie.
3. Bake in preheated oven until the apples have cooked and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Libby's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is based on one called "Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Old-Fashioned Cookies
cookbook. I changed it, but only very slightly. They are perfectly chewy and yummy warm out of the oven, or days old. I think the trick is the butter-flavored crisco, though the first time I made these I did half butter-flavored and half regular, because I only had half a stick of the butter-flavored. Also, make sure you do not over bake them, since they will still bake longer on the cookie sheet once you remove them from the oven.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 Butter Flavor CRISCO Stick of 1 c Butter Flavor CRISCO all-vegetable shortening
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c warm honey
2 t vanilla
2 c Guittard milk chocolate chips
1 c finely chopped walnuts


1. Heat oven to 375 F. Grease cookie sheets (or use a Silpat, if you have one) Place sheets of foil on countertop or cooling racks for cooling cookies.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine shortening and sugars in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg, sour cream, honey and vanilla. Beat until just blended.
4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture at low speed until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
5. Drop slightly rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet.
6. Bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes, until set. Do not overbake. (unless you prefer crunchy cookies) Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet and remove to foil to cool completely.

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fontina Sauce

This recipe was introduced to the family by The Mom. Not sure where she got it (probably a magazine) but she can edit that in later if she wants. This is an immediate hit with everyone and I love it because it's so quick! It does dirty a lot of pans, though, which can be annoying, so sometimes I saute the mushrooms with the sausage, once it's about half way done. Tastes just as good, just doesn't look as pretty :) I've been meaning to try substituting Mozzarella for Fontina, to see if it tastes as good and I plan to update once I have tried it. I have tried using half and half instead of cream and it tastes good, but the sauce doesn't stick to the pasta as well. Perhaps I should have let it simmer longer to thicken it. Finally, I usually just use dried herbs in place of fresh ones, but having the fresh basil on top really really really improves the dish and I highly recommend it if you can!


1 lb italian sausage
2 T olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1-28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T dried basil
1 c heavy cream
1/2 lb Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 c grated Romano cheese (I use Parmesan)
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves
1 lb Rigatoni, cooked "al dente", drained
Fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (2 or 3 oz package)


In a heavy skillet, saute the sausage in olive oil until no longer pink, crumbling as it cooks. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and basil. Cover, cook for 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and grated Fontina cheese. Stir on low until cheese is melted. Place cooked pasta on serving platter. Top with sauce, grated Romano cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh basil.

Super-Moist Zucchini Bread

I found this recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Heavy-Duty Revised Edition
and I found it to be sooooo super moist! It is delicious! As you can see in the picture, the zucchini bread was almost gone by the time I got to take a picture of it. When I made it, I substituted half the white flour for freshly ground whole wheat (as noted below) but I bet it's just as good with all white. I plan to try all wheat too, and I'll probably make a note about the results later. Also, I never know how much weight of something I used (note to self, get a kitchen scale) and I think I probably used more zucchini than called for.

Makes 1 9-in loaf
prep time: 10 min
Total time: 1 hr 20 min plus 1 hr 10 min cooling time

If you are using large zucchini, out each zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to
scrape out and discard the seeds before shredding. The test kitchen found no
discernible difference in the flavor of loaves made with plain whole-milk yogurt, plain
lowfat yogurt, or plain nonfat yogurt, so use what you have on hand.


2 zucchini (1 lb), ends trimmed
1.5 c sugar
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
2 c all-purpose flour (i use half white, half wheat)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1/2 t salt
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped


1.Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a 9x5-in loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.
2.Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. (I used a food processor) Squeeze the zucchini between several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Whisk the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
3.Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt together in a separate lg. bowl. Gently fold the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in the nuts.
4.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 55-60 minutes.
5.Let the loaf cool in the pan for 1- minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool for 1 hr.

VARIATION (I haven't tried this, but it sounds like a good idea)
add 3/4 c golden raisins or dried cranberries to the batter along with the zucchini.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Rolls

These are the melt-in-your-mouth rolls that inspired us all. They are irresistibly buttery, uncontrollably fluffy, and absolutely delicious.

Warning: No other roll will taste good to you ever again.

without further ado:

Grandma's Rolls
Make about 50 rolls
Takes about 1.5 hr

Note: this recipe is recorded by me taking notes while watching the Pro.

Get out
3 eggs, so they can get to room temperature. Then, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat together in the microwave for 2 minutes:
3 c milk
1/3 c shortening
1/3 c sugar
until warm through. Be sure it's not too hot for the yeast by sticking your hand in and touching the bottom. If you're nearly getting burned, it's too hot.

Put about
2 c flour
2 t salt
2 T active dry yeast
in the mixer, add warm milk mix, and mix on med-low until combined.
Add 1 egg at a time, until all three are mixed in.
Mix on med-low for 1 min.
Add flour, 1 c at a time until dough looks like thick pancake batter (less than 4 c)
Add flour and mix with wooden spoon until still really sticky. Let the dough rest for 10 min.
Meanwhile put about
3 c flour
on a pastry cloth.

Once dough has rested for 10 minutes, pour it out onto the floured pastry cloth.

And fold until doesn't stick to hands, but it will still be barely sticky.

Do not add too much flour!

Let the dough rest 10 min covered by the pastry cloth.

Grease 2 jellyroll pans with Crisco.

Melt a cube of butter in a shallow dish.

Once the dough is done resting

"Crisco" your hands. (If my grandma says it's a verb, it's a verb!)

Pinch off dough a little larger than golf ball size.

Roll to push air out and flatten.

Dip one side in butter,

wipe butter on the top of the previous roll and fold butter to inside. Press edges.

Lay rolls 5x5 on your jelly roll pans.
(Note, John, Audra and I helped, so these rolls are not as uniform as when Grandma does it herself. Also, she always gets exactly 50 rolls.)

Rise covered, until doubled in size (20-30 min).

My grandma cleans her pastry mat like this

Now we wait

Bake at 350, 15-20 min