Monday, May 30, 2011

Easy French Dips

I saw a recipe recently in a Family Circle magazine (I think) for French Dips.  I adapted it to make a quicker version, using deli-sliced roast beef.  We have a grocery store nearby that sells nitrate-free deli roast beef.  Here's my easy version.  I hope you try it!

2 T. butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup lager beer
1 can low sodium beef broth
1 T. soy sauce ( this adds a good flavor)
freshly ground pepper
1 lb. thinly sliced deli roast beef
6 split-top rolls

In a non-stick skillet, melt butter & add onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes.

Add the beer, broth. soy sauce & pepper.  Bring to a simmer & cook 3-5 minutes.

Add the roast beef & heat through.

While the roast beef is heating, toast the rolls under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.

Divide among the rolls.  Serve the juice in a small bowl for dipping.  I like to add a slice of provolone on top.  Yum!

Note:  You could also saute' green pepper strips & mushrooms with the onions, if you like.
Serves 6

Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Oh, yum!  Who doesn't love homemade ice cream?  This recipe is from a July 2000 issue of Gourmet magazine.  This one is so easy because there is no cooking involved.

1 qt. strawberries, rinsed & hulled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 T. lemon juice
pinch salt
1 2 cup heavy cream

Puree the strawberries & add the cream cheese, sugar, milk, lemon juice & salt.  Blend well.  Stir in the heavy cream & chill completely & then freeze in an ice cream maker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Roasted Asparagus in Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce

This delicious recipe is from a Cooking Light magazine, several years ago.  I actually roasted my asparagus on the grill.  It's easy & good for company.  Please try it!

2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed
2 T. butter
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. Balsamic vinegar

Toss the asparagus with some olive oil.  I sprayed mine with olive oil spray.  Toss to coat.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  I did mine on the grill for about 6 minutes because they were thin.

In the meantime,  in a small saucepan, lightly brown the butter, being careful not to burn it.  Remove from heat & add the soy sauce & the Balsamic vinegar.  Drizzle over the roasted asparagus.

Serves about 8 people

Monday, May 23, 2011

French Bread

This delicious bread is made in the food processor.  You can assemble the dry ingredients the night before, start the bread in the morning & let it sit out several hours to rise.  I even use it to make french bread pizzas.  It's really good.  I hope you try it.

1/2 cup warm water
1 T.  yeast
1 T. sugar
4 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 cup ice water

Mix sugar & warm water together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle on the yeast & let proof for about 5 minutes.

Put flour, salt & butter in food processor & mix with the plastic blade.  Pour the warm water mixture down the food tube while running & let run until well mixed.

While running, slowly pour the ice water down the tube & let the processor run (and knead) until the mixture balls up.  After it balls up, let it run another 45 seconds.

Put dough in a greased bowl, cover loosely & let rise several hours until it has quit rising.  Punch down on a clean, dry counter & roll out into a rectangle about 12 x 16 inches.  Now you can either cut it lengthwise into 2, for larger loaves, or 3 for baguette size loaves.  You can also make 6-8 sub-style "hard" rolls.   Cut 4-6 slits slits on the diagonal on the top.   Cover & let rise until double.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  I usually moisten the top of the bread.  If you want a very shiny crust, you can brush with a beaten egg white.  You can sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if you wish.  Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

Let cool on wire racks.

Makes 2-3 large loaves, or 6-8 small loaves (these are great for meatball or Italian subs)

I am sharing this with Let's Break Bread Together .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Butter Sponge Cake

This recipe is from a yellowed copy from an old newspaper clipping.  My Mom & I love this in place of shortcake.  I don't know why "butter" is in the title because there's only 1 tablespoon in the cake!  Please try this quick, easy & delicious cake (and much tastier & more moist than shortcake!!!).  I hope you like it.

2 eggs
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup milk, boiling
1 T. butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 t. baking powder

Beat eggs until very light.  Then beat in very well the salt, sugar & vanilla.  Beat in milk which is boiling hot & which has been heated with the butter. 

Sift flout & baking powder & beat into the the egg mixture.  Por very quickly into a greased & floured 8" or 9" square pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

For yummy strawberry shortcake, cut & split slices of cake & serve with sweetened strawberries & whipped cream on top!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sauteed Asparagus and Mushrooms

This inspired recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa's Parties!" cookbook.  Ina actually uses asparagus & sugar snap peas.  I often just use asparagus, but today I added sliced mushrooms to the dish.  It's so easy & so delicious!  I will give you my adapted version:

1 pound asparagus
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 T. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional
Sea salt for serving, optional

Cut off tough ends of asparagus & slice the stalks diagonally into 2" pieces. 

Warm the olive oil in a large saute' pan over medium-high heat & add the asparagus & sliced mushrooms.  Add kosher salt, pepper & red pepper flakes, if desired, to taste.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender, tossing occasionally.  Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, & serve hot.

Serves 6-8 people

NOTE:  To store asparagus, cut off the tough ends & stand the stalks upright in a glass of water.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Fried Chicken

This is a recipe that I found from  I have slightly adapted it to add a little more flavor.  The chicken turns out very tender.  It doesn't have a gravy, so that saves a little on calories!  Here's the recipe:

30 saltine crackers
2 T. flour
2 T. dry potato flakes
1 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. pepper
a sprinkle of garlic powder & onion powder, to taste
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Place the crackers in a large resealable bag; seal bag & crush crackers until they are coarse crumbs.  Add flour, potato flakes, seasones salt, pepper & garlic & onion powder to bag & mix well.

Beat egg in a shallow dish.  Heat oik in a large skillet over medium high heat.

One at a time, dredge chicken pieces in egg, then place in bag with crumbs & shake to coat.

Reduce heat to medium & cook chicken in skillet for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown & juices run clear.

NOTE:  If you want, you can pound the chicken breasts until they are thin & then they will cook more quickly. Sometimes, if I have very thick breasts, I will butterfly them & then get two from one breast.  Then I only need 3 chicken breasts for this recipe.   Put them inside a resealable bag & pound.  I use a large, rubber mallet from the hardware store.   This is quick, easy & not messy!! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hot Mexican Chicken Salads

This recipe is from "Southern Living Cookbook Classics".  I've slightly adapted the original, as they fried flour tortillas & I substitute tostadas, which makes it easier.  It's a great way to use leftover chicken & quick to put together.  It also feeds a crowd!!  Here's the recipe:

5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use a Mexican blend),  Divided
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup slices ripe olives
1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
1 4.5 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 pkg taco seasoning
10-12 tostada shells, depending on how much filling you use
Garnish with sliced avocodo

Combine chicken,  1 cup cheese, & next 8 ingredients, stirring well.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly on the tostadas.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Garnish with the avocado slices.

NOTE:  This is also good baked in a casserole & used as a dip with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Steak Florence Style

This recipe is from a 2002 issue of Cuisine.  Steven Raichlen, shared his expertise on grilling.  If you love a good steak, like I do, try it this way!  The recipe called for porterhouse steaks, but I used NY strips.

Season & Grill:

Steak of your choice
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper

Strew platter with:

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, torn

Finish with:

Extra virgin olive oil

For gas grill:

Use a nonstick spray or a folded paper towel dipped in oil, to grease the grates.

Preheat grill.

Season steaks generously with coarse salt & freshly ground pepper. 

Place steaks at a 45 degree angle over high heat; sear 2 minutes.

Rotate steaks 90 degrees and continue grilling for 2 minutes.

Turn the steaks & repeat the process.  Try to keep the lid closed during cooking.  If you need additional cooking, move the steaks to a cooler part of the grill & continue cooking a few minutes.

Strew a platter with the garlic & herbs.  Arrange the grilled steaks on top.  Finish by pouring extra virgin olive oil over the steaks.  Turn a few times to coat with garlic, herbs & oil.  Let steaks rest for 3-5 minutes.  Turn them often so the flavored oil coats the steaks.

Now, plate up those yummy steaks & dig in!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pan Seared 5-Spice Tilapia with Hot Orange Ginger Sauce

This recipe looks like a lot of ingredients, but it's really simple to put together & a quick meal to prepare. I believe I got this recipe from a Cuisine magazine.   It's slightly spicy, but not overly. 


1/2 t. Chinese 5-spice
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
3 T. oil, divided
4-6 tilapia
2 T. minced scallions

Mix all the spices together with 2 T. oil

Pat tilapia dry; brush with the spice mix

Heat 1 T. oil in a large non-stick skillet until lightly smoking.

Add tilapia & saute' 3 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle with scallions.

Hot Orange-Ginger Sauce

1/4 c. orange marmalade
1/4 cup orange juice
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. minced ginger root
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. minced garlic
1 T. oil

Whisk first 5 ingredients together. 

Saute' garlic in oil for 30 sec in a small saucepan.  Add marmalade mixture & simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Pour over the tilapia & serve.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Wedding Cupcakes

I printed this recipe from awhile back & have been waiting for an opportunity to make them.  In her recipe, she uses a chocolate fudge cake mix & a chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Mm-m-m, sounds delicious, right?  Well, since I wanted a special cupcake for the Royal Wedding, I adapted it to a white cake & white cream cheese frosting.  They are the MOST scrumptious cupcakes ever!!!!!!!!!!  Please try these & make them for someone special.  Here's my adapted recipe, courtesy of tidymom.


1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup melted BUTTER
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients on low & then mix on high for 2 mins. 
Pour into paper lined cupcake pans.  Bake for 20 mins.

Strawberry Whipped Cream (filling)

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
5-6 chopped/processed strawberries

Chop strawberries in blender or food chopper until they are thick.  It only takes about 4 large berries.

Beat whipping cream & vanilla until it starts to thicken.  Mix in sugar.  Fold in berries.  Set aside.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Place butter in mixing bowl & mix slightly.  Add cream cheese & blend until combined.

Add powdered sugar & blend on low speed until combined.  Mix on medium until it get fluffy.

NOTE:  for chocolate cream cheese frosting, add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder BEFORE adding the powdered sugar.

For Filling Cupcakes

1.  Bake cupcakes & cool.
2.  Cut a small section in the center of the cupcake.  I used my apple corer & it worked great.  Save the    extra cake to eat later with some of the filling!!!
3.  Replace the tops.  I actually just left them off.
4.  Pipe the frosting on top of the cake with a 1M tip, or just generously spread.

Refrigerate the cupcakes until ready to serve.

See the delicious filling! 
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