Archive for October, 2010


Happy Halloween

October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween


Napa Cabbage Salad

October 26, 2010

My friend gave me this recipe a little while ago.

I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to make it.  That came over the weekend for my nephew’s birthday. 

My friend told me the dressing is so good that she just wants to drink it straight.  Now that I’ve made this, I know exactly what she means.  The dressing, the nuts and the cabbage are such an unusual pairing that really works.

It is such a simple recipe that seems like it isn’t.

I love recipes like that.

Napa Cabbage Salad

  • 1-3 oz package of Chicken flavored Ramon noodles, crushed
  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1/2 C Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 C Almonds, slivered
  • 1 Large Head of Napa Cabbage
  • 6 Green Onions
  • 1/4 C Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 T Soy Sauce

In a saute pan, melt butter and add the crushed Ramon noodles, almonds and sesame seeds.  Stir until brown.  Add the seasoning from the Ramon noodles.  Toss and set aside.

Finally chop the cabbage and onions.  Place in a large bowl and toss.

In a saucepan heat the vinegar, sugar, oil and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.

When you are ready to serve,  combine the noodle mixture and the dressing to the cabbage.  Toss.  Don’t toss too early or the noodle mixture will be soggy.

Thanks Laura for an awesome recipe.


Ham Tetrazzini

October 24, 2010

I made this for dinner this week.

Kathy from Greendale gave me this great recipe.  She’s given me some really great recipes.  

The only problem was that I didn’t have rotini pasta.  I did have some penne pasta so I did substitute.  Oh and I cooked it uncovered because the oven I forgot to cover it.   

I loved how this recipe used most everything that I had on hand in the pantry.  I even had spiral ham in the freezer.

Thanks Kathy for hooking me up with a great recipe.  Meeshie loves ham and she loved this dish. 

Ham Tetrazzini

  • 1 lb box Rotini, cooked
  • 1 lb Ham, cubed or julienne ( I used spiral ham, but you can easily use the ham steak)
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2-4 oz cans of mushrooms, do not drain
  • 2-2 oz jars diced Pimentos, do not drain
  • 2 1/2 C Cheddar cheese, shredded

While the rotini is cooking, place the soup, the undrained mushrooms and pimentos in a large saucepan.  Bring to a medium simmer.  Add the cheese, stir until melted.  Turn off the heat and add the ham and noodles.  Mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.  (You can also mix follow the directions but cook everything in your casserole dish saving yourself from having to dirty a pot.)  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I didn’t cover mine and that’s why it looks so brown.

I served it with a salad and some rye bread. 



Baked Ziti

October 21, 2010

I love pasta.  It’s such an easy and versatile thing.

You can do so much with pasta.  Like baked ziti.

I actually have three different recipes that I make.

This is one of them.  I’ll be sharing the other two with you some other time.

Bake ziti is so easy and a great comfort food.  I love making this for a large group.

Or for a group of three.


Baked Ziti

  • 1 pound Ziti Or Penne Pasta, whole grain
  • 5 T Olive Oil, divided
  • ½ C Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ C Orange Bell Pepper
  • ½ C Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 10 ounces Sliced Baby Portobello Mushrooms
  • ¼ C Onion, Diced
  • 4 whole Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 2 16 oz cans Chopped Peeled Canned Tomatoes In Puree
  • ½ t Thyme
  • 1 whole Sprig Of Fresh Basil, Chopped
  • 2 t Kosher Salt
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 1-½ pound Fresh Mozzarella, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Cubes

 Bring a pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente and drain.

In a saute pan, heat 3 T olive oil and add peppers. Saute for about 5 minutes and add the mushrooms. Continue to cook for about 4 minutes until mushrooms are just cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a separate sauce pan add  2 T olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the herbs, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Line a deep casserole dish with a thin layer of the sauce (this will help prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan), add a layer of pasta, then the pepper mixture and then cheese. Keep layering until all the sauce, pasta and peppers are in the casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven covered with foil for 25 minutes removing the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking or until lightly brown.


Spinach Bread

October 19, 2010

I love spinach.

I love bread.

I found this bread on a menu at a pizza place.  I don’t generally order bread, or any appetizer, when I have pizza but I was out to lunch with my mother and Meeshie.  Meeshie isn’t a fan of pizza and the place we went to is known for its deep dish.

Where I live, we take pizza for granted.

In Chicago and the outlying areas, you can a great pizza almost anywhere.  There are mom and pop stores in every neighborhood.  You may like one pizza because the sauce is great, or because the crust is cracker thin, or because you really love the sausage.

When I lived in New Mexico my freshman year of college, the people there thought that Little Caesar’s was great pizza.   News flash-it isn’t.  Plus, they eat it dipped in ranch dressing, why would you do that?  If you do that in Chicago and your over the age of 8, they’d run you out of town.

It’s like putting ketchup on a hot dog.  It isn’t done. 

My husband has ordered pizza in St. Louis and it was served with breakfast sausage on it.  Ugh,  like I said we take it for granted that everyone has great pizza.

Chains in Chicago are around, but you don’t go to them if you want really good pizza.  I know people love Pizza Hut, and Domino’s, and California Pizza Kitchen.  But those places don’t serve pizza.

Chicago may be known for deep dish, but I’m not really a fan.  I love my pizza cracker thin.  My husband does love deep dish, but only one kind.  Lou Malnati’s and I must admit it is a great deep dish.  It’s the buttery crust and the fact that there isn’t too much cheese in it.  Deep dish usually has way too much cheese and that takes away from everything else.

Which brings me back to this spinach bread. We had lunch at Lou Malnati’s.   Their crust is buttery.  There’s just the right amount of cheese.  Oh, and it’s loaded with spinach.

This bread was so good and I knew that I could make a reasonable one at home.

I did.  This bread is awesome.

I used the dinner roll recipe but used butter instead of oil in the dough.

Spinach Bread

  • Bread Dough
  • 2 bunches of Spinach, cleaned and chopped (10-12 C)
  • 1 bunch Green Onion, diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 C Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 C Mozzarella, grated
  • 1/2 C Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 C Provolone, grated
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced and seeded

Prepare the bread. 

In a saute pan, heat the butter.  Add the onion and garlic, saute until tender.  Add the parsley, basil and spinach to the pan.  Saute until the spinach has cooked through.  Add the spinach mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool.  Once cool, add the cheeses and tomatoes.  Stir and add pepper and salt to taste.

Divide your bread dough in half.  Line two bread pans with olive oil.  Roll out one of the doughs so that when placed in the pan you have enough dough overlapping the sides of the pan.  Place the dough in the bread pan and scoop half of the spinach mixture into the pan using a serrated spoon.  Pinch the dough to seal completely and then carefully lift the bread out of the pan.  Flip the bread so that the seam is at the bottom of the pan.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Let the bread rest for 30 minutes covered with a damp cloth.

Cook in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

I served it with a salad and marinara sauce just like at the restaurant.

This makes two loaves of bread.


Cheddar and Potato Soup

October 18, 2010

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love soup.

It’s a great comfort food.  It’s also a great meal.  Add some bread, or a sandwich and your set.

This soup is hearty and full of flavor.  I love the flavor of the peppers with the cheese and potatoes.

This recipe makes 1 1/2 gallons of soup, so if the quantity seem overly excessive, you can cut the amount down to accommodate.

Cheddar and Potato Soup

  • 1 C Butter
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1/2 C Celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 C Carrots, finely diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, finely diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, finely diced
  • 1 C Flour
  • 4 C Water
  • 8 C Chicken Broth
  • 1 lb Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 C American Cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 1 qt Half and Half
  • 2 lbs Redskin Potatoes, diced medium (leave the skin on)
  • 12 oz beer (optional)

Combine the water and the chicken broth.  Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with the water/chicken broth mixture to cover.  Cook the potatoes until tender and place in a bowl, reserving the liquid. 

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the onion, celery, carrots and peppers.  Saute for about 6 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the flour, stirring until well blended and evenly cooked, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the water/chicken broth and the reserved liquid from the potatoes.  Heat to boiling, stirring frequently.  Add the cheese and half and half.  Mix well.  Heat to simmering, until the cheese has melted.  Add the potatoes and beer.  Heat until hot, stirring frequently.

Serve with croutons or bacon garnish.


Chicken Mac and Cheese

October 16, 2010

I know I’ve mentioned before that Meeshie only likes mac and cheese out of the blue box.

That’s a real bummer for me because I love homemade mac and cheese and I have quite a few awesome recipes.

The blue box, on the other hand, is not one of my favorites.

That’s why I like this recipe so much.  It has chicken in it, obviously.

I make it and tell Meeshie that it’s a chicken casserole.

A little white lie never hurt anyone, right?

It doesn’t in my book if I don’t have to suffer through the blue box and have a hearty meal.

Oh and it has bacon!

The peppers in this really add a great flavor to the pasta without overpowering anything.

Chicken Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lbs pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T flour
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 C milk 
  • 1 C Half and Half
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 C shredded smoked Gruyère cheese or swiss cheese
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese

Boil water for pasta and cook according to directions.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute onions and red pepper. While water is boiling, make sauce. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add butter and flour and whisk together to create a roux. Add milk and half and half, stirring constantly. Add cheeses and pinch of nutmeg, stirring consistently for 5-8 minutes until mixture thickens.

In a baking dish, layer pasta, chicken, pepper and onion mixture, and bacon.   Add half of cheese sauce, then more pasta, chicken, peppers, onion and bacon. Add remaining cheese sauce.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Here is the original recipe.  How Sweet it Is is a really great site.

I added more liquid and less pasta to the recipe.  I like my mac and cheese really creamy.  This made a nice amount of pasta and is great with a small salad on the side.  I marinaded the chicken breast and grilled it the day before I made this.  I wanted to make sure that the chicken added a punch and it did.

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