Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category


Finally, another recipe to share

June 6, 2014

artichoke pasta iiiI’ve been neglectful.  I apologize.  Sometimes life gets in the way of other things.  Sometimes it’s so bad that you realize you have a wonderful story or recipe to share, but you haven’t.  I planned to share this recipe a year ago, or close to it.  My girlfriend Cathy makes this dish.  She made it last year for her middle son’s eighth grade graduation party.  In two weeks she’s having her oldest son’s high school graduation party.  Like I said, I’ve been meaning to share this for a while.

This is a great recipe for a large group.  I made it and brought it to a good friend’s house for a cook out.  So it’s a perfect pasta salad too.  It tastes like stuffed artichokes.  Yummy, right?

I used jar artichokes.  I buy them from Costco.  I used about 1 1/2 C of artichokes, and added enough of the liquid to prevent the pasta from being dry.  Also, if you don’t plan to serve the dish right after tossing, hold off on adding the breadcrumbs.

I’m hoping that with the start of my new job I can get back on track with sharing.  The last two years were a blur.  Mostly because my job, which was great, prevented me from spending as much time as I could with my family.

artichoke pasta ivPenne with Artichokes

  • 1-10 oz can Artichokes, reserve liquid
  • 2 T Lemon Juice
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 T Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
  • 1/2 T Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 T Parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 C Bread Crumbs
  • 12 oz Penne Pasta
  • 1 T Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as suggested on package.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 1/2 T of olive oil and add garlic.  Reduce heat and add artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.  Stir in artichoke liquid, lemon, pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a separate saute pen, stir the breadcrumbs in remaining olive oil until brown.

Before ready to serve, toss pasta, artichoke mixture, breadcrumbs and Parmesan together.



Pumpkin? Yes Please.

October 10, 2013

pumpkin pull apart bread iiIs it me, or do you think of pumpkin in the fall?  It’s like I can’t get enough of that squash.  When Meeshie was small we would always visit a pumpkin patch.  We carve pumpkins just to enjoy the pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin flavored coffee is available at Dunkin Donuts.  I’m partial to Culver’s pumpkin pie shake.  As far as I know, the flavor is on their menu all year long, but I only want it now, when the weather is warm during the day.

I’ve made my share of pumpkin treats, but this next one is in my top five.  I made this along with the pumpkin donut muffins last weekend.  Oh, the aroma of pumpkin wafting through my kitchen….

Pull apart bread is quickly becoming my favorite treat.  I think it’s easier and less messy than a sweet roll.  It’s easier to roll out the dough, add the filling and cut it to set inside the bread pan.  Serving it is easier too; you can control the serving size when cutting the loaf.

I made this bread twice but did not double the glaze.  The glaze was the perfect amount for two loaves of bread.  Notice I didn’t say I doubled the recipe.  I’m not sure it can be doubled easily.  Try it and let me know.  In case you’re not aware, I bake a lot, but I don’t have luck with doubling a recipe unless it is stated.  So, I made the dough twice, which wasn’t that difficult.  I set up my mis en place and ran with it.

If you are still afraid to use yeast, try this.  Truly it’s pretty fool proof.  How do you know your yeast is working?  By the happy bubbles in the bowl, plus it will smell, for lack of a better term, yeasty.  No bubbles, then your yeast is probably bad and you can start again.  Don’t continue on, hoping the yeast will start to work.  It won’t.  Just get yourself some fresh yeast and soldier on.

What we loved about this bread was the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet.  That’s the problem sometimes with cinnamon rolls, too sweet.  Not this, the glaze is perfect and the rum just mellows the glaze.  It’s not something that is very prominent.  The nuts inside the layers are divine, but for those with the dreaded allergy, substitute the nuts with raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.   And please, please, brown the butter.  I love the nuttiness of browned butter and it really does complement the pumpkin.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat?

pumpkin pull apart bread viiPumpkin Pull Apart Bread


  • 2 T Butter
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 2 1/4 t (1 envelope) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 1/2 Bread Flour


  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 C Chopped Pecans
  • 1 T Candied Ginger
  • 3 T Butter

Buttered Rum Glaze:

  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 T Milk
  • 3/4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T Rum

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pecans and ginger and mix well. Set aside. Next, line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle.  Spoon the  melted butter/sugar mixture generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.)   Stack each strip on top of one another.  Cut the strip into six equal slices again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan.  While there is plenty of space on either side of the strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, brown the butter, add the milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

Here’s the original post.


Fall Treat!

September 30, 2013

caramel corn


I know I’ve established my family’s love of Garrett’s popcorn.  It’s that love of caramel corn that caused me to dig up an old recipe.  I remember making caramel corn with my mom.  I also remember how quickly my brothers would swoop in and eat all that confectionary goodness.

For some reason I associate caramel corn with the fall.  Maybe it’s the warm color of the caramel.  Nothing says fall more than that golden brown color.  Plus the smell of it roasting in the oven is heavenly.  Just the memory of that wonderful smell brings a smile to my face as I type.

 This is a perfect after school snack.  Again, hello fall!  Make it fun and put it in a little brown bag and tuck it into a lunch box.  This fresh and simple recipe won’t last long.  A perfect treat to enjoy that can be tailored to you.

I pop my corn on the stove.  It’s just as easy as the microwave kind, without that after taste.  But you use whatever popcorn you prefer.

Mix it up and add sea salt before the last toss.  Or spice it up with nutmeg and cinnamon.  And, of course, you can also add some nuts like almonds or cashews.

 caramel corn viCaramel Popcorn

  • 4 quarts popped popcorn (1/2 C unpopped)
  • 2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Vanilla

 Add popcorn to large shallow roasting pan and place in preheated 250°F oven while preparing caramel.  Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil 5 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over warm popcorn, stirring to coat evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store inn tightly covered container.



August 18, 2013

chocolate zucchini bread ii

I’m still enjoying zucchini. In the past, my zucchini has fizzled out by now. But not this year. Maybe it’s because of the newspaper I put down in the garden? I really don’t know. And what do you do with those jumbo zucchinis? Why bake with them.

I’ve shared my blueberry zucchini recipe before. This time I found a wonderful chocolate zucchini bread that is out of this world. Meeshie loves it, and she knows there’s zucchini in it. She saw the shredded zucchini in the colander in the sink and asked what I was doing with it. I told her about this wonderful bread, and although she was skeptical, she has managed to each an entire loaf.

It’s not overly sweet, but the cocoa and extra chocolate chips give it a perfect balance.  What I mean is that it tastes like chocolate.  Sometimes chocolate things are just sweet without the flavor of chocolate.  That’s not the case here.  I say that because, although I like chocolate, I don’t LOVE it.  I would not consider myself a chocoholic.  I would consider myself a very particular chocolate eater, though.

And once baked, you don’t see the shredded zucchini at all.

I wish I had a picture of the bread sliced, but I made three loaves with my jumbo zucchini, and once it was sliced it was gone.  I had this one loaf left only because it is a gift for one of my girlfriends.

chocolate zucchini bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 C Honey
  • 1/3 C Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/3 C Dutch Process Cocoa
  • 1 2/3 C Flour
  • 2 C Zucchini, shredded
  • 2/3 C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 C Chopped Nuts, optional ( I used cashews)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mixing until well combined.  Stir in the zucchini and 1/3 C of the bittersweet chocolate chips and all of the milk chocolate chips.  Add the nuts, if using.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 C bittersweet chocolate chips.  You can also sprinkle a small amount of nuts on top, if desired.

Bake for 65-75 minutes until done.  A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out of pan to continue cooling.

Here’s the original recipe.  Thank you King Arthur Flour!


Blueberries for Karen

July 28, 2013

blueberry cobler

It’s blueberry season.

The last two years, I haven’t been able to enjoy blueberry season.  This year we found a new place.  It was a short drive to Michigan, and 15 pounds later here we are.

Now I can make jam, muffins, pie, pancakes, blueberry buckle, blueberry zucchini bread  and cobbler.

Cobbler is one of those great desserts that brings oohs and ahs without much fuss.  Not to mention, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.  Cobbler is easily adaptable to most fruit.  I actually love a peach cobbler, but my husband is not a fan of peaches.  So I used the blueberries instead.

This recipe makes quite a bit, so it’s perfect for company.  But if you don’t want to share, I’m not going to judge.

blueberry cobbler iiiBlueberry Cobbler

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 C Flour
  • 2/3 C Sugar, divided
  • 2/3 C Brown Sugar, divided
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 2/3 C Milk
  • 4 C Blueberries, fresh
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • 1/2 t Ginger

Melt the butter in a 13×9 baking dish.

Combine the flour, 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together.  Add the milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter over the melted butter, do not stir.

Bring the 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, lemon juice and blueberries to a boil in a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly.  Poor fruit mixture over batter, do not stir.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream.


Something for the Trail

May 14, 2013

c ii 11may13Meeshie and I went to camp this past weekend with her girl scout troop.  I love her troop.  Every girl makes me smile and every mom makes me laugh.  To say I had a great weekend, is really underselling it.  We had perfect weather.  The activities included: archery, candle making, rifle shooting, rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boating, hiking and horse back riding.  The picture above is one of the two awesome slides for the girls to enjoy.  The hiking was world-class.  Lots of trails and beautiful sights.

Meeshie asked that I make trail mix for the trip.  This was a perfect treat.  Everyone enjoyed it.  I transferred it to a resealable bag and it went very quickly.

I used a fabulous recipe from Alton Brown.  I love him.  I really wish that Good Eats was still on the air.  I have to get my fix through reruns, which is better than nothing.

The key to good trail mix, in my opinion, is good granola.  Thanks again Alton.

trail mix iiiGranola

  • 3 C Rolled Oats
  • 1 C Silvered Almonds
  • 1 C Cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 C Shredded Sweet Coconut
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Honey
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1 C Raisins

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins.  In a separate bowl, combine the honey, vegetable oil, and salt.  Combine both mixtures and pour the granola on a large jelly roll pan or two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake in 250 degree oven for and hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent over browning.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

trail mix iiTrail Mix

  • 3 C Dried Fruit (I used bananas, mangos and blueberries)
  • 2 C Granola (see above recipe)
  • 1 C M&Ms

Combined ingredients in a large bowl resealable bowl.



Spread the Love

April 21, 2013

banana butterThis wonderful banana butter recipe is to die for.  It’s perfect for pancakes, french toast, toast, muffins, scones, or grilled peanut butter and jelly.  That’s right grilled peanut butter and jelly.

You’ve never had grilled peanut butter and jelly?  Assemble your sandwich as you always do.  Spread butter (or in this case banana butter) on the outside pieces of bread and grill the sandwich like you do with grilled cheese.  The natural sugar in the banana will caramelize, giving the bread a nice crust.  Plus, peanut butter and banana are a marriage made in heaven.

I came across this recipe in the latest Food and Wine.  This magazine is a great resource.  I love the accessibility of the recipes.  Or, in this case, the twist on something simple.  Flavored butter is something I make often, but I never considered adding banana.  The recipe pairs this with blueberry muffins.  Which, I’m making right now.  I’m sure blueberry zucchini muffins would also work.

Impress your friends and whip this up.  Heck, this would be a great gift.  Add it to a basket of muffins and enjoy the accolades.

banana butter vBanana Butter

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 1/2 t Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 t Ground Ginger

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.


A Little Birdie Told Me

April 14, 2013

hummingbird cakeEvery Easter I make lamb cake.  Every Easter except for this one.  Meeshie didn’t want lamb cake this year.  And everywhere we went they haunted us.  I would point out the expense and snicker.  But a lot of people don’t have a lamb cake mold passed down from their mother and many more of don’t bake.

When Meeshie asked me not to make lamb cake this year, I knew I had to make something else.  I’ve seen hummingbird cake recipes before and had always been intrigued.  What a perfect spring cake.  Or more accurately the perfect spring cupcake.  For those who have never had Hummingbird Cake, I would describe it as a carrot cake made with bananas.  Or spice cake made with bananas.  It’s lite.  Nothing like the denseness of banana bread.  People that don’t generally like banana bread love this cake.

This recipe requires roasting the bananas in their skin in the oven.  At first, I was going to skip this step.  I am the person that freezes all of my over ripe bananas.  The riper the banana the sweeter the bread.  I just figured that roasting the banana would move the ripening process along.  But then I read further in the post and discovered that roasting gives the bananas a slightly different flavor. I can’t really describe it, but just don’t skip that step.

When I made the frosting, I felt that the amount of cream cheese was overkill.  I’m not a fan of the in your face flavor of cream cheese.  But once the frosting had sat for a bit, the flavor along with the cake, was perfect.  Oh, adding the pecans to the frosting, genius.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I took pictures on the same day my washer died.  And my washer was out of commission  for almost two weeks.

Sorry folks, as much I would love to share this recipe with you.  I can’t.  If you would like to read the recipe that I used, please use this  post.  The author has asked that I not post it.  Happy clicking.



A Touch of Irish

March 9, 2013

irish soda bread iiiI know I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s just so good.  I made two batches of this bread last weekend.  I like using the two raisins.  It’s a visual thing as well as a taste thing.  But if you don’t have golden raisins, don’t let that stop you.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I like to soak my raisins.  That simple step really adds a lot to the texture of the bread.  Give it a try.

This bread would be perfect for Easter brunch or any time of year.  It makes two large loaves that can easily be split, although I never seem to get that far.  We eat the bread so quickly, but you can make four smaller loaves to share with friends.

Serve this bread plain or with butter, but either way enjoy!

I’m waiting for spring.  I’m tired of snow.  We haven’t had a lot compared to some years, but it’s March and I’m so over it.  Last week I saw my daffodils popping up, and this week Meeshie had a snow day.  Crazy!

irish soda breadIrish Soda Bread
•6-6 1/2 C Flour, sifted
•1 C Sugar
•3 t Baking Powder
•1 t Baking Soda
•1 3/4 C Buttermilk
•2 Eggs, beaten
•1/4 C Butter, melted
•1 1/2 C Raisins, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes (I used 3/4 C regular raisins and 3/4 C golden raisins)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the flour (I start with 6 C), sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in the center. Mix the ingredients with the dough hook on a stand mixer, if you have one. If not, mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Mix the ingredients together until well combined. Add the raisins and knead until fairly smooth. Turn out on floured countertop and continue to knead for another minute or two. If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour and continue kneading. Divide the dough into two parts. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and pat into two round loaves. With a butter knife, cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep on top of each loaf. Sprinkle with flour and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.


Chili Pie

February 17, 2013

chili pie iiWe went the Chicago Auto Show over the weekend.  It’s always a great way to look at all the new cars without the hassle of the salesman.  Of course, if you go there because you’re in the market for a car, you can always find someone willing to contact you.

On the way home we stopped at a bakery.  Now you may be wondering why we would stop at a bakery when I seem to always be baking.  I love a good bakery.  I love the smells, the display case, the happy people behind the counter.  Unfortunately, a good bakery is hard to find these days.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some nice bakeries out there, but not all of them are good.  The one we went to has been around for a while, so they know what they are doing.  We bought some fabulous turtle cookies there, but when we were about to leave I noticed something.  It was chili pie.  I asked the girl behind the counter about it, and once we got in the car, my husband said “please, you have to make that pie.”

Turns out, I had just made chili a few days prior and I’d been waiting to try a new pie crust recipe.

I’m not going to share my chili recipe.  I think that most people feel that their chili is the best chili.  Maybe that’s true.  Regardless, everyone has their go to recipe.

This pie can be eaten as an entrée or leave the top layer of pie crust off and serve it with tortilla chips at your next get together.

I have to mention, though, that this is by far the best pie crust I’ve ever had.  Tthe vodka prevents cracking when you roll it out.  It also makes a very flakey crust that browns evenly.  I like to make pie crust, stick it in a Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer.  This recipe makes 1 9-inch pie crust, which translates into two crusts, the top and bottom.

chili pie iiiPie Crust

  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1 C cold Butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices (or 12 T and 1/2 C cold vegetable shortening)
  • 1/4 C Vodka, chilled
  • 1/4 C Water, ice cold

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse a few times

Add the butter (or butter and shortening) and process until the dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides and pulse again until pea-size pieces to start to form.

With the machine on, slowly add the vodka and water until it just comes together.  Dump the contents onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Divide the dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk.  Wrap each in plastic wrap, or a place in Ziploc bag.  Refrigerate at least 45 minutes or place in the freezer.

Chili Pie

  • Pie Crust (one for the bottom and one for the top)
  • 4-5 C Chili  (I didn’t actually measure, I just filled the pie plate)
  • 1 C Shredded Cheese, divided
  • 1/2 C Onion, diced

Line the pie plate with pie crust.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, making sure to line the crust with weights.  (Remember that once you’ve worked the crust into the plate, put it back into the fridge to rest for 20 minutes before placing into the oven.) Remove the crust from the oven.  Layer  shredded cheese onto the crust, add the chili, add another layer of cheese, sprinkle with diced onion and place the crust on top.  Cut slits into the crust and place the pie back into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve warm.


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