Jun 29, 2010


I made these to go with one of my favorites – Summer Pasta Bolognese – they were the perfect soft and chewy breadsticks.  Super simple and quick to make and great for snacking.  They would also be a great appetizer dipped in some pizza sauce – yummy!  And so much less greasy than you would get at a place like Pizza Hut – you can’t beat that!


  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • Pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning, to sprinkle on top


1. Lightly drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a half sheet pan (18x13”).

2. Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, spreading it nearly to the edges. Oiling your fingers helps with the job.

4. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy.

5. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

6. Drizzle the dough lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

7. Bake the bread till it's a very light golden brown, about 25 minutes.

8. Once removed from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes then cut the dough into strips.

9. Place the bread sticks back on their baking pan, on edge. You can put them close together. Return them to the oven, and bake for 5 minutes (for soft bread sticks), or 10 minutes (for bread sticks that can stand up to a stiffer dip).

10. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Source: King Arthur Flour

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Jun 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I’ve never made a pavlova before – although I have heard of them.  And when I read through the recipe – I knew it was something that my husband and I would love – chocolate meringue, chocolate mascarpone mousse and crème anglaise.   Well – that proved to be absolutely true.   The first one that we ate – we shared with a bottle of white wine, in the backyard with the sun setting – the perfect summer evening.  And it felt like we were out to eat at a fancy restaurant and not in our own backyard.  My husband declared it was the best dessert that I’ve ever made!   I topped mine with fresh, local strawberries.   It was seriously out-of-this-world good.  But I know that it wasn’t just the wine talking – because when we ate this again the next night and it was just as delicious.

I made the full batch of the pavlova recipe and half batch of the mousse and crème anglaise – and that actually turned out to be the perfect amount, I am so glad I didn’t make the entire batch – so I will adjust the recipe below with the amounts I used.  I think that one of these could easily be eaten by one person – but we shared it each time we ate them.  :)  


Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F degrees.  Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

3. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue.  Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon.

5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base)

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 4.5 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 plus 1/3 cups mascarpone cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (or orange juice) (I actually used Baileys)


1. Put 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining half cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl of a mixer. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier (or Baileys) and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks.

3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated.

4. When ready to use fill a pastry bag with the mousse. You could also just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.


Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)

  • 1 recipe crème anglaise:
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp Sambucca (optional) (I did not use this)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


1. Prepare the crème anglaise:  In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.  Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

2. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca into the crème anglaise. 

3. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed.

4. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Final Assembly
Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Check out what the other Daring Bakers made on the blogroll.

Thanks to Dawn from Doable and Delicious for a great challenge this month!

Jun 25, 2010

Summer Pasta Bolognese

Is your garden overflowing with so much zucchini that you don’t know what you are going to do with it?  Or do you want to sneak some more veggies into your kids food?   Well – this recipe is for you – and will not disappoint.   I LOVE this recipe – I could probably eat it every week all summer and not get tired of it – but I won’t do that – I need new content for the blog! :)   I used canned tomatoes this time – but it will be even better with freshly picked, ripe, juicy garden tomatoes. 
So yummy!


  • 12 ounces fettuccine (3/4 box)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 3), chopped or 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the turkey and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, for 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

5. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Fold in the carrot and  zucchini and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve over the pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese.


Source: adapted from Real Simple

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Jun 24, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice cream

One of my favorite types of ice cream is white chocolate raspberry swirl – with chocolate chunks.  As you might remember – I have a thing for ice cream with fruit and chocolate – as I professed in my chocolate dipped strawberry ice cream post.  This ice cream was no exception – it is a combination of three different recipes all found within The Perfect Scoop.  I definitely will be trying this one again soon! 


white chocolate ice cream:

  • 8 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream

raspberry swirl:

  • 1 1/2 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vodka

chocolate stracciatella:

  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate


1. Combine raspberries, sugar and vodka in a bowl and mash with a fork to combine.  Refrigerate an hour or overnight before churning the ice cream. 

2. Put the white chocolate in a large bowl with a mesh strainer on top.

3. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.

4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape back into the saucepan.

5. Stir mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. 

6. Pour custard through a strainer over the white chocolate and stir until chocolate completely melts.  

7. Chill mixture in the refrigerator then churn according to the manufacturers instructions.

8. Just before the mixture is done churning – melt the bittersweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. 

9.  Into the container you are going to freeze, layer the ice cream, half the raspberry sauce and drizzle half of the melted chocolate on top.  Then repeat.  Freeze until firm.

Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

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Jun 23, 2010

Barbecue Hamburgers

When I think about summer – I think about the 4th of July – fireworks, parades, picnics, flags - it was my absolute favorite holiday when I was growing up (now it is a close second behind Thanksgiving).   During my entire life, and pretty much up until this day – this is what we eat on the 4th of July.  My grandmas barbecue hamburgers.  They would always be in a pot on the stove ready for anyone to enjoy.  Along with some traditional potato salad or tuna salad, chips and a pop – this is the essence of summer for me. 
Luckily this is one of my grandmas recipes that she had written down, since she is no longer with us anymore.   So when I eat these I think about her and am reminded of my childhood.
Just a note – these are not ‘traditional’ bbq sauce taste that some might expect.  It is a very simple, tomato based sauce – flavored with a bit of Worcestershire sauce.  They are truly nostalgic to me – I hope you enjoy them!


  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, plus 1 cans worth of water
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 Tbsp. flour


1. Combine tomato sauce, can of water, Worcestershire sauce in a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer.    

2. Combine beef, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Quickly dip the slice of bread in the tomato sauce – and add that you the beef mixture. 

3.  Form beef mixture into 8 equal patties.  Working in batches pan fry the hamburger patties.

4. Thicken the tomato sauce with flour and whisk to combine. 

5. Add cooked burgers to the tomato sauce, and simmer on the stove. 

6.  Serve on buns with extra sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Source: family recipe – Grandma R.

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Jun 22, 2010

Grilled Chicken Veggie Quesadillas

Who knew you can make quesadillas on the grill?  I didn’t until I saw this recipe.  The great part is that you grill all of the ingredients – then you put your baking sheet on the grill and actually cook the quesadillas that way too!   These were so flavorful – grilling really imparts a flavor you cannot not replicate any other way – I cannot wait to make them again.  Serve them up with some salsa or guacamole – yummy! 


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rings
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters and seeded
  • 1 small zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into four planks
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


1. Combine garlic and oil in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until bubbling. 

2. Brush both sides of onion, pepper, zucchini and chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Grill veggies over a hot fire until lightly charred and tender – 3-5 minutes per side. 

4. Grill chicken until charred and registers 160 degrees F.

5. Slice chicken, zucchini, pepper and onion into thin strips.  

6. Place 1/2 cup of cheese on half of each tortilla.  Top with chicken and veggies.  Fold tortillas over filling and press gently to seal.

7. Transfer to a baking sheet and place sheet on grill.  Grill until tortillas are golden brown and crisp – about 4 minutes – then flip and repeat on the other side.  Cut each tortilla into wedges and serve. 

Source: Americas Test Kitchen – 30 Minute Suppers (Summer 2010)

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Jun 21, 2010

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Happy first official day of Summer!

Cooking pizza in a 500 degree oven in the summer is just not an option for me.  I just can’t turn the oven on that high when its already 80 outside and I don’t have air conditioning.  Especially after my experience with cooking pita bread in the hot oven.   So grilling pizza is a really great alternative method – and it is absolutely delicious.   It’s definitely tricky getting the dough on the grill – but who says it needs to be perfectly round – it still tastes great!    

We both love the simple taste of a basic margherita pizza with a tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil (from my herb garden!) on top.   It was fantastic on a grill – but this is just the beginning on many more grilled pizza delights this summer!



  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cup water (110 degrees F)
  • spray oil


  • 28-ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper


  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped.
  • fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper



1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add garlic and oregano.  Saute until garlic is golden, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Process flour, yeast, slat and garlic/oil mixture in a large food processor with the dough blade.   Continue pulsing while adding 1 1/2 cups water through the feed tube.   If the dough does not form a ball – add the remaining 1/4 cup of water.  Process until the dough is smooth and elastic – 30 seconds longer.

3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for a few stroked to form a smooth round ball of dough.  

4. Place dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.   Let rise for 1 – 1.5 hours, until doubled in size. 

5. When ready to shape dough – punch down dough and divide in half (you can now freeze half if you want).   Divide the remaining dough into 4 equal portions.

6.   Working with one ball of dough at at time, flatten into disk and use your fingertips to shape the dough outwards from the center.   Continue turning and stretching the dough until you have an 8 inch diameter.  Transfer the dough to the back of a baking sheet or parchment paper – and cover until ready to grill.


1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.   Using an immersion blender – pulse the sauce until you reach your desired consistency. 

2.  Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until it thickens. 

ready to grill:

1.  Gather all of the ingredients that you will need onto a tray – and have that next to your grill for easy access. 

2. Preheat the grill on high for about 10 minutes – and clean off grill grates. 

3. Brush tops of dough with olive oil and sprinkle on salt. 

4. Reduce heat to medium and carefully transfer on the the dough rounds onto the grill, oiled side down. 

5.  Grill for about 2 minutes or until dark grill marks appear.  Brush tops with oil and use tongs to flip over dough.   Cook until golden brown and remove from grill – and repeat with remaining dough rounds.

6. Off the grill – arrange the toppings on the dough – sauce, cheese, parmesan, basil, salt and pepper. 

7.  Slide back onto grill, and close the lid for about 2 minutes – until cheese is melted.

Source: dough from Cooks Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue

sauce adapted from Food and Wine

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Jun 18, 2010

Strawberry Cream Pie

Do you know what time of the year it is – it’s Strawberry time!  They are just starting to become available locally here in NY – and I’ve been eating them every morning with my yogurt.  It really is amazing to taste the difference of food that is in season and locally grown – it tastes like the way it is meant to taste.  And with strawberries – it is pure deliciousness! 

Now about this pie – I actually made it a few weeks ago with some California strawberries – and I can only imagine how much better it would be with some of the local ones.  Regardless – this pie is the perfect combination of flavors – it doesn’t get much better than strawberries and cream – with a bit of chocolate to top it off. 
I used my favorite pie crust – which I baked ahead of time – but feel free to use what ever recipe you want. 


  • 1 cup cold heavy cream, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pie crust, completely baked and cooled
  • 2 pints fresh whole strawberries, hulled and sliced if large
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips


1. In the chilled bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of the cream on medium speed.  When the cream is frothy, increase the speed to high and whip until the cream holds firm peaks.

2. In a separate large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it’s soft and creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until combined.

3. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese to lighten the mixture, then add the remaining cream and continue folding until it’s incorporated.

4. Evenly spread the cream mixture in the pie crust. Arrange the strawberries, pointed side up, over the filling.

5. Melt the chocolate with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream in the microwave on medium power, or in a double boiler.  Using a small sandwich bag with the corner snipped off - drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries.

6. Refrigerate the pie until set, about 1 hour.

Source: slightly adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

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Jun 17, 2010

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

What I love about arugula is not only it’s peppery taste – it holds up really well – and doesn’t get soggy easily.    This is an easy pasta dish – that can be served either warm or cold.  It has a simple pesto dressing and cherry tomatoes and sliced grilled chicken tossed with pasta and arugula.   Perfect for an easy summer meal or great to bring to a party! 


  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 ounces baby arugula


1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot.

2. Combine pine nuts, cheese, garlic, basil and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth.  Slowly add 2/3 cup of olive oil through the feed tube and process until smooth. 

3. Brush chicken with remaining tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. 

4.  Grill chicken until completely cooked through.  Let rest to cool – and shred when cool enough to handle.

5. Add 1 Tbsp. salt to the boiling water – and cook pasta until al dente. 

6. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain pasta.

7. Toss together pesto, chicken, tomatoes, arugula and pasta, adding reserved cooking water as needed.   Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers

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Jun 15, 2010

Strawberry Ruhbarb Crisp

One of my Aunts has celiac disease – so she can’t eat any gluten, she also need to avoid dairy.  So fruit based desserts are usually the easiest to make that fit this bill.   I’ve made crisps before with ground oatmeal – but this recipe calls for Bob’s gluten free All purpose baking flour – which is nice to have on had for when I need it.    I also used Smartbalance to replace the butter.   You could easily adapt this recipe to use both gluten and dairy if you can have it.   Enjoy! 


  • 1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 4 to 5 firm stalks rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Minute Tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 large orange, zested

crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour  or regular all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter or Smartbalance 


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter an 11-by-8-inch glass baking dish or another dish with an 8-cup capacity.

3. In the bowl combine the strawberries and rhubarb. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and orange rind. Toss thoroughly and transfer to the baking dish.

4. In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse the mixture several times.

5. Place the butter on top of the flour mixture. Pulse again about 6 times or until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

6. Sprinkle the topping evenly and loosely over the fruit mixture, leaving fruit visible in a few spots for the juices to bubble up.

7. Transfer to the oven. Bake the crisp for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is brown and the fruit juices are bubbling at the edges. If the top browns too quickly, place a piece of foil loosely on top until the crisp is finished baking. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from The Boston Globe

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Jun 14, 2010

Fontina Mac and Cheese

The day I saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner that night (I usually have all of my meals planned for the week).  So I knew I had to stop by the grocery store and make this – especially when I saw how easy it was to put together.   Most macaroni and cheese recipes require a béchamel sauce and tempering eggs into the cheese mixture.   This recipe was essentially just cooking the noodles and stirring together the ingredients – then baking in the oven.   I served this with some steamed broccoli – and it was the perfect comforting meal.   You really should try this recipe! 


  • 1 lb. medium pasta shells
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
  • Salt
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. 

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions minus 1-2 minutes.

3. Place 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.

4. Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the Fontina until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt to taste, and add the nutmeg.

6. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.

7. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Mix in the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter. 

8. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

9. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Source: Annie’s Eat’s - adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop

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Jun 11, 2010


This is a recipe for a baked falafel – which is essentially a chickpea patty.  They were absolutely delicious.  They require some planning ahead, since you use dried chickpeas that need to be soaked overnight.  I’m looking forward to making these again soon, since I only had one of them.  They would make a great pita sandwich too.  So easy to make, I made the mixture in advance and kept it in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake them.  I think they would also freeze really well too - then they are an even easier meal.


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup) 
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried coriander
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • up to 4 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
  • Olive oil, for baking


1. Place the beans in a medium bowl and cover with a few inches of water.  Allow to soak 24 hours.

2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and transfer them to a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add the onion, parsley, salt, garlic, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and lemon juice, and pulse several times, until a paste forms. 

3. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the baking powder, and mix to combine. 

4. Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture stays together when formed into a ball.

5. Working 2-3 Tablespoons at a time, form the mixture into balls, then flatten into 3/4 inch thick patties. 

6. Heat the oven to 350.  Pour 2-4 tablespoons olive oil onto a baking sheet, and tilt to cover the entire sheet.

7. Line falafel on the baking sheet, and bake 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the outsides are browned and crispy.

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley Catering

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Jun 10, 2010

Chicken souvlaki

Well, what did I do with all of those pita breads and tzatziki sauce – well, combined together they make the perfect chicken souvlaki!    Some members of my family – that enjoyed this delicious homemade meal – topped theirs with some of the Greek tomato salad.  I like mine with the chicken, feta cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and some of that garlicky tzatziki.  Completely delicious and healthy meal.  I had a lot of fun putting together this Mediterranean inspired meal – and I even have one more vegetarian aspect to post tomorrow.  I could seriously eat this food every single day and not grow tired of it.  Enjoy!
For the chicken marinade:

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
To assemble:
  • Pita bread
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • shredded lettuce
  • feta cheese
  • tzatziki or Greek dressing
1. To marinade the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Whisk together until mixed well.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
2. Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet, the broiler or a grill.  Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.   Cut into strips.
3. Warm the pita bread for serving.
4.  Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, feta cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions.  Serve immediately.
Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats who adapted from Elly Says Opa!
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Jun 9, 2010


Tzatziki is a classic Greek sauce, often served with souvlaki or gyros.  It’s basis is cucumber and Greek yogurt – and I like this version with fresh dill the best.   If you don’t have Greek yogurt – you can strain regular plain yogurt in a cheesecloth and strainer overnight.   But Greek yogurt is so popular now – that I have no problem finding it.   It’s really refreshing addition to your meal!


  • 2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
  • juice of half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt for salting cucumbers
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


1. Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds.

2. Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 2 tsp. kosher salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

3. In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the Greek yogurt.

4. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.

5. This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.


Source: adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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Jun 8, 2010

Wheat Pita Bread

If you haven’t tried homemade pita bread – you are really missing out.  It’s definitely going to make it hard to buy it from the store again.   It’s light, fluffy and the perfect flavor.  Some of them had the perfect pita pocket in the center too (although a few did not!).  I’m going to have to work on that – because I will be making these again many, many times. 
It’s actually not that hard to make – the hardest part for me was the actual cooking in the oven.  It was really hot out the day I made these – and after awhile it was hot and exhausting opening and closing the hot (500 degree!) oven to flip and place new pitas in the oven.  But totally worth it in the end – but I almost needed another shower after making these!


  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
  • 1½ cups bread flour, divided
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

2. Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. 

3. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

4. Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500˚ F.

5. Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. 

6. Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 7 inch circle. 

7. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

8. Transfer 3-4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. 

9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.

Source: Annie’s Eats who adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet, May 2003

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Jun 7, 2010

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad

This salad is so yummy – it has several of my favorite things in it – tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese.  It is the perfect healthy side dish to bring to a party or for a Greek inspired meal.   Definitely a keeper in this house – I’m sure I’ll be making this recipe many times.  Enjoy! 


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes , ripe, halved (about 4 cups)
  • Table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 shallot , minced
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 small cucumber , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces feta cheese , crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves


1. Toss tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and sugar in medium bowl; let stand for 30 minutes.

2. Transfer tomatoes to salad spinner and spin until seeds and excess liquid have been removed, 45 to 60 seconds, stirring to redistribute tomatoes several times during spinning. Return tomatoes to bowl and set aside.

3. Strain tomato liquid through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

4. Bring 1/2 cup tomato liquid (discard any extra), garlic, oregano, shallot, and vinegar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Transfer mixture to small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.

6. Whisk in oil and pepper to taste until combined. Taste and season with up to 1/8 teaspoon table salt.

7. Add cucumber, olives, feta, dressing, and parsley to bowl with tomatoes; toss gently and serve.

Source: Cooks Illustrated

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Jun 4, 2010

Sherbet Punch

This is a super easy punch recipe.  That is quick to throw together and refreshing and delicious!  I love orange sherbet – but you can use rainbow or lemon/lime as well. 

In a punch bowl – mix together the following:

  • 1 – 2 liter bottle of Sprite or 7UP
  • 2 cups of orange juice

top with

  • scoops of orange sherbet
  • frozen raspberries

Now go enjoy your party!  :)

Jun 3, 2010

Red Chili Chicken with black beans and rice

Are you a Top Chef fan?  I love that show – and I really enjoyed the first ‘Top Chef: Masters’ season – the one where Rick Bayless won. After that I noticed that his brand is actually very well known – he has his own line of Mexican products – Frontera – and they are delicious!  We’ve tried his taco sauce and a few of his salsas – so yummy!  So when I saw this recipe that was from one of his cookbooks I knew I had to make it. 
This is a really easy healthy dinner. Delish – Enjoy!


  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • salsa, for serving


1. Heat the oil in large heavy pot over medium-high heat. 

2. Season the chicken breast with salt and sprinkle with half of the chili powder.  Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown, 2-3 minutes.  Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

3. Add the onion and rice to the pot.  Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. 

4. Add the garlic and the remaining chili powder to the pot.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the chicken broth and salt to taste.  Stir well.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Add the chicken to the pot along with the beans.  Recover the pot and allow to cook 12 minutes longer.

7. Sprinkle the green onions on top of the chicken, beans and rice.  '

8. Test a grain of rice – if the rice has the correct texture, replace the cover, remove the pot from the heat and let stand 5-10 minutes.  If the rice is not completely cooked yet, cook for 5 minutes longer before covering to let stand.

9. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

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Jun 2, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Burgers

Way back in 2006 I subscribed to the Rachael Ray Magazine for one year – I actually wasn’t that thrilled with it – so I never renewed it.   But this is one recipe from one of those issues that has stood the test of time – and I continue to make it every summer.   It is a burger with a mix of ground chicken and spinach and some other flavorings and topped with artichokes, tomatoes and provolone cheese.   It is definitely a winner in this house.   I served it with a side of microwave potato chips – have you tried these yet?  If not – you are missing out! 


  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 Kaiser rolls
  • Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of ripe beefsteak tomato
  • One jar of marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese


1. Preheat a grill, grill pan or large nonstick skillet to medium-high.  If using a grill pan or skillet, preheat the broiler.

2. Place the ground chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest, Parmigiano-Reggiano, minced garlic, spinach, thyme and a drizzle of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons, and combine.

3. Form into 4 patties and cook the burgers until firm and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side.

4. Toast the rolls either on the grill or broiler.

5. In the last 2 minutes of the burgers’ cooking time, divide the tomato slices and sliced artichokes evenly among the burgers, then cover each with a slice of provolone. If cooking on the grill, drop the lid to melt the cheese. If cooking on the stovetop, tent your grill pan or skillet with aluminum foil.

6. Place on rolls and serve.

Source: adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, June/July 2006

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Jun 1, 2010

Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

I haven’t made lasagna roll-ups in forever – so this recipe really appealed to me when I ran across it.  I love a simpler version of lasagna – my favorite is still this skillet lasagna, but for something different – these spinach lasagna roll-ups were simple and delicious.   They are also very freezer friendly too, so you make them in advance, freeze them and pop them in the oven for a really quick and easy weeknight meal.  Enjoy!


  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 32 oz tomato sauce
  • 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

3. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

4. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

5. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese completely melts.

6. To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Source: adapted from Chef Mommy, originally from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

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