Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meringues Chantilly

This is my Second post for Barefoot Bloggers . Barefoot bloggers are a community of bloggers who twice monthly make and share recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbooks. This month’s second recipe was selected by BMK of Reservations Not Required who has chosen Meringues Chantilly from Barefoot in Paris, page 176
At first I was very excited to try these. Meringues are something that I’ve always wanted to make but didn’t want to invest the 6 or more hours needed to prepare and cook them. So, with this month’s selection I would be “forced” into it. I had planned to try this recipe over the weekend but life took over and the meringues were pushed back until Wednesday night at 6:00pm when they went into the oven for their 2 hours of baking. After sitting in the oven all night and all day we were finally able to give them a try. Let me just say that I’m glad I had a chance to make these. They look beautiful, although not as pretty as Ina’s, but I’ll work on that. The taste is great also. Give them a try. They are not hard and I think you’ll be glad you did.

Her recipe:
I’ll highlight in red italics the things I changed.
6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar , divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur, recipe follows I just make whipped cream with orange zest.
Stewed berries, recipe follows I used frozen strawberries and bananas.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper facedown on the baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur:
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't overbeat, or you'll end up with butter!
Yield: 4 cups

Stewed berries:
1 half-pint fresh blueberries
3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons framboise (raspberry brandy) Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside

Monday, February 23, 2009


Happy Fat Tuesday to you!
With the Lent season upon us, take this last chance to cook something a little bit sinful. Wednesday many of us will be giving up something in order to prepare for Easter. If you are like me then the things you give up could very well be food related. Also, take this last opportunity to prepare your body for all the fish it will consume in the coming weeks.

I would like to issue a Kitty Cat Warning at this time. If you are the owner of a cat, they will have a hard time resisting this meal. Our cats were willing to fight the dogs for a spot in the kitchen. Our kitten was even willing to get burned in the hunt for Crawfish. Our 9-year-old cat, that is seldom seen while the kids are awake, was right there in the mix too.

Étouffer means to smother and smother this recipe does, not to mention sticking to your ribs. Étouffee is great in that you can put in any ingredients you want and it still tastes wonderful. Have fun and use some ingredients that you don’t normally use in your cooking.

1 Lb Chicken strips
1 lb Shrimp Frozen baby small shrimp
1 Lb Crawfish tails Frozen, cooked and peeled
1 Lb Andoulle Cajun Sausage
½ C Butter
½ C All-purpose Flour
2 C chopped Celery
2 C Chopped Onion
4 or 5 Cloves of Garlic
1 C Chopped Green Onion
1 C Chopped Sweet Bell
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Beer Shiner Bock have extras to drink.
1 C water
½ Fresh Parsley
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Red Pepper
½ Tsp Pepper Black and white peppercorns
1 Tbsp Chipotle Tabasco
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
4 C cooked rice

Thaw Crawfish and shrimp, if frozen. Fresh Crawfish can be a real chore to cook and peel.
Start rice cooking.
Cook chicken and sausage in the pan or pot that you will be using for the Étouffee. Remove all your meat to a plate while preparing the roux.
Stir together flour, and butter until smooth. Cook over Medium-high heat for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
Reduce to medium heat. Cook and stir 5 minutes more or until a reddish brown roux is formed.
Add onion, garlic, celery, & sweet pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Add 3 Tbsp butter: stir until melted.
Stir in beer, water, green onion, parsley, red pepper flakes and pepper.
Bring to a boil.
Add Crawfish, shrimp, chicken and sausage. Return to boil and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered 5 or 10 minutes more or until heated through.
Serve on top of cooked hot rice.
I grate cheddar chipotle cheese on top of ours. Cheddar cheese with roasted jalapeno peppers.

Again, you can add your choice of seafood or meat and even add vegetables if you like. I had planned to add okra but forgot I had it.

HAPPY FAT TUESDAY! Drop us a comment. We would love to know how you will celebrate this day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Husband's Delight

As promised….Husband’s Delight from our fun 1974 Southern Living’s Casseroles Cookbook.

I’m not so sure that it is really a delight, lots of cheese and noodles. My husband is more of a meat and potatoes, stick to your ribs kind of guy. My kids on the other hand were delighted by this meal. I have never had hamburger helper meals but I’ve seen them on the shelf in stores many times and have imagined their taste. If I were forced to equate this meal to something I think I would choose a hamburger helper meal.
And from my wife perspective it’s a lot of prep work and a lot of cleaning for a little bang.
So, if you are so inclined to prepare Husband’s delight for your husbands make sure there are kids around to eat it all up. Also, I think it needs more seasoning.

Husband’s Delight recipe
Adapted from Southern Living’s Casseroles Cookbook
Copyright 1974
Cost $1.95

1 1/2 pound Ground Beef
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 C Sour Cream
3 green Onions
2 tablespoons of butter (I used Olive oil)
2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1-Teaspoon Salt
Dash Pepper
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
2 5oz packages of noodles
½ cup shredded Cheese

In bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and onions.
Brown meat in butter (olive oil): add tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Cook noodles according to package directions.
In 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of noodles, beef mixture and sour cream mixture.
Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350°f until brown.

What I changed:
I used Olive oil to brown my meat instead of butter.
1 pound of noodles instead of 10ozs.
More sour cream so that just a tiny bit would not be left in the container and more than ½ cup of shredded cheese.

Again, my kids loved it and I MAY make it just for them.

Lobster Ravioli in a White Peppercorn Wine Sauce

I HEART Ravioli!

I have a minor obsession with the making and eating of ravioli. OK, maybe not minor but an obsession all the same. ANYWAY, we NEVER go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Other than dragging three kids with us, we are just not restaurant people. That is to say we do go out to eat, just not often and never on holidays. I tend to suffer from buyers remorse very time I leave a restaurant. Many restaurant foods taste the same, have small portions, no seconds and they want you to pay for it too. I put extra effort into cooking something special and different for holidays. I make sure to use the GOOD china and little decorations so the kids recognize that it is a special day and a special dinner. So what to have for Valentine’s Day dinner was my question, my quest, something to WOW the family. Lobster seemed the perfect answer to both. The kids love to watch the lobster in the tank at the market and the husband doesn’t get lobster cooked at home often. I was not ready for sharing with the kids the life lessons that come along with buying and cooking live lobster so, lobster tails seemed the best solution. Also, having grown up in South Florida, I know that in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area I’m not getting any seafood that was caught today or even this week, catfish excluded.

If you have never made ravioli, try it. They are very easy to make and always a hit. My kids even love to help make them. As the chef, there is nothing that you can’t put into and on ravioli, so you can really use your imagination when you create them.

Ravioli stuffing
4 Lobster tails
Gruyere Cheese

Cook the lobster tail. Peal the meat out of the shell.
Drop it into your processor along with the cheese. Fill your ravioli and set them aside to dry.

White Peppercorn Wine Sauce
White peppercorns
White wine
White wine vinegar
Gruyere cheese

Sauté Peppercorns and shallots in a small amount of butter.
Add Wine and vinegar and reduce by almost half
While whisking, add salt and a lot of butter (a little bit at a time)
Finally, add a handful of cheese and allow to thicken a little.
Pour over the boiled, al dente ravioli.

We had our ravioli along side, roasted Prosciutto wrapped asparagus, Mozzarella cheese tray and a big salad.

This was a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal for us. Not only was the food great but also we all helped to make it. Be sure to check out the cheese tray my husband put together. NICE JOB!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These are so sweet I can't resist them!

So cute, so easy and SO YUMMY! The hardest part about them is transporting them.

I found this recipe Wednesday on Culinary Wannabe's blog site and made 3 batches since then.
You can just as easily decorated them for Easter or other holidays. Picture this a little coconut nest with little Jelly Beans sitting in it.
You still have time, go make them!
Happy Valentine's Day !

Recipe as seen on the blog of Culinarywannabe:
(Go visit her site. You'll be glad you did!)

Red Velvet Mini-Cupcakes
Adapted from How Sweet It Is Bakery - Ellen Sternau and Beth Pilar
Yields 48

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1-2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Valentine's M&Ms or other appropriate decorations( I used heart sprinkles)

Mini-Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325℉ and line two mini-cupcake pans with wrappers.
Mix all dry ingredients together and all wet ingredients together in 2 separate bowls.
Pour wet into dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Immediately pour mixture into tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, then cool completely.

Frosting: Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Slowly mix in confectioners sugar and vanilla extract.
Place frosting in a piping bag (I used a star-shaped tip), and frost as desired. Or frost using a spatula.
Top with decorations.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Real Spagetti and Meatballs

This is my first post for Barefoot Bloggers . For those of you who are not familiar with Barefoot bloggers, they are a community of bloggers who twice monthly make and share recipes from Ina Garten’s cookbooks. Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake selected this month’s first recipe. She choose Real spagetti and Meatballs from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, page 103

I make red sauce and Meatballs often so I was eager to try her recipe. I vowed to follow it to the T as to not compete with my own recipe. Her meatball recipe is much different than mine and it was fun to try something new. I will however revert to my own recipe the next time I make meatballs. Her sauce is very light compared to mine and was a nice complement with the heavy meatballs.

Her recipe:
OK The only thing I changed was NO VEAL! I also broiled the meatballs and doubled both recipes to freeze some for later meals.
For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For serving:nocoupons
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions :
Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We are working on a little up-date.

I hope to have all the kinks worked out sometime today.

Come back and see us!

Thanks a Bunch!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Chicken Roll-Ups

I had friends coming over for dinner and wanted to make something impressive and tasty and yet not too much work. I happened to have had some turkey ham and fresh mozzarella in the fridge and wanted to incorporate those into the meal. I decided to try something new. Because of the ham I kept reverting back to thoughts of chicken cordon bleu so I went with it but with a few modifications.

Chicken (boneless, skinless breast)
Turkey Ham
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Spinach
Seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 350º F

Pound chicken flat for rolling.
Cut turkey ham into about 1” strips the length of chicken
Slice mozzarella cheese

On top of flattened chicken breast place ham, cheese, and spinach. Sprinkle with fresh basil and other desired seasonings. I’m partial to Tony Chachere’s Spice N’ Herbs and smoked paprika. Roll into tube-like shape and use toothpicks to hold in place.

Sear chicken roll-ups in olive oil then place on baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I served these with roasted sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.

To roast the vegetables I placed chunked sweet potatoes in a large bowl and tossed with olive oil and honey then placed on baking sheet. These bake from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size.

I used frozen brussel sprouts, which I partially thawed in the microwave. Then put them in a large bowl and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I left these in the oven for close to 30 minutes.

One of my friends brought over strawberries so I sliced them, sprinkled on a little sugar and added a little fresh rosemary and let them sit until after the meal. I made some fresh whipped cream and we had dessert.

Here’s to another successful meal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Egg Roll Florets

Got a food processor and need to shred some cabbage? I am always amazed at how fast and quickly our food processor shreds cabbage. I’m so impressed that sometimes I look for ways to use cabbage just so I can watch it work.

So, I started with cabbage, added some carrots, then stared at my bowl of shreds thinking “what now?” What now turned into Egg Roll Florets.

¼ head of cabbage
4 carrots
4 green onions
2 stalks of celery
Balsamic vinegar
Dash of honey

Shred all ingredients; add vinegar and honey to taste.
Place in the center of an egg roll paper then paint the edges with egg whites and pinch together to create a flower shape.

Place on a cookie sheet.
Spray florets with cooking oil and bake at 425°F for approximately 8-10 minutes.
Turn once during cooking so that all sides crisp evenly.

Once brown and crisp serve as a complement to your main dish.

Use wonton paper instead of egg roll paper for a more bite size floret or for a great appetizer.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

You know my preferred guidelines, fast, easy, tasty, and all in one bowl. And if it’s something that the kids can do then it goes straight to my list of favorites.

The hardest part of these chocolate treats is taking everything out of the refrigerator/pantry and waiting for the butter to soften. These treats are an easy way to let a friend, neighbor or teacher know that you are thinking about them and wishing them a happy day. They are so quick and easy that they can’t be saved for Christmas or Valentines Day. NO! Make them all year long. Any old time you want to let somebody know that they are special and you are thinking of them, make these.

Without further ado.

Chocolate Peanut butter Truffles Recipe:

1C Peanut butter (crunchy if you like)
1C Butter
1lb Powdered Sugar

Blend, form into balls and refrigerate until firm.
The kids can put some powdered sugar on their hands and roll the balls for you or you can use a scoop to drop them.

Chocolate Topping:
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (any chocolate you have or like)
Fun and festive sprinkles

Melt the chocolate and add a tablespoon or so of oil. The oil helps to make the chocolate silky smooth.
Dip the cold peanut butter ball in the chocolate and sprinkle with the sprinkles of your liking.
Return to the refrigerator for chocolate to firm.
The kids can use a fondue fork to dip the balls for you. Make sure you have lots of sprinkles if your kids sprinkle the way mine do.

Sprinkles we like:
Any shape and color Non-Peril
Chopper nuts

Package them in some fun way and share them.

*Make sure to keep them cool. The balls get soft and messy if they get to warm. Attach a simple note saying keep cool to your treat boxes.*

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oven Meal

I cracked the seal, again, on a circa 1974 cookbook that I found in my kitchen.
This cookbook had me in stitches. It is full of add lard here, cream this, butter that. I mean heart attack material. The best part is that my Mom made lots of the recipes in this cookbook and still makes one frequently. None of us have had any major health issues so we survived the cookbook. Now it’s time to pass on the recipes and fun to you guys and my own family. I promise I’ll cut back on the lard and modify where necessary.

Oven Meal
Adapted from Southern Living’s Casseroles Cookbook
Copyright 1974
Cost $1.95

2 C Diced raw Potatoes
2 C Chopped Celery
2 C Ground Beef (1-1/2lbs)
1 C Chopped green peppers
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2 Cups Canned Tomatoes
1 C Sliced Onion

Place potatoes, celery, beef and green peppers by layers in a 3-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each layer. Pour tomatoes over top, then add a layer of sliced onion.
Cover casserole and bake at 375°F for 1-1/2 hours
Yield: 6 servings

Now What I did:
5 Potatoes
6 or 7 Celery stalks
2 lbs Raw Ground Beef
Yellow bell Pepper
8 Green Onions
2 Cans of Chopped Stewed Tomatoes
1 Sliced Onion
Salt and Pepper
Smoked Paprika

Layered onion, green onions, pepper, celery and RAW ground beef.
Added salt, pepper and Paprika.

Topped with canned tomatoes and onion slices.

Covered and baked for 1-1/2 hours or until I knew the beef was good and cooked.
My husband thought it tasted like an Old Fashion Beef Stew and my 6-year-old said it would be a good recipe for the blog.
So Blogging world here you go….I give you Oven Meal!

Oh and a pre-view of another fun recipe.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

My kids love this dish, spinach and all!

4 or 5 links of Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
1 package of frozen spinach
1 lb Penne Pasta

Remove the sausage from it’s casing and sauté.
Once the sausage is cooked, add the frozen spinach.
Turn your salted water on to boil while the spinach is cooking.
When the spinach sausage mix is well cooked and starting to bubble add milk and flour.
You must mix the flour in the cold milk until dissolved before adding it to your hot spinach mix. I mixed approximately 2 tablespoons of flour to my 2 cups of cold 2% milk. I stir it with a fork for a few seconds and then add it to the spinach mix.
Simmer with a lid on until your pasta is al dente. Remove from the heat and pour onto the pasta.
Note: the sausage has enough flavors that you don’t need to add more spice. Don’t even add salt. I know you want to but just try it first.