Monday, April 27, 2009

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

I love to make strawberry shortcake and my family loves to eat it. It always looks beautiful and always tastes yummy. And for a bonus, it’s so easy to make. The recipe calls for ingredients that are always in the house and can be made using any fresh fruit not just strawberries. My only complaint would be that if there are any leftovers it tends to get soggy and yucky to look at. So, last night after I had the batter all mixed I decided to use a muffin tin instead of a cake pan and I loved it. Unless we have company over and know the cake will be devoured this will be my go to method for making strawberry shortcake.

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens


¼ C Sugar

2 C All-purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

½ C Butter

2/3 C Milk

Filling Ingredients:

Strawberries, Sliced or chopped (I do not put any extra sugar on my fruit)

Heavy Whipping Cream

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Directions for cake:

Combine all ingredients and mix just until they are combined. As with biscuits or pancakes you don’t want to over mix.

Bake in 450°F oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and cut into two layers.

Filling Directions:

Combine ingredients to your taste and whip until stiff.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the bottom layer of cake, spread strawberries over the whipped cream, replace the top of the cake and repeat the whipped cream and strawberry layers on the top half of the cake.

Note: the muffin version makes 12 cakes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Banana Dessert

Here is a quick and easy solution for ripe bananas and about to expire plain yogurt. My kids loved this.

Plain Yogurt
Brown Sugar

Slice bananas into small custard dishes. Spoon Yogurt over the bananas. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the plain yogurt and let it set until melted. Make a swirl pattern with a spoon. Place more bananas on top and serve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

French Green Bean Salad

We had tons of fresh French green beans and I wanted to make a cold salad with them. Not having made one before I set to search for one on the internet. I was not able to locate a “healthy” version. Everything that I found had either mayo or sour cream in it. So I came up with my own quick, easy, and yummy French Green Bean Salad.

1lb or more Fresh French Green Beans
Black Olives, canned or fresh
3 Roma Tomatoes
3 or 4 Cloves of Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Oil and vinegar.


Blanch beans (tips removed) in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Immerse beans in cold water. Slice olives and tomatoes. Season to taste with garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Keep cold for several hours before serving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leftover Easter ham bird nests.

With a lot of ham left from our Easter dinner, I wanted to make something a little different than my normal ravioli or macaroni and cheese. I just didn’t want to loose the convenience of leftovers. So, here is what I came up with, my son calls this bird nests so let’s go with that.


Leftover Ham, cubed

Green Bell Pepper, chopped

4 Green Onions, chopped

Two Roma tomatoes, diced

Cheddar, garlic and dill cheese

1 Box Puff Pastry Dough


In a large bowl, combine ham, pepper, onion, tomatoes and cheese and mix.

Roll dough out large (enough to fit across a large muffin pan)

Cut the dough around each muffin cup and allow the dough to fall down into the cups.

Fill each cup with ham mixture

Bake according to the dough instructions.

I served the nests with roasted carrots and asparagus. The kids loved this meal and you could easily change the ingredients to use any leftovers you have.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chinese Chicken Salad

It’s Barefoot Bloggers time. Barefoot bloggers are a community of bloggers who twice monthly make and share recipes from Ina Garten’s cookbooks. The recipe was selected by McKenzie of Kenzie’s Kitchen who has chosen Chinese Chicken Salad which can be found in Barefoot Contessa Parties! on page 98. This recipe, in my humble opinion, was not so great. Nor did the large amount of vinegar sit well with me. I made a lot of changes to this recipe and those will be in red. Maybe those of you who like peanut butter and cider vinegar more than me will enjoy this.
Ina’s recipe

4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) Boneless and skinless
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted Didn’t use

For the dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil Didn’t use
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger Didn’t use
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted Didn’t use
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pan fried mine.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.
Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. I served this warm over fried rice.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts on Gemelli

This is a nice pasta dish that easily transitions from the heavy winter dishes to the lighter spring/summer dishes. It’s light yet with the walnuts and Gorgonzola you feel as if you are having a special treat. This dish is quick to make and can be changed by using a different type of cheese. Try it with the Gorgonzola first, the blue cheese is nice with the walnuts.

Ingredients: Adapted from “the essential Pasta cookbook”
¾ C Walnut Halves
1 LB Pasta
2½ oz Butter
5oz Gorgonzola Cheese
2 TBSP Cream
1 C shelled Fresh or frozen peas.

Lightly toast walnuts in a 350ºF oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Cook Pasta in Salted boiling water until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a small pan over low heat and add the Gorgonzola, cream and peas. Stir gently for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
Add salt and pepper to taste, add in the walnut and gently stir to coat nuts.
Combine with pasta and serve immediately.

Note: If you use frozen peas, as I did, toss them in frozen.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crab and Ricotta Manicotti

I’ve been looking for another non-meat dish to serve during Lent and this was perfect. This is elegant, easy and so yummy. We were at the circus all afternoon so I prepared this in advance and just popped it into the oven when we got home. It was a great meal after a belly full of cotton candy.

Recipe adapted from “Everyday Pasta” by Giada De Laurentiis. (my changes in red)

1 box of manicotti pasta (12 shells) or an 8-(ounce) box cannelloni 2 boxes
1 C Whole-Milk Ricotta Cheese 32 oz
¾ C Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus ¼ C for sprinkling
Mozzarella for filling and for sprinkling
1 Egg Yolk 2 whole eggs
½ C Chopped fresh basil
1 lb Lump Crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
¼ tsp Salt (no salt)
¼ tsp Freshly Ground White Pepper
Butter for Pan
Béchamel Sauce

Bring pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Drain.

In large bowl, mix together ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, egg, Parsley, nutmeg, sage, basil, crab, salt and pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter (Pam spray) 9X 13 X 2 inch glass baking dish.

Fill the manicotti with the crab mixture and place in the prepared baking dish. Top the filled manicotti with the Béchamel sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.