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  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 pound proscuitto, chopped
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Cornstarch for thickening
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ppounds tortellini

Saute first four ingredients until soft.

Add mushrooms–cook until soft

Add the Sherry and Broth.

Thicken with cornstarch.

You can make the above ahead of time. Then add the heavy cream and reheat.

Pour over 3 pounds cooked tortellini

This is the epitome of comfort food. Really good.

 

 

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Watermelon, Cucumber and Jicama Salad

  • 4   cups cubed (1/2 to 1 inch) seedless watermelon–about 3 pounds
  • 2   cups cubed ( 1/2 inch) peeled jicama
  • 2   cups cubed (1/2 inch) peeled and seeded cucumber–1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2   cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4   cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4   cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4   cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1   teaspoon salt

Toss together all ingredients in a serving bowl.  Serve immediately.

Watermelon and vegetables can be cubed and combined 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered.  Right before  serving add lime juice, herbs and salt.  Herbs can be chopped and combined 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered.

I made this for Book Club night.  It was a big hit and I loved it!

 

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Peach Relish

  • 2 & 1/2   cups peeled and chopped fresh or frozen peaches, thawed
  • 3/4   cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4    cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4     cup golden raisins
  • 2         Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2         Tablespoons finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 1          Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4      teaspoon curry powder

In a medium stainless steel, enamel , or nonstick saucepan combine peaches, brown sugar, vinegar, raisins, red onion, pickled ginger, chili powder and curry powder.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 45 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. remove from heat: cool or 1-2 hours.  Transfer to storage container and chill overnight.

Note:  I love this relish. (I love condiments anyway.)  It will thicken as it cools and then chills.  Use with brie cheese, or as a condiment for chicken or pork. I bought a box of peaches at Costco.  The peaches don’t have to be perfection to use in this recipe.

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Stuffed Peppers with Salad–or not

  • 2 or 3  sweet bell pepers or hot peppers or a bunch of mini sweet peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup goat or feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Seasonings:  S and P, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce

Halve or quarter the peppers lengthwise, depending on size.  Remove ribs and seeds; brush skins lightly with olive oil.  Arrange on crumpled foil so they stay put, in a roasting pan or cookie sheet with sides.

Using a fork, blend the cheese with sour cream, yolk and seasonings.  Spoon it into the pepper cavities.  Bake at 450 degrees, 15 min or til lightly puffed and brown.  Serve warm or cold around a salad of mixed greens or/and curly endive.

Suggested dressing:  Slice crosswise 3 strips of bacon, Brown in 1 T of olive oil.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Heat, but do not brown 1 large clove of garlic, minced, in the bacon fat.  Add 2 T. of wine vinegar and bring to boil.  Pour over the greens and toss with bacon bits.

Actually, any light vinaigrette will do. You could pipe the cheese mixture into those little peppers and then bake: This would make a great appetizer.

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SAUTEED CHERRY TOMATOES

This accompanies the Spinach Ring

  • 3 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Small Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Shallots or Green onions, Finely Chopped
  • 1/3 / Cup Butter
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Chives or Parsley

In a heavy skillet sauté garlic and shallots in the butter over low heat for 1 minute.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, shaking pan frequently until they are just heated through and slightly soft, but not mushy.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chives or parsley,  serve at once.

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SPINACH RING WITH SAUTEED CHERRY TOMATOES

Just served this dish for a ‘pre Easter Sunday Buffet’ dinner at our house.  It got great reviews.  It served 13 with some leftovers.  There were several other side dishes, but I think this would have been enough to serve 10 easily.  I used 4 cups of frozen spinach, thawed with the moisture squeezed out.  I used a dish towel to do this—did not cook the spinach.  It didn’t come out of the ring mold easily and had to be pieced together. I put it on an oven proof dish and baked it about 30 minutes more.  After reading this, if you still want to try this dish, read on.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk, Scalded
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 3/4  Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 3 Eggs, Well Beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 3 3/4 Cups Well Drained  Spinach

Butter a 2 quart ring mold generously. Bring the milk to a boil with the butter.  Sauté the onions with a small amount of butter until transparent.  Scrape onions into a mixing bowl and add the parmesan cheese, flour, salt and nutmeg.  Mix well and add the beaten eggs.  In a thin stream, add the hot milk and the butter mixture, beating constantly.  Add the lemon juice and spinach, mix well.  Turn into the prepared mold and set in a pan of boiling water.  Place in lower third of preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until firm.  Remove from water and let set for 5 minutes.  Run knife around edge and reverse on a  warm platter.  Fill center with sautéed cherry tomatoes.  Serve immediately.

I made this early in the day and reheated before adding the cherry tomatoes.  See separate recipe for Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes.

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ASPARAGUS GRUYERE TART–BOOK CLUB

I brought this tart to our Book Club meeting and it got good reviews. (Like the book, “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, which was our selection of the month) First time ever working with puff pastry, I’m eager to try again. Easy. My niece, Allyn, brought this recipe to my attention: Thanks, Allyn!!

Ingredients:

Flour for the work surface and rolling pin

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by- 10 inch rectangle.  trim uneven edges.  Place pastry on a baking sheet ( use parchment paper).  With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2 intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from the oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere.  Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange the spears in a single layer over the Gruyere.  Alternate the ends and tips.  Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until spears are tender, 20-25 minutes.

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HANA HOU CREME BRULEE

Thank you Katie from Hana Hou for this recipe.  I believe it to be one of the best crème brulee anywhere.  Maybe that’s because she uses fresh laid eggs from her own chickens. For now, you’ll have to decide whether or not to strain the vanilla been seeds out of the cream.  I’ve actually never worked with vanilla beans—but I will ask Katie next time we see her. If I use this recipe before I ask Katie, I would strain the cream to get the seeds out.

Hint:  put a dish towel on the bottom of the roasting pan to keep bowls from sliding around.

Serves 6

  • 1  vanilla bean
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup super fine sugar
  • 2 tbsp. almond or orange liqueur (optional)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Place six bowls in a roasting pan.  Set aside.  Split vanilla bean with knife lengthwise and scrape seeds into medium sauce pan. Add cream over medium heat, stir til just to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside for 15 or 20 minutes.  In medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, fine sugar and liqueur until blended.  Whisk in hot cream.  Pour mix into six bowls equally.  Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come 1/2 way up sides of bowls.

Bake for about 30 minutes or till center is jello- like when juggled.  Remove from pan and let cool.

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over surface of crème.  Use torch to  caramelize sugar  —or use oven broiler  for 30-60 seconds.

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ZUCCHINI PARMESAN CRISPS

Cooking Spray

  • 2 Medium Zucchini (about 1 pound)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (3/4 pound)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds—In a bowl toss with olive oil.

In another bowl, combine parmesan, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, pressing mixture to stick on both sides. Place on baking sheet.

Bake Zucchini rounds until browned and crisp–about 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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MICHIGAN TREASURE COOKIES

    Daughter Beth made these cookies while we were in Michigan last June, 2013. I baked them this past Christmas not only because the were delicious–but I also had an abundance of Michigan cherries–dried.  Beth and Paul brought the cherries to Maui when they visited us over Thanksgiving.

    • 1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup softened butter
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 & 1/2 cups semi- sweet chocolate chunks
    • 1 & 1/2 cups dried cherries
    • additional granulated sugar

    1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    2.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.  Beat butter, 1 c. granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy–about 2 min.  Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended.  On low speed of mixer, gradually beat in 1/3 of flour mixture at a time, until all is used.  Scrape sides of bowl down between additions of flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chunks and cherries.  REFRIGERATE COVERED DOUGH FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR.

    3.  Roll chilled dough into golf ball sized balls.  Roll the balls in the additional granulated sugar. Space balls three inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Gently press each ball with bottom of glass—you can dampen a hankie to stretch over the bottom of the glass.

    4.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes; transfer to wire racks.  Cool completely.

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    TURKEY and RED PEPPER MEAT LOAF

    Serves 4-6

    Total time 1hr 30min

    Ingredients

    • 1 & 1/2 pounds ground turkey
    • small yellow onion, chopped
    • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 cup grated parmesan
    • 2 Tbs  Dijon mustard
    • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 7oz jar roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2 sized pieces
    • salt and pepper

    1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees

    2.  Combine turkey, onion, bread crumbs, egg, parmesan, mustard, parsley, red peppers, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a large bowl.  Scrape the meat onto a sheet pan with short sides, (I  line the pan with foil). Shape into something resembling a loaf.  Optional:  I push 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes into the loaf–end to end–looks cute, and they taste pretty good as well.

    3. Bake until no trace of pink remains. (165 degrees internal). About 45 min. (I bake it at 350 for an hour).  Transfer to a cutting board and let sit about 10 min. before slicing.

    Ceci brought this recipe to Book Club and it was a big hit.  It’s become one of my ‘go to’ recipes.  I’ve never thought a loaf pan was right for meat loaf, but if you like go ahead and use a loaf pan. Meat Loaf makes great sandwiches!

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    Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

    • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, baked until just tender
    • 2 pears, cut lengthwise into eights
    • 2 golden delicious apples, cut as the pears
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice tossed with apples
    • 1/4 pound butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 Tablespoons rum
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Cook, in a sauce pan, the butter, brown sugar, honey, rum and cinnamon on the stove until the sugar dissolves. 

    Peel and slice potatoes diagonally, 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the fruit and potatoes standing up in a 13 inch pan.  Spoon sauce over all. Bake in a 400 degree oven 20 minutes, basting, until bubbling.  Brown under a broiler if desired. You can garnish with orange zest. 

    I give Sharon Walters credit for this recipe.  Always a winner that can be prepared– up to the baking part– in advance.

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    FRESH KALE SALAD—SESAME DRESSING

    • 8 oz Fresh Kale
    • 1/4 cup coarsely grated carrot
    • 1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 & 1/2 tsp Sugar
    • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    • 1/2 tsp good salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

    Remove stems from kale and cut or tear into bite size pieces.  In a large bowl, toss the kale with the carrots and cabbage. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to coat. Let sit 30 minutes before serving. Actually, this salad can stay in the fridge for a day or two and it’s still good.

    I often prepare this salad for Book Club meetings. And the reason for the sit time is this:  The flavors get to know each other.

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    GRILLED BOK CHOY

    bok choy and peppers

    Baby Bok Choy and Peppers

    I didn’t know how this would work, but it did.  I did not add as much chili sauce as listed. You must grill with care because it cooks fast. Try it!

    Serves 4

    • 4 heads of baby bok choy(about 1 pound)
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons tomato-based chili sauce
    • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • coarse salt and ground pepper

    1.  Heat the grill to low.  Trim large leaves from baby bok choy; halve the heads lengthwise.  Rinse well under cold water to remove grit.

    2.  In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, chili sauce, sugar and oil; season with salt and pepper.  Add bok choy, toss to coat.  Remove from bowl but reserve the sauce.

    3.  Place bok choy cut sides down on grill, cover and cook until tender..about 5-10 minutes.  Serve bok choy drizzled with reserved sauce.

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    Linda McBride's Favorite Recipes and Photographs!