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Strawberry Lemonade Bars

13 Aug

So one day I was looking at Pinterest, my new favorite distraction, and came across this picture with the caption “Strawberry Lemonade Bars:

It had a link to a blog with the recipe for them and they are basically lemon bars with strawberry puree added to them.  So I decided that I need to make them immediately.  And I did.  And they were awesome.  The recipe says to add powdered sugar at the end, but I didn’t because I find powdered sugar far too messy (but if I was making them for something special I probably would add it).  Make them.  You will love them.

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
(Recipe originally from Baking Bites)

Crust
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Filling
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Begin by making the crust.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard – nothing to worry about).

Sprinkle the bars with some powdered sugar.  Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.  Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.  Makes 24 bars.

Here’s a picture of one of mine…they don’t look nearly as pretty as the picture I found on pinterest, but I promise they were delicious.

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Stuffed Mushrooms a la Giada

8 Aug

 

Since I was taking an evening class this summer, I’ve had very little time to cook and I’ve missed it a lot.  So I decided to go all out with dinner last night and make an appetizer and dessert with dinner.  So that gives me four new recipes to post (and if I may say so myself, they were all delicious).

So the appetizer is first.  I recently found Giada’s Everyday Italian at Half-Priced Books and I’ve been dying to make several things from it.  I love mushrooms, so these were at the top of the list.  If you like stuffed mushrooms, they are awesome.

1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir the bread crumbs, Romano cheese, parsley, mint, and garlic to blend.

Lightly coat a large, heavy baking sheet with about 2 teaspoons of the oil.  Arrange the mushroom caps on the baking sheet, cavity side up, and spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities. Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a platter and serve.

I know you can’t eat these Weesie, but I highly recommend them to everyone else.

Sauteed Spinach

9 Jan

Per Sarah’s request, here is a vegetable recipe that I just tried for the first time last week.  It’s REAL simple and delicious!  This one is from Giada’s Everyday Pasta cookbook (aka my new favorite thing in life).  Seriously, if you are looking for a great new cookbook filled with simple recipes you have to GOT to get this one.  (I’m pretty sure Mils would agree)  🙂  This spinach is great – the lemon zest and red pepper flakes give it a lot of flavor!

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (10-ounce) bags prewashed spinach
zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add one third of the spinach and cook until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Continue adding the spinach one large handful at a time, sauteing just until it begins to wilt before adding more.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.  (I don’t have a picture of this one but it looks a lot like cooked spinach, just to give you a visual 😉

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

28 Dec

This is an awesome winter recipe!  As usual, this is from Giada De Laurentiis.  You can find this one and more at foodnetwork.com  Bon Appetit!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to asimmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

 

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the brothto absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle withchives. Serve

 

Italian Sausage Lasagna

9 Oct

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of lasagna.  I’ve never ordered it out, never plan to…in fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I even tasted a bite.  But after a long day at clinic, the husband was in the mood for something hearty.  In an attempt to please, I pulled out a cookbook we received as a wedding gift from a sweet friend, flipped through a couple pages, and voila! dinner. 

From here on out, folks, y’all can call me Garfield; this dish made me puuuuurr.

1 lb Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp dried parsley flakes, divided
1 (14 1/2 oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped and undrained
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
12 dried whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 (15oz) carton low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
 
1.  Remove and discard the casings from sausage.  Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until sausage crumbles; drain.
2.  Stir in 2 Tbsp parsley, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
3.  Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
4.  Combine remaining 1 Tbsp parsley, ricotta cheese, 1/4 c Parm, and oregano; set aside.
5.  Spread 1c. meat mixture in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish.  Top with 4 noodles, 1c ricotta cheese mixture, 2/3c mozzarella cheese, and 4 more noodles.
6.  Spread remaining ricotta cheese mixture over noodles, and top with 1c meat mixture, 2/3c mozzarella cheese, and remaining 4 noodles.  Top with remaining meat mixture and mozzarella cheese; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
7.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly.   
Enjoy!

What to do with chicken, carrots and potatoes…

29 Jul

WARNING! I didn’t really take any measurements so this isn’t a very exact recipe… but still easy and yummy!

Oooh, my first ever post on a blog. Very exciting. Now to the food…

Ever get home and NOT want to go to the grocery store but still want to make something good for dinner? I will do anything to avoid a trip to the market. I wish there was a website where I could type in what ingredients I had at home and POOF there’s a great recipe. Last night I had boneless skinless chicken thighs, carrots (fresh out of the ground from our local organic CSA) and little red potatoes and no clue what to do with them. I didn’t find anything online that looked good so I just decided to start cooking and see where it got me. Could be a recipe for disgusting, BUT it turned out awesome. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken (1 package)

4 smaller carrots

3 small yellow onions (1 large normal onion would work… these were small because they were from our farm)

1 cup (?) of red wine

6 medium red potatoes

3 cups (?) of stock (ours was chicken/duck/beef stock, but normal ol’ chicken stock will work fine)

1/2 a stick of butter

salt and pepper

3 dried star anise flowers

Tablespoon of corn starch

1) Trim up one package of boneless skinless thighs or I suppose breasts if you prefer (ewww for me but I know lots of people like…) and get your heaviest pan nice and hot with some olive oil. Add some salt and pepper to each side of the chicken and lay them in to brown. Since you want them to get a nice crust, don’t over-crowd the pan. I did half the pack at first and even let the pan reheat up before the 2nd half. Make sure it’s already nice and hot before you lay them in (a nice sizzle noise) but make sure no burning! Watch them closely, checking for a nice brown crust. I think I did around 3-5 min each side. Chicken does not need to be cooked through, just nice and brown on both sides. Wow that was very non-exact.

2) While the chicken is browning I boiled the potatoes, and chopped onions and carrots into bite size pieces.

3) After all the chicken is brown (and potatoes are boiling alongside) I took all the chicken out to rest on a plate and put chopped onions and carrots in the hot pan (more fun sizzling). Add a pinch or two (or three if you like salty like me!) of salt. Cook until… they look good? I know, I suck. Cook until carrots are slightly tender and onions are just starting to look soft. Then add a cup or so of red wine. Let the wine boil for a moment (1 min?) so all the alcohol cooks off and turn the heat to simmer and cover the whole pan so the carrots can steam in the wine. Add 2-3 dried star anise flowers (I know, not everyone has this around, but sooo yummy so I recommend buying them).  Let that go until the wine has cooked down and there’s not much liquid left in the pan. I’d say about 3-4 min, depends on how much wine you put in, as I did not measure!

4) While that’s simmering, turn your attention to the potatoes. I let them boil till a fork could go in very easily then drained them. I started to chop them at this point to add to the carrots and onion mixture, but since this whole thing was an experiment from the beginning I decided last minute to mash them instead. GREAT idea, they were sooo yummy. I loved mashed potatoes that have pieces of skin and a few little chunks. Actually, I love all mashed potatoes, but I feel like the chunkier variety is less common. I added about a cup of chicken stock, but just do a little at a time to see how much will soak in. I added salt to taste and about half a stick (1/4 cup) of butter. I never said this was healthy! We considered adding horseradish, but decided to have it “on the side” instead. Super yummy!

5) Back to the pan mixture. Once the wine has cooked down add the chicken back in the pan with 2 (approx) cups of stock. Enough so that the chicken is sitting in broth, but doesn’t need to be covered. Bring the whole thing back to a boil and let it boil for… 2 min? You want the stock to cook off a little so it gets thick. Then cover and turn the heat to simmer. Let that sit… as long as there’s liquid and you’re willing to wait. I hadn’t fully finished mashing the ‘taters yet so I went back to that while the chicken simmered. I think in total it was less than 10 min. Let’s say 7 min. The chicken and the carrots got nice and tender. Then I added just a bit (1 tablespoon?) of cornstarch to the whole mixture so the sauce would thicken up. Stir just for a minute. Oh, and I took out the star anise about halfway through simmering, just so it wouldn’t get too strong. Who knows if that did anything! Taste, add salt/pepper if you want.

6) Serve the whole thing over a bed of mashed potatoes! My picture is not very pretty (ok, it’s downright awful looking), because I started eating before I thought to take one… but it was super super yummy.

ugh, I promise a more appetizing photo next time!