Thursday, April 29, 2010

Honey and Butter Glazed Baby Cut Carrots

I'm addicted to baby cut carrots. I love their sweetness, the crunch, and they make a tasty, healthy snack, or a quick side dish that goes with just about any meal. They are delicious cooked tender crisp, or even cooked until completely tender. I enjoy them tender crisp, but others in my family prefer them very tender. However you like them, a glaze of butter and honey just makes them that much better! Give them a try.


1 pound baby cut carrots
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

In a large saucepan, add water to about 1/2 inch depth. Bring water to a boil and add a couple pinches salt. Add the carrots to the pan, and bring back to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for about 5 - 1o minutes, depending on how well cooked you want the carrots. Use a fork to poke the carrots to test for doneness. When done to your liking, drain the water from the carrots. Over low heat add the butter and honey to the carrots and simmer a minute or two until carrots are glazed. Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Enjoy!

REMINDER! Tomorrow, April 30th, is the deadline for any submissions to April's Family Recipes. If you have a recipe that has been enjoyed by your family for a long time we'd love to see it. You may still submit recipes until midnight, April 30th, EST USA. Please send me an email with the URL of your post to whatscookin52 at sbcglobal dot net. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lasagna Rollups - Adapted from Ellie Krieger

I love a good lasagna. With pasta, and a good, flavorful sauce covered in cheese, what's not to love? I finally got around to making Lasagna Rolls and they were wonderful! I made the sauce the day before I wanted to serve this dish, to save time and let the sauce develop even more flavor. To make the rolls, the ricotta and spinach mixture is spread along each lasagna noodle, and then topped with some of the tomato sauce.

Then roll the noodles up and place in a baking pan. I'm not really sure if this is any faster than layering the lasagna, but it's still a great idea. These rolls are so pretty and pack a punch of flavor. The original recipe calls for portobello mushrooms, but my daughter hates mushrooms, so I used some Italian sausage instead. Next time I'll make these when she's not home because I love mushrooms! But, the sausage gave the sauce more flavor, so I was happy. The sauce needed a bit more flavor, but that was easy to remedy. Whether you use mushrooms, or sausage, you'll enjoy this dish! I hope you'll give it a try. Here's the recipe.

adapted from Ellie Krieger
Make the sauce first.
Sauce ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
about 8 ounces Italian sausage (original recipe uses 12 ounces diced portobello mushrooms)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes with juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, or, 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh (I used fresh)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar- my addition
In a large pot, heat the oil and add the sausage and onion and cook until sausage is done and onion is tender. Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about i minute. Add the canned tomatoes, and break apart. I like to use a potato masher to break them up quickly. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. NOTE: If using fresh oregano, add it to the sauce the last 5 minutes of cooking. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
Other Ingredients:
12 lasagna noodles- recipe calls for whole wheat noodles
4 cups Easy Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store bought marinara
1 (15) ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain them and spread out onto aluminum foil or waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together.
2. In a bowl, add the ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
4. On each noodle spread about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Top with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce mixture.. Carefully roll up each noodle and place in the baking dish. Spread remaining sauce over the Lasagna Rolls. Top with grated cheeses, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Now you have some delicious Lasagna Rolls! Enjoy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Got Strawberries? Make Strawberry Yogurt Muffins or Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler!

The strawberries have been so good this season, so thought I'd re post a couple of wonderful recipes using these sweet berries. I posted these delicious Strawberry Yogurt Muffins last year and they are so good. Soft, tender muffins filled with strawberries are perfect with your morning coffee! I've made them often, and they've become one of our favorite muffins!
If you like strawberries with rhubarb, you'll love this tasty Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with a tender biscuit like topping. Sprinkled with coarse sugar, this dessert is really delicious. Add some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make it even better!
Hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I know, there are many recipes for Spinach and Artichoke Dip on the web. But I was craving it after reading Kathleen's post last week. Her photo was enticing and I had stuff on hand to make it happen. I had half a bag of spinach that needed to be used, and a can of artichokes in the pantry. I toasted some baguette slices, mixed the dip, stuck it the oven and indulged. Ahhh, it was so good! So here's my version of her delicious dip.

adapted from Kathleen's recipe

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream, I used low fat
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1 can artichoke hearts, water packed, drained and chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Since I used fresh spinach, I quickly sauteed it in a skillet in 1 teaspoon olive oil. It was wilted in just a minute. Stir in the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, Parmesan cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, garlic powder, and pepper flakes. Pour into a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve with baguette slices, pita chips or whatever you like. It's good with anything!

NOTE: More spinach can be used, if desired. This made 2 1/2 - 3 cups of dip.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding brings a smile to my face and fond memories of childhood. I remember the boxed banana pudding and always loved it. In later years, I've had Banana Pudding at lots of church dinners and funeral meals. It's a classic favorite around these parts!
I found this smooth, creamy recipe at Epicurious a few days ago and thought it sounded good and it had good reviews. It takes very little time to make, but needs to be refrigerated about 4 hours before eating. The recipe calls for banana liqueur or banana extract, and I couldn't find either one. So I just used vanilla and mixed the bananas in with the pudding so the banana flavor still came through just fine. My daughter didn't care for the topping, but my husband and I LOVED this pudding with this cinammony, crunchy topping! The pudding is smooth and silky and the crushed topping is the crowning touch. Vanilla wafers are crushed and baked with cinnamon and make this pudding a very special, addictive treat. You gotta try this!

from Epicurious, and the cookbook DamGoodSweets-Sweets to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style

5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons banana liqueur, or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring-I didn't use this
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas

In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt together until creamy. It will be stiff at first and then begin to get more liquefied. Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Small bubbles will appear at the surface and the milk is ready. Begin whisking the egg yolk mixture, and then pour in a small amount of hot milk and continue whisking. Add another small amount of milk and whisk the whole time to keep it from curdling. Continue this process until all the hot milk is incorporated into the egg yolk mixture. Wash the saucepan, then pour the pudding back into the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking the whole time. Using a spoon be sure to stir in the corners of the pan as this pudding will thicken there and cause lumps. This pudding cooks quickly! When done, pour the pudding into a clean bowl and stir in the butter, vanilla and banana flavoring. Lay plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding to keep it from forming a skin. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving. To serve, cut up bananas in 4 serving dishes, top with banana pudding and then some of the crumbs. Then enjoy this cool additive treat and wish you had made more!

1 cup, about 15, vanilla wafers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar- I only used 1 teaspoon and it was plenty
a pinch of salt
Coarsely crush the cookies in a bag with a rolling pin. In a bowl mix the crumbs, cinnamon, sugar and salt together. Stir in the butter and bake on a baking sheet for 6 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from pan and cool. Sprinkle over pudding before serving. We love this crisp topping; it really raises Banana Pudding to another level!

NOTE: I did have trouble with a few lumps. The pudding cooked so quickly and it got very thick in the corners of the pan. So stir continuously.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April's Family Recipes; Memories of Family, Food and Fun- And a Spinach, Romaine, Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Before I get to this delicious salad, I want to mention this months round up for Family Recipes; Memories of Family, Food and Fun! I am hosting for the month of April. Make a dish that is a favorite of your family's, whether it's yours, your moms, an aunt, cousin or whoever, and submit it to me, (Lynda), at whatscookin52 at sbcglobal dot net. Post it on your blog between now and April 30, 2010 (USA EST). All submissions must be in English, please. Provide a link in your post to this page. Email me with the recipe name and the URL of the post. I also need the URL of your blog and your location. New posts only please. You can send a photo, or I will grab a photo from your post. For complete rules, go here.
Now for this salad. When the weather warms up, I love having a large salad for lunch most days. Since it has been around 80 degrees for the past several days, a nice cool salad just hit the spot. I put together this main dish salad using ingredients I had on hand. I had some left over Rotisserie Chicken from Walmart, so I added it too. I love romaine lettuce as the basis for my salads, and then I pile on whatever else is in my fridge. The strawberries have been so good, so I decided to include them. There's not really a recipe as it depends on how many salads you are making and what ingredients you have. Here's what I did.

Spinach, Romaine and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette:
from Lynda's Recipe box

Romaine lettuce, washed and torn or cut
baby spinach leaves, washed
toasted, sliced almonds
shredded rotisserie chicken
diced red onion
sliced strawberries
shredded Parmesan, or other cheese of choice

Balsamic vinaigrette: I only made a small amount to last a few days. I used 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon sugar. I placed all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shook until well combined. Other vinegars may be subbed for the balsamic, and canola oil may be used instead of olive oil. This is a cool and delicious salad with the strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Hope you'll give it a try!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Orzo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms

I love reading food blogs! I get so many great food ideas as I'm sure you all do too. Recently, Karen posted a recipe using orzo and sun-dried tomatoes and cooked it like a risotto. Now orzo is a small, rice shaped pasta that is wonderful in many different dishes. I've cooked orzo like risotto before for this recipe, and I loved how it turned out. Well, yesterday I needed a quick side dish to go with a rotisserie chicken I purchased at the supermarket for lunch, and I thought of making a quick orzo dish using ingredients that I had on hand. It was delicious and it only takes about 15 minutes to cook. The earthy mushrooms paired with the tangy sun-dried tomatoes is wonderful. Give it a try!
from Lynda's Recipe Box (inspired by Karen's recipe)
1 cup orzo
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used white mushrooms)
1/3-1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped-optional
salt and pepper to taste
Slice onion, garlic, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Heat the chicken broth in a sauce pan or the micro wave. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onion. Cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir until mushrooms are cooked. Remove mixture to a bowl. Add the orzo to the skillet and stir until lightly toasted. Add 1 cup of hot broth to the skillet and stir the orzo until the broth is absorbed. Add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time until all the broth has been used and the orzo is cooked al dente, about 15 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture and the sun dried tomatoes back into the skillet with the last addition of chicken broth, along with the parsley. Also stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper if needed. I didn't need to add salt because the Parmesan made it plenty salty for us. Enjoy!
NOTE: This also makes an excellent main dish, served with a good salad.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Layered Yellow Cake

The other day I was going through my recipe box and came across this cake recipe given to me by a friend about 12 years ago. The recipe calls for a cake mix, but if you have a yellow cake recipe that you like, use it for this cake. The homemade cake will not be as crumbly, but what ever you want to do. I won't judge! After you bake the cake, there are several layers to add; a pineapple layer, then pudding and last, whipped cream or Cool Whip. The cake needs to be baked in a non reactive pan as a whole can of crushed pineapple is spooned over it as a first layer. First you must poke holes in the cooled cake with a meat fork. Lots of holes!
Then spoon a large can of heated, crushed pineapple over the cake and let cool. The last two layers are added after that cools. Add pudding and then the whipped topping, and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Store cake in the refrigerator. It needs to be made early in the day that you plan to serve it. My husband loves this cake. My kids on the other hand, not so much. They don't care for canned pineapple. The toasted coconut is optional, but it is a delicious touch.

from my friend Janelle
You need;
1 yellow cake, baked in a non reactive 9x13 inch pan.
1 -20 ounce can of crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
whipped cream or Cool whip
toasted coconut for topping, if desired
1. Bake a yellow cake mix to package directions, or bake your own home made yellow cake instead, if desired. Let it cool. Poke lots of holes in cake with a meat fork.
2. In a saucepan, bring the pineapple and the sugar to a boil. Remove from heat. Spoon the hot pineapple and juice evenly over the cooled cake. Let cool completely.
3. Mix pudding mix with the 2 cups of milk. Spread evenly over cooled cake. Spread whipped cream or Cool Whip over the pudding layer. Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut; as much as you want! Store in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Enjoy!
NOTE: This cake is quite tall with the toppings so you will need to consider that. The lid on my Pyrex pan squishes the topping some, so foil, loosely wrapped, will work. Cake needs to be stored in the fridge.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Side Dishes for Easter Dinner!

I don't know why, but I can always decide what meat to serve for a meal, but side dishes take more planning sometimes. I like to try to balance the carbs in a meal and make sure that I have plenty of colorful and delicious vegetables on the table. I don't like a meal that's all in the same color group! So here's some ideas, if you haven't finished your grocery shopping, for your Easter sides. Above is Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar. Such a delicious, but yet easy dish!
My Macaroni Salad is a perfect addition to any meal and has lots of crunchy veggies. It's also wonderful to take to potlucks. I can make a meal of it alone.

Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes are so delicious served with any meat entree, and they are easy to make. With butter, sour cream and herbs, what's not to like?
For many other ideas for sides for Easter dinner, or any other meal, scroll down to my side bar and click on side dishes.
Sorry that I've not posted new recipes this week. I've not felt well enough to eat, much less cook, but am better this evening. I've got to get better as I have a ham to cook! Happy cooking my friends!