"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." ~ James Beard

October 9, 2011

Paula's Creamy Cheddar Soup


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large pimentos, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper, optional
  • Suggested Serving: your favorite bread or croutons


In a saucepan, saute onion and pimentos in butter for 5 to 7 minutes. Blend in flour. Add stock and cream. Cook until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add 1/4 cup green onions, salt and pepper, to taste, and cayenne if desired. Garnish with remaining green onions

Ravioli with Sage Butter

2 packages (9 ounces each) refrigerated or frozen cheese ravioliOn Sale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oilOn Sale

  • 12 whole fresh sage leavesOn Sale

  • 6 tablespoons butterOn Sale

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sageOn Sale

  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thymeOn Sale

  • 1/2 teaspoon saltOn Sale

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepperOn Sale

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsleyOn Sale

  • Directions
    1. Cook ravioli following package directions. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium-size skillet over high heat. Add sage leaves; fry about 1 minute on each side or until lightly crisped. Transfer to paper toweling.
    3. In same skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat, letting butter brown slightly. Stir in chopped sage, thyme, salt and pepper.
    4. Place ravioli on serving platter. Pour herb butter over top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Garnish with fried sage leaves. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

    Slow-Cooker Apple-Bread Pudding

  • 6 cups crusty bread (such as French bread or a baguette), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (preferably a day old)

  • 2 medium-size tart apples, peeled, cored and shredded

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup fat-free egg product

  • 3/4 cup water

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, preferably low in fat

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided

  • 1 cup fat-free plain yogurt

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

  • step 1Coat the insert of a large (6-quart) slow cooker with a light application of butter or margarine. Add the bread pieces to the slow cooker. Distribute the shredded apple on top of the bread layer. Then sprinkle the raisins and chocolate chips over the apple.
    step 2In a medium bowl, combine the egg product with the water, condensed milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice; whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the slow cooker, pressing down with a spoon or a spatula to make sure the liquid ingredients completely moisten the bread.
    step 3Cover the insert and cook on the low setting 3 to 4 hours, or until a knife inserted in the center of the bread pudding comes out clean. Begin checking the pudding after 3 hours, and continue to cook for increments of 10 to 15 minutes until the pudding is done.
    step 4While the bread pudding is cooking, make the yogurt sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the yogurt, sugar, apple juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until needed.
    step 5To serve, spoon the bread pudding onto plates and drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

    chef's notes

    Firm, tart apples are best for this recipe because their flavor isn't overly sweet, and they hold their shape. Look for apple varieties that are good for baking, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Jonathan.

    If you prefer to prep the bread pudding in advance, you can assemble the ingredients through Step 2 and refrigerate in the covered slow-cooker insert for up to a day before cooking. Take the pudding out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. Then remove the lid and sprinkle the mixture with 1/2 cup of water before replacing the lid on the insert and turning on the slow cooker.

    Chickpea-Spinach Curry with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce



    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
    2. Add the chickpeas, spinach, 2 cups water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve the chickpea mixture with the yogurt sauce and naan.

    Chili-Corn Casserole

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut off

  • Kosher salt

  • 6 scallions, chopped

  • 3 to 4 cups leftover chili

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack or monterey jack cheese (about 6 ounces)

  • 1 18-ounce tube precooked polenta, cut into 12 rounds

  • Directions

    (Use leftover Slow-Cooker Texas Chili.)

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the scallions and cook until soft, about 1 minute.

    Spread the chili in an 8-inch-square baking dish. Top with half of the cheese followed by half of the corn mixture. Lay the polenta rounds on top, then sprinkle with the remaining corn and cheese.

    Bake until the casserole is heated through and the top is golden, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

    One-Pot Skillet Rosemary Chicken

  • 3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon leaves

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

  • Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)

  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 450. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.

    Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

    Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.

    Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Paula's Best Zuchinni Bread

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2 cups grated zucchini

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

    Souffle Omelet with Zucchini, Artichoke and Cheddar

    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

  • 1 cup chopped tomato

  • 12 large egg whites

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 1/3 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

  • Directions

    1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, artichoke and tomato. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Set aside.
    2. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form soft peaks. Add the whole eggs, salt and pepper; stir.
    3. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the egg mixture. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.
    4. Using a spatula, slide omelet onto a plate. Return it to the pan with the cooked side facing up; cook 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.
    5. Place vegetable mixture and cheese on half the egg and fold it over to enclose the filling. Press down lightly with the spatula until it holds the shape and the cheese melts.

    Sara's Pumpkin Bread


    • 1 cup pumpkin pie filling (not pure pumpkin)
    • 1/2 cup canola oil, plus more for the pan
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup molasses
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


    1. Heat oven to 350° F. Oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin pie filling, oil, sugar, molasses, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
    3. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the bread from the pan. Invert it onto a cutting board. Serve warm.

    Alton's Swedish Meatballs

  • 2 slices fresh white bread

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 pound ground chuck

  • 3/4 pound ground pork

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups beef broth

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

    Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

    In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.

    Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

    Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

    Kate's Roasted Tomatoes with Tomatoes and Olives




    1. Heat oven to 425° F. Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of zest from the lemon. (Reserve the lemon.)
    2. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, garlic, olives, thyme, and lemon zest with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
    3. Nestle the chicken, skin-side up, among the vegetables and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Season the chicken and vegetables with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.
    4. Remove the chicken from the hot roasting pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the roasting pan and add the wine. Gently stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the pan juices and bread (if using).

    October 1, 2011

    Honey-Mustard Chicken and Apples



    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 more minutes, then transfer to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.

    Add the onion and apples to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Mix the broth with the mustard, then add to the skillet and bring to a boil. Arrange the chicken, skin-side up, in the skillet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

    Mix the butter and flour to form a paste. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken, apples and onion to plates. Bring the pan juices to a simmer, whisk in about half of the butter-flour mixture and boil to thicken, 2 minutes. Continue to cook, adding more of the butter-flour mixture as needed to make a slightly thick gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

    Light Chicken Pot Pie

    For the Crust:

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons 2% milk

    For the Filling:

    • 2 small russet potatoes
    • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 5 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely diced
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup 2% milk
    • 3 stalks celery, sliced
    • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin removed
    • 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


    Prepare the crust: Pulse the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Separate the egg; refrigerate the egg white. Beat the egg yolk and milk in a bowl, then add to the food processor, pulsing until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
    Meanwhile, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake directly on the oven rack until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then peel and break into small pieces.
    Bring the chicken broth, carrots and thyme to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook 2 minutes; cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the milk, celery, potato pieces and the warm broth mixture and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, yogurt, peas and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
    Transfer the filling to a 2-quart casserole dish. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until about ? inch thick and slightly larger than the dish. Beat the reserved egg white in a bowl; brush over the dough and season with salt and pepper. Press the dough against the sides of the dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Oven-Fried Chicken



    Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Set a rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and generously coat the rack with cooking spray.
    Finely grind the cereal and bagel chips in a food processor and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add 3 teaspoons olive oil, the paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and toss.
    Whisk 1/2 cup yogurt and the mustard in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat, then transfer to the bag; seal and shake to coat. Place the chicken on the rack and mist with cooking spray.
    Toss the scallions with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and place alongside the chicken. Bake until the chicken is crisp and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes.
    Make the dipping sauce: Mix the remaining 1 cup yogurt and harissa to taste in a bowl. Serve the chicken and scallions with the sauce.

    Apple Bistro Tart

    • 1/2 15 ounce package refrigerated piecrust (1 crust)
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    • 2 medium tart green apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup prepared caramel apple dip
    • Confectioners' sugar


    1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare and roll out pastry into a 12-inch circle or let the piecrust stand according to package directions. In a bowl combine granulated sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel. Add apple slices and pecans; toss to coat.
    2. Place piecrust on a large baking sheet. Spread caramel apple dip over crust to within 2 inches of edges. Place apple mixture over caramel. Fold edges of crust 2 inchesup and over apple mixture, folding edges as necessary.
    3. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are just tender. Remove tart from oven. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving. Serve warm.

    SKillet Four-Cheese "Baked" Pasta

    1 pound rotini pasta or penneOn Sale
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausageOn Sale

  • 2 sweet red peppersOn Sale

  • 1 large onion (see Note)On Sale

  • 1 tablespoon olive oilOn Sale

  • 1 jar (26 ounces) marinara sauceOn Sale

  • 2 cups shredded Italian four-cheese blendOn Sale

  • Directions
    Heat oven to 450 F. Cook pasta following package directions. Drain.
    While pasta is cooking, cut sausage into 1/2-inch slices. Seed and slice peppers and slice onion for a total of 4 cups. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, peppers and onions. Cook, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peppers and onions are tender and the sausage is cooked through. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in the drained pasta and 1 cup of the cheese.
    Sprinkle remaining cheese over the pasta and bake at 450 F for 8 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole starts to bubble. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Note: Buy precut peppers and onions in the supermarket produce aisle to save prep time.

    Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Glaze


    For the Bread:

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil), plus more for the pan
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
    • 1 cup mashed banana

    For the Glaze:


    Make the banana bread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or three 6-by-3-inch mini loaf pans.

    Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the chocolate chips.

    Whisk the eggs, melted butter, yogurt, vanilla and orange zest (if using) in a medium bowl. Stir in the mashed banana. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

    Spread the batter in the prepared pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes for a standard loaf or 35 to 40 minutes for mini loaves. Cool 30 minutes in the pan(s) on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

    Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Pour over the cooled banana bread and let set, 15 to 20 minutes.