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

November 14, 2011

Kate's Sausage with Smashed Potatoes and Cornichons

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the sausages to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornichon brine, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. Add the potatoes, cornichons, onion, and parsley to the bowl and mix, mashing gently. Cut the sausages into large pieces and serve with the potatoes.

Sausage Lasagna

Only a small amount of turkey sausage was needed to give big meat flavor to this lasagna. We kept a thick fluffy cheese layer by combining part-skim ricotta with low-fat cottage cheese and a lesser amount of part-skim mozzarella cheese. Fresh basil in the sauce and cheese filling keeps this tasting light and fresh.

Directions

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus 2 whole sprigs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) container 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces lean sweet Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
9 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles, 5 1/2-ounces, (recommended: Barilla)
1 1/2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, 6 ounces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small pot bring the tomatoes, wine, whole basil sprigs, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to taste, to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, 10 minutes; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, puree the cottage cheese in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. add the ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup chopped basil, scallions, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and pulse until just combined; set aside.

3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray set over medium heat. Cook the sausage and onion, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces, until the meat is browned and the onion tender, 10 minutes.

4. Assemble the lasagna: Mist a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 3 noodles, half the ricotta mixture, half the sausage and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with sauce, noodles, remaining ricotta and sausage and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender and the sauce is bubbling around the edges of the pan, 1 hour.

5. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and continue to bake until melted, 10 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil. Serve.

Chile Cheese Casserole

This breakfast dish was inspired by the Mexican dish, chilaquiles. By using baked tortilla chips, a mixture of eggs and egg whites and just a bit of sharp Cheddar and pepper jack, the fat is low while the flavor is high.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups baked tortilla chips, 2 1/2 ounces
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can mild chopped green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, about 2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup prepared green salsa verde
  • Reduced-fat sour cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a rectangular 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Coarsely crush the chips by hand and spread half of them into the bottom of the baking dish.

Whisk the egg whites, eggs, milk, ancho powder, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in the chopped chiles, chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup each of the Cheddar and pepper jack cheeses; pour into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining chips over the egg mixture. Bake until the casserole is set around the edges but a little loose in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese and continue to bake until the cheeses are melted and the casserole is set in the center, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with the salsa and, sour cream, if using. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves.

Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool; transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then break into pieces.
  3. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the skillet and return to medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, mustard, oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add to the green beans, along with the bacon, and toss to combine.

Rachael's Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Although sage is the herb most used with turkey, I love the flavor and aroma of fresh bay (laurel) leaves. Fresh bay leaves are now widely available in supermarkets. Since the leaves are a bit woody, and no fun to eat, I baste my turkey with bay-infused butter and roast the breasts right on top of the leaves, which perfumes the meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 small (golf-ball sized) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed clean
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup, from 12 stems)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds each)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup apple or regular brandy (recommended: Calvados)
  • 2 to 3 cups apple cider
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Add the lemon zest to the food processor and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest until fine. Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until it forms a coarse paste.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small pan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the turkey breasts on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket. Season the turkey breasts generously with salt and pepper. Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each breast, and spread it evenly under the skin. Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat of the pan will release the bay leaf oils and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay butter. Place the turkey in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F. After 20 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through, and a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving while you make the gravy.

Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the apple brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Feta and Almonds

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the bulgur according to the package directions; transfer to a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the almonds, scallion whites, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, place the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet, rub with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, stem-side up, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Dividing evenly, top the mushrooms with the bulgur mixture and sprinkle with the Feta. Roast until warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes more.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the greens and cucumber and toss to combine. Drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil, sprinkle with the scallion greens, and serve with the salad.

November 13, 2011

Sara's Rigatoni with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts


Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, raisins, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the capers.
  5. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and pine nuts before serving.

Jane's Cheddar Chicken


Ingredients

  • 16 buttery crackers (such as Ritz), crushed (about 3⁄4 cup)
  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • wild rice pilaf and steamed green beans (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  2. Dip the chicken in the butter, then in the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help the crackers adhere. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake until the chicken is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with the pilaf and green beans, if desired.

Anne's Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie


Ingredients

  • 65 vanilla wafers cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 stick butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup peanut brittle, ground into crumbs
  • Chocolate Pudding, recipe follows
  • Peanut Butter Cream, recipe follows
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut brittle, broken into bite-size pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a deep 9 by 2-inch pie plate.

Drizzle the crushed vanilla wafers with the melted butter and stir until blended. Press on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Pop in the oven and bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

Toss the banana slices with the orange juice, making sure all the slices get coated. (This helps keep the bananas from browning.) Place the slices on a paper towel-lined plate and pat any excess juices dry.

Arrange half the banana slices in a single layer over the cooled crust. Cover completely with the Chocolate Pudding, spreading it with an offset spatula or butter knife. Top with the rest of the bananas. Sprinkle the peanut brittle crumbs over the bananas. Place dollops of the Peanut Butter Cream on top, spreading it out evenly. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Whip in the almond extract and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Take the pie out of the refrigerator. Place dollops of the whipped cream on top and spread it out evenly. Scatter pieces of peanut brittle on top and serve.

Sara's Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Pears

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425ยบ F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes, pears, oil, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, wrap the pork in the prosciutto, slightly overlapping the slices to cover the pork completely.
  3. Push the vegetables to the edges of the baking sheet, place the pork in the center, and drizzle the pork with the honey. Roast until the pork is cooked through and the sweet potatoes and pears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the pork rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the sweet potatoes and pears.

Roasted Broccoli and Peppers

4-5 lbs. broccoli
2 red peppers
1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425.
Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli, cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Wash and dry them THOROUGHLY. Put broccoli and peppers on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. ( 5 Tbs. olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper).
Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”  You might want to stir half way through.
When done, take it out of the oven–and zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add  1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Pear Chopped Salad


 This is, HANDS DOWN, the best salad I have had in a very long time! I don't know if it is because I haven't been able to eat Feta for the past nine months..or if it was as amazing as it tasted yesterday when I ate it - but it is worth the 5 minutes it will take you to make this and then every time you make it after that...you will be hooked!!


6-8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped
1 Cup dried cranberries
1 Cup chopped pecans
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
4-6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing is a mix of a Poppy Seed (70%) & Balsamic Vinaigrette (30%)

Julie & Sue's Mac N Cheese

Kosher Salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)  (we used White extra sharp Cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crust removed)
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Drizzle oil into large pot of boiling, salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the
package or 6 to 8 minutes.  Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4 quart) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat
for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.  Take off the heat add
the Gruyere, Cheddar and 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour into a 3 quart baking dish sprayed
with a little Pam. 
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. (Can be roasted first). Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubble and the macaroni is browned on top.

Paula's Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter

Filling:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Caroline's Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup


Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, 6 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours (the low setting will make total cooking time 8 ½ hours).
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Remove and discard the onion and bay leaves. If the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. Add the pasta to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, shred the chicken, discarding the bones. When the pasta is cooked, stir the chicken into the soup along with the parsley. Serve with the crackers, if desired.