Wednesday, December 25, 2013


This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa. They turn out fabulous and I have had several people ask me for the recipe. Here it is.


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts  (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs,espresso powder , vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutess, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunday Dinner- Garlic Rosemary Pork Roast

This is a quick and easy dinner that you can pop into the oven and have preset to be ready when you get home from a long day!



  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast, well trimmed
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch roasting pan with foil. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rub garlic mixture all over pork. Place pork, fat side up, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork 55  minutes. Check internal temperature pork. It should register 155°F. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
Pour any juices from roasting pan into small saucepan; set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange pork slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easy Apple Berry Cobbler

I have to start by saying that I think cobbler is my new favorite dessert. In the past I have posted a cherry/peach cobbler, that is just delicious with a hint of almond extract, I recently posted an apple cobbler, that amazes me with its ease of assembly, and now I am about to give you this recipe for an apple-berry cobbler. And when you try this you will probably decide you are in love with cobblers, too.
What is there not to love about a dessert that you throw together and throw in the oven? It holds up perfectly for a few days and it can look like a four-year-old did it and everybody is ok with that. Its stress free, mess free, and budget friendly. Sounds like the perfect man dessert.
I tweaked the original recipe just a bit. I made it in a casserole dish that is smaller than a 9x13. More like a7x11 or a pie dish. I also added cardamom, which you can skip altogether or substitute with some star anise, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. But I suggest you try the cardamom.
Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

Apple-Berry Cobbler

1 1/2 lb apples (like pink lady, fuji, gala)
5 oz berries (about 1 cup) -use blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mixture

4 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


1/4 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons chilled butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375. In your baking dish, combine apples, berries, sugar, cornstarch, honey, butter, lemon juice and cardamom and toss to evenly distribute.

Biscuit topping

Combine cornmeal, bakign powder, salt, flour, and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until coarse lumps form. Add buttermilk and pulse a few more times, until mixture comes together. Scoop out about a quarter cup of the mixture and pat it into a circle. Drop on top of your apple-berry mixture. Sprinkle biscuits with sugar.
Bake 40-50 minutes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Perfect Easter Veggie-Creamed Peas

I have seen recipes for creamed spinach, and creamed corn, even creamed leeks. I have not, however, run across a recipe for creamed peas. I am sure they are out there, and I am sure they are delicious, but as a last farewell the the heavy, cream-laden recipes of winter, I wanted one more good-bye. Easter is that last farewell. We introduce the fresh flavors of spring while indulging in roasts, au gratin potatoes and lavish desserts one last time. After that we begin to think about the fact that soon it will be appropriate weather for tank tops, but unfortunately our arms are not quite ready for that. And so lighter foods are presented, flavored with fresh herbs and citrus instead of bacon and butter.
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE. So make these peas. They are enrobed in a creamy, bacon, shallot sauce, and topped with grated cheddar cheese they will make your mouth happy.

Creamed Peas
3 slices bacon, cooked
reserved bacon grease, plus enough butter to equal 3 Tablespoons
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups frozen peas
cheddar cheese (optional)

Chop the bacon and set aside. Heat the bacon grease, butter (if needed), and shallots in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Cook about one minute. Add the warm milk, whisking constantly. Add the salt, pepper, and frozen peas. Continue to cook, covered, until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Just before serving top with reserved bacon and cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon

I asked my husband what I should write about, since nothing was coming to mind. He suggested several things that I have already done, then mentioned this salad that we enjoyed with our Sunday afternoon meal.
I realized I had never posted this recipe, and when I was preparing it I had difficulty remembering what I had done, therefore, I needed to write it out.
This is delicious, beautiful to look at, and a cinch to prepare. All you need are a few ingredients and you can have a restaurant-quality salad at home.

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Balsamic

2 Bunches spinach (2-3 cups), washed and dried
3 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
1/3 cup finely sliced red onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries, or fresh berries

1/4 cup bacon grease
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons blackberry jam (or any other jam you have)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat the bacon grease in a large saucepan. While it is melting, put the spinach in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients for the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasoning and acid, if necessary (you might need to add a little more vinegar or sugar, depending on the brand). Whisk until it emulsifies. Pour over the spinach and toss with tongs. Top with bacon, red onion and cranberries.
Goat cheese, cherries, and pecans are also delicious additions.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Italian Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings (my favorite diet food)

Lately I have been trying to slim down. I have been cutting out butter, bacon, pastry, baking, cookies, sugar, coffee, dressing, breads, grains, sweets, rice, pasta, desserts, and potatoes. I have been eating lettuce and chicken.
Just kidding.
But sometimes it feels like that-right?
My husband told me that  friend of his has been eating light soups. I checked the price and at 2.99 each can, my budget can't handle that. I opted to make my own soup, that costs around $5 and lasts all week for me, my husband, and my sister.
In my quest for a comfort food lunch that still met my lo-cal requirements, I made up this soup. I hope you enjoy it, and you will find the dumplings are delicious and satisfying, but far lower in calories due to the cornmeal and restricted butter.

Italian Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings

For the soup:
12 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, in a large dice
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

6 cups spinach (for serving)
1 bunch parsley (for serving)

For the dumplings:
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

Makes 12 servings

Combine soup ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 25 mins.

Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers. Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon.
Drop pea-sized dumplings into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes or until the dumplings puff up and are cooked through.

Ladle soup into a bowl, top with 1/2 cup spinach and chopped parsley.

For your information, the dumplings are fine if you refrigerate the leftovers. They absorb more liquid as they sit so you might need to thin out the soup with more chicken stock.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chocolate Mousse and Valentine's

 I have been submerged in chocolate for the last two and a half weeks, and while it is a delicious and satisfying treat, it is time to step back. But, before I do, I want to leave you with a delicious and amazing chocolate recipe.
I was reading my Bon Appetit magazine when I came across Andrew Knowlton's recipe for chocolate mousse. Well, I guess it's Julia Child's recipe. As a quick side note I would like to say I am very glad he cut his hair and shaved his beard. I admit I was surprised to see a handsome face under all that hair, as it has been my assumption that men hide their faces with hair when they don't like what they look like or have unsightly, small lips. A habit that I am sure women would take advantage of if it wasn't socially unacceptable for us to have facial hair.
Back to the mousse. I work late every Thursday, and would be unable to spend the entire day cooking a fantastic meal for my husband for Valentine's, which I would regularly do. I decided that in spite of the opposition I would still make a special Valentine's dinner for us and I would make as much of it as I could ahead of time.
Enter Chocolate Mousse.
I am a fan of chocolate. I am a fan of custard. I am a fan of the delicious union of custard and beaten egg whites, hence, mousse. So you can see the natural attraction I had to this recipe, with the addition of the fact that the entire thing is made in advance and stored in the fridge. Most of the ingredients I had readily available. Win.
You make the custard, allow it to cool, fold in beaten egg whites and whipped cream. And if I hear you say, "That sounds like a lot of work." I will have to choke you because it is less work than baking a cake and frosting it and nobody every complains about that.
It is amazingly delicious and rich without being overly sweet. The recipe calls for coffee, and since I love the flavor I added a bit of espresso powder for some added bitterness and coffee flavor. I'm definitely tucking this one away for dinner parties. It is the perfect dessert because it is impressive, stunning, absolutely delicious and just needs to be topped with whipped cream when you are ready to eat it.

Chocolate Mousse
(from Bon Appetit with minor alterations)

Makes 6 servings
Plan for 2 hrs chill time

3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup strong coffee, room temp
dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg whites

Beat 1/2 cup cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill.
Combine egg yolks, coffee, espresso powder, salt and 2 Tbsp. of the sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan with 1 inch of gently simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly for about one minute, until the mixture has doubled in volume and looks lighter.
Remove the bowl from the pan and add the chocolate, whisking until melted. Let stand until room temperature, whisking occasionally.
In another bowl whisk egg whites with the whisk attachment of a hand mixer until foamy. Add the 1 Tbsp. remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
Using a spatula, fold egg whites into chocolate in two additions. Fold whipped cream in.
Divide mousse among six ramekins, cups, or parfait glasses. Chill until firm, two hours minimum.
Before serving whip remaining 1/4 cup cream and spoon onto mousse. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Parmesan Rosemary Popovers

I find that bread is one of the most comforting foods of all. Warm, soft, and chewy, with that little bit of crunch on the edge satisfies all of my cravings in one bite.
Popovers are no exception to this rule. If a muffin and a cheese souffle fell in love and had a baby, it would be a popover. It is light and fluffy, just like a souffle, but with a dense, toothsome quality that you would expect from a muffin. Slathered with butter and accompanying anything with gravy they kick biscuits to the curb. I have been dying to make popovers for quite some time now, but I waited because I didn't have a popover pan.


I know nobody ever tells you that, but it really is. I have included directions below to accommodate the pan-less. If you want a quick dinner, make a pot of soup or, even better, beef stew, and throw these on the side. The come together in a snap and seem decadent and special. Any add-ins you can think of will transform these to perfectly compliment your dinner.
Just writing about these right now is making me crave a mid-morning snack of warm popovers with butter and homemade strawberry jam...

If YOU don't have a popover pan, simply cut the recipe in half and use a muffin pan. They don't rise as high, but don't let that stop you from making this fast and delicious bread. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 for 15 more minutes.

Parmesan-Herb Popovers
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 450. Grease the popover pan as desired. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and divide between the popover pan.

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 15 to 18 more minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.

Enjoy if I even need to say that.

For classic popovers, omit the cheese and herbs and double the salt.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NuVal Scoring System and Raley's-Eating Healthy in the New Year!

My favorite grocery store, which I have mentioned here before, is Raley's. Not only do they have things I like, they have a wonderful staff. If I ask the produce guy if they have something, the next time I go in its there. Many of the cashiers ask after my children and family, always making me feel at home. One of the things that was most difficult about moving to another state for a year was shopping at a grocery store that I wasn't familiar with. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you have ever moved you know it to be true. You have to relearn the whole store.
So when I received an offer from Raley's to try food and tell people about it I was ecstatic. I am not even joking. I love this store, I love trying new things, and I love eating! Sounds like a dream job-right? I have always thought that if I could pick anything to do it would be developing and demonstrating recipes at a local grocery store. It just sounds like fun to me.
Raley's is trying to get the word out about the NuVal system. Foods are rated based on 30+ factors, even taking healthy benefits into consideration. For example, we all know salmon has Omega-3 fatty acids, but that's not figured in on the nutrition information. Whole grains aren't listed there, either, but both of the previously mentioned items have countless benefits, which would help them to attain a high score on the NuVal system. Tabasco has no fat or calories, but does that make it good for you? This system will help you know, without having a degree in nutrition. Somebody had a good idea-right?
As an ode to the NuVal system, I have put together some links to recipes, and a few quick ways to prepare some of the highest ranking foods.

Apples: Score-96
For a healthy snack mix peanut butter, nonfat greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon to dip apples in.
Tomatoes: Score-96
Tomato and Zucchini Gratin
Roasted Tomato Soup

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes (Vegan)

Butternut Squash: Score-100
Butternut Squash and Applesauce Muffins

Broccoli: Score-100
Broccoli Slaw Salad with Bacon 

Asparagus: Score-100
Shaved Asparagus Salad Appetizer

Berries: Score-mostly 100
Berry Parfaits with Angel Food Croutons
Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes
Easy Morning Muffins with Lemon and Fresh Berries

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Birthday!-Kerala Style Beef Stew

January  19th marks my blog's 3rd birthday. Hard to imagine, because I feel like I have been writing on this thing forever. I actually double-checked to make sure I was right. This is my 175th post in three years!
This recipe is for my sister, Abby. She loves, I mean loves this stew. It is a standard beef stew with a couple of different ingredients, and the result is absolutely delicious.
I don't have a picture. I will get one soon.
I have made a few slight changes, but for the most part it is just like the recipe I read in Bon Appetit. It has coconut milk in it, but don't let that deter you from trying it. My sister and dad and mom don't like coconut AT ALL, but they love this soup. It is a bit sweet and a bit spicy, and so different from your usual beef stew.
My sister liked it so much she asked me to make it on her birthday. And then she asked me for the recipe, so I told her I would post it here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homemade Feta-Cheesepalooza Challenge #3

First, let me say, I am really enjoying this cheese making thing. I am not saying I am going to make all my cheeses at home, but I really think it is fun and very rewarding. I used up the last of my cream cheese on New Year's Eve when I made cream cheese rangoon, filled with thinly sliced scallions, salt and pepper.
I made the feta, together with my mom, and it turned out wonderful. I cannot wait to make marinated feta and olives for my husband, one of his favorite snacks.
It is a little bit of a longer process than making other cheeses, but it was well worth it. It was also fun because you cut the curds, which is something that you do when you make 'real' cheese.
After it is drained you cut it up and toss it with salt, then let it sit in your fridge for five days. The end result is a delicious, creamy cheese, that far surpasses anything the regular grocery store has to offer, even if you were to buy an artisan cheese.

Friday, January 11, 2013

SAAC- Stinkin Awesome Apple Cobbler

I have a confession to make. I have never made apple cobbler. I thought I had, but I hadn't.  I thought that a cobbler was a pie with no bottom crust. Boy, was I wrong. I saw it on The Chew, and I fell in love. I actually really like that show and try to record it. Partly because of my food crush on Michael Symon, and partly because I like food. And I like to laugh. This show has all of my favorite things. When I saw the cobbler, I just tucked it away in the back of my mind. A few days later, I was making Sunday Lunch (which is a big deal around here-the boys have a hard time deciding whether its lunch or dinner, because its lunchtime but dinner food-you see how that can be confusing)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Real Apple Turnovers and Quick Puff Pastry

I know often we hear people say things like, "Why make your own....its way too difficult, or it takes too long, or blah, blah, blah." Well, the fact is, things you make at home TASTE BETTER than things you buy at the store. There are few exceptions. Maybe ketchup, or Worcestershire sauce wouldn't be worth the effort, but just about everything else is. From salad dressings, and homemade jam, to ice cream, bagels, and now cream cheese, I haven't really run across anything that isn't drastically improved when made at home.
I know it's not for everybody, but its my hobby. I love doing it, I really enjoy it, and I love eating it!
It might seem like I try to create work for myself, but I really don't. I just hate relying on something expensive that I can only get from the store, read: puff pastry. I went to make some apple turnovers the other day, and I had already planned on picking up the puff pastry from the frozen aisle of the grocery store. As I made my plan I thought of what a cheater I was, making these apple turnovers. All I was doing was making the apple filling and baking them. That wasn't a real treat. What's next? Refrigerated pie crust? Biscuit mix? Canned cinnamon rolls??!!

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