Saturday, January 30, 2010

Italian Sausage Soup

This is THE BEST soup recipe ever!!!  We love this soup as it is so flavorful.  Italian sausage, red wine, green peppers, tomatoes... how can you go wrong?  I don't remember where I copied this recipe from.  I have been making this for years and copied it into a notebook that is now ragged from use and spotted with history of many a meal.  Serve this with a grating of Parmesan and a serving of crusty Italian bread and...heaven!  This recipe is perfect for entertaining as it is sure to impress your guests.

Italian Sausage Soup

1 1/2# mild Italian sausages, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, chopped
28 oz. diced tomatoes
3 14-1/2 oz cans beef broth
1 1/2 c. red burgundy wine
1/2 t. dried basil
3 T. chopped parsley  or 1 T. dry
1 med. green pepper, chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices and quartered
5 oz. pasta (either bow-tie or rotini) about 3 c.

In 5 qt. dutch oven, brown sausage slices.  Remove to paper towel.  Discard all but 2 T. sausage fat; saute onion and garlic a few minutes to soften.  Stir in tomatoes, sausage, broth, wine and basil.  Bring to full rolling boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Stir in parsley, green pepper, zucchini and pasta:  return to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until noodles are al dente about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Skim off fat, serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 29, 2010

BBQ Spareribs

Country Style Spareribs were on sale this week at my market.  I hadn't made them in a while so I bought some.  This is a recipe that my family loves and appreciates every time I make it.  You can either bake in the oven or throw in slowcooker after browning.  This meat will melt in your mouth!

BBQ Country Style Ribs

5-6 pounds country style spareribs
2 T. oil
Pat ribs with paper towel to absorb excess moisture.  Sear ribs in hot skillet in single layer 5 minutes on each side or until browned.  Salt lightly as you go.  Repeat with remaining ribs until all all are browned.  Set aside.


8 oz. tomato sauce
1 c. catsup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. powdered mustard
2 T. worchestershire sauce
2 T. vinegar
1 t. garlic powder or minced garlic
dash of salt

At this point either layer meat and sauce in crockpot or dutch oven.  Be sure to layer sauce, then a layer of meat, then sauce etc. so all meat is covered in sauce.  Cook in crockpot 4-6 hours on low or in oven @350 degrees 2 hours or 250 degrees for 4-6 hours.  If you do not use same pan as they were browned in you may add 1/3 c. water to browned bits and swirl around to get all the bits up.  Add this to sauce mixture.  If using same pan you used for browning, just layer over browned bits in pan.  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crockpot Creamy Ranch New Potatoes

I made these potatoes over the weekend and they we really good.  I like crockpot recipes especially when in a hurry or for entertaining to free me up to visit with guests.  I made these when entertaining and they were easy and no fuss.  I am not quite sure where I got this recipe so don't know who to give credit to.

Creamy Red Potatoes

2 # red potatoes
8 oz. Neufchatel cheese
10 3/4 oz. cream of potato soup
1 envelope ranch dressing mix

Wash and cut potatoes.  If using small red potatoes cut in half or quarters, if using the large cut in 1/8's. Mix remaining and stir into crockpot with potatoes.  Spray crockpot to aid cleanup. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweet Potato With Apple

We are told to eat a "rainbow" of fruits and veggies each day so I try to incorporate several colors into our meals  every week.  We enjoy sweet potatoes and this recipe is one of our favorites using this orange veggie.

Sweet Potato With Apple

1 large sweet potato
1 Granny Smith or Macintosh apple
brown sugar

Peel sweet potato and slice into 3/4 inch slices.  Lay in single layer in 2 quart casserole.  Add enough water just to cover sweet potatoes.  Microwave 6-7 minutes on high.  Drain. Salt lightly.  Peel and slice apple and layer over sweet potato.  Sprinkle with 2T. brown sugar or to taste and sprinkle top with cinnamon.  Spray with butter flavored cooking spray.  Cover and bake 15- 20 minutes at 350-400 degrees. Makes about 2 servings.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Elie Krieger's Thai Style Halibut

I made this recipe for dinner tonight although I did not serve it over steamed spinach as my family does not like cooked spinach.  I also served it with quinoa in place of the rice.  It was excellent!!!!  I highly recommend this dish.

Thai Style Halibut

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste*, or 2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon, plus more for seasoning

4 (6-ounce) pieces halibut fillet, skin removed

Steamed spinach**

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

*Available in the Asian section of most supermarkets
1. **Steam or microwave 5 cups of washed baby spinach for 2 minutes

2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

Season the halibut with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the fish in the pan and gently shake the pan so the fish is coated with the sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 7 minutes.

3. Arrange a pile of steamed spinach in the bottom of 4 soup plates. Top with the fish fillets. Stir the cilantro, scallions, and lime juice into the sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the sauce over the fish and serve with rice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Easy Mix Chocolate Cake

I am always looking for quick fix recipes to add to my collection so that when I am short on time, we can still eat enjoyable meals without having to rely on fast food.  This is a recipe that I use when wanting to make something quick for dessert.  You mix it right in the pan so it saves on dishes too.  You can frost it with your favorite frosting recipe or just dust with powdered sugar.  I usually don't have time for making frosting when resorting to this recipe so we just use whipped cream from a can.  This will satisfy your desire for chocolate cake when you just don't have much time.

Made in the Pan Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. baking soda

1 c. water
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cider vinegar

In 8x8 inch pan, stir together dry ingredients.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In med. bowl, mix wet ingredients.  Pour wet into dry ingredients: stir well.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.

Tips:  No need to grease pan.  To save on dishes,  I usually measure 1 c. water into 2 c. measuring cup.  Then pour oil in to the   1 1/3 cup line and add vinegar and vanilla.  I also use whole wheat flour to make just a tad bit healthier.

Photo credit:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

This is a cake recipe that my son often requests.  Today I feel like being a "good" mom and am baking it for him.  It is quite easy to throw together and needs no frosting as it is great the way it is. This is a "dump" recipe.  Feel free to use full fat ingredients if you so desire.  I try to make most all of my recipes lower in fat and sugar when I can and try to substitute healthier ingredients as well.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 18.5 oz. pkg. yellow cake mix
1 6 oz. pkg. chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. applesauce
1/3 c. water
1 8 oz. container vanilla yogurt
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

     Dump all ingredients but the chocolate chips in large mixer bowl.  Mix well for a minute or 2 with electric mixer.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured bundt pan (I usually just spray it).  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to finish cooling.  This may be glazed or frosted if desired, but we like it just the way it is as the chocolate chips make it sweet enough.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Taco Salmon Crustless Quiche

Sunday Brunch

Today is of course Sunday for the second time this weekend.  I love having a 4 day weekend.  I think it should be this way every week!  Nice casual Sunday brunch, followed by visits with friends or reading a book, watching a cozy movie, anything relaxing to get ready for the time-crunched week ahead.  Today I made a quiche using left over ingredients from some salmon tacos.  I had leftover flaked salmon, baked with taco seasoning rubbed over it, some diced tomatoes, black olives, diced red onion and chipotle sour cream.  This is how I did it.  I'm sorry the ingredients are only approximate since these were leftovers that I wanted to use up.  Use this as an inspiration for your own personal dish.

Taco Salmon Crustless Quiche

8 eggs, beaten
1/4c. *Chipotle Sour cream
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
Mix above ingredients well and set aside.  In sprayed 9 inch pie plate, layer about 1/2 c. taco seasoned salmon, 1/4 c. each diced red onion, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over and bake @350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

*Chipotle Sour Cream:

1/2c. sour cream
1 Knorr Chipotle cube, crushed

Mix the above together and let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour to blend flavors.

As I was surfing today, I came upon this cocktail that would be a great addition to Sunday Brunch.  It will give your occasion that special touch of festive elegance.

Cocktail: Cranberry Sparkle

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cranberry Grapefruit Marmalade

     I love to make jams and jellies in the summer when fruit is just busting out all over.  I make lots and like to experiment with all kinds of fruit combinations.  Every year at Christmastime I make baskets for elderly  relatives that have everything they need and are hard to buy for.  They  love to get a nice basket of jams, jellies, candied nuts, cookies, candies etc. This morning my husband's aunt who is a recipient of one of the said baskets called to thank me and rave over the "delicious" goodies I again gave her for Christmas.  She is truly thankful to get this basket every year and lets me know this is always her favorite gift.  She went on to say that she had just tried the Cranberry Grapefruit Marmalade that I gave her this year and how much she enjoyed it.  It was a new recipe that I found at in Cooking Light.  You don't need to wait till summer to make this since these fruits are in season right now!

 Cranberry Grapefruit Marmalade

         4  large grapefruit (about 4 pounds)
         1.5 cups water
         2.5 cups cranberries
  3 cups sugar

            Carefully remove the rind of each grapefruit with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife, being careful to avoid the white      pith. Slice the rind into thin strips. Place in a large saucepan.     Peel and section the grapefruit: Slice off a piece of both the top and bottom of each grapefruit until the fruit is visible. Place on a cutting board. Starting at the top and following the curve of the fruit, cut away the remaining pith until only the flesh and membrane are left. Holding the fruit on it’s side, slide a pairing knife between one section of fruit and the membrane that is holding it there, loosening it’s hold. Cut alongside the opposite side of the fruit to loosen it from the membrane on the opposite side. Continue all the way along the grapefruit. Place the grapefruit sections into the saucepan and discard the empty membrane.
         Add 1.5 cups water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 min, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries and simmer for another 10 min.     Add sugar and simmer for 30 min until slightly thickened. Continuing to stir occasionally.    Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 min. Poor into jars or plastic containers and allow to cool for another 20 min before putting on lids. Let sit on counter until room temperature. Store in the fridge or freezer.
Makes approx: 5 cups
*This will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

French Onion Soup

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  2010 is going to be great!!!
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve.
Today I must set my sights on entertaining friends that are coming over tomorrow, which brings me to planning my menu.  I thought about this recipe, which I haven't made in years. I am not sure why as we always have loved this soup.  In our early years of marriage we would go out to this restaurant called The Overtime.  It was located on the river and had a nice atmosphere, was close to home and we loved their French Onion soup. They served it with mozzarella dripping hot and bubbly over the sides.  I set out to find a recipe that would come close to the one we had there so we could have it at home.  This is it. It is adapted from Crockery Cooking by Mable Hoffman.

French Onion Soup

3 large onions. sliced
1/2 c. butter, (I use 1/4c.)
2 T. instant beef bouillon or 6 bouillon cubes
4 c. hot water
1 t. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
4 slices toasted French bread
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices mozzarella cheese

In large skillet saute onions in butter until on med-low heat for several minutes until lightly browned.  In crockpot, combine onions, water, bouillon, Worchestershire sauce and salt.  Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Divide into 4 heatproof serving bowls. Top each bowl with toasted French bread, sprinkle with Parmesan and top with mozzarella cheese.  Set on cookie sheet and broil until mozzarella is browned and bubbly.