Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fancy Schmancy Mac-N-Cheese


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish (1 stick)
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces ((good quality))
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
4-1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 oz.)
2 cups grated Gruyere (about 8 oz.)
grated pecorino romano cheese (about 5 oz.)
1 lb elbow macaroni


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter.
4. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss; set the bread crumbs aside.
5. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk.
6 .Melt remaining 6 Tbsp. butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour.
7. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. While whisking, slowly our in hot milk.
8. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
9. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil.
10. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 min. less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
11. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Pour mixture into prepared dish.
12. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and bread crumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, 30-60 minutes.
13. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 min.; serve.

Recipe compliments of the amazing April.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pignoli (Italian Cookies)


1 pound almond paste
1-1/4 cups sugar
4 egg whites
3 cups pine nuts


— Break the almond paste into pieces and place in a mixing bowl with the sugar.
— Use a mixer to crumble the paste and sugar until evenly combined.
— In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
— Gradually fold the egg whites into the almond mixture.
— Place the nuts in a shallow bowl.
— Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and press each ball into the nuts, gently turning to coat evenly.
— Place on a buttered baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart.
— Bake 15 minutes or so in a preheated 350 degree oven, until light golden in color.
— Allow to cool 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a rack.
— Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 servings.

This amazing recipe is compliments of Mary Alice M.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mom's Pea Salad


10oz fresh or frozen peas
1c. sliced celery
1/4c. diced green onion
1c. chopped cauliflower
1c. nuts or seeds
1/4c. crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2c. sour cream
1c. prepared ranch dressing
1/2tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced


— Rinse peas in hot water to thaw (steam, if fresh), drain.
— Combine vegetables, nuts and bacon with sour cream.
— Mix dressing, mustard & garlic together and pour over salad.
— Toss gently and chill.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Enchiladas Verdes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion, in medium dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 teaspoons oil
Crushed oregano
12 corn tortillas
Cooking spray
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cans Stokes Green Chili Sauce with Pork

— Poach chicken breasts in chicken stock for 30-45 minutes, or until cooked through.
— Remove chicken from poaching liquid. Cut into large chunks and chill in a medium bowl in the refrigerator. Reserve 1 cup of liquid.
— Using the same pot used to cook the chicken, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil, and add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.
— Remove chicken from refrigerator and shred into the onion mixture. Stir in the reserved poaching liquid. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. The chicken should remain fairly moist.
— Return the chicken mixture to the bowl and place in refrigerator.
— Heat both cans of chili sauce in the same pan used to cook the chicken.
— Preheat the oven to 350F.
— Place six corn tortillas on a double layer of aluminum foil and coat both sides with cooking spray or oil. Warm in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
— Remove chicken mixture from the refrigerator and stir in a ¼ cup of chili sauce and 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese.
— Spray a 13x9” pan with cooking spray, and spread ¾ cup of chili sauce on the bottom of the pan.
— Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of chicken mixture, roll, and place in pan with seam side down.
— Pour remaining chili sauce over the enchiladas, and top with cheese. Cover pan with foil, and bake at 450F for 20 minutes. Uncover pan and bake for another 10 minutes, or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Emeril's Meatloaf


2 teaspoons butter
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1 cup minced onions
1/2 cup minced green peppers
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 to 1 cup bread crumbs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water


~Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

~Grease a roasting pan with the butter.

~In a mixing bowl, add beef, pork, onions, peppers, garlic, eggs, cream, and bread crumbs. Blend thoroughly. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

~Shape the mixture into a loaf and place on the prepared pan. Pour the stock over the top and place in the oven. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally.

~Remove the pan from the oven. Using a long spatula, remove the meat loaf from the pan.

~Place the roasting pan on the stove, over high heat.

~In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 2 tablespoons water. Whisk the slurry into the gravy. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook for few minutes, stirring constantly. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.

~Slice the meatloaf in to 8 pieces. Serve two slices of meat loaf per person with a spoonful of gravy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Watermelon & Feta Salad

3/4 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted black olive halves
1 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice. The acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw onion. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, black olives, onions with the lime juice, and mint. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend

Recipe compliments of Dayna.



1 can [15 to 16 ounces] garbanzo beans, drained and liquid reserved
1/2 cup sesame seed
1 clove garlic, cut in half
3 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp salt
chopped fresh parsley
pita bread wedges, crackers or raw vegetables, if desired


— Place reserved bean liquid, the sesame seed and garlic in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth.

— Add beans, lemon juice and salt. Cover and blend on high speed, stopping blender occasionally to scrape sides if necessary, until uniform consistency.

— Spoon into serving dish. Garnish with parsley. Serve with pita bread wedges.

Recipe compliments of Stephanie W.

Foolproof Pie Dough

For one 9-inch double-crust pie

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup).


2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into four pieces
¼ cup cold vodka
¼ cup cold water

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Process 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into two 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Cucumber & Feta Salad with Mint & Dill

2 medium cucumbers, in ½” dice
4oz Feta cheese, in ¼” dice or crumbled
¼ medium sweet onion, finely diced
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

— In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, feta, onion, mint and dill.
— In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
— Toss the dressing with the vegetables.
— Check seasonings adjust according to taste.
— Chill in refrigerator.
— Garnish with mint leaves, if desired, and enjoy.

Crockpot Chicken & Rice


1 can Cream of Mushroom condensed soup
1 can condensed Chicken Broth
6 oz water
1 cup brown rice
1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 package frozen broccoli
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


— Mix together Cream of Mushroom soup and rice.
— Slowly stir in chicken broth.
— Add water and onion soup mix.
— Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture.
— Cook on high for three hours, stir in broccoli, and continue cooking on low for another three hours.

Lucy's Baked Barbecued Ribs


Pork spare ribs
Onion slices (optional)
BBQ sauce


~Preheat oven to 425
~Boil a pot of water. Cut the slab(s) of ribs into quarters. Once the water is boiled, throw the ribs in for 35-45 minutes.
~Dry the ribs. Slice up rings of onions to put on top of each quarter and put into the oven for half an hour.
~Baste the ribs with BBQ sauce (either homemade or bottled). Put them in for another hour or so, basting every so often.

BAM! Delicious fall off the bone ribs

Grape Salad

8 oz plain cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 lb green grapes
2 lb red grapes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans

~Soften cream cheese in sauce pan, add sour cream, vanilla and white sugar.~Combine grapes with mixture, top with brown sugar and pecans.


Pasta Magnifico


1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1-2 teaspoons dried mint (or 2 tablespoons fresh, about three springs)
12 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn (or 1-2 teaspoons pre-prepared basil paste)
½ pound linguine, cooked al dente
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


— In a skillet over medium-low heat, warm cream. Add cognac, zest of lemon and orange, and salt.
— Simmer 7-10 minutes, until cream slightly thickens.
— Add mint and basil, stir.
— Toss hot, drained pasta with sauce and grated cheese.
— Transfer to serving dish or dinner plates.
— Enjoy!

Penne with Vodka Sauce


16oz package penne pasta (rigatoni is also fantastic)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4lb pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1/3 cup vodka
½ cup heavy cream ( ½ & ½ , or milk also work fine)
1.5 cups tomato sauce
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Couple of shakes of red pepper flakes


1. Cook pasta to al dente (usually 8-10 minutes) and drain.
2. Meanwhile, sauté pancetta in butter until crisp. Add in red pepper flakes.
3. Add vodka and reduce by half (about 4-5 minutes).
4. Stir in tomato sauce and cream.
5. Simmer uncovered 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in cooked pasta.
7. Serve in bowls, topped with parmesan cheese.



Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound pasta, such as penne
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 large egg yolks
Freshly grated Romano cheese
Parsley, for garnish


1. Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente (usually 8-10 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.
3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about ½ cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.
4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, 1-2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

Shelly's Red Chili Meat


1 Beef Roast
1 Package New Mexico Chili Powder
Garlic Powder to taste
Flour and Water to thicken
2-4C. Beef Broth (enough to almost cover roast)
Salt to taste


— Place Beef Roast in a crock pot.
— Combine Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, and Flour. Add a small amount of Broth to make a slurry. Pour over roast, with any remaining Broth.
— Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours, or until beef is very tender.
— Shred meat and return to crockpot with remaining sauce. Stir to combine.
— Season with salt to taste.
— Serve in fresh, warm tortillas.

Taco Soup


2 Cans black beans
2 Cans kidney beans
1 Lg. Can crushed tomatoes
1 Lg. Can diced tomatoes
2 Packets taco seasoning
1-8oz Can tomato sauce
1-2lbs ground beef or turkey

Optional garnishes:
Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Cilantro, Lime Wedges


— Brown meat with seasoning packets
— Place meat, beans and tomatoes (with all juices) in a crock pot
— Simmer on high for four hours, or on low for eight hours
— Serve with garnishes

Laura's Raspberry Jello Salad


1 large box raspberry jello (as opposed to the smaller boxes)1 cup sugar1 can crushed pineapple, and the juice1 bag fresh cranberries - pulverized in the food processor2 small apples, peeled and chopped (2 is approximate....depends on the size of the apple and how much you want in it. And I guess you could leave the skin on if you wanted)Red or green grapes, quartered. Again, I just put in whatever I have on hand. Maybe 30? Maybe less?

In a large bowl, dissolve the jello and sugar in 2 cups hot water. add the fruit (including pineapple juice) and 1 cup cold water. Put in fridge. Easy-peasy!

Jennifer's Stuffing


2 Loaves Bread (one wheat, one white), cubed in 1” pieces. Allow to dry at least
overnight, preferably for a couple of days.
1/4lb Butter
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
2 Stalks Celery, finely sliced
¼ tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
Salt to taste
2 Tart Apples, unpeeled, finely chopped
1lb Pork Sausage
2 tsp Chicken Bullion, dissolved in 2/3 Cup Water


— Melt butter in skillet and stir in the onion and celery.
— Cook over low heat until onions are soft and lightly browned.
— Add apples to onion mixture and cook until just soft.
— Remove apple mixture from pan and set aside.
— Cook sausage in skillet until crumbly and brown.
— Return apple mixture to skillet with sausage and stir to combine and heat through.
— Add meat mixture to breadcrumbs and toss lightly with pepper, salt, and chicken broth.
— Bake at 325-350 degrees for 30 minutes or until warm and lightly toasted.

Chicken & Dumplings

Time: 40min, start to finish
Yield: 6 cups (four main-dish servings)

1-14.5oz can chicken broth
1-10oz package frozen mixed veggies (corn is great in this dish)
½ cup water
½ tsp. dried dill weed
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (garlic salt would also work well)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. dried dill weed
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ cup milk
2 TBSP cooking oil

In a large saucepan combine chicken broth, frozen veggies, water, dill weed, garlic powder, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Meanwhile, combine milk and flour, stir into veggie mixture. Stir in chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and bubbly.

While stew cooks, make dumplings by combining the flour, parsley, baking powder, dill weed, and salt. In a separate container, combine milk and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix until just combined.

Drop dumplings mixture from a tablespoon to make 4-8 mounds atop the bubbling stew. Cover (no peeking!) and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean.

Note: See page 405 of Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook for Poached Chicken recipe.

Cheddar Chowder


4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
6 cups diced potatoes
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced celery
3/4 cup chopped onions
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
6 cups milk
6 cups cheddar (or more)
3 cups ham (can be more)

- put all veggies in pot and cover with water and broth
- cook until tender
- puree liquid and veggies together with an immersion blender

In a separate pot:
- melt butter
- whisk in flour, milk, cheddar; continue stirring until cheese is fully melted and the sauce is homogeneous.
- pour milk mixture into veggie pot
- add ham

Alternate:  Omit ham.  Top soup with a dollop of  sour cream and sprinkle with crispy bacon pieces.  Oh.  My.  So good.