Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

We got several red peppers in our produce co-op this week and I was searching for a great recipe to incorporate them. I found this one on allrecipes and it was perfect. I served it over noodles and my girls LOVED it. Lauren ate all of us under the table though, with her three servings. Not only was it a hit, but it was totally different from a regular spaghetti or cream sauce and has some really healthy ingredients too!
picture courtesy
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Slightly adapted from

2 large red bell peppers
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups 1% milk (or use something richer for a richer flavor)
1/4 cup grated fresh Romano cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. Butter (optional)

Preheat broiler on high. Lightly coat the pepper with olive oil and broil until very blackened on all sides (or use some already roasted from a jar). This will take a while, so be patient! Place in a resealable plastic bag (seal it) and let cool for about 45 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions (penne is recommended here). Remove the seeds, stems and outer skin (it should peel right off). Chop into bite-sized pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute peppers, garlic and basil for 10 minutes on medium heat so flavors can meld. Place mixture in blender and blend to desired consistency. Remove back to pan and add milk and cheese, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes while cheese melts and sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper and butter, if desired (I added it and thought it was a little too rich). Simmer for 5 minutes. Add sauce to pasta and stir until combined. Sprinkle more cheese on top, if desired. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Best Brownies

We served these after Christmas dinner with this hot fudge sauce. It was one of the more delicious desserts I've ever eaten- and even got rave reviews all around. These brownies have the perfect amount of richness- crumbly on the outside and totally moist on the inside. Next time you crave a brownie, ditch the box mix and make these instead.
picture courtesy Mel's Kitchen Cafe

The Best Brownies
Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 sticks (8 oz) butter
8 oz good-quality semisweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle chips from Costco)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used regular cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Alternatively, you may use parchment. These are pretty sticky at first! Melt butter and chocolate in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the hot chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Whisk in remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until mixture is glossy and smooth. Whisk in salt and cocoa powder, then add flour and stir until it disappears (do not overbeat). Spread in pan and bake until a pick inserted in center comes out with crumbs, 25 to 35 minutes (I had to cook mine about 45 minutes). Cool to room temperature then chill for an hour or more. Lift from pan, place on a cutting board, cut into squares.

Makes 1 13×9 inch pan (yield depends on how big you cut your brownies, but they are rich, so small is fine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Crash Hot Potatoes

**Photo from Pioneer Woman blog 

It's Pioneer Woman, therefore it's great.  enough said.

Crash Hot Potatoes

From Pioneer Woman


  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cranberry Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles

**From Real Mom Kitchen Blog
Amazing!  Seriously, these were so good.  I used dried cherries instead of cranberries and I really liked the flavor of them--more so than cranberries.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles   
From Real Mom Kitchen blog
  • 1 (17.9 oz) pkg Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in cookie mix.  Remove packet of cinnamon/sugar mixture and set aside.
  2. Add butter, cream cheese, water, and egg to cookie mix and blend until smooth.
  3. Fold cranberries into the dough and chill dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. Place cinnamon/sugar mixture in a bowl.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough into cinnamon/sugar mixture and coat with mixture.
  5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8 to 9  minutes.  These cookies will not go brown.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute.
  6. Place cookies on cooling rack and cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ruby Red Layered Salad

I made this jello salad for Christmas dinner...I usually make Mom's triple-layer Christmas salad, but I wanted to mix things up and just go a little wild! :) :) This salad was absolutely delicious and decidedly perfect for this meal, or any meal at any time of year. The sour cream gave it a perfect flavor, together with the cherry and raspberry layers. It was easy to make and disappeared fast! Next time you need a jello salad, try this one.
picture courtesy google images
Ruby Red Layered Salad

1- 3 oz. package raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1-10 oz. package frozen raspberries
1 pint sour cream
1-3 oz. package cherry jello
1- 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1- 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
Real whipped cream (optional)

Dissolve raspberry jello in 1 cup boiling water. Add frozen raspberries and stir until well mixed. Pour into a 9X13 (or smaller) glass dish. Refrigerate until almost firm, 30-60 minutes. Spread sour cream over firm gelatin, refrigerate. Dissolve cherry jello into 1 cup boiling water. Add crushed pineapple and cranberry sauce. Mix well. Chill until partially set, about 20-40 minutes. Spread cherry layer over sour cream layer and chill for one to two more hours, until completely set. Spread fresh whipped cream on top before serving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crock-pot Chicken Noodle Soup

I make this soup often when someone is ill or has a new baby---total comfort food. It's hearty and fairly healthy! The picture doesn't show that the soup is a creamy consistency, though. Enjoy!

3 chicken breasts
2-3 c. water
2 t. chicken bouillion
1 pkg. dry Knorr Vegetable Soup mix
1/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped celery
onion salt, salt, pepper

Combine in crock-pot on low 5-6 hours. I throw in one cup chopped carrots midway through. Then add:

1 can cream of chicken soup
2-3 c. milk

Shred chicken and cook on low 1 more hour. Cook 1 (12 0z.) pkg. or "Grandma's Homemade Noodles" (in freezer section---also "Reames") as package directs in boiling water, then add to soup mixture.

Lite Pasta

**Photo from YourhomebasedMom blog

For all of you sausage haters out there--repent!  You've got to try this dish.  It's fun to use sausage every now and then and this is a definite good one!

Lite Pasta    
From Your Homebased Mom blog

1 16 oz. spaghetti – cook in salted water, Drain, & rinse in hot water (keep warm).
1 to 2 pounds  polish sausage, sliced
6 Tbsps. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 red bell pepper, cut in cubes
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
3-4 small (hot dog size) zucchini, cut in strips
4 tsps. chicken bouillon granules;
2 tsps. basil
2 tsps salt (or less)
2 dashes cayenne pepper (I left this out)

Heat oil; add sausage and stir fry.  Add onion & red pepper; spinkle in remaining spices & stir fry.
Add zucchini last so that it does not overcook.  Onion and red pepper take a longer
time to cook.  Toss with pasta.  Serve warm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Bars

*Photo from YourhomebasedMom blog

White Chocolate Raspberry Bars

From YourHomebasedMom Blog

1/2 C butter
1 C vanilla chips
2 C vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
2 Tbsp softened butter
2 T milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 C powdered sugar
3/4 C raspberry jam (could also use peach, apricot or blackberry)
1/2 C finely chopped pecans

Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan (I used an 8 inch)  In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup of the vanilla chips.  Cook over low heat until melted stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
Stir in wafer crumbs until well mixed.  Press mixture evenly in greased pan.

In small saucepan, melt remaining 3/4 cup of vanilla chips over low heat, stirring constantly.  In small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. butter, milk and vanilla; mix well.  Gradually beat in melted chips and powdered sugar until smooth.

Spread jam over crumb mixture.  Spread chip mixture over jam.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Refrigerate until set and cut into bars.  I allowed the bars to sit at room temperature for a while before cutting or else the chocolate layer cracks.  Serve at room temperature.

*I used frozen raspberries since I don't love the test of jam in desserts.  It was delicious!
**I used the cookie crumb mixture for the top instead of pecans.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Capellini Pomodoro

*Photo from Not So Idle Hands Blog
Capellini Pomodoro
From Not So Idle Hands Blog

This is for 4 servings
14 oz capellini pasta (angel hair) or equivalent in another type
8 medium tomatoes, cut into ½” pieces
11 fresh basil leaves, chopped (also great with dried)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. COOK capellini pasta according to package directions.
  2. MIX diced tomatoes, chopped basil, garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. DRAIN pasta. Toss pasta with tomato mixture in a sauté pan and heat throughout.
  4. SERVE immediately. (or put it in the fridge till your picnic :)
*I cut up chunks of mozzarella cheese and added it in.  It made the dish!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

J.D.'s Rolls

Pic Courtesy of Google images

These rolls first made their appearance 3 or so years ago at Thanksgiving at home in Georgia when The Ethington's came to dinner. Everyone was blown away by their softness and delicious taste. I made them again last week for Christian's birthday since he's always begging me to make good rolls. I was reminded how incredibly scrumptious they are. They are just as good, if not better than Lion House rolls and they don't call for shortening, either, like the LH ones do. So, I can feel a little better about making them. Also, I'm kind of cursed when it comes to baking bread and I haven't yet been able to goof this recipe up, so it's pretty fool proof.

J.D.'s Rolls
from J.D. Ethington

1/2 c lukewarm water
2 T yeast
2 T sugar
1 can evaporated milk (the bigger one, I think it's 8-10 oz)
1 can warm water (use evap milk can)
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 T salt
10 c flour

Combine yeast mixture: 1/2 c luke warm water, 2 T yeast, and 2 T sugar. Set aside to bubble for 5 -10 min.

Combine: evap. milk, can warm water, butter, 1/2 c sugar, eggs, 1 T salt and mix well. Add yeast mix. Add 10 c flour and mix for 10 minutes. Raise til size doubles, shape, raise again until doubled. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min.