Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies:
Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 45 mins

For the brownie batter:
8 tbs(1 stick) Butter, cut into small pieces (plus more for greasing your pan)
2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 C all-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 C Sugar
3 large Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla extract

For the PB filling
4 tbs Butter (melted)
1/2 C Confectioners' Sugar
3/4 C Smooth Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using an 8-inch square baking pan, cover with parchment paper allowing the ends to hang over.
2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
4. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture.
5. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.
6. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.
7. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
8. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tbs size each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart.
9. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top.
10. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.
11. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet (about 45 minutes).
12. Allow brownies to cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out, let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Happy Cooking!

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas:
Prep Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 45 mins

4 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
1 packet Fajita Seasoning
1 packet Red Enchilada sauce
2 small cans of Green Chillies
2 C "Mexican Cheese Mix"
1- 10/12 count package Flour Tortillas
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 jar salsa

1. Place the chicken breasts in a crock pot.
2. Sprinkle the seasoning over the top of the chicken.
3. Pour hot water over the chicken until it is mostly covered.
4. Turn heat on high and cook for 4 hours then one low for 2.
5. Take the chicken breasts out of the pan one at a time and shred with a fork.
6. Place the shredded chicken back in the skillet and simmer for another hour.
7. Remove the chicken from the fajita sauce and place in a bowl.
Preheat your oven to 350.
8. Take the cream cheese and salsa and mix together in a bowl. Set to the side. In another bowl make you your red enchilada sauce.
9. Place the chicken, chilies, and cheese in a large mixing bowl.
10. Pour about 1/2 C of the fajita sauce over the top of the other ingredients.
11. With an electric beater, blend the chicken mixture together.
12. Add a small splash of milk at this point, small splash.
13. Take your tortillas and spoon some of your cream cheese salsa mixture into them spreading it around. Fill with chicken, roll up and place in your pan.
14. Pour your enchilada sauce over top the tortillas and cover with cheese.
15. Bake for 45 minutes.

Happy Cooking!

Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joe:
Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 30 mins + 1 hour to simmer

1 small White Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 lbs Ground Beef (or turkey)
1 tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 C Ketchup
1 1/2 C Of your favorite BBQ Sauce
3 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire
3 tbs Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tbs Water

1. Chop the vegetables up.
2. Heat up a large skillet and add 1 T olive oil. Add your vegetables and cover with the lid letting a bit of steam escape. Cook the vegetables for about 7 minutes, or until they are soft.
3. Add your ground beef and Montreal Steak Seasoning. Grind a bit of salt and pepper over the top. Chop your beef all up with a spatula and let it brown.
4. Once your meat is browned add all the other ingredients to the pan. Stir them around and get it all mixed together.
5. Let the whole mixture simmer on medium low for 1 hour.
6. Remove from heat and serve on a Kaiser roll.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegitable Primavera

Vegetable Primavera:
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 20 mins

1 package of Bow-tie pasta
1 medium Yellow Squash (bias sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 medium Zucchini (bias sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 large Red Bell Pepper (cut into strips)
1 clove Garlic (finely minced)
1 C Cream
1 small can tomato sauce (optional)
1 tsp dried crushed Basil
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
Pinch of Cumin
1/2 C fresh Tomatoes (chopped)
Grated Parmesan cheese (to flavor)
**1-2 medium Chicken Breasts
Olive Oil


1. Cook your pasta.
2. Cook the squash, zucchini, and bell pepper in a small amount of boiling, salted, water 5-8 minutes making sure that the vegetables are tender but still crisp.
3. Drain from water and put into sauteing pan with some olive oil, add your diced tomatoes at this point.
4. Allow zucchini/squash to caramelize slightly but not burn. Turn heat off and cover with a lid.
5. In a saucepan combine the cream, tomato sauce (optional), basil, and black pepper.
6. Bring to a gentle boil and allow it to cook 8-10 minutes until it has slightly thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
7. Remove your sauce from the heat.
8. Mix the pasta, vegetables, and sauce together in a large bowl, allowing the sauce to coat the pasta.

**If you wish you can boil up a chicken breast and shred it up to put in the pasta as well.

Happy Cooking!

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Prep Time: 15-20 mins Cook Time: 35 mins

1 lb. ground Beef (or Beef Chuck or ground Turkey)
1/2 C dried Bread Crumbs
3 Eggs
1/2 C Milk
3/4 C grated Romano cheese
1/2 white Onion (minced)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
Approx 2 tbs mixed Italian seasoning
3 or 4 leaves of fresh chopped Basil
Buy a block of Provolone cheese and but it into 1 inch cubes.

1. Preheat over to 350F.
2. Combined the meat, bred crumbs, eggs, milk, cheese, onion, garlic, and seasonings together mixing thoroughly miking sure everything is dispersed evenly. If mixture seems to loose add some more bread crumbs.
3. Take a cube of cheese and form the meatball around it.
4. Place on baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes, rotating the meatball onto it's other side half way through baking. (Remember the large your meatballs are the longer they will take to cook)
5. Allow to cool and serve on top of angle hair pasta or as a meatball sandwich**.
(**For a meatball sandwich slice up 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, and 1/2 a white onion. Saute together over a low flame with a little bit of olive oil and water. Cover with a lid for about 5 minutes allowing vegetables to steam then stir to keep from burning.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Cheese Shells
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 45 mins

1- 12 oz package of Jumbo Shells
4 C Ricotta Cheese
2 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 C shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs
1 tbs dried Parsley
¾ tsp dried oregano leaves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 jars of sauce (or you can make your own)
Spinach (Optional)

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions till they are al dente. Drain and set to the side.
2. In a large bowl combine your ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, and spices. Mix together thoroughly.
(If you want you can also add 1-2 C of wilted spinach to your cheese mixture. Some people may wish to add more.)
3. Spoon about 2 tbs of cheese filling into each of the cooked shells. (This will get messy)
4. Pour about ½ C marinara sauce in the bottom of TWO 9x13 pans so your shells do not stick to the bottom.
5. Place the stuffed shells over the top of the sauce and pour the remaining sauce over the top of the shells.
6. Cover one pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. You can either cook the other dish as well or cover it and freeze it for later use.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
This recipe is pretty much just like the soup you will find at Olive Garden!

2 lbs Chicken Breasts (cooked and diced)
4 C Chicken Stock
2 C Half-and-Half
1 stalk Celery (diced)
1 Garlic clove (minced)
1/2 Carrot (shredded)
1/2 Onion (diced)
1 C fresh Spinach (chopped)
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Thyme
Salt and Pepper
16 oz Potato Gnocchi (you can buy this at the store)
1 tbs Cornstarch (optional)

1. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, carrot in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.
2. Add chicken, chicken stock, half and half, salt and pepper, and thyme.
3. Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi. Gently boil for 4 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
5. Heat to boiling
6. Dissolve cornstarch in 1-2 tbs water at this point if you want a thicker soup.
7. Ladle into bowls and serve!

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff
Prep Time: 10-15 mins Cook Time: 40 minutes

3 tbs butter
1 lb Stewing Beef
1- 8 oz package Mushrooms
2 C beef broth
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C Milk
2 tbs Cornstarch
4 oz Cream Cheese
1 package of Egg Noodles

1. In a large skillet melt 1 tbs of butter over medium heat.
2. Add you stewing beef and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook your meat until it has a nice brown sear on either side.
3. Set the meat aside and melt the other 2 tbs of butter in your pan.
4. Add the mushrooms and let them cook until they are a nice caramel-brown color.
5. Put the meat back into the pan with the mushrooms. Cover the pan with a lid and turn your heat on to low for now.
6. In a medium sized bowl combine the beef broth, mushroom soup, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix it together well.
7. Pour it over the top of your beef and mushrooms. Allow the mixture come to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep from being scorched.
8. Place your cream cheese in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave it until it becomes soft you can easily stir it around.
9. In a small cup combine the milk and cornstarch. Stir it around until it is nice and smooth, make sure that there are no lumps.
10. Pour the cornstarch mixture into your hot pan. Stir it all around to incorporate. Allow the stroganoff return to a boil. It will thicken as the temperature rises.
11. Add your softened cream cheese. Stir to incorporate, and cook until evenly heated.
12. Serve on top of hot egg noodles.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Prep Time: 5-10 mins + 1 hour to chill

1 C Flour (plus more for dusting)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
4 tbs Cold Butter (cut into small pieces)
1 large Egg
2 tbs Milk

1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor (or mixer) until combined.
2. Add the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
3. Separate the egg and refrigerate the egg white.
4. Beat the egg yolk and milk in a bowl, then add it to the food processor (or mixer) pulsing until the dough comes together.
5. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into one large ball.
6. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 1 hour.

Pot Pie Filling:
Prep Time: 20-30 mins Cook Time: 20-25 mins

2 small Russet Potatoes
4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
5 medium Carrots (cut into large chunks)
2 tsp chopped Thyme (fresh works best but you can use dry as well)
2 tbs Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium White Onion (finely diced)
3 tbs Flour
1/3 C Milk
3 stalks celery (sliced)
3 C shredded Chicken (with the skin removed)
1/2 C (fat-free) plain Greek yogurt
1 C frozen Peas
1/2 C minced Parsley (fresh works best but you can use dry as well)
Salt and Pepper to flavor

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Prick the potatoes with a fork and place directly on the oven rack until tender, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then peel and break into small pieces.
3. Bring the chicken broth, carrots and thyme to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook 2 minutes (cover and keep warm).
4. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
5. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent (about 8 minutes).
6. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle in the flour and stir until lightly toasted (about 3 minutes).
7. Add milk, celery, potato pieces and the warm broth mixture and allow to simmer on low until it has thickened (about 15 minutes).
8. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, yogurt, peas and parsley.
9. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Transfer the filling to a 2-quart casserole dish.
11. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it has reached the desired thickness and is slightly larger than the dish (allowing the edges to hang over).
12. Beat the reserved egg white in a bowl and brush it over the dough (season with salt and pepper).
13. Drape the dough over the dish and press the dough against the sides of the dish.
14. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown (20 to 25 minutes.)

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough:
Prep time: 5 mins + 2 hours minimum to allow dough to rise
Bake time: 15 mins

-1 tsp Yeast
-1 1/2 C warm water
-4 C Flour
-1 tsp Salt
-1/3 C Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 475 (cook time 15 minutes or until crust is desired color)
2. Sprinkle yeast over the top of your warm water, and set to the side for later.
3. Combine your flour and salt in your mixer, fold them together.
4. Slowly pour the olive oil in and mix just until it is all combined.
Your mix should still be pretty floury at this point.
5. Add the yeast and water mixture into the flour, and mix together until combined. Your dough will look doughy at this point.
6. Cover the dough with either a towel or stretch wrap and set aside. You should let the dough rise until it is double in size.
You can also put the dough into the fridge and let it rise throughout the day and just pull it out when you need it.
7. Finally after the dough has risen punch the dough down and divide it in half.
8. Let each piece rest on a pizza stone or sprayed cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then stretch it out as thin or thick as you like.
9. If you only plan to use half of the dough you can put the other half in a ziplock freezer bag and throw it into the freezer for later use.
This recipe yields enough dough for two 12 inch pizzas

Another thing I like to do with my pizza dough is make grilled bread. You just take the pizza dough that you have just made stretch it into 3-4 inch flat pieces spray with a little olive oil and toss onto the grill. Each side takes about 5-19 minutes to cook and you should check it constantly to keep from being burnt. It's so good and goes great with a tomatofredo penne past dish. Yumm!

Happy cooking!
(I will work on a sauce recipe to be posted tomorrow)