Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve Dessert - Phyllo Triangles and Pie

After church on Christmas Eve evening, my family enjoyed some dessert while we opened our presents. We had a cheese plate created by Salt & Peppa (my bro & fiance), a coconut cream pie (keep reading to learn about the pie) and berries & cream phyllo triangles.

I had some Alouette Berries & Cream Spreadable Cheese and have been thinking about how I wanted to use it. I really enjoyed just eating it with graham crackers. But for Christmas I figured I'd make something fun with it. Somehow my mom accumulated 3 boxes of phyllo sheets in her freezer so we had all the ingredients on hand.

These are so easy and seem so fancy!
The recipe is from the Alouette Cheese website.

Berries and Cream Chocolate Phyllo Triangles

1 pkg. (6.5 oz.) Alouette Berries & Cream Spreadable Cheese
18 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
12 oz. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay out 3 sheets of phyllo dough. Brush 1 sheet with ½ tbsp. melted butter. Place second sheet on top. Brush top of second sheet with ½ tbsp. melted butter. Repeat with third sheet.
Cut stacked dough into 5 equal strips (approx. 2.25 inches wide).

Place ½ tbsp. Alouette Berries & Cream in center of each strip at the end closest to you. Begin folding in a triangle (in the style we fold our flag). Fold triangle over until the end of the strip. Place triangle on sheet tray end side down. Brush with melted butter.

Repeat preceding steps with remaining sheets of phyllo dough.

Place the 30 bundles on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, place chocolate in a small bowl and microwave on HIGH, stirring occasionally, until melted, about 2 minutes.

Transfer bundles to waxed paper and drizzle with melted chocolate. It was hard for me to "drizzle" so I just put a little spoonful on each which worked well too.

Let rest for 5 minutes.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm.

As for the coconut cream pie, it is a family favorite. And no one can make them like the The County Seat Restaurant in New Bloomfield - where this pie came from. Every time we go there for a meal, we always hope there is a slice left. The meringue is so high and delicious - my mom and I can only hope that one day our pies will look and taste this perfect!
Thank you, Sue!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Easy Cocktail

This is a tasty cocktail from Sandra Lee. Just pour 1/4 cup canberry juice in a champagne flute and fill the rest of the way with any type of sparkly. I used Korbel Extra Dry, but a brut, asti or spumante would be good too - whatever you have, grab at the store or is on sale. Then float a few dried cranberries for a garnish.

So festive! And for the person who doesn't want a super sweet drink.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My new mug

I was pleasantly surprised when Bec gave me this cute mug as a thank you! I just love it so much that I've been drink more these past 2 days just so I can use it.

And our dogs really can't hold their lickers - especially Trapper!

She also got me delicous Christmas/winter-themed tea. So far my favorites have been peppermint candy cane and gingerbread spice!

Thanks again, Bec!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Praline Blondies

Last week I was on the hunt for unique recipes to make for the cookie reception after our church choir concerts on Sunday (yesterday). And since the treats were going to be on a cookie buffet, I wanted them to be just small little bites.

This recipe is from Real Simple's 50 Best Holiday Cookie Recipes. I love blondies and praline so I was really hoping it would be a winner. Turns out it was and each little square was gobbled down quickly.

These turned out so well I just might make them again. Afterall, I only got one small piece from this batch and that just wasn't enough for me!

nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
a few tablespoons of milk, if needed

Heat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with the cooking spray. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; spray the parchment with the cooking spray.

Make the blondie: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and mix in the brown sugar and vanilla. One at a time, mix in the eggs; mix in the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan. You can put the pan in the fridge to hurry the cooling process along.

Make the praline topping: In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, 1 tablespoon of water, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. If mixture is clumpy that means you cooked the sugar too long (what happened to me) so add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk really well until smooth. Spread over the cooled blondies and sprinkle with the pecans. Let the topping set, 10 to 15 minutes.

Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into squares. Store the blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Last Friday I was in the mood for really good creamy chicken and wild rice soup. That's all I wanted in the soup - chicken, rice, a creamy base and lots of flavor. But then I found a recipe from Taste of Home that got great reviews but it called for broccoli and carrots, which ended up being a great addition.

You need to plan ahead a bit for this recipe because you have to prepare the chicken and cook the wild rice which can take up to an hour - then you can start preparing the soup.

2/3 cup uncooked wild rice (can take 45 minutes to an hour to prepare)
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped carrot
2 tablespoons butter
7 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf (I got this idea from a reviewer on the Taste of Home website)
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (I roasted a split chicken breast with salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven at 350 until done and then shredded the meat)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free half-and-half

Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook onion and carrot in butter for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, potatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli; cook 3-7 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Drain rice if necessary; fluff with a fork. Stir chicken and rice into potato mixture; heat through. In a small bowl, combine flour and half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Yield: 8 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

My soup was thick so you can add more milk or broth if it's too pudding-like for you.

You can play with the amount of ingredients or omit an ingredient all together. It would be good with more potatoes and no broccoli too but I like that we got a serving of greens!

We ate the soup with a baguette from Panera.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spices Inc.

I recently won a set of 10 spices from Spices Inc., who happens to be based out of Pennsylvania!

I received the Chickens Gone Wild Spice Set which includes:
Jamaican Jerk
Blackened Seasoning
Adobo Lime
Citrus Seasoning
Mediterranean Dry Rub
Chipolte Honey
Kickin Chicken
Sweet Tweetie

I have been trying to decide which spice I want to try first. I am excited for the Chipolte Honey and Adobo Lime because I love sweet and spicy together.

I think I will use these more in the summer for some marinade pre grilling.

A big thank you to Foodbuzz and Spices Inc. for this great collection!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix

I made these very tasty pecans for Thanksgiving appetizer. I will definitely be making more - sweet and spicy! If you can, buy the chipotle chili pepper. It is a great smokey hot flavor.

I found this recipe from on and it was originally in Cooking Lite in November 2008.

1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 large egg white
2 cups pecan halves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 225°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until slightly frothy. Stir in pecans. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper. Add to pecan mixture; toss well. Spread mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 225° for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; cool completely. Stir in cranberries.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

I saw this easy recipe on a blog I read, Kelly's Korner, and added it to my list of quick and delicious snack/party recipes. I made it last night to take to a party tonight.

As Kelly does, I just scooped the mixture into a bowl and refrigerated it overnight. I didn't go to the trouble of shaping it into a ball and rolling it in pecans, as the original recipe calls for. So it's more of a cheese spread than a ball! I am serving it with graham crackers but animal crackers & Nilla wafer - regular or chocolate - would be good too!

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of real unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (you may want to add more to your liking)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional

Beat cream cheese and butter until very well blended. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Then mix in chips.

Now you can either form the mixture into a ball and coat with chopped pecans or spoon it into a little serving bowl. Refrigerate several hours before serving, ideally overnight.

This is a fun, sweet appetizer!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made THIS for a dinner party last night.

It was delicious and turned out perfectly. This time, I followed the recipe to a T.

I will have a picture up tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicken and Apple Soup

What a bizarre looking picture! Maybe even un-appetizing. But I promise you it's not!

My brother and I made this soup at my parents house so I didn't have my camera. This is a photo from my phone.

But boy, this is a tasty fall soup if you love apples and chicken together!

Chicken and Apple Stew (I think it's more of a soup though...)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4-6 potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cups chicken broth

Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized soup pot over medium-high heat. Place chicken cubes in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add flour and toss to coat. Add chicken to hot oil and brown for 7-8 minutes until done. Remove from pan on to a plate. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt & pepper. Cook vegetables until tender, about 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Add chicken broth, apples and chicken to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and the broth has thickened.

This recipe is adapted from Espresso Yourself, a coffee shop/restaurant in Newport, PA. Not only was my sister a waitress/barista here last summer, I found the business card for Matt 'N Nat Photography, who will be photographing our wedding! This place has great food made with mostly organic ingredients.

My brother thinks that some egg noodles added to the soup would be tasty!

We also added about a cup of water to the soup to make more broth, so that is an option too if you think it's necessary.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Piccata

For my birthday last month my Aunt Donna got me a subscription to Cuisine at home - a great magazine of recipes with no advertisements! The recipes all look great and seem easy to make. I already made sweet and spicy salmon filets from the magazine for Adam's birthday and last night I made chicken piccata. It was so simple and delicious. I love lemon and garlic flavors, especially with chicken.
For the recipe you can pound out chicken breasts into cutlets but I just buy the cutlets from the meat department at the grocery store - so much easier!
Chicken Piccata
From Cuisine at home
4 chicken breast cutlets (you can buy the cutlets or cut a breast in half and pound it thin)
salt and pepper
all-purpose flour
nonstick spray
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine (I didn't have any so I used chicken broth)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
2 Tablespoons butter
Fresh lemon slices
Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.
Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray, add oil, and heat over medium-heat.
Saute cutlets 3 minutes on one side. Flip cutlets over and saute the other side, covered, 2 minutes. Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter; pour off fat from pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add broth, lemon juice and capers. Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute. Transfer cutlets back to plate.
Finish sauce with butter and lemons. Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.

I had a lot of trouble slicing the lemons. Need a new sharp knife badly!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Parc on Rittenhouse Square

In October, when Adam and I visited Arielle in Philadelphia, we came across a cute little French brasserie called Parc and just had to stop. The atmosphere was very inviting and we sat outside on the sidewalk and enjoyed our sandwiches and beer. Another reason why we loved this location is because it is right by Rittenhouse Square which is chock full of owners walking their dogs! We saw so many cute dogs trot by! This is a fun place to check out on a nice spring or fall day.

I had the country chicken club:

Arielle had the lamb sandwich:

Adam had the cheeseburger:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beef & Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits

Since the cold weather is upon us, I was looking for something hearty for dinner last night. As I was flipping through the latest Food and Wine magazine I came across a beef and vegetable potpie with cheddar biscuits. It sounded good and after going the through the entire magazine and another cookbook, I went back to that potpie. I am so glad I did!

But as I put the potpie into the oven, I realized I should not be a model for cooking success! With a hungry man waiting for his dinner and me hurrying with all my might, I forgot to add the peas to the pie!! We had them as a side. So if you make this, don't forget the peas!!!

The biscuits turned out so good on top of the pie! Make sure the bisuit dough is dense - if it's too runny, add more flour. If it's too thick, add a touch more milk.

The original recipe makes 2 potpies to serve 12 people. I halved the recipe and it turned out perfectly! I wrote below how I made a single potpie, which would serve roughly 5 people but if you go here, you can see the original recipe.

Beef-and-Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits from Food & Wine Magazine

1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium to large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450° and position a rack in the upper third. Line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any drips.

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the oil. Add the onion, carrots and parsnips; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 minutes.

Add the beef and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no trace of pink remains and any liquid has almost evaporated, 10 minutes.

Stir in 3 Tablespoons of the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the milk and the stock and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Put the remaining 2 cups of flour in a large bowl. Cut in the remaining 7 Tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheddar. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of milk until a smooth dough forms. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, arrange mounds of the biscuit dough on the filling baking dish.

Bake both potpie on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked through.

Let the potpies rest for 10 minutes before serving.

A parsnip is a great alternative to boring ole potatoes!

Those stinkin' peas on the side!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mudslide Milkshake

This sinful after dinner treat is from Claire Robinson. She has a fun show on the Food Network called 5 Ingredient Fix. It's worth checking out!

I am always looking for uses for frozen bananas because every time I have a banana that is too ripe to eat, I peel it, slice it and put it in the freezer for opportunities like this!

1/2 cup Irish cream (like Bailey's)
1/4 cup chocolate vodka - you can use regular vodka
1 pint coffee ice cream
1 banana, sliced and frozen
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
Warning: This is very strong!!! You can add some milk and more ice cream if you think it's going to kick your butt after the first sip.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chunky Monkey Pancakes!

I have made several other recipes from Our Best Bites and they have all been a hit. So I was not surprised when I tried their Chunky Monkey Pancakes and they turned out heavenly!

I follow Our Best Bites on Twitter and read their blog a lot. The two friends that journal their recipes are just so sweet and they seem trustworthy to me so I feel very confident that their recipes will be delicious. And they always are.

I made Chunky Monkey Pancakes on Saturday and they we were like eating a sweet dessert for breakfast, which I loved! It's a good way to start a Saturday.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

1 1/2 C flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large or extra large egg
2 small-med ripe bananas
1/4 C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

1 C maple syrup
1/2 C peanut butter

*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.

For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine. Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use1/4 C batter for large pancakes (4-6') and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2-3'). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Friday Night Dinner

After a long week last week, Adam and I had no plans for Friday evening and we were so excited to do nothing and just stay at home. But we couldn't decide what to have for dinner. We wanted something easy and delicious - like always. So we turned to Mary and asked her for ideas. She suggested grilled steak topped with Boursin cheese. We thought that sounded perfect so we stopped at the store on the way home.

Of course we grabbed some asparagus too - Adam's new favorite vegetable - and potatoes.

Our dinner right out of the shopping bag:

And 30 minutes later on our dinner plates:

We got 2 T-bone steaks, seasoned them with McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning and cooked them on a hot grill. We then ate every bite of the meat with Lite Herbed Bousin cheese - very rich and creamy -which you can find in the specialty cheese department of most grocery stores. The Lite cheese was very tasty! And good thing we got lite because we ate over half of the little tub!

I roasted the asparagus in a 400 degrees oven with salt and pepper and olive oil for about 5- 8 minutes.

For the potatoes, I peeled and cubed 3 potatoes. I put them into boiling salted water and allowed them to cook for 5 minutes. While they were boiling, I heated 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. After 5 minutes, I drained the potatoes and added them to the hot oil in the skillet. Then I just let them fry for about 15 minutes or until they get to be browned to my liking. Then scoop them out of the oil onto a paper towel lined plate and add salt and pepper.

A great go-to potato side dish for all meals of the day.

This was a very yummy dinner a a little splurge to kick off the weekend. I have been thinking about it a lot since Friday... Are you hungry now too??

Friday, October 22, 2010

Savvy Grouse Post

Check out my Savvy Grouse post about Spiral Path Farm in Loysville, PA.

Photo from Spiral Path website

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Birthday Party

October 2nd was my birthday and as a special treat, my parents, Bec, Jesse, Adam and I went to Cafe Bruges in Carlise, PA. Cafe Bruges is a casual Belgian restaurant and we not only sampled some great Belgian beers, we had a feast, beginning with amazing frites and ending with a waffle. YUM!

Bec took these cute pictures and I just couldn't wait to share them! It was a fun night!
From left to right - Adam, Hope, Mom, Dad, Jesse and Rebecca who is behind the camera (I am sad she's not in the picture)

And the most delicious part of the evening - fries fried in beef tallow with honey mustard sauce, ketchup, spicy Asian sauce and homemade mayo. These were the tasties and crispiest fries I've ever had. I have been craving them since we left. I need more.

Fried cheese croquettes... yummmm

Herbed cheese toasts - local Quark (fresh soft cheese from Keswick Creamery in Newburg, PA) with fresh herbs and sliced radishes on rye toast

For dinner I had moules in the Bruges style sauce (white wine and herbs) and more frites

Bec also had the moules; Adam had steak frites, Jesse and my dad had waterzooi (Dutch word for stew) of fish and my mom had stoemp (a mash, this time of poatoes) served with various saucisse (sausages). Everyone loved their meal!

And for the grand finale, a Belgian waffle with apple compote, whipped cream, powdered sugar and 72% Belgian dark chocolate sauce.


And I am so sad I didn't get photos of the beer. Everything we tried was great and this restaurant only serves Belgian brews which is so unique.


Next time we visit Cafe Bruges, I think we will get frites, a waffle and beer!


Then we headed over to Bec and Jesse's house where they planned a little party for me. The theme for the party was letter B.

We played a game of Boggle.


And Bec planned a Boto Boot, or photo booth.

This is my favorite photo from the that evening!! I just love it! Maybe it's because of the flying cat...

And a DELICIOUS brownie cake with peanut butter filling! Heavenly!

Thank you sooooooo much, Bec for the great evening you planned. You're such a wonderful friend!!


Monday, October 18, 2010

City Tavern, Philadelphia

Backing up to two weekends ago, Sunday October 10, Adam and I were walking around Olde City of Philadelphia when we decided to have lunch at the City Tavern. As you remember, I have met the head chef, Walter Staib, 3 times - twice at Taste of the Nation and once in Hershey. I have two of his cookbooks and am a fan of his 18th century cuisine.
Usually I only talk about dining experiences that I love but this time, I wanted to write about this tourist trap. The ambience of the City Tavern is beyond charming: The waitress and hosts were period outfits, you drink out of pewter cups and enjoy your meal in the beautiful old building.
Sadly, our dining experience was less than stellar. We had soup and salads and they were very mediocre and over priced. As you can see in the turkey noodle soup photo below, the chicken was of the cubed, preprocessed variety, which totally grosses me out.
So if you're debating this restaurant, I recommend going for drink and/or dinner. The raspberry shrub and the tavern cooler, along with the homemade breads were wonderful!! I ate here a few years ago, had the rabbit for dinner and loved it!

Adam perusing the menu

The dining room

Cute table setting - you will see the bread and
my raspberry shrub (vinegar, sugar, water and champagne)

Turkey noodle soup

Apple cider with rum, brandy and whiskey
I have to remember this combo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Meatballs

I know a photo is worth a thousand words so I am very sad to report that I did not take a picture of these meatballs. I had a very hungry boy to feed and all I'm thinking about when cooking is getting dinner on the table.

But these meatballs are very tasty and moist and worth a try this fall.

I had some very ripe apples so I peeled, cored and sliced them, put the apples in a saucepan with some water and cooked them down to applesauce for this recipe. I didn't even pass the sauce through a seive - the small apple chunks were tasty with the meat!

I found this recipe in the Adams County Apple Cookbook. The apples I used were from Adams County too!

1 pound ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, salt and applesauce. Shape into about 20 meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.

Once oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown until almost cooked through. If your skillet isn't large enough to cook all the meatballs at once, do them in batches and let the cooked meatballs rest on a paper towel lined plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add ketchup and water to pan with the meatballs, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

We ate our meatballs with egg noodles!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweet Ending Yogurt in Philadelphia

Over the weekend Adam and I went to visit my sister Arielle in Philadelphia. She goes to school at Temple University and on Saturday we ventured into center city to have lunch and go shopping in the Rittenhouse Square/Walnust Street area.

Here we are having yogurt from Sweet Ending (like my new makeup look from MAC? A little too tan, huh?). This is my new favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt place! You walk in, get a dish and then serve yourself whatever flavor of frozen yogurt you'd like and then add your own toppings. I had the original yogurt topped with fresh pomegranate seeds, mango chunks, banana slices, lychees, and honey. Arielle got some green tea and mango ice cream and also topped hers with fruits, what fruits I can't remember.

This was a great afternoon treat. We will definitely be going back to visit Arielle soon :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Country Fried Steak from Pioneer Woman

This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. I thought it looked like the ideal comfort food and have been anxious to try it. I saw cube steak (round steak that has been tenderized) at the store and immediately thought of this meal.

I need more practive with making the gravy though. Mine turned out thick even though I was adding milk. I think I rushed the process and my heat was too high and I didn't whisk long enough - just a warning for when you try it!

Adam said this is one of his top 10 favorite things I've made for him!

3 pounds cube steak
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, plus 2 cups for the gravy
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1/3 cup for the gravy
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying

Begin with an assembly line of 4 deep plates
1. with the steak
2. with the eggs and 1 cup milk - beat with a fork to combine
3. with 3 cups flour, seasoned salt, paprika, cayenne and black pepper - stir gently
4. an empty plate for the breaded steaks

Lightly season a piece of meat with salt and pepper, then dip it into the egg-milk mixture. Flip to the other side to coat. Next, place the meat on the plate of the seasoned flour. Turn over to coat thoroughly. Now place the meat back in the egg-milk mixture, turning to coat. And finally dredge in flour one more time. Place the breaded meat on the emply plate until ready to fry. Repeat with all steaks.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is sufficiently heated (drop a few sprinkles of flour in the skillet - it's ready if it sizzles), fry 3 pieces of meat at a time. Cook one side until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes until the other side is golden. Don't over cook or the meat will be tough.

Remove to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all meat is cooked.

To make the gravy, pour off all the grease into a heat-proof bowl.

Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow the grease to heat up.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour, creating a golden brown paste. This is known as a roux, and you want the roux to attain a deep rich color. If the pastes seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour. Whisk again and check the consistency.

After a couple of minutes, the paste will start to turn golden brown, then, whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups of milk. Whisk to combine then let the gravy come to a slow boil.

The gravy will thicken gradually, but if it seems to thick at first add splashes of milk as needed, whisking to combine.

The total cooking time should take 5 to 10 minutes. Then generously season with salt and pepper.

Serve steak with mashed potatoes and cover all in gravy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

I just love pumpkin so much! Pumpkin anything really. Pie, ice cream, cake, coffee, pasta sauce. But when I saw the pumpkin pie milkshake recipe on Our Best Bites, I started foaming at the mouth! I found this recipe quite a few weeks ago. I went to 2 different stores and they were both sold out of pumpkin - maybe a sign that I should be making my own pumpkin. But last week I finally got my hands on some and we made these shakes twice in one week! They are creamy and crunchy; sweet and spicy!

Recipe from the Our Best Bites website:

1/3 cup (or 2 heaping spoonfuls) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 or 2 graham crackers, crushed

Put everything except the ice cream and crackers in a blender and blend until well mixed. Then, by hand, mash in the ice cream and stir until incorporated. You may need to let the ice cream sit out for a while to let it soften. I find this method the best because my blender won't blend a thick milkshake. You can add more milk if you want it to be less thick.

Pour into a glass or two and top with graham crackers. I then like to stir my graham crackers in because I like to eat the shake with a spoon and get some crackers in each bite!

Next pumpkin recipe will either be whoopie pies from Brown Eyed Baker or sausage pasta from The Culinary Couple.

Friday, October 1, 2010

As Seen In The Patriot News

Two Sundays ago you could fine the Fall 2010 Wedding Style insert in the Patriot News.

If you flip through the book to page 12. You will find this:

Yes, that's a story about Rebecca's wedding shower featuring my food blog and her photography blog!

A big thank you to the staff at the Patriot News for featuring us!