Friday, February 29, 2008

Not So Sloppy Joes

Recipe here

I don't remember when I made these, but I've definitely made them this year. I don't know why I forgot to blog about it.

We really like this sloppy joe recipe. It's not as saucy as Manwich and the like and has a nice hint of cinnamon (in Sloppy Joes? WHO KNEW??)

I almost always make these with ground turkey, since hubby doesn't like beef so much.

I've also turned the mix into tacos once or twice... I love cooking once for two meals!

Chicken Marsala

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1/2c all purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3T vegetable oil
3 oz pancetta, chopped fine
8oz white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1t tomato paste
1-1/2 c sweet Marsala I used whatever I could find in the store; it wasn't marked sweet
1-2T fresh lemon juice
3T unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
2T minced fresh parsley
I used dried

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish.
2. Pound the thicker ends of the breasts as needed. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.
3. Heat 2 T of the oil in a 12" skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
4. Add the remaining 1T oil to the skillet and return to medium high heat until shimmering. Add the pancetta and mushrooms. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the mushrooms are brown, about 10 min.
5. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Cook until the paste begins to brown, about 1 min. Stir in the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 min.
6. Stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

I am not a fan of Chicken Marsala, but my husband very much is. He went through the ATK and picked out the recipes he wanted to try so I planned using that list.

To be truthful, the only time I've eaten chicken marsala before was a time long ago (way back in our first apartment together) when I made it. It was not good.

On the other hand, this was fantastic. I asked hubby what he thought of it and he said it was really good. I then asked if it was as good as what he'd get in a restaurant. He said no, but that he's had restaurant Chicken Marsala that was worse.

This recipe uses a LOT of marsala wine. It calls for 1-1/2c of it, which turned out to be most of the bottle I bought!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Skillet Turkey Burgers

Recipe from ATK... coming soon

These were super easy to make, which is a huge plus. The only thing was that there wasn't much to it, so there wasn't a whole lot of flavor. I felt that the only flavor really came from the toppings I put on it. Plus, we had these huge buns from Shop Rite and the burgers were really small in comparison. I didn't want to make huge patties since I wanted to have some leftover for a future meal.

I didn't use the optional butter in the recipe, but I wonder if that would make it more flavorful?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Grilled cheese with roasted red peppers and tapenade

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

**Coming soon!**

We really liked these sandwiches, which I served with the Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque, below. It made a really nice lunch that was much fancier than what we typically make for ourselves at home (although we love sandwiches like this out).

Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque

From Food and Wine's Annual Cookbook 2003.

4T unsalted butter
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 med carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3T all purpose flour
4c chicken stock/broth
2 14-1/2 oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained I had crushed, not diced
3T tomato paste I used the whole can
2t sugar
1/4c heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper I used black
1/2c garlic or cheese croutons, for garnish (optional)

1. In a med saucepan, melt 2 T butter. Add the vegetables, cover and cook over moderately high heat stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 5 min. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir over low heat for 1 min, or until the flour is fully incorporated. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender, about 15 min.
2. Puree in batches until smooth. Return puree to the saucepan, add the heavy cream, and cook until the soup is just heated through. Season with salt and pepper and swirl in the remaining 2 T of butter. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with croutons, and serve at once.

This was just ok in my book. I much preferred the Cream of Tomato soup from the ATK cookbook. It really didn't have any more flavor due to the fire roasted tomatoes, although I do like this recipe's addition of extra veggies.

Lemon Squares

Betty Crocker's Cookbook-Bridal Edition

1c all purpose flour
1/2c butter, softened
1/4c powdered sugar
2t grated lemon peel omitted
2T lemon juice
1/2t baking powder
1/2 salt
2 large eggs
Powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Mix flour, butter, and 1/4c powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2, building up 1/2" edges.
3. Bake crust 20 minutes, remove from oven.
4. Beat remaining ingredients (except powdered sugar) on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan on wire rack; dust with powdered sugar. Cut in rows 5 x 5.

This was my very first time making lemon bars. WOW; these were fantastic. Usually, my baked goods go into work with my husband so we don't eat them all. However, my husband decided that he didn't WANT to take these into work! We very quickly ate the whole pan.

I really liked the crust for these bars--it was the perfect texture and taste. I also thought the lemon wasn't overpowering; I'm glad I opted not to use lemon peel--it might have made the flavor overwhelming.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

Recipe here

I have never made Au Gratin Potatoes before, although I like them very much. I had a sack of potatoes that were getting eyes and planned to serve ham, so this seemed like a great time to try.

Our oven is a little...wonky. We're still trying to figure it out. I'm not sure if the oven was the reason, if I used to few potatoes, or if the recipe just was too soupy for our liking, but there was way more sauce than either of us like.

That said, the potatoes were DELICIOUS. Very tasty, but the sauce that goes along will just need a little bit of tweaking.

Sauteed Ham Steak Pineapple

Recipe here
Oh no! The link no longer works! But my sneaky internet searching skills have turned up the original recipe, which comes from Sara Moulton. Here ya go!

2 (1/2-inch thick) ham steaks
4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 (8-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, reserving liquid
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

From ham steak, remove rind and trim off all but 1/4-inch of outer fat. Cut ham into 4 serving pieces.

In a large saute pan set over moderately high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add ham steaks and saute for 3 minutes on each side, until steaks are lightly browned. Transfer ham steaks to plate.

Blot the pineapples as dry as possible. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to saucepan. Add pineapple and saute until the edges begin to caramelize, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pineapple and reserve. Add orange and pineapple juices to the pan and reduce by 1/2, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Whisk in Dijon and whole-grain mustards. Transfer ham steaks back into saute pan. Add caramelized pineapple chunks and toss. Heat through thoroughly. Season, to taste.

I didn't plan to make this, but the recipe I did plan to make called for something I didn't have. I quickly found this on the internet and got to making it. I use a 1 pound ham steak and also used canned pineapples.

We were very pleased with this recipe; it will certainly go into our ham steak rotation. It was a really nice dish and very easy to make.

It also went great with the au gratin potatoes!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sit Fried Chicken and Pineapple in Sweet and Sour Sauce

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

6T red wine vinegar
6T orange juice
6T sugar
3T ketchup
1t cornstarch
1lb chicken breasts, trimmed
2T vegetable oil
1 large red onion, halved and sliced 1/4" thick
2c pineapple chunks (I used canned)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1T grated ginger
2 scallions, sliced thin omitted

1. Whisk the vinegar, oj, sugar, ketchup, and cornstarch together.
2. pat the chicken dry and slice into 1/2" wide strips. Heat 1T oil in a 12" skillet until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add the remaining 1T oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering.


Ultimate Fudgy Brownies

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

5oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3T Dutch processed cocoa powder
1-1/4c sugar
3 large eggs
2t vanilla extract
1/2t salt
1c all purpose flour

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil (to create a sling), and coat lightly with spray. Melt the chocolates, butter, and cocoa in the microwave, stirring often, 1-3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.
2. Whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until combined, about 15 sec. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted come out with a few crumbs attached, 35-40 min.
4. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

WOW. These were fan-frickin'-tastic. When I cut into these brownies, they LOOKED like a piece of delicious fudge. They were heavenly. I put these in the refrigerator overnight, so they were fantastic with a short microwave time before eating. I wished for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go on top; that would be the only thing that MIGHT make these any better, but I doubt it.

Cherry Breakfast Cake

I got this from Rachael Ray Everyday magazine, but the original recipe can also be found here.

This seemed like a great breakfast recipe for us on a weekend morning. It was, sort of. I had a bag of frozen raspberries and a bag of frozen mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, I believe). I also didn't have buttermilk, so used 1/2c of skim milk and 1/2T of lemon juice.

I had a really hard time getting the topping to crumble, so after hand blending it for what felt like 15 minutes, I stopped and moved on. It didn't want to crumble, but it sure smelled great!

I made the recipe and then stuck it in the oven. It came out and while it wasn't as crumbly as the picture, it looked pretty darn good. The first pieces we had were good too; both of us went back for seconds.

Alas, my second piece was still batter on the cake portion. We are still trying to figure out the intricacies of the oven in our new home. In short, the outside edges were cooked just fine, but the interior spaces were not done at all.

But this is not the recipe's fault, but rather mine in not knowing how our oven works well.... We'll definitely be trying this one again.


  • 4-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Two 10-ounce bags frozen cherries, thawed and drained
Make it your own
Replace the cherries with your favorite fruit.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, using your fingers, combine 3 cups flour, the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in all but 2 tablespoons butter until large crumbs form; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the egg and the buttermilk.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the egg mixture and stir to form a thick, smooth batter. Fold about a third of the reserved crumb mixture into the batter; spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Scatter the cherries over the batter; sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake the cake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Whole Wheat Pizza

Original recipe here

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Breadman TR2828 Instruction Manual

¾ cup water, 80 degrees
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups bread flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp active dry yeast

Makes 2 (12-inch) crusts

Use Dough mode and 3 Pizza Menu

1. Divide dough into 2 parts. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat dough into a 12-inch circle. Place on a greased pizza pan.
2. Spread/sprinkle with favorite pizza toppings. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes or until toppings are bubbling and/or melted.

My husband decided when we were creating our bridal registry that a bread machine was a necessity. I disagreed and saw no reason for it, but he wanted it, so on the registry it went. Lo and behold, one of his relatives gave it to us as a gift! Two years later, and I think four or maybe five loaves have been made. So when I saw a recipe on one of my favorite blogs for bread machine pizza dough AND it was made with whole wheat, I figured I'd give it a go.

It turned out to be pretty darn tasty! I would rate it as better than a Boboli, but not as good as pizza shop. MH said it was on par with a Digiornio, but I think it was much better than that.

I brushed some olive oil on the dough, then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. I then used 3 cheese marinara sauce (I think it was Francesco Rinaldi) and mozzarella cheese. I then sprinkled with garlic powder and Italian seasoning then topped with canned mushrooms.

I put the other half of the dough in the freezer, so hopefully it will still be good.

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Original recipe here

This recipe makes frequent appearances in our house. It's super easy to make and requires little thought beyond actually putting everything in the crock pot. It's very tasty too. Last night, M said (after eating a hot dog with Sauerkraut on Friday AND Saturday at hockey games) that perhaps this is too much food for the two of us. I think it was the perfect amount for dinner last night and then my lunch today. It was pretty good reheated!

Tip:  If you don't plan to drink all the apple juice, you can measure out two cups, pour it into a sandwich baggie, and freeze it flat for next time you make this.


  1. 1
    Put all ingredients in slow cooker for 4-5 hours.
  2. 2
    Enjoy-- I like to use turkey kielbasa.
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