August 14, 2017

BAKED SPAGHETTI



After playing 18 holes of golf yesterday and only eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and skipping lunch, I made this for an early supper.

I am going to have to buy a notebook to keep in my kitchen so when I cook for the Blog, I can write down measurements, etc.  If I am not specifically following a recipe, I don't measure things out.  I sort of "throw the ingredients together".  Sometimes it's a keeper, and sometimes, well, it's not.

This one is a keeper!



 To me, a recipe is a guide, not necessarily to be followed exactly, but tailored to one's own liking.

I have been told recently, by someone whose judgment I clearly trust, that if you change just one ingredient in a recipe, it is essentially not the same recipe.  By this opinion, I take it, then it is your own.  


What else can you say about baked spaghetti?  It was cheesy and delicious and makes a 9 x 13; so, for two people, there are leftovers for today, which means no cooking for me!


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Baked Spaghetti
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1 pound ground beef
1 24-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Prego)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Parsley Flakes
1/2 small onion
12-ounces of spaghetti (cooked al dente)
4 ounces of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of Sour Cream
1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup of shredded Mozarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F

Boil spaghetti according to directions on box; leaving it al dente  Brown ground beef, adding salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion.  Drain any grease.  (I used 3% fat; so I had nothing to drain).  Add spaghetti sauce and parsley.  Let meat and sauce simmer on low.  (I also added a bit of water).

Drain spaghetti.  Mix cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth.  Stir into spaghetti.  Put spaghetti in a 9 x 13 glass dish.  Pour meat sauce over the spaghetti and stir together.  Stir in Cheddar Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake at 350 Degrees F for 25 minutes.

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August 3, 2017

RIGATONI AND ZUCCHINI


I like to eat at Newell House, which is a locally owned and operated restaurant.  It has a really relaxing atmosphere, good food, and good service; all the things I'm looking for when I eat out.  


Their Rigatoni and Zucchini dish is my favorite.
It is a meatless dish, which is perfect for me.  I don't eat a lot of meat.  Much like my grandmother before me, if there's fried chicken, I just want one wing, and just a dab of steak, which I rarely eat,  will do me.


And much like my grandmother before me, I have a "sweet tooth".


But, hey, this dish is a nice departure from my baking posts, and I do love pasta, and maybe you do, too!!


After I got home from playing golf today, I made this Rigatoni and Zucchini.  No recipe needed.  


It is delicious, and how can you not like Rigatoni noodles??

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Rigatoni and Zucchini - Boil Rigatoni Noodles according to package directions (as much or little as you want), one zucchini, sliced; capers; kalamata olive pieces; roasted red peppers; two tablespoons of butter; two tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil; White Wine; garlic powder; parsley; salt; and pepper.

  I melted two tablespoons of butter and approximately two tablespoons of EVOO in a large skillet.  I  added in the sliced zucchini, kalatma olive pieces, capers, roasted red pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I cooked these ingredients until the zucchini was fairly tender, but not mushy.  I added in a little more EVOO and wine (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of wine).  I mixed in the rigatoni noodles and continued cooking until it was all heated through.  I removed the skillet from the burner and sprinkled dried parsley over the top of the pasta dish. 


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July 28, 2017

POUND CAKE


I admit it:  I have never made Pound Cake.


I remember a pretty funny standup routine by a woman comedian about sending her husband to the grocery store for ingredients to make Pound Cake because in the South when she needed to take something, she always made a Pound Cake.  And she gives her husband the grocery list, and he brings home everything in extra large.  I knew exactly what she meant because that's been my experience.  But it's cool because sometimes I just don't feel like going to the store.


So for the first time this week, I made a Pound Cake.  If you would like to make a Pound Cake, here's how I did it:

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Pound Cake
(Slightly adapted from a recipe shared with me by a friend!)

3 cups sugar
3 sticks of butter (room temperature)
2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract
5 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups flour
3/4 Cup 7-Up

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix flour one cup at a time alternating with 7-Up.  Beat well.  Pour into prepared bundt cake pan (or tube pan).  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Cool in pan for 20 minutes.

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July 17, 2017

PEACHES AND CREAM CAKE


I was looking through cookbooks to get some inspiration for a recipe for peaches that were very ripe and ready to use the day they were given to me at the Farmer's Market.  So thoughtful and nice, and I am always grateful for all the nice people in the world. 


We stopped by one of the vendors to buy tomatoes, you know, the homegrown kind.  I wonder, would we love "homegrown tomatoes" as much if we could get them all year round??  The local farmer is a long-time friend of my hubby's, and he gave us some overripe peaches that needed to be used soon.


There's always peach cobbler, which I make every year when peaches are in season, but I have already done that for "the blog", and wanted something I could share here.


And then I remembered this cake, which I haven't made in years.  A friend of the family used to make it, and I got the recipe from her; the days before the internet and a time when recipes weren't literally a click away.  The recipe calls for a large can of peaches, but I substituted fresh peaches in its place.


Even the name of this cake sounds wonderful!   Because it is made with fresh peaches and cream cheese, I refrigerated it.


If you get your hands on some fresh peaches, do try this recipe.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  If you don't have access to fresh peaches,  canned peaches make a good cake, too!!

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Peaches and Cream Cake

1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 (small) box of vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup of water
4 to 5 peaches, peeled and cut into slices
1 8-ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of juice from peaches or water

Spray the bottom of a 9 X 13 cake pan with Canola Oil Spray.

In a stand mixer, combine yellow cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, and water.  Beat until all ingredients are incorporated.  Scrape down sides and beat for two minutes.

Pour into a prepared 9 X 13 cake pan.

Spread sliced peaches on top of cake batter.

Beat together 8-ounce cream cheese, sugar and peach juice (or water). Spread on top of peaches.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  (Be careful to not overbake).  

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July 10, 2017

WHITE CHOCOLATE WALNUT MUFFINS



The recipe for these wonderful muffins was in the July 2017 issue of FOOD & WINE magazine.


I had to walk through Barnes and Noble to get a manicure and pedicure recently, and on the way back through, I stopped off and bought a copy.

It has a lot of great recipes, but this one stood out for me!


We thought they were especially delicious.  I slightly adapted the recipe.  I didn't add in the amount of walnuts called for in the recipe (I could live without them.  I'm kind of meh on nuts in baking.)
But my husband loved the walnuts.  


I also substituted Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for Vairhona Ivoire white chocolate.  I generally cook and bake with readily accessible products that I can buy locally.  And Ghirardelli chocolate is superb.


The white chocolate was the star of these muffins.
When I make them again, I will leave out the walnuts and add more white chocolate; so, I suppose they will have to be renamed White Chocolate Muffins!!

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July 1, 2017

SAUSAGE AND EGG BAKE


Are you having company over this 4th of July weekend?  Perhaps, hosting a brunch, or need something great to feed your family for breakfast?  This is the perfect casserole to make for brunch or breakfast!


It is always a hit with family and friends.


I make it the night before and chill it in the refrigerator overnight.  One casserole dish serves eight.
I make two casseroles because I usually make it for more than eight people.    


It is great for Christmas breakfast, Easter Brunch, Mother's Day Brunch, for Father's Day Brunch, and I'm sure your friends and family would love it for a 4th of July brunch!!


This is a "go-to" breakfast casserole for me, and I hope it will be for you, too!!  

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Sausage and Egg Bake

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1 pound sausage
12 slices bread
Butter, room temperature
2 cups shredded cheese
4 eggs
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Brown Sausage in skillet, stirring until crumbled.
2.  Trim crusts from bread and spread with butter.
3.  Layer bread, sausage and cheese 1/2 at a time in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
4.  Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
5.  Pour over layers.
6.  Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
7.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

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June 19, 2017

White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


This cake is . . . divine.  No, seriously, it is.

If you want to make a cake that is relatively easy and very delicious, this one is perfect.

It is a bit rustic looking, but what it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for in taste.





The blueberries are grown locally and sold locally.  They are so sweet and so delicious.   They make the perfect topping for the cream cheese frosting.

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White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)- softened
1 cup 2% milk
3 eggs

Mix cake mix, butter, milk and eggs together.  Beat for two minutes on high speed.

Divide cake batter evenly into round pans (I used eight-inch pans).  Bake according to package directions.  (I baked mine at 325 degrees F instead of 350 and until just done; so, it was very moist.)  I placed cooled cakes into the refrigerator for awhile before removing them from pans and frosting them.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Half and Half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Whip butter and cream cheese together.  Add Half and Half, vanilla, and salt, and whip to until desired consistency.

Frost between layers and top of cake.  Pile on fresh blueberries.

(p.s. I kept the cake refrigerated.)

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June 5, 2017

BABA GHANOUSH



A couple of weeks ago, we ate at Ya Ya's Euro Bistro in Chesterfield, Missouri.  They serve Baba Ghanoush and warm slices of bread while you're waiting on your meal.

This would be great to serve to friends or family at your next dinner party or get-together!


Wow!  It was delicious.  I, of course, love bread.


Baba Ghanoush is a dip made from roasted eggplant.  It's simple to make.  I made it in my food processor.


A small confession, my hubby is not a fan.  But, hey!  We all like different foods.  No problem.

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Baba Ghanoush

2 - 1 pound purple eggplants
1-1/4 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
Herb-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
(I made my own)

Slices of Sourdough, French, or Italian bread
(warmed in the oven)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Puncture eggplant with a knife.  Roast eggplant on a baking sheet for one hour.  Cool.  Slice open and remove seed pods.  Scrape flesh off skins and place in a food processor.  Discard the stems and skins.

Add yogurt and garlic and mix until smooth.   Add oils and mix until smooth and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate before serving.

Place a couple of tablespoons onto a small plate in an oval shape.  Drizzle with herb-infused olive oil.  Serve with bread.

(Slightly adapted from the St. Louis Dispatch Recipes)

This makes a lot of dip.  If making for a small group,  I would cut the recipe in half.

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May 29, 2017

CROCKPOT CHOCOLATE MOLTEN LAVA CAKE



Do you ever forget about a recipe, and then you are reminded of it years later?


That's what happened for me with this cake made in the crockpot.

Years ago, a friend of mine made dinner for me for my birthday, and dessert was a cake made in the crockpot and served with ice cream.  Yummy.


The recipe was in Southern Living magazine, and it was made with a spice cake mix.

We recently ate a late lunch at Ya Ya's, and had their chocolate souflee, which is very much like a chocolate molten lava cake.  I have had it described to me as such by a server at this restaurant.  It is served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce (which I could always use more of).

You have to order the souflee when you order your lunch because it takes approximately 45 minutes to make.

It is truly my favorite dessert.  I have made it at home with varying degrees of success.  




Hey!  This was good!  (But not as good as the real deal.  No way.)  It is best served while it is warm.

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Crockpot Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

1 chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients for preparing cake:  eggs, oil, and water)
1 jar of hot fudge 
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Add chocolate cake mix, the ingredients listed on box for preparing cake, hot fudge, and semi-sweet chocolate chips into a crockpot.  Mix ingredients with a spoon.  Turn crockpot on low and cook for 2 to 5 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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May 18, 2017

STRAWBERRY PIE



After playing golf on lady's day, I was on my way to the grocery store, and there was a man selling strawberries at the four-way stop in town, which sees a lot of traffic.

I pulled in and bought two quarts of berries and made this Lattice Work Strawberry Pie.


Isn't it pretty and rustic looking?  Just like grandma used to make!


You can see the strawberries peaking out and the juice running through the pie.

This pie was very juicy.  So much so, that I had to eat it with a spoon like strawberry shortcake, but who cares?


One of the many wonderful things about where I live is we have an abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables.

I love going to the many Farmer's Markets in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.


When Cudjoe was a boy, his parents planted and sold strawberries.  They farmed approximately one acre of strawberries.  He had to cultivate, fertilize and put straw on them.  

His dad was a fruit broker, and they had farmhands pick and pack the berries, and then they were shipped to the Chicago Market.


I'm always a little sad that strawberry season is a rather short season here.


But, boy, do we enjoy them while they last!


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Strawberry Pie

1 quart of strawberries, capped, cut in half and rinsed in a colander
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg, beaten
sugar for sprinkling on top of pie

Place one of the pie crusts in the bottom of a glass pie plate.  Prick bottom and sides with a  fork.

Stir together strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon juice.  Let this set for 10 minutes.

Pour into pie shell.  Cut second pie crust into strips and make a lattice work on top of the pie.

Brush the beaten egg on top of pie crust strips and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes more.

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May 11, 2017

M & M Cookies



Wow, were these cookies good!!  Every time I shop for groceries at Schnuck's, I always take an M & M Cookie home with me.  I don't know why, but I never make them.


I chill my dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour before scooping them with a cookie scoop and baking them.


Most of the time, I keep the dough in a bowl with an airtight lid and bake a few at a time.  Just enough for us to have.  The dough stays in the refrigerator for three or four days.


Cudjoe had bought a large bag of M & M's, and because I had all the ingredients in the house, I got the idea to make these cookies.


They were so good, I decided to share the recipe with you.


Easy, peasy, Lemon Squeezy.





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M & M Cookies

2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 cup of butter (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of M & M's

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.  Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs one at a time.   Mix in vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients on low speed until just incorporated.  Stir in M & M's.

Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.

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