Monday, November 29, 2010

Italian Turkey and Sausage Soup

A nice, warming soup to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. This is also tasty with chicken. Don't forget to top with Parmesan cheese - the salty punch it delivers is perfect.

Italian Turkey and Sausage Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 medium zucchini, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 cups diced cooked turkey
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil and fennel seeds and sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini, carrots and celery; simmer 15 minutes. Add spinach, sausage and turkey and cook until heated through, 3-5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.

Garnished with Parmesan cheese and celery leaves

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roasted Curried Sweet Potatoes

Perfect for Thanksgiving, these easy sweet potatoes are a savory side. I like this recipe from my cookbook because it goes together in minutes and can be made in advance - decreasing last minute stress in the kitchen. Maharajah Curry Powder from The Cooking School Spice Collection makes these special.

Roasted Curried Sweet Potatoes
4 small sweet potatoes, about 1-1/2 pounds
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 425˚.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Melt butter in an 8x11-inch baking dish; stir in curry powder. Add potatoes and toss to coat evenly with butter mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes, stirring twice, until browned and soft. Serves 4-6.

Leigh's tips: Prepare early in the day, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Substitute chili powder for the curry for a southwestern twist.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fresh Peach Cake

The peaches have been nice this year and smell so enticing when I walk by them in the store that I couldn't help but run downstairs to get one and make this cake when I saw the recipe. Quick and easy, this cake uses pantry ingredients, one bowl and mixes together in minutes - what more could you ask?

Fresh Peach Cake

1 ½ tablespoons butter, divided use
1 large ripe peach
2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup milk
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425º with rack in the center of the oven. Butter an 8-inch round glass or ceramic baking dish with ½ tablespoon butter. Cut peach in half and discard pit. Thinly slice peach and arrange half over bottom of dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/3 cup sugar. Whisk in milk. Whisk in flour, baking powder and salt until smooth. Pour batter over peach slices. Arrange remaining slices on top like spokes of a wheel. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over top and dot with remaining butter.

Bake until top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 23-25 minutes. Serve warm, cut into wedges. Serves 6.





Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marinated Mozzarella

Back to blogging after a few weeks of finishing the new cooking school cookbook and launching our new line of spices! The cookbook is now in the hands of the publisher and our spices are available in the school.

Marinated Mozzarella is our Recipe of the Week in the store advertisement. The recipe goes together in minutes and can be made a day or two in advance. This is a delicious way to showcase fresh basil that is perfect right now. Use as a snack or as part of an antipasto platter.

Marinated Mozzarella

1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped kalamata olives
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch pieces

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate 2-3 days.

Makes 1 pound.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus and Lemon

From my Simple Seafood Class tonight. A delicious all-in-one side with fish, seafood or chicken. Be sure to serve this while it is warm and the sauce is creamy.

Pasta with Asparagus and Lemon

8 ounces penne pasta
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
4 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add asparagus, return to a boil and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and juice.

Stir the sauce into the drained pasta-asparagus mixture. Return pan to medium-low heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Serves 4.

Using Dreamfield’s penne: Boil penne for 8 minutes, add asparagus, return to boil and boil 3 minutes.



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler Cake

Jungle Jim handed me a quart of beautiful blackberries as I was leaving work the other day. I made a delicious blackberry ginger sauce for grilled pork chops with half of the berries and this cake with the other half. I called it a cobbler cake because it is similar to both. The cake mixes quickly and would be delicious with any type of berry or nuts.

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler Cake

1 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
1 tablespoon + 1 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
12 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
Whipped cream, optional for serving

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Arrange berries in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar and eggs in a medium bowl and mix well. Add butter, vanilla and almond extract and stir until well combined. Add flour and stir until batter is smooth.

Spoon batter evenly over the berry mixture and bake 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in cake only comes out clean. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Microwave Roast Chicken

This is one of those recipes I have had sitting around for a long time and never got around to trying. I was not convinced that a chicken would actually roast in a microwave and thought it might turn out to be a waste of time.

I was pleasantly surprised. So were a few people at the cooking school. The chicken was quick to assemble with just a few ingredients, cooked much faster than in a conventional oven and turned out moist with slightly crispy skin. Definitely a recipe to keep in mind for a weeknight meal.

My chicken weighed 3.75 pounds and cooked for 34 minutes at full power in a 1100 watt microwave oven.

Microwave Roast Chicken

One 3-4 pound roasting chicken, gizzards removed, rinsed
1 tablespoon butter, sliced
1 lemon
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small bunch parsley, washed & trimmed
Paul Prudhomme Poultry Magic Spice Mix

Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place butter under skin of chicken breast. Squeeze lemon juice over bird and rub with cut side of garlic cloves. Stuff lemon, garlic, and parsley inside cavity of bird. Sprinkle Prudhomme Poultry Magic evenly over chicken. Place in a microwave safe casserole or glass bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Do not vent plastic wrap.

Microwave at full power for 9 minutes per pound. Remove from microwave and carefully peel off plastic wrap. Allow chicken to rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 3-4.

Very simple ingredients

Butter under skin, stuffed, sprinkled with spice

Tightly wrapped with plastic wrap

After cooking 34 minutes, plastic wrap is still expanded

Roasted, browned and resting

Ready to slice and serve

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Beer Bread with Italian Herbs

We had leftover beer at the Cooking School after our Summer Mexican Grill Party and Beer Tasting this week - a great excuse to make a loaf of beer bread! This bread is so quick to make that it was in the pan and ready to bake before the oven was preheated. Use your favorite herbs or omit for a plain loaf. Serve this warm with butter.

Beer Bread with Italian Herbs

3 cups self-rising flour (purchased or recipe below)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
12 ounces beer

Preheat oven 350°. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Pour into prepared pan and bake 45-55 minutes, until bread sounds hollow when tapped and crust is golden brown. Serve warm with butter. Makes 1 loaf.

To make 1 cup of self-rising flour:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Simple ingredients

Batter is thick

Spread evenly in pan

After baking

Ready to eat - still a bit warm. Delicious with salted butter!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese can be made as quickly as the "blue box" variety that is so popular with kids. A quick lunch or a side with dinner, use different pasta shapes and cheeses for variety.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounces macaroni, shell, penne or other pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil; cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain well and return to pan.

While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour until no lumps remain. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until completely incorporated and smooth. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in cheddar, Parmesan, mustard and Worcestershire until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy. Pour sauce over drained pasta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Butter and flour mixture cooked with milk until smooth

Add cheeses, mustard and Worcestershire

Stir until smooth

Add to cooked, drained pasta

Serve from saucepan

Friday, May 21, 2010

Baked Bananas with Cinnamon Sugar

This super simple dessert comes together in minutes. Be sure to use bananas that are just ripe and do not have spots. Kids of all ages like bananas, cinnamon and chocolate. Drizzle with a little dark rum for adults!

Baked Bananas with Cinnamon Sugar

4 firm, ripe bananas
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Peel bananas and slice diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Arrange bananas in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle melted butter over bananas and toss gently to coat.

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over bananas.

Bake, without turning, until tender, 9-10 minutes. Serve warm over ice cream and garnish with chocolate shavings. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Cool a few minutes after baking

Served over ice cream with chocolate shavings

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Roasted Purple Asparagus

I stopped downstairs in produce on my way home tonight looking for a vegetable for dinner. The beautiful purple asparagus caught my eye. The stalks are large, 10 stalks weighed 1.06 pounds. Because of the size, I decided to slow-roast them at 350° degrees for about 25 minutes - rather than in a hotter oven for less time as I would thinner asparagus. The result was delicious. The spears were very tender and had a mild asparagus flavor. The vibrant purple color fades slightly with roasting.

Roasted Purple Asparagus
1 1/2 pounds large purple asparagus, about 16 stalks
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Rinse asparagus well and pat dry. Break off woody ends of stalks. Transfer asparagus to prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat lightly and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange asparagus in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Serves 4.

Coat asparagus lightly with olive oil; season with salt and pepper

A nice punch of color on the plate

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cheddar Pecan Wafers

Perfect with a glass of wine, these crumbly, crispy wafers have a bit of heat from the cayenne. Keep rolls in the refrigerator or freezer and be ready to slice and bake.

Cheddar Pecan Wafers

8 ounces shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Place cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.

Divide dough into 2 pieces, roll each piece into a 1-inch diameter log and wrap tightly in wax paper. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice each log into ¼-inch coins with a sharp knife and arrange 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before transferring to paper towel lined rack to cool completely. Store wafers in an airtight container up to 4 days. Makes 60 wafers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken with Prosciutto, Tomatoes and Sage

I like this chicken because it is light and filling at the same time. Fresh sage is important. Use the best tomatoes you can find - if you plan ahead, buy them a few days in advance and let them sit at room temperature to ripen fully. Enjoy!

Chicken with Prosciutto, Tomatoes and Sage

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup prosciutto, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté until well browned and just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add shallots and garlic to the skillet; sauté 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add tomatoes, wine, prosciutto and sage to the skillet; stir well and bring to a boil. Return chicken to the skillet, reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened and chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Ingredients for two servings

Chicken is well browned

Sauce is thickening while ingredients simmer

Served with roasted green beans and brown rice with wheat berries

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vanilla Cream Pound Cake

Recipe of the Week, this pound cake is rich and delicious. The Jungle Jim's taste testers couldn't agree if the cake is better for breakfast, a snack or as dessert.

Vanilla Cream Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 12 cup tube or bundt pan. Remove butter, eggs and cream from refrigerator 45 minutes before mixing batter.

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Add flour alternately with whipping cream, mixing well. Beat until batter is very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1¼-1½ hours, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan and transfer cake to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serves 12.

Batter will be very thick and heavy

Cool 10 minutes in pan

Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar (also good with fresh berries)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

This meatloaf is moist and flavorful with simple ingredients. A delicious weeknight dinner - freeze the second loaf after baking for a future dinner. Adapted from "Angie's Grandma's Meatloaf", a recipe from Angie Curtis, a Personal/Private Chef in Michigan.

2 pounds ground chuck
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup finely minced onion
5 ounces (small can) evaporated milk
2/3 cup ketchup
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Mix meatloaf ingredients together well and shape into 2 freeform loaves on prepared baking sheet. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and cover loaves evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until cooked through (160°). Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tropical Baked Chicken

Perfect for spring and summer, this easy dish combines the tropical flavors of pineapple, lime, rum and coconut. Look for the small cans of pineapple and limeade - no measuring required.

Tropical Baked Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - about 1 1/2 pounds
8 ounces crushed pineapple with juice
6 ounces frozen limeade, thawed
1/4 cup dark rum
1/8 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease an 8 x 11-inch baking dish.

Combine pineapple with juice, limeade, rum and 5-spice powder in a medium bowl.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish and mix well. Dip chicken breasts in flour mixture, coating well.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add chicken and saute until well browned and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to prepared baking dish, spoon pineaple mixture evenly over chicken and top with coconut. Bake, uncovered, for 25-35 minutes, until hot throughout and sauce is bubbling and has thickened. Serve chicken over rice, topped with sauce. Serves 4.

Chicken coated with flour

Well browned after 5 minutes in the skillet

Ready to bake

Sauce has thickened, coconut is toasted

Served over brown rice