Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels

I have an old Good Housekeeping Cookbook from 1973! I was in the 8th grade back then and started to enjoy cooking. I am not sure how many of the recipes in this book I actually made way back when but one of the recipes I've tried recently with D is called Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels. I have never heard of Rivels before I saw this recipe. Are rivels something that are commenly known? I have no idea. I googled "rivels" and came up with this definition:
"Rivels are an old-fashioned pasta dish usually made by dropping tiny pieces of dough into boiling soup. Rivels are probably Germanic in origin, and they make an easily prepared short "noodle", which have gone out of favor in modern cooking. They are usually cooked in a chicken soup."

This is the only recipe I have ever seen them in. Most times, I make this soup without the "rivels". D just got an upper palatal expander put in by his orthodontist on Monday and he is having a hard time eating lately. He has mostly been asking for soup so don't be surprised if you see lots of soup recipes on here for a while. This one is really like a complete meal. I don't actually use a whole chicken and cook it for 3-1/2 hours. I don't have time for that most days. I use about 3-4 pounds chicken breast. I cook this soup in my slow cooker. First I put the 6 cups of water into the slow cooker and set it on high. I let the water heat up for about 1 hour or until it gets nice and hot. Then I start following the recipe.


1 4-pound stewing chicken, cut up
1 cup chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 12-ounce cans whole-kernel corn
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

About 3-1/2 hours before serving (yikes!):

In a covered large soup pot over medium-low heat, simmer chicken, onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and 6 cups hot water for 2-1/2 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken to cutting board; cut meat from bones into small chunks; add chunks, corn and celery to soup. Continue simmering, covered for 10 minutes. Discard bones.

Meanwhile, prepare rivels: In a medium bowl, with fork, stir flour, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and enough milk to make mixture crumble coursely. With spoon, sprinkle mixture into simmering soup. Add chopped eggs. Cook 20 minutes until rivels are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 cups or 8 servings.


The Creative Cook

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baked Ziti

This is sort of like an Italian version of macaroni and cheese. Basically, it is the same idea as mac and cheese except it has tomato sauce and different types of cheese. I made this last week with the extra ricotta, mozzarella and ground beef from the manicotti I made on April 16. I made that manicotti for us and for a family in our neighborhood where the mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She had to have surgery... One of our mutual friends from D's school set up a schedule of people to make dinners for the family over the course of the month of April. My best availability was after April 15 so I got to make my meal on April 16! The family was very appreciative and it made me feel really good to do something nice for someone. I think everyone involved was really happy to do it. Here is the recipe for the Baked Ziti:


1 pound dried ziti pasta
Kosher salt
3 1/2 cups

QUICK MARINARA SAUCE, recipe follows
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
Sprig of fresh thyme
Sprig of fresh basil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Yield: about 3 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

I had a special request this morning for a macaroni and cheese recipe. This recipe was given to me by the friend of a friend. I always use organic low fat or skim milk but you can use any type of milk that you prefer. I have made it several times and each time it gets eaten up really quickly. I would make it more often but D does not like home-made mac & cheese. He prefers the Kraft box variety. What a heathen! Anyway, he is young and may change that opinion in a year or two. I can dream, can't I. . .


16 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni or shells
1 stick of butter
4 cups of milk
12 oz sharp cheddar (grated), reserve handful to sprinkle on top
1 tsp salt (originally it said 2 tsp but that is way too much for me)
1/4 tsp cayenne or black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(2) Cook the macaroni according to package

(3) In heavy saucepan, Melt the butter, whisk in flour to make a paste.

(4) Add milk. Bring to simmer over med. heat until thickened (about 1-2 min).

(5) Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese, stir until smooth.

(6) Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and pour into 3 quart casserole dish.

(7) Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes.

(You can easily do 1/2 the recipe and use a 1-1/2 or 2 quart baking dish. I have also doubled this recipe for larger crowds) **

The Creative Cook

**This note was added by my friend's friend, not me. I agree with her, though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


A few weeks ago, I had some extra strawberries that weren't getting eaten. As usual, I didn't want to throw them away. I really wanted to make a Strawberry Cake with them. I had a fairly hard time finding a strawberry cake recipe that didn't utilize a box cake mix. I finally found this recipe on another blog called "Good Things Catered". It turned out really well. Next time I would do a few things differently, though. I really should have used Bakers Joy to spray the pan but instead I just sprayed with Pam and sprinkled on some flour. This cake is very delicate so it fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan. I suggest a liberal spray of Bakers Joy and let the cake layers cool completely before trying to remove them from the pans. I had to freeze mine and then frost them. I also would suggest a whipped cream topping which I got from another website called "The Joy of Baking". I used a double batch of this whipped cream frosting for my cake. Next time, I'm going to use a layer of strawberry preserves in between the two cake layers. I may also try to make the cake 3 layers. This cake looks so pretty on the other blog with 3 layers. Look at the picture on Confections of a Foodie Bride blog. I wish she had given the recipe for the 3 layer version on that website. Oh well, I'll have to figure it out myself.

I also added some chocolate dipped strawberries on top for decorative purposes. They are so yummy too!

Katie’s Strawberry Cake

3/4 cup strawberry puree, room temperature (recipe follows)

1/4 cup milk, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, room temperature

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2-1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1-3/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (not melted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 inch pans: line outside with heavy duty foil (I used Bake Even strips) and spray inside with baking spray with flour.
In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).
Yields: 2 8-inch layers

Strawberry Puree
24oz frozen organic strawberries, thawed*

Thaw frozen strawberries in whatever form (sliced, whole, etc) and in whatever container/bag you have them in. Pour into a fine strainer placed over a bowl and let sit. Lightly toss the strawberries occasionally to remove any pockets of excess liquid. Reserve the liquid for another use or discard. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.

* You most certainly can use non-organic and you can use fresh strawberries if you don’t have a stash of frozen strawberries in your freezer. Just hull, slice and toss with a teaspoon or two of sugar and cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, or until nice and juicy. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.

Use leftover puree to fill the cake or fold into the frosting, if desired. It’s also fabulous spooned over ice cream… and eaten straight with a spoon. I used this puree in the cake and in the whipped cream frosting. It is good!
Yields: Approx 1 1/4 cup strawberry puree
The Creative Cook