Saturday, July 27, 2013

Garlic Lover's Fettuccine with Olive Oil, Garlic and Zucchini

This is another recipe that I made with the bounty from my neighbor's garden.  I must clarify that my neighbor/friend is not the one who tends to the garden.  It is her husband who does all the work and I reap the bounty of his labor.  Thank you both.  I added chicken tenderloins, dry white wine and a minced shallot to the recipe to jazz up our dinner.  We had my sister-in-law down for a visit and needed to make something delicious for her.  This meal really worked great.

Garlic Lover’s Fettuccine with Olive Oil, Garlic and Zucchini
By Katel from

1 lb. zucchini, cut in 2-inch julienne strips
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
¾ lb. whole wheat fettuccine or ¾ lb. fettuccine
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Additional Herbs:

Fresh basil, chopped
Fresh sage leaves, chopped
Fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Fresh marjoram, chopped


1.       Steam zucchini 5 minutes and remove from heat
2.       Begin bringing water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. Add a generous amount of sea salt to the water.
3.       Heat the olive oil with the garlic in a small pan over very low heat.  The garlic should simmer gently, never turning brown.  It should simmer for 10 minutes.  When the garlic is golden and the oil aromatic, remove from the heat.
4.       Cook the pasta al dente, and when it is done, spoon into a warmed serving dish.
5.       Toss with the oil and garlic, add the remaining ingredients.
6.       Serve at once with additional Parmesan cheese.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin

My neighbor has a lovely vegetable garden.  She was nice enough to share some of her vegetable bounty with me earlier in the week.  I had a great idea to make a casserole with the squash for my husband and his sister who is visiting us this week.  This recipe for a gratin seemed to fit the bill.  I did not have any goat cheese so I used an Italian 5 cheese mix instead.  Both my husband and his sister loved the gratin.  I was asked to make it again which is always a great sign.

Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin
From Elizabeth Passarella @
Serves 6

2 medium yellow squash, about ½ pound
4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a 1-1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Use a mandolin or chef’s knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very thin slices, 1/8 inch or less.  Toss the sliced vegetables with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish – no need to layer them; just spread evenly – then season with salt and pepper.  Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks.  Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other ½ of the goat cheese.  Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish.  Top with the parmesan cheese.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.  Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hamburger Buddy

This recipe is a copycat of Hamburger Helper made at home with all fresh ingredients.  I made it for dinner tonight and it was really good.  I think the mushrooms gave it a nice flavor.  I added only a few mushrooms rather than 10 ounces because I don't usually eat mushrooms.  This recipe comes from Eatingwell Test Kitchen.

Hamburger Buddy

3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium carrots cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups water
1 14-ounce can reduced sodium broth, divided
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni (2 cups dry)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried thyme
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish


1.      Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment.  With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms.  Process until finely chopped.  Turn it off, add onion and pulse until roughly chopped.
2.     Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
3.     Stir in water, 1-1/2 cups broth, and macaroni and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil.  Cover; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
4.     Whisk flour with the remaining ¼ cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture.  Stir in the sour cream.  Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.


The Creative Cook

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Auntie Anne's Pretzels - Copycat Recipe

I can't believe that I finally made these pretzels.  My son has been wanting me to make them for a very long time. I just got the courage to make them last week. It was a learning experience.  The day I made these pretzels, it was raining.  So what, you ask?  Well, I found out that if you make pretzels on a rainy day you need to reduce the amount of liquid by a small amount otherwise the dough is too wet.  See, I told you that this was a learning experience.  The pretzels came out good enough for my son to have eaten all of them over the course of a week.  He definitely would not have eaten them if they weren't good.  No one is saying that they were as good as the Auntie Anne's Pretzels you buy at the mall.  I will definitely make them again on a dry day.  I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe again.  The original recipe came from Yammie's Noshery blog but she says that she got the recipe from The Food Network website.  

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Copycat Recipe


2 cups milk
1-1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast (2 packets)
6 tbsps. packed light-brown sugar
4 tbsps. butter, at room temperature
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus up to an additional ½ cup, as needed
2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/3 cup baking soda
2 cups warm water
Coarse salt, to taste
Cinnamon Sugar (½ cup sugar and 2 tbsps. cinnamon)
6 tbsps. butter, melted

Dipping sauces for serving, optional

For Garlic Cheese Sauce:

(A Yammie original)

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
a pinch cayenne pepper
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded 

In a saucepan, combine the butter, flour, and garlic over medium heat. Whisk until lightly browned. Whisk in the milk, paprika, and cayenne pepper and continue whisking until thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Can be reheated in the microwave.


1.      Warm milk in microwave safe bowl in microwave (or alternatively over stove top in a small saucepan) until temperature of milk reaches 110 degrees about 1-1/2 – 2 minutes on High power.  Pour milk along with yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk together until yeast has dissolved, let rest 5 minutes.  Add brown sugar, softened butter, 1 cup flour and 2 tsps. Fine sea salt to milk mixture and using the whisk attachment, stir until blended.  Switch attachment to a dough hook, add remaining 3-12 cups flour and kneaded mixture on medium low speed until elastic.  Mix in up to an additional ½ cup flour, as needed, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
2.       Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper (alternately you could grease them).  Punch dough down several times to release any air pockets.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (the easiest way to do this is to divide the dough in half, then divide the halves into halves then those and into thirds).  Cover divided dough loosely with plastic wrap (just to prevent a dry crust from forming on the outside) and roll each piece out into a long, thin rope about 32-36 inches long.  Form dough rope into a pretzel shape. 
3.       In a shallow bowl, whisk together baking soda and warm water then fully immerse pretzel into water mixture and allow excess water to drip off.  Place on prepared baking sheet, reshape as needed and sprinkle to taste with coarse salt.  Repeat this process with remaining dough.  Bake pretzels in preheated oven for 7 to 11 minutes until golden brown.   Remove from oven and brush top and bottom of pretzels with melted butter.  Serve warm with optional dipping sauce.  Reheat in microwave or in a warm oven once they are cooled, if desired.
4.       Marinara sauce, Garlic Cheese sauce and Honey Mustard are great dipping sauces or vanilla glaze if you are making cinnamon sugar pretzels.

5.       If you want cinnamon sugar pretzels then skip the coarse salt step and immediately after removing pretzels from the oven, brush with melted butter and toss in a bowl of cinnamon sugar.

If you want icing to dip the cinnamon sugar pretzels in, then mix a bit of powdered sugar with some milk and voila!


The Creative Cook

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rodelle Strawberry Yogurt Cake

This recipe was created by Laura Davis who is the 2013 Scrumptious Spring Sweepstakes from the Rodelle website.  It came out great in spite of the fact that I did not have any plain Greek yogurt - I substituted buttermilk.  I also left out the lemon juice.  Other than that, the recipe was left intact.

Rodelle Strawberry Yogurt Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 T)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 T lemon juice, divided
8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk or milk
1 tsp. Rodelle vanilla extract
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
2.       Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan). 
3.       Sift together the 2-1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt. 
4.       Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
5.       With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
6.       Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in 1 T lemon juice. 
7.       Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. 
8.       Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. 
9.       Mix until combined.
10.    Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.
11.    Pour the batter into the Bundt pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
12.    Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. 
13.    Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 T of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. 
14.    Drizzle over the top of the cake.

The Creative Cook