Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Spitzbuben (Sandwich Cookies)


I made these cookies with my son this year as part of his Kulture Project for German I class. He is really enjoying German. It is a very logical language or so he tells me. We made a double batch of these because we had to send 2-1/2 dozen to school. They are really very pretty cookies and they are also quite tasty. In my opinion, the most difficult part was straining the jam.  Straining the jam was a pain in the neck and we lost quite a bit of jam because of the straining. Next time I will definitely purchase seedless raspberry jam and I may try putting the apricot jam into a food processor rather than trying to strain it. Of course, you can use other types of jam. I think the original German recipe calls for red currant jelly. Some recipes call for hazelnut and almond in the dough but I couldn't do that because my son is allergic to nuts. The original German recipe for these cookies requires adding rum and lemon juice but we couldn't add rum to the cookies we were sending to school.  Actually, his teacher said it was okay because it would be cooked out but I wasn't about to do that. We dusted the tops of our cookies with powdered sugar as you can see from the photo. I purchased a box of Linzer cookie cutters to make these whereas I read that other people have used a fluted cutter to make the cookie and a small Chrismas cutter to make the peek-a-boo for the jam to peek through.  I thought it would be cute but my son would not do it.  Next time...

SPITZBUBEN (Little Rascals) Sandwich Cookies
Gourmet | December 2000
Yield: Makes about 5 dozen
Active time: 1 hr
total Time: 2-1/2 hr
Ingredients:
For cookies:
·         3 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
·         1 tablespoon vanilla powder
·         3/4 teaspoon salt
·         2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
·         2 teaspoons powdered egg whites
·         2 tablespoons warm water
·         1/4 cup sanding or granulated sugar

For fillings:
·         1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
·         1/2 cup apricot preserves, strained
Preparation:
Make cookies:
Sift together flour, confectioners sugar, vanilla powder, and salt.
Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in flour mixture at low speed just until blended. Form dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Roll out dough slightly less than 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds.
Arrange 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once (cookies become tough if dough is worked too much). Whisk together powdered egg whites and water. Brush cookies with egg whites and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Fill cookies:
Sandwich jam and preserves between unsugared sides of cookies, filling half with raspberry and half with apricot.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Caramelized Butternut Squash

I made this squash because I read that butternut squash was good for people who have Crohn's Disease.  My son was diagnosed with Crohn's back in April.  I have to find things he enjoys eating but that won't cause a flare up for him.  This butternut squash recipe went over well with both of my boys.  I will definitely make it again.  It may appear on my Thanksgiving table, too.

Caramelized Butternut Squash
By Ina Garten

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash.  Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Cut the squash into 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.  Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize.  While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly.  Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook





Friday, August 29, 2014

Crunchy Honey Garlic Pork Chops

I found this recipe on Facebook.  I made it yesterday for my boys.  They loved it. My son seems to really enjoy meat with a "sweet" taste to it.  I know it isn't particularly healthy but once in a while it is delicious.  I followed the recipe and did not change anything.

Crunchy Honey Garlic Pork Chops


Ingredients:
6-9 pork chops (not too thick, you can use boneless pork loin)
2 eggs
4 Tbs water
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
Canola or vegetable oil for frying chops

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
dash of cayenne pepper (to your taste)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2 Tbs butter


Whisk the eggs and 4 Tbs. water together in a shallow dish.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in another shallow dish.

Dip the chops in the flour, then over into the egg.

Then back over into the flour mixture once again. This is what puts the extra crispy coating on the chops. Be sure to get plenty of flour on in this last coating, then shake them a little and place in a pan with about a half inch of oil. Be sure the oil is hot, but not too hot or the chops will cook too fast. You need to get it good and hot and then turn to about medium.

Cook for about 6 minutes on each side. Try not to turn more than twice or your breading will come off.
Remove from the pan to a 9"x 13" baking dish.

Saute the garlic a little in the butter.

Add the honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, cayenne, and ginger. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Watch this carefully because it will foam and might boil over.

Pour 1/2 of the glaze over the pork chops. Flip them over and pour the other 1/2 over the other side. Place uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. This sets the glaze and finishes them to be sure they are cooked through.


Enjoy!

The Creative Cook

Friday, August 22, 2014

Honey Crunch Chicken

I made this chicken after hearing about it on the book on CD called Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs that I was listening to. It sounded so good that I knew that I needed to make it. I changed a few things.  I actually used saltine crackers because I did not have the butter crackers in my house. I also made a sauce to go with it which was heavenly!  I will post the sauce that I used along with the other chicken recipe.

HONEY CRUNCH CHICKEN
By Laura Childs


1 cup Pepperidge Farm Golden Butter Crackers
2 eggs, beaten
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the cracker crumbs in a shallow dish and the eggs in a second shallow dish. 

Dip the chicken in the egg, and then dredge in the cracker crumbs until well-coated.  Arrange the chicken in a baking dish.

Place small pieces of butter on and around the chicken. 

Drizzle the honey on top of the chicken.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Serves 2 for dinner or 4 for lunch.

Excellent on top of a green salad.


 Enjoy!  

The Creative Cook

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Frittata Italiana

I found this recipe in People magazine back in May and I just got around to making it.  I doubled the recipe and used a 12 inch pan.  I don't own any cast iron skillets.  Michele Mazza is the executive chef of Trattoria Il Mulino a New York City hotspot.  It appears that Michele shared his recipe all over the internet and on television because it can be found on many websites.  It sounded exactly like something that I would really enjoy eating.  I love the idea of potatoes and eggs.  My mother used to make potatoes and eggs when I was a child. I am excited to try the combination with the cheeses, potatoes, prosciutto and eggs.  Yum!


Frittata Italiana
By Michele Mazza

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. Olive oil
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tbsp. water
3 oz. fresh mozzarella, chopped
2 oz. sliced prosciutto
2 oz. boiled potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 oz. Parmigiano cheese, grated
White pepper to taste



Preparation:

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, water mozzarella, prosciutto, potatoes, Parmigiano and white pepper.  Pour mixture into the hot skillet and place in the oven.

2.    Bake for about 10 minutes (a knife inserted into frittata should come out clean) and serve hot.  If top of frittata isn’t browned enough, stick pan under the broiler for about 1 minute.


 Enjoy!

The Italian Creative Cook 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Marbled Banana Bread

I made this banana bread a few weeks ago.  It was really tasty.  I did not even notice it had banana in it. The recipe is from My San Francisco Kitchen.  I am going to make it again, maybe tomorrow.  


Marbled Banana Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips


Instructions:

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.       In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

3.       Add sugar and butter to a large bowl and beat with a mixer at a medium speed until well-blended.

4.       Add banana, eggs, and yogurt; beat until blended.

5.       Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just blended.

6.       Melt chocolate chips in a microwave or in a double boiler stirring until smooth.

7.       Add 1 cup batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined.

8.       Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.

9.       Swirl batters together using a knife.

10.   Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

11.   Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan and cool 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 1 loaf.



Enjoy!



The Creative Cook

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Easy Eggs Benedict

I posted about making Eggs Benedict quite a while ago.  I don't make it often because it is a pain in the you know what to make.  It is messy and somewhat time-consuming.  Well, today I found some steps to simplify the process.  I was talking about The Mad Genius who gives food tips on Food & Wine Magazine's website last night and when I searched for the video he made for shelling eggs with a spoon, I found another of his videos showing how to easily poach eggs.  I tried it this morning and it worked fairly well.  I also found a great tip about using an immersion blender to make the blender Hollandaise sauce!  I hadn't thought of that myself.  It is much better to use an immersion blender for this process rather than using my big "Ninja" blender because it makes a mess and you lose half the sauce to the sides and bottom of the blender.  I had always worried that there wasn't even enough sauce in the blender to get it properly blended.  All this worry goes away just by using an immersion blender.  The rest of the process of making the Eggs Benedict is really a snap.  Just fry up some Canadian bacon and toast a few English muffins!

Here are the links:

Immersion Blender Hollandaise Sauce:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/04/foolproof-2-minute-hollandaise-recipe.html

or

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/blender-hollandaise-recipe.html

How to Make a Perfect Poached Egg:


http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014/5/5/the-one-fool-proof-way-to-make-perfect-poached-eggs

or

Perfectly Poached Eggs in the Microwave:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-poach-an-egg-in-the-microwave-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-125453

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/inside-our-kitchen/article/for-perfectly-poached-eggs-the-microwave-is-your-friend

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Polpettine di Tacchino

I started with a recipe that I found in People Magazine for Turkey Meatballs by Mario Batali and adapted it to my family's taste.  Mario made these meatballs on "The Chew" as an appetizer.  He also makes them at his restaurant Otto.  I definitely changed the recipe.  I reduced the amount of red pepper flakes down from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon in both the meatballs and the sauce.  I don't like to breathe fire when I eat meatballs.  In fact, I reduced the salt and pepper way down, too.  I reduced the cooking time down from 1 hour to 40 minutes.  I have seen this recipe online with a cooking time of 2-1/2 hours!  You would have to bring the oven temperature down to about 300 degrees in order to cook it for that long.  I feel like this recipe would be burned beyond recognition if we used the 2-1/2 hour 350 degree cook time!  I know that Mario believes in slow roasting meats so I will try the longer method some time but not in a 350 degree oven.

I didn't have red wine in the house (unbelievable but true) so I used 1/4 cup vodka and 3/4 cup chicken broth.  The sauce was great anyway.  

I served these meatballs with oven-baked Risotto.  Yum!

Polpettine di Tacchino
A delicious and flavorful meatball recipe

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Total time: 1 hour

(Serves: 6)

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground pork
2.5 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Mario uses 1 Tbsp)
1-2 tablespoons salt
1-2 tablespoons ground black pepper


For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cup dry red wine
1 sprig rosemary
1 (16-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes and their juices, crushed by hand
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
dash salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, pork, bread crumbs, milk, garlic, eggs, rosemary, chili flakes and salt and pepper and mix with hands until just combined. Form into 5-ounce balls and place in a shallow casserole. Roast in the oven until dark golden brown. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a large oven-proof skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until well browned. Add the chili flakes and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the rosemary and red wine and stir until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the meatballs, transferring to a large container if necessary, and cook in the oven 30-40 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with the sauce, topped with the parsley leaves.

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fudge Cupcakes

I had been mulling over this recipe for quite some time.  I wanted to make these cupcakes ever since I read the book Fudge Cupcake Murders by Joanne Fluke.  I even went so far as to take the Eden Lake Cookbook out at the library to get the recipe.  I photocopied this recipe and held onto it for months.  I finally decided to make them about a week ago.  My husband and I each ate one without the frosting.  It wasn't very exciting but after they were frosted, zowie they were great!  I don't know why but the frosting adds the needed zing.  Try them, you'll like them!

FUDGE CUPCAKES
From Fudge Cupcake Murders
By Joanne Fluke


Ingredients:

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (1 oz. each)
½ cup raspberry syrup (for pancakes – Knott’s red raspberry)*
¼ cup white sugar (granulated)
1-2/3 cups flour (don’t sift)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature (one stick)
1-1/2 cups white sugar (not a misprint – you will use 1 and ¾ cups sugar in all)
3 eggs
½ cup milk

Directions:

1.       Line a 12-cup muffin pan with double cupcake papers.  Since this recipe makes 18 cupcakes, you can use an additional 6-cup muffin pan lined with double papers, or you can butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan or the equivalent.
2.       Microwave the chocolate, raspberry syrup and ¼ cup sugar in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave again for another minute.  At this point, the chocolate will be almost melted, but it will maintain its shape.  Stir the mixture until smooth and let cool to lukewarm.  (You can also do this in a double boiler on the stove.)
3.       Measure the flour, mix in the baking powder and salt, and set it aside.  With an electric mixer (or with VERY strong arms), beat the butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  (About 3 minutes with a mixer – an additional 2 minutes if you are doing it by hand.)  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to make sure they are thoroughly incorporated.  Add approximately 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk.  (You don’t have to be exact – adding the flour and milk in increments makes the batter smoother.)  When that is all mixed in, add another third of the flour and another third of the milk.  And when that is incorporated, add the remainder of the flour and the remainder of the milk.  Mix thoroughly.
4.       Test your chocolate mixture to make sure it is cool enough to add.  (You don’t want to cook the eggs!)  If it is fairly warm to the touch but not so hot you have to pull your hand away, you can add it at this point.  Stir thoroughly and you are done.
5.       Let the batter rest for five minutes.  Then stir it again by hand, and fill each cupcake paper three-quarters full.  If you decided to use the 8-inch cake pan instead of the 6-cup muffin tin, fill it with the remaining batter.
6.       Bake the cupcakes in a 350 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  The 8-inch cake should bake an additional 5 minutes.


*If you can’t find raspberry syrup, mix ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam with ¼ cup light Karo syrup and use that.

FUDGE FROSTING
 
Ingredients:

2 cups semi-sweet (regular) chocolate chips (a 12-ounce bag)
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

18 cupcakes or 12 cupcakes and 1 small cake, cooled to room temperature and ready to frost

If you use a double boiler for this frosting, it is foolproof.  You can also make it in a heavy saucepan over low to medium heat on the stovetop, but you’ll have to stir it constantly with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant spatula to keep it from scorching.

Fill the bottom part of the double boiler with water.  Make sure the water does not touch the underside of the top.

Put the chocolate chips in the top of the double boiler, set it over the bottom, and place the double boiler on the stove top at medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate chips are melted.

Stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk and cook approximately 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the frosting is shiny and of spreading consistency.

The cupcakes are even better if you cool them, and let them sit for several hours (or even overnight) before frosting them.

Hannah’s Note: If you want to make these in mini-cupcake tins, fill the cups 2/3 full and bake them at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.


 Enjoy!

The Creative Cook

Monday, June 16, 2014

Billionaire Blueberry Blondies

I'm sure that I have mentioned a few times that I am a big fan of food-related mysteries.  I adore Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson and Cleo Coyle.  This recipe comes from the latest Coffeehouse Mystery by author Cleo Coyle who, as Wikipedia will tell you, is the pen name for author Alice Alfonsi, who collaborates with her husband Marc Cerasini to write the Coffeehouse Mysteries.  The book is called "Billionaire Blend" hence the name of this recipe Billionaire Blueberry Blondies.  Her recipes are always great and this recipe is no exception.  You go girl!  


Billionaire Blueberry Blondies
By Cleo Coyle

Ingredients:


2 large eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (Do not Omit! The cider interacts with the eggs to create the proper texture.)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white, granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (grated rind of lemon, yellow only, no bitter white pith)
¼ teaspoon table salt (+ a generous pinch)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1/8 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries

Directions:

Step 1 – Prep oven and pan:  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Because this is a relatively low fat recipe and blueberries secrete juice as they bake, the best way to prevent sticking is to create a parchment paper sling for your 8-inch square pan.

Step 2 – One bowl mixing method: Into a large mixing bowl, break 2 eggs, add the cider vinegar, and whisk well.  Add the brown and white sugars, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and salt.  Whisk until well blended.  Add melted (and cooled) butter and the baking soda.  Whisk again until smooth.  Now add the flour and switch to a spoon or spatula, stirring well.  (Do not over-mix at this point.)  Gently fold in the blueberries, trying not to smash or crush them.

Step 3 – Bake: Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and bake in your well pre-heated 325 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes (exact time depends on your oven).  The low temperature and long cooking time helps with even baking.  The Blondies are done when you see the top is golden brown and displaying slight cracking.  To be sure the Blondies are done; insert a test toothpick into the middle of the pan.  It should come out with no wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs or blueberry juice are okay, just not wet batter).  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before gently lifting by the parchment paper handles.  Cut into 16 squares and serve.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

TKS Blondies


This recipe comes to me from Chef Christine of The Kitchen Studio Frederick.  My son and I have taken several cooking classes at TKS and my son did camps there for several years.  Christine is well-known for her chocolate chips and blondies as well as all her other amazing dishes!  



TKS Blondies
by Chef Christine

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but they're delicious!)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray an 8" x 8" pan with non-stick cooking spray. Tear a piece of foil approximately 18" long, then fold to fit bottom of pan, leaving excess hang over opposite sides to form a sling. Spray foil lightly with non-stick spray.

Place melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl, and stir well to combine (it will seem a bit dry, but just keep stirring until it is all just combined). Add chocolate chips and walnuts, then stir to combine again. Spread batter in pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, until center no longer jiggles when shaken, and edges are puffed and beginning to brown.

Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Use sling to remove Blondies from pan and place on rack to cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook





Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars

I found this recipe online at Food & Wine.com a few weeks ago.  I thought my son might enjoy them. He did. I made these cookie bars for an end-of-school get-together for him and his buddies.  I got rave reviews on them.  One of my son's friends said "it tastes like a pretzel rolled in a cookie" which is exactly right.  



Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars
CONTRIBUTED BY GRACE PARISI
·         ACTIVE: 15 MIN
·         TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN PLUS COOLING
·         SERVINGS: MAKES 2 DOZEN 2-INCH SQUARES

            2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
 2 large eggs
 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles

        Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.
       In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.
        Spread the batter in the pan and top with the sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
        Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sally's Sunny Vegetable Salad

This recipe comes from one of my favorite book series authors, Joanne Fluke.  I made this salad for an outdoor dinner we had with some friends that stopped in from out of town.  It was very successful.  Everyone really enjoyed this salad.  Kudos to Joanne Fluke!

SALLY’S SUNNY VEGETABLE SALAD
by Joanne Fluke

5 cups chopped broccoli florets
5 cups chopped cauliflower florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp)
½ cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
2/3 cup chopped green onions (scallions)

½ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine or raspberry vinegar

6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (or ½ cup bacon bits)
¼ cup shelled, salted and toasted sunflower seeds

Chop the broccoli and cauliflower florets into tiny bite-sized pieces.

Combine the broccoli and cauliflower in a large salad bowl.  Add the shredded cheese and mix it with your fingers.

Mix in the raisins or cranberries and the scallions.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, mayonnaise and vinegar.  Mix it with a rubber spatula or a whisk until it is smooth.

Pour the dressing you just mixed over the top of the salad.  Toss it or stir it with a spoon or spatula until the vegetables are coated with the dressing.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 or more hours until ready to serve. 

Sprinkle bacon bits on top.

Sprinkle with sunflower seeds on top of that.



Yield: 12 to 16 servings





Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chicken Schnitzel

This is a big favorite of my son's.  He has been asking for it for about two weeks now.  I finally made it and he loved it.  I didn't have any white wine so I just used extra chicken broth.  Apparently, it worked for him.

Chicken Schnitzel
from food.com

Ingredients:

2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
coarse salt
ground pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumb (made from 3 slices white bread)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 (6 oz) chicken cutlets, pounded to an even 1/4 inch thickness
4 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1.   Beat eggs in a shallow bowl with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
2.   In a separate shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
3.   Dip each cutlet into egg mixture to coat completely, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, patting it on to help it stick.
4.   For each 2 cutlets, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
5.   Cook 2 cutlets at a time until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
6.   Transfer the cooked chicken cutlets to an oven-proof platter or pan, and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining cutlets and making the sauce.
7.   Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
8.   Heat butter until melted and add wine.
9.   Heat 30 seconds and stir in broth and lemon juice.
10. Season with salt and pepper.
11. Simmer 2 minutes.
12. Pour broth mixture over cutlets and serve.

Enjoy!

The Creative Cook



Friday, May 30, 2014

Macadamia White Chocolate Cookies with Raspberry Chips


Frankly, I decided to make these cookies because I have had a bag of raspberry chips in my freezer for quite a while.  I know they don't go bad but it was time to use them. I had white chocolate and macadamia nuts in the freezer, too.  So, why not bake some of these. The recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour website.  My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  I can't said that I have ever eaten raspberry cookies of any sort before but these are really good. I stuck to the recipe for the most part.  I bought the raspberry bits from the Prepared Pantry website. They are quite tasty.  

Macadamia White Chocolate Cookies
with Raspberry Chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups quick oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon raspberry flavor
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup raspberry bits
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
1.   Mix the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Set aside
2.   In the bowl of your stand-type mixer and with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter together.  Add the eggs and beat.  Add the flavors.
3.   Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in the stand-type mixer bowl.  Beat until combined.  Add the white chocolate chips and nuts and beat in.  Add the raspberry bits.  Do not beat more than necessary.
4.   Drop dough in rounded mounds about 1 1/4 inches in diameter onto a very lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges start to brown.  Do not over bake—the centers will be soft.  Remove immediately and let cool on a rack.


Enjoy!

The Creative Cook

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lasagna Hamburger Buddy

This meal makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner for your family.  I can remember my mother buying a box of Hamburger Helper way back in the early 1970's when it first came on the market.  She left it sitting in the pantry so long that when I finally decided that I would make it for dinner myself, the box was full of weevils. Yuck!  I could not get that out of my mind.  I have no idea what we ate that night but I probably didn't eat much of whatever it was.  In any event, you don't have to go to the supermarket to buy a box of Hamburger Helper.  It is probably a lot healthier and tastier if you make it yourself.  You can make almost any variety of Hamburger Helper yourself with a little forethought and planning.  What you need to have on hand to create homemade helpers: Ground beef, various herbs and seasonings and other basic pantry items (such as sugar, salt, and corn starch), pasta, rice, potatoes, canned tomatoes, and cheese. (You can buy large bags of shredded cheeses to shortcut this step, or buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself.) Some varieties also call for Frito's or nacho chips, and most call for milk because it makes a creamier sauce. Keep a large box of dry milk in the pantry so that you are never out of milk.

Homemade Hamburger (Helper) Buddy Basics:  When creating your own helpers, keep in mind that most packages of Hamburger Helper include about 1-1/2 cups of pasta plus a packet of sauce seasonings, sometimes dried tomatoes, and sometimes a packet of dried cheese, depending on the variety. If there’s anything more unappetizing than dried cheese, I can’t imagine what it is. Some varieties use rice or dried sliced potatoes instead of pasta. Whatever you’re using for the starch base in the dish–1-1/2 cups is a good rule of thumb when making homemade helpers (except rice, which works better with only 1 cup of rice added). The total amount of liquid that should be added will equal about 3 cups in total.

Lasagna Hamburger Buddy 
(Copycat Recipe)

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
2-1/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups lasagna broken into small pieces or small egg noodles
1 cup stewed or diced canned tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Prepare a spice packet including:

1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

After browning and draining the ground beef (one pound), in the same skillet add water and milk and tomato sauce, seasonings, and simmer (about 10-20 minutes). Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded, near the end, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese during the 5-minute standing period.  Serve.

Enjoy! 

The Creative Cook