Saturday, June 27, 2009

French Onion Soup

2 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
2 1/2 cups water
6 slices French bread, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F(220 degrees C). Separate sliced onion into single rings.
In a medium sauce pan saute onions in butter until soft, approximately 20 minutes. Stir in flour and gradually add broth and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast French bread slices.
Place toasted bread into soup bowls. Pour soup mixture over bread and sprinkle with Parmesan and Swiss cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sugar Cookies

So... I'm not a sugar cookie person at all, but I love these cookies! They are really soft and moist. I like to make them pretty thick, but you can do them thinner and a bit more crunchy if that's what you like. I'm a thick and soft person. Hahahaha. That sounded really funny. The butter calls for butter OR margarine, but I always use real butter when I bake. I'm sure they're great either way if you don't have any butter on hand.

Sugar Cookies

½ cup ‑ butter or margarine
½ cup ‑ sour cream
1 cup ‑ sugar
1 ‑ egg
1 ‑ egg yolk
1 tsp. ‑ vanilla
½ cup ‑ flaked coconut
2¾ cups ‑ flour
¾ tsp. ‑ salt
½ tsp. ‑ baking powder
½ tsp. ‑ baking soda

Cream together first six ingredients. Stir in coconut. Sift together all dry ingredients and then add to mixture.

Roll out, cut and then bake at 375 for 8‑10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Don't roll too thin. Thicker is better and a lot more moist.

Frosting ‑

2 to 2 ½ cups ‑ powdered sugar
4-6 Tbsp. (1/2 to 3/4 cube) ‑ butter or margarine
1 tsp. ‑ vanilla
2 Tbsp. ‑ milk
Sprinkle of salt
food coloring of choice


Sometimes the dough is too sticky and it might need a little bit more flour to get it to the right consistency for rolling out. Also make sure you have enough flour on your surface when rolling out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Baked Ziti


1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 oz) jars spaghetti sauce
6 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add Ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes, drain.
In a large skillet brown onion and ground beef over medium heat.  Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Layer as follows:  1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until cheeses are melted.

*I got this recipe from Marissa and it is so good! Some suggestions:  Use a meat flavored sauce, it will give the dish great flavor.  You can mix half ricotta and half sour cream.  You could use half italian sausage half ground beef to mix it up.  This dish makes a lot and tastes even better as leftovers!

Thursday, June 11, 2009



Chocolate-frosted cupcakes
Coconut, flaked
Green food coloring
Hershey's Nuggets
Black licorice laces
1. For each cupcake, mix a handful of flaked coconut with a few drops of green food coloring. Press a chocolate-frosted cupcake into the coconut to cover.

2. The mower is made with a dark chocolate Hershey's Nuggets body, brown M&M's wheels, and a red M&M's engine, held in place with dabs of frosting.

3. Shape the handle from a piece of black licorice lace, then insert the ends into the cupcake.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I will confess that I am not really into cooking (I wish I was) and I rarely try a recipe that has more than 5 ingredients. However, I appreciate good food and hopefully will be inspired by this blog! So here it is, my first recipe post and it only has 4 ingredients - enjoy! This is Jeff's favorite.

Chicken and Stuffing Bake

4 chicken breasts
2 boxes stuffing mix
1 12 oz package swiss cheese slices
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Make stuffing, according to directions. lay chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish. Spoon soup over chicken and distribute evenly. lay sliced swiss cheese on top of soup. Cover all with stuffing mix. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350. Remove cover and bake another 20 minutes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

½ pound fusilli (spiral) pasta
Olive Oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
¼ cup olives
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
6 Tbs. good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 tsp capers, drained
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp black pepper

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and basil, and toss well.

*I used 2 cups grated mozarella cheese and only 1/2 cup grated parmesan and it tasted great. I just didn't want to use so much cheese!

From Ina Garten's Family Style cookbook

Lemon Cream


5 Eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c. cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar in the top pan of a double boiler or in a medium metal bowl until well mixed.  Set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water over medium heat.  Add the lemon juice and kosher salt.  Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 7 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl.  Strain the mixture into the bowl, pressing with the back of the spatula. Cool slightly at room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.  
Combine the cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.  The cream should slowly fall forward when lifted with a whisk.  Alternatively, use an electric mixer  Fold half of the whipped cream into the chilled lemon curd, then fold in the remaining cream.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

*  This is delicious served as a parfait with a variety of berries.  I have also used this to make a trifle layering sponge cake, berries and the lemon cream.  

Chocolate Cake


*This is the cake that was made for Jenny's birthday!

1 chocolate fudge cake mix
1 small package chocolate fudge instant pudding
16 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 c. water
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Mix cake mix and pudding mix together. . . then add the remaining ingredients.  The original recipe calls for it to be baked in a bundt pan but I have made it in different pans as well.  Grease desired pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Don't overbake!!  It is sometimes hard to tell when done because the chocolate chips will be melting throughout.  You can serve this cake with chocolate buttercream frosting or fresh berries and cream.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground veal
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed tableside. (Alternatively, toss only the desired portion of pasta with a bit of the sauce at a time in a serving bowl, reserving the remainder for another meal.)

*This dish is so good!! It tasted like a dish I had in Italy years ago. I made a couple of modifications.I used all ground beef, whole wheat pasta, the smallest amount of cinnamon and nutmeg (barely a sprinkle but it goes a long way) and next time I will do it without the butter because I tasted it before and after and it didn't change the dish much!!