Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Making Your Own Ricotta


1 gallon whole milk or skim (1 gal. whole milk = about 1lb cheese)
white vinegar or fresh lemon juice


a large colander lined with fine cheesecloth
a large pot


Put the milk in a large, non-reactive sauce pan and heat slowly to 200 degrees, stirring to prevent it scorching on the bottom. When the milk is hot enough, add about 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice (I always use vinegar because I'm allergic to lemon).

If the milk is really at 200 degrees, it will instantly curdle, if this does not happen, keep heating. It is not necessary to continue heating once the reaction occurs, however, you will want to let it sit for a few minutes, with an occasional stir.

Place your lined colander in the sink, drain open please, and carefully pour the entire contents (DO NOT skim anything off) of the pot into it.

Assuming that all goes well, allow the ricotta to drain and cool until you can handle the cheesecloth comfortably. Gather the ends of the cloth up and tie into a bag which must be suspended over the sink until it stops dripping. (I hang it from the faucet, it usually takes an hour)

You can add a bit of salt if you like. Of, if the cheese is to be used in a desert, add a little cream and mix in well to make a richer product.

If you are not going to use the cheese immediately, pack into a container and either refrigerate or freeze.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brocolli Beef Stir Fry


1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 lb. beef stir fry

5 tbsp. oil

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper, crushed, dried

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. carrot strips

2 c. broccoli flowerets

1/2 c. beef broth


In bowl stir first 2 ingredients. Add beef to coat. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Drain, reserve marinade.

In large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper. Stir fry 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to large bowl. Add mushrooms to skillet. Stir fry 1 minute. Remove to bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Add carrots and broccoli. Stir fry 2 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove to bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add beef. Stir fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add broth and reserved marinade. Stir constantly bring to boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute. Add vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes until heated. Serve over rice.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mini Cheese Souffle


1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)

1 large egg yolk
4 large egg whites

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Pinch of salt


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Mix breadcrumbs and hazelnuts in small bowl. Butter four 8-ounce soufflé dishes or custard cups. Coat sides and bottoms of dishes with breadcrumb mixture. Place dishes in large roasting pan.

Bring milk to boil in heavy large saucepan. Set aside. Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until pale golden, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup cheese and egg yolk. Cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, lemon juice and pinch of salt in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Gently fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm cheese mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whites.

Divide half of soufflé mixture among prepared dishes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each soufflé. Top with remaining soufflé mixture. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1/2 inch up sides of dishes.

Bake soufflés until puffed and tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove dishes from water. Cool 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of soufflés. Gently turn soufflés out onto baking sheet. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate.)

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese evenly over soufflés. Bake until soufflés are heated through, about 8 minutes if baked immediately or 10 minutes if refrigerated overnight. Transfer to plates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where's the beef?

I know a lot of people are clicking over here because there used to be a recipe a day and now there hasn't been one for a few days. We just all got over being sick... so I'll see if I can't get some recipes up for you before Layla's birthday party this weekend but it's going to be busy here so no promises.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Roasted Garlic and Shallots

Place Shallots and Garlic (peeled) on a baking sheet, cover liberally with olive oil, season with sea salt and thyme and roast 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven (covered in tin foil).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pita Chips


Pita Bread
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Cayenne Pepper

Directions: Split each Pita in half to make a thinner selection and then cut each round into 6 pieces. Mist with Olive oil and sprinkle on salt and cayenne pepper.

Place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Glazed Carrots

1.5 lbs. carrots, cut into 2 inch long sticks.
1/2 Tsp. salt
1/2 Cup brown sugar
2 TBSP Good Sh*t Seasoning (or 1 Tsp. seasoned salt)
1/4 Cup butter

Peel the carrots, and cut into sticks. Heat 1 inch water to boiling in the saucepan over high heat. Add the carrots and salt. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 to 15 mins or until carrots are tender when pierced with a fork.

While carrots are cooking, heat the brown sugar, seasoning, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly.

Drain carrots in a strainer, then stir them into the glaze mixture. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 package frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed)
1 can artichoke hearts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, put in 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Darlene's Waldorf Salad

3 cups chopped apples
2 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
1 cup thin celery slices
1/2 cup PLANTERS Walnut Pieces
1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing


Mix all items together in a bowl, chill and serve.

Barefoot Contessa Turkey Meatloaf

Gave this recipe a try this weekend, and I give it two thumbs up (I cut the recipe in half because Jon and I don't eat leftovers but I gave you the WHOLE recipe)... now it's your turn...


3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste

5 pounds ground turkey breast

1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs

3 extra-large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup ketchup


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf will keep the top from cracking.) Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.

This recipe was found on the Food Network site...use this link...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just for Katie- Brocolli Cheese Soup

I used to make this for my friend Katie when she was pregnant with her first son Wesley. She loved Brocolli Cheese Soup!


1 can family size Cream of Mushroon Soup

3 tablespoons grated onion

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

3 cups milk

1 package fresh or frozen broccoli florets, steamed until very tender

1/2 cup shredded carrot

In a large pot, sauté onion & carrot in the butter. Reduce pan to medium low heat and add can of soup (undiluted) to pot and stir. Add cheese and stir until thoroughly melted. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add the broccoli and stir. Simmer until bubbly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Aunt Lois' Angel Food Cake


1 3/4 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cake flour, sifted

12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)

1/3 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or extract of your choice

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water,extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer.

Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan.

Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer.Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pumpkin Fudge


3 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 Tbsp corn syrup

2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

9 oz white chocolate, chopped

7 oz jar marshmallow crème

1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage).
Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended (stirring this is a work-out!). Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 8-inch square pan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pork Chops with Apples & Onions


4 lean boneless pork loin chops
olive oil
2 cups sliced red onions
1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste


Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chops in oil on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, cook onions and apple in remaining oil over low heat until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Return pork chops to the pan. Add vinegar; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until meat is tender.
I got this recipe off a website a few months back which I can't find now. If it was you... please speak up so I can give you credit.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 lb. ground chuck
1 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. crushed tomatoes
8 lg. bell peppers, cut in halves and seeded
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
1 c. thawed and drained frozen corn

Cook meat, onion and garlic until done. Drain. Add seasonings, tomato sauce, corn & crushed tomatoes. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Stir in rice. Cool.
Stuff and bake peppers just until bubbly in 350 degree oven. Top with grated cheese Once pepper is done cooking (fork tender) and broil until cheese is bubbly.
(ok who am I kidding... I bake the pepper, throw the cheese on it and turn of the oven and leave it sitting there until the cheese is melted.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Preserving Your Fruit


20 ounces of fruit, skinned, seeded and chopped into pieces (if it's larger fruit)

1 c sugar

2 T fruit pectin

1 lime or lemon


Simmer fruit and lemon juice over medium heat until soft and at a low boil. Add pectin. Stir until well combined. Add sugar and boil 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. If desired strain mixture.

Place mixture in sterilized containers and seal with parrifin wax or sealed jars using your canning method of choice. Makes 3 Quarts.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sticky Hot Wings- Oven Version

2 1/2 (lb.) chicken wings
1 can (4-oz.) ORTEGA Diced Green Chiles
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin


PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.CUT chicken wings into sections; discard wing tip sections. COMBINE chiles, barbecue sauce, honey, chili powder, and cumin in bowl. Add chicken; toss to coat. Transfer to large prepared baking dish.BAKE for 45 to 50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink near bone.

I can't for the life of me remember where I originally got this recipe but it's not mine. If it's yours speak up in the comments.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wicked Catering House Dressing

Back when I used to do my own catering business on the side, this was our house dressing...enjoy! (I cut the recipe down to a normal serving size people could use. If you would like it in "catering" size just email me.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Pinch of dried oregano

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Succulent Shrimp Scampi

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined,if desired (21 to 25 per pound)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 pinch cayenne
ground black pepper

Heat 12-inch skillet over high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add 1 pound shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque, about 1 minute; transfer to medium bowl.Return pan to heat and repeat process with remaining oil and shrimp. Return empty skillet to medium-low heat; melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, add lemon juice and wine. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter; add parsley and cayenne, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return shrimp and accumulated juices to skillet.Toss to combine; serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Honey Mustard Merinade

1/2 cup Best Foods Mayo
1/4 cup French's Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup Whole Grain Mustard
1/2 cup Honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (leave out if using for dip)
1 dash kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix together in a bowl, cover tightly and chill.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Review- Doc's Texas BBQ in Sonora

Today on our road trip adventure we ended up eating at Doc's in Sonora. Jon had a tri-tip sandwich and fries and the baby and I shared the Rib & Tri-tip plate with beans and fries.

The ribs left something to be desired, they were a little too peppery and a little too much like eating beef jerky. The tri-tip on the other hand was excellent...and the fries were wonderful, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
The sauce was also really good... Jon and I agreed it was one of the better one's. The tri tip had a great smoke rim and combined with the peppery, sweet, tangy sauce it was wonderful.
I recommend a tri-tip sandwich and fries if you decide to stop by and try it.

Jerk Seasoning Mix

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed Scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well-mixed. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chocolate Chip- Banana Pancakes

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large banana, chopped
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Maple syrup, if desired


1. Heat griddle to 375° or heat skillet over medium-high heat; grease with shortening if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating).
2. Beat eggs in large bowl with wire whisk until lightly beaten. Beat in remaining ingredients except banana, chocolate chips and syrup just until smooth. Stir in banana and chocolate chips.
3. For each pancake, pour batter by slightly less than 1/2 cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes or until puffed and dry around edges. Turn; cook other sides until golden brown. Serve with syrup.

This recipe can be found on the Bisquick website. Layla and I tried it today to use up some extra browning bananas.

Muddy Buddy Mix

This is one of my favorite "cookin' with the kiddos" recipes. Try this one out with your favorite little person.

9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.