Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apple Duff

And apple duff  for dessert. Delicious!

Rainbow Jello

Rainbow Jello is also a standard for the annual St. Patty's Day feast. They are so pretty but I don't have enough patience to make it myself. Luckily, other people do :)

8 oz cool whip
1 2/3 cup sour cream
5 small pkg of Jello of varying colors
( black cherry, strawberry, orange, lime, lemon)

Mix one package of jello with one cup boiling water in 2 cup glass measuring cup.  Mix until completely dissolved.  Pour half of contents in small bowl.  Add 2 Tbsp cold water into the half still in the cup.  Pour into 9x13 pan.  Put pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, to the other half in the bowl, add 1/3 cup sour cream and whisk until well mixed.  Let cool to room temperature. When the 20 minutes is up for the first layer, spread the sour cream mixture into the pan.  Let set for 20 minutes.  Repeat all of this four more times so you have five different kinds of jello and ten layers.  Use the jello in order of dark to light colors.  After all ten layers have set, top with cool whip.  If you stay with it and are on the ball, this takes about 3.5 hours.

Real Corned Beef and Vegetables

For Mal's party, they always make real corned beef from The New Best Recipe book from America's Test Kitchen. Basically, you start with a 4-6 lb beef brisket, rub in spices and then marinate/flatten it in the fridge for 5-7 days. On the day of the party, boil it with veggies for two hours and serve.

(these are the veggies)

Irish Soda Bread

This is the first of several St. Patrick's Day recipes from Mal. This soda bread looks so yummy, I definitely want to try making it.

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425'. Lightly grease a cake pan. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape). Shape into a round, flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough. Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.  Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sloppy Joes

Oddly enough, I've only made Sloppy Joes three times in my memory. The last two times were several years ago and involved a can of Manwich and some ground hamburger. lol. We never ate them growing up so I'm giving myself a bye. Anyway, I did them from 'scratch' this week and I felt magic. And they're super easy. I'm sure there are better recipes out there but this one was fast and simple and off the top of my head, so I'm keeping it for now.

1 onion
1 lb grass fed hamburger
Salt and pepper
Bbq sauce
Tomato sauce

Brown chopped onion in some oil. Add hamburger and brown.  Add bbq sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Remove V's portion (he likes bbq only), and add tomato sauce to desired consistency. Taste and adjust. Serve over whole wheat hamburger buns (I used these).

Note: hmmm, I haven't posted TM's homemade bbq sauce recipe. It's delicious. I'll have to do that.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Donuts sound constantly delicious to me right now. Instead of jumping in the car to get some from our usual spot, V decided to make them. And they were fantastic! He used coconut oil for the frying but other than that, stuck to the recipe out of Wayne Gisslan's Professional Baking Book. We definitely want to try it again with some adjustments so I'll wait to post the recipe until we've tweaked it a bit more. 

BBQ Chicken

I used up the last of my frozen, whole chickens this week. I had planned on doing the usual lemon-thyme roast chicken but I was out of lemons, fresh garlic, and thyme. lol. So I went with bbq chicken instead. It's a slightly modified version of this recipe and it was simple and quick - my main requirements these days.

1 whole chicken, chopped into pieces
salt and pepper
garlic powder
bbq sauce

Arrange chicken in a 9x13 pyrex with the skin on and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (I had a picture but honestly, raw chicken looks disgusting). Bake at 350' for 1 hour or until cooked thru. Remove from oven, remove skin from chicken, and baste with a generous amount of bbq sauce.

Return to oven and cook an additional 30 minutes. May baste with additional sauce at the 15 minute mark but this will make the chicken more 'saucy' with less of a glaze-type effect.

Note: the leftovers made yummy chicken sandwiches with avocado. But bbq chicken salad also sounded good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sugar Cookies

These are my St. Patty's Day sugar cookies in all their green food-colored glory. I love this sugar cookie recipe. It's from one of my best friend's moms growing up. Thanks CF!

1 ¼ cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add remaining ingredients, alternating flour and milk, and blend gently.

 Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for ½ an hour. 

Roll out in shapes and bake at 350’ for 8-12 minutes. 

Make frosting by beating together 8 oz cream cheese and 1/2 a stick of butter. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency and a small amount of extract, if desired. I use powdered vanilla so it stays white and thick. Decorate cooled cookies.

St Patty's Day!

I'm Irish. And I love sugar cookies. So naturally, I have a soft spot for St. Patrick's Day. This year, we're wearing green, finger painting, making sugar cookies and calling it good. But I've been thinking about future holiday celebrations when I have more energy and am not super pregnant :)

So I wanted to post my list of suitable 'real' food ideas. The theme here is anything green - these are not intended to all be used at the same meal. Mal does a St. Patrick's Day party every year with traditional Irish food, so I'll be posting some of her recipes later (tho Colcannon is a tempting idea - I like the one pot dish aspect and you can't go wrong with ham and potatoes). But for now, here's my food coloring-free 'green' brainstorm:

Guacamole and Chips
Artichoke Dip with crusty bread (this is even in season here!)
Ants on a Log - celery with peanut butter and raisins
Cheeseball rolled in chopped green onions
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Salad as a main dish (here or here or here) or as a side with Green Goddess Dressing
Pesto on Spinach Noodles
Spinach Quiche - individual sizes for an appetizer or full size as an entrĂ©e
Green Smoothies
Green Apple Crisp
Mint Hot Chocolate - not green and hard to make 'real', but I still think it fits

Any other ideas?

Update: Mal's St. Patty's Day party recipes are here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meatballs for Spaghetti

I actually made a bunch of these for our Valentine's Day dinner and froze the leftovers for later. Wow, has it been that long already? Anyway, they freeze well. Please note that I never measure this recipe so the amounts are kind of arbitrary. Feel free to adjust as desired.

1 lb grass-fed hamburger
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2-3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp fennel (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1-2 eggs

Mix well with hands, determining amount of egg needed to get a good consistency (I usually err on the side of more egg than less). Form into meatballs. Bake at 400' for 20-30 minutes or until cooked thru or starting to crisp, as desired. 

Mix into spaghetti sauce (homemade or canned). May simmer in spaghetti sauce to complete cooking, but be warned that if your meatballs are too small, they will fall apart if simmered for too long and become more like a meat sauce than spaghetti and meatballs. Still delicious - just not meatballs. Serve over noodles and freeze any unused meatballs for later.

Note: The fennel is to approximate a sausage flavor in the hamburger since I don't have a source for grass-fed pork that's not ridiculously expensive. It's not particularly convincing, but it helps. If you want to, feel free to use ground Italian sausage in place of the hamburger and omit the fennel.


I made pancakes with my waffle recipe this week (yes, we still haven't replaced the waffle iron). They are so yummy and are seriously light for whole wheat. You get the extra flavor and hunger satiation from the whole wheat without the denseness. They're great. I made a strawberry syrup to go with them since we were running low on real maple. I'd like to make a homemade maple syrup using rapadura eventually but that will have to wait until I buy it in bulk. It's just not cost effective in the smaller pkgs. Plus, I feel like I need to use up my cannery white sugar supply before investing in bulk rapadura. I've only got 3 cans to go :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beef Braciole

Love this recipe. It's from Mario Batali's Italian Grill. This is a summarized version. I highly recommend getting a hold of the book for the full effect.

2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 oz salami
8 oz Italian Fontina
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
1/4 cup + 3 TB olive oil
2 1/2-3 lbs beef, butterflied (see notes)
sea salt and pepper to taste
kitchen twine

Slice fontina into 1/4 inch cubes and salami into 1/4 inch matchsticks. Combine first 7 ingredients and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and mix with hands. Set aside. Cut at least 6 pieces of twine, as needed. Open beef, season on both sides with salt and pepper, and spread crumb mixture evenly, leaving a 1/2 inch border on one long side. Press and gently pack the stuffing onto the beef to keep it in place. Roll up the meat like a cinnamon roll with the non-filled border as the outside edge. Tie tightly with the twine, spacing the ties evenly. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat pan or grill. Unwrap roll and slice into 6 thick pinwheels (slice between each twine). Brush gently on both sides with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay gently on hot pan or grill and don't move for 5-7 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. Don't be concerned with the charred cheesy-gooey crust - that's part of the effect. Remove twine and serve.

Beef notes: Batali's recipe calls for a tenderloin roast "cut from the heart of the tenderloin" but he also notes that it's traditionally made with slices of top round "or a similar cut". We've done it with tenderloin, top round, and eye of round and they've all turned out really well. While tenderloin is always fantastic, this is a great recipe to dress up those cheaper cuts of meat with and still have something spectacular to serve. To butterfly the meat, "simply use a sharp knife to cut it horizontally almost but not all the way in half, starting from one of the long sides, so you can open it out like a book." And feel free to pound the cheaper cuts of meat a bit, if desired.

More notes: We usually have leftover filling from this recipe. It makes delicious grilled cheese and salami sandwiches. Also, the pictured braciole was a 1/3 recipe to use the 1 lb of grass-fed eye of round I got from Azure Standard this month. And please note that Italian Fontina should be a stinky cheese. This recipe varies in flavor greatly depending on the quality of salami and fontina that you use. We've used grocery store-quality regular fontina (very mild - not stinky) and it still turns out really well - but the higher quality Italian specialty store-quality fontina and salami really make a big difference in the final product.

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

I really thought I got this recipe off of epicurious.com but I can't find it on there and it's been a few years, so I really don't remember where it came from. Suffice it to say, it's delicious. It's super chocolaty and must be served hot and with ice cream.

1 cup all-purpose flour 
2 TB cocoa powder 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt 
2 TB unsalted butter, softened 
2/3 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup milk 
2 oz white chocolate chips 

5 TB granulated sugar
5 TB packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Mix the batter by sifting together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. Stir together butter, sugar, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Stir in flour mixture and milk, then the chocolate. 

For the topping, stir sugars together in a small bowl. Add cocoa powder and stir. Place 6 ramekins on a baking sheet. Pour in batter. Sprinkle with topping. Pour 1/4 cup boiling water into each. Bake until set, 25 to 28 minutes. Top with ice cream; serve immediately.

Notes: Apparently ramekins aren't a standard size. I use my random assortment of ramekins that haven't been broken yet when I make this recipe and usually end up with about 7 because I have 4 small and 3 large. The recipe specifies that ramekins should be 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep. Usually the full 1/4 cup boiling water doesn't all fit in my small ramekins but they still turn out just great. Also, lest anyone be confused, there are 8 very full ramekins in the pictures because I made 1 1/2 times the recipe to use up the last 3 oz of my white chocolate chips.

Update: It was a Martha Stewart recipe. I found it here.