This winter we’re having in New York is seemingly endless. We’re approaching the end of March, and we’re expecting snow tonight. It’s crazy.
There are many nice things about cold weather, but one of my favorites is a nice, hearty, warm casserole. I made this a couple of days ago when it was quite cold outside. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Since the boys won’t go near it with a 10-foot pole, my husband and I have eaten it as leftovers for a couple of days now. It makes a great lunch. It’s as good the next day as it is when you first make it.
This recipe calls for a bunch of broccoli. When using stems from a whole head of broccoli, you have to peel the stems. Instead of peeling and chopping the stems, I bought a couple of bags of fresh broccoli florets, which cut down the recipe’s prep time a bit.
My husband LOVED this recipe. This is now one of his favorite side-dishes. This is comfort food at its best – perfect for a cold winter’s night.
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Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
Recipe from SmittenKitchen.com
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, diced
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed
1 pound broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder or 1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
8 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice to onion and cook for 1 minute, then add 1 1/3 cups water and a few pinches of salt. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest temperature and cook with the lid on for about 50 minutes (or whatever amount of time is suggested on your package of rice). Watch the rice. You may need to add a little more water, like I did.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel broccoli stems and dice them into large chunks. Cut florets into 1-inch pieces. Cook in boiling, well-salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.
You can use this same pan to make the cheese sauce. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the mustard powder (if using), a pinch of cayenne and garlic and let sizzle for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until combined, cooking the butter-flour mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in milk, whisking constantly, then broth. Bring to a simmer and cook mixture at a simmer, stirring the whole time, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in smooth Dijon mustard if you didn’t use mustard powder.
Remove pan from heat and stir in 1/3 of grated cheese until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Combine cooked wild rice blend and broccoli in a 2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch oven-safe skillet. Pour cheese sauce over and gently nudge to ensure all pieces get some sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, then run mixture under the broiler until cheese is lightly browned on top.
Yield: ~6 servings
One year ago: Meyer Lemon Gelato
Two years ago: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
Three years ago: Alfajores
Four years ago: Pineapple and Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Five years ago: Peanut Butter Cookies
Six years ago: Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Every couple of years I am tempted by a dessert recipe that contains ground pistachio nuts. I LOVE pistachios and I love desserts. The combination is always surprising to me. It’s never quite what I expect. These cookies remind me of chocolate cookies sold at Italian bakeries. I served them to a couple of my husband’s band mates and they loved them.
These cookies are definitely different from most other cookies I make. If you’re looking for something different for a cookie swap or for a dessert tray, give these a try if you’re a fan of Italian bakery cookies.
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Chocolate Nudge Cookies
Recipe from Lottie + Doof who adapted it slightly from Saltie: A Cookbook
1/2 cup shelled, toasted pistachios
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened dark (dutch-processed) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using the pulse setting, grind the pistachios and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a food processor until they have the consistency of coarse meal.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and rum.
Add the dry ingredients and the pistachios to the butter mixture, beating until well-combined and scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Put the 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and toss the balls of dough in the sugar until evenly coated. Place the cookies on the prepared sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until they begin to crackle all over the top and are just firm to the touch, 12-17 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: ~24 cookies
One year ago: Sugar Saucers
Two years ago:Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Three years ago: Jerk Shrimp Pies
Four years ago: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Five years ago: Black and White Cookies
Six years ago: Lasagna with Pink Sauce, Leeks and Sausage
I know that I haven’t posted in a while. My life has taken on a new focus – homework – now that the triplets are in middle school. I make sure the boys successfully complete the mounds of homework that they are assigned. I am also the official question-answerer. Their math homework is definitely keeping me on my toes and I find that I’m relearning Life Science, which I had totally forgotten. I now know more than I want to about the functions of each of the organelles in plant and animal cells. I’m also relearning Egyptian, Greek and Roman history.
Anyway, with all of the homework, and trying to keep the boys focused on homework rather than fooling around, I haven’t had much of a chance to stage the meals that I’m making for photography. We typically have a fairly quick family dinner so the boys can get back to their punishing homework, which means that I’m on duty again. The boys are engaged in homework often until 10pm and sometimes later.
I’m going to do my best to get back to posting again. I’m still cooking lots of new things, and we (at least my husband and I) love some of the recipes, so I have to make a point to take the time to have the food photographed.
There’s one great tip that I learned when making this recipe. I learned a new way to shred chicken. In the past I always shredded chicken using a fork. This time I followed a cooking tip that involved putting the whole (cooked) chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer and turning it on. It worked like a charm! I poached my chicken breasts and when I took them out of the hot water, I put them directly into the bowl of the stand mixer. I turned it on and in seconds I had nicely shredded chicken. This is now going to be my go-to method for shredding chicken for recipes.
This recipe called for Chinese egg noodles. I didn’t have any so I used regular pasta. I’m sure that’s not the perfect substitution, but I thought the resulting dish was delicious.
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Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Recipe from Serious Eats
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2 breast halves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles (or regular pasta if you can’t find Chinese egg noodles)
1/4 cup tahini or peanut butter
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups shredded cabbage (about ¼ head)
4 scallions, light green and white parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
Place chicken in a medium pot and cover with cold water by three inches. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat, and let rest until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Reserve poaching liquid in pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing in a large serving bowl by whisking together the tahini (or peanut butter), vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, chilil-garlic sauce, and fish sauce until combined.
Add one cup of water to the poaching liquid and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. As the water boils and the noodles cook, shred the chicken.
When the noodles are done, drain and rinse well under cold water, repeating as needed. Add the noodles and the chicken to the dressing along with the cabbage and toss thoroughly to coat evenly. Finish with the scallions and peanuts and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
One year ago: Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Two years ago: Easy Black Beans and Rice
Three years ago: Avocado Fries
Four years ago: Chocolate Pancakes
Five years ago: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Six years ago: Chicken Piccata
I intended to make a bunch of this seasoning salt to give as Christmas gifts this year. Didn’t quite get around to it, but I finally had a chance to make it the other day. This salt is delicious on green vegetables and it’s also delicious on poultry. I imagine it will be wonderful on seafood as well. The other night I had some green peas with a little bit of butter and a sprinkling of this seasoning salt. They were so good I would have been happy eating just peas for dinner. I had two big servings.
If you use a sea salt like Malden that has big flakes, you might want to give the finished salt a spin through the food processor to make the salt crystals more uniform in size. I bought my sea salt from Trader Joe’s and all of the crystals the same size so I didn’t have to further process mine.
If you’re a margarita drinker, this salt will be excellent on the rim of the glass. I might try some of this salt on the next batch of homemade tortilla chips that I make.
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Citrus Seasoning Salt
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 cup sea salt
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat your oven to oven 225 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt with the back of a spoon or with your fingers. you don’t want any big clumps of zest., making sure there aren’t any clumps of zest. Spread the mixture across the parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 70 – 90 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. The zest should crumble when rubbed between your fingers. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Yield: 1 cup of seasoning salt
One year ago: Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
Two years ago: Spinach Salad with Chicken and Apples
Three years ago: Chicken Stew
Four years ago: Jacques’ Chocolate Mudslide Cookies
Five years ago: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
My cousin Erica posted a picture of these spinach brownies on Facebook last week and I thought they looked delicious. I love having something in the refrigerator that’s quick and healthy for lunch and these are just the ticket. They’re good both warm or cold, straight from the fridge. The boys wouldn’t go near these with a ten-foot pole, so my husband and I ate them as a side dish the first night I made them, I actually ate them for breakfast the next morning, and I ate them again for lunch the following day.
Don’t be fooled by the word brownies in the title of this recipe. The only thing these have in common with traditional brownies is their shape. They are not sweet at all.
When you are making these, you can use 10 oz. of frozen spinach if you don’t have fresh. Be sure you really squeeze all of the water out of the spinach before you mix it into the flour and egg mixture. You don’t want to end up with runny brownies.
My brownies had a nice brown crust on them because I decided to sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of Parmigiana cheese on top of the batter before I baked them. The original recipe didn’t call for this, but I do love my cheese.
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Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
A couple of Tablespoons of Parmigiana cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a strainer to drain.
In a frying pan, melt the butter. Cook the onion over low/medium heat until translucent, about 5 – 8 minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. When the garlic is cooked, turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the spinach.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in eggs and milk. Mix in spinach, onion/garlic and mozzarella cheese.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.
Yield: 24 “brownies”
One year ago: Creamy Spinach Enchiladas with Red Cabbage Slaw
Two years ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Frittata
Four years ago: Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
Five years ago: Lima Bean Soup with Parmesan Bacon Crisp
Here’s a recipe that I found on Mark Bittman’s website. I’m always looking for good vegetarian/vegan recipes because we’re trying to eat less meat and because of our friends’ dietary preferences/restrictions. When I looked at this recipe, I thought it might be a bland vegetarian side dish, but I was willing to give it a try anyway. Au contraire! It’s loaded with flavor and it was really delicious.
When you make this, don’t skimp on the fresh basil. Use it, and use a whole cup of it as specified in the recipe. It’s good. I had a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, so I used it in lieu of the plain diced tomatoes. It gave the recipe a little extra oomph.
When I made this, I found the sauce to be very chunky. I ended up with two layers of eggplant, and I actually used all of the sauce when I assembled the dish. I guess I didn’t follow their instructions about using a “thin layer” of sauce between layers. Perhaps I also didn’t cook the sauce long enough for the tomatoes to completely soften and get saucy. Regardless, I thought this was delicious. I loved that it was loaded with chunky, flavorful tomato layers.
The recipe calls for whole wheat breadcrumbs. I didn’t have any whole wheat bread kicking around (our boys are white bread fans – surprise, surprise) so I ended up using Panko, which worked perfectly.
This takes at least an hour to make, so allow that much time when you’re preparing it. I’ll definitely make this again. It was perfect reheated for lunch the next day.
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Recipe by Mark Bittman
2 1/2 pounds eggplant
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, preferably coarse-ground (or Panko)
Heat the oven to 450°F and position two racks so that they have at least 4 inches between them. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with a light coating of oil. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and arrange them on two rimmed baking sheets.
Use about 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush the top of each eggplant slice and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Roast the eggplant until the slices brown on the bottom and sides, 10 to 15 minutes; turn and cook the other side until they’re crisp in places and golden, another 5 to 10 minutes. When they finish cooking, remove them from the oven and lower the heat to 400ºF.
Meanwhile, put 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture comes together and thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with about ½ inch of the tomato sauce. Nestle a layer of eggplant into the sauce and top with some of the basil. Cover with a thin layer of tomato sauce and repeat until all the eggplant is used up; reserve some of the basil for serving. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lots of pepper, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Simmer the remaining sauce (you should have about 2 cups) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, while the eggplant bakes.
Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes; let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining basil; pass the remaining sauce at the table (or refrigerate or freeze it for another use).
Yield: 4 servings
One year ago: Peanut Butter Blossoms
Two years ago: Ginger Scones
Three years ago: Cherry Banana Muffins with White Chocolate Chips
Four years ago: Classic Dinner Rolls
Five years ago: Malted Milk Ball Cookies
This is my favorite new holiday recipe! I think these cranberries are incredible. They’re both sweet and tart. They have a nice crunchy sugar coating and once you break through it you get surprised with a splash of very tart cranberry juice. I served them on Christmas Eve. I made them to sprinkle around my cheese platter, and I did that, but I had a bunch of them left in a bowl (see photo above), and they ended up on the table with the hors d’oeuvres. I didn’t intend to serve them like that, but by the end of the evening, the bowl was empty. I guess the guests liked them.
This recipe is ideally started the day before you plan to eat the cranberries. The directions tell you to soak the cranberries in a sugar solution overnight. The directions also specify that you dredge the soaked berries in sugar, then wait an hour and dredge them again. Being the last-minute kind of person that I am, I started them the morning I needed them, Christmas Eve morning. I let the berries soak for 6 hours or so – then I dredged them in the sugar. I didn’t wait an hour between dredgings either. I rolled the cranberries in some organic sugar, which had granules that were slightly larger than the regular white sugar I rolled them in next. I then let them sit for an hour or so to dry while we went to church, and they were perfect!
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Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Sugar for coating – I used organic sugar for the first coat, then regular granulated sugar for the second coat
Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar (I used organic sugar for this) until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn’t get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.
Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.
Yield: 2 cups of cranberries
One year ago: Pressure Cooker Chicken Picatta
Two years ago: Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
Three years ago: Smoked Tuna Dip
Four years ago: Curried Rice and Quinoa Salad
Five years ago: Maple-Braised Pork Chops
Made these for breakfast yesterday and three out of four boys loved them. One claims he doesn’t like lemon-flavored things. These scones were delicious. Very tender and soft, and full of lemon flavor. The boys didn’t eat them all yesterday – they wanted to, but I wouldn’t let them – so they each had a scone for breakfast this morning. I kept the scones covered overnight and they were still nice and moist this morning.
The original glaze recipe made way too much glaze for me, so I cut it in half in the recipe below. If you like LOTS of frosting, double the glaze ingredients below. The original recipe also called for 3 cups of all-purpose flour. I used half white flour and half white whole-wheat flour. The results were delicious.
These would be a perfect addition to a brunch spread.
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Recipe from AllRecipes.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flower
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
9 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/6 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons water, or as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk milk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, and vinegar in a small bowl and stir into flour mixture until moistened; turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead dough briefly for 5 or 6 turns. Pat or roll dough out into a 1 inch-thick round. Cut into 10 wedges and arrange on a baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each wedge.
Bake in preheated oven until bottom edges are lightly tan, 11 to 14 minutes. Allow scones to cool for 15 minutes.
While scones are cooling, stir confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, 2 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Stir water into sugar mixture if needed, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is easily drizzled.
Drizzle glaze over warm scones.
One year ago: Nutella Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Holiday Biscotti
Three years ago: Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Filling
Four years ago: Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Five years ago: The Ultimate Quiche