Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cupcake Cones

1 box cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
24 flat-bottom ice cream cones

Frosting (any flavour)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Fill each cup 2/3 full of batter (1 heaping tablespoon each). Place ice cream cone upside down on batter in each cup.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean (cones may tilt on batter). Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Remove paper baking cups. Generously frost cake with frosting, and decorate as desired. Store loosely covered.

Turkey Treats Rice Krispies

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) marshmallows
  • - OR -
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies®
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Kellogg's® Cocoa Krispies® cereal
  • Pretzel twists
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Canned frosting or decorating gel
  • Assorted candies
1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add 6 cups KELLOGG'S COCOA KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Cool slightly. Cut warm cereal mixture into two different sized circles using two sizes of circle cookie cutters for the turkey bodies (depending on size of cutters). Cool.

3. Spread peanut butter on bottom of the smaller circular pieces; attach this to a larger circular piece to form the turkey body. Insert pretzel twists into body for tail feathers. Insert pretzel sticks for legs. Use frosting to attach candies for eyes and beak. Best if served the same day.

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.


For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in single layer on wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Baked Rigatoni Cake

Baked Rigatoni Cake

You'll need a pound of ground meat to get the sauce started - be it beef, pork, chicken or turkey... even a mix of those would be good. Because this is going to be fairly heavy with the pasta and cheeses, I went the lighter route by using turkey, but I decided on a combo of ground turkey and hot Italian turkey sausage to juice up the mix. Browned in a slick of oil, we tossed in a couple cloves of garlic and a mess of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. Brought up to boil to get the process started, the heat was then lowered to a bare simmer and we let the pot bubble away until the sauce had thickened.

While that was happening, I used the downtime to drizzle a pound of rigatoni, that we cooked and cooled down, with olive oil, then tossed it around with a generous shower of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Those coated tubes were then packed into the mentioned springform as tightly as possible, standing each on their flat side, taking care not to collapse any of them.

You want the tubes open and waiting because we're about to take a couple cups worth of the meat sauce we prepared and slather it all over the top, using lots of pressure to fill up the centers of the rigatoni! You don't need to try and push all of sauce in, just use the amount called for - yes, you'll have some leftover, but don't worry, we'll be using it later! About halfway through the total time needed to bake this pasta cake, we took out the springform pan and concealed the sauce on top by scattering over coarse shreds of mozzarella cheese. Bake again to melt and brown the cheese. Plan on giving this at least 15 minutes to cool down before you try and serve - this will give the dish time to set, allowing you to remove the sides of the pan and pull out tidy pieces that don't fall apart.

Besides the fact that this won us over on taste alone, taking the entire piece to the table and having the "wow" factor of cutting it to serve, with that layer of gooey cheese on top, was worth making this dish by itself! I do have a couple notes on the sauce - it is fairly mild and did end up being fine as the hot Italian turkey sausage did wonders for the background. However, I do think it could easily be tinkered with - crushed red pepper, a little red wine and throwing in basil, oregano or your favorite marinara seasonings would help to add a little pizazz. I didn't forget about that leftover sauce either... warm that sucker right back up and serve it over the top!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mom's Stuffed Eggplant


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 1 red pepper, small diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 chopped tomatoes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Boil the scooped-out center part until very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned ground beef to the pan and saute until all of its liquid is evaporated and the beef begins to brown slightly. Drain the beef, removing the extra, unnecessary fat. Let cool briefly and chop the cooked beef so that there are no large chunks of meat. In another medium saute pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions, peppers and garlic together.

In a bowl mix together the cooked eggplant, vegetables, cooked beef, herbs, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, and the egg.

Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the 2 halves.

Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper, place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole

Hands-on Time: 20 min.; Total Time: 2 hr. 40 min. This mouthwatering casserole will satisfy lovers of crunchy pecans and cornflakes as well as marshmallows.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash sweet potatoes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

2. Beat mashed sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

3. Combine cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over casserole in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture; bake 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

The Best Brownie EVER!!!!


  • 1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup chopped nuts ( Optional )
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 35 (10-oz. pkg.) caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine cake mix and nuts in large bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup evaporated milk and butter (batter will be thick). Spread half of batter into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat caramels and remaining evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Sprinkle morsels over brownie; drizzle with caramel mixture.
  5. Drop remaining batter by heaping teaspoon over caramel mixture.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set.
  7. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  8. ENJOY!

Sausage & Leek Casserole


  • Oil
  • 2 cups leeks, cut in rings, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 loaf French baguette
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 6 each large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the leeks with a pinch of salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. When the leeks are translucent raise the heat to high and add the sausage and cook for 8 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together with the cream, milk, the remaining cayenne, a pinch of black pepper and salt.

Cut the baguette into cubes and put in the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch glass casserole dish. Sprinkle the bread with the Cheddar cheese. Pour the sausage and leek mixture and egg mixture on top. Top with pepper jack cheese. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

The next morning remove from refrigerator. Put in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife is removed cleanly from the middle. Remove from oven and allow the casserole to stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Fried Chicken


  • 1 quart buttermilk, plus 2 cups
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chile de arbol powder, or 2 tablespoons hot sauce, plus 2 teaspoons chile de arbol powder, or cayenne pepper
  • 2 chickens (3 to 4 pounds each), each cut up into 8 pieces
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • Peanut oil, for deep-frying


In a large bowl or baking dish, whisk together 1 quart of the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 teaspoons of chile de arbol powder, or hot sauce, and a little bit of pepper, if desired. Add the chicken pieces, turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place the remaining 2 cups of buttermilk in a bowl. Stir together the flour, garlic and onion powders, paprika, and 2 teaspoons chile de arbol powder (or cayenne) in a large bowl. Divide flour mixture among 2 shallow platters and season generously with salt and pepper. Drain the chicken in a colander and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces a few at a time in the flour mixture and pat off excess, then dip in the buttermilk and allow excess to drain off. Dredge in the second plate of flour and pat off the excess. Put the chicken pieces on a piece of waxed paper or on a clean platter while you heat the oil.

Pour about 3 inches of oil into a deep cast iron skillet; the oil should not come more than halfway up the sides of the pot. Put the pot over medium-high heat and heat the oil to 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, 3 or 4 at a time and fry, turning the pieces occasionally, until evenly golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a rack to drain; repeat to cook the remaining pieces. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Salsa


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large Scotch bonnet pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 4 drumsticks, skin on

To prepare the jerk chicken:


Puree all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until almost smooth. Piece the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be. Preheat grill. Grill chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through.

  • (recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay)
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Jerk Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Home-Made Mango-Habanero Hot Sauce


Jerk Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Sliced fresh mango
  • Homemade Mango Habanero Sauce, recipe follows
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Combine all spices in a small bowl. Rub the skin side of the chicken with the rub and let rest for 30 minutes. Heat the grill to medium heat and grill the thighs, skin side down for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the chicken, close the cover of the grill and move the chicken to the side (or cooler part) of the grill. Continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes or until completely cooked through. Remove to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve fresh mango slices and Mango-Habanero Hot Sauce. Sprinkle leaves of cilantro on top.

Homemade Mango-Habanero Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 habanero, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, mangoes, habanero and vinegar and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of warm water or vinegar. Season with salt.

Yield: 4 servings

Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheesecakes


  • 1/3 cup finely crushed chocolate wafers
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 egg
  • Butter, for greasing


Special equipment: mini muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the crushed chocolate wafers and the melted butter. Place a tightly packed teaspoon of the wafer mixture into each mini-muffin cup and press down firmly.

In a food processor combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, half of the orange zest, and the egg. Blend until smooth. Lightly grease the sides of the mini muffin tin with butter. Fill the cups with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture. Place the mini muffin tin in a baking dish and pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the mini muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes. Transfer the mini muffin tin to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Use a small knife to gently pop the cheesecakes out of the cups.

Just before serving, combine the remaining orange zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Top each individual cheesecake with about 1/4 teaspoon of the orange zest mixture and serve.

Broccoli & Roasted Garlic Soup

Total time: 1 hour, plus 45 minutes roasting time for the garlic Servings: 6 to 8 1 large, plump head of garlic Olive oil, for drizzling Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 large bunch broccoli, about 1 3/4 pounds 2 tablespoons butter 1 medium onion, chopped 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. To roast the garlic, cut off the top one-half inch of the garlic head to make a "lid." Drizzle the cut surfaces with a little olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Replace the lid. Wrap the garlic in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the garlic is tender and a rich golden color, about 45 minutes. Unwrap and cool. The garlic can now be used for the soup, or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until ready to use, up to 1 week. 2. Meanwhile, cut the florets from the broccoli stalks. Coarsely chop the florets, then peel and coarsely chop the stalks. 3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the onion and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped broccoli and potato. 4. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the potato is very tender, about 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot, discarding the hulls. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 5. Puree the soup in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Serve hot. This makes about 2 1/2 quarts soup.

Pear Frangipane Tart

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Servings: 8

Pastry for 9-inch tart pan

1/2 pound blanched almonds

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 tablespoon Oloroso or other sweet Sherry

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces

3 ( 1/2-pound) Bartlett pears, firm but ripe

Apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Prepare the pastry and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 20 minutes. Prick the shell with a fork and bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on a low rack.

3. In a food processor, grind the almonds. Add 2/3 cup sugar, the eggs, vanilla, orange zest, Sherry and salt, and process to make a smooth, sticky paste. With the motor running, drop in the butter through the feed hole, piece by piece, and process until smooth.

4. Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and with a spoon remove the vein for the stem and the seed pit. As you finish each pear half, slip it into a work bowl filled with a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover all of the pears.

5. Spread the almond mixture in the base of the tart, using the back of a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible.

6. Pat each pear half dry and carefully cut it into thin crosswise slices, about 1/8 inch, keeping the pear in its original form. As you finish each pear half, lift it, using the flat of the knife as a spatula, and carefully place it in the tart pan, with the narrow stem end toward the center. Gently press down into the frangipane. Place each subsequent pear half next to the previous one in a spoke pattern until the tart is filled. Brush the pears with the melted butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon sugar.

7. Place the tart pan on the baking sheet and bake until the almond mixture is puffed and golden and the pears are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lemon Parsley Hummus

1 small bunch parsley, chopped (no stems!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 19 oz can chickpeas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
2-3 tsp sesame oil
pinch salt

Put parsley and olive oil in food processor. Pulse until parsley is finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients, and process until as smooth as you like it. Taste and adjust seasoning. I added quite a bit more salt after tasting it. You can serve it right away, but it tastes way better a day or two later! The garlic also gets a bit more pronounced over time, so be careful adding too much at once. Serve with pita chips.

I Love Cornbread

Recipe serves 8 to 10.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2-3 Tbsp sugar (I used 3)
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter (I used butter)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet, a 9-inch round pan or a 8×8 pan. Place in hot oven for about 3 minutes, or until butter melts. Remove pan from oven, swirl butter to coat the bottom and sides of pan.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake for 15-2o minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm!

Cheesy Potato Skins

Cheesy Potato Skins

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes

5 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes. With a paring knife, remove skin and about 1/8 inch of the flesh in long 1- to 2-inch-wide strips. (Reserve peeled potatoes for another use.) Toss potato skins with oil, paprika, salt and cayenne. Place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tender and golden, 25-30 minutes.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
6 Calories
2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono)
2 mg cholesterol
40 g carbohydrate
6 g protein
4 g fiber
1010 mg potassium
202 mg sodium

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beet Hummus

Beet Hummus Recipe


  • 1/2 pound beets (about 4 medium sized beets), scrubbed clean, cooked, peeled, and cubed*
  • 2 Tbsp tahini sesame seed paste
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
  • Generous pinch of sea salt or Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

*To cook the beets, cut off any tops, scrub the roots clean, put them in a covered dish with about 1/4-inch of water in a 375°F oven, and cook until easily penetrated with a knife or fork. Alternatively, cover with water in a saucepan and simmer until tender, about 1/2 hour. Peel once they have cooled.


Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and ingredients as desired.

Chill and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.

Eat with pita chips, or with sliced cucumber or celery, or on a crostini with goat cheese and shaved mint.

Makes 2 cups.