Monday, July 23, 2007

Easy Rockin Nachos

1 bag of tortilla chips
1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. jalapeños, chopped in half

1 cookie sheet
tin foil
1 dinner plate

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with tin foil. Spread one layer of chips over the tin foil, top with cheese. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes. While the chips are in the oven put the sour cream and jalapeños into two bowls.

When the cheese has melted take the cookie sheet out of the oven and carefully slide the tin foil off the sheet and onto the plate. For some reason, the tin foil doesn't stay hot when you remove it from the cookie sheet so it's pretty easy to get the nachos from the hot cookie sheet to the cool plate.

Now you've got a plate of nachos lined with foil. The cookie sheet should be clean and when you're done eating the plate should still be clean to (providing you don't eat so fast that the foil rips). Either way I usually wash the plate afterward just in case. The cookie sheet I just throw back in the oven until next time.

Source: My own invention

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mediterranean Salad With Fresh Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 bag of salad (or 1 bunch of romaine leaves)
1 tomato
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4-1/2 c. feta cheese
6-8 Greek olives

Wash the lettuce and put about half of the bag in a large bowl. Chop the tomato into bite-sized pieces and put on top of the lettuce. Add the pine nuts and feta cheese. Pit the olives and then add to the bowl.

8 tsp. (2 T. and 2 tsp.) olive oil
8 tsp. (2 T. and 2 tsp.) balsamic vineger
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 clove minced garlic
1/16 tsp. black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small Tupperware dish, fit cover on tightly, shake vigorously for about thirty seconds. About two servings.

Notes: This is a fabulous meal for one or two. The flavors really come together and the crunch of the pine nuts really makes the dish.

Source: I recreated this salad from one I had at Winberie's Restaurant in Summit, NJ.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Beer-Cheese Veggie Soup

2 cups (8 oz.) cauliflower florets
1 cup plus 3 T. water
1 T. margarine
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 t. bottled minced garlic
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 can or bottle (12 oz.) light-bodied beer
1 can (14 3/4 oz.) fat-free chicken broth
3 T. cornstarch
2 c. half-and-half
2 c. (8 oz.) already-shredded Cheddar cheese
Reduced-fat real bacon bits (not imitation; optional)

Place the cauliflower and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe covered casserole and microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a 4 1/2-quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and Worcestershire and stir well.

Add the beer. Raise the heat to high and boil 3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup back to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and boil while you drain the cauliflower, chop it into bite-size pieces, and add it to the pot.

Combine the cornstarch and 3 T. water in a small container that has a lid. Shake until the lumps disappear, then set aside. Add the half-and-half and cheese to the soup. Stir constantly until the cheese melts, then shake the cornstarch mixture again and add it to the pot. Stir constantly until the soup is thick, about two minutes. Serve garnished with bacon bits (if using).

Notes: I chop the cauliflower into bite-size pieces before I microwave, otherwise the heat of the cauliflower makes chopping difficult. This a very tasty soup that works as a Meatless Main Dish or as a first course. It's fancy enough to make people think you spent a lot of time on it, and it reheats well.

Source: Desperation Dinners, by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross

Friday, July 13, 2007

Beer Biscuits

1 1/2 T. sugar
6 oz. warm beer
2 c. biscuit mix

Dissolve sugar in beer first, then add to biscuit mix. Do not over mix. With two spoons drop into three-inch balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake according to the directions on box of mix. If mix is from scratch, substitute the beer for the liquid in recipe. But, don't forget to use the sugar.

Notes: If you're using Bisquick bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Also, lining the cookie sheet with tin foil makes for very easy clean up.

Sausage, Peppers & Pasta

2 hot Italian sausages
2 sweet Italian sausages
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 c. tomato sauce
1/4 c. red wine
2 c. ziti
Italian Seasoning

Cook ziti according to instructions on box.

Brown sausage in olive oil, then take out of pan, chop into bite-sized pieces and put back into pan. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened. Add tomato sauce and wine. Correct seasoning if needed with Italian Seasonings. When hot, mix with cooked ziti. Add more tomato sauce if necessary.

Notes: This is a great dish to throw together fairly quickly and have plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Source: Coyle Family

Kitty Litter Cake

  • 1 spice or German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 large pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 pkg vanilla sandwich cookies
  • Green food coloring
  • 12 small Tootsie Rolls
  • New, cleaned litter box
  • New, cleaned litter scooper
Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. Use any size pan. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.

Prepare the pudding mix and put it in the refrigerator for now.

Crumble the white sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor (scrape often to get every little piece) or by hand. Set aside all but about 1/4 cup.

Measure 1/4 cup of cookie crumbs and add a few drops of green food coloring to it. Mix with a fork or shake everything in a jar.

Crumble the room temperature cake into a large bowl. Toss it gently with half of the remaining white cookie crumbs and enough chilled pudding to moisten (not soak) the crumbs.

Put the cookie crumbs and pudding mixture into a brand new, clean litter box.

Heat three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and until they're soft and pliable. Pinch the ends so they are no longer blunt--you want them to look convincingly like what cats put in the litter box, right? Repeat this process with as many Tootsie rolls as you'd like to add, microwaving them in batches of three.

Bury the shaped Tootsie rolls in mixture and sprinkle them with the other half of the cookie crumbs.

Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly over the top. This will mimic real litter, where many of the grains are often blue or green.

Shape 3 more Tootsie rolls and scrape them on top of the cake. One can hang over the side of the litter box. Sprinkle them lightly with cookie crumbs.

Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around. Serve with a brand new, cleaned litter scooper for that extra touch!

Keep your cat/dog away from the cake. They might try to eat it and could get sick from the Tootsie rolls. They probably won't mistake it for a real litter box, but it's better to be safe than sorry in this case!

Although it looks fun, using a real kitty litter scoop and cat box is not a good idea. Food grade plastic is different than other plastics and while it sometimes is the same it doesn't have to be. Plasticizers that are not meant for ingestion can leak into the cake. Perhaps you could use a colorful cake pan instead.

If you want to preserve the look of using a real litter box, but are worried about the plastic, it couldn't hurt to line the inside of the litter box with plastic wrap, and just lean the scoop against the side as a decoration.

For safety reasons, (i.e.toxic plastic) rather than use the real litter box, you may want to use an aluminum baking pan, which you could place into the kitty litter pan. It has the same gross effect.

Notes: I've never tried this, but it looks fun. The warnings seem a little obvious, but you never know who you're dealing with out there, I guess.

Source: Wikipedia

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. margarine
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces

Mix shortening, margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and then the chips.

Used two spoons to drop the dough in two-inch balls onto a cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool before removing from sheet.

Notes: 8 minutes max in the oven, and these babies come out perfectly!

Source: Betty Crocker

Macaroni & Cheese

3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground dry mustard
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. elbow macaroni

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish and st aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt the butter over low heat in a large, deep skillet. Whisk in the flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook over moderatley low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk.

Return the skillet to the stove; bring to a boil over moderate heat while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes while whisking. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it blends with the sauce.

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender about 7 minutes. Drain and combine with cheese sauce.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Serves 6

Tips: Pushing several half-slices of cheddar cheese into the macaroni just before you put the dish into the oven is fabulous. Add 10-15 minutes to the baking time if you make it ahead of time and refrigerate. Before taking it out of the oven, insert a clean table knife into a couple of places and feel the tip to determine if the macaroni is uniformly hot.

Notes: Reheats beautifully, and is another recipe that is perfect for the wintertime when you want something thick and hearty.

In the book it says that this is the recipe that "Thomas Jefferson served to Messrs. Lewis and Cutler, who had never tasted anything so delicious. They wrote letters to each other, speculating about the ingredients and how the dish was prepared. They referred to it the same why Jefferson did, and of course, used the spelling of that era: "maccaroni and cheese pudding." "

Source: The Potluck Cookbook: Classic Recipes for Any Occasions.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Excellent Chicken Parm

1 ½ or so lbs of skinless, boneless thin-sliced chicken breast
1 large egg
2 T. water
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 jar Classico spaghetti sauce (I use the tomato/basil flavor, have also tried four cheese and roasted garlic)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl mix egg and water.

In another small bowl mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese

Dip raw chicken into egg/water mixture, then into bread crumb/cheese mixture to coat, then line them into a glass or metal baking dish until there is one layer of breaded chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken until it’s covered. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan out of the container. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Notes: This is an excellent heart-healthy alternative to the classic breaded and fried chicken parm. Also, the chicken can be substituted with eggplant for Eggplant Parm.

Source: Betty Crocker

Awesome Waldorf Salad

4 apples, chopped (I prefer Granny Smith, but you can use whatever you like)
8 oz. walnuts, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 handfuls dried cranberries
1 lemon
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together in bowl, squeeze lemon over contents of bowl, mix well with mayonnaise, chill.

Notes: I'm not a big fan of raisins so I love this recipe because of the dried cranberries option. It's delicious and healthy and perfect for summertime.

Source: OFM


This is the coolest thing I've seen come out of a kitchen in a long time.

It's a Meatcake, and that's exactly what it sounds like.

Source: Black Widow Bakery.

Marinated Feta Cheese, Tomatoes, and Red Onion

4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 c. virgin olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. finely chopped fresh oregano (or, 1/4 t. dried)
1 t. finely chopped fresh thyme (or, 1/4 t. dried)
3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 large red onion

1/2 c. nicoise olives (or, Greek olives)
2 fresh thyme sprigs

Break the cheese into 1/4-inch cubes in a mixing bowl. Toss with 1/4 c. of the olive oil, 2 T. of the lemon juice, the red pepper flakes, black pepper, oregano, and thyme.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or for up to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator), and drain well. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before assembling the salad.

Cut each tomato into four 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the onion into 1/8-in slices.

Mound the marinated cheese in the center of a serving platter. Surround the cheese with overlapping slices of tomato. Separate the onion slices into rings. Scatter onion rings and olives over the tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and decorate with the olives and sprigs of thyme.

Notes: I used crumbled feta, and (since it was just me) two tomatoes (from the vine) rather than three. Also, I didn't have any onions in the house, so I pitted six Greek olives and dropped them over the tomatoes before the final drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

This was a beautifully light, refreshing salad for a hot summer night.

Source: The Bride & Groom's First Cookbook by Abigail Kirsch, with Susan M. Greenberg

Banana Pudding Squares

35 Reduced Fat NILLA Wafers, finely crushed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Chese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP FREE Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
3 bananas
3 cups cold fat free milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Reduced Calorie Pudding & Pie Filling
1/2 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, grated

COMBINE wafer crumbs and margarine; press firmly onto bottom of 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
MIX Neufchatel cheese and sugar until well blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping; spread carefully onto crust. Set aside. Cut bananas crosswise in half, then cut each piece lengthwise in half. Arrange over Neufchatel cheese mixture.
POUR milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. Spoon over bananas. Spread with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with chocolate. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Store any leftover dessert in refrigerator.

Notes: This is a real crowd pleaser that can be made as shown above which is a very healthy option, or, I like to substitute everything for it's more fattening counterpart and this really rocks. Excellent for a pot luck or family dinner.


Pasta Puttanesca

1 lb. Bowtie pasta
1 medium jar artichoke hearts
1 can black olives – pitted
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 T capers
1 small onion
6 cloves garlic (or 3 teaspoons of minced garlic)
1-2 T olive oil
black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Follow directions to cook pasta in large pot. Drain water and put pasta back in large pot or large casserole dish.

Combine: cooked pasta, artichoke hearts with water from jar, black olives (drained), tomatoes, capers, onion, garlic, and oil. Top with pepper and cheese when serving.

Notes: Translated, the name of this dish means "Whore Pasta" and it was supposedly named this because it takes the same amount of time to make it as it does for a a whore to service a john. Classy, eh? And appetizing.

Also, the leftovers don't really keep the tanginess of the flavor, so if you're making this dish, try to make sure that you've got plenty of people around who'll eat it the same day.

Source: Joyous

Apple-Onion Noodle Kugle

4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 medium onion, chopped
2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced (I use one Golden Delicious and 1 Granny Smith)
1 cup golden raisins (optional)
5 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 ounces medium egg noodles, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In a medium skillet, heat oil.

Cook onions and apples until slightly softened over medium heat, about 4 minutes.

Stir in raisins and cook another 30 seconds.

Let mixture cool slightly.

In a large bowl beat eggs with sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Stir in apple mixture and noodles until well combined.

Pour into baking pan.

Bake about 1 hour or until golden brown on top (check it at 45 minutes and it usually is crispy.

Serve warm or room temperature cut into squares. Serves 12.

Notes: I hate raisins so don't ever use them and it does nothing to make the dish less enjoyable. This is a great dish to serve in the wintertime when you want something that will stick to your bones.

Source: OFR

Fast and Yummy Taco Dip

16 0z. sour cream
1 packet taco mix
1 package pre-packed lettuce, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
8 oz. cheddar cheese
1 bag tortilla chips

In a bowl mix the sour cream with the taco mix. Once it's well-blended, spread it into the bottom of an baking dish. The size of the dish doesn't matter too much as long as it's not too small (like a loaf pan) or too big (like...I dunno...a big pizza dish).

Once the sour cream and taco mixture is spread evenly onto the bottom of the dish, layer evenly the tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. Open the bag of chips and enjoy. Or, if you're feeling benevolent, wait until the party arrives to open the bag of chips.

For a different taste, you can add jalapeños, green peppers or black olives.

This is no bake and it only takes about 30 minutes to throw the whole thing together.