Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

It's starting to get cold outside, and food that sticks to your insides are starting to look more appealing. Paula Deen's Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole was just what I needed to warm me up before going out for Halloween! (Just a few alterations)

1 (8-ounce) package wild rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoons butter
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10 3/4-ounce can) condensed cream of potato soup
1/4 cup freshly grated Pepper Jack Cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Cook the rice. 1/4 wild rice, 3/4 basmati rice with 2 1/4 cups water for 45 minutes.
2. Cook the onions, peppers, and shrimp together with a teaspoon of butter.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, soup, 1/4 cup of cheese,shrimp and vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well.
5. Spray a 9-inch square aluminum cake pan or an 11 by 7-inch glasscasserole dish with vegetable spray. Place the mixture in the pan and top with extra cheese, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: Harvest Pumpkin Bars

I finally got a chance to use my AMAZING new cookie recipe book.There was a bake sale friday to raise money for Children's Literacy and pumpkin bars seemed like the perfect thing two days before Halloween. I quadrupled the recipe from 16 bars to 64 bars, and it was definitely less than I expected; I guess those 64 bars are pretty small. Scaling up the recipe also gave me an excuse to use less oil, which I am always trying to do.

Quadrupled Harvest Pumpkin Bars
(makes 64 bars)

1 cup canola oil
8 large eggs
2 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups AP Flour
Pecans, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil,  eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and use a mixer to combine. Stir in flour gradually and mix. Pour batter into several pans and bake for 30 minutes, taking them out half-way in between to spread pecans on top.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Midnight Apple Pie

The Scenario: It's midnight. I don't want to do homework. There are four large apples staring at me across the room in my lovely fruit bowl. There are pre-made pie crusts in the fridge. I am going grocery shopping tomorrow. I need to clear out the fridge before I go... 
Darn, I guess that means I'm making pie.  (And in case you're wondering, it's supposed to be a flower.)


1 Premade Double Crust Pie Pastry
6 Cups Of Fresh Skinless Chopped Green Apples
1 Cup Of White Superfine Sugar
2 Tablespoons Of Real Softened Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Of White All Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Of Fine Ground Table Salt
1 Teaspoon Of Freshly Ground Cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 225 degrees Celsius. Take out a nine inch pie dish, and carefully add into it the bottom crust pastry layer. Next take out a small mixing bowl, and sift together the white superfine sugar, white all purpose baking flour, fine ground table salt, fresh ground cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg. Next take out a large sealable mixing bowl, and add in the fresh skinless chopped green apples, melted butter and the sugar mixture. Place a lid over the bowl, and then vigorously toss the fruit until they are evenly coated with the sugar, flour, and spices. Spoon the apples into your pie dish. You can now add the top pie crust layer over the filling, and then bind the two layers of crust together at the seams. Be sure and make several slits into the pie top so that the filling can breath. Now that you are ready to bake the dessert, slide it into the oven for fifteen minutes. Cover the pie with aluminum foil on the outer edges, and bake the pie for an additional forty minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the apples are tender and juicy. Serve the pie warm with a single scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I was looking for a Baked Pear recipe. This one from Disney Family was easy and hard to resist (see above). If you don't have a melon baller or a peeler (like me), slice the pear, cut off the skins and cut the slices into small chunks. 

Juicy pears are the star of this flavorful baked dessert.

Hands-On Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: 2 servings

1 ripe pear (Bosc, Anjou, or Bartlett)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pear in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeded centers with a teaspoon or melon baller. Then spoon out most of the flesh onto a cutting board, leaving the pear shells intact. Put the shells in a baking dish. Chop the scooped pear into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces and add to the bowl.

Your child can add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar to the chopped pear mix and toss with a spoon. Then she can spoon the filling back into each pear half. Give her some aluminum foil and have her crumple it into balls, placing them around the pears to keep them from tipping.

Put the flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and the salt in a small bowl. Let your child use her fingers to smush the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, then sprinkle half the topping over each pear.

Bake pears, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Theme Meal: Forced to Cook Chicken

Chicken may be healthy, it may be cheap, but I am still scared to cook it. The threat of Salmonella is constantly in my mind every time I use a new utensil or dish. My biggest mistake is overcooking it. Without a thermometer, I always err on the side of caution and cut up the chicken into small pieces so I can make sure every piece is cooked through. I couldn't do that for this recipe since I had to cook them whole, and they actually turned out really moist and flavorful.


•4 4 oz chicken breasts
•Olive Oil Pam
•2 Tbsp flour for Breading
•6 oz white wine
•1 garlic clove
•1 bay leaf
• Salt and Pepper

Slice the chicken breasts along the length to obtain large, medium-thick slices.
In a large frying pan pour the extra virgin olive oil and add the crushed garlic clove and a pinch of salt.
set a layer of flour on a flat dish and dampen the slices of chicken one by one on each side, until you have covered the entire slice with a thin layer of flour. Avoid clumps of flour. Now set them to cook in the pan.
Turn the chicken slices when you see that the border of the slice has whitened and the cooked side is browning lightly.
Right after turning them, increase the heat to high and pour the white wine letting it evaporate vigorously.
Add the minced bay-leave, sprinkle some black pepper, turn them over one more time.
Serve them very hot.

Modified from:

Theme Meal: Eggplant Caponata

My recipes need to be turned in next week, so I was in a scramble to find a good vegetable side dish after making some very lackluster spinach cakes. I needed more bright color, which initially made me think of spinach, but eggplant also has a beautiful color. The big issue with eggplant that I always hear is that it soaks up oil very quickly, so I reduced the olive oil from 5 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon, and it turned out great! I served it with toasted French bread and spread the eggplant mixture on top like a crostini - delicious!


1 tablespoons olive oil
1 1 1/2-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cubed
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings in juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes with juice, then red wine vinegar. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in fresh basil. Transfer caponata to serving bowl. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. (Caponata can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Butternut Squash For One

A week or two ago, one of my classmates in Foodservice lab made a butternut squash and spinach pasta with balsamic vinegar and sage. I tried to copy hers using a recipe from Sandra Lee and it turned out really well. I cooked the squash in the oven, while cooking pasta on the stove. When they were both done, I threw them together in a bowl and covered them with aluminum foil I used on the baking sheet. Then, I quickly cooked the spinach in the pot I used to make pasta with a little bit of Pam. Minimal cleaning required!

1 (20-ounce) package peeled cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix to coat the squash.
Place squash on a nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until the squash is tender and brown about 30 to 35 minutes making sure to flip the squash after 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quick & Easy "Crab Cake" Sandwich

I needed to go grocery shopping yesterday, but with two exams this week, it just isn't happening until tomorrow. So, for once, I checked the freezer last night to see what I could defrost. I found Imitation Crab Meat - the kind you find in salad bars and is pre-cooked. I figured the worst case scenario was that I would eat it straight out of the bag as a snack. Well turns out inspiration came at the right time and I had delicious and light crab cake sandwiches for lunch!

Whole wheat bread, 2 slices
I package (7 oz) Imitation Crab Meat
Two stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp stone-ground mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
Zesty lemon seasoning, to taste
Pepper, to taste 
Sliced Cheese (optional)

Mix together last 7 ingredients in a bowl and spread on toasted bread. Grill in George Foreman grill or panini maker until warm, or cheese is melted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not quite like mom used to make...

My mom always makes the best stuffing at Thanksgiving and Christmas - just celery, onion, butter and Pepperidge Farm stuffing. She would always make twice as much and leave half of it uncooked in the refrigerator. Everyday I would have a small bowl as a snack or as part of the meal, and at the end of the week, the flavors have all marinated together and the stuffing is absolutely delicious. I had a bunch of leftover oatmeal bread that was going to go bad, so I bought some celery today and made homemade stuffing. 
All the recipes I found said to use poultry seasoning, a mixture of thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg, but it just didn't smell the same as my mom's. Some recipes said to use parsley, and some suggested garlic or garlic powder, but any recipe with sausage or apples or cranberries is just overly extravagant. It's definitely going to take a couple tries to get this right.

Celery and Onion Stuffing

1/2 loaf sliced white bread
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable broth

Cut bread into 1/4" cubes and dry in the oven for 5 minutes at 300 degrees. In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well. Bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes.