Recipe Central

Hubby’s garden, Summer 2010

Hi! This page is for those who love to cook but even more geared to those, like me, who love home-cooked meals but would much rather do something beside peel, chop, mince, cook and then clean the mess. (I can be a very organized cook. When, however, I’m multi-tasking, the place looks like it exploded. I’ve heard that is one of the signs of a great mind but not sure I buy that.)

For those of you who like, there’s at least a handful more to be had at my website, and if you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you’ll find a link to even more of them! Hope you take the time to try a few!

Posted on April 1, 2011

This one made it to a Friday post but figured it could be permantly housed and easily found here: one of my favorites:

Egg and cheese over toast (a quick, easy and VERY SATISFYING meal for any time of the day)

What you’ll need:

One slice multigrain bread

One egg plus egg whites (or only egg whites)

One slice cheese of choice (I like white American; a low-fat, 2% slice works well too)

Cooking spray and/or oil (I like canola)

Put it together: 

 Spray a non-stick frying pan and add a teaspoon or so of oil; tilt to coat pan.

Toast bread and cover it with cheese.

Heat pan over medium to high heat. (Don’t make pan so hot egg burns once you drop it in.) Crack egg into pan and add as many egg whites as you like. (I always add one). When white is set gently turn egg over and continue cooking until yolk is as cooked as you like. (Soft—but not runny—for me.) Remove from heat, gently place egg on toast/cheese. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy! (I love to dip the bread into the yolk. Maybe it’s an Italian thing? ) Fruit and coffee round this out beautifully.

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Posted on November 27, 2010

Wondering what to do with what’s left of that Thanksgiving turkey, roasted or rotisserie chicken? Make the easiest soup ever—seasoning will be built right in—and know dinner will already be done when you wake up the next morning!

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock (easily frozen until you’re ready to use it :))

Ingredients:
One fully cooked roasted or rotisserie chicken carcass
Water
Salt and pepper to taste

FYI: I usually start this dish as I’m cleaning up after our chicken dinner, especially since I’m in the kitchen anyway. You can, however, refrigerate the carcass a day or freeze it for another day.)

Leaving on as much meat as you choose, place chicken in a 2½ quart pot and cover with water. Cover loosely and bring to a boil, skimming off and discarding any foam that comes up. (Foam will eventually stop coming.) Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 3-4 hours. Remove from heat and carefully (that bird’s hot people!) remove the meat from the bones. If going straight to making the soup, return the meat to the broth.

At this point it’s usually about 9:30 or 10 PM. I transfer the broth to a small crock pot and add all the following* (except for the bouillon) and let the magic happen on low overnight. I choose not to add pasta or rice, but that can easily be cooked on the side—orzo is a great choice—then heated together with the soup before serving.

½ cup carrots, sliced round or cut lengthwise (your preference); baby carrots work and save the time of cleaning and slicing
1-2 stalks of celery, sliced
½-1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
(packet powdered chicken bouillon—optional—I only add it if the broth tastes watery. That’s rare and tends to happen if the stock wasn’t simmered long enough.)

*These are approximate measures and can easily be adjusted to suit your individual tastes.

Other tips: Using a Pyrex or CorningWare pot (i.e., glass or ceramic) and cooking the soup (at least 2 hours or until veggies are tender) entirely on the stove will allow you to store the soup in the fridge (after its cooled a bit) in the same container. Don’t forget to put that metal thing-y on the burner if your stove is electric or you’ll have a glass-explosion on your hands and shattered glass everywhere!)

Now, the easiest stuffed mushrooms ever: simple, elegant and absolutely delicious! Makes a great appetizer or side dish; stuffing a Portobello is an instant meal!

Ingredients:
10-oz package white mushrooms (not sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½-2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (add more as needed)
grated cheese (I use Parmesan)
fresh or frozen parsley (optional)
canola and/or olive oil
¼-½ cup white wine (or to taste; optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside. Under gently running water* wash the stems, carefully rubbing off any dirt by hand or using a mushroom brush. (Those can be purchased anywhere cooking gadgets are sold, but more easily found in a store like Bed Bath and Beyond. The brushes look like surgical brushes—a great substitute for those who have access to them . I simply wash them by hand.)

*Some folks don’t wash mushrooms—they simply brush off the dirt so that the mushroom doesn’t get mushy. I can’t go for that. Moving the cap or stem in/out of gently running water wets the flesh enough to loosen the dirt. The underside of the cap is occluded by the stem and can only have so much dirt in it. Soaking that part will make your mushroom soggy; keeping the round part of the cap upright under the water will easily eliminate this problem. Air dry each piece on a wire rack while making the stuffing. BTW, you can stuff them slightly damp.

Okay, the stuffing:
In a mini-food processor (or by hand) mince all the mushroom stems; add the garlic and continue processing until finely chopped. (It will look like a lot. Don’t worry—mushrooms really shrink when you cook them.) Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in bread crumbs, cheese and parsley.

Coat a 10- or 12-inch frying pan (preferably non-stick) with cooking spray then with enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat the oil (and the wine) over medium heat. Add the contents of the bowl, stirring to coat everything and moisten it. Saute for a minute or two and remove from heat.

Using a regular teaspoon (not a measuring spoon) stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture. You can level off the stuffing or mound it—your choice; depends on how much stuffing you have.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place caps (stuffing side up), if necessary, layer them across the spaces formed by the bottom layer (or get another pan). Cover with foil** and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 375˚F, or until mushrooms are tender. Serve immediately.

**At this point, you can refrigerate and bake the next day. Leftovers can also be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

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Posted on September 6, 2010:

 Fresh Tomato Salad (ridiculously easy and so incredibly delicious–almost a meal of its own!)

1-2 large ripe tomatoes sliced or chopped (pick your favorite; beefsteak and/or pear work real well around here)

1/4-1/2 red onion, sliced thinly or finely chopped

crumbled feta cheese (to taste)

fresh basil (to taste)

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Adobo

salt (any variety including kosher, sea or seasoned) /pepper to taste

In a shallow bowl (i.e., pasta dish) toss tomato with onion, feta cheese and basil.  Season with Adobo, salt and pepper then drizzle with balsamic and olive oil to taste. Roasted sunflower seed kernels add protein and crunch w/o the starch croutons would add. For those of you who can only take so much of the very acidic balsamic, add oregano for extra taste and drizzle only with the olive oil. Done!

Easy Grilled Tomatoes Oreganata (works easily as a side dish or as a vegetarian main meal)

 4 medium or large tomatoes

1/4-1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

olive oil (variety of choice and amount to taste, at least 2 teaspoons)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or variety you prefer, such as Romano)

salt/pepper/oregano/basil to taste

After spraying a grill-pan (preferably the kind with raised lines) with non-stick cooking spray and adding a little (canola) oil (1-2- tsp), heat over medium heat. Carefully slice off the top eighth of the tomatoes. Place upside down on pan and grill until blackened lines appear on the surface. Remove from heat and scoop out enough of the flesh to create a small well. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese and other seasonings. (If the seasoning on the bread crumbs is plenty for you, then skip this step; alternate idea: start with plain bread crumbs and season to your taste with the ingredients I listed here.) Add 1-2-tsp olive oil and stir together. Top tomatoes with this mixture. Arrange on a cookie sheet or in a shallow baking pan and grill for just a few minutes under the broiler (low flame or setting), until topping turns golden brown. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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Posted on August 30, 2010

Fitzwilliam Inn Peach cobbler recipe (Thanks for so much for sharing it, Zoe!):

2-1/2 cups oats
1-1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 peaches (chopped, medium-size, as per Zoe–you can probably slice thick or thin as you like)
1/4 cup white sugar

Mash oats, brown sugar and butter into a paste;  take half and press it into bottom of pie pan.
Chop peaches medium size, add white sugar and pour over crust.  Take
remainder of paste and sprinkle over top and bake at 375 until it bubbles
(about 40 minutes).

Serve warm, topped with plain/vanilla yogurt or ice cream–incredibly delicious!

Those of you who know me know I’m also going to try this with apples and/or pears–has to be awesome, too. I’ll keep you posted as to how it turns out!

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An early-morning harvest of zucchini and pumpkin blossoms 🙂

Here’s a different take on the zucch/pumpkin blossom fritters, sent to me by my friend Tammy (one of my very first fans–thanks so very much, you are great!)

Find the original recipe here: http://www.joannaaislinn.com/Recipes.html (please forgive any page distortions; we’ve recently experienced some tech difficulties–and then inform me of them, please!)

Hi Joanna,

Just a suggestion for your zucchini blosom fritters, after they’re fried you can pour a little greek dressing (*recipe below) on them; they are delicious. (It’s an old greek recipie similar to yours.) Also, my mom stuffs them with the same stuffing you use for stuffed peppers. She folds the flower petals in towards the middle so the stuffing doesn’t come out, and she bakes them in the same baking pan as the stuffed peppers.  They are truly delicious–you should try it sometime. By the way, you can freeze those blosoms and use them at a later date. (Put them in a freezer bag.My mom does it all the time, but not for too long. she freezes them long enough to save up enough to stuff or fry.)

*Greek dressing is basically olive oil and vinegar.

We also use this:  take a couple of cloves or peeled garlic and 1/4 or 1/2 cup (depending on how much you want to make) extra virgin olive oil, and blend it in a food processor. the garlic will soak up some of the oil.  Then add some vinegar, i like to add a little and than taste it and add more if needed. Some people don’t like too much vinegar so for the 1/4 cup i would try using an 1/8 cup of vinegar and if it’s too strong, add a little more olive oil. With this recipie, the garlic gives it a little zing.

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Back on August 6, 2010, I posted a base recipe, a zucchini and onion saute. Here are some more very easy ways to use that!

Chicken-zucchini stuffed tacos: This one surprised the heck out of me. While making beef tacos for my kids, I made a base recipe and was thinking about using it to top grillled chicken breast.  (Use store-bought/pre-cooked or your own–you can even use leftover chicken from a rotisserie or home-roasted bird–there goes that ‘flow’ Diane Lang talked about in her last post…sorry!)  I transferred the base recipe to a plate, cut (raw) chicken breast cut into one-inch thick strips and stir-fried them in the same pan I made the base recipe, adding the base at the end to heat it through. I seasoned all of it with taco seasoning, stuffed my (crunchy) taco shells (soft will do, too; it’s a preference), topped it with mild salsa and shredded Mexican style cheese–OMG! Delicious!

Next: Eloisa James tames the dukes; Joanna stuffs the zucchs!

(1) Cut your zucch in half lengthwise. (Each of these was about 10 inches long and at least 6-8 inches in diameter.)  Scrape out the seeds and a good portion of the flesh until each piece forms a boat or shell. Optional: Season to taste with salt, pepper, Adobo or salt-free seasoning.

(2)  Mix your base recipe with a handful or two of seasoned breadcrumbs (or enough to hold the mixture together); sprinkle in grated cheese (a few tablespoons or to taste), chopped parsley and/or basil to taste and add an egg. (Those with cholesterol concerns can add two egg whites instead.) Stir until all the ingredients are well-coated. (Some easy variations: stir in browned chopped meat, small pieces of chicken, turkey or–my favorite–sauted mushrooms!)

(3)   Spoon the mixture into the hulled zucchini.

(4)  Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray then

(5)   wrap as shown. (Or use a baking pan and cover with foil.)

Bake in a 375-degree (F) about 45 minutes or until the shell is tender.  If you choose, you can remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking and allow stuffing to brown, or even place under a (low) broiler for a few minutes. Slice, serve and eat! (BTW, everything can be easily assembled and kept in the fridge a day or so before baking. Alternative: stuff, bake and eat over the course of several days.) This recipe is also great for making in large quantities for parties and pot-luck dinners. Let me know what you think!

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