Friday, March 30, 2018

Almond and cranberry tea cake

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dried cranberries
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds


Method:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder until very well combined. Set the flour mixture aside.
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat again until the mixture is creamy in texture. Add milk and beat again. Incorporate flour mixture and mix it in with a spatula.
Add most of the cranberries to the cake batter and spread the cake batter into a 9-inch pie plate coated with non-stick spray, the sprinkle the remaining cranberries over top. Sprinkle the almonds over top and press them lightly into the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake and almonds are lightly browned on top.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna


Ingredients:
  1. Trader Joe's no-boil lasagna noodles 
  2. Jar of marinara sauce (I use Rao's brand which is hella expensive but SO good)
  3. 12 oz tub of mascarpone cheese (or ricotta or a blend of both)
  4. Shredded parmesan cheese
  5. Shredded mozzarella cheese
  6. Spinach
  7. Mushrooms
  8. 1/4 cup milk
  9. Bacon bits
  10. Salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg
  11. Handful of parsley

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice and cook mushrooms in butter with garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Spray an 8"x11" baking pan with non-stick spray.
  • Whisk milk with mascarpone cheese, salt, shredded parmesan, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Layer a bit of white sauce in the bottom of the pan – just enough to barely cover the bottom.
  • Place 2 noodles on the sauce, cover it with marinara. Sprinkle mozzarella. Stack spinach on the first layer. Soak noodles in the white sauce and place over the spinach (I use raw spinach but you can cook it if you don't want your lasagna to get watery).
  • Layer marinara sauce. Spread the sliced mushrooms (keep some for later), bacon crumbles, top with another layer of soaked noodles, marinara and shredded mozzarella. 
  • (You get the drill. Noodles. Milk sauce. Marinara. Topping - crumbled Italian sausage would be good, too. Mozzarella. My Pyrex dish can do 2-3 layers, tops.)
  • Let the dish sit for 1/2 hour to overnight for everything to set.
  • Place dish in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  • Garnish with fried mushrooms and chopped parsley.
  • Remove from oven, cut into individual portions and serve with salad and garlic bread.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Eggnog Pie

I know it's only February but this is the perfect Christmas time dessert (light and seasonal) to round up a heavy meal of turkey or shepherd's pie. My husband who loves eggnog naturally approves of this incredibly easy pie.

Ingredients:
nutmeg
graham cracker crust
instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
cool whip

Method:
With an electric mixer, beat 2 cups of eggnog with 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding mix. Add a pinch of nutmeg. Fold in 2 cups of cool whip. Spread into a store-bought graham cracker crust and set for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yogurt cake

I already have a favorite orange cake but that recipe calls for sour cream and I ran out of it this afternoon. I did have two tubs of yogurt languishing in the refrigerator so I decided to look for a recipe that incorporates it, instead. I found this French yogurt cake recipe on Epicurious so I adapted it by subbing orange zest for lemon 'cause I didn't have on hand. I must say, I've never baked a cake with yogurt in it before and this thing is a revelation. So moist and delicious and oh-so-easy.

Ingredients:

nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon orange extract



Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a standard loaf pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Using your fingers, rub 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist.
Add 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; whisk to blend.
Fold in dry ingredients with a spatula.
Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peanut butter pie

I am not a huge fan of peanut butter but my husband is and we had friends over for dinner last week and I decided on this dessert. The boys said it was a big hit.

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed
1 store bought Oreos pie crust
Reese's Pieces for decoration



Method:
Using a hand-held mixer, beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed whipped topping and gently incorporate it with a spatula until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. 

Pour the filling into the crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before serving. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Red Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

We love enchiladas in all forms. Especially stacked casseroles. This is the best one I've made so far. Best kind of comfort food - super easy and super cheesy.

Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can of red enchilada sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped hatch green chiles
  • Caramelized onions
  • Grated sharp/mild cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro/spring onions (for garish)


Method:

Finely dice onions. Heat pan and add a generous portion of butter and olive oil. Fry onions. Add salt, sugar, black pepper and cook till they're caramelized and a delicious golden brown. (You can always just use raw onions as well in the casserole but trust me, the caramelized onions just take it to the next level, you know, so it's totally worth it).

In a bowl, mix one can of red enchilada sauce with a couple of tablespoons of sour cream and the chopped green chiles. Season and adjust according to how mild/spicy you want it.

In a large casserole pan, stack corn tortillas. Cover with the sauce. Top with chicken. Cheese. Onions. Add on another layer of corn tortillas. Spoon sauce. Chicken, onions. And finish with cheese.... You know the drill.

(I like to keep my casseroles in the refrigerator for a couple of hours - or even a whole day - before I put them in the oven. It lets everything settle and soak up the sauce).

Stick it under the broiler for a 15-20 minutes till everything is nice and bubbly. Garnish with chopped spring onions or cilantro. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Semolina Pudding / Sooji Halwa

This is a dish from the Sunday breakfasts of my childhood. I bought a half pound bag of semolina from the Indian store awhile ago and I'll rustle this dish up on rainy evenings when I'm craving a taste of home.

Ingredients:

4 heaped tablespoons of semolina (suji/rava).
1 tablespoon of clarified butter (ghee)
2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of sugar
A large pinch of cardamon powder
Raisins, cashew, pistachio, almonds for garnishing

Method:

In a wok, heat the ghee on medium heat. Add a bay leaf and the dry fruits/nuts and toss for a minute or two.
In another heated pan, add the dry semolina and toast for several minutes. Keep stirring till the semolina is brown and cooked all the way through. You don't want it tasting too raw. Be careful not to let it stick to the pan or burn. Add the toasted semolina to the wok.
Pour in the milk. Add sugar and let it boil, stir every two to three minutes to ensure that the semolina doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the wok.
Add a pinch of cardamom powder to it and cook till it reaches a level of consistency you like. (I like mine pretty soupy.)
Serve hot or cold. (I like mine hot)