Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Another lovely pumpkin treat. Though the pumpkin (as well as the applesauce) really adds more of a moist texture than a distinct flavor to the bars. Which is nice since I've found a lot of other granola bars to be on the dry side.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Courtesy of two peas & their pod


3 ¼ cups old fashioned oats
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don't want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cake Pops

I made these for Jillie's preschool Halloween party. While they are cute, fun, and very tasty, they were a pain in the butt to make, so I'm not sure I'll do it again. I didn't have nearly enough candy melts to coat all of the pops, so I have a bunch of naked cake balls in my fridge (that sounds so very wrong). There was also no way I could dip the cake balls in the candy coating without having them completely fall apart. So I ended up having to carefully spread on the coating. Which was a pain. in. the. butt.

However... In making this pain in the butt treat... I have discovered the tastiest pumpkin cake and chocolate frosting I've ever had in my life. I may not make these cake pops again, but I will happily make the cake and frosting, either together or separately, over and over in the future. Scrumptious!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake
A variation on this recipe from

1 (15-ounce) can canned pumpkin puree
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, 2 cups white sugar, and oil. Add eggs, and mix well.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and beat until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool.


Creamy Chocolate Frosting
Courtesy of

2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.


Pumpkin Cake Pops
Courtesy of Elizabeth LaBau, Guide


One 9 x 13 cake, any flavor
One can (16-ounce) prepared frosting, any flavor
1 pound orange candy coating
About 48 lollipop sticks
Food-safe markers, gel icing, or 2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or waxed paper.

Place the cake in a large bowl, and crumble it roughly with your hands. Once it's in fine crumbs, add about 2/3 of the frosting and begin to mix it with your hands into the cake crumbs, working until the mixture is evenly moistened. You want the cake mixture to easily hold together when you press it into a ball, but still retain a little texture. My personal preference is to have some “crumb” left to the crumb, so that it is not just a gooey ball. Of course, tastes vary, so if it seems as if the cake mixture is too dry, or you like a gooier taste, add more frosting until you're happy with the taste and texture.

Using a cookie scoop or teaspoon, form the mixture into small balls. Roll the balls between your palms to round them, then press them down slightly so that they're squat balls, similar to a pumpkin shape. Once all of the pumpkins are formed, place them on the prepared baking sheet and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

After the pumpkin cake pops have been frozen, remove them from the freezer. Melt the candy coating in the microwave and stir until completely smooth.

Use a skewer to poke a hole in the top of a pumpkin, then dip the tip of a lollipop stick in the candy coating and press it into the hole. This will help anchor the stick into the cake pop.

After all of the pumpkins have been skewered, dip a pumpkin fully into the candy coating until it's submerged. Take it out of the coating and gently tap the stick against the lip of the bowl so that excess coating drips off. Sit the pumpkin back on the baking sheet with the stick up in the air and let the coating set completely.

Once all of the pumpkins are dipped and the coating has hardened, melt chocolate chips and put the melted chocolate in a plastic bag. Snip a corner off the bag and use it to pipe on their eyes and mouths. An easier alternative is to use a food-safe marker to draw faces on the pumpkins.

Store pumpkin cake pops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For the best taste and texture, allow them to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I love popovers. Especially with soup. The soup pictured in the background is this one. Just make sure you don't forget to preheat the pans, otherwise, they'll end up like this.

Courtesy of


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Spray a popover pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place pan on center rack of oven and preheat for 2 minutes.

Blend flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until it looks like heavy cream, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Cut chilled butter into 6 even pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in each cup and place pan back in oven until butter is bubbly (about 1 minute).

Fill each cup half full with batter and bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I think I prefer just plain pumpkin whoopie pies. These are quite tasty though, and I certainly had no problem eating them.

Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Courtesy of Burn Me Not


For the cookies:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup canned solid pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with non-stick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, shortening, and both sugars. Using the paddle attachment, mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then milk and vanilla, and finish with the remaining flour mixture.

Drop about a tablespoon of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cookies spring back when lightly touched. Place baking sheet on wire rack and let cool 5-10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare filling: In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth, scraping down bowl as necessary.

Assemble whoopie pie: Pipe or spoon filling on the flat sides of half the cookies then sandwich with remaining cookies.

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Wild Mushrooms

This is a slightly different version of this recipe. And it's also one of the first recipes that I made early on that really wowed Jonathan (we guessed about 6 years ago?). It stands the test of time too... He loved it tonight just as much as he used to. Yay!

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Wild Mushrooms
A variation on this recipe from Rachael Ray (via The Savory Notebook)


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate and return pan to the stove. Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender and mushrooms are browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add chicken stock and heat for one minute. Stir in pumpkin and incorporate - it will be thick. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Top with cheese and parsley.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Vegetable Curry

This is so easy and SO tasty. I added some almonds because I thought it could use a little variation in the texture. And I'm really glad I did. It added some great flavor as well as some crunch. Perfect weeknight dish!

Fall Vegetable Curry
A variation on this recipe from Cooking Light


1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almonds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked rice

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add yogurt and almonds, and simmer for another couple minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve over rice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana

Anything stuffed and dipped makes a mess when you're making it, but it was totally worth it. This is a fabulous dish to make for company. Pair it with some greens (I lightly dressed arugula with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper) and some garlic bread (I didn't make that this time, but I definitely will next time), and it's a really impressive but comforting meal.

The proportions of ingredients made it so that I used chopped fresh baby spinach rather than half a standard 10-ounce package of frozen spinach. I added a little extra ricotta to make the filling smoother. I may use cottage cheese instead of ricotta next time; not only because I just like it better than ricotta, but also to add a little more creaminess.

Ooooooohhhhhh... And I just read in the original recipe commentary that this recipe originally had prosciutto in the filling. Um, yeah, I'll be doing that next time too. And um, yeah, I'm just kind of totally unskinnying this recipe. Oh well.

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana
A variation on this recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes


8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 ounces each
1/2 cup whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 eggs, divided
1 6-ounce bag fresh baby spinach, chopped into ribbons
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
6 ounces part skim mozzarella
Olive oil non-stick spray
1 cup pomodoro sauce or marinara sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese in one bowl and 2 beaten eggs in another.

Shred or finely chop 1.5 ounces of mozzarella cheese and combine with remaining grated Parmesan cheese, spinach, 1 beaten egg, and ricotta cheese.

Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 2 tablespoons of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs, and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil. Bake 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, top with sauce then cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side and grated cheese.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Meh. I think I'd rather just make actual snickerdoodles. The meringue frosting is fine, but it gets funky quickly. And I didn't have time to pipe it, just kind of plopped it on, so it's not nearly as pretty as it should be. Oh well. It was worth a try.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Courtesy of Martha Stewart


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Make frosting: Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230°F.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230°F, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

To finish cupcakes, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Herb Bread

This is a great bread for soups. It's a recipe made for the Oster bread machine I have, but I imagine you could tweak it to accommodate whatever bread machine you have.

Italian Herb Bread
Courtesy of Oster


1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan. Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan. Use your finger to form a wel (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast. Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients. Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well.

Snap the baking pan into the breadmaker and ctose the lid. Press “Select” button to choose the french setting. Press the “Crust Color” button to choose light. medium or dark crust. Press the “Start/Stop” button.

Pasta Fagioli

Easy and tasty. And my entire family, all 4 of us, ate the same dinner tonight. Which is a miracle. Woot!

I sautéed all the chopped vegetables (not just the onion and garlic) before adding the other ingredients to set the soup to simmer. And I discovered after chopping everything that I had forgotten to get the crushed tomatoes, so I used an equal amount of pasta sauce instead. I'm sure it gave the whole thing even more flavor, so I just might keep it for the future.

Pasta Fagioli
A variation on this recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
1 16-ounce jar pasta sauce
1 large bay leaf
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
2 (14 ounces each) cans fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
2 cups water, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) dry Ditalini pasta or other small pasta
Grated Parmigiano or Romano (optional)

In a deep pot, sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil over medium heat.

Blend the can of beans with one can water in electric blender until almost smooth.

Add blended beans to pan, then add the pasta sauce, chicken broth, basil, bay leaf, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water and bring to slow boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, according to pasta directions.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Corn Chowdah Mac 'n' Cheese

Yuuuuuuuuuuum. Yum.

Corn Chowdah Mac 'n' Cheese
Courtesy of Rachael Ray


Salt and black pepper
1 pound mezzi rigatoni, penne rigate or cavatappi pasta
4 ears corn, husked
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/4 pound bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 baking potato, peeled and diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (half a palmful)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red chile pepper, such as fresno, seeded and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A few sprigs thyme, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
About 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Few grates fresh nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is working, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the broiler. Place a small bowl upside down in a large bowl. Stand each ear of corn on the small bowl and scrape down the kernels.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the bacon and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Add the corn, potato and Old Bay to the bacon drippings in the skillet and brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, chile pepper, bell pepper, onion and garlic; season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then the milk; season with the mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce coats a spoon thickly; lower the heat to low. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Add the corn-potato mixture and the white sauce to the pasta in the pot and stir together. Transfer to a casserole or serving dish, top with the cheddar and bacon and broil until brown and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies

Meh. Not great. If I'm going to make shortbreads, I'll make these. And if I want holiday chocolate cookies, I'll make these. Oh well. They were worth a try.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies
Courtesy of Simply Recipes


1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. (Do not skip this step as cocoa powder has a tendency to clump. You want the dry ingredients sifted to ensure a tender cookie.) Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a mixer for 5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides and add the rest of the flour mixture. Once incorporated mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on it. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. (You can also lightly flour a work space, but I find my method far easier, cleaner, and the shortbread keeps a sandy texture by not picking up the extra flour.) You may find the dough getting too soft. If it does, place it in the freezer for ten minutes to firm it up before you continue rolling or cutting. (The dough is very hard to work with when soft.) Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. It can be difficult to tell when these cookies are done, so when they smell like freshly baked cookies and the edges are slightly firm but still give a bit then consider them done (simply enough, it takes some judgment on your part). Remove the pans and allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This was my first time ever having rugelach. And now I'm wondering why I waited so long. Holy cow, these are good. I think I just generally like doughs that are made with cream cheese, but the other flavors in here make these particular cookies especially awesome.

Jillie decided she thinks we should have them for breakfast, which I think is in no small part because of the cinnamon sugar. After eating oatmeal with cinnamon and honey for the better part of the last year, I think she's conditioned to associate those flavors with breakfast. I just might take her advice tomorrow morning...

Courtesy of Cookie Couture via Martha Stewart


For the Coating:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

For the Filling:
2 cups premium raspberry preserves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts

Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter, cream cheese, and salt on low until well combined; add flour and mix until a dough has formed. Turn out onto work surface and cut into 4 equal pieces; wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

Unwrap 1 piece of dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll into an 11-inch round and, using a pizza wheel, cut into 8 equal wedges. Repeat process with remaining pieces of dough.

To Fill: Spread 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves on each piece of dough; sprinkle 1 teaspoon nuts on the short side of each piece. Starting with the short side of the triangle, fold corners in toward the center and roll up each piece to enclose filling. Repeat process with remaining dough, preserves, and nuts.

Make the coating: In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Dip each rugelach first in melted butter and then in sugar mixture to coat, pressing on open ends to enclose. Place on a baking sheet 1/2 inch apart.

Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until browned and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Gratin

This is what every broccoli casserole wants to be. It's fresh and creamy. It's light but satisfying. Jonathan couldn't stop eating it. And when he saw the picture of it again just now, he started to gush all over again about how good it was. Score.

This recipe originally called for Brussels sprouts, but it's not quite close enough to the holidays for them to be readily available in my local grocery store yet. Which is a total bummer since I love them. But I will definitely be trying them in this recipe as soon as I can find them.

I did not steam the broccoli before putting everything together and sticking it in the oven. It kept the broccoli crisp, which we loved. I really dislike mushy vegetables.

Broccoli Gratin
A variation on this recipe from T'afia for Food Network Magazine


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter a 2-quart baking dish. Add broccoli to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste, then spread out evenly. Pour the cream on top, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.

Bake the gratin until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

This is a great recipe for pork tenderloin. I was very happy to have found a tasty way to use the rosemary in my garden.

I only cooked the pork to 145°F since I find the recommended 160°F internal temperature to result in a way overcooked pork tenderloin. It took almost the full 30 minutes though, so I think the original recipe may be a little off. Either that or Claire Robinson has some mega oven that cooks things faster than mine does.

I may also add less pepper next time. It was pretty peppery, and I had already decreased the suggested pepper by half. Claire obviously likes her some pepper.

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
A variation on this recipe from Claire Robinson


1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs rosemary, with hard woody stems
5 large garlic cloves, 2 cloves minced, 3 cloves smashed
2 pork tenderloins, about 1-pound each
4 slices maple bacon

In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, fresh ground black pepper, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic and mix well. Rub the mustard mixture over the surface of the tenderloins and wrap in plastic wrap. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place rosemary sprigs and smashed garlic in the center of a roasting pan. Remove the plastic wrap from the tenderloins and top each with 2 slices of maple bacon. Tie with kitchen twine to secure bacon strips.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer, inserted in the tenderloins, registers 145°F. Remove from oven when desired doneness is reached and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes on a cutting board. Remove kitchen twine, slice and serve with your favorite sides. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs and garlic.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sage and Pancetta Biscuits

These were scrumptious. I'm thinking they may need to be included in an upcoming holiday breakfast...

I served them with this potato soup. I used shredded mozzarella instead of Fontina since that's what I had on hand. And I had to make my own buttermilk substitute. I did that by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a little less than a cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

Sage and Pancetta Biscuits
A variation on this recipe from Bon Appétit


1 3-ounce package thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°F. Sauté pancetta in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl to blend. Rub in butter with fingertips until coarse meal forms. Stir in Fontina and sage, separating strands of cheese. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and pancetta with any pan drippings and stir until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead just until dough holds together, about 4 to 6 turns. Flatten dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using 2 1/4-inch-diameter biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Re-roll dough and cut out more rounds until all dough is used.

Transfer biscuits to large rimmed ungreased baking sheet, spacing apart. Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Bake until biscuits are puffed and golden, about 14 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pasta with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts in a Light Ragù

Yum. This is a pretty traditional dish that's given a bit of a twist with the Brussels sprouts. And I really like the flavor they give. It's exactly what I wanted on this chilly early Fall evening.

Pasta with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts in a Light Ragù
Courtesy of Gina's Skinny Recipes


1 sweet or hot pork sausage link, casing removed, crumbled
3/4 lb 93% lean ground turkey
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
10 ounces Brussels sprouts (weight after outer leaves and stems removed), cut into thin shreds
1 small onion, diced small
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 pound pasta
Grated Pecorino Romano, if desired

In a large, wide skillet, add sausage and turkey over medium-high heat, breaking up the sausage and turkey as it cooks into small pieces. When completely cooked through; set aside in a bowl.

To the skillet, add 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook until golden (do not burn). Add shredded brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and sauté until tender crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes; set aside in another bowl.

To the same skillet, add remaining 2 tsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, stirring well to coat with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables turn golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, sausage and turkey, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, salt and fresh pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 30 - 40 minutes, or until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, while sauce is simmering, put a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Add the pasta to the water 10 minutes before the sauce is done and cook pasta al dente.

Drain and add the pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce. Add cooked Brussels sprouts and toss. Serve and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano, if desired.

Strawberry and Rosemary Scones

I was definitely wary of these while I was making them. Rosemary can be such an overwhelming flavor, but the sweetness of the strawberry jam and the lemony glaze really helps to cut that intense woodsy flavor while not making it completely disappear. They're very tasty. And I love the holiday feeling they have.

Strawberry and Rosemary Scones
Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water

For the scones: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-inch circle. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheet. Gently knead together any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into more heart shapes and add to the baking sheet. Using an index finger or a small, round measuring spoon, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry heart. Spoon a heaped 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.

For the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for 2 days.

Cook's Note: The dough can also be made by hand by stirring together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake

Oh my, this pound cake is wonderful. Though it proves, once again, that I cannot get these suckers out of the pan without them completely falling apart. The first piece of evidence of this situation can't be found on this blog, for some reason (the cake wasn't that fabulous, so maybe that's why?). But here is Exhibit A, a Paula Deen pound cake gone wrong:


Then there's absolutely scrumptious Exhibit B:


So yeah, it's not a pretty cake. But it was so yummy that I will be trying it again. I will try greasing and flouring the pan and see if maybe that helps. *fingers crossed*

The only thing I did differently from the original recipe was use almond extract instead of amaretto (mostly because I ran out of time to get to the liquor store). And I've really started enjoying the combination of orange and chocolate, so I paired this cake with my malted chocolate ice cream.

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake
A variation on this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.

Using a mixer, cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, orange zest and almond extract until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. To wrap, return to the pan and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Chicken Normande with Mashed Apples and Potatoes

Meh. Not terrific. It smelled great, but it didn't taste like much. Oh well.

Chicken Normande with Mashed Apples and Potatoes
Courtesy of Bon Appétit


3 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
8 ounces parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 pound Golden Delicious apples (about 2 large), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons butter
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup brandy
1/3 cup whipping cream

Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until parsnips are tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer parsnips to small bowl. Add potatoes and apples to same pot. Cover; simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes and apples to large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter. Mash until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour broth mixture from pot into medium bowl; reserve pot.

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and 4 teaspoons thyme; dust with flour. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in reserved pot over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sautéed chicken to 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken. Top with parsnips, remaining 2 teaspoons thyme and peas. Return broth mixture to same pot; add brandy and whipping cream. Boil over medium-high heat until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, scraping up browned bits, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken. Cover with potato-apple mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake casserole uncovered until potato topping is crusty and chicken filling is heated through, about 35 minutes (about 45 minutes if refrigerated).