Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rhubarb Peach Cobbler

Alright, well June 22nd was Dad's 66th birthday. Can you believe it?! It's pretty crazy how fast the years are flying by...Dad is still going strong though. I love that guy. He got to spend his birthday roaming Cabela's looking for fishing gear with a friend, Brent. Mom was gone to NM, so I wanted to do something special. When he arrived home, I surprised him with a Rhubarb Peach Cobbler (cake is way overrated, haha). He really liked the cobbler. Wahoo! Friends in the picture include Brent and Isaac's "girlfriend" Katie. This cobbler is delicious because it is not overly sweet and has unique twist with the rhubarb and peaches. Enjoy :)

Rhubarb and Peach Cobbler

9 1/2 ounces all purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
1 ounce sugar, approximately 2 tablespoons, plus 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus extra for dish
1 1/2 ounces shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 ounces ice water, approximately 3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound sliced peaches, peel on and sliced into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drippings. Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside.

Place the flour, 1-ounce sugar, lime zest, and 1 teaspoon salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 to 4 times. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture just becomes crumbly. Sprinkle or spritz the mixture with the ice water a little at a time and process just until the dough holds together when squeezed in a fist. Place the dough into a 1 gallon zip top bag and form into a disk. Place the dough into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, while you prepare the filling.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the 1 cup of sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the rhubarb, peaches, and lime juice.

Remove 1/3 of the dough from the bag, pinch into pieces and distribute evenly in the bottom of the prepared dish. With the remaining dough still in the bag, roll it out to a sheet large enough to cover the top of the dish. Pour the fruit mixture into the dish and top with the dough that has been removed from the bag, pressing the dough into the corners of the dish. Bake, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and starting to turn golden. *If using frozen fruit, increase cooking time to 90 minutes.

Change the oven setting to broil and continue to cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

A classic Italian dish. Mozzarella and Parmesan melt over herb-breaded chicken. Spaghetti sauce makes this delectable dish moist and tasty. It pairs well with your favorite kind of pasta and a tossed salad.

Chicken Parmigiana

1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs seasoned with basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut in half horizontally) = 4 halves
3/4 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Pour beaten egg into a small bowl. Place seasoned bread crumbs on a plate. Dip chicken pieces into egg, then into bread crumbs. Place coated chicken onto prepared baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until no longer pink. Pour 1/2 of spaghetti sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Return to preheated over for about 15-20 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbling.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Walnut Syrup

I made these pancakes for dad on Father's Day. They were so moist and flavorful! This breakfast dish will be sure to put a smile on your face :)

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (you may need more)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
*Blend together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the chopped apple. Cook pancakes on a hot, greased griddle.

Apple Walnut Syrup

2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
*In a saucepan, melt the butter while stirring in the walnuts. Toast walnuts until lightly browned. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the chopped apple. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over the warm pancakes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Real Mac-n-Cheese

Okay, so I love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but I can never eat it without feeling like I am going to fill my body with chemically-harming ingredients. Sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow, yeah I don't think so. Instead of eating that crap, try making Mac-n-Cheese from scratch. It's easy and tastes way better! Plus it's better for you than the boxed kind. This delicious dish is full of cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, cottage cheese, and sour cream. SCRUMDILIUMPTIOUS!
1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni (or shells) *I used about 10 ounces
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
1 (16 ounce) container small curd cottage
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper, garlic, and basil to taste
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.
2.In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.
3.Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dinner Party

Last week, Carolyn and Lon came over to unwrap the remainder of their wedding gifts. Carolyn's mom and sister joined us for the activity. Well, as you may know, I LOVE cooking for a crowd. I actually look for a reason to cook for a group of people. So I made Shrimp Bruschetta for the appetizer (copy-cat recipe from Red Lobster), 2 kinds of Manicotti for the main dish: Sausage and Spinach, and Apple  Strudel for dessert. It was scrumptious!

Shrimp Bruschetta
12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 French baguette
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 large, fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 2 teaspoons prepared fresh basil)
2 tablespoons diced red onions
1/4 cup balsamic dressing (use your favorite or substitute equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
4 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours)
Place 3 shrimp on each skewer, all facing the same direction. Push shrimp together tightly to hold together.
Brush shrimp skewers with canola oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Prepare the grill by spraying the grates with nonstick cooking spray. Turn grill to high.
Grill skewers for approximately 2 minutes per side, until shrimp are opaque and firm. Remove skewers from grill and chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours (shrimp skewers can be made one day ahead).
Slice French baguette into 1/2-inch slices. Brush with melted butter and season with garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Toast baguette slices in pre-heated 350-degree oven for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and hold at room temperature.
Combine tomatoes, basil, onion and balsamic dressing in small bowl; toss gently to incorporate dressing.
Remove shrimp from skewers and toss with tomato mixture.
Top toasted baguette slices with shrimp mixture.

Manicotti (Sausage or Spinach, you choose)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound sausage or frozen spinach, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool. (Skip this step if using spinach)
Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture (or spinach) into the cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat (spinach) mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Apple Strudel
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved, and thinly sliced

a splash of apple juice
2 T. lemon juice
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. crushed graham crackers
2 T. butter, cut into pieces
6-7 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 c. butter, melted for brushing the phyllo sheets
1 T. granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the apples, apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, cookie crumbs, and butter in a large bowl. Remove the phyllo dough from the box, unfold, and cover with a damp towel. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining sheets, brushing each with melted butter, stacking when done, being sure to keep the unbuttered phyllo covered. Place the apple mixture on the nearest third of the phyllo stack, being sure to leave a 2-inch border. Gently lift the bottom edge of the phyllo stack to cover the filling and fold the side edges over. Continue to roll the stack away from you until the filling is completely sealed in and the seam is on the bottom. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with cinnamon and confectioners' sugar. Top with homemade whipped cream.
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