Green Bean Casserole

December 10, 2008 at 10:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is one of my faves on Thanksgiving. I’m trying to eat healthier, so I searched for a more homemade recipe this year. Not sure how healthy it is, but at least the green beans are fresh!

Green Bean Casserole
I forgot to bookmark it…

Ingredients

For the Beans
2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (weighed prior to trimming)
4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 Tablespoon olive oil (omitted, I didn’t need it)
1/2 large Vidalia sweet onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2 by 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon minced shallots
2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Roux
1/4 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (we used almost 3, it could have used 4)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

For the topping
Can of French Fried onions
2 cups panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch green beans.
  3. Remove to an ice bath until cool, drain and let dry.
  4. Lightly butter a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish.
  5. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute bacon until slightly crispy.
  6. Remove bacon from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  7. In remaining bacon fat, add onions and saute until just starting to caramelize.
  8. Add red bell peppers and saute 2 minutes.
  9. Add minced shallot and water chestnuts. Saute for 2 more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Set aside.
  10. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter.
  11. When the butter is melted, add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until well combined. Continue to stir for another minute.
  12. Add in milk, 1/2 cup at first. Stirring well to combine. Then add 1 cup more milk and stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Then add final 1/2 cup of milk and stir and simmer until thickened. We needed to add more milk (at least a cup).  Add salt and pepper.
  13. Combine with green bean mixture and pour into a prepared pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs, then reserved bacon, then remainder of panko crumbs.
  14. Cook at 350 for 35 minutes.
  15. Take green beans out of the oven and top with some french fired onions, evenly coating the casserole.
  16. Place back into the oven and cook for 5 more minutes.
  17. Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  18. Serve and enjoy!

The secret to my green bean casserole is the yummy water chestnuts. It is not worth my time if it doesn’t have the crunch of a water chestnut in there. I don’t like mushrooms, but you could add them to yours when you add the shallots.

The roux still needs a bit more playing, I think I did something wrong. I would try it again, but keep a better watch on what I am doing with the roux.

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Parmesan Rosemary Pinwheels

December 10, 2008 at 10:16 am (Uncategorized) ()

Parmesan Rosemary Pinwheels

I love these pinwheels. We have done different variations, but these are so quick and easy and a perfect appetizer. I found them on the What’s Cooking board on theNest.com.

Parmesan Rosemary Pinwheels
Adapted from Pampered Chef, found on the WC Nest Boards

Ingredients

1 8 oz can crescent rolls or Pillsbury Recipe Creations
1/2 cup regular cream cheese spread, softened
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon rosemary

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out the dough. If you are using crescent rolls you will need to keep the crescent rolls in pairs, forming four rectangles.
  3. Place cream cheese in a small bowl, add rosemary and Parmesan cheese to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Spread the cheese mixture onto the dough, leaving a border.
  5. Roll up the sheet of dough. If using crescent rolls, roll from the short side.
  6. Using a serrated knife, cut up the rolled up dough into 22 slices (or 6 per crescent pair).
  7. Place slices on pizza stone or greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

These pinwheels are always a hit. I usually make a double batch for a large group, since they go fast.

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Blintzes

December 10, 2008 at 7:59 am (Uncategorized) ()

Blintzes

These Blintzes are a family recipe. My grandfather made them with his aunt, my mom made them with my grandfather, and I made them with my mom. I am looking forward to the day when i can share this recipe with my children. We normally prepare these ahead of time, and store them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. One batch makes about 12-15, but they are addicting.

I made these the day after Thanksgiving. We did not do any early black Friday shopping, but my parents still perused the adds. Mollie helped:

Mollie

Mollie

Blintzes
My Great Aunt Rosalie

Ingredients

Crepes
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
smidge salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable/Canola oil

Filling
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 pint small curd cottage cheese (or farmers cheese, if you can find it) Note: I use cheesecloth to squeeze some extra liquid out of the cottage cheese, so that the cottage cheese is drier.
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

Topping
Strawberries (fresh if in season or frozen, sliced in juice if not in season)
Sour Cream

Directions

  1. Blend together the ingredients for crepes in a blender.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the filling.
  3. Grease crepe pan (small omlette pan) and warm over medium heat on the stove.
  4. When the pan is hot, put a thin layer of batter in the pan (pour out excess batter if necessary) and cook through so light brown on one side.
  5. Place crepe onto towel (cooked side up), then fill with filling (about 1 to 2 spoonfulls). Roll crepe up and then place onto pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until there is no more filling. Place tray in freezer and freeze overnight.
  7. Remove frozen blintzes from pan (can be packaged into a large zip-lock for storage).
  8. Cook in buttered frying pan. You can store the cooked ones in a preheated oven.
  9. Serve immediately, topped with sour cream and strawberries and enjoy!

These are a real treat for breakfast!

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Brie en Croute

December 10, 2008 at 7:58 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Brie en Croute

mmm… cheese, need I say more? Misha and I love cheese, and brie is one of those cheeses. This is a fun way to do brie differently. I like to keep it simple with apricot jam, but you can add slivered almonds and all sorts of stuff.

Brie en Croute
Various sources.

Ingredients

1 puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten
1 wedge of brie
1/4-1/2 cup apricot preserves
crackers or bread to serve with

Directions

  1. Defrost puff pastry and roll out.
  2. I like to de-rind my brie, but I’m picky like that. So de-rind the brie if you would like.
  3. Place brie in center of puff pastery to see where to put apricot preserves. Note: I normally get my brie from Costco, and it comes in a wedge not a circle.  So I cut the wedge in half so that I can make a rectangle out of it.
  4. Remove brie from puff pastry and spoon apricot preserves  to about the size that the brie will take up.
  5. Place the brie on top of the apricot preserves.
  6. Wrap brie with the puff pastry.
  7. Wrap brie in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 425.
  9. Remove brie from freezer and plastic wrap.
  10. Place on greased oven-safe dish. Brush brie with the beaten egg.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Serve with crackers or bread and enjoy! Note: It comes out of the oven HOT, so let it cool for a bit so that eager husbands don’t burn themselves.

If I plan ahead, this is an easy appetizer that Misha and I love. It goes over well with crowds.

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French Toast Casserole

December 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm (Uncategorized) ()

French Toast Casserole

I was looking for a good breakfast casserole for when my parents came into town for Thanksgiving. I wanted something that I could throw into the oven when they were ready for breakfast.

French Toast Casserole
Adapted from ATC Family Cookbook

Ingredients

1 loaf french bread
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Slice bread into 1 1/2″ cubes and toast about 25 minutes. Allow the bread to cool.
  2. Grease 9 by 13 baking dish. Layer the bread tightly.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour evenly over bread. press lightly on bread to submerge.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  6. When ready to break, preheat oven to 350. Remove casserole dish from fridge and unwrap.
  7. Mix butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup until smooth. Stir in the pecans.
  8. Spoon topping over casserole and spread into an even layer.
  9. Place dish onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes. Note: This step (rimmed baking sheet) is very important. Though it didn’t look like it would, the casserole expanded and the baking sheet saved my oven. It took a little longer for mine to bake.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

This was a perfect and easy breakfast. I loved the nut topping!

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Carrots in Dill Butter

December 9, 2008 at 10:55 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Dill Carrots

I was looking for a side to do with the spaghetti pie, and found this recipe for dill carrots. If anyone knows my family well, they know that we love dill. What could be more perfect, carrots and dill, together. Since I recently developed a fear of using baby carrots (probably unfounded and crazy, but I’m now worried about chemicals in my baby carrots) I decided to peel and slice normal carrots.

Carrots in Dill Butter
Adapted from A Bit of Everything

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons butter or Margarine
Dill (1 Tablespoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan cook carrots (covered) in a small amount of bilinig water (about 10 minutes or until crisp-tender).
  2. Drain, return carrots to saucepan.
  3. Stir in butter/margarine, dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper making sure to coat the carrots.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This was so easy and yummy. We will be doing these again!

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Spaghetti Pie

December 9, 2008 at 10:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Spaghetti Pie

I have been looking for new recipes to try that are good weeknight dinners. Misha’s aunt knows about the blog, so I thought that I would try something new on our usual Monday night dinners. We usually do a 5-ish mile hike on Monday nights while Misha is in class, so I was looking for something easy to finish/do after a hike.

Spaghetti Pie
Adapted from Allrecipes via About a Bit of Everything.

Ingredients

2 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half (we used barilla plus, and maybe a bit more than 2 oz)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons sour cream (I used low fat)
1/2 pound ground turkey (I could have used more)
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
2/3 cup tomato sauce (I would use more if I added more ground turkey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta.
  3. Press the pasta mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased casserole dish or pie plate. Spread with sour cream. Note: The sour cream was easier said than done, I spreaded it as best I could.
  4. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. Crumble turkey into a skillet, add the pepper, onion, and butter. Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.
  6. Drain fat out of meat.
  7. Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  8. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  9. Spoon into spaghetti crust.
  10. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  11. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I could have used more ground turkey. It was good, but just a different way to do spaghetti. I liked the variation though, a nice way to change the usual pasta dinner.

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Product Rave: Bar Keeper’s Friend

December 1, 2008 at 9:57 am (Uncategorized) ()

Bar Keeper’s Friend

With all the cooking and baking that had been going on this week with Thanksgiving and family in town a few of my pans had seen better days.

After my family left, and I started to return the war zone kitchen back to normal. We wanted to make blintzes, but after seeing one particular pan I was on a mission to clean it. Remembering the free little packet that Calphalon gave us with our cooking set, I decided that now was the time to break it open. I am so glad that I did. With just a little sprinkle of Bar Keeper’s Friend , and not very much elbow grease, all stains from the pan came totally off. I very much wish that I had taken a before and after picture (I did only clean half the pan and show Misha how pretty the cleaned side was).

Needless to say, as I continue to recover I will be using Bar Keeper’s Friend, and get my very own large package. My pan looks like new, I am totally sold on it. Since it doesn’t need much, I still have quite a bit in the sample package. But I can say that I will be using it more often. My pans will shine like new once again!

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Sausage Bean Casserole

December 1, 2008 at 9:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Sausage Bean Casserole

Misha and I were in the mood for something easy and simple, and since it has been cooling off a bit lately I thought that this would be the perfect time for this dish.

Sausage Bean Casserole
Adapted from and a cookie for dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (16 oz) package light smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth (low sodium, fat-free)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (somehow the whole 6 oz can was used, so I just upped the brown sugar a bit to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon mustard (I added)
3 (16 oz ) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf (omitted)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional, omitted)
3 slices white bread (I used breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (omitted)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat (this recipe uses a dutch oven, but since I don’t have one I used a saucepan and a casserole dish).
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan, saute for 5 minutes or until browned.
  5. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  7. Stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, thyme, pepper, beans, bay leaf, and mustard. Add ground red pepper, as desired.
  8. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place bean mixture in casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  12. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until browned.
  13. Discard bay leaf.
  14. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I missed the spinach that Brooke added, so I think that I will add that next time for a little extra nutrition. This dinner hit the spot and was perfect. We even made more the next night. This recipe is on our list of easy weeknight meals. A perfect meal for a cold day in Southern California.

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Pumpkin-Orange Waffles

December 1, 2008 at 9:27 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Pumpkin Waffles

Misha LOVES pumpkin. I think the holidays are his favorite season simply because of all the pumpkin stuff that goes around. I saw these waffles in Apple a Day‘s blog, and decided that since Misha had the weekend off, and was off to work on a weekend project, that this would be a perfect filling breakfast for the day.

Well, I had all the supplies ready to go and I was all set… and then my car got hit while it was parked at his Aunt and Uncles. So we ended up being up all night calling insurance companies, trying to get things taken care of. Unfortunatly Friday night is one of the worst nights to get hit, insurance companies do nothing. So Saturday morning we continued calling, making little progress because nothing happends until the next business day.

We got started a little later than planned, but the waffles were still good.

Pumpkin Orange Waffles
Adapted from Apple a Day.

Ingredients

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used powdered)
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
3 tsp orange zest (I skipped this)
1/2 cup orange juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. Whisk together egg, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, orange peel, and orange juice in a large bowl.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir until well blended.
  4. Once waffle iron is ready, spray with cooking spray and pour in batter. Cook until done.
  5. Keep warm in the oven until the rest of the waffles are done.
  6. Serve with bacon and maple syrup. Enjoy!

My waffles were a bit flat, but I think it had something to do with the powdered buttermilk versus real buttermilk. I would make these again but I would need to experiment more. I should probably use real buttermilk next time, but they were still very good.

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Orange-Strawberry Julius

December 1, 2008 at 9:05 am (Uncategorized) (, )

orange Strawberry Julius

Misha and I were running errands, and we were craving something cool and sweet when we got home. I remembered the after-school snack that my mom regularly made for my brother and I, and it sounded perfect. Usually we made it with just orange, but sometimes other frozen fruit was thrown in there instead of ice cubes.

Orange-Strawberry Julius
My mom

Ingredients

1/2 cup cold milk
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
2 Tablespoons sugar
Frozen Strawberries (If you don’t want strawberries, substitute some other frozen fruit or ice cubes here).
vanilla (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients in a blender. Add more milk or strawberries as required. I usually mix to taste.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I need to keep more frozen fruit on hand so I can make these as a snack on a regular basis.

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