Saturday, June 23, 2012

Greek spinach pasta salad

Greek Spinach Pasta Salad 

via What's for Dinner

  • 8 ounce fresh baby spinach
  • 15 ounce can  Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5
ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 
green onions, chopped
  • 2 
cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 
teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 2 
tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 
teaspoon oregano
  • 1 
teaspoon thyme
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper


Grate the lemons, taking off only the yellow part. Cut the grape tomatoes in half.
In a large serving bowl combine spinach, beans, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, lemon peel and juice, oil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover; let stand at room temperature while preparing pasta or up to 2 hours; stirring occasionally.

Just before serving, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Baked Mac and Cheese

Classic Mac and Cheese


  • 1 (8-oz.) package elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk $
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.
  2.  Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black and red pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and cooked pasta.
  3.  Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4.  Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  5. One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring all grated Cheddar cheese into thickened milk mixture until melted. Add cooked pasta, and serve immediately.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar
adapted from various sources


2 large tomatoes, chopped 
2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed 
1 red onion, chopped 
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
1 Tbsp white vinegar 
3-4 Tbsp lime juice 
2 Tbsp olive oil 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in bowl.

2. Cover and chill.

3. Serve with tortilla chips

Apple mini hand pies

These were easy as...pie...(had to, sorry) to make ahead and freeze. They baked up beautifully and the filling was delish!

Hand pie crust
via Foodie with Family

    For the Crust (Can substitute 2 purchased pie crust rounds):
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, in small pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons ice water 
  • For the Pies:
  • 4 cups pie filling (whichever flavour you prefer, I like to use a variety of homemade pie fillings.) 
  • Also needed to bake the pies:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (can substitute granulated sugar) per pie
To Make the Crust: 
Pulse the flour and salt together in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Open the food processor and add in the butter. Replace the lid and pulse until the butter and flour resemble small peas. Pour the ice water and egg yolks in through the feed tube and process until a coarse dough forms. Turn the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together with your hands until it holds together well. Divide into two equal pieces and form into 1/2-inch thick rectangles. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and chill for at least twenty minutes (but up to 2 days) before rolling.

To Make the Pies:
Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and place an unwrapped rectangle of pie crust dough on the counter. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough.
Roll it into a larger rectangle that is about 12-inches by 10-inches. Use a bench knife, pastry wheel or pizza cutter to divide the dough in half vertically. Score the dough lengthwise also, dividing the dough into 4 smaller rectangles, to help you visualize where to put the pie filling.
Spoon about half a cup of pie filling near either side of the split on the dough.
Fold the outside edges (using a bench knife to help lift the dough, if needed) toward the center and drape it over the pie filling, pressing down and crimping the seams to keep the filling from leaking.
Use your bench knife or cutter to split between the pies again (just to be sure nothing is sticking!). Use a spatula or bench knife to transfer the pies to the parchment lined pans. Don't worry about leaving too much space between them, because you'll be freezing them.
Repeat with remaining pie dough and filling. Cover the pans lightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until frozen solid, about 4 hours.
When firm, carefully transfer the frozen pies to a resealable freezer bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months. 

To Bake Pies:
Place desired amount of pies 2-3 inches apart on a rimmed parchment lined pan. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle each pie with a teaspoon of raw sugar. Cut two small vent holes in the tops of the pies.
Bake for 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until pies are deep golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or room temperature. Leftovers can be stored, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.

Apple Pie filling

Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In another bowl, sprinkle apples with the juice of 1 lemon and toss. Stir in the sugar mixture to evenly coat the apples.


Fluffy white cupcakes

White Cupcakes
via Martha Stewart


  • 4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 7 large egg whites


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake or muffin tins with papers; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup.
  2. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until pale and creamy. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add sugar in a steady stream; continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture and starting and ending with the flour. Do not overbeat.
  4. In a clean bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into flour mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites in two batches, being careful not to deflate the whites.
  5. Pour batter into prepared tins, filling cups to about 1/2 inch from the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted near the centers comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed lightly in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool completely before icing or storing.

Cheese Straws

or rather,

Puff Pastry Cheese sticks 
via Emeril Lagasse



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature covered by a clean kitchen cloth, about 30 minutes. While the pastry is thawing, combine cheese, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. In a clean small mixing bowl, beat the egg with a fork. On a lightly floured surface, gently unfold the pastry.
Sprinkle the pastry lightly with flour and using a rolling pin, roll into a 14 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the pastry with a beaten egg. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise to form 2 (7 by 10-inch) rectangles. Spread the herb-cheese mixture with the back of a spoon evenly across 1 rectangle. Lay the second rectangle across the coated piece, egg side-down. With the rolling pin lightly roll the 2 sheets together to seal. With a large knife cut crosswise into strips, about 1/3-inch wide each. (Alternately, you can use a pizza wheel to cut the strips.) One at a time, grab the ends of each strip and twist in opposite directions to form a spiral. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheets until cool enough to handle. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

These were soo good! I used a whole package, both sheets of puff pastry, and about half the cayenne it called for, and they were still spicy. Very good though!

Vanilla, Raspberry, Honey Peach, and Chocolate Ice Cream recipes

Rich Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe 

via Leite's Culinaria


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk or light cream or a combination
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and beat until smooth.
2. Heat the milk or cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat to just below boiling.
3. Gradually whisk or stir 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs, then stir the mixture back into the saucepan. Place over medium-low heat or in the top of a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the mixture thickens. (Be sure to stir in the same direction.) Do not let the custard boil or it will curdle. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat, strain into bowl or pitcher, cool, and chill.
4. Gently stir  in the vanilla and process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the instructions. This recipe makes ample vanilla ice cream for most machines, so you may need to churn it in batches. Scrape the creamy goodness into a resealable container and freeze for several hours or up to overnight to achieve a proper ice cream consistency.

Amber’s Red Raspberry Ice Cream

via 5minutesformom
3 cups fresh raspberries, washed
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine 1 cup of the sugar with the raspberries, and mash well. Set aside.
Combine the remaining sugar with the milk, and beat well using a mixer or by hand for a few minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. If the sugar isn’t well-dissolved, you can end up with gritty ice cream, and no one wants that.
Add the cream, vanilla and mashed raspberry mixture to the milk and sugar, and stir to combine.
Prepare the ice cream based on the instructions that came with your ice cream maker. I have an electric ice cream maker with a freezer bowl, and it took about 27 minutes to reach the desired consistency for me.
Remove from the ice cream maker, and enjoy! You can freeze any leftovers to eat later.
Yield: Approximately 2 quarts

Honey-Peach Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart
  • 4 large ripe peaches (about 2 pounds), peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. To peel and pit the peaches: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover your peaches. Bring the water to a boil. Using a paring knife, lightly score the bottom of each peach with an X. Then add the peaches to the boiling water for 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Remove the skin with your fingers or a paring knife. Cut along the seam of each peach to the pit, running your knife all the way around the fruit. Twist each half in opposite directions to free one half from the pit. Remove the pit with your fingers or the knife.
  2. Coarsely chop half the peaches into 1/2-inch chunks, and toss them into a small saucepan. Add honey, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Puree the mixture using a blender, food processor or immersion blender. Set aside.
  3. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together. Still whisking, drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid – this will temper the eggs so they don’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and pour the custard into a 2-quart glass measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla and peach puree.
  5. Refrigerate the custard until chilled before churning it into ice cream.
  6. Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. While the ice cream is churning, finely dice the remaining 2 peaches, then, just before the ice cream is thickened and ready, add the peaches and churn to blend. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

Chocolate Ice Cream
via Brown Eyed Baker

Makes about 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)