Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Good morning, world….I hope this is not too many sprinkles to start off the week.   Once in a while I get carried away with sprinkles.  They’re so joyful and happy looking, they lift my spirits.  And in this world of white that surrounds us here, we need a little (read, a lot) of color. IMG_9134

Here (pretend I’m pointing) you’ll find cookies.   Not just any cookies, but the most colorful and buttery delicious cookies I could come up with.

The cookie base is a traditional sugar cookie:  scoop-able dough, not the roll-out kind.

The flour gets whisked together with the baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Softened butter is beaten together with vanilla and granulated sugar.

Then an impossible number of sprinkles gets stirred in.  Isn’t this fun?  Like a party about to happen.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

The dough needs some time in the refrigerator before the cookies are baked.  The butter needs time to re-chill and the egg needs time to moisten the dough.  A 2-hour chill is good although overnight is better.

The dough is portioned into 2 tablespoon balls and rolled into more rainbow sprinkles.   If it feels like too much, that’s absolutely right.

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These cookies are chewy in the center, crisp at the edges, and packed with sprinkles and vanilla.  They’re the perfect way to get in the mood for whatever celebration lies ahead.

VANILLA CONFETTI COOKIES

Yield:  makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperatureIMG_9120
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.    Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

The dough will be thick ( you may have to finish incorporating the mixture with a wooden spoon).  Fold in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

4.  Place the remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles in a bowl.  Scoop up 2 tablespoon of dough and roll in a ball.  Dip the ball in the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly.  Put the balls on a platter.  Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough.  Chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

5.  Place oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between each ball.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

7.  Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown aground the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Beefy Bolognese Sauce

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These are the days when I think a lot about comforts….and comfort foods.   Which brings me to the question:  just what is a comfort food?

If each of you were to give me an answer, I would probably get over 400 answers, so that means everyone has their own definition of what comfort food is to them.  For me, comfort foods take me back to my younger days, when Mom was doing the cooking.  There were so many dishes she made that I loved, so anything that reminds me of one of those meals is a comfort to me.  Comfort foods are tied up with memories….the family eating together around a big table with lots of talk and laughter going on, and enjoying favorite foods.

Bolognese Sauce with penne pasta

Bolognese Sauce with penne pasta

One of my most favorite memories is the meat sauce that Mom always made from scratch, and served over pasta with lots of grated cheese over the top.  I’m guessing that pasta in some form is considered a comfort food by many people all over the world.  Therefore a recipe for a good meat sauce (Bolognese Sauce) should be in every cook’s repertoire.  It’s so versatile, it can be served over anything;  rice, bread, potatoes, polenta, and pasta, of course.  It goes with any pasta shape.

So welcome to my kitchen today while I prepare my best Bolognese Sauce for you.  This is not a sauce that needs to cook slowly on the back burner for hours.  What helps to speed up the blending of flavors is cooking it in a Dutch oven.  The Dutch oven, even with the lid on, allows the sauce to reduce a little, thus concentrating the flavors.  This method of cooking it also lets the layers of flavor come through, as the bacon, ground meat and veggies all get browned in the same pot, which is then deglazed with the cooking liquid.

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For anyone who might want to cook it in a slow cooker….I have done it that way, and find that the sauce is a little more liquid than I like it, so I would recommend using a little less broth, or omit the wine.  The end result will still be very good, but my first choice is the Dutch oven.

Also, since making this is so easy, I like to make double the amount, and freeze half of it, so it’s ready for a quick meal anytime…

BEEFY BOLOGNESE SAUCE

Yield:  Makes about 4 cups, or enough for 1 pound of pasta

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices center cut bacon, choppedIMG_9024
  • 8 oz. 90% lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. ground, lean pork, or sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine
  • 1 ( 14.5-oz) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1.  Place bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté 5 minutes or until beacon begins to crisp.  Add beef and pork to pan;  cook 6 minutes or until partly browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove mixture from pan.

Browning all the meat.

Browning all the meat.

2.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes.

Sautéing the veggies.

Sautéing the veggies.

Add tomato paste; saute 1 minute until it starts to darken.

Add tomato paste.

Add tomato paste.

Add chicken broth and wine; bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return beef mixture to pan.

Add liquids, then return meats to the pan.

Add liquids, then return meats to the pan.

3.  Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cover; reduce heat to low, and cook about 1 hour, stirring several times to prevent sticking.  Taste before serving and add more salt, if needed.

Serve over your choice of pasta.  In the photos here, I used penne pasta.  Grate some fresh parmesan or Romano cheese over each serving and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.    DEEElish!

Oops, in my haste to take the photos, I forgot the cheese.  How could I ?

Oops, in my haste to take the photos, I forgot the cheese. How could I ?

Swedish Cardamom Bread

Swedish Cardamom Braid

Swedish Cardamom Braid

This very popular and delightful Scandinavian sweet bread is often served at Christmas time and is often braided, but can be baked in the typical loaf form as well.

It is one of the most popular items that we sell at our annual Chocolate Fest, which is sponsored by the women’s fellowship of our church.  The Chocolate Fest is coming up on February 7, and many of the women are baking up chocolate treats, but not everything is chocolate.  Case in point with this bread.

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Cardamom, a spice typically used in Scandinavian breads and baked goods, lightly seasons this soft pillowy bread.  I made up a batch last week, and we have been feasting on it ever since.  Mr. D. loves it, and has been asking me when I would make some, so I surprised him with two loaves of it.  I like to braid the loaves, making them look special with an egg wash and sprinkle of decorating sugar.

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Slices of this bread can be lightly heated in the microwave and spread with butter for breakfast.  It’s great with a cup of coffee!!

Makes a lovely light breakfast with fruit and coffee.

Makes a lovely light breakfast with fruit and coffee.

I make the dough in my bread machine on the “dough” cycle, then remove it, form the braids, and let it raise a second time before baking.  The ingredients in the recipe can be mixed in an electric mixer as well and left to rise in a warm place prior to making the braids.  So if you want to make this bread, but don’t have a bread machine, no problem.. you can use your mixer, and proceed as you would when making any regular bread recipe.

Braid it before baking.

Braid it before baking.

SWEDISH CARDAMOM BRAID

Yield:  2 braids,  or 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature, or slightly warmed in the microwaveIMG_9084
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla, or almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom ( I use a full teaspoon.)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. yeast

Egg wash:  1 egg beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk or cream

Decorating sugar, optional

Directions:

1.  In the pan of a bread machine, layer in the ingredients, according to manufacturer’s suggestion.  Set for “dough” cycle, and start the machine.  Once all the ingredients are combined, watch carefully as the consistency can be somewhat “sticky”.  You may need to add more flour in small amounts until a smooth, non-sticky ball of dough is achieved.

2.  At completion of dough cycle, remove dough from the machine, and divide in half.  Keeping one half covered, divide the other half into 3 equal balls.  Roll each ball into a long rope.  Lay the three ropes next to each other, pinch together at one end, and braid them together. Pinch bottom ends together  (Just like making a hair braid!)  Repeat with the other half of dough.

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3.  Place each braid on a lightly greased baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.  Cover, and let rise for about 1  1/2 hours.  Brush braids with egg wash, sprinkle with decorating sugar (if using), and bake in a preheated 350*F. oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden.

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SOURCE:        The Big Book of Bread Machine Recipes,   Donna Rathmell German

Strawberry-Lime Gooey Bars

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Strawberry Lime Gooey Bars

 

It was the name that got me first, then the color.  They looked so bright and pretty in the picture, my mouth began to water, and next thing I knew I was tearing through my storage cupboard looking for the strawberry cake mix that I knew was in there somewhere.

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I was desperate for these bars.  I could taste them way in advance of making them.  You know, I often forget how much I like strawberry (anything), until something forces me to make it.  Then, of course, I remember how much I really like it.  Just like when I’m ordering a milk shake….I always order vanilla.  But if Mr. D. orders strawberry, and I taste his, then I’m like, “dang, why didn’t I order that too”?

That’s pretty much how it was with these strawberry gooey bars.

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There was no lime in the original recipe, but I felt that all that concentrated strawberry sweetness would be too much, so I brightened up the flavor with fresh lime juice and zest.  Now they are not cloyingly sweet, and I love how pretty and pink they are.  Just the ticket, I think, for a Valentine’s Day treat.

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STRAWBERRY LIME GOOEY BARS

Yield:  Make 16 barsIMG_9008

Ingredients:

  • 1  (15.25-oz.) box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, ( low-fat, or non-fat are OK)
  • lime zest to garnish tops of bars, if desired

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, then spray well with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Beat butter with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add in the cake mix, egg, lime juice and zest and continue beating until it all comes together and forms a thick dough.

3.  Press about 2/3’s of the cake mixture onto bottom of the foil-lined pan.  Sprinkle white chocolate chips over the top.

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4.  Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the chips.

5.  Drop the remaining cake dough in “blobs” over the top of the milk, trying to spread it out as much as possible.  Press lightly.

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6.  Bake for 29 – 32 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

7.  Cool bars in pan on a cooking rack.  When completely cooled, cut into squares.  Top with additional lime zest, if desired.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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SOURCE:    Mom on Time Out

Whole Wheat, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia

Whole wheat, tomato and rosemary focaccia.

Whole wheat, tomato and rosemary focaccia.

On the day of the “Great Blizzard” (that wasn’t), I made this Focaccia bread to go with the Lasagna soup.

Around here we love Focaccia, in fact we love homemade bread of any kind.  This one is so flavorful with the addition of herbs (oregano) and sun-dried tomatoes in the dough, and rosemary and olive oil brushed over the top before baking.  Add some garlic and parmesan cheese and Whoo-hoo, this is one fabulous bread.

I use my bread machine to make the dough, then once it has risen, take it out, roll it out thin on a pizza pan or baking stone and let it raise for about 30 minutes.  Indent the top all over with your fingers, then brush with olive oil and minced garlic,  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and crushed rosemary.   It will bake up golden brown, crispy on the outside, and soft and doughy on the inside.

This bread is so easy to make and is a great accompaniment to soup or a salad.  The use of whole wheat flour makes it more healthy (because of the fiber), and cornmeal in the dough gives it a nice crunch.  We really like this bread.  I hope you will too.

WHOLE WHEAT, ROSEMARY, AND TOMATO FOCACCIA

Yield:   Makes a 1 pound bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk ( fat-free is OK)IMG_9055
  •  1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. snipped, sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

For the Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary OR 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

Directions:

1.  In the container of a bread machine, layer in the ingredients, according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Select “dough” cycle.  When the cycle is completed, remove dough from machine.

2.  Spray a work surface lightly with oil, place the dough on it, and cover it.  Let rest for about 10 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease an 11 to 13-inch pizza pan, or pizza stone.  Roll out the dough to fit the pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until nearly double in size.

Dough rolled out on a pizza stone.

Dough rolled out on a pizza stone.

4.  With 2 fingers, make indentations all over dough.  Combine  the 2 Tbsp olive oil and garlic; drizzle over the dough.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and rosemary.

Make indentations with your fingers all over the top.

Make indentations with your fingers all over the top.

Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic.

Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic.

Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary.

Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary.

5.  Bake in a 400*F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or cool.

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SOURCE:   Bread Machine Bounty

Roasted Tomato and Pesto Grilled Cheese

Tomato-Pesto Grilled Cheese.

Tomato-Pesto Grilled Cheese.

This is day two of being snowed-in.  Sidewalk is shoveled, but driveway not plowed!   Go figure that one.  Snowplow guy seems to be busy elsewhere.  Well, there’s still plenty of food in the house, so no rush about going anywhere.

Under these house-bound conditions,  almost as soon as breakfast is over, I start thinking about lunch.   Wouldn’t you?  I’m imagining some kind of a grilled cheese sandwich.  Most folks love the combo of tomato soup and grilled cheese, so let me see if I can cram the two of them together in a knock-your-socks-off sandwich.  Get ready for an ooey-gooey delight.

First we’re going to go to our refrigerators to gather up all the delicious things we’ll need.  If those things should happen to be roasted, pesto-ed, or melty, that’s ideal.

Today I’m lucky, I have some good things.  This is not always the case.  Sometimes all I have in the fridge is skim milk and some bendy celery with brown tops.   That’s why there’s frozen pizza, right?  Skim milk and bendy celery are not allowed in this sandwich.   Absolutely not,  not when I see some precious Romano,  cheddar and pesto in there, not to mention some beautiful red tomatoes.

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This is what it looks like to pack every delicious item in your refrigerator between toasted onion rolls.

(These are not the best photos I’ve ever taken, but I was too impatient to eat this sandwich.)

I’m the kind of person who likes to always have pesto on hand.  Quite some time ago I posted my recipe for homemade pesto(s), and I really recommend you make some for your refrigerator.  Made from herbs or spinach or kale (ignore that bendy celery),  you’ll thank yourself when you go looking in your refrigerator for some “good things”.  BTW, make lots–it freezes well, too.

On this sandwich we layer shredded cheddar, smeared pesto, roasted tomato puree, salty Romano cheese and mayo!

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Roasting the tomatoes intensifies their flavor and sweetness.  The pesto adds a happy green, garlic-y kick.  Two kinds of cheese because we’re the kind of people who deserve two kinds of cheese on our sandwich.  Spread the top and bottom of the sandwich with mayo and grill on each side until the center is warm and melty.

The center gets melty and warm.

The center gets melty and warm.

Now the pay-off.   Take that sandwich to your favorite comfy place and settle yourself into coziness.  Sit down on the floor if you have to, just relax and enjoy it.  Now eat slowly and savor every delicious bite.    Relax.  Read your e-mails, or check out Pinterest.  Only move when the desire for some chips or a beverage motivates you beyond laziness.  Bendy celery, get outta here!

 

ROAST TOMATO PESTO GRILLED CHEESE 

Yield:    Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 4 tsp. canola mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. pesto
  • 2 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz. Romano cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices of whole grain bread or rolls of choice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Combine 1 tsp. oil, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet.

Cut in half and seed tomatoes.

Cut in half and seed tomatoes.

Bake at 400*F. for 20 minutes.  Remove skins and discard. Squeeze garlic to extract the pulp, discard skins.

Roast with garlic.  Remove skins.

Roast with garlic. Remove skins.

2.  Combine tomatoes, garlic pulp, basil, salt and pepper in a mini food processor  pulse 10 times.

Place in mini processor and  chop finely.

Place in mini processor and chop finely.

3.  Spread mayonnaise on two slices of bread or top half of rolls. Spread pesto on remaining 2 slices bread or bottoms of rolls.

Spread mayo and pesto on bread slices.

Spread mayo and pesto on bread slices.

4.  Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato mixture on sandwich bottoms.  Cover with half the grated cheese on each bottom,  top that with thinly sliced Romano cheese.

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5.  Cover with sandwich tops.  Lightly coat outsides of sandwiches with cooking spray.

6.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 teaspoon oil, swirl to coat.  Place sandwiches in pan; cook about 3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Flip sandwiches, and continue to cook until lightly browned and cheese is melted.  Cut in half and serve immediately.

7.  If you have a panini pan, sandwiches may be cooked in that instead of a skillet.

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SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals

 

Lasagna Soup

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Here in Ct. we’re having what has been predicted as “the Blizzard of the Century”, although at the half-way-point it seems to have lost some of its strength, at least where I live. The snow is no longer falling, but there is a lot of it out there.  On such a day as this I’m making soup for dinner.  That should come as no surprise, as my mind and taste buds turn to a good hot soup on a cold and wintery day, as many of you well know.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

In my opinion there is no  better way to keep warm than with a bowl of steamy, hot soup!

Within the past few days two different recipes for Lasagna Soup have come to my attention, so I feel that I was destined to make this soup.  It’s so nice when you decide on the spur of the moment to make something and find everything that’s needed right in your refrigerator or cupboard.  Lucky me, since cars are forbidden on the roads, no trips to the grocery store are allowed.

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In a bowl of this soup, you will find everything you love about lasagna….sausage, lasagna noodles, marinara and cheese.   It’s filling, easy to make, and hearty.  Everything you want in a soup and perfect for a cold winter’s night.  It’s also family friendly–kids will love it.  The dollop of cheese on top really makes it.  You can use regular Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, or chicken sausage, any of which will give it great flavor.

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Two other benefits of this soup;  there are fewer calories than eating “for real” lasagna, and it’s all made in one pot.

LASAGNA SOUP

Yield:  Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • cooking sprayIMG_9049
  • 14 oz.- 1 lb. Italian sausage, pork or chicken, casings removed
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  •  4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 2  1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh black pepper
  • 6 oz. broken lasagna noodles, regular, whole wheat, or gluten free

For topping:

  • 6 Tbsp. part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • basil leaves for garnish, if desired

Directions:

1.  Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add the sausage.  Cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks with a wooden spoon, about 4 to 5 minutes.

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2.  Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes.

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3.  Add the broth, water, marinara sauce, parsley, bay leaves and black pepper.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

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4.  Add the broken lasagna noodles and cook uncovered according the package directions.

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While noodles cook, make topping:

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and parsley and stir to mix well.

To serve:  Ladle soup in bowls, and top each serving with 2 Tbsp. ricotta cheese mixture, some mozzarella, and fresh basil on top.

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SOURCE:  adapted from  Skinny Taste

Here’s  a selection of some other easy, healthy soup recipes that are in the recipe index:

Steak and Tomatoes with Roast Potatoes

 

Steak and  tomatoes with roast potatoes.

Steak and tomatoes with roast potatoes.

 

Despite what I might say, I do my best cooking on the weekends.  I get no special pleasure out of week night cooking.  Usually it consists of something I can put together in under an hour or it grows out of planned leftovers.

Ideally cooking should be relaxing, a way to unwind at the end of a busy day, with maybe someone in the kitchen with you who enjoys cooking too, and likes to help out, or who might offer to wash the dishes.  Is my end-of-day-cooking like that?   No way!

So in an attempt to find that place where cooking is a pleasure, and I have lots of time to devote to meal preparation, on the weekend I try to plan something a little extra special.  A meal that we can linger over and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine with.   Granted this doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to, but once in a while I can pull it off.

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The post today includes a complete menu for just such a meal.  I prepared this on a weekend not long ago.  It took about an hour from when I started prepping the vegetables until it was ready to be served;  not a large investment in time, but a hugh payoff in pleasure.  The steak was perfectly rare, and the tomato topping was exactly right with it.  In addition I made seasoned roast potatoes, and broccoli rabé as side dishes.

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If you know someone who loves a good meat and potatoes meal,  make this one for them and watch them swoon first, then praise you for your genius.   ” Oh, it was nothing,  I just threw it together”

STEAK AND TOMATOES with ROAST POTATOES

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved (Yukon Gold potatoes make a good substitute, cut into wedges.)IMG_8898
  • 2 Tbsp; olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 tsp. ground oregano, divided
  • 1  (1-pound flank steak)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp.  minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Combine potatoes, 1 Tbsp; oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a baking sheet, tossing to coat.

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Bake at 425*. for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring after 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with 2 tsp. oregano and toss to coat.

3.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Rub steak with 1 tsp. oil;  sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Add steak to pan, cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Place steak on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut across the grain into thin slices.  Cover with foil to keep warm.

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4.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallot and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds.

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Stir in tomatoes, remaining 1 tsp. oregano and sugar.  Cook 1 minute.

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Stir in vinegar.  Spoon tomato mixture evenly over steak.  Serve with potatoes.

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For the Broccoli Rabé:

1.  Cut a 1 pound bunch of broccoli rabe into 1-inch pieces.

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Add to a pot of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.

2.  Combine the broccoli rabe,  2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a large bowl;  toss to coat.    Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. shaved Parmesan cheese.

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SOURCE:   COOKING LIGHT

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Ah, yes…..doughnuts!   Do you love them?   Strangely enough, I can’t say that I do.  I’ve always thought of doughnuts as greasy, fried, blobs of sweetness without many redeeming qualities.  But then about a year ago I got introduced to baked doughnuts. Up till then, I had never tried them.   Now, they may not suit everyone, especially those of you who crave your daily doughnut from the doughnut shop, but I hope you will agree with me that they are good….like, really, really good.   OK?

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Baked doughnuts are the drama, whereas fried doughnuts are the comedy of life, sort of like little emojies 🙂   These doughnuts in your hands, in your life, are like magic.  That’s it,  that’s all I’m saying.

These doughnuts are a take-off on those black and white cookies, we all love.  They’re for when you can’t decide it you want a chocolate glazed doughnut or a vanilla glazed one with sprinkles.  See, I’ve solved that problem for you!   Donut ignore this recipe.  (Pun intended.)

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I like the way these doughnuts come together,  mostly because it’s so simple.  No electric mixer involved, just two bowls and  a few measuring and mixing tools.   And since I’ve become completely captivated by browned butter and the flavor it adds to baked goods, I’ve used it here too.

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They’re basically made with flour + sugar + spice + everything nice, (i.e., buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and browned butter).

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Browned butter adds a lovely depth of flavor and nuttiness to the cake-y doughnuts, and lots of freshly grated nutmeg takes them over the top.

Dry ingredients are whisked together to fluff and blend them well.

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Wet ingredients are whisked up just so, and added to the dry.  Wet + dry, that’s how you do it.  It’s called cooking math.

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Baked up, these doughnuts are soft, tender and sweet.

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Chocolate and vanilla glazes are thick enough to be just spreadable.  Colored sprinkles never hurt.

Glaze one side of each doughnut with the chocolate glaze, then do the other side with vanilla glaze,  Don’t forget the sprinkles.  It will take a bit of will power to do this without taking a bite out of one of them.   I wish you luck.

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I’m sorry to tell you, but the final decision is yours here….will you bite into the chocolate side, or the vanilla side first????

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BAKED BLACK AND WHITE DOUGHNUTS

Yield:   Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (but you will use only 2 Tbp. of it in the recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the vanilla glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set it aside.

2.  In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts.  That’s the water cooking out of it.  Once the water has evaporated out, the butter will quiet down and begin to brown.  Keep an eye on it as it browns quickly.  It will begin to smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into a small cup or bowl to cool.

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3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.  Set aside.

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4.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.

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5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.

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Lift and fold as you stir until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Try not to over mix the batter.  This is what makes a tender cake.

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6.  Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out and fill each doughnut cup in the pan three-quarters full with batter.

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7.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check for doneness at 8 minutes, tops should spring back slightly when touched.  Do not over bake them.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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When the doughnuts are cool, make the glazes.

1. For chocolate glaze:  whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.

2.  For vanilla glaze:  whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to create a thick put still pourable glaze.

3.  Spread half of the doughnuts with chocolate glaze, and remaining half with vanilla glaze.  Place back on the wire rack and sprinkle the vanilla side with colored sprinkles while the glaze is wet.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before storing or serving.  These doughnuts are best within 2 days.

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SOURCE:   Adapted from Joy the Baker

 

Winter Immunity Boost: Roast Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Honey-Mustard Glazed Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Honey-Mustard Glazed Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Flu season is upon us.  Am I going to get it?  Nope!  Not going to do that.  Cold season?   No, get outta here with that stuff.

Feeling achy?  Sniffles?  Congestion?  Don’t have time for it!

There’s no guarantee, of course, but I’m doing everything I can to keep the sickness ‘bugs” away from our door.  How, you might be asking?  I’m preparing as much healthy produce as I possibly can and shoving it into our mouths 2-3 times a day.

In the morning it could be a green smoothie,  for lunch a salad with both cooked and raw veggies, throw in some citrus for good measure; and for dinner at least two veggie side dishes per meal.   I haven’t  fallen in love with every combination I’ve put together, but there have been several that I will be making again.  This is one of them.

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Parsnips are a late fall vegetable, harvested after frosts have set in, as they need the cold weather to convert their starches into sugar.  They are not a vegetable that I cook with any frequency, since up until now, I hadn’t found a way to prepare them that was terribly appealing.  In this dish, however, the parsnips are combined with sweet potatoes;  two vegetables that each have their own kind of sweetness.  Roasting them concentrates and blends their flavors, and then just before serving you pour a simple glaze of honey and Dijon mustard over them and toss to coat.  Well, that sauce is the magic that makes this dish sing.

I went from “not sure I’m going to like this” to “Wow, I love these”.  As I write this, it’s two days since I made the original dish and this evening  I’m making it again.  That’s how much I loved these veggies.  And Mr. D. loved them too!!  So I know I’ve got a winner in this dish.  Won’t you try it and see if you agree?

HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZED PARSNIPS AND SWEET POTATOES

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 pounds parsnips  (about 3 large or 4 medium)IMG_8954
  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2.  Prepare the vegetables.  To cut parsnips:  Trim tops and bottoms; peel, and slice in half crosswise to separate thick and narrow parts.  Halve or quarter thick parts lengthwise, until all parsnip pieces are roughly the same size. Then cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

Cut the narrow end from the thick end, then quarter the thick end.

Cut the narrow end from the thick end, then quarter the thick end.

 To cut sweet potatoes:  quarter them lengthwise so they are about the same thickness as the parsnips, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

3.  Put the parsnips and sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and add the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Spread seasoned veggies on a baking sheet.

Spread seasoned veggies on a baking sheet.

Roast until tender and golden, tossing once or twice, about 30 minutes.  Transfer into a serving bowl.

4.  In a small bowl, stir together honey and mustard.

Whisk together the honey and mustard.

Whisk together the honey and mustard.

Pour over vegetables, toss to coat.  Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.  Serve immediately.

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Isn’t this dish brightly colored and beautiful?   I mean… vitamin C,  vitamin A…..   There’s no way a cold is getting us down.   Knock on wood!

 

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart Living