Archive of ‘My Recipes’ category

Weekend Chef: Apple Pie Oatmeal

I bought these beautiful red and golden delicious apples yesterday at the farmer’s market and searched the internet for some apple recipes to mark the start of the fall season. I came across Six Variations on the All-American Apple Pie on Babble.com and decided to try the apple pie oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Boy was it good; sorry you missed it, mom. Here’s the recipe (I changed it slightly to suit my tastes, and I’ve noted the changes below).

Ingredients:

1/2 apple, cored, and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used a whole apple and peeled it first)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups water (I used 2 1/2 cups of water since I used a whole apple)
I added a dash of salt in the water

Toppings:

Milk (I used cream I bought from a local dairy farmer)
Brown sugar
I added home-made granola I bought at the farmer’s market

Combine water, salt, raisins, and apples in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat until boiling. Stir in oats. Cook until the oats and apples are tender (about 8-10 minutes). Spoon into bowls. Top with brown sugar, cream, and granola. Enjoy!

This recipe was so easy and delicious. It took me about 10 minutes to make from start to finish. Easy, quick, and delicious–that makes this recipe a keeper in my book. Doesn’t this look fabulous?

Five-Minute Chef–Simple Caprese Salad

Need something quick and delicious for dinner? This simple caprese salad takes five minutes to prepare. Serve it with some rustic bread and a glass of peach iced tea (my favorite) and you’ll have a fabulous, healthy meal in the blink of an eye. Here’s what you need to prepare this salad:

Simple Caprese Salad

2-3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced (I bought mine at the farmer’s market)
Fresh basil, chopped
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

Place several tomatoes on each plate, top with slices of fresh mozzarella and chopped basil. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle on top of salad. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. That’s it. So simple and delicious.

Weekend Chef: Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

I pulled this recipe for Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad from the September 2011 issue of Southern Living Magazine and placed it in my recipe folder a year ago. It seemed like an odd combination of ingredients and I wasn’t sure that I’d like it, but I was curious so in my folder it went.

I remember thinking at the time that this recipe would either be great or it would be awful, and today I put it to the test. It was fabulous. From the tangy sweet and sour dressing to the crunchy broccoli,  pecans, and red onion; smoky bacon, cool crisp grapes, and chewy bow tie pasta this salad has everything a salad lover craves and more–it’s a regular party in your mouth. I made a couple of  revisions to the recipe to suit my taste and reduce the preparation time and I’ve noted them below. I hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as my family did.

Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (I didn’t bother to toast them)
1 16-oz. box bow-tie pasta (cooked al dente)
1 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s mayonnaise)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (I used a jar of Hormel real bacon pieces)

Prepare pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, separating the florets into small pieces with a paring knife. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar in a large bowl, add broccoli florets, pasta, diced onions, grapes, bacon, and pecans. Cover and chill for 3 hours (or eat it immediately like I did because it’s so darn good and I couldn’t wait). Give this refreshing salad a try and let me know what you think.

Weekend Chef: How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

In my last post, I showed you how to refashion zucchini into mock apple cobbler. In this post I’ll show you how to turn these beautiful eggplants into this amazing eggplant Parmesan.

Doesn’t this look delish? Here’s how I did it:

Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2-3 eggs, beaten
Italian bread crumbs (I used Progresso)
1 12-oz package of sliced provolone cheese (I used Sargento)
Olive oil
Spicy roasted red pepper and sausage marinara sauce (recipe below)

Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Dip the eggplant slices into the beaten eggs and dredge in the bread crumbs. Fry 3-4 slices at a time over medium heat. Cook several minutes on both sides until golden brown. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices. Replace the olive oil when the bits of bread crumbs on the bottom of the pan begin to burn (about every other batch). Drain eggplant on paper towels. To assemble the dish, spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, add a layer of eggplant, followed by more marinara sauce, and a layer of provolone cheese. Repeat layers until the dish is full (2-3 layers deep). Top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until the cheese is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Marinara Sauce
(My own concoction–an easy and fabulous almost homemade sauce)

1 16-oz. roll of spicy Italian ground sausage (I used Bob Evans), browned and drained
1 26-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Prego)
1 15-oz. can of Manwich sauce (for a little extra zest)
1 12-oz. jar of roasted red peppers (pureed in a blender with their liquid)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
A bunch of fresh basil, chopped (the more the merrier)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat. You can use this sauce when it’s heated through, but I prefer to simmer it slowly until the color deepens to a deep, rich red and the sauce almost scorches on the bottom of the pan. Watch it carefully, stirring often, to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Serve the eggplant Parmesan with a Caesar salad (mixed salad greens, shredded Parmesan Reggiano cheese, garlic croutons, diced ham, green peas, and Caesar dressing) and garlic bread or Texas toast.

Doesn’t this look amazing?

Give this a try and let me know what you think. Don’t cheat and use just a jar of store-bought spaghetti sauce. Take the extra time to doctor it up the way I did into a really delicious sauce. A good sauce really makes this dish. Enjoy!

What Does a Renegade Seamstress Do With a Zucchini?

She turns it into apple cobbler! That’s what Beth, the Renegade Seamstress did. If you haven’t visited Beth’s website before, be sure to check it out. You’re in for a real treat. Not only is Beth an expert at refashioning thrift store clothing into adorable outfits, she also shares step-by-step do-it-yourself instructions for each project, and other unique refashion tips, like turning zucchini into apple cobbler–she’s a regular renegade refashionista!

Zucchini cobbler may sound like a strange concoction, but after reading Beth’s post and her descriptions of her family’s rave reviews, curiosity got the best of me and my mom–and since we’d just bought zucchini at the farmer’s market–we decided to give it a try. And we loved it! My daughter did, too. It really does taste like apple cobbler. You have to taste it to believe it. Get the recipe here.

Here’s a picture of our zucchini cobbler hot from the oven.

And here’s a photo moments before I took my first bite.

And don’t forget to serve it with a steamy cup of coffee. Delish!

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