We have some great cooks in our family.
We like to try new recipes and tweak the old ones.
We're always asking each other, "Can I have your recipe?"
So we created a place to share the recipes that others ask for, the experiments that turn out well or the recipes that we fall back on because they're quick and yummy. Some of these recipes are original, some are gleaned from friends and some are blatantly copied from other sources.
All of them have been tested and found delicious.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

This year we had THE best Christmas dinner that I think I've ever fixed. The star attraction was a 9 lb. rib roast (purchased from Costco). Sides included a potato casserole that was based on a recipe from my sister Eileen, our family's standby Onion Mushroom Casserole, green beans with bacon, onions and garlic, sauteed mushrooms and yummy herb rolls. I've included a couple of recipes here and some of them are in our family cookbook (we still have some cookbooks available. If you'd like to purchase one please leave me a message on Facebook)

Foolproof Standing Rib Roast

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The original recipe came from Paula Deen, although my husband says his grandfather used to cook rib roast the same way when he visited him in Savannah, Georgia as a teenager (must be a Southern thing). To save you some time (I spent way too much time trying to find the answer to this question on the internet) it doesn't matter what size rib roast you have; since the thickness of a rib roast is pretty much the same no matter how many pounds it is, the cooking directions are the same. Paula's directions are for a 5 lb. roast, ours was 9 pounds and it came out perfectly done and so tender; the ends were done to medium, the middle was medium rare. We did some tweaking, of course, and here is what we came up with.

Ingredients: (this is what we used for 9 pounds; adjust according to the size of your roast)
1 standing rib roast
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon cracked pepper
2 Tablespoons minced garlic

The day before roasting, mix the salt, pepper and garlic together and rub all over the roast, including the ends. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The next day, allow the roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour (this is the part we forgot about so we left it in for an additional 10 minutes before we turned the oven off).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. Turn off the oven. Leave roast in the oven but do not open the oven door for 3 hours. About 30 - 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees and reheat the roast. Important: do not remove the roast or open the oven door from the time roast is put in until ready to serve.

This recipe was so easy because you just put it in the oven and forget about it! And I kid you not, it rivaled any prime rib I've ever had in a restaurant.

Potato Casserole

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This recipe is based on one from our family cookbook, but since there are a few people in my family who are not fond of onions, I cut back on the onions and added some fresh herbs.  Also, since we already had a dish with cheddar cheese, I used Gruyere instead.

8 medium potatoes, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup butter
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 green onions, finely chopped ( I used mostly the green ends for a more subtle flavor)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme (or to taste)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 - 2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350
Spray 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with non stick spray.
Boil potatoes with bay leaf until barely tender.  Cool, peel and grate coarsely.   Melt 1/4 cup butter in saucepan and add soup.  Stir until smooth.  Blend in sour cream, salt, pepper, green onions, herbs and cheese.  Mix into potatoes and stir gently until blended.  Spoon into casserole dish.  Dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered for 30 - 40 minutes, or until heated through.
Serves about 8

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Herb Rolls

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3 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 oz. package rapid rise yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs ( I used 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup fresh chives and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.   Fit the mixer with the dough hook.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half and half and the 6 Tablespoons butter, stirring until the butter melts and the liquid registers 120 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.  With the mixer on medium low, pour the warm milk mixture into the dry ingredients.  Add the egg yolks.  Mix on medium low until the flour is completely incorporated, 1 - 2 minutes  Increase the speed to medium high and knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic and pulls away from the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
Add the herbs and mix until incorporated.
Scoop the dough out of the bowl and shape into a ball. Lightly grease a bowl and put the dough into it.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size, 45- 55 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press to deflate.
To shape the rolls:
Divide into 16 equal pieces, roll each piece into a ball and place in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan, or shape as desired.  (We pinched off smaller pieces and put three balls together into greased muffin cups.)  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until they're doubled in size, 40 - 60 minutes.
Heat the oven to  350 degrees F
Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls until they're well browned, 10 - 15  minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter.
If making a day ahead, prepare the dough and shape the rolls.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Take the rolls out of the fridge about 4 hours before you want to bake them.  Set them in a warm place and let them rise as described above.  Or bake the rolls a day ahead and store them, well wrapped in foil at room temp.   Heat the oven to 300 degrees F and warm the rolls, loosely wrapped in foil, for 5 - 10 minutes.

Green Beans with Bacon and Onions

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8 slices bacon, diced
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds greens beans, rinsed and ends trimmed ( I bought the Costco ones that were already washed and trimmed)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven until it is well browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 3 - 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for just another minute or two.  Don't over cook the garlic or it gets bitter.  Add the green beans and toss to combine.  Increase the heat to medium high and add the water and wine.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer the beans for about 6 minutes.  Remove the lid, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  Cover and cook until the beans are tender, 1 or 2 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and serve.
Makes 4 - 6 servings

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cranberry Salsa

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This has a delicious fresh taste.  A "holiday" change from the usual tomato based salsa.
1 bag fresh cranberries – chopped (I do this in a food processor)
¾ cup cilantro (or more if you like cilantro) chopped
3 bunches green onions – chopped
2 jalapeƱo peppers – seeded and chopped
½ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
Mix it all up, refrigerate overnight and serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cranberry Sherbet

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This is a recipe that has been in my family for years. We traditionally eat the sherbet with Thanksgiving dinner, not as a dessert. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if needed, but you will need much larger pots/bowls.

1 lb or 2 bags of fresh cranberries
2 cups warm water

1 package of gelatin
1/4 cup cold water

2 cups sugar

2 cups ginger ale

Combine the cranberries and water in a large pot, checking for sticks and shrubs. Bring to a boil and cook until all or most of the cranberries have split, they make a great popping sound.

Combine gelatin and water and set aside.

Mush cooked berries with a potato masher. Run the hot, mushed up cranberries through a fine strainer for a smooth consistency or a potato ricer for a chunkier consistency. The goal of this is to get out all of the skins and sticks, I like to run the mush through the ricer and then the fine strainer.

Add the sugar and stir until combined, then add the gelatin. Continue stirring until the sugar and gelatin have been dissolved and the liquid is no longer gritty.

Slowly add the ginger ale, stir to combine. WARNING: you will need a large bowl to do this step because the ginger ale will cause lots of foaming.

Freeze the liquid over night in a large, flat pan. We use a glass 9x13.

The next day take the frozen cranberry mixture and fluff it with a fork and then whip it until light and fluffy, we use the whip attachment on the Kitchenaid. Place frozen, whipped cranberry mixture into freezer safe containers and freeze until use.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Soup

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This is a delicious fall soup. 
1 large or 2 small butternut squash, about 4 lbs. total (or buy 2 of the 2 lb containers at Costco)
20 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 leeks, including tender green parts, rinsed well and finely chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives or fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and any fibers. Remove the peel and cut the squash into 1 inch cubes.

In a roasting pan, combine the squash and garlic cloves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss until well coated. Pour in the water. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the squash and garlic are soft and golden, about 50-60 minutes. Add more water if the squash begins to scorch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash and garlic are roasting, in a heavy frying pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the leeks and saute until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
Combine the squash mixture, the leeks and 1 cup vegetable stock in a large soup pot and blend with a stick blender until very smooth (or put in a blender in small batches and add to soup pot.)

Stir in the remaining 4 cups stock and crushed red pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with chives or parsley
Makes 4 - 6 very generous servings

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Garlicy Potato Leek Soup with Crispy Garlic Chips

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3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, washed and chopped small (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced, appx. 1 tablespoon
2 heads garlic , rinsed, papery skins removed and top third of heads cut off and discarded
6 or 7 cups low sodium chicken broth (start with 6 cups and use extra cup to thin soup, if needed)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 pound red potatoes, peels on, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
Ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh chives

For the Garlic Chips:
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic , sliced thin lengthwise
Table salt

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add leeks and cook until soft (do not brown), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic heads, broth, bay leaves, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; partially cover pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until garlic is very tender when pierced with tip of knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Discard bay leaves. Remove garlic heads; using tongs or paper towels, squeeze garlic heads at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using fork, mash garlic to smooth paste in bowl.

3. Stir cream, thyme, and half of mashed garlic into soup; heat soup until hot, about 2 minutes. Taste soup; add remaining garlic paste if desired. Using immersion blender, process soup until creamy, with some potato chunks remaining. Alternatively, transfer 1 1/2 cups potatoes and 1 cup broth to blender or food processor and process until smooth. (Process more potatoes for thicker consistency.) Return puree to pot and stir to combine, adjusting consistency with more broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkling each portion with chives and garlic chips.

4. For Garlic Chips
Heat oil and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, turning frequently, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to plate lined with paper towels; discard oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Blatantly copied and pasted off of the Cooks Illustrated web site. A HIGHLY recommended reference for all things cooking. I bet even Oprah uses it, so you should too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Northwest Smoked Salmon Spread

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This is a recipe that Sharon found on the side of a cracker box. It has a delicious fresh taste!

5 – 6 ounces hard smoked salmon (Sharon used the softer, filleted kind)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons green onion, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced (.66 oz. = 2 T)
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Cream together cream cheese, garlic, green onion and lemon juice. Add sour cream and blend together thoroughly. Finely shred the smoked salmon and add to the cream cheese mixture, blending until salmon appears as pink flecks and cheese is smooth. Stir in dill, cayenne and black pepper. Chill 6 – 8 hours for richest flavor.

Makes 2 cups

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crusty Pizza Dough

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1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (105 - 115 deg)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal

I'm using a KitchenAid stand mixer for this recipe.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

Continue on speed 2, add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down.

Spray pizza pan or baking tray with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around edge to hold toppings. Add toppings, as desired. Bake at 450degF for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings (1/4 pizza per serving).
Topping variations:
Original pizza: Large jar of marinara sauce (or home-made pizza sauce), mushrooms, red onion, black olives, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese. (pepperoni optional)

Greek pizza: Fresh basil pesto, Feta cheese, red & yellow peppers, kalamata olives, red onions, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. (sausage optional)

Clean out the fridge pizza: Marinara sauce, red & sweet onions, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, mushrooms, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bread Salad

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This is another recipe that Randy and Ellie introduced me to. I love salads, and this one has become my new favorite.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced shallots (I use my handy dandy microplane)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (microplane again)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vinegar, mustard, shallots, thyme and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil in a stream until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4 slices french bread, 1 inch thick*
Extra virgin olive oil
24 pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
6 ounces boconccini (small mozzarella balls) cut in half
4 cups loosely packed, flavorful salad greens, washed, dred and torn into pieces**
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I do cheat sometimes and use the grated Parmesan in a tub)
Preheat your grill (I love grilling)
Brush both sides of the bread with oil. Grill the bread on both sides until golden. Remove from the grill and use a serrated knife to cut the bread into bite-size cubes. Put the bread in a serving bowl with the olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, lettuce and basil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. There should be enough dressing to soak into the bread, but the greens should not be drenched - use a little more or less dressing as needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss again, lightly.
*I get Trader Joe's Pugliese, slice it into 1 inch slices, wrap it well and put it in the freezer so I always have some ready.
**Use salad greens that have a hardier leaf such as romaine, arugula, spinach or a combination.
Serves 4

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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This frosting is like having truffles on top of your cake!

7 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler, over barely simmering water, whisking until smooth. Add the butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for 15 minutes. Beat the frosting with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 8 minutes, until thick enough to spread. After you frost your cake or cupcakes, you may need to refrigerate for about an hour till the frosting sets.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pasta with Barbecued Chicken & Veges

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Randy and Ellie made this for us for dinner one night. It was so quick and easy, and really delicious! There's a lot of flexibility in this recipe - you can use whatever veges, pasta and dressing that you like (or have on hand) and adjust the amount of ingredients for your family. This is the recipe as they made it for 6 people:

4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1lb. box Rotini pasta
4 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1 orange or red bell pepper, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and veins removed
1 medium head broccoli, sliced in half or thirds (depending on how big it is)
1 onion, sliced into about 1/4 inch rings (try to keep the rings together)
1 cup (more or less, depending on your taste) Girard's light champagne salad dressing

Preheat your barbecue.
Brush chicken and veges with olive oil. Salt and pepper chicken.
Cook chicken breasts for about 5 - 7 minutes on each side.
Lay the veges on the bbq and cook them, turning once. The time for the veges varies. The zucchini cooks in only about 5 minutes - the broccoli takes longer. Just keep an eye on them and poke them with a fork once in a while to see if they're getting tender. Try not to over cook them or they get mushy.
Take everything off the bbq as it gets done and set it aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Cut the chicken and the veges into chunks, combine with the pasta and pour dressing over the top.
This can be eaten room temp. It's also delicious leftover and cold!
I made this again without the chicken and added barbecued, canned artichoke bottoms- yummy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Bars

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This recipe is from my friend Terri who is a fabulous cook. That probably explains her success as a caterer! These are not difficult to make, and they are sooooo decadent!

First Layer
Preheat oven to 350
Cream together:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Press evenly into a 9x13" pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool.

Second Layer
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan - bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over crust.

Third Layer
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon Crisco
Melt together in a double boiler and pour over second layer - spread evenly

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps

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1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon salad oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 pound lean ground pork
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (I cheat and use bottled)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
3-4 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili peppers
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce (I used fish sauce)
2 small heads Butter lettuce (I've also used red leaf lettuce and Romaine, although Romaine is a bit messy)

Fry coconut in dry pan until golden brown, about five minutes. Remove coconut from the pan. Add oil to the pan. Cook the shallots, ginger and garlic until soft, about five minutes. Add the pork and brown well. Remove the fat from the pan. Add the lime juice, mint leaves, peanuts, coconut, chili peppers and the soy or fish sauce. Mix to blend well.

Wash the lettuce and separate the leaves.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves about 8-10 for appetizers or 4 for a main course.