New Blog URL

Hello All! Just wanted to let you know once again that I have a new blog. It’s the365cook.wordpress.com. It has all the old recipes plus new ones and it looks cooler too! Hope to see you there:)

New Blog URL

I have a new address!!

the365cook.wordpress.com

All archived recipes will be there as well as any and all new postings. If you’re a subscriber, please subscribe to that blog as no new postings will be posted here.

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you there!!

Pressed Potatoes à la Rachael Ray

I saw this variation of roasted potatoes both on her show and in her magazine this month. I gave them a try the other night to go with the crock-pot chicken and veggies and boy, what a delight! The skin was so crispy! I had some prosciutto on hand from a recipe I meant to put it in the other night, but forgot. I cut that up and put it on the potatoes about 5 minutes before they were do to come out and the saltiness of the prosciutto lent a nice touch.

Here’s what you need:

1- red potatoes

2- salt and pepper

3- olive oil

4- prosciutto, if desired

Directions:

1- Boil the potatoes until fork tender

2- While potatoes boil, preheat oven to 425 degrees

3- Once potatoes are out, place them on a foil lined baking sheet and smash flat with the bottom of a glass. Don’t smash too hard because they will fall apart.

4- Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

5- Put in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. If using prosciutto, add at about the 20 minute mark.

Crock-pot Chicken with Veggies (and homemade broth made with the juices)

Well I guess it’s pretty much officially fall. I know this not only because of the temperatures, which are getting oh so chilly, but also because we pulled out the crock-pot this weekend. Oh goodness gracious, what a depressing yet lovely sight. Lovely because of all the good things that will come out of it, but depressing because that means winter will pretty soon be rearing its ugly unwelcome head. Winter comes on so fast, just like summer leaves so fast. One day it’s 90 degrees and the next is 70 degrees. One day it is a pretty pleasant 50 degrees and the next is 30 degrees. Oh the weather of the northeast…

For our first of the season crock-pot dinner, all’s we did a simple whole chicken with veggies and then let the pot do it’s thing for 8 hours while we went out to surf (in icky conditions might I add). When we came back, the whole apartment smelled delicious and when I opened the lid, the chicken was just falling off the bones. With the juices, I made fresh broth which I’ll explain below. Here are the directions for the chicken and veggies first.

Ingredients:

1- whole chicken

2- we added carrots, mushrooms, onion, and pepper for our vegetables, but use whatever you want. Slice them into thick chunks.

3- small amount of water or broth

4- herbs such as thyme or basil

5- salt and pepper to season the chicken

Directions:

1- Make sure that nasty little bag of insides is removed from the bird. Then season the bird with the salt and pepper.

2- Add a small amount of broth or water, about an inch. The chicken will create a lot of juices on it’s own.

3- Add the veggies.

4- Set the pot on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

5- Go out then come home to a delicious meal. Once ready, remove all the chicken and vegetables (slowly and carefully because it will fall apart), but leave the bones in the crock-pot, along with the juices in order to make broth, if you want. See directions for broth below. If you do not want to make the broth, just discard the juices once cooled.

Broth:

1- Add about 5 cups water to the crock-pot. Set the pot on high for 2 hours or low for 4.

2- Once the broth is done, let it cool completely then refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, skim the fat from the top of the broth and divide into bags to freeze. Now you have fresh broth without any of those awful additives.

Enjoy your meal!

Super Nifty S’mores Brownies

I was looking around online today to see what I could do for dessert tonight and came across s’mores. I thought to myself that s’mores are something I haven’t had in ages and that their multiple layers of sweet goodness is something that might make for a good dessert for tonight. I then asked myself how I can make them with the things I have home already. I remembered I had box brownie mix, graham crackers, and butter at home already, so all I would need are marshmallows and I would be able to create a kind of brownie s’more. yum.

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1- 1 box brownie mix

2- about 4 graham crackers smashed to crumbs and places in a bowl

3- about 6 tablespoons butter, melted

4- marshmellows

Directions:

1- Melt the butter.

2- Add the melted butter to the smashed graham crackers and stir to coat. All the graham crackers should be evenly coated.

3- Press the graham cracker crust into small custard cups, ramekins, or a pie plate. I didn’t have enough custard cups, so I ended up using some custard cups and some individual tart pans, which worked out alright.

4- Pre-bake the crust(s) for about 8-10 minutes. While the crust bakes, make the brownie mix.

5- Take the crust(s) out of the oven and evenly divide the brownie mix among the custard cups or pour the mix into the pie plate.

6- Bake for about 30 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

7- Once done, take the marshmallows and place some on top of the fully baked brownie. Broil on high until the marshmallows are at your desired level of brownness.

Serve warm.

 

Fancy Schmancy Meatloaf

Meatloaf isn’t exactly fancy. Even the name isn’t fancy. And it always just looks like an unappetizing brown lump. But boy does meatloaf sure taste good…and depending on what you put in it and what you bake it in, it can become fancy-ish. I think the meatloaf we made tonight fell into the fancy-ish category. We put in lots of fresh veggies and herbs and then baked the meatloaf in individual size ramekins to give it a special feel.

 

 

Ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

We used a little over 1lb of ground beef. To this we added these ingredients:

  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • thyme
  • onion, roughly chopped
  • carrot, grated
  • garlic, chopped
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • bread crumbs
For the glaze, mix together:
  • ketchup (this will form the base of the glaze)
  • worcestershire sauce (dash)
  • maple syrup (small pour)
Directions:
1- Add enough of the above ingredients so that everything comes together nicely.
2- Place meatloaf in the ramekins and place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or place the mixture in a loaf pan and bake in the loaf pan.
3- Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and brush the glaze on top. Return to the oven and bake until the loaf reaches 155 degrees.
Serve directly in the ramekins, if using, or, if saving for later, let cool, turn out of the ramekins, and either refrigerate or freeze.

 

Bulgur and Lentil Salad

This is another one of those recipes that creates leftovers. Actually this one I prepared with the sole purpose of freezing in individual portions so that we would have healthy lunches on hand to take to work. Who wants to eat the dreaded sandwich every single day? Lentils, as opposed to most other dried beans, are very easy to cook up. They boil in about 20-30 minutes, no soaking time needed. Lentils are packed with fiber and they also give you tons of energy without spiking your blood sugar, so you won’t have that crash afterward. Bulgur is also very easy to cook and has many health benefits. It’s a whole grain that is also packed with fiber. This salad will definitely help get you through the day:) This recipe makes about 6 individual portions.

About 1.5 hours before you want to start the whole recipe, start soaking the bulgur. Add all the bulgur to a bowl that has a cover, cover with water, and let soak for 1.5 hours.

Ingredients:

1- olive oil

2- 1 large onion, sliced thinly

3- 1 1/3 cup bulgur

4- 1 1/4 cup dry lentils

5- salt

6- 1/2 cup chopped mint

7- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 1/2 cup water

Directions:

1- Start making the lentils- Add the lentils to a pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender (you may need more cooking time). Drain when done.

2- While the lentils cook, start to caramelize the onion. Heat the oil (about 2 turns of the pan) in a skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Add the 2 tbs water, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden and very soft.

3- Add back to the pot in which the lentils were cooking, the bulgur, lentils, and onions. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the water is gone. Stir in the mint and some additional salt to tase.

4- If freezing, allow to cool and then divide into baggies. Put the baggies into a gallon size bag to keep everything together and label the bag. The salad should be eaten within a month of freezing.

When serving this salad, you can add some lemon juice and yogurt, if desired.

Here’s to a healthy lunch.

 

Layered Crespelle with Spinach, Prosciutto, and Parmesan Cheese

 

Probably one of the best dinners ever. It takes awhile to make, but is so well worth it, just look how pretty it is and oh, is it delicious! Crespelle are really just crepes. In Italy, just like in France, they are stuffed with different fillings. We followed a recipe from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking- my Italian cooking Bible.

I’ll give a crepe recipe below, but you can use any recipe you’d like. This recipe also calls for Bechamel Sauce (a white sauce). This takes a little while to make. You can make this and even the crepes one day in advance and refrigerate them. If making the crepes one day in advance, weave wax paper through the layers so they do not stick.

Crespelle Recipe:

Ingredients:

1- 1 cup milk

2- 3/4 cups flour

3- 2 egss

4- pinch salt

5- non stick cooking spary

6- 8 ” nonstick skillet

Directions:

1- Put the milk in the bowl and gradually add the flour while whisking to avoid lumps. Make sure the batter is blended.

2- Add the eggs, one at a time, until blended

3- Spray the skillet and heat over medium low

4- Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and swirl to distribute evenly. As soon as the batter firms, flip and cook the other side.

5- Layer them on a plate. Even though I wasn’t refrigerating them, I still layered wax paper between each one.

6- Set aside.

Bechemal Sauce:

The recipe can be found here: (http://dessertcomesfirst.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/lasagna/)

Scroll to the middle of the page.

Filling Recipe:

Ingredients:

1- 1 lb fresh spinach

2- 1 tablespoons butter

3- non stick cooking spray

4- 1/2 cup chopped prosciutto

5- 1 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

6- 3 tablespoons onion, chopped very fine

7- salt

Directions:

1- Clean the spinach and cook in salted water until tender. Drain it and squeeze as much water as you can. Chop it and set aside. Get the oven pre heated to 450 degrees.

2- Put the butter and chopped onion into a pan and cook over medium heat until the onion is pale gold. Add the prosciutto and coat it, cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, stir, and cook about another 2 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and add about 1 cup of the Parmesan, a pinch of salt and about 2/3 cup of Bechemal Sauce, or enough to make the spinach mixture sticky. Make sure everything is well combined.

3- Get a baking dish and divide the crespelle into 2 even piles (about 8 per pile). Spray the baking sheet with non stick spray. Put one crespelle down on the baking sheet and thinly coat it with the spinach mixture (make sure to divide it so you have enough), cover with another crespelle, and again coat with the spinach mixture. Go through the rest of the first pile. Start again with the second pile. Cover both piles with the remaining Bechamel Sauce and top with the cheese.

4- Bake for about 5 minutes then broil for about a minute, or until there is a nice crust on top.

Savour all of you hard work with a great bottle of wine. We just received a delivery from Wine Woot…three bottles of Zinfandel (2005, 2006, and 2007). With this dish we had the ’05. It’s full and rich, with a nice berry aroma- perfect complement to such a savory dish!

Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Sauteed Vegetables

It rained the ENTIRE day yesterday without break. It was grey, it was humid, it was wet. We didn’t want to go out to the beach to surf, we didn’t want to walk outside, puppy Dexter didn’t want to walk outside, it was just icky, so we cooked. We cooked all afternoon. The first thing I made was this sauce to freeze for a later date. I love homemade sauce. It is definitely well worth the little bit of extra time to make sauce at home. You don’t get all the sodium and you know everything is fresh. When school starts next week, I plan to eat just as well as we’ve been eating. This probably means making up sauces in my free time and freezing them, just like we did yesterday. This sauce is perfect because it pairs well with any pasta shape, store bought or homemade. Actually it pairs particularly well with penne or rigatoni because it gets inside the nooks and crannies. Once the little bit of chopping is done, the sauce is a breeze because all’s you do is simmer it for 45 mins. Once done and cooled, divide it in half and pop it in to freezer bags. There will be enough for 4 portions. Don’t forget to mark the type of sauce and when you made it.

Ingredients:

1- 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes (Rienzi), cut up with juices

2- 2/3 cup chopped carrots

3- 2/3 cup chopped onion

4- 2/3 cup chopped celery

5- 1/3 cup olive oil

6- salt

Directions:

1- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until pale gold. Add the carrot and celery and cook at a higer heat for a minute. Stir just to coat all veggies.

2- Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes and a large pinch of salt. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 45 mins.

3- Turn heat off and either toss directly with pasta or let cool and divide into freezer bags.

Rice Noodles with Asian Fish Sauce

I haven’t posted in about a week, maybe more, so I have some catching up to do. This was my second time specifically making a meal in order to create leftovers. This dish created 6 portions total. The recipe is from a book called Good Housekeeping Fast Weeknight Favorites. I’ll probably be making a bunch of things from here and posting them.

This was really quite easy to put together. I really liked the subtle taste of the fish sauce. A little bit goes a very long way. I would definitely recommend using the fish sauce because it really makes the dish. The book does note that say sauce can be used as a substitute.

The book noted that this recipe should take about 25 minutes total, but it took about 30 minutes- with two people working.

Ingredients:

1- 8 oz package rice noodles

2- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

5- 12 ounces ground beef (we used ground turkey)

6- 1/2 cup chicken broth

7- 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)

8- 1 teaspoon sugar

9- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

To garnish:

10- chopped fresh cilantro

11- beansprouts

12- peanuts

13- cucumber, thinly sliced

Directions:

1- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and soak the noodles for about 5 minutes. They cook up very fast.

2- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden. Add the beef or turkey and cook, breaking it up, until browned and cooked through.

3- Stir in broth, fish sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Simmer uncovered until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

4- Add the drained noodles and use tongs to combine all ingredients.

5- Put noodles into bowl and garnish with above ingredients as desired.

 

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