Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spinach Arancini

  • Wow! Was this a complicated recipe!
    Way back when it was just Phil and little teeny Joshua and I in Italy we used to spend time at a local mall-type shopping center called Panorama. Their food court of sorts sold a few things like roast chicken, pizza (my favorite to see was "Americana" with hot dogs and french fries on it), french fries and arancini. I was nervous to try them at first but they were delicious! They sold several different kinds with different ingredients. My favorite had cheese and prosciutto. Delicious! 
  • A couple months ago we were at a grocery store and Phil found a pack of them in the freezer section and asked me to make them. I'm finally getting around to it. 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 24 (1/2 inch) cubes mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in rice and wine; cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.

  • Season with pepper. Stir in spinach, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spread onto cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)

  • On cookie sheet, shape rice mixture into 12x8-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows to make 24 squares. Place 1 mozzarella cheese cube in center of each square; shape rice around cheese cubes to make balls.

  • Place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In another bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Coat each ball with flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Place coated balls on unlined cookie sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

  • Line platter or shallow pan with paper towels. Heat about 2 inches vegetable oil in a pan to 350 degrees F. Fry balls 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls to towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

I had this at a Mexican restaurant a couple of months ago. Theirs was better than mine... but this one is pretty good too. Especially after having enchiladas for dinner!
Phil has recently renamed my challenge "30 pounds on my husband before I turn 30."

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
  • Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chicken Wellington

  • This one ended up on the list at the suggestion of a friend. While I'd save it for a special occasion, I'd definitely make it again.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 packages (15 ounces each) refrigerated pie pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • SAUCE:
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1-1/4 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth

  • Flatten chicken to an even thickness. In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and 1 tablespoon butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and remaining butter. Unroll pastry sheets; cut each into a 9-in. square (discard scraps). Place a chicken breast half on each square; spread chicken with butter mixture. Fold pastry over chicken. Trim off excess pastry; pinch seams to seal.

  • Place on a greased baking sheet; brush with egg. Bake at 450° for 18-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

  • Meanwhile, for sauce, dissolve bouillon in hot water. In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in bouillon and wine or broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pineapple Pie

I saw this recipe here a while back. Being a fan of pineapple... and also of pie, I thought the 2 looked like they would make a good combination which is how it ended up on my list. Then this weekend we were able to visit with Phil's Grandma. She is known far and wide for her delicious pies. She has probably made more pies in one day then I have made in my entire lifetime. I was lucky enough to be able to cook up a couple pies with her this weekend. We talked about recipes and pies and I brought up this recipe. Would you believe that she has made a pie just like this? 
For the pie:
3/4c sugar
2T butter
2 eggs, separated
1/3c cornstarch
1/2t vanilla extract
1/2c plus 2T of water
8oz canned crushed pineapple
1 whole 9-inch baked pie crust

For the meringue: 
2 egg whites (from above)
1/8t salt
1/4t cream of tartar
6T sugar
1t vanilla

For the pie, cream sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a saucepan. Add cornstarch and vanilla. Add water and crushed pineapple. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Pour into a 9″ baked pastry.
For the meringue, whip egg whites until they begin to get foamy. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to whip until the meringue has reached soft peak stage and is smooth and glossy. Place the meringue over the cooled pie. Brown at 400ºF for just a few minutes. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Tastes great warm or cold.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

No Bake Cookies

  • Before Phil and I got married I had only lived in 1 house. I had never moved, never had to house hunt, nothing. It was this girl who decided on the first house we would rent. The first summer we were married we lived in Virginia. Our little house had no air conditioner. I hadn't realized we would need one. It was hot. It was humid. I was pregnant for my first time. It was pretty miserable. 
  • Phil was still stationed on a ship back then and I would send goodies with him to work every so often. Making these cookies made us some good friends. I still make them in the middle of summer on days when it's just too hot to consider turning on the oven.
2c white sugar
  • 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2c milk
  • 1/2c margarine
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1c chunky peanut butter
  • 3c quick cooking oats

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.

  • Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper (or parchment or foil... or a nonstick mat). Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

Blueberry Syrup

We have been looking for alternatives to generic pancake syrup. We picked some blueberries a short while ago and so decided to give them a try at the job. We've had our pancakes with these a few times now and it's pretty delicious.

  • 3 cups or more blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Combine the blueberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and cook at a boil for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom as needed to keep from burning. Reduce heat to low; simmer the mixture until thick, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
I have stored mine in a mason jar in the fridge for later use and it's turned out well, albeit cold.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I had completely forgotten about this recipe until a friend called to ask for it. It originally came from a slow cooker recipe booklet and was labeled as "Shrimp Creole" but over the years I've improved it quite a bit, I think. I don't follow the amounts exactly, but here is my approximate recipe:

2T butter
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper
2 chicken breasts, diced
2T flour
1 1/2c water
1 6oz can tomato paste
1t salt
dash pepper
1/4t sugar
1 bay leaf
1 lb shrimp, tails off
1 turkey kielbasa, sliced
fluffy rice

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add the onion, pepper and celery and cook slightly. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add the flour and stir until well blended. Add the remaining ingredients except the kielbasa, shrimp and rice. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add meats and cook until shrimp turns pink and all is warm. Serve over cooked rice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Oh my goodness. Perfection on a chip is what I would call this. I will be making this again. It's only a matter of when.

  • 3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (or about 1/3 a cup of salsa)
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

  • In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour covered directly with saran wrap to prevent browning for best flavor, or serve immediately.


I'm not a huge fan of spicy food but I can appreciate a good salsa every now and then. I've always wanted to try making my own but have just never had a good reason to. Tonight I made this salsa (adapted for a Pioneer Woman recipe) and the guacamole for a potluck style get together. Both went over really really well. I took big bowls full and brought them home empty. Phil asked to make it spicier next time... so maybe we'll consider adding a jalapeno for him. For the weaker palate like mine, though, this was pretty perfect.

6 Tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole mild pepper (think Anaheim)
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro (more To Taste!)
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Combine tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour before serving.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


First, this recipe said "Easy Paella" but I wholeheartedly disagree. I have put off making this recipe because anything that includes more than 1 meat is intimidating to me. It's not that I don't think I'm capable of cooking it, just that it seems like a lot of effort for one dinner for 4 people. 
I'm really glad I chose this recipe, though. It was delicious! I have a feeling Phil will be asking me to make this again sometime. Oh and this recipe could definitely feed a crowd! The 4 of us went through maybe half of it.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

    In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate.

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.

    Spread rice mixture onto a serving tray. Top with meat and seafood mixture.