Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Tone Cookie Crinkles

This is the cookie, we are baking for Cookie Carnival.  Each month, Tammy selects a cookie, we all choose to bake with her. 

I learned a lot from making this cookie, the two tone cookie crinkles.  I made my mistakes, along the way and hope I learned from them.

When I cut the shaped cookies, I was not exacting about the size and shape and as a result, my cookies are not consistent.   The result was that they did not line up correctly.  Regardless of this, they are visually good enough and taste-wise, also good enough.

Summing up the cookie, it is a double cookie with a ganache filling.  With a vanilla and chocolate component, you know it is good.

I have no idea why these are called crinkles.

I don't like making big cookies and usually choose a smaller version but being the first time, I made this, I stuck to the directions.  Big cookies are still not my faves but this one came out as a good to eat, attractive cookie.

Menu Plan Mondays January 31

I am planning to make Thursday - Breakfast for Dinner Night.  So, look for eggs, pancakes, French Toast and all your favorite foods served on Thursdays.

Monday - Mock Seafood Lasagna (Taste of Home)

Tuesday - Sesame Salmon

Wednesday - Four Cheese Baked Penne Ellie Krieger
Picture of Four Cheese Baked Penne Recipe

Thursday -Peach  Sausage Puff Pancake (Taste of Home)

Friday - Chicken Salad (Nigella style)

Saturday - Chulent (like a stew that cooks for 24 hours)

Coffee Break Muffins --- Baking With Dorie -- BWD

Monday, Hurrah, is another Baking with Dorie day and we have made muffins found on page 15 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking from My Home to Yours.  I love Dorie and I love all the baked goods that have come about, as a result of her.

The originator of the group is Grapefruit of Needful Things.  We have been together for almost a year, now and in that time, I think, we baked a diversity of delicious desserts.  As a big fan of Dorie, I do use her as my main source for many baked recipes. If you are interested in joining the group, let Grapefruit know.  We have a great time and would love for you to join us.

Grapefruit is also the gal who selected this week's baking challenge.  You will find the recipe on her blog, Needful Things.   Thank youWhy is Blogger refusing to stop underlining?  I can't turn it off.  Any thoughts on this?

This was a quick and easy recipe.  I did add a topping but that took a few minutes to chop the nuts and fruit.  The main flavor was the coffee and I made it too strong for my husband's taste.  I guess the flavor of coffee in a baked item is different than the wake up call, we get from it, in the mornings.

If you like coffee flavor and muffins, I think, you would like these.
This is without the topping.  I had one photo and it disappeared when editing.

Linked to Family Friendly Fridays     
Linked to This Week's Cravings

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fast Potato Gratin

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fast Potato Gratin * Tackling Bittman * Veggie/Fruit of January


 I could live on potatoes.  Put a potato in a dish and I am eating it.  Add some sour cream and I happy.  Bake it, fry it, boil it, cream it, steam as you please.....I love potatoes.

Gratin has been on my list to do for ages and today is my day.  These potatoes were sliced on my kitchen toy, a mandolin that cuts in several way.  Although this is called julienne, I think of it as cottage fry look.  These slices were thinner than I have ever used.  They were close to paper thin and I was fearful, they might not work when cooked.  They did beautifully.    They crisped on the outside but stayed softer, in the middle.  They were just another successful potato recipe, hopefully to be made again, with onion.

Fast Potato Gratin  Adapted from Mark Bittman

Yield 4 servings
Time 40 minutes
  • 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or a fine grating of nutmeg, optional
  • spray olive oil (rather than butter)
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable broth  (rather than cream)

  • 1. Slice potatoes thinly. Layer in a nonstick ovenproof skillet, sprinkling between layers with salt and pepper, and garlic or nutmeg, if you like. 
Perfect-so thin!
  • Spray olive oil, then add enough vegetable broth to come about three-quarters of the way to the top. 
  •  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place skillet on stove top over high heat, and bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the level of liquid and potatoes drops. 
  • Put in oven, and cook until top is browned, about 10 minutes. 

  • Turn heat down to 300 degrees, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes more. Serve or keep warm in oven for up to 30 minutes.
A little paprika added.
 This is especially for Veggie/Fruit A month at Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes

Coconut-Butterscotch Muffins

Coconut-Butterscotch Muffins

 I like to bake, almost daily and it is important to me, to have variety.  I would not be happy making pies or cakes or muffins, everyday.  It may be a platitude but I think, variety in baking is the spice of life.

I had a topping mix left from another recipe and did not want to keep it, taking up space.  My choices were muffins or a coffee cake.  Muffins won.  I had not eaten lunch and was hungry.  Muffins are done quickly and easily and for some reason, sounded acceptable for lunch while a coffee cake did not.

I name the muffins after the topping, a blend of coconut, dried apples, butterscotch chips and chopped almonds.  With a small amount of canola oil, I had a nice streusel for the muffin.

Coconut-Butterscotch Muffins 

Ingredients -

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon baking powder
 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup Brownulated brown sugar (granulated brown sugar or packed brown sugar - light)
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 cup oil minus one tablespoon
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Either spray muffin cups or use liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except the brown sugar.
  • Mix until there are no lumps.
  • Stir in brown sugar, making sure it is well mixed.
  • In a small bowl, mix  the coffee, oil, egg and vanilla together, until well combined.
  • Pour this liquid mixture over dry ingredients and do a quick stir to mix the two together.  Do not over-mix.  A few lumps are not a problem.
  • Fill each cup about 3/4 full.
  • Place streusel on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.
  • Let stand for five minutes and then it is time to enjoy these.

This is linked to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at  Life as Mom.
Frugal Food Thursdays  at Frugal Follies
The Grocery Cart Challenge 
Your Recipe, My Kitchen 
Midnight Maniac's Meatless Mondays

Cherry Almond Glazed Chicken

Cherry Almond Glazed Chicken

I have discovered that when you like certain flavors, you can apply them to different foods, even those far from the original combination.  Cherry-Almond has been terrific in cakes and muffins and other sweets but I have not used it with meat, until last night.

My taste in food has expanded and I have been experimenting with a mix and match kind of cooking and it has produced some really terrific meals, such as this one.

Cherry Almond Glazed Chicken


  • 1 pound chicken cutlets
  • 1/r cup cherry jam
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


  • Preheat oven 375 degrees.
  • Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken in a baking dish.
  •   Bake 25 - 30 minutes.
I served with mashed potatoes and green beans in lemon-pepper "butter".

This is linked to - Whatcha Making Wednesdays   Photobucket
Tailgating Time

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun-Cannelloni Style

Double the Fun, Double the Pleasure Cannelloni Style

What better way to save time than to use one set of ingredients for two recipes?  I must admit, my intention was to make only Cannelloni but alas and alack, my lasagna noodles stuck together and my attempts to peel them apart, ended up with bits and pieces.

Waste not, want not is my motto, at least for the moment, so I grabbed those noodles and pretended they were not stuck together.  I layered them with sauce and cheese, topping with shredded mozzarella and there was my lasagna casserole.

Spinach Cannelloni

1 box lasagna noodles cooked according to directions on box - you can cut off a minute or two from the cooking time.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups frozen spinach, well drained
1 container ricotta cheese (2 cups)
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
1 egg, beaten
seasoning - 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, smidge of black pepper according to taste,  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
additional 1 cup mozzarella to top cannelloni with
home made marinara or jar of marinara

  • Preheat oven - 375 degrees.
  • Spray square baking pan, if you are making two dishes or one 9 x 13, if you are making one dish.
  • Filling: In medium skillet, heat the olive oil and add onion when oil is hot.  Cook for 5 minutes and add spinach and seasoning.
  • When heated through, set aside.
I had planned to make my own sauce but did not have the time so I opened a bottle of Marinara and used it.  It was a rich sauce and worked well.  I did not use the whole bottle but I think, that is a personal decision.  If you like it saucy, use lots of sauce.  If you like it, simply flavored, use less sauce.

Lay out cannelloni noodles and cover one third of the noodle with filling and sauce.  Roll it up.

Move these noodles to baking pan and cover with sauce and then mozzarella cheese.

Bake 375 degrees for 20 -30 minutes until cheese starts to brown.

Take out left over squished, broken noodles and place them in another pan.  Layer with pasta, sauce. Repeat layering.  Bake.

Linked to Just Another Meatless Monday

Maple Glazed Salmon - QED

Maple Glazed Salmon

 We rarely eat salmon, during the week, but last Thursday, we were yearning for it.  What is nice about salmon is that it can be made simply and still be filled with yumminess.  For this salmon, I mixed a few ingredients and stuck it in the oven to end up eating this light and flavorful dinner.

Who said maple syrup is for pancakes and French Toast?  Not me.

Maple Glazed Salmon


4 pieces of salmon
 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper  (substitute black pepper, if you prefer)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Preheat oven --- 400 degrees.
  • Mix soy sauce and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Add the white pepper and garlic powder.  Mix together.

  • Place the salmon in a baking dish.  If you want to use it as a marinade, let it stand in refrigerator for at least one half hour.  Pour out marinade and  bake for 20 minutes.
  • If you do not want to marinade for any period of time, leave marinade in pan and bake the salmon with it.  Bake for the same amount of time - 20 minutes.
  • When serving, ladle a small amount over each piece of salmon and add a piece of parsley for decoration.  (optional)
  • Linked to Remodelaholic

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Soup, steaming on the table, filled with colorful vegetables ....what a wonderful way to start my first post.  I have this feeling, I should be saying, "Soup again?" We have had several soups, over the past two weeks since the cold weather has settled, in New York.

Now that I have tasted this soup, I have to proclaim that it is better than all the soups, we have had this month and they were just fine.  This was spectacular.  It was so rich and filling.  I had one bowl and could not eat more.  It is more like a meal than soup and with the little, I had left over, I am serving it as a side dish. 

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup  adapted from Todd Wilbur

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:  35 minutes

Servings: 4


    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup minced white onions ( about 1 medium onion)
    • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
    • 1/2 cup frozen cut Italian green beans (I was out of beans)
    • 1/4 cup minced celery ( about 1/2 stalk)
    • 4 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 (15 ounce) cans small white kidney beans
    • 1 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 3 cups hot water
    • frozen cups  baby spinach
    • 1/2 cup small shell pasta


  • Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  • Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.
  • Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

  • Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
Makes about eight 1 1/2 cup servings. 

Tips for saving time:

This is a double recipe for the two of us.  I had planned to freeze half of this for another meal on a night, where I do not have the time to cook.  Since we ate almost all of it, this is not going to work.