December 5, 2009

Pepperoni Sausage Lasagna

Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Container: 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan, large skillet, stock pot
Servings: 12
- 2 pounds lasagna noodles
- 8 ounces pepperoni - sliced
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese - shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion - diced

- Tomato Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 5 cloves garlic - crushed
- 6 cups Roma tomatoes - skinned and diced
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves - chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano - chopped
- salt and pepper to taste

* Preheat oven to 375° F.
* Cook pasta noodles according to package directions.
* Remove noodles from water when finished cooking and lay them out on paper towels.
* In a skillet saute the pepperoni over medium heat until crispy, approximately 3-4 minutes.
* Remove and drain on a paper towel.
* Wipe out the skillet and add the hamburger and sausage with 1/2 cup of the onion.
* Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender.
* Drain on a paper towel.
* For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan.
* Add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent.
* Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
* Then add the tomatoes and cook over low heat 1/2 hour.
* Add basil and oregano and continue to cook for another 1/2 hour.
* Season with salt and pepper.
* Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
* In a baking pan, pour one cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom and spread it out to cover.
* Then layer 3-4 noodles on the sauce, overlapping slightly.
* Top with 1/3 cup of ricotta, 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/3 of the sausage and hamburger, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
* Top with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of the pepperoni.
* Repeat layers 2 more times.
* On the very top layer, finish with a layer of the remaining ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni.
* Sprinkle all over with Parmesan cheese.
* Bake 40-45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.
* Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Pepperoni Crisps

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Container: Cutting board and microwave safe dish or plate
Servings: 10
Serving Size: 10 each
- 1 pound pepperoni dry sausage

# If pepperoni is not pre-sliced but consists of a whole stick, slice the stick into thin slices, approximately 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch thick. Small diameter sticks can be kept as round slices while larger sticks such as 3 inch diameter sticks should be cut into quartered sections or 4 individual pie-shaped wedges.
# Using a microwave-safe dish or plate, lay down 2 layers of paper toweling on the surface of the dish or plate.
# Arrange pepperoni slices evenly on paper toweling. Cover with a single layer of paper toweling.
# Microwave for 1 minute on high setting and check doneness. If pepperoni is still soft and flexible, microwave for more time to achieve the desired crispness. As the pepperoni cooks longer, more oil is removed to crispen the texture.
# If microwave does not rotate food on a turntable as it cooks, then the plate or dish should be manually rotated every 20 to 30 seconds as the food cooks.
# Since each microwave cooks with a different intensity and since some pepperoni slices may be thicker than others, times may vary from the instructions for cooking the pepperoni slices. It may require some testing to achieve the texture desired.
# Remove pepperoni from oven and
# When finished cooking the first batch, repeat procedure on following batches.
# Serve with guacamole or any topping desired. Note: A small diameter pepperoni stick (1 inch diameter or similar) that is sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices may have a tendency to curl around the outside edges, forming a bowl shape which can be a perfect shape for holding dip or guacamole. However, each stick of pepperoni may produce different results so it is best to do several tests. Most packaged pepperoni that is pre-sliced will crisp within a minute or so in the microwave while hand cut slices that will be thicker require longer cooking time.

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Container: small slow cooker, baking dish
Servings: 10
- 1 package Little Smokies
- 1 pound bacon
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar

* Cut bacon slices in half.
* Wrap one piece of bacon around each smokie and place them seam side down in glass baking dish.
* Top with brown sugar and drizzle with vinegar.
* Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
* Remove from the refrigerator and bake in a 350° oven for one hour.
* Remove from baking dish and transfer to a small slow cooker to keep them warm while serving.

Jalapeno Popper Cups

Prep Time. 15min. Total Time. 40min
Servings 20 appetizers

* 1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits)
* 1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained
* 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
* 2 tablespoons cooked real bacon pieces (from 3- to 4.3-oz jar or package)
* 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
* 20 Old El Paso® pickled jalapeño slices (from 12-oz jar), drained


Heat oven to 375°F. Separate each biscuit into 2 rounds. Press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 20 ungreased mini muffin cups.
# 2

In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients except jalapeño slices. Spoon heaping 1 teaspoon mixture into each cup; top each with 1 jalapeño slice.
# 3

Bake 13 to 19 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from pan to serving platter; let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Potato Skins

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours
Servings: 6
- 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
- 3 tablespoons onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon jalapeño, diced
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

- 3 medium sized baking potatoes - russetts
- non stick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese
- 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- sour cream and extra pico de gallo to garnish


* In a medium bowl, mix together all of the pico de gallo ingredients and refrigerate.


* Preheat oven to 400°.
* Place potatoes in oven and bake for one hour or until the are fork tender.
* Set aside to cool.
* When they are cool enough to handle, cut the center 1/2 inch from the potato by slicing twice. One slice on the right side of the middle and one slice on the left side of the middle. This will leave you with three pieces; two edge pieces and one middle piece approximately 1/2 inch thick. You do not need need the middle piece for this recipe. Save it for a different potato dish.
* Turn the oven to 450°.
* With a spoon, scoop out the inside flesh of the potato skins, leaving approximately 1/4 inch on the sides.
* Spray the whole potato with non stick cooking spray.
* Place on a cookie sheet cut side up and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
* Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each potato skin.
* Sprinkle on the bacon and top with one tablespoon of pico de gallo and the remaining cheese.
* Place back in the oven for a couple of minutes or until the cheese has melted.
* Serve warm with sour cream and pico de gallo.

Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings

Prep Time 15min.
Total Time 5hrs. 5min. Servings. 24appetizers

* 1 cup cayenne pepper sauce (hot sauce)
* 1 teaspoon garlic salt
* 24 chicken drummettes
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
* 3/4 teaspoon onion salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* Blue cheese dressing


1. 1

Stir together hot sauce and garlic salt until blended. Pour over drummettes; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
2. 2

Heat oven to 450ºF. Melt butter in jelly roll pan, 15 1/2x10 1/2x1 inch, in oven. Stir together Bisquick mix, onion salt and peppers. Remove chicken from sauce; discard sauce. Coat chicken with Bisquick mixture. Place in single layer in pan.
3. 3

Bake 25 minutes; turn and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juice is no longer pink when centers of pieces are cut. Serve with dressing.

November 27, 2009

Make a Panty Dropper

Make a Panty Dropper

Step 1
• 2 shots champagne
• 1 shot grenadine
• 1 shot orange juice
• 2 shots tequila
• 1/2 shot pineapple juice
• 1 shot vodka
• 5-7 drops Tabasco sauce
• 2 shots red bull
• 2 shots absinthe

Preparation Steps
Mix all ingredients in a shaker for about 1 minute. Make sure all is mixed well. Serve chilled on ice

Red Wine Braised Short Rib Beef Stew

Red Wine Braised Short Rib Beef Stew

2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp all purpose flour
10 cremini mushrooms, cut in 1/4's if large or in 1/2 if small
1 bottle Cabernet sauvingnon, or other dry red wine
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems tied together w/ butcher's twine
4 oz demi glace*
1 tbsp instant espresso or coffee
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (or less if you don't like black pepper)
10 cipollini onions, peeled & left whole
15 whole small carrots, peeled
10 small new white potatoes
4 stalks celery, cut in 2" pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas
extra kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, if necessary

For the slurry:
2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place a large oven-safe pot on the stove over high heat. Add canola oil to the pan. Heat for at least 2 minutes until there are ripples in the oil but before the oil begins to smoke.

While the oil is heating, season the short rib cubes with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Lightly dust the meat with flour.

Working in two batches so as not to over-crowd the pan, brown the beef on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minute or until well caramelized. Remove from pot and set aside with the browned beef.

Pour off any oil pooling in the pot. Return the pot to the stove and increase the heat to high. Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Scrap up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine and vinegar to reduce by half, stirring occasionally.

Once the wine has finished reducing, add the whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, demi-glace, instant coffee, kosher salt, black pepper, and reserved mushrooms and browned beef to the pot. Stir. Allow the liquid to return to a boil then place a lid on the pot. Place the pot into the preheated 300 degree oven.

Allow the beef to braise in the oven for 1 hour at 300 degrees. After 1 hour, add the cipollini onions, carrots, new potatoes and celery to the pot. Stir. Replace the lid to the pot and return the pot to the oven. Braise the stew for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is fall-apart-tender and the veggies are cooked through. Taste the stew and adjust seasoning as desired with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the stew on the stove over medium-high heat, add the frozen peas. Stir and bring to a boil.

While the stew is coming to a boil whisk together the corn starch and cold water until all of the corn starch has dissolved.

As soon as the stew reaches a boil, pour in the corn starch slurry and stir the pot immediately. Cook for another 1 minute at a boil until the stew is slightly thickened and the liquid is more viscous.

Remove the pot from heat. Remove the thyme sprigs. Allow the stew to cool, then place in the fridge. Allow the stew to chill overnight. This will allow the flavors to marry and will give the best tasting results! Before reheating, remove the layer of fat that has risen to the top and harden overnight. (This is another great reason to chill the stew. Otherwise you will be eating all of that extra fat!)

Reheat the stew over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Serve with a great loaf of crusty bread. Enjoy!

*If you do not wish to make demi-glace (because it takes for freaking ever!) and you can't find it in a specialty store, you can substitute a really good beef stock or just omit it altogether. While not a fundamental ingredient it adds a rich flavor if you can find it.

Cinnamon Apple Pecan Crumb Bars

Cinnamon Apple Pecan Crumb Bars

For the apples:
3 medium fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into a 1/2" dice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the crumb:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, soften
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 egg

For the icing:
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x11.5" glass or ceramic baking dish.

Place all ingredients for the apples into a mixing bowl. Toss to coat and evenly distribute all ingredients.

Place first 5 ingredients for the crumb into a mixing bowl. Blend the ingredients together using a pastry blender or a fork until the butter has been incorporated and there are crumbs the size of peas. Add the egg to the crumb mixture and lightly stir just until the egg has been incorporated. Try not to over work the mixture. You want for there to still be pea-sized crumbs after incorporating the egg.

Reserve 1 heaping cup of the crumb mixture. Pour the rest of the crumb into the prepared baking dish. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, gently press the crumb mixture into the dish to form a level crust.

Next evenly distribute the apple mixture over the crust.

Finally, sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the apples.

Place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 50 minutes or until crumb is golden and apples are soft.

Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour.

While the bars are cooling, make the icing. Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk or beat until smooth.

Once the bars are cooled drizzle with the cream cheese icing. Cut into bars and enjoy! Bars can be made 2 days in advance. Simply cover the bars once they've cooled to room temperature.

Spicy Chipotle Chocolate Cake

Spicy Chipotle Chocolate Cake

For the Cake
2 sticks butter, unsalted
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/8 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chipotle chile powder

For Frosting
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 oz nutella
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup milk, plus extra as needed

Bake the Cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place butter into a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Once the butter has completely melted, add the chocolate chips. Stir over medium heat until all chocolate has melted. Do not burn chocolate. Remove from heat.

While the butter and chocolate are melting, add the eggs, brown and granulated sugars to a large mixing bowl. Beat until the sugar has completely dissolved into the eggs and the mixture begins to thicken.

In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, flour, baking powder & chipotle chile powder. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture. Fold the flour in until just incorporated. Slowly pour the melted chocolate-butter mixture into the batter, folding while pouring to incorporate.

Once the all the ingredients have been completely incorporated, pour half of the batter into each of the two greased, lined cake pans. Place the pans into the upper third of a preheated 325 degree oven. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes until the cake has just set and a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. (If it comes out with any gooey batter, let the cake bake longer, as needed.) Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Cool for at least 2 hours before building the cake. Once cooled, cakes may be covered and stored at room temperature for a day before finishing.

While the cake is cooling, Make the Frosting:

Add the cream cheese and nutella into a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric beat or cream with a rubber spatula until light and fluffy. Sift in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Add the milk then then gently beat to incorporate, trying not to splatter milk and powdered ingredients all over the kitchen! Beat until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy. Cover and set aside until ready to frost the cake.

Finish the Cake:
When ready to assemble the cake, slide a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen. Place your choice of serving dish upside down over one of the cake pans. Flip the cake pan over (so the serving dish is underneath the cake, right side up) and gently turn out the cake from the pan. Carefully peel away the parchment paper.

Using strips of parchment paper, line the base of the cake, tucking strips of parchment just underneath the base all the way around.

Place 1/3 of the frosting on to the middle of the cake. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the cake. Carefully remove the second cake from the pan and gently place cake, parchment side up, onto the frosted layer. Peel the parchment paper off of the top layer.

Evenly frost the top and sides of the cake using the rest of the frosting. Once The cake is fully frosted remove the parchment strips lining the base of the cake. Serve and enjoy! The cake may be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate.

November 26, 2009

Red Velvet Cake (a.k.a. Waldorf Astoria Cake)

Red Velvet Cake (a.k.a. Waldorf Astoria Cake)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below).

Recipe Notes: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions. Wear an apron and be careful with the red food coloring–no matter how hard I try, I always end up staining something! As you’re mixing the cake batter, use a spatula to scrape down the bowl frequently throughout the entire process.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).

Recipe Notes: If you prefer a sweeter and/or stiffer frosting, more powdered sugar can be added (up to four cups). But remember, the more sugar you add, the less you’ll be able to taste the tangy cream cheese!

Killer Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Killer Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

For the Brownies:
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter, cut in cubes
1 tbsp instant espresso or coffee (optional)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 fingered pinch of salt
1/2 brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, (do NOT use natural or crunchy!)
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold

For the Ganache:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1o mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, roughly chopped

Make the Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a round 9" cake pan with greased parchment paper. Spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place the chocolate, butter and instant espresso into a non-reactive heat proof bowl. Place bowl w/ ingredients over the boiling water. Stir constantly until the chocolate and butter have completely melted then remove bowl from heat. Cool slightly.

Add the eggs to a mixing bowl. Whisk. Next add the vanilla, salt, sugar and brown sugar to the bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Add the chocolate butter mixture then whisk again. Gently fold in the flour to the brownie batter until just combined. Over mixing will result in tough brownies!

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 3" from the edge of pan comes out with only a few crumbs. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.

To remove from pan, carefully slide a knife around the edges to loosen. Place a a plate over the brownies then invert the pan. Brownies should easily flip out. Peel off parchement paper.

Make the Mousse:
While the brownies are baking/cooling prepare the mousse.

Place the peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla and milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat by hand or w/ an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

Place whipping cream into a separate mixing bowl. Beat until whipped cream holds stiff peaks. This is most easily done using a stand mixer or electric beater but can be done by hand, just be sure that the cream is extremely cold before whipping.

Working in four batches, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to form a light, airy mousse. Over working the mousse will cause the whipped cream to deflate so use a light hand! Scrap the mousse into a piping bag w/ a large round tip or into a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag. Place the mousse into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before piping.

Assemble the pie
Carefully place the brownie onto the plate you wish to serve/store the pie in.

Remove the mousse from the fridge. Cut about 1/4 inch of the bottom corner off of the sealable plastic bad if you don't have a piping bag. The plastic bag will act as your piping bag. Evenly pipe the mousse over the brownie in large spirling cirles beging on the outside and ending in the middle. Use all of the mousse. With a rubber spatula, smooth out and the top surface of the mousse. Place the brownie and mousse into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes before finishing.

Make the Ganache
While the layered brownie and mousse are chilling, make the ganache. Place 1/3 cup whipping cream into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let chocolate and cream sit for about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Leave at room temperature until ready to finish pie.

Finish the pie:
Remove the pie from the fridge. Sprinkle the chopped Reese's cups evenly over the top of the pie. Drizzle with ganache. This pie must be served chilled or the mousse will deflate. Pie may be stored in the fridge for upto 3 days. It freezes well and can also be eaten straight from the freezer. Enjoy!

Nutella Bottom Pecan Pie

Nutella Bottom Pecan Pie

6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup light karo syrup, (light refering to the color not health)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
3 eggs, beaten (only use 2 if using extra large eggs)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup pecans
1 frozen 9" deep dish pie crust, unbaked
1/2 cup nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in upper third of oven. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Add the butter, sugar, karo syrup and salt to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until the butter has melted and the brown sugar has dissolved, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut extracts. Let cool for 10 minutes.

While the sugar mixture is cooling, spread the Nutella evenly in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. Place the crust onto the lined sheet pan.

Once the sugar mixture has cooled, whisk in the beaten eggs until completely incorporated. Stir in the sweetened coconut flakes and pecans.

Pour the pecan-sugar mixture into the pie crust over the nutella. Place the sheet pan with the pie on to the rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and when shaken the center is still jiggly like jelly but solid through.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before serving. Pie may be made 2 days in advance and stored, covered, at room temperature. Enjoy!

Mexican Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

Mexican Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 lbs fresh chorizo, casings removed
1 small yellow onion
10 cloves roasted garlic*
* day old and cut in roughly 1" cubes (recipe below)
2 roasted poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 roasted jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
kernels from 3 ears of white corn
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add oil to a large saute pan and place over high heat. Once the pan is hot, just before the oil starts smoking, crumble in about 1/3 of the chorizo. Allow the chorizo to brown before stirring and browning the other side, about 2 minutes per side of undisturbed cooking. Remove chorize from the pan and place on a paper towel lined place to drain. Place the pan back on the burner and repeat this process two more times with the rest of the chorizo.

Once all the chorizo has been browned pour off all excess fat from the pan. Return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan. Cook onion over medium heat until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally about 8 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, add the diced cornbread, browned chorizo, sauteed onion, roasted garlic, poblano & jalapeno peppers, corn kernels, cilantro, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, toss to evenly distribute the ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and chicken stock. Add the chicken stock mixture to the cornbread mixture. Stir to evenly moisten the cornbread mixture.

Pour the cornbread mixture into a large baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and spread evenly across the dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Place into preheated 350 degree oven. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes then remove the foil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes uncovered until the top gets slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

*To roast garlic, simply place peeled cloves with a little splash of oil & a sprinkle of salt and pepper into a piece of aluminum foil and fold into a packet. Place into a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until caramelized and soft.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing (aka Dressing)

1 recipe cornbread, day old and crumbled (recipe follows)
1 1/2 lbs garlic sausage, (you can use any sausage you like)
1 tsp canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 leek, white part only, washed, trimmed & diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth (plus more if needed)
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp butter, in a small dice

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Preheat a saute pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 1 tsp canola oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot add the sausage, removed from the casings, into the pan. Use a spoon or spatula to break up the sausage. Brown the sausage for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow all areas to brown evenly.

Remove browned sausage from pan using a slotted spoon. Transfer to a paper towel lined dish to drain some of the oil.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the rendered fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and place the saute pan back on the burner. Add the onion, celery, pepper and leek to the pan. Saute for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

While the veggies are sauteing, place the crumbled cornbread and browned sausage into a large mixing bowl.

Once the veggies have finished sauteing, add them to the mixing bowl with the cornbread. Add all remaining ingredients except butter to the bowl. Stir to combine. If the stuffing appears on the dry-side, stir in more chicken broth in 1/4 cup increments.

Place stuffing into a greased 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle diced, cold butter over the top of the stuffing.

Place stuffing in preheated 375 degree oven. Bake at 375 for about 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden and the stuffing is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve hot! Enjoy!

*You may vary the temperature at which the stuffing is cooked, as is often necessary with holiday meals. For 350 degrees, cook the stuffing for about 1 hour. For 400 or 425 degrees cook for about 30 minutes.

Butterscotch-Apple Cake

Butterscotch-Apple Cake
adapted from Taste of the South

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups finely chopped, peeled apples
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butterscotch morsels
Garnish: caramel sauce and whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; beat well. Stir in vanilla, apples and pecans. (Mixture will be thick).

Spread mixture evenly in a greased 9 x 13 -inch baking pan. Sprinkle butterscotch chips over top. Bake for 55 minutes.

Cool completely in pan. Garnish with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

This cake is so moist and rich it will taste like you slaved in the kitchen all day.

November 14, 2009

Spinach Bacon Cheese Quiche

A rich and wonderful one-dish meal that prepares in minutes.

Serves: 8
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Smithfield Product: Bacon


* 1 pound Smithfield Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon cooked and crumbled
6 large eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup shredded cheese any kind
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach bacon and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

November 9, 2009

Chocolate cheese fudge

1/2 pound of sliced Velveeta cheese
2 16-ounce boxes of fine confectioners' sugar
1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of chopped nuts (pecans and walnuts work best)

1. Spray a 9x12 pan with non-stick coating.
2. Melt the cheese and butter together in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat, mix in the nuts and vanilla extract, and set it aside.
4. Mix the cocoa and sugar together in a large bowl.
5. Fold in the cheese/butter mixture.
6. Press the resulting stiff concoction into the prepared pan by hand.
7. Pat the surface of the candy with a paper towel to reduce the amount of excess oil.
8. Put the candy into the refrigerator until it's firm.
9. Cut it into squares.
10. Chow down on the home-baked chocolate cheese goodness -- if you're extreme enough.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.

Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

November 8, 2009



(6 Servings)

3 strips bacon

1 medium onion

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

One 16-ounce tub sour cream

Pinch of sugar


1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour the bacon grease from the skillet and dispose of it, but don’t wipe out the skillet.
2. Peel the onion and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut the halves crosswise into thin slices. Add the butter and oil to the skillet used to cook the bacon and melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are very soft and golden, about 25 minutes. Stir in the sugar and remove from heat. Let cool completely.
3. Crumble the cooked bacon and stir it into the sour cream, saving a few crumbles for garnish. Stir in the cooled onions and mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Bring to room temperature before serving.

TO MAKE OVEN ROASTED FRIES, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut 3 large, unpeeled baking potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thick wedges. (3 to 4 wedges per half, depending on the size of the potato.) Place wedges on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 25 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn wedges over. Roast until tender and golden brown in spots, about 10 minutes longer. The fries should be crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired and serve immediately. (Serves 6)

Frozen Chocolate-Covered Cappuccino Crunch Cake


* 1 (10 3/4 oz.) frozen pound cake, thawed
* 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
* 4 cups (1 quart) coffee ice cream, softened
* 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
* 1 3/4 cups coarsely crushed malted milk balls
* Frozen whipped topping, thawed (optional)
* Coarsely crushed malted milk balls, (optional)


1. Slice pound cake into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices. Place half of the slices on bottom of 9-inch spring form pan; press down firmly. Set remaining slices aside.
2. Bring cream just to a boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add milk chocolate morsels; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until well combined and smooth. Pour half of the chocolate mixture over pound cake in pan, spreading evenly to within 1/4-inch of edge of pan.
3. Cover; freeze for 1 1/2 hours or until chocolate is set.
4. Combine softened ice cream and whipped topping in large bowl. Fold in 1 3/4 cups crushed malted milk balls. Spread over chocolate layer in pan. Cover;
5. Freeze until ice cream is firm, about 2 hours.
6. Top ice cream with remaining pound cake slices; press down firmly. Spread remaining chocolate mixture over pound cake. Cover; freeze at least 6 hours
7. To serve, remove sides of pan. Garnish with additional whipped dessert topping and sprinkle with crushed malted milk balls, if desired. To cut cake easily, run a knife under hot water and dry with a paper towel before making slices.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars


* 3/4 cup butter
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 cups quick cooking oats
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.

2. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.

3. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.

4. Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

Three-Peppercorn Crown Roast

1 hour 15 minutes

For the lamb:

* 2 teaspoons pink, green and black peppercorns, cracked
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 crown roast of lamb

For the stuffing:

* 1 ounce dried cepes
* 3 cups water
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 4 shallots, peeled and minced
* 5 cups stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
* 5 cups stemmed and sliced domestic mushrooms
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 3 tablespoons minced parsley
* 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
* Freshly ground pepper to taste


To make the lamb, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the peppercorns and salt, and rub over the outside of the roast, as above. Bake, using recipe for Basic Crown Roast of Lamb (see recipe).
While the roast is cooking, make the stuffing. Combine the cepes and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Return the liquid to the pan and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Coarsely chop the cepes and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cepes, shiitakes and domestic mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add cepe broth, wine, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
Remove roast from oven. Turn roast over, place on a platter, and fill the cavity with the stuffing. Place into a serving dish any stuffing that doesn't fit. Serve immediately.

6 to 8 servings

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 590 calories, 30 grams fat, 210 milligrams cholesterol, 800 milligrams sodium (before salting to taste), 65 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate.

Chocolate Chestnut And Cherry Cake

* 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 1/2 cup sweetened chestnut puree
* 5 eggs, separated
* 1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup sugar
* Whipped cream, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and set aside. Place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, over barely simmering water. Heat, stirring from time to time, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream and the chestnut puree.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk until yolks have thickened and turned a pale yellow color. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the yolks and whisk until smooth. Stir in the dried cherries.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake just springs back when touched in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Place on a rack to cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with softly whipped cream.

8 - 10 servings

Orange-Chocolate Dacquoise

* 6 extra-large egg whites (1 scant cup), at room temperature
* Pinch of cream of tartar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) ground almonds

Chocolate Dipped Oranges

* 1 navel orange
* 3 ounces imported bittersweet chocolate
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Orange-Chocolate Buttercream

* 6 extra-large egg whites (1 scant cup), at room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (or processed regular sugar)
* 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
* 6 ounces imported bittersweet chocolate, plus chocolate left over from dipping the orange pieces
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1 tablespoon orange extract
* Zest of 1 orange, minced
* 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


To make the meringue layers, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Generously butter and flour two cookie sheets. Shake extra flour from sheets. Trace three circles about eight inches in diameter on them.
Place egg whites in a large bowl, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff. Add another 1/4 cup sugar to the ground almonds and, reserving 1/3 cup of the mixture, fold the rest into the egg whites.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain (No. 3) tip with the egg-white mixture, and pipe circles following the patterns on the cookie sheets, working from the outside toward the center. Smooth any missed spaces with a spatula. Pipe or spoon extra mixture in dollops on cookie sheets.
Bake the meringues in the middle of the oven, rotating for even cooking, for 55 to 75 minutes, until firm to the touch and lightly colored. Remove from the oven and run a long, thin-bladed knife or spatula carefully under the meringues. If they are not firm, return to oven and check again in five-minute increments. Once firm, transfer them to cake racks. They will become crisper when cooled.
For the orange segments, remove and mince the orange zest. Set aside. Remove as much pith as possible and carefully separate the fruit into segments without breaking the membranes.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and stir in the vegetable oil. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then dip each orange segment halfway into the chocolate, letting extra chocolate drip back into the pan. Place the segments on wax paper to harden. Once hardened, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To prepare the buttercream, place egg whites in a large metal mixing bowl and set over (not touching) boiling water. Using a wire whisk, beat, while gradually adding sugar, until the mixture is slightly thickened and reaches 105 degrees on an instant-read or candy thermometer.
Immediately remove bowl from the heat and begin beating the mixture with an electric mixer. Continue to beat while gradually adding pieces of butter. Beat until the mixture reaches room temperature and thickens into the consistency of stiff filling - about 10 to 15 minutes. (The buttercream will look ugly and you will think that it won't come together. Keep beating. It will!)
Meanwhile, add the six ounces of chocolate and tablespoon of water to the double boiler used for the garnish. Let it all melt, then add the orange extract, zest, Grand Marnier and salt, and stir to blend. Stir in half a cup of the buttercream and beat until chocolate is smooth. Scrape the mixture into the bowl of buttercream and mix well. Refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes.
To assemble the dacquoise, save the best meringue for the top. Put a small amount of buttercream in the center of a dessert plate, or a cardboard circle on a turntable, and place a meringue over it. Spread a generous quarter of the filling over this, making it a little thicker toward the outside.
Gently place the second meringue on top, pushing down lightly, and spread another fourth of the filling. Add the final meringue layer and cover the top and sides of the dacquoise with another fourth of the buttercream.
Crumble the reserved pieces of meringue and combine them with the sugar-nut mixture. Pat this around the sides of the dacquoise. Arrange the chocolate-dipped orange segments on top like spokes of a wheel and pipe the remaining buttercream through a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, making rosettes on the outside edge. Refrigerate, uncovered, until an hour before serving.

Eight to 12 servings

In dry weather, the meringues may be made the night before and left out in a cool, dry spot. If it is humid, do not attempt this.

Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie

* 1 9-inch pie crust
* 3 large eggs lightly beaten
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 3 tablespoons good bourbon
* 1 cup semisweet-chocolate morsels
* 2 cups pecan halves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fit the pie crust into a pie plate, prick the bottom with a fork and set aside.
Combine the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, flour, corn syrup, melted butter and bourbon in a bowl. Lay the pecans evenly across the bottom of the pie crust. Top with the chocolate bits. Pour the egg mixture over the nuts and chocolate and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until firm. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

8 servings

Holiday Cranberry Chutney


* 1/2 cup cider vinegar
* 2 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 2 lemons, rind grated finely, pith discarded and fruit cut into sections
* 2 navel oranges, rind grated finely, pith discarded and fruit cut into sections
* 1 tart apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 6 cups fresh cranberries
* 1/2 cup golden raisins
* 1/2 cup dried apricots
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans


In a large saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, curry, ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon rind and lemon sections, the orange rind and orange sections and the apple, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 3 cups of the cranberries, the raisins and the apricots and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 35 minutes. Add another 2 cups of the cranberries and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the remaining cup of cranberries and the pecans and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes longer.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, pour the chutney into a bowl and let cool. Chill overnight or up to 2 weeks.

6 cups

Sausage Stuffing With Caramelized Onions

30 minutes


* 2 10-ounce packages breakfast sausage
* 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and in 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
* 1 carrot in 1/4-inch dice ( 1/2 cup)
* 1 celery stalk in 1/4-inch dice ( 1/2 cup)
* 1 leek, white part only, washed and finely chopped ( 1/2 cup)
* 1 small onion, minced ( 1/2 cup)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
* 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 to 3 cups chicken broth
* 2 pounds crusty French bread, cubed and dried overnight
* 1 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
* 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
* 1 tablespoon chopped sage


Place sausage in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until browned, turning frequently, 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer sausage to paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve fat in pan. Cool sausage, then chop. Return pan to stove. Add fennel, carrot, celery, leek, onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place fennel seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, tossing frequently, until fragrant and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and 2 cups chicken broth together. Add bread and stir until coated evenly. Add sausage, sautéed vegetables, raisins, thyme, sage and fennel seeds. If bread cubes seem dry, add additional chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn into a 3-quart gratin dish and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is brown, about 10 minutes more.

6 - 8 servings

Roasted Maple-Glazed Baby Carrots With Dried Grapes

Adapted from Chris Schlesinger of East Coast Grill, Cambridge, Mass.

2 hours 20 minutes


* 1 pound small green seedless grapes, washed and plucked (3 cups)
* Vegetable spray
* 2 pounds baby carrots
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 tablespoon chopped sage
* 2 tablespoons maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat oven to 250 degrees. Put grapes in a bowl and spray lightly with vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Turn grapes into a 12-inch non-stick ovenproof skillet. Dry in oven, tossing grapes every 20 minutes or so, until skin shrivels and grapes are tawny and lightly caramelized, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside. (Grapes can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.)
Place carrots on paper towel-lined pan to dry. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Place broiler pan or heavy roasting pan in oven. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and cook until golden brown. Add sage leaves, maple syrup and dried grapes. Swirl to combine and turn off heat, but leave on burner to keep warm.
Place carrots, olive oil and salt in a bowl and toss, rubbing oil and salt into carrots. Turn carrots onto hot pan in oven in a single layer. Roast, shaking pan occasionally, until carrots have begun to color and are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
Pour grape mixture over carrots and toss with heat-proof spatula to coat. Roast until glaze begins to set and carrots are tender and spotty-brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove carrots from oven and sprinkle with lemon peel and pepper. Transfer to warm bowl and serve immediately.

6 - 8 servings

Mini Ham and Cheese Quiches

These appetizer quiches, filled with savory ham and cheddar cheese, will be a surefire hit at your next party. Using Crescent dinner roll dough for the crusts makes these finger food delights quick and easy to prepare.


* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1/4 pound deli ham, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* Salt and pepper
* 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated Crescent dinner rolls
* 1 tablespoon parsley

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine, eggs, cheese, ham, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles. Firmly press on the perforations to seal.
4. Cut each of the rectangles into 6 squares. Press each square into the bottom and up the side of 24 un-greased mini muffin pan.
5. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture into each cup and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until egg mixture is set and quiches are golden.

Preparation Time:

10 minutes

Cooking Time:

15 minutes



Eggplant Casserole

* 1 medium eggplant
* salt
* 1 tablespoon grated onions
* 1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
* 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
* 2 eggs, beaten
* cracker crumbs, for topping

Peel eggplant and cut in chunks. Soak in salted water 15 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Cook eggplant cubes in a very small amount of water about 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add 1 teaspoon salt, onion, pepper and cheese. Pour beaten eggs over all and top with cracker crumbs. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350°.

The Angry Chef’s Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Chicken

6 chicken breasts (about 4 1/2 lbs)
2 cups flour
1 lemon, juice and peel
1 clove elephant garlic
3 1/2 Tb's. prepared minced garlic
pure olive oil
onion powder
garlic salt
white pepper
black pepper
dried oregano
dried parsley
powdered lemon peel

Serves 6-8 as a main course.


1 (9 inch) baked pie shell
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 (1 oz.) sq. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 heaping tbsp. flour
1 heaping tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. milk
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. vanilla

Stir 1 cup powdered sugar into 1/2 cup butter and the melted chocolate. Beat until smooth. Spread over pie crust. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with peanut butter and spread over chocolate layer. Mix flour, cornstarch, and sugar. Add a little milk and egg yolks; stir well. Add remaining milk and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool slightly and pour over peanut butter layer. Refrigerate and top with whipped cream.

Beef Casserole Supreme

* 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1 rib celery, finely chopped
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 can (14.5 oz) tomatoes, chopped, undrained
* 1 jar (16 ounces) spaghetti sauce
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 jar (4 ounces) mushrooms, undrained
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 8 ounces medium egg noodles
* 8 ounces sour cream, light
* 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
* 1 bunch (6 to 8) green onions, with tops, chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown ground beef, celery, onion, and green pepper. Drain off excess fat. Add tomatoes, sauce, garlic, mushrooms, pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Stir well and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain. Stir in sour cream, cream cheese, and green onions; stir well. Spoon half the noodle mixture into a greased, oblong baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350° for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 6 to 8.

Fruit Pizza Pie

1 package yellow cake mix
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 envelope dessert topping mix to make 1 cup whipped
10 oz. canned vanilla pudding
2 baskets strawberries
1 can pineapple rings, well drained
1 cup apricot preserves
4 tablespoons water, brandy or 1 cup apple jelly


Combine half of the cake mix, water, eggs, butter and brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Blend in the remaining cake mix. Fold in the nuts.

Line 2 12-inch pizza pans with wax paper. Pour half of the batter into each pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, and carefully remove from the pans onto a serving plate.

Freeze one pizza or double the amount of fruit to make 2 pizzas.

Prepare the whipped topping mix as directed on the packaging or use the vanilla pudding. Spread on cooled cake.

Wash, hull and lightly sugar strawberries. Reserve choicest berries for the center of the pizza. Arrange fruit in circles on pizza.

To make glaze, heat preserves with the water or brandy until melted. Remove from heat. Strain and cool. Brush on fruit and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Pepper Sausage Pizza

* 15 Servings
* Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.


* 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup warm water (120° to 130°)
* 1/4 cup Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
* 3 cups torn fresh spinach
* 1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
* 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
* 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 1/2 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
* 1-1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning
* 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, optional


* In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast and sugar. Add water; beat until smooth. Add the oil, salt, dried basil, pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 cups flour; beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
* Meanwhile, place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds or just until wilted. Uncover and set aside.
* Press dough into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Spread with pizza sauce; sprinkle with 2-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, sausage, onion, spinach, mushrooms and yellow pepper. Top with
* remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Sprinkle with pizza seasoning. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh basil if desired. Cut into squares. Yield: 15 slices.

Spaghetti Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves: 6

* 6 oz. spaghetti, cooked
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 2 eggs, well beaten
* 3/4 cup (3 oz.) Sargento Artisan Blends™ Shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided
* 1 cup Sargento® Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
* 1 cup pasta sauce
* 1/2 cup (2 oz.) Sargento Chef Style Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


1. Toss spaghetti with olive oil in large bowl. Stir in eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour spaghetti mixture into greased 10-inch pie plate; form into a crust.
2. Spoon Ricotta cheese over spaghetti crust. Top with pasta sauce. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 25 minutes. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Pizza Pie Pizzazz

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yield: Serves: 8


* 2 tsp. olive oil
* 1-1/2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage
* 4 oz. pepperoni slices, chopped
* 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
* 3 cups (24 oz.) Italian sausage pasta sauce
* 1 pkg (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
* 2 Tbsp. cornmeal, divided
* 2 cups (8 oz.) Sargento® Artisan Blends™ Shredded Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese, divided
* 2 (9-inch) pie crusts


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In a heavy skillet, heat oil and brown sausage, pepperoni and garlic, about 10 minutes. Remove excess liquid from skillet. Add pasta sauce and mushrooms. Simmer 15 minutes on low heat. Fold in 1 tablespoon cornmeal and 1-1/2 cups cheese; set aside to cool slightly.
3. Place one crust in a deep 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle remaining cornmeal on bottom of crust and top with remaining cheese. Add meat mixture and cover with the remaining pie crust. Seal and flute edges of crust. Make 6 small slits in top crust .
4. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Blueberry Mix Pie


* ¼ cup Cornstarch
* ½ gallon Vanilla Ice-cream
* ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
* 1 Ready made Pie Crust
* 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
* 1½ cups Sugar
* 12 oz Fresh Cranberries
* 12 oz Frozen Unsweetened Blueberries
* 2 tbsp Heavy Cream
* 6 tbsp Orange Juice


* Preheat the oven to 375° F. Warm the pie crust in it.
* Put cranberries, blueberries, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix all the ingredients well.
* Pour the orange juice in a large saucepan and heat it. Slowly add cornstarch to the juice, while stirring it continuously, to dissolve it.

* Add the berry mix to the saucepan and adjust the heat to medium-high.
* Let the mixture boil and then let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes, while stirring it constantly.
* When the sauce thickens, remove it from heat and let it cool down.

* When the berry filling cools completely, use a spoon to put it inside the pie crust carefully.
* Sprinkle about one tablespoon of sugar on the top of the pie.

* Bake the pie for about an hour or until the crust is brown and the berry filling starts bubbling.
* Be vigilant while baking the pie, for the crust of over-baked pies can crack open and the berry can bubble over.
* Let the pie cool on the rack and then refrigerate it, until one hour before serving.
* Warm the pie a bit before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each slice.

Grilled Lemon Potatoes Recipe

The grilled lemon potatoes recipe is a light dish as well as filling if taken along with salads and/or desserts. It is easy to make and anyone can learn how to make grilled lemon potatoes. Given here is the recipe of grilled lemon potatoes.


* 2 auburn potatoes (cut lengthwise)
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/8-teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2-cup low fat margarine (melted)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced sodium lemon pepper

How to Make

* Make deep cuts on the sides of potatoes using a sharp knife.
* Take a foil to cover the skin side.
* Mix rest of the ingredients.
* Brush the sides of the potatoes with margarine mixture.
* Grill the potatoes on medium heat for 40 minutes, greasing with margarine mixture every 10 minutes.
* Rotate the potatoes and grill for 10 more minutes while basting with remaining margarine mixture.
* Serve hot on a plate or bowl.

Avocado Pizza Pie

The avocado pizza pie is an ideal recipe to be made on Valentine's Day for your beloved. The recipe of avocado pizza pie is given below. So go ahead and learn how to make avocado pizza pie.


* 2 10 oz. packages frozen pizza dough
* 12 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese, grated
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 avocado, peeled, sliced
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
* 1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
* 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
* 2 pounds tomatoes
* 6 tablespoons canned tomato sauce
* Salt and Pepper (according to taste)

How to Make

* Follow the directions as given on the packet of pizza dough.
* Place all ingredients on pizza, except the avocados.
* Bake in a preheated oven at 325F. for approximately 20 minutes.
* Layer it with avocados and serve. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top according to your taste

Cornbread Turkey Pot Pie

You can use 2 cups leftover cooked turkey in this recipe; add to skillet along with gravy.

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 1/2" pieces
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 12 oz. jar turkey gravy
* 16 oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
* 6 oz. pkg. corn bread mix
* 1/3 cup milk
* 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat olive oil in large skillet; add turkey, onion and garlic and cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes until turkey is cooked.

Add jar of gravy and bring to a boil. Cover skillet and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables, thyme, and sour cream to skillet and heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.

In medium bowl, combine corn bread mix, milk, melted butter, egg, and cheese until just combined.

Place turkey mixture into 13x9" glass baking dish. Drop cornbread mixture by spoonfuls over turkey mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until corn bread topping is deep golden brown and turkey mixture is bubbling. 4 servings

Wild Rice Quiche

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

* 1 9" unbaked pie shell
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 cup cooked wild rice, drained if necessary
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
* 1/8 tsp. pepper
* 2 cups shredded Havarti or Swiss cheese
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prebake the pie shell at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes or just until crust begins to brown. Set aside while preparing filling.

In medium skillet, cook red bell pepper and onion in olive oil until tender. Add cooked and drained wild rice to skillet and set aside.

Combine eggs, sour cream, mustard and pepper in medium bowl and beat well with wire whisk until blended.

Sprinkle half of the Havarti cheese over the pie crust, then spread wild rice mixture over cheese. Pour egg mixture over and sprinkle with remaining Havarti cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake pie at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until filling is puffed, set and golden brown around the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. 6 servings

Pizza Quiche

This rich quiche is packed full of pizza ingredients! As with any pizza recipe, you could substitute Canadian bacon or cooked ground beef for the pepperoni, and use any kind of cheese you like.

1 9" pie crust
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup sliced pepperoni pieces
4 oz. jar sliced mushrooms, well drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle cheeses in bottom of pie crust. Top with pepperoni and mushrooms. In heavy skillet, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until crisp tender. Spoon over mushrooms in pie crust.

Beat together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning and garlic in medium bowl until well blended and pour over mushrooms.

Bake pie at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted near center of pie comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Serves 6

Cowboy Beef and Black Bean Chili

Total Recipe Time: 2 hours
Makes 8 servings

2 pounds ground beef (95% lean)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 medium yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed canned tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chili-seasoned or zesty-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 ounces) ready-to-serve beef broth
12 ounces dark beer
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed, drained Chopped fresh cilantro


1. Brown ground beef in stockpot over medium heat 8 to10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up into 3/4-inch crumbles. Remove from stockpot with slotted spoon. Set aside. Pour off drippings.
2. Heat oil in same stockpot over medium heat until hot. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add bell peppers and jalapeño; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers are tender.
3. Return beef crumbles to stockpot. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and red pepper; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, beer, tomato paste and honey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Uncover stockpot; continue simmering 30 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until beans are heated through. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Easy Slow Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew

This easy-to-prepare stew adds all ingredients to the slow cooker at one time, eliminating the step of browning the bee

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH

1 tablespoon McCormick® Mixed Pickling Spice

2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 medium onion, cut into medium wedges

4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 teaspoon McCormick® Rosemary Leaves, crushed

1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder

2 beef bouillon cubes

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon flour

8 slices day-old Italian bread, toasted

1. Place the pickling spice in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter. Tie tightly with a long piece of string.

2. Place beef cubes, onion, carrot, crushed rosemary, garlic powder and bouillon cubes to slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes and wine. Add pickling spice bundle; cover.

3. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Remove pickling spice bundle.

4. Thicken stew by mixing flour with 1 tablespoon water in medium bowl until smooth. Stir in several tablespoons hot liquid from stew, then stir flour mixture into stew. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until stew thickens slightly. To serve, place 1 slice bread in each bowl. Spoon stew over bread.

Buffalo Chicken Potato Salad

This super side marries creamy potato salad with the mild heat of Buffalo wings - complete with the trimmings - celery and blue cheese.

Makes 10 servings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Celery Seed

1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Red Pepper, Ground

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Bring potatoes to boil in lightly salted water in large saucepot. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain well. Cool slightly.

2. Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper in large bowl until well blended. Add potatoes, chicken and celery; toss gently to coat.

3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Brownie Crust:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
2 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Filling:

2 lbs cream cheese, softened
5 eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 peanut butter cups, cut into quarters

(this made too much batter for me. Not sure how to cut down the portions. I was able to make an extra very slim 7" cheesecake with the leftover batter. So less than half was left over...)


6 peanut butter cups, cut carefully in half
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

(this makes a lot more than you'll need for decorative purposes. I plan on using the extra to serve with the individual slices)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with butter.

2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with spoon or wire whisk. Add eggs; stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Spread in prepared pan.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from side of pan. Meanwhile make cheesecake layer (see below).

4. Immediately after removing brownie from oven, sprinkle milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter cups over brownie surface. Spoon cheesecake mixture over chips. Turn down oven 325°.

This is just the crust section

Cheesecake Filling:

5. Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.

6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

7. Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.

8. Stir in vanilla.

9. Pour filling into prepared crust.

[I had extra batter that I put in a smaller springform pan at this point]

10. Double-wrap springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in.

11. Place springform pan into a larger baking pan.

12. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.

13. Bake at 325 degrees 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.

14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour.

15. Run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan somewhat.

16. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before decorating. I tend to make cheesecakes a day ahead to let things set.

Cheesecake tip: to get the cake off the bottom of the springform pan, because most crusts have butter in them, you just need to heat up the bottom of the pan a bit and the cake should come off easily. I remove the sides, then hold the pan over a burner on my stove - set to LOW - for about 15 or so seconds. Whatever you can handle. Then run a long cake spatula under the cake and it should slip easily off the pan. Just be careful - the bottom of the cake is now very slippery.

17. Remove cake from pan and put on a pretty plate.

18. Bring whipping cream to boil in a small saucepan.

19. Remove from heat and add semi-sweet and peanut butter chips. Stir, stir, stir until melted and smooth.

20. Drizzle over cake and then add peanut butter cup halves around the edge of the cake.

Brownie Swirl Cheesecake

Brownie Crust:
1, 20 oz package or 1 pouch Ghirardelli Double Chocolate
Brownie Mix
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
16 oz (2 cups) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325°F. For Brownie Crust: In medium bowl, stir together brownie mix, egg, water and oil until moistened (about 40 strokes). Reserve 3/4 cup brownie batter for cheesecake. Spoon remaining brownie batter into lightly greased, 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. For Cheesecake: Place cream cheese and sour cream in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly over brownie crust. Add 1/4 cup water to reserved brownie batter and mix well. Drop spoonfuls of brownie batter randomly over cream cheese mixture. Swirl with tip of knife to create marbled effect. Bake 55-60 minutes or until filling is set. Cool thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 12 servings.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing


Makes 14 servings
5 1/2 ounces (1 1/3 cups) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
8 ounces (1 1/8 cups) sugar
2 eggs
5 ounces (about 1 cup) diced pineapple
1 pound (about 4 cups) grated carrots
3 ounces (1/2 cup) raisins
2 egg whites
Vegetable oil spray, as needed
1 ounce (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces nonfat cream cheese, soft
3 ounces (3/4 to 1 cup depending on preferred sweetness) powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Tame your sweet tooth and keep your waistline in check with our light carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Just like the regular version featuring full fat and calories, this one satisfies with intense flavor and incredible moistness.


Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

Beat together the oil, sugar, and whole eggs until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and blend well. Stir in the pineapple, carrots, and raisins.

Whip the egg whites to a medium peak and fold into the carrot batter.

Lay parchment, cut to fit, in a 10-inch cake pan. Grease the pan with the oil spray and dust with the all-purpose flour. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a 350 degrees F preheated oven until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, about 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, combine the frosting ingredients in a food processor, blender, or mixer and mix until smooth. Evenly spread the frosting on the cake after it has completely cooled.

Lemon Tart

Makes one 9-inch tart (about 8 to 12 servings)

Pâte sucrée
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Lemon filling
9 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1¾ cups sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
This tart is best made the day before it will be served. It’s delicious with crème fraîche.


Prepare the pâte sucrée: Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer, using the beater attachment, 5 to 10 minutes or until pale in color. Add the egg and continue beating for 5 more minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Switch to the slowest speed on the mixer and fold in the flour; mix until a soft paste is formed (do not overmix). Remove from the bowl and divide the dough in half. Shape both pieces of dough into flat, 1-inch-thick slabs. Wrap both slabs individually in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Store the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months. Note: The dough must rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Roll out one slab of pâte sucrée to line a deep 9-inch quiche pan, ideally with a removable bottom (reserve the other slab of dough for another use). Prick the dough evenly over the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork. Line with a round of parchment paper and fill with weights (pie weights or uncooked rice or beans). Bake just until the edges of the dough appear dry, but have not taken on any color. Remove the weights and paper. Cool to room temperature. Turn the oven down to 300°F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together with a whisk until thoroughly mixed, about 3 minutes. In a separate medium size bowl, lightly beat the cream until a light froth forms on the surface, about 30 seconds. Combine the cream, egg mixture, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix all together in the large bowl. The mix will curdle when you add the lemon; continue to whisk until the curdle disappears. Put the custard in the refrigerator and chill.

Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the pastry crust. Bake the tart in the oven until the custard is set, 30 or 40 minutes.

Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Key Lime Pie

Serves 10

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice
Grated zest of 2 limes (Key or Persian)

1/2 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 egg whites

Cook with the proper tools. Use the Balloon Whisk and the Candy Thermometer to create Key Lime Pie.

The following recipe for Key lime pie incorporates Italian meringue as a topping. When making a Key lime pie, if fresh Key limes are unavailable, bottled juice is acceptable. Avoid using regular limes, which are also known as Persian limes. Persian limes' flavor is different and their juice does not work well in Key lime pie recipes.


To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine pie crust ingredients and mix thoroughly. Carefully press mixture into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Form an attractive border around edges. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until sides begin to lightly brown. Let cool. Leave oven at the same temperature.

To make the filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Slowly whisk in lime juice and beat until smooth. Stir in zest, then carefully pour pie filling into baked crust and bake for 12 minutes, or until filling is just set. Remove from oven.

To make the meringue:
You will need a candy thermometer to check the temperature of the sugar syrup.

Combine water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Stir lightly. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thermometer registers 240 F degrees and creates a syrup. Remove from heat and cover pan with a lid.

While the sugar is cooking, beat egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (forms a peak when you pull up the whip). Continue beating eggs on low speed until sugar is correct temperature.

When sugar reaches 240 F degrees, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form (higher and stiffer than soft peaks). Reduce speed to low and pour hot syrup slowly into whipped whites, letting syrup fall in between the whip and the side of the bowl. Whip until meringue is cool.

Spread meringue over top of pie, or place meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip, and pipe meringue onto top of pie. Place pie under broiler in middle of oven, making sure it is not too close to heat. It needs less than a minute under broiler, so wait and watch until meringue begins to brown. You may need to turn pie to allow meringue to brown evenly.

Spiced Almond Brittle

Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

Classic almond brittle fuses with Latin flavors in this sweet, salty, and spicy confection. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to flan.


Line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking liner, such as a Silpat. In a heavy, medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, brandy, and salt, and stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Uncover the pot and brush down any stray sugar crystals with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat to high, insert a thermometer, and cook until the mixture is golden brown and has reached 325°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and wait until the caramel stops bubbling.

Add the butter and baking powder and stir in until incorporated. Add the spices and almonds and combine well.

Pour the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to 1/8-inch thick. Allow to cool thoroughly, then break into pieces. The brittle should be stored in an airtight container with wax paper separating each layer of brittle. This can be stored for up to a week at room temperature in a cool, dry place.

Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

flour less cooking spray for greasing
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Zucchini's green, plump, homegrown goodness is an ideal baking ingredient, providing color, moisture, and nutrition. Commonly served as a breakfast pastry or as a simple dessert, zucchini bread makes a scrumptious snack when paired with a glass of cold milk.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-inch loaf pans.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a bowl and set aside. Combine the zucchini, sugar, eggs, oil, and orange zest in a large bowl and mix by hand until evenly blended.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Stir by hand just until the batter is evenly moistened and blended. Fold in the nuts. Divided the batter between the prepared loaf pans. Bake until the edges are browned and starting to pull away from the pan and the bread springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertip, 50–55 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and let cool on wire racks before serving.

Cheddar and Onion Rye Rolls

Makes 20 rolls
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups water, warmed to 110ºF
4 cups bread flour
1 cup medium rye flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups cheddar cheese, large dice
1/2 cup yellow onions, large dice

Serve these rolls slightly warmed to bring out the great taste of cheese and onions. Make a double batch of rolls so that you can tuck some away in the freezer. Then you can just grab one or two on your way out the door to enjoy on your drive or at your desk.


Place the yeast and water in the bowl of a mixer and stir to completely dissolve. Let the yeast proof until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the bread and rye flours, sugar, molasses, oil, and salt. Mix the ingredients together on low speed using the dough hook just until the dough begins to come together (it will look rather rough), about 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth, an additional 2 minutes. Add the cheese and onion and continue to mix on medium speed until the cheese and onions are evenly distributed throughout the dough, about 1 minute.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand until the cheese and onions are completely worked into the dough. (The dough will feel rather tight.) Gather it into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Fold the dough gently over on itself in three or four places, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and cut it into 20 equal pieces. Cover the pieces and let them rest until relaxed, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

Round each piece of dough into a smooth ball and place in even rows on the prepared baking sheets. Cover and let rise until the dough springs back when lightly touched but does not collapse, 30 minutes.

Make a small slit down the center of each roll with a very sharp paring knife or a razor blade. Dust the tops of the rolls lightly with rye flour, if desired.

Bake until the rolls have a golden brown crust and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, 15-18 minutes. Cool completely on racks before serving.