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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cooking Show: Thanksgiving and Leftovers!!

Last week's episode of our cooking show had a Thanksgiving-ish theme.  I describe it as -ish because two of the dishes are made with leftover if you're wondering what you're going to do with leftover turkey, look no further!

I don't know what I like best about this recipe.  The sherry cream sauce? The buttery, cheesy crumb topping?  Why don't you make this and let me know what you like best?  Here's the printable recipe.

The best way I can describe this would be to call it Thanksgiving Comfort Food.  Thick and creamy bowl of YUM.  Here's the printable recipe.

Okay, this has nothing to do with turkey, nor does it have anything to do with leftovers.  

I decided that it fit the term Thanksgiving-ish because of a conversation that I recently had with my daughter, Caitie.  I had made one of these pumpkin rolls and as we were enjoying it we both agreed that we would rather eat pumpkin roll for dessert than any Thanksgiving pie!  Here's the printable recipe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Turkey & Quinoa Soup

If you anticipate having lots of leftover turkey this Thanksgiving and are already trying to plan ahead, you may want to add this recipe to your list!

It's really easy to prepare!  It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and since the turkey has already been cooked, you're basically just throwing a bunch of ingredients together and heating them up!  You can prep the rest of the ingredients while you're waiting for the quinoa to cook, and in no time you'll be digging in to a hearty, thick and creamy bowl of this yummy soup.

Today's Playlist

  • "The Air Near My Fingers"...The White Stripes
  • "Scar Tissue"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Everlong"...Foo Fighters
  • "I'm Not Okay"...My Chemical Romance
  • "American Idiot"...Green Day
  • "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked"...Cage The Elephant

Turkey & Quinoa Soup
Printable Recipe
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 8 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 to 4 cups turkey, shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish

Gather your ingredients.  Place the quinoa into a mesh strainer and rinse--there is a bitter coating to the quinoa which easily rinses off.

Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil in a large (6 to 8 quart) saucepan over high heat.

Prep the remaining ingredients as you wait for the quinoa to boil.  Chop the thyme, parsley, and celery.  Shred the carrots and turkey.

Add the garlic powder, onion powder and thyme to the broth.

Stir in the carrots and celery.

When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover (stirring occasionally) for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, you can see that the quinoa has cooked and expanded.

Stir in the turkey, cover, and lower the heat as low as possible.  Stir occasionally as you prepare the roux/cream mixture.

To make the roux:  Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour.

It should be thick and pasty and bubbly around the edges.

Slowly whisk in the cream, then the milk, until fully incorporated and thickened.

Slowly stir the cream mixture into the broth/quinoa.  Adjust the heat just to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 5 minutes.

 Sprinkle with the chopped parsley before serving.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cooking Show...Being Prepared for Unexpected Holiday Guests!

Last week we filmed an episode of the cooking show.  Donna, the producer of the show, suggested coming up with recipes that could be prepared in advance and then reheated when unexpected guests drop by during the holiday season.

For the record, let me state that I love having unexpected (or short-notice) guests drop by, any time of year.  Consider that your invitation, friends.

My friend, Kelly, cooked with me.  Within 90 minutes, we had cooked all that you see in these pictures.

You can mix up this dough in no time.  Roll it into a cylinder shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into your fridge for slice-and-bake cookies on a moment's notice.

Here's the printable recipe.

These mushrooms are easy to stuff in advance, then place into your freezer to be baked at a later date.  Here's the printable recipe.

Using the same dough as a base, you can make these soft, puffy, fluffy appetizers with bacon & cheddar or with shrimp.  Did I mention that the soft and fluffy on the inside (yet crunchy on the outside) dough is to die for?  Serve them warm from the oven, or let them cool completely and freeze in a zip lock freezer bag.  When frozen, they reheat in a matter of minutes.  Here's the printable recipe.

Okay, these are not something that you can prep in advance and freeze...but this recipe is so easy to make and so good I just had to include it.  Simply melt the cheeses (takes about 3 minutes in your microwave) and sauté some chopped mushrooms and lobster, stir it together and voila!  Serve as a dip, with pita chips or tortilla chips for dipping, or spoon it into phyllo cups and bake for a couple of minutes.  Here's the printable recipe.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Shrimp Puffs

In the 1980's, these appetizer puffs used to be one of my go-to recipes.

I don't know why they fell out of favor, maybe it's because as the years went by I preferred Stuffed Mushrooms and Mr. Terrific has more of an affinity for Lobster Phyllo Cups.

We were filming a cooking show recently (future post alert!) and someone suggested a theme of recipes that can be prepared in advance, frozen, and then reheated quickly when unexpected holiday visitors drop by.

The first recipe that popped into my head was these puff appetizers!

You can make them with shrimp or with bacon and cheddar.  The dough is light and fluffy and inside and slightly crunchy on the outside.  Whether you serve them right out of the oven or freeze them for a later date, you will love these appetizer puffs!

Today's Playlist
  • "The Zephyr Song"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Santeria"...Sublime
  • "Come Out and Play"...The Offspring
  • "Ignorance"...Paramore
  • "Back Against the Wall"...Cage the Elephant
  • "The Girl Got Hot"...Weezer
  • "Everybody Talks"...Neon Trees
  • "Icky Thump"...The White Stripes
  • "Funky But Chic"...New York Dolls
  • "Sorry She's Mine"...The Small Faces

Shrimp Puff Appetizers
(makes approximately 20 appetizers)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup frozen cooked salad shrimp (thawed, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
For bacon cheddar puffs the following ingredients should be substituted for the shrimp and parmesan cheese:
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Gather your ingredients.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Cut the butter into smaller pieces (about tablespoon-sized) and place the butter and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, just until butter is melted (cutting the butter into smaller pieces helps it melt faster than if you kept it in one piece).

As soon as the butter melts, add the flour, garlic powder and salt.  Stir rapidly until the dough starts to stick together and leaves the sides of the pan.

After about one minute of stirring, it will look like this.  Remove the pan from your stovetop and let it rest for about 5 minutes, to cool down a bit.

You are going to be adding eggs into the dough, and you don't want to stir them in while the dough is still piping hot off the stove.  Waiting a few minutes prevents them from scrambling!

Add the eggs, one at a time, and thoroughly mix each egg into the dough before adding the next one.

The dough will become less lumpy and smoother with the addition of each egg.

After the third egg has been thoroughly mixed in, stir in the shrimp, scallions and parmesan.

(If you are making bacon cheddar puffs instead of shrimp puffs, stir in the bacon and cheddar at this time instead of the shrimp and parmesan.)

Stir until completely and thoroughly mixed.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for approximately 22 to 25 minutes.

Serve warm out of the oven!  Or if you prefer, freeze for a later date.  

If you are going to freeze them, allow them to cool completely, then place them into a zip lock freezer bag in your freezer.  To reheat, take the puffs out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Bake the still-mostly frozen puffs for 5 to 8 minutes, until they are completely thawed and nicely warmed.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pistachio/Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are fabulous whenever you make them, but they're especially festive in the fall and through the holiday season!

I resisted making them forever.  My mom makes these cookies and several times a year she brings us a batch.  They're so GOOD.  They disappear in no time.

I asked her for the recipe a few years ago, and to my horror there is packaged pudding in them.  The snob in me simply refused to make them.

I didn't refuse to eat them, however.  Every time my mom brings us a batch, I definitely eat my fair share.

Perhaps more than my fair share.

Don't be like me, stubbornly refusing to make these cookies.  Make them today!

Today's Playlist
  • "The Denial Twist"...The White Stripes
  • "Mr. Brightside"...The Killers
  • "Short Skirt/Long Jacket"...Cake
  • "Everylong"...Foo Fighters
  • "Buddy Holly"...Weezer
  • "Tell Me Baby"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "1983"...Neon Trees

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies (Makes about 2 dozen cookies)
Printable Recipe
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
for frosting: 1 cup white chocolate chips, 2 teaspoons shortening

Gather your ingredients.  

You can either: 
1. decide that you are going to bake your cookies immediately, in which case you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment OR 
2. decide that you want to just make this dough in advance and bake the cookies at some point in the future (the dough will keep for up to a week in your refrigerator, or you can freeze it and defrost at a later date).

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and confectioners sugar until fluffy.  I never wait for the butter to soften because I'm impatient and I know that my mixer is powerful enough to handle the butter when it is cold.  If you know that your mixer will only be able to handle softened butter, be sure to allow enough time for the butter to soften before you start mixing.

When the butter and confectioners sugar is fluffy, splash in the vanilla.

I sure have that bottle of vanilla in a death grip, don't I?  I guess I don't trust myself not to let go of the bottle and have it end up in the bowl.

After you've mixed in the vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour...


...and pudding mix.  The pudding will change the batter a lovely shade of green.

When the flour, etc. has been incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl once again.

Add the pistachios.

And the dried cranberries.  Mix just until combined.

And here's the lovely dough.  At this point, if you are planning on refrigerating your dough to be baked at a future date, you will need to shape the dough into a log shape and wrap it in plastic wrap.

Like this.

And when you're ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough roll from your fridge and slice it (about 1/4" thick) before you bake.

Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  

These are shortbread-type cookies and they don't really spread much while they're baking, so feel free to crowd them a bit more than you normally would.  You can see that I have about twice as many cookies placed on this baking sheet than I would if I were baking cookies that had ingredients like eggs and baking powder and/or baking soda which would cause the cookies to rise and spread.

If you are not planning on refrigerating the dough and want to bake the cookies immediately, scoop generous tablespoon-sized portions onto your baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped into confectioners sugar.  

You need the confectioners sugar to prevent the glass from sticking as you flatten the dough.  Don't worry if there's a bit of a powdery appearance, it will bake off.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes (if you have chilled your dough will take a bit longer, 12-14 minutes).  They are done when the edges have just barely begun to brown.

Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.

To frost the cookies:

Microwave the white chocolate chips and shortening in a small bowl for one minute on HIGH.

This is what they look like after one minute.  They don't look melted at all, right?

However, if you stir them, this is what happens.

One by one, dunk the edge of your cookies into the chocolate, and then place them onto a sheet of parchment paper until the chocolate cools and hardens.

Like this.  

If you prefer a fancier presentation, you could transfer the melted chocolate into a pastry bag and pipe it on.  Or you could put it into a zip lock sandwich bag, snip off the corner and drizzle it on.  Use whichever method you prefer.

I use the melt-&-dunk method because it's quickest and I like to take the lazy way out whenever possible.