Monday, August 31, 2009

Caramel Apple Bars.

This delishous recipe comes straight from my mom's kitchen! Perfect for the upcoming season and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Caramel Apple Bars.
(from mom)

1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour (I used one all purpose and one whole wheat)

Combine all ingredients. Reserve 1/3 cup. Press the rest into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

4 apples (peeled, cored, sliced thin)
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Toss apples with the flour/sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on top of cooled crust.

20 caramels
1 tablespoon water

Melt caramel with water. Drizzle over apples. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

If not eating it warm from the over, heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds and serve with ice cream. Your taste buds will thank you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna.

Every time I have lasagna I am reminded of this story from Gary's childhood:

As part of learning about out cultures each student was supposed to bring in an ethnic food. Gary helped his mom make vegetable lasagna. His motive? No one would eat it because it was full of vegetables. BUT he was wrong. I tell him that's what you get for being selfish. :)

I brought out my "fall" stuff since it's been cold and rainy the last couple days. I found a Martha Stewart magazine I had kept because of some decorating ideas. I flipped through the recipes and found one that used zucchini AND eggplant. It was a hearty recipe - comfort food - perfect for this cold and rainy day!

As you all know by now, I have an abundance of zucchini, but have not given up on using it yet! And, I have one eggplant plant. The eggplant was just for fun annd because they are pretty. Turns out you have to eat them too! It tasted good on my garden fresh pizza.

Back to the recipe. The lasagna recipe....

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna.
(adapted from Oct 08 issue of Martha Stewart Living)

Olive Oil
1 Eggplant (medium sized, sliced)
1 Zucchini (medium sized, sliced)
3 Red Onions (medium sized, sliced)
1 carton cottage cheese
1 package shredded swiss cheese
1 large jar tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce
Lasagna Noodles
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over eggplant slices and allow to drain for 45 minutes.

Place zucchini in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and just starting to brown (about 10 minutes). Let cool slightly, then transfer to a dish.

Place onion rings in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and browned (about 12 minutes). Let cool slightly, then chop into smaller pieces. Set aside.

Press eggplant slices between paper towels to remove liquid. Place eggplant in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Brush with oil, season with pepper. Bake until tender and golden (about 7 minutes).

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Combine onions, cottage cheese, and swiss cheese.

Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. Layer eggplant on top of the noodles. Spread half of the cheese mixture over eggplant. Spread about a cup of marina over the cheese layer. Repeat layering once, replacing eggplant with zucchini (noodles, zucchini, cheese, sauce). Place a layer of noodles on top. Spread remaining sauce on top of noodles. Spinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

The time it took to put this together was totally worth it! And, keep in mind, you can make this in steps. I roasted the veggies this morning. Put the lasagna together mid-afternoon and baked it just in time for supper. Along with some bread. All of it = SO GOOD.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spiced Zucchini Cakes.

With the cool summer we have had and the weekend forecast indicating highs in the low 60s I have been thinking about fall. Apple, pumpkin, carrot, and delicious spices! Yum.

Browsing Tastespotting I came across a recipe for zucchini spice cupcakes. Perfect - I could use up some more zucchini from my garden and have a little taste of "fall."

Spiced Zucchini Cakes
(similar, but not the exact same as these)

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (but you could use light)

3 cups packed grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (I ended up with about 32 cupcakes). Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, combine oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add brown sugar - mix until smooth. Stir in zucchini, then add flour mixture until combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes (until center comes out clean). Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting! Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and enjoy!

End result? Fabulous! I really enjoyed these as did Gary (I think he ate 4 of them yesterday and already had 1 this morning).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cucumber Pasta Salad.

Made this for a dinner party at Robyn's. It was a good evening of visiting with two of my college buddies and their hubbies (and child). Great seeing you Robyn (and Ryan) and Gretchen (and Lance and Elsie).

Anyway, this is a simple pasta salad that gave me an opportunity to use of some of the cucumbers from my garden.

Cucumber Pasta Salad
1 box of noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 cups of chopped cucumbers (I left the skins on)

Cook, drain and rinse noodles as package directs. Add 1/3 cup olive oil and let stand for 30
minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the cucumbers). Pour over noodles. Mix in cucumbers. Chill 1 hour before serving.
It's nice and light - a hint of sweet and a hint of sour. Perfect for your end of summer celebrations.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken Meatballs.

I really like meatballs. I don't know why. Usually I use beef, but recently found a ground chicken recipe that looked pretty appetizing. Appetizing it was!!
And, thanks to Gary joining me in the kitchen last night these came together fast! It was so nice having an extra set of hands in the kitchen - especially being I was freezing beans at the same time.

These are a healthy, quick, and easy alternative to traditional beef or pork meatballs. And, even better - they taste really good!

Chicken Meatballs
(adapted from Redbook Magazine)
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground chicken (I could not find ground chicken at the grocery store, so I used my food processor to grind up some chicken breast - this way I also knew exactly what part of the
chicken was being "ground")
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
splash of olive oil

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, cheese, pepper, and chicken. Form into balls. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook meatballs until brown on the bottom (about two minutes); turn and brown the other side (about two more minutes). Add chicken broth, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the meatballs are
cooked through (about ten minutes).


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raspberry Peach Cobbler.

I bought some peaches last week and let them sit out on the counter since they weren't quite ripe. All of a sudden they were all ripe and we couldn't eat them fast enough. I remembered making a peach cobbler in grade school as a project, but I wouldn't even know where to begin to find the recipe again. Instead I came up with this recipe after researching a bunch of other cobbler recipes.

Raspberry Peach Cobbler
2 cups fresh peaches
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine fruit, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water; add to fruit mixture. Cook until clear (about 3 minutes). Pour fruit mixture into a 8x8 baking dish.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Cut in shortening. Mix in milk. Drop by teaspoonful over fruit. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve warm. With vanilla ice cream!
I must say I am not a fan of many "fruit desserts" but I really enjoyed this one! I liked the flavor of the raspberries paired with the peaches - it was a great combination.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Zucchini Pie.

Yes, it continues. The zucchini keeps growing and I keep eating it.

But I have been sharing the wealth with people at work - usually in exchange for recipes. This is one such recipe (thank you Dawn!). I will warn you that while this is called a "pie" I did not use a pie plate. I opted for a 9x13 baking dish instead. I don't think it matters what you cook it in.

Zucchini Pie
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 beaten eggs
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 pound ground pork sausage (cooked)
1 package crescent rolls
2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Cook the zucchini and onion in the butter. Once the veggies are cooked, add seasonings and mix well. Combine eggs and cheese with veggies. Add sausage and mix. Line the bottom of a pie plate or cake pan with crescent rolls. Spread dijon mustard over crescent rolls. Pour veggie/egg/cheese mixture over crust. Top with a sprinkling of additional parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

The end result - deliciousness! I brought this to a pot luck over the weekend - everyone seemed to really like it! Go try it! Zucchini is still in season!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Garden Fresh Pizza.

A girl I went to high school with (hi Beth!) was telling me about how she made a pizza with pumpkin blossoms. I've been seeing a lot of blossoms on tastespotting and wondered what the hype was. A little fearful of "not liking" I decided to follow Beth's advice and incorporate them into a pizza.

Do you make your own dough when making pizza? I usually do. But, really, the reason I ask is because I want you to add a teaspoon of italian herbs next time you are preparing your dough. This may or may not require the addition of a little more water. Use your judgement. The italian herbs - they give the crust a great look and a little added taste.

Garden Fresh Pizza
Pizza Crust
Pizza Sauce
Everything and anything from the garden.
My list included:
Green Peppers
Squash/Pumpkin/Zucchini Blossoms
Mozzarella Cheese
Sprinkling of Oregano

Bake until cheese is melted/preferred darkness and enjoy!

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

These potatoes are probably the best I have ever made... they are VERY tasty and you should probably try them out tonight with fresh potatoes from your garden or tomorrow if you have to run to your nearest farmer's market or grocery store to get some baby red and yellow potatoes.

I served these with Jamaican Jerk beef strips (a sirloin roast, sliced into strips and marinated), corn on the cob and garlic bread.

I will warn you in advance that I did absolutely no measuring, so I encourage you to do the same, as my measurements are only approximations anyway... make them to your liking and use this as a guide. :)

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

10-12 baby red and yellow potatoes, rinsed and halved -- leave skins on!
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 - 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork is easily inserted into potato. Drain water and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients and mash with spoon, leaving some lumps. Enjoy! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Banana Pancakes

Do you have some ripe bananas lying around? You'll want at least two... to make some banana pancakes! The banana flavor is just right - not too much, but not too little...

Here is an absolutely delicious and super easy recipe for banana pancakes...

Banana Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons oil
2 ripe bananas

Combine beaten egg, milk, oil and bananas. Add dry ingredients. Mixture will be a bit lumpy. Coat skillet with cooking spray and cook.

I told you it was simple. :)

I made these pancakes in the middle of the afternoon because I decided I needed to use up some of my ripe bananas. I tried one, to be sure they were delicious and then cooled and froze the rest to leave in Eau Claire for Lucas because very soon he will be fending for himself, as I will be home (in Mosinee) for my practicum. They froze very well; I cut wax paper squares to separate each of them. I also took one out of the freezer and reheated in the microwave to make sure they would still be delicious and it turns out that they were! So, Lucas will at least be able to eat a good breakfast for a few days even if I'm not there to cook for him. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peanut Butter and M&M Cookies

Earlier in the week I went on a two-day pre-practicum canoe retreat with 30-something other classmates to discuss any last minute detail practicum "stuff" before we arrive to our sites in late August. I made these cookies to share with everyone and they received raving reviews! I will definitely continue to make this recipe and won't alter it at all.

Peanut Butter and M&M Cookies

1 stick butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup M&Ms (I sorted my M&M's out and only put orange, yellow, brown and red ones in these cookies)

Combine all ingredients and bake in a 375 degree over for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Occasionally, when I go to Subway, I ruin the concept of "eating healthy" with their white chocolate macadamia nut cookies - they are SO good. I had one recently and decided I need to try to recreate them. The recipe I came up with isn't really close, but they are still tasty cookies. Hope you like them!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 sticks butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 small box instant white chocolate pudding, not prepared
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cup flour
1 package white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped or halved

Combine all ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is absolutely amazing. If you are on a diet - I would suggest making it for a get together so you won't have any leftovers because it definitely does not meet any healthy recipe standards! :) But that's okay every once in awhile...

You can find the original recipe at

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 5/8 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen will work)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch bundt pan (I didn't have a bundt pan on hand so I used an 8x8 glass dish). Combine first set of ingredients. Add half of the mixture to the pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on first layer and add the rest of the batter. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes.