Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Boys and Breadsticks

My boys went to the Young Chef’s Academy for a scouting field trip. The oldest got to make ice cream and different desserts, while the younger one made bread sticks. They both had a very good time, and they wanted to make their respective dishes at home.
I am a little wary of the ice cream – don’t know why – but we made the bread sticks the other night. Little one had a great time cutting the dough and working with the mixer. I had fun just watching him cook.

The bread sticks turned out nicely, but I was a bit surprised the recipe called for no sugar. Not even any to feed the yeast. I also noticed that my dough became somewhat dry. The recipe called for mixing in the mixer and kneading the bread as well. If I make the bread again, I will not knead by hand, and I will be adding a little sugar to feed the yeast. I think the dough will rise more.

The most important part, though, was hanging out with my son. He loved the bread sticks; although, he said I put too much garlic on them. Ooops.

YCA Cheesy Breadsticks

1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 -2 tbsp virgin olive oil
Additional flour or cornmeal for rolling out dough
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Egg wash – 2 egg whites and 1tbsp water
Assorted fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, and oregano (optional)

1. In the bowl of and electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Add the salt flour, and olive oil, mix until the dough forms a ball.

3. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour or cornmeal and knead briefly until smooth.

4. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and turn the dough in the bowl to coat. Cover with damp towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm draft free area for one hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

5. Punch down dough and place on a surface dusted with flour or cornmeal. Knead for about 10 minutes.

6. Flatten the dough into a large rectangle. Slice the dough into strips.

7. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg whites and water in a small bowl. Brush the strips of dough with egg wash, and sprinkle the cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs if desired. (This is where I put too much garlic)

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking to make sure that the cheese doesn’t brown too quickly. Makes 20 breadsticks.

It was a fun evening of cooking – it’s what family is about. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pecan Pie Cookies - Taste and Create


I really need to start by saying that I usually don’t like Pecan Pie. These cookies, on the other hand are very good. Trying to kill two birds with one stone, I found this recipe on No Reason Needed’s blog. Her blog is my partner blog for this month’s Taste and Create, an event hosted by Nicole from For the Love of Food. The other bird is the dessert I have to make for birthdays at school. It is my birthday partner’s ½ birthday this month. She didn’t want anything made with cream cheese, so I knew I was safe with this choice.

If you get a chance, head over to Carol’s blog. She has more than just recipes, she has all kinds of neat stories – a real family blog.

These cookies are easy to make, and extremely tasty too. My boys aren’t happy that I have to take them to school. I promised to make them a batch – probably this weekend.

Pecan Pie Cookies - from Land O Lakes - makes ~3 dozen

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all cookie ingredients except flour and baking powder in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed. Some people suggest chilling the dough for about an hour prior to proceeding as to prevent the cookies from spreading a lot. I didn't.

Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in each cookie with thumb; rotate thumb to hollow out slightly.

Combine all filling ingredients in small bowl; fill each cookie with 1 rounded teaspoon filling. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Frittatas and Presto Pasta Night


In my quest to use ingredients that I already have on hand, I was looking through recipes and happened across a frittata recipe that one can make in a muffin pan. Excited, I set out to make muffin frittatas.

The recipe was easy, delicious, and healthy. It called for prosciutto, eggs, noodles, cheese – you know all the good ingredients. I served them with a spinach salad. I had spinach on hand, along with feta and tomatoes. A little Italian dressing and lunch was ready.

Being home for an entire day was great. We didn’t do anything but work on pinewood derby cars, young author books, and cook. Not only did I make the frittata, I also made steak and hash browns for dinner. It was a yummy food day!

Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas from Giada - Food Network

1/2 pound linguine pasta
7 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
6 ounces diced prosciutto
5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (1 cup diced)
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Special equipment: 1 regular-sized muffin tin for 12 muffins

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. While the pasta is still in the colander, use kitchen shears to cut the linguine into smaller pieces.

The pasta should measure about 3 cups.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the muffin tin.

In a blender combine the eggs, milk, cream, and mascarpone cheese. Blend until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the cut pasta, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, Asiago cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until the ingredients are combined.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, fill each of the muffin tins until both the pasta and liquid are at the top.
Bake until firm and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from the tin. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

I did make some changes to the recipe. I used Parmesan cheese instead of Asiago and regular Mozzarella instead of the smoked. I think it worked very well with those substitutions.

This is also my entry for Presto Pasta Night, hosted this week by Italian Mama Chef. If you get a chance, head over to her blog. She has many tasty treats!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lasagna, Roasted Mushroom Caps, and a good dinner

We had some neighbors over for dinner tonight. I tried to keep it simple – lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. I also made salmon dip as an appetizer. One of my neighbors brought stuffed mushrooms – they were yummy! I am going to ask him for the recipe.

My new next door neighbors brought apple pie and lemon bars. We love her apple pie. There isn’t much that tops a homemade apple pie. When they first moved in, they brought us a pie – Hubby and my oldest love the pie and were so excited for dessert. The lemon bars were made by her husband, and they went over as well. Both tart and sweet, the lemon bars made my kids think of summer.

I wish I were better making desserts – someone said the other day that I do better just throwing ingredients together, but I think it is that I don’t feel I have the ability to make up my own desserts, like I can with other foods.

The lasagna I made was sort of my own creation. I looked at recipes, and then just combined lasagnay (is that even a word?) ingredients that I like together. I think it worked well. I used three kinds of cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta. I used to mix ricotta and cottage cheese, but I feel that it made my lasagna to liquidy. I also used to use fresh mozzarella, but with the same liquidy result. I did make my own sauce – a traditional marinara recipe that I found both in a Giada cookbook and in one of my many Italian pasta cookbooks. I really like this recipe, as it is easy, flavorful, not heavy, and fresh tasting. I think it is the san marzano tomatoes. I also cooked my lasagna in my brand new lasagna pan – it worked great! I love cooking tools. They are so fun.

This was the first time I used no-boil noodles. I loved them!!!! I will be using them again and again and again. They are my new best friend. Using this sauce recipe was very good in the lasagna. It was a light almost summery tasting sauce that wasn't at all heavy with the rest of the ingredients. In fact, I think the sauce helped bring out the rest of the flavors and didn't weigh down the meal.

Following is my lasagna recipe. I have put measurements where I knew the amount. I didn’t put a measurement for cheese as some like cheese more than others. For the cheese, use your own discretion.


Three – Cheese Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork or Italian sausage
Salt and pepper
Marinara sauce – click on link for recipe. I made and used a single batch.
2 8 oz containers ricotta cheese
1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese – shredded
Mozzarella cheese – shredded
1 ½ package no-boil lasagna noodles – I used a lasagna pan which is larger than a 9 x 13 pan. I also made 4 layers instead of 3.

Make marinara sauce. While sauce is simmering, cook meat and sausage, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drain and set aside. After sauce is complete, allow to cool for a bit.

Combine ricotta, some mozzarella, and some parmesan with parsley. Mix and set aside.

Combine some parmesan and mozzarella in a bowl. Set aside.

Set up an assembly line with the sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, meat, and cheese mixture.

Start with sauce and spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of pan.
Add one layer of noodles.
Add one-third of ricotta mixture.
Add one-third of the meat mixture.
Add one-fourth of sauce
Add one-fourth of the cheese mixture

Repeat two more times. To the top layer add the rest of the sauce and top with rest of cheese mixture. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and serve with salad, garlic bread, drinks of your choice and good friends. Enjoy!!

I got the mushroom recipe from my neighbor and I am going to post it here, but I have no pictures. I will take some pictures once I make it. Enjoy!!! It really is a great appetizer!

Mushrooms stuffed with bacon, spinach and blue cheese

Roasted Mushroom Caps

24 large mushrooms, stems and caps separated and washed
2 tbsp olive oil

Filling

6 ounces bacon(@6 slices), cut crossways into ¼ in. strips
½ med. Red onion
1 lg. clove garlic
6 oz. fresh baby spinach, washed/stems removed
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
3 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Heat to 450.

Toss mushrooms with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Arrange caps, gill side down, in single layer on roasting pan with stems alongside. Roast until mushrooms have released some juice and are brown around edges, about 12 to 15 min. Remove pan from oven and flip the caps. Continue to roast until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are brown, about 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Remove pan, readjust rack to center position and remove stems from pan to a bowl. Leave oven at 450.

Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Leave 1 tbsp of oil in pan and cook onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until completely wilted. Remove contents from pan and cool for 10 min.

Transfrer spinach mixture to food processor with bread crumbs, ricotta, 1 oz of blue cheese and roasted mushroom stems. Process to a chunky puree. Combine puree with bacon bits in a bowl and fill each mushroom cap with a heaping teaspoon. Top each with a bit of remaining blue cheese.

Roast stuffed mushrooms until cheese is melted and filling is hot, about 8 minutes. Serve warm with Daiquiris, Amber beer and Crown Royal(mixed or on the rocks).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Morphing Food, Super Bowl, and Hiding Places

Ok, so I morphed food today! I took sauce from one meal, meat from another meal, and added pasta. I felt just like Robin Miller.

When I made my bruschetta, there was extra sauce. I saved that and put it with the meat I marinated in a light Mexican rub. You wouldn’t think that those flavors would go together, but they do. The Mexican rub is light with cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, and oregano. The sauce for the bruschetta had garlic, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil. They blended very well and made a nice light easy dinner for me. I also added the fresh mozzarella that I had left over. I have to say that I really like the sauce that I made. It was easy as pie, and so very tasty. The texture was great too; chunky with bursts of flavor coming through. I will make this again as a sauce.

I plan on more morphing. I have turkey from my turkey dinner a few weeks ago in the freezer. I have been thinking about what to do with it. I want to be different and not cook the same old thing again.

For our Super Bowl party this past weekend, I made many things. It was a clean out the freezer party, so I made chili, Italian Beef, a taco bar with two different kinds of meat, and a bean dip; the recipe came from Kraft.com. I didn’t photograph everything because the pictures weren’t that great. While I liked the bean dip, Hubby thought that it could use more spice. I think adding meat to it would be nice. Peppers would also make a nice addition and add a little heat to the dish. I photographed my appetizer bowl, so that my brother-in-law and his girlfriend could see that I do use the present they got me for Christmas.

5-Layer Mexican Dip

1 can (15-1/2 oz.) refried black beans (I used regular refried beans – couldn’t find black beans)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 tomato, chopped

MIX beans, chili powder and cumin; spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.
TOP with layers of remaining ingredients.

REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled. Serve with tortilla chips

The boys had a couple of friends over, and they played Hide and Seek – the two pictures below show how well they hid! One of their friends came over the other day and hid in the same spot. I wonder how long they will be able to curl up and hide in my baking cabinet?

My friend brought Texas Caviar – an easy wonderfully flavored salsa that is packed with flavor. She graciously shared the recipe with me.

Drain and rinse:
1 can black beans
1 can black eye peas
1 can shoe peg corn
Drain only:
1 can diced tomatoes with onion and garlic
1 can Rotel Mexican with lime and cilantro
Chop and add:
1 bunch green onions
1/2 each yellow, red and green peppers

Mix with 1 cup Italian dressing. Serve with chips – dips work really well.

That’s all for this post. My little one made bread sticks tonight – will post soon about that! Have a great evening and talk to you soon!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Auto Show and Brithday Party



Last week was so busy. Saturday we had friends over. Sunday we went to the auto show. My little one was soooo excited. You should have seen him running around with his dad, trying to see each and every vehicle.

After the auto show, we went to my nephew’s first birthday party. He had plenty of fun with the cake!

Next week – Super Bowl party and recipes!!! See ya soon!