Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cooking with Wine - a Few Tips and Techniques

Only cook with a wine that is good enough to drink while you are cooking it.

Leftover wine may be frozen in ice cube trays then removed to a plastic container and stored in the freezer until you need it. It does not freeze hard, in fact, I often just place the wine cubes still in the tray, inside a large freezer bag.

Add Wine to your Favorite Recipes

If you want to feature the specific flavors and characteristics of a wine, then cook it for only a short amount of time so as not to alter those flavors too much.

The longer you cook wine and the further down that you reduce it, the more the alcohol and water in the wine evaporates. As the wine cooks, the flavors begin to concentrate and the longer the wine cooks the more intense those flavors will be.

Fruity wines have a complex, fruity flavor when cooked down. Wines with a sweet edge become deeper and even sweeter.

Deglazing with Wine

Deglazing is one of the easiest and most common ways to incorporate wine into your cooking.
To deglaze, simply add a small amount of wine to a hot pan where meat or poultry has just been cooked, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to release any bits of cooked on food. When the wine reaches the proper consistency, usually somewhat thick and syrupy, the reduction is sometimes balanced out with a small amount of butter and fresh seasoning. It can then be drizzled back over the meat or poultry you have just cooked.

Wine Sauces

Wine sauces are made using the same basic concept of reduction and generally require larger quantities of wine to begin with. For these sauces the wine is started out in a clean pot and often combined with other flavorings such as shallots, fresh herbs, peppercorns, and fruit to name a few.

So that the alcohol and water evaporate and the true flavors of the wine are concentrated as it reduces, the sauce is slowly simmered over medium to low heat. Sometimes stock or demi-glace is added to give the sauce more depth. Wine reduction sauces are strained once they have been reduced to the proper consistency and then are usually finished with butter.

Grilled Sirloins with Mushroom-Wine Sauce

4 to 6 center cut top sirloin steaks
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper

Mushroom-Wine Sauce:
8 ounce fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon flour
1-1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine or Madeira
1/4 cup beef stock or broth

To prepare wine sauce, sauté mushrooms, garlic and onion in melted butter or margarine in saucepan until mushrooms are tender. Add flour, stirring until blended, cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Blend in tomato paste, salt and pepper, stir in wine and stock until well-blended. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Sprinkle steaks with lemon pepper. Grill steaks over moderately hot coals for 5 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare, or to your desired degree of doneness. Serve with Mushroom-Wine Sauce.

Braising with Wine
Braising meat and poultry in wine is another classic technique. Traditional dishes such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon both feature wine as the cooking liquid. A good quality wine is required when making both of these dishes to ensure that the flavors of the wine and the meat are at their best.

Marinating with Wine

Wine can be used in cooking as a marinade. The wine is combined with herbs, spices, and other flavorings and poured over raw meat or poultry. By allowing the meat to marinate for hours, and up to overnight, it becomes nicely infused with flavor and even somewhat tenderized by the wine. Once marinated, the meat can be cooked in whichever way you prefer and is often cooked right in the marinade itself.

NOTE – Marinade that has been used either needs to be heated or pitched. Do not put it on the table for additional basting as the bacteria from the raw meat remains in the marinade. This is especially true with chicken.

Red Wine Marinade

The red wine in this recipe delicately flavors food without overpowering. As the aroma of wine mixes with lemon and thyme you'll smell what elegant simplicity is all about. This marinade does an excellent job on vegetables as well as beef or lamb and is well-suited for shish kabobs. Skewered chunks of meat contribute wonderful juices to the fires, producing a curling smoke which embraces the tomatoes, onions and peppers

1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup oil
Juice from one lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Dry powdered thyme
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh pepper.

Combine the wine, oil, lemon, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a non-reactive or glass bowl or jar and whisk or shake it all up. Then place in a large freezer bag with meat and vegetables (but in separate bags) until you are ready to assemble your shish kabobs. Grill over medium hot heat until done,

Cooking with Dessert (Fortified) Wine

Fortified Wines – known in the US as Dessert Wines

A fortified wine is simply one to which a distilled beverage (usually grape brandy) has been added. The original reason for fortifying wine was to preserve it. Alcohol is a natural preservative, and when added before the fermentation of wine is complete, it kills the yeast and leaves behind residual sugar. The end result is a wine that is both sweeter and stronger, normally containing about 20% alcohol by volume -(ABV). Even though other preservation methods exist, fortification continues to be used because wine drinkers took a liking to this kind of wine.

Many different styles of fortified wine have been developed. The most popular ones are port, sherry, madeira, marsala, and vermouth.

Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine. Spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it.

Fortified wines such as Port, Marsala, Madeira, Vermouth and Sherry are different styles of fortified wine. They have an intense, sweet flavor and a high alcohol content and a little goes a long way. (Chicken or Veal Marsala is a classic dish made with fortified wine.)

Fortified wine is used as a base for some alcoholic beverages, such as cream liqueurs.

Port Wine Cranberry Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

1 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup tawny port wine
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
In a small saucepan, stir together all ingredients except orange peel. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until cranberries are popping and soft and the mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in orange peel.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beef Taco Salad

Serves 4-6

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (yes, there is still a “place” for iceberg)
3-4 tomatoes depending on size, cut into wedges or diced
1 pound LEAN ground beef
1 ounce taco seasoning or your own mixture of spices to achieve the taste
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 One pound can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
1 avocado, sliced (or guacamole, or both)
Salsa or Italian Dressing
Sour cream
1 Bag crushed Doritos

Brown ground beef in a large skillet adding taco seasoning and water

When meat is no longer pink, drain and rinse beans and combine with meat
In a large salad bowl or on individual plates, build salad in this order:
1. lettuce
2. cheese
3. meat
4. tomatoes
5. avocado
6. black olives
Top with scoop of sour cream and guacamole
Garnish with chips around the salad
Serve salsa, guacamole and Italian Dressing on-the-side

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Serves 8.

One 9 ounce package of baby spinach leaves (no stems)
1 1/2 cups of strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
3-4 green onions, sliced
Olive oil
White Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Toast the almonds on a pan in the oven at 300 degrees F for a few minutes (they brown quickly) or place the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat until toasted (shake the skillet a few times while over the heat to toast evenly)

Make sure to remove any stems from the spinach and place the leaves in a salad bowl with the green onions

Drizzle with a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat the spinach)

Place the bowl in the refrigerator until serving time

To serve:
Rinse the strawberries just before tossing the salad, dry them and slice them

Add the toasted almonds and sliced strawberries to the salad bowl and sprinkle with white balsamic vinaigrette to taste

Add a little salt and fresh ground pepper and toss the salad and then plate

Refreshing Grape Salad

Serves 10 – 12

2 pounds red seedless grapes
2 pounds green seedless grapes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
½ cup sugar

Clean, rinse and pat dry the grapes and place in a large bowl

Mix together in another bowl the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar
Stir the mixture into the grapes
Pour into a 9 X 12 inch glass dish

Ingredients For Topping
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and chopped pecans together
Sprinkle the topping over the grape mixture and pat lightly (do not mix into the salad)

Restaurant Style Cole Slaw

Serves 4.

This cole slaw dressing will last 3 weeks in the refrigerator if you wish to make a larger amount.

1 package of prepared slaw mix from the grocery store

Cole Slaw Dressing Recipe

2/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 teaspoons salt

2/3 teaspoons celery seed

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons white vinegar

3/4 teaspoons mustard (or to taste)

Dash of white pepper

Add any other vegetables you like to the slaw mix

Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well

Add only enough dressing to slaw mix to moisten well


Adjust additional dressing to your taste as some prefer light dressing and others favor heavier dressing

Note: I recommend you add the dressing to your slaw mix just before serving to avoid the slaw becoming soggy.

Her Almond Chicken Salad Recipe

About 8 servings (sandwich or a salad) - More if used for an appetizer

1 chicken deboned (rotisserie)
1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 toasted almonds, sliced or slivered
1 cup sliced grapes, if desired

Chop chicken lightly in food processor or chop half with a knife and half with a food processor - very quick or you will end up with mush.
Fold in celery, cranberries and almonds

Whip the cream and then slowly blend in the mayo and pepper. Toss chicken mixture with dressing, a little at a time, use only enough to hold it together. Adjust seasoning... add salt if necessary.

Dressing - make and set aside
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped softly
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Just scoop the portion size you want onto a little lettuce arranged neatly on a plate or make a sandwich.

To use as an appetizer - fill cream puffs, cherry tomatoes, or spread on crackers.

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Salad

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 3/4 cup HELLMANS mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, including the green tops
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat, turning frequently, until evenly browned. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. In a blender, mixer or food processor, combine mayonnaise, milk, garlic powder and black pepper. Blend until smooth. Season the dressing with salt.
  3. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and croutons in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing, and serve immediate

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peach Schnapps Bars


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature


  • 2 x 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp peach schnapps
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup peach jam


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and line a 9 x –13-inch pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.
  2. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until a crumbly texture. Press into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. While crust is baking, prepare filling.
  3. With electric beaters, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, vanilla and 2 Tbsp of peach schnapps. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time.
  4. While crust is still hot, stir remaining 2 Tbsp of schnapps into peach jam and spread over hot crust. Pour cheesecake mixture over jam and bake for 30 minutes, until set (but a little jiggly in center). Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill completely before slicing.

Her Tropical Sangria

(8 Servings)

  • 1 large lemon, cut in half, one half cut into very thin slices
  • 1 large orange, cut in half, one half cut in very thin slices
  • 1 small mango, seeded, peeled, quartered and cut into very thin slices
  • The peel and juice of the remaining lemon and orange halves
  • ¼ cup sugar (add more if desired)
  • 1 750-ml. bottle white wine, chilled
  • ¼ cup sweetened passion fruit concentrate (Caribik Sun brand or comparable)
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 pint club soda, chilled
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • Additional lemon or lime slices dipped in sugar for garnish

Combine all the ingredients except the club soda in a large pitcher and stir until well mixed. Adjust sweetness with additional sugar if desired.

Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Just before serving, pour in the chilled club soda and serve straight up or on the rocks. Garnish with additional lemon or lime slices dipped in sugar.

To Die For Chocolate Martini

This is to die for! The vanilla vodka complements the Dutch chocolate flavor and showcases a creamy milk chocolate flavor.

  • Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
  • Absolut Vanilla Vodka
  • Garnish of a skewer of chocolate covered raisins (optional)
  • 1 chilled martini glass
  • 1 martini shaker
  • Ice

Add 2 parts Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka and 1 part Absolut Vanilla Vodka to martini shaker, add ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass after you drizzle the inside with Hershey chocolate syrup! Don't even think about the calories, just enjoy!

Garlic, Parmesan & Focaccia

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. dry instant active yeast (Fleischman's Rapid-Rise brand or comparable)
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F.)
  • ½ cup lukewarm milk (110°F.)
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 qts. all-purpose flour (amount includes plenty for kneading)
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Chopped fresh herbs of choice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the sugar, yeast, warm water, warm milk and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large mixing bowl; stir to dissolve the yeast and sugar. Stir in the flour, in increments, until the batter forms a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and binds to itself. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes, adding flour as necessary to avoid sticking. Knead in the 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and continue to knead another 3-5 minutes taking care to add only just enough flour to avoid sticking if needed. Seam the dough, pour half the remaining olive oil in a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, turn to coat with olive oil evenly, and allow to rise in a warm, moist place until doubled in size (about 20-30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a ½-sheet pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Stretch the dough to cover the pan evenly. Mix the minced garlic, chopped herbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl or cup. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil and top evenly with the garlic, herb and Parmesan mixture as well as salt and pepper as desired. Allow formed dough to rise again for 10-15 minutes and bake at 400°F. for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 1 ½ -sheet pan

Her Tomato Gravy (Sauce)

  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 lbs. Italian Sausage without casing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season the meat
  • Optional - 2# chuck roast - cut up
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 lb. sliced crimini (baby bellas) mushrooms
  • 1/3 bottle (750 ml.) dry, red wine (chianti, rioja, etc)
  • 1-28 oz. net wt. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-28 oz. net wt. can canned tomato puree
  • 1-35 oz. net wt. can canned plum tomatoes, chopped well
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 lb. parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano cheese, quartered
  • 2 TBSP dried oregano leaves
  • 2 TBSP dried basil leaves
  • 2 large Turkish bay leaves
  • 2-12 oz. net wt. cans tomato paste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 large bunch each of fresh basil and Italian parsley (leaves only), chopped
  • Grated parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano cheese, to serve at the table

Brown the sliced garlic cloves with the olive oil until lightly golden in a large, deep skillet and reserve. Sprinkle meats with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Brown all sides of all meats and sausage (in stages) in the hot oil and transfer equally to two large (9-quart), heavy, non-reactive stockpots. After finishing the last batch, quickly add the onions and mushrooms and sauté for 3-5 minutes, rubbing the bottom with a wooden spoon, taking care not to burn the bottom of the pan (add some of the wine to deglaze). Add all the remaining ingredients (including the reserved browned garlic cloves) except for the tomato paste, chicken stock, fresh basil and parsley, and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes, freeing any bits of browned meat from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Divide the mixture in half and transfer equally to the two stockpots set over medium-high heat. Mix the tomato paste with the chicken stock in stages (to avoid lumps) in a large mixing bowl; transfer equally to the stockpots and mix well. Bring the mixtures to a rolling boil, then lower the heat on both stockpots to just a slow simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring the bottom of the pots occasionally, for 2 ½-3 hours, or until all meats are tender. (or cook in two crock pots for 8 hours) Combine the remaining sauce to one stockpot, add the reserved fresh basil and parsley, adjust seasoning to taste, and remove from heat.

Serve tomato gravy with cooked pasta, and grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

Her French Green Beans with Fried Onions & Almonds

1 lb French green beans
Sea Salt
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds (2 oz pkg)
½ lemon, juiced
Ground black pepper
1 can fried onions
Optional - left-over cooked baby red potatoes, diced or bacon

In a high-sided sauté pan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil .
Add salt and green beans to the boiling water and cook until beans are just tender.
Drain beans. Set aside.
Rinse briefly under cold water to stop the cooking.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the butter. When butter is melted, add the almonds and cook until golden brown. Remove almonds and set aside.

Return the green beans to the pan, along with the juice of ½ lemon, add salt and pepper, to taste. If you have left over baby red potatoes or bacon, add it now. When warmed through, top with fried onions and almonds.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grape Chicken Salad

4 cups cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green onions
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 pg (2 oz) slivered almonds

1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp paprika

After you make the dressing, taste it to see if it needs more salt. When all is good, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the dressing. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. This salad tastes great by itself, or you can put it on a crescent roll and make a sandwich out of it. Enjoy.

Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Pot pies are an easy way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, and the flavor is superb. For added convenience, these can be made ahead and frozen unbaked. Just allow them

Serves 2 9-inch pies or
8 5-inch pies

tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium russet potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken meat
1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup half-and-half
2 store-bought pie crusts, thawed

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet set over medium heat.

  2. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and parsley. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Sauté for 10–12 minutes.

  3. Stir in the chicken broth and mix well. Add the chicken and bring to a lively simmer.

  4. Reduce the heat to a medium-low, cover with a lid and cook until the vegetables are just tender—approximately 10 minutes.

  5. Stir in the peas, remove from the heat and set aside.

  6. Melt the remaining butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium low heat.

  7. Sprinkle the flour over the butter to form a roux. Cook the roux, whisking, for one minute or until the flour scent dissipates.

  8. Add the half-and-half to the roux in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.

  9. Stir the mixture into the chicken. Mix well and adjust the seasonings if needed.

  10. Select 2 9-inch pie pans or 8 individual 5-inch pie tins or ovenproof bowls.

  11. If making the larger pies, use the pre-packaged dough as cut. Otherwise cut four 6-inch circles from each pie crust. You will have to piece scraps together and roll them flat in order to get eight circles.

  12. Fill the pie tins with the chicken mixture and top with the pastry circles. Crimp and seal the dough down around the edges of the tins.

  13. Cut 3 small steam vents into the top of each pot pie.

  14. Place the pot pies on a baking sheet and bake until the pastry turns golden brown—20 to 25 minutes.

  15. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken & Wine Casserole

4 half chicken breasts
(or pick up a rotisserie chicken and debone it)
1 6-ounce box Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice Mix - cooked
1 can condensed cream of celery soup -undiluted
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, sliced and drained
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonaise (no Miracle Whip)
2 TBSP pimento, chopped
2 TBSP onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup Chablis white wine ( I change this up often) -
Buy enough wine for the sauce and the cook!
paprika for color

Cook chicken breasts, cut in pieces - set aside.

Combine cooked rice, soup, mayonnaise, water chestnuts, pimento, onion, salt, pepper and wine.

Add cooked chicken pieces and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika for color.

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

May prepare ahead of time, freezes well.

Enjoy! Serve with wine, salad and loaf of crusty bread just out of the oven.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Basic Pizza Dough

Mark Bittman's Basic Pizza Dough

"You can knead this dough with a mixer (use the dough hook) or by hand, but I like the food processor best. The pizzas can be grilled or baked in an oven - the hotter the better (commercial pizza ovens are usually about 700°F). This is the simplest, most basic pizza (and bread) dough you can make. Olive oil makes a smoother, more flavorful dough and a slightly cracklier crust, but you can omit it if you like - just add a little more water to the dough if you do." Mark Bittman

* 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
* 3 cups (about 14 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
* 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
* 1 to 1 1/4 cups water
* 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil


Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.

Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.)

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 to 8 hours.

Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little four as possible - just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about 10 minutes. Proceed as above.

Makes 1 large or 2 or more small pizzas

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oriental Chicken Cabbage


* 4 cups Green and Red shredded cabbage
* 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
* 1 cup blanched snow peas
* ½ cup shredded carrot
* ½ cup sliced green onions
* 8 oz. can slivered water chestnuts, drained
* 3 oz. pkg. Dry oriental noodle soup mix
* 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
* 1 cup Shelled Diamond Walnuts
* Oriental Dressing
* ¼ cup oil
* ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* ½ teaspoon grated ginger root


In large serving bowl, combine cabbage, chicken, snow peas, carrot, onions and waterchestnuts.
Combine all dressing ingredients; blend well.
Pour dressing over salad: toss well.
Break noodles into bite-size pieces (reserve dry seasoning package for another use).
Add noodles, sesame seeds and walnuts to salad; toss and serve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sweet Potato Wedges with Asian Dipping Sauce

Cut sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch thick wedges.
In a large bowl toss with 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt.

Place in a 500 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until tender and slightly browned.

While sweet potatoes are baking make the dipping sauce.

In a small bowl combine
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil

Set aside.

When the sweet potatoes come out of the oven, sprinkle them immediately with 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve with dipping sauc

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

From the Crisco web site

  • Crisco® Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 3 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  • OR 3 tablespoons Crisco® Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds potatoes, cut in half or fourths (red skin, Yukon Gold, fingerling)
  1. HEAT oven to 425ºF. Coat 15x10-inch baking sheet with no-stick spray.

  2. STIR together oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add potatoes. Toss well until coated. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

  3. BAKE 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown.

Simple Italian Grilled Chicken

  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 3 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  • OR 3 tablespoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  1. COAT grill pan with no-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.

  2. COMBINE olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper in medium microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir.

  3. DIP chicken in olive oil mixture to coat evenly. Place on hot grill pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes per side until juices run clear and thermometer reads 165° F. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.


  5. COAT unheated grill grate with no-stick spray. Heat to medium-high (350° to 400°F.)

  6. GRILL 6 to 8 minutes per side until juices run clear and thermometer reads 165° F. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Roma Tomato Bruschetta

Easy appetizer - nice that Crisco now imports olive oil.

Makes 24 - 30 slices, Prep time 10 minutes, Cooking time 6 - 8 minutes

10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped OR 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and chopped - about a pound
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 cup Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 loaf French baguette

Heat oven to 425 -

Stack 5 basil leaves on top of one another, roll up. Slice crosswise thinly. Repeat with remaining leaves. Combine tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and sliced basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine olive oil and garlic in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Cut bread into slightly angled 1/4-inch pieces. Brush with olive oil mixture and place on a baking pan. Bake about 6 - 8 minutes until golden brown.

Just before serving, drain excess liquid from tomatoes. Spoon tomato mixture evenly over bread slices. (Bruschetta)

Please visit the Crisco web site for more recipes

Crisco Herbed Parmesan Dipping Oil

I love bread, really love it and this makes it even better! And it goes great with a glass of wine for an easy and cheap dinner!

1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning or (1/4 tsp dried oregano and 1/4 tsp dried basil)
1/4 cup Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty baguettes or Italian bread

Combine seasoning and olive oil on a 6 inch plate and top with Parmesan cheese. Dip slices or pieces of the crusty bread into the oil.

Yield - 1 serving.

Cheater's Key Lime Pie

Inspired by Real Simple

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6- ounce can frozen limeade concentrate (not thawed)
1 cup heavy cream
Zest of one lime or several key limes, more for garnish
Lime slices, for garnish

In a medium sized bowl combine, graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate with the bottom of a glass. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.

Place condensed milk, limeade concentrate, lime zest and heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until fluffy and soft peaks form.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until chilled and loosely set, about 4-6 hours or overnight.

Garnish with slices of lime and more zest.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

5 Minute Chinese Chicken Casserole

1 TBSP peanut oil
1 - 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced

3 scallions, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2.5 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
5 oz Chinese Chow Mein

In a large skillet (wok) heat oil, when hot, add chicken, scallions, celery, carrot and cabbage. Cook over medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes. Pour broth in the center of the mixture. Cover and steam for 1 minute. Dissolve cornstartch in water. Add soy sauce ... toss to allow thickened sauce to cover all.

Serve over Chow Mein noodles

Oriental Marinaded Baked Chicken

Marinade -

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 TBSP vinegar
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
garlic powder to taste

Skinless, boneless, chicken breasts

Skin chicken & marinade overnight.

Arrange breasts in a shallow pan. Cover with foil. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes.

Remove foil, increase oven temp to 450 degrees , bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender and golden brown.

Sauteed Shellfish

Saute'- 2 cloves garlic, minced in
1/4# butter until lightly browned

Add- 1.5# shelled shrimp, scallops, or mussels
4 TBSP Parsley

Simmer - 5 to 10 minutes - be careful not to overcook.

She Loves Wine's Japanese Steak and Veggies

1# Flank Steak or boneless round steak
Meat tenderizer
1 large red onion
1/2# fresh mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1 cup beansprouts
1 TBSP safflower or Peanut Oil
1 tsp Accent
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame seeds (Optional)

Cooked rice

Slice meat against grain, into 1/4" slices. To ensure tenderness, sprinkle meat with tenderizer. Slice onion paper thin and separate into rings. Slice mushrooms, cut zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then into slender 3" lengths. Rinse and drain beansprouts.

Heat oil until hot in wok. Add beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add all remaining ingredients and cook and stir until the veggies are heated through but still crunchy. Serve over cooked rice.

Fast and Easy Stroganoff

This recipe is from Cindy McCallister -

1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 # sirloin tip (cut up)
sour cream
Wild rice - cooked
or Cooked noodles

Put sirloin and soups in crockpot- cook about 6 hours until tender. Before serving, add sour cream and serve over noodles or wild rice.

Good Brown Stew

3# boneless chuck - cut in 1" cubes
4 cups hot water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 small bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
pinch of allspice
carrots and potatoes

Thoroughly brown meat on all sides in hot fat in a deep kettle. Add all ingredients except veggies.

Cook meat 2 hours; add vegetables and continue cooking for 30 minutes or until carrots are done.  Thicken with a little bit of water and a couple tablespoons of flour shaken together then added slowly.  stirring constantly.  Add some Kitchen Bouquet to darken. Remove bay leaves and serve with crusty bread or rolls. If desired, add peas shortly before serving.

Foiled Chuck Steak Dinner

I really like these dinners that can be prepared ahead of time.

2# Chuck Steak ( 1" thick)
3 medium potatoes, cut length-wise
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, sliced
Butter, about 3 TBSP
salt, pepper
Garlic powder
WIDE heavy-duty foil

Place steak on 2 1/2 feet length of foil. Cover with vegetables. Dot vegetables with butter and seasonings. Fold foil ends together leaving space for expansion of steam. Seal..

Place on baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 1/5 - 2 hours.

She Loves Wine's French Onion Soup

2# onions - sliced thin
8 - 12 TBSP UNsalted butter
10 cups beef stock (Or bouillon)
1 TBSP salt
8 slices French Bread, 1/2" thick
2 cups Gureyre or Mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 - 4 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet to darken soup

Melt 2 TBSP butter in a large saucepan; add onions and stir well. Cover with a lid and cook over LOW HEAT for about 30 minutes or until onions are soft and transparent.

Remove the lid and continue cooking the onions, until golden brown. Stir in the beef stock. Replace lid and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes. Add dash of W-shire sauce and kitchen bouquet.

Serve with a piece of bread on top of the bowl of soup and shredded cheese.

Unless your bowl is oven proof for high temps, do not risk putting it in the oven. Easier to put the bread on a cookie sheet, top with the cheese, melt in the oven for a few minutes, remove and place on top of each bowl of soup. Enjoy!