All of Liza's recipes in one handy place!

All of Liza's recipes in one handy place!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Rosemary Polenta

Cooking Time: 6 hours on HIGH plus another 6 hours on LOW
Slow Cooker Size: 5 quart
Yield: 6 servings

1/2 cup dry red wine
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 pounds lamb shanks, not trimmed of fat
1 large, firm head garlic (about 15 cloves), separated into cloves, each crushed and peeled
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch slices
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 heaping tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

In a small bowl mix the red wine, mustard, salt, and pepper and place in the insert of the slow cooker. Layer the shanks in the insert so they fit. Scatter the remaining ingredients around and on the shanks.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours. Use tongs to reverse the position of the shanks, top to bottom. Reduce the setting to LOW and cook for an additional 6 hours.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shanks to plates, serving over the polenta (see below). Skim the fat from the cooking juices, taste, and add salt and pepper, if needed. Pour the juices & carrots over the shanks, and serve.


4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup polenta or finely ground yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

To prepare polenta, bring chicken broth, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add polenta/cornmeal, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium; cook 4 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese. Serve immediately with lamb and sauce.

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks
1 large Spanish onion or two small yellow ones, diced into 1-inch cubes
4 carrots, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
4 celery ribs, diced into ½-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
3 cups red wine1 cup tomato paste
4 bay leaves10-12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle with kitchen twine
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Purée onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a food processor until it is a coarse paste. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400˚.

2. Season the shanks generously with salt. Coat a large sauté pan generously with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the shanks to the pan and brown well on all sides. Make sure the shanks are fully browned — don't rush it.

3. Remove the shanks from the sauté pan and place in a roasting pan. Remove the excess fat from the sauté pan and add the vegetable paste. Season generously with salt and sauté until the vegetables are very brown and aromatic. The browned puree should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan, but don't let it burn.

4. Add the tomato paste, wine, and chopped rosemary to the sauté pan. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.

5. Add 3–4 cups of water to the sauté pan to loosen the vegetable–tomato paste mixture. Pour this over the shanks in the roasting pan. The shanks should be submersed; if they are not, add more water. Add the bay leaves and thyme bundle to the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. After two hours, turn the shanks over. Continue cooking until meat is incredibly tender, another 1½ to 2 hours, checking every 45 minutes to see if the liquid has reduced too much (if so, add more water). For maximum browning, remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Serves 4.

Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

6 lamb shanks
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 (750 milliliter) bottle red wine
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1. Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook shanks until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to plate.

2. Add onions, carrots and garlic to pot and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine, tomatoes, chicken broth and beef broth. Season with rosemary and thyme. Return shanks to pot, pressing down to submerge. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

3. Remove cover from pot. Simmer about 20 minutes longer. Transfer shanks to platter, place in a warm oven. Boil juices in pot until thickened, about 15 minutes. Spoon over shanks.

Pad Thai Sauce

1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/8 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. minced shallot
1/8 tsp. chili paste
1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1/8 tsp. Thai fish sauce
1/3 cup of water
1/8 tsp. minced lemon zest

Start by sautéing the shallots and garlic, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until mixture is reduced in volume and has a thick aromatic smell. Toss over stirfried veggies, chciken, fish or beef and serve over noodles of your choice.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frosted Apple Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups diced peeled apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting, below


Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, oil and vanilla. Into a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into first mixture. Stir in apples and walnuts. Put in greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread apple cake with cream cheese frosting. Cream

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pkg.(3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth.

Apple Pecan Cake

Apple pecan cake is made with butter, brown sugar, and apples and pecans.

Cook Time: 40 minutes

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped apple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

Cream together butter, shortening, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the granulated sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add sifted dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with the 1 cup milk. Fold in chopped apple.

Pour batter into a generously buttered and floured 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans with 1/2 cup brown sugar; sprinkle over top of cake. Bake at 350° for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until done. Cake will bounce back when lightly touched in center.

Applesauce Cake

An applesauce cake made with butter, applesauce, molasses, vanilla, and cinnamon, along with other spices and ingredients.

Cook Time: 45 minutes

1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda


Cream butter and sugar; beat in molasses, vanilla, applesauce, and egg.
Sift together the flour, spices, salt, and soda. Add to creamed mixture; beat well. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or dessert sauce.

Apple Pudding Cake

Boiling apple cider or apple juice is poured over this cake just before baking, giving it a delicious gooey bottom. Also, this cake is made with less added fat than most conventional dessert cake.

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped apple
1 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
Optional Streusel:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, 1 cup brown sugar, milk, melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and chopped apples until well blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.

In a small saucepan, bring apple cider, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a boil. Pour slowly and carefully over the batter. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with prepared streusel (below) about 10 minutes before done.
Optional streusel: Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

28 min 20 min prep
30-36 Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda1

cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
30-36 chocolate-covered caramel candies2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. . In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix together until well blended. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and mix well. Refrigerate and chill dough for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center of each dough ball. Form the dough ball around the majority of the chocolate-covered caramel candy. Roll each dough ball in sugar.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Let cool on pan for 1 minute then take off and place on cookie cooling rack.

Expresso Bars

1 tbsp instant espresso powder (I like Medaglia D’Oro)
1 tbsp boiling water
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Dissolve espresso powder in boiling water. Set aside to cool to tepid.

Beat butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth.

Beat in vanilla and espresso, then reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate or chips with a sturdy rubber spatula.

Using the spatula, transfer dough to a gallon-size zip-loc bag. Put bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet (okay, I didn’t poke the cookies and they’re fine).

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point (I didn’t do that either - I bake one sheet at a time). The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color.

Transfer the cookies to a rack. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. Makes about 3 dozen.

Pot Roast

Serves 6-8

Cooks Illustrated recommends a chuck-eye roast, which is what I used. I’ve found that it can be difficult to find though.

I added about 1/4 cup red wine with the broths.
1 boneless chuck roast (about 3½ pounds)

salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small celery rib, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup canned low sodium beef broth
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
¼ cup dry red wine

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 300F. Thoroughly pat the roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the roast to a large plate; set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium; add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Return the roast and any accumulated juices to the pot; add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the roast. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat, then cover tightly and transfer the pot to oven.

4. Cook, turning the roast every 30 minutes, until fully tender and a meat fork slips in and out of meat very easily (3½-4 hours). Transfer the roast to a carving board and tent with foil to keep warm.

5. Allow the liquid in the pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim fat off the surface; discard thyme sprig. Boil over high heat until reduced to about 1½ cups, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce again to 1½ cups, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Cut the meat into ½-inch slices, or pull apart in pieces; transfer the meat to a warmed serving platter and pour about ½ cup sauce over the meat. Serve, passing remaining sauce.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ pounds button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup white wine
1 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
¼ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the oil and butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft.

Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes more, or until fragrant. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and simmer, stirring, for a minute or so. Add the broth, bay leaf, thyme, and cream.

Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour, or until the flavors come together. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig, remove from the heat, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls, and serve immediately.

Creamy Split Pea Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
9 cups water
1 package (16 ounces) dried green split peas
2 cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes or russet potatoes
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender. Stir in the water, peas, potatoes, bay leaf, salt, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 70-80 minutes or until peas are tender.Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Using an immersing (stick) blender, puree the soup until completely smooth.

Or cool slightly and puree in a blender in batches until smooth. Serve garnished with sour cream, yogurt, cheddar cheese, croutons, or nutmeg.

Chocolate Almond Cookies

• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup brandy
• 1 cup ground almonds
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
• Powdered sugar
1. Melt chocolate and butter together. Stir in brandy.

2. In another bowl, mix together almonds, cake flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In a third bowl, beat the eggs together with 1/2 cup sugar until just mixed. Fold in flour mixture. Chill dough.

4. When ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll them first in sugar, then in powdered sugar. Bake on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet at 325˚F until the tops are cracked, about 10 minutes.

When cool, the cookies should be slightly chewy. Do Not Overbake!

Boston Creme Pie

Pastry Cream:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups milk
1 vanilla extract

Sponge Cake:
5 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks. (Do not let this mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. (Watch carefully and remove from heat just as the milk starts to foam up.) Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)

Place the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, continue to whisk constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick.

Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Let the cream cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Sponge Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and line the bottoms of two - 8 inch (23 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.

While the eggs are still cold separate three of the eggs, placing the yolks in one large mixing bowl and the whites in another bowl. To the yolks, add the two remaining eggs. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan, over low heat, and warm until the butter melts. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the whole eggs and yolks and 6 tablespoons (75 grams) of the sugar on high speed for about five minutes, or until they are thick, fluffy and light colored (when you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon). Beat in the vanilla extract.

In another clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, at low speed, until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until soft, moist peaks form. Gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites folding just until incorporated. Sift half of the flour mixture over the top of the batter and gently fold through with a rubber spatula or whisk. Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold in. Do not over mix.

Make a well on one side of the batter and pour the melted butter/milk mixture into the bowl. Gently but thoroughly fold the butter mixture into the batter. Do not over mix.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops, and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until light brown and springy to the touch. (A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Immediately run a spatula or sharp
knife around the inside of the pans and then invert the cakes onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and re-invert. Cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled and you are ready to assemble the Boston Cream Pie, make the Chocolate Glaze: Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream and butter just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a 3-5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Set aside for a few minutes until it has thickened to pouring consistency.

To Assemble: Place one cake layer on your serving plate, bottom side facing up. Spoon the pastry cream onto the cake, spreading to make an even layer. Place the second cake layer (bottom side up) onto the filling. Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake and carefully spread the glaze, with an offset spatula, to the edges of the cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Let the cake sit until the glaze sets, about one hour. Serve. This cake is best eaten the same day it is made. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 8-10

Irish Colcannon

1lb 6oz potatoes, peeled and quartered
4oz curly kale, chopped
1/2 cup scallions or spring onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup scallions or spring onions, finely chopped
1 stick butter
salt and pepper

Cook the Colcannon Potatoes:

First boil the potatoes in salted water. While the potatoes are boiling I've got another pan with boiling water in it and I am going to blanch my curly kale for 60 seconds. Just drop the kale into the boiling water and after 60 seconds, drain.

Prepare the Curly Kale:

So, with the curly kale, I'm now going to put it into the food processor, add to that the roughly chopped scallions and blitz for about 10 seconds.

Mix the Irish Colcannon:

Put that into a bowl, like so. Now I need to check to see if the potatoes are cooked. Yes, nice and soft so these can now be drained. Add the butter to the hot potatoes, give it a stir, get the butter to coat the potatoes and then, mash. Give them a good mash to make them soft and creamy. Once the butter is mashed into the potatoes give it a good stir to make sure all the butter is melted and then I'm going to add the kale and scallion mixture back into the potatoes.

Cheesecake Bars

For crust:

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped

For filling:
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs

a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in middle. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed sheets of foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, then lightly butter foil.

Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour and almonds, mixing until combined and dough begins to clump together.

Press onto bottom of baking pan with floured fingers.
Bake just until a shade darker and edges begin to pull away from pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan.

Make filling and bake:
Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour with cleaned beaters at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add half-and-half, then eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Pour filling into crust.

Bake in a hot water bath until set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 40 to 45 minutes. (Center will set as it cools.) Transfer pan to a rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Chill, uncovered, at least 2 hours.

Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake from pan and peel off foil before cutting into small rectangles.
Cooks’ note: Cheesecake can be chilled (loosely covered once cold) up to 3 days.

Chili Chees Wontons


24 wonton wrappers
Refrigerated butter-flavored spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, well drained
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons sliced ripe olives


Press the wonton wrappers into miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray, forming a cup.

Spritz with butter-flavored spray. Bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes or until edges are golden.

In a small bowl, combine the cheeses, chilies, chives, salt and cumin. Spoon into cups.

Top with olives. Bake for 10 minutes longer or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm.

Yield: 2 dozen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Makes 2 dozen

Vegetable oil cooking spray
9 ounces chocolate wafers (about 40 wafers), finely ground (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
5 ounces (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted 1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, melted

1. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the 2 long sides.

2. Combine wafers, oats, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add chunky peanut butter and 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, whisking until well combined. Add peanut butter mixture to wafer mixture, stirring until combined. Transfer to baking dish, and use the bottom of a measuring cup or an offset spatula to firmly press mixture into an even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Pour melted semisweet chocolate over chilled mixture and, using an offset spatula, spread into a thin layer that covers the entire surface. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 15 minutes.

4. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter in a small saucepan until runny. Drizzle peanut butter over chilled chocolate. Drizzle melted milk chocolate over peanut butter. Refrigerate until hardened, about 15 minutes.

5. Use parchment to lift out chilled block of bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water, dry well, and cut into 24 squares, wiping knife between cuts. Let bars stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. (Sliced bars can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Fast, easy and my husband loves them!!!

Spicy Cilantro Pesto

makes about 1 cup

2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
2-4 garlic, peeled
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
dash or two of hot or mild chili powder
1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil

Place cilantro in food processor or blender. Pulse till well chopped. Add garlic, sea salt, pepitas and chili powder. Chop well.

Using attachment for adding liquids drop by drop and, while running, add olive oil to form a thick paste. Scoop paste into pint jars and store in fridge or freezer.

Okay - my garden has gone nuts and I'm just trying to save all the summer goodness! Give it a try - you will love it!

Mint Pesto (or What the heck do I do with all this MINT!

Mint Pesto
(makes enough to sauce 1 lb of pasta)

2 cups firmly packed Mint
1/3 cup Cashews, salted
2 Tbsp Ginger, minced
2 cloves Garlic, mashed
1/4 – 1/2 cup Olive Oil (use the good stuff)
Salt & Pepper

Blend ingredients in a food processor, drizzling the oil as the blade is running. When texture is how you like it, stop drizzling. For the mint pesto, combine with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream before serving, for added creaminess. Toss with pasta and serve with extra parmesan for sprinkling.

Cuban Style Pork Shoulder

Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time (4 hours on high; 8 hours on low)
Servings: 8

Note: Serve the pork with black beans and rice. This recipe requires a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

9 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons ground chile pepper
2 dried bay leaves, finely crumbled
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
5 pounds pork shoulder, bone and skin removed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 onions
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper, chili pepper, crumbled bay leaves and orange zest. Stir in the vinegar, orange and lime juices to make a coarse paste. Add the pork pieces and toss until the pieces are evenly coated with the spice paste. Set aside to marinate while you finish the other preparations.

2. Trim and cut the onions lengthwise into 1/4 -inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Pour the broth over the onions. Arrange the pork in an even layer over the onions, pouring over any reserved marinade.

3. Cover the insert and place it in the slow cooker. Set the cooker to high heat and cook 4 to 4 1/2 hours until the pork is fork-tender. Remove from heat and crack the lid to allow the mixture to cool slightly. Gently stir the pork with the onions and serve.

I served as suggested above - I also used the leftovers as a great soft shell taco! YUM!

Basic Fresh Pesto

1/4 cup pine nuts , toasted (or substitute almonds or walnuts)
3 medium cloves garlic , unpeeled
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves (optional)
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt & ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino Romano


1. Toast the nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes; set aside. Add the garlic to the empty skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the color of the cloves deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let the garlic cool slightly, then peel, and chop.

2. Place the basil and parsley (if using) in a heavy-duty 1-gallon zipper-lock plastic bag. Pound the bag with the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.

3. Process the nuts, garlic, herbs, oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

I make double recipes and freeze in ice cube trays.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chipoltle Lime Glazed Chicken

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound large shrimp
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of sugar
2 chipotles in adobo, minced (feel free to reduce this amount if you want it way less spicy)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

To make the glaze: Stir together chipotle chile, adobo sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until smoking, Meanwhile, toss shrimp, salt, pepper, and sugar in medium bowl. Add the shrimp to the pan in single layer and cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; using tongs, flip each shrimp and let stand until all but very center is opaque, about 30 seconds.

Transfer shrimp to large plate. Add chipotle mixture, and toss to combine. Cover skillet and let stand until shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Herbed Eggs

1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tblsp minced fresh parsley
1 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan
6 eggs
2 tblsp heavy cream (I’ve used the fat-free Half and Half successfully in this)
1 tblsp butter
Salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan and set aside.

Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or cups (you won’t be baking in these) without breaking the yolks. It’s very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet.

Place 1 tblsp cream and 1/2 tblsp butter in each dish. Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. It may take longer depending on how long you messed around getting the eggs in the dishes and the herb mixture on top.

Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren’t cooking evenly. The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 1 minute and serve hot with toasted bread.

Stacey's Easy Mac and Cheese

1 qt milk
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 lb penne pasta
8 oz parmesan cheese

8 eggs
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Par cook the pasta for 5 minutes and drain. Beat eggs and milk in bowl place ½ of the pasta in a 9” X 13” pan, sprinkle ½ of the parmesan cheese then drizzle ½ the butter and ½ the egg mixture and a dash of salt. Repeat process for a second layer.

Bake for 45 minute to 1 hour.

Pineapple Sour Cream Pie

1 pkg (5 ½ oz) vanilla instant pudding
1 (8 oz) crushed pineapple
2 cups sour cream

1 TBS sugar
1 baked 9 inch pastry or graham cracker crust

Combine pudding mix, pineapple with juice, sour cream and sugar. Beat 1 minute on lowest speed, pour into shell and chill for 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream and additional pineapple if desired.

Fast, easy and delish!

Mustard Roasted Fish

4 skin on mild, white fleshed fish fillets (haddock, cod or snapper) 6-8oz each
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 medium shallots

2 tsp capers
8oz crème fraiche
1 TBS water

2 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS whole grain mustard

Season fish and place on parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet – skin side down. Mince shallots, add drained capers and mix with crème fraiche, water, mustards 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper – STIR.

Spoon over fish, completely covering completely Bake for 10-15 minutes – serve fish with the sauce.

** If you want to cook this on the grill simply make a heavy foil tray, heating grill until about 400 degrees

Liza's Zesty Fajita Seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on taste)
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin

Mix well and use on meats or vegatable before cooking!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spicy Grilled Chicken

For 4-6 boneless chicken breasts

Spice Rub:
1 Tbs paprika 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp coarse pepper 2 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp ground fennel seeds

Brush chicken with olive oil and coat with spice rub. I usually toss both in a ziplock bag) Grill chicken until cooked turning occasionally either on a gas or charcoal grill.

Serve with grilled vegetables and basmati rice.

Kentucky Butter Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl and set aside. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine buttermilk with vanilla in a measuring glass. Add buttermilk and flour mixtures to the large bowl (with sugar, butter, and eggs), alternating in thirds, ending with the flour mixture and beating well after each addition.

Spoon batter into greased cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bourbon Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla
Glug glug of bourbon
Strawberries and/or powdered sugar, optional garnish

To prepare the glaze, heat butter, sugar, water, vanilla, and bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat until everything is melted and dissolved, about ten minutes. DO NOT BOIL.

Prick cake repeatedly with a toothpick after removing it from the oven. Pour glaze/sauce over cake and serve immediately while warm. You may want to garnish with strawberries or powdered sugar.

Zucchini Fries

1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese(Honestly, the green can does work well for this, even though I prefer fresh grated.)
4-5 small zucchini
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Trim zucchini and cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/4 inch wide sticks resembling french fries.Combine bread crumbs and grated cheese in a shallow bowl.Beat egg in a 2nd shallow bowl and dip zucchini fries into egg, then into crumb mixture.Place on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. (Serves 4) VERY TASTY!!!

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

28 min 20 min prep
30-36 Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
30-36 chocolate-covered caramel candies2
tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. . In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix together until well blended. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and mix well. Refrigerate and chill dough for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center of each dough ball. Form the dough ball around the majority of the chocolate-covered caramel candy. Roll each dough ball in sugar.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Let cool on pan for 1 minute then take off and place on cookie cooling rack

Lemon Pound Cake

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt3
sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 TB lemon zest
1 tsp. pure lemon extract
1/2 cup fresh lemon juicePreheat oven to 300F.

Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together twice.

Cream the butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer.

Meanwhile, bring the lemon juice and remaining sugar to a boil over medium high heat in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Invert the cake onto a rack, position over a baking sheet and slowly pour the syrup over the cake, it will seep through the holes and into the cake. Let cool to room temp.

Lime Meltaways

12 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar2
limes, grated zest of
2 TBS lime juice, freshly (I like to use 3)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups + 2 TBS all-purpose flour
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; whip until fluffy. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.

Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined. Roll the dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. I held a sheet of parchment on opposite ends, cradling the dough in the middle and rolled it about until it was log-like. Wrap in plastic wrap.

Chill at least 1 hour.
Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, just three or four minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Frozen dough can keep up to 2 months.

Lemon Chicken with Rice

4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon nutmegpinch cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup rice

Rinse the rice and combine with 2 cups of the chicken stock in a medium pot. Bring to a boil then simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, adding water if necessary.

Add peas, if using, towards the end of cooking. In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the foam subsides. Add the flour and whisk into the butter, breaking up any clumps. Add the chicken stock, whisking. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 10 minutes. Add the milk, nutmeg, cayenne, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and saute over medium heat until cooked through (alternatively, they can gently poach until cooked). Add the final tablespoon of lemon juice to the rice and taste for seasoning. Slice the chicken and serve on the rice smothered in the sauce.

Very Best Blueberry Muffins

Muffin Base:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed [half a stick]
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Liza's Lemon Sheet Cake

The Cake: Lemon Sheet Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
finely grated zest from 2 lemons
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high setting for 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually, beating for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat until incorporated. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn mixer speed to low and add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Scrape down sides of mixer bowl as needed, and beat until the batter is uniformly smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick in center of cake comes out clean.

The Frosting: Lemon Butter Cream

1/2 c. of butter, room temperature

1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 tsp. vanilla extractPinch of salt
3 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/4 c. milk1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, lemon rind, vanilla and salt until light and about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar alternately with milk until the mixture is creamy and smooth, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice.

This is great for picnics and summer parties!!