Friday, April 30, 2010

Rhubarb Pie

There just isn't a better two-crust pie than rhubarb. Since spring is the time for rhubarb, I thought this would be a good time to post this recipe. You've heard "easy as pie." This one really is easy, especially with my secret microwave/oven baking method. If you have froszen or store-bought pie crusts, you can have hot, fresh pie in less than half an hour.
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2+ cups white sugar (if you add more sugar- which I recommend, be sure to add a little more flour because rhubarb is juicy)
6 T. flour
butter for dotting
2 pastry crusts for 9 inch pie

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out your crusts. Combine sugar and flour.
Put a crust into a 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle 1/4 of the flour/sugar mixture in the crust. Heap the rhubarb over that, then sprinkle with remaining flour/sugar mixture. Dot with small pieces of butter.
Cover with top crust and vent. Sprinkle with sugar.
Place the pie in the microwave and cook on high for 8 minutes.
Remove with hot pads and place on a baking sheet.

Put in oven and bake for another 10 minutes or so until brown and bubbly.
This microwave method makes it so the crust doesn't overcook. The oven browns it and caramalizes the sugar both beneath the crust and on top. Man, it's yummy. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

I got this recipe from my niece, Sara. A link to her food blog is on this one, but I think it's private, so I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you. The original came from Rachael Ray. I suggest you double the meatball recipe, making half of the meatballs big for these sandwiches, and make half little for Italian Wedding Soup (recipe follows) and freeze them. So, here goes. Double this part:
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken (3 lbs)
1 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning (2 T.)
1 large egg (2)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (1 cup)
1/2 cup Italian Bread crumbs (1 cup) (I keep this in the freezer so I always have it on hand and it doesn't go stale)
1 handful of chopped parsley leaves (2 big handfuls)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese (1 cup if you're doubling), breadcrumbs, parsley, and a serious drizzle of evoo. Mix the meat and form into 12 large meatballs (and 24 or so little ones, if you're doubling). Squish the large balls to flatten them a bit like a mini oval meatloaf. Be careful not to form meatballs wider than your bread. Flattened balls will stay in the bread and not roll away.
Bake the meatballs on a baking sheet for 15 minutes until golden and firm. Remove from oven. Switch the oven to broil.
After cool, put the small meatballs in a quart freezer bag to make Italian Wedding Soup later. Put in freezer.

Now, on with the sandwich recipe:
While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 T. evoo, and
2 large cloves garlic
Cook five minutes and remove the cloves from the pan. Add:
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir together and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Stir in 8-10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
Reserve some of the sauce for dipping at the table. Add the meatballs to the rest of the sauce and heat together.

4 crusty 6-8 inch sub rolls
Making the bottom a little deeper than the top. Hollow out a little bread and lightly toast the sub rolls under the broiler.

Fill the toasted bread with the meatball mixture, nestling the meatballs down into the bread.
1 1/2 cups grated provolone or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Top the sandwiches with the cheese. Return to the broiler to melt the cheese until golden.


Italian Wedding Soup

You have a quart bag of yummy chicken meatballs in the freezer (see recipe above) That is the most wonderful feeling in the world: knowing they are in there and that sometime, whenever you want, you can make this delicious soup. I got this recipe from Ina Gartner. She makes her own meatballs with a different recipe, but this is her soup recipe. I love this soup.
1 quart meatballs
2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 carrots, diced
3/4 cup diced celery
10 cups chicken stock
1 cup ditalini or other small pasta
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 oz. baby spinach
Parmesan cheese
In a soup pot, saute the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil until soft.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook about 6 minutes. Add the dill and thawed meatballs (or you can add them while the pasta is cooking if they are still frozen). Simmer 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook 1 minute until wilted. Ladel into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eggplant Parm

I know what your thinking . . . Eggplant? Yes, it is health food, but not ALL health food is disgusting, as this recipe proves. The picture doesn't do it justice. Oven frying the eggplant slices makes a delicious dish that has only 9 grams of fat - instead of 20 or more. The original recipe came from vegetarian times, but I've changed a few things for our tastes. Another thing I love about eggplant is that it is great for cooking on a budget. Healthy, inexpensive, and delicious! If you love Olive Garden's Eggplant Parmesiagna, this one's for you.

Serves 6
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs - I used Italian seasoned
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese - or more to taste
  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds - I used one large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 and a half cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese - or more to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat two baking sheets (I only used one) and a 9x13inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Whisk egg whites with 3 Tbs. water in bowl until frothy. Combine bread-crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste in shallow dish.
Dip eggplant slices into egg whites, then coat with breadcrumb mixture and arrange on baking sheet(s).
3. Bake until golden; turn; bake until golden again, about 30 minutes total.
4. Stir basil and garlic into marinara sauce. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in baking dish. Top with half of eggplant, slightly overlapping slices. Cover with 1 cup of sauce; sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Cover with remaining eggplant, and top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.
5. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 10 minutes; enjoy!

Btw, I served it with strawberry spinach salad with candied almonds ... a great way to use the strawberries that happen to be in season at this time of year!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asparagus with Nutmeg-Browned Butter

I found this delicious recipe in a little cookbook Michelle gave me for my birthday of Norwegian recipes. I made it for our recent family Heritage Dinner. It is so good and easy to make. So pick up some of that asparagus that is in the stores right now and give it a try!
2 lbs. fresh asparagus spears
Boiling salted water
6 T. butter
1/4 tsp. grated or ground nutmeg

Wash and break each spear where it wants to break- usually 1-2" up the stem. This gets rid of the woody part.
Cook in boiling salted water just until tender.
Drain well, turn into serving dish. In a small pan, heat butter until it bubbles and browns slightly; stir in nutmeg. Pour butter over asparagus. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oven Baked Rump Roast

We recently purchased 1/2 beef. So, I got on the internet to find beef recipes. I've made roasts lots of different ways through the years. We really liked this. The amounts are inexact, but it probably doesn't matter much. It was yummy and made a delicious gravy.
The night before:
Put little slits in a
4 lb. rump roast
Put peeled garlic clove pieces or crushed garlic in slits all over roast (I used crushed garlic from a jar. It tasted great, but sure stunk up the house- and my hands- that night!)
Rub with:
Montreal steak seasoning (or lots of salt and pepper)
Soy Sauce, probably about 1/2 cup or so
A-1 Steak Sauce, probably about 1/2 cup or so
Sprinkle with:
Onion Salt
Put in a baking dish and cover well. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning (I did it on Sunday, so did it in the morning so it would be done after church) dump off the extra marinade and Add
2 T. flour
1 package onion soup mix
and 2 cups water
Bake at 325 for 3 1/2 hours. Slice roast and arrange on plate. Pour gravy over. Serve with mashed potatoes- and dill pickles. You have to have dill pickles with roast beef. Kind of a family rule!