Monday, April 25, 2011

Berry Trifle

This was a big hit and so easy to make.  We had it for Easter but it is going to be great all summer with fresh berries.

Berry Trifle

Baked cake or pound cake (I used a white cake mix)
For cream layer:  8 oz pkg cream cheese
                          1 c confectioner sugar
                          1 c cool whip thawed

rest of thawed cool whip for top

prepare cake or purchase a cake and cut into small cubes

clean and cut up berries into bite sized pieces

mix cream layer ingredients with mixer

layer in glass bowl, top with remainder of cool whip and chill at least 8 hours

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

St. John's Nursery School Carrot Cake

We first had this cake when our oldest Alyson went to Nursery School.  They have a Mother's Day celebration that always included this cake.  It was a big hit and became a recipe used many times over the years, but never more appropriate than Easter.  I'm sure this recipe has more history but that is as far back as we know it.

Nursery School Carrot Cake

1 1/2 c canola oil  (you can cut back on this by using the measured juice from the pineapple  
                                or substituting apple sauce for a portion of it)
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
7 oz. coconut
2 c shredded carrots
1 c chopped walnuts
1 16oz can crushed pineapple, drained (or see note above)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix by hand with a wooden spoon.
 Bake in prepared 9 x 13 baking dish for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

I used layer pans this time and cut back on the cooking time.


16 oz pkg of confectioner sugar
8 oz pkg of cream cheese
4 T butter softened
1 tsp vanilla

cream together and spread on cake

Can be made ahead and frozen complete or freeze layers and frost when ready--wrap tightly if freezing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Sorrento

A great Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, "Ralph's" is where we first had this.  Ralph's is a bustling place, cash only (they do have an atm), traditional southern Italian, tables close together, waiters rushing through with dishes up their arms, near the Italian markets and has always been busy when we've been there.  Visiting their website they had a few recipes and this is one we really enjoy.  I have adapted it a bit, but really not hard to make.

Chicken Sorrento

8 boneless chicken breasts (either pounded or I slice them butterfly style)
           >enough to cover bottom of pan for sauteing
1/2 c white wine
2 c chicken stock
16 slices Mozzarella sliced thin or grated

Dredge chicken in flour, saute in oil/butter till browned flip, do other side and then set aside on oven proof dish.  Add 2 T butter and 2 T flour to make rue, let cook about 1 min, add wine cook another minute, add chicken stock allow to slightly thicken.  I like a thinner sauce but you can do it to your liking.  Pour sauce over chicken, top chicken with mozzarella and bake just till chicken is cooked about 15 min in preheated 350 oven or check with thermometer.

Serve as is or over angel hair pasta.

sauteed chicken awaiting sauce

stirring rue

deglazing pan

stir in broth

simmer a few minutes to thicken

pour on sauce

remove from oven

roasted green beans with toasted almonds

Friday, April 15, 2011


     This is always a great go to recipe when you run out of ideas.  Everyone at this house likes chili, it can be made ahead and left to simmer.  Also great when you have leftover vegetables you want to use up, chop them up to uniform sizes and through them in.  I don't always add meat sometimes I'll use a soy or vegetable product that is similar in texture to meat.  This makes it very adaptable to any of your guests preferences.  If I'm using meat I like a ground chuck it adds a richness to the sauce and the rest of the recipe is almost fat free. Measuring is optional although you'll want to taste after it has simmered for at least 30 min to see how your spices are, you can add more if you want it spicier.  Great way to get your vegetables in!

ground meat or vegetarian replacement
celery                           >all chopped to similar size-able to fit on a spoon
green pepper
kidney beans
black beans
favorite red sauce
chili seasoning packet

Saute meat add to stock pot, saute onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms with some ground black pepper add to pot along with the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for at least an hour or more.  Taste for seasoning you can always add more spice.

I serve it with plain Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), some grated cheddar, chopped onion, tortilla chips and a beer.

If you wanted to mix your own spices:
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 T minced dried onion
2T garlic powder
1/2 pepper
1/2 salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cumin
1/2 cayenne

Mix a large batch store in airtight container and it is ready when you want to make it.

in place of sour cream

served with guacamole

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

I think every time I make this it is a little different, but it is always good.  This time I added ricotta with caramelized onions and mushrooms, it came out great.

Eggplant peeled and sliced (I used 2 med sized)
onion sliced thin
mushrooms sliced
ricotta I used part skim
1 egg
Italian seasoning
Provolone (happened to be out of Mozzarella)
wholewheat bread crumbs
your favorite sauce

Broil the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet till just browned, flip and do other side. Caramelize onions and mushrooms in a saute pan.  Mix ricotta, Italian seasoning, parsley, Parmesan and egg in a bowl.  Capers were added to red sauce giving it a nice flavor.
To assemble spread a layer of sauce in 9 x 13 pan or individual dishes layer eggplant slices, mix onion/mushroom mixture with ricotta then spread over layer of eggplant, top with another layer of eggplant, sprinkle bread crumbs over eggplant, then top with sauce.  Add more Parmesan cheese over sauce, then Mozzarella or Provolone, sprinkle more bread crumbs.  Bake till bubbly.

This is a healthier way of making it, you don't fry the eggplant and there is less breading but you still get the flavor with some crunch from the crumbs.  Great for a vegetarian meal, and you really can't mess it up.

broiling eggplant

sauting onions and mushrooms

ricotta, egg & spices


ready for oven

finished side photo 
Serves nicely when done in stacks.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuna Melt

This is a stand by for that night when you are running late.  It is quick to mix up, ingredients are usually on hand, is enough by itself or great with a bowl of soup.   Got home to late for soup this night, so was glad the tuna was mixed or it would have been a bowl of cereal for supper.

Tuna ( white albacore packed in water--Dolphin safe-of course)
mayo (reduced fat is fine)
greek yogurt
chopped celery
chopped onion
grated cheese
celery seed
a dash of dry mustard
Old Bay seasoning to taste
Thomas's English Muffins

Mix it all together (I use equal parts mayo & yogurt you can use all mayo but not all yogurt it isn't quite stiff enough to hold up) and place in fridge, when you get home you are good to go.  Toast the muffins, top with tuna mixture, add a little more grated cheese to the top and broil till bubbly.

mixture ready to mix

These whole grain double fiber add some "healthiness"

Cheddar works well but any melting cheese is good
also try Gruyere with it.

under broiler,  foil on the pan makes for easier clean up