Monday, November 25, 2013

Double Parmesan --Chicken & Eggplant

Who doesn't love Parmesan anything?  Add a good red sauce and melted cheese it will be a winner.  I love something you make & bake so you can clean up while it is cooking.  Nothing worse than a huge meal that leaves the kitchen with piles of dirty cookware that you have to face when you want to linger over the dinner table.  This is just extrapolated from my Eggplant Parmesan.

Chicken Eggplant Parmesan

6 Chicken breast cutlets
1  med- large Eggplant
panko crumbs
red sauce (your favorite Italian sauce homemade or jarred)
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil
large sliced mushrooms
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese

Bread your eggplant and chicken by dipping in egg than in breadcrumbs.
Bake till crispy or pan saute till crispy, chicken should be almost cooked through.

On large oven proof cover bottom with sauce,
 place layer of sliced mushrooms &spoon sauce over them.
Top with chicken.

Layer sliced mozzarella over chicken top with Eggplant then
ladle sauce over everything.

Sprinkle with parmesan and grated mozzarella.

Bake @ 350° till cooked through and cheese is melted--
about 30 min depending on your oven.

All those yummy layers, great cold weather meal!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

With one large zucchini I had quite the baking day.

all of this from one zucchini---2 chocolate zucchini cakes,
 3 loaves of bread, a dozen muffins

The Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake recipe comes from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, always a great source for baking recipes.



2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c shredded zucchini
1 c chocolate chips


1/2 c cream
3/4 c chocolate chips
2 tsp corn syrup  (I make a similar glaze for another recipe without the corn syrup so I omitted this)


Preheat oven to 350°, grease and dust tube pan with cocoa.
Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda & powder, salt in medium bowl.
In mixing bowl blend sugar and oil together, then add eggs, buttermilk & vanilla mix well.
Add flour mixture alternately with zucchini till blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared tube pan.  Bake about 45-50 minutes.  Let cool about 15-20 minutes then remove from tube pan, slide knife around edges to ease the cake out of the pan.

When completely cooled mix glaze mixture in top of double boiler stir till smooth then drizzle over cooled cake.

options:  this would be great with walnuts stirred in batter, add a couple tsp of cinnamon, dried cherries

when making something chocolate I dust the pan
with cocoa instead of flour

you could use a bundt pan or a 9 x 13 pan

a special treat this day I had duck eggs from a friend who owns
a duck farm.......the give baked goods a richer flavor

I made it to this stage then froze it, when defrosted it gets
a chocolate glaze or you could dust it with confectioner sugar

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Berry Bundt Cake

Berry Bundt Cake

1 c butter softened
2 c sugar
3 eggs
4 T lemon juice, divided!
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 c flour---divided!
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz Greek yogurt
1 1/2 c berries
1 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375° and prepare pan

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time beating between each. Add 2 tsp of lemon juice.

Add 2 1/4 c flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and mix.  Add yogurt blend till mixed.

Toss the other 1/4 c flour with the berries.  Spread batter into pan and layer berries into batter.  or  you can fold berries into batter before spreading batter.  Try not to break up the berries or you batter will become the color of your berries.

Reduce oven heat to 325° put cake in center of oven and bake for 60min or till toothpick comes out clean.  Cool about 20-30min then mix powdered sugar with 2 T lemon juice and drizzle onto cake.

I used blueberries but any berry will work, strawberries would need to be sliced or quartered.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fruit Bars

Using a basic crumble type pastry these are delicious and so easy.  You can adapt them with most any berry if you want to change it up as the berries begin to ripen in your area.    What a great treat to take on a picnic, serve for brunch, tailgate party, dessert.........

Fruit Bars

1 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 c flour
1 cup butter
1 egg--beaten
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 c blueberries
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350° butter 9 x 13 pan  (you can double this and make it in a rimmed cookie sheet if you want to feed a crowd)

With pastry blender in large bowl mix sugar, baking powder, flour, lemon zest, butter (I use cold butter and grate it with a box grater for quicker blending), egg....mix till crumble looking texture forms.

Press 1/2 of mixture into 9 x 13 pan reserve the rest for the topping.

Mix berries with lemon juice, 1/4 c sugar and cornstarch and distribute evenly into pan.  Top with rest of crumble mixture and bake on middle rack about 50-55 min or till topping begins to brown.

Let cool completely then add:

juice & zest of 1 lemon mixed with 1 c confectioner sugar add a bit of water for desired consistency then drizzle over cooled bars, let set then cut into equal sized squares.

Great served for brunch or  with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

alternate berry ideas:

raspberry & almond
raspberry & white chocolate chips
strawberry & orange in place of lemon
blackberry & orange in place of lemon
apples with the orange in place of lemon

also cinnamon is a nice addition

Any other suggestions for fruit combinations I should try?

Mix blueberries with cornstarch, 1/4 c sugar & lemon juice.

use pastry blender to mix crumble mixture

press into pan

layer blueberries then top with rest of crumble
bake till golden brown


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baguettes at home? Really?

I'm not much of a bread baker, but this recipe seemed so easy I had to try it.  It is very good for a home oven, is quick and easy.   I found it on Pinterest (of course) posted from Babble's  website you can find it there and below is my version.  It was a big hit and yes it is those ice cubes that make a big difference in the crispy crust.


Preheat oven to 400°

2 c very warm water (about 180°)
1 pkt yeast
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
3-4 c flour
3-4 ice cubes

Stir first 3 ingredients together and sit in warm spot for 10 min. (preheating oven works fine).
Mix flour and salt add to mixture dough should be soft and sticky knead till elastic.  Section into 4 pieces and roll into cords, twist 2 together to form one baguette.  Score top of bread for a nice look.  If you like a glossy look brush dough with beaten egg before baking.
Bake on parchment lined baking sheet right away or you can allow to rise 15-30 min if you prefer.  When you place baking sheet into oven throw the ice cubes into a cast iron pan on bottom rack baking sheet should be on rack above that, keep oven door closed for 15 min check bread remove when outside crust is golden brown.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homemade Tomato Soup with Cheese Dumplings (Bags of Gold)

As a child I spent many years in Girl Scouts one of the first things I remember cooking at camp was "Bags of Gold".  Campbell's Tomato Soup and Bisquick dumplings stuffed with cheese floating on top.  We ate very well at camp.  We usually came home with recipes and new techniques to try.  I have found scouting for each person completely depends on how active their troop is, growing up in a military family we moved often resulting in finding a new troop each move.  My mom was active in adult scouting which I'm sure influenced our finding an active troop.  It was the 70's when her last position was Service Unit Leader, we lived in Hawaii at the time and yep she was in charge of a lot.  I learned many life lessons during my years in Girl Scouts.

This past Winter on a girls weekend we visited Juliette Gordon Lowe's birthplace in Savannah, GA.  A magnificent home with her amazing story well preserved.

Picture of some post cards, you can't
take photos inside the house.
Logo in gate.

Denise, Betty, me & Debbie
(girlfriends weekend, Savannah, GA)
 The soup recipe is adapted from The Brasserie in Lancaster, PA while they have many great things on their menu they are known for this soup.  It is rich, hearty and oh so good.  The recipe is on their web site but if you get the chance to go you need to try it there.  Cooked like a French Onion Soup they melt cheese over the top of the bowl and the soup underneath is so good.  The recipe isn't that complicated to make if you like to make homemade soups the biggest time commitment is all the chopping.  If you are making the dumplings for "Bags of Gold" make sure you thin your soup more as the dumplings absorb a lot of liquid.  If you are doing the croutons/bread with melted cheese over the top you won't need to thin it out.

My version:

Tomato Soup


olive oil
1 12 oz can diced tomato
3 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
1 large onion chopped finely
3 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves grated on micro plane
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes (regular will do I just prefer these)
1 oz can of tomato paste
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 c 1/2 & 1/2
3-4 c chicken stock


In large pot saute in olive oil diced tomato, onion, celery, carrot till just beginning to brown.  Add garlic, then whole tomatoes, paste and brown sugar simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  With immersion blender blend ingredients.  Then add seasoning and 1/2 & 1/2.  Add chicken broth to desired consistency and heat through.  If you want a really chunky consistency you can blend just half of the soup then add it back together.  If you have fresh spices you'll have a fresher flavor.

Saute in large pot.

Add whole tomatoes

I like the flavor of San Marzano's, often they are
on the bottom shelf.  You may have to look a around a bit.

When cooked well mash whole tomatoes.

Stir in 1/2 & 1/2.

With immersion blender blend to desired consistency.

Straight from the Bisquick site Betty Crocker Bisquick Recipe (click for their web site).

These are super easy.


2 c Bisquick
2/3 c milk


Stir together, drop by spoonfuls onto boiling soup then reduce heat.  For this recipe wrap around piece of cheese.  Cook uncovered 10 minutes then cover and cook 10 minutes more.
To serve lift off a dumpling or two into your soup bowl then scoop out soup adding to bowl. 

Spoonful of dough with cheese cut into cube, any will do
I used cheddar.

Drop onto top of soup.

They will sink and as they cook rise to top.

They do absorb liquid so allow for that when adding stock,
if it starts to absorb to much you can carefully add some stock.
I say carefully because it will cool down your soup and you need the
heat to cook the dumplings.