Archive | December, 2017

Cranberry- Apple Crostata

28 Dec


This is the best apple crostata ever.

The recipe is from Alforno’s Restaurant in Providence R.I.

I changed some of the amounts and cooking time but the taste is the same.

One recipe of the Food Processor Tart Dough

This dough is the best ever and so easy.

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup superfine sugar

8 tablespoon cubed chilled unsalted  butter


3 pounds peeled, cored and sliced apples

1 cup cranberries

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

One tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Two tablespoons butter cut into small cubes

To make the crust;

Mix the flour, superfine sugar and butter together until it starts to stick together and you have small clumps. Do this in the food processor.

Roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle.

Place the dough in a pie plate

Mix the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugars and flour together

Fill the dough with the thin apples

Add the cranberries on top

Sprinkle the butter cubes over the apples

Fold the edges of the tart crust over the edges of the apples

Try to pleat the dough so it stays up

This looks so pretty.

Bake on the bottom rack in the oven.

Bake at 400 degrees for at least forty minutes

Make sure the bottom crust is nice and brown.

If the top is burning place a piece of foil on top while the crust is browning.

Serve with slightly melted good vanilla bean ice cream as a sauce.


Brussels Sprouts in Bacon

27 Dec


This is a great appetizer, snack or vegetable side dish.

All you need is a ton of washed  Brussel sprouts and sliced bacon.

Take the bottom stem off the sprout

Slice a pound of bacon into three  sections

Wrap the bacon around the sprouts and place seam side down in a drip pan.

Bake at 375 degrees till the bacon is crisp,

Drain on a paper towel

I serve these all by themselves but  a beau monde or ranch dip would be good.

I ate a tray of 16 which is the equivalent to 4 slices of bacon.

It was a great lunch and no carbs.


Organize, Organize, Organize

26 Dec

Thanksgiving is over and I forgot how crazy I was until I start thinking about Christmas.

I want to make every cookie, cake, appetizer, soup, main corse and cocktail I have ever heard about.

Time to calm down. Relax. Breath.

Not working.


I wrote down everything that sounds good and I know my family likes.

The list was way too big.

I cut threw that by trying to be realistic.

What can I make ahead of time and what can I make in bulk?

My list is still quite large.

First of all I have decided to do heavy appetizers on Christmas eve.

Except for just a couple of things.

We always have scallops in a mushroom wine sauce, stuffed squid in a red sauce, shrimp scampi with linguine.

Buffet style eating on Christmas Eve is imperative.

Sushi, shrimp, stuffed quahogs, seared scallops, tuna poke, fried calamari and cod tacos .

I am  going to serve all the Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve so we can enjoy them.

Butterballs, strawberry thumbprints, pizzelles, shortbread, chocolate cake cookies, candy cane cookies, meringue mushrooms and  tarts with raspberry jam plus the apricot cream cheese cookies

This only involves making two platters instead of one huge platter of cookies.

I am limiting the appetizers on Christmas Day.

One big fresh vegetable tray, pigs in a blanket, spinach pies, baked brie, buffalo chicken dip, hummus, grape leaves and cucumber filled with cheese.

I am not serving soup.

Keeping the  rest of the menu the same.

Salad, stuffed shells, meatballs and sausage, tenderloin, pilaf,  baby tricolored roasted potatoes and  mixed roasted vegetables.

Just a few roasted baby  lamb chops because it is a holiday and I can make them ahead of time. Besides pilaf also goes  well with lamb.

Roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, hot peppers, olive tray, mint jelly, béarnaise sauce and beau monde sauce.

The chocolate marshmallow cake is a unbelievable dessert plus a small plain cheesecake, chocolate caramel tart, cookies, tons of berries and chocolate sauce so the kids can dip their own strawberries.

Sorbets are always in the freezer.

I also decided to poach some pears with a caramel sauce. These are so refreshing and really pretty.

Take out containers are the hostess gift to my children so I can fill them when everyone leaves.

Everyone leaves with at least two meals.

Merry Christmas to all because I will sleep well tonight.




Grilled Cheese Club

19 Dec


My dog loves grilled cheese.

Today I made her a grilled cheese club because I wanted to use up my old bread.

Plain, simple food that we forget to make.

Three slices of bread

Four slices of American cheese

Butter for both sides of the bread

Assemble everything

Butter the bread, 2 slices of cheese, bread, two slices of cheese, bread with butter on top The hardest thing is to be patient.

Cook it on a medium low heat and wait. It takes about 3 to 4 minutes

You want that perfect golden brown with the cheese starting to melt.

Flip it over and do the same.

By this time my house smells of melting butter and I am salivating.

Remember, this is for the dog.

Take it out of the pan and cut it into small pieces but you can have one bite and quickly put it in the dog dish so you won’t be tempted to have another.

Watch your dog enjoy it and walk out of the kitchen to your treadmill.

What a morning.

New Stuffed Squash

18 Dec


This is another way of stuffing squash.

It is the combination of sweet and savory

You can use whatever you have in your house but this combination is a winner.

Two or three acorn or any other variety of hard shell squash.

The hard shell squash holds the stuffing better then the soft skin squash.

Two teaspoons of maple syrup for every half of squash

Salt and pepper

One diced large onion

Two cloves crushed garlic

One diced red pepper

One pound of chicken sausage but I have also used Italian sausage

One package of Knorr cheddar broccoli rice mix.

You can use any rice mix you like

I also used a wild rice mix and it was pretty good.

You should have about two to three cups of rice to one pound of sausage so the packages of rice mix are just the right size and so easy.

Wash the squash

Cut them in half and take out all the seeds.

Place the squash in one inch of hot water in a baking pan

Put the cut size facing down.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the squash is cooked.

Take out of the water and set on a paper towel to absorb the water

Set aside

Take the sausage out of the casing and brown in a frying pan

Make sure you crumble the sausage to dime size pieces.

Add the onion, pepper and garlic

Cook till the onions are soft

Set aside

Cook the rice according to the package directions

Add to the sausage mixture and combine everything

Place one squash on each piece of foil

Season with salt and pepper

Spoon the maple syrup on each squash

Generously fill each squash

Wrap the foil around the squash and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Make these ahead of time, refrigerate them and serve them as a pre made supper

I made four squash and ate them during the week.

I did give some away because I wanted other people to critique them

You can add more cheese to the rice mixture if you want

I also added a diced jalapeño pepper to the pepper and onion mixture.

It was almost too hot but delicious.




Biggest Blueberries Ever

14 Dec

unnamed (100)

Stop what you are doing and go to your nearest Wegmans and buy these gigantic blueberries.

These berries are so delicious they are blog worthy.

Candy Cane Cookies

13 Dec


I love Sandra Lee.

She makes life easy by always using a prepackaged cake mix or sauce.

She combines things so they still taste homemade.

This is one of her recipes.

One box of sugar cookie mix

1/2 stick of melted butter

1 large egg

1/3 cup softened cream cheese

1/2 cup all purpose flour

red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Put the cookie mix, butter, egg, cream cheese and flour in the food in a food processor.

Pulse till a dough ball forms

Divide the dough in half

Put half back into the processor and add the peppermint extract

Pulse till it is mixed in about 6 or 7 pulses.

Take out of the bowl and set aside.

Put the other half of the dough in the same bowl and add about 10 drops of food color.

Processor till the color is combined and you have the color you want.

Separate the dough into 25 balls of each color

Roll the balls into six inch ropes

Take one red and one white rope and carefully twist them together and then form the candy cane.

Place on a non stick pan with parchment paper

Bake at 325 degrees on the middle rack  of your oven for 9 to 11 minutes.

Start checking the cookies at 9 minutes because you do not want them to brown. They are supposed to be white and red.

If they do brown just dust some powdered sugar on them.

This is going on my Christmas cookie list.

I thought I would make the cookies smaller next time but then I finished the entire cookies and wished it was bigger. OINK OINK!