Monday, December 28, 2009

Raspberry Dump

I received this recipe about 11 years ago from one of my favorite host families while I was traveling in Up With People. It’s doesn’t have the greatest name or describe what it is for that matter, but it’s delicious!!! It calls for something that I absolutely refuse to use, boxed cake mix! It has ingredients that you can’t pronounce and of course is partially hydrogenated, which I have eliminated from my life. Until there is a great alternative, I used it and gear up my self control. It’s a quick easy dessert that everyone loves!

Raspberry Dump

1 box raspberry jello
1 box white cake mix
1 stick butter
1 cup water
2-3 cups raspberries, frozen or fresh

Preheat oven to 350°. Using a round or oval dish, about 9x9 size, grease bottom and sides. Place raspberries evenly in pan. Sprinkle raspberry jello over berries. Spread cake mix over berries, evenly. In a bowl, melt butter and add water. Pour over all of dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool. Serve warm or room temperature. Best with vanilla ice cream.

This is a sweet dessert! To cut the sweet a bit, only use half of the raspberry jello.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

It’s a holiday staple. Some like the can, ridges and all. I’ve never been a big fan until this year when I decided to try making it myself. It was delicious!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 cup Sugar
1 cup water
1 12oz package of fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1/3 can orange juice concentrate

Combine water, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should thicken and cranberries will pop open. For a soother sauce, take a potato masher and gently mash cranberries after boiling. Add orange juice concentrate, stirring until dissolved. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2-1/4 cups.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This is a quick easy recipe that makes for great leftovers. If you’re sort on time and need something for a night you don’t want to ya go!

Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Italian Sausages, slices into bit size pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (juices reserved)
5-6 Fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ½ lb. frozen cheese ravioli
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Put drained diced tomatoes in pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly dry. Add reserved juices, basil, sugar and salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce thickens. Stir in ¾ cup water and reduce the heat. Let simmer while you cook the ravioli.

Add salt to the boiling water, then add the ravioli and cook as label directs; drain. Serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan and basil.

I know having to follow a recipe adds time to your cooking, but this is really easy. You can literally throw in the sausage and let it cook, then add everything else and it would turn out just the same. The great thing about this recipe is that you probably have everything in your pantry except the ravioli. I didn’t have Italian sausages, so I used beer brats, and they were great. If you don’t have either of those, add some salami or pepperoni, or forgo the meat all together.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara

We’re back on the wagon of trying new recipes, maybe not the best time of year to try one of the most caloric and high fat Italian dishes…regardless it was delicious.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Kosher Salt

6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1.2 inch pieces

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ tsp minced fresh rosemary

2 red jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

¼ c. cognac or brandy (optional)

12 oz. spaghetti

3 large eggs

¾ c. parmesan cheese, a handful more for garnish

½ c. mozzarella cheese

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Combine bacon, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, jalapenos and ¼ cup water in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the bacon crisps, about 12 minutes. Discard the garlic. Add the Cognac, if desired and cook until it evaporates. Removed from the heat and set aside ¼ cup bacon mixture for garnish.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water as the label directs. Mix eggs, cheeses and parsley and 1 tsp pepper in a bowl. Drain the pasta, reserving 1.4 cup cooking water.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the pasta and toss until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture, then quickly pour over the pasta and toss to gently cook the eggs and make a creamy sauce. Garnish with the reserved bacon mixture and sprinkle more parmesan on top. Serve immediately

This recipe is pretty easy and a crowd pleaser. Although there are 2 jalapenos in the recipe, they will cook down and it won’t be too spicy. Next time I’d add a vegetable into the dish, broccoli or even a mixture of peppers (red, orange, yellow) would be nice.


Breakfast Gravy

Long overdue is an understatement…I’m back and here are a couple of great recipes we tried during the Thanksgiving week.

We’ve never done a Thanksgiving breakfast, but this year we did. My husband had to work when we were going to be eating turkey, so breakfast was his menu…Biscuits and gravy eggs and fruit. It was delicious. He grew up mainly in Louisville Kentucky and being from Denver, I’ve never made gravy. I gave it a whirl and it was awesome.

Breakfast Gravy (to be accompanied with Biscuits)

1 pound ground breakfast sausage
½ medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp butter

In large skillet, combine the sausage, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and crumbles.

Stir in the flour, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the half-and-half and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.

A few tips: I use Jimmy Dean’s low fat breakfast sausage. It’s so lean there isn’t any fat to drain. Secondly, if prepare this ahead of time, or before you’re ready to eat, it will continue to thicken. Add another cup of milk to thin it out. It reheats well and was a hit!