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Archive for the ‘Food photos’ Category

TiramisuI have been wanting to make tiramisu for over a year.  Every once in a while I would browse the cookie ilse at the grocery store looking for ladyfingers, but could never seem to find them.  Then, a few weeks ago I was at Trader Joe’s and the ladyfingers practically jumped in my cart.  I was looking for edamame in the frozen food section, looked up, and they there were on the self directly in front of me.  I took that as a sign that it was time to finally make tiramisu.  Even better, Easter was only a few weeks away, so I ever had a special family get together as a reason to make a nice dessert. 

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup Kahlua, rum or other coffee liquor
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies – I prefer the soft kind
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  3. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture.
  5. Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a springform pan. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 24 – 48 hours, until set.  the flavors are at their peak at about 48 hours.
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Chocolate Chip CookiesThese chocolate chip cookies truly are the best that I have ever had the pleasure to eat.  I am not alone in this claim!  My friends and family loves them, too.  In fact, some friends and family members get very disappointed when I fail to bring these cookies to family gatherings:-)  Now, I’m sharing the recipe, so that you all can make these cookies whenever you have a craving.

 

  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening (I prefer Crisco sticks)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla tastes great)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (dark chocolate chunks are my favorite)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.  
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter flavored shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. 
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Chicken pot pieChicken pot pie is one of my favorite one dish meals to make in the fall and winter months.  I opt for the ready-to-use pie crust, which cuts down on cooking and assembly time. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers after roasting a whole chicken. I cut-up the leftover chicken and freeze it in pot pie servings, so it is ready to go when I have a craving for chicken pot pie!

1/3 cup stick butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 small onion chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-3/4 cup chicken broth or stock (I use my own homemade stock)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 fresh carrots peeled and sliced
2-1/2 cups cooked cut-up chicken (I prefer a mix of dark and white meat)
Ready-to-use 9 inch two crust pie (Pillsbury works great)

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stiring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and carrots. Remove from heat.
  3. Line a 9 inch pie pan with a layer of ready-to-use pastry crust.  Pour chicken mixture into the pastry-lined pie pan.  Place top layer of ready-to-use pastry crust over chicken mixture and seal edges by squeezing together top and bottom crust.  Cut a few 2 inch long slits in the top layer of pastry for ventilation.  Or, you can arrange a lattice work type top (as seen in my picture) by cutting the pastry into long sections and laying them on top of the chicken mixture in a lattice work pattern.
  4. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Let sit for at least a half hour before cutting, so that the liquid/gravy in the pie has time to cool and thicken.  Otherwise it will run all over when you try to cut a piece out of the pie. 
  6. Enjoy!

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Hot Dog DinerI treated my brother and his friend to a celebration lunch at the Hot Dog Diner this past weekend.  The reason for celebration is a whole other story, but we were totally celebrating the awesome comfort food at the Hot Dog Diner located at 4407 Brookpark Road in Parma.  The decor is simple Cleveland memorabilia on bright mustard yellow walls.  It’s a happy place with friendly and fast service.

My brother got the Fry Daddy Burger and Tyler’s Cheezy Fries Dog.  This would be the two items on the menu that come with cheese-covered french fries on top of your sandwich.  He said that it was one of the best burgers he has ever had the pleasure to eat.  He loved how it tasted homemade and the texture of a hand packed patty.  In fact, he had half of the burger in his stomach before I could even get my camera out for a picture. 

My brother’s friend ordered two Wagon Train Dogs, topped with chili, sour cream and onions.  He enjoyed every bite.  I devoured a Windy City Wiener, Snappy style with mustard, onion, tomatoes, pickle spear, cucumber and celery salt.  We shared a large chili cheese fries.  There was not a drop of chili left on any of our paper hot dog holders!

The buns are soft, the hot dogs have a little crunch to the skin and the toppings are so tasty and fresh.  What a treat of yumminess with a side of fat and cholesterol.  It was worth every bite:-)

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Matzo Ball SoupMy familiy celebrated another fun and delicious Hanukah dinner on December 9th.  I always look forward to Hanukah dinner, even more than Thanksgiving!  I would take a brisket, potato pancakes and a big bowl of matzo ball soup over turkey and stuffing anyday!

This year’s menu was similar to all the rest, why mess with perfection.  We start off with my mom’s matzo ball soup.  It is the perfect comfort food.  I am proud to say that I can now make this soup just as well as my mom.

Soup 

1 package of chicken thighs (about 4-6 thighs)
1 whole onion
3 stalks celery, quartered
5 carrots, quartered
4 chicken boulion cubes
Salt & pepper

Matzo Balls

After experimenting with many different matzo ball recipes, we still love the Manischewitz mix better than any other matzo ball!  Just follow the directions on the package.

1 box Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix
2eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add all ingredients to 2 1/2 quarts cold water, bring to boil.  Cook 1 to 1-1/2 hours until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken and pull chicken and skin from bone.   Add chicken, minus skin and bone, back into the pot.

Turn the heat up, so that the soup comes to a boil.  Wet hands and form matzo ball batter into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter.  Drop into boiling soup, cover tightly.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

I like to eat my matzo ball soup with noodles.  Try the Manischewitz egg noddles.  They come in a few different sizes and are perfect with this soup.

I hope you all enjoy the matzo ball soup that I grew up eating and still crave today!

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If Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, then I need to give lots of thanks to my mom and dad and my mother and father-in-law for all the yummy food they prepared for us this Thanksgiving.  Below are two pics from Thanksgiving at my parents.  On the left is a picture of the turkey my mom cooked and, of course, my dad carved.  The picture on the right is of the dinner table at my parents.  You can click to see the full size image.

turkey, turkey and more turkey       Thanksgiving dinner table

My mom always goes a bit overboard with the amount of food she prepares, but this year she actually cut down a bit, becuase there was only 4 of us eating.  Good job mom!  I always look forward to my mom’s cooking.  She is the reason why I love to cook.  The menu at my parents Thanksgiving included:

  • one delicious and gigantic Butterball turkey that my brother got for free from work
  • two kinds of homemade stuffing: plain and sausage
  • corn from my in-laws garden, which is so good it tastes like sugar
  • cranberry Jell-o mold
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • sweet potatoes and apples
  • rolls
  • 2 pumpkin pies for dessert
  • I brought the chocolate chip cookies

The food at my in-laws was also very tasty.  I don’t have any good pictures, but there was a lot of food for all 16 of us.  I made a carrot cake.   It was my first attempt at carrot cake and it was delicious!  I had been craving carrot cake for weeks, so I enjoyed it a lot.

 carrot cake

Thanks for all the fun and food this Thanksgiving.  It is so wonderful to have two families to celebrate with during the holidays.  It makes it twice as special! 

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Best lasagna ever!

If you like a sweet tasting pasta sauce, then you will love this lasagna recipe.  I always make more sauce than is needed for the lasagna, so that I can freeze it for spaghetti dinner another night. 

lasagna.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar 
  • 12 ounces cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 9 lasagna noodles, like Barilla no boil
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef until brown. Drain. In another skillet over medium heat, cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Combine beef, garlic and onion in a large saucepan with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes with liquid, water, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
  2. While sauce is simmering, blend cottage cheese, Parmesan and egg until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover sauce with 3 noodles. Cover noodles with one-third of remaining sauce. Top with half the mozzarella. Place another layer of noodles and one of sauce over the mozzarella; top that with the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining sauce.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top and bake 15 minutes more, until golden and bubbly.

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