Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year's favorite recipes

We've cooked together quite a bit in 2009, making soups and sweets and even a few beverages and breads.

So many of you stopped me in the grocery store, sent an e-mail or called to say how much you loved the Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie, Tomato Pie or Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. A number of cooks said they have used the very easy Satin Chocolate Glaze many times on their cakes and cupcakes.

I'm often asked to send recipes to my readers because they forgot to clip a recipe or lost their clipping. I decided this week was a good time to publish again some of my favorite recipes from the year in case you missed them the first time around.

Lisa's Tomato Pie
  • One frozen or refrigerated pie crust
  • 3 to 4 medium, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onions
  • Olive oil
  • 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
Slice tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; drain juice for an hour or so before using.*

Cook pie crust for 10 minutes at temperature recommended on package. Make sure to prick the crust before baking.

While the crust is cooking, saute onions in a little olive oil.

Once crust is cooked, remove from oven (adjusting oven temperature to 375 degrees) and sprinkle a little of the Parmesan cheese on the crust. (Keep in mind that the Parmesan cheese will also be used in the pie’s layers, so don’t use too much.)

Layer tomato slices over cheese. Add a layer of basil, sauteed onions and a little oregano. Repeat layer, omitting basil this time.

Mix mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese and spread on top of pie. Top with remaining Parmesan.

Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until top is lightly browned and juice is beginning to bubble through.

Let sit for about 20 minutes before cutting.

* Here’s how I drained my tomatoes: I cut the tomatoes into relatively thin slices, not paper thin, but thin. I placed them on a cooling rack that I positioned inside a jelly roll pan to catch the juice. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the tomato slices and let them drain. After an hour or so, I put the tomato slices on paper towels to soak up more liquid. If you only seasoned one side of your tomato, be careful to place it seasoned-side up on the paper towels so the salt and pepper won’t rub off. Quite a bit of liquid was removed from my tomatoes, and my pie was certainly not runny. But I also waited to cut the pie until it had cooled for at least 15-20 minutes which also helped it firm up.

Satin Chocolate Glaze
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour chocolate chips and butter into microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir until chips are blended. Mix in honey and vanilla extract. Frost cake or cupcakes.

My New Favorite Soup
  • Olive oil for sauteeing
  • Two medium zucchinis, cut into half-moon shapes
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1 onion, choped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 ozs.) petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 cans (14 ozs.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 12-oz. package fresh turkey meatballs (cut into quarters)
  • 7 oz. package three-cheese mini ravioli, cooked according to package directions*
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
In a soup pot, over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil for sauteeing. Add zucchini, carrots and onion and sautee until onions transparent. Add minced garlic in the last minute of cooking.

Add spices, tomatoes and chicken broth and let come to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add meatballs and ravioli and cook until heated through.

Pour into individual bowls. Sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese on top.

Makes approximately 8 servings.

*I used Buitoni’s Three-Cheese Ravioletti, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. For a cheaper option, you could use a boxed pasta, such as spirals. If you use a boxed pasta and plan to have soup leftovers, the leftover pasta will expand and soak up the liquid. You could add the cooked pasta separately to the individual serving bowls and pour the hot soup on top. Refrigerate leftover pasta in a plastic bag and use with leftover soup as needed.

Creamy Wild Rice with Chicken Soup
  • 48 ozs. chicken broth (I used reduced sodium, reduced fat)
  • 2 cups water
  • About 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 (4.5 oz.) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet (I used Uncle Ben’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
In large soup pot, let broth and water come to a boil. Add salt and pepper, carrots, celery and onion and boil for 10 minutes. Add chicken; stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cook rice amount of time indicated on box.

While vegetables and rice are cooking, melt butter in saucepan at medium heat and stir in contents of seasoning package. Stir until bubbly. Lower heat and stir in flour a little bit at a time until incorporated. Whisk in milk a little bit at a time until mixed and smooth. Cook about 5 minutes until thickened.

Stir milk mixture into broth mixture and stir. Let simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Leftover soup is thicker but is very good!

Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Cookies
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and air dried
Lemon Glaze
  • Juice from one large lemon
  • Powdered sugar
In a small bowl, add blueberries and pour 1/4 cup granulated sugar over top. Gently stir to mix and let stand while preparing cookies.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or prepare with a light coat of cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream shortening, brown sugar and remaining granulated sugar. Mix in egg, milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest until well mixed. Mix in flour until incorporated. Gently stir in sugared blueberries and any sugar that has settled to bottle of the bowl.

Drop batter, a teaspoonful at the time, on prepared baking sheet. I used a cookie scoop. If you want larger cookies, the size of a muffin top, try 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter. Make sure each cookie has a blueberry or two. Smaller berries work well for this recipe. Bake 12-15 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven.

While cookies bake, prepare glaze. Squeeze the juice from a lemon into a bowl. Add a little powdered sugar at a time, stirring with a fork until the desired consistency. Should take about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

Let cookies cool a little before pouring glaze on top.

Makes around 3 dozen small cookies

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