Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving recipe I: Bracciole

This is an authentic Italian dish and it's delicious! Bracciole is a stuffed, rolled steak, simmered in sauce. There are a few ways to make this, but I love the simple way my grandma makes hers and eat a ton of it each Thanksgiving. She follows the recipe that her mother (who emigrated from Italy in the early 1900's) gave to her. Some recipes call for bread or egg or meat also rolled into the steaks, which doesn't sound as appealing to me. For more info:

It's hard to give exact numbers because we make at least 8, maybe 10 of these each year. I'll give you what I made a few weeks ago and you can take it from there!

8 thin round steaks (my grandma's butcher gets these for her, about 4 inches wide and almost a foot long. He also labels them "bracciole steaks" for her.)
8-12 cloves crushed garlic
2 bunches parsley-coarsely chopped
Salt & pepper
kitchen twin
2 large jars sauce or more (or homemade!)

Lay steaks on counter or cutting board. Salt and pepper steaks, not a lot, but lightly cover the entire steak. Rub crushed garlic on steak, lightly covering entire side-same side as salt and peppered side. Add more garlic if you like, I cover them copiously because I love garlic! Cover thoroughly with parsley. Starting with the end closest to you, roll tightly to the other end. I use two pieces of string to tie the short, rolled end, and one string on the long, opposite ends. Some recipes call for quickly browning them in a frying pan first before simmering. Which would be fine, but we don't have time for that at Thanksgiving. So, just throw them in a big stock/soup pot with sauce and simmer away. My grandma simmers them all day on Thanksgiving. When you slice them they are so soft and melt in your mouth. Serve the slices with sauce from the pot. Oh. My. Sooo good!

Oatmeal cookies: 3 ways

Oatmeal has become another staple in my cooking and baking, adds fiber and a heartiness that plain flour just doesn't have. Here are 3 ways I've made oatmeal cookies come to life:

Basic Oatmeal cookie recipe:
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and beat again. Stir flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in separate bowl. Add milk to butter bowl, stir in dry ingredients with oats and raisins and/or nuts. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 mins at 350. Cool on wire rack.

#1 Cranberry oatmeal cookies:
Substitute 1 cup cranberries instead of raisins. Add a tsp of orange zest for a subtle tang.

#2 Chocolate oatmeal cookies:
Add 1/3-1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa to dry ingredients when mixing. Follow the rest of the recipe except take out raisins.

#3 Pumpkin oatmeal cookies:
Add 1/2-1 cup pumpkin puree. Adjust by adding 1/3 cup more oats and 1/3 cup more flour. Also add in 1+ tsp of pumpkin pie spice. Can keep raisins and nuts in, adds great depth and flavor! These may need to cook a bit longer.

Oh! I've thought of #4 I haven't tried yet, which duh! Add the cranberries to the chocolate oatmeal cookies! That's got to be good!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip cookies

Was there a recipe for these? Not that I ever saw. I am just obsessed and in love with cranberries, especially the dried ones. We eat them in and on everything. Well, Kian and I anyway. I followed my Hershey's Chocolate cookbook (reprinted from 1934) chocolate chip recipe and added my cranberries.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 Egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup Hershey's Chocolate Chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

Hints: take them out before 10 minutes. I find that 7 -8 is perfect. I like them done on the bottom but nice and soft and gooey chewy. They are easy, yet delicious and just kick it up a notch in the classy department.

Garlicky Chicken Wings

I looked at a few random recipes for a different wing recipe, you know, beside the Buffalo hot wings. So, I did the only logical thing: made up my own. Come on, what else did you think I was going to say?!

15 wings (that's just how many i grabbed from my huge BJ's bag)
1 stick melted butter
1 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (I used 2 because I love garlic!)

Mix all together and pour over thawed wings in a bowl or bag and shake, stir to coat thoroughly.

I made the mistake of using frozen wings and it just congealed the melted butter! Not good. So, use thawed wings and it will be fine. I cooked them at 400 for about half hour. I brushed more of the melted butter sauce on the wings 2-3 times throughout the cooking process. They came out great! Kevin liked them, score! Kian and I loved them! It wasn't extremely garlicky but just enough.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

White "Chili"

I found this recipe in one of my parenting magazines, but tweaked it, because that's what I do. I'll post my recipe and I'll note what I changed it from. I don't know why they call it chili, to me it's more of a chicken/bean Italian dish.

2-3 chicken breasts, diced into bite size pieces (1 lb ground chicken)
1 can cannelini beans
1 can northern beans
1/2 box chopped spinach (2 cups spinach leaves)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup diced onion
2-3 cups water and chicken bouillon powder (2-3 cups chicken broth)
I also added a bit of bay leaf, dash salt & pepper

  • Chop chicken and cook over medium heat with some olive oil in a deep skillet.
  • Crush garlic and add to chicken along with onion
  • Let chicken cook until pink is gone
  • Add beans and spinach
  • Add broth or water + bouillon (because I used frozen chopped spinach there was water in there so I lessened the water it called for)
  • Let cook until water/broth becomes mostly absorbed. Or if you want it more soup-like, eat it before water absorbs. I liked it thicker.

It was delish, and quick and easy to throw together, with all these things I always keep in my house anyway. Kevin liked it, and he's hard to please. Kian loved it too! I love one pot meals!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quick Chicken Soup or 15 minute Chicken soup

Literally. Healthier and better than Ramen noodles too.

Water (to fill a large saucepan-6 cups I think it was)
Pasta (I used little stars)
2 boneless chicken breasts-cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups or half bag of frozen mixed veggies (ie: carrots, peas, corn, beans)
Bouillon/chicken stock powder (I had a whole food powder type thing) OR substitute chicken broth for water
Dash pepper
dash bay leaf
dash garlic powder
dash parsley
*I also threw in some broccoli

Boil water, add chicken chunks. They'll cook fast. After a few mins I added the veggies and pasta and seasonings. That was it. Perfect for last night with Kevin's flu, my cold, no one felt like cooking or shopping. Soooo easy. Granted it's not quite the same as the one that cooks for hours with real chicken bones, but when you're in a pinch and don't want canned junk, there ya go. And Kian could eat it too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet/Spicy Stir Fry

Of course I made this up, modeled after may other recipes and meals I've tasted.
You can use chicken, pork or beef. I prefer chicken or beef, as they have milder taste and pick up the other flavors better. And cook faster!

2 cups rice (cook as directed by package) 1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables (wegmans makes a variety so you can choose the veggies you prefer) *I use about half of the bag for me and Kevin, with some leftover

1 lb chicken or pork, boneless, cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup apricot preserves (I use wegman's triple fruits with apricot, peach, and some other orange fruit)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (I use Jane's crazy mixed up pepper)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder

dash salt to taste (salt after meal is together for best flavor)

few tablespoons of water
*all spices to taste, if you want it spicier, add more ginger and pepper

1. cook rice according to package directions.
2. while cooking rice, saute' meat in frying pan, on medium, with tiny bit of olive oil
3. add veggies to frying pan, may need to add a few tbsp of water
4. while that is cooking, in a small bowl mix all ingredients of sauce together. if it's really thick, add a bit of water.
5. when meat is done and veggies are almost done, add sauce into frying pan.
6. I put the rice in a bowl, and top with veggies and meat and some sauce. You may have to play with the measurements of the sauce if you want some leftover to drizzle on top of the meal. It can cook into the meat and veggies fast if the heat is up high.