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Need a Dessert Fast? Try This Blackberry Raspberry Pie

There are times when you find out at the last-minute that you’ll be having guests in an hour and you want to have something fast to serve for dessert with some coffee or tea. In times like these, I like to have some refrigerated pie crusts on hand along with some frozen fruit so that I can throw something together quickly. I had recently bought a big package of Pillsbury pie crusts at BJ’s Warehouse a week or so ago when I decided to make this quick and easy pie recipe I got from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. All you need is some pie crusts and frozen bags of fruit and you can have a great tasting pie in a little over an hour.

Blackberry Raspberry Pie

Two 16-ounce bags frozen blackberries, thawed and strained
Two 16-ounce bags frozen raspberries, thawed and strained
1 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus 1/4 teaspoon for sprinkling
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Butter, for greasing
Two 9-inch unroll-and-bake refrigerated pie crusts

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Allow the baking sheet to heat for 15 minutes.

To a large bowl, add the blackberries, raspberries, 1 cup of the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon, the arrowroot, flour and salt, and toss them gently to combine them. In a separate small bowl mix the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and set it aside.

Butter a 9-inch ceramic or glass pie dish. Unroll one pie crust and place into bottom of the pie dish, flattening it out against the sides and bottom of the pie dish. Pour the berry mixture into the crust. Unroll the second pie crust and place it on top of the filling. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crusts together to seal the crust. Fold the double edge under and crimp the edges, making a decorative edge. Sprinkle the reserved sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top. Using a paring knife, cut a few slits in the top of the pie crust.

Place the pie into the oven on the prepared baking sheet and bake the pie until the crust is deep golden and the filling is bubbling through the slits, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cool the pie to room temperature before serving.

This is pretty much the same as the double berry pie I had made in the past. You can use any frozen berry that you have on hand and this would work, and of course you can always use fresh berries as well. Just make sure that if you use frozen that the berries are thawed and drained otherwise you will get a lot of moisture in your pie, despite the use of the arrowroot, which will give you a soggy bottom crust. You end up with a nice pie in just over an hour that is great with some ice cream, homemade whipped cream, coffee and tea or you can use this when you get an invite to someone’s home and want to bring something nice over.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Cooking, Dessert, Pie

 

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When It’s This Cold, It Has to Be Soup or Stew. This Time It’s Stew…

Yikes it has been crazy cold here the last few days. I get up and start working at about 5:30 AM and for the last few days it has been zero or less outside when I get up. it has been so cold I have been using fingerless gloves while I type in the morning just to keep my hands warm! Anyway, when the weather is this cold all you want to eat is something warm and hearty, and for us that means soup or stew. I found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network about a week ago and it seemed perfect to make when it was this frosty outside. it is for a cannellini and sausage stew. The recipe is easy, it uses easy ingredients and you can have the whole thing done in about 35 or 40 minutes, so you can’t ask for a meal much better than that!

Cannellini and Sausage Stew

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium fennel bulbs, outer layers removed, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

One 15-ounce can cannellini beans

One 10-ounce bunch kale, center rib removed, leaves chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chicken broth

4 turkey or chicken Italian sausage links

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a grill pan with the vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel bulbs, onion and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes plus the juices, the cannellini beans, the kale and the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the stew until the vegetables are tender and the kale has wilted, about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the stew is cooking, place the grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages to the grill pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the sausages and cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices and set them aside,

Remove the pot from the oven and add the cooked sausage slices to the stew. Season the stew with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Spoon the stew into bowls and serve.

I did make a few minor changes to the recipe. Instead of using kale, I had spinach on hand and used that instead. I actually prefer the flavor of spinach to the kale and I think it worked just as well in the stew, so the choice is yours as to which you like better. Giada also puts in 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, which I left out. My family is not too big on the heat so I didn’t see the need to put the flakes in, but if you like the stew a little hot (and I think it would be good with some heat) I think you could put it in or even use hot sausage instead of regular sausage. I loved the flavor you got from the mix of the beans, sausage and spinach and the tomatoes and broth added just enough liquid to the mix. The fennel gave the whole dish a great flavor too. I will definitely be making this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I actually have a soup recipe I am making tonight that I’ll be happy to share. It’s Alton Brown’s take on lentil soup and it smells pretty darn good right now. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day, try to stay warm and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Sausage, Soups & Stews

 

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Jazzing up the Weeknight Burgers: Gourmet Diner Burgers

I make burgers about once a week, usually on Wednesday nights/ Wednesday is our busy day around here so it is a fast and easy meal that we all seem to like, but I have to admit that it can get a little boring after having it every week. I went looking for some ways to shake burger night up a little bit and then I came across this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network for some Gourmet Diner Burgers with some extra fixings.

Gourmet Diner Burgers

Zucchini Pickles:

1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds

3 sprigs fresh oregano

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

Parmesan Frico:

1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Roasted Garlic Mayo:

1 garlic bulb

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup mayonnaise

6 cloves roasted garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley

1 teaspoon freshly chopped oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Burger Patties:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound ground lamb

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

Burgers:

6 hamburger rolls, halved

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Roasted Garlic Mayo

6 Burger Patties

12 zucchini pickle slices

6 Parmesan Frico rounds

6 slices bacon

1 onion, diced and sautéed

For the pickles: Place the zucchini slices and oregano in a large jar or heat-safe container. Heat the apple cider vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, salt, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and bay leaf in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour the pickling liquid and spices into the jar over the zucchini slices. Let the mixture cool completely, uncovered. Cover and place the container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and store for up to 6 weeks.

For the Parmesan frico: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the Parmesan cheese, flour and pepper together in a large bowl, making sure the flour is evenly distributed throughout the cheese. Arrange mounds of 2 tablespoons of the cheese about 4 inches apart on the baking sheet and flatten each mound slightly with a spatula to form a 3-inch round. Bake the frico in the oven until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking process. Cool the frico on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Roasted garlic mayonnaise: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the garlic bulb in half cross wise and place the halves on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle each side with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Fold up the foil around the garlic halves and then seal the foil into an airtight package. Roast the garlic until it is golden and soft, about 1 hour.

Stir together the mayonnaise, roasted garlic cloves, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper until well blended.

For the patties: In a large bowl, combine the beef, lamb, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into six 4-inch diameter patties, each about 1/2-inch thick. Drizzle the patties with olive oil. Place a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Grill the patties until they are cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Allow the patties to rest for 5 minutes.

To assemble the burgers: Drizzle the cut side of the hamburger rolls with olive oil and lightly toast on the grill pan, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the garlic mayo over the bottom halves of the rolls. Place the burger patties on the rolls and top each patty with 4 pickle slices, 1 frico round, the sautéed onions and a slice of bacon.

There is some prep work ahead of time that you can do for these if you want the zucchini pickles, and they do taste good, but if you don’t want to put the time into them you can just use regular store-bought pickles instead. Sean and Michelle absolutely loved the Parmesan frico and thought it was great with the burgers and without them. I think it would make a nice appetizer or side for a lot of other meals. As for the burgers themselves, I really liked the flavor and texture you get from having the beef mixed with the lamb. The burgers had a nice, unique flavor and I made some extra and froze them so we can have them again another night. I served the burgers with some homemade potato salad, which is always a favorite around here.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I have been gathering lots of Thanksgiving sides and ideas to make, so keep watching for them. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Side Dishes

 

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It’s Not an Illusion – It’s Magic Bars

We’re always on the lookout for recipes that are great desserts to bring to a party or barbecue. As soon as I saw this one on the Food Network with Giada De Laurentiis, I knew we were going to have to give it a try. It combines a couple of things that everyone really loves – brownies, caramel and chocolate chip cookies. I have seen this dish called a few different things, but Giada called it Magic Bars. The real magic part about them is how fast they disappear.

Magic Bars

Brownie Layer:

1 box brownie mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Cookie Layer:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Caramel:

3 bags soft caramel candies, unwrapped

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 13 x 9-inch baking dishes with cooking spray. Line each dish with a 15-inch square of parchment paper, allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.

For the brownie layer: In a large bowl, blend together the brownie mix, vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of water, espresso powder and the eggs. Using a hand mixer, beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Pour the batter into one of the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted about 1 inch from the edge of the baking dish comes out clean, about 25 to 27 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Using the excess parchment paper as handles, lift the brownie layer from the pan. Run a thin spatula underneath to loosen it from the parchment paper. Keep the oven turned on.

For the cookie layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until a dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the other prepared baking dish, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake until it is light golden, about 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

For the caramel: In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the caramel candies, 2 tablespoons of water and vanilla over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candies have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 10 minutes. Pour the caramel evenly over the cookie layer. Working quickly, place the brownie layer on top of the caramel. Gently press the brownie layer into the caramel. Refrigerate for 1 hour until the caramel has set. Allow the layers to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cut into 24 bars and store it in an airtight plastic container.

The original recipe calls for some shredded coconut over the brownie layer and a cup of chopped walnuts in the cookie layer, but we omitted both since we were bringing it to a party and we weren’t sure if there were any dislikes or allergies involved, so we kept it simple. Everyone seemed to love the dessert and you got the best of both worlds with brownie and chocolate chip all in one. Michelle thought the caramel could be a little smoother and suggested added some heavy cream next time to the caramel to smooth it out some more. No matter how you decide to make it, it is very easy to do and tastes great. It’s definitely a good one to remember for a party.

That’s all I have for today. Check back again to see what other recipes I’ll be using in the coming days. Sean has been picking out some recipes he wants us to try, and this week I think we are going to make things like pulled pork sliders, Cobb chicken salad sandwiches, barbecued chicken and we are even going to try our hand at making some bagels. Check back and see how it goes. until then, enjoy the rest of your day, try to stay cool and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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Time For Some Roman-Style Chicken

I had seen this recipe on Food Network a week or two ago and had been planning to cook it since then but I haven’t had the opportunity to do it until tonight. It is a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for Roman-Style Chicken. It looked pretty good when she was making it and it certainly didn’t look difficult to do, so since I had everything in the house tonight, I thought I would give it a shot, and I am glad I did.

Roman-Style Chicken

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until it is browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If you are serving the meal immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If you are making this ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

I did make a minor change to the recipe. Since I didn’t have prosciutto, I used a couple of slices of bacon in its place and it turned out just fine. I also used only chicken thighs for the recipe, mainly because that is what I had on hand and ready to cook. I think it would turn out great with any chicken parts you decided to use. You get a great sauce from the tomatoes, stock and wine that goes well with some rice or potatoes. It’s a quick and simple recipe to make for a weeknight dinner any time you are looking for something to do with some chicken.

That’s it for tonight. I’m not sure what I am going to make tomorrow night. I have a number of choices on hand with some shrimp, some pork chops and even some boneless leg of lamb, which I think I will save for the weekend. We’ll have to wait and see what I can come up with for tomorrow.

Hopefully everyone who had to deal with Hurricane Sandy is okay and you have been able to start some kind of clean up and recovery from whatever effects you may have incurred. We were lucky in that we never lost power here and really only had to deal with very high winds. There is lots of debris down in the area and many people here lost power and their phones. The schools have been closed all week as well, but hopefully by next week everything will start to restore itself to some normalcy. Thank goodness for all the responders and help that so many people have been able to benefit from. I am not sure where New York and New Jersey would be without them.

Until next time, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry

 

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A Tuesday Trinidadian Chicken Stew

Today’s dinner is a simple, one pot dinner I saw on the Food Network. Giada De Laurentiis made this on her show, and it looked pretty tasty and very easy to make, so I thought I would give it a try. There aren’t a lot of ingredients to this one, so you might be able to make this with what you already have in the house.

Trinidadian Chicken Stew

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, halved

4 small, skinless bone-in chicken thighs

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

4 whole peeled canned tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups water

In a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until very dark, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, ginger, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme, 2 tablespoons of parsley, carrots, potatoes and hot water. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.

And that’s all there is to it. I can tell you it smells wonderful as it is cooking (it’s cooking right now actually). It also makes for easy clean up, which I love, and good leftovers for lunch the next day.

It’s a quick post today since it’s a quick dinner. Tomorrow I’ll be making hamburgers, at Sean’s request. I’ve made them before and posted my method for making them, but I’ll do it again. This time we are making some Oven Fries and Oven-Fried Onion Rings with the burgers, so check back tomorrow to see the recipes for everything. Until then, have a great evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Soups & Stews

 

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Savoring Some Vegetable Soup

It’s hard to believe that it’s actually February based on how the weather has been here in New York. It’s been a beautiful day here, but we’ll pretend it really is winter and make some soup today. This soup is from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. It looked really good when she made it, so I thought I would give it a try and it fit nicely this week since we needed something for our meat-free meal this week. This recipe for Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup has few ingredients, only takes about 20 minutes to make, and only uses one pot. We’ll be having some crunchy dinner rolls from Rockland Bakery with our soup tonight. Anyone who lives in this area of New York (and many other places as well) knows how good the breads and rolls are at Rockland Bakery. The recipe calls for instant polenta in it, which only takes minutes to cook and it adds a nice, creamy texture to this soup.

Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped

3 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

4 cups chicken broth (I am using homemade [remember the chicken from Saturday?], but store-bought low sodium is fine)

1/3 cup instant polenta

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Add the parsley, thyme, garlic, tomatoes and zucchini, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta and cook until the soup thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

That’s a fast and easy meal (and it smells great by the way). This recipe is only for 4 servings, so if you want more, you could easily double the recipe to have extra for a bigger meal. With this meal, there is only 1 pot to clean, and the soup bowls, and that’s it, the meal is done, cleaned up and put away so you can go on with the rest of your evening.

I feel like I cheated today since there is hardly anything to write about with this recipe. Tomorrow’s recipe, another Sean choice, is Stir-Fried Pork with Peppers and Pineapple. I’ll be using pork loin for the meat and canned pineapple. The fresh pineapple just didn’t feel good, so I went with canned this time. Make sure you get the canned in juice and not syrup if you’re making this because you’ll need the juice as well. We’ll be making Fried Rice tomorrow night too to go with the meal. If you don’t want to make rice specifically for fried rice, if you have any leftovers from last night’s stir fry (or from any other meal you have had rice in), use that since it’s already cooked and chilled. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or recipes you might like to see, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Enjoy the soup and all the extra free time you have since the meal cooks so quickly (I may get to read a bit tonight!) and check in tomorrow to see the next Sean meal!

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Soups & Stews, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Jennifer Probst

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