Archive for September, 2009


Caroline’s Meatloaf

September 29, 2009
For whatever reason, there are some “classic” dishes that I never tried growing up.  Meatloaf is one of them.  A few years ago, I was visiting a good friend from college, and she made these individual meatloaves.  They are very tasty and go well with all sorts of sides.  Tonight I made them with braised green beans and mushrooms, plus some crispy Parmesan potato puffs (stay tuned…that recipe will be posted in the next few days!).
To make the individual patties, you will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c ketchup
  • ¼ c water
  • ½ c minced onion
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c soft breadcrumbs, lightly packed
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or try ground chicken or turkey or a combo of beef, pork and veal)
For the sauce:
  • 4 T ketchup
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t prepared mustard
Caroline's Meatloaf

Caroline's Meatloaf

To start…

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking tray with tinfoil.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Blend in ketchup, water, minced onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Mix in soft breadcrumbs.
  3. With your hands (or a fork!), mix ground beef with other ingredients.
  4. Divide into four or five portions for individual meat loaves. Place on the baking tray.
  5. Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Taste and adjust to preference.
  6. Spread on top of each individual patty.
  7. Bake about 30 minutes or until done!

Note:  If you want to pop some in the freezer for later, wrap patties in foil and freeze without the sauce. When you are ready to enjoy, thaw and top with sauce before baking!


Oatmeal Cookie Bars

September 27, 2009

Cookies are a great 3:00 p.m. pick-me-up when you’ve been working since the wee hours of the morning…or at least that’s the way I like ’em!  While I don’t make them too often, cookies can be a great way to use up the tail end of stuff from your pantry.  All you need is a basic dough, and you can throw in dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, you name it!  This morning, I wanted to make oatmeal cookies and, just to be a little different, I made them as bars.  I had some craisins, coconut and walnuts lying around, so in they went!  Yummy!

Oatmeal Cookie Bars!

Oatmeal Cookie Bars!

For the basic dough, you will need:

  • 1/2 lb of margarine or butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar (I used turbinado — aka sugar in the raw)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour (If you didn’t have whole wheat, you can use all regular flour)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 1/2 t salt (optional)
  • 3 c oats, old-fashioned and uncooked

For your add-ins, you will want:

  • Up to 1 cup of extra goodness
  • I used 1/4 c craisins, 1/2 c coconut, and 1/4 c chopped walnuts

Let’s get started…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Cream together the butter and the sugars.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  4. Add baking soda, spices, and salt; mix well.
  5. Add the flours and combine thoroughly.
  6. Stir in the oats and any mix-ins; mix well.
  7. Spread in an ungreased 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish.
  8. Bake about 30 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes, before cutting into bars.
  10. Share with friends!

Honey Mustard Pork Chops

September 20, 2009

Pork chops can be very quick and easy to make, especially if they are cut on the thin side.  Plus they can get crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle.  One of my favorite pork chop recipes is a balsamic-glazed version, so this is something a little different.  I can’t take credit for thinking up this recipe, since it comes from “30 minute meals” by Rachael Ray, but I think you will like it I served it up with some mashed potatoes that had cooked broccoli and cheddar cheese mixed in.  Yumm!

You’ll want:

  • 4 thin-cut boneless pork loin chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c bread crumbs (I had Japanese-style Panko crumbs in the house)
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T  flour
  • 2 T apricot preserves
  • 1 cup chicken stock

To start…

  1. Pat the chops dry and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. In a shallow dish combine the mustard, honey and vinegar.  On a plate combine the bread crumbs with the thyme and zest of the lemon.
  3. Add the chops and turn to coat in sticky sauce. Press chops in the crumbs to coat evenly.
  4. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil, a couple turns of the pan, in large skillet over medium heat. Cook the cutlets until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (You can keep the chops warm on a baking sheet with the rack and put in a low temp. oven to keep them crisp.)
  5. To the skillet, over low heat, add the butter and melt. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the preserves, then whisk in the stock.
  6. Cook for a couple of minutes to thicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the chops from the oven to a serving platter and douse with sweet-savory gravy before serving.
Honey Mustard Pork Chops & Mashed Potatoes

Honey Mustard Pork Chops & Mashed Potatoes


Chicken Paprikash

September 18, 2009
Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash

One of my best friends spent the last year in Budapest.  Because I like to travel, I joined her for a blustery January long weekend to experience the Hungarian lifestyle for myself.  It was a blast and culminated with us sitting in a bathtub at a bar called Szimpla (see below).  Along the way I picked up some Hungarian paprika.  Fun fact:  paprika (or red peppers) contains more vitamin C than lemon juice by weight!

You will need to find:

  • 8 oz whole wheat linguine
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c chicken broth
  • 2 t ground paprika (I used sweet; you could use hot or Spanish paprika, which tastes much milder)
  • 1 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 c broccoli florets, frozen
  • 1 c fat-free sour cream
  1. Prepare the linguine according to package directions.  Drain and cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet covered with cooking spray over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the pieces begin to brown.  Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and 3 T of broth to the skillet.  Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. (Add more broth if necessary to prevent sticking).
  5. Stir in the paprika and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the remaining broth, then add the chicken and broccoli.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Stir in the sour cream.  Cook, stirring, over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through. (Do not boil).  Serve the chicken over the linguine.  Serves 4.

Fresh Peach Cockaigne

September 16, 2009

I recently found some perfect peaches.  After enjoying a couple plain and simple, I thought I’d toss a few into some version of a peach cake.  This recipe is inspired by the Joy of Cooking’s Peach Cockaigne. What is “cockaigne”  you ask??? In medieval times, the word signified “a mythical land of peace and plenty.” The authors of the Joy of Cooking cookbook named their country home “Cockaigne” and included it on many of their “favorite” recipes.  This cake is very easy and tastes like home.  It also tastes like summer!

Gather up…

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 T sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t salt
  • 3 T cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ t vanilla
  • Milk to make ½ cup
  • 3-4 ripe peaches
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c old-fashioned oats
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 2 ½ T butter, melted
Peach Cockaigne

Peach Cockaigne

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and grease a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan.
  2. In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter until well mixed.
  4. In a measuring cup, blend together egg and vanilla.  Add milk to equal ½ cup.  (If using very ripe peaches, use about 1 T less liquid)
  5. Spread in the pan.  You’ll be able to spread it a bit as you put the peaches on top.
  6. Blanch the peaches in hot water for 30 seconds.  Drop in ice water and peel off the skin.  Slice and place on top of the dough.
  7. Combine the sugar, oats, cinnamon and melted butter.  Sprinkle over the peaches.
  8. Bake 25 minutes and serve warm.

Summer Tomato “Die and Go to Heaven” Pie

September 14, 2009

Last week I was out in West Virginia, wild and wonderful.  On my drive, I passed a great farm stand and couldn’t help checking it out!  Everything I got was delicious, including some very tasty end-of-the-summer tomatoes.  The other day someone was talking about tomato pies, and I thought I’d give it a shot since tomatoes won our most recent poll!  It was a little juicy, so next time I’d do a better job of draining the cut tomatoes, but still very tasty!  So tasty that one of my friends renamed this “Tomato Die and Go to Heaven Pie.”

Summer Tomato Pie

Summer Tomato Pie

You will need:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes (yellow and red)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 ½ c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 – ¾ c low fat sour cream
  • 3 T Italian seasoning
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and prebake pie crust for 10 minutes.  Poke with fork prior to cooking to help dough stay level in oven.
  2. Dice tomatoes and strain for at least 30 minutes.  Get as much juice out as possible prior to cooking.
  3. Caramelize the onion in the butter.
  4. Combine the cheese and sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put half of the tomatoes in the pie crust.  Sprinkle with half of the Italian seasoning plus salt and pepper.  Add the other half of the tomatoes and repeat with seasoning.
  6. Cover with the cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  7. Top with the onions.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and delicious!
Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!


Jamaican Chicken Soup

September 11, 2009

When you aren’t feeling great, chicken soup can make life better.  When it’s cold and dreary out, chicken soup can make you smile.  Almost all of the time, I’ve got homemade chicken stock in my freezer, so I can whip up some soup at a moment’s notice.  I’m not saying that you can’t getting some pretty decent stock at the market, but I really really like the stock I get out of this Jamaican roast chicken recipe that has found its way into my recipe regulars.  So YOU get a two-for-one:  I’m gonna tell you how to make the roast chicken, and I’m gonna tell you how to make some über-delicious chicken soup.


  • 1 roaster chicken with the giblets removed and excess fat trimmed
  • 1/4 c + 2 T hot sauce
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t allspice
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  1. Mix ingredients into a paste.  Rub over and under the skin.
  2. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes or until done.  Baste periodically to keep chicken moist.
  3. Tastes great with roasted potatoes and carrots (you can throw them right in the roasting pan to soak up the spices and juices!).


  • 1 roast chicken with the meat removed and set aside
  • 1/3 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • Handful baby carrots
  • 3 ribs of celery, cut into large chunks
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add chicken bones, onion, carrot and celery to water in a large stock pot.  I usually fill it with water till just below the halfway mark.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer over low heat 2 hours.
  3. Uncover and simmer until stock is reduced to right taste.  This is usually about another 2 to 4 hours. Season if desired.
  4. Strain to remove chicken bones and veggies. (You could leave the veggies in, but I find it to be a pain to pick them out of the little chicken bones).
  5. Allow to cool before storing in tupperware.  Leave a little space at the top of the container if freezing to prevent spills.


  • Leftover roast chicken, shredded or torn into little pieces
  • 2/3 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 c carrots, cut into pieces
  • 4-5 ribs celery, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c pastina (optional)
  1. Add chicken, onion, carrots and celery to stock.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the carrots are tender.
  2. Add pastina or whatever pasta/rice you might want, and cook until just al dente.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

September 9, 2009

I really like squash of all varieties.  The other day I picked up a spaghetti squash at the grocery store, and it made a great easy vegetarian dinner.  If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, it’s a fun one.  Basically the fleshy part inside comes out looking like strands of spaghetti, so you can use it in place of pasta for an interesting substitute.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Here’s what you’ll need for this one:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (most are about 12 inches long)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • 2 1/2 T butter, divided
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

To make it…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pierce the squash using a metal skewer or a knife on all sides.  Place on the foil and bake for about an hour  or until the squash is tender.  You may want to flip it half way through.
  3. Allow the squash to cool until you can touch it.  Cut it in half, and remove the seeds and fibrous parts (just like with a pumpkin!).  Then use a fork to scrape the cooked squash into the spaghetti strands.  Divide in two.
  4. Half #1:  toss with 1 1/2 T butter.  Season with salt and pepper and grate fresh Parmesan on top to taste!
  5. Half #2: in a small sauce pan, combine the tomato sauce with the hot sauce and 1 T butter until hot.  Toss squash and add some fresh Parm if desired!
  6. Enjoy!

Fig & Raspberry Tart

September 7, 2009

I was at Whole Foods yesterday on my way back from camping in Harpers Ferry.  There was a huuuuuge sale on some of the fresh fruit, and the raspberries and figs were calling to me.  This morning as I was lazing around the apartment, I decided I wanted to put them to good use.  That’s when I remembered a post on my friend’s blog (  Being a little sleepy, I decided to stick basically to his recipe with a few tweaks.  Here’s how it came out!

Fig & Raspberry Tart

Fig & Raspberry Tart

You’ll need:

  • 1 crust (I used a store bought refrigerated one!)
  • 8-10 fresh figs, cut into sixths
  • 6 ounces (approximately) of fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Then you…

  1. Bake the pie crust in a tart or pie pan.  Be sure to prick the bottom with a fork; this will keep it from getting all puffy and uneven.  Bake it for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, or until golden brown.  Cool it completely!
  2. While the crust is cooling, whip the cream until gently stiff.  Add in the ricotta, sugar, honey, vanilla and spices; gently stirring or whisking them together.  Pour into the cooled crust.  Top with the fruit and drizzle with a little honey!  Be ready to impress 🙂
From the Top!

From the Top!

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