Tetrazzini

Tetrazzini with Chicken and Whole Wheat Pasta

Tetrazzini
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6-8 servings
 
I love pasta, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, individually and all together. I especially love these things when mixed in a creamy sauce with leftover turkey, chicken, ham or even canned tuna fish. It isn't the most beautiful dish you will cook, but I believe it is one of the tastiest and most satisfying you will eat. This casserole can be put together and baked for a quick dinner or prepared just up to the point of baking and refrigerated until half an hour before serving when you pop in into a 375 degree F. oven to heat through to bubbling. I got this particular recipe from an old friend many years ago and I just rescued it from the well-worn, folded paper covered with spots of butter and burns on the edges from sitting too close to the burner as I cooked it time and again. While Parmigiano-Reggiano is more expensive per pound than other forms of Parmesan cheese, the flavor is more intense, so a little goes a long way. To get the best results, you should grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese just before you use it. A microplane makes easy work of that and the fine shreds it produces melt effortlessly into the sauce. If you want to make this a one dish meal, you can add cooked broccoli florets to the mixture before the final heating.
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of spaghetti or spaghettini.
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry or vermouth
  • 1 cup (~ a 4 ounce chunk) shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 pound sliced button mushrooms
  • 3 cups diced chicken, turkey or ham or 2 7-ounce cans of tuna, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toasted sliced almonds or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is tender, but not mushy (al dente). Drain, saving 1/2 cup of the cooking water in case the final mixture seems dry.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms, adding salt and pepper to taste. When the mushrooms stop releasing liquid, push them to one side of the pan, melt the rest of the butter in the empty side, add the flour to the melted butter and cook while stirring the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes, coating all of the flour with butter. This will stop the flour from having a raw, pasty taste in the final dish. Gradually stir the milk and wine into the butter-flour mixture and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted into the sauce. Stir in the protein you have chosen (chicken, turkey, ham, tuna, etc.) and the cooked pasta. If the mixture seems dry, use the reserved cooking water to make it moister as needed.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart shallow casserole dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. If you have prepared the casserole ahead of time and refrigerated it, bake for 25-30 minutes.
  4. When you serve this, you can garnish the top with toasted sliced almonds, parsley leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

German Chocolate Cake Cookies


German Chocolate Cake Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Bakery, Dessert, Snack, Gift
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 24-32 bars
 
The original recipe for these cookies came to me from a summer intern when I was managing a software team. I changed the filling so that it would be more like a real German Chocolate Cake and changed the technique a little. These rich cookies now have a chocolate chip, pecan, coconut caramel filling. Heaven for German Chocolate Cake fans.
Ingredients
Caramel layer
  • 44 caramels ( 1 bag of Brach Milk Maid caramels usually works )
  • 1/3 cup evaporated Milk
Cake
  • 1 German Chocolate Cake packaged cake mix
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
Filling
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup broken pecan pieces
  • 1 cup toasted shredded or flaked coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Caramel layer
  1. Heat the caramels and evaporated milk together over low heat, stirring occasionally. Keep the mixture warm so that this is ready to pour over the base later.
Filling
  1. While the caramel is melting, mix the chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut in a bowl.
Cake
  1. Mix the cake mix and butter until no lumps are visible. A pastry blender works well for this. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Reserve 1/3 of the dough in the refrigerator. Press 2/3 of the dough in the bottom of a non-stick 13 x 9 baking pan, making a small rim around the edge. Bake for 6 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the partially baked dough. Pour the caramel mixture over the top of the filling. Pat the rest of the dough into small flat pieces with your finger tips and distribute on top of the caramel mixture to cover as much of the filling as you can, patching the pieces together if necessary.
  3. Bake again for 18-22 minutes.
  4. When the cookies have cooled a bit and the caramel is set, cut into 24 or 32 pieces. Cutting this into small pieces works because the cookies are very rich. Do not try to cut this before the caramel has set or it will ooze out and stick the cookies back together.

Tropical Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Tropical Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Bakery
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 15
 
This tasty tropical cake contains no butter or oil (except for preparing the pan) if you don’t add frosting. You can replace the frosting with just a dusting of powdered sugar or serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, but the cream cheese frosting is rich and delicious. It is a dense cake, not a fluffy, tall one, and a small piece is a good-sized serving. We like it with sliced banana under the frosting and toasted coconut on the top. You can add other fruit to the cake batter if you like. This should be really good with some chopped cranberries in the cake, but I haven’t tried that yet. I serve it directly from the pan, but if you want you can remove it from the pan after 10 minutes and cool it on a rack before you frost it.
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for preparing the pan
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can 20 ounces crushed pineapple packed in juice - undrained
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts
  • Oil, butter or pan spray for preparing the pan
Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Do not use the salt if you are using salted butter.)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted if there are lumps
Optional
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup toasted shredded coconut
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter, oil or pan spray. Dust with flour by pouring in a tablespoon of flour and tipping the pan around until the whole surface is covered with flour. Tap the pan upside down over the sink or trash bin to remove any excess flour. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well and break up any baking soda lumps if you have some. Mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients stirring just until combined. Stir in the nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back to a light touch.
  2. Cool the cake. When it has cooled, you can cover the surface of the cake with banana sliced into thin coins just before you frost the cake.
Frosting:
  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla together until soft and fluffy using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Beat in the powdered sugar. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. If you used the banana slices, you can put small dollops of frosting on banana slices and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the cake. If desired, sprinkle toasted, shredded coconut over the frosting.

Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies


Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Bakery, Cookies, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 5 dozen
 
Just about everybody loves sugar cookies and these buttery cookies with the melt-in-your-mouth addition of cream cheese are especially lovable. They are flavored with the warm spices of the holiday season. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use cinnamon and a little nutmeg, grated with a microplane instead. They are not like the heavier shortbread cookies, nor as “tough” as a rolled or pressed cookie. The flavor is more complex than a Snickerdoodle and I don’t find these cookies to be as doughy. They are fairly delicate and crispy and it is very hard to eat just one…or two…or three. While I call them Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies, I am thankful that they are delicious any time of year. I was trying to count how many I made in this last batch so I could write the number down for you with some authority, but I started eating them as I put them on the cooling rack. I’m pretty sure it made around 5 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter – 2 sticks or 1/2 pound (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar + more for dipping a glass to press the cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (only if using unsalted butter)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar (and salt, if using) until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice together until the color is uniform. (Be sure to get any lumps out of the baking powder before pouring it in the flour.) Stir the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together just until combined. Chill an hour or more to firm up the dough to make it more manageable.
  2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls quickly with the palms of your hands. Place them on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. A one-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop makes this very easy. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Rub a very small amount of cookie dough (to make the sugar adhere) on the flat bottom of a glass or a small metal measuring cup that fits in the shallow bowl. Dip the glass in the sugar and flatten each ball of dough into a thin circle, dipping the glass back into the sugar for each cookie.
  3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Turkey Dressing with Bread or Gluten-Free Rice

Turkey Dressing with Bread or Gluten-Free Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Varies
 
Ingredients
BREAD DRESSING
  • 2 pound loaf of sliced, wheat, butter-top bread (about 16 cups)
  • 2 pounds of mushrooms (sliced if small, chopped if big)
  • 6 cups yellow onion, diced or chopped (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 cups celery, diced or chopped (1/2 of a large bunch of celery, 1 pound)
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • Sage to taste (Start with 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Stock or water to moisten, if necessary
Instructions
Bread Dressing Instructions
GLUTEN-FREE RICE DRESSING
Gluten-Free Rice Dressing Instructions

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole


Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 18 1/2 cup servings
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Ingredients
Potato Mixture
  • About 5 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray or oil
Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool until you can touch them. Gently pull off the potato skins and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Beat at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the potatoes are smooth. If you are appliance free, use a potato masher. Combine the half and half, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and egg. Add the mixture to the potatoes and mix until evenly combined. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking dish.
  2. To make the streusel, pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor leaving some large chunks and set aside in a small bowl. Pulse the flour and sugar to combine them. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse 2 or 3 times until the nuts are distributed. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts with a knife. Mix the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the potato mixture. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.

 

English Toffee

Toffee topped with chocolate or chocolate and almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Toffee
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy, Snacks, Gifts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2+ pounds
 
This recipe makes a crunchy, nutty, chocolate-covered toffee that is perfect for holiday gifts and parties. You will probably have to make more than one batch as it is pretty irresistible. Candy gets very hot when it is cooking, so this is not a good recipe to make with children. Store the candy in an airtight container or it will tend to get sticky. If you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe. This is the kind of recipe where having the right tools can make a big difference in how easily the job is accomplished, but you can make this uncomplicated candy even if you have none of these tools. A candy thermometer, offset spatula, non-stick silicone spatula and non-stick silicone pan liner make this so simple any cook can be successful with little effort. I prefer to prepare the candy with small nut pieces/nut dust on top of the chocolate layer, as it is neater to break and eat. You can put chocolate on both sides of the candy by leaving about 1/3 of the chocolate aside and melting it for application once the first side has set, but I find that unnecessary.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (bar broken into small pieces or 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are slightly darker throughout. Do not over-toast or the nuts will taste bitter. Using a silicone pan liner such as Silpat reduces the chances of burning the bottoms of the nuts and allows you to toast the nuts without any stirring. Let the nuts cool. Using a rocking motion, chop them into small pieces with a chef’s knife, holding the point of the knife against the cutting board and lifting the handle slightly and rotating the knife to a new position for the next cut. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the smaller pieces and 'dust' to use for topping the candy.
  2. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a silicone pan liner such as Silpat.
  3. Place the butter, sugar, salt and water in a heavy pan on medium heat. The mixture will foam up as it cooks, so the pan should be at least twice as deep as the ingredients. Place a candy thermometer in the mixture. Cook, swirling the mixture occasionally until the foaming subsides. At this point, the candy will cook rapidly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon until the candy reaches the hard-crack stage at 300 degrees (see Note). The candy will be a golden brown caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat immediately. The temperature will continue to rise. Working quickly, stir in the vanilla and the larger quantity of nuts. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread and smooth the surface with your spatula or spoon to about 1/4 inch. Distribute the chocolate pieces over the candy and allow them to melt for two minutes. Spread the chocolate over the surface. An offset spatula will help spread it evenly. Sprinkle the almond dust/nuts that you put aside onto the chocolate, pressing them in lightly to help them adhere. Cool the candy until the chocolate is set, break it into pieces and store in an airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between the layers. You can also put the candy in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
  4. Note: If you are not using a candy thermometer, you can test for the hard crack stage by dropping a little of the molten syrup into very cold water that you have standing by next to the stove. At hard crack it will form brittle threads that break when bent. Be careful not to touch thick pieces of candy in the water as they are likely to be hot. You cannot leave the candy on the heat while you are testing or it will burn the sugar and cause the caramel to be bitter.

 

Caramel Popcorn


Caramel Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Gifts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 quarts
 
Whether you think of caramel corn as a Halloween treat, an inexpensive holiday gift or a delicious snack, this recipe is easier to prepare than recipes that have you cook the syrup to a higher temperature before covering the popped corn. The oven heat finishes cooking the candy, while stirring the warm corn helps distribute the syrup evenly. Fill decorated holiday cellophane bags with cooled caramel corn and tie with ribbons or raffia to make great trick or treat favors or stocking stuffers for family, friends and coworkers. Fill a large tin with caramel popcorn to make a substantial holiday present that is fresher and more personal than mail order popcorn.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 7 to 8 quarts popcorn (see Note)
  • 1 cup of salted peanuts (optional)
Instructions
Note:
  1. One (1) ounce or 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn will make approximately a quart of popped corn; therefore you will need to pop about 1 cup popcorn kernels. I prefer the electric poppers that have a stirrer in the bottom which make up to 6 quarts at a time because I find that air-popped corn sometimes has a scorched taste. Depending on your popper, you might need to pop the corn in two batches. Of course if you don’t have a special appliance, you can pop corn in a large pot. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil per half cup of kernels and shake the pot as you hear the kernels popping to avoid burning the corn. When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat and transfer the popped corn to your baking pan.
PREPARATION:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Use a large, non-stick roasting pan or lightly oil a large baking pan or roasting pan. If you have a silicone liner such as Silpat, you can also line your pan with that. Check the capacity of your pan before you find yourself with a lot of popcorn and a pot of hot syrup. If one pan is not large enough, plan to split the ingredients between two pans. Pop enough corn kernels to get 7 to 8 quarts of popped corn (about one cup). Place the popped corn (and the peanuts if you are using them) into your baking pan. You can leave the popped corn in the oven in your baking pan while you make the second batch and prepare the syrup. Boil sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt to the soft ball stage, 234° to 238° on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Add the baking soda (and vanilla if you are using it) and stir well. Be careful, as the hot sugar syrup will foam up when you add the soda. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. If your oven doesn’t go that low, check the popcorn and stir more frequently. The caramel corn should be golden in color and feel less sticky when it is done. Slightly underdone is better than overdone. Remove from the oven and cool. When it is cool, break into pieces if necessary and store in airtight containers.