Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

Easy, super quick recipe served as a side dish specially with beef and poultry, seafood, you name it.  I do not use in my recipe liquid milk, I use powdered one because at home we like the mashed potatoes a little thick, its consistency is nice.  You can add to it mashed roasted garlic, and other condiment you like to.


Potatoes - boiled and mashed
A few tablespoons of powdered milk


Mix everything together roughly and as per taste add as needed.  I don't have specific amount for each, I taste and dont use much butter, so that is when I add a little milk to avoid more butter - but dont use liquid milk to replace the powdered one.

You can mix in it cheese, corn, anything you want.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Apple Turnovers

 I love apple turnovers with their flaky, buttery crusts & soft apple center. Using puff pastry sheets from the store & sauteed apples make this version come together so quickly, they make for an easy weeknight treat. Its delicious with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream next to it, and even super easy to make when someone suddenly pops in for a visit!

 Easy Apple Turnovers
  • 1 cup of chopped apples (that’s about 2 medium apples worth)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoon of water
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (that’s half of a standard package)
  • 1 egg + 2 T. milk, beaten together well (optional)
-Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
-In a medium skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sautée for a couple minutes.
-Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to the apples and stir well to coat. Continue to sautée for another minute.
-While the apples are cooking, dissolve the cornstarch into the 3 T. of water in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the apples and stir.
-Continue cooking for another minute, and then lower the heat to medium-low. Continue to stir and cook until the cornstarch has dissolved (until the juice isn’t cloudy and the mixture has thickened up). Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
-While the apples cool, prepare the puff pastry sheet by placing it on a lightly floured surface and cutting it into 4 equal squares with a sharp knife.
-Spoon some of the apple mixture (a scant quarter cup) into the center of each square. Pick up one corner of each square and fold it over to the opposite corner, sealing the edges by pressing down with your finger. It should be in the shape of a triangle and sealed together on the two open edges.
-If you want a nice shine on the turnovers when they bake, brush the egg-milk mixture over the top of each turnover with a pastry brush.
-Place the turnovers onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they have puffed up high and are golden brown in color.
-Remove to a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 turnovers.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Umm Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding)

Umm Ali (the dish) dates back to Ottoman era Egypt, when legend has it the sultan stopped in a poor village looking for something to eat and the village's best cook, named Umm Ali, made something akin to this dish. There are other legends too, about a British nurse named O'Malley who may have invented the recipe.

History aside, do not be off-put by the "bread pudding" label, I almost never like bread pudding since many versions are eggy and rich and about the weight of small livestock. But this is just the opposite- light fluffy pastry bathed in sweet milk, sprinkled with tangy dried fruits and nuts. This desert is delicious specially in winter since its served hot/warm.

Umm Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding)

You can choose to stuff the pudding full of dried fruit, nuts, and coconut, or you can have a more simple version with just a slight scattering of fruit and nuts. I prefer the latter, but many people prefer the former. You could also use 3 cups half-and-half in place of the milk/cream.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup mixed fruits and nuts (such as raisins, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, pistachios or pine nuts)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
slivered almonds for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spread pastry on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Turn off heat and let sit while you proceed with the next step.

3. Raise oven heat to 475F. Grease a baking dish, crumble/tear apart the pastry and scatter in the baking dish. Scatter the dried fruit and nuts over the dish. Pour the milk/cream mixture over the dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden on top and set. Let cool somewhat before serving.

4. Lightly toast almonds and scatter over top before serving.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chicken + Mushroom Penne Casserole Recipe

Chicken mushroom penne casserole is a very simple and delicious dish. This recipe consists of ingredients such as chicked (breast) , mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic and mushroom (fresh or canned); with a combination like this you cannot go wrong. If you are looking for a quick dinner this is an excellent choice because this casserole only takes about 40 minutes to prepare including the cooking time. A good alternative to mozzarella cheese would be Italian cheese blend. This goes great served with garlic bread. Enjoy.

3 cups uncooked penne pasta
2 eggs
½ cup half-and-half cream
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 garlic cloves (minced)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1lb chicken breasts grilled
1 cup of mushroom

Cooking Instructions:Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook penne pasta according to package directions. In a small bowl combine eggs, half-and-half, and butter (melted); set aside. Drain the pasta and place it into a large bowl. Add parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and reserved egg mixture; toss to coat. Stir in chicken and mushroom.
Step 2: Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour the chicken and penne mixture into the baking dish and top with left over mozzarella cheese.
Step 3: Place into the oven and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes the cheese has melted.

(Makes 6 Servings)
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