Saturday, December 31, 2011

12-31-2011 The 11 Best of 2011

Here is a list of my top 2011 moments (good and bad)

1. Potty training Prince Hock #2, before he turned 2.  I wouldn't of done it so early, but he was potty training himself at 15 months. Lots and lots of accidents...

2. Going to Disney World, Prince Hock #1 wanting to ride every ride including Tower of Terror, and being too short by 1/4 inch, and then that same brave little boy was petrified off the costumed characters.

3. Accidentally submerging my iPhone in water (2 seperate occasions), drying it out with rice, and it actually somewhat functioning afterwards.

4. Getting bows in our boy dog Charlie's hair was adorable! King Hock coming home and flipping out, had to remove them immediately.

5. King Hock falling through the roof in the attic. Enough said.

6. Going to Europe: having tea at Fortnum and Masons in London, seeing Budapest on a Segway, Walking the Charles Bridge in Prague at night, and eating Sacher Torte at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna

7.  Having a raspberry souffle on our wedding Anniversary, the best!

8. Hosting my first ever cooking demonstration, so fun!

9. Playing in the snow in a city that rarely snows in February.

10.  King Hock having knee surgery not 1, but 2 times. Now both his knees are working good.

11. Cherishing every moment spent cooking for and entertaining our family and friends.

Here are 11 of your and my favorite recipes from 2011. Enjoy!

Meat Lasagna

1 ½ lbs ground beef
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, Italian Style
2 cans tomato paste
1 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. onion powder
½ t. pepper
1 package Barilla no boil lasagna noodles
Brown meat with onion and garlic. Mix in tomatoes and paste. Add seasonings. Cook sauce covered anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours on a low simmer, stir every so often  to make sure bottom of pot isnt burning . Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer in a baking pan (I use one a 2.5 qt., but a medium pyrex will do): layer sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles…until you use up all the noodles and the pan looks ful, ending with sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for an hour. Remove from oven and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove Foil and serve.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 C. all purpose flour
1 C. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
2 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin cup with muffin papers.
In a large bowl mix together all of the above ingredients, until combined. Pour muffin batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until when you press the middle of one of the muffins, it springs back.

Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms

3 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into strips
1-2 T. olive oil
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove, garlic
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt, or to taste
1/4 t. pepper, or to taste

In a large skillet, pour in the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and turn heat onto medium. Add the onion and sautee 2-4 minutes, until starting to soften, add the garlic, and cook another 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms, balsamic, basil, salt and pepper. Lower heat and cook for 7-12 minutes, until the mushrooms are completely cooked.

Feta Crusted Salmon

1 (2 pound) salmon fillet, bones removed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup light mayonnaise, or regular
1 tablespoon regular or light cream cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika, ground
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly oil, or parchment paper. Place salmon onto foil and set aside.

Mix together feta cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl until smooth. Spread mixture over salmon, then sprinkle panko over top, covering completely.

Bake in preheated oven until easily flaked with a fork, about 35 to 45 minutes.
Caesar Salad Perfected

Dressing: Makes enough for 2 large salads

1 C. Mayo
3 T. water
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2-3 cloves garlic, depending on how garlicky you like it
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. dried parsley
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. onion powder

2 heads of hearts of Romaine, washed, dried, and cut in small pieces

1 recipe croutons:

5 slices, day old bread, I used challah, great way to use up leftover challah
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the bread into cubes. Toss in a large bowl with all of the ingredient.

Place on a sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp. Let croutons cool at room temp before using

Place the lettuce and croutons in a large bowl. Pour some of the dressing over, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Arroz Con Pollo

1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8 serving pieces
1 medium yellow onion, quartered, plus 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned low-sodium broth (can use veggie broth)
1 cup light beer, such as lager
3 tablespoons Adobo Seasoning, (I found it at Whole Foods, prob have it at Fiesta too)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ( if you don't have parve use 1 T. soy sauce instead)
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 cups white rice
1 cup frozen peas
2 medium carrots, finely diced
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and quartered
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1 cup pimento stuffed olives

Place the chicken, quartered onions, 1 cup of chicken broth, beer,  adobo, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 of the cilantro, and garlic in a large pot or skillet over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool; once cool shred and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve discarding the onion pieces.

Pour the broth into a measuring cup and add water to make 4 cups of liquid. Return it to the pot or skillet and add the rice, peas, carrots, green beans, ketchup, and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let the liquid evaporate to just below the level of the rice, about 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and fully cooked, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and the remaining sliced onions and cook until they're tender, 8 minutes. Shred the cooked chicken meat discarding the skin and bones, and add the chicken to the vegetables. Cook until it is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and add the chicken and vegetables to the rice mixture. Stir in the olives, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve.
Best Ever Carrot Cake

3/4 C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. soy milk mixed with 2 t. lemon juice
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. white sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
2 C. shredded carrots
1 C.sweetened flaked coconut
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 C. raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non stick spray.

In a large bowl mix together the oil, soy milk mixed with lemon juice, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Add the shredded carrots, coconut, pineapple, and raisins. Stir to mix together well.

Pour the cake batter into the pan and place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour.

Let cool and frost with white icing:

White Icing
4 oz. (1/2 container) Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 T. margarine
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer whip the cream cheese and margarine together. Add the extracts, and mix. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake.

Meatball Subs

4 mini French Bread loaves, or 1 large loaf cut into 4 rolls

1- 1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1/4 C. plain soymilk, unsweetened preferable
1/2 C. bread crumbs, I used Italian flavored
1 clove garlic
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
1 jar Marinara, I used Emerils which I highly recommend for this recipe
1/2 C. water

Mix together the meat, egg, soymilk, bread crumbs,  garlic, black pepper, salt, oregano, and parsley.

Pour the marinara sauce and water into a large pot. Make golf ball or smaller sized meatballs.  Place the meatballs into the sauce. Place over the stove and bring to a simmer, lower heat to lowest setting, but still simmering gently. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 2-3 hours. Stirring every so often making sure the sauce isn't burning.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread in half, but not all the way through. Place meatballs with sauce inside. Place the filled rolls on a sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes or until nicely toasted.


Carrot Souffle

2 lb. bag baby carrots
1/2 C. melted margarine
1/2 C. white sugar (can use up to 1 C. of sugar if you like it very sweet)
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and use an immersion blender to puree, you can leave some texture if you that's how you like it. Can also mash by hand, but won't be as smooth.

To the carrots add melted margarine, white sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix well and transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes until set and slightly carmelized on top.


1/2 C. raw spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces
3/4 C. raw white rice
14.5 oz broth (I use Imagine Vegetable)
2 T. margarine

In a medium pot, melt the margarine. Add the spaghetti pieces, and stir until they start to brown. Add the rice, and continue stirring until the pasta has browned a bit more. Add the broth and  lower heat to simmer, cover with lid, and cook until the liquid is absorbed.


Artichoke Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
¼ cup lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
1 T tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t ground cumin
1/3 - ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 t salt

Place all of the above ingredients into a Cuisinart or Food processor. Run the machine for a few minutes until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Stop the machine every so often to scrape down the sides. Taste and adjust seasoning, might want to add more salt or lemon juice.

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!! 2012!! Pin It

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