Food made easy for busy moms.

Bavarian Apple Torte May 8, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 5:06 pm
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I acquired this recipe from my sister-in-law Alex about 10 years ago and I still refer to the recipe written on bright pink paper because this was all we could find at the time. I believe it came out of one of her Bon Appetite magazines. This dessert has served me well over the years and is very easy to prepare. The dessert can look quite fancy when cooked in a 9 inch spring form pan, but also works well in a 9 inch square pan. It can easily be doubled, cooked in a 15×20 inch cake pan and cut into squares to serve.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until it takes on a light yellow color. Blend in flour. Spread dough onto bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan.

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream cream cheese and sugar together. Add in egg and vanilla, combine until mixed completely. Pour filling into shell and spread evenly around.

2 golden delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced long
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Arrange apple slices on top of filling to create a spiral effect and completely covering the filling. Mix together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Generously sprinkle sugar mixture over apples (I usually have a little left over).

Place torte in 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake for 25 more minutes.

You can serve this dessert as is or with fresh whipping cream sweetened with a bit of brown sugar and a teaspoon or more of Grand Marnier or Cointreau (both are orange liquors).


Nutella Dumplings May 6, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 5:20 am
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This might quite possibly be the easiest dessert and the most yummy.  If you enjoy Nutella, you are already on board for this dessert.  For those of you that have never discovered this delicious spread, you are in for a treat.  Nutella is found by the peanut butter at the grocery store and is a hazelnut chocolate spread.  It satisfies any craving you might have for chocolate and is great with Ritz crackers or pretzels.  (Obviously satisfying both my sweet and salty taste buds.) Make as many or as little of these as you want.  The skies the limit!

Square wonton wrappers
Nutella spread
Canola oil
Powdered sugar

Heat canola oil in a heavy stock pot over medium high heat.  Take a wonton wrapper and place a teaspoon of Nutella in the center.  Lightly wet the edges of the wrapper with warm water using your finger.  Gently press the edges together to create a triangle.  Be sure that the dumpling is completely sealed; fried chocolate is not pretty and doesn’t smell very good, speaking from experience.  Test the heat of the oil either by dropping the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and if it creates bubbles your oil is ready.  Another method is to take a small part of a wonton wrapper and drop it into the oil.  If the wrapper immediately floats to the top and starts bubbling, the oil is ready.  If the wrapper drops in the oil, you will want to wait a few minutes and then test the oil again.  Once the oil is ready, reduce your heat to medium so your oil doesn’t get too hot.  Drop the dumplings in the oil, no more than four at a time.  Fry until lightly golden brown and place on paper towels to drain.  Allow to cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar.  Serve as is or with a scoop of high quality ice cream.  Enjoy!



Filed under: Turkey,What's for Dinner? — alaskafoodmom @ 3:03 am
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I received this low fat recipe from my cooking extraordinaire sister-in-law, Alex.  This is a great recipe that give you lots of flavor and satisfies.

1 lb ground turkey breast
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 packet Good Seasons Italian Seasoning mix (save the other half for next time)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together by hand and shape into a loaf on a baking sheet.  The loaf should be about 4 inches wide by about 8 inches long and about 1 inch tall.  Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool and slice loaf.  Serve in Greek flat bread or Naan bread* with tzatziki sauce (recipe below), sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, and sliced red or sweet onion.

*Warm flat bread in a dry frying pan on the oven over medium heat until just warm and pliable.

Tzatziki Sauce
2 cups Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1/3 English cucumber, shredded or finely chopped
Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon dried mint, or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Mix ingredients together and allow to mingle for at least an hour in the refrigerator.


What’s in your seasoning cabinet? May 5, 2011

Filed under: The Basics,Thoughts for the Day — alaskafoodmom @ 7:21 am
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A conversation happened at work today which got me thinking.  What is in your seasoning cabinet?  What I would expect in a basic seasoning cabinet is not the same as what someone else might think.  Whenever I visit Minnesota I encounter this very scenario.  My mother-in-law’s version of a seasoning cabinet is vastly different than what my version is.  When I say vastly different, I mean in some other solar system.  Thankfully I have been fortunate enough to visit her and save her cave of a cabinet and populate it with the basics.  Word of warning, I have been accused of collecting spices like I collect clothes.  It may look like I am out of control, but I have a plan for every single purchase.  At least this is what I tell my husband.

The Basics

Kosher Salt – This is a larger grain salt then its iodized table salt cousin you might be accustomed to.  The salt is more grainy and flaky than table salt and doesn’t have an aftertaste that table salt can create due in part to the iodine that is added.  I keep my kosher salt in a salt pig next to my oven for easy access.

Pepper – I believe that pepper should be freshly ground for maximum flavor.  Do a taste test with a chicken breast and season with table salt and prepared ground pepper and the other chicken breast season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  I guarantee you will taste the difference.

Granulated Garlic – I use granulated garlic on just about everything.  This is simple flavor enhancer and you really can’t mess up a simple sauteed chicken breast seasoned with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and granulated garlic.  Don’t be tempted to buy garlic powder in place of granulated garlic. This is dried garlic ground into a fine powder and is far harder to control in your cooking.

Chili Powder – With as many Mexican dishes as I prepare, I can never be out of this staple ingredient.  Most chili powders are a blend of chili pepper, spices, salt, and garlic.  There is a hotter version which is called New Mexico Chile Powder.  I will sometimes use this in chili and soups where I want more of a punch. Ancho chili powder offers a nice smokey flavor to dishes. Chipolte powder also offers a nice smokey flavor, but can be a bit hotter. I could start an entire spice cabinet with various chili powders blends that are available.

Cumin – Again, with the dishes that I cook, I could never live without having cumin in my cabinet.  This spice is a cousin of coriander and gives your dish a smokey, almost lemon flavor.  If you find you are missing the mark on some of your Hispanic dishes, it is often cumin.

Lemon Pepper – This is a great seasoning to have on hand to give your food a little zip that you might be craving.  Surprisingly, I often use this on my steaks to give a bit of flavor kick.  Look for a mix that isn’t so heavy on the salt content.

Custom Mixes – I am a big fan of mixes that don’t contain a lot of salt, or in some cases, no salt at all.  One brand I use a lot is Mrs. Dash.  They are a great way to give chicken, pork or steak a quick flavor enhancer without all of the salt.  The extra spicy blend works well in chili, hot wings and fajitas.  Another brand that I have discovered recently is the Simply Organic in the organic section of the grocery store.  Both the chicken and steak blend have been great to use both on meat as well as in soups and stews.

More later…


Rustic Italian Chicken May 4, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Comfort Food,What's for Dinner? — alaskafoodmom @ 7:04 am
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I created this dish recently after craving something comforting and looking at a whole chicken in my refrigerator.

Afterthought: Some additions to this dish that might step it up a notch on the comfort factor is to add in a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans or white beans and whole pitted kalamata olives just before placing into the oven. Finish the dish with shredded fresh basil and/or coarsely chopped flat leaf/Italian parsley.

Whole chicken cut up and extra fat removed
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Garlic, granulated
Italian seasoning
½ cup flour
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion in large chunks
1 red pepper in large chunks
¾-1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 can chopped tomatoes in juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large cast iron pan or heavy bottom, oven safe pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning.  Dredge chicken in flour and tap off extra.  Add chicken to hot pan and brown on both sides.  Add onions and peppers and continue cooking for about 2-3 minutes.  Add in Marsala wine and tomatoes with juice.  Continue to cook until sauce is boiling.  Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until onions and peppers are soft.  Serve with pasta or wild rice and garlic bread to sop up juices.


Stuffed Mushrooms

Filed under: Appetizers,Retro Dishes — alaskafoodmom @ 7:02 am
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My mom would make these simple appetizers for special occasions.  You will find other recipes out there calling for onions, garlic, green onions, and other ingredients.  This is the one recipe that I just don’t alter.

8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened

1 1b bacon diced and fried until crispy

20-25 mushrooms with caps removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together cheese and bacon.  Stuff mushrooms with mixture and place on baking sheet.  Bake mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is slightly golden on top.


Black Bean Corn Salad

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 7:02 am
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This a great side dish for either grilled chicken or pork chops served with white rice.

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
¼ cup red onion finely diced
½ cup red pepper finely diced
1 jalapeno finely diced*
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup cilantro finely chopped

In a serving bowl add beans, frozen corn, red onion, red pepper, and jalapeno.  Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over mixture.  Squeeze lime over salad.  Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Add in cilantro and lightly toss salad.

*Remove inner membrane (white part) and seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want the salad too hot.