November 23, 2010

hot chocolate in a pinch

we woke up this morning to 20 degrees and snow so i was craving hot chocolate to warm my belly. i liked this recipe because it's made with things i regularly have on hand. i got it from

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

November 16, 2010

a winning combination

these are my favorite buttermilk pancakes and the yummy syrup to go with 'em. and they freeze SO well--they remain moist and fluffy even after being warmed in the toaster. and, if you use fat-free canned milk for the syrup, it will get weird and stringy after a couple days.

best buttermilk pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon salt

tablespoons sugar

large eggs , lightly beaten

cups buttermilk

tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

cinnamon syrup (from my sister-in-law, biffy)

1 C white karo syrup
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
2 t cinnamon
1 C evaporated milk

bring the first 4 ingredients to a boil. boil for 2 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. cool 5 minutes with the lid on and then add evaporated milk.

November 13, 2010

butternut squash lasagna

i found two recipes that each had different interesting elements, so i sort of fused the two to come up with a rather tasty combination. i used a good housekeeping recipe and a michael chiarello recipe from the food network. p.s. it's not low fat.


you'll need to prepare this roasted butternut squash recipe, but adjust it using a squash that's on the smaller side of medium-sized.
12 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
2 T olive oil
1 jumbo onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 large bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped, tough stems removed
shredded parmesan and mozzarella for lasagna top

for the squash mixture:

1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg

for the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon(s) margarine or butter
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • one small clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cup(s) low-fat milk

heat olive oil over medium heat. add the onion and cook about 25 minutes or until golden/caramelized, stirring often.

in the meanwhile, mash the squash with a potato masher, leaving a few chunks. add all ingredients under "for the squash mixture." refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.

add the swiss chard to the onion and cook until wilted, about 7 minutes. pull off the heat early and let it finish cooking in the hot pan. cover to keep warm.

heat oven to 375. start preparing the sauce. microwave the milk until nearly hot to save time (in my archaic microwave it took 4 min). melt margarine or butter over medium heat. with wire whisk, stir in flour, pepper, salt, nutmeg, thyme, and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. gradually whisk in milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens slightly. boil 1 minute, stirring.

in a greased 9 x 13, evenly spoon about 1/2 cup white sauce to cover bottom of dish. arrange 4 lasagna noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. evenly spread all swiss chard mixture over noodles and top with about 1 cup white sauce. arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top, then about 1 cup white sauce and all butternut squash. top with remaining lasagna noodles and remaining white sauce. sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

cover lasagna with foil and bake 30 minutes; remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly and cheese is browned.

November 09, 2010

scrumptious roasted butternut squash

i tried a recipe for butternut squash lasagna and wanted to stop after i tasted it roasted with the fennel and cinnamon--absolutely scrumptious! i'll post the lasagna later.

inspired by michael chiarello of the food network.

1 large butternut squash
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 t fennel and cinnamon spice blend, recipe follows
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the squash's hard shell. Trim about 1/2-inch off the top and bottom ends so you can set each section of the squash flat on a cutting board. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon, and coarsely chop the squash into 1/2-inch chunks. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss the squash with the oil, sage, spice blend, and 1 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast the squash in the oven until very soft and beginning to brown, 40 to 50 minutes, stirring once or twice.

fennel and cinnamon spice blend
  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt

November 07, 2010

homemade kettle corn

we love kettle corn around here. i know many people who do not. well then, this post is not for you. i got this recipe from


1/4 C oil
1/4 C sugar (brown will give you a caramel-ish flavor or white will give you a less strong, sweet flavor)
1/2 C popcorn
salt to taste


put on the oil on medium-high in a heavy-bottomed, large pot. throw three kernels in there. when all three of the kernels pop, the oil is ready. quickly stir in the sugar and then the popcorn and put the lid on. let the pot sit on the heat for 3 seconds, then lift it off and shake for 3 seconds (this will keep the sugar from burning). alternate sit/shake until the popping starts to slow down. pull off the heat and sprinkle with desired amount of salt and shake vigorously. pour into a large bowl and stir periodically until it cools to prevent clumping. add more salt if necessary. enjoy!

November 01, 2010

roasted eggplant and zucchini lasagna rolls

i found the recipe here. the recipe calls for serving them with a pumpkin bechamel, but i tried it and didn't get it--the flavors didn't go well at all in my mind. so we just used traditional marinara. thumbs up all around. plus it was a sneaky way to use eggplant which i love, but no one else in the family really cares for. they didn't even notice.

  • 6-8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups zucchini, cubed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated and divided
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and transfer to a damp dish towel.

Spread the cubed eggplant and zucchini on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Use your fingers to quickly mix the ingredients on the pan to evenly coat with the oil. Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, prepare two shallow dishes with the ingredients for breading the lasagna rolls. In the first dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon of milk. In the second dish, combine 1/4 cup of the parmigiano reggiano cheese and the panko bread crumbs.

Prepare another baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cottage cheese. Once the eggplant and zucchini mixture has cooled, add to the cheese mixture, stirring to combine. Cut the lasagna noodles in half. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto the end of each noodle half. Roll the noodle around the mixture and place seam down.

Dip each lasagna roll first in the egg mixture and then in the panko breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the rolls are golden and crispy.