Friday, July 8, 2011

Turkey Stuffing Meatloaf with Herbed Mashed Potatoes

This was YUM. It was like the perfect Thanksgiving bite. Mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and gravy. We just had this last week and it's already on the menu again for this week. Super fast and delicious. And what's almost as good as the dinner? The leftover turkey meatloaf sandwiches. The original recipe (as written here) calls for a oil based gravy, which I didn't like. I also just used butter in the mashed potatoes. From now on, I'll be making my roux based gravy, or you can just use a packet of quick made gravy.


4 tablespoons butter

2 McIntosh apples, cored and chopped

3 to 4 small ribs celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cup stuffing cubes (recommended: Pepperidge Farm) or stale cubed white bread

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

4 cups chicken or turkey stock in a box

2 pounds ground turkey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 large egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled

1 cup whole milk

1 (5-ounce) package soft herb cheese (recommended: Boursin)

1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (recommended: chives, dill, thyme)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the butter to melt in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the apples, celery, and onions seasoned with a bay leaf, salt, and pepper, until very tender, 10 minutes. Add the stuffing cubes and moisten with 1 to 1/1 2 cups of stock; season with poultry seasoning. Cool completely, then combine in a bowl with ground turkey, salt, pepper, half the parsley, and egg. Form 4 oval-shaped loaves a couple of inches thick. Arrange on a rack over baking sheet or parchment-lined baking sheet and coat with a little oil to glisten. Roast until brown and firm, 45 minutes, depending on thickness.

Reheat the meatloaves in medium hot oven to warm through. Place them in a shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Cook's Note: To keep the loaves from drying out - add a splash of stock, this will keep the loaves super moist.

In a saucepan, whisk the oil and 1/4 cup flour over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, until the color of peanut-butter. Add lots of coarse pepper to the roux, then whisk in a couple of cups of stock and thicken, season with salt to taste. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator. Reheat the mixture in a saucepan over medium flame.
While the meatloaves bake, boil the potatoes in enough water to cover. Drain, then return the potatoes to the hot pot and mash with milk, herb cheese, mixed herbs, remaining parsley, salt and pepper. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.

Reheat the potatoes in a saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a little more milk as the potatoes warm to loosen them up a bit.

Serve the meatloaves, whole or sliced, with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spinach Stuffed Braciole with Pasta

Make Ahead Meal. I made this recipe almost as written the first time around. I didn't use pine nuts because they were super expensive. However, it may have just been the brand of frozen spinach I used, but it was a little too "dirty" tasting for me. Next time I will start with fresh and see if that makes a difference. It was great dish, tons of leftoevers.


1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen organic spinach

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons dried currants or chopped raisins

2 to 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

4 (8-ounce) pieces thin-cut top round veal or beef pounded very thin

Special equipment: Kitchen twine


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 large fresh bay leaf

A few sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped

A few sprigs fresh sage, thinly sliced

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken stock-in-a-box

1(28-ounce) large can diced tomatoes
1 box of your favorite wide pasta

1 tablespoon butter

A generous handful fresh sweet basil leaves, torn or shredded

A small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


For the braciole: Defrost, drain, and wring the frozen organic spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel and separate with your fingertips while adding to a mixing bowl. Season the spinach with salt, black pepper, and a little nutmeg. Add the chopped hard-boiled eggs, currants, pine nuts, finely chopped garlic, and cheese to the bowl and gently combine. Season the meat with salt and pepper and arrange each steak with one of the narrow ends near you. Divide the filling evenly among the meat slices. Scatter the filling over the meat leaving a 1/2-inch edge or border on the sides. Fold the edge over the filling and tuck in the edges as you roll each bundle to secure the filling. Wrap and roll the remaining bundles and secure with kitchen twine to cover the ends and middle, like wrapping a package.

Heat a large Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil a couple of turns of the pan over medium-high heat. Brown the meat bundles 6 to 8 minutes to evenly caramelize the meat all over.
For the sauce: Remove the bundles from the pan and add 1 tablespoon more olive oil, give a turn of the pan to coat. Add the chopped carrots, onions, sliced garlic, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables cook 5 minutes to soften, then stir in the chopped rosemary and sage for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir to develop the fragrance, then add the white wine and scrape up the pan drippings. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. Bring the sauce to a bubble, add the meat back to the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook 2 and a half hours more, stirring occasionally.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the water.

Remove the meat bundles to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
Drain the pasta and return to a hot pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces, and half of the sauce, toss to combine, adding a little starchy cooking water to make it all come together for you.
Cut the string from the meat and serve the meat dotted with more sauce and sprinkled with fresh parsley on large dinner plates with hot pappardelle pasta topped with fresh basil and some shaved Parm alongside.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

These cupcakes came out beautifully. The original recipe (from Sprinkles) was a little too "pound cake" texture for me. So I will add some baking soda the next go round. But the fresh strawberry taste was incredible. I could eat the light fluffy frosting all day.


2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Cream Cheese Filling


1 pkg (8 ounces) cream cheese softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup milk


About 1 1/2 cups.


In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and milk. Beat with mixer until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I put the filling in a piping bag with a large round tip and just stabbed the end into each cupcake, squeeze a little, then release.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting

1/2 cup whole strawberries

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This is a super easy pie, especially if you use a store bought pie crust. But I've always liked making my own, especially for the scraps ;) The original recipe for this pie called for granulated sugar, but I always had a hard time getting the result really smooth. So I switched to powdered sugar and have since gotten really smooth and silky results.

To make the chocolate curls, I left a large bar of Hershey's chocolate out on the counter on a warm day. Then I placed it on the edge of a tall cutting board and just used a potato peeler to get the curls. Worked beautifully.

And the pie does have raw eggs in it, so heads up for our preggo friends


1 cup butter
3 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
Whipped Cream


Cream butter and sugar. Blend in cocoa and vanilla. Beating at high speed, add one egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Repeat with each remaining egg. Keep whipping until fluffy. Spread in cooked pie shell of choice and keep refrigerated. Add whipped cream to the top just before serving.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Corn Chowder

I've been making this recipe for quite awhile. It's become one of our favorite dinners.  The great thing about it is you can alter the recipe to fit your tastes or what you have. Don't have ham? Use just bacon. Don't have red bell peppers? ehh green ones are fine. I've even forgot to add heavy cream or have just used milk... still YUM


6 slices bacon

1 hamsteak, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1/3 c. flour

1 quart chicken broth

1 c. water

2 can whole kernal corn, drained

1 large red potato, cubed

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 t. cayenne

1 c. Heavy Cream


Over medium high heat, saute chopped bacon until crispy. Remove from pan. Using bacon drippings, sear the outside of the hamsteak. Add onions add peppers and cook until tender.

Stir flour and stir to coat. Then add broth, water, corn and potato. Season with salt and pepper, and cayenne if desired.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in cream and heat through. Heat through then serve. Top with cripsy bacon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Finally the Disneyland pictures. We had so much fun. Not just fun ourselves, but even more fun sharing it with the boys. We even didn't mind going on It's a Small World four times. It would have been closer to 10 times if we went every time Keegan asked to. And their face while going through the ride was priceless..

 The whole trip was totally worth just that one moment when Keegan first saw Mickey Mouse. He started jumping and just shaking with excitment. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has since become his favorite show.

 Gee you can't tell my boys are related at all can ya?