Thursday, November 4, 2010

Share a Spoon - Sausage Stuffing

Think Tank Momma

Marnie is Sharing her family favorite must have this week!

This is a tradition in our family and if I deviate from this stuffing my family will boycott the table.

Sausage Stuffing for Turkey (or Chicken)

6-8 cups fine bread crumbs (white or brown – whatever your family preference)
4-6 stalks celery
1 med-large onion
1 lb pork sausage or pork sausage links de-cased (or mild Italian sausages de-cased)
 1-2 TBSP poultry seasoning (or to taste)
½ TBSP garlic powder
salt/pepper (to taste)
warm water

The amount of bread crumb is going to depend on how big a bird you have so you will have to eyeball it a bit.  For a 16-18 lb bird it is about 6-8 cups so that’s what I including the instructions for. 

Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl.

Rinse celery stalks and whiz them up in a food processor until finely chopped and empty into bowl with bread crumbs.  Skin onion and rough chop, whiz the onion up in the food processor until finely chopped as well and add it to the large bowl. 

Add sausage meat and while doing so try and break up the clumps a bit.  Add salt, pepper, poultry season and garlic powder.  Now it’s time to get messy, get your hands in the bowl and mix ingredients together well.  Add warm water in small amounts until the stuffing begins to hold together a little in a ball.  It should be moist and hold together if you squish it together. 

Rinse the cavity of your bird well and dry with paper towel.  Stuff the cavity and pack the stuffing in firmly.  The fat in the sausage meat helps keep the bird moist.  Roast according to guidelines for a stuffed gobbler.  For food safety sake, be sure to remove all stuffing once the turkey is cooked.  Enjoy!

As always Marnie, Thanks for Sharing with us!

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Mock" Thin Mint(y) Cookies

Google Images
My husband, affectionately referred to as BDC has a little problem.  He is obsessed with Girl Scouts.  Not in the creepy, pedophile kind of way.  He stalks them every year at THAT time of year.  You know the time.  The same time we all want to knock them over the head and run off with their stash find them in front of our favorite shopping establishments.  

He loves THIN MINTS.  He actually comes home with a box or two every other day when it's THAT time of year.  He doesn't share them very well either.  He makes sure to pick up a box of Samoas or the peanut butter whatevertheheck they're called ones to deter me the boys from eating HIS cookies.

So I thought, I have to find a way to create something similar at home.  I scavenged the internet and found lots of recipes.  None of them looked perfect. So I pieced and parted and made my own.  

Here's what I came up with...

Cookie Dough:

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 extra large egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 brick of baking paraffin wax
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Cream together butter and shortening.  Add sugar and egg.  Blend until light and fluffy.  Add the extracts.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, cocoa and salt. Slowly add the mixed dry ingredients into the wet until they are completely incorporated.

Cut the dough (it's quite sticky) into two equal parts.  Roll into a log in waxed paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.  Until the dough is nicely set and hard.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the logs into thin slices.  Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until they are slightly crispy to the touch.

Cool on cookie racks.

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt the paraffin wax.  Add the chocolate chips and stir vigorously until melted and the mixture is shiny and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in extract.  Allow to cool.  With a fork drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies.

I let Kamden try the batter.  Asked him what it tasted like.  Expecting the answer Thin Mints.  To my surprise he said "heaven".  Not what I was going for kid, but I'll take it!

These were a big hit with BDC and Kamden.  They fought over them actually!  They definitely fill that void when you know, it's not THAT time of year!  ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Water Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Who doesn't love chocolate cake?  On Friday, last week, my Granny turned 86.  We had a family Birthday Celebration for her and I cooked for everyone.  We had a fantastic time and enjoyed good food and great company.  In all my haste to make lasagna, Italian dinner rolls and the cake I forgot to take pictures of the cake so I found an image on Google to give you a visual.

This cake is so moist and rich.  You will love it!  I don't remember where I found the original recipe, but I of course changed it to suit my baking style.


4 1/3 cups of flour
3 3/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 extra large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 9in cake pans with cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the pans with wax paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  Sugar, flour, soda, cocoa, salt and cayenne pepper.  Cut in the shortening to the dry ingredients.  Crack the eggs into a 10oz coffee mug.  Fill the rest of the mug with milk.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Add another 1/2 mug of milk.  Add vanilla.  I heated my water in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, but you can certainly boil it on the stove.  Make sure it's screaming hot and pour over all the ingredients.  Mix on high until all the ingredients are well blended.  You will see tiny lumps of shortening throughout the batter.  It's supposed to look that way.

Pour equal amounts into the two cake pans.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cakes completely.


1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag milk chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Over low heat in a sauce pan add the cream and butter.  Stir frequently until butter is melted.  Stir in vanilla.  Add chocolate chips and stir vigorously until melted and completely incorporated in the cream and butter.  It will look like a mess at first.  You'll think you messed up and that the chips aren't going to incorporate.  It's FINE.  Just keep stirring and it will turn into this beautiful shiny chocolate goodness that you want to bathe in.  Trust me!  Once it's shiny and beautiful remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Take the first cake that you have turned out onto your cake plate.  Pour the ganache into the middle of the cake.  Work the ganache to edges of the cake.  Gently top the ganache with the second cake.  Pour the remaining ganache over the top cake and work it down the sides of the entire cake with a spreading knife.  Put the cake in the refrigerator to allow the ganache to set.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mexican Chicken Roll-Ups

I threw something together today, and it was so yummy that I thought I just had to share it.

Here's what you'll need:

5 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes
1 can chopped green chiles
1 yellow onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
10 medium flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the frozen breasts in a casserole dish.  Drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Sprinkle the cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper over the chicken.  Add the sliced onions, Ro*Tel and green chiles.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is falling apart.  (You could certainly do this in the crock pot all day.)  Shred the chicken with two forks and allow to sit in the chicken juices.  Chicken will soak up most of the juice.

Spray another casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Separate the chicken into 10 equal parts.  Separate the Monterey Jack cheese.  Keep 1 cup for topping.  The other two cups separate into 10 equal parts.  Stuff each of the flour tortillas with chicken and cheese.  Roll and put them in the prepared casserole dish.

Top the rolled tortillas with the 1/2 cup of salsa and spread it over all the tortillas.  Top with the remaining cup of cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 until the cheese is nicely browned.  Serve topped with a bit of sour cream and your favorite Mexican or Spanish rice.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Share a Spoon - Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Think Tank Momma

Maurnie had two wonderful submissions this week!  Here is the second:

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

1 med butternut squash (1 ½ pounds)
1 TBSP olive oil
½ tsp dried rubbed sage
salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, peel on
1 cup half-and-half
Pasta (such as cheese ravioli or any short pasta like penne)

Preheat oven to 375.  Using a large, sharp knife, trim ends; halve squash crosswise to separate bulb from neck.  Peel with vegetable peeler.  Cut both pieces in half lengthwise.   With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard.

Cut squash into 2-inch chucks; transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with oil and sage; season generously with salt and pepper.  Scatter garlic around squash.  Roast until squash is very ender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through.  Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor; puree.  With motor running, and add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth.  Add 1 to 2 cups water; continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary.  Season again generously with salt.  (At this stage the sauce can be frozen for use later.)

Cook pasta according to directions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to put.  Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat.  Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary.  Serve.

I serve this topped with grated parmesan cheese, toasted, chopped walnuts and some finely chopped fresh sage.

So leave Maurnie some love folks!

Share a Spoon - Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash

Think Tank Momma

Maurnie is Sharing her favorites again this week.  She emailed two recipes this week.  She stated and I quote:

"Good morning!

I lurve squash so much, it is once of my favorite things about fall/winter cooking.  I have included two recipes for this week’s theme. 

The last recipe(s) for the Roasted Fall Vegetables I thought you might enjoy – since you’re a busy mum in a busy household this one is terrific when you have the time to plan menus in advance.  Can’t wait to see and try all the submissions this week!"

Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash

4 yellow squash (8oz each approx.)
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and diced fine
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
¼ tsp cumin
½ ground beef
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ cup plus 2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 with rack set in top third.  Half each squash lengthwise; slice a sliver from the rounded part so each half sits flat.  Leaving a ¼ inch border, scoop out halves with a small spoon; finely chop flesh (so you can hide it for the non-squash lovers), and reserve.  Place squash halves, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In large skillet, heat oil over med-high.  Add reserved chopped squash, bell pepper, about ¾ of the chopped scallion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally, until bell pepper begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add tomato paste, cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.  Remove mixture from pan.  Add beef; cook until no longer pink, breaking up meant with a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add mixture back to meat and warm through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in corn and ¼ cup parmesan; season with salt and pepper.

Dividing evenly, spoon mixture into squash halves.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake until squash is tender, 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and bake until top is browned, 7 to 10 minutes more.  Garnish with remaining scallions.

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!  I can't wait to give this recipe a try!  I will post the next recipe in another post.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baked Mac and Cheese

Think Tank Momma

Another wonderful submission from Maurnie!

This is a personal favorite, as I am sure it is for everyone, it is comfort food at it’s finest.  This recipe lets you finesse it a little – the measurements are pretty accurate but I do this one from my head so you may need to tweak it to get consistency of sauce or cheesiness of flavor perfect for you and yours!

Google Images is host to image

Baked Mac and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked* (see note in recipe)
¾ cup butter
½ cup flour (approximately)
1 cup milk (warmed slightly)
1 ½ - 2 cups shredded, good quality, sharp cheddar
¼ tsp mild curry powder
½ teaspoon of dry mustard powder (like Colemans)
½ cup shredded parmesan (or to taste)

Melt butter in med saucepan over low-med heat.  Once butter is melted add enough flour to make the butter come together in soft clumps (you may not need all the flour) – you are making a roux to make a cream sauce.  Reduce heat and cook roux for 2-3 minutes being very careful to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Cooking it a little helps take away the “flour” taste and deepen the flavor.  Add warmed milk a little at a time stirring constantly to incorporate your rue and milk.  If you have made a little more roux that expected and the sauce is too thick add more milk until you get your desired consistency.  You will see the sauce thicken nicely.  Once combined completely, stir in cheese a handful at a time and incorporate totally before adding the next handful.  When you are satisfied that your sauce is cheesy enough add curry powder and dry mustard powder and stir.

While you are preparing the sauce cook your macaroni noodles.  I like the noodles to be ready for when the sauce is ready as pouring the sauce on the already warm noodles helps it adhere well so there is cheesy goodness throughout.*  

Pour combined noodles and sauce into an oven proof, greased baking dish.  Cover with more shredded cheddar cheese and the parmesan.  Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and you see bubbles around the edges. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lemon Cream Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

Think Tank MommaLast week's Share a Spoon we Shared cookies for Friends You Love, because cookies are so friendly. The participation was amazing.  I was very pleased with all the recipes shared and the friendship extended by all those who linked and Shared their favorites.

One of the links inspired this recipe.  My good friend Nancy over at Away We Go posted a Cream Cheese Cookie recipe.  Basically cream cheese, butter, egg yolk, some vanilla and a chocolate or yellow cake mix.

I emailed Nancy and asked what her favorite was and she said yellow, but that you could probably use any cake mix.  Then clouds parted and angels sang and I had a moment of cookie clarity.  Yes, really, it was THAT poetic.

So I thought to myself, "SELF WE CAN USE LEMON CAKE MIX AND MAKE THESE AMAZING!  We'll ice the cookies and everything!"

Here is what I came up with:

Iced Lemon Cream Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 8oz package of softened cream cheese
1 lemon zested
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 lemon cake mix

Cream the butter and cream cheese with the lemon zest.  
Add the egg yolk and vanilla.
Mix in the cake mix slowly.
The dough is sticky and looks a lot like yellow playdough.  Scrape the sides down and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon zested

Stir the lemon zest into the sugar and let the two flavors marry while your dough is chilling.

Roll dough into 1" balls.  
Roll the balls in the lemon sugar.
The sugar is a little crumbly due to the zest but just work it around the cookie as you roll them.
Press the balls down with a sugar glass bottom.

Bake cookies in a preheated 375 degree over for 14 minutes.

1 cup Confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 lemons juice (use the ones you just zested)
1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream

Mix all ingredients together until a glaze forms.

Once cookies have cooled enough to handle, dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

Voila!  Sweet, tart, delicious iced lemon cream cookies!

My husband doesn't care much for lemon, and HE LOVED THESE!

Let me know if you try them!

Share a Spoon - Garlic-Roasted Chicken

Think Tank Momma

Once again, Maurnie is Sharing in the kitchen with us!  YEAH!

Here is her chicken submission for the week.

Also, I will be here tomorrow to give you a spin on one of the cookie recipes from last week.  I was inspired by one of the submissions and made some really amazing Lemon Cream cookies!!

Garlic-Roasted Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-4 heads garlic (to your taste really)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary or tarragon – use your savory fave.
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted ( I have also used a French baguette cut into many slices)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Separate the heads of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Flip the chicken; add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through but still moist, 15 to 20 more minutes.
Place the bread on a platter and top slices with a chicken breast. Add the vinegar to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add 3 tablespoons water (or chicken broth) and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken and bread.  When you serve squish the now roasted garlic out onto the toasted bread that has all the yummy pan juices on it and enjoy a pseudo garlic bread along with the chicken.

Thanks for SHARING as always Maurnie!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Couple of Recipes to Share

My friend Maurnie has been a little busy and she missed a couple of Share a Spoons.  Imagine my surprise when I got an email this week with not one, not two but three recipes!   I shared the turtle cookie recipe yesterday and linked for Share a Spoon. 

Today I am going to post her recipes for soup and bars.  I hope you enjoy.  Both recipes sounded fabulous to me!

Marnie writes: 

This is a recipe I found somewhere, think it may have been Bon Appetit, which I shamelessly changed, tweaked and now tell everyone is my own.  It is savory and a little spicy (most palettes can take it though).

Mulligatawny Soup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups dried red lentils
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken ( I used poached chicken breasts)
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Lemon wedges


Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala and next 4 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add chicken broth. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide rice among bowls. Pour soup over. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve.


Nanaimo Bars to be exact.  Nanaimo is a town on Vancouver Island and there are all kinds of stories about how the recipe came to be.  Nonetheless….I make it in my house and it is gone – it’s *that* good.

Nanaimo Bars

(Picture courtesy of Google Images)

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Directions Bottom Layer:

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder will work in a pinch)
2 cups icing sugar

Directions Second Layer:

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions Third Layer:

Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Since we are moving into fall and my two favorite things to do and eat are soups and baked goods, I couldn't keep these all to myself and not share!  ;)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Share a Spoon - Turtle Cookies

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


Maurnie is back this week with a vengeance.  She missed the last couple of weeks but sent me recipes today for soup, bars, and TURTLE COOKIES!

I am going to post the soup recipe and the bars tomorrow, and today I am all about these cookies!  I mean...SERIOUSLY?  Chocolate, caramel and PECANS!


Turtle Cookies

Picture courtesy of Google Images

For Cookies:

2 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
48 round milk chocolate-covered caramels, unwrapped (Rolo brand candies work)

For Chocolate Glaze:

cup powdered sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, soak pecan halves in water while making dough; drain well.

In a medium bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds with an electric mixer on medium-high setting until fluffy.

Beat in sugar, vanilla extract, and egg with an electric mixer set on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in flour and cocoa powder until dough firms.

On an un-greased cookie sheet, for each cookie, place 5 pecans in a flower pattern. (You’re giving your turtles legs and a head!)

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Place ball on top of each group of 5 pecans, pressing lightly into pecans with the palm of your hand. 

Bake 7-10 minutes or until set. Immediately press 1 caramel candy gently on top of each cookie. Let cookie set for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling surface.

For chocolate glaze:

Beat powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon water, melted chocolate and vanilla until smooth.  If necessary, stir in more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency. Dip tops of cooled cookies into glaze.

Makes 48 cookies.

THANKS MAURNIE!  Remember, I can always post recipes here if you would like to submit them please email me @