Warm Apple-Almond Pastry

I made this recipe a lot for many of my Pampered Chef shows. This recipe was taken from one of the season’s best cookbooks that Pampered Chef sells. The warm apple-almond pastry is a light open-faced tart that brings a perfect sweet ending to a brunch or dinner. I made this today for a brunch and everyone loved it.

Warm Apple-Almond Pastry
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

1 cup sliced almonds, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
2 firm, red baking apples such as Jonathan
¼ cup apricot jam, warmed
Powdered sugar (optional)
Vanilla ice cream, frozen whipped topping (optional)

Warm Apple-Almond Pastry

Preheat oven to 400F.  Grate ¾ cup of the almonds using Deluxe Cheese Grater.  In Classic Batter Bowl, combine almonds, granulated sugar, flour, whole egg, egg yolk and almond extract; mix well and set aside. Unfold one pastry sheet onto lightly floured Large Round Stone. Roll to a 10-1/2” square using Baker’s Roller.  (Corners of pastry will touch edge of baking stone). Prick pastry with pastry tool.  Spread almond mixture evenly over pastry to within 1” of edge. Cut apples lengthwise in half; remove stems and seeds using Cook’s Corer.  Slice apple halves crosswise into ¼” thick slices using Utility Knife. Arrange slices in an overlapping pattern over almond mixture.  Using Pizza Cutter cut remaining pastry into nine 1” strips.  Moisten outer edges of dough with water. Arrange five of the strips diagonally over apples, twisting dough and pressing edges to seal; trim off extra dough. Arrange and press remaining four strips of dough around edge of pastry, forming an even border.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.  Cool at least 10 minutes. Spread warm jam over apples and pastry.  Place remaining almonds in Small Oval Baker; microwave on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after each 30-second interval.  Coarsely chop almonds using Food Chopper; sprinkle over pastry. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired; cut pastry into squares. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.
Yield: 12 servings.


Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

One of my favorite magazines Cuisine at Home featured a really cool recipe that I thought would be a great crowd pleaser – called Breakfast Kebabs. I made this for brunch today for a group of friends. The brunch was a hit and everyone loved the kebabs.

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce
3 tablespoons apple jelly
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12 ounce) package of chicken sausage with apples and maple syrup – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (16 ounce) package of bacon
1 (ounce) package of ham, cut into 1 inch pieces

I used all organic meat in this recipe. The original recipe called for pork sausage links but I like chicken sausage better. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with aluminum foil and put a baking / cooling rack on it.

Mix the barbeque sauce with apple jelly and ground cinnamon and heat over low medium heat until sauce is warm.

Soak 10 inch long wood skewers in water for about 20 minutes so the wood does not burn in the oven. Thread the wood skewer with sausage pieces, bacon strips and ham pieces loosely on wood skewers and place on the cooking rack. Baste with barbeque sauce on all sides and roast the kebabs until meat is heated and bacon is thoroughly cooked about 50 to 65 minutes. Turn kebabs every 10 minutes and baste with more barbeque sauce. This makes 12 skewers – 2 per person.


Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas

I created this recipe today as a backup plan. I had intended to make black bean plantain burritos but the plantains needed to be ripe and the store only had green ones. I decided to make Quesadillas of some kind but not knowing what. I wandered the grocery store trying to decide. I picked up some 2% Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, onions, baby Bella mushrooms and flour tortillas and all of a sudden an idea formed.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas
Created recipe on 02/10/2010

1 medium onion sliced into half moons
1-15 oz can of organic black beans drained and rinsed
1 pint of baby Bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons Cumin
½ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese shredded
¼ cup low-fat Monterey Jack cheese shredded
¼ cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese shredded
8 large flour tortillas

Slice a medium onion in half and then slice into half moon slices. In a sauté pan, with olive oil, add the onions. The onions need to be cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized golden brown color. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until semi-soft. Add the black beans and cumin. Cook until beans are thoroughly heated and remove pan from the heat.

I have a quesadilla machine so I am able to make quesadillas with ease. If you do not have one a 10” skillet warmed will work just fine. Just need to put a plate on top of the quesadilla so that the cheese will melt evenly.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 1Make sure the quesadilla machine is hot.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 2Assemble the quesadilla as follows – flour tortilla, caramelized onion, mushroom and black bean filling, sprinkle with cheese mixture and another flour tortilla on top. Close the top of the quesadilla machine and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 3The cheese will melt and the flour tortillas will have a tan color.

Remove from the quesadilla machine and cut with a sharp knife into 6 – 8 wedges.

Serve with sour cream and salsa. Yum!

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 4


Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

This recipe was given to me by my friend’s mom. One of the best eggplant recipes I have ever had. I think she took this recipe from a Vegetarian magazine, just not sure what issue. It takes a little bit of preparation to make but it is worth all the effort. You will not be disappointed.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
Posted recipe on 02/10/2010

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound) or 2 medium sized eggplants
1-1/2 c ups Panko Japanese breadcrumbs (I used both types of bread crumbs fine and Panko and I prefer the Panko it has great flavor and the parmigiana was not so watery)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil sauce)
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese thinly sliced

Peel and slice the eggplant in ½” slices. Sprinkle salt on each slice and pile the cut eggplant into a colander for 30 minutes. This will draw the excess water out of the eggplant and prevents the dish from becoming watery.  Rinse and pat dry the sliced eggplant with paper towels.
Combine the bread crumbs, ¼ of the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Melt the 2 teaspoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each eggplant into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb / cheese mixture and fill the skillet without any overlapping. Fry each side until slightly brown. Repeat the process with butter and oil until all the eggplant slices are browned.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana on tray

Spread ¼ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of 9 x 13 stoneware or baking dish. Place one layer of eggplant slices on the sauce. Cover with half of the fresh mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over all the cheese. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese and repeat the layers ending with the Parmesan cheese. You can adjust the cheese amounts to your taste buds. I know that I added more Parmesan cheese to this recipe because I like the extra cheese and flavor.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana Cooked In Stone

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cooking Tip:
You can put extra slices of eggplant on wax paper lined cookie tray and freeze overnight. Then put in plastic freezer bags for storage and save for a rainy day to make this recipe again).

Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition in eggplant includes potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and several B-Complex vitamins.


Best Meatloaf Ever

Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods. Brings back memories of my mom, living on the farm, and when I moved back home in 2001, she made it often.
Her favorite thing to eat besides chocolate chip cookies and ice cream was meatloaf, baked potato and green beans. I made meatloaf today on Friday night from a recipe that I copied out of a Taste of Home magazine. I just use all organic ingredients.  I was sold on the flavor as I think the sauce and sage compliments the meatloaf. I changed my mom’s traditional recipe and incorporated some things such as broccoli and 1 oz of sharp cheddar cheese for the baked potato toppings. I do eat many healthy foods, but today is a different kind of day. It was the kind of day that calls for comfort food. I hope you enjoy the meatloaf as much as I did.

Best Meatloaf Ever
Created recipe on 02/05/2010

Best Meatloaf Ever2 eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
2/3 cup finely crushed whole-grain saltines
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
Dash pepper
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add milk, saltines, onion, salt, sage and pepper. Add beef and mix til all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix. Shape into a loaf and put in an ungreased stoneware pan. Combine remaining ingredients; spread 3/4 cup over meat loaf. Bake 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until no more pink remains. Drain grease. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining sauce. Yield 6 – 8 servings.

Bet you don’t have any left!!!!!


Eggplant Braid

I was experimenting with a lot of recipes involving mushrooms. I added the eggplant as a wow factor and believe me this recipe is a wow factor!

Eggplant Braid
Created recipe on 11/11/2009

Eggplant Braid

1 large eggplant – peeled and cubed approx 1-1/2” cubes
1 large onion – peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and minced
1 – 10 oz spinach – washed and dried well
1 – 8 oz Creimini or baby portabella mushrooms brushed off with damp towel and sliced
1 medium tomato – seeded and diced
2 Crescent Roll tubes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs (plain or seasoned)
½ cup fresh Parmesan Cheese divided to ¼ cup each
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese divided to ½ cup each
1 egg – for egg wash – to make the dough golden brown
½ cup walnuts or pine nuts (optional)

• About 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil – melt in a large pan over medium heat

• Sauté the onions for about 5 to 7 minutes depends on the stove – until they are caramelized a very deep brown color

• Add the garlic and eggplant and mushrooms to the onions around the 4 minute mark so the eggplant, mushrooms and garlic becomes almost caramelized also – you will have to judge on the texture, taste it and then salt and pepper to taste should take no more than 15 minutes – maybe

• Add spinach at the last minute and sauté until semi-wilted

• Add ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese and ½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup breadcrumbs– fold into mixture (the breadcrumbs will help prevent the vegetable juices from becoming too runny)

• Remove from heat and cool completely (because the crescent rolls will be too hard to manage if the filling is hot or warm)

• Prepare the crescent dough into one large square

• Cut 2” strips up to 3” on each side of square to leave a 6” dough path for filling

• Put the cool eggplant filling down the center of the crescent dough

• Sprinkle tomatoes on top with the rest of the cheeses – Parmesan and Mozzarella

• Bring one strip of the dough and twist gently to the middle and meet with the other strip and pinch dough together

• Continue all the way until the filling is braided – remember the filling will show because the dough does not cover it completely

• Mix egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush over the dough

• Sprinkle with nuts on top

• Bake 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is golden brown and all the cheeses are completely melted

• Serve with a salad


Portobellos with Orzo and Gorgonzola

My friend is a mushroom freak. She loves mushrooms prepared any way I think, so this one is for you. She always looks like a happy camper when she eats mushrooms. I found this recipe in a magazine, I just cannot remember where but as usual, modified it to what I had on hand. The recipe calls for red pepper but I am allergic to peppers so I omitted them. However, you can add if you wish but I cannot vouch for the flavor with the red pepper. I thought it was amazing without it. An excellent appetizer or a side dish with a salad, or you can just eat 2 or 3 a main meal. Guaranteed to fill you up!

Portobellos with Orzo and Gorgonzola
Created recipe on 09/25/2009

Portobellos with Orzo and Gorgonzola

¾ cup uncooked orzo or use leftover cooked Quinoa
4 medium to large Portobello caps (cleaned)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced (I omitted this from the recipe but you can add)
6 ounces of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (this is a milder version of blue cheese)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest and juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook the orzo according the package directions, and set aside. Remove stems from Portobello mushrooms; scrape the black gills from the underside of the mushroom using a spoon and place on a cooking tray or stone. Brush or drizzle mushrooms with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 5 minutes in oven. (The first time I made the mushrooms I thought the 8 to 10 minutes the recipe called for was too much – the mushroom was almost too soggy or overcooked).

Dice up the mushroom stems. Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté the mushroom stems and red pepper for about 5 minutes until soft. Put in a bowl, gorgonzola cheese, lemon juice and zest, seasonings and orzo. Mix well.

Spoon the orzo filling onto baked Portobello mushroom caps, letting some spill over onto the plate. Serve warm.

Cooking Tip: Mushrooms are like sponges. You should never wash them in water as they will absorb the water and the mushroom will taste tough and water logged. You can use either a damp paper towel or a towel and gently wipe down the mushrooms, removing any dirt and set aside. Stems are excellent for flavoring dishes. Don’t throw them away, dice them up and sauté with other vegetables in the dish to add more flavor.


Lori’s Taco Dip

This dip is my sister’s favorite thing to eat. Very easy to make and a huge hit at parties. My friend Lori gave this recipe to me years ago and we love it!

Lori’s Taco Dip, created on 06/30/2008

1 package 8 oz of cream cheese softened
1 16 oz container of sour cream
1 package of Taco Bell Seasoning Mix

Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together well and then add the taco seasoning mix.

1 head of chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 to 3 tomatoes seeded – removing the seeds help prevent the dip from becoming watery – or – 1 container of grape tomatoes halved and halved again
1 large can of black olives sliced
2 to 3 green onions chopped
1 package 16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese

Layer dip as follows:
Sour Cream mixture on the bottom of serving platter
Black olives
Green onions

Serve with Tostitos Scoops it is much easier to use the scoops than the flat tostitos


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Created recipe on 06/11/2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (lowfat/sodium version)
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup (lowfat/sodium version)
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Celery Soup (lowfat/sodium version)
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Cheddar Cheese soup (lowfat/sodium version)
16 ounces chicken broth (I used Pacific Natural Chicken Broth -has more flavor)
1 (15 ounces) Muir Glenn diced tomatoes
1 cup Pace hot picante sauce
1 (4.5 ounce) can green chilies
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion chopped fine
6 cloves fresh garlic minced
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or use dried if you can’t find fresh about handful
4 cooked chicken breasts or (2)
rotisserie chickens – meat pulled and chopped)
2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby/Monterey Jack cheese blend
Tortilla chips to sprinkle on top (optional)

These makes about 5 servings — I’ve doubled the recipe and froze the leftovers for a rainy day.

In large pot combine and whisk together all the soups. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, green chilies, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat. Reduce and simmer for about 1 hour.

Saute onions in olive oil until soft and light brown takes about 8 to 10 minutes depending on how high heat is. Add minced garlic, cook for another minute and add onions and garlic to the soup. Add cilantro and chopped chicken. Simmer for about half hour. Stir in cheese and remove from heat.

Serve with toritlla chips on top if preferred.

Fried Tortilla Chips
6 flour tortillas cut into strips about 1″ x 3″ long
Corn Oil enough to make about 2″ in frying pan

Heat up corn oil till hot, add flour tortilla strips and cook until light brown. This goes fast won’t even take 5 minutes to cook all the strips.



Garlic Cheese Biscuits

This is the time of the year when everyone’s diet radar goes wacko! I’ve been asked many times for this recipe I found on the internet a long time ago and have used it every holiday basically. SINFULLY GOOD AND AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!

Garlic Cheese Biscuits
reated 12/24/2007

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (makes 10-12)

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cups of milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (I like the flavor of Sharp Cheddar so I used that)
1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix Bisquik, milk and cheese to make a soft dough. Beat hard for about 30 seconds with a wooden spoon (the dough sticks horribly to a metal spoon).
Drop dough using a medium scoop onto an ungreased flat stone or stoneware bar pan. Bake until golden brown. Melt margarine and add garlic, brush over the warm biscuits before removing from the sheet. Serve warm.



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