Monday, March 29, 2010

Lil' Black Bottom Banana Cream Pies

Lil' Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie (adapted from Old-fashioned Banana Cream Pie)

1 1/2 pkg of mini pie shells
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas
5 oz semisweet choc chips
1 tbsp butter

1. Bake a pie shells according directions on package on a cookie sheet.

2. Scald the milk in a large pot.

3. Combine the sugar, flour and salt in a separate pot.

4. Gradually stir in the scalded milk. Continue stirring until thickened.

5. Cover and cook for a few more minutes.

6. Beat three egg yolks in a separate bowl. Temper with some of the hot milk mixture. Add egg mixture into the pot.

7. Cook another minute to combine. Remove from heat.

8. Stir in butter and vanilla.

9. Let cool to room temperature.

10. Heat chocolate chips in double boiler or microwave. Add butter and stir.

11. Plop one tbsp on chocolate into each pie shell.

12. Slice bananas and place one on top of the chocolate.

13. Stir bananas into banana cream.

14. Pour into shells and keep refrigerated.

15. Serve with whipped cream.

Cheesecake with Strawberry Reduction

Cheesecake with Strawberry Reduction (taken from Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake)

2 cups graham crackers
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter (melted)

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Crush graham crackers.

2. Mix with all crust ingredients. Press into bottom of a 9" springform pan.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese till fluffy.

4. Add sugar and continue beating on low.

5. Add eggs one a time and keep on low.

6. Add flour, lemon juice, and vanilla.

7. Add sour cream. Mix to incorporate all ingredients.

8. Pour into springform and bake on 325 for 1 one hour and fifteen minutes.

9. After done baking, open oven door and let cool in oven. Transfer to fridge after completely cool.

10. Wash strawberries and cut off tops. Arrange onto of cheesecake.

11. Drizzle strawberry reduction.

Strawberry Reduction

10 strawberries (diced)
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbps sugar

1. Boil water, sugar, and strawberries.

2. Use a masher to break apart the strawberries once they have simmered about 5-8 minutes.

3. Continue stirring and cook for 10 more minutes. Be sure to keep smashing the strawberry pieces occasionally while cooking.

4. When it reaches desired thickness, take off heat and plunge into a cold water bath.

5. Top and serve with cheesecake (or ice cream, strawberry shortcake, any other dessert you like!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Peep Cupcakes

I wanted to make really cute cupcakes for my Kindergarteners this year. So I googled cute cupcakes and came across these. The Food Network Cutest-Ever Easter Cupcakes. I loved the little chicks and they won in the Nest poll over the bunnies. My kids loved them and hopefully you will too!

Easter Peep Cupcakes

1 box cake mix (white)
1 can of frosting (white)
food coloring (blue and green)
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 bag of Easter Egg jelly beans
3 packs of Peeps
Airheads (white is best but I ran out so I used some other colors as tulips)

1. Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, and water as per directions on the back of box. Bake in cupcake liners.

2. Tint frosting blue with 6-8 drops of blue food coloring. Mix well. Frost cupcakes

3. Stir 5-8 drops of green food coloring into the coconut. Stir till welly coated.

4. Unwrap airheads and cut in half. Then cut each half into a cracked egg shape.

5. Place one peep toward the back end of the cupcake. Add a cracked egg shell airhead in front of it.

6. Sprinkle some green coconut in front and around the peep and egg.

7. Place 3 jelly bean eggs in the coconut.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken Costolleta with Mashed Potato Balls

I saw this on a few blogs recently and knew it was definetly a recipe that should be made by me! After trying the recipe I think it's a food that will be made frequently, because it was delicious. The breading for the chicken cutlet was so crunchy and flavorful! I think I will take that part of this recipe and adapt it for other chicken dishes. Thank you, Joelen for posting this fantastic recipe.

Chicken Costolleta
(adapted slightly from Joelen's Crispy Chicken Costolleta )

2 lbs chicken breasts (cut thin and pounded)
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, whiked
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
butter and olive oil for frying

1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.

2. Combine eggs and lemon juice in a bowl.

3. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in different shallow dish.

4. Dredge chicken cutlet is flour then dip in egg mixture, and lastly in the breadcrumbs.

5. Heat medium size fry pan with 2 parts olive oil to one part butter. Fry chicken cutlets about 5-6 minute per side.

6. Top with sauce.
Cream Sauce

1 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 cup lemon juice
salt/ pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp grated Pecorino Romano

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan.

2. Add crushed garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes on low.

3. Pour in the cream and let reduce for 4-5 minutes.

4. Add in mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

5. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Mashed Potato Balls

1 lb potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 tbs butter
3/4 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup fontina cheese (finely cubed)
2 eggs beaten

1. Boil potatoes.

2. Drain potatoes and beat on low.

3. Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Let cool.

4. Fold in fontina cheese.
5. Shape into golfball sized balls.

6. Roll in panko breading.
7. Dip in beaten egg.

8. Roll in panko breading again.
9. Heat oil on high.

10. Drop mashed potatoe balls in oil for 5-10 seconds.

11. Remove with spider.

What goes better with food than music?

I was admiring one of my favorite blogs, My Italian Grandmother, a few days ago and loved her concept for the blog. It was a tribute to her Grandmother and all she'd learned from her. She has music on her page that quickly brought me back to my grandparents' home and having a great time when we are all together. I started thinking that nothing goes better with food than, first, family and, then next, music. Both food and music have the ability to embody a memory with something tangible, a taste or a sound, to hold on to. So I decided to add some music to my blog that are family favorites and, also, some songs from my wedding, since those memories are the ones that I value the most. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Italian Mac and Cheese

Italian Mac and Cheese
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman's Fancy Macaroni and Cheese

5 cups Macaroni
8 Tablespoons Butter (Salted Butter)
2 whole Medium Onions, sliced julienne
10 slices Regular Bacon
2 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
1/2 cups Half-and-Half
2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
Salt And Pepper and Garlic Powder (to taste)
1/2 cups Grated Provolone Cheese
1/2 cups Grated Fontina Cheese
1/2 cups Grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cups Grated Mozzarella

1. Fry bacon in a skillet. Drain on a paper towel. Don't forget to save the grease.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat until browned and crispy. Set aside on paper towels.

3. Cook pasta in boiling water until very, very al dente. Drain. Set aside

4. In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter.

5. Add bacon grease.

6. Slowly add in flour and whisk to combine. Continue to cook for another minute or two.

7. Stir in milk and half and half. Cook for 5- 7 more minutes.

8. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

9. Beat the egg yolks and temper with a few spoonfuls of cooked milk mixture. Stir tempered egg yolks back into hot milk mixture. Combine well.

10. Toss in all the tasty cheeses and mix well.

11. Stir in bacon and onions.

12. Add pasta and mix.

13. Cook in a large pyrex for 20-25 minutes on 350 degrees.

Saturday, March 6, 2010



Large, thick steak (I used London Broil)
Kaiser Rolls
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup shredded Provolone Cheese
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 diced Pickled Cherry Peppers (optional)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar OR 1/4 cup Cherried Pepper Vinegar (from jar if using Peppers)
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder
Non-stick Cooking Spray

1. Shave the steak as thinly as possible. (I spent about 20 minutes shaving the 32oz steak)

2. Season steak with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder.
3. Spray a large skillet/saute pan with cooking spray and heat on high.
4. Add garlic to pan.

5. Add shaved steak to pan.

6. Stir frequently adding more cooking spray occasionally.

7. Once steak is cooked thoroughly, add vinegar.
8. Let simmer for 1 minute.
9. Add pickled cherry peppers and stir continuously until well mixed.

10. Add mozzarella cheese and provolone cheese. Mix until cheese is melted.

11. Scoop onto rolls and serve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Cat's Red and White Hat Cake

March 2nd was Dr. Seuss' birthday, so my kindergarteners and I made Cat in the Hat's Hat Cake. It came out quite cute; I wanted to take more pictures, but I was busy helping my students. Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!! We also made the Pink Yink's ink. It came out great, but the kids liked the cake much better.

Ok, this is the simplest recipe ever.

Get a cookie (sugar would be ideal since they are white but I couldn't find any so we used snickerdoodles).

Put a tiny dollop of white icing on top to hold the cake on tightly.

Bake 2 strawberry cake mixes in a large jelly roll pan and 2 white cake mixes in the same manner. The cakes should be only about 1 - 1 1/2 inch high.

Ice the strawberry sheet cake with strawberry or pink dyed vanilla icing. Ice the white sheet cake with vanilla or cream cheese icing.

Take a round cookie cutter with a diameter a bit smaller than the cookie and cut out the cake and stack.

Strawberry, then white, then strawberry, and then white.

Tada! The hat cake!

I didn't get the best pictures, but they looked so cute and all the kids loved them!