Posted by: Deana | February 8, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

I found this recipe over at made in melissa’s kitchen (her source was Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics); the soup was delicious and both Z and I really enjoyed it.  To simplify the recipe (and keep from being on my feet too long in the kitchen, not very fun these days) I used frozen meatballs  we had from Costco.

Italian Wedding Soup


  • 3/4 pound ground chicken or ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed and crumbled, or finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini, stars or orzo
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill (optional, I omitted)
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Posted by: Deana | February 7, 2011

Olallieberry Pie

Olallieberry pie is a favorite around here, thanks to Z.  I found this recipe here, and we enjoyed it on Thanksgiving this year!

Olallieberry Pie

  • one recipe double pie crust
  • 6 c. olallieberries
  • ¾ cup sugar, depending on sweetness of berries
  • pinch of salt
  • juice and zest from one lemon (I used juice I had frozen, but went without the zest)
  • 3 T. minute tapioca
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T. milk

Preheat oven 425º.

Combine berries with sugar, salt, and lemon. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if you like. Add tapioca and let sit for 15 minutes.

Line a 9“ pie plate with dough rolled out to 14”, letting the dough hang over the rim of the plate. Fill with berry mixture, smooth to the edges, and dot with butter. Cover with second piece of dough and with a pair of scissors trim the dough so it extends an inch beyond the rim of the plate. To seal, fold dough under so it sits on the edge of the plate. Pinch into a into a decorative border, or crimp with a fork.

Whisk together yolk with 1 tbl milk, making an eggwash. Brush dough with wash, sprinkle with sugar, and with a sharp knife cut a few vents into the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350, place pie onto baking sheet, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is dark and olallieberry juice is bubbling through the steam vents.

Posted by: Deana | February 5, 2011

Crumb-Topped Apple Pie

This family favorite is from Mom.  This is my brother’s favorite pie, and certainly my favorite breakfast-the-next-day pie.  That is, if there is any pie left the next morning.

Crumb-Topped Apple Pie

  • A double pie crust (only half is needed)
  • 7-8 Granny Smith Apples, pared, cored, sliced

Mix and sprinkle over the apples:

  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 tes. ground cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of allspice
  • dash of salt

Mix slightly and set aside.

Place one crust in a 9′ pie plate and add the prepared apples.  Dot with butter.

For the crumb topping, mix:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • dash or two of cinnamon
  • ¾ c. softened butter, cut in

Sprinkle over the apples, but do not pack down.  Bake at 400º for 40 minutes, or until the apples are tender but not too mushy.  Poke with a skewer to check the apples.

Posted by: Deana | February 4, 2011

Turkey Soup with Rice

This may be a new Thanksgiving tradition for us; great way to use the turkey carcass.  We found this recipe here, on food network.  This was delicious, and Z and I both really enjoyed it.

Turkey Soup with Rice

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water (I put in enough water to cover the carcass, which was about 16 c.)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (we had fresh thyme, so I used fresh thyme!)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chopped leftover turkey
  • 1 cup frozen or leftover corn
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

In a large pot, combine carcass, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaf, and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours over medium low heat. Strain and discard vegetables and bones. Reserve turkey stock. In a large pot, melt butter and cook onions until tender. Stir in celery and thyme. Stir in carrots and rice and toss to coat. Stir in turkey stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables and rice are tender. Stir in turkey, corn and parsley. Return to simmer and season to taste.

Posted by: Deana | February 3, 2011

Turkey Brine

This is another fabulous recipe from The Pioneer Woman; we had a delicious turkey this Thanksgiving using this brine.

Turkey Brine

  • 3 cups Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
  • 2 gallons Cold Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Peppercorns
  • 5 whole Bay Leaves
  • Peel Of Three Large Oranges

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover.

Allow to cool completely, then pour into a large brining bag or pot. Place uncooked turkey in brine solution, then refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.

When ready to roast turkey, remove turkey from brine. Submerge turkey in a pot or sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to sit in clean water for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside. (I think Z just did a rinse in the sink.)

Discard brine. Remove turkey from clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting method.

Posted by: Deana | February 2, 2011

Swedish Coffee Bread

Lauren recently gave me some Cardamom (and helped me assemble this bread), which I love, so I was searching for recipes to enjoy it.  I’ve had my eye on this one since it was posted in December over at Simply Recipes.  There are great step-by-step pictures on the Simply Recipes site for how to assemble this bread.  This recipe did not disappoint.  Brian, Lauren, Z and I all thoroughly enjoyed this delicious bread!  Z and I enjoyed this both as dessert the day we made it and breakfast the next morning.

Swedish Coffee Bread

It’s best to start with whole cardamom pods – peel the pods (helps to crush them first) to release the seeds. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle or use a rolling pin to grind them.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2-pkg active yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
  • About 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional, we omitted)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional, we added these to our wreath)
  • 1/4 cup almond paste (optional, definitely included this!)

Egg glaze:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp cream

Sugar glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water (I used milk)


1 Put milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until steamy (but not boiling). Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and sugar until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Pour into a mixing bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and egg.

2 Mix in salt and cardamom. Slowly add in 2 cups of the flour. After the first two cups of flour gradually add more flour until a soft dough starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

3 Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough for 7 to 10 minutes until smooth, OR use a dough hook in a stand-up mixer and knead the dough that way for 7 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from being too sticky. Note that the dough should remain soft, so take care not to add too much flour.

4 Place the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a clean tea-towel or with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

At this point you can make a simple braided bread if you want (2 loaves), by punching the dough down, dividing the dough in half, and then dividing each half into three equal parts, rolling the dough pieces into ropes, braiding them, and tucking the ends under. Or you can get more fancy, which is what we’ve done here, with a filling, and forming the dough into a wreath shape. The following directions are for the wreath form.

5 Press the dough down to deflate it a bit. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Take one part (saving the other for wreath number 2) and use your fingers to spread it into a 8-inch by 16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. If you are having difficulty getting the dough to keep its shape, just do what you can and let it sit for 5 minutes before trying again. Like pizza dough, the dough needs time to relax while you are forming it. Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving at least a half inch border on the edges so the dough will stick together when rolled. Mix together the brown and white sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle the dough with half of the mixture (saving the other half for the second batch of dough). Sprinkle on more fillings, as you like, such as raisins, slivered almonds, or almond paste. You could even sprinkle on some cream cheese for a creamier filling.

6 Carefully roll the dough up lengthwise, with the seam on the bottom. Carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet. Form a circle with the dough on the baking sheet, connecting the ends together

7 Using scissors, cut most of the way through the dough, cutting on a slant. Work your way around the dough circle. After each cut, pull out the dough segment either to the right or to the left, alternating as you go around the circle. The dough circle will look like a wreath when you are done.

Repeat steps 5, 7, and 8 with the rest of the dough, to form a second wreath.

8 Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm area for a second rise. Let rise for about 40 minutes to an hour; the dough should again puff up in size.

9 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Use a pastry brush to brush over the dough. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes of baking, if the top is getting well browned, tent with some aluminum foil.

10 Remove from oven and let cool completely. Whisk together powdered sugar and water to create a final glaze (optional). Add more water if the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more powdered sugar if the glaze is too runny. Drizzle the glaze in a back and forth motion over the pastry.

Makes 2 wreaths.

Posted by: Deana | February 1, 2011


This is another recipe from Mom.  I grew up loving this, and since being married Z has come to love it too!  We don’t make this very often, but whenever we see brisket on sale, we enjoy this dinner!  This is a great meal to make the day before, and then re-heat before serving and enjoying.


  • Brisket
  • 1 can coke
  • 1 pkg. dried onion soup mix
  • 1 bottle chili sauce

Score the non-fat side of the brisket across the grain.  Put fat-side up in roasting pan.

Mix and pour over the meat: 1 can coke, 1 pkg. dried onion soup mix, and 1 bottle chili sauce.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 4 hours or 30 min. per pound or 190 degree internal temp. or fork tender!!! (lots of choices!)

Remove and let cool slightly.

Drain drippings into a bowl and refrigerate.  When cooled skim-off the fat.

Using a knife, remove excessive fat from the brisket.  Slice cross-grain into 1/2-3/4 inch slices.

Carefully place the sliced meat back into your serving dish. Pour sauce (which has the fat removed) over the sliced meat making sure the sauce gets between each slice. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

When ready to serve placed covered dish into a 350 degree oven for 30-60 minutes.

Posted by: Deana | January 31, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 2 lb. hamburger
  • 2 lb. stew meat
  • 1 lg. onion
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 – 32oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 3 lg. cans of tomato paste
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 3 tsp. oregano
  • 3 bay leaves

Brown the hamburger and stew meat in a Tablespoon of oil.  Stir in the onion and celery until softened slightly.  Drain fat if needed.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 days, being careful not to scorch it.

Posted by: Deana | January 30, 2011

Chicken Broccoli

Chicken Broccoli

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 chicken, cooked and meat cut up
  • large bunch of broccoli, steamed slightly
  • shredded cheese, cheddar or a blend

Pre-heat the oven to 350º.  Grease a 9-x-13 pan.  Place chunks or pieces of pre-cooked chicken in the bottom of the pan.  Next, cover the chicken with pieces of broccoli.

Mix soup, curry, and mayonnaise and pour over broccoli.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake until the broccoli is done.  Bake at 350º for about 45-60 minutes.

Serve over white rice.

Posted by: Deana | December 23, 2010

Classic Dinner Rolls

I tried a new recipe for the rolls for Thanksgiving this year.  I got this recipe from a book I love, the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.  They turned out perfectly, and also made wonderful turkey sandwiches in the days following Thanksgiving.

Classic Dinner Rolls

  • 2 ½ tes. (1 package) active dry yeast
  • ¼ c. warm water (105º-115º F)
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ½ c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tes. salt

In the 5-qt. bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the milk, sugar, 2 eggs, butter, flour, and salt.  Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook, and knead on low speed.  Add a little more flour only if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes.  The dough should be soft but not sticky.  Remove the dough from the bowl.

Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and turn it out on a clean work surface.  Cut it in half with a sharp knife of bench scraper.  Cut each half into 8 equal pieces.  Roll each piece against the work surface into a round ball.  Place the balls on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let them rise until puffy and pillow-soft when gently squeezed, 30-40 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 400º.

Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg.  Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Serve immediately.  I brushed the rolls with melted butter after they came out of the oven.

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