Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Breakfast - Baked Gruyere and Sausage Omelet

Sunday is the day I make a "big" breakfast for the family. The rest of the week, everyone usually fends for themselves. On Sundays though, I usually prepare a big spread. Nothing fancy but definitely more than just cereal. I was watching Food Network (which is frequently) and saw Giada De Laurentiis make this dish. I immediately went to my computer to print out the recipe. Oh, what's another printed recipe, right? It can join all the other hundreds of recipes I have printed out. (you can't have too many recipes) Well, I am so glad I made this baked omelet. It was absolutely delicious. Family verdict: Husband & I loved it. Marissa liked it but picked out the red peppers. Mariah didn't eat it. (she's the picky eater) Try this one Sunday morning. You'll be glad you did.

Baked Gruyere and Sausage Omelet


Butter, for greasing baking dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 pound mild turkey sausage, casings removed (I used
Jennie-O turkey breakfast sausage links)
8 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk (I used 1% since that's the type of milk I buy)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese (found in the specialty cheese section)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper, 1 cup of Gruyere cheese and 1/4 cup of parsley. Stir in the onion mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut the baked omelet into wedges and sprinkle with remaining parsley before serving.

Sunday Breakfast ready in about 30 minutes

It's going to be a good day!

Serve it with a fruit salad to start your day off right

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: The middle of my omelet was not set after 25 minutes. I cooked it an extra 5 minutes or so until the middle was firm. So, check your omelet after the recommended time but if it's still loose, cook for a few minutes more until set.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Bars

There's nothing better than a dessert baked from scratch. Normally my daughters like to help me bake but they were off doing some type of coloring craft project. So, I was left to fend for myself. No worries. This dessert was in and out of the oven in no time. I love anything with lemon and these are wonderful lemon bars. This recipe comes from the cookbook, Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King. If you like baking, this is a great cookbook to have in your collection.
6 Ingredients - How easy is that?
Dot's Lemon Bars
1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
To Make the Base: In a medium bowl, mix the butter, flour and sugar with your hands till the mixture is well blended. Place the mixture in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pat the mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
To Make The Topping: While the base is baking, beat the eggs. Add the sugar and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix it till it is incorporated. When the base is baked, remove the pan from the oven. Add the lemon juice to the sugar mixture and mix. Pour it over the warm base and bake it for 20 minutes.

When it is cool, cut it into squares. Dust it with more confectioners sugar, if desired.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: How to store lemons? I've always stored my lemons in the refrigerator because they last longer. But the last batch I bought, I put in my fruit bowl. I got much more juice when they were at room temperature. Unfortunately, they don't stay as fresh as those stored in the refrigerator. So, my conclusion.....if you're going to use up your lemons in a week or so, keep them out in a bowl (it's pretty that way too) but if you want to keep them fresh longer, then put them in the refrigerator.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cooking Light Week - Day Seven: Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake

"This is light!", my husband exclaimed as he ate his slice of triple-chocolate cheesecake. Yes it is! This "light" version of cheesecake is smooth, rich & full of chocolaty goodness. I've only made a few simple cheesecake recipes in the past. I challenged myself and boy am I glad I did. It had several steps to it but it was very easy to make and it turned out absolutely delicious. I compared this recipe to other similar cheesecake recipes and found that most cheesecake recipes use more butter in the crust, full fat cream cheese, more eggs and full fat sour cream. You don't need it, trust me. This gives the presence of an elegant, decadent dessert. Great for a dinner party or a family event or when you want to make an impression.

(See bottom of post for my first blog award I received)

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe from Cooking Light

1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon stick margarine
1 tablespoon egg white
1 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 tablespoons dark rum (I used light rum)
3 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 (8-ounce) block nonfat cream cheese, softened (I ended up using 2 reduced fat blocks of cream cheese since that's what I had in my fridge)
1 (8-ounce) block Neufchâtel cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
Chocolate curls (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place first 3 ingredients in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until blended. Add crumbs; stir well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; let cool on a wire rack.

Combine rum and chocolate squares in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate syrup, stirring until smooth.

Preheat oven to 300°. Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add rum mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until almost set. Combine sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons cocoa; stir well. Turn oven off, and spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 45 minutes in oven with door closed. Remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired.

My daughter Mariah learning how to press crumbs in a pan. She did a good job.

Look at that cheesecake filling!

A Perfect Slice


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Don't be afraid to try recipes that seem a little more difficult or with ingredients you've never used before. Now, of course, my motto is simple, quick and easy but sometimes if you push yourself to try something new, everyone will reap the taste rewards.

My Award!

I was so surprised and pleased when Barbara from Barbara Bakes passed on this blog award to me. I'm new to this world of food blogging and it's so nice that people are visiting my site and recognizing me. Check out Barbara's wonderful blog for some great recipe ideas. Thank you Barbara!
I'm going to pass on this award to 2 great blogs that I've been following:
Prudence Pennywise - I have been following this blog for about a year now and I love it. I have tried several of her recipes and each one has turned out delicious.
Cooking Stuff - I have only recently begun to follow this blog. His posts are humorous and his variety of recipes look great.
This has been a great week of sharing Cooking Light recipes and pairing up with my sister-in-law, Aggie, over at Aggie's Kitchen. Here's a look back at the recipes we presented this week:
Thank you and Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cooking Light Week - Day Six: Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

We love to grill. We love shrimp. We love to grill shrimp. I knew this would taste good and be fun to make. The sauce is very basic but gives good flavor to the shrimp, red onion and pineapple. I have to tell the truth, though. I forgot to buy the sesame seeds that are supposed to go in the sauce. I know that would have made it even better. The recipe calls for putting all the ingredients on a skewer but we like to grill our shrimp individually. This is a very healthy meal. It's low in calories and fat but full of protein. So grill some shrimp today!!!
Served with Lemon Orzo (recipe to follow)

Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs
Recipe from Cooking Light


1/4 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

48 large peeled and deveined shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)
32 (1-inch) pieces cubed fresh pineapple (about 3/4 pound)
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
Cooking spray


Prepare grill.
To prepare sauce, combine teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds in a small bowl.
To prepare kebabs, thread 6 shrimp, 4 pineapple chunks, and 1 onion wedge alternately onto each of 8 (10-inch) skewers. Brush kebabs with teriyaki mixture. Place kebabs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes or until shrimp are done, turning once.

Lemon Orzo

6 cups chicken broth
16 ounces uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used freshly shredded Parmesan that comes in a container)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Stir in orzo; cook, uncovered, 11 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain.

Melt butter in same pan over medium heat. Add orzo, lemon rind, and next 3 ingredients. Stir gently just until cheese melts. Garnish, if desired. Serve hot.

Note: The above recipe yields 8 servings so I cut the ingredients in half and it was plenty for a family of four.

Dinner is Served!


Come back tomorrow for the last day of Cooking Light Week. Aggie (Aggie's Kitchen) and I have some delicious "light" desserts to share with you.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Grilled shrimp cook up very quickly, only about 2-3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook or they will dry out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cooking Light Week - Day Four: New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Welcome to Day Four of Cooking Light week! Make sure you head over to Aggie's Kitchen for Day One and Day Three recipes. I wanted to do a side dish and this was an easy pick since I love potatoes and garlic. Believe it or not, I've never roasted garlic before. Where have I been? Anyway, this is a different but very good way to eat potatoes. I have to admit, I'm used to my garlic roasted potatoes that I usually make so at first I wasn't sure about the tangy mustard and vinegar flavor. But the more I ate them the more I liked them. My husband loved them. The kids just wanted the plain roasted ones so I put some aside for them before adding the vinaigrette. We ate this with grilled rib eye steaks. So, try something new today. It may become a favorite.
New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
7 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and potatoes in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well to coat. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender, stirring after 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
3. Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp. Discard skins. Combine garlic pulp, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chives, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add potatoes to bowl; toss well to coat

It's a Potato Parade getting ready to march in the oven!

Well, I wonder what Aggie has in store for you tomorrow. Go to
Aggie's Kitchen to find out what delicious recipe she's cooked up.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: This recipe's title says New Potatoes but the ingredient list says small red potatoes. Sometimes the term new potatoes are used to describe all small waxy potatoes. New potatoes are basically immature potatoes harvested in spring & early summer. They have high moisture content and a creamy texture. My grocery store had a 3lb bag of petite red potatoes which is what I used in this recipe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cooking Light Week - Day Two: Kung Pao Chicken

This is going to be a special week of cooking. I have paired up with my sister-in-law, Aggie, from Aggie's Kitchen, to do a week of recipes from Cooking Light. We are both subscribers of Cooking Light magazine and have chosen recipes from the magazine and on-line. Aggie will post recipes on Monday, Wednesday & Friday. I will post recipes on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. We both will post a dessert recipe on Sunday. It has been so much fun searching for and trying new recipes. I've learned so much from Aggie and it has been fun doing this week of recipes with her.

My first recipe is Kung Pao Chicken. I love making Asian-style food at home and the best part is my family loves it too. This is so good! We loved the spicy sauce and the peanuts in it. My daughter, Mariah, said, "It's spicy mom but a good kind of spicy". I know something is a hit when my 2 daughters go for second helpings. They both took a 2nd trip on this dish.

My daughters don't like broccoli but I still cook with it. One of them is starting to like it (a little) so I keep introducing it to them. This Kung Pao Chicken is a great way to have your kids eat a vegetable they may not love.

Kung Pao Chicken
Recipe from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided (I grated a piece of ginger)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts (I used lightly salted roasted peanuts)

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

I love my wok pan! Perfect for this recipe!


Now, don't forget to check out Aggie's Kitchen on Wednesday for another great Cooking Light recipe.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Have you noticed how thick boneless chicken breast pieces are these days. I always pound my chicken using a meat mallet before I use it. This makes the chicken more uniform and helps make it more tender. It's an extra step but it's worth it.

Another quick tip: Prep your food before you start cooking. This recipe cooks up quickly so it's easier to have your ingredients chopped and measured before you begin.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Parmesan Tilapia

This is a quick and easy seafood dish that is also very tasty. This recipe came from the free 2007 Costco Cookbook. Since I don't have a Costco where I live, my sister Paula gives me this every year. I collect cookbooks and she makes sure that I get my copy. Tilapia is a mild fish and very inexpensive. Our seafood market sells it for $4.99/lb. I love seafood and you will see many future posts using a variety of seafood. I grew up in a coastal town in Maryland and was introduced to seafood at a very young age. I have loved it ever since. Thankfully my husband and one of our daughters also loves seafood. The other daughter....well, not so much. I'm hoping one day she'll
enjoy it as much as we do.
Tilapia Parmesan
Recipe by Favorite Recipes, The Costco Way
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 - 2 lbs tilapia fillets

Fresh Tilapia Fillets

Ingredient Lineup

In a small bowl, mix together Parmesan, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
Arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer on a foiled lined broiling pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.
Remove from the oven and spread Parmesan mixture over the fillets. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.

Pair it with rice and a vegetable for a healthy dinner


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: When buying fish, smell the fish. It should smell like the sea. It should not have a strong "fishy" odor. If it does, then it's not fresh.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Antipasto Pasta Salad

A "Fully Loaded" Pasta Salad

This is a fantastic pasta salad with so many great flavors. It's a great side dish to take to a family gathering, a picnic or a neighborhood get-together. My family loves this pasta salad and it can be changed in many ways. If you don't want the salami or pepperoni in it, then omit it and add more veggies. You can change up your vegetables and cheese. That's what makes it such a great pasta salad. Add what you like. I used rotini pasta instead of seashell and cubed mozzarella cheese instead of Asiago. I had my deli cut about six thick slices of salami and just cut those into pieces. I think grape or cherry tomatoes are the best ones to use in this salad. The balsamic dressing is excellent as well. Adjust to your taste. I usually add a little more balsamic vinegar. I hope this pasta salad makes an appearance at some of your summer gatherings!
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Recipe by Danya on
1 pound seashell pasta
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad, and mix well.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: This is great to make the night before. You can put some dressing on it but save some to "re-dress" in the morning. Also, if you make it the night before, hold off on the tomatoes. Add those the next day so they won't get too soggy.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sour Cream Banana Bread

There are many banana bread recipes out there but this one comes out great everytime. It is so moist and just plain good.

Only use overripe bananas

A big slice for breakfast, snack or anytime

Sour Cream Banana Bread

Recipe by Charishma Ramchandani at

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspon salt

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

1/2 cup sour cream (I use light sour cream)

Grease a large loaf pan

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla

Add dry ingredients, then bananas, nuts and sour cream

Mix well

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached



Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Buy extra bananas at the grocery store. Let a few go overripe and then you'll have an excuse to make this delicious banana bread.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An Italian Family Classic - Baked Ziti

Welcome to my blog and my first post! This is all new for me so bare with me as I attempt to understand and figure out all this blogging stuff. I was encouraged to start this blog by my sister-in-law, Aggie. She has her own amazing food blog! Check it out at She makes wonderful food and is very creative in the kitchen. Thanks for all your help Aggie!

Ready for the oven

Ready to eat!

I usually like to cook simple, easy and quick meals. Here is a very good meatless Baked Ziti with just a few ingredients. Pair it with garlic bread and a side salad and you've got a delicious weekday dinner.

Better Baked Ziti
Recipe by Art Ginsburg Mr. Food Cooks Pasta

1/2 pound ziti
15 oz ricotta cheese
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3 cups spaghetti sauce, divided (I really like Gia Russo but use your favorite jarred sauce)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the ziti until just barely tender; drain and place in a large bowl. Mix the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese with the ziti. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan; cover the bottom of pan with half the spaghetti sauce. Spoon the ziti mixture into the pan; cover with the remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts and is lightly golden.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: use part-skim ricotta & part-skim mozzarella cheese to lighten it up some


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