Friday, March 30, 2012

Hoping absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I hope you miss my Friday posts as much as I miss posting them.  I have a good excuse for missing these past two weeks: I am visiting my daughter and son in law in Arizona. They are expecting their first child & my first grandchild in June.  Our other daughter is getting married in June. The wedding is in our field at our home in Massachusetts so we will be very busy with that, and won't be able to be here in Arizona for the birth.

During our visit we have been blessed to be able to attend a 4D ultra sound with Celine Dion music where we saw our new grand daughter, Gianna. What a miracle! I shed a few happy tears.

I will be catching up on my posts this coming week.  See you soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bailey's Caramel Irish Cream Mini Birthday Cakes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm a day late with my post, but my laptop died on Monday.  I didn't think it was possible, but it was revived by a family member who (lucky for me) owns a computer repair shop and I got it back yesterday. Whew!

This morning I whipped up a tray of these cute little cakes using the recipe that came with the mold.  If you don't have one of these molds, you could put the batter in a mini muffin pan. (This mold was used on another of my Friday blogs.)
The recipe is for Rum Cakes, but being that it is St. Paddy's day,  I substituted Bailey's Caramel Irish Cream.
This is not a very sweet batter, you could increase the sugar if you like a sweeter cake.
Gadgets used: Cuisinart hand mixer, silicone mini cake tray.

Rum Cake

1/2 stick softened butter
1/4 cup sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. rum (or the Irish Cream)
Makes 15 mini birthday cakes

Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla & rum.
Add baking powder & flour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
 Test with toothpick, if it comes out clean, they are done.
Cool & lightly dust with confectionery sugar.
I cut some of the excess batter off which made
 for some nice snacks for the cook!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pasta & Egg Noodles the Old Fashioned Way

If you have two eggs, two cups of flour a little olive oil, salt and water you can be eating homemade pasta in no time at all!

Today I used my Pasta Queen hand crank pasta machine and my trusty knife to make fettuccine and tagliatelle noodles. It's not really too old fashioned compared to some methods, but it is old fashioned compared to my Kitchenaid pasta rollers.

With this small recipe you could really go old fashioned by using your trusty rolling pin to roll out your dough.

I used the ingredients from the pasta recipe below. I was able to use my food processor as well as the hand crank pasta machine. I varied from the "feed through the rollers 6 - 8 times".  You'll see my less time consuming method outlined in photos and captions below.
See my archived post for wheat pasta using the Kitchenaid pasta attachments & Kitchenaid pasta drying rack.

Taken from



In a food processor combine the flour, salt, eggs, oil and 4 tablespoons water and process until the mixture begins to form a ball, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough is too dry. Process 30 seconds more to knead it. Remove the dough from the processor and let it rest, covered with an inverted bowl, at room temperature for 1 hour. (Side Note: Mario Batali says 20 min. is enough time to rest the dough.)
Set the smooth rollers of a pasta machine at the highest number. (The rollers will be wide apart.) Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flatten 1 piece into a rectangle, and cover the remaining pieces with an inverted bowl. Dust the rectangle with flour and feed it through the rollers. Fold the rectangle in half and feed it through the rollers 6-8 more times, folding in half each time and dusting with flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. Turn the dial down one notch and feed the dough through the rollers without folding. Continue to feed the dough through the rollers without folding, turning the dial lower one notch each time, until the lowest notch is reached. Roll the remaining pieces of pasta dough in the same manner.
Use the blades of a pasta machine that will cut 1/4-inch wide strips. Feed one end of a sheet of pasta dough through the blades, holding the other end straight up from the machine. Catch the strips from underneath the machine before the sheet goes completely through the rollers and put the cut strips lightly across floured jelly-roll pans or let them hang over the top of straight-backed chairs or on hangars. Let the pasta dry for 5 minutes, before cooking.

Combine the two eggs, oil and flour into your food processor . You can use the regular or the dough  hook.
As it is processing add cold water until flour starts making a ball like the one above.
(Tip: Measure out 5 Tbsp. cold water and put it into a measuring cup for easy pouring.
You may need more or less water depending on the day .)


Take dough from food processor, knead until it forms a ball.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested, put it on a lightly floured surface.
(too much flour will make dough tough)

Cut a small piece of dough. Press down one end and
feed it through the rollers set on #1.

The pasta will be thick.

Fold it in three and feed it through again on #1.

Twice through on #3
If pasta is getting sticky, lightly dust
with flour before rolling it through.

Twice through on #5

Once through on #6

Dough will be nice and thin, almost see through.

Cut a strip this length in two.
Feed cut side down into noodle cutters.

Machine noodles are on the left.
If you don't have a machine with a noodle attachment,
roll the dough and cut strips.

Cut to whatever thickness you desire. I did wide noodles.


When you unroll them, you will have nice long wide noodles.

I sauteed a clove of garlic in good olive oil.

Brought some well salted water to a boil, dropped in my noodles
and in three minutes, lifted them out of the water and into
the oil and garlic.  If some of the pasta water goes
into the pan, that's a good thing, not to worry.

My friend happened to pop in and we ate these noodles right up!
She was amazed at how easy, light and delicious they were.
They disappeared before I had a chance
to take pictures of the plated pasta!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast & Cast Iron Lemon Chicken with Thyme

Lemon Chicken with Thyme & Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

A friend of mine gave me a chicken recipe that she had tried in her new cast iron dutch oven.  She and her husband loved it.  Below is the recipe and the gadgets I played with to put this simple and simply delicious recipe together.

Lemon Chicken with Thyme   
Taken from Creative Everyday Cooking, Extra Light Cooking
3 Tbsp flour                                                                  1 Tbsp. margarine (I used butter)
1/2 tsp salt                                                                    1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper                                                               1/2 tsp. thyme (can use dry or fresh)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves                       Lemon wedges & parsley for garnish (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil                                                               Makes 4 servings

1. In a plastic zip bag, combine flour, salt and pepper, shake to mix.  Add the chicken and shake to coat lightly.   Remove the chicken and reserve the excess seasoned flour.

2.  In a large skillet (the original recipe shows a cast iron skillet),warm 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, turn the chicken and brown well on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

3. Coarsely chop the onion. Add the butter to the skillet. When the butter melts, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Stir in the reserved seasoned flour and cook, stirring, until the flour is completely incorporated, about 1 minute.

5.  Add the broth, 2 Tbsp.of the lemon juice and the thyme and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

6.  Return the chicken to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is tender and opaque, about 5 minutes. (I use a food thermometer - chicken - 160 degrees).
(Good article on food temps:

7. Divide the chicken among 4 plates. Stir the remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice into the sauce in the skillet and pour over the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges and a spinkling of parsley, if desired.

Nutrition facts are approximate per serving: Calories: 250, Protein: 18 gm, Fat: 12 gm; Carbs: 7 gm. Cholesterol: 66 mg.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots, Celery & Onions

I used a Lodge 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet. My friend, Emily, used Lodge 10-1/4-inch shallow skillet that doubles as lid from the Dutch Oven. (Shown in the Amazon link right after the Internal Thermometer)

Hot skillet = nicely browned chicken

Remove browned chicken to work on the gravy. 

Check internal temperature.


My Pot Roast & Mashed Potatoes

Peel some Yukon Gold Potatoes. 
The Kitchenaid peeler works far better than the Pampered Chef peeler.
It felt better in my hand, and peeled the potatoes with ease.

Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes with the Big Mouth Chopper.
This gadget worked perfectly.

I used a ricer to make the potatoes. They came out amazing!
It was my first attempt at ricing potatoes, delicious!
Be sure to use warm cream or whole milk, butter & salt.

"Riced" potatoes

Lightly cover the bottom of the Cuisinart pot insert, set to "Brown"
Put a 3 lb. bottom round roast in the hot oil, brown on all
sides (be sure to wipe the roast before putting it in the pan).

Add one whole onion chopped.
After taking this photo, I cut the roast in four sections
so it would cook faster.

Add chopped celery, carrots &
 two cups of water & liberally sprinkle
Durkee Montreal Seasoning Grill Creations.
I followed the directions on the Cuisinart and within an hour
I had a complete dinner with gravy! Yum

My husband's dinner; tender beef,
 creamy, riced potatoes, vegetables & gravy.

Cuisinart pan insert and cover.  Pan is non stick & wipes clean.