Blueberry Pie Bars

Before my husband and I were married way back in the late eighties. We got a puppy together, isn’t that kind how things tend to progress for most? You date for a few years; you move in together and get a pet? I see it is a trial period to see if you can co-habitat before pulling the trigger on marriage and kids. If you can co parent a pet and not kill each other; you might have a shot at this marriage/parenting thing. In my opinion!
IMG_3984We have had dogs more than we haven’t; 4 in total and all but the first were rescues. The current one is testing all of us. I have lovingly dubbed him my ungrateful rescue. The last two were wanderers but that is nothing compared to the coo coo that runs our lives now. I really wish I documented everything he has done. It would make for an entertaining dog drama. He has separation anxiety and he has come a LONG way in the last 9 years. He is lucky he has us and we are lucky to have him. BUT last week he had to have TPLO. I proudly can say I have never heard of this up until now. TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy – now that’s a mouthful.
IMG_3990.JPGWe have been spoiled with free feeding all of our dogs, very few leash walks, we have a lot of land that’s partially ours and all around us. Mostly hands off care for our pets. This surgery comes with a lot of restrictions for not just weeks but months. It’s going to be a long road not just for him but for us. My daughter gets all the props for leading and keeping us on track. Just a glimpse of the first 14 days; no stairs, his own pill of the week box and a cone of shame. Here’s hoping for a full recovery 4-6 months down the road.
IMG_3993.JPGWhat is my segue into my cooking blog – absolutely nothing and I apologize but it has been pretty much all dog and no cooking in my world right now. I will share with you a wonderful blueberry recipe that is worth checking out and pretty easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble Crust and Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional but recommended

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt; or sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Blueberry Layer
12 ounces (2 cups) blueberries (fresh or frozen; thawed or unthawed either works)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust and Crumble Topping In a large bowl add the melted butter and sugars, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt. Stir to combine, should be dry and sandy with a few large clumps.  Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside for the topping. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, Create an even smooth flat crust. I use the bottom of my measuring cup. Set aside.
IMG_3985Filling In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Evenly pour filling over the crust smooth it over the crust.
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Blueberry Layer In a separate medium mixing bowl, add all filling ingredients and toss to combine. Evenly distribute blueberry mixture over the filling.
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sprinkle with the reserved topping.

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Bake for about 60 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and the topping is slightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving. Don’t skip this part or they will fall apart.
IMG_3992.JPGBars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I bet they won’t make a week in my house.

 

Recipe adapted from Avery Cooks 

Corn Bread – slowcooker

Happy St Patrick’s Day – I have my corned beef simmering on the stove top. Instead of peeling my veggies like I normally do so everything is prepped ahead of time; I decided to make some cornbread in my slow cooker. Yeah you read that correctly.  I have been getting and give a couple of subscriptions of Better Homes & Gardens for more years than I can remember; and this last one came with a slow cooker recipe booklet. There were several bread recipes listed and me being my skeptical self had to try one of them.
img_3970.jpgI wasn’t sure how this would turn out in a crockpot that creates a lot of moisture; but it was a simple enough to throw together and I didn’t have to pick up anything from the store so why not give it a try. Well I did make a slight substitute. I don’t have frozen corn in my freezer; so I substitute a half of a can of niblet corn I have in the cupboard.

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May not look perfect but it has great flavor

I never really paid too much attention to; or I haven’t bought a regular box of tinfoil in a VERY long time but I can tell you it will be my last box. It tears so easy that I find little use for it. Guess I have always purchased the heavy-duty boxes? Maybe it’s one of those older and wiser moments to note.
IMG_3973IMG_3974Slow Cooker Corn Bread

Ingredients
1 cup yellow corn meal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
½ cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
⅓ cup vegetable oil
Tinfoil
Nonstick spray

Directions
Line a 3 – 4 quart oval slow cooker with foil. Coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl stir together the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
IMG_3975IMG_3976In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add egg mixture all at once to the cornmeal mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). Spoon into the prepared slow cooker. It will only be about ¼ of the way up the sides in the beginning.
IMG_3978Cover and cook on high for 1½ hour to 1¾ hours or until a toothpick comes out clean, if you can, halfway through the cooking time spin the liner half turn.
Turn of cooker, if possible, remove crockery liner from cooker. Remove lid carefully so the condensation does not drip onto the bread. Cover opening completely with paper towels; replace lid. Cool for 10 minutes. Using foil, lift out bread. Peel off foil and cool bread completely on a wire rack.
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My daughter and I really liked it a lot. my husband is not a fan of corn so that part of the recipe he was not a fan of; Good then there is more for us! side note he doesn’t like corn chowder either so there’s that.

Makes one loaf approx. 8 slices.
290 cal, 14g fat, 35 carb, 1g fiber

Corned Beef & Cabbage – Hash

Did you pick up your corned beef for next weekend? I was sitting here wondering about the origin of the New England boiled dinner and why it is synonymous with St Patrick’s day! So instead of writing I have been reading. What I came up with is it was basically a poor man’s meal. Brisket is a cheaper cut of meat, corned comes from the large salt pieces to cure it. Americans didn’t invent it, it didn’t come here with the Irish immigrants, from what I read they are not eating this meal next Sunday in Ireland. the English were boiling meat long before we made this a staple here in New England on St Paddy’s day.

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this is an older picture of the same meal – been making this for YEARS!

None of this has changed my mind on whether or not I am going to make it next weekend; I am and yes I picked up my corned beef along with many other people. It was actually kind of like a frenzy at one of the stores I went to. Well there was a few people who were grabbing 3 or 4 of them a little more aggressively than I thought warranted.

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chopped up leftover corned beef hash

Confession time I actually made this last weekend as well. I was craving corned beef hash and yes I could have just bought a chunk of beef from the deli but it’s just not the same as having all the veggies and cabbage cooked in the salty water. In my reading this morning I am going to do something a little different for me. I am going to add beets to the pot. I don’t know of anyone that adds beets to their boiled dinner. But I am going to try it out. And I am looking forward to making red flannel hash which I have never had and honestly never really thought about why it was called that. So now I am interested it trying it next week.
img_3964.jpgSince this is such a simple meal and you can totally make it your own here is just the basic information.

Ingredients
2 Corned beef – flat cut or point cut / either is fine, I like point cut better – always 2 think leftovers
Potatoes – peeled and chunked – you don’t want them too small they will disintegrate
Carrots
Rutabaga
Cabbage
Bay leaf
Peppercorns

Above is what I grew up with and still make. But you can use any root vegetable you like. Parsnips, turnip, beets.

Directions
Place the corned beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a bay leaf or two, some pepper corns. Bring to a boil and then lower the temp so it is simmering. Place the cover to your pot a little crooked so the steam can escape. Simmer for 3+ hours till the beef is nice and tender. Remove the beef to a plate or bowl and cover with tinfoil. Place the potatoes and veggies in the same water and bring to a boil, lower and simmer for about an hour till the rutabaga is soft. Add the cabbage during the last 15 minutes.

Veggies can be cooked separately if you would rather; but that’s a lot of dishes to clean. You can also stagger the veggies.  Rutabagas take the longest, then carrots and finally potatoes.
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Corned beef hash

leftovers
onion – diced  – I had some shallots so I diced one of those up too
olive oil
egg

dice up the veggies and beef. In a fry pan add a little oil and saute the onion. add the veggies and fry up till crispy edges, add the beef and cook till all warmed through. top with a poached or fried egg.
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Scalloped Potatoes – must try

So I am going to go out on a limb that when I posted this recipe 4 years ago; none of you made it. Do you want to know how I know. I googled my blog while I was at the store to make sure I had what I needed and noticed I left out an ingredient hmmmmmm. Not my first time and probably won’t be my last. But a couple of my close friends that read my posts called me out on missing ingredients before and no one said anything this time.

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You can sprinkle a little of the cheddar cheese on top – I did not in this picture. My mouth is watering as I am typing and looking at them – they are SO good!

As you can probably tell I don’t make these very often; not because they are not crazy good; only because there are rich and creamy which so they would not be your weekly go to if you wanted to watch what you eat. I was trying to come up with a way not to deter you from wanting to try these. They truly are worth making/eating once in a while

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I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes but it is not necessary


Ingredients
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
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Directions – making a roux
In a small sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add all of cold milk at once stirring with a whisk; season with salt and cayenne. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk and it thickens a bit. Reduce heat and stir in cheese.

Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.

repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for an hour at 350°F

 

Linguine with lemon garlic shrimp

Did you think I wasn’t going to post today? The weekend has really gotten away from me; yet again. So many things to do and no time to do it all. I spent most of the morning making breakfast and meal prepping for dinner and the week. And then I convinced my husband to “help” me build a bed frame; with two bottom drawers; at my dad’s house. (We need some good karma – so far the last three months we have had nothing but terrible luck) So I basically handed him the pieces he asked for and held the other end of whatever needed to be held. It took “us” three hours I figured if I had to do it by myself it would have taken me ALL day at least I’d hope it would be just one day; the instructions had 26 steps ugh!
IMG_3959.JPGI planned on trying two new recipes this last week, I ended up only getting to one of them; the whole time vs. life thingy; but it was so easy and really delicious, it also re-heated quit nicely and it is totally worth sharing with you all. I am looking forward to making the other dish; wine braised chicken.
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Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 lb. dried linguine
1 lemon
2 lb. extra-large (26 to 30 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs unsalted butter
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
8 ounce mascarpone cheese
2 Tbs thinly sliced chives or scallions

Directions

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.

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It helps me to keep my ingredients lined up in order next to the stove

finely grate 1-1/4 tsp. of zest from the lemon and squeeze 2 Tbs. of juice. Toss the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. of the zest and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.
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In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic just begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, 1 minute.
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Add the drained pasta, mascarpone, and 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss well, adding more cooking water as needed, until the pasta and shrimp are coated and the sauce looks creamy. Remove from the heat. Toss in the remaining 3/4 tsp. lemon zest and the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve
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Another excellent recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

Sausage, spinach, tomato tortellini soup

Soup is my jam period – I mentioned quite a while ago my dream of opening a soup joint or something along those lines. I also share quite a few soup recipes on this blog and I am pretty  sure I will continue to do so. Every time I make a soup that makes me smile, and no not all of them do, I have failed or made just meh soup before but my successes far outweigh my failures. When it is a fabulous one I say out loud to no one in particular “the world needs to have this” and since I don’t have a soup joint and I don’t know everyone in the world I will share another warm, tasty, comfort bowl full of goodness with you all.
img_3953.jpgMy husband even said this was his favorite soup that I have made, that’s saying something! It is definitely in my top 5 but I have made and shared some pretty incredible soups over the years.
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The one common denominator is homemade chicken stock. If you are still not making your own broth, we need to talk. It is SO easy to do using your slow cooker and a leftover chicken carcass. Put the chicken in the bowl add a couple of roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and some garlic. Cover with water and place on low overnight. In the morning strain out the liquid gold and discard of all the veggies and bones. Taste it to see if you like it or if it needs a little salt. I let it sit all day or overnight in my fridge to let the fat solidify so I can remove it all. Freeze it or use it now!

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Start by using the best ingredients you can find and your soup will be delicious!
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Sausage, Spinach, Tomato, Tortellini soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounce sweet italian sausage, casings removed roughly 2 long links
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
10-12 ounce package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
5-6 ounces baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up a bit, add the onion and cook till the sausage is cooked through a little browned, about 10 minutes making sure to break up the large chunks. Add the garlic and the oregano cook for another minute.
IMG_3950Add the broth and the tomatoes. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook till the tortellini is tender, according to the package directions about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and cook till it is just about wilted. Season with salt and pepper, grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese over it and serve.
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Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine

Raspberry Squares

I am going to share this recipe with you that I originally posted about 5 years ago. Yeah I know I can’t believe I have been writing a weekly blog for about 6 years now. I honestly didn’t know how long I would stick with it. I didn’t know what my objective for a blog would be. I see bloggers come and go, I see them change format, and timing some slow down with how often they write. I am still writing and sharing because I enjoy it, I enjoy hearing that people look forward to reading my post, I enjoy sharing recipes that I would make again. I love it when someone makes one of my recipes and gives me a shout out.

beef and broccoli 008 beef and broccoli 010 beef and broccoli 026 beef and broccoli 028 beef and broccoli 030 beef and broccoli 033 beef and broccoli 035 beef and broccoli 039 beef and broccoli 041

Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both
12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces
1 10 oz jar of raspberry preserve

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them
Preheat oven to 350’F

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.