Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Is it weird that I'm already planning on how to use my leftovers from Christmas?  Well, I am.  We always have a ham for dinner and this is what I'm going to make the day after.  But you can make it tomorrow if you like.  

The key to being able to throw a panini together is having a tasty dressing on hand.  One of my favorites is Cranberry Chutney from Honey Baked Ham.  Unfortunately, it's only available during the Christmas and Easter, so  getcher cranberry chutney this holiday season folks.

This Honeycup mustard is also a favorite:

For dessert there's a recipe from this week's guest chef, Melanie Gunnell from the ever popular My Kitchen Cafe.  She probably doesn't need much of an introduction since I've spied a link to her blog on dozens of your own blogs, but she is a super mom with 3 little boys and one more on the way.  Isn't there a special place in heaven for moms with all boys?  If there is, she's got her spot reserved.  Oh, and did I mention she's a baking genius?  Check out her Caramel Apple Pie below.  


Spinach Salad with Raspberry Maple Vinaigrette

This dressing comes from the Common Grill Cookbook, and I swiped the salad from their restaurant.  The recipe makes two cups of dressing, so I usually make half.  

Spinach leaves
Dried cherries
Pine nuts
Shredded parmesan cheese

Dressing Ingredients
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c peanut oil
1/2 c raspberry vinegar
1/2 c real maple syrup
1 T dijon mustard
1 T tarragon leaves, crumbled
1 t salt

Dressing Instructions
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. 

Ham and Cranberry Panini

This is an easy one folks.  You just need 4 things:
  1. Sourdough bread
  2. Ham (deli or leftover holiday ham)
  3. Gruyere or swiss
  4. Cranberry Chutney from Honey Baked Ham Company

Turkey and Ham Panini with a Bite

I love honeycup mustard.  It's sweet and spicy at the same time and really spices up a regular old sandwich.  

Rye bread, (or sourdough always works too - as pictured above)
Honeycup Mustard

Carmel Apple Pie by Guest Chef Melanie Gunnell

This pie - oh my, it is delicious.  Probably my favorite apple pie EVER, so I'm glad to pass on the recipe.  The tartness of the apples (I used Granny Smith) is perfectly complemented by the sweet caramel.  You can use any pie crust, but I'm including a recipe below that doesn't require chilling the dough and has a little more sugar in it so it tastes a little bit like a cookie crust.   Enjoy!

Filling Ingredients
6 c apples (Jonathan or Granny Smith)
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla
4 T heavy cream
4 T butter

Filling Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and slice apples.  Sprinkle with lemon juice.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples.  Toss to mix.  Add vanilla and cream.  Melt butter in heavy skillet.  Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples.  Turn into pie shell.

Streusel Topping Ingredients
1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
1 T butter
2 toffee bars or 3 oz chocolate-covered peanut or pecan brittle, crushed

Streusel Topping Instructions
Combine the flour and sugar.  Mix in butter with fork until coarse crumbs.  Stir in the crushed toffee bars.  Sprinkle over pie.  Add top crust.  Seal, flute edge and vent top.  Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30-45 minutes longer, until nicely browned (I covered the edges of my pie about 15 minutes into the reduced temperature baking).   

Pie Crust Ingredients (from Carolyn Weil)
8 oz (1 cup) cold unsalted butter
9 oz (2 cups) all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup cold water

Pie Crust Instructions
Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes.  Dump the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, if mixing the dough by hand).  Mix for a second or two to blend the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and then, running the mixer on low (or by hand with two knives or a pastry cutter), work the mixture until it's crumbly and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than a pea (about 1/4 inch).  

The butter should remain cold and firm.  To test it, pick up some butter and pinch it between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands to form a little cube.  if the butter holds together as a cube and your fingers are not greasy, then the butter is still cold enough.  If your fingers look greasy, put the bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the butter before adding the water.

As the mixer turns on low (or tossing with a fork if mixing by hand), sprinkle the cold water evenly overthe flour and butter. Work the dough until it just pulls together as a shaggy mass.

It may feel strange not to, but don't chill the dough yet. Shape it into two disks and start rolling; you can chill the dough once the pie is assembled. This method is unconventional, but author Carolyn Weil says that ultimately you get the most tender result because you don't have to struggle with a disk of chilled, hard dough.

Cut the dough in half and pat each piece into a thick flattened ball. Lightly flour your work surface and tap one of the dough balls down with four or five taps of the rolling pan. Begin rolling from the center of your dough outward. Stop the pressure 1/4 inch from the edge of the dough. Lift the dough and turn by aquarter and repeat the rolling until the dough is at least 12 inches in diameter. Be sure to re-flour the work surface if your dough is sticking.

Feel free to flour the surface, and slide that dough around. Having your dough stick is worse than using too much flour, most of which can be brushed off after rolling anyway.  After every few strokes of the rolling pin, free the dough from the surface by sliding and turning it.

Using a pot lid or a circle of cardboard as a template, trim the dough to form a 12-inch round (this should give you a 1-1/2-inch margin all around your 9-inch pie pan). Fold the dough in half, slide the outspread fingers of both hands under the dough, and gently lift it and transfer it to the pie pan. Unfold and ease the dough round in to the bottom of the pie pan without stretching it.

Roll out the other doughball and cut a second 12-inch round to be used as the top crust.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dinner and Cake

Let's get right to the exciting stuff.  This week's guest chef is, drumroll please.... Amy Barker!  Entertainer extraordinaire, that's what I call her.  If you've never been to a party at Amy's house, you are missing out.  The girl knows how to give out party favors.  And she also knows how to make the best lemon cake I have ever tasted in my life. 

Amy and I didn't realize we were kindred spirits, or at least that we find one another to be real real funny, until entirely too late.  The next thing I knew I was moving to Michigan.  Luckily her blog keeps me laughing and feeling up to date. 

There's not much to say about the rest of the menu.  I highly recommend all of it, but it's really just here so there's a reason to post The Lemon Cake.  Yes, The Lemon Cake.  


Autumn Pear Salad

Yet another recipe from my trusty Favorites: A Collection of Favorite Ivory Family Recipes cookbook.  Thank goodness for the Ivorys, whoever they are.  I had a friend recommend this cookbook to me.  She swore that every recipe you tried would become a regular.  I took her word for it and then as I was looking through, I found at least 3 or 4 recipes that my mom already had.  I bet there are only 2 or 3 degrees of seperation between my mom and the Ivorys. We're practically related. 
Salad Ingredients
1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
1/2 head red learf lettuce, washed and torn
2 ripe pears, thinly sliced
2 oz Asiago cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, toasted

Salad Instructions 
In salad bowl, combine greens and 3/4 of the dressing.  Arrange pears, cheese and cashews over top and drizzle on remaining dressing. 

Dressing Ingredients
5 T olive oil
3 T Balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T chopped green onions
salt and fresh ground pepper

Dressing Instructions
Mix dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well and refrigerate

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Roll Ups

You can head over to Sugar and Spice for this recipe.  I'm using it for a Sunday Dinner menu, but it is a perfect weeknight dinner.  And by perfect weeknight dinner I mean E-A-S-Y.  And tasty, of course.  

I get excited about these roll ups for two reasons.  First, because it means I'll be making Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (recipe to come soon) sometime that week with the leftover ricotta.  And second, because of the sun-dried tomatoes.  Sun-dried tomatoes turn my frown upside down.  They make everything sunshiny and bright.  

Crash Hot Potatoes

This photo and recipe come from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  If you haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet, it's about time you do.  She has the easiest, tastiest, most fattening recipes around.  Love her.  

Veggie Potato Topper

This recipe makes a great side dish, but you can also serve it over baked or roasted (I prefer roasted) potatoes and make a meal out of it.  I would only add shredded cheddar (as pictured above) if you are going to serve it with potatoes.  

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut in bit sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch broccoli, cut in bite sized pieces
1 med. zucchini, cut in bit sized pieces
1 c sour cream
3 oz cream cheese
2 T butter

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter. Steam the cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini for about 2 minutes (You want these veggies to stay crisp).  Mix sour cream and cream cheese in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until smooth.  Add all veggies to cheese sauce and warm through. 

The Lemon Cake by Guest Chef Amy Barker

I laugh that Kristin asked me to be a "guest chef" on the cooking blog since neither I, nor anyone I know would describe me as a chef.  The only thing I can make is lemon cake.  This cake is good.  It wins friends.  It brings people together.  it makes those who don't like lemon cake like lemon cake.  

The cake recipe is from my friend Nancy and the frosting is from the Magnolia Bakery in New York.  Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients
1 package lemon cake mix
1 c sour cream (8 oz)
3/4 c water
3/4 c oil
4 eggs
1 small package lemon instant pudding

Cake Instructions
Mix dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients.  Mix with electric mixer on medium/high for about two minutes.

Pour into a greased 9x11 pan or two round pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

You can also make cupcakes and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  The cupcakes will fall after they come out of the oven, but this is normal.  Just fill up the indentation with more frosting.  

Frosting Ingredients
1 c (2 sticks) butter, very soft
8 c powdered sugar
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1 t grated lemon zest

Frosting Instructions
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I add about 6 cups total).  If desired, add a few drops of yellow food coloring and mix thoroughly.  Use and store at room temperature.  (Don't refrigerate and it will last in a Tuperware for about three days.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I could not be more excited for this week's post.  Not only to share some delicious recipes, but because for the first time ever, You Got Served is having a Guest Chef!  

I decided a while ago that dessert just isn't my thing.  Let me clarify, eating dessert is definitely my thing, making dessert - not so much.  So I have been recruiting Guest Chefs to help make my menus complete.  

This week's Guest Chef is Janie Ward.  We both attended a party when I first moved back to Michigan and she brought this dish.  I decided then and there that we must be friends.  Luckily, she didn't mind, and look at us now.  The magic of food.  

Okay, back to business.  This week I decided to share a Halloween menu, which to me, means chili.  Halloween is such a crazy busy day and night, chili is the perfect dinner to serve.  So here are my two very favorite chili recipes (have you ever used avocado as a garnish for your chili?  Do it.  Do it right now.) and Janie's pumpkin cake for dessert.  


Texas Red Chili

Mi amiga Heather Bassett gave me this recipe.  One day last fall I knew I wanted to make chili, but didn't have a tried and true recipe.  I thought, "who can I trust to have a good recipe?" Heather was the first person I called, and sure enough, that night I was in chili heaven. 

As side note, I've never found ground ancho or pasilla chili peppers. I found them dried in the produce section and intended to find a mortar and pestle when my personal witch doctor, Mary Hales, let me know that any herbalist worth her salt had a coffee bean grinder.  So she hooked me up.  It only took a few minutes and voila: ground ancho/pasilla chili pepper.  

3 1/2 - 4 lbs. ground beef
1 TB corn oil
1/4 lb bacon diced
3 c chopped onion
2c green pepper
2 medium jalepenos
2 heaping TB garlic
4 cups beef broth or stock
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Kosher Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
2 TB ground ancho chili pepper
1 TB ground pasilla chili pepper
2 TB cumin
1 1/2 TB brown sugar
1 TB dried oregan
Juice of half a lime
2 TB of chopped cilantro

1. Brown the meat. Drain and set aside.
2. Cook bacon in corn oil. Take bacon out but leave the grease in the pan.
3. Sautee onions and garlic in grease. Then add everything but oregano, lime juice and cilantro.
4. Simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours
5. Add oregano, lime juice and cilantro right at the end.
6. Add Red Hot if you want to spice it up.

Super Bowl Chili

You can find this recipe at Nook and Pantry.  It is spiiiiiicyyyyyyy.  And delicious.  (But if you don't like the spice, don't let it scare you away.  Just add less chili powder). 

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by Guest Chef Janie

This deliciously moist pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting adds up to one irresistible autumn treat!  This cake has become a fall tradition, and after making it for the first time--this season  I was once again showered with rave reviews from my family.  I first tried this cake at a party at my sister's house at least ten years ago, I knew I had to have the recipe and here it is for you!

Cake Ingredients
1 can pumpkin or cook your own (15 oz)
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
Cake Instructions
Cream together: pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs.  In a seperate bowl combine dry ingredients and mix thouroughly.  Then add to the pumpkin mixture, mix well.  Grease a 9x13 pan or two round cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool before frosting.  Garnish wtih nutmeg.
Frosting Ingredients
2  packages cream cheese (8 oz), room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
5 T. butter (optional)
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Frosting Instructions
Mix all ingredients until combined.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book Club

This week I'm posting a great menu for hosting book club.  Or Bunko.  Or any other excuse you have for getting together with your girlfriends.

So in honor of book club and girlfriends, I'm dedicating this menu to Andrea Strong.  Or "Fun Andrea" as I like to refer to her to Abram.  

Andrea and I were in the same book club in Virginia.  I was still fairly new and the night I hosted at my house only three people showed up.  I know, so sad.  Well, it turned out to be the best book club night ever because Andrea and I became friends.  Fast forward to more than a year later when I was feeling like "The Opposite of Fun Kristin" and Andrea cured me of my ails by taking me out three nights in a row until I had fun oozing out of me.  

So here's to book club and girlfriends and staying out way too late.


Artichoke-Prosciutto Gratin

Don't plan on eating more than a few.  These are RICH and delicious and must be served with crusty bread.  Zingerman's Paesano bread is a good choice. 

This recipe come from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious.

2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1 c whipping cream
1 1/2 c crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 c pine nuts (about 2 oz), toasted
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 t chopped fresh sage

Pat quartered artichoke hearts dry with paper towels.  Cut each prosciutto slice crosswise in half.  Wrap each artichoke heart quarter in halved prosciutto slice.  Place wrapped artichoke hearts in single layer in 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.  Pour cream over.  Sprinkle with Gorgonzola, pine nuts, Parmesan, and sage.  Bake until gratin is bubbling and sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.  Serve warm with crusty bread for dipping.

Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

I loved when we hung our with our friends the Davises in Virginia, because Jessica always brought the most mouth watering dishes.  Roasted Red Pepper Enchiladas, Squash Tart, Sun Dried Tomato Quiche... almost thou persuadest me to be vegetarian Jessica.  Almost.  

I specifically made this quiche last week so that I could take a picture for today's post, and of course, I forgot.  But I'm sure it won't be too long before I make it again.  I'm telling you, if you're gonna make a quiche, this is the quiche to make.  

3/4 c Swiss cheese, shredded
3/4 c Cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 c chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 T finely diced onion
1 t Italian seasonings
1/2 t salt
4 eggs
1 c half and half
3/4 c milk
1 T flour
one 9-inch pie crust (this recipe makes enough for two 8-inch crusts too)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and then bake pie crust for 5 minutes.  in a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together.  Pour mixture into the crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Slice into wedges and serve.

Cream Puffs

When we were little our family was friends with an older couple, the Georges.  Going over to their house was a special treat because they always had cream puffs.  I remember when I realized that my mom could make them too and thinking, "if you could make cream puffs, why wouldn't you make them every day of your life?"  

Of course, I had a similar thought when my brother got his license and I didn't understand why he wouldn't go to McDonald's every single day if he could get there himself, so don't listen to me.  Listen to the cream puff recipe...

1 c water
1/2 c butter
1 c sifted flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat water and butter to boiling point in saucepan.  Stir in flour.  Turn heat to low and stir constantly until mixture leaves the pan and forms into a ball (about one minute).  Remove from heat.  Cool.

Beat eggs into the mixture one at a time.  Continue to beat mixture until smooth and velvety. Spoon onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until dry (45-50 minutes).  Allow to cool slowly.

Cut off the top third of each cream puff.  Fill with Vanilla Cream Pie Filling.  Replace the top and spread chocolate frosting over the top of the cream puff.

Vanilla Cream Pie Filling

This is not the last you will hear of Vanilla Cream Pie Filling.  She will also make future appearances in Boston Creme Pie (actually a cake), Chocolate Pie, and Coconut Pie.  I love her.  

2/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 T cornstarch
1 T flour
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c evaporated milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 T butter
1/2 t vanilla

Mix sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour in a saucepan.  Gradually stir in milk and evaporated milk.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Slowly stir half the mixture into egg yolks.  Then blend into hot mixture in the saucepan.  Boil one minute more, stirring constantly.  remove from heat. 

Blend in butter and vanilla.  Cool, stirring occasionally.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting

No secret here ladies and gentlemen.  My chocolate frosting recipe comes right off the back of the Hershey's Cocoa can.  And yes, "Perfectly Chocolate" is their confident branding, not mine.  

1/2 c butter
2.3 c Hershey's Cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c milk
1 t vanilla extract

Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.

Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  About 2 cups.  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Roasted Asparagus Panini

All right, all right.  I was feeling too guilty for not actually posting any new recipes this morning, and since Panini Monday is four days away, Abram got to enjoy a Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Onion Panini with Gruyere for dinner tonight.  Here are the goods:

This recipe comes from the panini bible, my photocopied pages out of Mar's KRUPS - Panini and Other Hot Sandwiches cookbook.  

2 lbs medium asparagus, cut in half lengthwise
1 large Vidalia or sweet yellow onion, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced
5 T olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 T unsalted butter

2 t grated lemon peel
1/4 c fresh-squeezed lemon juice
coarse ground black pepper
4 fresh tarragon sprigs, stems removed and leaves chopped
12 slices crusty ciabatta bread or other crusty loaf
1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
6 oz Gruyere cheese, sliced
6 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the asparagus and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, dot with butter, sprinkle with lemon zest and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper (I like to throw the prosciutto in there too).  Toss the vegetables lightly to distribute the seasonings.  Bake until soft and just starting to brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, transfer to a bowl, toss with tarragon, then set aside. 

Preheat panini grill.  Place bread on a flat, clean, and dry work surface, then top with Gruyere, Swiss, and remaining slice of bread.  Brush the top with olive oil and transfer to hot grill, oiled side down; brush remaining side with olive oil.  Grill until cheese is melted and bread is browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.  

Repeat process with remaining ingredients to make additional sandwiches.  
Keep grilled sandwiches warm in a 200 degree oven.  Pull sandwiches apart and insert prosciutto and asparagus and onion mixture.  Close sandwiches, slice, and serve.  

A Little History

This blog got started when KA (who happens to write a very amusing blog) asked me for my meal rotation. I got a little carried away and now I'm posting a menu once a week. I've been slowly trying to tweak the original 20 recipes and take pictures to go along with them. So here is a little catch up. I make all of these recipes at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. I figure tried and true recipes like these deserve a little extra attention.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lemon Alfredo Pasta with Asparagus

Thanks to Whitney Brinton for this one. It is one of those rare beauties that is equally easy and delicious. Not to mention it's got your veggies, grains, and protein all in one dish.

1 lb. pasta, cooked
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, and diced into 1 inch pieces

Cook pasta. Add asparagus last three minutes noodles are being cooked.

Sauce Ingredients
12 ounces chicken (I use rotisserie chicken from the store) shredded
1 16 ounce Alfredo sauce
1 TB grated lemon peel
3 TB fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large tomato, halved, seeded, and and diced
1/4 cup nipped fresh chives
pepper to taste

Sauce Instructions
Mix together alfredo sauce, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cheese. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken. Drain pasta and asparagus, add all to skillet/pot on stove and mix.

Black Bean Salad

This recipe was originally called Black Bean Salsa in the Favorites: A Collection of Favorite Ivory Family Recipes cookbook, but mi amiga Marianne helped me see the full vision of this recipe. I now use it as a side salad for mexican dishes.

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TB shopped green onions
2 TB chopped red onions
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 TB vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped ripe tomatoes, drained

In large bowl, combine beans, corn, cilantro, green onions, red onions, lime ice, oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving stir in tomatoes.