Orzo Pasta Salad with Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade

A quick and easy (of course) pasta salad to go with any picnic. You will need 1 pound of good Italian quality Orzo Pasta, 1 package of Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade, ½ cup orange juice, ¼ cup Mazola® Corn Oil, ½ cup red onion, finely chopped, 1 English cucumber, see below on how to prepare it, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered, 6 ounces feta cheese, 2 tablespoon black olive, sliced and 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro.

Boil pasta according to directions, drain and set aside until cooled (I place the cooked pasta on a large baking sheet for quick cooling).
Drained Orzo

In a medium sized mixing bowl add marinade, orange juice and corn oil. Whisk until well combined. When preparing the cucumber, peel skin, but not totally, see below. Use a fork to make ridges into sides of cucumber. Slightly Peeled

Add remaining ingredients to bowl, use a fork to remove herb from cilantro stems.IMG_3041 Add cooked pasta and toss until well blended. Serve immediate or refrigerate for later use.

Orzo Pasta Salad with Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade

Orzo Pasta Salad with Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade

Orzo Pasta Salad

1 pound orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 package Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade Mix
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup corn oil
½ cup finely chopped red onion, about one half of an onion
1 English Cucumber, chopped
1 cup, 5 ounces, cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese, tomato & basil flavored, if desired
¼ cup sliced black olives, optional
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine marinade mix, orange juice and corn oil in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add cooked pasta and remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Serve with additional cilantro for garnish, if desired.

 

Buon Appetito!


Rob’s Favorite Stuffed Bread

Stuffed breads are such a BIG hit in the east coast!  After moving to the mid south, I started baking my own.  My son Rob’s favorite is broccoli and pepperoni stuffed bread.  So easy to make, below is the “quick” version made with Simply Homemade® County White Bread Mix (found in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store).

Simply Homemade® Country White Bread

Simply Homemade® Country White Bread Mix

Follow the direction on the back of the box for making this yummy bread, cover bread with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled (if you have time), about 1 hour.

IMG_2762

Now comes the really fun part, creating your bread…one of my favorite sayings is “you are only limited by your creativity”….this is especially true when stuffing a bread, because you can stuff it with just about anything.  But, today I am making “Rob’s favorite”, so I am stuffing my bread with broccoli, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese and a little sun-dried tomato pesto sauce, just to “kick it up a notch”….oh yeah, and of course, red pepper flakes.

For the broccoli, chopped two bunches of broccoli crowns, place in a micro-wave bowl, add 2 tablespoons water, salt & pepper, I LOVE Tones® Roasted Garlic Sea Salt…

2 crowns chopped broccoli

2 crowns chopped broccoli

Micro-wave for 5 minutes.  Drain and put aside until needed.

On a clean work surface or a silicon roll pad, lightly dusted with flour, place bread dough and pat down or roll dough out to a  14″x8″rectangle.   Top dough with pesto sauce (if desired) leaving a 1-inch edge.  Top pesto sauce with 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella, cooked broccoli and ¼ cup chopped pepperoni.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese over pepperoni.  IMG_2766

Brush egg wash along outer edge (this helps prevent ingredients from bursting out).  Starting with the side closest to you, roll up jelly-roll style; about ½ way,  fold in edges and continue rolling to end.

Stuffed Bread

Stuffed Bread

Place bread on a sheet pan or pizza peel dusted with polenta (or corn meal), this will add a wonderful crunch to the bottom of the bread.  If time permits, cover and let rise an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  For optimal flavor use a pizza stone, preheated for 45 minutes.  Brush bread with egg wash and top with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.  Make several ¼-inch slices diagonally on top.  Slide bread onto pizza stone, or place baking sheet in preheated oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Baked Bread

Baked Bread

This is a GREAT appetizer to bring to any party….Buon Appetito!

Rob's Favorite Stuffed Bread

Rob’s Favorite Stuffed Bread

 

1 Package Simply Homemade® Country White Bread Mix

Prepare bread mix according to package directions. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

On a clean work surface or a silicon roll pad, lightly floured with flour, place bread and pat down or roll out to a 14 x 8 inch rectangle.

Add bread stuffing (see below). Egg wash edges of bread and roll tightly, tucking in the ends before you finish rolling up. Egg wash outside of bread and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven on a pizza stone for 20-25 minutes. Remove bread and place on a wire rack to cool before slicing.

Broccoli Filling

2 crowns chopped broccoli (microwave for 5 minutes or until soft) drained
1/4 lb. wafer sliced pepperoni)
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes to taste
Optional: ¼ cup tomato pesto sauce

Ham & Tomato Filling

1/2 lb. sliced ham
1/4 to 1/2 lb. Provolone or Italian Cheese Blend
Red pepper flakes to taste
Sun-Dried tomatoes or fresh tomatoes

 


Godiva Cream Filled Strawberries

Once a week I have the opportunity to teach an hour long “spin” class at Lifetime Fitness.  Our members are very loyal to attending our classes.  As a little “perk” once and a while I will bring them a “treat” to eat after class is over.  This past Saturday we celebrated a 2 hour special Valentine cycle (spin) class.  As a little healthy and fruity (did I say delicious) treat I decided to make them filled strawberries.  There are a few recipes for this on the internet, however I wanted to put my take on the original.  What goes better with strawberries than chocolate (and of course some champagne, but I can’t bring that to class).  Hope you enjoy my version!

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 package cream cheese, room temperature (you can also use fat free)
1/3 cup confectioners’ powder sugar
1-2 tablespoons Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

Cut a very thin slice from the top of the strawberries and stand upright on the cut side.  Make a criss-cross cut on the opposite side of the berry cutting down almost to the bottom.  Gently with your fingertip, spread each strawberry apart to make “pedals”, or room for the filling.

Cut an X almost to the bottom of the berry

Cut an X almost to the bottom of the berry after slicing top off

Beat together the cream cheese, powder sugar and liqueur until smooth in a mixer or a food processor.  Place filling into a piping bag with a star tip.  Pipe filling into each strawberry and arrange on a serving platter.

Optional:  Garnish with fresh mint, shaved chocolate, blueberries or powdered sugar.

Note:  You can also use 8 ounces mascarpone cheese and different flavors of liqueur.

Healthy post exercise  treat

Healthy post exercise treat

I also added “Chocolate Dipped Orange Segments” topped with sea salt….Enjoy!!!


Super Bowl Snacks

Franks” Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Sometimes you come across a dip that you absolutely fall in love with….well, I’m in love….this dip has been around for a while, but I just had the opportunity to taste and then make it.  If you are looking for something to bring to today’s Super Bowl Party, this definitely is the one….I guarantee this will be a very BIG HIT, and did I mention is quick & easy????

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened  (can also use low fat cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Frank’s® RedHot® Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese  (I used both)
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained  (you can also use store brand rotisserie chicken)
  • Assorted fresh vegetables and or tostitos

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it’s smooth. Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.
 

Footnotes

  • Tip: This dip can be kept warm in a small crockpot or fondue pot on the buffet table.
  • To make in the microwave: Use a microwavable 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Prepare the dip as directed above in Step 2. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 5 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot, stirring halfway through the cook time.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 144 | Total Fat: 11.2g | Cholesterol: 36mg


Baked Stuffed Lobsters

I just love traditions!  Our annual New Year’s Eve tradition is a wonderful lobster meal.  This year I stuffed the lobsters, purchased some shrimp fried rice at a local Chinese restaurant and some cole slaw from Germantown Commissary.  Yum!  What  a meal!

First purchase a couple of lobsters from your local grocery store.  Bob is the “killer of the lobster” person in our house.  I suppose I could do it, but I really like getting him involved in cooking.  Never had a lobster before we started dating back in 1971.  Bob’s family had a home on Long Island Sound and Bob grew up tending lobster pots with his dad.  I can remember the first time I had a lobster at his parents house,  his dad showed me how to open the little guy…but by the time I had it opened the meat was cold….hehehe.  Good memories.

Place lobster on his back

Place lobster on a cutting board.  Cut open the lobster by inserting your knife just underneath the head and the cutting down, splitting the belly (body and tail). Remove the “inners” (heart, guts, etc., but not meat).  Remove the black vein and rinse under cold running water.  Place lobster on baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the black vein

Remove the black vein

In a medium size skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of clarified butter.  Add shallot, celery, red pepper and lemon seasoning.  Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.  Deglaze vegetables with wine, sherry (I just love Harvey’s Bristol Cream in lobster recipes) and lemon juice.  Cook an additional 5 minutes over low heat.  Remove pan from stove.  Add 4 ounces of salad shrimp,  pankos, parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, mix until well combined.

Chopped shallots, celery and red pepper

Chopped shallots, celery and red pepper

Place lobsters on baking sheet, stuff inside with stuffing and drizzle lobsters with 2 tablespoons of remaining clarified butter.

Stuff lobster

Stuff lobster

Place in preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tail reaches an internal temperature of 140° on an instant-read thermometer.  This meal would be very expensive in a restaurant, but you can make this at home for a fraction of that cost.  It’s really pretty easy, and not that time consuming.  I hope you try this wonderful lobster recipe at home and feel free to leave me your comments.  Bon Appetite!

Baked Stuffed Lobsters

2 live 1 1/2 pound lobsters
salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon Weber® Zesty Lemon & Seafood Seasoning
2 tablespoons white wine, drinkable quality
1 tablespoon Harvey’s Bristol Cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 ounces cooked and peeled salad shrimp, rinsed (can be found in the frozen seafood section of your grocery store)
1/2 cup Pankos
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Prepare lobsters for stuffing.  Cut open the lobster by inserting your knife just underneath the head and the cutting down, splitting the belly (body and tail). Remove the “inners” (heart, guts, etc., but not meat).  Rinse lobster under cold water.  Lightly season inside of lobsters with salt and pepper.

In a medium size skillet over medium high heat, melt clarified butter.  Add shallot, celery red pepper and lemon seasoning.  Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.  Deglaze vegetables with wine, sherry and lemon juice.  Cook and additional 5 minutes over low heat.  Remove pan from stove.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Place lobsters on baking sheet and stuff inside with stuffing.  Drizzle each lobster with 2 tablespoons of remaining clarified butter.  Place in preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tail reaches an internal temperature of 140° on an instant-read thermometer.


Clam’s Casino

What a wonderful Christmas we had…so great to have family all together.  We have always had a Christmas Eve tradition of doing “appetizers” to snack on all night long…Bob and I started this years ago when we first got married.  Below is a photo from our “1st Christmas Eve” together as husband & wife entertaining our very good friend.

Christmas Eve 1977

Christmas Eve 1977

This year was not any different, everyone chooses an appetizer, or two, of their choice.  Rob’s choice is always Clam’s Casino.  Pretty funny that these little guys are such a big hit since I do not eat clams.  When I was a little girl, my dad made me eat (yes, they did things like that back in the day) a raw clam…haven’t been able to put one in my mouth ever since; however I do make the best Clams Casino, Chowder, Baked Stuffed, etc….or at least that’s what I am told.  🙂

I think one reason Rob loves they so much is his remembrance of our clamming days in Port Jefferson, New York, when he, Jen and Bob would sit on the back of our boat eating clams and pitching the shells back into the ocean.  This particular day, they watched as Bob was shucking…

Port Jeff, NY

Port Jeff, NY

Open clams and place on a large sheet pan.
Shucked ClamsIn a large skillet, melt butter, add vegetables and cook until soft.

Saute VegetablesPlace sauteed vegetables over clams, add parmesan cheese, top with bacon and bake..ClamsTop with freshly squeezed lemon juice and or lemon wedges.

Baked Clams Casino

Baked Clams Casino

Clams Casino

3 dozen “littleneck” clams, shucked
(see video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGRAcit6FOA)
1/2 stick butter
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup white wine (drinking quality)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & black pepper, to taste
grated parmesan cheese
1/2 pound bacon, uncooked

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place shucked clams in a large baking sheet sprayed with pan spray.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions, red pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).  Add white wine (or stock seafood stock if you prefer), and lemon juice, simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Remove vegetables from heat.  Place 1 teaspoon of vegetables on top of clam, add grated parmesan cheese and 1 piece of bacon shaped to fit clam.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.  Top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon wedges, if desired.


Tomato Basil Pie

Years ago, I started teaching cooking classes in my kitchen.  At that time I belonged to a welcoming group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”.  This group was a great way to  met new people in the community.   We had LOTS of different activities in this organization.

One of my “new neighbor” friends was traveling to Connecticut for a visit.  I asked her to bring me a couple bottles of faucet water, yes water (for my pizza, of course).  As a thank you I made her a pizza, brought it over to her home nice and hot.  Here reply was “you have to teach us how to make this”.  So, I became an activity for New Neighbors, “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” (Gail’s Kitchen).  I had NO idea where that path would take me!

"Cooking Adventures in Galena's Cucina"

“Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina”

Classes in my kitchen became out of control…I would have more than 25-30 ladies in attendance and not enough room for them.  Another friend from this group recommended me to the owner of a quaint gift store in Germantown (Gift Horse) that also hosted cooking classes.  I was so excited to teach there and having the opportunity to met so many wonderful people!

One recipe that really reminds me of that school is  “Tomato Basil Pie”.  I can remember teaching that class almost 10 years ago; people are still talking about it! This recipe is perfect for this time of the year.  Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my “Gift Horse” class did!

Pie Crust  (You can also use a frozen store-bought crust or mini pie crusts)
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream
4-5 basil leaves
couple dashes of salt

In food processor with knife blade process butter and basil leaves until smooth.
Add flour, salt and sour cream. Process until mixture balls up. Chill for 1/2 hour
for better handling of the dough. Place on floured pastry sheet or board and roll
out to fit a 9” pie pan. Place shield or wrap edges in foil to prevent over browning
during the baking of the pie. Cook in pre-heated 425° oven until slightly golden,
about 10 minutes.

Tomato Basil Pie

Filling
1 9” pie crust
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 Roma tomatoes, or garden tomatoes, skins removed*, chopped and drained
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive
Salt & Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

While pie crust is warm, place 1 cup mozzarella on top of crust. Layer tomatoes
and sprinkle with, salt & pepper. In separate bowl mix basil, garlic, remaining
mozzarella, romano or parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Place on top of tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in a preheated oven at  375° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let pie cool at least 15 minutes for easier cutting.

*Cut an X on the bottom (pointy end) of the tomato and place in a pot of rapidly boiling
water.  The tomato skin will begin to peel, about 1 minute. Remove from heat
and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Peel skin under running cold water.

You can always add wonderful ingredients to the filling, fresh sautéed mushrooms, some cooked bacon, black olives, red pepper flakes.  You are only limited by your imagination!

Tomato Basil Pie

Tomato Basil Pie

 

 

Mini Pie

Mini Pie

Recently I made this wonderful recipe for my “Live at 9” demonstration, here’s the link:

The only bad thing about being a member of New Neighbors is so many friends move away, but I guess that’s part of life!

New Neighbors Board Members 1998

New Neighbors Board Members 1998