Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creamy Orzo with Marinated Tomatoes

This is an easy, excellent recipe from the magazine Cuisine at Home. The orzo was super creamy and rich; the marinated tomatoes gave the dish a huge burst of freshness and flavor! My husband and I gobbled it up! Enjoy!!

Ingredients for Marinade:
2 Tbl white wine vinegar
1 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp minced shallot <I omitted these>
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbl thinly sliced fresh basil <I used 1 tsp dried basil>

Ingredients for Orzo:
1 1/4 cups dry orzo pasta (8oz)
1 Tbl butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, shallots and Dijon. Toss with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add basil right before serving.

Cook the orzo in a pot of salted boiling water according to directions; drain.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Whisk in cream and milk and cook until slightly thickened, 2 - 3 minutes. Add cooked orzo and heat through, 1 minute <the starch from the pasta will slightly thicken the cream sauce>. Season orzo with salt and serve with tomatoes over top.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Barefoot Contessa's Blueberry Muffins

I'm in the midst of a blogging dilemma right now....I have three recipes I'm dying to post and I am having a hard time deciding which one to post first- a fab salad, delicious chicken gyros or the most moist, flavorful blueberry muffins I have ever baked and possibly ever tasted? For those of you who know me, it will be no surprise that I am going with the muffins....gosh, I'm just so addicted to baking it's crazy!!! Okay, so, I think my "blueberry muffins I have ever baked and possibly ever tasted" comment pretty much sums these babies up. So, without further adieu, here is the recipe (and of course, it is from Ina Garten, aka "The Barefoot Contessa" - this women is a baking god in my opinion).


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream <I used plain Greek yogurt>
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems <I used super small frozen blueberries that I let thaw and drain over a sieve for about an hour to remove excess juice- I think this is a must step if you are using frozen blueberries>


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans. <I got 20 muffins! They are big guys, too>

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment <I just used a hand-mixer>, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean. <I use the "muffin test" to check the done-ness of my muffins. Simply touch your finger to the top of the muffin....if it quickly springs back, it is done>

Monday, February 3, 2014

The BEST Cannoli Dip

I actually call this cannoli dip "crack dip" because it is insanely addictive and I find myself craving it all the time!! It's a good thing my good friend, Shannon, makes it for me often!! Every time she makes it I tell her I want to blog it....but, we always scarf up half of it before I remember to take a photo!!! Well, I was ready last night with my camera when she brought it over for the Super Bowl - and I know you will be glad I got a picture because you will now be making it yourself at every opportunity (I'm telling you, you will)! Thank you, Shannon, for sharing this delicious dessert/appetizer! I love it so (and please make it for me again soon, k?!).....

8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 full bag of mini chocolate chips
Stacy's Cinnamon Pita Chips and/or broken up waffle cone and/or pizzelle cookies and/or any type of berry (I think any berry would taste yummy)

Mix Cool Whip, ricotta, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Serve with Stacy's Cinnamon Pita Chips or whatever type of cookie or berry you like.  Enjoy!