Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp

It’s all about making things easy for a New Year’s Eve gathering. After all, you don’t want to be slaving over the hot stove while everyone’s eating and drinking, do you? What I love about this dish is that you can pull the shrimp straight out of the freezer and bake them without thawing. Serve this on New Year’s Eve and put little bowls around the table for shells. Everyone will love it. Guaranteed.

Happy New Year! See you next year with all new recipes!

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Serves 8

2 pounds raw shrimp, deveined, shells on
2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cups fresh parsley
½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 whole lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles over the shrimp.

Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly.

Serve with hot crusty bread. Peel and eat the shrimp, then dip the bread into the butter in the bottom of the pan.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms

I’ll admit I don’t particularly like onions but this recipe made me think otherwise. I love stuffed mushrooms in any form and this is a fun variation on them. You’ll love these and so will your guests. Watch them disappear before your eyes!

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms
Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
2 whole large onions, halved and sliced thin
¼ cups beef broth
7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Splash of red or white wine
½ cups grated Gruyere cheese (can use Swiss)
Kosher Salt
24 whole white or crimini mushrooms, washed and stems removed
Minced parsley

In a medium skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Splash in wine, broth, and Worcestershire. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until liquid is cooked down. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in mushrooms and toss around for 2 minutes, just to start the cooking process. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt.

Place mushroom caps face down in a baking dish. Heap cavities with sautéed mushrooms, and then sprinkle Gruyere over the top. Bake at 10 minutes on 325 degrees. Turn on broiler and broil for a couple of minutes, until the top of the Gruyere starts to bubble and slightly turn brown.

Sprinkle minced parsley over the top and serve.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls

Ring in the New Year with this easy, mouthwatering appetizer. Once you make these, you’ll be the hit at every party and your chicken cheese balls will be in high demand. People will be clamoring to have you make them for every get together, potluck and football party. Consider yourself warned…

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls
Makes 15 to 20 balls

1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
¼ cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ¾ cups sharp Cheddar
1 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Blue Cheese Dip:
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup packed blue cheese, broken up
½ teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Have oil heated to 350 degrees.

Pick the meat from the chicken and discard the skin. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the hot sauce, pepper and cheese, and toss to combine. Roll the chicken into 2-ounce balls, about the size of a golf ball.

Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Roll each ball in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Set aside.

When the oil is hot fry the chicken balls in batches. Cook for about 2 minutes per batch. Remove the chicken to paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the chicken alongside the dipping sauce.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I was first introduced to popovers when dining at Lawry’s The Prime Rib and it was love at first bite. This is the perfect complement for prime rib and is definitely better than your standard pop-in-the-oven biscuits or crescent rolls. Think popovers are hard to make? Well, this recipe will disprove that theory. It’s simple and simply delicious.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Makes 12 popovers

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
1 ½ cups flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Generously grease aluminum popover pans or Pyrex custard cups with softened butter. You’ll need enough pans to make 12 popovers. Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes

Though he claims to have already checked his list twice, who’s to say a delicious cupcake that stands out from your neighbors’ cookies won’t change Santa’s mind and land you on his nice list? Never fear: These are terrifically moist and carroty cupcakes. It may even ensure your stocking will be coal-free on Christmas.

Carrot Cupcakes
Makes 14 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups finely shredded carrots (from about 6 medium carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups confectioner’s sugar (8 ounces)

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350° and line 14 muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable-oil spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs with the canola oil. Gradually beat in the sugar at medium-high speed and beat until thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, and then fold in the carrots.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool slightly, and then transfer the cupcakes to the freezer to chill.

For the cream cheese frosting: In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat the butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and confectioners' sugar, and then beat at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip with the Cream Cheese Frosting. Pipe the frosting onto the carrot cupcakes and serve. Alternatively, use a knife to spread the frosting on the cupcakes and serve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cannoli Parfaits

Holy cannoli! Here is an Italian classic minus the carbs. Unbelievably, these are a satisfying treat and great for those who are trying to minimize their waistline during the holiday season. It’s a wonderful thing when you don’t have to pass on dessert!

Cannoli Parfaits
Serves 4

1 Low carb chocolate bar (preferably from Trader Joe’s)

Cannoli Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
¼ teaspoon real almond extract
1 teaspoon no sugar added vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

Cut the low carb chocolate bar into small chunks.

Meanwhile make the cannoli cream. With an electric mixer on high, whip heavy cream just until frothy, and then add sugar substitute and almond and vanilla extracts. Continue to whip on high until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip, or cream will break.

Gently fold in the ricotta cheese and almost all of the chocolate chunks, saving a few chips for garnish. Spoon cannoli cream into parfait glasses, top with remaining chocolate chips, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

This is the perfect winter soup. Creamy, smooth and bursting with flavor, this is the perfect holiday menu must-have.

Butternut Squash Soup
Serve 4 to 6

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 cup (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese
Kosher salt

In an 8-quart stockpot add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.

For the crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cheese crostini.

Cook's Note: The cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for about 5 minutes) by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spicy Hummus

Need an appetizer for the holiday potluck? This hummus recipe is quick, easy and delicious. In fact, you will never buy store made hummus again after making this. The recipe is easy to adjust (the premise is chickpeas, tahini, salt, and lemon juice) to suit your preferences and/or mood. Want more garlic? Or perhaps you prefer roasted red peppers? What about adding jalapenos? The sky is the limit! Go crazy and make your own creation.

Spicy Hummus
Yields approximately 2 cups

3 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned, drained and rinsed
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon chipotle puree
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place chickpeas, garlic, chipotle puree, lemon juice, and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Standing Rib Roast

Don’t want ham for Christmas? How about prime rib? This recipe is virtually foolproof. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at the cooking process (who lets a rib roast cook for an hour, then turn the oven off for 3 hours?!?) but, unbelievably, this rib roast comes out perfectly. And now you can enjoy your evening with your friends and family instead of babysitting the roast. Enjoy!

Standing Rib Roast
Serves 6-8

1 (5-pound) standing rib roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Rub roast generously with House Seasoning; place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours. About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees and reheat the roast. Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spiced Ham

This fragrant ham will make your house smell like the holidays; it’s studded with cloves and anise seeds.

Spiced Ham
Serves 12

For the ham:
1 (4- to 6-pounds ) boneless ham
8 3/4 fluid ounces red wine
3 liters water (approximately)
1 large onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 star anise
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns

For the glaze:
Approximately 16 whole cloves
4 tablespoons red currant jelly
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Place the ham in a large saucepan. Add all the ingredients for the ham to the pan, adding more water if the ham isn't covered. Bring to the boil, before reducing the heat to a simmer and partially covering the pan. Cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, plus an extra 15 minutes.

When you are ready to glaze the ham, preheat oven to 440 degrees.

Remove the ham from the liquid and sit the ham on a board. Strip off the rind, and a little of the fat layer if it's very thick, and cut a diamond pattern into the remaining fat with a sharp knife in lines of about 3/4-inch apart. Stud each diamond with a clove. Put the jelly, cinnamon, paprika and red wine vinegar into a saucepan and whisk together over a high heat bringing it to the boil. Let the pan bubble away so that the glaze reduces to a syrup-like consistency.

Place a layer of foil over a roasting tray big enough to hold the ham. Place the ham on top of the foil. Pour the glaze over the clove-studded ham and then transfer it to the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the glazed fat is burnished. Allow the meat to rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes before carving it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

This is without a doubt one of the best recipes for cinnamon rolls. Go ahead and make these on Christmas morning. They are perfect eaten immediately or later in the day, after they’ve been allowed to cool and settle into they’re almost obscene gooeyness.

Beware: this makes a whole lotta cinnamon rolls. But feel free to spread the joy. Or here’s a thought - you could just stock up your freezer, heat and enjoy for the next time.

Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 30 cinnamon rolls

2 cups whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 cups (plus ½ cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
½ teaspoon (scant) baking soda
½ tablespoon (heaping) salt

1 cup melted butter
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cinnamon (or more depending on preference)

Maple Frosting:
½ bag powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
Pinch of salt

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in active dry yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add ½ more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 13 to 17 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Holiday baking is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. This recipe is perfect for a cookie swap. Soft and moist, it’s the perfect holiday cookie!

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 4 dozen

½ cup old-fashioned oats
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces English toffee candy (recommended: Heath or Skor bar), finely chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful of dough onto sheet, spacing 1-inch apart (do not flatten dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (cookies will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. (The cookies can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Petite Nutella Pochettes

Holiday baking is a wonderful way to pass down old traditions and create new ones. Baking with my daughters is one of the most warm, fuzzy holiday activities I can think of. We always make a variety of cookies – from traditional butter cookies to this new favorite, the nutella pochette. When you put your time, effort and heart into what you bake, you are nourishing your loved ones in every sense of the word.

Petite Nutella Pochettes
Yields 32 pochettes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
Water, as needed
½ cup confectioners' sugar
Special equipment: 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and creamy. Add the flour slowly until the dough forms. Do not over-mix! Shape the dough into a ball and cover. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

On a lightly-floured surface, using a lightly-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Form the scraps into a ball and reroll to make more circles.

Fill each dough circle with a small spoonful of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Dip your finger in tap water and spread on the edge of half the circle to help create a seal. Fold the dough over to create a crescent. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool, then sift the confectioners' sugar on top and serve.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Cookies are such a big part of the holiday season for me. I just love the smells of gingerbread, chocolate, peanut butter, sugar and peppermint wafting through the house after baking a batch of cookies.

Anyhow, you’ll love these cookies that transform sugar cookies into a peppermint-holiday treat. Enjoy!

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Makes 1 dozen sandwich cookies

1 (16.5 ounce) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
¼ cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Decorating suggestion: crushed candy canes or peppermint candies; white, red and green sprinkles; or red and green decorating sugar
Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, knead together the cookie dough and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Knead together any scraps of dough and roll out again. Continue to cut out pastry circles until there are 24 pieces in total. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Combine 1 cup of chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, place the chocolate mixture in the center of the flat side of 12 of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.

Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pork Roast with Creamy Mustard Sauce

I am in love with my slow cooker this winter. I love when I can just set it and forget it. Try this recipe for pork roast. Chopped carrots, onion and shallot add color and texture to tender pork slices served with a creamy, zesty sauce. Yummy!

Pork Roast with Creamy Mustard Sauce
Serves 8

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2- to 3-pound pork boneless sirloin roast
2 medium carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small shallot, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 to 3 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard

Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. If pork roast comes in netting or is tied, do not remove. Cook pork in oil about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides.

Place pork in 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients except half-and-half and mustard in small bowl; pour over pork.

Cover and cook on Low heat setting 7 to 9 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker; cover to keep warm. Skim fat from pork juices in cooker if desired. Stir half-and-half and mustard into juices. Increase heat setting to High. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove netting or strings from pork. Serve sauce with pork.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chicken Broccoli Tortellini Soup

Come and get it! Homemade soup is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Easy to make and oh-so-delicious, this recipe is a keeper and one that will be used frequently in your weekly dinner rotation this winter.

Chicken Broccoli Tortellini Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bag (12 oz) Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen broccoli & cheese sauce
1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 large plum (Roma) tomato, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In 2-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender.

Stir in broth, water, Italian seasoning, frozen broccoli in cheese sauce and tortellini. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally and breaking up broccoli.

Stir in chicken. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tortellini are tender. Stir in tomato. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Want dinner ready and waiting in the evening? Start this recipe in the slow cooker in the morning and voila! Dinner’s done. The best part? You can make this Cajun/Creole dish as spicy as you like.

Serves 8

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped fully cooked smoked sausage
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce
3/4 pound uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen
4 cups hot cooked rice

In 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except shrimp and rice.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 8 hours (or High heat setting 3 to 4 hours).

Stir in shrimp. If needed, reduce heat setting to Low; cover and cook on Low heat setting about 1 hour longer or until shrimp are pink and firm. Serve jambalaya with rice.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Beef-Tortellini Soup

The irresistible aromas that come from this beefy soup will assail you when you open your door after coming home from a long day’s work. This recipe is hearty and perfect for winter. Just set it and forget it.

Beef-Tortellini Soup
Serves 6

1 lb beef stew meat
1 large onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 large carrot, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (10 1/2 oz each) condensed beef consommé
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 cups frozen cheese-filled tortellini
1 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen cut green beans

In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, add beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sugar, tomatoes and beef consommé in order listed.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.

About 25 minutes before serving, stir in basil, frozen tortellini and green beans. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook about 25 minutes or until beans are tender.