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This soup was AWESOME. As my mom always says–  what’s not to like about heavy cream.  Aaron and I both really enjoyed the creaminess of the soup and were able to eat it as a meal with some bread. It was perfect for a rainy sunday afternoon. 

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms 
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms 
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms 
1 tablespoon good olive oil 
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided 
1 cup chopped yellow onion 
1 carrot, chopped 
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks) 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup dry white wine 
1 cup half-and-half 
1 cup heavy cream 
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don’t wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.


I was excited to make this recipe. We both really like Mac and Cheese (Tuna sandwiches and velvetta is a go to dinner for us!). I was excited to use the various types of cheese and we always love basil and bacon! After making this recipe, I found the final product to be a little dry, if I were to make it again, I would probably not bake the noodles and cheese, but just eat them in a creamy version. I would probably also cut back on the Bleu cheese as I felt that it overpowered the other cheeses a little bit to much. 

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon — i used turkey bacon
Vegetable oil 
Kosher salt 
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi 
1 1/2 cups milk 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated 
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated 
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch nutmeg 
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed 
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven – there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

I also made this dish for Aaron’s birthday party and then again when Aaron’s parents came to visit. I loved how colorful the dish is and the vinaigrette was really yummy. One of my friends described it as “all the good parts of the salad”.  I agree! Yum

PS I hate when the food network recipes don’t have pictures! 


Panzanella by Ina Garten

3 tablespoons good olive oil 
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes 
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick 
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced 
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped 
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette: 
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar 
1/2 cup good olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Love, Love, LOVE this recipe. The first time I made it was for my now fiance’s (!) birthday party. I called the other love of my life, Wegmans, and asked if they could butterfly a chicken for me. To my amazement they said yes!  I had never dealt with a butterflied chicken before, so it was definitely an experience!  I also did some breasts along with the whole chicken to feed our crowd. Everyone loved the flavor of the chicken.  The 2nd time I made it was for when Aaron’s parents came to visit us. This time I used thighs and breasts, again it was excellent. This is definitely a go to crowd pleaser. 

Butterflied Chicken by Ina Garten

1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs 
3 garlic cloves, chopped 
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 
Good olive oil 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 roasting chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), deboned and butterflied 
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.

Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

We both really liked these muffins. They went extremely well with the chicken tortilla soup that I had made that night.  I really liked how buttery and cheesy they were with a little kick. I was really glad that I made them as muffins– I think it helped the batter not get dried out while baking. I was also very excited to use a jalapeno from our little garden 🙂


Japapeno Cheddar Cornbread

3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup yellow cornmeal 
1/4 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons baking powder 
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
2 cups milk 
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten 
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan 
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided 
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions 
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers


Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This was my first attempt at noodle kugel. I found the recipe online and thought I would give it a shot.  It was pretty good, but next time I might use half cottage cheese and half cream cheese — I didn’t really like all the curds.  All in all I thought this was very tasty. This recipe will definitely be kept around! 



1/2 lb. wide egg noodles
1 lb. creamed or whipped cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

butter for greasing baking pan

sour cream and fresh berries as an accompaniment, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Boil the noodles until al dente, and drain. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained noodles and remaining ingredients (through and including vanilla extract) and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish, and bake 40 minutes, uncovered. Cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature with sour cream and/or fresh berries on the side, if desired.

April 1999
Carole Chernick, Lisa Chernick’s mom
1999-03-22 16:27:48.0

I made this dessert for Rosh Hashanah dinner (other recipes to follow).  I wanted to make something to share with our guests as well as banging out a new recipe for TWD so i was excited that this would fit the bill. We ate as much of it as we could (it was yummy) and then I took the rest to my parents house over the weekend. When I talked to my mom on Monday, she said that she was contemplating throwing the rest of it out because she couldn’t stop eating it. 

 One funny story: When I was making the caramel for the topping, Aaron ran into the kitchen while it was cooking to “help” AKA take over and went to stir it. I then shrieked (!) don’t stir it!!!!!  and then he preceded to put the spoon down and run his finger over the caramel that had dropped off the spoon. Of course, he burnt himself and I couldn’t help but laugh! and then I felt bad because he was burn pretty badly. That’s what he gets for coming into my kitchen!!! 🙂  here are the pics!

Everyone that tried these cookies loved them. Aaron and I both really loved how chewy they were and soft. SO SO SO good. I can’t wait to make them for my dad who loves whoppers! I will definitely be making these again :0) Yum!!!

WE both really liked these cookies (my co-workers did too!) It almost felt like you were eating something healthy :). I couldn’t justify buying wheat germ just for this recipe, so I skipped it. I will definitely be making these again soon!

OKay! We have been bussssssy.   Exciting news! Since my last post, Aaron and I have gotten engaged! Yay! So, we’ve been busy celebrating and planning.  I have been baking recipes when I can, the following posts are me catching up! 🙂

We both liked the black and white loaf, but we both felt like the chocolate overpowered the banana.  I like my banana bread to taste like banana (at least a little)!


July 2018
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