Friday, November 30, 2012

Nutella and Banana Panini

This may seem like a strange post, but this morning I was craving something sweet, ans why not  make something 'comforting' fun, and sinfully delicious without a lot of calories. I love Nutella, just like everyone else, but hardly ever use it to make a dessert... even though I have the jar sitting in my cupboard, next to the jar of peanut butter. I also had a whole Challah bread in my freezer, I had it sitting there for over one month. Such a perfect grilled panini with Nutella, and the banana pairing!
I must warn you, this Nutella Panini is not elegant...there's no other way to present it to make it look fancy; it's 'what you see is what you get' kind of a droolworthy awesome grilled sweet sandwich, made exclusively in a Panini Grill that is only for grilled sandwiches. I only ate one small portion, and wrapped up the rest to take over to my little grandson as a great snack when he came out of kindergarten. My daughter also enjoyed it as well!
Notice the perfect grill marks?... can't get better than that!

I'm sure, there must be an actual recipe out there, by I got my inspiration from one of my other favorite sandwich, which is the peanut butter banana sandwich, which I'm sure will taste as yummy, as a grilled panini.


 Nutella and Banana Panini
 recipe by; Elisabeth

Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread
1 or 2 ripe bananas, sliced
4 (1-inch thick) slices of Challah bread
or white sandwich bread






Spread 1 tablespoon of Nutella on one side of each slice of bread. If you're using a small, or med. banana, you can fill the entire bread slice with the banana slices.Top with the remaining bread slice, spread side down.










Preheat your panini grill, on med. high. This is a 'thrift find' panini grill, which I purchased about a year ago, for $9.99...a real bargain, and it works great!












 Place the panini (sandwich) on the hot grid, close the lid down and grill for about 5 or 6 minutes.














 When you see the grill marks appear, your sandwich is done.








While it's still warm, with a serrated knife, cut into half, or thirds...just watch it disappear... Yumm













 Some pre-Christmas visit at Macy's with my grandchildren!

 Last Saturday, at Macy's at City Place, in West Palm Beach...letter to Santa Claus!
Beautiful Christmas tree, at Macy's
I just had to snap this photo...so cool, so Christmasy...this car parked in front of Publix supermarket, after we left Macy's and stopped to buy a few items, at the supermarket. Imagine, the person cramming the Christmas tree into the car...also leaving the windows down and totally leaving down, and all open.
When we came out of the supermarket after 30 minutes, the car with the Christmas tree inside was still parked...isn't this a cute car?...a brand new FIAT! (not mine, of course)...wouldn't mind to own this little beauty:)








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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Paprikás Krumpli {Paprika Potatoes}

As the saying goes..."the eyes are windows to the soul"...well, let me tell you; I've been doing a lot of 'soul searching' in the last few days, after the holidays! A lot has happened since. I finally decided to get an eye exam, knowing that I need a new prescription for my eyes, and new glasses (I wear contact lenses, as well) Have had problems with both lately, my right eye not feeling just comfortable, blurriness, and sharp pain at times.

Just from my eye exam visit this Monday, (which took 2hrs) I was directed to visit a Retinal Eye Care place the next day for my right eye. Well, that was this morning...after 3hrs of thorough test, eye drops, yellow dye that they inject into your arm to see more...I found out that I damaged, badly scratched retina...swelling, as well. I will be needing an eye surgery, which will take place next Monday and hopefully I will regain my eye sight normally. Over the last few days, I have lost 75% of my vision in the right eye.

The eye specialist asked me if I had a trauma...perhaps hitting my eye; and I suddenly realized and remember my car accident and how I got smacked in the eye from the air bag...my eyeglasses knocked off and the right side digging into my eye...two years, and I have done nothing...even at that time I didn't bother to get my injured eye checked...so now, thinking I need new glasses, this is the result.

Please, do not neglect your eyes, and do go for regular eye exams yearly, if your wear glasses especially!  I waited 2 years with an injured eye that did heal from the physical bruises, but internal eye 'trauma' such as mine, the doctor told me, could have caused blindness...and neglect sure has not helped...so please say a 'little pray' for me for a successful outcome of the Retinal Surgery to correct this problem to regain my sight back...thank you, and I don't mean to 'dump' on you with my problem; but I just wanted to share this with you!
 Nothing like making a simple comforting dish from your childhood, and serving it on a beautiful cobalt blue plate, and a special tea towel from your Hungarian grandmother that she 'needle pointed' herself...some 40+yrs ago. I am truly blessed to have this, and proudly showing it off!
Paprikás Krumpli {Paprika Potatoes}
Recipe by; Elisabeth

4 medium potatoes; of your choice
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
half link of smoked sausage, sliced...I used Polish Kielbasa
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. Hungarian sweet, or hot paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in half, with skin on, and boil in salted water, just until it is still partially cooked. You can take the casing off from the smoked kielbasa, and slice thin.

 Saute onion, and garlic in the olive oil. till translucent, and golden. Add the paprika.












Saute onion, and garlic, and the paprika...add some chicken or vegetable broth, to keep from burning on the bottom of the pan.












 I used Progresso chicken broth, but you can use a vegetable broth as well. I used probably about 1 cup, of the 32 ozs, of the broth, and added the potatoes.











Add enough of the broth so that you can simmer the potatoes...at this time, you can add the sausage, or just stay with the potatoes, and let it get thick, and saucey.










At this time, you can add the sliced Kielbasa, and just cook for a few minutes to incorporate.












Add more broth as needed, but do not add more oil. You can always drizzle some extra oil at the end, to make it look glistening, and tasty, as well. Total cooking time is about probably 30 minutes...not counting the pre-cooking for the potatoes!








So, there you have it...the best tasting comfort potato dish, you would enjoy, as a brunch, lunch, side dish, or even for dinner with nice crusty bread, and a side salad!


















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Friday, November 23, 2012

French's Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving has dwindled down, and Black Friday shoppers are out and about getting some real bargains, I am finally catching up with a new post, and do not feel too guilty for not being able to post a Thanksgiving post, as I have last year; but do feel bad for not wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving at least the day before...but then, that would have had to be another post which I wasn't prepared for!

Last year we spent Thanksgiving with family and friends...a large gathering of at least 20 people, but this year was just our own family. Couldn't help thinking how the Super Storm Sandy survivors that lost everything spend their holiday...being thankful to at least have their lives spared. I also feel bad for some of my elderly neighbors living alone knowing that they are spending Thanksgiving all alone, but I already know that this is how they choose to do so...they want to be alone and often complain about every little thing that bothers them about neighbors. So how could you be neighborly to anti-social people when they refuse a nice gesture from others? (not like they haven't been invited; they want to be left alone...sad, but true)
Do you recognize this all American Green Bean Casserole? ...of course you do. I thought it was popular since the sixties, which I remembered, but after researching it, turns out that it was discovered in 1955 by the Campbell's Soup Company in their test kitchen making it with Cream of Mushroom Soup, and French's ...French Fried Onion Rings, which I only buy just for this casserole, although you can make an awesome crunchy crusted onion chicken with it, as well!
I remember way back when I first had this casserole in the sixties, it was made with canned green beans, then later years with frozen beans, but I of course have been making it with fresh cooked green beans, and also added about 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil to the soup when mixing it with the milk and soy sauce, and folding the some of the French Fried Onions into it. For some reason, I was always disappointed in the sauce when baking it, and it would have a dry and 'chalky' look, but not any more, it has a beautiful consistency, and it even improves on the flavor.

 I adapted the recipe from the 6 oz. (170g.) new plastic container of the French's French Fried Onions, using fresh cooked green beans, instead of canned or frozen.

French's Green Bean Casserole
slightly adapted; by Elisabeth

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk (you can use soy milk)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 plastic bag (already filled) fresh green beans; about 1 lb.
washed, cleaned, and cooked
1 1/3 cup French's French Fried Onions

In a large bowl, mix soup, milk, olive oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and fold in the the french fried onions, and the green beans. Have a 1-1/2 qt. oven proof casserole ready to spoon mixture in. Bake for 25 minutes, in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven. Remove from oven, and top with remaining onions...bake for an additional 5 minutes till onions get crispy and golden.

So, check out my fabulous Herb Stuffed 14 lb. Organic, (Brined) Roast Turkey, purchased at Whole Foods Market; the best and the most moist, flavorful turkey...ever! Also made Giblet Gravy, a Smooth Turkey Gravy, simple Herb Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes made with Sour Cream! My daughter made a Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Apple Cranberry Pie, and Pumpkin Pie...and we also had a Brussel Sprouts/Grapes vegetable...it was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day; we enjoyed our late lunch/early dinner outside, in a comfortable 73 degrees F. temperature in S. Florida! A lot to be thankful for, and counting our Blessings!




 No frills, no fancy platter...fresh out of the oven, after 5 1/2 hrs. partially tented with aluminum foil for the first 4hrs, baked in a 325 degree F. oven. Rubbed with Hungarian sweet paprika, salt, pepper, and canola oil...(as soon as the little red auto thermometer pops up; its ready) I folded the wings under, to prevent from burning the tip...(just a little habit of mine for chicken, as well)

Also added 1 cup chicken broth in the bottom of the disposable bake pan, and started to baste it after 3hrs, every 30 minutes.






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Monday, November 19, 2012

Fennel, Orange, and Onion Salad

With Thanksgiving around the corner, you'll want to eat lighter the few days before, to save some calories for the big Feast! One of my all-time favorite fall, and winter salad is the fennel and orange, paired with red onions, capers, on a bed of your favorite salad, or salad leaves; such as Romaine, or for that matter a simple Iceburg which I had leftover from using shredded lettuce to accompany last weeks tacos (sorry, no photo)
Fennel is so refreshing, so crispy and if you like licorice, you will love the flavor of this delightful fennel bulb, trimmed, and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces...and don't throw out the fronds; they make an excellent decoration...kind of reminds you of dill fronds, but not as strong...they are perfectly eatable, as well!
Back in 2000, when I first started my WeightWatchers diet (lost 37 lbs.) is, when I discovered this wonderful salad...with -0- points if you don't use a dressing with extra virgin olive oil...actually even with just 1 teaspoon of the oil, and a white wine vinegar dressing, I still think it's -0- points a serving...so go ahead, and enjoy this beautiful salad...and by the way, if you're wondering how to cut beautiful segments of oranges; watch this video that will show you how easy to segment an orange.

Fennel, Orange, and Onion Salad
recipe ; by Elisabeth... Weight Watchers inspired

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 naval orange, peeled, and sliced into segments
1 red onion, halved, and sliced thin
1 Tbsp small capers, drained and rinsed
sea salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon white wine, or rice vinegar
small amount of leftover orange juice from the segments
Your favorite salad leaves, or bed of salad
Chopped fennel fronds

In a medium bowl, mix together the fennel, the red onion, the capers, and carefully mix in the cleaned orange segments. Toss with the oil, and vinegar. and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, or your favorite salad mix...salt and pepper to taste, and top with fennel fronds. Serves 2-4... very tasty, mild, and refreshing.


Linking to: Cast Party Wednesday Link Party, @ Lady Behind the Curtain









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Thursday, November 15, 2012

{My Best}...Apple Brown Betty


Betty or Brown Betty - A Betty consist of a fruit, most commonly apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French apple charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.
According to The Oxford Companion To Food, by Alan Davison:
The name seems to have first appeared in print in 1864, when an article in the Yale Literary Magazine listed it (in quotation marks, implying that it was not then a fully established term) with tea, coffee, and pies as things to be given up during 'training'. That author gave brown in lower case and Betty in upper case: and, in default of evidence to the contrary, it seems best to go along with the view that Betty is here a proper name.
According to The American History Cookbook, by Mark H. Zanger:
Brown Betty (1890) - This recipe was part of the winning essay for the $500 American Public health Association Lomb prize on practical, Sanitary, and Economic Cooking Adapted to persons of Moderate and Small Means, which became a book of the same title by Mrs. Mary Hinman Abel. It was part of a series of menus to feed a family on thirteen cents a day. Mrs. Abel may have carried the recipe into use the the New England Kitchen, an experimental Boston restaurant aimed at "improving" the food choices of the poor. check the link; What's Cooking in America/History
I've often wondered where did the name 'Apple Brown Betty' come from?...I've always known that this simple and quick comforting dessert has a great American history, and I was right...although I have not done any research on it, I just assumed that it has to do with perhaps the same name as 'Betty Crocker'...which is a fictitious name that was given to the famous American cookbook back in the early 1940's!

This dessert, among the 'Cobbler' the 'Crisps', the 'Crumble', and the 'Buckle' is an unmistakeably origins in Colonial American cooking.
Although the earliest date recorded in print, was 1864, the first recipe appeared in 1890. America should be proud to have such an early culinary history, which were developed by our early settlers from England...so how about that?

Linking to: Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ Katherines Corner 
                 Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage


As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I start to pull out my treasured Thanksgiving and Christmas issues of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Cooking Light. Over the years I saved a huge stack of these favorites, but have drastically narrowed them down.

I have only about 10 various holiday issues now. I have a Bon Appetit November 1983 issue which I treasure so much because of the unusual Roast Turkey called, 'Roast Turkey with Cornmeal' consists of spreading cornmeal and butter under the skin to crisp the skin...also has a 'Wild Mushroom Dressing'...'Brussel Sprouts with Mustard Seeds'...'Native American Cranberry Sauce' that consists of pure maple syrup, ground ginger, and lots of fresh cranberries. I have made this entire recipe, back then, and had success with it, but have not made it since....perhaps, now is the time to make it again!
I'll be totally honest with you, my friends and (readers)...this is the best Apple Betty I have made in a long time...some people 'jazz' it up with oats, or lots of streusel, but I'll tell you; it's not needed. You just make sure you have 5...apples. They could be sweet; as well, or mix the tart and the sweet. I used Rome apples!

The secret in this amazing Apple Betty is the the French or the Italian day, or so, old bread that you soak in the milk, which is mixed with the sliced apple to give it the pudding effect...then you add your strews for the top! If you use margarine instead of butter, and use almond milk in place of dairy milk...then you can make this yummy dessert; VEGAN...no eggs required in this recipe! Serve it hot, with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream...I used Edy's Vanilla...yumm!

Apple Brown Betty
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, 2007 issue
-original recipe by; Lia Huber

2 cups sliced peeled Granny apples
2 cups sliced peeled Rome apples
(I used all Rome apples)*
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 Tablespoon mollases
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces day old French or Italian bread
torn into 1/2 inch pieces
(I used 6 ounces)*
Cooking Spray
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
(I used 3/4 cup)*
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
(I used 1/2 cup dark brown sugar)*
1/4 cup chilled butter cut into small pieces
I used 1 stick (4 oz.=113 g.) sweet-unsalted butter)


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Combine milk with the molasses and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the bread mixture; toss to combine.
Add bread mixture to apple mixture; toss to combine. Spoon mixture into an 8 inch pan, coated with
cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flour into a small bowl, combine with brown sugar (1/4 cup) and half the amount (1/4 cup)'
of the chilled butter, cut into small pieces, using a pastry cutter or two knives, until mixture resembles small

pebbles. First: (my adaptation; cut the second portion of the chilled butter into small pieces, and sprinkle over the apple mixture, then sprinkle the second portion of the brown sugar, which is also 1/4 cups)

Now, sprinkle the flour, butter, and the brown sugar evenly over the top, and bake bake for 35 to 45 minutes untill
brown and bubbly. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers, and can easily be re-heated in the microwave. About 6 serv.



Now, I want to share some really great 'thrift find' with you. I was about to order a part for my ice cream maker which is at least 10yrs old...the plastic lid broke, and I may not even find a replacement for it, when I came upon a brand new ice cream maker, by Krups...the only thing that is missing is the instruction booklet, which is available online, and also recipes, as well!


I am so super excited about this electric ice cream maker...$5.50 at Goodwill Industries! You may not always find it at this price. I would have to pay at least $19.99 just for my lid replacement for my old one, and this model is only a couple years old! Probably retails close to $59.99
Also found out online, that you have to cover the container in plastic, when freezing it. My old one just sits in the freezer uncovered...now, I will have to dispose of it! I didn't make my own homemade vanilla ice cream, but I'm looking forward to making my own for the holidays.

One more thing...just an update of our beach erosion, and how it looks now!
We lost at least 10 ft or longer of our beach...still, with a 5 ft. drop-down

Looks like a giant 'spider creature'...just sum branches from a sea plant
branches are embedded in the sand of what may look like some 'creepy-crawly'...yikes!




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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Oven Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

One potato...two potato...well, you know the rest of this little 'nursery rhyme'...not trying to put you to sleep, but it seems I have done so. Not one single comment since yesterday, on my Sweet Potato Bread... so movin' on! I purchased 2 large beautiful sweet potatoes at Walmart Super Store this week, and instead of making the usual baked sweet potatoes, I tried something different! You've seen the first version, now here's the second!

I have a confession to make: I am a Pinterest 'junkie' ...I love Pinterest! so there, I said it again! Every time I pin one of your fabulous dishes or desserts, sorry to say, I get stuck pinning, and pinning, and more pinning. You find so many awesome things on Pinterest, and so many ideas, and recipes for things that catches your eyes. You just click on the source, and it brings you to the site, or to the blog and you are very pleasantly surprised. I actually got the idea for the Oven Baked Chipotle Chile Sweet Baked Potato Fries from one of the pins that I pinned a while back, and discovered it again, when I made my Sweet Potato Bread, to go back to the pin, again!

Here's some of my burgers, and a collection from various sources for my Burgers and Sides board on Pinterest for 'foodandthrift'...you will see a few sources for fries, and of course sweet potato fries. At this time I cannot reveal the actual source where it came from...for you will also be 'sidetracked' but I'm sure you'll figure it out! Click, to check out all the mouthwatering burgers and fries!
Burgers and Sides
Yeahh, I did it! Yes, I'm totally featuring my yummy spicy, crispy Sweet Potato Chipotle Fries...stole the simple 'prop' idea from Pinterest...to stand it upright! I found one of my 'latte' mugs, 'thrift find' ...of course, and cut a piece of parchment paper to wrap it around with, and it worked. I wasn't happy with my 'night photo' shot and my counter background, so I figured out a way to block out on my photo shop setting for my Canon camera browser...just want to show you how amazing these fries were...sorry, did not share this...only ONE POTATO!
I also made the Mayo Sriracha Dip...(not shown) but you will find it on my Pinterest  board!

Linking to: Hearth and Soul Blog Hop @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen




ONE POTATO...

I will take you step-by-step to show you how easy it is to make these yummy fries. If you want to use regular baking potatoes...well, that's fine too!




First, you must peel the potato



Wash it, and first cut it in half lengthwise, trim the little tip off from the end...do not cut them in half across, or they will be too short. keep cutting them into strips, but not too thin. (its OK if some are shorter)










I used 4 ingredients...fine ground Kosher salt, multi-color freshly ground pepper, Chipotle Chile
Powder, and hot Hungarian Paprika...use about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the rest just sprinkled on the amount I needed. Mixed it all in a small bowl or jar, with the addition of 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Put the potatoes in a large Zip-Loc bag...pour the oil and spices on them and shake...shake...shake...'baby'! Fold the bag over, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes...or longer; even overnight!








On a parchment lined baking sheet, bake in a preheat 425 degrees F. oven 15 minutes on one side, flip them over carefully with a flat spatula, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes longer until they are golden brown, and crispy...serves 2.

Last, but not least...I wanted to share my awesome little 'thrift find' with you; a little scale that you can weigh for baking to get the exact grams. No more converting, just pop it on the little plastic scale, weighs up to 2 kilos which is all I need for easier instant conversion. It even has a nice convenient lid. Cost: $1.99

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Venison Stew with Potato Balls

After a long absence from my blog, I decided to return or just leave thing the way they are...which is the wrong choice. Eight years have...