Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our Easter Brunch! 2012

We moved to Pittsburgh almost 5 years ago and I count my blessings every day for days and moments that we share with our children and grandchildren. Today was one of the days!

  This was the first year we tried having a brunch instead of our usual mid afternoon dinner. Our daughter and daughter in law decided the time and the menu.  Once that was established I added my touch, which was the lunch side of it. I have never been a breakfast kind of gal but my family loves anything breakfasteee..

The reason we moved to Pittsburgh!

Susan, our daughter, brought an egg, turkey bacon, cheese and English muffin casserole..(A big Hit)..(none for me).  Also Cinnamon Monkey bread!  I did eat that!!!!! Yummy!

Egg, cheddar cheese, turkey bacon and English muffin casserole

Angela, our daughter in law, brought the stuffed french toast (fresh raspberries, cream cheese and pecans )adorned that really appealing brunch addition. (Tried a bit and it was delicious)..Stuffed french toast is one of my hubby's favorites..

Raspberries, cream cheese and pecans stuffed french toast

Now we'll come to my touch..Fresh ham (did it the way my mother in law would make it)..Tender, moist and little waste..I love ham!

Small oven roasted turkey (Butterball)

Boneless Turkey Breast..I roasted a small Butterball boneless breast approximately 2 or so hours.That too was delicious...I added some mashed white potatoes (so creamy), gravy and the kids favorite corn..Nothing fancy but sweet.

Ham so tender and juicy( I boiled it with an orange, lemon, small pineapple juice and apple)  Yummy

Fresh strawberries and bananas
Easy fresh strawberries and bananas
A small antipasto

Olive mix antipasto (my creation)

Pomegranate Iced Tea

Pomegranate ice tea with lemon for our beverage along with O.J., Coffee and of course lemon water.

The kids enjoyed their usual Egg Hunt..It was a bit brisk but they ran around like crazy..Poppy hid the eggs too well so they had a much harder time finding them this year..Maddie, our oldest was the winner but everyone really tried and it was well worth the effort.  (cash inside).

On your mark, get ready, go!

Faster than a speeding bullet even in flip flops!!!

Hope you had a wonderful day!  Happy Easter from I Like to Bake and Cook! and my family to yours..

M. J.


Friday, April 18, 2014

An Easter Tradition: Making Shrimp Scampi

 Happy Easter to all my friends and family!!

When I start to plan my menu for the coming week I usually focus on  what may be on sale or what I think we might enjoy eating the coming week.  Since I fell in love with the salad I saw at the specialty store and wanted to duplicate it I also thought if I bought enough shrimp I'd be able to make two meals from the amount of shrimp I purchased..  That is where the shrimp scampi recipe comes into place. 

Note:  Also We celebrate Easter by fasting on Good Friday!  It has become an Easter tradition to make shrimp scampi.  An easy as well as a delicious meal without meat!

Add shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic minced
1 lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined( I used medium shrimp)
1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper(sometimes I used red pepper flakes)
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley(fresh or dried)
1 lb.  angel hair pasta

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in large skillet over med. High heat..Add garlic and cook 1 minute..add shrimp and cook 1 minute..stir in wine(optional), lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes.  Stir  in parsley and remove from heat.

While shrimp is cooking prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Add pasta to shrimp in skillet and toss to coat..Stir in cooking liquid and remaining tablespoon each of oil and butter..Stir until pasta is coated and butter is melted..Serve immediately.

 Happy Cooking!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Soupy Chicken Pot Pie!

 It is sooo cold for this April 15th that I felt I had to make something warm and comforting.  This is my choice.  Soupy Chicken Pot Pie!

Fall is in the air today so my thoughts are going to making something in my crockpot.  This recipe is super easy and using a crockpot is an easy option.  This meal is great to warm you up on a chilly day

I was accustomed to making Pot Pie in a crust!  That's how I made it when I was first married.  I used Betty Crocker's easy pot pie recipe but today I am making the version that was frequently made by my friends  when I lived in another area of the state and it was more soup like but thick in a gravy type broth.

Happy Cooking!

6 cups chicken broth (canned chicken broth can easily be used)
1 large whole chicken breast
1 large carrot
1  to 2 stalks celery
1- 8 oz. large thick style pasta or noodles

In a medium to large crock pot place all ingredients.  Cook on high until chicken is tender.

If using crockpot option: After chicken and vegetables are tender (Cook on low for approx. 6 hours) Strain and dice carrots, celery and chicken and add to **thickened broth.  Cook noodles separately or add to strained chicken broth and cook until thickened. 

**Stove top method.  Cook chicken and vegetables in large stockpot with approx. 6 cups water. Cook on medium heat until chicken falls off the bone.  Remove chicken and vegetables from broth.  Cut chicken and vegetables into bite size pieces. Add large pot pie noodles to broth.  Cook on low heat until noodles are tender.    Thicken broth as suggested below.

**Thicken broth with a rue of 2 tablespoons melted butter,1 small grated onion and 1/4 cup flour. Blend together well with a whisk if possible and fold into broth.  Enjoy! 

For Crockpot Method:  Note:  Do not add noodles until ready to eat. (I cook them separately) and add 10 minutes before serving.

I dice my carrots,celery and chicken after soup is cooked. 

Chicken Stock for a hearty chicken veggie flavor

I use grated onion, butter and flour for this pot pie rue.

Making a Rue

Heating the liquid ensures lumps won't form as easily.
Make sure you cook the flour-butter mixture for 1-2 minutes so the soup will thicken.
Using a wire whisk really is essential. It incorporates the liquid into the rue very well, preventing lumps from forming.