Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for March, 2012
Posted: March 30th, 2012

Hit the story link to see the Chicago Tribune's photos of this deviled egg recipe. It's a thing of beauty.

You cook them perfectly, dye them carefully, store them properly, hide them gleefully, and then, what, throw them away? Heck, no. Peel them, slice them, take out the yolks and devil them. This simple recipe for deviled eggs from the Chicago Tribune looks stunning and delicious. I especially like the presentation idea: slicing a bit off the ends of the eggs, slicing the eggs crosswise instead of lengthwise, so you can stand them on end to fill and serve. They stand up on the flat ends, no special deviled egg plate required.
My MIL just brought me three dozen fresh eggs from her farm in anticipation of Easter. I love them because they’re brown and the color of the dyes turn deeper and darker. They’re also huge.
For a new-to-us but old-to-features-intern-Kathryn take on beautiful “tie-dyed” eggs, turn to Thursday’s Family section. They’re lovely and not too complicated.
And then you can send speak of the deviled.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 29th, 2012

Cutie pies


Pies are slowly replacing cupcakes in the dessert trend world, and chefs are co-opting the yumminess-wrapped-in-crust concept for their savory dishes. The theory goes that crust goes a long way toward improving the curb appeal of any dish that might have been ho-hum without it.
I found a package of pie recipes on Parents.com, many of which called for a whole-wheat crust. Fellow food writer Marnie Mead Oberle said while she would never use a whole-wheat crust for a sweet dessert pie such as pecan or blueberry, that it would add interest and bite to a savory dish.
While “whole-wheat crust” sounds a little healthier than regular all-purpose flour crust, one serving only has 1 gram of fiber
These Breakfast Pies would qualify. I love the idea of making them ahead and warming them in the microwave for a busy morning breakfast.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 28th, 2012

This book is dangerous. Please take it from me.

Welcome to book-drawing Wednesday, where we (I) give away a cookbook that we’ve (I’ve) gotten in the mail and must part with for the sake of our (my) desk (s).
The drawing this week was for “101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches,” from Gooseberry Patch. The lucky winner is Janet Hansen. We’ll (I’ll) pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Janet Hansen, you can enter the drawing for "Baking Basics and Beyond: Learn These Simple Techniques and Bake Like a Pro,"by Pat Sinclair, by sending an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Please include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want. I’ll pick an lucky winner next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on GINGERBREAD NECTARINE COBBLER.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2012

The slow cooker teamed with moms: Unbeatable.


For John’s birthday yesterday, I made Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot. I love that recipe. Simply wonderful and wonderfully simple.
So I have the Crock Pot on the counter, which puts it top of mind, especially since the weather has turned more seasonable, by which I mean cold.
The website Circle of Moms sends out a great e-mail newsletter every day, and I saved this one for mining later. As in now.
Because website comment sections can be a free-for-all, or a vast empty wasteland of blah, blah, blah, I generally avoid them. This one on Moms’ favorite slow-cooker recipes, though, I read all the way through. One of these recipes is going to wind up on our table sooner than later.
If you can’t find a Crock Pot recipe you like in this thread, look again.
Here’s a promising one:
CREAMY CROCK POT CHICKEN
3 large frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 can condensed cream of chicken soup
Half a small can of chicken broth (the whole can of Swanson makes it a little soupy)
Dry ranch dressing mix
4 ounces cream cheese
Wide egg noodles

Mix all ingredients into Crock Pot except the egg noodles and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve over cooked egg noodles
– Susan Wisniewski

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 26th, 2012

If this photo were paper, I'd eat it.

Some reviewer of Tender Tomato Chicken on Allrecipes.com complained that the chicken was too tender. Turns out she was kidding. She was just having trouble getting it on her fork. From what I can tell, I will have no trouble getting it off my fork.
The recipe says to use the chicken breast meat whole. But the picture seems to say use it in chunks. I prefer chunks. But I’ll probably cook it first and chunk it before eating. Or just, if the tender thing makes chopping difficult, just shred it. I don’t think the chicken preparation portion of this program is going to be much of an issue.
It’s a stove top recipe, but one reader said she did it in a Crock Pot, which sounds promising.
Hard to argue with 7 ingredients and great reviews.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 22nd, 2012

How absolutely adorable, and healthy, and easy -- and adorable.

My family of three is going through eggs faster than Perkins on Sunday morning. The kid wants scrambled eggs for dinner — every night. I don’t fight that as much as I should. It’s hard to argue with lean protein that’s ready in 90 seconds.
On top of that, my husband eats one every morning. I cook and bake with them constantly. Yesterday alone, we used 10 eggs. 10.
I’ve started buying 18-egg cartons in a vain attempt to keep up.
As Easter approaches, I don’t expect this to ebb. I, too, enjoy a good egg dish, especially on weekend mornings when I have more time to whip up something more than scrambled. This, from the American Egg Board, have it all: lean, tasty, easy, beautiful. Now I can’t wait for Saturday morning. It might be tonight instead. That is, if we have any eggs left.

MUFFIN FRITTATAS
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, 4 ounces
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until blended. Add cheese, zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Mix well.
2. Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each.
3. Bake until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes and remove from cups. Serve warm.
Per serving: 164 calories, 11 grams fat, 207 milligrams cholesterol, 296 milligrams sodium, 3 grams carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 12 grams protein
– incredibleegg.org

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 21st, 2012

Thanks to the brave souls who wrote in to win a copy of “Sugarlicious,” by Meaghan Mountford. It looks like it provides truly endless experiences in the kitchen.
Stacey Serrano won the book, and I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Stacey Serrano, drop me a line to enter for “101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches,” from Gooseberry Patch. I like the book because it comes spiral bound with lots of pretty pictures. The recipes are down-home with no funky ingredients, look pretty simple and promising of you’re looking for lighter spring and summer fare.

To enter for the book, drop a line to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Please include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and the NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

Maybe it’s my new resolution to Weight Watchers, but I’m dying to try
EMILY’S FROZEN FRUIT SALAD
1 16-ounce can apricot halves
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 bananas, sliced
1. Combine undrained apricots and pineapple. Mix in remaining ingredients except for bananas. Set aside.
2. Arrange bananas in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. Pour fruit mixture over top.
3. Cover and freeze for at least 24 hours.
4. Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving..
Serves 12

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 20th, 2012

Sauteed Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette is one of the fastest routes from asparagus to heaven.


My forsythia are blooming, which used to mean asparagus season is almost over. Not this year. The flowers are 6 weeks early, and these days, asparagus hangs around the produce department all year long.
But let’s pretend, in an homage to the days when spring didn’t start till May and we ate asparagus grown in the ground, that it’s asparagus season and that that is exciting.
Because it is.
I always feel a little moment of glee when I see it in the produce section, waiting for me. The first time I buy it, I get two pounds, because I’ll eat the first one before the rest of dinner is ready.
Doesn’t take much: A little olive oil, salt, pepper, 5 minutes in the microwave and it’s all she wrote. If anyone remembers the Saturday Night Live Coneheads skit, you’ll remember Dan Aykroyd eating mass quantities of sub sandwiches in a few bites. That’s me an asparagus. No silverware, no napkin, no plate. Flower end first. Even though I just ate some a few hours ago, just the thought is making me salivate.
If you like is as much as I do, check out the Asparagus and Cheese Tart recipe in my Loaves & Dishes column next week for the best use of asparagus I’ve ever seen.
In the meantime, this recipe for Sauteed Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette looks phenomenal.
Now I’m going to have to buy three pounds.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 15th, 2012

My husband would eat this picture if he could.

Meatloaf is one of my husband’s top 10 favorite meals. I’ve never made one that he didn’t wolf down within two days. Luckily he’s not too picky, as long as it contains lots of Worcestershire and ketchup. I’ve even made a few off the cuff without recipes to lean on, which is unusual. He doesn’t bat an eye. Even if they fall apart and he has to eat the hamburger with a fork, it’s like a dream come true: permission to eat simple forkfuls of ground beef and salt.
This recipe, with reduced fat and calories, looks promising, and allows for generous portions. I’d probably split it into two loaves and cooked it for just half an hour, but there’s something alluring about one big loaf. You could also form the mixture into 24 balls and cook them in muffin tins for adorable, portable yumminess.
MAMAW’S MEANER & LEANER MEATLOAF
2 pounds 93 percent lean ground beef
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 medium red pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (whole wheat if you can find it)
1 cup reduced-sugar ketchup, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with lightly sprayed parchment paper.
2
. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add onions, garlic and bay leaf. Saute until tender, or about 3 minutes. Add red pepper and saute another 5 minutes. Add parsley and thyme and saute another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture cool, then pick out the bay leaf and toss.
3. In a large bowl, mix beef, egg whites, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup reduced-sugar ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cooled onion mixture. Using your hands, mix ingredients lightly.
4
. Transfer the mixture from the bowl to the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet and form into a loaf. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup across the loaf and bake for about an hour or until firm. Let cool and set for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing to serve.
Note: Depending on the shape of your loaf, you may require more ketchup for topping.
Serves 7
– “Eating Light, Done Right,” by Tania N. Boughton
Per serving: 425 calories, 3.2 grams fat, 96 milligrams cholesterol, 968 sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 22 grams protein

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 14th, 2012

Welcome to book-drawing Wednesday, where I clear off my desk and everybody wins. Well, at least one person wins.
This week’s drawing was for “Cooking With Trader Joes: Skinny Dish,” by Jennifer K. Reilly. Winner is Janice Locke. I’ll pop it in the mail today.
If you are not Janice Locke, you are welcome to enter the drawing for “Sugarlicious,” by Meaghan Mountford. This is one sweet book, if only for the eye candy. Lots of overachiever-type “Wow” treats organized into chapters: Flowers & Bugs; Animals & Outdoors; Silly & Fun; Parties & Occasions; Holidays & Seasons.
It includes sections devoted to supplies, recipes, crafts, technique, wrapping, resources and templates. Crazy amazing stuff you’d only see in, well, a cookbook, unless you’re way more advanced than I am in presentation. It would be a great resource for Easter and summer party treats.
I’d include a recipe, but each one is more of a project.
To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com and include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK by next Wednesday morning.

Posted in: Uncategorized