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 April, 2012
Posted: April 27th, 2012

I don't know why these steaks are round. You can use regular ones.

OK it’s supposed to be cold all weekend. I know. But the sun’s supposed to be out, and it’s just about time to uncover that grill and send the spiders packing. Sure you can wait until Memorial Day. But that’s only four weeks away, and it’s just as likely to be 40 degrees then, too. And it might be good to give Grilled Top Sirloin Filets with Smoky Orange Sauce a dry run.
I almost didn’t use this recipe because I’ve never seen a “steak” cut into that shape before. I see no reason for it. If you know more about it, feel free to enlighten me. I’m going to go with regular top sirloin.
Oranges are very trendy right now, and deliciously so. I can’t wait to try this sauce, steak or no steak.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 26th, 2012

Since I insist on stuffing myself, I'll do it with this Strawberry and Spinach Salad from Epicurious.com.

In and around my department, we have many food-lovers. We have two food writers, as well as several co-workers who just like to cook, and a gaggle of appreciative colleagues who just like to eat. I don’t remember how it started, but for years now, we’ve planned what we’ve imaginatively dubbed “Food Days,” when lots of us bring in something edible, and we spend the day grazing.
It used to be every time someone had a birthday, but that sometimes meant three times a month, and some months not at all. Now we just do it once a month, on the last Friday. As in tomorrow.
Perhaps not at all surprising is the fact that just about all of us food lovers have reasons to ease up in the calorie department. We all approach this problem in different way. Until I jumped back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon in March, my approach was not to approach it at all.
Food Days inevitably bring me into contact with foods I have a problem with: donuts, cookies, bars. I’ve decided the best way to get through this is to face the fact that I will indulge, but put it off as long as possible and keep a lid on it.
What will make that more pleasurable is to bring in something wonderful that I can eat as much as I want of. I’ve decided on Strawberry Spinach Salad. I’m most excited about the strawberry vinaigrette. I think I’ll also add red onions and a sprinkle of feta, keeping the pecans and dressing on the side.
Then I think I’ll just eat it with the tongs.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 25th, 2012

Recipes and advice from a healthy mom who's been there.

Thanks for all who entered the drawing for Weber’s “Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill.” You are an intrepid lot. The winner is Penny Guelcher. I’ll pop it in the mail today.
If you are not Penny Guelcher, you are eligible to put your name in the hat for one of 2 copies I have of "Eating Light, Done Right," by Tania N. Boughton. The book has lots of simple, healthy-looking recipes, tons of inspirational advice for healthy eaters and beautiful photographs.
What it doesn’t have, strangely, is nutritional information for the recipes. Her concept might be that you shouldn’t count calories, but should just eat healthy food, but I don’t know. She doesn’t address the issue in her forward that I could find.
Either way, though, is that it’s definitely a great place to start or reinspire you to get back on the right track.
If you want to enter the drawing, please send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK. I’ll draw out of my electronic “hat” next Wednesday.
In the meantime, try this:

1 1/2 tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup 1 percent milk
1 can reduced sodium, fat cream of mushroom soup
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans Albacore tuna in water, drained
2 ounces diced pimiento (1 jar, drained)
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 3 minutes, then add mushroom soup and 1 percent milk. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk so it doesn’t scorch.
2. Mix soup and onion mixture with noodles, peas, lemon juice, salt, pepper, tuna and pimiento and pour into a 2-quart casserole.
3. Mix together breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake until heated through and bubbling. Serve hot and enjoy.
Serves 8
– “Eating Light, Done Right”
Per serving (I did the math) 200 calories, 4.9 grams fat, 2.7 grams fiber, 12 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, 618 milligrams sodium, 34 milligrams cholesterol

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 24th, 2012

Stromboli looks like a good cure for the grumbellies.

I love food websites that send out recipe collections. This recipe for Broccoli, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stromboli came in a package of 41 “Speedy Suppers That Won’t Break the Bank” from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food newsletter. It’s just so much fun to scroll through the pictures, hunting for recipe treasures. I don’t like them all, but I always stumble over a few that have potential.
The only real problem with this practice is that I usually wind up hungry and impatient to get home and create (read “eat”) my discoveries.
Stromboli sounds like it would take forever, but with premade pizza dough, it’s just roll out, fill, roll up, bake.
The only thing I’d change in the recipe is to blend the broccoli with the garlic, salt and pepper before dividing it among the dough pieces. I’d also try to cook the broccoli until it’s bite-friendly soft before baking, to avoid distracting crunchy parts in the finished product. I don’t need any more distractions in my life, especially from broccoli.
▀  Per serving: 447 calories, 22 grams fat, 6.7 grams fiber, 23 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrate, 1,316 milligrams sodium, 37 milligrams cholesterol
Values are approximate.
That’s 12 for WW Points Plus followers. You can lose the salami and use 2% cheese for a 330 calorie version, for 9 WWPP.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 23rd, 2012

Sick of shredded wheat? Time to break some eggs.

Weekend mornings were made for breakfast casseroles. You have a little more time to sit around, sip your coffee and wait patiently for something that will blow a hole in your cold cereal routine.
Chiles Rellenos Quiche seems to me to fit comfortably into our lives tomorrow morning, when we don’t have to leave the house until the luxuriously late 9 a.m.
One bonus of this one is that it doesn’t have to soak overnight, like a breakfast strata would. And there’s no fussing with a crust as with a traditional quiche. It just takes a cup of Bisquick, milk mixed up with the eggs and poured over green chiles and cheese in a baking dish. No muss, no fuss. Only yumminess reminiscient of my visit to a diner in Vail, Colo., the first place I ever had chiles rellenos. The casserole will be hard pressed to stand up to that experience, but it sure beats a fourth straight day of oatmeal.

Cooking spray
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese w/peppers
2 cups milk
1 cup All-purpose baking mix
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish with cooking
spray. Sprinkle green chiles, Cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese evenly into baking dish.
2. Beat milk, baking mix, and eggs at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in ricotta cheese; spoon mixture evenly over chiles and cheeses in baking dish.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Makes 6 servings
– Recipes DuJour

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 19th, 2012

These are so cute, I can't stand it.

There’s something about small versions of usually big food. Whenever I see it, like meatloaves in a muffin tin, or cake pops, that I find myself cooing over them like a newborn human. Maybe it’s just an overly caffeinated maternal instinct, but I simply can’t resist.
I’d like to think that the trend toward miniature versions of high-calorie dishes is a response to the obesity problem so often blamed on “supersized” portions, and maybe it is. But that doesn’t supersede the cuteness factor.
I’m working on a column for May 2 about tacos made in a muffin pan, from a recipe out of a muffin-tin cookbook, the publishing of which confirms my gut feeling that little food is huge.
Over my recent vacation, I had a lunch-sized pizza, which tasted wonderful, but wasn’t nearly as creative as Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas from Martha Stewart. This version is designed to be vegetarian, but there’s nothing stopping you from adding little bits of sausage or pepperoni.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 18th, 2012

Where there's "Smoke" there's a delicious smelling fire.

Hello, out there. Sorry about my hiatus last week. I was home on vacation, during which — many of you already know — I used to clean and reorganize my kitchen. Yes, I really know how to live.
It was one of those things that could not wait another moment. I was tearing my hair out trying to get bowls and dishes out of the cupboards, getting the cupboards to close, stepping over Matchbox cars, finding utensils, using counter space. Those, and everyone’s favorites: finding pot lids, keeping plastic containers together, opening drawers without destroying my whisks, losing track of small children.
▀ Kids toys went first. My kitchen is no longer a play room.
▀ Everything came out of the cupboards while I hung new shelves.
▀ Garage sale box, filled.
▀ Kids bowls and cup, gone.
▀ Nylon utensils, gone. I was sick of melting the handles next to the stove.
▀ Swore off small appliances forever.
▀ Recipes saved “to make sometime” gone to a better place.
▀ Bread box, purchased
▀ Cookbooks, downstairs.
▀ Fancy table cloths, downstairs.
▀ Blender and espresso machine, downstairs.
▀ Picnic supplies, downstairs.
▀ Booze moved to higher ground.
▀ Spices inventoried, labeled and alphabetized.
It was beautiful.
Then I cooked for a few future Loaves & Dishes columns, apparently while channeling a Tasmanian Devil. Took me hours to clean up. I might never cook again.
But if I do, Sesame Chicken Salad will be my first dish.

In the meantime, I’ll give away a couple of new cookbooks.
I got a lot of response to “Simple Shortcut Recipes,” from Gooseberry Patch. Linna Turner is the lucky winner. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

Next week’s drawing will be for a great-looking book from Weber, the grill company, written by one of my favorite cookbook authors Jamie Purviance. It’s called "Weber's Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill"
Smoking food is really trendy, and I’m sure it’s tasty, but if I said I’d have time to try a recipe from it, all I’d be eating would be my words.

If you’re up for a challenge, send an email to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com with your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE COOKBOOK. I’ll draw next week. I promise.

In the meantime, here’s a good-looking recipe I came across this week.

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
2 cups thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients, stirring with a
2. To prepare salad, combine chicken and next 5 ingredients (through
onions) in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, tossing gently to
coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Makes 4 servings
Per serving
Calories: 256
Calories from fat: 31%
Fat: 8.8g
Saturated fat: 2g
Monounsaturated fat: 3.6g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.5g
Protein: 31.9g
Carbohydrate: 12.1g
Fiber: 3g
Cholesterol: 74mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 654mg
Calcium: 54mg

– Recipe du Jour

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 4th, 2012

Yes, the dishes are homemade. No, you don't have to do all the work.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing for “Baking Basics and Beyond,” by Pat Sinclair. The lucky winner is Jennifer Brinkley. I’ll pop the book in the mail today.

If you are not Jennifer Brinkley, you’re eligible to enter the drawing for new Gooseberry Patch book “Simple Shortcut Recipes,” including many sent in by readers. There are two recipes from local foodies, including Sweet Onion Casserole from Georgine Heckathorne in Oil City and Quick & Easy Bruschetta from Brenda Sarnowski in McKean.

To enter the drawing,, send an email to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

For those of you who are just here for the food, here’s Heckathorne’s recipe:
4 cups sweet onions, sliced
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 (6-ounce) package cornbread stuffing mix
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1. In a skillet over low heat, saute onions in 1/2 cup butter until tender.
2. In a large bowl, combine stuffing mix, soup and sour cream. Fold in onions. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish.
3. In the same skillet, melt remaining butter over low heat. Saute bread crumbs until golden and toasted. Sprinkle over onion mixture. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 8 to 10

And Sarnowski’s
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red, yellow and/or green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided
1 loaf frozen garlic bread
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, saute onion, peppers and garlic in oil for 4 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain; remove from heat.
2. Stir i9n tomatoes, seasoning and 1 cup cheese; set aside.
3. Split garlic bread lengthwise; lay each half buttered-side up on an ungreased baking sheet. Spoon tomato mixture over tops.
4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and basil. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes, until lightly golden and cheese is melted.
Serves 6 to 8

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 3rd, 2012

New Haven-Style White Clam and Garlic Pizza from www.Weber.com as good a reason as any to crack open the grill.

I have a coworker, I’ll call him Gerry Weiss, who likes to send me e-mails with recipes with some variation on the question; “You are making this for me, when?”
Usually, he’s right on about great-looking dishes. I’m not sure why. He doesn’t really cook, doesn’t follow food trends, but he does eat. And, in my opinion, he has really good taste. I’ve taken him up on a couple of recipes, though not “for him,” as he might like to presume.
In New Haven-Style White Clam and Garlic Pizza he hit on another good one.
The recipe was written by one of my favorite grilling chefs, Jamie Purviance.
Aside: I actually can’t stand the term “celebrity chef” and hope someday the fascination with egotistical personalities fades and we can get back to focusing on the food. But Purviance can to anything he wants, as far as I’m concerned. (End of Aside)
This dish looks rich and simple at the same time, an imaginative combination of flavors combining easy-to-find ingredients.
The recipe also serves as a pleasant reminder that grilling season is upon us.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 2nd, 2012

Stirring recipe from Huffington Post Kitchens tugs at my heart strings.

I want to go home right now. And I want to make Leek, Asparagus & Herb Soup right now. And I want to eat this right now. In reverse order.
It’s been a while since I tried a good soup. Meaning since March 8, when I posted the recipe about Curried Carrot Soup.
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for vegetable purees. But, for some reason, spring heightens this craving, — probably because of leeks, which have to be one of the greatest soup ingredients ever. Potato Leek Soup was the first soup recipe I ever tried, and it bowled me over with simplicity, nutritional profile and deliciousness. When I learned to chill it, add sour cream and call it Vichyssois, I felt like a genius.
You might remember last week I was pimping asparagus. That passion survives three go-rounds with the spring favorite. And here I go again.
There’s so such thing as too much asparagus, at least I don’t think so. If I hit that distant point, I probably won’t tell you.


Posted in: Uncategorized