Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Start a Sunday

The sun is just coming up here in Texas this Sunday morning and my house is still pretty quiet – just the slight crackle of a fire in the fireplace and my snoring pooch are breaking the silence.
I decided to boost my ranking as favorite mom (at least in this house) in less than 30 minutes by filling the house with sweet smelling “monkey bread”, or at least, my version of it.
DSCN3887You’ll need:
  • 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands Jr. Biscuits
  • 4 T butter (I like 50/50 Smart Balance)
  • 3/4 C Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 C Roasted Pecans
Spray a fluted cake pan with non-stick spray.
In a 1 cup glass measuring cup, (or small bowl) melt the butter in the microwave then add your syrup.
In a 2 cup glass measuring cup (or small bowl) mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
Pour half of the syrup mixture into your cake pan, then half of the sugar mixture.
Place the biscuits in the pan, on their edges, overlapping as you go – it will be very full.
Pour the rest of the syrup and sugar over the top of the biscuits and bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes.DSCN3763
When it comes out of the oven, invert on a plate (that is big enough and deep enough for the syrup) and try not to eat too much…
Happy Sunday to you! Enjoy what’s left of your weekend.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Slight Valentine

It’s been a rough couple of weeks – I’ll tell you more about it later, but right now I’m on my way home from Kansas and burying my last grandparent – my favorite Gramma. The only good thing was seeing family, the rest pretty much suqued. Including the negative temperatures.

I was in a Valentine-ey mood until this all started to unfold at the first of the month, but since I was going to be out of town for about a week I decided to not even finish decorating the house for the lovely holiday.

Next year will be better.

DSCN4044Well – here’s my slight offering – a recipe I came up with for Tortellini with Chunky Tomato Sauce. it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. My family likes it too, and I got several compliments at church potluck – where it made its’ debut. This is a recipe born out of desperation. I didn’t have any plans for lunch after church (I’ve been super busy cooking for church 4 nights a week – more on that later too) and ran home during closing song to throw something together.

This is what I came up with when I didn’t have a jar of ragu in the pantry. (Note to self: restock the staples ASAP.)


You’ll need:

  • 4T “butter”
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped fine
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
  • A splash of Marsala cooking wine
  • About 2 lbs Cheese Tortellini, cooked. (I use the frozen for this recipe)
  • Olive oil (as much as necessary)
  • Parmesan cheese, fresh grated (avoid the green can if possible…)

Put your pot of water on to boil for the tortellini while you chop the onion and garlic.

In a very large skillet, sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic in the butter (I use the 50/50 Smart Balance). DSCN4027

add a sprinkle of Italian seasoning,DSCN4033 continue cooking until the onion is tender.DSCN4034

Then add the can of tomatoes, not drained. Note: if you’re not into the “chunky” so much, take a (clean) pair of kitchen scissors and cut the tomatoes down even smaller while they’re still in the can – just hack away randomly like I do…

DSCN4041When it starts bubbling hard add the splash of wine. Not too much – you just want the sweet flavor. Let it cook down and thicken up – ten minutes would be sufficient.

Finish cooking your tortellini (it only takes a few minutes), drain it well and toss it with some olive oil in your serving bowl. Sprinkle it with the grated parm as you toss it gently.

Pour your tomato and mushroom sauce over the tortellini and sprinkle with a garnish of parmesan.

I served it with a salad, side of vegetables in a balsamic vinaigrette sauce and some garlic bread.DSCN4055

To make this look like it’s really meant for the one’s you LOVE, take a few minutes to cut your salad carrots into hearts – it’s really easy!DSCN4053

First peel your carrots (the fattest ones you can find – mine are organic so they’re kinda skinny.

Take a clean bottle/can opener tool and drag it down one side of your carrot, making a V-shaped ditch in it.DSCN4046

Cut your carrots into about 4 inch lengths.DSCN4047

Stand a length on end and carefully slice off one side starting to form the point of the heart.DSCN4049

Then make a slice completing the point.DSCN4050

Then just slice your little hearts!DSCN4051

It’s not much this year, but right now it’s what I have the energy for.DSCN4052

Hope you have a lovely day with your sweeties. I’ll be serving dinner for about 30 at our church. I’ll let you know how it goes. Smile

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