Spaghetti Carbonara

Your family is going to lick their plates clean! This is so very good and rich that after eating it I racked my brain on ways to make it healthier.
My big decisions? Add vegetables to it! I am thinking one of my favorites like peas, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, mushrooms, or califlower!

In a pot of hot salted water boil your spaghetti. Get it started, then dice your ham or bacon, I like ham for this dish. Set it aside. Finely dice garlic or if you have roasted garlic like I do in my refrigerator, use that. Set it aside. If you are going to use vegetables that are fresh, then you should blanch them or steam in the microwave until fork tender. Careful not to turn them into mush. Then grate the cheese. I used 1/2 parmesan and 1/2 white cheddar.

When you add the spaghetti to the boiling water, get your frying pan out and through in the diced ham. You want it to look like it has been fried and it will release some of its water. Remove from the heat and wait for the spaghetti to be ready.

Wisk the eggs, grated cheese and sour cream together with the spice you have choosen.
Drain the spaghetti when it is al dente and pour into a large enough pan that you can stir additional ingredients into. I use a casserole pan.
Add ham, and your while the spaghetti is still hot, pour the eggs and cheese mixture into the spaghetti. You want it hot because it will cook the eggs in your sauce. You need to stir it to avoid scrambling the eggs – not what you want! Add a little of the hot water from the cooked spaghetti if you need more moisture. Stir and then add your veggies.
If dinner time is a few minutes away, put the casserole pan in the oven at 200 degrees to keep warm.
You can easily double this recipe for a large gathering!

2 eggs
1 cup cheese
1 cup sour cream

1 pkg spaghetti
1 cup diced ham fried
2 tsp fresh basil or oregano
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic or 4 cloves diced
Optional: Veggies
My favorite combinations: peas and carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, broccoli and califlower, mushrooms and green beans
If you want to spice this dish up, you can either add a tsp of red pepper flakes, or sliced jalapeno peppers!

Serve with freshly grated cheese.

Posted in Ham, Italian Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eggs Portugal a Savory Bread Pudding

Eggs Portugal

Jackie made this breakfast dish for us a few times. I asked her for the recipe. As she got a little older Jon took over the kitchen and always made great scrambled eggs and of course, lots of bacon. I don’t know how Portugal got into it…who know. We have great memories of our visit to Via Marina. The girls were almost always with us and they too have wonderful memories of Gramma Jackie. From Carol

Eggs Portugal

8 slices bread
3/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 lbs. sausage
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 t. mustard
1 can mushroom soup
1/4 cup vermouth (think I would use something else….more milk, cream, dash of sherry)
1 can sliced mushrooms

Brown sausage and crumble up
Cube bread and put into a 9 x 13 casserole
Mix eggs, milk, mustard and a dash of salt.
Pour mixture over casserole
Let stand over night in the frig

Pour soup, mushrooms and vermouth over all
Bake 1 1/2 hours at 300′

Posted in Brunch, Carol's Cupboard, Grandma Jacque's Favorites | Leave a comment

Gazpacho Avocado & Cucumber

Hmmm Hmm Good!

1 small onion roughly chopped
4 cucumbers
2 avocados
Juice from 2 limes
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tabasco or Jalapeno to your taste.
Chopped Cilantro – for garnish

Take all the ingredients and using a blender, cream them.
Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight. Allow the flavors to blend. Re-season as needed.

Serve with Cheese Pizza or Garlic Bread

Posted in Appetizers, Soup Kitchen | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kiwi Mandarin Jam

Daughter Denny Lauren and I made several jams for James and Christine’s wedding reception for gifts. Kiwi Mandarin is definitely good and it looks so pretty also. I love the seeds swimming in the jam.

2 cups kiwi fruit peeled and chopped
2 cups mandarin orange peeled and chopped
1 tsp of salt
2 cups mandarin orange juice
1 box of pectin
4 cups of sugar

Bring to a simmer and allow the fruit to cook and thicken about 20 minutes.
Pour the hot liquid through a food strainer. Use the largest if you want to keep the seeds. Put back onto the stove and bring back to simmer boil that you can not stir down. Add your pectin and stir. Bring back to roaring boil for 1 minute. Once the jam is back to a roaring boil, add 4 cups of sugar and let boil for 1 more minute. Working quickly, process into your jars. It should look pretty!
Process your jam in a water bath.

Label and they should be lookin’ pretty! Awesome Bites!

Here is the lucky couple, James & Christine! The flowers were done by my friend Abby and me and a few of the bridesmaids. Great fun to create pretty things.

Bride and Groom

Posted in Jams and Jelly, My Cannery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lemon Filling, Lemon Poppyseed Lace Cake

Mmmm tasty. Daughter Denny and I made this for Mother’s Day brunch this year.
2 boxes Lemon Cake Mix
1 Can Poppy Seeds
4- 8 Tablespoons of Lemoncello Liqueur
3 jars lemon curd (or you can make your own)
1 can Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cans Pink Lemonade Frosting

Prepare Cake Mix according to package directions and bake.
Using a toothpick, poke holes in each cake layer and sprinkle Lemoncello and allow to absorb into cake. About 1-2 Tablespoons per layer.
Once the cake is cool, fill between layers with lemon curd, 1 jar per layer.
Frost the entire cake with Pink Lemonade frosting and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes so it can firm up. Using the white cream cheese frosting and a piping attachment with frosting bag, pipe a curvy line all over the cake.
Easy, but looks wonderful and taste awesome!

Lemon Lace Cake

Yummy Lemon Filling!

Posted in Brunch, Cakes, Dessert - Eat dessert first, Life is uncertain, My Bakery | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Broiled Salmon with Cream Cheese and Capers

Salmon baked perfectly!

Salmon Filet
Salt & Pepper
1 white onion finely diced
1 package Cream Cheese
1 small bottle of capers
Finely chopped dill – Optional
Black olives – Optional
1 Carrot for garnish

Rinse salmon filet and dry. Lay on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Salt and Pepper filet. Optionally, you can sprinkle with dill if you desire.
Preheat oven and broil at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

To serve, slide the salmon onto a platter. Surround with sliced lemons. Serve next to the diced onions and Capers and Cream Cheese. Your guests can serve themselves! Easy.

Drain capers and sprinkle them on top over cream cheese. Now, if you want to have a bit more fun, you can always make cream cheese penguins. This is where the black olives come in. After you roll the cream cheese and capers into small balls, slice the olives and make tuxedos for your penguins. Add a small bit of carrot for the nose. Serve surrounded by finely diced onions. Everyone will smile.

Cream Cheese & Caper Penguins

Serve with finely diced white onions and Crackers. I like Kebbler Rectangle Crackers, the buttery ones.

This is a great appetizer. I have served it for a buffet on Mother’s day. Everyone loves it.

Posted in Appetizers, Ocean's Best Seafood | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Broccoli Cheddar Beer Soup

What is not to like!

2 large onions
4 cups beef stock
2 cups broccoli heads
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup smoked gouda or swiss
1 bottle of fat tire beer or your favorite
4 ounces oil
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups whole milk
Saute onions until carmelized, add beer and beef broth. Using stick blender, blend ingredients until smooth. Make a rue using another frying pan by frying flour in the oil. Careful not to burn. I like a light golden color. Add this to the soup base. Add milk and cheeses. In a separate container, steam broccoli, chop and then add to the cheddar soup.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with garlic croutons or bacon bits.

Posted in Eat your vegetables, Soup Kitchen | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Coq Au Vin

My sister-in-law once said she loved Coq Au Vin. I had never made it, but the thought was stored until the other day. The time was now. So, I put this together. Husband Dennis loved, loved, loved it!

Since all my kids have flown the coup, my office is the lucky group that get my leftovers. I think they are goin’ like it!

4 pieces of bacon or ham slices, coarsely chopped
2 chickens
2 chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper
16 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
8-12 carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 fennel bulb chopped into quarters
4 whole garlic cloves
2 bottles red wine. Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah all work.)
1 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup beef gravy mix

Instructions
Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon or ham in large cast iron pan that will hold two chickens. Add all ingredients except the gravy mix.

Bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees. Move the pot from the oven to the stovetop.
Add Gravy mix to 1/2 cup water, stir to mix and then add to drippings.
Let simmer 5 minutes and serve over mashed potatoes.

If you do not have gravy mix, use flour. Place flour in small cup.
Add 1/4 cup water, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme.

I started this at lunch time, and finished it off by making mashed potatoes when I got home from work. This is a keeper.

Posted in Carol's Cupboard, Chicken, Fan Favorites | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caramel Apples


I think I will make my own caramel next time, but for speed, this works well.

Ingredients
6 Chilled Gala or Granny Smith if you want tart apples
(Make sure your apples are washed well to remove the wax.)
6 wooden sticks – I like to use actual sticks.
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or black walnut extract

Directions
1.Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with greased parchment paper.
2.Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramels are just barely melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan. Dunk into nuts. Place on the paper and chill for 1 hour. If you chill too long they get gooey.

Once you apples have been in the refrigerator for an hour, melt chocolate chips in ziplock bags, cut off a corner and drizzle the apples with chocolate. I love ’em! Awesome bites!

Posted in Candy, Dessert - Eat dessert first, Life is uncertain, Halloween | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Brown Sugar Peach Sauce over naked Bread Pudding

Awesome bites Peaches!

3 fresh peaches sliced (I like the skins on, if you don’t go ahead and peel them.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp black walnut extract

Simmer on stovetop until peaches are fork tender. Serve over the top of bread pudding or ice cream.

Posted in Dessert - Eat dessert first, Life is uncertain, Sauces | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment