Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas


Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas

This is a great Giada recipe (recipe here). That girls never steers me wrong. Every one of her recipes that I’ve tried has turned out well.

If you use veggie stock, instead of chicken stock, this recipe would be vegetarian, but my vegetarian daughter was out for the evening, so I went the other way and added a cup of chopped ham. Really nice and made it more of an entree than a side dish. The Marsala flavor in this is really yummy and the crusty bread crumbs on top add something special to the warm, cheesy goodness of the inside.


Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins


These are a recipe that my mom used to make for me when I was a kiddo.  When I saw all of the beautiful, fresh cranberries in the store this year, while preparing for Thanksgiving, I finally thought to ask her for the recipe.  They are SO good:  crispy and crunchy on the outside and moist and zesty on the inside, with the gorgeous color and tang of the cranberries punctuating throughout.  Yum.

FYI:  Fresh cranberries can easily be frozen for future use (you can even toss them into this batter while still frozen.)  Just rinse them with cold water, discarding any unsightly withered ones, then gently spin them dry in a salad dinner.  Spread them out on a cookie sheet to freeze them.  When they’re individually frozen hard, store them in a tightly sealed ziploc until you need them and you can easily pour out just the amount that you need.

Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup flour

1 1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup fresh cranberries, washed and patted dry

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur or orange juice

1 tsp freshly grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 12-cup muffin tin or use paper muffin liners.  (Good idea to have a second tin on hand, as I find that the recipe actually makes 15 or 16 muffins.  Also a good idea to grease the top, flat surface of the pan, even if you use liners, as they might stick a little there.)

Whisk together dry ingredient (flour, sugar, cornmeal, salt, soda.)  In a separate bowl (or 4-cup glass measuring pitcher,) whisk together the remaining wet (buttermilk, oil, eggs, liqueur or juice and zest) ingredients, reserving the cranberries to the side.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add the cranberries.  Stir gently until the batter is moistened, but still lumpy.  Measure into muffin cups (an ice cream scoop with release lever works beautifully to ensure consistent size) and make until the tops are golden brown (about 20 minutes.)  Let sit in the pan 5 minutes before removing.

I also made a batch with blueberries, for my son and Hubby, who aren’t cranberry fans.  Silly boys.


Puy Lentil Galettes

Recipe here.

Yum.  Loved these.  A definite make-again.  I acknowledge that the way my family (especially my daughter and I) feels about lentils may not be the norm, but we love them and can’t get enough.  They are delicious (especially the French du Puy variety) and peppery and filling and wholesome and healthy and hearty.  This is a fantastic recipe to incorporate them.

Ginger-Pecan Scones

Recipe here.

I absolutely love ginger, so these were a big hit (3 different kinds of ginger?  At the same time?  Yes, please!).  The fact that the batch makes 12 was a plus, as well.  We had 4 for breakfast one morning, shared some with parents and still had 4 to put in the freezer for another morning.  Highly recommend for ginger lovers.   The ginger flavor is pretty strong for people who aren’t ginger fans.  But, if you’re not a ginger fan, why would you even consider making a recipe that has three different kinds of ginger, anyway?

Poached Eggs with Creamy Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Recipe here.

This was quite yummy, kind of like a hybrid between our favorite Brussels sprouts and Eggs Benedict. The only thing is that it wasn’t quite as tasty as either one is. And, as my 14-year son so accurately pointed out, “Don’t take this the wrong way, Mom, but, even though this tastes really good, it kinda looks like barf.” Can’t really argue with that. And the way that I made it looked exactly like the picture accompanying the recipe, so I can’t really claim cook error for the unattractive nature of the dish. It was tasty, though. Enjoyed it once, probably won’t make it again.