Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas came early...

Thanks to Santa (aka, my husband and my parents), I am the proud owner of a brand new Canon Rebel.

NO MORE camera problems!! I was so happy to see my old one go, and now I don't have to borrow my dad's. YAY!!

Thank you, Santa - you are awesome - extra cookies for you this year. :)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

We had bits and pieces of our families over for dinner last night (the ones who weren't sick or working or already had plans) and at first I wasn't even going to make a dessert.

But when I was scrolling through my reader to find dinners for the week, I came across this Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Beantown Baker.

Oh, was this delicious... it did end up a little bit sweet, and I was bummed that all chocolate chips sank to the bottom so it wasn't really cookie-ish (more like a fudgey layer on the bottom) but it was gooooood. I completely cheated and used a ready-made pie crust (a chocolate one!!).

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • Serve with ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy.

Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.

Stir in morsels and nuts and spoon into pie shell.

Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

Pasta e Fagioli

I've tried to make Pasta e Fagioli a few times, but never really found one I was in love with.

Until now.

Thanks to Brooke for posting this copycat from the Olive Garden - I will never, ever try another recipe.

This makes a TON - be prepared to either have a lot of company or to freeze a good amount.

I can't wait to make this again - so freaken fabulous.

Cooking spray
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/2 of a small 1 lb. bag of baby carrots, chopped
5 stalks of celery, diced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (32 oz.) carton + 1 (14.5 oz.) can of beef broth (I also used an additional can of beef broth)
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped (I used dry)
3/4 tsp tabasco sauce
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup dry small pasta (such as ditalini or elbow macaroni)
salt to taste

Brown ground beef in oil. Drain if necessary.
Add onion, carrot, celery and diced tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.
Add beans, beef broth, oregano, pepper, parsley, tabasco sauce and spaghetti sauce.
Simmer soup on low for about 30-45 minutes until carrots are almost tender.
Add pasta to pot and simmer on low for about 15-30 minutes until pasta is just shy of al dente. As the soup cools, the pasta will absorb the broth. You can cook the pasta separate and add it to the soup after the soup has cooled.

Baked Orzo with Fontina

A few weeks ago, Brooke hosted a NJ get together with some of the local girls from our cooking board. We each made a different component of the meal, and I was "in charge" of pasta. Brooke (who made a pumpkin gingerbread trifle and hot apple toddies) and I have been friends in real life for a few years now, but it was SO nice to meet Jenn (chicken marsala), Colleen (pizza pockets), and Sarah (zesty broccoli casserole)! (Check out their blogs for some yummy food, as well as recaps of our day - Sarah did a great job!)

Since Jenn was making Chicken Marsala, I thought this dish for Giada's Baked Orzo with Fontina (via Elizabeth's Edibles) would be perfect.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup) (I ended up using all mozzarella because my husband he couldn't find fontina at the store...)
  • 4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Fall Exchange!

A few times a year, the cooking board I call home does a gift exchange.

Here is the beautiful package I received from Emily:

What's "funny" is that I didn't even realize I had signed up for it. I was so pleasantly surprised when I received this awesome package, but incredibly guilty that I didn't send anything out to my recipient. But hey - who doesn't like shopping? My recipient's gift was a little less fall-themed and a bit more wintery, but hopefully she doesn't mind...!

Thanks again, Emily - I can't wait to use all of this cool stuff!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Want some Fiestaware??

I know that I have been a TERRIBLE blogger lately. I do have a bunch of things to post about one of these days, but with work and the holidays and a very active toddler, "downtime" is a foreign concept to me...!

But anyway, to hold you over, run-run-RUN over here and sign up to win FOUR 4-piece settings from Fiestaware.

Actually, DON'T. Because if you do, that will lessen my chances and I would be sad...
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