Swedish Meatballs & Alla Vodka Sauce

My friend Brendan has been asking me to make meatballs with penne alla vodka for a while now so I decided to attempt it last night. This Swedish Meatballs recipe is from a law partner of my Poppy’s way back when that passed along the recipe. It was from a famous German restaurant for much of the 20th century called Luchow’s. The meatballs turned out sooo yummy. The recipe usually says to sauté the meatballs in 4 tablespoons of butter before you bake them, but I decided to skip that since I wanted to put them in a crockpot since I heard crockpots give dishes a lot more flavor. I bought a crockpot for the first time and a whole recipe book for recipes to make with a crockpot which I am excited about. I had no clue crockpots were so cheap and that you could make so many things in them (sauces, dips, meats, desserts, etc.). I also decided to add a half a cup of bread crumbs to the recipe since all the recipes I’ve seen for meatballs usually have breadcrumbs in them. I also made a Alla Vodka Sauce of a recipe that I found online. Very yummy as well.

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Swedish Meatballs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound each of finely ground veal, pork, beef
  • 2 TBS finely minced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 TBS dill weed (or 2 TBS fresh)
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Fold all ingredients except butter together with hands, trying to keep as much air in cream as possible.
  3. If too dry, add more cream.
  4. Make into small balls, about 1″ in diameter.
  5. Transfer to baking pan lined with tin foil and bake 25 minutes.
  6. Put in crock pot with finished Alla Vodka Sauce for 4-6 hours.

Alla Vodka Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

Tomato Sauce Ingredients-

  • 1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

Vodka Sauce part Ingredients-

  • Finished tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

Tomato Sauce Directions-

  1. In large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, basil, a bay leaves and reduce the heat to low.
  6. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick.
  7. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning.
  8. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
  9. Pour half tomato sauce into food processor.
  10. Process until smooth.
  11. Process the other half of sauce until smooth.

Vodka Sauce part Directions-

  1. Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  2. Stir cream into the tomato and vodka sauce.
  3. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through.
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.
  5. Put Final sauce in crockpot with meatballs.

Grammy’s Zucchini Bread

Last week I also made my Grammy’s Zucchini Bread which my sister said she had made and that I hadd to make. I have also heard all the time from my roommate Shannon how good zucchini bread is. I have always been very skeptical because zucchini in a bread just seemed gross to me, especially because I don’t like zucchini. But I made it anyways. The first time I made it I made a huge mistake and forgot to add the corn oil, so no wonder I hated it the first time I tried it. But then after making it again the right way, it was pretty good. It takes almost like a light banana spice bread. Personally i’m still not a huge fan of zucchini bread, I would rather just have banana spice bread, but I can see why people like it.

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Grammy’s Zucchini Bread

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 2/3 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1/3 Cup Corn Oil
  • 2 Eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • Lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 Cups grated zucchini

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Grease and Flour 1 Loaf pan. Preheat oven at 350.
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon in a bowl together.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together.
  4. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed ingredients and beat well.
  5. Slowly add buttermilk.
  6. Stir in Zucchini and lemon peel until well combined
  7. Pour Batter into pan
  8. Bake 40-60 minutes. Let cool and then remove from pan.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

With the Coconut Chicken I made some Garlic Butter Shrimp . This was good, a very basic buttery shrimp. Next time I decided to not do a half cup of sherry, but next time I would. Overall yummy though.

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Garlic Butter Shrimp

INGREDIENTS:

  • 48 jumbo shrimp, raw
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 garlic glove, cut in 2 halves
  • 3 tbl. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and clean shrimp.
  2. Heat butter.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Remove garlic.
  5. Add shrimp to butter and sauté 5 minutes over medium heat or until shrimp are pink.
  6. Remove shrimp to hot platter.
  7. Add parsley and sherry to butter in pan.
  8. Increase heat and sauté 30 seconds.
  9. Pour sauce over shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut Chicken

I made a very basic Coconut Chicken last week. It was a fine recipe but I would defiantly change it around a bit next time. It needed to have more flavor so I would add more seasoning next time. The idea behind it was good, so if you can find a different recipe I would suggest that. I’m going to add the recipe for my own reference.

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Coconut Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • nonstick cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
  3. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until frothy.
  4. Place cereal and coconut in bowl and season with salt and pepper, crush well.
  5. Dredge chicken strips in egg white and then in coconut mixture. Transfer to baking sheet.
  6. Bake 6 to 7 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken & Artichoke Lasagna

So today I wanted to try making Chicken & Artichoke Lasagna because we always order it near our beach house at a place called Pasta Vita and its delicious. I had trouble finding really any recipes for it online so I kind of took the one I kept finding everywhere and changed it around bit. It turned out really well and defiantly something I will make again. One thing I might do is add more chicken, I didn’t feel like 2 cups of shredded chicken was enough.

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Chicken & Artichoke Lasagna

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts (1 box Purdue short cuts carved chicken breast, original roasted, shredded up yourself)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (Prego traditional)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 12 no boil lasagna noodles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. HEAT oven to 350°F.
  2. COMBINE chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes. Beat cream cheese, milk, tomato sauce and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 Tbsp. basil. Mix half with the chicken mixture.
  3. SPREAD half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and mozzarella; cover.
  4. BAKE 25 min. or until heated through. Uncover and bake 10 min. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

Famous Banana Spice Cake & Wilton Frosting

So this is the best cake in the world. My mom has made it for me every year since I was born and makes it for my dad and sometimes my other siblings for their birthdays as well. It is Banana Spice Cake and literally the best in the world. I made it last week for one of my best friend Brendan’s 21st Birthday and it was still a hit. I decided to decorate the cake a bit in theme of his birthday, I wish I knew how to really decorate a cake though because my skills need work. We (me, shannon, brianna, nicolette, chris and brendan) then went out for his birthday, first to watch the lacrosse team have a keg race which was pretty funny being the only 4 girls watching these 40 or more boys compete in a keg race. Brendan’s team won… very happy birthday for him haha. Then we went off to our favorite bar, Rennies. All in all it was a very fun night. And Brendan being able to come back to Banana Spice Cake probably made his birthday/night even a little bit better (maybe Chris’s more since he ended up eating most of the cake). I actually ended up messing up the Wilton Frosting by putting too much butter flavoring, but luckily you couldn’t tell the difference at all.

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Banana Spice Cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Cups of Sugar
  • 2 Stick Fleishmann Margarine
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 2 Teaspoon Baking soda
  • 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 3 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 6 Ripe Mash Bananas
  • 1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bake at 350 for 40-50 Minutes
  2. In a Mixer cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs. In a separate container mix the dry ingredients together. Then, mash the bananas and set aside. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and alternate adding in the bananas and buttermilk until all the ingredients are mixed together.
  3. Spray 2 round pans with Cake Flour Spray and divide the batter between the 2 pans. Although you can really use any type of pan depending on the design cake you want.
  4. Use Wilton Cake Icing for Frosting.

Wilton Frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Boxes sifted confectioner’s sugar (Domino)
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2 Tablespoon clear vanilla
  • 2 Teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/2 Teaspoon almond flavoring
  • pinch of salt (to cut the sweetness)
  • 2 cups of crisco or sticks (2)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix the above ingredients all together.

Grammy’s Popovers

To go with the jam I made the other day I decided to make my Grammy’s Popovers for dessert today. They came out awesome and go great with the jam. I’m going to make Dom’s Steak Tips for dinner. These aren’t my recipe but they are awesomeee and I’ll tell you about them in my next post.

(heating popover pans)

(mixing ingredients)

(baked popovers)

(popovers w/ grammy’s jam)

Grammy’s Popovers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TBS oil
  • 1 1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Heat popover tin, muffin tin or custard cups in oven.
  3. Let all ingredients sit till at room temperature.
  4. Mix flour and salt, add eggs and oil, whisk in milk and mix until smooth.
  5. Remove pan from oven, spray with PAM and fill.
  6. Heat at 450 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  7. Reduce temp to 350 degrees fahrenheit and bake for another 20 minutes.

This recipe fills approximately 12 muffin or custard cups or 6 cups in a popover pan.

Lemon Pudding Bread/Muffins

Lemon Pudding Bread/Muffins is sort of a recipe of my Granddad’s but that I make a little bit different. I don’t use the same amounts and I don;t make the glaze. Instead I just make this for a quick and easy snack/dessert. I make it from time to time just to have something yummy around and it gets eaten very fast. It doesn’t need any frosting or anything because the flavor is already awesome and can be made in a cake pan or cupcake pan. They are more like muffins/bread then a cake or cupcakes. Just a simple yummy recipe!

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Lemon Pudding Bread/Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Spray cake or cupcake pan with pam.
  3. Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  4. Pour batter into pan.
  5. Bake for around 40-50 min in cake pan. Less for cupcake pans. Test to see if done before taking out.

Authentic Italian Margherita Pizza

The other night I decided to make Authentic Italian Margherita Pizza. I learned how to make this recipe when I was studying abroad in Florence last semester. I took an Italian Cooking Class which gave me credit for a topics in nutrition science class which was pretty awesome. I learned to love italian pizza and learned that american pizza is nothingggg like the original. You need the highest quality dough for this to be a true Italian pizza and the best buffalo mozzarella and red sauce you can find. The best place to look for these things is not a regular grocery store. I go to Adam’s Market in Poughkeepsie, which is basically better than a Whole Foods and i’m in love with it. But if you have a whole foods that will do too. To make the best pizza possible I bought a ceramic pizza stone from Walmart for cheap. This makes the pizza cook evenly and faster. I also bought a Peel, which makes it easy to move the pizza dough to the oven without it falling apart.

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(mixing dough)

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(letting dough rise)

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(pizza before going in the oven)

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(voila!)

Authentic Italian Margherita Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

  • For Dough:
  •          4 cups Tipo 00 flour
  •          1 1/2 cups, plus 2 TBL water
  •          2 tsp salt
  •          1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • For Toppings: (you can add other things to the pizza if you would like)
  •          2 cans San Marzano Tomato sauce
  •          1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  •          1/2 tsp salt
  •          1 tsp oregano
  •          Buffalo Mozzarella
  •          1 TBL extra virgin olive oil – swirl on your pizza right before you put it in the oven
  •          Corn Meal

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix dough ingredients by hand.
  2. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double.
  3. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles.
  4. Form the dough into a large ball, then cut it into three equal parts.
  5. To make your pizza balls, shape each piece of dough into a ball. Gently roll your dough into a ball, then stretch the top of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together to make a smooth ball with a tight outer “skin.” Set your ball seam-side down where it can rest.
  6. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza ball should be soft and silky.
  7. Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily stretched into a thin crust pizza.
  8. If you won’t need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start. I let my dough sit in the fridge for over two days and the dough was fine.
  9. Once the dough has sat, shape into a circle. I used a dough roller, but if you figure out a better way feel free to do it that way. Make sure to have flour handy for when the flour is hard to work with and gets sticky.
  10. Put corn meal down wherever you rest the dough. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the table and make it easy to move to the oven.
  11. Put your Ceramic Pizza Stone in the oven, before you preheat it! Do not wait for it to preheat and then put it in, it will break the stone. Once the stone is in then preheat till 500 degrees fahrenheit.
  12. While the oven is preheating, put your toppings on your pizza.
  13. I added the red sauce first (which I mixed with salt, pepper, and oregano in a bowl), then broke up pieces of the mozzarella and places them on the pizza, then I drizzle olive oil on the pizza (not too much or the pizza just becomes too watery). …. you can do all of this part however you desire and put whatever you want on the pizza.
  14. Sprinkle some of the corn meal on the pizza stone thats in the oven so the pizza doesn’t stick to it.
  15. Using the peel, put the uncooked pizza into the oven.
  16. Cook around 20 min. I watch it to get my desired readiness, I hate burnt things so I never like my pizza burnt.
  17. PREGO!

Mom’s BBQ Beef Brisket

The same night I made Crab Rangoon’s I also made my Mom’s BBQ Beef Brisket. Since it takes hours to cook in the oven, I decided to make it on a Thursday, the day I don’t have classes. It’s also extremely yummy. It’s a great meal to keep in the fridge and it will last a while. I tripled the recipe this time so there will be a lot to share. I have to give major credit to my sister, Courtney, for helping me sort out the recipe details since the last time I made this I messed up because I got so confused by the directions. Hopefully I explain the directions just as well as she did.

I’ve been cooking like crazy but I find that it really just helps me relieve stress so it’s better that I cook then watch tv or something in my free time.

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(cutting the fat off the beef)

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(finished product)

Mom’s BBQ Beef Brisket

INGREDIENTS: (this is a tripled recipe)

  • 4-5 lb beef brisket (order from the meat department at grocery store, ask for all of the fat cut off)
  • 3 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup catsup
  • 3/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 4 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 bay leafs finely crushed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make sure ALL of the fat on the beef is cut off and if not cut it off yourself. If you do not cut of ALL of the fat the brisket will not fall apart as easily.
  2. Rub beef with salt.
  3. Mix all of the remaining ingredients together to make sauce.
  4. Place beef in an un-greased rectangular pan.
  5. Pour sauce over beef.
  6. Cover and bake beef in oven at 325 degrees fahrenheit for 3 hours.
  7. Take beef out of the oven. Keep all of the oils and sauces in the pan with the beef.
  8. Separate beef with a fork, beef should peel apart easily in strands.
  9. After all spread apart, cover back up and stick back in the oven for 2 hours or until tender.
  10. Take out of the oven, you should be able to see that there is some sauce and some oils. I was told to keep the oils in the container, but if I was to do it again I would get rid of as much of the oils as I could because when I refrigerated it the oils turned into this weird orange looking carrot thing. But that is up to you because you want to make sure you still keep the sauce in the pan with the brisket.