Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cross Country Pasta Party {Spaghetti & Baked Ziti}

My Dad taught me how to make 'Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce'! He has 3 items on the household menu that he cooks: Spaghetti, French Toast, and Frozen Pizza's. I must add that he makes them all very well... he knows his stuff!

Here is how you 'doctor up' a jar of Prego, and let me tell you, there is a real transformation here!

Dad's Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce:


1- four pound jar of Prego
1- pound of Italian sausage
1-pound of ground lean hamburger
1 T oregano
1 T Italian seasoning
2 T sugar
1 large onion
1 T olive oil


Cook Italian sausage and hamburger, drain juices. Cut up onion, and simmer in olive oil on medium heat in a separate pan from the meat. Add seasonings and sugar. Combine all of the ingredients, along with the Prego. Simmer for 10 minutes, then serve over your choice of pasta.

In order to feed the 45 hungry athletes, I tripled the sauce recipe, boiled pounds of angel hair spaghetti pasta, added a salad, toasted french bread and made Rachel's Baked Ziti:


1 lb ziti/penne pasta
1 onion chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup cottage cheese
1 clove minced garlic
light sour cream
8 oz sliced provolone cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 50 oz jar pasta sauce

Spray casserole dish
Boil and drain pasta and set aside
brown ground turkey, onion and garlic - add pasta sauce
layer 1/2 the pasta, a layer of provolone, a thin layer of the light sour cream and cottage cheese, 1/2 the sauce mixture, remaining pasta, the mozzarella and remaining sauce. Top with the parmesan.

Cook for 30 min @350 or until warm and cheeses are melted.
The Baked Ziti a great dish, and freezes well.
I must add that the girls brought dessert, and the boys donated the drinks! Go Nighthawks!
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

For the LOVE of CHOCOLATE {divine truffles}

Rupali's Chocolate Truffles


  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional... can use corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and/or toasted coconut, for coating truffles
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine


Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside.
Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small
saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the brandy. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Using a
melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place the cocoa powder, nuts, and/or toasted coconut each in its own
pie pan and set aside.
In the meantime, place the 8 ounces of chocolate into a medium mixing bowl which is sitting on top of a heating pad lined bowl, with the heating pad set to medium. Depending on the heating pad, you may need to adjust the heat up or down. Stirring the chocolate occasionally, test the temperature of the chocolate and continue heating until it reaches 90 to 92 degrees F; do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F. If you do, the coating will not have a nice snap to it when you bite into the chocolate. Once you have reached the optimal temperature, adjust the heat to maintain it.
Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired.
Dip an ice cream scoop into the chocolate and turn upside down to remove excess chocolate. Place truffles 1 at time into the scoop and roll around until coated. Then place the truffle into the dish with either the cocoa powder,
nuts or coconut. Move the truffle around to coat; leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing. In the meantime, continue placing the chocolate-coated truffles in the cocoa or other secondary coating. After 10 to 15 seconds, remove the truffle to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Truffles are best when served at room temperature.

Cori's Pumpkin Cookies:

2C flour

1t+1/2t baking powder

1t. baking soda

1/2t salt

1t. ground cinamon

1/4t ground nutmeg

1/4t ground cloves

2 eggs

3/4C sugar

1/2C + 1/8C butter

1C +1/2C fresh pumpkin (canned will work)

1t vanilla extract

3/4C chopped walnuts

1 Orange (Zest)

1C dried cranberries

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets w/parchment paper and butter the paper

2. stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. Set aside

3. In large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed (ok by hand) beat eggs, and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 min. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix the flour mixture to incorporate it. Stir in the nuts, zest and cranberries by hand.

4. Scoop mounds (aprox. tablespoon size) of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2" apart.

5. Bake cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 8mins. Let cool on the sheet for 5mins. before transferring to a rack or plate to cool completely. Makes 32 cookies