Fresh Stuffed Bread

Each evening in the summer brings a new group of people to your home. I love having snacks , that are fancy and simple. Stuffed breads are on of my favorite quick snacks.

They can be cheap or get a little pricey. That is up to you. I am going to give you three of my favorites and you choose your favorites. The best part of this is a day old loaf is best for this. That means pinching pennies already! Lets have a Grilled Vegetable Cheese, Italian Trio Cheese, and Cheddar and Bacon. The possibilities are endless but they all start in the same manner.

I always choose a large, round , and crusty loaf. The thicker the crust , tends to lead to a more successful bread. Grilled Vegetable is easy. Choose your favorite summer vegetables, grill with a little bit of Italian dressing to coat and allow to cool. I start by Cross Hatching the Bread, quite simply cutting in one direction slanted and in the opposite to make a large X on the bread. Now, stuff the bread , FULL! Make sure all those veggies are in every slice. Finally , Generously Sprinkle with Good Cheese. I use a mix of Italian classics, Romano , Asiago and Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Italian Trio is a meaty choice. Cross hatch the bread, and dip it in a melted bowl of butter and minced garlic. Let the bread sit for 10 minutes, this will allow it to soak up the goodness. I then stuff it with Salami, Pepperoni and sweet red roasted peppers. I top this one with cheese TOO! Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Cheddar and Bacon is a sure crowd pleaser. I like to do this one with a pretzel type braid bread. Challah works in a pinch. This one is my favorite. I crosshatch the bread and brush it with honey mustard before stuffing it with GOOD Quality Cheddar cheese. You can either use fresh precooked bacon or Bacon bits. I use Candied Bacon, MY SECRET RECIPE, or bacon bits. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Toppings are endless, you are only limited by your flavor choices. ANYONE CAN COOK, now you have a crowd pleaser in your recipe book!

Strawberry Pie, Yes Please!

Fresh is best when serving any dessert at a Holiday picnic. My go to in the summer is to pick a Fresh fruit and serve it simply.

Strawberry pie is a sure fire hit at my house. You will need a pie crust, fresh plump berries and jello. I love this recipe because you can gather your family team and make it as a group. Once the pie crust is made and pre-baked you must allow it to cool. Be sure to poke some holes in that crust with a fork, to keep it flat while baking. You will need at least 2 quarts of fresh berries per pie. Our family always needs an extra quart for sampling while baking! Second step is to pile those berries in until they are a beautiful mountain filling the pie dish. Make your 2 packs of Strawberry Jello add 2 packs of KNOX and pour over berries until the pie is full. Place pie in to chill for at least 3 hours. We serve this with a heaping spoonful of cool whip. This Dessert marks the start of summer for our family! Make sure to you make 2 pies, this one is addictive. This pie disappears QUICK!

Anyone Can Cook, this pie is the start of your family tradition.

Feel Good Food, Planning A Shindig

Eating is an emotionally motivated activity for so many people. Therapist say it is an issue. I say it is a learned condition. In my family, important life events are always were marked with huge meals.

Weddings and Graduation parties are on the horizon. What does your family eat? Who brings what dish to the pot Luck? Who makes the best cake? All Important questions, most families have no need to ask when planning a large event.

When planning a large family celebration. Stick to the known crowd pleasers. For variety add 1 or 2 new items to the menu. In the next coming Blogs I will give sample menus to help you plan a crowd pleasing event. You may not be Martha Stewart, but I can assist you in creating a Tasty menu for any BIG Event!

Anyone Can Cook, now we will make you the Host or Hostess with the Mostest!

What does Mom want? A Day Off!

So when you are planning Mother’s Day for your special lady remember she just wants to relax. I can not relax when my family is in my Kitchen. So, I usually make my Own Mother’s Day Meal.

While planning a large family meal is tough, you can make it easier. Let’s use easy store bought items that your husband and children can manage.

Roasted Chicken, Parsley and Butter Noodles and Steamed Broccoli   When you are shopping this is an easy list.  One 3 pound whole chicken will feed 4 people easy.  One package of egg noodles, and 2 pounds of Vegetables per 4. Bring home the bird, unwrap and rinse with cold water.  place chicken in roasting dish and let it sit for 5 minutes.  That will allow it to air dry a moment.  (BE SURE TO WASH YOUR HANDS, THE SINK , and any surface touched with RAW CHICKEN!)   Now lets prepare for roasting.  I always use my GO TO spices, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning.  If you like a crispy finish a drizzle of Olive Oil does the trick!  You will need to add some type of liquid for cooking  may I recommend White Wine!  This chicken will require at least 2 to 3 hours of Roasting , always start at 375 and lower heat after an hour to 350.  HINT### I always cover my bird with foil and place a lemon cut in half in the cavity.     When you are only 30 minutes away from serving your chicken, start your noodles.  Boil and Rinse as you would any pasta.  Place 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup fresh cut parsley into the pan and mix with the HOT PASTA.  Cover and let rest.  Steam your desired Vegetable, for a short cut many stores offer Steam Ready Packages.   If you choose the fresh route, place Veggies into a stockpot with 1 cup water .  Cook until Tender , drain and add butter.

So we made Chicken, Noodle , and Vegetables.  Mom will rest and enjoy your amazing effort!  Lets make Dessert.  this is SUPER EASY!

Box Brownie Mix and Peanut Butter. I love the Hershey Mixes if you can find them!  Bake Brownies as directed.  When they come from hot oven, drizzle melted Peanut Butter over the top in a fancy swirl.  Of course being a Central Pennsylvania GAL I LOVE REESES!  Congratulations, serve with Ice Cream!

ANYONE CAN COOK, Give Mom this Day OFF!  She loves you an Effort will be applauded!

Weeknight Quality Meals

Cooking for a family is hard. With a little preperation we can have a fresh meal every night. Let’s walk through three meals you can do in 30 minutes or less after work.

Meal 1  Chicken breast and pasta are always a great go to! Before you leave in the morning put your crockpot to work. Place Chicken in the bottom of crockpot. Guide is one 1/2 Breast piece per adult. You will add,  1 can of diced tomato ,( Fire-roasted herb type) , 1 diced Sweet onion, and 8 whole garlic cloves. This will cook all day on low. When you arrive home cook up your favorite large pasta. Remove the chicken, and thicken the sauce with a bit of jar sauce. My family love Texas Toast Garlic Bread with this.

Meal 2  This one is a whole marinated pork loin into the crock pot , 1 cup Italian Dressing and Peppers and onions. When you arrive home cook up some minute rice on the stove. Steam up your fresh veggies and serve with sliced pork.

Meal 3  Beef Italiano   You will need a beautiful piece of Roast. place the roast first, one cup of Italian Dressing and fresh Peppers. I use Red Peppers for Sweet taste. Cook on Low all day. I like to remove the roast and pull it like BBQ. Serve it with a spicy red sauce on your favorite Hoagie Roll. French Fries or any side will do.

Anyone Can Cook, this one lets you be home-made in the middle of the week.

Overnight Marinara

Stuffed Shells  is my weekend plan. So tonight  my crockpot will be my Personal chef.

You will need 3 cans of tomatoes whole , ( I use San Marzano) , 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, 2 large sweet onions chopped, 5 Cloves of peeled garlic, 1 large red pepper chopped, and two stalks of celery chopped. When all the ingredients are in the crockpot, add 2 cups of white wine! Now here comes the magic…., set it to low and GO TO BED!

In the AM, Blitz them with a food processer or Blender.  You will have the most Amazing Flavorful NON meat sauce EVER!

If you want a Meaty Sauce, we will change it up a bit.  Start with A Soup pot on the Stove top.  You will add Olive oil, and onions to Sautee.  When they have become tender , add the garlic.  Now comes the Meat, Choose a great thick cut steak.  I prefer a nice piece of Knuckle Beef.  Brown each side and place in the crock pot.  Add all the ingredients as listed in the vegetable sauce.  Set to low and let it go overnight.  When you awake remove the meat and blend up the sauce.  When finished add the shredded meat back to the sauce.

Anyone Can Cook, You can make marinara like An Italian Grandma.  Well at least it will be close!

Fresh Produce at Your Fingertips

Having your own fresh herbs and plants at your home can be simple. Any local greenhouse will have plants pre planted. You just need a LITTLE space and a few moments to start your own garden.

I always have the same arsenal of herbs. They are general purpose and simple to grow. Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary, Dill , and Basil. These will make Any Dish taste Amazing. Two Beautiful Tomato plants a cherry variety and a Big Girl. Available at any Local Greenhouse. If you have the room and the energy. A pepper, eggplant and squash plant are great to add to your garden as well.

Farmers Markets and online sites have all the easy to lookup tips you need. Start your own food, be a part of the solution. Anyone Can Cook, and Anyone Can have a Green Thumb.