Refridgorator Pickles

 

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Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for pickles, really anything pickled I will eat. I always have and I always will. I find the salty and tangy flavors satisfying and I personally believe they pair with just about any meal. But hey. that’s just me.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and I have been making them every week ever since. What are refrigerator pickles you ask? Good question. Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are pickled and stored in the fridge. They are good for about 2 weeks. This is opposed to pickles that are canned and can be stored for the long term.

This recipe is for a sweet pickle yet, they are still quite tangy and they are super easy to make! I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

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Note on Ingredients: Think of the amounts listed with the ingredients above as ratio suggestions. This is what appeals to my taste buds but, if you prefer your pickles sweeter, then add some more sugar. Want them to taste more tangy? Add another splash of vinegar.

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Directions:

Let’s get this easy-peasy brine started; combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

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Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

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Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

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Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

Directions:

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

The Meatball Formula

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A few weeks ago I shared with you my recipe for pasta sauce. It was a very personal recipe to me which brings back memories of childhood. As much as any one kind of food can be, my homemade pasta sauce is part of who I am. It makes me think of my Nana, whom I was very close with, it makes me think of my Mom who taught me how to make it, and mostly it makes me think of Sunday dinners with family sitting around the table. As with my pasta sauce recipe, my homemade meatballs have a similar effect. To me a bowl of pasta and sauce with meatballs is home. The ultimate comfort food. And most importantly a part of my past. A page in my family history.

So with that, I introduce to you my recipe for meatballs aka the meatball formula. I’m calling this a formula because this seems to be the perfect ratios for what I consider the ultimate meatball. The formula calls for 3 lbs of ground meat. I like to use ground beef and ground turkey in a 2:1 ratio, so I typically use 2 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of ground turkey.

Now, keep in mind you can easily modify this; for example, you can use 1 lb of ground pork or veal in the place of turkey. Did my Nana make meatballs with ground turkey? No. Did she bake them in the oven? No, she fried them. But this is how I make my meatballs, so feel free to put your own spin on it.

Similarly to when I make pasta sauce I make big batches of meatballs, and freeze them so that I can defrost a few at a time as needed. The meatball formula can be doubled to make an army of meatballs, or reduced to make an amount appropriate to your needs. But, as I’ve said before, it’s my blog so I get to do it my way.

The Meatball Formula

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups Romano cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • salt, a generous pinch
  • pepper, a pinch

Directions:

Combine all ingredients one large mixing bowl.

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Mix with hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed. It’s messy, and cold but get in there! This my favorite way to cook-with my hands!

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Once the mixture is evenly mixed it’s time to start forming meatballs.

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Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on lightly greased baking pans.

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I also like to make a few dozen mini (1/2 in) meatballs to add to soups.

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These mini meatballs do not need to be browned before freezing or cooking. Just toss them into soups as they are boiling.  Aren’t they adorable?

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Preheat oven to 375  and bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and flip the meatballs over so that all sides brown evenly. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, the meatballs should be lightly browned on the outside.

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If freezing the meatballs, first freeze them on the baking pan, then after 12-24 hours transfer them to a large freezer bag. This way they will not stick together and you can easily remove as many as you need for meals.

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If cooking let the meatballs cook with sauce for a few minutes to ensure they are cooked all the way through. These meatballs make delicious meatball subs or sliders, or are perfect to go with some pasta and sauce.

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I hope you enjoy these meatballs as much as I do! Buon appetito!

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Baked Italian Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • 3 cups Romano cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • salt, a generous pinch
  • pepper, a pinch

Directions:

Combine all ingredients one large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Once the mixture is evenly mixed roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on lightly greased baking pans.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and flip the meatballs over so that all sides brown evenly. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, the meatballs should be lightly browned on the outside.

If freezing the meatballs, first freeze them on the baking pan, then after 12-24 hours transfer them to a large freezer bag. This way they will not stick together and you can easily remove as many as you need for meals.

If cooking let the meatballs cook with sauce for a few minutes to ensure they are cooked all the way through.

Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

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This coffee cake rocks, and I am so pleased to be sharing it with you! It is moist, rich, and everything I have been looking for in a coffee cake. For this recipe I’ve selected peaches and raspberries, but feel free to sub in any frozen fruit combination you like.

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients for the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. I suggest leaving the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven. This is because thawed or slightly thawed fruit will add more moisture (more than desired) into the batter, whereas when the fruit is still frozen the moisture steams and cooks off.*

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture.

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Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a spring-form cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

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Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

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Slice the cake into wedges and enjoy!

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. leave the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven.

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture. Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a springform cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

 

Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms

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First things first, I love toasted pecans. I love their nutty sweet flavor. Un-toasted, I don’t give a fig about pecans, but toast those babies up and the flavor and crunch factor gets intensified and I love it.

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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this recipe; Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms. This is from a cookbook from my Mom’s (sizable) cookbook collection. This is kind of a neat book because it was put together by a rotary club in the late 70’s in Upstate New York (where I grew up). It’s a collection of recipes that really capture the times (according to my Mom) and it includes recipes such as Hot Sherry Crab Dip, Chocolate Crepes, and cocktails such as Sunshine Slush. Apparently it’s all very “70’s” as my Mom says. I’m a product of the 80’s so I’ll have to take her word for it.

Anyway, these tasty little mushrooms are an awesome appetizer or side dish. They have a nice crunch to them thanks to those toasted pecans, and a pleasant tangyness to due to the Greek Yogurt.

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Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

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Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

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Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

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If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

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Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown.

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The cook time might vary slightly depending on the size of the mushrooms, so keep an eye on ’em.  Serve warm.

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Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown. Serve warm.