Monday, November 15, 2010

Oatmeal Raspberry Bars

I have been wanting to make these forever!  I love raspberry and oatmeal and the combination of the two is just too much to resist!   I used to make them all the time and have not made these years.  I really like the addition of the almond extract.  It gives it a grown up taste.  But if you would prefer, you could substitute vanilla. So, for a quick dessert tonight I whipped these together.  It was easy and really quite delicious!  So, take 10, and go make them!

adapted from Allrecipes


  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam (orig. calls for seedless, but I like seeds!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.
  2. Combine brown sugar, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter and extract using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars. ENJOY!

Chicken Riggies

I was home this past weekend and my husband and I went to Delmonico's in Syracuse with my brothers and their wives.  It was fun to get out without the kids and spend some time with family at the same time.  We ordered some wonderful appetizers, to include Utica Greens (which I will make and post at some point) and Italian nachos, my husband ordered gorgonzola crusted salmon which was outstanding, and I ordered Chicken Riggies.  Chicken Riggies is a dish that originated in upstate New York and is made with rigatoni, tender chicken pieces, mushrooms, peppers, onions, hot cherry peppers and a creamy red sauce.  Is your mouth watering yet?  The hot cherry peppers and some heat and the mix of flavors is amazing.  Like I said before, I love pasta!  Delmonico's version was delicious, but very rich and a little too hot for me.  So, even though I just had this on Friday, I decided to do my take on a classic upstate NY dish.  I apologize for the pictures.  Our camera is in need of replacing.  I promise it tastes better than it looks!

It is a flexible dish and every about every upstate NY Italian restaurant has it on their menu and about every one makes it differently.  So, I figured, why not?  My kids chowed this down, and my husband and I loved it.  Eli had 3 helpings, and it showed all over his face and hands!  I hope you try it!

  • 1 lb Rigitoni Pasta
  • 1 lb chicken boneless skinless breast
  • 1-2 TBSP E.V. Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 2-4 hot cherry peppers cut open or in half  (can use crushed red pepper flakes if can't find)
  • 6 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 jar roasted red peppers sliced or fresh sliced red peppers
  • 1/2 can black olives cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup cream (I used fat free half and half with couple tbsp cream to cut the fat)
  • splash vodka
  • 1 TBSP butter (for finishing)
  • 1/2 c. parm cheese
FOR SAUCE: In saucepan, saute crushed garlic in a little EVOO until fragrant.  Add splash vodka and then crushed tomatoes and cream.  Let simmer gently while doing the rest.  Just before adding to pasta, add butter and parm cheese.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Warm 2 tsp olive oil in nonstick skillet.  Season chicken with favorite seasonings (I used Bucks) and salt and pepper. Saute chicken browning on each side until done.  Deglaze pan with splash of white wine.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Put pasta on while doing the rest.

In another large skillet add some EVOO and a little butter.  Add onions, cherry peppers and peppers if using fresh.  Saute 3-5 min.  Add mushrooms and crushed garlic. Saute until mushrooms are tender deglazing with white wine when necessary.  Add olives and roasted red peppers if that is what you are using.  Let saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add pasta right in skillet and the sauce over that, tossing or stirring gently.  Let sit together for a few min. before serving to allow flavors to meld.    Top with fresh grated parm. cheese.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Cornflake Bars

There is something so comforting about some foods.  Something reminiscent of childhood, or maybe just a flavor that brings a comforting feeling.  Peanut butter is one of those foods for me.  Perhaps it is because when I was a child, I ate it by the spoonfuls, licking it as if it were lollipop.  And See's Candy once made a peanut butter lollipop that was my favorite. . .   how I miss those lollipops!

Rice Crispy Treats are the quintessential childhood treat.  Although I do enjoy a good thick rice crispy treat, give me something with that gooey goodness and peanut butter, and I am one happy camper!  These give me both!  I get a serious craving for these every now and then, and have to make them.  But I really do hate to make them because then I want to eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.  They have peanut butter and cereal, so they are healthy, right?  Oh well, I don't care because they are simple, sweet and yummy! Like rice crispy treats, they are best fresh and will harden with time.  So eat them up quickly, which shouldn't be a problem!  A great recipe to have the kids help!
Sorry my picture is sideways... still figuring this all out and could not get it to turn!

Peanut Butter Cornflake Bars

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups peanut butter (depends on how much PB flavor you like)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups cornflakes
Spray 7x11 baking dish with cooking spray. Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil.  Add peanut butter and vanilla and remove from heat.  Mix until peanut butter is melted in and incorporated.  Pour over cornflakes and mix until all corn flakes are covered, working quickly.  Spread in pan and let sit until just cool and eat!

**HINT**  As a variation you can mix a bag of chocolate or butterscotch chips in with the cornflakes or melt them and spread them up on top.  Also can use rice crispies or mix the two cereals!  Try it with crunchy peanut butter!

Rasta Pasta with Tortellini

I love pasta.  I could eat it about every night and not tire of it.  My mom is Italian which makes me half Italian, and I embrace this part of my heritage unabashedly.  I often make my own versions of pasta dishes from no recipe, but from my own instincts.  This usually doesn't fail me.  The only problem with this "fly by the seat of my pants" cooking method is I rarely can repeat a recipe that is a real winner.

This recipe is one of those inspiration dishes I made pretty early on in my marriage and it was so simple, it was easy to remember.  It was named by my husband and he asks for it regularly.  I love it because it is quick, very healthy and really delicious!  Seriously, it comes together in 30 minutes.   I often make it with regular pasta, and have grown to prefer it with that actually.  But this time I made it with tortellini.  I hope you try and like it!


  • 1 lb cooked pasta
  •  1 TBSP olive oil plus some for finshing
  • 1/2 to 1 finely chopped red onion (your taste)
  • 1 large or 2 small unpeeled grated zucchini (cut out seeds if really large)
  • 2-3 large peeled grated carrots
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can diced tomato or 3 fresh diced vine ripened tomatoes (I have even used grape tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of  basil or parsley chopped

In a large skillet over med high heat place oil and red onion.  Cook until tender and beginning to brown 5-10 min.  Add minced garlic and cook another 30 sec to 1 min until fragrant.  Add zucchini and carrot and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes.  (I usually salt here).  Add tomatoes and cook another 5 min, letting flavors meld, just enough to warm tomatoes through and yield some of their juices to make it more saucy.  Add basil or parsley.

Toss the pasta with some olive oil and top with fresh veggie chunky sauce.  Top with a drizzle of olive oil if you wish and definitely some parmesan cheese.  Even my kids eat this and it is full of veggies.  YUM! 

*HINT* Make sure you add salt to your pasta water when cooking you pasta!  It brings so much more flavor to the pasta.  (1-2 tsp)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

My first blog!  I have been wanting to do this for awhile now and time has been escaping me.  So here I am, blogging my cooking creations, the good, the bad and perhaps, even the inedible.  Although I don't have many of those, I actually had one last night.  I was broiling some garlic bread, which I have discovered, broils much faster under an electric broiler than a gas and the bread actually started on fire!  Probably doesn't instill much confidence in my cooking ability, huh?  Now I know why my mom always left the oven door open when broiling with her electric oven.  Because in 2 minutes, it is done and in five it is on fire!
I have been wanting to make these for several weeks now.  They are my go to pumpkin muffin, with the perfect mix of all things fall...  pumpkin, apple, warm cinnamon and sweet!  I added a cream cheese mix to the top of some, adding a bit of sugar and maybe 1/2 an egg white to the cream cheese to make it a little cheesecake like.  Did a dollop on top and put them in the oven.  My only problem with this was I wished I had put more cream cheese in them.  YUM!  You can also make them as loaves or my favorite, as jumbo muffins.  This is a great pumpkin recipe for warming you up on a crisp fall day.



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil**
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18-22 muffin cups or use paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 23 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.     Yields about 20 muffins. 
* can easily substitute half whole wheat flour

**I use half oil and half drained plain applesauce

FOR CREAM CHEESE FILLING:  Take about 3-4 oz. softened cream cheese.  Add about 1 TBSP sugar, and just a drizzle of an egg white and a dash of vanilla.  Mix well.  Make a little divot in the center of the muffins before streusel is on, add a dollop of cream cheese and then cover with streusel.