Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Salad Pizza

I love pizza. I also love salad with my pizza so every time I have pizza I make a side salad. I love the combo so much that I usually end up putting my salad on top of my pizza. Naturally I came up with a salad pizza that I make at home. This pizza also can be made on the grill and is perfect outdoor cookouts and weekends with the family. Mangia! — Jill

You'll need:
Pizza crust (you can get fresh dough from your local pizzeria or use fresh baked. I use Naan flat bread). 
Standard CITK marinara (recipe on blog) or a can or San Marzano crushed tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 tsp.oregano and an additional pinch
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Romaine lettuce, shredded
Red onion, sliced thin
Olive oil for drizzling
Red wine vinegar for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Top crust with sauce. Add 3-4 slices of mozzarella and the teaspoon of  oregano. Drizzle oil on top. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

While pizza is cooking, in a large bowl mix lettuce, onion, a few drizzles of vinegar, and the pinch of oregano. Set aside. When pizza is done, top with salad mixture. Add remaining parmesan cheese and another drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately and enjoy. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Here's how the Cousins in the Kitchen story looked in the Daily Record (May 23, 2012). It doesn't get better than this! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Summertime is sausage and pepper time, and there's nothing like a sausage and pepper sandwich from the Boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. It takes two hands to grip that big Italian roll as the grease drips down your arm with every bite. There's nothing like it. But have a couple of those and you'll have to stroll Boardwalk a few hundred times just to keep the blood in your arteries flowing. Last summer Lisa posted the recipe for "Poppa's Sausage and Peppers" and it is delicious. (Check it out under the July posts.) But if you want to change it up a little and save your pork indulgence for when you are DTS (that's "Down The Shore" for you non-Jersey texters), than try al fresco's chicken sausage as a substitute. It comes in a variety of flavors, including sweet Italian with fresh red and green peppers. That's a safe bet for this dish. But I chose to be daring and went with the spinach and feta. (OK, maybe the chipotle with mango and adobo would have been really daring.) I like to slice the peppers in strips long ways so you can see the inside seasonings (and it looks pretty on the plate.) So give it a try at home so when you hit the Boardwalk you can treat yourself right without the guilt! —Diana

You'll need:
1 pkg. of al fresco fully cooked chicken sausage. (The dish shown is spinach and feta.)

3 green bell peppers, remove seeds and cut into strips

3 red bell peppers remove seeds an cut into strips

1 large onion, sliced (optional)

Olive oil

Seasoning to taste

Long, soft Italian rolls

Since the chicken sausage is fully cooked, there is no need to parboil. Slice the sausage into strips long ways. Put a little olive oil in a pan and cook over medium heat until just browned.

In a bowl, coat the peppers and onion in olive oil and add seasoning (pepper, rosemary, whatever you like). Transfer them to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken sausage and cover and let simmer until your family can't take the smell anymore and are standing in line at the stove with a roll in hand. Since I used the spinach and feta sausage I sprinkled just a bit of crumbled low-fat feta cheese on top before serving.

These are the many flavors available of Al Fresco Chicken Sausage. For more Al Fresco products, go to www.alfrescoallnatural.com. You'll even get a $1 off coupon when you sign up for their newsletter. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Matzoh Ball Soup

At my daughters' 4th Birthday Party, my father-in law Lloyd jumped with excitement when he saw the pastry box open to reveal Sfogliatelle. While he savored each bite, he told me that when he was growing up in the Bronx he would run to the “Italian side” to a bakery on Arthur Avenue, get a Sfogliatelle, and then race back to the "Jewish side" to eat it.  It’s amazing how food knows no boundaries, and when it’s good we’ll do anything for it! 

So in honor of my Jewish family I give you the Glick Matzoh Ball Soup.  It’s so delicious that I would run to get it! —Jennifer

What you’ll need for Matzoh balls:
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp seltzer (this adds a fluffy texture to the matzoh)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup matzoh meal

What you’ll need for the broth:
1 chicken carcass broken down (a great shortcut is to get a cooked roasted chicken, use the meat for chicken salad and the bones for the broth)
1 yellow onion, cut up
2 large carrots, with greens on
3 garlic cloves, whole
Fresh thyme and rosemary
1 bayleaf
3 stalks celery

Jennifer's father-in-law Lloyd enjoying
 a taste of Sfogliatelle.
Broth preparation:
Place the chicken carcass, vegetables, and herbs into a large pot.  Fill the pot with water and bring to a rolling boil for about an hour.
Skin off any fat that rises to the top.
Drain the liquid from the vegetables and chicken.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Matzoh ball preparation:
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl with a fork until blended.
Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Take the chilled mixture and make the balls. It’s easier if you wet your hands.

Drop the balls into the boiling water. If they are large, cook for about 25 minutes, smaller ones take 15-20 minutes. Make sure you cover the pot and bring the water down to a simmer. Place the matzoh balls in the broth and serve!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lisa's Mother's Day Thank You

Lisa's family from left (son Jimmy, daughter Taisia,
 husband Arnold, daughter Danielle and son Arnold.)
My oldest son graduated from the University of Connecticut this past weekend. He’s number three in the lineup; our youngest still has a couple of years to go. Three down, one to go. Not bad! I got alot of  "congratulations" from friends and family to which I replied "Thank you."

It made me start thinking about just how did we put three (almost four) kids through college without one of them having to take out a student loan. I’m not sure how we did it; we just did. We gave up a lot, I guess.  We ate a lot of pasta dishes and vacationed rarely. But my kids always said thank you. For even the smallest things, they said thank you.

I didn’t think the kids thought much about what we were doing—paying for all their college educations. But one day our oldest daughter Danielle said to both her brothers, "You guys don’t understand how good we have it. We are able to come out of college and not owe a cent.  Not a lot of my friends can say the same. We owe that to Mom and Dad." She turned to me and said,  "Thank you."  Wow! I can honestly tell you it brought a tear to my eye. They get it and it felt good.

I guess we do what we can for our kids, whatever the sacrifice. So this Mother’s Day I want to say “thank you” to:

My husband Arnold who works so hard to provide for me and the kids and has given me 30 wonderful years.

My kids for understanding how important it is to us that they get a good education, and for always making me smile when they get together. The four of them have such a wonderful relationship and it warms my heart to see how much fun they have together. They are my greatest achievements and they make me so very proud.

My oldest daughter Danielle and my son-in-law Tom for making me a grandmother to two of the most adorable girls ever!

My mother who made me the strong woman that I am today. She raised three kids basically by herself and did an amazing job if, I do say so myself!

My sister Diana who has stood by me in good times and bad, and was a shoulder to lean on when I needed one so badly. 

On this Mothers Day, I am truly the one that should be saying thank you. So to all of you who are so important to me—and you know who you are—thank you. I am truly blessed! (But I’m still not cooking on Sunday!) Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lisa's Inaugural Strudel

As you probably know by now I am the baker of the Cousins. I just love baking...it makes me happy.  I recently bought some phyllo dough. (You may also see it spelled filo or fillo, but it comes from the Greek word Phyllo, meaning "leaf." Impressed, aren't ya?) I had never used it before and decided it was high time to give this thin, flaky dough a try. I read the recipe for apple strudel on the back of the package and, of course, I didn’t have all the ingredients…shocker!...so I made some substitutions. It was pretty good if I do say so myself. Phyllo is a little tough to work with if your not used to it, so don’t get mad—as I almost did—and throw it across the room. Just love the phyllo and it will love you back! —Lisa

You'll Need:
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
½ cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups thinly sliced apples
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pot melt four tablespoons of the butter and stir in the bread crumbs. Cook a couple of minutes until breadcrumbs are just brown.

In another small pot heat the strawberry preserves over low heat. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and two tablespoons of melted butter.  Mix well.

Heres the tough part.  On a baking sheet, take one phyllo sheet, brush with melted butter (the remaining two tablespoons), put another sheet on top. Do this with all four sheets. Spread the entire surface with the preserve mixture, then spread the breadcrumb mixture on top. Spoon the apple mixture over everything leaving about ½ border (enough for you to roll up). Starting at the long side, gently shape the dough up forming a roll.  Tuck the sides in and brush the outside layer with more melted butter.  Score the top diagonally and sprinkle some sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. 

If you want to make it look pretty, sprinkle the top some powdered sugar.  How about some vanilla ice cream on the side? Here's to the phyllo! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Anytime my daughters can use their hands to eat, it’s a score! Thai Kitchen’s Peanut Satay Sauce is perfect for lettuce wraps and it’s a sneaky way for me to get my daughters to eat lettuce and tomatoes.—Jennifer

You’ll need:
Romaine lettuce, cleaned with bottom removed so leaves are whole
2 tbsp Thai Kitchen’s Peanut Satay Sauce
½ sweet onion, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 package ground turkey meat

Brown turkey meat in a skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. When meat is brown add the satay sauce.
In the inside of one lettuce leaf add some meat, tomato and onion. (You can add other items like rice, corn, or peanuts, whatever you fancy.) Wrap and enjoy!