By MDB Communications

During this unusual moment in history when we’re all at home, people have discovered many different things to fill their time besides work. Some play virtual games with friends. Others work to advance to the next level playing video games, or take time to crack books they’ve been wanting to read. But by far the pastime that is most popular with people is cooking. We’re all getting satisfaction and joy out of making meals and experimenting. Be it simply making today’s dinner. Or delving into more time-consuming projects like the making of bread or the pickling of eggs. In that vein, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve been making. Enjoy!

INA GARTEN’S MORNING COSMO

• 1 cup vodka
• ½ cup triple sec
• ½ cup cranberry juice
• ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice

T’s SAUSAGE & EGG CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

• 8 eggs (9×12 dish)
• 1 pound of raw sausage (turkey sausage can be used) in a roll to cook/crumble
• 8-10 oz cheddar
• Optional 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper and/or onions
• Optional 1 teaspoon tarragon
• Milk/cream
• Non-stick Spray

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven 350
2. Spray casserole dish
3. Scramble eggs and milk and salt/pepper and tarragon if used
4. Cook sausage and crumble/drain grease
5. Pour egg mixture in dish
6. Add sausage add bell pepper/onions if used
7. Stir to well distribute sausage and optional items
8. Add cheese to top
9. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggs are set up and cooked thoroughly

CARY’S CROCKPOT CHICKEN CURRY

Cook time:

6-8 hours on low
2.5 – 4 hours on high

Ingredients:

• 2 chicken breasts
• 21.5 ounces cream of chicken soup, canned
• 1/2 cup dry sherry
• 1/4 cup butter
• 4 green onions, chopped
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 2 teaspoons salt
• Ground pepper
• Basmati Rice, cooked

Instructions:

1. Cut chicken into small pieces, place in slow cooker
2. Add remaining ingredients except the rice
3. Cover and cook on high 2.5 – 4 hours; or Low at 6-8 hours
4. Serve over rice.

HENRY’S HONEY BUTTERMILK BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope yeast (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • pinch of ginger (helps activate the yeast)
  • 2 cups warm buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled so that it is warm to the touch but not hot.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 cups white bread flour

Instructions:

  1. Mix the ginger, sugar, yeast, and water together in a bowl and set aside for about five minutes.
  2. Add in the buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda into the bowl with the yeast mixture.
  3. Add just three cups of the flour and mix that in until smooth. If you use an electric mixer it will take about 5 minutes on low speed.
  4. Add the butter and mix until completely incorporated into batter.
  5. Start to add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, keeping mixer on low speed as you do this.
  6. When dough starts to pull from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.
  7. Place the dough in a greased bowl, move it around to grease the all sides, cover and allow to rise for 1½ hours.
  8. Punch the dough down and form into two loaves.
  9. Place into two greased loaf pans and grease tops.
  10. Cover the pans and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake loaves for 30 minutes, covering tops with foil if they start to brown too fast.
  12. Remove loaves from oven once baked through and brush tops with melted butter.
  13. Allow to cool in pans for 10-15 minutes to make removing them easier.

Turn out and cool completely on wire rack.

ARMANI’S SWEET CORN & BACON SALAD 

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bacon diced
  • 16-ounce package frozen corn; OR 2 cans of corn drained; OR 4 cups (about 8 ears) of freshly cut kernels
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, sauté bacon and onion over medium-low heat until bacon starts to get crisp (about 10 minutes). Remove bacon and set aside. Discard most of the bacon drippings; leave about 1 Tablespoon (enough to coat the bottom of the pan).
  2. Add corn and seasonings to drippings in skillet. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is heated through and any moisture is cooked out.
  3. Return bacon to the skillet, add red onion and red bell pepper. Mix well.
  4. Garnish with extra green onions.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

STEVE’S FOUR INGREDIENT PASTA SAUCE

Five if you include wine.

1. Cover the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. If it seems like a lot of oil, don’t be afraid.

2. Finely chop eight cloves of garlic and add to the heated oil. If it seems like a lot of garlic, don’t be afraid.

3. Before the garlic has a chance to burn, add enough chopped fresh tomato to again cover the bottom of the pan. You can dice the tomatoes or simply cut them in half and place the flat side down. Up to you.

4. Cover the pan and let simmer. The cook time is your call.

If it’s winter I simmer for an hour. The oven is my favorite way to heat a home and the scent of garlic tomato and oil prepares you for the meal ahead. Speaking of which, this would be a good time to boil water for pasta and pick out a bottle of wine.  If, on the other hand, you’re cooking in summer and you don’t want to heat up the house, the sauce still works after just a few minutes of heat, almost splitting the difference between sauce and salad. (Schedule your pasta water and wine accordingly.)

5. As your pasta is cooking, chop several handfuls of fresh basil and add to the sauce. If it seems like a lot of basil, don’t be afraid.

6. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

7. Strain your al dente pasta, add it to your saucepan, stir, plate and enjoy.

If you can grate a little Parmesan, all the better.

8. Open up a second bottle of wine. If it seems like a lot of wine, don’t be afraid.

COLTON’S BLUEBERRY MUFFIN BREAD

Ingredients:

• 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (leveled)
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
• 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature
• 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup (80ml) milk, at room temperature
• 1 and 1/2 cups (250g) fresh blueberries*
• optional: 2 Tablespoons blueberry jam and/or crumb topping (see recipe note)

Instructions:

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk into the wet ingredients and beat until no flour pockets remain. Fold in the blueberries.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.

6. Bake for 60-65 minutes, loosely covering the bread with aluminum foil at the 30-minute mark to help prevent the top and sides from getting too brown. A toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf will come out clean when the bread is done. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

7. Cover and store bread at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

DADDIO EGGPLANT PARM

Ingredients:

• 1 large eggplant (1 feeds a lot, if sliced very thin)
• Fresh mozzarella
• Italian style breadcrumbs
• Parmesan cheese
• Salt/pepper
• Egg (beat for dipping)
• Your favorite pasta sauce
• Vegetable oil

Peel eggplant, and slice very thin. Dip each slice in beaten egg mixture, and then into mixture of Italian style breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and parm cheese. Fill pan with vegetable oil and let it heat up. Once hot, place breaded eggplant in pan. Let it crisp for a few moments then flip. You want your fried eggplant to be a light golden brown. Test of readiness, poke fork around edges of eggplant, if soft, its ready. Place fried eggplant on baking sheet with parchment paper off to the side. Pro tip: lightly salt eggplant while still hot, as you place on baking sheet. Flavor really seeps into eggplant. YUM. Repeat this until you have breaded and fried all eggplant. Another pro tip: I bread quite a bit of eggplant before frying and set them aside, so they are ready to go while pan is heating up. Makes process move quicker.

**Oil will start to lower/get dirty so feel free to add more oil or replace if/when fried eggplant starts to look burnt

Once all eggplant is breaded, fried and salted, move to a baking dish. Cover in your favorite pasta sauce, and then top with fresh mozz. Pop in the oven to broil for a few min, aka melt the mozz for a delicious eggplant parm! Enjoy with pasta or salad, or on Italian bread for a nice eggplant parm sub!

ROBIN’S SEA BASS

Ingredients:

• 4-6 ounces sea bass
• 1/3 cup sake
• 1/3 cup mirin
• 1/3 cup miso paste
• 3 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp soy sauce

Combine all ingredients. Prick the fish all over with a fork. Put the fish and sauce in a plastic bag, seal it and marinate in refrigerator overnight. Cook a 500 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until fish is flaky

TONIA’S FAMILY OF FIVE DINNER ITALIAN BEEF

Ingredients:

• 3 or more pounds of Chuck Roast
• A jar of sweet and hot peppers (I use an 8 oz jar and put the whole thing in there)
• A jar of pepperoncini peppers – slice peppers to be used in cooking process (I use about half of the 8oz jar)
• A large onion sliced
• A packet of Au Jus gravy
• 2 packets of dry Italian Dressing
• Optional slices of bell pepper (red, orange, yellow, green- half of each pepper)
• Optional serving ideas – rolls and provolone/mozzarella cheese or over rice or over egg noodles
• Insta Pot or Slow Cooker (6 to 8 hours low and slow)

Dump all ingredients into slow cooker – reserve a couple of whole pepperoncini peppers for serving

Shred beef before serving – drain some liquid if using on sandwiches

RACHEL RAY’S BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALAD 

Ingredients:

• 1 can, 14 ounces, black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups frozen corn kernels
• 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1/2 red onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, half a palm full
• 2 teaspoons hot sauce, just eyeball the amount (recommended: Tabasco)
• 1 lime, juiced
• 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, eyeball it
• Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss and serve. The corn will also place a quick-chill on this easy side-salad as it defrosts — no need to refrigerate

MARIA’S FAMILY TIROPITAKIA

τυροπιτάκια

Filling:

• 1 lb. cottage cheese
• 1 1/2 c feta
• 2 eggs
• 1 + T parsley
• 1/8 black pepper

Dough:

• 5 c flour
• 2 t salt
• 2 pack yeast dissolved in 1/4c warm water
• 2 c warm water

Instructions:

1. Mix the dough and put it in a metal bowl for about an hour to rise. Cover the bowl and place to the side.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the filling. Ensure the feta is crumbled and chop the fresh parsley. Mix and chill in the fridge.

3. Cut sections of the dough and roll it out to be about an 1/8” thick. Cut circles and add a spoonful of filling.

4. Pinch the circles of dough closed and seal with a fork along the edge

5. Fill pan with vegetable oil and put on medium heat. Add the tiropitakia and cook until golden brown on each side.

Warning – they are addictive!!

CAROLE’S FINGER-LICKIN’ GOOD CHICKEN WINGS

Got Texas Pete? It’s a must. Dice up your wings or buy ‘em pre-packaged. Bring to room temperature. Grab a big Tupperware container. Throw in a bunch of Texas Pete. That’s right, a bunch. Add in a squeeze of ketchup. Maybe about 4 TBSPs. A doctorate in measurement is not a prerequisite. Add a couple of tablespoons of melted butter. Stir.  And put to the side. Grill up your wings, nice and easy. A slow grill is best. You don’t want to scorch ‘em. When they look nice and toasty, bring ‘em off the grill and throw ‘em in that Tupperware container. Mix it up a bit and put ‘em back on the grill for about 5 +/- minutes. Grab your serving platter, pair with celery, carrots and blue cheese (no ranch here, please), and you’re good to go!

Oh, and don’t forget the ice-COLD brew!

Paper towels optional. That’s where the finger lickin’ comes into play… enjoy!

CLARENCE’S SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 pounds collard greens (about 3 bunches), ribs and stems removed, leaves sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add bacon, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the fat begins to collect in the pot and bacon starts to look shiny, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, 5–7 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Working in batches, add collard greens to pot, letting greens wilt slightly after each handful before adding more. Add broth, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until greens wilt and lose about half of their original volume, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, and liquid is almost completely evaporated, 25–30 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sugar and cook another minute to allow sugar to dissolve. Season with salt and pepper.

DOROTHY’S DARK AND SPICY PICKLED EGGS

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 hard-boiled eggs without shells
  • 1 ½ cups red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pickling spices
  • ¼ tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients except eggs in a saucepan and bring the ingredients to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Put peeled eggs in glass jar and pour liquid through strainer over eggs. Seal jar and refrigerate to season. Takes at least 2 to 4 weeks to season. Worth the wait.

T. EVANS GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN

Ingredients:

Marinate One 3-pound tenderloin in the following ingredients for 12-24 hours:

• 3 cloves of garlic minced
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
• 2 teaspoons of cilantro
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 2 teaspoons of season all salt
• 1 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 cup lime juice
• 1 cup orange juice

Instructions:

Sear tenderloin on high, then reduce and cook 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

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