Friday, April 29, 2011

Turkey Meatball Parmagiana

1 lb. ground Turkey
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
2 eggs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup Tomato sauce
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Parsley
2 tbsp. Oregano
2 soft rolls
salt and pepper to taste
When I was a kid, I would visit my grandmother in Newark, NJ.  I'd sit at the kitchen table and watch her make meatballs.  Then, I'd go home to Queens, and sit at the kitchen table and watch my Aunt Gene make meatballs.  It seemed wherever I looked, there were Italian women making meatballs!  Needless to say I picked up a few things.  While these aren't the classic, secret family recipe meatballs, they are a pretty good representation. 

The first step is to take the ground Turkey in large bowl and combine the onion, red pepper, Parmesan cheese, oregano, parsley, eggs, garlic and breadcrumb (and salt and pepper).  Mix very well.  If you find it to be drying up quickly, add just a bit of water at a time.  You want the mixture moist, but able to be rolled into balls. (Insert Eddie Murphy- Delirious-mama-burger-joke-here!)
Roll the mixture into balls.  I use generous portions, the size of a skee ball.  Set aside.  At this time you should preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat EVVO.  You will want to brown the outside of the meatballs.  I usually brown only 3 or 4 at a time to keep it manageable.  You can roll the meatballs around to get some nice, quick color.  When you have completed the browning of the meatballs, place in a large pyrex water bath.  (I put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water in the pyrex.  It helps with the moisture of the meatballs.)  Place the meatballs in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes- check regularly.
You can now prep the rolls.  Butter both sides and sprinkle a little oregano on the rolls.  Place in the toaster for only 1 minute.  You'll be putting it back in the oven, so this is to get the butter melted and get a nice flake before fully toasting later. 

When the meatballs are ready, remove from oven and slice.  Place meatballs on rolls, and top generously with tomato sauce.  Then, top generously with mozzarella.  Place sandwiches in a new pyrex and put back in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted over the sandwich.  Remove and serve.  We actually ate the Baked Zucchini Sticks  here on Flavors by Four as our side, and it went together very well.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wacky Mac Vegetable Pasta

In honor of the arrival of the long awaited nice weather I wanted to post something that was light and full of vegetables. This recipe was found in the coupon flyer section of the weekend newspaper a few years ago and sent to me by my mother-in law. It is simple, quick and tasty. It can also double as a cold pasta salad for a picnic or BBQ. Sometimes we add chicken if we are extra hungry and vegetables just aren't going to cut it.

1 Bunch of Broccoli - Diced into Small Pieces
1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes - Sliced Julienne
1 Red Pepper - Diced into Small Pieces
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
12 oz Package of Wacky Mac (Any Flavor or Shape)
4 Tbsp Pine Nuts
S&P to Taste
Parmsean Cheese if desired
Get a pot of salted water boiling for the Wacky Mac and prepare pasta according to the package. Wash & prep all of your veggies. In a large pan heat up the olive oil on medium heat. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and red pepper. Cook stirring occasionaly about 6 minutes until vegetables become tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn. Remove the pan from the heat. Salt & pepper the vegetables to taste.
The pasta should be done cooking by now. Drain it and add it to the skillet with all of the vegetables. Add the pine nuts and genetly toss everything together. Divide into bowls and sprinkle with Parmsean cheese if desired.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Easter from Flavors by Four!!!
I will be bringing these cupcakes to Easter dinner tomorrow at my sister-in-law's house but I couldn't help but try one tonight. They are the perfect spring dessert, the cake is moist and fluffy with the occasional crunch from the walnuts and the frosting is sweet and creamy. Without the frosting they could double as a tasty morning muffin as well.

Adapted from

Makes 24 cupcakes

2 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon All Spice
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups and 4 Tablespoons Flour
3 Cups Shredded Carrots
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
10 oz Cream Cheese - Softened
1 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350 F. In your stand mixers bowl combine: sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice, and 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until blended.
Keep the mixer running on a medium speed add one ingredient at a time. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt. Gradually add the flour to the bowl little by little until it becomes a thick batter.
Using a spatula stir in the walnuts, coconut and carrots one at a time until they are each fully combined.
Spoon the mixture into the cups, filling each cup 2/3 of the way full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While the cupcakes are baking you can make the frosting. Whisk together the softened cream cheese with the confectioners sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blondies- Easter Edition

Usually I start looking for Cadbury Mini Eggs around February. I buy a few mini bags until it gets closer to Easter then I go for the big bag. They are one of my favorite things about Easter. They weren't always. My favorite used to be Whopper's Malted Robins Eggs but in college I realized I liked Mini Eggs so much more (with the help of my roommates that all liked them). I was trying to think of a creative way to bake with them. Cookies? No. Brownies? No. Then I remembered that I've wanted to bake blondies for awhile now. I found a recipe on for Dorie Greenspan's Blondies and just changed a few things.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 of a large bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray Pam on a 9×13-inch baking pan and put it on a baking sheet. Take softened butter and beat it with a mixer. Then add both sugars and mix well. Add one egg at a time and then the vanilla.  In a seperate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder together. Gradully add the dry mixer to the wet mixture and mix until well combinded. Using a rubber spatual mix in most of the bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and spread it out. For me this was hard and it didn't seem like enough dough to fill it. But it worked out because the baking soda and powder expanded the dough. Sprinkle on the rest of the mini eggs and baked for 40 minutes (the pan on top of the baking sheet) or until the top is golden brown. Most of the mini eggs will sink in. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  

Enjoy! Happy Easter! Kathryn!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus are my favorite spring time vegetable so when I saw this I knew I had to make it. I wasn't sure how difficult shaving the asparagus was going to be but it turned out to be pretty quick and easy.

adapted from


Pizza dough (I use the Pillsbury can because its my favorite)
1 bunch of asparagus
2 teaspoons olive oil 
black pepper
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 or the temperature your dough states. Spray cookie sheet with PAM.

Wash and then use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus. Hold the bottom as a handle and start peeling upwards. Don't worry about them not coming out evenly. Feel free to cut some of the thicker peels. Don't worry about the bottom you end up discarding them. Toss the shaved asparagus in a bowl with the olive oil, some pepper, and salt. 

Roll the dough out on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the dough with the mozzarella cheese and some Parmesan. Then arrange asparagus shavings on top. Bake for 14 minutes or until the pizza dough's edges are brown and cheese is bubbling. 

Enjoy Kathryn! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Ganache

I never eat donuts - until I saw a recipe from  Her photographs are beautiful and they looked so delicious.  So I ordered my Wilton donut pan from for $9.99 and my cake flour from because I couldn't find any cake flour in our huge Shoprite.  I tell myself that these are okay to eat because they are baked and not fried.  But really after you dip the donut into the chocolate
ganache I don't really think baked or fried matters.  Everyone liked them but I would consider them more of a dessert than a breakfast because of all the chocolate.  My youngest daughter wouldn't agree.  Next time I will try them with vanilla cake instead and maybe then I will have one for breakfast.

1-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup hershey's cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray donut pan lightly with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and vanilla.

In a large bowl mix the flour, cocoa, and baking powder.  Add in buttermilk, stir a bit and add the melted butter and finally add the egg mixture.

Mix until just combined. 

Fill each donut mold about 2/3 full.  Bake 7-9 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on cooling rack.

Ganache Ingredients:
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3-4 tbsp heavy cream

Put both ingredients in a microwave safe small bowl.  Microwave on low for a minute and stir until you get a nice glossy consistency.  When donuts are cool dip in chocolate.  Top with sprinkles.  Let chocolate harden before eating.

Enjoy!   Susan

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon and Toasted Breadcrumbs

I had this dish for dinner in the city with a group of co-workers to celebrate the holidays back in December. Once I got home I started looking for a recipe that was similar so I could try and recreate it. This was a very close second, the caramelized cauliflower is sweet and the breadcrumbs give it a nice crunch. Delicious!!

Adapted from:

1 Large Head of Cauliflower - (Cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 Box Orecchiette pasta
2/3 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
4 Slices of Pre-Cooked Bacon
1 Shallot - Finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
7 Tbsp Olive Oil
S&P to taste
Parmesan Cheese if desired
Begin by preheating  the oven to 425 F and put a large pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta. In a medium sized bowl combine the cauliflower with 3 Tbsp of olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer the cauliflower onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. While the cauliflower is roasting you can make your toasted breadcrumbs.
Heat 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the plain breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning. If your breadcrumbs are flavored you do not need to add extra seasoning. Stir often to moisten all of the crumbs. Once they are golden and toasty remove from the pan and set aside. Use a paper towel to wipe the skillet clean. Your water should be boiling by now, cook the pasta according to the package.
Using the same pan heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallots with the garlic for 2 minutes stirring frequently to keep it from burning. Add the pre-cooked bacon and continue stirring. If you have regular bacon you will need to cook it before hand, then dice it up. If you are doing this I would keep it slightly soft since it will continue to cook and crisp in the pan.
Add the roasted cauliflower into the pan mixing it well into the other ingredients. At this point your pasta should be finished cooking, drain the water and add the pasta to the pan. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil over the pasta and toss until everything is well combined. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
 Enjoy!! - Nicole

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Feta

Adapted from:  How Easy Is That by Ina Garten.

I got this cookbook for Christmas from one of my daughters and I have bookmarked a few things I want to make.  This is the first one I have tried and it really was easy.  Now that my four children are all out of the house and I can make dinners that my husband and I enjoy we can have shrimp for dinner.  That wasn't possible before as only two of my four daughters would eat shrimp.  I know you can't see them but there really are about 30 shrimp in the pot hiding underneath the bread crumbs and feta cheese.  I served this with warm bread and a salad. 


4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
1-1/4 lb peeled shrimp
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 lemons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium low heat.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add wine and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until liquid is reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper to the skillet.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet.  Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp.  In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining two tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp.  Serve hot. 

Enjoy!   Susan

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coffee Crumb Cake

I love to bake and it amazes me every time that you can turn simple ingredients like flour, eggs, butter, cinnamon and sugar into delicious baked goods like this coffee crumb cake.  Because I keep all of these ingredients in the house normally, the only thing I had to get from the store was the buttermilk. We couldn't wait to have the first piece but in my opinion it was better the next morning when it had a chance to fully cool and mold together.

Adapted from:

Cake Ingredients:
11/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter - Room Temperature
21/2 Cups Flour (Not Self Rising)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs & 2 Egg Yolks
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Low-Fat Buttermilk

Crumble Ingredients:
3 Cups Flour (Not Self Rising)
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
11/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
Powered Sugar for Dusting
Leave 2 sticks of butter out on the counter for about an hour before you begin to allow the butter to rise to room temperature this way it softens. Once your butter has soften you can begin. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Whisk together your dry cake ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in a medium size bowl. In a stand mixing bowl combine the soften butter and sugar on medium for about 2 minutes.
Once the butter and sugar become fluffy you can start adding the eggs and egg yolks one at a time. When they have been mixed in, add the vanilla. Alternating back and forth as it mixes, begin adding the dry ingredients then some buttermilk then more dry ingredients, then a little more buttermilk until everything has been combined.
Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish making sure to get all sides and corners to prevent the cake from sticking. I usually use the butter wrapper that has a small end slice of butter still in it. Spoon all of the batter from the bowl into the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Once your cake batter is done you can begin to work on the crumble.
In a large bowl mix together both of the sugars, cinnamon and flour. Cut up the butter into slices and put it in a microwave safe bowl. On a low power setting (I used '3') melt the butter in 1 min increments until it has fully melted. Be careful not to burn the butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl.
 Using your hand, mix the butter into the dry ingredients. Grab it in handfuls and squeeze little by little to create the crumbles. After a few minutes it will be fully mixed and moist. Top the batter with the crumble mixture until it is fully covered.
Bake for about an hour, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes. Slice into generous squares and dust with powered sugar.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Southern Seafood Rice Casserole

Southern Seafood Rice Casserole
adapted from Riverview Plantation Cookbook

3 cups cooked white rice
2 cups grated swiss cheese
6 eggs
1.5 cups half & half
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
16 oz. canned Crab meat
8-10 shrimp, cut or chopped
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. salt/ 1tsp. pepper

I received the Riverview Plantation cookbook from a client of mine who lives in the South.  After much travel to the South, I have grown quite fond of their food.  The flavors are so bold and comforting!  I wanted to try something that was different and unusual, so I tried the Seafood Quiche which, to my pleasant surprise, was outstanding!
First, cook 3 cups of white rice per package instructions.  While the rice is cooking, grate the two cups of Swiss cheese, setting aside 1 cup for later.  You can also chop the shrimp, green onions and roasted pepper at this time and set aside. 
 Next, combine cooled rice, 1 cup of Swiss cheese and 2 slightly beaten eggs in a bowl.  Once combined, spread firmly and evenly over the bottom and sides of a buttered pyrex dish.
The next step is to heat the half & half, but do NOT boil.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients: the mushrooms, crab, shrimp, peppers, onions, slightly beaten eggs, salt, pepper, everything!
Combine with half and half and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture over the already prepared rice mixture in the pyrex, top with any remaining swiss cheese, or grate some on top, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a knife is inserted near the center and comes out clean.
Serve and enjoy!- John
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