Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake

Ok so Bundt cakes aren’t exactly pretty cakes….they are a bit homely but they can be really scrumptious assuming, of course, that you use the right recipe.  My favorite Bundt cake is this Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.  This cake is fresh-tasting, moist and a summery treat.

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Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

I have been wanting an ice cream maker for the longest time.  There’s a Cuisinart ice cream maker that’s been sitting in my Amazon cart since last year but I can’t bring myself to buy it until the price drops drastically or until I find a job.  There are some good premium ice creams like Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s at the supermarket but I really like the idea of making fresh ice cream in my favorite flavors.  A couple of weeks ago, I found a recipe for no-churn chocolate ice cream at Cook’s Country and it intrigued me.  I ended up impressed with the simplicity and the results.  It turned out smooth and creamy and the slight mocha taste was quite flavorful.  My only concern with this recipe was the leftover sweetened condensed milk because I dislike waste and I don’t use this type of milk for anything else. The inside of the can’s label had instructions to make dulce de leche which my kids like so I used the leftover condensed milk to make this thick, caramelized milk in the microwave which could then be poured on top of ice cream or other desserts.

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Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti

Chicken parmesan and spaghettiI think I’ve spoiled my family.  They no longer like to eat at places like Macaroni Grill or Carino’s.  My husband says my Italian dinners always taste fresher and better seasoned than those restaurant meals do.  A nice loaf of Italian bread and a Caesar Salad rounded out this Italian-American meal.

Once again, I’ve turned to Cook’s Illustrated for my recipe.  I make a small change to this recipe by adding some red pepper flakes.  Recipe after the jump.

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Byrek me Spinaq; AKA Burek; Bourek; Spanikopita; Spinach Pie

Byrek stack

Byrek stack

There are times when I really miss my mother’s cooking.  She makes spinach pie like this but she rolls out her own phyllo and she also makes her own cheese for the filling.  Although my mother is a great cook, she has absolutely no patience when it comes to teaching so I never learned how to roll out my own phyllo nor how to make cheese.  😦  Fortunately for us non-rollers, phyllo can be found in the freezer section of many supermarkets and there are suitable substitutes for homemade cheese like a mix of cottage and feta cheeses.

This dish goes by many names in the Mediterranean.  In Albania, it’s called Byrek.  In Kosova, it’s Burek.  In Turkey, it’s Borek or Bourek.  In Greece, it’s Spanikopita.

I adapted a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for my version of this savory spinach and cheese pastry.  Recipe after the jump.

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Middle Eastern-themed welcome dinner

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Last night, my teenage stepdaughters arrived from the Windy City for a visit.  I’m so happy to have them here because they are a joy to have around.  To welcome them home, I cooked a Middle Eastern-themed dinner.  On the menu: Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Zucchini and Onions; Tabbouli; Hummus; Rice and Pita Bread.  Most of the recipes are from Cook’s Illustrated with the exception of the rice and the bakery-bought pita bread.  The meal was enjoyed by all.  Recipes after the jump.

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