Just Call Me Martha Stacey

Archive for the ‘Food/Cooking’ Category

The bridal shower theme continues!  As I mentioned yesterday, we chose a brunch menu for my sister’s bridal shower.

I found this recipe for Baked French Toast from marthastewart.com and thought it sounded perfect for our event.  I liked that it could be prepared in advance and didn’t have to be cooked on a griddle immediately before serving.

Hubby looked skeptical about the advance preparation and baking but it turned out really good!  I really liked it, and I’m not one to eat french toast on a regular basis.  Up until a few years ago, I didn’t eat it at all, so the fact that I liked it speaks volumes!

Baked French Toast

6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
10 slices day-old bread (3/4 inch thick)
1 cup pecans (chopped)

Beat eggs in bowl.  Whisk in milk, cream, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

Dip bread slices in batter to coat.  Overlap slices in 9×13 inch glass baking dish.  Pour remaining batter over top.  Store, covered, in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours.

Top with pecans and remaining sugar.  Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Uncover; bake until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes more.

Serve with syrup.


It’s Tuesday…so time for another tasty recipe!

I adapted this recipe for sweet potato soup from Martha Stewart’s recipe for Smoky Sweet-Potato Soup.  It’s relatively rich without adding cream or butter so it’s waist-line friendly too.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 green apple, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 cups chicken broth
red chili flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Cook garlic and onion until soft.

2.  Add apple, celery and red chili flakes (as much or little as you want).  Cook for 3 minutes.

3.  Add sweet potatoes and chicken broth.  Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender (15-20 minutes).

4.  Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and puree (or use immersion blender).

5.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with sunflower seeds or sour cream, if desired.


I made this soup a few days ago and since I was out of apples, I used two celery sticks instead…worked just fine!  I haven’t tried freezing it, but it would probably work well.  Just reheat on the stove or in a crock pot!

I tried another new recipe last night:  Almond-Crusted Chicken

The original recipe was from a Company’s Coming cookbook (don’t remember which one because I ripped the page out) and it called for pecans.  I only had almonds on hand so I substituted them for the pecans.

I cut down on the amount of ground nuts, which dropped the amount of calories.  I added the oregano and probably will throw in some additional herbs to bump up the flavour next time.

This recipe came together super fast and had a mild nutty flavour.

Almond-Crusted Chicken (makes 4 chicken breasts):

3 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup bread crumbs
oregano or other herbs, salt and paper to taste

Combine the mustard and honey; brush over both sides of chicken breasts.

Combine almonds, bread crumbs, herbs and salt and pepper.  Press into chicken breasts to coat both sides.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Making it a Meal:  serve with roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Last week, I featured a pork chop spice rub and continuing in the pork chop theme, I have a Greek Pork Chop marinade to share!

It comes from another Taste of Home magazine (Taste of Home is my “go-to” place to search for recipes online if I want to try something new)…Unlike last week’s recipe, I haven’t tried this one with chicken, but I imagine it would taste great too!

Greek Pork Chops

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard

This quantity will marinade 4 pork chops.  I don’t usually have onion powder on hand so I swap out the salt, onion powder and garlic powder for 1 tsp garlic salt.  The original recipe states to let the chops marinade for 8 hours.  I never remember to prep the chops first thing in the morning, so mine usually only marinade for a few hours before I grill them on my George Foreman.

It’s another Tasty Tuesday!

I have a go-to spice rub for pork rub that I found in a Taste of Home magazine ages ago.  It’s so quick and easy and it also works great for chicken!

I usually try and prep the pork chops a few hours in advance to really let the spices permeate the pork, but it’s still pretty tasty if I do it at the last-minute before grilling.

Pork Spice Rub

1/3 cup dried parsley
1/4 cup dried marjoram
1/4 cup fried thyme
3 tbsp rubbed sage
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Rub onto pork chops immediately before grilling or several hours in advance.

The cinnamon adds an unexpected burst of flavour.  I don’t measure my spices anymore…I just make sure I add them in descending order when I’m short on time and throwing dinner together quickly!

I have a ridiculous number of clipped recipes that I want to try…eventually.  I’ve promised myself that I will try two new recipes per month so I can finally add the ones I like into my recipe book (nothing goes in until it has been tested).

This week, I tried a recipe for Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage that I had clipped from a Food Network magazine.  It was a spur of the moment decision so I had to make several substitutions, but nothing that altered the taste or presentation significantly.  Below is the original recipe, with my substitutions in brackets.

The recipe says it makes four servings…they are rather large servings.  I would say it serves 6.  We had this recipe for supper last night with my Homemade French Bread.  It will definitely be added to the regular rotation…but I’ll half the recipe next time (we have LOTS of leftovers!).  I think it would be great with sautéed chicken instead of sausage too!


Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage

12 oz orecchiette pasta (I used macaroni pasta)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (I omitted this completely)
8 oz spicy sausage, casings removed
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving (I used half a yellow onion, sliced thinly)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used 2 cups chopped tomatoes)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook per package direction.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage and cook, breaking up with wooden spoon until it starts to brown.

Add onions and cooked until softened, about three minutes.

Add garlic, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms start to brown, about 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook until softened slightly, about 3 minutes.

Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

Add broth to skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.  Stir in pasta and cheese, adding some of the pasta water if needed (I didn’t need to, probably because of the extra water from using regular tomatoes vs. cherry tomatoes).

Season with salt and pepper.  Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with more cheese and spring onions.

Time for Tasty Tuesday!  This week’s recipe for Berry Cream Muffins comes from the Taste of Home Cookbook.

I tried this recipe for the first time last week and I think it’s destined to become my “go-to” muffin recipe.  I hesitated when I looked at nutrition information, seeing that each muffin rang in at 241 calories.  Yikes.

Then I looked over the ingredients again and realized there was room to cut some calories.  I replaced the sour cream with my homemade 1% yogurt, which reduced the calories in the whole recipe by 370.  I managed to get 16 muffins instead of just 12 so my muffins clocked in at 160 calories.

Next time, I’m going to replace half the oil with unsweetened applesauce, which would bring the calorie count down to 130 (for 16 muffins)!

No picture right now, but I’ll take and upload one tomorrow!

Berry Cream Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups fresh/frozen berries (I used raspberries)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Add berries and stir gently

Combine eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.

Fill greased muffins cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack.


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