Tag Archives: bake

Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Herbed Goat Cheese Served on Focaccia Bread

Remember those tasty, squared little focaccia samwiches from my focaccia bread post?

If you are entertaining at home this weekend, these mini samwiches (I love calling it a “samwich”) are something that you will want to serve. They are crunchy, creamy and delicious.

Serve them at your next party, or you can just stick them in your lunch box; they are great any way that you want to enjoy them.

You will need:

  • 1 homemade focaccia bread, cut up into squares
  • Red Peppers, 1 per sandwich (my bread recipe should yield 8 to 10 sandwiches)
  • baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Herbed goat cheese spread

For the goat cheese you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (3 oz.) of goat cheese


For the Peppers:

  • To roast the peppers, preheat the broiler and line a sheet pan with parchment paper, or grease it lightly.
  • Cut peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and stems.
  • Place peppers cut side down on the sheet pan.
  • Broil for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Peel when cooled.

For the Herbed Goat Cheese Spread:

  • In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the goat cheese, mix well.
  • Coat the goat cheese with the mixture, press the mixture into the cheese with a fork and combine well.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you have the time, prepare this a day ahead; the longer it sits, the better it tastes.

Assembling the Sandwiches:

  • Spread the herbed goat cheese on two squared slices of focaccia.
  • Layer the portobello mushrooms on one slice, then follow up with the roasted pepper.
  • Cover with a slice of focaccia, and serve.



Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Spring, is that you out there?!? Holy sun, I missed you!

Remember how I whined about the weather here, and here, and probably here? Well, whine no more because it is sunny and 56 degrees out there today!

This morning I woke up at my usual 6-ish, had a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and I took off. I was standing in front of the grocery store waiting for them to open at 7 am. I was there to pick up whatever I could find that would remind my kitchen of warmer days.

I saw some apples and pears, but they are not a reminder of warmth – that says cold weather. I also tasted the berries… um, no taste! It was as good as eating one of those plastic fruit arrangements that my grandma used to have as a centerpiece on her kitchen table.

I kept moving along the produce aisle and I laid my eyes on some pineapples. They looked really good – perfect golden color, they were firm, and they had a yummy sweet smell. I put one in my basket, paid for it, and came home just in time before my husband had to leave for work.

He left, Ana ate breakfast, and then the two of us (yeah, she helps in the process of making a bigger mess 🙂 ) got down to business.

You can tell by the lighting on these photos that I made this cake earlier in the morning – it was probably about 8:30 a.m. when I began to separate the eggs. That’s how eager I was to make something spring-ish as soon as possible.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

You will need:

  • 1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored, and sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted, divided
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter, but keep the sticks separated. That is, melt 1 whole stick in one bowl, and the other half of a stick in another bowl.
  • Brush a little bit of the butter on the inside of a 9 inch cake pan.
  • Mix half of a stick of butter (4 tablespoons), melted, with the brown sugar and add in 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
  • Pour the brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the cake pan.
  • Arrange the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set pan aside.

  • Stir together the flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Beat the whites until stiff.
  • Beat the yolks until lemony yellow.
  • Stir in the remaining pineapple juice, vanilla, and remaining melted butter.

  • Add this mixture to the flour mixture.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites.

  • Pour batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings.

  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Remove it by covering up the pan tightly with a serving dish and invert so that the pineapple side is up.

And once Ana went to take her nap, Mama made herself a fresh pot of coffee to enjoy with a piece of this amazing cake! I just wish it was Sunday, my “Eat Whatever The Heck You Want Day”, so I could have a few more slices.


Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Stuffed Peppers

When we were growing up, this dish was on my mom’s weekly menu. My sister and I looked forward to it because it was our favorite meal and because it was delicious. Then again, everything Mom makes is delicious. I can remember her weekly menu; stuffed peppers, moussaka, potato stew, bean stew, fish, grilled meat, and baked chicken thighs with rice. Even though we knew it was the same thing week in and week out, we still looked forward to every meal.

The peppers for this traditional Macedonian dish are usually stuffed with ground pork and ground beef mixed in with rice. For the reason that we want to prepare healthier food, I am going to use ground turkey instead. But if you want to try these the original way, go ahead and mix 50% ground pork with 50% ground beef.

You will need:

  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup long grain rice
  • 2 fresh ripe tomatoes, 1 tomato diced and the other cut in 4 slices, crosswise (used for sealing the peppers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt


  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • Cut the tops off the bell peppers and clean out the seeds.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, put the peppers in, and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the peppers carefully and place in a big baking dish that allows just enough room for all the peppers. Set aside.
  • In the meantime begin to prepare the stuffing; Put the onions in a skillet, drizzle with EVOO, and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the ground turkey.
  • Cook until the meat is browned and add in the rice; mix well and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, salt, basil, cayenne pepper, and onion salt; allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the stove and begin to stuff the peppers.
  • When finished, place a slice of tomato on top of each pepper to seal.
  • Put in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • If you’re feeling naughty, add a dollop of sour cream on top – YUM!


Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine

Honeyed Apple Minis

I love baking with apples. I love the smell, the taste, the texture – all of it! But then when I get to marry the apples with honey, well, we are at a whole other level; they produce that tangy-sweet taste that I can’t resist. And when I add the walnuts, this dessert becomes a smooth, buttery filling for strudels, cakes, or muffins. What I’ve done for this recipe is I used the apple filling to make something a bit different; instead of putting the mixture into dough, I am putting the dough into the mixture.

You will need:

  • 4 medium-sized of your favorite apples, peeled, cored, sliced in quarters, and grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 sheets Fillo Dough, cut in pieces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder



  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • Put the grated apples into a saucepan and cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat.
  • Mix in the walnuts, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir and allow to cook together for 5 more minutes.
  • Add in the torn pieces of fillo dough and a teaspoon of baking powder; mix well and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon the mixture into 6 paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Put the muffin pan into the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Allow the dessert to completely cool down, about an hour, before removing the honeyed apples from the liners.

***These can also be made with a sugar substitute, like Splenda, but the taste will be somewhat different; it won’t have that tangy-sweet taste that I am talking about. However, if you are experiencing a major sweet tooth attack, but are trying to diet, make these with Splenda instead of the honey.

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Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Cranberry “Cupcakes”

Did you know that during the early quarter of the 20th century, immigrants entering Ellis Island in New York City were served JELL-O gelatin as a “Welcome to America”? That’s right! So, I am going to serve this very American treat on a very American holiday.

Three words to describe these tasty cups; tart, sweet, flavorful. Oh, I just thought of a fourth one; EASY! Yeah, things in the kitchen don’t always have to be complicated. I learned about this gelatin dessert a few years back during the holiday season. I think it came from a 1970’s cookbook, if I’m not mistaken. They are the most beautiful centerpiece on any dessert table. Their appearance screams, “Happy Holidays”. And, one more great thing about these minis, they are about a 100 calories a piece!

You will need:

  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, in juice
  • 1 package (3 oz.) raspberry flavor gelatin
  • 1 package (3 oz.) strawberry flavor gelatin
  • 1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 apple, chopped


  • Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
  • Put the gelatin (just the powder) in a large bowl.
  • Add enough water to juice to measure 2 ½ cups; pour into saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Pour the water into the gelatin mix and stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the pineapple, cranberry sauce, nuts, and apples.
  • Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Refrigerate for 2 ½ hours or until firm.
  • Remove desserts from liners before serving.

I took these “cranberry daisies” to a little girl’s birthday party and everybody loved them!


Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.