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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Spaghetti Pie

6 oz. dried spaghetti
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup grated Paramesan cheese
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut up
1 beaten egg
1 cup cottage cheese
1/8 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. bulk pork Italian sausage
1/2 tsp. granulated onion
8 oz. can pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain well.  To make spaghetti crust, in a medium mixing bowl combine 1 beaten egg with parmesan cheese and butter.  Add cooked spaghetti; toss well.  Press spaghetti mixture against the bottom and sides of a well-greased 9-inch pie pan to form an even crust.

In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining beaten egg with cottage cheese, and pepper.  Spread over prepared spaghetti crust in pie pan; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage until browned and cooked throughout; drain fats.  Stir in pizza sauce; cook until heated through.  Spoon mixture over cottage cheese mixture; cover loosely with foil.

Bake, covered, in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil; sprinkle with mozzarella.  Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes longer or until mozzarella is melted and bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Makes 6 large pie-shaped servings. (Or 2 teenager servings)

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tasty Twisted Halloween Snack Mix

This is the perfect snack mix recipe for a classroom treat.  Have each student bring      1 - 2 cups of two of the spooky ingredients listed below (depending on what they are and the size involved), then combine them all in the witch’s cauldron to serve to the kids – they love it!  This recipe came from my days of school parties with the boys at Royal Valley Elementary.
·        Baked Skeleton Bones (pretzel sticks)

·        Bat Brains (popcorn)

·        Bloated Ants (raisins)

·        Boiled Lady Bugs (red jelly beans)

·        Braised Beetles (milk duds)

·        Cheesy Owl Eyes (puffed cheese balls)

·        Chocolate-Dipped Barn Flies (chocolate covered raisins)

·        Compressed Cobwebs (toasted square cereal)

·        Bat Wings (blue corn chips)

·        Deep Fried Fingernails (Bugles brand snacks)

·        Dragon Wings (nacho chips)

·        Dirty Shoelaces (black shoestring licorice)

·        Freeze-Dried Blood Droplets (red hots)

·        Ghost Guts (mini marshmallows)

·        Plops of Pigeon Poop (yogurt covered raisins)

·        Rat Claws (sunflower seeds – shelled)

·        Cat Eyes – almonds

·        Vulture Toenails – candy corn

·        Witches Warts – chocolate chips

·        Goblin Belly Button Lint – m & m’s

Now You're Spookin',
Chef Alli

Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Daddy Patty Cooks Dinner: Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli

½ lb. Italian sausage, crumbled (or use regular pork sausage and add 1 tsp. Italian seasonings in addition to spices listed below)

½ lb. lean ground beef, crumbled

½ onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

28 oz. Italian diced tomatoes, undrained

14 oz. can dark kidney beans, undrained

2 cups strong beef broth

2 Tbs. tomato paste

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 cup freshly minced parsley (or sub 1 tsp. dried)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

½ lb. penne pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions

Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

 Sauté sausage, ground beef, onion, garlic, oregano, and thyme in heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat until meats are browned and cooked throughout; crumbling with spatula; drain fats. Add tomatoes and kidney beans with juice, broth, tomato paste, cayenne pepper and parsley; season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat for 40-45 minutes, adding more beef broth if needed.  (Should be the consistency of a very thick soup)  Serve fagioli over warm bowls of pasta topped with parmesan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Howlin' Chili-Cheese Pizza


My kids have always loved this pizza at Halloween time and often cut the cheese slices to create a jack-o-lantern face on the pizza.  I like it that I can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes flat!

Howlin’ Chili-Cheese Pizza

1 lb. bulk sausage
8 oz. can tomato sauce
½ cup chili beans with juice
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
1 - pre-baked pizza crust
3-4 slices Monterey Jack or Colby Jack cheese
Cilantro, sour cream, sliced olives, for garnish

In a large sauté pan, brown sausage over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, approx. 10-12 minutes.  Drain fats, then stir in tomato sauce, chili beans, and chili powder. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Spread cheddar cheese over pizza crust; top with prepared sausage mixture. Cut desired Halloween shapes from cheese slices and place onto pizza.  Bake in preheated 425 degree F. oven for approx. 20-22 minutes or until chili topping is hot throughout and cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let pizza set for 5 minutes before slicing.  Garnish slices with sour cream, cilantro, and sliced olives, as desired.
Now You're Spookin',
Chef Alli

Friday, October 19, 2012

Speedy Cinnamon Rolls

 This recipe is used at least once a week to make cinnamon rolls for my family.  I can make a batch of these from start to finish in about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  This recipe makes 12 very large cinnamon rolls or 1 sheet pan of 12 and a half sheet pan of 6 smaller rolls. 

1 cup milk
1 cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
6 – 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 small packages yeast (5 tsp.) – can use quick rise, if desired
½ cup melted butter
 2 Tbs. cinnamon (I love to use Viennese cinnamon, available in the Hy-Vee Health Market Bulk Spice Section)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar

·        Combine milk, water, oil, sugar and salt in microwave safe bowl; heat 1-2 minutes, until temperature is to 120 - 130 degrees F.

·         While liquids are heating, measure 5 cups of flour into a mixing bowl; stir in yeast. 

·        Pour the heated liquids into the flour/yeast mixture.  Mix at medium speed with regular beaters or a paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes, adding egg during this step. 

·        Switch to dough hook, and add remaining 1 cup of flour; knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Dough should be soft and pliable, slightly sticky to the touch, but not sticking to sides of bowl.   (If dough hook is not available, you can stir the remaining flour in by hand then place dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.)

·        Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.

·        Punch dough down; roll dough into a large rectangle, approx. 22” wide by 18” tall.   

·        Spread melted butter over surface of dough, then sprinkle dough evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture; pat down firmly.

·        Roll up dough from long edge, stretching edge over roll to seal and complete. (*Note to class:  Make sure Chef Alli demonstrates her special technique for sealing!)

·        Using a sharp serrated knife or a piece of dental floss, cut roll evenly into 12 very large rolls and place onto a large sheet pan, or cut roll into 18 smaller rolls and place onto a 2 sheet pans.   

·        Let rolls rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. 

·        Bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for approx. 16-18 minutes (18 small rolls) or 18-20 minutes (12 large rolls) or until light golden brown. 

·        Let rolls cool slightly, then frost with your favorite recipe of butter cream frosting. 

Adapted from original recipe by Karen Hanson, Hy-Vee Manhattan Dietitian, for Cinnamon Roll Saturday Classes held at Topeka Hy-Vee. 

Chef Alli’s, Inc, PO Box 750664, Topeka, KS  66611       
Office: (785) 272-1055                 

Quinoa, Sausage, and Sweet Potato Skillet

Amber's Quinoa, Sausage and Sweet Potato Skillet
Makes: 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1/4-inch cubes

 1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water or unsalted chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
12 oz. pkg chicken sausage, I use aidell’s chicken & apple dinner sausage
8 ounces baby spinach

1.        In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the quinoa and toss until the grains are slightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

2.        Add the water or broth and salt, bring to a boil, stir once, cover, reduce to low and let cook undisturbed until the water is absorbed and the quinoa and sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

3.        When the quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooked, stir in the spinach and sausage and cook until the spinach is wilted and the sausage is heated through.

4.       Serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 340 calories, 15 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 675 mg sodium, 600 mg potassium (helps lower blood pressure), 36 g carb, 5 g fiber, 17 g protein, 100%DV Vitamin A and good source of Vitamin C