Thursday, December 27, 2012

The winning Eggnog Recipe Photograph


Congratulations to Guy and Gwyn Reiber for submitting the winning Eggnog Recipe Photograph. 

The winning photograph that had the most views was chosen the official winner.   Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.   Crowded Kitchen loved all the photographs, so everyone is a winner!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

David's Cioppino

David's Cioppino
Recipe submitted by David Gaimari

What is Cioppino?

Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco.  It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.   Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish's place of origin is typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either sourdough or baguette.  Definition from


3/4 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups white wine

2 (1 lb) frozen Seafood Medley packages (calamari, mussels, octopus and shrimp)
1 (1 lb) pasteurized crab meat


Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large stockpot, add onions, garlic and parsley.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft.

Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano and wine to the pot and mix well.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the Seafood Medley packages and crab meat.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve with warm, crusty bread.

12 to 14 servings

Recipe submitted by David Gaimari

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chris & Lauri Gilliland

Chris & Lauri Gilliland hope your holidays are merry and bright!

There's still time to submit an entry in the Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest.  Check out the recipe and contest rules.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Debbie Morano

Here's the newest entry in the Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest. 

Debbie Morano says, . . . "May you be surrounded by family and friends this Holiday season filling your hearts with warmth and joy.  May there be an abundance of love, laughter and peace in your New Year to touch your life in the most unique and beautiful way.  Cheers to you!"

There's still time to submit a photograph in our Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest.  Check out the recipe and contest rules.  Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baked Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

Baked Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

This is one of those meals that benefits from sitting in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.  You will be glad you prepared this meal early.  It is delicious, and everyone will ask for more!   This recipe calls for cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, verses mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  It is good either way, so take your pick and enjoy this wonderful dish!


All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 rounded tablespoons minced garlic
2 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes w/ puree
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 to 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 1/2 lb Italian sausage
8 oz uncooked Capellini (Angel Hair) pasta
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated


In a large stockpot, make the "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce" (recipe post, April 2012).  Simmer sauce for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage over medium-heat until fully cooked. 

Incorporate the cooked Italian sausage into the tomato sauce, and simmer for 30 minutes more.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the Capellini (Angel Hair) pasta according to the package directions.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with vegetable or olive oil.

Cover the bottom of the 9 x 13-inch pan with (1/3) portion of tomato sauce.

Divide the pasta, and layer (1/2) portion of the pasta over the tomato sauce.

Combine the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese together.

Sprinkle (1/3) portion of the cheese mixture over pasta.

Repeat the layers (1/3 portion tomato sauce, 1/2 portion cooked spaghetti, and 1/3 portion cheese mixture)

Top and spread the last (1/3) portion of tomato sauce over spaghetti dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the baked spaghetti from the oven and top with the remaining (1/3) portion of cheese mixture.

Bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Cut into squares, and serve with bread and salad.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies
Recipe submitted by Mary Jane Shea

Melt in your mouth DELICIOUS!


1 cup (real) butter
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream all ingredients together.

Roll into 1-inch balls.

Roll balls in sugar.

Stamp balls with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie


1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14oz) can SWEETENED condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 graham cracker crust
1 (20oz) can cherry pie filling


In a large bowl, mix the (room temperature) cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla together until creamy and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and spread evenly.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Remove pie from the refrigerator and top with cherry pie filling.

Refrigerate pie until completely chilled.

Serve cold and keep refrigerated.

Here's another great tasting idea, . . . change the pie filling from cherry to blueberry.  This pie is outrageously good too.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crock Pot Merlot Chicken

Crock Pot Merlot Chicken


2 1/2 to 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces
3 (6 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
2 large onions, chopped
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth, low sodium
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup Merlot
2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. Fettuccini noodles, cooked
Parmesan cheese, grated


Step 1

Rinse the boneless, skinless chicken pieces.

Step 2

Place the onions, mushrooms, and minced garlic in slow cooker. 

Second, lay the chicken pieces on top of the above ingredients.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, tomato paste, wine, tapioca, basil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture over the chicken pieces.

Step 4

Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours.

Serve the Merlot chicken over cooked fettuccini noodles.   Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Recipe submitted by Mary Mimi Rorie


4 cups sugar
2 5-ounce cans evaporated milk
1 cup butter or margarine
1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla


Butter the sides of a heavy 3-quart saucepan.  In it combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. 

Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to boiling.  Cook over medium heat to 236 degrees (soft-ball stage), about 12 minutes.   Stir frequently. 

Remove saucepan from heat and add the remaining ingredients; stir until chocolate is melted. 

Turn into a buttered 9x13x2-inch pan.  Score while warm; cut when firm.  Chill if necessary.

Makes about 3 1/2 pounds.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Guy and Gwyn Reiber

Here is the second entry in the Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest. 

Guy and Gwyn Reiber wish everyone Happy Holidays! 

Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Almond Roca Candy

Almond Roca Candy
Recipe submitted by Margie Brennan


2 cups sugar
1 pound (real) butter
1- 4.4 ounce (XL) Hershey Milk Chocolate candy bar
Crushed almonds


Line the bottom and sides of an 9 x 13-inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.

Break the Hershey Milk Chocolate bars into small pieces, or chucks.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan and cook over medium-heat.  When the boiling stage has been reached, stir constantly until mixture reaches 290 degrees.


Pour the mixture into baking pan. 

Once the butter and sugar mixture has been spread evenly in the baking pan, quickly sprinkle the Hershey Milk Chocolate pieces over the mixture. 

Once the chocolate has softened, spread the chocolate evenly over the surface using a plastic utensil.  (If the chocolate does not properly melt, place the baking pan in the oven and then spread the chocolate)

Sprinkle the crushed almonds evenly over chocolate.  Carefully press the crushed almonds into the chocolate topping.

Let the Almond Roca set up for 12 to 24 hours before breaking into pieces.

Happy Holidays!

David Gaimari

Here is David Gaimari's photograph entry.  He's celebrating the holidays with eggnog. 

Eggnog Recipe Photo Contest

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Eggnog Recipe

Eggnog Recipe Photograph winners, Guy & Gwyn Reiber
Holiday Eggnog
Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Serves 12 to 16


6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
12 large pasteurized egg yolks
2 cups sugar 
Bourbon or praline-flavored liqueur (optional)


Step 1

Heat the milk, cream and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming, 5 to 7 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

Step 2

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a separate saucepan until smooth.  Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats a spoon and registers 160 degrees on a thermometer, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the warm milk mixture.  Let cool 30 minutes.

Step 3

Transfer the eggnog to a pitcher, cover and refrigerate until cold. at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.  Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon into each glass (optional), and top with the eggnog.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Happy Holidays!

Crowded Kitchen suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness.  To reduce the risk, we recommend that you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Aunt Ruth's Pumpkin Pie Cake

Aunt Ruth's Pumpkin Pie Cake
Recipe submitted by Ruth Shields

This delicious cake is a fun alternative to your basic pumpkin pie.  It can be served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold with whipped cream.  Happy Holidays!


1 (29 ounce) can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin puree
1 (12 fluid ounce) can Carnation evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1  box (18.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the yellow cake mix, chopped pecans and melted butter or margarine together, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt together by hand, using a wooden spoon.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan.

Sprinkle the cake mix, pecans and melted butter mixture evenly over pumpkin mixture in pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until done.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Recipe submitted by Marion Hammer

What is Moussaka?

Proper pronunciation: Moo-sah-KAH

Moussaka is a type of casserole native to the Mediterranean. Although this dish is closely associated with Greece, where it may have originated, it is also widely eaten in Egypt, the Middle East, and the rest of the Balkans. It also comes in a range of styles and flavors, making it a very diverse and versatile dish. Some Mediterranean restaurants offer moussaka, especially if they specialize in Greek food, and it can also be purchased from some markets, or made at home.

There are three fundamental ingredients in moussaka: a vegetable, a meat mixture, and some sort of sauce. The ingredients are layered and then baked to make a moussaka, which may be eaten hot or cold, depending on regional tastes. For variation, some cooks add a white sauce and cheese to the top, making the moussaka much richer and more intense.  Definition by


2 to 3 large eggplants
Cooking spray

2 large onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup water

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb, beef, or turkey
1/2 water

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 light sour cream
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded


Step 1

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. 

Lightly coat 2 ( 10 x 15-inch ) baking pans with cooking spray.  Lay slices in a single layer on pans, and over-lap eggplant slightly if needed.  Spray eggplant lightly with olive oil. 

Bake the eggplant slices for 20 minutes, and then turn the eggplant slices over and cook for another 10 minutes.

Once baked, place the slices from one pan in an even layer in a 2-inch deep, 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.  Set the second pan of eggplant slices aside.  THE SECOND PAN OF EGGPLANT SLICES WILL BE USED FOR THE TOP LAYER

Step 2

Place the chopped onions, garlic, olive oil and 1/2 cup water into the empty eggplant baking pan.

Bake in the 450 degree oven until moisture evaporates and onions are darkly browned, about 35 minutes.  Stir often with a wide spatula and keep the onions in an even layer.

Step 3

Remove the onions from the oven, and add another 1/2 cup water.  Scatter meat in small bits over onions. 

Bake onion/meat mixture for about 6 to 10 minutes, until meat is white throughout. 

Step 4

In a large saucepan, mix nutmeg, fennel seed, cinnamon, cumin, cardamon, and 4 teaspoons cornstarch.  Blend in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth.  Stir over high heat until boiling.  Mix with meat mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Spoon meat mixture over eggplant slices in casserole dish.

Next, use the remaining eggplant slices (second pan set aside) and place on top of casserole.

Step 6

Rinse the large saucepan, and make a smooth paste of 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, and sour cream.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. 

Spoon evenly over eggplant casserole

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese


Step 7

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes