Archive for the 'Dairy Recipes' Category

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: Lazy Eggplant Lasagna

|June 25, 2011|read comments (6)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We've all heard about Lazy Pierogie – so why not try Lazy Eggplant Lasagna?

This didn't take long to make at all – it's so hot and humid that I took a jar of my homemade meat sauce out of the freezer the day before to thaw so that I could use it and not need to have a pot of sauce simmering on the stove! 

 This is a smaller eggplant than I would normally use because I made a smaller lasagna than normal. – – 


First, I combined my whole-milk ricotta with my chopped spinach.  You can wilt fresh spinach – but I chose to use frozen, cook and drain well and chop.  I used barely half the box – saved the remainder for another meal.  Allow to cool before adding to the cheese.  Seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use) and mixed well.  Cover and refrigerate.



Wash and peel your eggplant.  Normally I would slice my eggplant – but this time I diced it instead.  I wasn't using lasagna noodles so why go for the slices?


Dip in beaten egg and dredge in seasoned bread crumbs – dry bread crumbs, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic, onion powder, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use).


Well – you know the routine – heat your skillet, add your olive oil, heat your oil, and THEN add your breaded eggplant.  Fry until tender/light golden.

Meanwhile, I placed my pot of water on the stove to boil to cook my macaroni.  While waiting, I transferred the cooked eggplant to a dish to cool for just a bit, sliced my brick of mozzarella (which could easily have been grated – I sliced by choice) and I spooned about a half a quart of my sauce into a bowl.

Once again – you know the routine – pot of water comes to a rolling boil, add your salt and wait for the water to return to a full rolling boil, add your macaroni and cook al dente.  Drain well and do not rinse.

I used a few handfuls of medium shells, rotini, and cut ziti – a great way to use up macaroni!  And since they all cook at the same time – it was easy.  Once thoroughly drained, I stirred the cooked macaroni into my bowl of sauce and coated well.


I placed a couple spoons of sauce into my baking dish and topped with half my macaroni; spread my ricotta/spinach mixture over the top.


Then top this with cooked and partially cooled eggplant.  At this point you can sprinkle with grated mozzarella if you want.  I didn't do it this time.  Top with remaining macaroni, added a bit more sauce to the top of that and spread sliced mozzarella around the top.


Even though it was so hot and humid – I still preheated my oven to 350* F. and placed the lasagna in for 20 minutes – because this is not a big casserole dish.  A larger dish would take longer.


Enjoyed with a nice salad of greens and some onion bread.

If you didn't read my post about Chinese Meatballs then you missed my onion bread recipe – it's right up there with garlic bread – if not better:

Combine softened butter, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine), a bit of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of onion powder, and fresh grated onion.  Slather on thick-sliced Italian or French bread.  Placed on a baking tray (can be done in the broiler or toaster oven as well) and in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes while the lasagna was heating through.


and so simple – did not take long at all to make!

I hope you try this one!




Recipe: best dang grilled cheese sammie –

|June 25, 2011|read comments (5)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Okay – you may say it's "just" a grilled cheese sammie – but htis is one of my favorites! 

There is so much you can do to make your grilled cheese sandwiches extra special.  Try adding a cooked breakfast sausage patty, or add onions, or tomatoes, or peppers, or ham, or chicken, or turkey, or bacon – the list is just endless.

I used a nice hearty bread – these cheap white breads that disintegrate before they hit your mouth just don't cut it with me.  I used Schwebel's Italian sliced.

A light coating of butter and then I placed my cheese slices on each slice.  Since this bread comes in wider and larger slices than other white breads, I needed to use 1 1/2 slices on each slice of bread.

I scrambled (softly) a couple eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle onion powder.  I transferred the hot eggs to the bread, and closed it up, buttering the outsides and frying until golden.

Soft eggs, cheese slowly oozing out – absolutely one of my favorites.  And definitely a filler-upper!  Add a glass of orange juice and you're good until dinnertime!

Recipe: Low-carb Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe

|June 10, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's summer and it's hot.  Cold and refreshing treats feel so good and taste so good on a hot summer day.  If you are counting carbs – this recipe makes 8 servings with only 6 grams of carbs per serving. 

Many of my friends are on low-carb diets, and this is a real treat for them.  Been making this for years!


In saucepan, combine:

1 1/2 qts. half-and-half

1 qt heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups Splenda

6 egg yolks

1/3 teaspoon salt

and bring to a gentle boil.  Remove from heat; chill; add 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and approximately 30 ounces blackberries.  Let your ice cream maker do the work for you.


Best part – you can use raspberries, blueberries, a mix of berries – whatever you want for this.


Refreshing and delicious – and you can have seconds without feeling guilty.


Recipe: Homemade Cream Cheese

|March 12, 2011|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Since I live in the "snowbelt" there are many times we cannot get out to get to the supermarket – either because we are buried in snow or there is a driving ban.

And of course, there are times I don't feel like driving that far (my favorite markets are not close to hone at all) on 12 to 18 inches of ice-packed streets.

In a pinch – you can easily make your own cream cheese – and like I always say – "there's noting like homemade!"

1 gallon whole milk
1 quart cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour milk and buttermilk into a large pan and suspend the thermometer in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the temperature reads 170 degrees.

Keep the mixture on the heat and the temperature of the milk between 170 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, the mixture should start to separate into curds (the lumps) and whey (the liquid).

Line a strainer with several layers of moistened cheesecloth and set it inside a large bowl. Then lift the curds from the milk mixture and lay them in the cheesecloth. Pour the remainder of the whey through the cheesecloth and save the whey for other recipes (buttermilk). Let curds drain at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours.

Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and place in blender with the salt. Blend until creamy. Store the cheese in small containers with tight fitting lids and refrigerate.

The cheese can also be frozen, thawed and then beaten again in blender until creamy.

Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo with Beet/Bean Salad

|February 23, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One thing I can honestly say about Italian cooking – you don't have to spend the entire day in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove.  Although with all this cold weather and all the snowstorms we have been getting – standing at the stove all day sounds good!

We enjoy Alfredo sauce on macaroni – it's quick and easy to make and we always have the ingredients in the house – butter, milk, cheese – and of course, plenty of macaroni – all different kinds.  Having macaroni in the house is a lifesaver.

It doesn't take long to make at all – waiting for the water to boil to cook macaroni is the "long" part of this meal making –

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 lb. fettuccine
1 stick butter
Fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Fresh minced parsley

While I was waiting for the pot of water to boil for my fettuccine, I assembled an easy bean/beet salad and grated my cheese.

For the Beet/BeanSalad

1 can sliced beets, drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 can cut wax (yellow) beans, drained

Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and season with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with fresh minced (or dried) basil; toss to coat.

Once my water boiled, salted my water, added my fettuccine and cooked al dente. Drained well. To the same pan, melt a stick of butter and add a bit of milk – about ½ cup or so. Add the cooked fettuccine back to the pan with a few handfuls of grated cheese and toss well to coat. Season with just a bit of Kosher salt and a some cracked black pepper; sprinkle with parsley.

Couldn’t be simpler! And clean up was a breeze!

Recipe: How to whip cream

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

For best results, make sure that the cream is very cold when it is whipped.

Chilling the bowl and beaters or whip in advance also aids in achieving full volume. Placing the chilled whipping bowl in a larger bowl lined with ice also aids in achieving full volume.


Begin by whipping the cold cream, by hand or with a machine, at a moderate speed. Soft peaks will mound when dropped from the whip. This is the correct time to add sugar or other flavoring ingredients.

Medium peaks retain marks of the whip and will hold a soft peak that droops over slightly.

Stiff peaks will form distinct mounds that hold their shape.


Similar to egg whites, cream can be overbeaten. Overbeaten cream first develops a granular appearance. Eventually lumps will form and, if whipping continues, the cream will turn to butter.



Rules for Whipping Cream

Chill the cream, bowl and beater in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Beat until it is fairly stiff.

If cream is beaten until it is warmer than 45 degrees (F), it will turn to butter.

Should cream start to turn buttery, whip in two or 3 more tablespoonfuls of cold milk.

If you wish the cream to keep stiff for a day or two, add one teaspoon gelatin soaked in one tablespoon cold water.

Dissolve the gelatin over hot water; allow to cool to the consistency of egg whites before adding to the cream and whipping.
Use medium speed when whipping cream with an electric beater.

Cream, when whipped, almost doubles in bulk.

Recipe: Milk and cream information

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

After receiving a comment/question – I thought I would put this together for everyone –


Milk and cream information:

First of all – the only difference between whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, and fat-free (skim) milk is the amount of fat and calories.

The more fat milk has, the more calories it will also. Most of the fat in milk is in the cream. Skim milk has all of the cream removed while increasing amounts are left in 1%, 2% and whole milk. Skim and 1% milk have the same amount of protein, calcium and vitamins A & D as whole milk.

In all cooking and baking, I prefer using whole milk. Even though it contains roughly 3.5% milk fat, I find that in cooking your sauces, soups, etc. will not only taste better, but will be creamier. Whole milk also withstands heat better than the lower-fat milks because of the higher fat content.

You can use a lower-fat milk to lower the fat content of foods but trying to use fat-free (skim) milk is usually not recommended because it burns so easily. It is preferred for use in hot or cold drinks – coffees, cappuccinos, low-fat hot chocolates, milk shakes, etc.

When cooking with milk, never boil the milk. When milk boils, a tough layer of “scum” forms on the surface. And even though you may not boil milk – it can still scorch. Always use low heat when heating milk and whisk or stir frequently.

Another secret to heating milk and you don’t want it to scorch – rinse the pan in very hot water before adding the milk or cream to the pan.

Sometimes you will see that your milk has “curdled” when cooking. This is caused by cooking milk with other dairy products that have acid ingredients, salty foods, and even certain vegetables. This curdling can be avoided by using gentle heat and not overcooking.

You can also use evaporated milk to prevent curdling or make it less likely to curdle.** (see below)

Heavy cream (known as whipping cream and in Britain it is called double cream) has a high fat content of anywhere from 36 to 40%. There is no replacement for this cream (such as light or single cream) that can be used in recipes that call for cream to be whipped or cooked for a long time. This cream doubles in bulk when whipped. Double cream in Britain is heavier and has a milk fat content of 48%.

Light cream (known as single cream) has a milk fat content of about 10 to 20%. This cream cannot be whipped. This cream is best used in drinks like coffee or creamy cocktails. If used in cooking, it is best added at the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling. If you can find light cream with a 30% butterfat content, it will whip but it won’t be very stable.


NOTE: Real cream NEVER contains any additives, preservatives, coloring, or emulsifying agents.


For many older recipes that call for light or medium cream – substitute half-and-half.

Half-and-Half had about 12% milk fats and is a mix of 1/2 whole milk and ½ cream, typically used as a cream in coffee. Half-and-half does not whip, but it can be used in place of whipping (heavy) cream in many recipes for less fat cooking.

**Evaporated milk and condensed milk are milk concentrates made by removing (evaporating) water (using high pressures and temperatures).

Evaporated milk is milk concentrated to one-half or less of its original bulk without any sugar being added to it.

Condensed milk (known as sweetened condensed milk) is basically evaporated milk with sugar added.

And then there is non-fat dry milk. Here are the conversions:

If a recipe calls for: Use:

1/c fresh milk – use – 1/3 c. non-fat powder and 3/4 c. water
3/4 c. milk – use – 1/4 c. non-fat powder and 1/2 c. plus 1 T. water
1/2 c. milk – use – 2 T. plus 2 t. non-fat powder and 1/4 c. plus 2 T. water
1/4 c. milk – use – 1 T. plus 1 t. non-fat powder and 3 T. water
1/3 c. milk – use – 2 T. non-fat powder and 1/4 c. water
1 T. milk – use – 1 t. non-fat powder and 2 1/4 t. water


Buttermilk – there is no butter, per se, in buttermilk, and it is lower in fat than sweet milk. Old-fashioned homemade buttermilk is the slightly sour, residual liquid which remains after butter is churned, ie. milk from the butter or buttermilk.


Some additional milk information:

To make sweet cream sour – add 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vinegar to each cup of cream.

To make sweet milk sour – add 2 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vinegar to each cup of cream.

Some prefer to add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to heavy (whipping) cream and refrigerate thoroughly before whipping.

If whipping evaporated milk, place the can in the freezer until partially frozen; pour into a very cold bowl, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 2/3 cup milk and whip as cream.


And while I am at it –

Clotted cream has a 55 – 60% butterfat content (known as Devonshire Cream or Devon Cream). It is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream sit on top. The milk is cooled and the layer of cream is skimmed off.
Traditionally served with tea and scones in England.


Mock Devonshire Cream

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended.
Stir in whipping cream.
With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator.


Crème fraiche is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream.

It is used as a dessert topping and in cooked sauces and soups, where it has the advantage of not curdling when boiled.


Homemade (mock) Crème Fraîche

1 cup whipping cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon buttermilk or 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

In a jar with a lid, place whipping cream and buttermilk or sour cream; cover securely and shake 15 seconds. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time.

NOTE: Cream will thicken faster if the room is warm.
Stir thickened creme fraiche well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.



Whipped Creme Fraiche: Beat creme fraiche until soft peaks form (it won't become stiff).

Sweetened Creme Fraiche: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners) sugar before shaking the cream.

Vanilla-flavored Creme Fraiche: Stir 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract into creme fraiche just before refrigerating.


Pasteurized and Ultra-pasteurized: Creams will generally be labeled pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized.

Pasteurized cream will provide a better flavor, will whip up fluffier, and will hold up longer.

As ultra-pasteurized whipping cream has been heated to above 280 degrees F. to extend its shelf life, it is more

temperamental when it comes to whipping. Ultra-Pasteurized Heavy Cream "will not work" if peaks or frothing are required in your recipe.

I hope this helps!