May 30, 2010

Apricot Tart

Before too long now, it will be apricot season. And this is one of my favorite ways to use fresh apricots. The combination of textures, the mixture of sweetness and tartness works well in this dessert.

1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons margarine
8-10 fresh apricots
1/4 cup sugar
Sliced, toasted almonds

Crust: Put the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter and margarine until the texture is that of tiny pebbles. Add just enough cold water to make the dough adhere. Form a ball and refrigerate 1/2 hour. Then roll out on a floured board into a circle large enough for a 10-inch shallow tart pan. line with wax paper and fill with rice or beans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until brown. Remove beans and paper and bake another 2 minutes to brown bottom.

Filling: Plunge the apricots into boiling water for 30 seconds; remove and peel. Slice the apricots in half and arrange in the baked tart shell so no space is left between the fruit. Sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until fruit is soft. Sprinkle almonds on top. Serve within 3 hours of baking.

May 20, 2010

Easy Baked Pasta

1 pound pasta (penne, ziti, or rigatoni), cooked until almost tender and then drained
1 26-ounce jar of your favorite tomato pasta sauce (2 to 3 cups)
1 pound cooked ground beef or sausage (optional)
About 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cooked and drained pasta with the tomato sauce (and meat, if desired). Spread half of the pasta mixture in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Spread the remaining pasta mixture in the dish and then sprinkle with the remaining cheeses. Bake until the cheeses turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

May 3, 2010

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 (10 oz.) pre-baked Italian bread shell (12-inch)
3 Italian plum tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup diced purple onion
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Cilantro (if desired)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In small bowl, combine chicken and barbecue sauce; mix well. Place bread shell on ungreased cookie sheet. Spread chicken mixture over shell. Arrange tomatoes and onions over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450 degrees. for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread shell is browned. Yield: 6 servings.