Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, April 23, 2016


I'm off on two trips over the next few weeks - first to Connecticut for my son's wedding and then on a short cruise to the Bahamas - the attraction, an onboard concert by "Journey.". (I get to babysit.) So I am posting a few recipes I've run into recently that you might want to try while I'm traveling north and east and not keeping to my weekly blog schedule. They are not original, though I've added twists here and there. Just recipes that were a bit unusual and tasty enough to pass along. 

Moroccan Shrimp with Couscous

Original from a recipe in the Orlando Sentinel.

The secret to this one is to collect all your spices ahead of time. (I was shocked to discover my curry powder had disappeared!) Once they're all laid out, the rest is easy. The amount of each spice can, of course, be varied to suit your particular palate.

Grace note: I cut this recipe down by half to two-thirds, making enough for only two meals.

1 tspn paprika
3/4 tspn coarse salt 
½ tspn cumin
½ tspn curry powder
1/8 tspn cayenne pepper
1/8 tspn cinnamon 
½ cup golden raisins or other dried fruit bits
¼ cup water
14 oz. unsalted chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 pounds peeled & deveined large shrimp*
3/4 cup plain yogurt

*for my smaller version of the recipe, I bought just 8 large shrimp

Mix paprika, salt, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, & cinnamon in a small bowl. In a good size sauce pan, mix 1½ teaspoons of spice mixture, raisins, water & broth; boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover.

Melt butter in pan on medium-high heat. Season shrimp with remaining spice mix. (Tossing in a Baggie works well.) Cook 5 minutes. Spoon couscous on plates. Spoon shrimp and yogurt on top. 
 ~ * ~

Crescent Roll Tart

This is one of those mystery recipes that pop up on Facebook then disappear. The video did a rapid auto run across my screen. When I went back to replay it so I could write down the details, it was gone. I don't know how long I spent looking for it, but it was like it had never been. So with the aid of Riley and Cassidy, I tried to re-create a recipe from a fleeting glimpse. Here's what we came up with.

2 pkg. crescent rolls
c. ½ cup confectioners sugar
1 fresh orange
dried orange zest (from a spice bottle)
c. 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Put the confectioners sugar in a medium bowl. Using a slotted knife, "skin" as many pieces of rind from the fresh orange as you can manage (or desire). Add the fresh zest to the sugar then add some dry zest from a spice bottle (amount is up to you.) Mix.

Separate crescent rolls into triangles. Dip each triangle in the sugar/zest mix. Arrange one package of triangles (approximate - you need to "play it by ear") around the inside edge of a 9" pie plate, overlapping as evenly as possible. (We did it with the "pointed edge" up.) Arrange the remaining triangles to fill in the space in the bottom of the plate, continuing to overlap. Save one triangle to make a rolled "flower" in the center. 

Drizzle c. 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350°. (Check at 11 minutes.) Tart should be golden brown on top.

Glaze. If desired, tart can be glazed with a mix of confectioners sugar & orange juice or confectioners sugar & water.

Grace note: I suspect this recipe would also work well with lemon zest.
~ * ~

Spaghetti Pie Casserole

From Taste of Home's Back to School cookbook.

So many baked spaghetti recipes call for a 13x9 dish. I found this one a more manageable size for a small household, and there was still enough left over to freeze. Also, it's fast & easy to put together. Not too bland, not too spicy - a lot of classic taste for minimal effort. 

8 oz. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce
½ tspn salt
¼ tspn pepper
3 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup (8 oz.) reduced-fat sour cream
3 green onions, chopped
1½ cups (6 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Cook spagehetti according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion & garlic over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, salt & pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese & sour cream until blended; stir in green onions. In a greased 11x7 baking dish, layer the spaghetti, cream cheese mixture & meat mixture. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly.
~ * ~

From a Nutella recipe book bought in Harrod's in London, July 2015: (the girls & I have tried a number of the recipes & this one got the most raves. Photo is from the cookbook.)

Twelfth Night Tart with Nutella

½ cup Nutella
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
scant 1½ cups ground hazelnuts
2 sheets (1 pkg) ready-rolled puff pastry

Grace note: shelled hazelnuts can be bought online. We got ours from  

Preheat oven to 425°. In a bowl, mix together Nutella, 2 eggs, and ground hazelnuts.

Unroll the first sheet of puff pastry onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Using the back of a tablespoon, carefully spread the pastry with a layer of the Nutella mixture. Leave a 5/8-inch border for joining the two sheets of pastry together more easily. Place a lucky charm or dried broad/fava bean on top of the Nutella mix. (Grace note: This instruction brought us to a screeching halt. We had a Girl Scout thin mint handy, so we used that! The why of this particular instruction has not yet occurred to me. Air flow??)

Unroll the second sheet of pastry and lay it on the first. Join the edges of the two sheets of pastry, pressing them together all around. (The girls were very diligent about this, scorning my simple "press together" for very firm "fluting," as they'd done on pies.)

Brush the whole surface of the galette with egg yolk then use the point of a knife to decorate it with a large criss-cross pattern. Bake for at 425° for 25 minutes.

~ * ~

I did the Nutella recipe above with Riley and Cassidy. And when I finally got an afternoon with Hailey, whose school runs to 4:00 this year, we did the simple monkey bread recipe below. (It's way easier than the bacon bread I make for parties and a great addition to a family supper (or as  a portable snack for a road trip).

Super Simple Cheesy Bubble Loaf

From Pillsbury's Monkey Bread cookbook:

2 pkgs. refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10-pack ea.)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1½ cups (6 oz.) shredded Italian cheese blend

Grace note: I wanted to added bottled bacon pieces, but Hailey vetoed that. For those addicted to bacon, see note at the bottom.*

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Separate biscuits in the first package; cut each into four pieces & place in mixing bowl. Drizzle with one tablespoon of butter - do not be afraid to mix by hand. Place biscuits in bottom of loaf pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat with second tube of biscuits - EXCEPT top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese. 

Bake 25-30  minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

*The recipe notes that it is easy to change the flavor by using Mexican cheese, or add taco seasoning and/or hot pepper sauce to the butter. Or use chopped ham, salami, or crumbled bacon between the layers of dough.
~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  



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