Friday, December 31, 2010

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

Oh my goodness these are good!! I got this recipe off of http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/ and had to give it a try! These remind me of the doughnuts I'd make when I lived at home and we had a doughnut maker! Yum! These are sooooo good while still warm with a mug of hot chocolate!!! They are just the right amount of sweetness, and muffin-iness, a perfect breakfast on a cold winter morning!!

Glazed Doughnut Muffins
For the Batter:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4) In another bowl stir together the flour,baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and  salt.
5) Measure the 1 cup milk and add the 1 teaspoon vanilla to this.
6) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
7) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
8) Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
9.) In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
10.) When muffins have cooled slightly so you can handle them but still warm so the glaze runs down them,  dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. I glazed my muffins twice.
11.) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day......if you don't eat them all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sour Cream Potatoes (aka Funeral Potatoes)

One of my favorite things at Christmas time is Sour Cream Potatoes, and nothing goes better with ham. It's been a tradition for Christmas dinner at my house for as long as I can remember. I had to make a huge batch this year, and we just about finished the whole thing. Sarah especially loves them. I know a lot of people of different variations of this recipe, but this is the one I got from my mom, and the one that I love most. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Potatoes

2 or 3 baked potates, grated (depends on the size of the potatoe)**
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teapoon black pepper
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cube butter, melted
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8oz. container sour cream
1/2 cup grated cheese for the top

**I bake my potatoes the day before I'm going to make this recipe. I always wrap them in foil then bake until fork tender, then cool and put in the fridge overnight. Then when I'm ready make this recipe, I peel them and grate in my food processor, the food processer gives you a little thicker grate than hand grating.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a medium size saucepan, add the diced onion to the butter while it's melting. I cook the onion in the butter for about 5 minutes, that way it's cooked a bit before adding to the potatoes.
While the butter and onion are cooking, spray a 13x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the grated potatoes, cheese, salt , and pepper in the pan, I toss to combine, set aside.
When onion is translucent, add the can of cream of mushroom soup to the saucepan and heat through. Remove from heat and add sourcream, stir to combine.
Pour the sauce over the potatoes in the baking dish, then I run a knife through this so the sauce can sink down into the pototoes. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle the top with about 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bacon Cheese Quiche

Every year for the last 4 or 5 years, we always go to my brother Brian's house for Christmas breakfast. I always make scones, fruit salad, and Quiche. My mom loves quiche. I've tried a spinach and cheese quiche, and more mexican quiche with salsa in it, but this recipe is my favorite and always turns out best. I usually buy a pillsbury pie crust because it's simpler, and on Christmas morning you deserve simple, right? This is good served with a little Salsa or hot sauce to drizzle on the top. Yum!

Bacon Cheese Quiche

1 pre-made pie crust for a single layer 9 inch pie

10 strips of bacon
1/8 cup onion, finely minced
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light cream or half n' half
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup grated cheese (I use colby jack, or regualr cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fit crust into a 9 inch pie pan, and prick the bottom with a fork. Crimp the edges however you prefer. Set pie crust aside.
In a medium skillet cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on plate with a paper towel. Drain the grease from the skillet, then saute the onion over a medium heat for about 2 minutes till tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, thyme, peppers and salt together until all combined. Stir in the onions.
Crumble bacon and sprinkle in the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkle half the cheese over the bacon. Pour egg mixture over this, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the egg. Bake in the oven until crust is golden brown around the edges and the egg mixture is set, about 30 to 35 minutes. (Egg should not be jiggly). Remove from oven, and let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with Salsa or hot sauce as desired.
Yum!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Oh my goodness these are good!! I found this recipe while browsing the internet on http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen and just had to give them a try! After all what could be bad about something that had Oreo and Cheesecake in the name?? These were devine, and between Sarah and I, we ate half the batch of dough alone (it tasted like Cheesecake!) So I had to make another batch so we'd have some cookies to give out to neighbors!!  These look pretty, and taste as good as they look! The only thing I did different was add more mini chocolate chips, I think I used 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 a cup, but that is up to you. I also added just a dash or two of salt when adding the flour. Enjoy!!

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies


Ingredients:
½ cups Butter, Softened
3 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup All-purpose Flour
Dash of Salt
½ cups Mini Chocolate Chips
1 cup Oreo Cookie Crumbs (chop up oreos in a food processor)
½ cups White Chocolate Chips, Melted (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese using a hand mixer until they are well combined.
Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until ingredients are well combined. Add the flour and a dash or two of salt, then mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Scoop the dough into 1″ balls (I used a scoop to insure all measured the same) and roll in Oreo cookie crumbs so cookie is covered. Place covered cookie balls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.
Cool on the pan for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate. Enjoy!

Bet ya can't eat just 3 as soon as they are done!!! Eat with a cold glass of milk!! YUMMO!!

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt

Okay, this year I seem to be addicted to Sweet/Salty flavors. I found this recipe on http://twopeasandtheirpod.com/ and had to give it a try. Something sweet with just a hint of saltiness is perfect because it's not so sweet that you get a big sugar rush. I thought these looked yummo! I followed this recipe pretty close, but I doubled the batch and I didn't have plain yogurt on hand, so I used half vanilla flavored yogurt and half sour cream together, they turned out yummo. I also had a hard time figuring out what caramel to use, I tried caramel filled kisses, most turned out ok, but some of them the caramel leaked out on a few. So the next batch I tried Kraft caramels that I cut in half, but they didn't melt, they were good, but chewy in the middle which isn't a bad thing. So the next time I make these, I think I will buy Rolo candy and try that because I liked the chocolate caramel in the middle that I got when using the caramel filled kisses. Rolo's might hold up a bit better. Just be sure the cookie dough completely surrounds whatever caramel center you use.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I used dark cocoa)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Soft caramel, rolled into little balls
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF; line 2 baking sheets with baking paper, lightly coated with cooking spray.  Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Wrap the chocolate dough around the caramel balls. Place balls on cookie sheets and sprinkle with sea salt. (I found that the salt rolled off the cookie ball, so I dipped mine in a little sea salt, be careful not to get too much sea salt!! I had mine spread lightly around a plate so only a few kernals stuck on each cookie ball.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

YUMMO!

Chewy Lime Sugar Cookies

I love Christmas time, and I don't feel like it's really the Christmas season unless I've baked a ton of cookies and treats. I found this recipe on http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/ and had to try it! I love lime flavored anything (especially the keylime truffles at See's candy shop!) So I had to give this recipe a try. And it had toasted coconut in it as well, you can't go wrong with that either! These were yummy for a change! I also used Baker's sweetened coconut because that is what I had on hand, and I will definitely use that again. I thought I might try making another batch and use lemon zest and lemon juice, I think it would be just as good!

Chewy Lime Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one large lime, finely minced
3 tbsp lime juice
½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut (I just used Bakers sweetened coconut)
1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Toast the coconut by spreading the coconut on a shallow baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Watch this closely, it seems to take a long time to start browning but once it starts it's quick and you don't want to burn it.
2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy.
4. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest.
5. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and toasted coconut.
6. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
8. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cake Balls or should we call them Cake Truffles?

I love oreo truffles, I've got that recipe posted on here already. But I had been seeing cake balls that look very similar, and looked up a few recipes on how to do them. I thought they would be fun to try since it's Christmas time and everyone makes candy. This weekend we took treats to church, it's a tradition after our Christmas lesson with the Young Women, so I thought I would make Oreo Truffles and then try some Cake Truffles. They were easy!! I used 1/2 of a cake mix because they make alot and I wanted different flavors, so I halfed the mix by measuring out the dry ingredients in the mix and them putting half back in the box (you can make it at a later time and bake in a 8 or 9 inch layer and have a small cake, or combine two for a double layer with two different flavors!). Then I followed the recipe on the box only cutting everything in half. I tried white cake mix, and since I love lemon, I put 1/2 of a can of lemon pie filling and about 2 ounces regular cream cheese in it. Then I tried  a german chocolate cake mix and mixed German chocolate frosting in it. Both were awesome!! I will post here using a full cake mix, but remember you can always divide them in half. Also you can do any flavor, like chocolate with a cream cheese frosting would be good, or white or yellow with cream cheese frosting! I think anything would turn out good!

Cake Truffles

1 boxed cake mix (any flavor)
1 container frosting (I think cream cheese frosting would go with plain cake mixes, I used german chocolate for the coconut and nuts, or you could use chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting too)
White chocolate almond bark
Milk chocolate dipping chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix cake mix according to the directions. I baked mine in a flat jelly roll pan  that I had greased and lightly dusted with a little cake mix, and it only took about 12 minutes to cook. Let cool completely.
When cake is cool break up and put in a food Processor, and pulse until cake is the consistency of cornmeal (really fine crumbs.)


Place in large bowl, then add the container of frosting, and mix with an electric mixer until it's all combined together.

Line a cookies sheet with parchment or wax paper. Roll the cake mixture into about 1 inch size balls. Then chill.

Melt the almond bark and dipping chocolate and dip half of the balls in white, and the other half in chocolate.

Then chill in the fridge for a few minutes. When set, Drizzle the opposite chocolate over the top for a fancy design.

Bet you can't eat just one!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

White Chicken Chili

I got this recipe off of http://thepioneerwoman.com./ I have been sick with a terrible headcold the last couple of days and wanted some chicken soup. This sounded way good!! And it was just what I needed with chicken, lots of garlic and green chili peppers! Yum!! The only things I did different was I used leftover cooked chicken that I had on hand and I  added 10 cups of broth, I like my chili a little soupier than this recipe looked. I also added fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Yum!!

White Chicken Chili
1 whole Fryer Chicken, Cut Up (or 3 Cups Cooked Chicken) (I used about 4 cups diced cooked chicken)
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 whole Cans Green Chilies, Chopped (I used 2 4oz. cans)
1 pound Dried Great Northern Beans, Rinsed
8 cups Chicken Broth (I used 10 cups, I figured the beans and the chicken would soak up alot)
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
1½ Tablespoons Ground Cumin
½ teaspoons Paprika
½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Masa (corn Flour) OR Cornmeal
1 cup Grated Monterey Jack, or I used Cecique Cheese-Queso Quesadilla (found in the Mexican Cheese section)
Sour Cream For Garnish
Cilantro For Garnish (I put 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro in at the end when I added the milk mixture)
Guacamole (optional)
Pico De Gallo (optional) (I used Salsa)
Tortilla Strips **see hint below

Preparation Instructions
Cover chicken and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove meat from bones. Set aside.
In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chopped green chilies, then rinsed beans. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Add sliced jalapenos. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low, (you want to keep this simmering at a low heat).
Cook for 2 hours or until beans are done. Halfway through the cooking process, add the cooked chicken.
When beans are tender, mix milk with masa (or cornmeal) and pour into the chili. (add the chopped Cilantro if desired) Cook for an additional ten minutes to thicken. Check seasoning and adjust, adding more cayenne pepper,paprika, salt and pepper if desired.
Add some Monterey Jack cheese to the pot and stir to melt.
Serve chili in a bowl. Garnish with, sour cream, extra cheese, tortilla strips—even pico de gallo (or salsa) and guacamole, if you have some on hand.
 
**To make Tortilla Strips:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut corn tortillas (I used about 6) into aproximately 1/2 inch strips. Place on cookie sheet and spray the strips with Pam spray and sprinkle with salt. Toss and spray with Pam again and sprinkle with salt again. Bake  for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp. (these will crisp more as they cool).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate-Topped Sea Salt Caramels

I don't know about you, but I LOVE sweet and salty flavors together. I love the Nature Valley Sweet and Salty granola bars, and there is a pecan turtle that you can get a Costco that has a salty sweet flavor to it, so when I ran across this recipe I HAD to try it. It was awesome but I thought it was missing something.... nuts!!! I have to have nuts with caramel and chocolate, I get that from my dad ( I think we're all just a bit nutty in my family) So I followed the recipe like it was on the Betty Crocker web site, except I added pecans. I also changed the semi-sweet chocolate chips to milk chocolate chips and used 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup. The recipe below is posted with my changes. These turned out delicious! The salt on top is just enough so the caramels aren't too sweet! YUMMO!

Chocolate-Topped Sea Salt Caramels
Makes 48 caramels

Butter for greasing foil
1 cup butter (do not use margarine)
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 cups whole pecans (I didn't measure them, I just covered the bottom of my lined pan with pecans)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Line bottom and sides of 11x7-inch glass baking dish or pan with foil, leaving 1 inch foil overhanging on 2 opposite sides of pan; grease foil with butter. (I used parchment paper that I buttered, caramels stuck just a bit, so next time I am going to try the foil) Sprinkle pecans to cover the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
In 3-quart heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the corn syrup and sweetened-condensed milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 40 to 50 minutes or until 248°F on candy thermometer (firm ball stage). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into pan over pecans, (I drizzled so the caramel wouldn't disturb the pecans too much). Refrigerate about 1 hour or until completely cooled.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips on High for30 secondss, stir; if not completely melted mircrowave for 10 to 15 seconds more and stir again. Repeat if necessary, until chocolate is melted. Using spatula, spread chocolate evenly over caramel layer. Sprinkle entire top chocolate layer with 1 teaspoon salt. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Remove caramels from baking dish to cutting surface, using foil to lift; peel back foil. Cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store in the refridgerator.
Makes 48 caramels.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Even better Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

I didn't think I'd find a better Chocolate Chip cookie recipe than the one I posted earlier ! But this one is!! It's my new favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie!! Yummo!! I think I ate 4 right out of the oven yesterday! I am posting this again because I made them this week and added 1 cup of toffee chips along with the same amount of chocolate chips (see variation at the bottom)!!! YUM!!!

Amazingly the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla (yes... that's a Tablespoon!!)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, and vanilla, and mix. Mix dry ingredients together then add to creamed mixture and mix to combine thoroughly. Stir in Chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookied sheet and bake for about 9 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown around the edges.  They might not look done all the way but take them out!! Let sit on cookie sheets a minute or two before placing on cooling rack.
I highly recommend eating while still slightly warm from the oven!! MMMMmmmmmmmm.........

FYI---oven temps vary so 9 minutes makes a perfect cookie in my oven. Start checking them about 8 minutes into baking if your oven bakes kind of hot.. remember you just want them starting to brown around the edges, then take out of oven and let finish cooking for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.

Variation: Try adding 1 cup toffee chips to these along with the same amount of chocolate chips the recipe calls for! ! Yumm!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spicy Chicken and Shrimp Milano


I love this Recipe, I had posted it last March, but I made it again today and revamped my post... I found it on Allrecipes.com and then tweaked it a bit so it tastes almost like Carino's Spicy Chicken Ramano.. That's my favorite thing to get when we eat at Johnny Carino's. If you don't like shrimp or artichokes, just leave them out of the recipe. The original recipe was just for chicken, but I like to experiment and create recipes that taste like my favorite things at restaurants. MMMMmmmm....

Spicy Chicken  and Shrimp Milano
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped **(see note below)
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1 Pint heavy cream (2 cups)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cajun Seasoning to taste (I use Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.)
a dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can Artichoke hearts (if desired)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Parmesan cheese
8 ounces dry fettuccini pasta (or bowtie pasta works too)

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 3/4 cup of the chicken broth; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer over medium/low heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to simmer this on too high of heat, that will make the cream break up and curdle, simmer on a low heat. Add the parmesan cheese and continue simmering on very low heat until chicken is ready.
2. While sauce is cooking, sprinkle the chicken with Cajun seasoning, a dash of cayenne pepper and  black pepper (Tony Chachere's is salty so don't use too much, use it like you would regular salt). In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and saute chicken. Cook , and stir occasionaly, until chicken is no longer pink inside and the meat feels springy-about 10 minutes . When the chicken is almost done, add the shrimp. This usually takes about 4 -5 minutes to cook through.
3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth to the skillet and bring to  a boil; stirring the pan juices. Add Artichoke hearts and continue to simmer until Artichokes are warm. Reduce the heat slightly and add  the cream sauce; stir in basil and adjust seasonings to taste. If you like it a little more spicy add a dash of cayenne pepper.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, add to the chicken and sauce mixture and toss to coat.
5. You can transfer this to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Goes great with breadsticks and salad with my almost famous salad dressing!

**Use the dry packaged sun-dried tomatoes ( I find them in the produce area of Walmart) instead of the tomatoes packed in olive oil.

Pecan Bars

I got this recipe from the Food network, it was from Clair Robinson, host of 5 ingredient Fix. I gave it a try and took to a Young Women's Thanksgiving Feast where we all brought our favorite dish of Thanksgiving. I love pecan pie and thought this would be something close to pecan pie that I could share. At first I wasn't very impressed with this recipe. It tasted good, but was kind of hard to bite, kind of reminded me of a toffee bar, but after I put them in a tupperware container they softened up and everyone loved them!! So I will post and let you give them a try, I've been asked by a couple of people if I was going to post, so here you go. Enjoy!

Pecan Bars
Yield :24 bars

Ingredients
Crust:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for dish
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/3 light corn syrup
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with foil allowing an overhang about 2 inches off the sides. Butter the foil. I used parchement paper and it worked fine.
In a food processor, blend together flour, sugar, butter and salt until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 2 tablespoons cold water and mix until the dough just holds together. Press dough into bottom of buttered baking dish and bake in oven until golden in color, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the corn syrup, flour and pecans and mix until just combined. Spread the filling over the baked crust and bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan.
Remove from pan by pulling up the foil sides and putting it on a cutting board. Cut bars in desired size with a sharp knife and arrange them on a serving tray. Can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicken Chimichanga's with Espinaca Sauce

I love Chimichanga's. We get them all the time at Garcia's. They have a new one that has an Espinaca sauce poured over the top, it's a creamy, cheesey sauce that has hot peppers and spinach in it. Definitely not low calorie, but it's delicious. I've been trying to come up with a recipe for the sauce at home, and I think I've finally got it.  I've made Chimichanga's before, quite a bit, but I don't fry them, I bake them instead, it kind of helps with the calories a bit don't you think??? You can make your chimichanga's with any kind of meat, chicken, steak, or shredded pork. I will use chicken here, but if you have leftover steak or roastbeef, or a pork roast use that. It's all good.

Chicken Chimichanga's
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons canned chopped green chilies (freeze the leftover for another recipe)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour tortilla's (large) or wraps will work too, I've use the sundried tomatoe flavored wraps before
Espinaca Sauce (see recipe below)
1 to 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Espinaca Sauce
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups half n' half (or milk)
1/2  of a 10 oz. pkge Cecique Cheese-Queso Quesadilla, grated (I found this in the Mexican cheese section at walmart, it's the best melting cheese that I've found when experimenting with this recipe)
3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze as much water out as you can)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make the Chimichangas:
Cut chicken into bite size pieces or smaller. (you can cook the chicken first by boiling, and then dice into pieces) or cook chicken in a large hot skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from skillet. Then add the onion and bell pepper, cook until tender crisp- approx. 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken back into the skillet, then add the garlic, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for a couple more minutes to re-heat the chicken and green chilies.
Then heat the tortilla's in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds so they are pliable. Brush oneside with butter, flip over and lay about 2 heaping spoonfuls of the meat mixture on the tortilla, then fold up and roll like you would a burrito or eggroll. (I do this on a cookie sheet that I'm going to bake them in, the butter helps grease the cookie sheet and helps the tortilla to brown and crisp while baking). When you have used all your meat  ( I usually get about 5 or 6 good sized chimichanga's with this) bake in oven for about 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
I used 2 sundried tomatoe tortilla's and the rest were flour.






Meanwhile make the Espinaca sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan. Then add the jalapeno's and the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Then whisk in the flour and saute a minute or two longer. Be carefull the heat isn't too hot, you don't want to burn the butter or the flour, this will taste bitter.
Next, whisk in the half and half, and continue to cook until thickened. Add grated cheese and spinach and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. The butter and cheese add a little salt so taste first.

Serve Chimichanga's with Espinaca sauce spooned over the top. This goes well with Mexican rice and black or refried beans. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leftover Turkey and Dumplings

Well, I needed to clean out my fridge after Thanksgiving, I had turkey, a small scoop of mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. Also had leftover chicken broth and turkey stock from roasting the turkey. I had this dumpling recipe that I wanted to try, so I threw this and that in a pot and then did the dumplings and Yum!! Perfect for a cold winter's night, and it used up my leftovers!! You could also  do this with cooked chicken and just chicken broth.

Leftover Turkey and Dumplings

For the dumpling dough:
1 egg
3 Tablespoons cold water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flour

In a medium bowl whisk together the  egg, cold water, oil and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the flour. Mix until well blended and elastic. (dough will be sticky, but don't worry, you'll add more flour when rolling out into dumplings.) Cover and let dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour.

For the soup (or should we call it Stoup, because it's like stew and soup)
5 cups chicken broth or stock (I used both chicken broth and turkey stock -just so you have 5 cups)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 to 4 cups chopped cooked turkey
*1 cup leftover mashed potatoes-Optional,if you need to use them up, if not, recipe will be good without
*1 cup leftover turkey gravy--use it if you have it, if not, still will be good.

Bring the broth to a boil, then add the vegetables, and turkey to the pot. (**I also added about 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes, and about 1 cup of leftover turkey gravy. The pototoes dissolve into the broth and thicken it a little and add flavor!)  Let simmer until veggies are mostly tender.
When veggies are tender, but not mushy, strain the veggies and turkey out of the broth, return broth to the pot and bring to a boil.
Roll out dumplings by dumping the dough out onto a well floured surface, (Make sure this is well floured, you don't want the dumplings to stick) I floured the dough well on both sides and flattened a bit with my hands, then I used a rolling pin. You want the dumplings about 1/16 inch thick- you'll almost be able to see through them. Then, using a pizza cutter cut into 1 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch pieces.









Add dumplings to the pot of boiling  broth , I just picked them up and plopped them into the pot, after you get them all in the broth, time for about 3 minutes. DON"T stir them, you can shake the pot a bit, but let them cook without stirring.
After about 3 minutes the dumplings should be done, then add the cooked turkey and vegetables back to the pot and stir gently. You can add about  1/4 cup heavy cream at this point. I didn't because I had added the mashed potatoes and gravy, so my broth was thicker. Taste and add more salt if necessaary, and pepper.
Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! Yumm!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pecan Pie--so good you will cry with joy!!!

I think my favorite pie is pecan pie. I take after my Dad with my love for nuts or anything with nuts in it. I found this recipe on http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/. The only thing I did different was add another cupful of whole pecans on top... you can't ever have too many nuts can you??? Anyway, this recipe was to die for! I know Thanksgiving is over, but Christmas is on the way. The pioneer woman had lots of yummy looking pie recipes, I had a hard time trying to decide which one to make. I think for Christmas I will try the key lime pie.
You can use your favorite pie crust recipe, there are tons out there. I have a pie cookbook, and I use the crust recipe from that a lot, so I will post that one here. Enjoy!!

Pecan Pie
1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (see recipe below)

1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
¾ teaspoon Vanilla
⅓ cup Melted Butter (salted)
3 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans --I add another cup whole pecans to look pretty on  the top)

Preparation Instructions:
First, whip up your pie crust.
Next, mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
Pour syrup mixture over the top. Then add the cup of whole pecans on the top, sinking them into the egg mixture a little.  Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.
NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

Basic Pie Crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter flavored crisco, cold
3 to 4 Tablespoons ice cold water

Stir flour and salt together in a medium bowl, or food processor. With a pastry blender cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas (or pulse 5 or 6 times in a food processor until it resembles cornmeal). Add the smaller amount of water and toss with fork until all flour is moistened and mixture starts to form a ball (or pulse a few times until you can mush it together and it sticks into a ball) If necessary, add remaining water to crumbs in bottom of bowl. Gather dough in your hands and gently shape into a flat ball. Wrap in saran wrap and let sit in fridge for an hour or two. This lets the water soak into the flour.
I always roll out in between two sheets of wax paper, that way I don't have to add more flour. Then peel off one sheet of wax paper and lay over pie plate, then peel off the other sheet of wax paper. Crimp the edges.
This recipe makes a single pie crust. Double the recipe  for a double crust pie and form into two flat balls.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

I had been wanting to try making Butternut Squash soup for a while. I found two recipes that looked Yummo! One was on a neice-in-laws blog, http://lovelypraiseworthy.blogspot.com/, and the other from the Food Network magazine. One had apples added to it, which I was a bit scared of and the other didn't. I took what I thought sounded good from both and combined into this recipe. The apples add a slight tartness to the soup which is good since the squash is kind of sweet. It was yummo! I will be making this again sometime. It's really good with bacon bits, french fried onions, or croutons as a garnish on top along with a little parsley! Definitely a comfort food!

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

3 Tablespoons  Butter
1 Large Onions, Chopped
2 Tablespoons good quality Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
5 Cups Chicken Stock, Homemade or low-sodium canned
1 Large Butternut Squash (Approximately 8 Cups), Peeled, seeded and chopped **see hint below
2 Firm, tart Apples (Such as Granny Smith), Peeled, cored and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ Cup half n' half
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or fresh cilantro

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium hat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the curry and chili powders and cook for another 5 minutes. Add half the stock and bring to a boil.
Transfer the mixture to a soup kettle, add the squash and apples, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan.
Place the mixture in the bowl of a food processor, or in a blender (blend in batches) and pulse until pureed.
Return the puree, cream and the remaining chicken stock to a clean soup kettle and bring to a simmer.
Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.
Garnish with croutons, bacon bits, or french fried onions (durkee onions)
Serves 10

Note: The soup can be made ahead or frozen without the cream.
**here's a hint on an easy way to cut up the squash. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in halve lenthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a cookie sheet cut side down. Add about 1/2 cup water to the cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake about 35 to 40 minutes or until squash is fork tender. When cool to touch the skin peels off really easy and you can just cut into pieces. If you do this, then just add the apples at first and cook 20 minutes then add squash and cook another 20 minutes. Then follow the recipe as written.

Stuffed Mushrooms!!

I LOVE stuffed mushrooms. I had to make some for an appetizer on Thanksgiving along with Bruschetta (that recipe is already on this blog--look in appetizers). This recipe was Yummo!!! I found it at http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking. The only thing I did different was that I used chicken broth instead of white wine. They still turned out yummo!

 Stuffed Mushrooms


Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
24 ounces, weight White Button Mushrooms
⅓ pounds Hot Pork Sausage
½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
⅓ cups Dry White Wine (I used chicken broth)
8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
1 whole Egg Yolk
¾ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions
Wipe off or wash mushrooms in cold water. Pop out stems, reserving both parts.

Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside.
Brown and crumble sausage. Set aside on a plate to cool.

Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat.
Pour in wine  (or chicken broth) to deglaze pan, allow liquid to evaporate.
Add in chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese and egg yolk. Stir together with Parmesan cheese.
Add cooled sausage and cooled mushroom stems. Stir mixture together and refrigerate for a short time to firm up.
Smear mixture into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving; the stuffed mushrooms taste better when not piping hot and you won't burn your mouth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Oh my goodness this recipe is YUMMO! I love grilling outside, and have always wanted a smoker, so my hubby bought me a Traeger Smoker, and yesterday we used it for the first time, and smoked a brisket. Have you ever eaten at "Famous Dave's BBQ"? They have a different-than-the norm mac n' cheese that they serve as a side with their brisket, ribs or whatever. So I looked through my piles of recipes that I have printed off the internet at different times, and ran across this one, it was originally from "Top Secret Recipes" but I tweaked it a bit for our tastes. It turned out awesome, needless to say, we were in heaven last night, eating great smoked brisket, mac n' cheese, and coleslaw..... mmmmmmmmm!

Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons finely minced jalapeno, (I used the slices you get in the jar)Use 2 Tablespoons if you like really spice
1 green onion, finely minced (or 2 Tablespoons minced regular onion, minced)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half n' half
2 cups grated smoked cheddar cheese (I found this in the specialty cheese section at walmart, and I  used
   Hickory Farms smoked cheddar blend, and grated it myself. Smoky Gouda works well too)
1 cup regular cheddar cheese, grated (or colby jack cheese is good too, just grate it yourself, the pre-grated
   kind of cheese doesn't melt as well and is grainy, not as good)
1/4 teaspoon (heaping) salt
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Chipotle Breadcrumb topping
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
dash of salt
4 Tablespoons Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, usually in the Asain section of the grocery store)

To make the cheese sauce:
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium/low heat. Add jalapeno and onion and saute slowly for 5 minutes. You want the jalapeno and onion to only soften, not turn brown.
Whisk in the flour and continue to cook over medium/low heat for another 5 minutes.
Add half n' half, salt , and ground chipotle pepper. Whisk to combine and continue cooking over medium /low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens.
While sauce is thickening, cook pasta in salted boiling water  until tender, see box for time. I use a whole grain pasta and that cooks in about 7 to 9 minutes, but all pasta's vary in cooking time. Remember you don't want it mushy! Drain when done. Set aside.
Make the breadcrumb topping by stirring in the 1/4 teaspoon chipolte powder and the dash of salt into the butter, then add the Panko and stir until the panko crumbs are well coated. Set aside.
When the cream mixture is thickened, add  both grated cheeses, and stir until melted, then stir in drained pasta. Stir until all pasta is coated. Then dump into a casserole, and top with breadcrumbs.
Place in oven under the broiler for a minute or two  or just until the Panko crumbs start to turn golden brown.

Take out of oven and serve with any smoked or BBQ'd meat! This is delicio-so good!!
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

Homemade Play Dough

okay... I know this isn't my usual kind of recipe, but I just had to post it for all you Mom's or grandma's out there. This was one of my favorite things to make with my kids!! I love play dough, but I don't like the kind you buy! It gets crumbly and messy, this recipe makes the softest play dough! I got it from Sarah's pre-school teacher up in Bremerton, WA many years ago!! Sarah went to help my Mom tend my neice and nephew yesterday, and we thought it would be fun to take playdough and take our many cookie cutters over too!! I hope you find this fun!  Oh, here's a hint, the recipe says to put food coloring in the water before cooking, but my kids always argued over what color to make it, so I made it white, no food coloring, then when kneading the extra flour in after cooking, I would divide into 4 pieces, and then add a couple of drops of color of my kids choosing to each ball, and then I kneaded it  a few times to incorporate the color. That way they each got to pick two colors and were happy. It kind of leaves color on your hands a bit while mixing it in, but it eventually goes away, after it's mixed in, it won't leave color on the kids' hands,so don't worry. Have fun!

Homemade Play Dough

Mix the following together in a medium pot:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup regular table salt
4 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar (Look for some in the dollar store, that way you don't use all your expensive cream of tartar up on play dough)

 Combine the following in a measuring cup then add to flour mixture:
2 cups water
2 to 3 teaspoons food coloring (see my hint in introduction to recipe)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Stir to combine all together, then heat over medium heat on stove. Stir while cooking (this will take about 3 to 5 minutes). While this is cooking it will start forming little globs of dough, and look like a globby mess, and you will be sure it's not turning out and that you did something wrong, but keep stirring... it will turn out! When it cooks so most of the "gooey" is gone and it forms a ball in the center of the pot, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead a few times so it's not gooey (this is when I devide into 4 pieces and add different colors to each ball, then knead each piece until color is incorporated in)
This is edible by the way in case your kids want to taste it, but not very yummy. :o)
When using this play dough, don't forget to have the necessary equipment available: cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes, rolling pins, plastic knives, plastic forks or toothpicks for poking holes for eyes or whatever, bottle caps,...etc.....
Have fun!!

Green Chili Mexican Rice

When I was on my road trip with Andrew, we ate at Z'Tejas in the Gateway mall in Salt Lake City. That's where they have yummy Blackened Catfish tacos, they serve a Mexican rice with them  that is white, not red, and it has green chilis and corn in it. So I tried to make that here at home last Sunday when I made my Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas. It turned out pretty close! Yummo!!!

Green Chili Mexican Rice


2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup regular long grain rice or jasmine rice (not the quickcooking kind)
1/4 cup chopped onion (more if desired)
2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 of a 4 oz. can chopped green chili's
1/2 cup corn
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash of chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan until hot. Add uncooked rice, stir to coat with oil and cook until it starts to turn brown. Add onions and cook a minute or two. Next add the chicken broth, garlic, chilis, corn, cumin, the dash of chipotle powder, and a little salt and pepper (can finish seasoning to taste when done) Stir. Bring to boil, turn heat down to medium low,  and simmer with lid on for 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catfish Po' Boys

I love Catfish, especially when it's breaded in corn meal and fried (or  is that the only way to eat catfish!?) I get the catfish whenever we go to Texas Roadhouse! Yum! So when I saw this recipe on "5 Ingredient Fix" it looked way good so I had to give it try. It was yummo! They didn't put the coleslaw on it, but I thought it would be even better that way and it was! yum! Hope you like it as much as I did!

Catfish Po'Boys


Peanut or canola oil, for frying
4 hoagie rolls or 1 French baguette (I like to use the Hard Rolls from Walmart- they are perfect!)
3/4 cup corn meal
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (recommended: Tony Chachere's)
 salt and  black pepper
4 (6 to 8-ounce) catfish fillets (I used frozen Catfish nuggets that I found in the freezer section at Walmart-2 or 3 pieces is perfect for one sandwich, I did about 12 or 15 pieces and we got 6 sandwiches out of it)
Remoulade sauce (see recipe below)
1 small package coleslaw mix (I put have the remoulade sauce on half a package)
 hot sauce, for serving

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, (Dutch oven) heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 365 degrees F.
Slice the  rolls in half, (not cutting through), and put them on a baking sheet. Lightly toast the bread in the preheated oven.
Combine the corn flour, seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste, in a shallow dish. Pat the fillets dry and dredge them in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking of the excess.
Once the oil is properly heated, carefully drop the catfish into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until golden brown and beginning to float to the surface, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Carefully remove the fillets with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain them on paper towels.

When ready to assemble, Spread both top and bottom half of roll with a little remoulade sauce, put 1 catfish fillet (or 2 or 3 catfish nuggets) in each toasted roll and top with coleslaw, and drizzle with hot sauce to your taste. 
Enjoy!!

Remoulade Sauce

1 green onion, green and white parts, chopped
1 cup Best Foods Mayonaise
3 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Hot sauce, to taste
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.
This made enough sauce so that I used have to spread on the rolls, and the other half on about 1/2 a small package of coleslaw. In the half for the coleslaw I added a dash or two of chipotle powder.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin cookies (or you could call these "Thanksgiving Cookies"

I know I've posted these cookies before back in March. But I had seen a recipe where you add white chocolate chips and pecans, and I thought I bet they would be good with craisins in them too. So I gave it a try and Yummo!! Thanksgiving in a cookie!! You have pumpkin, pecan and cranberries!! and of course white chocolate is good with anything isn't it??? Hope you like them too!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed (light works too)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add pumpkin and mix well.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well.
Add the white chocolate chips, pecans, and crasins; stir until combined.
Measure 1/4 cup portions and place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. (can line with parchment paper if you want instead of greasing the pan). Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown slightly around the edges. Cookies will seem undercooked when they come out, but when cool, they will be crispy around the edges and soft in the center.

Makes 2 dozen cookies (or more is using less than 1/4 cup portions)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Corn Bread

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted a recipe! I was in Arizona for a few days enjoying some sunshine. When I got back to Idaho the weather had turned cold and it had even snowed! So along with the cold weather came a craving for Chili and cornbread. This recipe is found on the Alber's Cornmeal box, but it's the one I always use! Turns out great everytime. I will make it for breakfast too, really good with honey drizzled on it while still warm! This recipe is for a sweeter cornbread, but I like it that way. It's Yummo crumbled into Chili (See my Wendy's chilli recipe on this blog) on a cold day!

Sweet Corn Bread
(Makes 12 servings)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter, melted

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.
COMBINE flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
 Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared baking pan.
BAKE for 30 to35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and the edges are turning golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, cut into squares and serve! Yummo!

You can also make this into muffins. Just grease your muffin tins, and fill 3/4 's full. Then bake in 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and the toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mongolian Beef


This is just about like P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef! Sarah, Andy and I love to eat there and this is Andy's favorite dish! I re-vamped this recipe a bit from the first time I posted it. I added some red chili pepper flakes and a little cornstarch to the sauce. Yummo!!

Mongolian Beef

1 cup vegetable oil
2 pounds flank steak (or I used petite sirloin)
1/4 to 1/2 cup cornstarch
4 large green onion tops, chopped in about 1 inch pieces (save the white parts for another dish)

Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger)

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more if you like more spice)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Hot cooked Brown or white rice (I like jasmine rice)
Slice the steak crosswise against the grain into 1/4 inch thick strips. (If you tilt the blade of your knife a little you can get a little wider but still thin slice.)
Lay strips of steak out on cookie sheet and lightly dust with cornstarch (I put cornstarch in a small sieve and sprinkle over the steak) turn over slices and lightly dust this side as well (here's a trick, lay another cookie sheet over the top and flip over, then dust the other side, takes less time!). Let sit for about 10 minutes to let the cornstarch stick to the beef.
While steak is resting, make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes , and cornstarch in a medium saucepan with a whisk. Then cook over medium/low heat by bringing to a boil, let cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce thickens just a bit. Remove from heat.
While the beef is resting and the sauce is cooking heat the 1 cup vegetable oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat.(may have to use more oil if using a skillet, you want your beef to be mostly covered with oil). When the oil is hot, add the beef and saute for 2 minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. Stir it around so it cooks evenly. Use a slotted spoon and remove the beef from the oil and drain on a plate covered with a couple of paper towels. May have to cook beef in a couple of batches. Drain the oil from the wok or skillet. Put the pan back on the heat and add the beef back into the pan, simmer for 1 minute. Add the sauce, cook for 1 more minute while stirring. Next add all of the green onions, and cook for another minute.
Serve over hot rice!
Serves 4

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken Quesadillas

Have you ever eaten at Garcia's in I.F. and gotten their mini-chimi's with Jalapeno Cream cheese? or the Crispy Chicken Burritos at Taco Time? I love both of those. Last weekend I decided to experiment and see if I could come up with something that reminded me of those two things. I made the filling and then thought rather than roll up in a tortilla, why not make into quesadillas? They turned out tasting pretty close to what  I was hungry for! Yum!!

Chicken Quesadillas

1 pound chicken tenders (or about 5-6 chicken tenders or 2 large chicken breasts)
1 package Grill Mates Baja Citrus or Chipotle Marinade mix
1- 8oz. package cream cheese, brought to room tempurature
1 heaping Tablespoon canned green chilis with a little of the juice
2 minced jalapeno's or serrano peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour tortillas (any size--I like to use the snack size)
Grated monterey jack cheese
Salsa
Guacamole

Mix Marinade packet according to directions on the package. Marinade chicken tenders for at least a half an hour. (Remember the longer you marinade, the more flavorful your chicken will be.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle with  about a Tablespoon of olive oil, when oil is hot add chicken tenders. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides, and cooked through. (or you can grill your chicken on a hot grill, for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side over medium/high heat)
While chicken is cooking combine the cream cheese, green chili's and about a 1/2 Tablespoon of the chili pepper juice, and jalapenos together in a medium size bowl.  You can add a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce if you like things really spicy, but I like them a little  milder.
When chicken is done, place on a cutting board, and let cool a few minutes to allow the juices to settle and so you can handle it. Dice the chicken and place in bowl with the cream cheese mixture. Stir to combine. At this point, taste and add salt and pepper to suit your taste.
On a large cookie sheet that is sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, place 3 tortillas. Spread each toritilla with a heaping spoonful or two of the chicken mixture. You want a good layer on the tortilla. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the filling. Top with another tortilla. I spray the top tortilla with a little cooking spray, or you can brush with butter.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and the tortilla's are crispy and starting to brown slightly.
Remove from oven and cut in half, and then cut in half the other direction so each quesadilla is in four pieces. If using the small snack size tortilla's you should have filling left for more quesadilla's.
Serve with salsa and guacamole if desired. Enjoy!

--This makes a good appetizer, or main dish served with a salad. And this is a good way to use left over cooked chicken if you like.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Ghoul"ash" or after Halloween "Chili-mac"

This is a yummy skillet dinner that I always have called Goulash or since it's Halloween "Ghoul"ash. Whatever you call it, it's easy and my kids always liked it. This recipe came out of my Better Homes and Garden cookbook, and of course I tweaked it a bit for my taste.

Goulash or Chili-Mac

1  1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1- 15oz. can diced tomatoes (don't drain, need the juice so the macaroni will cook)
1- 8oz. can tomatoe sauce
1-15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup elbow macaroni
1-4oz. can diced green chili's
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated cheese (I like colby jack or pepper jack)

In a large skillet, cook beef and onions until meat is brown and onions are tender. Drain off fat.
Stir in garlic, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans, uncooked macaroni, green chili's, chili powder, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer for 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender; stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let sit for about 2 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Makes about 6 servings.
I like to serve with steamed veggies and warm french bread. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Lady" fingers or "witchy fingers"


I love Halloween. When we have an activity with the youth in our church, I usually volunteer to make dessert. I love this recipe for "Lady" fingers. This year for some reason they didn't hold their shape when I made them like they did in past. So I thought to add flavor and cover the bottoms  I would dip  them in chocolate. I used the chocolate ganache recipe from my "Chocolate Malt Cake" only I halved it for a smaller batch. Then while it was still warm I mixed about 1/4 cup of Raspberry jelly (seedless) for a chocolate raspberry flavor. Then when the cookies were cooled, I dunked the bottom half in the chocolate, and let set in the fridge. Then you have chocolate dipped "lady"fingers for a more "fancy" cookie! But they are good plain too! You can add green food coloring too if you like. And I like the idea of displaying them in a glove for a more gruesome display!!! also see the bottom of this recipe to see what I do to make them more gruesome!

"Lady" Fingers

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
a few drops of green food coloring (optional)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

almond slivers
pretzel sticks
raspberry jelly, (seedless)
1 tube red decorator jell, or chocolate frosting (for decorating)

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and flavorings, and green food coloring if you are making green fingers, mix well.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Add to butter mixture and mix until combined.
Working wiht 1 teaspoon of dough, roll into a log, and make dents so it looks like knuckles, and slice little lines on top of them. Place an almond sliver for the finger nail.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges.
OR this is what I do to make them more gruesome:
with a heaping teaspoon of dough, make a flat 1 and 1/2 inch wide retangle, spoon about 1/4 teaspoon raspberry jelly, and place a pretzel stick on top of that. Carefully form your dough around this to make a long  finger shaped log and then make the knuckle shapes and add the fingernail. This gives the illusion of crunching on a bone when you take a bite, and the red jelly looks like blood and adds a little flavor. Don't worry if they crack a little, it  makes it more realistic because you can see the deep red jam inside.
Bake in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until fingers are slightly brown around the edges.
After the cookies cool a bit, I lift the almonds up just slightly and squeeze a little red decorator jell under them, or just a bit of chocolate frosting works too, if making green fingers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cheesey Sun-Dried Tomato Bread

I was experimenting with bread over the weekend. I made homemade Vegetable Beef soup (yes, this recipe is on my blog too) on Sunday and wanted something to go along with it besides plain white bread, so this is what I came up with. (don't judge mine by the picture, I let it raise while I was at Sunday meetings and it got a bit over-proofed! thus mine had a muffin top!) but it was yummo!!

Cheesey Sun-Dried Tomato Bread

1/2 cup Milk -scald in small saucepan, remove from heat and add:
2 Teaspoons Salt
3 Tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup or more diced sun-dried tomatoes
 (I use the dried kind that are usually in the produce department instead of the ones bottled in oil that's why I put mine in with the milk so they can soften a bit,  but you can use either)
Stir; let cool to luke warm.


In large bowl combine:
1 and 1/2 cups luke warm water
1 pkge. yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar

Whisk together in mixing bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes till bubbly.
add milk mixture to this, (be sure it's only luke warm.. too hot and it kills the yeast!)

Add:
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup grated cheese (I used half pepperjack and colby jack cheeses, use your favorite)
 and mix well ( I use my Kitchen Aid and mix this all together for about 3 minutes)

Then add 2 to 3 more cups of flour one cup at a time.. while mixer is going till the dough is just right the right consistency.. I keep the mixer going for about 5 more minutes.. That way you don't have to knead it ( or you can hand knead it for 5 to 8 more minutes) Dough should be smooth and elastic. Put into a greased bowl and cover. Let rise for an hour or until doubled. Punch down and divide dough in-half, form each half into loaf shape and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise until doubled or just so it's beginning to dome up above the sides of the pans ( it will rise a little bit in the oven too) Bake a 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and rub entire loaf with butter.
Yum!!!