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!!