Thursday, December 29, 2011

Key Lime Truffles

You know I’ve said before how I LOVE the Key Lime Truffles you can get at See’s Candies… I’ve made cupcakes trying to imitate the flavor and now I’ve tried Truffles…. I think I came pretty close. If you have ever made Oreo Truffles you know how easy and yummy those are… I thought that maybe if I used Golden Oreo’s and cream cheese that would do it… along with lime juice … so here’s the recipe I came up with. I added a little citric acid to get that tartness that is in the Key Lime truffles at See’s. I’ve also added toasted coconut because since adding the lime juice the batter was a little sticky and I thought that would soak up a little moisture… and I LOVE toasted coconut! Enjoy!

Key Lime Truffles
1 package Golden Oreo’s
1-(8oz) Package cream cheese, room temperature
4-1/2 Tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
Zest of 2 limes
¼ teaspoon citric acid (you can purchase this in the pharmacy, I bought mine at Walmart)½ cup toasted coconut (see package for toasting directions)
White dipping chocolate

Place your Oreo’s in a food processor and process into fine crumbs ( I do mine in 2 batches) or place in a Ziploc bag and crush into fine crumbs with a rolling pin.
Dissolve the citric acid in the lime juice.
In a large bowl whip the cream cheese, lime juice with citric acid, and  lime zest  together with an electric beater until smooth.
Stir in the Oreo crumbs and toasted coconut.
Form into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (I use a small cookie scoop). (They won’t be perfect balls yet because of the gooeyness of the batter) let chill for ½ an hour then roll into balls and chill for another hour.
Melt white dipping chocolate and dip your Oreo balls into the melted chocolate, draining off excess. (I like to use a plastic fork with the 2 middle tines removed, then I plop the Oreo balls into the chocolate and turn with a spoon so that they are completely covered in chocolate, then I fish then out with my plastic fork and let drain a minute over the bowl) then place back on the cookie sheet.
I like to garnish half of mine with more toasted coconut. When all have been dipped I garnish the other half with some leftover white chocolate that I have tinted a light green with food coloring that I place in a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped out, then drizzle the balls with it.
Enjoy!!

Hot Artichoke Dip

I love Artichoke Dip! I've combined 2 recipes that I had--I just took what I liked about both and combined them. I made this recipe and took to my "Treat the office" Day ... it was yummo! I served with sliced baguette bread and crackers. I thought since New Year's Eve is upon us, Dip recipes would be good to post! Enjoy!
Hot Artichoke Dip
1 cup Best Food Real Mayonnaise
1-1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
1 can quartered Artichoke Hearts, drained
1 small can diced green chilies
1/4 of a bag chopped spinach, thawed and drained well ( this was about 1/2 cup when all squeezed together)
2 to 3 heaping teaspoons minced garlic, (add as much as you like to suit your taste)

Combine the mayo, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, green chilies, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in the drained artichoke hearts and Spinach (I squeeze all the water I can possible get out of the spinach before adding to the dip). Place in a 9x9 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan Cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until it starts to brown around the edges and begins to bubble.
Serve with slice baguette bread or crackers.

Taco Dip

My sister-in-law made this dip for our "Treat the Office" Day... it was Yummy so I thought I would post it here. Thanks Jennifer!! This is good with Tortilla chips! YUM!

Taco Dip
1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (add more beef is you want it thicker)
1/4 of an onion, diced
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can Original Rotel Tomatoes
1- 16 ounce cube Velveeta Cheese

Brown the hamburger in a large saucepan along with the Onions. Season with Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste. When browned, drain off any grease.
Then add the Rotel tomatoes and Velveeta Cheese, and stir occasionally over medium heat until cheese is melted.
Keep warm in a crock pot and serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

**Variation: I think it would be good to add a packet of taco seasoning to the meat when browning.... to add a bit more of a taco taste.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Fruit Salad

This is a fruit salad that I put together for Christmas morning. It's tradition to go to my parents house along with 2 of my brothers that live close and we have a big family breakfast on Christmas morning. I usually make this salad, and scones, and we have sausage, bacon, hashbrowns and scrambled eggs too. This would be good for breakfast any day or with a brunch. I make it for Christmas because the fruit I use is usually in season at this time of year. I don't put bananas in mine because they tend to get mushy and brown, and I don't like them that much. Use whatever fruit you like! Enjoy!

Christmas Fruit Salad
2 apples, peeled and diced
2 oranges, peeled and sliced (Save 1/2 an orange to juice later)
2 cups grapes, sliced in half
1 pineapple, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
2-4 kiwi's, peeled and dices
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/2 lime (for the juice)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons poppyseeds

Combine all of the sliced and diced fruit into a large bowl. Squeeze juice from the 1/2 orange and 1/2 lime, put juice in a small bowl along with the honey and poppy seeds, whisk to combine. Pour juice mixture over the fruit and toss to combine.
Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Toffee Apple Dip

This is another recipe I got from a lady I work with from our "Treat the office days".... It's an easy, delicious apple dip that you'll get addicted to really quick!! YUM!

Toffee Apple Dip
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Toffee Chips (use to taste)

Whip the Cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Right before serving stir in your toffee chips (they tend to get soft if they sit in the dip too long)
Serve with sliced apples and other sliced fruit! YUM!

Hot Cocoa


I love a cup of Hot chocolate on a cold winter morning..... especially with a squirt of whipped cream. YUM!
I made Hot Chocolate for my "Treat the Office" Day and took some mini muffins for dunking... I just followed the recipe on the can of Hershey's Cocoa but tweaked it a bit by using some Dutch Dark Cocoa too, and I quadrupled it so it used a gallon of milk.... I think you can serve between 16 to 20 people with this full recipe.... I also added French Vanilla Coffee Creamer to it to make a creamier hot chocolate... experiment with the different flavors or try adding a little eggnog to it... YUM!
Hot Cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/4 cup Dutch Dark Cocoa
1-1/3 cups HOT water
1 gallon of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup Coffee Mate Coffee Cream (any flavor, I used french vanilla) or eggnog

Mix together the sugar and the Cocoa in a large soup pot. Add the hot water and cook and stir over medium/high heat until the mixture begins to boil, let boil for 2 minutes.
Add the milk and vanilla. Stir and heat until it's heated through but don't boil. I heat mine until little bubles just start to form at the sides. Add the Coffee mate stirring to combine. Serve in mugs and top with a squirt of Whipped cream or mini-marshmellows!
Enjoy!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

White Pizza dip

I ran across this recipe on the internet and friends had told me I had to give it a try. I made it for my "Treat the office Day" and it was yummo!! Of course I tweaked it a bit, I found it to be quite soupy so I added the cream cheese... isn't everything better with cream cheese?? It thickened it slightly... it was a good dip, kind of reminded me of a fondue a little. It's great with flavored crackers or bread! Enjoy!!

White Pizza Dip
Ingredients:
1 (1 ounce) package herb and garlic soup mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pepperoni, diced (I used the mini pepperoni's and left them whole)

16 ounces French bread or a  chewy bagguete works too, sliced
Assorted Crackers

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine soup mix, sour cream, ricotta cheese, cream cheese , pepperone and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the mixture.
3.Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve hot with bread and assorted crackers.

Buffalo Chicken dip

Oh my goodness this is a delicioso dip!!! I haven't made it but a girl I work with brought it to the office, and I figured since it's the Holiday season and there are a LOT of parties going on for both Christmas and new years, I would post a bunch of dip recipes... YUM!! Thanks for the recipe Libby!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 (8oz) packages of Cream Cheese
1 (36 oz) bottle Ranch Dressing
1/2 bottle of Frank's hot sauce (or more, depending on how hot you want it)
4 -cooked chicken breasts, shredded (more or less, depending on the size of the chicken breasts)
Tortilla chips (for dipping)
Combine all the ingredients together in a saucepan or crockpot and heat through. Serve with tortilla chips!
You could also add grated cheese to this, or cut back on the ranch dressing for a thicker dip... there are many variations of the recipe on the internet so experiment to your liking.... This makes quite a bit so cut the recipe in half for a smaller crowd.
Also try dipping crackers and celery in it.. YUM!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

 I made this pie for Thanksgiving... besides Pecan, Coconut Cream Pie is my second favorite. I love the homemade custard filling that this recipe has. I also made homemade whipped cream and garnished with toasted Coconut and white chocolate shavings. YUM!

Coconut Cream Pie
2 cups milk or half and half
1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all -purpose flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1-9 inch pre-baked pie crust
Whipped Cream
Toasted coconut

Combine the milk and coconut in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture almost comes to a boil (it will start to bubble slightly around the edges).
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until well combined. Temper the eggs (to keep them from scrambling) by slowly pouring about 1/3 cup of the scalded milk into the egg mixture while whisking briskly. Then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut. Add the vanilla and coconut extract and continue to whisk and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Then cook for about another 4 to 5 minutes until the pastry cream is thick.
Remove saucepan from heat, add the butter and whisk until it melts.
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionallly until it's cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate until completely cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools. When completly cold fill the pre-baked pie shell with it, smoothing the surface. Top with Whipped Cream and garnish with toasted coconut and white chocolate shavings.

Whipped Cream

1-1/2 cups Heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

I chill the bowl to my mixer and the beaters in the freezer for 30 mins. before whipping the cream, this makes it whip faster.
Pour your cream into the chilled mixing bowl, and beat on high for a few minutes or until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted out and they stay there. (watch this close, you don't want to make butter)
Then add the powdered sugar, Vanilla, and coconut extract, whip together just to incorporate the sugar and flavorings.
You can top your pie with whipped cream before serving by putting into a decorator bag and making whatever design you desire on top (like I did) and then garnish with toasted coconut (toast according to directions on the back of the bag) or put a dollop of whipped cream on each piece when serving!
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

This recipe is on the Libby's Pumpkin cans but I thought I would post this recipe just in case they quit putting it there. It's the recipe I always use for my Holiday Pumpkin pies, I have tried a few others, but I keep coming back to this one! I did make home made whipped cream and added a little cinnamon in it! Yummo-homemade whipped cream is always better than the canned or frozen stuff!!!!

Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.)  Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (see recipe below)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
POUR into pie shell. (remember to use a Deep Dish Pie shell, other wise you will have some filling left over.
BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.  (I cover the edge of my crust with aluminum foil for the first half and hour so it doesn't burn)
Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Whipped Cream
1-1/2 cups Heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

I chill the bowl to my mixer and the beaters in the freezer for 30 mins. before whipping the cream, this makes it whipfaster.
Pour your cream into the chilled mixing bowl, and beat on high for a few minutes or until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted out and they stay there. (watch this close, you don't want to make butter)
Then add the powdered sugar, Vanilla, and cinnamon, whip together just to incorporate the sugar and flavorings.
You can top your pie with whipped cream before serving by putting into a decorator bag and making whatever design you desire on top (like I did) and then garnish with a light sprinkle of cinnamon or put a dollop of whipped cream on each piece when serving!
Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lion House Rolls

Have you ever been in a Deseret Book Store that has a Bakery? Love the smell.... and this is a recipe for those delicious rolls they make... Thanks Katy for sharing. I LOVE rolls and experimenting with roll recipes. This was a good one! It makes light and fluffy dinner rolls..... and who can resist a hot buttered dinner roll?

Lion House Rolls

2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoonssalt
1 egg
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
5-5 1/2 cups of flour

In large bowl combine water and milk powder, stir until dissolved.
Add yeast and sugar and whisk to combine. Let rest until the yeast starts to bubble, then add salt, dry milk,  butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour.
Mix on low speed until all ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.
Add 2 cups of flour, mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Add about 1/2 cup flour and mix again, dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.
You may not use the entire amount of flour.
Scrap sides of bowl and pour about 1 TB of oil around sides of bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size. Or just spray a clean bowl and place dough in clean bowl.
After dough has risen roll out dough and cut into desired shape. Or watch the video here on how the Lion house does it.
Let rise until doubled in size ( about 1 hour).
Bake at 375 for 15 -20 minutes.
Brush with melted butter while hot.

Yams

I know, Thanksgiving is over, but my mother-in-law invented this recipe with me and I was afraid that I would forget what we put in it. I like yams, but sometimes they can be too sweet, and other times not sweet enough. This recipe was just right. Mom J. had watched Bobbi Flay make Yams and remembered the ingredients he put in his but we weren't sure on the amounts. So I experimented and this is what we came up with.... and again we weren't disappointed. I liked the flavor the orange juice gave them, and I used a dash or two of cayenne pepper, it didn't really make them spicy, but I think it toned down the sweetness and enhanced the flavor.  Sorry but I didn't take a picture of what the inside of my Yam dish looked like.... must have been too busy eating them! YUM!

Yams
1 (29 oz) Can Yams, drained (or you can use fresh that have been cooked ahead, about 2 or 3 cups)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (fresh sqeezed if you have it, I had some oranges leftover from my turkey brine)
Dash or two of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Marshmellows, either mini or the large cut in half will do, just enough to cover the top of your Yams

Combine the butter and sugar together in a medium saucepan. After butter has melted, stir in your orange juice and simmer a minute or two until slightly thickened. Next add the yams and seasonings, toss until the ingredients are combined, and cook until everything is bubbly. I don't mash mine, I like the lumps.
Put your yam mixture into a small casserole dish. You can either set aside until about 30 minutes before serving time, then bake in a 350 degree oven until hot  (about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how cold they got while waiting until dinner) or if you are going to eat right away, place the marshmellows on top, turn your oven on broil, and broil 1 or  2 minutes or until Marshemellows turn a light toasty brown color.
Serve and enjoy!!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I watched a Thanksgiving Throw Down on the Food Network between The Pioneer Woman and Bobbie Flay before Thanksgiving. The Pioneer Woman made her mashed potatoes like this and they looked sooooo good I had to give them a try for our Thanksgiving dinner... my husband gets annoyed that I experiment on him AND on a Holiday, but we weren't dissappointed, they were delicious!! You can go here for the original recipe, I followed it pretty much the same only I downsized it for my family. It was delicious and they are good with or without gravy!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
6 medium sized potatoes, washed and peeled
6 Tablespoons Butter, softened
4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup half and half,  (or you can use regular milk)
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper (or more to taste)

Cut your washed and peeled potatoes onto pieces, try to have the pieces all about the same size so they cook evenly. Add the potatoes to a large pot of water, and add a dash or two of salt. Bring to a boil,a nd let cook for 20 to 30 minutes. (Cooking time depends on the size of the pieces of the potatoe) They are done when they are fork tender and just start to fall apart a little.
Drain the potatoes, and place back into your pot. (I like to put my pot back on the stove on the warm burner, but be sure it's off)
Mash potatoes with a potatoe masher, then add 4 Tablespoons butter, cream cheese, 1/4 cup half and half,  seasoned salt and pepper, mash a bit more. Taste at this point and add more Lawry's or Pepper if desired. Also if potatoes are really thick add 2 or 3 more Tablespoons Half and half. Then I like to whip mine with my hand held electric beaters for a minute.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon your potatoes into a medium sized baking dish. Add a few more pats of butter (I use the other 2 Tablespoons cut up) on the top and bake in the oven until the potatoes are warmed through and the butter melts. (they puff slightly too)
Serve and enjoy!
YUM!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Turkey Brine

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I just had to post this recipe, you can use it for a Christmas Turkey or save the recipe until next year. I found it on the Pioneer Woman's Blog but tweaked it a bit to what I had on hand. I love brining the Turkey... it makes it juicy and flavorful. This year I smoked my Turkey in my Traeger
Smoker for about 8 hours, but you can also brine your Turkey and then roast it in the oven as usual. When I roast my turkey I like to use the roasting bags and I follow the directions on the package for cooking time. I usually do the stuffing in a crock pot, you don't really want to stuff it after brining because of the salt in the brine. Yum!

Turkey Brine
3 cups Apple juice
2 Tablespoons dried Rosemary (or 2 or 3 Sprigs fresh)
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1-1/2 cups Kosher Salt
2 cups packed Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons whole Peppercorns
5 whole Bay Leaves
Orange peel, (I thinly sliced mine off of 2 Large oranges, be careful not to get too much of the white pith underneath)
2 Gallons cold Water

In a large soup pot, combine all of the ingredients with 1 gallon of water. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let this mixture cool completely.
In a tall gallon bucket (i have one that I use ONLY for Turkey Brine) combine the cooked mixture with the other gallon of cold water, and add your uncooked Turkey, tail side up. Cover with lid and let sit in the Brine for 24 hours. Since it's winter time and really cold outside, I let my bucket of turkey and brine sit outside on my porch, where ever you put it just keep it cold.
When ready to roast or smoke turkey, remove from brine and discard the brine. Let turkey sit in a sink of fresh cold water for about 15 minutes to remove excesss salt from the outside.
Drain Turkey and pat dry. Cook according to your desired cooking method.
Enjoy!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Creamy Pesto Ranch Dressing

I like experimenting with salad dressings... which is a funny thing because growing up I never ate salad dressing on my salads, I always ate salad plain or dry you could say. I guess I was scared of it. Now I love the stuff.... have you ever been to the Spaghetti Factory? They have a House dressing that is a creamy pesto ... and it's way Yummo... I crave it sometimes. I had some buttermilk in my refrigerator that I needed to use up and some basil pesto so I thought hmmmmmm and then I had some Ranch dressing mix too and thought that would be yummy... So I gave it a shot and this is what I came up with. It's pretty close to what the Spaghetti Factory has but mine might have a little more Ranch flavor to it, but I just LOVE the Basil Pesto in it ! I like a mixed salad with a little grated cheese and homemade croutons with dressing drizzled over it! YUM!

Creamy Pesto Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup Real Mayonaise
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1- 1/2 teaspoons Ranch dressing mix ( can add a little more if you like more Ranch flavor)
1 heaping teaspoon Basil Pesto ( I buy mine in the jars that's usually by the spaghetti sauces)
1 Tablespoon milk (to thin the dressing out just a bit if it's too thick)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until all of the ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Taste and add more Ranch dressing mix or pesto as desired.
Drizzle over prepared Salad and enjoy. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
YUM!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pesto Foccacia Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I really LOVE Foccacia Bread... I think I've told the story before of how we would eat it hot out of the oven at the Bakery I worked at. I ran across this recipe in my Food network Magazine for an ad for KitchenAid mixers and it looked delish. I added the Sundried tomatoes and sauteed onions to the batter because I just love sun-dried tomatoes. This was an awesome bread that I cut into triangles to go with my Chicken Milano pasta that I made on Sunday. It would also make a great appetizer, and since Christmas is coming up and that means parties which need appetizers I thought I would post this. Either way you eat it... as an appetizer or side for a pasta dish it's YUMMO!

Pesto Foccacia Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Ingredients:
1 package (3/4 ounce) rapid-rise or quick rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (I use the dried diced ones that come in a bag that you can find in the produce department)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Basil Pesto ( you can use the already prepared pesto in the jar or make your own, I buy the prepared stuff because my basil didn't grow well this year)
Mozzerella Cheese (about 1 to 2 cups)
Olive Oil

Heat about 1 to 2 Tablespoons Olive oil in a small skillet over medium/high heat. Add the diced onion and saute stiring frequently for a few minutes (about 3-5) until the onion becomes translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water (remember the water should be about luke warm or you will kill your yeast, I test it on my wrist so it's just warm). Set aside for about 5 minutes or until mixture starts to form bubbles on the top.
Next add the flour, salt, sauteed onions, and sun dried tomatoes to the yeast and mix together (I use my kitchen aid mixer that way I don't have to do the work) until the dough forms a ball (dough may be slightly sticky but smooth and elastic as well.)
Oil another bowl with Olive oil and place the dough in that, turning so the top is oiled as well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside allowing to rise for 30 minutes.
Brush a 9x13 inch baking sheet with oilive oil. Punch down dough and place onto pan, allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
Then press dough to fit pan evenly, I like to dimple the dough with my finger tips at this point and let dough rise again for an additional 30 to 45 minutes or until it has puffed slightly.
Preheat oven to 375.
Spoon Pesto over your dough and spread carefully being careful not to deflate the dough... ad as much as you like, I spread a few Tablespoons over mine so it's a really thin layer. Then bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, then sprinkle the mozzerella cheese over the top and continue to bake another 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brow and cheese is bubbly and melty. Allow to cool about 3 minutes before cutting into triangles.
Enjoy!!
                                          I got 12 good size triangles out of this recipe...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Southwestern Turkey Soup

I received this recipe from Allrecipes.com in an e-mail as the recipe of the day. What more appropriate recipe for the day since there was lots of leftover Turkey in my refrigerator, especially two turkey legs and wings that I hadn't cut off the bone yet. I thought I would give this recipe a shot for dinner yesterday but of course I tweaked it a bit, and it turned out Yummo! And it didn't really taste like turkey... just ask my dad who doesn't care for left over turkey at all, and I didn't tell him that's what it was until after he had eaten a bowl of soup. I wish I had a picture of his face when he found out!! Anyway, you can use chopped up leftover turkey, but I also used the legs and wings that I had put in my crock pot before going to work along with 2 cups of chicken broth. I cooked it all day long on low and when I got home the meat just fell right off the bone! I also used the rest of my sliced up turkey breasts and thighs. I added a few things to the original recipe, but you can go here for the original recipe if you like. This was a yummo soup for a chilly winter evening!

Southwestern Turkey Soup
Ingredients:
1- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro (remember the chopped stuff in the tubes you can get in the produce department, that's what I used but you can use 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro if that's what you have)
1/2 cup masa flour dissolved in 1 cup cold water (this is optional, I used it to thicken my soup a bit)

Garnishes:
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Corn chips or fritos
Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Heat 1 or 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil in in a large pot over medium heat, add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes, than add the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two. Then add the turkey, broth, tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, corn, and lime juice. Season with cayenne, cumin, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Whisk in  the masa flour that's been stirred with the water into the soup along with the cilantro, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes more, until slightly thickened. Spoon into serving bowls, and top with shredded cheese, a dollop of Sour Cream, and crushed tortilla chips or fritos.
Enjoy!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gourmet Caramel Apple Cookies

I found this recipe one day while browsing different internet sites and blogs. I love making cookies around Holiday time to eat and to give to neighbors and if you know me... I love trying out new recipes. I LOVED this one, I love caramel and apple together so I had to try out this recipe. It was good.. but I used craft caramel instead of ice cream topping, thought it would hold up better and it did. While this was a good cookie, I thought it needed more apple flavor, but I posted it anyway... next time I may try 1 1/2 cups diced apple.... or maybe some apple cider in the dough?? but the cookies were good and looked fancy and weren't all that hard to make. Go here for the original recipe. Enjoy!

Gourmet Caramel Apple Cookies
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. caramel flavoring (I didn't have this so I substituted 1/2 tsp. butter extract)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced {about 1 cup} I microwaved mine for 1 min. and let cool.
1 c. almond and pecan pieces
1 tbs. dark brown sugar
20 caramels or 3/4 cup caramel bits
2 Tablespoons cream
1/2 cup each milk chocolate and white chocolate chips or candy melts
 
Instructions:
Cream together butter and sugars. Add the egg and flavorings and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Use one tablespoon of the flour mixture and toss with the diced apples until they are well coated. Mix in the flour until it is well incorporated, then add the apples. The dough will be sticky but firm.
Next combine the mixed nuts with a tablespoon of brown sugar. Drop dough into the nut mixture by the tablespoon and roll until well coated with nuts.
Bake the cookies at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until starting to turn golden around the edges (all ovens are differnt, this is how long I cooked mine). When you remove them from the oven use a cookie scoop or spoon to make an impression in the middle of the warm cookies.
Melt the unwrapped caramels or caramel bits in a small bowl with the 2 Tablespoons cream in the microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. Continue to microwave for 15 to 20 seconds at a time, stirring aftwards until it's melted. Let cool a little while your cookies bake.
After cooling, use a piping bag to fill the cookies with caramel. Drizzle the cookies with melted white and dark chocolate. I put the chocolate into piping bags as well or you could use a sandwich bag with one corner snipped off.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cinnamon Chips

This isn't a recipe but just my opinion. I have quite a few recipes that I like to use Cinnamon Chips in-- I love them. I usually buy Hershey's Cinnamon Chips and have always been happy with them, then I had heard and read that the cinnamon chips you can buy at this store near where I live were supposed to be the best, and have the most cinnamon flavor than any other chips you could buy. It's a store where they sell baking mixes and other flavored chips and kitchen gadgets. I couldn't wait to get there, and last weekend I finally did. I made a carrot cake and got my package of cinnamon chips out to use since it was for a special occasion. Luckily I tasted a few before adding to my cake, and I was soooooooo disappointed. They tasted waxy and not very cinnamony ( I might of just made that word up).... I much prefer Hershey's, they have a bold cinnamon taste and aren't waxy compared to the other ones. Just thought I'd share that, I like using good quality ingredients when I bake, and just wanted to share the results of my taste test. I always find cinnamon chips by the other Hershey's chips down the baking aisle  at most stores and since it's Holiday time, they are easier to find. Happy Baking!!

After I was ready to post this, I decided to bake with some. I made banana bread and used the hershey's cinnamon chips in one, and the cinnamon baking chips that I had just bought in the other. In my opinion Hershey's are still the best. YUM

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lasagna

I had posted this recipe before, but I recently had to make alot for a church dinner the other night, and I tweaked my recipe a bit, this was actually some of the best lasagna I had ever made!
I love lasagna! This recipe is a couple of recipes combined... I took what I liked about both of them. I really don't like lasagna made with cottage cheese so I use part skim ricotta.
Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. Johnsonville Italian sausage links (hot or mild)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
1 (6oz) can tomato paste 
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 -15 ounce carton of ricotta cheese (I use the part skim kind)
1 egg
1/4 cup, (heaping) Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Salt (more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (8 oz) package lasagna noodles (9 to 12 noodles depending on how big your pan is)
2 1/2 cups or more grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Remove sausage from casings. In a large frying pan cook and stir ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off grease.
Stir in tomatos, tomato sauce, tomato paste,  parsley, sugar, salt, basil and oregano. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour.
While sauce is cooking, cook lasagna noodles according to the directions on package. Drain and lay out flat on a piece of wax paper until ready to use.
In a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper together until all ingredients is incorporated. I taste and add more salt if necessary.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a lasagna pan, spoon about a cup of the sauce into the bottom of pan, lay 3 or 4 noodles on top of the sauce. Carefully spread 1/2 of your Ricotta mixture over the noodles (I drop by spoonfuls around on my noodles and then spread into a layer with a knife or spatula). Then sprinkle about 1 cup Mozzarella cheese over the Ricotta. Next, spoon 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the cheeses. Repeat another layer just like that starting with noodles and ending with meat sauce. Top with the remaining noodles,then last of your sauce (If your lasagna pan is on the small side and you have leftover sauce, keep it warm in a sauce pan and use as desired on individual servings). Sprinkle a little more mozzarella cheese on top, and the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (so your cheese doesn't stick) and cook in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes until hot and bubbly and cheese is melty.
Serve with salad and Crusty french bread!! Yummo!!!

For Variation:
Try using Zucchini instead of pasta!! I did and it was yummy! I had about 6 zucchini (they were about 8 inches long and 2 inches around, the biggest I could find at the store) Wash and slice into about 1/4 in strips lengthwise. Lay flat on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes (this way they are tender and some of the water cooks out) Assemble like the lasagna recipe except place your zucchini around to make a layer instead of the noodles and I only did two layers of zucchini... I left off the top layer, so it went meat sauce, zucchini, cheese mixture, meat sauce, repeat that one more time, and then  top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake the same as the above recipe.YUM

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Spice Cupcakes

I finally made a decision and made these cupcakes for my office on Halloween instead of brain cupcakes... I was going to fill them and didn't want them to get soggy overnight. I didn't think I could be creative enough first thing in the morning to make the frosting look like brains, so I opted for pumpkins. These cupcakes turned out yummo!! and I've been asked for the recipe... I shared a link in an earlier post going to the original recipe, but you know me.... I just had to tweak the recipe a bit. And these turned out to be some of the BEST cupcakes I"ve every made..... it all kind of happened by accident. First off, it called for a boxed cake mix all chocolate. Well all I had was white cake mixes except  1/2 a box of triple chocolate fudge and 1/2 a box of yellow cake mix (the kind with butter).... long story behind those, but I will try to shorten it. Did you know you can make a 1 layer cake with 1/2 a cake mix by measuring out the dry mix into a bowl, then measure 1/2 of it back into the box.... and following the directions on the back using only 1/2 of each ingredient called for. I like to make 1 layer cakes sometimes if I'm just feeding my family, and sometimes you like a double layer cake with 1 layer chocolate and 1 layer yellow.... anyway... that is what I had, and what I used. And it was a bonus since my triple chocolate cake mix had mini chocolate chips in them!! Ha! I also replaced the milk with eggnogg. Then I filled mine with vanilla pudding that I tweaked with pumpkin pie spice. I made the frosting the same as the original recipe... and Voila! YUMMY cupcakes!!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Spice Cupcakes
1/2 box Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake mix
1/2 box Yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups Eggnog
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup mini chocolate chips(only if your cake mix doesn't already have them in it, mine did)
Place cake mix, room temperature butter, eggs and milk, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice into mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for two minutes, scrape down sides after one minute. Stir in chocolate chips. Use a large scoop (3 Tablespoon size) it helps them to all come out in a uniform shape, into your lined cupcake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Let cool completely.

For Filling:
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
Mix pudding according to the Pie filling directions (that way it's a bit thicker) and stir in the pumpkin pie spice. Fill your cupcakes. (you can scoop out a little of the cake and fill, when you ice them it covers up the hole.)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 Tablespoons eggnogg
Beat cream cheese and sugar then add powdered sugar pumpkin pie spice and milk and mix until fully blended together and fluffy (I like to whip mine for 2 minutes after everything is incorporated). Remove 4 Tablespoons frosting for the stems, add two drops of  green food coloring. Add a drop or two of Orange food coloring to the remaining frosting

I placed the orange frosting in a piping bag with a #2D tip and started piping the pumpkins. Begin at the top of each cupcakes and pipe down three lines one on each outer edge and one down the center. Then pipe two additional lines in the spaces in between the other three. Apply the green stems with tip #66.
or ice as desired!!
Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Can-Your-Own Apple Pie Filling

I have one little apple tree in my yard and this year it produced apples like you wouldn't believe!! I think I got at least 4 big boxes out of it. I've looked and there are a lot of Canning recipes for Apple Pie filling out there on the internet,  but another friend I work with makes this delicious Dutch Oven Apple Crisp/Cobbler that she brings into the office every Christmas for a treat, it's soooo goood! And when I asked her what she did for the apple filling she said she canned her own pie filling. I had to get the recipe!!! It's delicious! So here is the recipe(I tweaked the recipe a little, and added just a touch more cinnamon and nutmeg, I like a spicey apple pie) and I added the Apple Crisp recipe below that... I haven't made it at home yet so I don't have a picture... but it's delish!!! I love the way my home smelled when making the cinnamon syrup for the apples... YUM!  And don't you love the 'hominess' look of the jars of canned apple pie filling?? I think it would be a cute holiday gift with a cute apple fabric to cover the lid with ribbon tied around it...you could make a basket with pie filling, a pie tin, and premade pie crust.... oh the possibilities!!!

Can-Your-Own Apple Pie Filling
Makes 7 Quarts. Each quart is enough for a double crust pie.

Peel, core and slice 6 -7 lbs of tart apples.

In a large sauce pan blend together:
4-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Stir in 10 cups water. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. (I didn't time mine, but it took a while to get good and thick and I let mine get to a good boil, so it bubbles a little even when stirring)
Add 3 Tablespoons lemon juice. Stir and cook a minute or two more.  Remove from heat.
Pack your apples into hot sterilized quart jars leaving a 1 " head space. Fill jars with hot syrup leaving 1/2 " head space. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke into the jars and move apples around to help the syrup distribute around in the jar if necessary.
Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean cloth then place sterilized lids on jars and tighten with rims.
Process in water bath for 20 - 30 minutes (I did mine for 30 minutes)
Remove from water bath and place on towel and let cool over night. (don't you love the 'popping' noise of the jars sealing?? what makes you more happy than that?) Don't they look lovely??

Dutch Oven Apple Crisp
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add 2 quarts apple pie filling to a 12" Dutch oven
In a bowl mix together:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Cut 1 cube (1/2 cup) cold butter into flour and sugar until crumbly. Spread over top of pie filling. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is golden brown.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. YUM!

Frosted Banana Bars

I got this recipe from a friend I work with. She brought them in for a treat one day to the office, they are YUMMO and I just had to get the recipe! It seems I always have over ripe banana's on hand.. I only like to eat them when they are still slightly green... after that they sit on my cupboard until they are way over ripe and I throw them away or until I make banana bread. This recipe was close to my banana bread recipe, they both have cinnamon, sour cream, and 3 banana's in them, but this was just a little more 'cakey'. My friend's recipe used chocolate chips and just regular cream cheese frosting and butter extract instead of banana extract (I only had banana extract on hand, and I put that in my banana bread for a bit stronger banana flavor), but I tweaked it a bit and put cinnamon chips in it and cinnamon in the frosting... gave it a little more of a 'holiday' flavor or Autumn flavor to me... I just LOVE cinnamon chips..... but of course if you want more of that yummy banana and chocolate flavor just put chocolate chips in the batter and leave out the cinnamon from the frosting!!  Enjoy!

Frosted Banana Bars
1 stick butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few drops banana extract
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs, vanilla, banana extract and bananas. Add sour cream and stir until combined. In another small bowl, combine flour, soda, cinnamon and salt, then add to creamed mixture and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the chips. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, then frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into 2 x 4 inch bars, serve and enjoy!!

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whip your butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together for a minute until the lumps are gone and smooth. Then add cinnamon and powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until all combined. (if you add it all at once your apt to get the kitchen cupboards covered in powder! mix slowly)
When powdered sugar is all incorporated I like to whip my frostings for a couple of minutes on a medium/high speed. This gives you a fluffy frosting.
This recipe made more than enough frosting for me.... I had about 3/4 cup leftover, but ice your cake as thick as you like! YUMMO!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Eggnog Pumpkin Pie Spice Pancakes

I made these pancakes for breakfast this morning and OH MY GOODNESS they were yummy!!! Filling but yummy, I only like to eat big breakfasts on Saturday so I spurge a little. I bought eggnog to go in the cupcakes I made for Halloween and have been trying to use it all up! Besides putting it in hot chocolate instead of milk to cool mine off so I can drink it, these were a perfect way to use up leftover eggnog!! I am not much on just drinking eggnog straight, but added to cupcakes, hot chocolate, and now pancakes I love the flavor it gives! I made my pancakes with Bisquick (which I love and it's easy) but you could also substitute Eggnog for the milk in a scratch recipe too. Serve these with salty bacon and your good to go! Enjoy!!


Eggnog Pumpkin Pie Spice Pancakes
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (or Cinnamon is good too)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup regular milk (if your batter is too thick, I like mine on the thinner side for pancakes)
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
Butter
Maple Syrup

In a large mixing bowl, add Bisquick, eggs, eggnog, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and granulated sugar, stir with a whisk until just combined. Add the 1/4 cup regular milk to thin out the batter a little if necessary. Add the cinnamon chips and stir until they are all incorporated.
Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray or drizzle with a little vegetable oil . Then using a ladle, spoon your batter onto the hot griddle making the the desired size pancake that you like. (I made mine kind of big! ) Let cook for a minute or two until the bottom is golden and bubbles start to form on the top, then flip your pancake and cook another minute or two until the bottom is golden brown.
Serve hot with butter and syrup! Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

halloween fun!

Today I am going to make a few treats to take into the office tomorrow..... First I'm going to make these...
Awesome aren't they? and they sound yummo!!!
Then I thought I would make some cupcakes... I can't decide between these
                                                               click here for the recipe
I thought I would make eggnog flavor with an eggnog cream cheese frosting and a colored vanilla pudding for filling instead of cherry filling....
                                                      Or I could make these.....
                                                               click here for recipe
                       oh which cupcake to make... I can't decide, both sound delicious.....
and then to top it off I thought I would take chips and homemade salsa along with this idea....
cute way to display guacamole isn't it??? I bought a small pumpkin... although mine is still kind of green.. but that means he looks sick doesn't it???
I also wanted to make caramel apples for home and make them like this....
I would do the Jack Skellington one... dipped in caramel.. then white dipping chocolate, then I would pipe melted milk chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth... Yum!
                          I also thought about just making regular cupcakes iced like Jack Skellington....
There are sooooo many cute Halloween ideas for foods and snacks who can decide just what to do??
     Anyway, just have a Happy Halloween what ever you do!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Easy Ravioli--made with won ton wrappers!!

I LOVE Ravioli.... my favorite thing at Olive Garden these days is the Portabella stuffed raviolis.... but I've always been intimidated about making my own ravioli... until now. I tried once, when I was first married, to make a romantic dinner for my hubby. I knew Italian food is always romantic so I thought I would make spinach and ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli... to make a long story short, mine ballooned up and filled with water and they were huge(looked a bit like Rocky Mountain oysters, if you know what those are... hahaha)! So when I ran across this recipe on the Pioneer woman and saw that even she used won ton wrappers (who knew you could use won ton wrappers for ravioli???) instead of making her own pasta dough, I thought to myself.. YES!! I can do that!!! So here is my recipe. You can go to The Pioneer woman's recipe blog and look up her recipe for the filling, but I made my own up here. I tried to imitate the portabella stuffed ravioli like Olive Garden. I used my Alfredo sauce recipe, but added some sun dried tomatoes to the butter and garlic before adding the cream. You can do any kind of filling you want, ricotta with spinach is always good, and you can use any sauce you desire too whether it be regular Alfredo or a marinara sauce!! YUMMO! My picture doesn't do the ravioli's justice... they almost tasted like..... butter??? (as Paula Dean would say) they were so rich and delicious!! YUMMO!!

Easy Portabella and Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Ravioli
for filling:
1 small carton Ricotta cheese
1/2  cup, heaping, grated Parmesan Cheese
1egg
1/2 heaping teaspoon dried basil l (or a italitan seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large portabella mushroom caps (they are big meaty mushrooms, I used the prepackaged, sliced ones I found at walmart)

24 whole wonton wrappers
1 egg
Sundried Tomato Alfredo Sauce (see recipe below)
 Olive Oil

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, grated Parmesan, 1 egg, basil, and salt and pepper to taste ( I added about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper to start, add more if desired) Set this aside.
Wash the portabella mushrooms and slice in about 1/2 inch thick slices (if not already sliced)
In a medium skillet, drizzle about 2 Tablespoons Olive oil, when oil is hot, place your mushrooms in the skillet and saute 2--3 minutes per side until mushrooms are cooked through.
Remove from pan and let cool a minute or two. When cool enough to handle, dice them up. Add the diced mushrooms to the ricotta cheese mixture and stir to combine.
Set this mixture aside and get your Alfredo sauce started.
When ready to assemble your ravioli, set a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.
Combine the other egg in a small bowl with about 3 Tablespoons of water, and whisk until slightly fluffy.
Now, on a cutting board, lay one wonton wrapper on the surface. Set a small amount (about 1 teaspoon full)of your ricotta/mushroom filling in the center of the wrapper.
Dip a pastry brush into your egg/water mixture and brush around about 1/2 inch strip along all four sides of the wrapper. Place a second wonton wrapper on top, then working from the middle first, carefully press out air bubbles as you carefully press the top wrapper around the base of the filling, then work your way out to the edges, lining the corners up and pressing slightly together to seal. Set aside, and repeat with remaining filling and wonton wrappers.
Once the ravioli are assembled, drop them four or five at a time into the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. I set mine on a cookie sheet that I had sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and as I added more ravioli, I slightly sprayed each ravioli before adding more so they wouldn't stick together, or you could drizzle lightly with olive oil. (I kept these warm in a slightly warm oven while I cooked the rest of the ravioli)
Serve about 4 or 5 per person and spoon Alfredo sauce over the top. I served mined with grilled chicken and sauteed zucchini, but it would go nicely with a green salad and crispy french bread too! ENJOY!

Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
6 Tablespoons butter
1 whole garlic bulb, roasted (or 1 heaping Tablespoon minced garlic)
2 Tablespoons sundried tomatoes, packed in olive oil (optional)
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for Garnishing

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic paste (or minced garlic) and the sundried tomatos to the butter and cook for about 1 minute or until slightly browned. Then whisk in the cream, keep the heat at about medium to medium-low, and bring this to barely a simmer (if this boils too hard, the cream and the butter separate and look curdled) Once its at a low simmer add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese. Bring mixture back to a low simmer and continue to cook another 5 to 8 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring often. ( Remember, don't simmer at too high of heat or it will separate)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brown Sugar-Pecan Apple Pie Recipe

This recipe was in the November Woman's Day Magazine. This pie looked sooooo delicious I had to give it a try. The only thing I did different was add the spices... Apple pie isn't apple pie to me without cinnamon,  nutmeg, and allspice.... Yum!! I loved that this had apples and pecans... my two favorite pies... well I guess I should say two of my favorite pies, cuz I think I love them all. I had been craving apple pie since the weather turned colder and this pie hit the spot. Remember, if you don't want to take the time to cut out the leaves in the top crust, just skip that part, and just put the whole crust on top, I usually cut out a circle in the center or slits so air can escape. YUM!

Brown Sugar-Pecan Apple Pie Recipe
Active time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Serves 8

Recipe Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 lb Jonagold, Ida Red or Golden Delicious apples (about 4 large), peeled and sliced thin ( 1/4 in. thick)
2 lb Granny Smith apples (about 4 large), peeled and sliced 1/4 in. thick
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 Basic Flaky Pie Crusts (see below)

1 large egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon Sugar

Directions:
Melt the butter in a large, skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples and 3/4 cup brown sugar and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the remaining Tbsp brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Sprinkle over the apples and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the pecans and vanilla and toss to combine. Let cool, tossing occasionally, to room temperature, about 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a 12-in. circle. Fit it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in. pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 in. all the way around. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Working on a floured piece of parchment paper, roll the remaining disk of dough into a 12-in. circle. Using a 2-in. leaf cookie cutter  and starting 1 1/2 in. from the edge, cut out 1 row of 4 leaves directly in the center of the crust, spacing them 1/2 in. apart.
Cut out additional leaves around the first row, spacing them 1/2 in. apart and leaving a 1 1/2-in. border along the edge (figure on about 22 leaves total). Refrigerate the cutout dough. Using a wooden pick or knife, score lines into the leaves.
Spoon the cooled filling into the crust in the pie plate ...
and carefully place or slide the chilled cutout crust on top, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim the top crust to 3/4 in. from the edge of the pie plate. Fold the top crust under the bottom crust to create a thicker crust to seal; crimp as desired.

Brush the entire pie with some of the egg and sprinkle with the Cinnamon Sugar. Brush the undersides of the leaf cutouts with some of the egg and place them around the edge of the pie, gently pressing to help them adhere. Brush the tops of the leaves with the remaining egg and bake until the crust is golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


Basic Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
Recipe Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp white vinegar
 to 2 Tbsp ice-cold water

Directions:
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the vinegar and 1 Tbsp of the cold water, pulsing until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add the remaining water, 1 tsp at a time). Do not overmix.
Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1-in.-thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Roll and fill as directed.
This recipe makes 1 pie crust (double if you are going to make a double crust pie)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rustic No-Knead Country Bread

I love homemade bread.... I like to experiment with bread recipes whenever I find one that looks interesting. This recipe looked devine... I ran acrossed this one at http://www.thegalleygourmet.net and thought I would give it a try! It's awesome! It makes a bread with a rustic, crispy crust and chewy, bubbly inside... Delicious. I didn't change a thing. I made it to go with my homemade clam chowder. Nothing like chowder and homemade bread on a chilly autumn day! Enjoy!

No-Knead Country Bread
makes one large 10-inch round loaf

4 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2- 2/3 cups cool water (55º to 65º F)

Wheat bran and additional flour for dusting

In a large bowl or gallon container, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Using a wooden spoon, add the water and mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. It should be very sticky to the touch and the flour should be completely incorporated; if not, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Lightly cover the bowl or container with a towel, plastic wrap, or by gently placing the lid on top without sealing. Let sit at room temperature (about 72º F) out of direct sunlight until the surface is doubled in size with bubbles, about 12 and up to 18 hours.
When ready to make your loaf of bread, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough into one mound on top of the floured surface. It will be loose and sticky. Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, lift the outside edges toward the center, working around the entire piece to make a smooth round. You are really kneading the bread, but just forming it into a round shape.

Lay a thin cotton or linen tea towel (not terry cloth, which tends to stick) or a large cloth napkin on your work surface. Generously sprinkle the surface of the towel with flour and wheat bran. Using your hands or scraper, gently lift the dough on to the prepared towel and place seam side down. Dust the top of the dough with more flour and wheat bran. Cover the dough with the sides of the towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when almost doubled in size.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 475º F and place a 5-quart heavy pot or cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid in the center of the rack.

When the dough is ready to bake, carefully remove the HOT dutch oven from the oven using oven mitts; remove the lid. Unfold the towel, gently slide your hand under the towel and under the dough and quickly, but gently invert the dough into the hot pot. Gently pull off the towel. If any dough clings to the top or sides of the dutch oven unevenly, quickly run an off-set spatula or knife around the edges to even. The dough will eventually even itself out while baking. Using oven mitts, place the hot lid back on the pot and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 15-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven. Using a thin handle of a spatula, carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours, preferably warm. Slicing into the loaf too early will result in a gummy texture. Rewarm and eat bread for dinner or toast for breakfast. I served mine with a lovely bowl of clam chowder!! Enjoy!
I loved the chewiness of this bread...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup

There is nothing like chicken soup when you are catching a cold.... or the weather is turning cold..... and rather than a plain old chicken noodle soup, I love chicken soups with garlic and peppers in them. My niece, Emily had made this soup and shared the recipe on her blog. She got it from Rachel Ray's Magazine, thanks Em!! But you know me... I always have to take a good thing and tweak it a bit. I felt it needed more 'stuff' in it, so I added black beans and corn, and then I thought the chicken probably needed more flavor, so I added a couple of teaspoons of dry taco seasoning mix. YUM!! And of course no soup is good without a sprinkle of grated cheese.... I also diced by avocado so it was more bite size... you can't see it in the pic, I made the mistake of adding it first, then topping with crushed tortilla chips and cheese... but this was good!! Perfect for a cold Autumn evening......

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup
6 Servings
Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or 4 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix (dry)
6 cups chicken broth
1 (14oz)can yellow corn, drained
1 (14oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
1 hass avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces (or diced)
Crushed tortilla chips
Grated cheese (any kind)

Directions:  In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Increase the heat to high, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the chicken along with the taco seasoning and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 to 7  minutes or until chicken is mostly cooked through. Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce, then stir in the chicken broth, corn and black beans. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
To Serve: Divide the soup into 6 soup bowls and garnish with the avocado, tortilla chips and grated cheese if desired.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheesy Ranch Biscuits

This Ranch Biscuit recipe was printed on a Church monthly bulletin a few months ago..... I had thrown it away but remembered reading it and thought I would give it a shot. I tried to remember the exact amount and hope I got it right, but it turned out yummo made like this. Remember my mom's hamburger pot pie recipe I posted a little bit ago? I made the stew and and then made these Biscuits from memory. I didn't put them on top of the stew, but baked them separately then sliced them open and served the stew on top. Delicious...... love the flavor the ranch dressing and grated cheese gives the biscuits. Just a note--this is made with the ready made Ranch dressing NOT the powdered Ranch dressing mix.

Cheesy Ranch Biscuits
2 1/4 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cups milk
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir with a fork until just combined.
On a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, drop biscuits by rounded Tablespoonfuls. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. While still warm, brush with melted butter if desired. YUM

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

It took me years to find my favorite Chocolate Chip cookie recipe... one that holds it shape while cooking and soft and chewy and just plain delicious. Then while watching the food network the other day, Duff, from the Ace of cakes was traveling around on his motorcycle in search of the perfect desserts, and he goes to this bakery that features these chocolate chip cookies that everyone seems to be crazy about and guess what?? They are are FLAT!! as flat as a pancake flat... All he had to do was ask me how to make them since that's how mine always seemed to turn out until I ran across my favorite recipe (which I have posted on my blog before) but I watched the rest of his show despite the flat chocolate chip cookies. Then on Saturday while watching the Pioneer Woman, she makes cookies for a field trip with her kids.... and guess what... they are flat cookies too!!! Are they becoming the new 'in' cookie??? all my years of perfecting chocolate chip cookies and unknown to me, I was making the perfect cookie all the time?? Well, I had to give this recipe a try.... and you know? They were good! they are supposed to flat, but they are still chewy!! So here is the recipe, I'm re-posting it here but all the credit for the recipe goes to the Pioneer Woman. I didn't change a thing other than I was out of milk chocolate chips and being worried they wouldn't taste the same if I used Semi-sweet chips, I chopped up some of my milk chocolate dipping chocolate.... so I had more of a Malted Milk Chocolate 'Chunk' cookie.... but they were delicious none-the-less.....even if they were flat!


Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened
  • ¾ cups Golden Brown Sugar
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup (rounded) Malted Milk Powder (you can find this in the same aisle as Nestle Quick usually)
  • 1 bag (12 Ounce) Milk Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir in gently.
Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) and bake for about 10 minutes. Bake less if you want chewy cookies; more if you want crispy cookies.
Enjoy while still warm with a glass of milk! YUM!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jamaican BBQ Chicken Pizza

I know, I know, I've posted tons of Pizza Dough recipes and said they were the best.... but throw those away and use this one. My last favorite Pizza Dough recipe turned out great the first couple of times I made it, but tough and hard to cut with a fork the last time I made it, not sure what I did different. When Jim and I went to Disneyland, we ate at the California Pizza Kitchen and got the BBQ Chicken pizza, Delish! And the crust was on the thin side, but not breakable like a cracker, and I think that's what I found with this recipe.... at least when I made it. This recipe takes a little planning ahead but it's easy, the dough needs to be made the night before you use it so it can sit in the refrigerator over night. I also used Tyson diced grilled chicken (Easy!) and cooked my bacon  and my Jamaican BBQ sauce (or you can use your favorite bottled BBQ sauce) in the morning while I was puttering around my kitchen, then when you go to make your pizza everything is ready and it's quick!! Also, REMEMBER to get your dough out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before you are going to use it! It needs to warm up so you can roll it out! YUMMO! I think this turned out pretty close to the California Pizza Kitchen's Pizza....

Di's BBQ Chicken Pizza
This recipe makes 2 (10-inch) pizzas
for the pizza dough:
3/4 cup luke-warm water (about 110 degrees)
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1- 3/4 cups bread flour (this is the difference between a tender and hard crust)
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

To make the pizza dough, place the 3/4 cup warm water in a small bowl, add the yeast and granulated sugar and whisk to combine. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until it's bubbly on top, that way you know the yeast is working.
While your yeast is dissolving, combine the flour and salt in another large mixing bowl. Make an indention in the flour (like a little bowl shape) and pour the yeast mixture  and oil into it. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour, gradually grabbing more flour into it until you can form a ball with your hands. Then on a lightly floured surface, kneead the dough by hand for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until you get a nice smooth, elasitic texture.
Coat a medium size mixing bowl with olive oil, and roll the ball of dough around in it so the dough is covered in olive oil. Cover the bowl, and let sit in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours or until double in size. Punch the dough down, and cover again and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. (I put mine in a Tupperware container with a lid.

Jamaican BBQ sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground all spice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk to combine. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for about 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then puree in a blender for a few seconds until smooth. Then put in a covered dish and store in the refrigerator until ready to make your pizza.

Pizza toppings
1 package Tyson diced grilled chicken, thawed
6 slices smokey peppered bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 medium size onion, diced
2 -1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated (or more if you like more cheese

When ready to assemble your pizza, preheat your oven and your pizza stone to 500 degrees.
Divide the dough in half. Roll one piece into a 10-inch circle. (If you have a pizza peel, generously flour that and assemble your pizza on the pizza peel, then let it slide onto the pizza stone, I assemble mine right onto the hot pizza stone but you have to be quick and careful)
I brush on about a Tablespoon or more of olive oil onto the pizza dough, especially around the edges. Then spoon on half of the BBQ sauce (about 1/2 cup) spreading around so the pizza is mostly covered. Next comes 1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese, then I sprinkle on about 1 cup of the diced chicken (or more if desired), 1/2 of the bacon slices, and 1/2 of the diced onion. Then I sprinkle about 1/4 cup more of the Mozzarella cheese on the very top. Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is starting to turn golden brown and the cheese is melty.
Remove from oven and assemble your 2nd pizza.
Slice each pizza into 6 or 8 slices, serve with a salad and ENJOY!!