Saturday, December 19, 2015

Eggnog Bread



I found this recipe on pinterest and it looked so good I made it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning it was yummy! It's a moist bread and not too sweet, the frosting is sweeter but goes great with the bread. I have made this into muffins and it works, they are just a tad dryer than the bread. 
Great for mini loaves for neighbor gifting. 
Enjoy!

EGGNOG Bread 
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups of regular eggnog (not low fat)
2 tsp Spiced Rum
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter @ room temperature
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounces of powdered) package of instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray your loaf, muffin etc. pan with non stick spray with flour. 
In your mixer using the paddle – mix together the eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar, vanilla and butter. The butter will remain clumpy but that is just fine. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend until incorporated. Avoid over mixing. Again, the butter will remain clumpy and this is to be expected. The butter will melt when cooking. The dough will be thicker – be aware.  Pour into your prepared choice of pan(s). Bake your mini loaves for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. A regular loaf pan will take about 45-55 minutes. 

Rum glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2 tsp eggnog
2 tbl Spiced Rum ( I used Butter Rum extract in the frosting instead of Rum, just use 1 teaspoon though)
1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg


Whisk together and pour over your cooled eggnog bread.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sticky Asian Ribs

I know rib and grilling season is about over, but I didn't get a chance to post this until now. And who knows, you may get a nice Winter day and say hey, I need ribs today. This recipe also mostly cooks in the oven at a lower temperature and then I finish grilling at the last and baste with the sauce. I served mine with an Asian noodle salad, but it would also be great with "Rumbi" rice or an Asian cole slaw. I looked up "best ever Asian Ribs" and found quite a few recipes. I took what sounded good from those recipes and added a few ideas of my own and this is what I came up with. LOVED them!
Enjoy!

Sticky Asian Ribs
2 slabs meat baby back ribs, cut into 3 or 4 bone pieces
Hoisin sauce
Rub:
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice (more or less)

Preheat oven to 275.
Brush Hoisin sauce over both sides of the ribs, then sprinkle with your rub mixture. Place one piece of rib in aluminum foil, and fold to make a tight little packet, place on Cookie sheet. Continue until all of your rib pieces are in foil packets and in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
Bake in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven and let cool just so you can handle the foil.

While ribs cook make your BBQ sauce:
1 Tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon chili sauce
Whisk all of the BBQ ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook until thickened. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium heat while ribs cool. Once you are able to unwrap the foil, carefully grab ribs with tongs and place on grill, top side down. Brush the side that is up with BBQ sauce and grill for about 5 minutes with grill lid closed.
Carefully turn the ribs over, brush the tops with more BBQ sauce and let grill for another 5 minutes. Remove to large cookie sheet or serving platter.
Garnish with toasted Sesame Seeds and chopped green onion if desired.
Enjoy.
*Remember you can adjust seasonings to taste....

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Salad with Grilled Shrimp with a Lime Vinaigrette

Since starting my 21 day fix journey, I have been eating healthier... I love trying to find healthier recipes to try and experiment with. And you know I LOVE watching the food network on my Saturday mornings, so when they did a version of this recipe I just HAD to try it out. I love shrimp and Jamaican flavors so I tweaked this recipe just a bit to my taste. Loved it. And a salad like this a great light evening meal. The original recipe is here but I did tweak it a bit. Enjoy!

Salad with Grilled Shrimp with a Lime Vinaigrette
Shrimp Marinade:
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Tablespoon Lime juice
1/2 (scant) teaspoon Jamaican Allspice
1/4 teaspoon smokey paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
Whisk this together in a large bowl, then add:
1 to 2 pounds large Shrimp, peeled and deveined and tails removed
Let your shrimp marinade while you prep the rest of the salad.

3 ears corn, cooked and cut of the cob (you can grill this or cook in the microwave)
4 cups Spring Mix Salad
1/4 to 1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh parsley
1 avocado, pitted and diced
One 14-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
One 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
Place salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Set aside while you make your salad dressing.

Salad Dressing:
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 heaping teaspoon smokey paprika
a dash or two chipotle powder
1-2 teaspoons agave (to taste)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk these ingredients together then drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil while still whisking until it comes together. 
This is your salad dressing, add more salt and pepper to taste.
Now grill your shrimp.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. If you are grilling on an outside grill preheat your veggie grill pan (I used this then I didn't have to skewer my shrimp and it didn't fall through the grates).
Grill the shrimp until  no longer pink, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Drizzle the salad with your desired amount of dressing. Serve in individual bowls or plates and top with grilled shrimp. Enjoy!!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quicker Cinnamon Buns


  • I love Cinnamon Rolls... I was watching America's Test Kitchen on Saturday and they did this recipe... thought I would give it a try. I loved that it didn't have to raise too long and that it only made 8. It seems when I make a regular batch of Cinnamon Rolls they don't get eaten, after all they are best when eaten warm...and served with bacon. Enjoy!!
  • Quicker Cinnamon Buns 
    -Makes 8
FILLING:
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DOUGH
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 3/4cups (13 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

GLAZE
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) Powdered sugar, sifted

       INSTRUCTIONS


1. FOR THE FILLING: Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until mixture resembles wet sand; set aside.
2. FOR THE DOUGH: Grease dark 9-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment. Pour ¼ cup milk in small bowl and microwave until 110 degrees, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and let sit until mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 5 teaspoons sugar together in large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 cup milk until dough forms (dough will be sticky). Transfer dough to well-floured counter and knead until smooth ball forms, about 2 minutes.
4. Roll dough into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge. Brush dough all over with 2 tablespoons butter, leaving ½-inch border on far edge. Sprinkle dough evenly with filling, then press filling firmly into dough. Using bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen dough from counter. Roll dough away from you into tight log and pinch seam to seal.
5. Roll log seam side down and cut into 8 equal pieces. Stand buns on end and gently re-form ends that were pinched during cutting. Place 1 bun in center of prepared pan and others around perimeter of pan, seam sides facing in. Brush tops of buns with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cover buns loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Discard plastic and bake buns until edges are well browned, 23 to 25 minutes. Loosen buns from sides of pan with paring knife and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert large plate over cake pan. Using potholders, flip plate and pan upside down; remove pan and parchment. Reinvert buns onto wire rack, set wire rack inside parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and let cool for 5 minutes.
7. FOR THE GLAZE: Place cream cheese in large bowl and whisk in butter, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Whisk in sugar until smooth. Pour glaze evenly over tops of buns, spreading with spatula to cover. Serve. 



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Caramel Apple Bars


I had to re-post this recipe!! LOVE it and it's perfect for this time of year!!
I love Caramel Apples and anything with caramel and apples in it! They remind me of Autumn time and Fair time! This is a recipe I got out of one of my Pillsbury Recipe Magazines a few years ago. The original recipe made a huge batch, but my recipe fits in a 9x9 inch pan. If you need a bigger batch, just double the recipe or go to Pillsbury's recipe site and search for Caramel Apple Bars. I tweaked the recipe a bit, I like to  use Kraft caramels instead of caramel ice cream topping that the original recipe calls for. I like the flavor and texture better!! This recipe reminds me a bit like Apple Crisp but even better because it has the crisp on the bottom as well as the top..... and that's the best part isn't it??? Yum!!

Caramel Apple Bars
Crust and Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash or two of salt
1 cube  plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Filling:
35 Kraft Caramels, unwrapped (approximately 35)
2 Tablespoons milk or half and half
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 peeled apples, coarsly chopped ( (I quarter and slice the apples into thin bite size pieces)
1 to 2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


DIRECTIONS :

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
 In a large bowl, melt butter  in the microwave, then add the rest of the topping ingredients and combine with a fork or pastry blender. Mixture should be crumbly. Press half of the mixture in pan to form crust; reserve remaining mixture for topping. Bake 8 minutes. When done remove from oven and set aside on cooling rack.
While the crust is cooking, in 1-quart saucepan, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons milk over medium / low heat stirring occasionally.
While carmels melt, add the 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat, then add the apple pieces and lemon juice and cook for about 5 minutes or so until tender. (My apples don't cook enough in the time it takes to cook the bars, so I give them a head start)
When caramels are melted and apples are tender, whisk the  2 Tablespoons of flour into the carmel, then add the apples and nuts to caramel and stir to combine, continue to cook over medium heat for about another minute, stirring constantly, mixture should be slightly thick.
 Pour caramel mixture evenly over top of cooked crust. Sprinkle with reserved topping mixture.
Return to oven; bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack for about an hour. Cut in to squares. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Yummo!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Ok, I didn't use to like biscuits and gravy.... but my hubby loves them. I don't make this for breakfast very often since I've been trying to eat healthier, but sometimes, on a chilly October morning, you just need to make a batch.
This recipe for the biscuits is from here , from Farmhouse Rules that comes on the Food network. I had an epiphany while making the biscuits, it says to cut the butter into small cubes then cut into the flour, but I thought, why not just grate the butter into the flour!! I hate trying to cut those small cubes into the flour! It worked! when I was about halfway through the cube I dusted the grated butter with some of the flour other wise it would become one big lump of grated butter. Worked awesomely and made fluffy biscuits. I dare you to try it. The sausage and gravy is just one of my own recipes, it's generally how you make a white gravy after frying bacon, pork chops, and in this case sausage.
Enjoy!!

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
For the Biscuits
Ingredients:
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons butter (1 cube)
1 to 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper to sprinkle on biscuits

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place rack in the center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, the salt, sugar and baking soda. Grate the butter into the flour and then mix with your fingers until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the buttermilk, adding 1/4 cup more if needed, until a rough dough forms.


Turn the dough onto a work surface, knead gently to combine, and then pat into an 8-inch square. Cut into 9 square biscuits and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle the Kosher salt and ground black pepper over the tops. Bake until the tops are golden and the biscuits are fluffy and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

For the Gravy:
Ingredients:
1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk,  and maybe just a little more
Dash or two of Frank's hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage in a large skillet until browned and crumbly. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
Keep the drippings from the sausage in the skillet, if it looks like less than a 1/4 cup add a tablespoon of butter or more as needed to make about 1/4 cup of grease. Heat skillet to medium high and add the 1/4 cup of flour. Stir with a whisk and cook and stir the flour for a minute or two. Then, slowly add the 2 cups of milk while whisking into the flour mixture so you don't get lumps. Keep whisking slowly over medium high heat while this gravy mixture comes to a boil. This should thicken.... This process usually takes 3 or 4 minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick add a little more milk. Next, add the dash or two of hot sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Add the sausage back into the pan and stir to combine. Cut biscuits in half and spoon gravy over the biscuits as individuals desire. Enjoy!!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp

This recipe is adapted from one the Pioneer woman did. I love watching Saturday morning Cooking shows. I also love Fruit Crisps warm from the oven with a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top...what's better than that? You could use Peaches in this rather than nectarines if you want. Enjoy!

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp

Ingredients:Filling:
5 or 6 nectarines, sliced, no need to peel ( or peaches, but peel those)
1 quart blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 orange, zested and juiced (reserve the zest for the topping) Or you could use lemon if you don't like orange (Like my husband)


Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oats (you can use quick or Old-Fashioned..Old Fashioned will be a bit chewier)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cubes cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans ( OR more)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
Gently toss the sliced nectarines and blueberries with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt and about 1 Tablespoon of the orange juice in a large bowl until combined. Gently dump the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish.
For the topping:

Combine the flour, oats, both sugars and salt in another medium to large mixing bowl. Slice 1- 1/2 cubes of the butter into pea sized cubes, then cut the butter cubes into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Next add the pecans and orange zest and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Cover with crisp with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.
Serve while still slightly warm and top with a generous scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream. 
YUMMO!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing and a Salad to go with it!

I LOVE salads... and when I ran across this recipe (there are a lot of different versions on the internet, but this is what I liked) I had to give it try. LOVE that's it's made with avocado rather than mayonnaise  or sour cream. You can tweak to your taste. Enjoy on a chopped salad with sliced grilled steak... that's my fav thing to do.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 avocado
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-2 garlic cloves (or heaping teaspoon of minced garlic)
1/ 4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Honey to taste
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree, adding 1/4 cup or more of water to thin out just a bit.
Remember this is to taste, add the smaller amount of cumin and maybe a teaspoon of honey at first and taste, you can add more cumin, honey or salt to taste BUT remember you can't take it out. Also add as much water as needed to pourable (but not runny) consistency.
Enjoy!

Here's an idea for a salad:
1 large head of romaine lettuce
1 large orange bell pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup corn (canned, frozen or off the cob)
1-15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 green onions if desired
thinly sliced grilled steak

Directions:
Chopped romaine and bell pepper into desired bitesize pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the green onion.
Place All ingredients in a large bowl (except the steak) and toss to combine. Serve in large salad bowls and place slices of steak on the top.
Drizzle with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.
If desired you can crush a few Corn Tortilla chips over the top.
Enjoy!

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I LOVE corn on the cob... it's the season for grilling and corn on the cob. We had this  for dinner the other night. I know there are a lot of Mexican corn recipes out there but this was a different recipe, not Mexican, just a yummy grilling recipe. LOVED it and I love Feta cheese. Give it a try.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
4 ear fresh corn on the cob, in the husk but remove most of the silk from the top
1 stick butter, softened
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese, (I like to run mine through my food processor for finer crumb)

Directions:
Place corn in a sink full of cold water and soak for 30 minutes. I like to do this because the water soaks into the corn. It will steam your corn as it cooks--YUM! I also sprinkle in some sea salt or kosher salt to help season the corn just a bit.

After your corn is done soaking, preheat your grill for 5 minutes. While grill is heating remove the corn from the water and shake off just a bit.
When grill is hot, place corn on the grill, turning occasionally. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Corn should be cooked and husks should have grill marks on all sides.

While corn is cooking mix the Butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika and a pinch or two of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix until all combined.

Remove the corn from the husks and spread the butter mixture generously all over the corn. Sprinkle with Feta cheese and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peach Almond Crisp

I love fruit crisp.... especially with extra 'crisp' on it and vanilla ice cream. I loved this recipe, I saw it on one of the cooking channels and had to give it a shot. But I doubled my Crisp recipe... you can never have enough of the stuff. Perfect with peaches and this time of the year when peaches are in season. Enjoy!

Peach Almond Crisp
INGREDIENTS
TOPPING:
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
FILLING:
6 cups sliced peaches (about 4 to 6 peaches)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg



DIRECTIONS
For the topping: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a small bowl, combine the oats, sugar, almonds, butter, cinnamon and salt and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. 

For the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the peaches sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and nutmeg and transfer to an 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Crumble the topping over the peach mixture. Bake until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. 

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs

I had a wild hair to try my hand at Cream puffs the other day. They weren't as hard as people make them sound! I decided to dip the top of mine in ganache like a Boston cream pie... so yummy! I found the recipe for the Cream puff shells and pudding here and followed it pretty much to a tee.... She suggested baking the cream puffs in a muffin tin, which I did. Next time I think I will try just on a cookie sheet on parchment paper... just to see which method I like best. I loved the custard recipe for these.... YUMMO!

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs
Ingredients
  • Cream Puff Shells
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Custard Cream Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, heated to warm
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Ganache
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp corn syrup (optional)
For the cream puff shells:
Place oven rack one place below middle. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered. Note: If you can, use a regular aluminum muffin pan, NOT a dark non-stick pan. The puffs will be much bigger with the regular "silver" colored pan. It's worth investing in one of these pans, as you'll be making these again and again.
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. This doesn't have to be an exact measurement, but depending on how big you want your shells to be. Divide all the batter between 12 tins.
Bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Remove from oven and cool completely.
(The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover with foil when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
Cook's note: Ingrid just baked the shells on a baking sheet about three inches apart, but my smart aunt decided the muffin tins make a nice shape to hold the cream. Either method works, but Ingrid's way will produce a little flatter shaped shell.
For the custard cream filling:
Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For the Ganache:
Combine chocolate, cream and corn syrup (if using) in a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl and cook on high just until the cream starts to simmer. Whisk or stir thoroughly until all chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. Let this set for a few minutes, thickens as it cools.
If you add the corn syrup, your ganache will be slightly glossier when it sets, but it is optional and you don’t need to add it to have a good result.
Assembling the cream puffs:
Cut off shell tops.
Dip the top of puff into prepared ganache. Set back on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set.
Fill bottom of puff with Custard Cream Filling. 
Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour).  Puffs can remain in fridge overnight this way.
More notes for preparing ahead of time: 
You may completely assemble cream puffs the night before serving, but do not cover them.
For transporting, place completed cream puffs back into muffin tins, cover lightly with foil and they're ready to go!
Makes between 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cooies

I revamped my No bake cookie recipe a little... Made my normal recipe with my Young Women the other day and they turned out crumbly so I decided to tweak the recipe a little. I figured using 1/2 corn syrup would make them end up a little like the Peanut Butter rice crispy treats I make, plus omitted the milk as you don't need the liquid when adding corn syrup! YUM!!! You can add some chopped dry roasted peanuts if desired as well.
Enjoy!
Warning ... these are gooey! isn't everything better a little on the gooey side?

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2- 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter or creamy is fine too
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups oatmeal (I used the quick oats, but old fashioned would work too)
pinch of salt

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter  together in a medium size saucepan. Cook over medium/high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down a little (you want it to keep boiling but not to burn) and STOP stirring, let this boil on it's own for 1 minute. (Be sure it boils for 1 whole minute and don't stir even though you will be tempted to... it goes grainy and sugary if you do.)
Remove from heat and add the chocolate and the peanut butter, let sit in the hot mixture for a minute to get melty then stir to help melt and combine. Then stir in the vanilla. Next add the oats and stir to combine.
Drop by Tablespoons onto waxed paper. Let cool and enjoy!! or if you are like me, let cool till you candle handle them and eat two before anyone notices!!
Makes about 16 cookies

Monday, May 25, 2015

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I love pineapple upside down cake--especially warm from the oven with a scoop of french vanilla ice-cream. I started baking when I was 8 years old. I would make cookies most of the time but once in a while I made cakes, I remember making pineapple upside down cake a lot. I also liked to experiment with candies and other recipes, but cakes and cookies were what I baked most. My family loved my desserts--but unfortunately my mother did not like the mess I would make in the kitchen. At that young age I would cook but not clean up after myself. I guess I wanted to go back to my child hood with this recipe.... Loved it! This recipe is easy to make a 1/2 recipe of. I like to measure out cake mixes and then just use half. I pour the rest back in the bag and put in the box to store. I baked in a 8 inch round. Just right for me and my hubby with enough to share with my parents. Enjoy!

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Ingredients:
Topping: 
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, in natural juice
Maraschino cherries, halved and drained or frozen raspberries (I don't like cherries)

Cake:
1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Yellow cake mix
1 package (4- serving size) vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water or drained pineapple juice
1/2 cup oil

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For cake: 
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and oil in large mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Then, for topping: melt butter in 13"x9"x2" pan in oven. Remove from oven.
Stir in brown sugar. Spread to cover bottom of pan.
Arrange pineapple slices, maraschino cherries-or raspberries (place upside down in center of pineapple slices)  in pan.
Pour batter evenly over fruit in pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Invert onto serving platter.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream YUM!

The sooner you invert the cake onto a serving plate, the less the pineapple slices will stick to the bottom of the pan.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My favorite 'Doctored" Cake Mix recipe

Ok, I have a confession to make... I usually don't make my cakes from scratch.... Yes, I do sometimes, I have a great carrot cake recipe, and a scratch chocolate cake recipe that turns out. BUT sometimes when making a cake, especially for stacked cakes, and vanilla cakes, sometimes they sink in the middle, sometimes they taste like pancakes rather than cake, and sometimes they squish because they are too soft and crumbly... SO!! I use cake mixes... But I doctor them up. I ran across this recipe when looking for a yummy lemon cake recipe. I can't remember where I found (Have tried to find since I made it but no luck)
The great thing about this recipe is you can use most any flavor of cake and pudding mix. And you can add a juice instead of water when making lemon or lime cake and sub any extract flavoring you desire! The possibilities are almost endless! With the cupcake shown above I made a vanilla cake and pudding mix, but added lime juice for the water and coconut milk rather than sour cream.
This cake is super moist but sturdy, holds up to stacking the layers and its just a yummy cake. Have fun with it and enjoy!

Di's favorite 'Doctored' Cake Mix Recipe
1 boxed cake mix (you decide the flavor)
1 small box instant pudding mix (you decide the flavor)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or like I said use lemon, lime, coconut or butter rum....etc)

 Preheat oven to 350 and prep your baking pans. I LOVE Wiltons Cake release and spread that on my pans and they pop right out after cooling.
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low until combined. Then turn up the speed and mix for another 1 to 2  minutes. If your batter is really thick (I find some chocolate mixes really thicken a lot with the pudding mix, add a little more water) You want it to be like a brownie batter or pourable but not too runny. When making lemon or key lime cake I added about 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 cup water.

Divide your cake batter into your baking pans--this makes two 8 or 9 inch round cakes. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Another good test is to slight press your finger in the middle and it should spring back when done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and finish cooling completely before icing.
 Hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Chicken Saltimbocca

I love watching the Food network... it inspires me for my weekend cooking. I saw this recipe on Trisha Yearwood's show and it looked yummy! Gave it a try and LOVED it. I did tweak it a bit from reading the review's it sounded like it needed a bit more seasoning.... so I added Garlic powder, and crushed Italian seasoning on the chicken and basil in the ricotta cheese. This was delicious... but next time i make it I might use a really thin sliced Black forest ham. The Prosciutto was good, but couldn't really taste it with the chicken and it's really expensive. But loved this and the sauce.
Enjoy!

Chicken Saltimbocca
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood

Ingredients:
4 medium chicken cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon or so Italian seasoning
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil, (I have said it before, I LOVE the tubes of chopped basil and other seasonings you find in the produce department at Walmart)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:
To prep, pound your chicken cutlets to about 1/2 inch or slightly thinner by placing in a zip loc baggie and pounding with a meat mallet. Also, chop your spinach. And I put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper and added one Tablespoon fresh basil, and stirred to combine.

Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled on garlic powder and then I crushed a pinch of Italian seasoning in between my fingers while sprinkling over the chicken. I did this on both sides of the chicken. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken, spread with some ricotta and top with some spinach.
 Roll up each cutlet and secure with a toothpick(—just a hint- DON’T use colored toothpicks! I did and had blue spots on my chicken). 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
While Chicken is cooking make your sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. The roux should have a wet sand consistency. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and whisk constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.


Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks and spoon over the pan sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup

I have been in a soup mood lately, and anything that's easy. I love cooking things in my crockpot so they are ready when I get home from work. I used frozen chicken breasts, for this recipe. I think they would be too done if not frozen the way I cooked it. I made this soup one day spur of the moment--just started it before leaving for work, shredded the chicken on my lunch break and added the rest of the ingredients, and it was ready when I got home. YUMMO!

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (use your favorite)
1 (14 oz ) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chile peppers
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the frozen chicken

Combine all of the ingredients in your crockpot, turn on hi and let cook for about 4 hours.
After 4 hours, shred the chicken best you can with 2 forks while still in the crock pot.
Then add the following:

1 can Hominy (yellow or white) or you can add regular yellow corn if you would rather
1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
Stir a little to combine the cream of chicken soup. Turn your crockpot on low and let simmer for another 3 to 4 hours.
Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and Fritos or crushed tortilla chips.
Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

It's been a blustery and chilly March this last week, and one rainy Monday I just needed some comfort food. I had been craving chicken and wild rice soup, so I just decided to make some. To make it easier and faster on myself, I bought a rotisserie chicken, and made the soup while the rice cooked. Remember, Wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly. This was so Yummy! I served mine with toasted slices of sour dough bread. Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
3/4 cup wild rice
1-1/2 cups water
dash of salt
Place rice and water with a dash of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; then stir and turn down the heat to a simmer, cover pot and let cook for 45 minutes or so until the rice is tender.
While your rice cooks prepare the rest of the soup.

1 cup diced Celery
1 cup diced Carrots
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon or so dried Thyme-you can use a sprig if you have fresh
1/4 teaspoon or so dried Rosemary-you can use a sprig if you have fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 to 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
olive oil
1 box Chicken broth (about 4 cups)
2 cups water
1-10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1-10 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and boned, chopped into bite size pieces

Heat about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot, add the celery, carrots, and onion; sauté for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers, minced garlic, thyme and rosemary and continue cooking for another  3 minutes. Remove from pot (i scoop out onto a big plate.)
Add another Tablespoon olive oil to the pot and add your sliced mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are browned and tender.
Add your veggie mixture back into the pot along with the chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer until veggies are tender and flavors combine. Taste at this point and add more salt and pepper if needed.
While your Veggies are cooking remove the skin and bones from your cooked chicken and chop into bite size pieces. When veggies are done ad the chopped chicken and both condensed soups to the pot; stir to combine and simmer for 10 more minutes.
When rice is done add to soup; stir to combine.
Serve with crispy croutons or toast and enjoy!