Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, or this is what Heaven tastes like...

There is Strawberry Shortcake as in the kind with the strawberries on biscuits with whipped cream slathered in the middle and on the top, or with the store-bought spongey cups; then there is Strawberry Shortcake like the kind my husband eats when he travels back to the East Coast and can find a Bonefish Grill. He says the shortcake is the perfect cross between a cake and a biscuit and not overly sweet or crumbly. When we read the recipe for Classic Strawberry Shortcake in a recent issue of our favorite magazine The Food Network Magazine, he said "This is it!"  He has a talent for determining if certain ingredients will make a successful recipe.  He's a Chemist and all that.  We made it two days later with Sunday dinner.  We used Cake Flour instead of AP flour, and the cake was soft and that amazing cross between a biscuit and sponge cake.  It wasn't overly sweet either.  We found luscious, ripe strawberries and mixed with the strawberry jelly (We're going to try Red Currant jelly too because we have some on  hand) and lemon zest and folded the strawberries with fresh whipped cream.  I imagine that this dessert is what Heaven tastes like, rich but not heavy, clean, luscious and just mind-blowingly delicious. I predict we will be making this many, many times in the future, a new family winner.


 

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

 Ingredients

For the cake:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 1/3 cups cake or self-rising flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the toppings and filling:

1 1/2 quarts strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon strawberry jelly
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch-round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Make the cake: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk the melted butter, vanilla, eggs, milk and lemon zest in a medium bowl until just smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out of the pan onto the rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the toppings and filling: Halve 16 strawberries. Whisk 1 tablespoon water and the strawberry jelly in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the halved strawberries and toss to coat; set aside. Thinly slice the remaining strawberries, then toss with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in another medium bowl; set aside. Beat the heavy cream, the remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream until ready to assemble.

Carefully cut the cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the bottom half cut-side up on a platter. Drizzle the juices from the sliced berries over the cut sides of both cake halves. Fold a few tablespoons of the whipped cream into the sliced berries; spoon over the bottom cake layer. Cover with the other cake layer, then top with the remaining whipped cream. Top with the halved strawberries and their juices.

Slightly adapted from www.foodnetwork.com.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Country Apple Dumplings

For whatever reason I seem to be apple dumpling deficient.  I love the dessert with vanilla ice cream, but I can never seem to get the crust to the correct consistency when baked around the apple filling.  I love this recipe because it simplifies the crust part.  While I was disappointed with the sogginess of the bottom of the crust, I would make this again with some tweaks.  I'd probably try sparkling white grape juice and a pre-made pie crust which is a little sturdier and will probably soak up the liquid better.  These dumplings were juicy and sweet and just scrumptiously yummy. 

Adapted from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough/ or you can use a pre-baked pie crust, thawed and cut into triangles to give you the same shape as the crescent roll dough.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour white grape juice over the dumplings.
  4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Green Chile Stew


















Adapted from: Food Network

Nothing says comfort to me like a big pot of steaming, savory stew. This stew inspired by New Mexico flavors tastes like the Southwest. It is hearty and warming and just spicy enough to get the blood stirring on a cold winter day. Just dip those soft tortillas into the bubbling stew and enjoy.  

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Olive oil
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, shredded
Kosher salt
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
1 can (4 oz) chopped Jalapeno peppers
4 dried anaheim peppers (crushed into the stew)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsps lime juice
1 (about 4 medium) pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
 2 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
Flour tortillas, warmed, for serving.

Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook the pork, rotating several times until browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, chile peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Return the pork to the pot along with the chicken broth and lime juice; cover and bring to a boil. Stir the stew and reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, covered, until the pork is tender, about 30 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a low boil. Add the potatoes, hominy and enough water to cover the pork and potatoes. Add half of the cilantro and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the stew is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining cilantro and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens, about 8-10 more minutes. Serve with flour tortillas.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Glazed Donut Muffins

Oh Morning Glory! I've been sitting on this recipe for nine or ten months now waiting for the perfect opportunity to see if the final product tasted as good as the recipe looked. It did not disappoint. I doubled the recipe to make 24 muffins and kept the glaze at a single serving. It worked just fine. The texture of the muffins resembled--well--muffins, but the nutmeg and cinnamon also gave the muffins the taste of a spice doughnut. I will probably reduce the flour to 2 1/3 cups (If making the single batch)just to see what will happen the next time. The batter is sticky so make sure to lightly spray the muffin tins or cupcake liners with non-stick spray. Now onto my neighbor's baby shower...

















Recipe link for glazed doughnut muffins from MyBakingAddiction.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crispy Honey Chicken

I am always a sucker for a good Chinese dish, and when I saw the photo for this dish on The Crepes of Wrath, I knew I had to try it. This recipe did not disappoint. I used chicken thighs instead of breast meat because I love chicken thighs. I also recommend using peanut oil to fry the chicken instead of regular vegetable oil. The chicken was crispier and more golden. The Sriracha really made this dish something extraordinary, giving the sauce just enough of a bite. If you wanted to make it extra spicy, you could of course use more than 1 Tbs. Sriracha chili-garlic sauce is quickly becoming one of my pantry staples. It spices up eggs, meat, and even potatoes. This dish is restaurant-worthy and oh so yummy! My four-year old stood over my shoulder as I was cooking, asking me every few minutes when I would be done so he could eat it all up. Bon appetit and Happy Fall!
Adapted from www.crepesofwrath.net.


Directions:
For the chicken:
2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used thighs.)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Peanut oil for frying, enough to fill a pot or wok with 1 inch of oil (make sure you have at least a 48 ounce bottle of oil to work with)

For the sauce:
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 onion, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin-spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

After a hiatus to deal with the craziness of life, I feel like I can take a deep breath and enjoy fall which has really yet to descend on my part of the country. One of my best friends Kirsten and I just nearly missed being selected to participate on Food Network's show Cupcake Wars. She is the brilliant mind behind Hot Mommy's Cupcakes of Pleasant Grove, Utah, and I love her so much. In any case, she has inspired me with her cupcake intensity and madness, so I present my latest creation, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin-spiced cream cheese frosting. The cupcakes could be eaten like muffins. My toddler ate six without the frosting of course, but it is the frosting that makes these beauties so special. If you like pumpkin, these cupcakes are for you. And even if you don't like pumpkin, you just might be converted. They contain no eggs or oil; the pumpkin puree provides all the moisture necessary. They remind me of all the comforting flavors and feelings of fall. Bon appetit!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin-spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Pumpkin Cupcakes (no frosting):
Ingredients:
• 18.25 oz Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix
• 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
• 1 cup water
For the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:
• 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
• 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 5 tbsp packed brown sugar
• Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers. Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. You can use a spatula to ice the cupcakes or pipe them which may require making more frosting.
Makes 24.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken

This recipe comes courtesy of Tasty Kitchen, a website from PW herself whom I adore. I think Pioneer Woman is brilliant, and she's building an empire. I was a little hesitant about the sweetness of the sauce because my husband is not a fan of sweet in general. However he loved the savory BBQ sauce combined with just enough pineapple juice for a festive kick. You could even add a dash of Sriracha for added heat. The chicken was fabulous. You can just throw the chicken into the crock pot frozen, but I thawed it first. Frozen chicken tends to make the sauce wetter. I used chicken breasts because I had them on hand, but the next time I make this, I am going to try chicken thighs. Oh for the love of dark meat...I recommend a thick bun though as the chicken was saucy and messy. This would be perfect for a summer BBQ for family get-together. Happy summer!

Ingredients:
3 pounds Boneless Chicken Breast, Thighs Or A Combo Of The Two
1 whole Onion (large), Sliced Into Chunks
1 can (20 Oz. Size) Pineapple, I Recommend Nibblits Or Crushed, Drained But Reserve The Juice If Using (See Note Below)
1 bottle (18 To 20 Oz. Size) BBQ Sauce Of Your Choice (I used KC Masterpiece Original)
Thick Hamburger Buns Or Kaiser Rolls
Dash Sriracha hot chili-garlic sauce


Note: If you want a sweeter BBQ, add up to half a cup of the pineapple juice you drained, depending on how sweet you want it. This is optional. The sauce is great without the pineapple sauce too. If you want a tangier sauce, choose a BBQ sauce base that is more vinegary.



Directions:
Place your chicken in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with onions, then pineapple. Pour the entire bottle of BBQ sauce over the whole thing. Turn your crock pot on LOW and cook for about 8 hours. An hour or two before it is finished cooking, carefully remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred it. Place chicken back in the crock pot and stir well to combine with the sauce. Finish cooking an additional hour or two so the chicken can absorb most of the sauce. Serve on hamburger buns. This chicken goes great with coleslaw or a corn salad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mmmmmmm...bacon!

I'm not posting a recipe per se, but I did want to celebrate the "chocolate of meats" namely bacon. I am not talking about the kind you would normally buy in a grocery store although it is worthy in a pinch. I am talking about the brown sugar-cured tender slices of melting pork belly that comes from the Berkshire hogs. This bacon melts on your tongue, and once you've experienced it, eating any other kind will never completely satisfy again. I relate it to my experience in Belgium in 2001 where I taught at a language school for a summer. While I was there, I was able to visit the Galler Chocolate Company outside of Liege. I ate a praline (milk chocolate mixed with hazelnuts) that blew my young brain. Galler Chocolate turned me onto dark chocolate. After tasting, I knew I'd never be totally satisfied with a plain old Snickers ever again. I'd been to Paris (literally) on that trip and sampled some of Europe's best chocolate. I can't go back now. We recently bought 1/2 of a Berkshire hog from a friend who lives in Vernon. He raises the hogs humanely, and you have to get on his wait list months in advance. He's been attracting statewide attention here in Utah, and even the chefs from Viking appliances have paid a visit. I feel lucky and blessed to know the man who can provide such amazing pig. All we've sampled so far is the brown sugar-cured bacon, but it melted on the tongue, and I could taste the brown sugar glaze lingering well after meat was gone. That one slice of bacon was sublime. I am so grateful for taste buds today.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Raspberry Walnut Torte a la Mama B

I owe this recipe to my mother-in-law (Mama B). When her children were growing up and out of the house, she compiled a brilliant collection of family favorite recipes and had them spiral bound. We use her cookbook a lot, maybe more than we use any other cookbook we own which is saying a lot because we have a lot of cookbooks. Anyway she made the Raspberry Walnut Torte for the family at Christmas Eve, and I'll admit that I obsess over its sweet, tart raspberry goodness. It doesn't even contain chocolate, but I love this dessert that much. I think the recipe is pretty close to perfect. I think I could maybe up the ante a smidge by drizzling some high-quality dark chocolate over the finished product. You must eat this dessert with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and doused in raspberry sauce. Please note that raspberries are the perfect berries for this dessert. You can substitute blackberries, blueberries, or cherries, but it is not the same. Stick with raspberries if you can.

Thank you Mama B for sharing this recipe with me. Bon appetit!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 10-oz packages frozen red raspberries, thawed
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Raspberry Sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 1 cup of the flour flour, powdered sugar, and butter in a medium to large bowl. Blend with well with immersion or stand mixer. Press batter into bottom of greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Drain raspberries and reserve the liquid. Spoon berries over cooled crust. Sprinkle with nuts. Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add the salt, baking powder, remaining 1/4-cup flour. Blend. Pour over raspberries and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Top with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce
Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs corn starch
Reserved raspberry juice

Mix everything except lemon juice. Cook over medium heat in a medium-sized sauce pan, stirring constantly until thickened. Add lemon juice. Stir. Pour over the Raspberry Walnut Torte.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


This is a very, very late Valentine's Day Post. My family did celebrate La Fete D'Amour also known as Valentine's Day in our usual, casual fashion. I loved reading other blogs about the cupcakes and cake pops and cheesecakes and pies, oh my...I decided to try something a little different this year and leaned on my wonderful Food Network magazine for a recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie pies. Why? Because my 3-year old son loved the idea, and they are red. Red is his favorite color, so any food that is red is ok by him. Since I followed the recipe verbatim from Foot Network, I am including the link below. Plus I have a photo too. I really want to work on my photography skills now that I have an uber-cool camera. Hey...I feel like I've joined the big leagues. I love my camera. I hope someday to take photos as well as other bloggers I admire. I loved the whoopie pies. The cookie (or cake) was moist and rich and chocolatey, and the cream cheese filling was to die for. I think the only addition I would make is to add a little red sparkle to the frosting for bling factor. The batch disappeared in a day. Happy late Valentine's Day, and now for corned beef and cabbage and St. Paddy's Day.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from Food Network

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Memphis Style BBQ Mac and Cheese

So you're probably looking at the title of this post and thinking "What in the world?" Do mac and cheese and BBQ go together. I saw this recipe by Gina and Pat Neely of the adorable Food Network Neely's listed in a Kraft Food & Family email recently and thought maybe I would break out of the box and try something radically different. If you want to shortcut, the original recipe calls for a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner. I thought I'd try to up the stakes and make Paula Deen's Easy, Creamy Mac and Cheese and then add the rest into the slow cooker. It turned out amazingly good. Sometimes it is worth it to take a risk and try something new. All my boys (husband included) loved it.

Adapted from Gina and Pat Neely and Kraft Kitchens

Ingredients:
1 Recipe for Paula Deen's Creamy Mac and Cheese
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup BULL'S-EYE Memphis Style Barbecue Sauce
4 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 green onion, sliced

Direction:
Make the macaroni and cheese per Paula Deen's recipe Meanwhile, brown meat with onions and garlic in large skillet; drain. ADD meat mixture, barbecue sauce, 2 slices of bacon, and stir. Cook 2 to 3 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
TOP with bacon and onions. Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Egg Casserole with Green Chiles

Happy New Year! I saw this recipe on Kitchenelly's food blog and thought "Wow! A Tamale Casserole! I am so there!" This casserole really does taste like a layered tamale. The cornbread is very toothy, and I would recommend using Kitchenelly's recipe. I think it works well. I am just not patient enough to let the cornbread sit and dry out for the night, so I just put the warm cornbread in the pan and layered everything else on top. I will be making this again, and I think adding a layer of green salsa over the sausage and chiles or cooking the sausage in the salsa and then layering the chiles would give the dish a little extra zing. I did get my very first SLR camera from Santa for Christmas, so I am going to learn how to take really great foodie photos too. Stay tuned. Included here is a recipe for the cornbread, but cornbread stuffing will work as a substitute.

For the cornbread:
1 3/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter, plus butter for the baking pan
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

For the egg casserole:
Butter for the baking dish
1 pound pork sausage (I used the "hot" kind), casing removed
8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (1/2 pint)
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 8 ounces
4 cups crumbled cornbread
7 ounce can green chilies, in strips

For the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a small baking dish, approximately 7- by 10-inch. Mix together the cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a measuring cup, melt the butter and whisk in the egg. Add the milk and beat. Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.
Pour into the baking dish and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool slightly, and crumble the cornbread into bite-sized pieces.

For the casserole: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter a large baking dish, approximately 9- by 13-inch. Brown the sausage until deeply colored.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, milk and salt until well-blended. Mix in half of the shredded cheese. Layer the crumbled cornbread in the bottom of the butter dish. On top of that distribute the cooked sausage and the chiles.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole. Bake the casserole in the preheated 325°F oven for 45 minutes, or until puffy and brown on top. Serve with sour cream and salsa, if you wish. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the winner is....Thai Lime Coconut Thumprints!

We first discovered these cookies in a Wisconsin Butter ad insert in our December Gourmet issue five years ago. We made a batch, thinking "OK, could be good or could be weird." My husband ate the first batch all by himself. He took another batch into work, and a coworker asked my husband "Why do you hate me?" after eating his seventh or eighth cookie. They are hands down our favorite Christmas cookie. I've already posted the recipe as Thai Lime Coconut Snowballs, but this year, my husband (the brilliant man he is) wondered what would happen if we made the cookies as thumbprints instead of snowballs and made the powdered sugar topping into a key lime curd instead. Someone is probably shouting "Stop!" right now. They are over-the-top delicious. In the words of Guy Fieri, these Thai Lime Coconut Thumbprints have "taken a trip straight to Flavortown". The curd is intense and creamy, and the buttery cookie melts in your mouth. So take a trip with me to Flavortown. If you make a new cookie this season, do this one. You will not be sorry.

Ingredients:
For cookies:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp pure lime oil or 2 Tbs fresh lime juice (I really like key lime juice here)
1 1/2 tsps finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded coconut

For topping:
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 Tbs cornstarch

Directions:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add lime oil (or juice) and beat until combined. Gently fold in zest, salt, flour and coconut until well-combined. Lightly flour hands and roll dough into 1-inch ball. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until puffy and bottoms are just golden, about 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. While cookies are still warm, press a shallow indentation into each cookie for the curd. Let cookies cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

For the filling, combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir frequently. After about 5 minutes, add the cornstarch and stir on low heat until the filling begins to thicken. When the filling reaches curd consistency, take off heat and let cool completely. Add dollops of filling to the thumbprints in the cookies. Please enjoy!

Almond Joy Balls (Cookie #2)

If you like Almond Joy candy bars, you will love these candies. They are little round bundles of coconut goodness surrounded by dark chocolate. Oh yummmmmm! I don't remember when my mother started making these, but I can't remember too many Christmases without them. I love making these darlings too because you have to work with your hands. Once you've made the filling, you have to be patient and let the filling cool enough to dip in the chocolate. This recipe makes about 75 balls. We are usually still eating them in June because they freeze so well. Don't be intimidated either; they are very easy to make. Merry Christmas!

INGREDIENTS
2 (16-ounce) boxes confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 (14-ounce) package shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
1 (12-ounce) package good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli)

DIRECTIONS

1. Cream together sugar and butter in a bowl; add milk. Stir in almond extract, coconut, and nuts; mix well. Form candy into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Melt chocolate chips in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring well. Remove from heat. (If chocolate becomes too thick, return to heat for a minute or so to thin). With a toothpick, dip each ball in chocolate and place on waxed paper until set.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kekalies (Cookie #3)

My Grandma made these at Christmas time from before I can remember. Kekalies are a traditional German cookie that is shaped into a triangle, deep-fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are very similar to the French Rosette but without the necessity of the Rosette iron. In any case, I cannot recall a Christmas from my youth without remembering Grandma's kekalies. My mom still makes them each year, and I probably will as well. They are such a unique treat, very airy and sweet. Below is what we think is my Grandma's recipe. She never used written recipes, so we've tried to recreate it by taste.

Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

Directions:
Beat eggs, add dry ingredients. Roll the dough out thin (1/4") and cut into any shape (Grandma did triangles). Fry the triangles in hot oil until golden brown. Remove and place on paper towel to soak up grease and roll in powdered sugar.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cornflake Christmas Wreath Cookies (Cookie #4)

These Christmas Wreath cookies bring out my inner child. I remember being a young girl and helping my mom put the red hots on the pretty green wreaths once they had cooled and eating a lot of the candies too. These cookies look so impressive, and yet they require no baking and are simple enough for a preschooler to help make. You basically follow the steps for making Rice Krispie treats except with Cornflakes instead. The red hots and silver dragees make the wreaths look eminently festive. The cookies taste as great as they look especially if you like rice krispie treats. I love the crunch of the cornflakes.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp green food color
4 cups corn flakes
red hot candies
silver dragées (the little silver candies sold in the cake/cookie decoration aisle)

Directions:
Melt butter, add marshmallows, stirring until all marshmallows are melted. Add extracts and food coloring; stir until it is a uniform green color. When mixture is smooth, add corn flakes; mix well but gently so as not to crush the cornflakes. Form into 3" wreath shapes on sheets of waxed paper, decorate with red cinnamon candies and silver dragées. Let cool.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dark Chocolate Truffles (Cookie #5)

I love chocolate, and Ghiradelli's Dark Chocolate Truffles are divine. I think anytime you combine heavy cream and chocolate, the result is going to be great. After these little nuggets from heaven have cooled, I dip them in a little cocoa powder (Use Sharffenberger if you can get it). I prefer simplicity although you can roll the truffles in chopped nuts, toffee bits, etc. The recipe is actually simple, and truffles are not difficult to make. You just need to be patient and let them cool enough to handle. Oh and when you're rolling the truffles, be prepared to get messy. I rub just a bit of butter on my hands to keep the chocolate from sticking to my fingers. I just end up licking the chocolate off my hands, but I do want to have enough truffle mix left to make some truffles. The point is to give them away, right? Right...Happy Holidays! Bon appetit!

Yield: 30 Truffles
Ingredients:
* 2 cup(s) Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghiradelli or Guittard here because of how well they melt.)
* 1/3 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa powder (Try to get Sharffenberger if you can.)
* 1/3 cup(s) heavy whipping cream
* 6 tablespoon(s) butter, cut into small pieces


Directions
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl.

Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours. Be patient here please.

Using your hands (you can rub a little butter on them) (If you prefer not to use your hands, then use a small spoon or melon baller), roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the cocoa. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Note: The Unsweetened Cocoa can be replaced with 3/4 cup of chopped almonds or pecans.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Linzer Torte Bars (Cookie #6)

Mmmmmmm Linzer Bars! Ok enough said...I am proudly all German on my mother's side, so of course we made a lot of traditional German cookie recipes while I was growing like Springerle cookies and Lebkucken. Linzer torte is actually an Austrian specialty (I believe). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I've made these delicious linzer torte bars, and they are amazing. I've used both raspberry and strawberry preserves, but you can use apricot, marmalade, cherry, blackberry or whatever other flavor suits your mood. I've often thought of trying Hazelnut spread like Nutella in these bars too. Hmmmm...could be great...I am particularly fond of raspberry linzer bars myself, and when they are cut into neat diamonds and setting on a nice plate, they look so lovely. I know you'll love these. If you live in a higher altitude, please pay attention to the baking time. It does make a difference here. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups powdered sugar
3 cups finely ground walnuts
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I like Saigon cinnamon)
2 cups raspberry, strawberry apricot, cherry, or blackberry preserves
Additional powdered sugar, if desired

1.Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together all ingredients except preserves and additional powdered sugar with spoon until crumbly. Reserve 2 cups of the mixture for topping; press remaining mixture in bottom of ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan.

2.Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Spread with preserves. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture; press gently into preserves.

3.Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. For bars, cut into 12 rows by 6 rows. In high altitudes, make sure to increase bake time in step 3 to 25 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cherry Winks (Cookie #7)

Here we have another cookie classic. Pretty,festive, delightful cherry winks! Just looking at these cookies after they've cooled makes me happy. Something about their wreathlike shape with the bright cherry in the middle makes me think "Alright! Christmas!". They're the perfect bite size too. I remember my Grandma making them at Christmas time. The recipe appears on almost every food website from allrecipes.com to pillsbury.com. This recipe came from my mother. I love the crunch of the cornflakes which makes this cookie unique. Don't let the addition of the dates be off-putting either. These cookies are just great.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries, patted dry with paper towels
1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed corn flakes cereal
15 maraschino cherries, quartered

DIRECTIONS:
In large bowl, beat sugar and shortening with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Beat in milk, vanilla and eggs. On low speed, beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough forms. Stir in pecans, dates and 1/3 cup chopped cherries. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes for easier handling.

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into cereal; coat thoroughly. Shape into balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Lightly press maraschino cherry quarter into top of each ball.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chocolate Mint Brownies (Cookie #8)

Everybody loves brownies. Here is a Holiday twist on a beloved tradition. The magic about these cookie/bars is in the mint filling. It's creamy and rich and melts in your mouth. Mint reminds me of the Holidays from the grasshopper milkshakes my mom still makes on New Year's Eve to the Andes chocolate mints that seem to pop up at every party and get-together. Plus the brownie base is very chocolately and a perfect foil for the creamy mint filling. The topping is ganache like, and I've used the bags of Andes chocolate mints if you can't find mint chocolate chips. These brownies look so pretty cut into small diamonds or squares and placed on a nice plate or in a gift bag. They make great homemade gifts. Bon appetit

Directions:

For the base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate-flavored syrup
1 cup granulated sugar

For the filling:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
3 drops green food coloring

For the topping:
1 (10-ounce) package mint chocolate chips or Andes chocolate mints
9 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 1 Tbs)

To make the base:
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Combine the ingredients for the base in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes (top of brownies will still appear wet). Cool completely.

To make the filling:
Combine filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; beat until creamy. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.

To make the topping:
Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat in a small saucepan (then add mint extract, if using). Let cool for 30 minutes or until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Spread over filling. Chill before cutting. Store in the
refrigerator.


Servings: 60

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pumpkin Raisin Bars (Cookie #9)

Like Magic cookie bars, these bars are not technically cookies, but they are so moist and tasty and so very pretty. I'm sure they are right up there with Santa's favorite cookies. Plus who can resist a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. An old roommate of mine found this recipe about a decade ago, and I have been making them ever since. I've found you can substitute carrots for the raisins and make them into carrot cake bars too. They tend to be a bit drier though. I will have to experiment with measurements et al. Pumpkin raisin bars are the perfect after-dinner munchie to share with your sweetie while sitting by the fire and sipping hot cider or a cup of cocoa and enjoy the snow.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs at room temperature
1 (15-oz.) can (2 cups) pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I like pecans here.)
1/2 cup Raisins

Frosting:
1/3 cup softened butter
1 (3-oz.) package softened cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

HEAT oven to 350 F.
GREASE 13x9 baking pan.
COMBINE all bar ingredients, except nuts and raisins, in a large bowl.
BEAT at low speed until moistened.
BEAT 2 minutes at medium speed.
STIR in nuts and raisins.
POUR into greased pan.
BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
COOL completely. If the bars are not completely cool, the frosting will melt into a gooey mess on top.
SPREAD cream cheese frosting over bars and store in refrigerator.

Frosting:
COMBINE all frosting ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth.
SPREAD frosting on cooled bars and refrigerate.

Makes 24 to 48 bars depending on how big or small you cut the squares.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Magic Cookie Bars (Cookie #10)

Beware...Magic cookie bars are addictive. They are a specialty of my stepmother'ts. She always makes them when we visit, and we will do just about anything for a taste of their decadent deliciousness. While technically a bar and not a cookie we will include them here because they make Christmas magical. They are several layers of rich, chocolatey, coconutty, graham cracker-sweet induldence. As an alternative to the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate morsels, you can substitute 1 cup of butterscotch chips or 1 cup toffee chips/crumbles. I highly recommend using butter instead of margarine here, and go for pecans for the nuts although walnuts will work too.

Adapted from Eagle Brand

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips(or 1 cup , 1 cup butterscotch etc)
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (I recommend pecans)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for a glass dish). Coat a 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray or butter.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
3. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature if they last until room temperature.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cakes (Cookie #11)

These delightful little mouthfuls go by many names (for example, Russian Tea Cakes pr Snowballs). I have loved these cookies for a long, long time. They are a family favorite. The Betty Crocker recipe is pretty much perfect. I like to fold the cookie dough around a Hershey's Milk Chocolate caramel Kiss or just a plan Milk Chocolate Kiss to make a treasure in the middle. You can also use peppermint extract in the dough and roll the warm cookies in crushed candy canes to make a pepper mint cookie too. Yummy, yummy, yummy! Ho! Ho! Ho! Once you pop one of these cookies in your mouth, you can't stop.

Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar, the butter and vanilla. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Roll in additional powdered sugar while warm. Cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Makes 6 dozen cookies

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Cookies are here!

Christmas time is here. It's the most wonderful time of the year! I see that many of my food blogger heroes are posting their favorite cookie recipes, so I thought I would get in the game and count down my twelve favorite (because of the 12 Days of Christmas, don't you know?) to my favorite recipes. So here we go with #12...

Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms
These cookies are classic. Peanut buttery cookies with a Hershey's kiss in the middle for good luck and yumminess. My mom made these cookies a lot during Christmas time when I was growing up, and now they are on my go-to list for cookie exchanges and parties. Plus they are smaller, so little hands can grab them and go.

Ingredients:
* 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
* 1/2 cup butter
* 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (My family likes Skippy.)
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Granulated sugar

Directions:
Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Greatest Turkey Ever? We'll see, Alton Brown.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am in charge of Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in my entire life. I guess it's about time. I feel up to the challenge. I've got the menu set and am ready to go. I love Food Network magazine and upon seeing Alton's Brown Greatest Turkey ever, I knew I was going to try his recipe. I have never brined anything in my life, but Mr. DWD, my hubby, has; therefore, he is in charge of the brining. I am so excited to see how moist and juicy my bird turns out. I'm attaching the link to Mr. Brown's recipe. For those of you who've tried the recipe or will try it, let me know what you think. I'll post some of my go-to pie recipes tomorrow including my delicious maple-pecan pie, and you've already seen the classic key lime. Until then, may everyone have a warm, loving home and family or friends with which to enjoy your turkey dinner.
God bless us one and all!
Here's the link:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Copykat Bajio Chicken

Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

I love Bajio Restaurant Chain in Utah. Their Green Chile Chicken Salad tops my favorite salads list, so when I saw this recipe for Bajio chicken, I had to try it. This chicken is actually pretty close. I added ½ of a sweet yellow onion that I had browned quickly in a skillet with olive oil. I think next time I might add the green chiles to the onions before tossing into the crockpot. The chicken came out very sweet. If you want to cut down on the sweetness, you can probably leave out the brown sugar. The chicken was so tender that it fell off the fork. The recipe makes a huge batch, so I made tacos and had leftovers that I used on top of salad the day after. My family loved this one. Winner Winner Bajio Dinner!

5 chicken breasts
1/2 cup chunky mild salsa like Pace
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 cup brown sugar (more to taste, I added at least an extra 1/8 cup)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
6 oz. Sprite (1/2 can)
½ sweet yellow onion diced finely and browned lightly in a skillet with ½ tbs olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and cook 1 more hour. Thicken the juices with a little cornstarch mixed in water.
Serve with flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, black beans and any other taco fixings. If you want it spicier rather than sweeter add a hotter salsa and more green chilies.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Adapted from Picky Palate
I saw this recipe on Picky Palate.com and knew I would try it. It’s such a refreshing and yummy take on the traditional chocolate chip cookie. Not that there is anything wrong with the good, old chocolate chip cookie. The addition of the caramel sauce and sea salt along with the milk and dark chocolates turned this cookie into a monster hit in our family. The batch didn’t survive two days.
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
1/4 Cup caramel sauce; I used Smucker’s.
3 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups chopped good quality chocolate (I used Nestle’s dark chocolate chunks.)
About 1 ½ TBS Kosher sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla following the caramel sauce until well combined.
2. Place the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl; mix. Slowly add to wet ingredients then the chocolate chips. Fold in chocolate chunks. Sprinkle kosher sea salt onto dough and mix in lightly with hands.
3. Roll dough into small balls (as you would with chocolate chip cookies) and arrange on a cookie sheet approximately three to a row. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden around edges. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. A batch made 36 cookies. Serve with milk!!

B-b-b-banana Beignets

I realize it’s been awhile since my last post. Life sometimes gets in the way of the blogosphere. My kids and husband do need me too. What can I say about these delightful bites of heavenly banana lightness? OH WOW! I could have eaten the entire batch. I would probably be feeling really sick today, but I would have enjoyed myself. It was love at first bite. I was so impressed at how fluffy these morsels are. I didn’t even use the powdered sugar. I just shook the beignets with the cinnamon sugar mixture in a brown paper bag after I had fried the beignets. I felt a little intimidated as I started making the dough for the beignets, but this recipe is easy. Just make sure you use the three separate bowls. You must use cake flour too. All-purpose flour will produce a much heavier beignet. For me, the magic of these beignets comes from their light texture, and that comes from the cake flour. I also used the banana extract. It cost me $5 for a small bottle at the grocery store, but the extract gives the beignets that extra banana kick. I used a plastic tablespoon to scoop the dough into the hot oil, but you might want to use a metal ice cream scoop if you have one. It might be less messy. I found I dribbled a lot of extra dough even though the beignets still looked pretty. I will make banana beignets over and over and over again in the years to come now that I know how.

Banana Beignets
Adapted from 3 B’s…Baseball, Baking, & Books from the Food Network

Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying*
• 1 1/2 cups cake flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 overripe banana)
• 1/4 teaspoon banana extract (optional, but use it if you have it! :)
Directions:
1. Heat about 2 inches vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. *
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the egg, milk, mashed banana and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in another bowl. Add the banana extract, if desired.
4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside.
5. Whisk the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened.
6. Working in batches, drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 15 seconds per side.
7. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and then roll in the cinnamon sugar while still warm. Or place in a brown paper bag, add some of the cinnamon sugar mixture and then shake it up.
8. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Insane Oven Beef Ribs or Dinner Caveman Style

Harris Teeter's (our local grocer) had these amazing beef ribs on sale a couple of weeks ago, and I knew I had to get some. We don't currently have a grill, so I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and juiced it up a little. These ribs were like dinosaur bones and didn't disappoint. Oh my goodness...The smell that emanated from my kitchen was to die for. I did forget trim the fat from the bottom of the ribs. They were a little too greasy. They were yummy! My boys loved chewing on the bones too.

INGREDIENTS:
3 pounds beef short ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs curry powder
Dash Sriracha hot sauce or other chili-garlic hot sauce

DIRECTIONS:
1. Trim the fat from the bottom of the ribs. Place the ribs in a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, flour, brown sugar, garlic curry powder, and Sriracha.
3. Drain the ribs, and coat generously with the sauce. Arrange them on a baking sheet.
4. Roast for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until fork tender. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the ribs about halfway through.

Strawberry Apple Pie

Back in August, I had a slice of Strawberry Apple Pie from Betty Pie's just north of Duluth, Minnesota. I had seen Betty's featured on The Food Network, and her pie did not disappoint. I loved the juicy sweetness of the strawberries combined with the tart yumminess of the Granny Smith apples. I could only find one recipe with which to work as I had to try to make this pie on my own. It wasn't Betty's, but it was tasty. You can probably use frozen strawberries, but I'd wait until next spring when the fresh strawberries come into season again. You MUST use Granny Smith apples too. Betty's pie had a streusel crust. I cheated and used a pre-baked pie crust. Allrecipes.com has a couple of nice streusel crust recipes you can try. I think I'll do the streusel crust next time. Oh and don't forget the vanilla ice cream.
Bon Appetit!

From www.Taste of Home.com

INGREDIENTS:
• 3 1/2c thinly sliced peeled granny smith apples(about 3 med )
• 1 1/4c sliced fresh strawberries
• 1 Tbs lemon juice
• 1/2c sugar
• 3 to 4 Tbs flour
• 1 pkg ready made crust
DIRECTIONS
1. In a large bowl combine the apples and strawberries, drizzle with lemon juice.
2. Combine sugar and flour,sprinkle over the fruit and toss.Pour filling into the pie crust and top with another crust.Brush a little milk over the crust and sprinkle with sugar.
3. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes.
4. This pie is great with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream

Monday, September 6, 2010

Crockpot Mongolian Beef


Adapted from www.crockpot365.blogspot.com.

If you are a fan of Asian flavors, then you will like this recipe. It is easy to make and tastes fantastic over rice or thin Chinese egg noodles. I also love that this recipe uses beef and doesn't sit in your stomach like a ball of lead. You can use more red pepper flakes to make the recipe spicier. I like this one mild. Bon appetit!

Ingredients:
--1 1/2 pounds flank steak
--3 cloves of garlic, minced
--4 sliced green onions--one is for garnish
--1/2 fresh onion, diced very small)
--1/2 cup soy sauce
--1/4 cup cooking sherry (or thinned out Hoisin sauce)
--1/2 T white wine vinegar (optional--I forgot to add it!)
--1 t sesame oil
--1 t molasses (or black bean paste - the taste will be different)
--1 t ginger
--1/4 t black pepper
--1/2 t red chili pepper flakes
--1/2 T peanut butter (if allergic, use black bean paste)
--3 T brown sugar
--1/4 cup cornstarch (to dredge meat--don't add to sauce mixture)

Directions:
1) Slice your meat in thin strips and toss in a Ziploc bag with cornstarch.
2) Add all of the liquid and dried spices to your crockpot, and the peanut butter, and mix well. Add the garlic and three of the sliced green onions. If you are using fresh onion, add that now, too.
3) Put your meat on top, and toss gingerly to coat.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Flank steak is thin and have very little fat, and will cook quickly. There isn't a lot of liquid in this dish, so if your crock tends to cook hot, please check it after 3 hours.
The meat is done when it is no longer pink and has reached desired tenderness. I cooked our meat in a 6qt oval Smart Pot and it was done after 4 hours on low.
Serve over steamed or fried rice, and garnish with freshly sliced green onion.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Cobbler


Adapted from Eagle Brand at allrecipes.com

I knew I wanted to try this recipe from the moment I spotted it on allrecipes.com. I was a little leery of using sweetened condensed milk, but the saltiness of the Bisquick combined perfectly and not sweetly with the sweetened condensed milk. It liked the fact the cobbler did not have a cakey texture but was similar to a crumble. I would recommend vanilla ice cream. Now about the sauce...I am going to bottle the sauce and give it as Christmas presents this year. Totally addictive stuff.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients:
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND®
Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 cup cold butter or margarine
2 cups biscuit baking mix, divided
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

Blueberry Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1 pint blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In bowl, combine blueberries, sweetened condensed milk and lemon peel.
2. In large bowl, cut 3/4 cup butter into 1 1/2 cups biscuit mix until crumbly; stir in blueberry mixture. Spread in greased 9-inch square baking pan.
3. In small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup biscuit mix and brown sugar; cut in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until crumbly. Add nuts. Sprinkle over cobbler.
4. Bake 65 to 70 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and Blueberry Sauce. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Blueberry Sauce: In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add water. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in blueberries; cook and stir until hot.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Golden Pineapple Fried Rice

Adapted from Bread & Honey
This recipe is a refreshing, surprising twist on your typical fried rice. I loved the brightness the pineapple added to the dish. I omitted the peas because my husband hates them. Definitely use Jasmine rice although if you don’t have it on hand, you can use regular long grain white rice. The original recipe called for Tamari too, but I used soy sauce. If you don’t have a wok, you can probably use a large sauté pan like the Calphalon we have and love. A caution…this recipe is a little labor intensive. I had a lot of pots and pans going all at once. Maybe that’s my fault for not being so organized. However I’ll bet it would be fun to cook this “avec famille” or with your significant other. It’s really yummy. Bon appétit!

Ingredients:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1 cup of peas (we used frozen)
2 eggs, scrambled
1 handful of chopped cilantro
2 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 to 1 lb. shrimp (or chicken or pork)
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. Hot Madras curry powder (McCormick’s)

Directions:
1. Cook shrimp, set aside.

2. Cook scrambled eggs, set aside.

3. Cook onion, carrot, pea, garlic, & pineapple chunks, set aside.

4. Fry rice for 1 minute

5. Add the veggies back in.

6. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, and curry powder.

7. Add meat, egg, & cilantro

8. Garnish with cashews, green onion, & cilantro.


**Add oil as needed for each ingredient.