Friday, December 12, 2008

Frosted Ginger Cookies

These cookies are YUMMY!! They also make your home smell so good!

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg
3 Tbsp molasses
2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each salt, ground cloves and ground nutmeg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup granulated sugar with butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and molasses.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to the butter mixture and blend well.
Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Break off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into balls; roll balls in sugar. Arrange on greased cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks.
Meanwhile, make glaze: Combine powdered sugar with 1 Tbsp water and stir until smooth, then stir in lemon juice. Drizzle glaze over cookies

Makes 40 c00kies

Pumpkin Apple Dip

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Apple slices

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, brown sugar and pumpkin with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add cinnamon, and beat until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hr. Serve with apple slices.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baked Apples with Cranberries

1 bag of cranberries (about 2 cups)
3-4 firm apples, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups). I used two Granny Smith's and two Braeburns
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
2 pkgs Instant Cinnamon & Spice Oatmeal (I did not want to buy this so I just put in about 1 - 1 1/2 cups Oatmeal and sprinkled in cinnamon and a little extra sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix the cranberries and apples together with 2 Tbsp flour. In a second bowl mix sugar, oatmeal, brown sugar, and flour together. Combine fruit mixture with dry mixture. Put in a 9X13 baking dish. Pour melted butter over the top. Sprinkle nuts on top. Bake 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Top with whipping cream or ice cream.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins

I LOVE anything with pumpkin in it. So I was really excited to try these muffins and they were fabulous!!

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**3 tablespoons sugar

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs in another bowl and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.
**Tip: if you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together and woila! - you have the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (and it is much cheaper than buying it premade).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chef Jack's Corn Chowder

I got this recipe off of Paula Deen's website - so it is in no way lowfat. I did try to cut a few calories and it was still really good.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 small onion, diced
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups white corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

**I only used 1 stick of butter, instead of the two. I also just used skim milk instead of the half-and-half. I also added 2 finely cut potatoes.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until the roux is lightly browned, set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the corn (and potatoes) and chicken stock in another saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the boiling stock with the corn (a little at a time) into a saucepan with the roux, whisking briskly so it doesn't lump. Return the skillet to the heat and bring to a boil. The mixture should become very thick.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the half-and-half (or skim milk), stir it into the thick corn mixture. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Just before serving, cut the reamining stick of butter into large chunks. Add it to enrich the soup, stirring until the butter melts (I left this out).

English Muffins

1 cup milk, scalded
2 Tbsp sugar or honey
1/4 cup oil or margarine
1 Tbsp salt

Place hot milk in a bowl and add oil, sugar, and salt. Let cool to lukewarm.

1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp yeast

Dissolve yeast in the water and let set for 5 minutes, then add to the cooled milk.

5-6 cups flour

Add 3 cups flour and beat until smooth. Gradually add more flour, beating well after each addition until a soft dough is formed. Knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size (about 1 hr).

Punch down and divide in half. On a lightly floured board, roll the first half to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, and cut as many circles of dough as you can.

Gently removed to a cookie sheet that has been greased and heavily sprinkled with corn meal. Sprinkl tops with corn meal too.

Push scraps together, roll out and cut again. Repeat procedure the second half, until all dough is used.

Cover the muffins with a cloth and let rise until doubled. After muffins have doubled grease the bottom of another cookie sheet (it works best if it is a light weight dark colored cookie sheet) and place on top so the muffins are sandwiched between the two.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or longer if necessary.

Single recipe makes about 13-14 muffins.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cheesy Ham Chowder

2 cans chicken broth
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 can of corn, drained
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups diced ham (the recipe originally called for chicken, but Brad likes the ham)

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat, add potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan, add flour and mix well. Gradually add in milk, cook until slightly thickened, over medium low heat. Stir in cheese and cook until melted. Add to broth along with ham and corn. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through.

German Pancakes

3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
Dash of cinnamon

Whip eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add milk, flour, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat well. Melt butter in square cake pan. When butter is bubbly pour batter in to pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Top with lemon juice and powdered sugar or syrup.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hot Cocoa Mix

This is one of my favorite things to make during the fall and winter.

10 cups powdered milk
8 ounces Creamora
1 cup powdered sugar
8 ounce instant chocolate

Mix above ingredients together. Add 1/3 - 1/2 cup of the mix to 1 cup hot water.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for our Halloween party and it was fabulous!!


1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. sugar


3- 8oz.pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Whipped Cream

Mix crust ingredients together, just till coated and crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 2/3 up the sides of an 8" springform pan. Bake for 5 min. at 350. Set aside.

Combine cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl, mix until smooth with an electric mixer. add pumpkin eggs, and spices, beat till smooth and creamy. Pour into the crust. Bake for 60-70 min. or till the top turns a bit darker. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate. After it has thoroughly chilled, remove the pan sides and cut. Serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quick Pizza Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 (14 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 (3 ounce) package sliced pepperoni, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (I left this out for Brad)
1/4 cup minced onion (Also left this out)
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained (also left out)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Stir together cream cheese and dried Italian seasoning; spread into a lightly greased 9-inch pieplate.
Spoon pasta sauce over cream cheese mixture; top with pepperoni and next 3 ingredients.
Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
Microwave on high 2 to 3 minutes or until dip is thoroughly heated. Serve with corn chips.

Skillet Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli

This recipe is courtesy America's Test Kitchen

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slice into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces ziti
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bunch broccoli, stems discarded and florets cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I left these out)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)

Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add 1 more Tbsp of the butter, onion, red pepper flakes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt to the skillet. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic ande cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Sprinkle the ziti evenly into the skillet. Pour the broth and cream over the ziti. Cover and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the broccoli and roasted peppers. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta begins to soften and the broccoli turns bright green, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juice. Cover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
Stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp butter, the Parmesan, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Banana Pudding Squares

This recipe is courtesy Summer Perrero

30 reduced fat Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
4 Tbsp margarine, melted
1 pkg low fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 8oz container fat free Cool Whip
3 medium ripe bananas
3 cups skim milk
2 pkg (4 serving size) Jello vanilla pudding
1/2 square baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, grated

Mix wafers and margarine. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. Spoon evenly onto crust. Spread carefully. Cut banans in half crosswise and then cut each piece lengthwise. (I dipped them in orange juice just to keep them from going brown faster.) Arrange over the cream cheese mixture.
Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Spoon over bananas. Spread with remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle chocolate on top.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

I was a little nervous to try this recipe because of the eggs. I wasn't exactly sure how it would turn, but it ended up being very good. I didn't buy the Pecorino Romano cheese I just added a cup of Parmesan instead. I also did not add all of the extra-virgin olive oil - I just put a little in the pan, since bacon is so greasy anyways. Brad also said he thinks that there should be chicken in it - so next time I will probably add chicken along with the bacon.

3 large eggs
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 slices bacon, chopped fine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound spaghetti

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a large serving bowl on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the spaghetti.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cheese, and garlic together and set aside.
Cook the bacon and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover.
When the water is boiling, stir in 1 Tbsp salt and the spaghetti. Cook, stirring often, until the spaghetti is almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the spaghetti, leaving it slightly wet. Remove the warm bowl from the oven and add the spaghetti. Immediately pour the egg and bacon mixtures over the spaghetti and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce before serving.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chicken Fajitas

This recipe, like many of my recent recipes that I've posted came from my new America's Test Kitchen cookbook - that I love!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 red or green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
1 red onion, halved and sliced thin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 to 4 Tbsp water
1 tsp Tabasco
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then slice it into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the lime juice.
Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until simmering. Add the peppers, onion, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp of the water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. (Add the remaining 2 Tbsp water as needed to prevent the pan from scorching.)
Return the chicken with any accumulated juice to the skillet. Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Stack the tortillas, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until hot, 40 to 60 seconds.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, avacado, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and lime wedges.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces bacon (8 slices), chopped fine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or scallions
1/2 cup sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Thoroughly prick the potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes. Carefully transfer the potatoes to the oven and cook until a skewer glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a papertowel-lined plate.

Slice the hot potatoes in half lengthwise and cool for 5 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch later of potato on the inside of each skin.

Brush the potatoes inside and out with melted butter. Season the insides of the skins with salt and pepper. Arrange the potato skins, scooped side facing up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are light golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the potato skins evenly with the crisp bacon and the cheddar and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and add dollops of sour cream before serving.

Broccoli Cole Slaw

2 bags (3 ounce) Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 bags (12 ounce) broccoli cole slaw
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Dressing Mix:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noddle seasoning packet

Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Melt a little butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge #2 - Eclairs

I don't know quite where to begin with this challenge. I was very excited to make eclairs. I think the only other time I have made eclairs was in my 8th grade Home Ec class and they didn't seem too hard. It ended up taking me 3 tries at this recipe and I only ended up with 3 edible eclairs. The first time instead of using wax or parchment paper I used my silpat - not thinking anything of it. They all deflated. The 2nd time I used the silpat again, but ran out of room, so I put 3 of them on the wax paper - and those three worked, the others deflated. So I decided to try it one more time thinking that it had to be the silpat that made them not work. My husband had put the initial wax paper down for me, so when I went to get more I realized that was the last of what we had. So I decided it probably couldn't hurt to just reuse the was paper. I was wrong - those eclairs also deflated. The eclair and a half that I ate was pretty tasty, although probably not worth all of the work!!

1 of the 3 survivors - sorry the picture isn't so beautiful, I had had it at this point!

They came out of the oven looking great!

My many rejects

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

**For the inside of my eclairs I just mixed vanilla pudding and whip cream. I also just made an easy chocolate frosting. I wasn't going to go to all of the work above for 3 eclairs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Pizzaiola

from America's Test Kitchen

3 cups tomato sauce (see recipe below) or you can use a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
4 ounces mozzarella, shredded (1 cup)
2 ounces pepperoni, sliced thin or any of your favorite pizza toppings

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tomato sauce in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Spread the Parmesan in a shallow dish, then coat the chicken with the Parmesan. lay the chicken on top of the tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the mozzarella and pepperoni over the chicken. Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees and continue to bake until the cheese melts and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.

Quick Tomato Sauce:

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp minced fresh basil
1/4 tsp sugar

Cook the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the basil and sugar. Season with salt to taste.

Parmesan Focaccia

from America's Test Kitchen

1 russet potato (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the baking sheet
Parmesan Cheese
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt or 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cover the potato with water in a small saucepan and simmer until completely cooked and easily pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and when the potato is cool enough to handle, grate it on the large holes on the grater. Reserve 1 1/3 cups lightly packed potato.

Mix 3 1/4 cups of the flour, yeast, and table salt together in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the grated potato, water, and 2 Tbsp of the oil until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.

Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (If, after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly in lastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Press the dough into a well-oiled 12 by 18 inch rimmed baking sheet. Wrap loosely in lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, 45 to 60 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Wet your fingers and press them into the dough at regular intervals to make about 24 dimples. Drizzle with the ramining 2 Tbsp oil and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and sea salt. Bake util the focaccia bottom is golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Slide the focaccia onto a wire rack and let cool slightly before cutting into squares.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Philly Cheesesteaks

2 pounds blade, sirloin, or round steak, trimmed
4 (6 inch) sub rolls, split lengthwise
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped medium
Salt and pepper
6 slices American or provolone cheese

Slice meat into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until simmering. Add the onions and saute until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced meat, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and continue to cook until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Place rolls on a baking sheet. Add the meat and onions. Place the cheese on top. Stick under the broiler until cheese is melted.

Creamy Stovetop Mac N' Cheese

8 ounces macaroni (2 cups)
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 tsp dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp water
4 Tbsp butter
12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for the macaroni. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp salt and the macaroni and cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
Meanwhile, mix together the eggs, half of the evaporated milk, the mustard mixture, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Set the pot over low heat and stir in the butter until melted.
Stir in the egg mixture and half of the cheddar. Continue to cook over low heat, gradually stirring in the remaining milk and cheddar, until the mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is best served immediately.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

White Chocolate Biscotti

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
Turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Shape dough into 2 (12 inch-long) rolls; pat to 2 1/2 inch width.*
Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet, cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.**
Cut each roll diagonally into 24 slices. Place, cute sides down, on baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn cookies over, bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

*You can shape in 2 rolls or 1 if you want longer cookies. In the picture below I dough in to 1.
**I don't cook it as long as the recipe calls because I don't like them so crunchy...although I know that is what Biscotti is. At first I cook for 30 minutes instead of 35. Then when you bake them on their sides I only bake them 5 minutes on each side.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Angel Hair Chicken Pasta

6 boneless,skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter
1 (7oz) pkg dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1/2 cup white wine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz cream cheese with chives
1 lb angel hair pasta

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in salad dressing mix. Blend in wine and mushroom soup. mix in cream cheese and stir until smooth. heat through but do not boil. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in 9X13 pan. Pour the sauce over chicken. Bake for 60 minutes. Twenty minutes before chicken is done, cook pasta. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Crumb Topping:

In a bowl combine: 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/8 tsp baking powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in vanilla and bananas. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Blend the banana mixture into the flour mixture; stir just to combine. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumb topping on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. (I think I only cooked it for about 45 minutes - but my oven seems to be hotter).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chicken Marinade

This is one of my favorite marinades. It's so easy and so good!

1 1/2 cups Sprite
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic (or however much you want
2 Tbsp oil

Mix all ingredients together. I usually mix the ingredients in a gallon size ziploc bag and then add the chicken. Marinate 4-5 hours in the refrigerator.

Banana Nut Roll

I made this for our enrichment night and Brad was really sad that he only got one little piece. It is pretty tasty!

4 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 recipe Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 recipe Cream Cheese Icing

Separate eggs. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a
15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan. Line bottom with waxed paper; grease the paper; set aside. For cake, stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Prepare Cream Cheese Filling; spread in the prepared pan. Set aside. For cake, in a small mixing bowl beat the egg yolks and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, beaing on high speed until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the banana and nuts.

Thoroughly wash the beaters. In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over egg mixture; fold in gently just until combined. Gently spoon batter over filling in pan. Carefully spread evenly over filling.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lighly touched. Immediately loosen cake from pan and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Starting from a shirt side, roll cake into a spiral, using the towel as a guid. Cool on a wire rack. Spread top with Cream Cheese Icing. If desired, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.

Cream Cheese Filling: In a mixing bowl combine one 11 ouncces cream cheese, softened, and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat with the mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 egg and 3 Tbsp milk, beat thoroughly.

Cream Cheese Icing: In a small mixing bowl combine one 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened, and 1 tsp vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 cups sifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough milk (1 to 2 Tbsp) to reach spreading consistency.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mexican Lime Rice

This recipe is courtesy of Summer Perrero

3/4 cup Jasmine Rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 chicken bullion cube
1 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
2-3 tsp lime juice

Cook rice as instructed on the package with above ingredients.

I serve this with "Cafe Rio" sweet pork

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hot Buttered Pretzels

This recipe was an old challenge for the Daring Baker's group. The pretzels were pretty easy to make. I only had a couple that actually turned out looking like normal pretzels though- I think it just takes practice. They were really good!

Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.

For the dough:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (you may need a little more)

For the pretzel topping:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
kosher salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Work the ingredients together until you can form a ball. If the dough is very dry, add a bit more warm water until it comes together. The dough will look messy, but don't worry about it.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading by pushing the dough away with the heel of your hand, and then folding it back in onto itself. Push the dough away again and then fold back in. Continue this motion, working the dough until it's smooth. This should take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough in a mixer with your dough hook for 5 to 6 minutes).

Once the dough is done, sprinkle some flour on the dough and put it in a large, oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour. It will rise considerably.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and set aside.

Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rope that's roughly 24 inches in length. (Don't make it too long or your pretzels will be too thin.)

Taking hold of the ends of the rope, cross the rope over itself to form a circle with about 4 to 5 inches on each end that are sticking out. Twist the ends over themselves and secure each end on either side of the pretzel.

Carefully dip the pretzel in the water and then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Sprinkle the pretzels with the kosher salt and let them rest for about 15 minutes.

Put the pretzels in the oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for an additional 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pretzels so that they don't burn.

Remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately brush them with the butter. Keep brushing them with butter until you've used it all.

Serve the pretzels warm. I made a cheese sauce for Brad and I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top of mine.

**These were best right after you took them out of the oven and they were hot. They weren't so great the next day!

Olive Garden's Five-Cheese Ziti Al Forno

We celebrated Father's day at the Olive Garden with my parents and I had their baked ziti. It was so good that I had to find a recipe so I could make it at home. I think the next time I make this I won't use quite the whole box of pasta because it wasn't as saucy as the Olive Garden's. But it was still pretty tasty!

Ziti Sauce:

4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp fontina cheese, shredded*
1 tsp garlic pepper (I just used pepper)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Ziti Topping:

3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp Romano cheese, grated*
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp fresh parsley (I used dried)

Remaining Ingredients:

1 pound ziti pasta
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Prepare the ziti sauce: Combine all ingredients for the sauce together in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the ziti topping: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients for the ziti topping. Add the garlic, oil, and parsley and mix until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to prepare the whole dish: Preheat overn to 375 degrees. Spray a 13X9 baking idsh with non stick spray. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Pour 1/2 cup of the prepared ziti sauce into the prepared dish, and spread it evenly over the bottom using a spoon. When pasta has finished cooking, drain the water and pour the hot pasta into the bowl of remaining sauce. Mix thoroughly; pour into the baking dish.
Spread 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over the pasta and sauce mixture. (I left this part out - I felt like there was already a lot of cheese)

Top the mozzarella with the prepared ziti topping, spreading evenly.
Place pan on center oven rack and bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove and serve immediately.

* I did not buy the fontina and romano cheese. I just used extra parmesan and it still worked. I guess mine is only 3 cheese ziti.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge - Danish Bread

A couple months ago my friend Heidi introduced me to a baking group called the Daring Baker's Club. I decided to join because it sounded fun and I knew I would probably bake things I never would have tried on my own. So here is my first challenge completed. Heidi and I got together the night before and made the dough. Since it had to refrigerate over night we then split it in half and the next day each made our own Danish. We filled ours with the apple filling and cream cheese filling. I actually put half of mine in the freezer and got it out when my parents were here. I actually liked it better after it was frozen.


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

This is our first turn of the dough. We did get better towards the end, but it didn't go as smoothly at the beginning.

This is Heidi's danish - she's out of town, so I'm posting for her

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spinach, Chicken and Pasta Salad

1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup Teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

16 ounces bowtie pasta, cooked al dente
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 (6 ounce) bag craisins
3 (11 ounce) cans mandaring oranges, drained
2 (8 ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
6 ounces honey roasted peanuts
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

Blend dressing ingredients together in blender or food processor. Mix dressing and cooked pasta in a medium bowl and marinate for two hours. Combine rest of salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, add pasta and dressing and toss.

Red Lobster Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

We went to Red Lobster while on vacation, and I did not quite get my fix of their fabulous biscuits. I knew there were copycat recipes out there - so I decided to try one. These are pretty tasty!!

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic salt
dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine Bisquick, milk, and cheese. Spoon batter on to greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. While biscuits are baking melt the butter. Stir in garlic salt and parsley. When biscuits are done, remove from oven and pour butter mixture over biscuits.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Deep Dish Pizza

I got this recipe off of America's Test Kitchen and it is fabulous!

2 1/3 – 3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil

In your mixer combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine warm milk, sugar and olive oil. While your mixer is on low, slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Let the machine knead the dough for 5 minutes. Put in a greased bowl and let rise. After dough has doubled in size put dough on lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 7 inch circle. Place over your knuckles moving the dough around in a circle so that the middle is thinner than the sides. Place the dough into a cake pan that has 2-3 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom. And press out to the sides of the pan, trying to avoid getting the oil on top of the dough. I probably only used about 1-2 Tbsp. You need enough so that it will fry the bottom of the dough. Let the dough rise 10 minutes. The put on your favorite toppings. Bake on bottom rack of oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Parmesan Chicken

This recipe is courtesy Mandi Perrero

I made this recipe last Sunday night and Brad told me it was probably the best chicken that I have ever made him. I didn't use as much butter as called for - probably only about 3/4 stick of butter, and next time I will probably try using less - to cut the fat a bit. I also used the reduced fat Ritz and it was still really good.

2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic salt
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cracker crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic salt. Dip each piece of chicken in butter (1/2 cup) and then into the crumb mixture. Arrange in a greased 9X13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter (1/4 cup). Bake for about 45 minutes. Heat cream of chicken soup and sour cream in saucepan. Heat until warm and serve over chicken.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hamburger Buns

This recipe is courtesy of my Grandma Richards

8 cups flour
2 Tbsp yeast
2 cups warm water
3/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt
3 eggs
sesame seeds, optional

Combine 4 cups flour and yeast in large mixing bowl. Add water, oil, sugar and salt. Mix together. Add eggs. Mix for 3 minutes. Add remaining flour so you have a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once so top of dough is also greased. Cover and let rise until double - about 1 hour.
Divide dough in to 3 sections. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide each section into 8 balls. Press flat between hands to create a 3 1/2 inch circle. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush water on top of buns and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Brush tops of buns with melted butter.


This quiche is not as fancy as the ones with the crust - but it's pretty easy and tasty!

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup Bisquick
1/3 tsp salt
5 Tbsp melted butter (I only use about 2-3)
1 1/2 cup grated cheedar cheese
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup mushrooms (I leave these out)
1/2 cup green onion

Mix first 5 ingredients with mixer on low for 12 minutes. Add the other 4 ingredients. Pour into greased pie plate or 8X8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Fast and Easy Pizza Dough

This recipe is courtesy Kim Cortright

3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp yeast
7-9 cups flour

Mix 1st 3 ingredients in bowl. Add half of the flour and mix to make a paste. Sprinkle the yeast over the paste and then mix in. Add the rest of the flour. Knead on low speed for 8 minutes. Roll into pizza. Add whatever toppings you like. Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

**I usually half the recipe and then press the dough into a large cookie sheet.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

These are seriously the best cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted!! I found them on Allrecipes - and then realized my friend Heidi also had found them. I am craving them right now just thinking about them!!

1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Softened butter
Brown Sugar
Walnuts, Raisins, optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix first seven ingredients in your mixer. I usually mix the yeast and the liquid first and then let sit for 5 minutes - so I know it's working. Then I add it to the flour mixture. My sister adds it all together at once. It works either way. Let machine knead dough about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl. Let rise until double - about 1 hour.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. I use a long piece of thread that I slide underneath the dough and then bring up to the top - criss cross the thread and pull tight so it cuts the dough. Hopefully that makes sense! Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Best Ever Texas Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel icing:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
2 to 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring cocoa, water, oil and butter to a boil. Gradually add to dry ingredients; mix well. Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; gradually add to batter and mix well (batter will be very thin).
Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For icing, in a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium. Do not stir. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until bubbles form in center of mixture and syrup turns amber. Remove from heat; transfer to a small mixing bowl. Cool to room temperature. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Spread over cupcakes. Yield: 2 dozen

***Instead of buttermilk you can use 1/3 cup regular milk and 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chicken Pillows

2 cans crescent rolls
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup Stove Top dressing

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water with 1 beef and 1 chicken bouillon cube

Mix chicken, cream cheese, and walnuts together in a large bowl. Place spoonful of mixture in middle of crescent roll dough. Fold crescent roll dough to enclose over the chicken mixture. Roll the chicken pillow in the stove top dressing and place on greased cookie sheet. Follow cooking directions on crescent roll package. Heat sauce ingredients on stove top until hot. Place chicken pillow on bed of rice and pour sauce on top.

Chicken and Potato Bake

4 bone-in chicken pieces (I usually just cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts - but I think it dries the chicken out a bit. I think next time I will probably just put in the whole chicken breast.)
4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
Italian Dressing
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl pour Italian dressing and parmesan cheese over chicken and potatoes and mix together. Place chicken and potatoes in a 13X9 inch baking dish. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Nicole Handy. This recipe was originally a chocolate chip cookie recipe - but we added the white chocolate chips and Macadamia nuts instead of semi sweet chocolate chips.

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup margarine or butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped Macadamia Nuts

12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Mix shortening, butter and sugars well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Combine dry ingredients and add. Add nuts and chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or till light brown. Yield: 7 doz.