Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cranberry Salsa - T.D.F.

Cranberry Salsa
*from Chef Cluzey {thanks, Brad!}

12oz bag fresh Cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 med Jalapeno
2tbsp Cilantro
1tsp Cumin
2 Green onions
8oz Cream Cheese
Blend all of the ingredients, except the cream cheese, in a food processor.
Whip cream cheese until creamy {or buy whipped cream cheese}; transfer to serving dish.
Pour the salsa over the cream cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

This is To.Die.For!!!!! I didn't get a picture before it was gobbled up, but TRUST ME!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Magic of Cake Pops

If you haven't discovered the goodness of Cake Pops you must check out the Queen of Cake Pops, Bakerella! These are so much fun to make with the kids. You can pretty much do whatever you want with these:

  • German chocolate cake with coconut- pecan icing and milk chocolate coating.
  • Spice or carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting and vanilla coating.
  • Red Velvet Cake with vanilla frosting and white chocolate coating
  • White Cake with vanilla frosting and vanilla chocolate tinted green or red with green or red streaks (Christmas) or green or red sprinkles.
  • Devil's food cake with fudge icing and white chocolate coating.
  • Yellow cake with buttercream frosting and orange-colored vanilla coating with green or black sprinkles. (Halloween).
  • White cake with white frosting mixed with orange and yellow sprinkles and chocolate coating. (Fall or Halloween) or Harvest Sprinkles.

Cake Pops
1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can frosting (16 oz.)
Wax paper
candy melts (1 lb. pkg.)- I use almond bark (24 oz.). You can get it at Harmon's
Lollipop sticks
After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50)
Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)
Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)
Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don't tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.
Dip in sprinkles or desired coating.
Place in a styrofoam block to dry. (i put mine in a bowl filled with rice)
you can also make this without the sticks.....voila! Cake Balls!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Best Egg Nog Ever

2 Eggs well beaten
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 qt. milk
1 c. whipping cream

Beat eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt and milk. In another bowl beat whipping cream. After whipping cream is formed, fold into other mixture. Sprinkle with nutmeg and chill in fridge for a couple of hours.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

December Gourmet Dinner Group

Here are the recipes from our German Christmas Dinner night! I'm sorry there are no pictures to share! I planned on taking them as I went and got too caught up in cooking!

Green Salad with Cranberry Dressing

1 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 pound mixed salad greens

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Arrange almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 minutes, or until nuts begin to brown.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, oil, cranberries, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and water. Process until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, toss the almonds, onion, blue cheese, and greens with the vinegar mixture until evenly coated.

Rotkohl (Red Cabbage)

1 onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium sized red cabbage
1 apple
juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of water
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F or gas mark 3). Peel and finely chop the onion and apple. Finely shred the cabbage. Heat a large oven proof saucepan or casserole dish. Sauté the onion in the oil until slightly golden. Stir in the red cabbage anddiced apple. Remove from the heat.
Combine the lemon juice, brown sugar, vinegar, water and salt and pepper and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss to combine and cover. Place in the oven the slowly cook for 2 hours. Serve hot along aside your mainmeal with Kartoffelklösse, or chill to serve with a selection of cold meats and cheese.
(Serves 4 to 6)

Creamed Spinach

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base, or 1 cube chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (2 1/2 cups)
Salt and ground white pepper, if desired Ground nutmeg, for garnish and Crisp, cooked, crumbled bacon, for garnish
In a medium-size saucepan, heat the half-and-half, milk, chicken base, Tabasco, and seasonings to a simmer. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
In another medium-size saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well to combine. Cook this mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly whisk the heated milk mixture into the butter mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens. The sauce will be very thick.
Stir in the spinach and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve while hot.
To serve: Place the hot creamed spinach in a bowl, sprinkled with an extra touch of ground nutmeg on top. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of crisp, cooked, crumbled bacon, if desired.Makes 5 cups/Serves 8

Wienerschnitzel (this recipe is kind of in depth, but if you follow it, you won't be sorry!)

Boneless Pork Chops (the thick ones at Costco are great) - sliced (most weresliced into 3 equal medallions) and pounded to a bit less than 1/4 inchthick. Do not pulverize, just flatten. Marinate the flattened chops in buttermilk - you only need enough to make them wet. Too much will make thedredging more difficult. A few hours is good. Overnight is better.
For the Dredging:
You need 3 plates. 1 for the flour, one for egg mixture and one for breadcrumbs.
1/2 C AP Flour
1 t Salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t sweet paprika
Mix these dry ingredients together. This amount will not be enough if youare doing a lot of schnitzel. I just kept remaking more flour when it was needed.
For the egg mixture, the ratio is about 1 egg to 2 t of milk. Beat togetherwell. Start with 3-4 eggs.
For the bread crumbs, fresh are best. Panko would be great.
The process is that you shake/dry off as much buttermilk from the chops as possible. Then dip both sides in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess.Then dip both sides in the egg, and then in the bread crumbs. Let the breadcrumbs soak up all liquid. Do the schnitzel one at a time. Stack the schnitzel between plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate until ready to cook. When ready to cook, you could use a cast iron fry pan or a big skillet. I used a 50/50 mixture of olive oil and butter. Once cooked, keep warm in a 175 degree oven oncooling racks placed over cookie sheets (this allows the warm air to circulate while not allowing too much steam to sit on the schnitzel). This will keep them crispy.

Jager Sauce (these are approximations and you will have to taste as you go)
In a heavy, large pan add:
2 sweet onions - sliced
1/2 stick of butter
6 oz bacon - chopped
Cook down until onions are browning and quite soft (10-15 minutes). Do not drain off the fat.
Add: 1.5 - 2 lbs mushrooms
1 sprig of fresh thyme (make sure to remove this before serving)
Cook the liquid out (mushrooms have a lot of water in them - you don't want any left or it will make the sauce lumpy because of the next step). Once you have cooked the mushrooms and onions down to where the only liquid leftis butter and bacon fat, add: 1/3 to 1/2 C flour (depending on how much bacon fat was rendered)
Stir in and cook down until there is no longer a raw flour taste.
Stir in: 1 32 oz. box of store-bought beef stock (not broth), 1 cup red wine. Stir the whole time. Once all liquid is added, bring to a light boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and allow to cook until desired consistency is reached (about the same as any gravy). Add water if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, add 1/2 cup of half and half or crème fraiche and a small amount of chopped fresh parsley. Serve with spaetzle, boiledor roasted potatoes, or warm potato salad and rotkohl.

Apple Strudel

6 c Apples; Tart, Sliced1 T Lemon Rind; Grated2 t Cinnamon8 oz Fillo Leaves; 1/2 Box,Thawed OR make strudel dough - recipe follows1 c Bread Crumbs; Finely Crushed3/4 c Raisins3/4 c Sugar3/4 c Almonds; Ground1 3/4 c Butter;(No Margarine),Melted
Directions:Mix apples with raisins, lemon rind, sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Set aside. Place 1 fillo leaf on a kitchen towel and brush with melted butter. Place a second leaf on top and brush with butter again. Repeat until 5 leaves have been used, using about 1/2 c of butter. Cook and stir bread crumbs with 1/4 c of butter until lightly browned. Sprinkle 3/4 cup crumbs on the layered fillo leaves. Mound 1/2 of the filling in a 3-inch strip along the narrow end of the fillo, leaving a 2-inch border. Lift towel, using it to roll leaves over apples, jelly roll fashion. Brush top of the strudel with butter and sprinkle with 2 T crumbs. Repeat the entire procedure for the second strudle. Bake the strudels at 400 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

Another contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year. SO much better than the marshmallow-covered version :)

Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potatoes
7 LBS (6–8 medium) sweet potatoes {or yams, depending on what you call them!}
5 TB unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened,
plus more for greasing pan
½ cup (2½ oz) all–purpose flour
½ cup (3½ oz) packed dark brown sugar
¼ tsp table salt
1 cup (4 oz) pecans
5 TB unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp table salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 TB vanilla extract
4 tsp juice from 1 lemon
Granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1½ cups half–and–half

Sweet Potatoes
•Adjust oven rack to lower–middle position and heat
oven to 400°
•Poke sweet potatoes several times with paring
knife and space evenly on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
•Bake potatoes, turning them once, until they’re very tender and can be squeezed easily with tongs, 1 to 1½ hours (or 45 min for small ones)
•Remove potatoes from oven and cut in half lengthwise to let steam escape
•Cool at least 10 minutes
•Reduce oven temperature to 375°
•While potatoes are baking, butter 13 x 9–inch baking dish
•Pulse flour, brown sugar and salt in food processor until blended, abt four 1–second pulses
•Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until crumbly mass forms, six to eight 1–second pulses
•Sprinkle nuts over mixture and pulse until combined but some large nut pieces remain, four to six 1–second pulses
•Transfer streusel to medium bowl and return empty workbowl to processor
•Once potatoes have cooled slightly, use spoon to scoop flesh into large bowl; you should have about 8 cups
•Transfer half of potato flesh to food processor
•Using rubber spatula, break remaining potato flesh in bowl into coarse 1–inch chunks
•Add melted butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla and lemon juice to potatoes in food processor and process until smooth, about 20 seconds
•Taste for sweetness, then add up to 4 TB granulated sugar, if necessary
•Add yolks
•With processor running, pour half–and–half through feed tube and process until blended, about 20 seconds
•Transfer to bowl with potato pieces and stir gently until combined
•Pour filling into prepared baking dish and spread into even layer with spatula
•Sprinkle with streusel, breaking up any large pieces with fingers
•Bake until topping is well browned and filling is slightly puffy around edges, 40 to 45 min
•Cool at least 10 minutes before serving

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Thanksgiving Stuffing

This was one of my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Stuffing has got to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

Classic Bread Stuffing

serves 12-16

12 TB (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
4 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 onions, minced
½ cup minced fresh parsley
3 TB minced fresh sage or 2 tsp dried
3 TB minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 TB minced fresh marjoram or 1 tsp dried
3 LBS high–quality white sandwich bread, cut into ½–inch cubes and dried
in oven (I used 2 bags of plain dried bread cubes from Harmons and increased chicken broth to 7 cups)
5 cups low–sodium chicken broth
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

•Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°
•Melt the butter in a 12–inch skillet over medium–high heat
•Add the celery and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes
•Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
•Transfer to a very large bowl
•Add the dried, cooled bread, broth, eggs, salt and pepper to the vegetables
and toss to combine
•Turn the mixture into a buttered 10 x 15–inch baking dish
•Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes
•Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden, about 30 minutes longer
•Let cool for 10 minutes before serving
*This can be assembled in the baking dish, then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. To bake, let the stuffing stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and proceed to bake as directed above.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

October Gourmet Dinner Recipes

I am finally getting around to post the recipes from dinner at my house in October! Enjoy!

Holiday Cranberry Spread
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup apricot preserves
8 oz. cream cheese

Cook sugar and cranberries in saucepan over med heat until the cranberries have all popped and sugar dissloved. (About 20 minutes or more) Stir in apricot preserves and pecans. Chill. Spread cream cheese over plate and pour over desired amount of cranberry sauce. Serve with crackers.

Hot Cranberry Drink
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 quart cranberry juice
1 quart water
2 cups orange juice
2 T lemon juice

Simmer water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks for 10 minutes. Stir in rest of ingredients. Simmer, without boiling, for at least 30 minutes. Serves 12.

Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Parmesan Dressing
10 C mixed baby salad greens
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices of bacon, crumbled
2 ripe avocados, peeled, sliced
2 C cherry or grape tomatoes

Arrange greens evenly on large platter. Arrange all ingredients in even rows on to of lettuce. Serve with dressing.

1 large egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c grated parmesan
1/4 c green onions, green tops only
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c buttermilk
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 v vegetable oil
Place egg, lemon juice, parmesan, green onions, garlic, buttermilk, salt and pepper in bowl of food processor (or blender) and process on high speed for 30 seconds. With motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and process until in forms an emulsion.

Chicken Lasagna
8 oz lasagna noodles
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 T sour cream
2 cans cream of mushroom(or chicken)
3/4 c milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 c cottage cheese
1/3 c onion, chopped
1/3 c green pepper, chopped
1/8 c. parsley, chopped
4 c chicken, cooked and cubed
mozzarella cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, grated

Cook noodles according to the package. Beat cream cheese, onion, green pepper, sour cream, and seasonings together. Add soup and milk and mix well. Layer noodles, chicken, soup mixture, grated cheeses. Repeat and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 min at 375 or until browned and bubbly. Let stand for 10 mins before serving.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/2 c chocolate cookie crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
3 bricks (light) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
3 eggs
1/2 c light sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 c milk chocolate chips
1 c canned pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Put crumbs in small bow, stir in butter. Press firmly over bottom of greased spring form pan. Bake 8-10 mins. Let cool, wrap outside of pan with heavy duty foil. Reduce oven temp to 300. Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in a larg bowl on med speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Divide batter evenly between 3 bowls. Stir melted milk choc into 1 bowl, pour over crust. Whisk pumpkin and pumpkin spice into another bowl. Carefully spoon over choco layer (do not let layers run together). Stir semisweet choco into remaining batter and spoon over pumpkin layer. Set springform pan in center of roasting pan. Place roasting pan in oven and add boiling water to come halfway up sides of the springform pan. Bake 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hrs until set, but center still jiggles. Turn off oven and let cool in oven for 1 hour. If cake has not pulled away from sides of pan, carefully run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove foil, cool cake in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hour or over night.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Matt asked me the other day why I never make pies. Truthfully, I'm not a big pie fan. But now I'm on a mission! You may be seeing more pies from me in the weeks to come {or you may not. Like I said, not a big fan}. This one was SO good! I could have eaten the whole thing myself!!

*not the greatest picture, but trust me, it was yummy :)

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
1 C graham crackers
2 T melted butter
2 C sour cream
¾ C sugar plus 2 T sugar
2 ½ T flour
1 egg
¼ t salt
1 c blueberries (I used thawed frozen blueberries)
1/3 C flour
1/3 C chopped pecans
4 T butter
2 T sugar

Combine graham crackers and melted butter in food processor. Bake for 6-10 minutes at 375. Combine 1 C sour cream, ¾ C sugar, flour, egg and salt until combined. Pour blueberries into pie crust and pour filling over top. Bake for 15 minutes. Combine 1 C sour cream and 2 T sugar, pour over pie and continue to bake 10 minutes. Combine remaining flour, pecans, butter, and sugar for topping (pulse in food processor), sprinkle on top and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

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Green Juice

I've grown up drinking this juice. It wasn't a trip to Grandma's house without "Green Juice" and carrot muffins! I know, it looks brave & try it. You may be pleasantly surprised {or you may not}. My kids LOVE it, but Matt won't even go near it. Won't even take a sip!!

Parsley Pineapple Juice
1 bunch parsley
1 48 oz. can pineapple juice (or 1 can frozen pineapple juice concentrate)

Remove stems from parsley. If using concentrate, mix with recommended water to make juice. In a blender, combine parsley and half of the pineapple juice. Blend thoroughly (a couple of minutes).

Drape cheesecloth or and old {clean} kitchen towel over pitcher and strain parsley mixture, squeezing out all juices. Pour in remaining pineapple juice and stir to mix.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicken With Wild Rice Soup

I've made this soup a lot lately, my whole family loves it! I don't know where I got the recipe, I just have it written down on a piece of paper, but it's really good. I just made it again today for a new mother, and added Darla's Pizza Hut Breadsticks and a salad. Mmmm. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. chicken boullion granules
1 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 c. butter or margarine (for roux)
1/4 c. flour (for roux)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3-4 c. cooked wild rice
2 c. cooked chicken cubed.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gourmet Night- Natalie's Pizza Night

Thanks for coming, everyone! It was a fun night, as usual. I forgot to take some photos of all the pizzas before we dug in, but I did get a few shots....

Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix yeast with water. Add remaining ingredients, mix, and knead for a few minutes until smooth dough forms. Place dough in oiled bowl. Cover and let rise about an hour. Divide dough into 2 balls, flour and wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Let rise another hour. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. You can also make it in your bread machine according to manufacturer's directions for dough.

Pizza Hut style Breadsticks
1 ½ cup hot water
2 Tb sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup non fat dry milk
1 Tb yeast
approx. 3 cup flour ( I often use ½ whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup melted butter

Dissolve sugar, salt and dry milk in hot water. Add enough flour (about 1 cup) to make a soupy mixture. When the mixture is no longer hot but still warm add the yeast and stir well. Then add the rest of the flour, enough to form a moderately stiff dough (I always have to add more than the recipe calls for). Knead the dough until smooth. Roll dough into a rectangular shape the size of your baking pan. Spread half of the butter onto the baking pan, then place your dough into the pan and spread the remaining butter on top of the dough. Top the breadsticks with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, or whatever you want. Cut the dough into breadsticks with a pizza cutter and let raise for 10-15 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 20- 25 min.

Italian Salad
Romaine lettuce
Fresh baby spinach
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
1 handful of kalamata olives
5-6 slices of salami, quartered
1/4 fresh red onion sliced thinly
Toasted pine nuts
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Add the pine nuts to a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook stirring frequently until golden brown, remove from heat and let cool. Mix the romaine and spinach and add the tomatoes, olives, onions, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, top with Fran's vinaigrette, toss and serve.

1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper)
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly before tossing on your favorite salad.

Roasted Garlic Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Roasted Onions, Red Peppers and Feta
2 large heads of garlic, whole and unpeeled, the tops sliced off - cloves exposed
1 large red onion, peeled, cut into thick wedges
About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain the oil before chopping the tomatoes
About 1½ cups (100 g) grated mozzarella cheese
1 large red pepper, charred on/under the grill, cooled, seeded, peeled and cut into ½-inch strips
About 1 cup (100 g) crumbled feta
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Make the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the onion wedges into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with about 1½ tbsp of oil, season with the salt and pepper, toss well to coat the onions with oil (I put the red pepper strips in with the onions, rather than charring on the grill). Free a small space somewhere in the corner of the roasting pan and nest the garlic heads inside. Drizzle the garlic with about 1½ tbsp of oil. Roast the onions and garlic for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring the onions after first 20 minutes. The onions should become tender and lightly caramelized, the garlic should be very soft and golden. Remove from the oven, cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 500F.

In a food processor, combine the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and squeezed roasted garlic cloves. Process, adding the rest of the oil if necessary, to produce fairly smooth paste. The sun-dried tomato and garlic spread can be made 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated.

Spread the sun-dried tomato and garlic paste evenly over the shaped dough leaving 1-inch bare border. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, followed by the roasted onion wedges, grilled pepper strips, and then feta. Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes until the crust is puffed and golden brown, and the cheese bubbles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cool for 2 minutes. Top with the fresh herbs and serve.

Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Bacon
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small onions, peeled, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup farmer's cheese (can use cream cheese if you can't find farmers)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
In a medium size saute pan, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until the bacon is very crispy and all of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and discard. Place the pan over high heat. Add the onions to the hot bacon fat and cook until the onions are well browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and farmer's cheeses. Season with nutmeg and black pepper. Reserve.

On a lightly floured surface, stretch or roll the dough as thinly as possible, about 14 to 15-inch circle. Evenly spread the mascarpone mixture over the dough (I always have extra...). Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, bacon, thyme, and sauteed onion. Bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove pizza from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, cut into slices and serve immediately.

Prosciutto and Portobello Pizza

2 Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
3 tsp.Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Yellow cornmeal for dusting
6 Marinated quartered artichoke hearts, cut in half lengthwise
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese
6 Very thin slices prosciutto
½ cup Fresh arugula
½ cup Homemade pizza sauce (recipe follows)

To preheat the baking stone and roast the mushroom:
Place a large baking stone on the bottom shelf in the oven, then preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Heating the baking stone well in advance will allow enough time for it to become very hot before baking the pizzas on it. Baking on the very hot stone will create pizzas with crisp crusts. Place the Portobello mushroom on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon/5 ml of olive oil over the mushroom. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the mushroom is tender and its juices exude. Allow the mushroom to cool. Cut the mushroom into 3/4-inch/2-cm slices. Combine the mushroom strips and any accumulated juices in a bowl. Season the mushroom strips to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare the pizzas:
Lightly dust the work surface with flour and press 1 ball of dough on the work surface into a circle. Once the pizza dough is formed, lightly dust the pizza paddle with cornmeal and place the dough on the pizza paddle. Spread 1/2 cup/65 ml of pizza sauce in a thin layer over the pizza dough, leaving a ½-inch/1-cm border around the edge. Arrange half of the mushroom strips and artichokes over the pizza. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pizza. Immediately transfer the pizza from the paddle to the hot baking stone in the oven. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the bottom is crisp and deep golden brown and the cheese has melted and become pale golden on top. With 3 minutes cooking time left, drape the prosciutto over the pizza. Using the pizza paddle, remove the pizza from the stone and transfer to a cutting board. Scatter the arugula over the pizzas, then drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons/10 ml of oil.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
Serves: 3 cups

1 TB. Olive oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 TB. Chopped fresh oregano
2 sprigs Fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
5 Extra ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can Whole peeled tomatoes (14 oz.)
1 tsp. sugar

Heat oil in heavy saucepan over med-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaf. Add large pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes or until onions are translucent but do not brown. Stir in fresh and canned tomatoes and sugar. Press down on canned tomatoes with back of spoon to mash them slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook over med-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard the thyme and bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend sauce until just smooth. Let sauce cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Banana Split Brownie Pizza
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

1 (20-ounce) box fudge brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
2 tablespoons sugar
2 bananas, sliced and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup chopped nuts
Chocolate ice cream topping or chocolate syrup, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15-inch pizza pan (I didn't have a pan with a lip, so I just used a 10 inch round baking dish & cooked the brownie longer). Prepare the brownie mix according to box directions. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until done. Remove from the oven and cool. Beat the cream cheese, pineapple, and sugar together in a bowl. Use any reserved pineapple juice at this time, if needed, to soften the mixture to a good spreading consistency. Otherwise dispose of or save the juice for another use. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownie crust. Arrange the banana and strawberry slices over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping. Refrigerate. To serve, slice as you would a pizza, and enjoy!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I made this on Halloween night {just for me} while everyone was out trick-or-treating! Okay, I shared.....but I didn't want to!!!

peanut butter popcorn

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (can use 1 bag microwave popcorn)

Pop corn in an air popper and place in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until bubbly and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth. Evenly pour the mixture over the popcorn and combine well. Let cool for 2 minutes before serving (best eaten with fingers).

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Here's the Dinner in a Pumpkin recipe our family likes. We've been making this since we got married. It makes for a fun October tradition! (sorry I don't have a picture of the inside...)1 small to medium pumpkin. Cut off top and clean out.

Lightly brown 1 lb. of ground beef

½ c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped onion
¼ c. diced green onion
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

Cover and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.

2 c. cooked rice
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
½ c. chopped or sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2-4 tbsp. soy sauce

Put mixture in pumpkin, replace lid, place on baking sheet in oven at 400 degrees. Bake until pumpkin is tender (about 1- 1 ½ hours). Scoop out to serve, scraping sides of pumpkin to get the cooked pumpkin in the mixture. Mmmmm!

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Whole Wheat Bread

I've been making my own bread for awhile now. I've tried a ton of recipes and this is my favorite whole wheat one. There's nothing like the smell of baking bread!!

Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

2 TB. dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 TB. honey or sugar

3 cups warm water

4 tsp. salt

6 cups white flour

6 cups whole wheat flour, approx.

1 cup cracked wheat (optional)

In large mixing bowl combine 1 cup hot water, molasses, and sugar; stir and let stand.

In small bowl combine yeast, 1 cup warm water, and honey; stir and let stand.

Add 3 cups warm water, salt, white flour, and yeast mixture to the first mixture and beat well. Stir in wheat flour and cracked wheat, then knead {by hand or with stand mixer with dough hook}.

Cover. Let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). Punch down. Shape into loaves, place in greased bread pans and let rise until double.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Makes 4 loaves

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Homemade Graham Crackers

I tried these today & they were a hit. Super simple to make & the kids really liked them! I think I'll be making these instead of buying from now on.

Homemade Graham Crackers
1/8 cup dry milk (or 1/4 cup evaporated milk)
1/4 cup water
1 TB. lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups whole wheat flour

1. Mix together dry milk, water, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, honey, oil, vanilla and egg and beat well.

2. Add in salt, baking soda, and flour and beat until well combined. Divide into 2 equal parts. Place each on a greased and floured cookie sheet and roll to about 1/8" thick. Prick all over with a fork.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for bout 15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven and cut in squares immediately.

*I used the bottom of my cookie sheets because mine are not flat. Make sure you grease and flour them well so the graham crackers don't stick. Cut and REMOVE them immediately- they harden quickly & are difficult to get off without breaking if you wait too long. Also, I added a few TB. of ground flax seed to mine. I've been adding it to pretty much everything I make lately since I found a huge thing of it at Costco! What the kids {and the husband} don't know won't hurt them, right? In this case, it's good for them!!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

Another yummy pumpkin recipe! I can't get enough!!

Pumpkin Muffins
from Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup moist, plump golden raisins (I used regular raisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
About 1/3 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds, for topping (I used walnuts)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds on a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid overmixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula. Stir in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over the top of each muffin.
3. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold and finish cooling on the rack.

*Dorie suggests a little butter and a lot of orange marmalade or apricot jam, but they're super just plain, too.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghostly Shepherd's Pie

Ghostly Shepherd's Pie
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 bag (12 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
2 C. diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 jar (12 oz) beef gravy
1 3/4 C. water
2 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. milk
2 1/4 C. Potato Buds mashed potatoes (dry) or any other dried potatoes
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add beef and onion; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
2. Set 12 peas (from frozen vegetables) aside for garnish. Add remaining frozen vegetables, tomatoes and gravy to beef mixture. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat water, butter and garlic powder to boiling. Remove from heat; add milk. Stir in dry potatoes and cheese. Add egg; blend well.
4. Spoon beef mixture into ungreased 2 - 2 1/2 quart baking dish. With large spoon, make 6 mounds of potato mixture on top of beef mixture to resemble ghosts. Place 2 reserved peas on each mound to resemble eyes.5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are set and mixture is thoroughly heated.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Perfect Fall Cookie

I noticed cinnamon chips at the store the other day {how have I missed their goodness for so long?!} and went looking for a recipe to use them. I found this one on Picky Palate & it's super good!! Tastes just like fall.

Chocolate and Cinnamon Chip Crunchy Granola Crispers
2 sticks softened butter
¾ Cup brown sugar
¾ Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 Cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 oz package Oats and Honey Crispy Granola Bars, crushed with rolling pin
1 Cup chocolate chips
1 Cup cinnamon chips (or other chips of choice if cinnamon is not available)

1. In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined, scraping edges of bowl. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, soda and crushed granola bars. Slowly add to wet ingredients then add chips only until just combined. ***CHILL dough for at least 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes.***
2. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a medium cookie scoop, arrange onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are just barely golden around edges. Remove and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

About 36 Cookies

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's A Chili {and chilly} Day

It's snowing here! Unbelievable!! Good day to make some chili.


1-2 cups dry red beans, rinsed

1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. salt

dash of pepper

1 quart tomato juice

1 (10 1/4 oz) can tomato soup

1/2 cup catsup

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. cumin

1-2 tsp. chili powder

1 bay leaf

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Soak beans in several inches of water overnight in a large soup pot. The next morning, add more water to cover beans. Add onion, cover and simmer for 3 hours (check water level periodically to make sure there's enough). Add salt, pepper, tomato juice, tomato soup, catsup, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf and ground beef. Simmer 1 hour.

Serves 6-8

*perfect for a cold day, and also a good way to use your food storage beans!!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Extra Produce?

If you planted a garden you most likely have some zucchini and tomatoes ready to be used. If not you can buy some because this soup is super good!

Zucchini Cheese Soup

2 medium zucchini
1 medium onion
2 T. fresh parsley or ½ T. dried
1 t. dried basil
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. flour
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
3 C. water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 t. lemon juice
1 can diced tomatoes or 2-3 fresh
1 can evaporated milk
¼ C. grated parmesan cheese
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté zucchini, onion, parsley & basil in butter until tender.
Stir in flour, salt & pepper. Gradually stir in water. Add bouillon & lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil, cook & stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cheese just before serving. Continue stirring until cheese is melted.

(I did not peel my zucchini. It was more colorful with the skin and still tasted great. However, you may have more luck convincing your kids to eat it if it does not have the skin on.)

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You have to try .....

One box Pillsbury "pudding in the mix" yellow cake mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup Rice Krispies
Blend all ingredients together. Dough will be crumbly. Form into tight 1-inch balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes. Give them a try, you won't regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Apple Dippers

We were just in Pittsburgh, PA and the home grown apples were for sale everywhere. Everyone loves to dip and here is something a little different and extra yummy!

Cream Cheese & Toffee Fruit Dip

2 (8oz.) cream cheese
1-2 t. vanilla
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag toffee chips

Soften cream cheese, stir in other ingredients. It is fun in the Fall to serve with apples. It is also good with bananas and grapes too.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soup's On!

Fall is in the air and I am getting very excited to cook lots of soup! I have been pulling together all the recipes that I have found over the last year to share with all of you.

Pumpkin Soup

8 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1 can (32 ounces/907 g) packed pumpkin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the bacon in a heavy pot. Remove from heat, crumble, and set aside. In the same pot, mix the oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 15 minutes. Stir in water, bouillon, pumpkin, sugar, thyme, and crumbled bacon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

2. Pour the soup in batches into a blender and puree. Return to the pot. Mix in the milk, nutmeg, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with cheddar and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4.

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Buttermilk Cookies

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. For the frosting, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, milk or buttermilk and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth (you may have to add more milk to get it to the right consistency). Frost the cookies when cooled.

* I found this recipe on Mommy's Kitchen. They were a huge hit with the fam. I ate WAY too many!!

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Amazing Chicken Tacos!

Black Pepper and Ginger Chicken Taco with Red Curry-Peanut Sauce and Peanut Relish
(courtesy of Bobby Flay and Food Network)

Chicken marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts

Red Curry-Peanut Sauce:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Peanut Relish:
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (I didn't use these)
Salt and pepper (or these)

8 blue corn tortillas, (6-inches each)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Cilantro, for garnish

For Chicken Marinade:
Whisk together soy sauce, oil, ginger, garlic and black pepper in a medium shallow baking dish. Add the chicken breast and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Heat a large grill pan over high heat until smoking. Remove chicken from marinade and season with salt to taste. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes, slice each breast on the bias into 6 slices.

For the Red Curry Peanut Sauce:
Heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the curry taste and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce, coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Peanut Relish:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To Assemble:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay tortillas out on a flat surface. Divide both of the cheeses among the tortillas. Top the cheese with 3 slices of the chicken, some of the red onion and ilantro. Fold the tortillas over to form a half moon and brush the tops with peanut oil. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese melts. Serve 2 on a plate, drizzle with the red curry-peanut sauce and sprinkle with peanut relish and cilantro.

*These were devoured in minutes!! The kids preferred hard shell tacos and no sauce, but us adults were in love! I liked the sauce so much that I used more on the side for dipping.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some great FALL baked goods...

I love baking with pumpkin, apples, and peaches this time of year! Here are some of my favorite fall treat recipes:

Pumpkin Bread
(I've tried several recipes, this one is the best and most similar to Great Harvest's. I've never added nuts or raisins, but I do add choc. chips, f.y.i.)

1 ½ c. sugar
2 eggs
¼ t. bak. powder
1 tsp. bak. soda
1 2/3 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cloves or ½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. oil
1 c. pumpkin
½ c. nuts
2/3 c. raisins
2/3 c. choc. Chips
Makes 2 medium loaves. Bake 1 hour at 350.

Sweet Potato Muffins (sooo good)
3 c. self rising flour (yes, use self-rising)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
1 ½ c. oil
2 c. mashed/cooked sweet potatoes
Mix all together. Fill muffin tins half full. Bake at 350 for 30-40 min.

Pumpkin treat (I have 3 different versions of this but they all taste the same. Yum)
1 can evaporated milk
1 large can pumpkin pie MIX (make sure it is the pumpkin pie mix)
3/4c sugar
4 eggs
1/2 t nutmeg
mix and pour into a 9x13 pan, sprinkle yellow cake mix on top, sprinkle 1/2c nuts(pecans) chopped, melt 1 cube butter and drizzle on top.
bake 50-60minutes(until golden brown) @350 degrees

Pudding Apple Cake (Nicole Ward)
This is to die for, especially with the sauce.

1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 ½ c. shredded, peeled apples
Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Beat; stir in dry ingreds. Fold in apples. Pour into
9 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 min.

½ c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
dash nutmeg
Heat & stir – Do not boil. Pour over warm cake. Serve with whip cream or ice cream.

Peach Cornbread Trifle (Traci Wilson)
It is so good and beautiful when layered in a glass trifle dish. I used the cornbread recipe below because it is awesome.

Sweet Corn Bread

Dry ingredients:
½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup oil
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups milk

Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix. Pour into a greased 8X8 square pan. Bake 35 minutes.

2 pounds very ripe peaches
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound cornbread either store-bought or homemade

Score the bottom of peaches with an "X." Remove the skins of the peaches by dropping them in a pot of simmering water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the peaches, set aside to cool in a bowl of ice water and then peel off the loosened skins. Remove the pits from the peaches and then finely chop the flesh. Put the chopped peaches in a bowl.
Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl. Add a 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla extract. Whip into soft peaks.
Cut the corn bread into thin slices. Layer the bottom of a clear glass trifle or other serving bowl with a third of the cornbread. Add a third of the peaches on top of the cornbread and then a third of the whipped cream on top of that. Repeat the layers two more times and crumble the final layer of the cornbread on top.
Refrigerate and serve cold.

If anyone has any killer peach recipes, let me know. I have a ton of peaches from my MIL's peach tree. I think I already posted the peach french toast recipe that I love.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

End of Summer Grill Gourmet Night

Here are the recipes from Gourmet Night. I guess it was kind of an "End of Summer Grill" theme.

Peach Gingerale Floats
1 scoop of peach sherbet

Brown Sugar Dip
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. brown sugar
vanilla to taste

serve with fruit: preferably strawberries!

Grill Bread
1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. oil
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

Mix water, yeast, sugar, and oil and let it sit for a minute. Then add flour and salt. If dough is too sticky add a little more flour. Mix/knead well. Break off dough into a little larger than golf ball size balls and flatten out like a pancake or scone. Then dip it entirely in the oil mixture below.

1 c. Olive oil
a good amount of salt
ground pepper
italian seasoning and/or fresh herbs (I use basil and oregano)
taste test it to make sure you have enough flavor...the salt is the key...

After dipping dough, set aside on a plate until you're ready to grill. Turn grill to medium high heat and place the grill bread directly on the grill. Turn bread with tongs so it cooks on both sides. They cook pretty fast, so be careful not to burn them! After sacrificing one, you usually get the hang of it. :) Serve hot off the grill, very yummy with balsamic vinegar.

Linn Street Balsamic Vinegar
2 c. olive oil
2 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
3 shallots (little onions about the size of a garlic clove)

Mix mustard, pepper, salt, and shallots in a food processor. Then slowly add vinegar, and then the oils to emulsify. This recipe makes a lot, so you may want to half it. This is also really tasty served with foccacia bread!

Grilled Vegetables
Any garden vegetable you want to grill.
Dip in left over oil mixture from the grill bread recipe above. Place veggies on grill. By the time they are all placed, flip them all over, and then remove and serve.

Peanut Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken
4 cloves garlic
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 . ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. salad oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 lb. penne pasta-cooked, drained and cooled
1 cucumber seeded and sliced
2 green onions chopped
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 red pepper thinly sliced
sliced grilled chicken

Mix together Peanut Sauce ingredients. (I usually don't put in as much red pepper and chili flakes as called for. It can be very spicy.) Blend well in a food processor. The texture will be like watered down peanut butter. Next, in a separate bowl, mix together salad ingredients. Toss salad with peanut sauce. Garnish with cilantro. This recipe is great, and if you don't have all the ingredients for the sauce you can improvise and it still tastes good!

Apple Betty
4 cups sliced apples
1/4 c. orange juice
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
dash salt
1/2 c. butter

Mound apples in buttered 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle with orange juice. Combine sugar, flour, spices, and salt; cut in butter till mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is crisp. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves 6-8.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tips & Tricks

I'm always excited to hear about a kitchen tip that saves me time and/or makes my life easier in the kitchen. Cook's Country Magazine has a lot of them. I thought I'd share a few that have worked for me......

1. THE BIG SQUEEZE- For an easy way to make perfect pancakes every time, fill a clean, wide-mouthed ketchup bottle with the batter. It's an easy and fun way to squeeze out baby-sized or plate-sized rounds of pancakes.

2. MAKESHIFT COOLER: When you have to transport ice cream or serve it outside, take the insert for your ice cream maker out of the freezer. Round containers of ice cream fit inside it perfectly. The insert keeps the ice cream frozen long enough to take to a friend's summer party.

3. NOT JUST FOR HONEY: Instead of throwing away empty honey containers (you know, the cute bears), wash them out and make your own salad dressings in the container. With a few shakes, the dressing is ready to go, and the spout keeps you from pouring too much at a time. It never spills, and can easily be transported when bringing a salad to a party.

4. COOL UNDER PRESSURE: Before rolling out your pie dough, freeze a large cookie sheet. Then flip the frozen cookie sheet over, place parchment paper down, and roll our the dough. The frozen sheet keeps the dough cold, so you don't have to refrigerate the crust for as long before baking.

5. PROTECT YOUR BOOKS: Cut a zipper-lock bag in half and drape it over the open pages of your cookbook. Then pin the sheet in place with two clothespins at the top. That way, the book stays open to where you need it, and you don't have to worry about ruining the pages with dripped or splashed food.

6. THREAD 'EM & FORGET 'EM: When grilling several dozen hot dogs in one afternoon (which is always the case at a family barbecue!), thread an entire package (8 hot dogs) onto two skewers (one through each end). You can flip all the hot dogs at once instead of fiddling around with each with your tongs. You can do the same thing to toast the buns.

What tips & tricks do you swear by??

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Pork, Peasant Bread, & A Refreshing Salad

We had Jill's Raspberry-Glazed Pork Tenderloin for dinner last night, along with our favorite bread from the Ivory Cookbook, French Peasant Bread. I tried out a new salad, and topped it all off with a delicious blueberry crumble (see next post).

Cynthia’s Salad with Oranges & Scallions

1 TB. Unsalted butter
1/2 cup Slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Seasoned salt
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained (15 oz.)
1 bunch Scallions, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, pressed
1/4 cup Fresh lemon juice
3 TB. Fresh orange juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
1 TB. Grated orange zest
Salt and pepper

1. Warm the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and sauté until they start to brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and seasoned salt. Drain on paper towels.

2. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, mustard, and cayenne. With machine running, add olive oil and vegetable oil slowly in a thin stream until incorporated. Pour dressing into bowl and stir in orange zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In large serving bowl, combine lettuce, oranges, scallions, and almonds. Just before serving, toss with dressing.

*I really liked this salad. The dressing was very refreshing. Hubby & kids weren't so fond of it for some reason, but oh well. More for me! I didn't have almonds, so I used walnuts and added a few tsp. brown sugar as they were browning. I also used sliced red onion instead of scallions (didn't have those, either!).

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Summer Blueberry Crumble

Summer Blueberry Crumble
Cook's Country Magazine

1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
5 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 TB. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp. salt in large bowl. Add berries to bowl and toss to coat. Transfer to 8-inch square baking dish (I used a 9-inch round pie dish).
2. Process flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining salt in food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until dime-sized clumps form. Sprinkle crumble evenly over berries.
3. Bake until filling is bubbling around edges and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve.

*This was to die for! I served it up with homemade vanilla ice cream. mmmmm.....

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Want A CB Junkies Button?

Just copy and paste the code below to your HTML/Java Script:

C'mon, you know you want to :)

cookbook junkies

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Back To School Cookies

I made these for our back to school celebration last night & boy were they a hit! If you don't feel like making brownies, too, I think you could leave that part out & the cookies would still be delish!

Brownie Swirled Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies

1 stick butter
½ Cup peanut butter
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ Cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 oreos broken into pieces
1 Brownie mix of choice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Add in peanut butter until well combined. With mixer on low beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

2. Sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt into a large bowl. With mixer on low slowly add in dry ingredients and broken oreos until just combined. Pour cookie dough onto a rimmed cookie sheet and press to about ½ inch thick, doesn’t have to be totally flat or reach edges of cookie sheet, just spread out.

3. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Take 3 tablespoons of brownie batter and drizzle evenly over cookie dough. Take a toothpick and gently swirl brownie batter into cookie dough only a few times. You should be able to see clear brownie swirls.

4. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough with brownie swirls onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are cooked through but still soft. Let cool for 3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool. Serve and enjoy!

**Save and bake the remaining brownie batter after cookies are done baking at 350 degrees F. according to package directions***

recipe from Picky Palate

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baby Gator

Matt brought this book home from work a while ago. It had been hidden away somewhere, probably a promo thing or something. The kids & I have been excited to try it out. It has a TON of fun ideas. Today for lunch we made the baby gator as seen on the cover.

1 loaf Rhodes bread dough

1. Put frozen dough in a plastic bag. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for about 3 hours, until thawed but still cold.

2. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Cut a piece off the end of the loaf. Roll the rest of the loaf into a baseball bat. Put it on the cookie sheet. Flatten the big end into the gator's head.

3. Make cuts down each side of the gator. Pull them out to make 4 legs.

4. Cut a mouth. Hold it open with crinkled up foil. Pinch the end of the nose up.

5. With the rest of the dough, make 2 eyes and 4 feet. Cut the toes.

6. Put the eyes on top of the head. Put the feet under the legs. Clip scales on the gator using scissors.

7. Tun the oven on to 350 degrees and wait 20 minutes.

8. Bake about 25 minutes. Take foil out of gator's mouth when it has cooled.

I didn't roll my dough out enough, hence the pug-nosed, chubby gator! He still tasted good, though. I brushed him with a beaten egg before baking so he was glossy. We served him up with sandwich fixin's and he was delish! The kids thought this was so much fun. We can't wait to try all the other ideas.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ginger Grilled Chicken with Tropical Fruit Chutney

I love the Costco Cookbooks! If you haven't looked at them you should. You can download a PDF version of the books here. This recipe was a great one for the grill. I used chicken breasts and it was delish {and took less time to cook}!

Ginger Grilled Chicken with
Tropical Fruit Chutney

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
4 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3-pound chicken, quartered
1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 medium pineapple, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup sweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper

1. In a food processor, puree ginger, garlic, peppercorns, cilantro, soy sauce and oil.
2. Place puree in a bowl, add chicken and marinate, covered, in the refrigeratorfor 1 hour.
3. In a saucepan, combine mango, cantaloupe, pineapple, sugar, cumin, coconut, peanuts, jalapeño and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
4. Preheat grill to hot.
5. Grill chicken for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with tropical fruit chutney.

Makes 4 servings.

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Roasted Veggie Cream Cheese

I love the Food Network and the other day I was watching "Good Eats". It is a quirky show that gives you the science behind cooking, plus some great recipes. That is where I got this recipe. We eat it with crackers or on toasted wheat bagels. Super HEALTHY and super TASTY!

1 small zucchini, sliced 1/4-1/2 in thick
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 small red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced 1/4 in thick
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T olive oil
1 block of cream cheese, room temp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced veggies on cookie sheet with sides so they don't slip off. Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast veggies on oven, tossing a few times to ensure even cooking. This takes about 45 mins. Let veggies cool and place in food processor. Pulse a few times, do NOT puree until smooth. You want some texture to the spread. Refrigerate in air tight container for up to a week.

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Shout Out

Jaime's Lemon Ice Cream recipe is featured today on Tip Junkie! Way to go! You're famous ;)

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maple Butter Blondie Dessert

Maple Butter Blondie Dessert (like Applebee’s)

I debated on whether I should save this for my next Gourmet Dinner Group or just share the recipe right now. They are really good! Try 'em!!!!!


1 ½ c flour
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 ½ c margarine or butter
1 ½ c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ t vanilla
1 c white chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
(the nuts can be added to the brownie or served sprinkled
over the top of the finished dessert – or both)

Blend butter and brown sugar together. Add baking powder, salt, vanilla and then eggs. Mix in flour. Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts.

Put brownie batter into a greased 9x13 pan and smooth mixture with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 – 25 minutes. Oven temperatures may vary, do not over bake. Top should be shiny and firm when you touch the center with a finger.

Maple Butter Sauce

1 1/3 c sugar
1 c whipping cream
2/3 c butter
1 ½ t maple flavoring

Combine sugar, butter and whipping cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the maple flavoring.

To assemble:

Cut brownies into 12 pieces. Place a brownie on a plate and top with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with more nuts. Enjoy !!

*I found this recipe to be just a little denser than those at Applebee’s. This recipe may need to be adjusted for high altitude by adding 3 T of additional flour. I also thought it was strange that the baking powder and salt are not sifted together with the flour in the instructions.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thai Style Grilled Chicken Breasts

We're all about the BBQ around here lately. I just tried this recipe & it's REALLY good and super easy. Not really "Thai style" according to Matt, but yummy nonetheless!!

Thai Style Grilled Chicken Breasts
1/3 C chopped basil
1/3 C chopped mint
1/3 C chopped cilantro
1 t ground ginger
2 t garlic
1 ½ T soy
1 ½ T fish sauce (alternatively, increase soy)
1 ½ T oil
1 ½ T brown sugar
1 t crushed red pepper.
Combine in food processor. Marinate 6 chicken breasts in sauce for 2 hours to 1 day. Grill chicken breasts, approximately 5 min. per side.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

These Chimichangas are so good! They are great because I often have the ingredients on hand, and if I don't have some things I switch up the amounts of different ingredients and they still taste great!

Baked Chimichangas

1 can chicken breast meat
1 can black beans, washed and drained
2/3 cup bottled salsa
1 cup cooked rice
1 ½ cup enchilada sauce (I prefer green enchilada sauce)
1 t. oregano
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 t. cumin
8-10 large burrito size tortillas (I prefer the Costco uncooked tortillas)
1 T. butter, soft or melted (I use spray butter)

Optional toppings:
Sour cream
Extra cheese
Tomatoes, diced
Enchilada sauce drizzled on top

Mix chicken, black beans, salsa rice, enchilada sauce, oregano, onions, cheese and cumin. Spray the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Cook tortilla if uncooked version and add scoop of mixture in the center of tortilla and roll it up, closing both ends like a burrito. Place in the baking dish with flaps down. Brush all exposed sides of tortilla with butter using a pastry brush. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Top with preferred toppings.

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To keep with the Summer treat of homemade ice cream, this recipe out of the Junior League "Seasons" is super yummy. I have made it twice this year with none of the options, just plain vanilla and everyone has licked the bowl clean. I just finished a book called "Why French Women are Skinny" and she talks all about eating the foods that are in season, therefore I have enjoyed my Seasons cook book because the recipes are arranged under seasons. I will keep you posted on others that are good as well-Now there is a plug for the Junior League of SLC!

Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Always in Season, Junior League SLC

1 cup sugar
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 pints whipping cream
2 T. vanilla extract
½ gal. whole milk

1 pint fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh peaches, sliced
Sugar to taste

Pour all the ingredients except the whole milk into the ice cream freezer. Add milk to the fill line. Put container into the machine and start without adding the ice. Let it run for a couple of minutes and it will mix the ingredients well. Then add the ice and salt according to the manufacturer’s directions.

To add options, process the fruit with sugar to taste in a blender. Add to the mixture above.

Serves Twelve

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yummy Lemon Ice Cream

Ok, so we all probably have the Ivory Cookbook, but just in case you don't.... here is the recipe for lemon ice cream. It is FABULOUS! Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Lemon Ice Cream

2 quarts whole milk
1 pint whipping cream
4 cups sugar
¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ tablespoon lemon extract

Combine first three ingredients in ice cream freezer
and let churn for about five minutes. Then open and
add lemon juices. Continue running ice cream maker
until it stops and ice cream is frozen. Then, place in
freezer until frozen hard.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pasta With Sausage, Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes and Marjoram

We've all been slacking lately......let's all try to post something at least once a month. What do you say?!

Pasta With Sausage, Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes and Marjoram

1 TB. olive oil
1 LB. hot Italian sausage, casings removed {I used mild Italian turkey sausage}
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram {I used fresh basil}
2 12 oz. packages cherry tomatoes
12 oz. fusilli pasta
5 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add sausages; saute until browned, breaking up with fork, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and onion; saute until soft, about 13 minutes. Stir in marjoram, then tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes soften and release their juices, crushing with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente. Drain.
Return pasta to pot. Add sausage mixture and goat cheese; stir to blend.

*made this last night and it was soooo good! It makes a TON!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crockpot recpies needed

Anyone have any good crockpot recipes? Making dinner at dinnertime is tricky these days because that's when the baby gets fussy (and the older two, come to think of it).

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Indonesian Chicken

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cups water
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chile paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)

1. Bring the rice and water to boil in a pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Place green beans in a pot fitted with a steamer basket over boiling water, and steam 10 minutes, or until tender but crisp.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the chicken 5 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.
4. Mix the chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, chile paste, lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Mix in the green beans.
5. Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

2 c. sugar
2 c. peanut butter
2 eggs

Bake @ 375 for 7-9 min.

So simple!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hey all!

May is Peanut Butter Month, so I'm challenging everyone to post a recipe using peanut butter. Let's get creative! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. I'll be posting mine a little later.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

A Breakfast Spread


I decided that I liked to know who gave me the recipes that I have so I put my name at the bottom of each one. If you like that too, then lets start the trend.

Banana Slush
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
3 mashed bananas

¾-1 bottle of Fresca or Diet Grapefruit Shasta

Boil sugar and water until dissolved. Stir in the pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice and bananas. Freeze overnight. Break slush into chunks and serve with diet soda.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Elegant Brunch Strata
Ivory Favorites

1 cup milk
¼ cup white wine
¾ loaf day-old French bread, sliced thick or French toast bread
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T. olive oil
½ lb. Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup purchased pesto sauce
4 eggs
Salt and fresh ground pepper
½ cup whipping cream

Grease baking dish (9x13) or 10 inch round. Combine milk and wine in bowl and dip bread slices in mixture. Gently squeeze liquid from bread and place wet slices in prepared dish. Cover bread with chopped cilantro and drizzle with olive oil. Layer half the cheese and tomato slices over the bread. Daub half the pesto on top and repeat layers of cheese, tomato and pesto. Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over layered mixture. Pour whipping cream over top and cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight.

Take strata out of fridge about 3 hours before serving, to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, until puffy and browned, 50-60 minutes.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes
Barefoot Contessa at Home

Serves 8

2 ½ pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 T. good olive oil
2 T. whole-grain mustard
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (can use 1 T. dried)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters depending on their size and place them on a sheet pan. Remove the ends of the onions and the peel. Cut them in half and then slice crosswise in ¼ inch thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. Mix the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper together in separate bowl. Pour over potatoes and onions; toss them together with hands to get mustard mixture evenly spread. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.
Serve hot sprinkled with chopped parsley and extra salt if needed.

* If you want to prep the potatoes early, cut them up and store them covered in water to keep them from turning brown.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Easy Cheese Danish
Barefoot Contessa Home

Makes 8 large Danish or 12-14 small Danish

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 T. ricotta cheese
1 t. pure vanilla extract
¼ t. kosher salt
1 T. grated lemon zest (1 ½ -2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) Pepperidge Farms puff pastry, defrosted (follow directions on box)
1 egg beaten with 1 T. water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10x10 inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with sharp knife or pizza cutter. Place a heaping spoonful of cheese filling into the middle of each of the four squares. Brush the boarder of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry to the firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.
Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

*You can assemble these the night before and bake them before breakfast. Or, if you bake them in advance, reheat them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 large navel oranges
½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
2 cups flour
½ t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 cup sugar plus 2 t. for topping

Grate zest from oranges and measure 4 teaspoons in medium-size bowl. Add pecans and cranberries; stir to combine. Squeeze juice from oranges and measure to 2/3 cup. Combine juice, cooled butter, and egg; whisking to blend. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Add liquid, blend and then fold in cranberry mixture. Spoon into 12-15 paper-lined tins, and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 4oo degrees for 18-20 minutes.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Orange Honey Butter

1 part butter or margarine
1 part honey
Zest from orange to taste

Raspberry Butter

1 lb. butter softened
8 oz. creamed honey
8 oz. raspberry jam (I prefer seedless)

Microwave butter till very soft and mix with other ingredients. Can divide up and freeze for later. This is to die for.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch

Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate
Barefoot Contessa at Home

Serves 8

2 half pints fresh raspberries
2 half-pints fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled sliced thick
1 cup heavy cream
10 oz. good white chocolate (not chips), chopped (Callebaut or Lindt chocolate)
½ t. pure vanilla extract

Early in the day, spread the berries on a sheet pan in a single layer and place them in the freezer. (This prevents them from sticking together.) Once they are frozen, store them in a freezer bag.
In a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, (or double boiler) heat the cream, white chocolate and vanilla just until the chocolate melts. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. Heat the mixture until it’s warm to the touch, about 110 degrees.
Place the frozen berries in one layer on 8 dessert plates and allow them to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to defrost slightly. Pour the hot white chocolate evenly over the frozen berries and serve immediately.

*The chocolate can be made earlier and kept in the fridge. Reheat over simmering water to 110 degrees or really melted again. Don’t overheat or chocolate will separate and burn.

**Hot white chocolate poured over frozen berries is served at two of London’s most popular restaurants, The Ivy and J. Sheekey’s. You can also used frozen berries instead of fresh.

-Andrea Summerhays brunch
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