Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marshmallow Popcorn Cake

Marshmallow Popcorn Cake

2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
1 10.5 ounce bag marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter
assorted Halloween mix-ins - I used M&Ms, candy corn and peanuts

Melt butter and marshmallows together. Add popcorn and mix slightly. Add in mix-ins and mix until the melted marshmallow mixture has coated all the popcorn.

Pour mixture into a bundt pan that has either been sprayed with cooking spray or buttered. Turn out onto a serving dish when cooled a little.

*I love this treat because you can switch up the candies for any holiday. Kids love to help make {and eat} it!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Allspice Snaps

Allspice Snaps
Adapted from Didi Emmons

6 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus more later)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon allspice (plus more later)
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in egg yolk. Add allspice, salt, soda, and flour. Form cookie dough into one inch balls. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon allspice. Roll cookies in sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with hand. Bake at 350 degrees6-8 minutes, or until puffed in the center and crinkled on the edges.

*Makes about 16 cookies.

If you like Allspice these are a yummy fall treat and a good variation on ginger snaps. Some of my kids loved them, others did not.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October Gourmet Night 2009 at Jill's

Almond Punch
2 c. water
2 c. sugar
2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

2 qt. water added when ready to serve

Heat the sugar and 2 c. water and boil 5 minutes. Then add orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract. Refrigerate to cool. This syrup is made in advance. When ready to serve, add 2 quarts of water. Makes 3 quarts total.

This is a nice subtle drink. If you want a little more kick add sprite or 7-up.
Artichoke Dip

1 cup mayo
1 cup mozzerella cheese
1 can artichoke hearts chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1/2 med. onion diced

mix together and heat in oven at 350 until bubbly. serve with crackers. Garden Vegetable Soup

2 lbs mild Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
3 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
3-4 cans beef broth
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 med. green pepper, diced
3 Tbsp basil
3 Tbsp parsley
8 oz. bowtie pasta
1/8 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil. Add sausage and cook. Drain excess grease. Add all other ingredients except pasta. Simmer 2 hours. Cook pasta and add 15 minutes before serving. Can serve with fresh parmesan cheese and bread bowls.

This makes a BIG pot full! Spinach Salad

1 bag of fresh spinach
cottage cheese
mozzarella cheese, shredded
bacon, cooked and crumbled

mushrooms, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. mustard

mix dressing ingredients in blender then add mushrooms and onions to marinate. Add to salad just before serving. Cheese Pumpkins (and honestly, these are cuter than they are delicious, but they're kind of fun and my kids LOVE them, both to make and to eat.)

Just buy some cheddar cold pack cheese, usually found by cheeseballs.
Thick pretzels
Cilantro or parsley

Make sure cheese is cold. Then roll cheese into small balls. Stick pretzels in for the stems. And cilantro for the leaves. Chopped up some peanuts and sprinkle on the ground. Easy.
Potato Pepper Jack Soup (all time favorite!)
4 Cups diced potato
3 Cups shredded chicken breast
4 strips thick bacon chopped
1 or 2 large jalapenos diced (I just use 1 and it still had kick)
1 med. Red bell pepper diced
1 carrot peeled and diced
1 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 lb. shredded pepperjack cheese
3 Cups Chicken broth
1 Qt. heavy cream
1/2 Cup flour
1/2 Cup butter

Cook bacon in the bottom of pot thoroughly. Add to the bacon: peppers, onion, garlic, and carrot. Saute on medium heat until vegetables are soft. Add chicken broth and let simmer. In separate pan boil potatoes in water until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and add to soup. Add cream, cheese, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Prepare roux by melting butter and stirring in flour to make a paste. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add roux to soup mixture, stirring to desired thickness. *note* this soup is a little spicy.Creamy Pumpkin Soup

1/2 c. butter
1 yellow onion diced
2 shallots minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 c. water
1 29 oz. can plain pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and saute onion until just translucent but not browned. Add garlic and shallots and stir frequently, being careful not to let garlic burn. Lower heat if needed. Sprinkle brown sugar over onion mixture in pan and continue to saute until onion, garlic, and shallot are tender and caramelized.

Add broth and water to mixture in pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add pumpkin puree and evaporated milk to simmering broth. Stir until well combined. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, process soup until smooth.

Stuffed Peppers

bell peppers (depending on the # of people you are feeding)- yellow, orange, or red.
wheat or white rice
mozzarella cheese
sausage or ground beef (1/2 pound or so)

1) Gut the bell peppers. Broil or cook on grill the bell peppers till they are SOFT, a little brown/black spots are ok.
2) Cook rice according to directions. set aside.
3) Cook sausage in a pan- into small pieces. drain- set aside.
4) Slices up tomatoes into small pieces.
5) Mix: sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, rice in a large bowl.
6) Stuff peppers full with mixture. top with mozzarella cheese.
7) Bake in over on 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.

We eat them like a pita.

Peach Cream Cheese Tart

Graham Cracker Crust of choice:
graham crackers

1/2 pt. whipping cream
1 c. powdered sugar, divided
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
2 whole peaches

1 c. sugar
1 c. mashed peaches
1 c. water
4 Tbsp. corn starch

Make your favorite graham cracker crust in a large pie pan.

Combine whipping cream and 1/2 c. powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and remaining powdered sugar. Combine both powdered sugar mixtures and pour into graham cracker crust. Thinly slice peaches and place on top of cream cheese.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, mashed peaches, water, and corn starch and cook over medium heat until mixture becomes translucent. Pour over sliced peaches. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Bowls

Pumpkin Bread Bowls
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups tepid water
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 package yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
7 cups unbleached flour

Pour the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast. Once the top is foamy with bubbles, pour the yeast mixture into your mixing bowl. Also add the other cups of water and the salt. Mix this together. Add some drops of food coloring to color the water a nice orange color. I used liquid food coloring and put about 8 drops of red and 12 drops of yellow.

Next, attach the dough hook to the mixer. Add the flour a little bit at a time. Keep kneading the dough for another 2 minutes after all the flour is in. You'll see a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Spray a large bowl with oil. Place dough into the oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and let rise for 1 hour. It should double in size.

Flour your surface and rolling pin. Punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl. Remove a small handful of dough and add some green food coloring to it. Knead the dough to mix the color as thoroughly as possible and set aside. Knead the rest of your orange dough. Separate into 8 round balls.

Set your round dough balls on a greased cookie sheet. Take the green dough and make 8 small stems by making little round balls. Place the stems on the top and middle of your orange dough balls. Cover it again with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the dough is ready, bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. When you tap it, it should sound hollow. Allow it to cool before slicing. Slice the top of the pumpkin bowl off and hollow out the inside of the pumpkin to make a hole for your soup to sit in. Now, fill with your favorite soup {I made Jaime's Cauliflower soup}!

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brooke's Mexican Gourmet Night

I'm taking the liberty to post Brooke's fabulous gourmet night. She put it on her blog, but I thought it needed to be on here, too Ü

Thanks for the great feast, Brooke!

7 Layer Mex-Tex Dip
from my mom

1 can refried beans
1 can frito lay bean dip
2 medium very ripe avocados
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 to 1 full package taco seasonin
3 tomatoes cored and chopped
1 can chopped pitted black olives
1 small can green chilis
grated Monterey Jack cheese

First Layer: Mix refried beans and bean dip together and spread over bottom of pan
Second Layer: Peel and pit avocados and mash with fork. Add salt and pepper to taste
Third Layer: Mix together mayo, sour cream and taco seasoning
Fourth Layer: chopped olives
Fifth Layer: chopped tomatoes
Sixth Layer: green chilis
Seventh Layer: cover with cheese

Refridgerate. Serve with tortilla chips.

Kiwi-Lime Slush

2 cans lime-ade concentrate
1 cup sugar
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple
4 kiwi, peeled and smashed
2 Liters 7-up

Reconstitute the 2 cans of limeade concentrate with 1 cup of sugar, then add enough water to make two quarts. In a blender mix the limeade and crushed pineapple. Add kiwi, Put in Ziploc gallon bag and freeze for several days. Just before serving combine frozen mixture with 2 liter bottle of 7-Up until slushy.

I know this didn't go with the Mexican theme but it's always a hit so I had to serve it.

Baked Chicken Taquitos
makes 14-16

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used light cream cheese)
1/4 cup green salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 green onion, sliced finely (white and green parts to equal about 2 tablespoons)--I left this out
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I cook large batches of chicken in my crockpot with a little chicken broth and salt, shred it and freeze it for meals like this.)
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese (use pepperjack for a litte heat)

small yellow or white corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat overn to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix softened cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare this step ahead of time and keep the mixture in the fridge.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, place 3-4 between two damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds, until tortillas are soft and pliable and don't crack when rolling. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of a soft tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up tight as you can.

Place filled taquitos seam side down on the baking sheet, making sure they don't touch each other. When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and lightly sprinkle some kosher (coarse) salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Serve immediately. Taquitos can be dipped in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice and zest of 1 large lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin

In a skillet, melt butter and add rice. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 18-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

from Cafe Rio
Why mess with perfection?


1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk

Add dry ingredients, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs and milk into the center. Stir until just mixed (batter will be runny--don't be alarmed!) Bake in an 8" square pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. This doubles perfectly for a 9x13 inch pan.

Honey Butter

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

Whip all together with an electric mixer and serve at room temperature (can be refrigerated and softened.)

Brandi's Chocolate Bundt Cake
from my friend Brandi

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
1 small carton sour cream
1 package chocolate chips

Combine ingredients. Pour into bundt cake pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour.
Sprinkle powder sugar on top.

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