Monday, February 28, 2011

Blueberry Crumb Bars




Typically I am not a blueberry fan, but even I loved these Blueberry Crumb Bars. I kept mine in the fridge to cool before cutting into squares. I put them back in the fridge and served them cold, which to me was far better tasting then serving at room temperature. Enjoy!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Italian Nachos - Johnny Carino's Copycat

From the menu at Johnny Carino's:
Italian Nachos - Crispy pasta chips baked with ground Italian sausage and/or sliced grilled chicken, pepperoncini peppers, black olives, roma tomatoes and jalapenos. Topped with creamy alfredo sauce, melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
I think we got everything here except the black olives and tomatoes. This is so incredibly yummy.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Penzey's Secret Banana Smoothie

Bananas are standard fare for breakfast at our house. After awhile, even I get sick of bananas, so this is a welcome change. In case you were wondering, the secret is a tiny bit of almond extract.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Funky Chicken and Sesame Noodles

I doubled the amount of pasta and sauce for the noodles. I also cut my chicken into quarters before cooking in vegetable oil. The noodles were by far my favorite part. Just delicious. The chicken was good, but at times overpowering. I have a feeling I'm going to make the noodle component of this dish a few times a month when I want a quick and cheap dinner. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Smoked Salmon Dip

I used the dried, flaky variety of smoked salmon, as opposed to the super soft orange stuff. I would recommend making a double batch if this is for a party. This stuff goes fast.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispies


Rice Krispies Treats are a classic childhood dessert. It was a special night in our house when mom pulled out the ingredients to make a batch, and you can bet they were gone by the next day. I wanted to jazz up the classic recipe so I went on a recipe search. Up came this recipe that included peanut butter in the krispies mix, with a dunk in melted chocolate to finish it off. They are deliciously addictive.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pickle Wraps





By far the ugliest little things I've ever made. Tasty though!

Note: Save yourself some money and don't get the kind in the jar. Instead, buy the Karl Buddig brand of beef lunch meat at the grocery store. It is the cheap stuff but it works awesome for this recipe.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tootsie Pop Cocktail

Tootsie Pop Cocktail
Makes 1 serving

1 part Coffee liqueur
1 part Root beer

1. Prepare a tall glass full of ice then add the coffee liqueur, next add the root beer. Add a tootsie pop to garnish. Out of the wrapper preferably.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Best Spinach Dip Ever






Unlike a lot of spinach dip recipes that use a vegetable soup mix, this recipe calls for leek soup mix. The flavor is amazing. I received a lot of compliments when I made this for a party.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles

I know what you are thinking—goat cheese in a truffle?

Trust me, these are so good.

There is a slight tangy aftertaste, but primarily it is a sweet, chocolaty, and tangy flavor that I am addicted to. The consistency is killer. A warning: If you hate goat cheese, I wouldn’t suggest them. If you are a fan of goat cheese, try them out, I had a hard time stopping myself from eating them all.

Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles
Makes many servings

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces fresh (mild) goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1. In the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bowl), melt the chocolate, stirring until it is smooth. Set the melted chocolate aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. In a bowl whisk together the goat cheese, sugar, and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate until it is well combined. Chill, covered, until it is firm, at least one hour.

3. To form the truffles, take a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate/cheese mixture and lightly roll it into a ball with your hands. Roll the finished truffles in the sifted cocoa powder, set them onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and chill until they are firm, about 30 minutes. The truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipe from Foodnetwork.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Orange Cream Mimosa

Orange Cream Mimosa
Makes 8 to 10

2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (5 to 6 oranges)
1 orange, zested
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup superfine sugar
1 bottle sparkling wine or Champagne*
Strawberries, for garnish
*Non-alcoholic sparkling wine, sparkling cider, or ginger ale can be substituted

Put orange juice, zest, half-and-half, and sugar into a blender and process until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds. Pour this mixture into a shallow pan and freeze until hard, 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the frozen orange mixture from the freezer and let it sit to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. With a scoop or tablespoon, scrape out a small scoop and put it into a Champagne glass. Slowly fill the glass with Champagne and serve garnished with strawberries.

Recipe from Tyler Florence

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ritzy Chicken Nuggets

I did a test with her Nigella's Ritzy Chicken Nuggets recipe. She says you can marinate the chicken in buttermilk for up to 2 days, but it didn't specifically say how long she marinated them for. She also gave two options for cooking them: In a pan with oil or in the oven.

I tried marinating them for about an hour then baking. They were pretty blah. Nothing I'd make twice.

I tried marinating them for about 8 hours, then pan frying. Better.

I tried marinating them for 1 day, then pan frying. Even better.  The chicken nuggets were so juicy and flavorful. I was in heaven. I would highly recommend serving them alongside a dipping sauce. BBQ, honey mustard and ranch all tasted great with the nuggets.

Isn't it funny how they could taste so ho-hum one time, then completely delicious the next time? It just goes to show you that preparation technique is very important.

I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts because I had them on hand.

Ritzy Chicken Nuggets by Nigella
Makes several servings

2 (each weighing approximately 8 ounces with the peg bone, less without) chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil (if you are frying the nuggets)
1 3/4 cups cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz crackers- I used the Vegetable Herb Ritz crackers)

1. Cut off the chicken peg bone if there is one, and put the chicken breasts one at a time into a freezer bag so that it lies flat. Bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is quite thin, and then take it out and slice into about 6 to 8 slices. Repeat with the other chicken breast. This is easiest done with scissors.

2. Put the slices into a freezer bag with the buttermilk and leave in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 2 days. (Highly recommended)

3. When you are ready to cook them, heat the oil in a large frying pan, or preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

4. Tip the cracker crumbs into a wide shallow bowl, and then shake off the excess buttermilk from the nuggets and dip them in the crumbs. Coat them well before lying gently in the hot oil, and cooking for about 2 minutes or so a side until they are golden brown. Transfer to a kitchen towel on a plate to blot the excess oil.

5. Alternatively, you can lay the crumb-coated chicken nuggets on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. They can also be frozen once marinated and crumbed. If cooking from frozen, add 5 minutes to the oven cooking time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ultimate Spaghetti Carbonara

The Ultimate Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 4

Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 onion, chopped (I would get a small one)
4 large eggs
6 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 c. fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb. spaghetti
Cracked black pepper
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Heat a 3-count (Meaning pour olive oil for 3 seconds) of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and onion and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the onion is caramelized and the bacon is crisp. While that is cooking, crack the eggs into a large serving bowl. Add the cream and cheese and whisk together. Scrape the bacon and onion into that bowl along with the cooking fat.

When water has come to a boil, throw in the spaghetti and stir to separate the strands; cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and add that to the bowl with the bacon and eggs. Drain the spaghetti, add it to the bowl, and give everything a toss. Invert a plate on top of the bowl to hold in the heat and let the pasta set for 5 minutes. Remove the plate, toss in some salt and lots of cracked black pepper and the parsley and you are done.

Recipe from Tyler Florence's cookbook, Tyler's Ultimate.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tomato Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise

Summer on a plate is how I'd describe this delicious sandwich. I know it may seem very simple but the flavors just burst in your mouth. Get the best tomatoes you can find. If you are lucky enough to have access to heirloom tomatoes go for those for sure. In a pinch I've used Roma tomatoes and it still turns out great. You also want to use fresh bread for this, no floppy white sandwich bread allowed. (That bread is for fluffer nutter sandwiches only, hah)

Although the sandwich is very basic, the tasty basil mayo adds a ton of flavor.

According to Ina, this is for 1 serving, so if you are only making one sandwich you can scale back the mayo ingredients. I did that just using whatever looked right for the amounts and taste tested it along the way. If you make the full recipe for the mayo you will want to store it in the fridge and use it up within a couple days. Ready for the recipe?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Caesar Salad with Crisp Prosciutto, Homemade Soft Croutons and Freshly Grated Parmesan

Caesar Salad with Crisp Prosciutto, Homemade Soft Croutons and Freshly Grated Parmesan
Serves 8

3/4 pound prosciutto, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 pints cherry tomatoes
5-8 slices good quality Italian or white bread
Good olive oil
Butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large heads romaine lettuce
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Favorite bottle of Caesar dressing

1. Cut the prosciutto into 1/2-inch cubes and cook it in a skillet over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towels and drain.

2. Cut or tear the white bread into bite sized pieces. Drizzle a saute pan with olive oil (a few tablespoons) and a dab of butter heat over medium heat. Add the pieces of bread and stir to coat with olive oil. Stir occasionally, until slightly browned. Set aside

3. Wash the lettuce leaves carefully and spin-dry in a salad spinner. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Add Caesar dressing, enough to lightly coat lettuce. Add croutons, tomatoes, fresh Parmesan and prosciutto. Enjoy!

Adapted from a recipe found in Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Seafood Lasagna

Amazingly good. Seafood Lasagna is a special dish that is perfect for a special meal.

Seafood Lasagna 
Serves 8

Make ahead tip: Prepare the day ahead by assembling the casserole and storing in the fridge. I simply cooked the scallops and combined with the already cooked shrimp and crab, then followed the directions below. I also used regular lasagna noodles -- not even the 'no boil' noodles and it turned out perfect.

2/3 cup Alaska Shrimp, cut into bite size
2/3 cup Alaska Scallops, cut into bite size
2/3 cup Alaska King Crab meat, cut into bite size
15 Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 cup Milk
2 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Basil
2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
1 cup Cottage Cheese, small curd
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over low heat until melted. Add garlic. Stir in flour and salt. Cook, stirring constantly until bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, broth and white wine. Return to stove and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add mozzarella cheese, onions, basil and pepper. Cook over low heat until cheese is melted, stirring constantly.

2. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce in an ungreased 9" x 13" pan. Top with uncooked lasagna noodles, overlapping as needed. Spread the cottage cheese over the noodles. Spread with another 1 1/2 cups of sauce and then top with another 5 lasagna noodles. Spread seafood over this layer and top with another 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Cover with the last 5 noodles and top with all of the remaining sauce. If desired, top with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

3. Bake, uncovered at 350F for 35 to 45 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yields 8 large seafood lasagna servings.

Recipe from Fisherman Express

Friday, February 11, 2011

Soft Cutout Sugar Cookies

Just look at these darling little cookies. Sanding sugar on top of colored icing makes these gems really sparkle. These are a great little cookie for the holidays. Not super soft by any means, but more tender than a lot of crispy sugar cookies.

 Soft Cutout Sugar Cookies
Makes 4-5 dozen, depending on cookie cutter size

2 3/4 cups ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, very soft
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in buttermilk, egg and extracts. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture, mixing until no flour remains.

3. Divide dough into two pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 375-F degrees.

5. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use a floured cookie cutter to make desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll remaining dough, chilling for a few minutes if it becomes too warm to handle easily. Repeat with second piece of dough.

6. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 375F, until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (The bottom of the cookies will be light brown).
Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Simple Colored Icing

4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2 tbsp milk or light cream per bowl
1/2 tsp vanilla extract per bowl
white, red, green and blue food coloring

1. Place 1 cup of sugar in each of 4 small bowls. Add 2 tbsp milk or light cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and a few drops of your desired food color to each bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork, until smooth and a good consistency: thin for filling in large spaces and thick for making clear lines. Add extra milk if necessary.

2. Scrape each color into a small zip-lock plastic bag. Snip the corner of the bag to ice cookies.

Many thanks to Baking Bites for providing this recipe.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scallop and Corn Chowder

There is a big perk being married to a picky eater. It means I get a delicious soup like Scallop and Corn Chowder all to myself. I love this recipe, nothing is complicated and you are in and out of the kitchen within the hour. Bacon, scallops, onions, wine, corn and cream. If that lineup doesn't convince you, I'm not sure what will.

Scallop and Corn Chowder
Makes 4 servings

5 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (about 16) -- I used bay scallops, the smaller kind because they are waaay less expensive. Just cook them for a much shorter time.
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, peeled first if desired
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh (from 2 ears) -- I used a can of creamed corn
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet or stockpot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. You should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings remaining in the pan (if not, supplement with olive oil). Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them with the salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add some of the scallops to the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. (Less time for smaller scallops) Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining scallops.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, wine, broth, and cream. Bring to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the scallops and corn and cook for 4 minutes. To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the parsley and crumbled bacon.

Recipe from Real Simple - Meals Made Easy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Raspberry Charlotte

Light and fluffy, tart and sweet. It is a refreshing dessert that you don't see around much anymore. Why is that?
Raspberry Charlotte
Serves 8-10

Raspberry Cream:
3/4 cup raspberry puree (Blend Raspberries, add sugar to taste and then strain mixture)
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 envelope of unflavored powdered gelatin
Raspberries for garnish

2 dozen ladyfingers

1. In a small bowl stir together the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the raspberry puree. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and then microwave for a few seconds to dissolve the gelatin. When the gelatin has dissolved, stir it into the remaining puree. Transfer the mixture into a larger bowl ontop of an ice bath.

2. Beat the cream until stiff peaks form, then fold it into the puree mixture (which is still resting over the ice bath).

3. Line your dish with the ladyfingers, adding your raspberry cream then another layer of ladyfingers, until you end with a smooth layer of the cream on top. Garnish with raspberries. Let it rest in the fridge for several hours.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pastrami Mac and Cheese


This is the ultimate mac and cheese. It has a delicious twist with some little chunks of pastrami thrown in, then it is topped with some buttery bread crumbs. Delicious.

Pastrami Mac and Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

4 Tbsp. butter, plus extra for the baking dish
1/2 lb. farfalle
1/4 c. flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups (about 1/2 lb) grates sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 lb pastrami, diced (scant cup)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
10 Ritz crackers, pulsed in the food processor, about 1/3 cup crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350-f degrees. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the farfalle until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the 4 Tbsp. butter. Sprinkle the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost boiling and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the cheeses and stir until melted and incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pastrami and lower the heat. Add the pasta and season with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer the pasta to the baking dish and top with the cracker crumbs. Bake until browned and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe from The Comfort Food Cookbookby Joan Schwartz

Monday, February 7, 2011

Banana Split Brownie Pizza




As to be expected, this was easy and delicious. I would recommend trying out light cool whip to cut a few calories.


Lasagna Sandwiches

I made these crunchy, gooey, cheesy, saucy sandwiches a while back. So much easier than making homemade lasagna, but you still get the same tastes. I don't know if I'll ever make traditional lasagna again, they were so easy. If lasagna is your thing and you are a fanatic about it, these aren't going to top you from ever making lasagna again. If you are like me and would rather save time and labor, try them out.

After assembling, brush the sandwiches with a little melted butter, and place on a foil lined baking sheet. You want to weigh the sandwiches down while they bake, so place a foil lined pan on top of them, and place a heavy baking dish on the top. I used a 9x13" glass baking dish.

The original recipe calls for the pizza sauce to be spread over one of the bread slices, but I've made these quite a few times and I find that doing that leaves the bread soggy. So instead I would recommend to have the sauce on the side and dip the sandwich into it.

Lasagna Sandwiches
4 servings

4 fresh hoagie or long sandwich rolls
12 slices of Canadian bacon, diced (you can also used crumbled Italian sausage or pepperoni slices)
8 slice mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce, for dipping
sour cream mix, recipe follows
Butter for grilling

1. To create the sandwich, spread sour cream mix on one slice of bread. Layer cheese and Canadian bacon on initial slice and cover with the second slice of bread. Butter the outside of the sandwich and bake until hot and crunchy.

Notes: I don't remember exactly what temperature and how long I baked mine, but try out 375-f degrees for about 7-10 minutes, checking half way to see if they are done. I have also just cooked it in a skillet and pressed down with a spatula to flatten it on each side.

Sour Cream Mix


1/2 cup sour cream
1 T minced fresh onion
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients, mixing well and let set for 1/2 hour in the refrigerator to mesh the flavors.

Source: Food Network

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pina Colada Slush

Save this one for Summer time, it is delicious and refreshing.
 

Pina Colada Slush
6-8 servings

1/2 pt. rum
1 (16 oz.) can cream of coconut
1 (46 oz.) can pineapple juice
1 liter 7-Up

1. Combine cream of coconut and pineapple juice; mix well. Add the rum. Freeze at least 24 hours. Spoon into glasses and add 7-Up.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Banana Butterscotch Cake

This is one of my all time favorite dessert recipes. Moist, delicious, and the flavors are a bit unique.

Banana Butterscotch Cake
Makes 24 servings

1 2/3 cups (11-ounce package) NestlĂ©® Toll House® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels, divided
1 package (18.5 ounces) yellow cake mix
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (2 medium) mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 10-cup bundt or round tube pan.

2. Microwave 1 1/3 cups morsels in medium, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70%) power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Combine cake mix, eggs, bananas, vegetable oil, water and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until moistened. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir 2 cups batter into melted morsels. Alternately spoon batters into prepared bundt or round tube pan.

3. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes; invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

4. Place remaining morsels in small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave on medium-high (70%) power for 30 seconds; knead. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to drizzle over cake.


Recipe courtesy of iVillage.com. Linked at  Sweets for a Saturday - Skip to My Lou  - Sweet Tooth Friday

Lasagna Rolls

Giada creates another winner. Cute little lasagna rolls are baked on top of a creamy bechamel. Have you ever noticed that Giada describes everything as creamy? It gets to be a little pornographic after a while.

One great thing about this recipe is that serving is a breeze. Traditional lasagna might fall apart a bit when you are trying to serve it. With lasagna rolls you just use a spatula to scoop a roll out and you are good to go (as pictured above).


Friday, February 4, 2011

Light and Sweet Cornbread

This great recipe comes from my sister. This would be great with some honey and whipped butter. Mmm.

Light and Sweet Cornbread

12 servings

1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. yellow or white corn meal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 C. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350-f degrees. Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake 35 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe by my sister

Simple Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb pie has got to be one of my favorite desserts in the world. Tart and sweet, with a scoop of ice cream it is completely delicious. My mom's recipe for Rhubarb Pie couldn't be easier. Enjoy.

Super Easy Rhubarb Pie
Makes several servings

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
Ready made pie dough

1. Preheat oven to 450f. Place first dough in baking dish and form to your liking. Combine flour and sugar in a separate bowl. Add 1/4 of mix to the bottom of your pie crust. Add chopped rhubarb then add the rest of your flour/sugar mixture. Break up butter into small pieces and dot on top of rhubarb. Bake for 15 minutes on lowest rack. Reduce temperature to 350f and bake for 40-45 minutes. Drape pie loosely with tin foil once crust has browned to your liking to avoid burning. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature. Now go eat!

Recipe from my mom.

The Ultimate Creamy White Chili

This delicious recipe for Creamy White Chili comes from My Kitchen Cafe. It is a delicious mix of chicken, chilies, beans and yummy toppings makes this my ultimate white chili recipe. I was eating leftover for days and never got sick of it.


The Ultimate Creamy White Chili
Makes 6 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Optional toppings:
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Frito's or tortilla chips
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream

1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with desired toppings. Serve immediately.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding is one of my favorite comfort foods. My mom made it often while I was growing up, but in recent years she made a chocolate version. So delicious! Just be sure to add whipped cream on top and enjoy.


Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
Makes 6-8 Servings

1/2 cup tapioca pearls (I used the Reese brand)
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I am more of a milk chocolate lover, so next time I'd try milk chocolate instead)

1.In a bowl, soak tapioca in 2 cups of room temp. water overnight. Drain water.

2.In a double boiler, heat milk just until no longer cold. Add salt and tapioca. Continue to heat until small bubbles appear at sides of pan. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for one hour. Make sure the milk mixture does not simmer or boil.

3.Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until light yellow in color. Add a little of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and blend thoroughly. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Place the double boiler over medium heat and cook until tapioca mixture is very thick, from 15 - 30 minutes.

4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Slowly fold the hot tapioca mixture into the egg whites. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream.

Recipe from my mom

Activities and Crafts


Just a quick note to say that the Activities and Crafts page has been updated. Please be sure to check it out for all sorts of fun ideas for you and your family.

Cheeseburger Ring

A ring of cheeseburger, I kid you not. So the nice thing about his recipe is that if you are feeding a crowd it slices into portions very easily and it looks cool to boot.

Tweak the ingredients to your liking. I omitted the mustard and didn't add the cheese to the ground beef mixture so it would melt and combine. Instead, I added partial slices of cheese on top of the puff pastry, then the ground beef and pickles, then another slices of cheese to top it off. It doesn't really matter how you do it. It is completely trashy and good eats.

Cheeseburger Ring
Makes 1 ring, serves 3-4 people

1/4 cup onions, diced
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
8-10 slices cheddar cheese
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
16 slices dill pickles
3 large plum tomatoes
2 cups lettuce

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In frying pan, cook ground beef with onions over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain.

2. Add ketchup, mustard and 5 of the cheese slices, cut up; stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat.

3. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13-inch round pan or baking stone with points towards the outside. (There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in the center.) Scoop meat mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle.
Top each scoop with 2 pickle slices.

4. Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven.

5. Cut each of the remaining 4 cheese slices into 4 triangles. Arrange cheese triangles over top of ring.

6. Slice tomatoes. Arrange tomato slices around inside center of ring.

7. Slice lettuce into thin strands. Place in center of ring.

8. Serve with additional ketchup and mustard, if desired.

Source: Food.com

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Shrimp & Pork Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, Crab Rangoon

I winged the Pork Fried Rice. I was wanting a lot of the pork, a little bit of eggs and a moderate amount of carrots and peas. Please change the amounts according to your preferences. This recipe is more of a guideline than anything else.

Shrimp & Pork Fried Rice
Makes Many Servings (4-6 Generous Servings)

4 cups cold, cooked rice (Make the day before)
1 cup diced carrots
1 to 1 1/2 cups peas (I used frozen)
Dash or two of dried minced onions
2-3 Medium garlic cloves, minced
Chinese BBQ Pork (However much you want. I used upwards of a pound)
1 small can shrimp (You can use fresh and chop it up if you prefer, which I do)
Vegetable Oil for frying
Dash or two of sesame oil
Soy Sauce
Terriyaki Marinade
Salt/Pepper to taste

1. Using a very large saute pan or wok, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Turn heat to medium/high. Add a dash or two of sesame oil -- being careful not to add too much as this is very potent stuff. Add your carrots, garlic, onion and peas. Let them cook for a few minutes and be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the chopped Chinese pork and shrimp; heat through.

2. Add the cold rice and stir to combine with the oil. Add a blend of soy sauce and a little terriyaki marinade, tasting as you go. You want the rice to take on a light brown color as it absorbs the soy sauce. Stir frequently, checking for seasoning and adding any salt and pepper if necessary.

3. Once the rice is tasting how you like it, shove some of the rice mixture aside to create room to cook the eggs. Once the eggs start to set, mix them with the rice and stir occasionally until the egg mixture is incorporated and cooked through.


Sweet and Sour Pork
Makes 4-6 Servings

1 box Tempura Batter
1 to 1 1/2 lbs Chinese BBQ Pork (It comes already cooked)
Vegetable oil for frying
Sweet and sour sauce

1. Heat a saute pan or fry machine filled with oil to medium/high. Chop the pork into bite sized chunks. Prepare the tempura batter according to instructions. Coat the pork in the tempura batter and place in saute pan/fry machine. Cook until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.


Crab Rangoon is another 'winging it' sort of recipe that I tried. It was good, but not exactly what I was trying to replicate. No matter though. I still ate it anyways.

Crab Rangoon
Makes 6 Servings

1 package wontons
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 package imitation crab, finely chopped
Dash of Lemon Juice
A few tablespoons of finely minced scallions
Vegetable oil for frying
Hot Chinese Mustard
Sweet and Sour Sauce for dipping

1. Heat a saute pan with vegetable oil to medium/high.Mix first four ingredients together. Add a scant teaspoon to each wonton. Wet all sides of wonton, then bring two sides together to close. Place in hot oil, frying for a few seconds on each side, until lightly brown. Serve warm with hot Chinese mustard and sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Chicken


I am a big fan  of cooking certain ingredients for a meal ahead of time. For instance, I cook all my ground beef and chicken ahead of time and store it in the freezer so it is ready to be added to a quick meal. If you are able to spend an hour on the weekend prepping, you can save yourself a lot of time throughout the week.  Simply pull out your cooked meat the day before you plan to use it and store it in the fridge to allow it to thaw.
  • One tip I have is to store your cooked protein in serving size containers, either Ziploc or Tupperware containers. It is inconvenient to have to try to pry apart frozen chicken strips when you've frozen a three pounds of it in one Ziploc bag. (Not that I have ever done that..ahem.)
Onto the recipe! Many thanks to My Happy Meals for the original recipe that I slightly changed to suit our tastes. The lemon taste in this is very mild. In the past I have gone overboard with the lemon so this time I scaled it back. Using my already cooked chicken breast pieces saved a lot of time and made this a super quick, easy dinner.


Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Chicken
Makes 2-4 servings

1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (or less, depending on your family size)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces, cooked 
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
Zest & juice from one lemon, about 3 tablespoons of juice
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup whole milk (You can use a lower fat milk as well)

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet. Saute garlic until fragrant. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss the cooked pasta with the chicken, lemon zest, milk, reserved pasta water, and garlic and butter mixture.

Adapted from a recipe at My Happy Meals

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

Paula's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Makes 4 servings


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 to 3 ripe bananas
8 slices white bread

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In a frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Make sure butter does not burn. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices. Spread the peanut butter mixture on 4 slices of bread and cover with banana slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Spread the remaining butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches in the frying pan until each side is golden brown.

2. For topping, combine the sugar and cinnamon in shallow plate. Coat the grilled sandwiches with the mixture. Cut diagonally and serve hot.

Recipe from Foodnetwork.com

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chocolate Cream Dessert





Chocolate Cream Dessert
Makes 12-16 servings.

3 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 90 wafers)
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Filling:
1 milk chocolate candy bar (7 ounces), plain or with almonds, broken into pieces
1 package (10 ounces) large marshmallows
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds, toasted, optional

1. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside 1/3 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. pan; refrigerate until firm.
   
2. In a large saucepan, heat the candy bar, marshmallows and milk over medium-low heat until chocolate and marshmallows are melted, stirring often. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature.
   
3. Fold in whipped cream and vanilla; pour over crust. Chill for 3-4 hours. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and almonds if desired.

Recipe from Taste of Home