Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Ruth from has Once Upon A Feast has graciously allowed me to post two of the recipes from her cookbook. The first is a delicious, tender Cherry Shortbread Cookie. Enjoy and please pick up either the CD or the Ebook by Ruth -- it is truly worth every cent!

Cherry Shortbread Cookies 
Makes 4 Dozen

1 cup butter (room temperature)
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
maraschino cherries cut in quarters and patted dry

1.Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C.

2.Cream butter and sugar for five minutes. Beat in egg yolk and extracts and gradually add flour.

3.Knead dough just until soft and pliable (a minute or so). Do not over knead the dough.

4.Form into balls about the size of the top of your thumb (tip to first knuckle) and flatten with the bottom of a glass*. Press the cherry piece into the center of the cookie.

5.Bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven. The cookies should be dry on top but NOT brown on the bottom.

6.Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before storing.

Ruth's Tips and Variations:
-Rub the bottom of the glass over left over flour on the board and shake off the excess before you flatten the ball of dough.
-I usually use parchment paper on my cookie sheets. No need to grease the pan.
-Do not let cookies brown at bottom

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Homemade Eggnog

I just had to try out the recipe for Homemade Eggnog that Nic at bakingsheet posted about. She picked a great one: Very little cleanup, basic ingredients and it comes together super fast. My only alteration would be to use less vanilla extract, as it seemed a bit too sweet to me, but isn't that what people love about eggnog anyways?

Note: You can buy pasteurized eggs still in-shell if you are worried about Salmonella.

Homemade Eggnog
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

2 eggs, room temperature
4 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (my alteration)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, plus more for garnishing
2 c. low fat milk
2 oz. brandy (optional)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until light in color and sugar is dissolved. Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg, milk and brandy, if using. Strain into a small pitcher and chill. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with additional nutmeg.

Source: Bakingsheet

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fried Oreos

I call them an Oreo pancake, while another said they were more like an Oreo donut. Can we just agree to call them tasty?

I scaled back the original recipe -- This will be good for (I am guessing) about 12 Oreos. Eat these with caution! As I found out, too many will make you sick. I would plan on 2-3 per person to be safe.

Fried Oreos
Makes several servings

12 Oreo cookies
1/2 cup pancake mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp of oil

Oil for frying

1. Preheat deep fryer to 375 f degrees. Combine pancake mix, milk, eggs and oil. Mix until there are no lumps. Chill in fridge, covered, for 30 minutes.

2. Dip Oreos into batter, making sure both sides are covered. Gently drop in oil. Flip after approx. 10 seconds and cook for another 15 seconds. (Times are approximated -- You oil may be too hot and cook faster, or it might be not hot enough, and take longer -- try to avoid the 'too cool' situation)

3. Drain on paper towels for a minute, dust with powdered sugar and eat while still warm -- don't let them get cold or they are gross!

Source: Adapted from

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fuzzy Navel

Fuzzy Navel
Makes 1 serving

1 1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
6 oz. OJ

1. Fill a highball glass with ice. Add peach schnapps and OJ. Stir.

Source: Not sure where I got this exact recipe but it is a well known cocktail

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hard Lemonade

Hard Lemonade
Makes 1 serving

2 parts fresh lemonade (Sweetened if you like it that way)
1 part vodka

1. Cut lemon in half. Run open edge along rim of tall glass then dip in sugar. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka then lemonade. Stir and enjoy.

Source: Not sure where I got this recipe. Trying to track it down.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Limoncello Milkshakes

Limoncello Milkshakes
Serving sizes vary, adjust ingredient amounts accordingly

1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream, approx.
2-3 shots Limoncello, depending on how boozy you want it
1/2 c. milk, approx.
1/2 to 1 cup ice, approx.

1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly, adjusting ingredient amounts to suit your thickness/thinness preferences and tastes.

Souce: Not sure on this, might be Nigella or I might've come up with it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Amaretto Squeeze

Amaretto Squeeze

Makes 1 serving

1 part Amaretto
1/2 Lemon

1. Pour amaretto into a normal glass, then squeeze the juice out of half a lemon. Add a few ice cubes.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blush Champagne Cocktails

For a pretty twist to traditional cocktails, try using a blush champagne. Seen above are a Blush Sunrise (left) and a Blush Can-Raspberry Cocktail.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strawberry Sparklers

Strawberry Sparklers
6-8 servings

2 1/2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice, chilled
10 oz. frozen strawberries, partially thawed
1 bottle dry champagne, chilled
Whole strawberries for garnish

1. Process orange juice and strawberries in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into pitcher and refrigerate. Just before servings, add champagne and stir gently. Garnish each glass with a whole strawberry.

Source: Ann Lund

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frozen Wine Cooler

Frozen Wine Cooler
8-10 servings

1 (46 oz.) can pineapple juice
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (12 oz.) can froze tangerine juice concentrate
1 (2 liter) bottle Sprite
1 (750 cc) bottle medium dry white wine

1. Combine all ingredients in a large freezer container and mix well. Freeze, covered, until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Serve with maraschino cherries and fruit.

Source: Ann Lund

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pizza Pasta Casserole

Pizza Pasta Casserole
Makes two 9" x 13" casseroles

2 lbs ground beef or ground venison
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
16 ounces rotini pasta, cooked and drained
5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (20 oz) or a mixture of mozzarella and an Italian blend shredded cheese
8 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into quarter sections

1. Brown ground beef, onion, garlic and seasoning in oil. Drain.

2. Stir in pasta, spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and 3 cups cheese.

3. Place mixture in 2 greased 9x13x2 inch baking pans. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

4. Cover and freeze up to 3 months.

5. To cook now: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until heated through.

6. To bake frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, till hot.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

If you find yourself wanting to make a dessert for your family or a party and you want something a little different than the typical run of the mill party food, try out these delicious Limoncello Cheesecake Squares. Purchased almond biscotti is crumbled in a food processor to make a quick crust.

Limoncello liqueur is widely available for purchase these days, and a simple Google search will provide many homemade recipes if you are that daring. I, however, am not that daring.

Leftover Limoncello liqueur is so tasty when poured over ice, poured over vanilla ice cream, or blended in a milk shake.

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Makes 12-16 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces purchased biscotti, either plain or almond (or any flavor that sounds good to you)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup limoncello liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

2. Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

4. Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Korean Hamburgers

Korean Hamburgers 
4 servings

For the burgers:
1 lb ground beef
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 dash black pepper

4 hamburger buns
1 Tbsp. butter
Any other fixin's you like - I add sliced avocado. If you are feeling adventurous, you could try adding to the avocado some grilled portobello mushrooms, pickled ginger and goat cheese. I know that sounds crazy but the best burger I've ever had was a burger that tasted like this one with these toppings. It was phenomenal.

1. Mix burger ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 4 patties. Grill or fry as usual.

2. Spread butter evenly over hamburger buns. Toast in a toaster oven or in a griddle. Add hamburgers and toppings and serve.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Warning: Potential snarfage if you make this recipe. Very soft, moist, tangy and delicious. They taste just as good, if not better, by the second and third day.

It is important to note that a stand mixer should be used for this recipe. If you don't have access to one, use a bowl and a wooden spatula. Avoid using a hand mixer at all costs. After reading the reviews of this recipe at Food Network, hand mixers were known to burn out after trying to mix the following ingredients.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes about 24

1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
*I added about 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the original recipe*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl with a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Source: Paula Deen

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Super Sunday Supper - Meatball, Veggie and Herb Soup

This is a great soup for when you have a cold and you are craving a bowl of steaming broth and fresh herbs. If you can, buy fresh herbs. They add so much flavor and brightness to the soup as compared to using dried.

Super Sunday Supper - Meatball, Veggie and Herb Soup
2 qts, 6-8 servings

24 Italian meatballs, premade (I buy the frozen bag of meatballs at Costco or Sam's Club)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cups water
1 can 10 1/2 oz condensed beef broth
1 28oz can tomatoes, undrained , chopped
1 envelope knorr spring vegetable soup mix
1 can julienned carrots, drained
1/4 cup chopped celery tops
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
1 bay leaf

1. Combine all ingredients except meatballs in 5 qt. dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes longer.

Recipe from a family member

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

I found that this soup tasted infinitely better after it had sit on the stove just staying warm for a while. It is much thinner than most chowders and has a lot less calories as well.

Chicken Corn Chowder
4-6 servings

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% low-fat milk
2 cups chopped, cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn

1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and jalapeño, cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

2. Add flour, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, cook until thick, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
4-6 servings

24 Italian meatballs, premade (I buy the frozen bag of meatballs at Costco or Sam's Club)
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 box of frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out excess liquid
1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
grated Parmesan cheese

1. In large sauce pan, heat broth to boiling; stir in spinach, orzo, carrot & meatballs. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium.

2. Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

Martha Stewart's Surprise Cookies. The cookie itself is chocolaty and moist. On top is gooey marshmallow with a smooth topper of chocolate frosting. Make them. Love them.

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Chocolate Frosting
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

Source: Martha Stewart Kids magazine

Chicken Parmigiano Soup

Chicken Parmigiano Soup
Makes 4 Servings 

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,
plus extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 chicken breasts, pounded out and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, 3 chopped, 1 for rubbing bread
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can pasta-style chunky tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil, chopped

For the Parmesan Bread:
8 slices Italian bread
1 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat with 2 T of extra-virgin olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked through.

2. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the other 2 T of extra virgin olive oil along with the chopped garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and the stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine.

4. While the soup is cooking, drizzle the sliced bread with some extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven. Rub each piece with the garlic clove and top with Parmesan cheese. Place back in oven for 1-2 minutes.

6. Serve soup topped with 2 pieces of Parmesan toast or, if you prefer, put the bread on the bottom and the soup on top.

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Apricot Coolers with Cherry Ice Cubes

Apricot Coolers are a delicious surprise that quench your thirst and look doubly cute with cherry ice cubes.

Apricot Coolers with Cherry Ice Cubes
Makes several servings

1 (46 oz) can apricot nectar, chilled (I bought single cans, about 11 oz. each)
1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (32 oz) bottle lemon-lime flavored soda, chilled
Cherry ice cubes (if desired)*

1. In a large nonmetal pitcher or punch bowl, combine apricot nectar and lemonade concentrate; mix well. Just before serving, add carbonated beverage. Serve over ice cubes. Makes 22 (8 oz) servings.

2. I made a much smaller batch (1/4 of original recipe) and kept the apricot/lemonade mixture in a tupperware until ready for use. I then filled a glass with ice, added apricot/lemonade mixture to fill 1/3 of glass, then topped it off with 2/3 part of soda.

*To make cherry ice cubes, place a maraschino cherry in each section of ice cube tray. Fill halfway with water; freeze until firm. Fill try with water and freeze completely.

Source: Not 100% sure but I believe an Ann Lund cookbook

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Party Mix

Have you ever tried the white chocolate peanut butter cups? This is the same idea, with white chocolate coating pretzels, nuts, chex cereal, and Reese's Pieces added in. 

White Chocolate Reese's Pieces Party Mix
Makes many servings

3 bags good quality white chocolate baking chips
9 cups crispy rice cereal squares, e.g., Rice Chex (You can do half regular and half toasted oat cereal if you prefer)
3 cups pretzels
1 to 2 cups slivered almonds (or peanuts, or other nut you prefer)
1 large bag Reese's Pieces

1. Melt chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat or in microwave until just until soft. Stir until melted. Combine all the other ingredients in big roaster pan or bowl. Stir chocolate into mixture. Turn out on waxed paper.

Adapted from a recipe at Allrecipes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I really, really love the flavor of chocolate, cream cheese and sour cream. The tangy flavor of the dairy really plays well with the chocolate. This delicious recipe comes from Martha Stewart. It is put together quickly, trust me the hardest part is letting it chill in the fridge afterwards. Ready for the recipe?

Retro Glazed Meatballs

Grape jelly meatballs are a classic party appetizer, and for good reason. They are easy to make and are delicious!  You want to make sure to use a nice quality meatball for this. If you go with a lower quality brand it wont hold up in the slow cooker.

I made a batch of these for a Christmas party several years ago. They are a great recipe if you have to bring in food to work. Just pack up your crock pot, three ingredients, and you are set.

Retro Glazed Meatballs
6-8 servings

1 (12 ounce) jar grape jelly
2 (12 ounce) bottles chili sauce
3 lbs. frozen, pre-cooked meatballs

1. Mix jelly and chili sauce in a saucepan over med-low heat. Stir until combined.

2. Add frozen meatballs to a slow cooker. Pour jelly sauce over meatballs, stirring to coat the meatballs.

3. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Recipe from Allrecipes

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Japanese Chicken Wings

I made this appetizer for Christmas a few years ago and it was enjoyed by everyone. They are a little bit of work but they are worth it.

Japanese Chicken Wings
4-6 servings

3 pounds chicken wings
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour for coating
Vegetable oil, for frying
white sesame seeds

For the sauce:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Cut wings in half, dip in egg and coat with flour.

3. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry wings until deep brown. Place in a shallow roasting pan.

4. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, water, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder and salt. Pour over wings.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, basting wings with sauce often. Turn oven to broil and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Serve.

Recipe from Allrecipes

Monday, April 11, 2011

Szechuan Noodles With Spicy Beef Sauce

Many thanks to Holy Cannoli Recipes for this delicious recipe. It was a favorite in my house and with all the picky eaters in my family that is a big accomplishment.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strawberry Banana Bread

Have you ever had a delicious Strawberry Banana Smoothie? I took inspiration from that and created this tasty recipe for Strawberry Banana Bread. To up the yum factor, try toasting this in a toaster oven or in a skillet with just a dab of butter.

If you are more of a boxed mix person, and I know I am from time to time, I recommend Pillsbury Banana Bread mix with about 3/4 c. of diced strawberries added in at the end.

Strawberry Banana Bread
Makes one standard loaf

1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3 large very ripe bananas
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream or 1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup diced strawberries

1. Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

2. Place butter, eggs, bananas, sour cream, and lemon juice in blender or work bowl of food processor. Mix until smooth.

3. Pour over dry ingredients; add strawberries and stir until just moist.

4. Pour into greased loaf pan.

5. Bake in 350°F oven for 55-65 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. 


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemon Gooey Bars

In two words: Super Yum. The bars have a chewy lemon bottom with a sweet, creamy topping. The bars are more sweet than tart, so if you prefer a more tart flavor, be sure to read the recipe below for additions you can make.

Lemon Gooey Bars
Makes one 9x13" pan, about 18 bars

1 lemon cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 eggs
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted
3  3/4 cup powdered sugar
*If desired, you can add the zest of one lemon, or a 1/2 tsp of dried lemon zest. This will make the bars more tart

1. Preheat oven to 350-f degrees.

2. For the crust, mix together the dry cake mix, butter, and 1 egg.  Mix well. The mixture will be thick. Press into a greased 9×13 baking pan and set aside.

3. For the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, eggs, and melted butter. (If you are using any zest, add it now) Mix together well and add powdered sugar. Mix until the powdered sugar is fully incorporated.

4. Spread filling over crust and bake for 38-42 minutes, until lightly brown and when gently shaken the center will only slightly jiggle.

5. Cool and cut into small bars. (I let my bars chill in the fridge for a bit before cutting) Cover and store leftovers in the fridge.

Source: Adapted from Lynn's Kitchen

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Bacon Almond Dip

Bacon Almond Dip
Makes 4-6 servings

1/2 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced onions, sauteed until translucent
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo (I used less, just enough so the dip held together)
salt and pepper if desired

1. Mix all ingredients. Let sit in fridge for a bit to enhance flavors. Serve with butter crackers.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blueberry Jell-O Salad

I'm off to clean but I'm leaving you with a very retro dessert recipe. I had this a few weeks back and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cream Jell-O Salad
Makes one 9"x13" pan, about 18-24 servings

2 (3 oz.) packages grape jello
2 cups hot water
1 can of blueberry pie filling
20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 small container cool whip
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Cool for 10 minutes. Stir in pie filling and pineapple until blended. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Cover and refrigerate until partially set, about 1 hour.

2. Top with cool whip, then sprinkle with pecans. Cover and chill until firm.

Adapted from a recipe at Taste of Home

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Corn Salsa Dip

Another very special recipe. This one comes from my sister. She uses Miracle Whip. I use Mayo. I think it is a tomato/to-mah-toh thing.

Corn Salsa Dip
Makes many servings

1/4 C. mayo or miracle whip
1/4 C. sour cream
1/4 C. salsa
1-2 C. shredded cheddar (freshly shredded is best)
1 can corn, drained
tortilla chips, for serving (Frito’s 'Scoops' also work well)

1. Mix mayo and sour cream. Add salsa, mix. Add corn and cheese. refrigerate. Its best to give it some time in the fridge for the flavors to develop. Serve with tortilla chips or Frito's Scoops.

Recipe from my sister

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa
Makes many servings

6 quarts roma tomatoes (peeled, squeezed and drained)
1 bunch fresh cilantro (or ⅔ C dried)
2-3 med onions
3 small bell peppers
⅓ c. garlic powder
6 tsp. cumin
4 Tbsp. salt
¼ c. sugar
⅓ c. basil
⅓ c. parsley
a few or a lot of jalapeños depending on your taste. De-seed them for a less intense flavor.
2 limes, squeeze all juice, grate and peel.

1.Boil tomatoes for 30 seconds to loosen skin. Peel, squeeze out water. Chop in food processor and add to large stock pot.

2. Chop rest of veggies in food processor, add to large stock pot. Bring to a boil to meld flavor in.

3. Chill, jar/can them to last longer.

Recipe from my sister

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Smoky Grilled Chicken with Barbecued Corn Salad

What a perfect summer salad. Ripe, sweet tomatoes, juicy chicken, sweet corn and a bit of a tang from a red wine and oil dressing. I cooked my chicken in the morning while it was still cool outside, saving myself from having a hot oven on during the hottest part of the day.

The original recipe called for thin pork steaks, so if you prefer pork, use it instead.

Smoky Grilled Chicken with Barbecued Corn Salad

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
4 corn cobs (Next time around I might use a can of corn to save time)
4 tomatoes (I like small sun ripened tomatoes, still on the vine)
1 bag of mixed salad greens (Mine was a mix of salad greens, broccoli, and carrots)
1/4 cup of red vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil for the salad

1. Place the chicken, paprika, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.

2. Heat a large char-grill pan (or use the barbecue) over high heat. Char-grill or barbecue the corn for 10 - 12 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked. Allow to cool and strip the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife.

3. Char-grill the chicken until cooked through. Slice the chicken into strips.

4. Mix the corn, tomato and salad mix. Combine the red wine vinegar and extra olive oil and spoon over to serve. (I used a lot less vinegar as I was feeding people with persnickety food tastes)

Adapted from a Donna Hay magazine recipe (Issue 37).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blogging - How do you handle linking up for blog parties?

Blog parties. Love them or hate them, they are a great way to showcase your blog posts and generate traffic to your website.

If you haven't participated in them before, many bloggers have created weekly round ups that you can submit posts to and your link is then displayed on their blog. It is simple to do, but there is one problem. There are so many out there!

I am torn with how to handle this. Part of me wants to add a compilation of links at the end of each post. The downside is that it takes a lot of work to add that info in each and every time, not to mention it tends to really clog up your blog posts if submit posts frequently.

Links or buttons on each post
  • Pros: Providing links at the end of each post makes it easier to direct your readers to the hosting website.
  • Cons: A huge list of links at the end of each post can make the blog look messy and cluttered. More work is required to craft the list for each day you participate in a party. Don't get my started on all those buttons!
An option to avoid the blog clutter is to do a stand alone page (see example here) that you provide a link to at the end of your post directing your readers to the parties you normally submit to. I am considering this, but what do you think, is it not enough?  I've also seen blogs that provide links in their sidebar, organized by days of the week.

Master list of parties or links in the sidebar
  • Pros: A permanent page would allow you to set it up once, then forget about it. The blogs listed might get more exposure in the long run from a permanent page, as opposed to getting lost in the clutter at the end of blog posts.
  • Cons: Afraid that a master list would come across as me being lazy or rude to the folks hosting the link party. Your submitted link may be removed from their party.

So how do you handle it? Is it required to link up to each and every party, or do you think it is all right to provide a link to a 'master list' of sorts with a list of the blog parties you regularly participate in?

Peachy Dew Cocktail

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Apple Cider Shake

Craving a delicious, non alcoholic beverage? How about one that tastes like delicious apple sherbet? This is the one. This Apple Cider Shake is a flavor explosion that hits just the right spot. 

Apple Cider Shake
Makes 1-2 servings

1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Splash of OJ
7 Up or similar soda (to thin drink to your consistency liking)
Apple Cider

1. Mix ingredients in a blender. Adjust according to your tastes. I added more than just a splash of OJ, and thinned the mixture out with apple cider and soda until it was satisfactory. YUM!

Source: Not sure where I got this recipe from. I can't seem to track it down. I will update the source if I can find it.

Linking up at Sweet As Sugar Cookies and Skip To My Lou.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Garlicky Chicken Parmesan

Allow me to gloat for a minute. I made this recipe a few weeks back, and it was so freaking delicious! I've never had Chicken Parmesan that good before. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Garlicky Chicken Parmesan
Serves 4

4 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
1 box garlic croutons (my best estimate), finely crushed or pulverized in a food processor
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Italian blend (mine had 5 kinds of cheese)
4 thick slices of mozzarella cheese (or just use extra cheese from your Italian blend)
1-2 eggs, beaten
1 lb pasta, angel hair or spaghetti
1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce, your favorite brand
vegetable oil, for cooking chicken
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375-f degrees. Lightly spray bottom of 9"x13" casserole dish. Pour marinara sauce into bottom casserole dish.

2. If not done already, pound chicken between two sheets of wax, parchment or plastic wrap, until 1/2" thick or less.

3. In a large dish, combine the crushed croutons and the cheese. Set aside. In another bowl, add the beaten eggs. Line these two bowls up next to your 9x13" casserole pan. Prepare to dip the chicken!

4. Dip chicken in egg, then in croutons, pressing the chicken firmly down to get crumbs to adhere. Lightly shake off excess crumbs.

5. Heat a saute pan to med-high. Cook chicken pieces until browned, about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Set browned chicken breasts on top of marinara sauce. Repeat until all chicken breasts are coated.

6. Top chicken pieces with 1 thick slice of mozzarella cheese. Put into heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is browned and chicken is cooked through.

7. While the chicken is cooking, prepare your spaghetti. Cook according to box directions. Serve alongside the chicken and marinara sauce.

Recipe by me

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

It had never occured to me to add curry to pot pie filling until I ran across this recipe from Alton Brown. The curry gave it such a nice flavor. I used less of the veggie mix and I baked the puff pastry rounds separately from the pot pie. Otherwise, followed this one exactly. Good Eats!

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

4 servings 

4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 package puff pastry

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.

3. In a saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables and the chicken. Pour into a shallow baking pan, or a large terra cotta pot base, lined with foil, and top with 6 to 8 circles of puff pastry. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Recipe from Alton Brown
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