Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beer Bread

Classic Beer Bread
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. beer

Combine all ingredients.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes.
** Add 2 tablespoons of desired seasonings for extra flavor!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dorrito Chicken


Realistic Eats


1 Egg + 1 T water
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup crushed baked Doritos - I put them in the mini chopper
Spray a baking pan with pam
Preheat oven to 350
Dip chicken in Egg wash and coat in Doritos
Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy National Chocolate Cupcake day!!!

Now this is a food holiday I can appreciate! mmmm.

Every once in awhile I read about national food holidays and in honor of national chocolate cupcake day I decided to look a little harder. You would not believe how many national food holidays there are. Did you know that October 14th is National Chocolate Covered Insects Day? Whew, glad I waited until the 18th to check out food holidays. Maybe I'll celebrate it next year or ... maybe not (I wish you could see my little kid yuck face right now). I feel like I dodged a bullet by not investigating food holidays four days earlier. I also lucked out and missed Moldy Cheese day October 9th, or did I? I had some moldy cheddar in my fridge right around that time ... damn you cheese you knew it was moldy cheese day, that's why you ruined my plans for dinner last week

Actually, this whole food holiday thing is very interesting especially in how October has directly related to things in my cooking life. Lets look at the following examples.

*October is National Chili Month - no wonder I've been craving chili all month (I made it last Friday)

*October is National Cookie Month (Oct 1st was also homemade cookie day) - I bought a cookie cookbook and have made quite a few batches of cookies this month

*National Dessert Month - I'm over flowing with desserts ... Chocolate cake, donuts (you'll see that post later today), Purple Rain Cupcakes and that's what I've made in the last week ie still fresh

*I already told you about the moldy cheese right around moldy cheese day

*Last week was American Beer week - G bought some Sam's Octoberfest (ok ok that's not a HUGE coincidence)

*It's National Apple Month - I went apple picking yum! (It's also Caramel month ... no wonder they put that crap on the apples ... I luv my candy apples and am at war with caramel apples)

Ok ok you get the picture, they plan these holidays around the right time. My question is why isn't October National PUMPKIN month?!?!?! Granted there are a few pumpkin days, but come on, there is nothing better in October than pumpkin everything ... bread, cookies, pie, ravioli, you name it pumpkin tastes good in it this time of year.

National Holiday Forcast (ie upcoming days to look forward to)

October 23 - National Boston Creme Pie Day
October 24 - Good n' Plenty Day
October 25 - National Greasy Foods Day
October 26 - Pumpkin Day AND Pretzel Day (anyone have a recipe for pumpkin pretzels?)
October 27 - National Potato day and American Beer Day
October 28 - National Chocolate Day
October 30 - Buy a Donut Day
October 31 - National Candy Apple Day (w00t w00t screw those caramel apple wannabes)

As you can see, next week is looking like a damn good week full of my favorite foods! I believe November has some good things in store for us as well. National Clean out your Fridge day is Nov 15th ... def something to look forward to. Maybe I'll have a fridge cleaning fast until then ... no cleaning for a month. Can you see my eyes lighting up?

So you want to know about MORE food holidays? The most comprehensive list I found quickly is here

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

OMG so yummy and beyond easy. I was home sick and didn't pick this for dinner until 3:30, clearly too late to cook for 8 hours and actually eat at a reasonable time so I made it half crock pot half stove. To start I boiled the chicken in salt and pepper, then shredded it right away. Then I tossed it in the crock pot with a big 'ole can of salsa and taco seasoning then let it cook on low for an hour and a half or so. Then I threw everything else in, turned it up to high for about 30 mins until Greg got home. Then I tossed some in a bowl for each of us, we ate some in tortillias, some with chips and some straight from the bowl. Yummy yummy yummy!!



Stolen from sparkpeople.com

4 chicken breasts - put in frozen if you're worried about overcooking
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 16 oz jar salsa
1 can corn
1 can rinsed and drained black beans
1 cup reduced fat sour cream

Mix soup, salsa, and taco seasoning together and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Before serving, shred the chicken, add corn, beans, and sour cream. Cook for a few more minutes until everything is heated through. Serve with tortilla chips or in a tortilla.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hershey's Prefectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake (and frosting)

Picture note: Of course my fav pic is when I wasn't paying attention and took a pic of the side of the cake that I mangled the bottom of, but come on how cute is the cat peeking over the cake ready to pounce?

I liked this cake, but I still like chocolate cake from a box better. The What's Cooking? board raves about it, but it just wasn't my fav. I guess it's one of those things where if you grow up on cake from a box sometimes you'll always love cake from a box. Mmmm Betty Crocker

Stolen from Hershey's (of course)

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Purple Rain Cupcakes (aka Teal velvet cupcakes with purple frosting)


Shout out to Rach for naming these super cool cupcakes

Who said Red Velvet Cupcakes have to be red? Certainly not me. I wouldn't try changing the color with regular old food coloring, but if you have cake frosting colors go for it. Those things pack a color punch like no other and were able to cover the light brown color with ease.

I'm still up in the air on ______ Velvet Cupcakes. I had never tried Velvet cake before our wedding cake tasting and lets just say their Red Velvet left a lot to be desired. It was soggy, runny and it felt like someone had used it as a sponge to sop up a water spill yuck yuck yuck But I figured that with how much people rave about them, they had to be better than that, and my cake place just sucked (ok they did a good job with my wedding cake but if it hadn't been free I would have gone elsewhere). These were pretty good, but the buttermilk in them is something I'm not used to and was semi confusing to my taste buds, but I liked them quite a bit and I would bet good money that they'll be gone in no time. Now, I'm off to frost them (of course I had to try them before they were cool enough to frost)

NOTE: The pic makes them look much more green and much darker than they actually are

Velvet Cupcakes


Ingredients:

2.5 c plain flour
1 c buttermilk
1.5 c sugar
2c oil
1 t baking soda
1 t vinegar
1 t salt
2 t cocoa
1 t vanilla
1 T red food coloring
2 eggs


Cooking instructions:

Cream sugar and oil
Sift flour, salt and baking soda and mix with cocoa, vinegar, and eggs.
Add flour mixture to the creamed sugar alternately with buttermilk.
Stir in vanilla and food coloring.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Ice with homemade cream cheese frosting. (see below for recipe)

I was supposed to frost one of them with a Prince logo in honor of Rach's name for the cupcakes. I even made teal frosting, BUT Puddles decided she wanted some and she got into the bowl before I could frost the Rachcake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Cooking instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated.
Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Sour Patch Kids!?!?!

So I know that you can make just about anything homemade, case in point are the marshmallows, but Sour Patch Kids?!?! These have just jumped themselves up to #1 on my list of things to try next. I luv sour patch kids.

Everything below is stolen word for word from dirt-cake

First you must make pâté de fruit, which is essentially sweetened and gelled fruit juice. I prefer using Vitpris, a type of french pectin, but apple pectin works fine.

Pâté De Fruit

Fruit Puree 2200g

Sugar 1500g

Sugar 300g

Vitpris 300g

Citric Acid 1/2 tsp

1. Bring the Puree and 1500g of sugar to a boil.

2. Mix together the 300g of sugar and the 300g of pectin. Slowly sprinkle the pectin mixture into the puree, whisking constantly.

3. Continue to cook until puree has thickened. Test a small amount of mixture for doneness by making a teaspoon size mound on a cold plate. If the mixture is still extremely tacky keep cooking. If the mixture is only slightly tacky it is ready.

4. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in the citric acid. Stir to distribute evenly.

5. Pour onto a plastic lined halfsheet and cool.

So now you have your glorious cooled pâté de fruits!! A word on types of fruit puree. Bananas and pineapples have an enzyme in their flesh that counteracts the gelling caused by heating pectin. I have used banana in combination with another fruit puree and it has just taken more pectin to make it gel, but nevertheless now you know!! and knowing is half the battle...

Cut your pâté de fruit into whatever shapes you desire. Usually I toss pâté de fruit in organic sugar before adding them to cookie plates. I find that granulated sugar is too small of a sugar crystal, and sanding sugar is too large of a sugar crystal for coating the gelees. Organic sugar falls right in the middle and works nicely. For the sour part I take a teaspoon of citric acid and add organic sugar to taste. A little really goes a LONG way as I found on my first trial dredge in the sour mix was WAY too sour! (sorry to all of my testers!) Once you have found your sour balance toss your pâté de fruit and serve!!

note: Don't toss all of your pâté de fruits in sugar if you aren't going to use them immediately. The sugar tends to pull moisture from the pâté de fruits and makes a sugary syrup that I wouldn't call camera ready!

Chili and Corn Bread

Last night Greg had two friends come over after work. Three hungry boys seemed like a great night to make the chili and corn bread I've been craving all week. I love chili and have been craving it because it's finally starting to feel like fall and chili and cool weather go perfectly. Needless to say it was a hit, they all loved it and the boys were happy to enjoy a nice home cooked meal because boys living with other boys don't often get that luxury.

Lisa's (MIL) Chili

ground beef
2 cans black beans
2 cans Del Monte tomatoes with jalapenos (I just used crushed tomatoes last night and threw in a few more jalapenos than usual)
1 green pepper
1 onion
3 packets Chili seasoning
1 bottle of beer

If you want it a little hotter add some cayanne pepper and extra jalapenos

-Chop the green pepper and onion and throw them in a pan with the beef.
-Brown the ground beef (the pepper and onion should have enough time to soften up while your browning the beef ... if you're worried you can cook them in some EVOO on their own)
-Put the browned beef, onions and green peppers in a pot and add the black beans, tomatoes, chili seasoning and a bottle of beer
-cook until hot and the strong beer flavor is gone

Sweet Corn Bread

Stolen From allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

OMG


So, I'm planning on doing a bunch of cooking/baking today and was at the grocery store stocking up on everything I would need. While I was wondering around the bread aisle I saw my absolute fav bad for you frozen food ever (frozen chicken fingers, fries and such are at the end of the bread aisle ... why you ask? Not a damn clue) ... State Fair Corn Dogs. I haven't had these things since my sophomore year of college (the only year I went grocery shopping for myself). Semi off topic ... the reason I made my Mom drive into the Boston to visit me with groceries after that is because the closest grocery store was about a good 10-15 min walk from my apt. My ex and I used to go grocery shopping and walk the shopping cart home because I wasn't going to pay $7 for a cab ride home and well, we could. BUT after that year they built a new store and along with the new store came the shopping carts that would lock when you went past the line around the store. Apparently I wasn't the only one walking my shopping cart home. I wasn't going to walk $200 worth of groceries home and the cab ride was still more than I wanted to pay. I tried peapod a few times, but they didn't have everything I wanted and so it was Mom to the rescue. Eventually I forgot about my beloved corn dogs, until today when they stopped me dead in my tracks and screamed to my shopping cart to take me home with them. Anyway, I bought some and they're still as horribly good as I remember them being.

mmm Pizza

UPDATE: don't hold your breath for that pic. My camera's batteries were dead and I was hungry and I accidentally ate it with camera in hand oopsies

Last night I planned on making Chili. It's finally starting to feel like fall and I was in the mood for something warm. After work I stopped by Trader Joe's and quickly changed my mind. They had some of their garlic and basil pizza dough out and I knew right away that my plans were changing and it was pizza night. Making your own pizza dough isn't hard and I could probably mimik their garlic and basil dough pretty easily, but I was hungry and didn't want to deal with waiting for dough to rise, plus it's cheap enough that it's easy enough to justify buying this yummy premade goodness instead of making my own. When TJ's has this dough I always buy the braided marinated mozarella to go with it. The marinated mozzarella is more expensive than the big bags of the cheapie shredded stuff, but when you combine it with the garlic and basil dough it's heavenly. Who am I kidding, I love marinated mozzarella and could eat it all night long and any excuse to buy some is good enough for me.

I'm a fan of good 'ole cheese pizza, I almost never put toppings on it and if I do, it's usually just pineapple. TJ's didn't have any pineapples and I wasn't going to make another grocery store stop so, cheese it was.

I got home, opened my new Pampered Chef pizza stone (thank you Bubba Lucky (my cat) for breaking my old one ... you owe me about $30) and was ready to go. I threw some flour on it, spread the dough out and threw it in the oven at about 325 degrees ... with my old ass gas stove it's always about. Usually I leave it in for about 10-15 mins to make sure the dough cooks before putting the toppings on. My friends wonder why their dough is never fully cooked ... well sillies it's because the toppings heat faster than the dough. Then I made the sauce.

Pizza Sauce (FYI this makes way too much so you may want to freeze it in cupcake tins so you have it for the next time you make pizza)

1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
a bunch of oregano and italian seasoning
a little salt and pepper
a little sugar (I had confectioners sugar out so I just used that ... yes I know, I'm a freak)
some olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (I love garlic! If you don't think it should be a major food group use less)

Just mix it up, taste and you're good to go

So, after making my sauce, I checked the dough and it still needed a few more minutes so I went into the other room to watch the Red Sox game that Greg and Brady were watching without me. Of course I got sucked in and forgot about my dough. When I finally got around to checking my dough it wasn't burnt, but it was getting there and if I put the sauce and cheese on now it was going to be burnt by the time the cheese melted. Instead of risking it, I tossed it. Luckily I was smart and bought 2 bags of dough. So I started over and made sure to remember to check on it this time (I made them pause the game in the middle of Ortiz's at bat because I didn't want to miss any of the game, but knew I needed to pay attention to the dough this time). Perfect timing, my dough was ready, I threw on some sauce and the cheese and tossed it back in the oven. I also turned down the oven to about 200 because the dough was done, I just needed to heat the sauce and melt the cheese. In about 5-10 mins it was done and boy oh boy was it delish. I just kept eating and eating and eating ... Greg ate and ate, then paused for a piece of cake and went back for one last slice of pizza.

I had pizza for breakfast this morning and have one slice left that I promise to take a pic of before I eat it for lunch ;)

Update

So I haven't been cooking much. Last week I was really busy and this week I was really tired after Vegas ... waking up at 4:30am twice in one week (back to back days to be exact) and getting most of my sleep on planes wiped me out.

Earlier this week I made cheesy mac n' eggs, but it wasn't until I was half was done cooking that I realized the last of my big bag of cheddar cheese had gone bad and I was stuck using some mexican blend. Now, I probably could have made it work if I could have gone all out with the mexican theme, but when you're in dire need of grocery shopping some things just aren't possible. Oh and did I mention that I nicely sliced my finger while trying to open the bag of mexican cheese? Yet another reason why I wasn't in the mood to repair dinner. I was stuck holding a paper towel on my finger the whole time I cooked and it wasn't until well after we ate that it finally stopped.

To make up for my dinner disaster i decided to make Hershey's Chocolate cake...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Food Porn


Ok, well it's more like candy porn, but take a look at this amazing candy photography!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Homemade Marshmallows


I first saw these about a month ago on the Baking Bits blog and I planned on making them when we opened up our hot chocolate we got on our honeymoon. We'll with the fair starting this weekend I knew it was prime time to make some marshmallows and hot chocolate even if it is still 80 degrees most of the time. These made a TON of marshmallows. The other guesses are around 36, but I cut the main square into 36 and then cut each of those 36 in half and the marshmallows were still pretty big. I plan on leaving some of them out and throwing the rest in the freezer so I have yummy marshmallows all winter long yum.

Stolen from Baking Bits

Homemade Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate.
Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly (Lightly greasing your hands and the spatula helps a lot here). Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set.
In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef’s knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners’ sugar mixture.
Store in an airtight container.

What to buy next?

So, I've been wondering around cooking blogs tonight because Greg passed out after our midnight walk/tug of war with Puddles and of course, they had to lead me to a new place Kitchenkrafts.com to buy more pans that, while I don't need, I really really really want to have and I may just need to get them before they're discontinued (I'm just going to pretend that the cupcake pan doesn't say "New!" )

I've been eyeing this cupcake pan since it came out (yes, I buy the Wilton yearbooks and drool over all the new things to buy). I don't think there's any way out of it, I'm getting this pan, it's just a matter of when and my crystal ball says soon!

Now this, I can safely say I have never seen before, but I NEED this pan. I love brownies, but there is nothing better than the edge pieces, specifically the corner ones (these corner ones have 3 count them 3 corners ... I'm in heaven). I don't think I can live without this pan now that I know it exist. It has moved itself right up to number 1 on my list of things to buy.

Update: The place that makes them has recipes too and apparently they're pretty popular because they're not even offering different shipping options in an effort to get orders out ASAP

Does it make sense to anyone else that I should buy both pans and save on shipping? Makes perfect sense to me ... I'll sleep on it and buy them tomorrow :P

Chocolate Roses

A year and a half ago I took 2 Wilton Cake decorating classes and a few other classes along the way. One of my favorite classes was the edible flower class. We learned to make flowers on lolly pop stick. You can let them dry and they will last forever or until your cat knocks them over as was the case with the ones I made. Ok maybe not forever, but Maxine, our teacher had ones from over a year before that still looked great.

The fondant ones are pretty, but lets be honest, fondant tastes like yuck. One of the woman's hubbies was waiting for her watching and we convinced him to try some. Spit it out like a little kid trying asparagus for the first time (who am I kidding, I still spit that crap out). The colors are pretty, but fondant can be a pain to work with and what fun is making something if you can't taste test along the way?

The chocolate ones on the other hand are pretty and yummy all at the same time. Ever wonder how to make tootsie rolls, follow this recipe and don't make them into flowers. They're as close to tootsie rolls as you're gonna get. So, my recipe is scribbled on a torn out piece of someone elses notebook paper and while I could follow it because it's so easy, I still can't figure out why at the bottom I randomly wrote "gum tex 1/2 teaspoon." I can only guess that this is what you add to the fondant, but how much fondant? You're guess is as good as mine because there is no direct mention of fondant and the top says "Chocolate Flowers." Ahh the joys of scribbling recipes while your trying to learn and make the stuff in a limited amount of time.

So ... I found a far more detailed recipe than 1pkg chocolate waffers, 1/3 cup corn syrup, melt, mix and put on wax paper. While that explains it, the recipe below stolen from Whatscookingamerica.net is a little more detailed to say the least. And the directions are far better than the "make a blob with a point on the top" instructions I wrote down. So... here you go. I'll post my own pics tomorrow after I make them.

But, before I do ... wanna see my Care Bears Cake I made in our buttercream fondant class?
Note: please ignore the heart on the nose. I was struggling with the heart and Maxine came in and turned it into an off center heart with a rodolf dot next to it.


Chocolate Clay Roses

10 ounces semisweet chocolate (coarsely chopped chunks or chips)
1/3 cup light corn syrup

In a shallow bowl, melt the chocolate in microwave for 2 minutes; stir. NOTE: Be careful so that the temperature does not exceed 100 degrees F. If chocolate is not completely melted, return to microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir until smooth.

Add corn syrup to the chocolate and mix well (scrape all the corn syrup into the chocolate with a rubber spatula). Using a rubber spatula, stir and fold mixture, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl well, until no shiny syrup is visible and the mixture forms a thick ball. Pour mixture onto a waxed paper sheet and spread with the spatula until it's about 1/2-inch thick; let it sit and stiffen, uncovered, for about 2 hours. Use at once or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Making Chocolate Roses:

Knead a handful of clay at a time on a work surface until it is soft and pliable like Play-Doh.

Roll dough into (12) twelve 1/2-inch diameter balls of clay. Place the balls on waxed paper or plastic wrap about 1-inch apart. Using your fingers, press in the center and then on either side, flattening the disk into 1-inch flat disks about the size of a quarter (leave the top edge thin than and bottom edge. Repeat with the remaining disks.

Remove one dish and curl it into a "teepee" shape, narrow at the top and wider at the bottom, (this will be the center of the rose. Wrap the next disk around the opening of the teepee and the third disk at the back of the teepee - this is the rose bud. Continue adding disks which will look like petals. Continue adding petals, placing them in between slightly lower than previous row. For a fuller flower, continue adding petals in this manner. As you form petals, you gently roll or curl the right edge of the petal downward. Pinch off any excess chocolate clay at the base of the rose to make more balls.

NOTE: If the clay balls or petals become too soft from your body heat, let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. To periodically cool you hands, grasp a cold glass. (this does become a problem so keep this in mind ... one of the girls hands were so warm she simply could not work with the chocolate)

Roses will harden after a few days and can be saved by storing in a cool, dry place.

NOTE: To make larger roses, make larger chocolate clay balls.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicken Parm


I wasn't feeling too good tonight so and was craving chicken parm since Clara made it. I <3 chicken parm sooooo much!! Greg offered to make anything I wanted so I gave him the recipe and said go for it. He did a great job! Even Puddles liked it enough to try to steal the scraps



Stolen from Jessi and Clara

Chicken Parm

Ingredients:

Boneless Chicken breasts or chicken strips
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup parmisan cheese (this is Greg's best guess)
Italian Seasoning
marinara sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese


Cooking Instructions:
>Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
>Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a bowl
> Rinse chicken breasts and dunk in beaten eggs
> Cover with bread crumb mixture
> Cook for 30 minutes
>Top with sauce and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes
>Add Mozarella and cook for five more minutes

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spaghetti Sauce

In an effort to get Clara to cook without a strict recipe, I bring you my spaghetti sauce. I don't think it ever turns out the same way twice, it all depends on how I'm feeling that day and what and how much I feel like throwing in.

2 cans crushed tomatoes (tomato puree works too, but the sauce burps more)
2 cans tomato paste
bay leaves (take out after cooking)
oregano
parsley
Basil
italian seasoning
garlic and lots of it
a little EVOO
a little white wine
ground beef mmm meat sauce (brown the meat before putting it in)
A whole onion (I cut it into big chunks because I'm not a huge fan of eating onions, but I like the flavor)
salt
pepper

Good Luck Clara

Pumpkin Bread!


In honor of my combination pumpkin and baking phases, I decided to make some pumpkin bread. Tomorrow night I'm planning on making pumpkin ravioli, but Greg took too long to get to the store for me to make the raviolis tonight soooooo I settled for pumpkin bread. It's in the oven now so I'll update you later to tell you how amazing it it (you know it's going to be good) and I promise to take pics, which reminds me I still need to put the pics of last weeks cookie craze up.

I got this recipe from nestie bakingblond, I have no idea where she got it

Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable) - I used vegetable
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) ehh I used pumpkin pie filling because that's what I had
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts (optional, like pecans or walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Lightly spray with PAM (or grease and flour) a loaf pan.

In a large bowl wisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmet. Set aside.

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the oil, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and eggs until combined. Carefully mix in the flour mixture and stir until well blended. (fold in nuts if using)

Gently pour and spread the battter evenly into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-60 mintues or until the top of the loaf springs back slightly when gently pressed. Cool in pan for 10-20 minutes and transfer to rack to cool completely.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies

I have no idea what got into me, but tonight was all about Cookies!! I just kept making them and making them with no end in site. Maybe it's because AF is coming next week, but I only actually ate 1 cookie and I had a bite of each of the different cookies, so that doesn't make sense. Oh well, Greg is happy.

Tonight I made, BBFCCCC (aka Big ole Chocolate Chip Cookies), the Best Peanut Butter Cookies and Glazed Pumpkin cookies in honor of fall coming. Who am I kidding I was cleaning the pantry and saw pumpkin puree that I had an itch to use.

All in all the cookies were very good.

The BBFFCCCC's looked the best and tasted amazing.

The peanut butter cookies ended up a wee bit flat, but tasted devine (hehe I never say devine ... it makes me feel like a snooty old lady wearing a fur). You also couldn't see my fork cross, but that's probably because I forgot to do it and did it half way through the cooking time.. I was aready onto my next batch of cookies so I was a little consumed with other things.

My first batch of Glazed pumpkin cookies were a little round, I forgot to flatten them before throwing them in, like the criss cross fork marks on the PB cookies, I was already thinking about my glaze while putting the cookies on the sheet. I only had a bite, but they were very yummy and who doesn't like a pretty glazed cookie?

All the recipes are below

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Stolen from Allrecipes.com

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
  4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever


Stolen from AllRecipes.com and adapted by Confections of a Foodie Bride

Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Stir together sugar and peanut butter until well mixed. Beat in egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Put dough into the fridge for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Form dough into 2 inch balls and use a fork to spread the cookies and make criss-cross pattern on the top. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie


Stolen from Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Funfetti Cookies


Since I'm on a cookie kick (see above posts) this one sounds amazing, but it wasn't a part of my cookies extravaganza today simply because I was baking with what I had and I didn't have funfetti cake mix. The grocery store was not high on my list of prioritites today.



Stolen from ??? I'm not really sure where they originated, but I stole the pretty picture from Melissa's Magic in the Kitchen

Ingredients

1 box cake mix (I use Funfetti)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I used canola oil - you can probably use less than 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons of instant french vanilla pudding
Canned frosting and sprinkles (you do not have to frost them)

Directions

Mix together the first four ingredients, drop batter on a lined cookie sheet (tablespoon size) and bake on 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool then frost them and add sprinkles.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Diet Coke Cupcakes

Now this is my kind of recipe. Not too bad for you junk food w00t w00t. It's also a super easy.

Ingredients

1 box of cake mix
1 can of diet soda

Directions

Mix soda and cake mix and put it in the oven according to the directions. How much easier can it get? Some people say they turn out a bit better with 2 egg whites, so I'll probably do that next time.

Typically you want to mix darker sodas with darker cakes and lighter sodas with lighter cakes. The most basic combos being

chocolate cake with diet coke/pepsi
white cake with diet sprite/sierra mist/7-up (I used to love 7-up, but I haven't had it in years ... I need to go buy me some 7-up)

Feeling a little more daring?

white cake with diet orange soda (supposed to be very yummy)
white cake with rasberry gingeral is something I would like to try

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pumpkin Spice-infused Vodka


Stolen from Sunset with help from Alanna

Pumpkin Spice-infused Vodka

Preparation

Cut 1 vanilla bean (6 in.) in half lengthwise. With a vegetable peeler, shave 12 thin ribbons (4 to 6 in. long and about 1 in. wide) off a rinsed piece of pumpkin or banana squash. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart jar, combine vanilla, pumpkin, 1/2 of a whole nutmeg, and 1 bottle (750 ml. or 1 qt.) vodka. Seal jar and let stand at least 4 days or up to 3 months. The flavor intensifies the longer it stands; remove flavorings once vodka tastes as strong as you like.
Linda Lau Anusasananan , Sunset, OCTOBER 2005

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes


Stolen from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 1/8 cup (9 oz) frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
White cake mix (yes, the boxed stuff)
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Non-stick spray
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream Icing (recipe follows)

* For a less tart cupcake (and these babies do pack a punch), try reducing the amount of pink lemonade. 3/8 cup water and 3/4 cup pink lemonade will cut the tartness.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don’t end up with dry cupcakes).

Spray each cupcake liner with the non-stick spray and spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups between 2/3 and 3/4 full). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cook 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes.

Lemon Buttercream Icing

3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Red food color (to color icing and sugar, optional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, and food coloring (if using) to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink. Add the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 2D tip and ice the cupcakes.

Optional - Add the sugar and a couple drops of the food coloring to a food processor. Process until the sugar turns pink. Spread the sugar onto a plate and let dry for 15 minutes. Sprinkle onto freshly-iced cupcakes and enjoy!

Lorena's Strawberry-Banana Margarita

Stolen from Lorena aka Jacinthe

Strawberry-Banana Margarita

1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
4 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) tequila
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) triple sec
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 cup crushed ice

Place strawberries and banana slices on a plate and freeze at least 1 hour. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth but still very thick. Pour into chilled glass.

You've got Red on you Pasta


Stolen from ..... The adaptation by I Like to Cook of Food and Wine Magazine's "quick from scratch italian cooking"


You've-Got-Red-On-You Pasta

makes 6 servings

adapted from Cavatelli with Sardinian Meat Sauce from "quick from scratch italian cooking"

1 tb olive oil
1/2 lb italian turkey sausage, removed from the casing
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can tomatos
3 tb finely minced fresh mint
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
5 tb parmesan cheese

1 pkg (approx 1 lb) cavatappi pasta

Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cooking, pressing down on the sausages to break them up, until brown. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the tomatos, mint, water, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce starts to thicken. Continue to gently simmer the sauce while you cook the pasta in salted boiling water.

When the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot. Add in the sauce, basil and cheese, and stir to combine. Scoop into bowls and top with more cheese if desired.

Mozarella Cheese

Stolen from Mel's Diner


So, these are the ingredients for your own mozzarella cheese: A gallon of whole milk, ¼ rennet tablet and a teaspoon and a half of citric acid:

You heat the milk to 50 degrees or so and add the citric acid mixed in a half of a cup of clean water. Bring the milk mixture to ninety degrees and add in the rennet dissolved in a quarter cup more of water. Bring this whole, curdy mix to one 105 degrees and shut off the heat:

Spoon the curds from the whey into a two quart, microwaveable pot. Pour off as much whey as possible and microwave for one minute. Kneed the cheese and pull it like taffy. Microwave for another 35 seconds, kneed the cheese. Repeat. After the third time in the microwave, it should pull like taffy and be shiny. If not, microwave again. It will look like this:

Form into balls quickly and drop into ice water for a half of an hour to cool the cheese. There, you have mozzarella cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

12 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
1 lb. Skinless Chicken Breast, cubed (I use more)
3 Cups Hunt’s Four Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
1 Cup Very Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Water
15 oz. Nonfat Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Egg Substitute
9 Slices 2% Pepperjack Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook chicken over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until almost done. Stir in sauces and water. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and egg substitute. Spray a 9X13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1 Cup of sauce in the bottom of pan. Arrange 4 noodles over the sauce. Spread more sauce, then a layer of ricotta mixture. Add another layer of sauce, and repeat the whole process until you end with a layer of sauce. Cover and bake 70 minutes. Uncover and place cheese slices on top, then bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Pic Stolen from Beantown Baker

Peanut Butter Cupcakes (from
Crazy about Cupcakes) makes 20
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Preheat over to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs. Beat well. Mix in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well.

Fill the cupcake lines one-half to three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Cookies N' Cream Cupcakes


Picture Stolen from Beantown Baker

Cookies-N-Cream Cupcakes (from
Crazy about Cupcakes) makes 20
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate sandwich cookies, lightly crushed

Preheat over to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the crushed cookies.
Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.


Cool Whip Topping (Stolen from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix with milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping until no streaks remain. Spread evenly over cake. Fold in some crumbled Oreos and you're good to go

Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Stolen from Beantown Baker

Goat Cheese Bruschetta
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped
goat cheese
~3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
your favorite crusty bread

Mix the chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro in a bowl.

Add goat cheese to mixture - as much or little as you have/like.

Add olive oil and salt and pepper.

Slice bread and place on cookie sheet. Spoon bruschetta topping onto bread and bake for 8-10 minutes until heated thouroughly.

Sangria

1 Bottle Pinot Noir
1 mini can club soda
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c rum (Captain Morgan, the spicy-ness of the Cap'n was PERFECT for a football party!!)
1 large orange thinly sliced into rounds
1 lemon thinly sliced into rounds
1 lime thinly sliced into rounds
About 2 cups orange juice (pulp free per Nate's request)

In a large pitcher (I used 2 small pitchers but did this in just one of them)add orange, lemon, lime, sugar and rum and refrigerate at least 2 hours stirring, muddling lightly, occasionally. After the 2 hours (this is when I transferred half that mixture into a second pitcher) add wine, club soda, orange juice and about 5 ice cubes. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate 1 to 24 hours before serving. Serve chilled or over citrus infused ice cubes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica

Stolen from Recipezaar.com

Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica Recipe

Gratinata sauce use 4 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup marsala wine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cups heavy cream

Penne Rustica

1 ounce pancetta or bacon
18 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 ounces grilled chicken breasts, sliced
16-24 ounces penne pasta, cooked
3 teaspoons chopped pimiento
6 ounces butter
1 teaspoon chopped shallots
1 pinch salt and pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  1. For Gratinata Sauce: Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown.
  2. Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, reduce by half of the original volume.
  4. Set aside.
  5. For Penne Rustica: Saute pancetta until it begins to brown.
  6. Add butter, shallots, and shrimp.
  7. Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
  8. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  9. Add gratinata sauce and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
  10. Simmer until sauce thickens.
  11. In a large bowl, combine shrimp& chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
  12. Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster.
  13. Top with remaining cheese, pimientos and sprinkle with paprika.
  14. Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
  15. Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.

Baked Mac n' Cheese

Stolen from nestie Ashleighl


Baked Mac n' Cheese

12 ounces macaroni

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or sharp cheddar)

1 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour. Cook for about 1 minute, until smooth and bubbly; stirring occasionally. Mix in milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard. Continue cooking until sauce is thickened. Add cooked macaroni and Cheddar cheese.

Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. In small bowl mix together bread crumbs, butter and parsley; spread over macaroni and cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

Poached Garlic Soup with Garlic bread

Stolen From whatscookingamerica.net

Poached Garlic Soup

30 cloves garlic, peeled
7 cups vegetable or chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 small new potatoes, peeled, diced and reserved in cold water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk
Salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Toasted Garlic-Butter Bread (see recipe below)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine garlic cloves and 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth; bring to a boil and poach 15 minutes or until soft. Remove garlic cloves to a small bowl and mash with a fork; set aside for use in make Toasted Garlic-Butter Bread. Cook and reduce chicken broth to a glaze; remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot over low heat, melt butter. Add onion and sauté until soft. Drain potatoes; stir into butter and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth. Increase heat to medium-high; simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes or until the potatoes are softened. Remove from heat and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, puree soup; return to soup pot. Add garlic glaze; stir until well blended.

NOTE: The soup can be made 1 to 2 days in advance up until this stage. Refrigerate until ready to finish.

Stir in heavy cream, milk, salt, and pepper; cook, over low heat, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve with Toasted Garlic-Butter Bread.

Makes 6 servings.

Toasted Garlic-Butter Bread
6 slices sourdough bread, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Poached garlic cloves

Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, combine butter and mashed garlic cloves; mash until well blended. Spread garlic mixture evenly over the top of the bread slices. When ready to serve, broil bread for a few seconds or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

NOTE: Bread can be assembled earlier in the day and placed on a pan. Cover well with plastic wrap.

Tomato Soup Casserole

Stolen from Nestie Skinnybitch

1 can campbells tomato soup
measue out 1 can milk (any kind but skim)
block of cheddar or cheddar jack cheese, shredded
2 C dry elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. While pasta is cooking, combine tomato soup and milk in casserole dish iand whisk. Add most of the shredded cheese (save some to sprinkle on top). Drain pasta and add to casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook at 350 for 30 minutes then remove cover and broil until top is melted and golden. Will prob. need salt.

American Chop Suey

This is the recipe my mom used when I was growing up, but I also found it on allrecipes.com. Super easy and pretty yummy. Nothing amazing, but a good, quick and easy meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • You can also add garlic, italian seasoning, peppers or anything else that suits your fancy

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate large skillet over medium high heat, saute the ground beef and the onion for 5 to 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and crumbly. Drain thoroughly and leave the meat and onion in the skillet. Pour the two cans of tomato soup into the skillet and stir well to combine.
  3. When noodles are done, drain thoroughly and return noodles to the pot. Add the hamburger mixture from the skillet to the pot. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pumpkin Streusel Bread


Stolen From Cooking Light

Pumpkin Streusel Bread

Ingredients

Topping:
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare topping, combine first 4 ingredients until crumbly. Set the mixture aside.

To prepare bread, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine the pumpkin and next 5 ingredients (pumpkin through eggs) in a bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield

16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 209(30% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 1.7g,mono 2.4g,poly 2.2g); PROTEIN 3.4g; CHOLESTEROL 31mg; CALCIUM 29mg; SODIUM 252mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.6g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2000

Pumpkin Peanut Soup

Pumpkin Peanut Soup (8 servings)
4 cups canned pumpkin puree (or 3 lb. sugar pumpkin or butternut squash*)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. diced red pepper
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded & diced
4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. creamy or crunchy peanut butter (my favorite is crunchy, for texture)
1/2 c. heavy cream or milk
2 Tbsp. lime juice
thin-sliced scallions
Melt butter over medium heat, add onion; saute 15 min. or until golden brown.
Add pumpkin, red pepper, jalapeno, and chicken broth; heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to simmer. Cook 10 min., stirring to break up pumpkin.
Remove
all but 2 cups of soup solids, puree in blender, then return the puree to the solids remaining in the pan.
Add peanut butter and cream. Cover, heat on low, stirring until peanut butter melts.
Add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with scallions.
*If using fresh pumpkin or squash, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line jellyroll pan with foil. Halve pumpkin/squash lengthwise, remove seeds. Sprinkle inside with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Place cut side down on foil-lined pan. Bake 1 hr. or until soft. Cool, then scoop flesh out for use in the soup.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Broccoli potato and cheddar cheese soup

Looks like this recipe originally came from Cooking Light, but their recipe is slightly different

I love this soup. The instructions have been adapted for Clara's level of cooking. Let's keep our fingers crossed that she doesn't screw it up :P

ingredients

1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cans chicken broth (the regular soup size cans)
2 cups broccoli florets chopped (I usually just use frozen broccoli ... I heat it for a minute so I can cut it, then I chop it up)
1 1/4 cups milk
8 oz of shredded cheddar cheese
3 peeled and cubed potatoes

you can also top with cooked bacon and green onions (I usually skip the onions, but the bacon is good)


What to do

Mix 1/3rd cup of chicken broth with the 1/4 cup of flour until smooth and set aside

Combine remaining chicken broth, potatoes and broccoli in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 8 mins or until potatoes are tender. (now here I usually wing it and just leave it uncovered and let it cook until the potatoes are soft ... you will need to taste test here so pay attention. Also sometimes I put a few more potatoes and/or broccoli in so I make sure that the broth covers them and if I use more I throw a little bit more milk in .... not half a gallon)

Then you're going to gradually stir in the flour mixture from step 1 and cook for another 3-5 mins

Then stir in the milk and cheddar cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and your done.

When you serve it put a little bit of cheese on top and break up a piece of bacon

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baked Chicken

1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken
garlic powder,
salt, pepper, paprika,
and italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Butter

DIRECTIONS
Wad three pieces of aluminum foil into 3 to 4 inch balls, and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with butter the rub with the salt, pepper and paprika, garlic powder and italian seasoning and place in the slow cooker on top of the crumbled aluminum foil.
Set the slow cooker to Low for about 8 to 9 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear

Sometimes I'll put chopped onions and garlic on the inside too for more flavor.

Crock Pot Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

Crock Pot Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

2 c. chocolate cake mix
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Combine all ingredients & mix well. Beat with electric mixer 2 minutes. Pour batter into greased and floured 2 lb. coffee can. Put can in crock pot. Cover top of can with parchment paper or paper towels. Cover crockpot and bake on High 2 hours or until cake tests done with toothpick.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

Stolen from Domestic Diva in Training


Recipe from Kraft's Food & Family Magazine
Servings: 6

1 package Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 pound (8 oz.) Velveeta Cheese, cut up

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into 2-qt. baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

Homemade Bagles

Stolen from Baking Bites

Homemade Bagels

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups water, warm (100-110F)
4 cups bread flour (not all purpose)
1 tbsp salt
1 egg, for egg wash

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar and water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in flour and salt. Mix dough thoroughly until it comes together in a large ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add an additional tablespoon of flour or water, if needed.
If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and preheat the oven to 400F.

When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (first quarters, then thirds). Shape each piece into a tight ball as illustrated below, pinching the corners together at the bottom of the piece of dough. When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.

bagel shaping how-to

Once dough balls have rested, the bagel shape can be formed. Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball. Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers and be sure to make the hole a little larger than you want the finished bagel to have, as it will shrink slightly while the bagel is expanding during the baking process. Let bagels rest for about 10 minutes.

boiling bagels

Working four at a time, drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip and boil for an additional minute. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to a clean towel to drain for a moment, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bagels.
Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg (a pastry or bbq brush is a good tool for this) and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice and toast to serve.

Makes 12 bagels.

buttery bagel

Pumpkin Donuts with Spiced Sugar
(from Bon Appetit)

Donuts
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp buttermilk
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (canned is ok)
Canola oil (for deep-frying)

Spiced Sugar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla, buttermilk and pumpkin. Gently stir in flour mixture until fully incorporated. Cover bowl is plastic wrap and refrigerate at leat 3 hours.Sprinkle two baking sheets with flour. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, press the chilled dough out, on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/2-2/3 inch (2 cm) thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch diameter round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Use a 1 inch cutter to remove the center of the round, and set the dount hole on the baking sheet as well. Repeat until all the dough is used. You may reroll the scraps. You should end up with 24 donuts and 24 holes.

In a large sauce pan, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 365F/185C. Make a thick stack of paper towels to drain the donuts on. Working one or two at a time, fry the donuts until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. You may fry the donut holes in groups of 4 or 5. Check the temperature to make sure it remains constant. Remove dough to drain and cool thoroughly on paper towels.

In bowl, whisk together sugar and spices. Coat donuts and donut holes in sugar mixture. The sugar will stick to the residual oil (though no one likes to think about that). Enjoy!
Makes 24 donuts and 24 donut holes, but can be halved.

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