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

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)

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.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

Stolen from Baking Bites

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp paking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

10 tbsp butter, cold and cut into 10 pieces

4 tbsp peanut butter

1 1/8 cup milk (1 c + 2 tbsp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add butter and peanut butter and pulse a few times, until mixture resembles very large, coarse crumbs. Add mini chocolate chips.
Combine milk and vanilla extract. With the motor of the food processor running, pour in milk. Stop when the dough starts to come together into a ball. Try not to fun the food processor any more than necessary.
Divide dough into three or four pieces and pat each piece into a circle on a lightly floured surface. Cut each circle of dough into 4 or 5 pieces, to make 16 triangular scones. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 16-20 minutes at 400F, until light golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container if not eating right away.
The scones are best within two days of baking made.
Makes 16 scones.

Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito
10 fresh mint leaves
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice (juice of one lime)
2-oz light rum
club soda (approx 6-oz)

In a tall thin glass, muddle together mint leaves and sugar until fragrant. Add lime juice and rum and stir well. Add plenty of ice and top off the glass with club soda (or seltzer water). Add a lime slice and a fresh sprig of mint and serve.

Makes 1

Buttermilk Onion Rins

Buttermilk Onion Rings

4 large onions
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups flour
Chili powder
Oil for frying

Slice 4 large onions into 1/4-inch rings. Place in large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place 2 cups flour in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge onion rings in seasoned flour. Dip again in buttermilk, then in seasoned four.

Fry in batches, in 350 degree oil for 2 to 3 minutes until golden.

Drain on paper towels. Let oil come back to temperature before frying next batch

Potato Cheese Soup

Stolen from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Potato Cheese Soup

7 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1 cup peeled and shredded potatoes
2 cups peeled and chopped onions
4 cups chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups half and half
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup asiago cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place cubed potatoes, onions, celery and salt in water to cover in a large pot. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes up to an hour depending on how mushy you like things. Place shredded potatoes in a separate pot and boil till tender.

Put in blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree until smooth.

Return to soup pot; add half-and-half, butter. shredded potatoes, parsley and cheese. Stirring, simmer until piping hot. (Do not boil.)

Chilled Strawberry Bisque

Chilled Strawberry Bisque
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream (whipping cream)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
fresh mint for flavor and garnish

Puree strawberries, milk, cream and sour cream in blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in sugar. Chill 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator before serving.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Stolen from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Snickerdoodle Muffins

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tarter
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 and ¼ cup sour cream
2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling

1.Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.
2.In a separate, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tarter.
3.Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar.. Place muffin in to muffin tin.. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.

Dutch Pancakes

Stolen from Dinner with the Bickfords

Dutch Pancakes


  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter


1. In medium mixing bowl, place first 4 ingredients. Beat with an egg beater on medium for about 2 minutes until frothy and well mixed.

2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425. Prepare 2 glass 8x8 dishes, or pie dishes, with 1.5 T butter each. Place in oven while it's preheating, so butter gets a nice brown color.

3. Remove pans and pour 1/2 the mixture into each pan. Return to oven and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Top with powdered sugar and cinnamon for a fantastic breakfast treat!

Dulce de Choco-leche Cake

Stolen from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Dulce de Choco-leche Cake
For cake:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark 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
12 oz dark chocolate chopped (divided, can use chips)

For filling:
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

For frosting:
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

For garnish:
Chopped/shaved chocolate or chopped candy bars

To make the filling: Remove label from can and place upright in a pot of water on the stove. Gently boil the can for approx two hours making sure that the can is always covered with water (a dulce de leche bomb, while it sounds tasty, is not what you want going off in your kitchen). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To make the cake: Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch round pans using whatever method you prefer: grease and flour, grease and sugar, baking spray with flour (I prefer the latter).

Add dry ingredients to the stand mixer. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for two minutes. Carefully add the boiling water and mix well (batter will be pretty thin). Pour batter into the pans and top each pan with half of the dark chocolate. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or until the toothpick test registers done. Remove from the oven. Cool cakes 10 minutes in pan and then remove the cake from the pans and transfer to a wire rack for cooking.

To make the frosting: Beat heavy cream on high until soft peaks form, add confectioner’s sugar and beat for 1 minute more.

To assemble the cake: Level both layers and spoon dulce de leche mixture over the cut tops of both cakes, spread evenly, allow to soak into the cake and repeat until all the mixture has been used completely. Spread the frosting on the top of the bottom layer and add the top layer. Frost the cake and coat with the garnish of your choice.

Super Bowl Truffle

Stolen from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Super Bowl Truffle

1 standard cake mix (homemade or pre-packaged)
16 oz of the frosting of your choice
4 oz Chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or white) to coat the truffles
4 oz add-ins (optional) such as mini-chocolate chips, walnuts, dried fruit, etc

Bake the cake in a 9×13 pan as directed by the recipe/package selected. Tear the cake into small pieces while still slightly warm. Add the cake, frosting, and any add-ins to a bowl and combine. Do not over mix - the cake/icing mixture should be “swirly,” not homogeneous. Use a spoon and form the mixture into balls and refrigerate (just long enough for next step). Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler and use two forks to roll the truffles into the melted chocolate. Place the truffles on a cookie rack to rest so that they don’t “grow feet.” (You can refrigerate to speed up the process.) Serve when the chocolate coating has cooled and hardened completely.

You can add food coloring to the white chocolate for the drizzle

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Stolen from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ¼ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 heaping TBSP cocoa powder
2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease cupcake pans and set aside.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl often , until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, on at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Continue to beat for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer, add the melted chocolate, and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about ½ the ingredients followed by about ½ of the sour cream and beat well. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining sour cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Add the boiling water and beat until smooth.
Scoop(ice cream scoop works best) batter into prepared pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. Let cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pan. Let cupcakes cool completely.
Peanut Butter Filling

4 ounces or 1/2 package of Philly cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
milk to thin out filling

Beat cream cheese and peanut butter until combined.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the milk and beat until combined. Add milk until your reach desired consistency.

Chocolate Ganache

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined. Add more sugar if needed.
Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.

Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
Fill the cavity with a teaspoon or so of peanut butter filling. I used a piping bag, this makes it much easier.
Replace top.
Frost with ganache.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce

Stolen from Rachel Ray

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce

2 chicken breast halves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped and drained, if they are oil-packed
2 ounces herbed goat cheese (I had plain goat cheese, added 2 cloves garlic, dried basil, and ground thyme)
salt and pepper

Sprinkle chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.
When oil is hot, add chicken breasts. Cook through, about 4-6 minutes per side depending on how thin they are. Set aside and keep warm.

In the same skillet, add wine. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, being sure to scrape up the browned bits from the chicken.

Add chicken broth and reduce that by about half, too.
Add in sundried tomatoes and heat through. Take skillet off the heat and stir in goat cheese.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Stolen from nestie FayeD

Beer and Cheddar Risotto

½ a small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbls un-salted butter
2+ Tbls olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
1 12-oz bottle Bass beer
1 49.5-oz can chicken broth
5 oz medium or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ tsp cayenne (optional, but it brings out the sharpness of the cheddar)
Ground pepper to taste

Heat pressure cooker over med-low heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil; heat until butter just starts to brown. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, allowing them to get soft and translucent. Turn down the heat if they start to brown. Add the minced garlic, turn up heat to med-high, and sauté for 1 minute. Add rice and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, adding more olive oil as necessary to coat the rice. Pour in beer, turn heat up to high, and wait for it to start to simmer. Add the chicken broth and stir in some ground pepper, then lock the pressure cooker lid into place.

When the pressure cooker has reached full pressure, set the timer for 5-7 minutes, and then turn down the heat to where the pressure regulator is gently rocking back and forth. (5 minutes for al dente, 7 minutes for extra creamy) At end of cooking time, use cold release method to release pressure.

Return pot to stove and turn heat to med-low. Allow to simmer for a minute or two to evaporate some additional liquid, if needed. Stir in the cheeses, cayenne, and extra ground pepper to taste.

Garlic-Parmesan Risotto

Garlic-Parmesan Risotto
1/2 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon blanc)
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan/Romano mixture

Melt the butter in a large pan. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the rice, wine, 3/4 cup chicken broth and stir.

When the risotto has absorbed nearly all the broth, add 3/4 cup chicken broth. Stir frequently and continue adding the chicken broth 3/4 cup at a time. Do not let the last addition of chicken broth cook away completely. Add the cheese, stir well, and test the risotto:

Drop a large spoonful of risotto onto a saucer and give the saucer a shake. The risotto is ready when it “relaxes” and settles some on the plate after shaking. If liquid runs away from the rice, it needs to cook a bit longer.

Enchilida con Pollo

Stolen from Misty Mexican

In a big pan put one cup of tomato sauce. Drop 2 tbsp of chicken mixed with veggies and sour cream on an open tortilla. Roll up to make a cigar and align inside the pan. Proceed with the rest of the tortillias. Cover with more tomato sauce and finish with a good layer of shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F

Baked Ziti

Stolen from Sugar and Spice

Baked Ziti

1 pound tube shaped pasta
3 cups spaghetti sauce
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, cut into chunks and cooked
1 cup grated Romano cheese, divided
8 oz. mozzarella, diced
Shredded mozzarella

1. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and put into a large bowl.

2. Toss pasta with 3 cups sauce, sausage, 1/2 cup Romano cheese, and diced mozzarella.

3. Pour into 13x9 glass baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese and handful of shredded mozzarella sprinkled on top.

4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 15 minutes until sauce and cheese are bubbling.

Taco Rice Salad

Stolen from Cooking light (pic and tortilla bowl from Sugar and Spice)

Taco Rice Salad

Cooking spray
1 lb. ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cooked yellow rice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 cups torn romaine lettuce (about 10 oz.)
3 cups chopped tomato (about 1-1/4 lbs)
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2/3 cup salsa
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Remaining ingredient:
1/2 cup (2 oz) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare salad, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef and garlic, and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return beef mixture to pan. Stir in rice through next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Cool slightly. Combine lettuce and next 4 ingredients (through beans) in a large bowl; toss to combine.

To prepare dressing, combine sour cream, salsa, chili powder and cumin, stirring with a whisk. Spoon dressing over lettuce mixture; toss to coat. Place lettuce mixture on plate or in tortilla bowl. Top with rice mixture and shredded cheese.

Tortilla Bowls

Inverted two ramekin cups on a baking pan, coat them with cooking spray and lay the tortillas on top. Brushed them with some olive oil and bake them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, until browned and crispy.

Dirty Risotto

Stolen from Giada

Dirty Risotto

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 T. butter
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
6 oz. Italian sausage, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 oz. button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
3/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

2. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sausage and saute until golden brown about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until tender,s craping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering brother and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bit and the mixture is creamy, about 25-30 minutes total.

4. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 of the parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining parmesan and serve immediately.

Super Sugar Cookies

Stolen from Sugar and Spice

Super Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Cream margarine and sugar well.

2. Add vanilla and eggs; combine well.

3. In separate bowl, sift the baking powder, salt and flour. Add to wet ingredients slowly until thoroughly combined.

4. Cookie dough must be chilled until firm, or overnight.

5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

7. With cookie cutters or rim of drinking glass, cut out cookies.

8. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on oven. Check often to prevent over cooking or burning. Cool on baking rack when done.

9. Meanwhile, prepare frosting - it's a MUST for these cookies! (go all the way or not at all)

1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 stick real butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cream or whole milk

10. Cream butter, milk and vanilla together.

11. Slowly add powdered sugar to butter until desired consistency (may need a little extra milk). If you'd like, add liquid food coloring for festive cookies

12. When cookies are cooled, slather this heavenly frosting. For more texture and color, press the top of the cookie in sprinkles, colored sugar or just eat plain!

Black Bean Soup

Stolen from Cooking with Rachel

Black Bean Soup

2 cups dry black beans
1 ham bone
6 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped ham
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar


Simmer beans, water, ham bone, broth, and salt for 1 1/2 hours. Discard ham bone. Puree about 1/2 of soup; pour back into pot. Saute onion, tomato, red pepper, and meat in oil until onion is soft. Stir in vinegar, and then add mixture to beans. Simmer for 20 minutes or more. Serve hot.

Five Bean Salad

Stolen from Clara's Cravings

Five Bean Salad
1 14.5 oz can green cut green beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can wax beans, drained
1 15oz can EACH black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper AND 1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cider vinegar (I probably would have used even more, but that's all I had left)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
small handful chopped fresh herbs - I used thyme, basil, oregano, and mint

Combine beans, onion, and peppers in a large boil. In a small saucepan, combine vinegars, oil, sugar, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Pour over vegetables, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for several hours or over night, stirring occasionally.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip!?!?!

Stolen from Sugar & Spice

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
(adapted from Recipezaar)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. (You can also do this in the microwave but watch it closely. The butter/sugar mixture will boil over fast. Stir every 30 seconds or so.)

2. Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla extract and set aside to cool.

3. Beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar for 1 minute.

4. Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute.

5. Stir in the chocolate chips.

6. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate.

7. Garnish with additional chips, if you choose.

Serve with Nilla wafers (my choice) or graham crackers OR make sugar cookie strips like bakingblonde ... roll sugar cookie dough out into a rectangle, use a pizza cutter to cut strips and then sprinkled with sugar and baked!

**Note: after refrigerating the dip it will be pretty solid and un-dippable so make sure to remove it from the refrigerator about 15-30 minutes before you plan on serving it, so it has time to soften up.

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Risotto

Stolen from the Cooking with Rachel blog

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoons butter
2 links of Trader Joe’s Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Sausage
¾ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
4 ounces baby Bella mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup Trader Joe's quattro formaggio cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Keep broth warm over low heat.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add chicken sausage and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms and sauté until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the basil and remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Stolen from Giada

Olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound purchased cheese tortellini
2 ounces thinly sliced smoked mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish.

Whisk the sauce, mascarpone cheese, parsley and thyme in a large bowl to blend. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Add the tortellini to the sauce and toss to coat. Transfer the tortellini mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top the mixture with the smoked mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheeses on top melt, about 30 minutes.

Passion Fruit Soufflé Glacé with Pineapple Fruit Soup

Stolen from the Dessert First blog

Passion Fruit Soufflé Glacé

from Kate Zuckerman's The Sweet Life

makes about 2 quarts, or 12 servings


8 egg yolks

1/3 cup (66 g) sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons passion fruit puree

pinch of salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


1 cup heavy cream

4 egg whites

pinch of cream of tartar

6 tablespoons passion fruit puree

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

For the curd: Make a bain-marie by heating a saucepan of water on the stove. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl for the bain-marie.

Add the salt and passion fruit puree to the yolks and whisk to combine.

Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly for about 5-8 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and holds the lines from the whisk.

Remove bowl from heat and place in an ice bath until it has cooled to warm. Add in the butter and whisk until completely combined into the curd.

For the meringue: Whip the heavy cream in a stand mixer to soft peaks. Store the whipped cream in the refrigerator.

Place the egg whites In a clean stand mixer bowl and whip on medium-high with the whisk attachment until it starts to foam.

Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping until soft peaks start to form.

At this point, combine the passion fruit puree and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and heat on stove on high until it comes to a boil.

While the passion fruit syrup is boiling, carefully add in the remaining one tablespoon of sugar to the whipping egg whites, a little at a time. The egg whites should get shiny and gain in volume - be sure to watch that they do not overwhip while the syrup is cooking.

When the temperature of the passion fruit syrup has reached 245 degrees F, remove from heat and carefully pour down the side of the mixer bowl while the mixer is still running. Let the syrup combine with the egg whites and continue whipping for about 6 minutes until the meringue has cooled to room temperature. It should be very thick and glossy.

Place the passion fruit curd in a large bowl. Scrape the whipped cream on top and carefully fold into the curd with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the whipped cream too much.

Scrape the meringue on top of the mixture and incorporate in the same manner.

Pour the mousse into desired glasses or molds and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours to set. I use silicone molds that make it easy to unmold the shapes when they are frozen.

The frozen mousse will keep in the freezer for about 1 week.

Pineapple Fruit Soup

from Kate Zuckerman's The Sweet Life

makes about 5 cups

1 vanilla bean

1 medium pineapple

1 cup sugar

Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and pod in a large saucepan.

Slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Carve off the skin of the pineapple. Cut the pineapple down the center and then each half into 1/2 thick slices. You don't have to be precise as the pineapple will be pureed later but keep the pieces similar-sized so they will cook evenly.

Place the pineapple, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water to the saucepan.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat. Remove the vanilla bean pod.

Take about half the pineapple and place into a food processor. Add a little of the cooking liquid, and process until the pineapple is mostly pureed. Strain the puree into a container, using a ladle to push as much of the liquid through the strainer as possible. Repeat with the rest of the pineapple.

Chill the strained liquid in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to serve, ladle into bowls, place a scoop of the passion fruit soufflé glacé in the center, and add some diced strawberries, peaches, mango, or fruit of your choice.


Stolen from

These were so yummy. I did make a few minor changes. I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup of margarine in place of the shortening because that's what I had, I would have preferred to use a whole cup of butter, but they were still good. I also substituted 2 tsp of vinegar for the 2 tsp of cream of tartar because I couldn't find my cream of tartar. I also needed way more than 2 tbsp of sugar and cinnamon. I recommend probably tripling that amount.


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Stir in the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the cinnamon. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, then roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar. Place them onto an unprepared cookie sheet, two inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be slightly brown. Remove from sheets to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Margaritas done right

I love margaritas! This is the way to make em right and make em good.

1 part lime juice
1 part triple sec or cointreau
11/2 parts white or silver tequila
A bit of simple syrup if you like your margarita sweet.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cool Whipped Frosting

Stolen from nestie ae2409


  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 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.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Arugula & Fried Mozzarella Salad with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

In this satisfying salad, cheese is battered with egg and breadcrumbs before being fried into warm, crispy-gooey slices. The slight bitterness of the arugula is the perfect foil for the melty, rich fried mozarella. Smoked mozzarella is divine and adds depth to the salad, but regular mozzarella will make a delicious salad, too. Be sure to coat the cheese slices thoroughly so they don’t ooze during cooking.


1 large (about 7 ounces) smoked mozzarella
1 large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups medium diced fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
5 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried


Slice the mozzarella into eight slices, then again in half crosswise, so you have 16 pieces of cheese. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the breadcrumbs in another medium bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the cheese in the egg, turning to coat all sides of the cheese. Dredge the cheese in the breadcrumbs, pressing to help the crumbs adhere and cover the cheese as much as possible. Transfer the breaded cheese slices to a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook. You can prepare the cheese up to 1 hour ahead. Discard any leftover egg and crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, and garlic and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of the oil and the vinegar.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put half the cheese in the pan and cook until the breadcrumbs turn golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Use two forks to turn the cheese and cook until the second side is golden, another 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Using the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, repeat with the second batch of cheese.

Put the arugula in a large bowl. Stir the tomato mixture and toss it with the arugula. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Portion the salad among four plates. Arrange four pieces of cheese on top of each salad and serve immediately. -- Eva Katz

Reprinted from Fine Cooking Annual by the Editors of Fine Cooking with permission from The Taunton Press. Photography by Scott Phillips.

Easy Chocolate Mousse

Stolen From Nestie Melrrr
Easy Chocolate Mousse

1 teaspoon gelatin powder, unsweetened
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream -- chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract -- or other flavoring

In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add hot water; whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly.

Stir together sugar and cocoa in large bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until well blended. Spoon into serving dishes.

Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.

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