24 April 2009

Toffee Fudge Trifle

This is a very rich dessert that makes a BIG dish full, so save it for a large gathering! As an alternative, you can layer the ingredients into small juice glasses and just store the things you don't use.
1 box brownie mix (plus any ingredients you need to make it)
1/4 C chocolate or coffee liqueur, if desired
1 large package fudge pudding mix (plus the milk to make it)
1 tub Cool Whip, not frozen
8 oz crushed toffee candy bars, like Heath
1 block baker's chocolate
Bake the brownies. While they are still warm, use a toothpick to poke holes at one-inch intervals around them. (This is to let the other ingredients soak in later.) If desired, "paint" the brownies with the liqueur using a basting brush. Let them cool completely. Then, break them into chunks.

Make the fudge pudding.

Layer the ingredients in a trifle dish like this:
heath bars
Cool Whip
Then, repeat the layers.
To top it off, use a vegetable peeler on the block of baker's chocolate to make chocolate curls. Drop them across the top of the dish for a pretty finish.

23 April 2009

bruschetta chicken

I got this recipe off the back of the box of Stovetop Stuffing. Even if you don't like things out of a box, I checked the nutrition listing for the stuffing and it's one of the more reasonable things out there. The only thing there's a question on as far as I'm concerned is the amount of sodium, and even then, it's not as high as most boxed things. This was also pretty quick to make. It was pretty mild, so you could probably tweak with the herbs in step 3 but I did it with just the basil.

1. Preheat oven to 400 and defrost 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast. (I used 4 chicken breasts.)

2. Mix the following: one 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 package of dry stuffing mix, 1/2 cup hot water, and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Set aside.

3. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, put it RAW into a 13x9 baking dish, sprinkle with basil and shredded mozzarella cheese. The original recipe gave measurements for the basil and cheese - I just put on as much as I like, which is fairly heavy on the basil, and I covered the chicken with cheese.

4. Put the stuffing mixture over the top. Bake for 30 min.

5. Serve with green salad on the side.

Aunt Jean's pasta salad

Cook a box of penne pasta.

Put 2 tbl. olive oil in a frying pan, cook 1 cup julienne-cut carrots and 1/2 cup chopped red onion. Cook on high heat until the carrots start to get tender.

At this stage, you can add Italian sausage if you want to.

Lower the heat and add 1 cup snap peas and 1 cup broccoli.

Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes (or dice 2 beefsteak tomatoes), and basil, garlic, and oregano to taste.

When the veggies are heated all the way through, mix with the pasta.

Add black olives, cubed mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Eat warm or cold.

21 April 2009

Lemon Blueberry Trifle

This is another WONDERFUL recipe from The Pampered Chef, from their All the Best recipe book.

I like to use this for Christmas and Easter. It is not too rich, like a lot of desserts can be, which is a big plus as well.

1 frozen prepared pound cake (16 oz)
2 lemons
1 1/2 cups milk
1 container sour cream (8 oz)
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided (8 oz)
2 packages lemon instant pudding and pie filling (3.4 oz each)
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 square white chocolate for baking (1 oz)

1. Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes; place in large bowl. Zest one lemon; set aside. Juice same lemon. Sprinkle lemon juice over pound cake cubes; toss gently.

2. In medium bowl, combine milk, sour cream, half of the whipped topping and reserved lemon zest; whisk until smooth. Add pudding mix; whisk until mixture begins to thicken.

3. Set aside 10 blueberries for garnish. To assemble trifle place one-third of the cake cubes into bottom of 10 cup serving bowl. Top with one-third of the blueberries. Using a fine grater, grate one-fourth of the chocolate over blueberries. Top with one-third of the pudding mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat layers two more times. Reserve remaining chocolate for garnish.

4. Attach open star tip to "Easy accent decorator" (you can use a frosting bag with large open star tip as well); fill with remaining whipped topping. Pipe 10 rosettes around edge of serving bowl. Score remaining lemon lengthwise; slice lemon into five 1/2 - inch slices. Cut each slice in half and place between rosettes. Place one reserved blueberry on each rosette. Grate remaining chocolate in center. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

(You don't have to do the garnish, but it makes it look really pretty!:) )

Yield: 10 servings (but really, those are HUGE servings)

19 April 2009

blueberry lemon muffins

I love these and bake them whenever I find blueberries at a decent price (which is never ... so sometimes I buy the blueberries anyway and bake them because they're YUMMY!) I baked them again this weekend.

1 and 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar (run a cup of regular sugar through the blender and measure it from there - it makes a big difference in the consistency)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter melted
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
5 ounces or 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest until thoroughly combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir until the flour is incorporated but not until it's entirely smooth.

Dust the blueberries with flour, and then fold into the batter. (The flour prevents them from sinking to the bottom during baking.)

Put into baking pans and bake for 20 minutes at 400.

The recipe says that this is for 12 muffins - I got 16 out of it.

tomato and bell pepper pasta salad

#17 of 50.

12 ounces spiral pasta cooked like normal and cooled.

Chopped into a VERY small dice:
1 large tomato (seeded)
1/2 yellow pepper
1 stalk celery

1 Tbl. capers
shredded fresh basil leaves
cubes of mozzarella cheese

1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbl. olive oil

Mix the pasta with the vegetables and other things, then pour the dressing over it. Serve cold.

chile pork

#16 of 50. I originally found this on AllRecipes, but I used some suggestions in the comments rather than the directions in the original recipe, so this is how I did it.

And let me just take a moment to vent that I have discovered one of the possible reasons for the high obesity rate in Mississippi - the cuts of meat SUCK! I went to the nice grocery store (because the only other "decent" option for food in this town is Walmart) to shop and got regular pork chops. SO fatty! The longest part of prepping this meal was extracting the meat from the bone and fat. When I finally had it cleaned and ready to cook, the pile of bone and fat was almost as big as the pile of meat. I lost almost half of what I paid for because it was garbage. That completely ticked me off. I've noticed that I have to trim fat off chicken breast as well ... where oh where is Costco and their nice meat? Oh yeah. 200 miles away in freaking Memphis. I'm planning a temple trip up to Memphis to go to a new temple (for us) ... and because I want to go to Costco!

Anyway ...

1 lb. pork cut into bite-size pieces (or you could do this with chicken)

Sprinkle over the meat and stir around to make sure the meat is coated the following spices:

1 Tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 clove garlic, crushed

Let it sit in the fridge for 45 minutes. Put a thin coating of olive oil in the bottom of a 9X13 pan so the meat doesn't stick, and spread the meat out in the pan so it's one layer deep. Cover it with foil and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Eat with corn tortillas and guacamole, and whatever veg toppings you like on your tacos. You could also put the pork on rice.

16 April 2009

chicken primavera

#15 of 50 - I'm moving forward with this goal again! Yay! I got this from a Good Housekeeping magazine that randomly showed up at my house (apparently the person who used to live here subscribed and it didn't get forwarded).

12 ounces pasta - use a small, thin pasta like penne or the macaroni spirals. The sauce is really thin and mostly water, so it doesn't hold up to a heavier, thick pasta
2 scallions cut into small pieces
4 tsp olive oil - used 2 tsp at a time
1 lb chicken breast cut into bite-size chunks
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 lb asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium sized red bell pepper cut into thin strips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves chopped

1. Cook and drain the pasta as usual. When draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Put the pasta in a large serving dish with the water.

2. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in skillet, cook the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. When done, put it in a bowl and set it aside.

3. Clean out the skillet, and heat the other 2 tsp of olive oil. First add the green onions and garlic for about a minute. Then add the asparagus and red bell pepper, and cook until tender crisp. Add the cream, crushed red pepper, and a little salt. Bring it to a boil, then add the chicken and remove from the heat.

4. Combine the chicken/veg mixture into the serving dish with the pasta, then add Parm and basil, and eat!

13 April 2009

ham and sun-dried tomato scones

I'm making these scones for dinner tomorrow (to have with roasted red pepper and tomato soup which we bought at Costco and it's REALLY good ... and I don't usually like tomato soup). The first time I made these scones, we ate the entire batch straight out of the oven when they were still warm. We never got around to making the soup because we filled up on just the scones. SO GOOD!

2 cups self-rising flour (if you don't have self-rising flour, here's how to make it)
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
2 Tbl. margarine, diced
1 Tbl. chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 Tbl. dried basil)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
2 ounces strong-flavored ham, chopped
1/2 cup milk

1. Sift the flour, mustard, paprika, and salt.
2. Rub the margarine in with your fingers.
3. Stir in the basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and ham.
4. Pour in enough milk a little at a time to make a soft dough.
5. Turn out the dough onto a floured counter, kneed lightly and roll out into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares and put on a floured baking sheet.
6. Brush the tops of the scones with milk, and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
7. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until they rise and are a golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

12 April 2009

Carrot Cake

I have made this cake twice this week (for 2 different parties) and got rave reviews and many requests for the recipe, I thought I would post it here too:

Carrot Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

Heat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour your pan(s). Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add carrots, oil, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until combined and pour into pans. Bake for 30-35 min for 2 round pans or 35-40min for 13x9 pan

Cream Cheese frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups Powdered Sugar

Beat everything but powdered sugar on low speed until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable.

10 April 2009

curry chicken

#14 of 50 ...

1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter
2 chicken breasts
1 medium onion, cut in half lengthwise, cut lengthwise again into thin slices
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored, cut into thin slices (We didn't peel it and it wasn't a big deal)
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch length of ginger root, finely chopped
2 tbl curry powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chicken broth

(Stewie - for non-dairy, perhaps you could double the amount of chicken broth and cut the sour cream. Just add some kind of thickening agent to the broth so it's not quite so runny. Just a thought. I don't think it would change the taste substantially if the sour cream is left out.)

1. In a large frying pan on high heat, put in the olive oil with the butter in the center of it. Spread so it covers the bottom of the pan.

2. Cook the chicken breasts until they're just browned on each side - 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove onto a plate. Pour off the excess fat and oil, and put the pan back on the stove.

3. Put the heat at medium and do NOT put any more oil in the pan. Cook the onion, apple, carrots, and mushrooms for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continually.

5. Add the sour cream and chicken broth, and stir to mix thoroughly. Then put the chicken breasts back in the pan and spoon the vegetables over them. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.

6. Simmer for 30 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice.

Easter Breakfast

So I really don't have a recipe for this, I don't even really have a name for it - but we have it every year in the days following Easter and it is so yummy. Not "knock your socks off" kind of yummy, but serious "comfort food" type of yummy.

Peel and chop of the died hard boiled eggs that are left - separating the whites from the yolks
Make a simple white sauce (plenty of salt and pepper)
Toss in the egg whites
Serve egg/white sauce on toast with crumbled egg yolks on top

I tend to make this every few months just because I like it, it is a lot more fun after Easter because you get a few spots of colored egg whites in the mix, festive and yummy, and a great way to use up hard boiled eggs.

09 April 2009

trapani spaghetti

Back to my 50-recipe challenge for myself - here's #13. Adam has made this before, but this was my first shot at it. It's from the "Jamie's Italy" book (the Naked Chef).

ALMOND AND TOMATO PESTO - trapani style spaghetti

5 oz almonds
1 clove garlic
3 handfuls fresh basil
grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1 lb cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1. Crush the almonds in a food processor (or blender - I use the "pulse" setting) until they have a coarse powder consistency. Put them in a bowl.
2. Remove the basil leaves from the stems, and also crush the basil leaves in the food processor the same way. Add the crushed basil to the bowl with the almonds.
3. Crush the garlic clove into the almonds/basil mix.
4. Add the cheese at a balance with the almonds and basil.
5. The original recipe calls for "a good glug of olive oil." You decide what amounts to a "glug." Basically, you want the pesto to not be runny at all, but start thinning it out a bit.
6. Add the tomatoes, and scrunch the whole mixture in your hands to break up the tomatoes and mix the juices all together. If the pesto mixture is still very thick, add more olive oil a little bit at a time until it can spread a bit onto the pasta.
7. Serve with spaghetti.

Notes - you can freeze pesto for later and use it a little at a time. And we didn't have cherry tomatoes so I used one regular large tomato cut to a fairly small dice. YUM!

04 April 2009

Breakfast Casserole

We had this for breakfast every Christmas and Easter every year for as long as I can remember. I've started the tradition at our house! I make it the evening before and then it's ready to pop into the oven before church on Easter Sunday (or before stockings on Christmas morning...).
1 lb sausage
6 slices white bread, crusts removed
margarine, softened
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
5 eggs
2 C half and half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard

Cook sausage and drain. Butter both sides of each slice of bread, then cut into cubes. Place bread in bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle with sausage, then top with cheese. Combine all other ingredients and beat well. Pour evenly into pan. Chill for at least 8 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

02 April 2009

Strawberry Waffles

My families big deal on Christmas and Easter is Strawberry Waffles. All that we do is make waffles like normal, and then add strawberries (either fresh, or the frozen compote, thawed), and top with whipped cream.

They are the yummiest!

Easter Challenge - garlic mashed potatoes

I actually just found this recipe at Christmas so we haven't used it at Easter yet ... but we will! It's our new mashed potato staple, from AllRecipes.

potatoes cut into small pieces and boiled until soft

Mix with ...
crushed garlic cloves
Parmesan or Romano cheese
a little bit of milk to cream it

The original recipe was to mass produce this and called for 50 pounds of potatoes. Use whatever amount of potatoes you normally make, and put everything in a little at a time until it's the taste that you like. It never would have occurred to me to put Parm and oregano in potatoes, but it's really good!