Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paula Deen's Cookie Dough Truffles

When I saw this recipe on Paula Deen's show earlier last month, I though it would be a great dessert for Thanksgiving. So I made them and then...I promptly hid them. There was no way it could compete with my mother's pumpkin roll. This recipe needed some tweaking. Bad. I didn't want to just scrap the whole thing. I mean, cookie dough that won't send you to the hospital with high fever and severe abdominal cramps? This was a recipe worth salvaging!

First, I went out and got a cookie scoop. Paula suggests using your hands, coated in flour, to roll the dough into balls. That turned out to be a big, sticky, floury mess. Get a cookie scoop. Trust me. Second, use salted butter. And third, use a container of dipping chocolate to coat the truffles. I originally used almond bark but I thought it was way to thick and masked the flavor of the dough. Actually, I made half of them with just a little drizzle of white chocolate on top and they were my favorite. Look out, pumpkin roll!

Cookie Dough Truffles (Paula Deen's unaltered recipe can be found here.)

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 containers of Baker's dipping chocolate (1 milk chocolate and 1 white chocolate)

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate chips and mix well. Using a cookie scoop, place balls of cookie dough onto waxed paper. Place in freezer.
After 2 hours, shape into more round balls with your hands. Using 2 forks, dip into melted chocolate and place onto wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour to set.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Egg Nog Pound Cake

Okay, hold on to your Santa hats, I have a confession. I don't like egg nog.

I don't know why because cream AND sugar? Together? What's not to like about that? Maybe it's the texture. It's like a milkshake that's been left out for awhile. Or maybe the idea of drinking raw eggs gives me the willies. I just don't like it.

My husband, WD, on the other hand, LOVES it. So I knew just what kind of cake to fix for his birthday earlier this week. An Egg Nog Pound Cake. The whole family enjoyed this cake. Even my 6 year old, the pickiest eater in the world. WD thought that the cake itself didn't have a very strong egg nog flavor so I made an egg nog glaze to pour over it. And the birthday boy was happy. Despite the 'Over the Hill' candle I put on top of the cake.

Egg Nog Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup egg nog
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup powdered sugar (for glaze)
1/4-1/2 cup egg nog (for glaze)

Combine first 4 ingredients; mix on low speed in mixer until moistened. Add eggs and nutmeg. Beat for 4 minutes on high speed. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan or tube pan. Bake at 350 F. for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick insterted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with an egg nog glaze.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Toscana Soup

Have you been to Olive Garden lately? I haven't. The nearest one is over an hour away. And although gas prices have dropped considerably ($1.55!) that's still way too far to drive to eat. Even if it's for WD's favorite soup--Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. So a couple of weeks ago when WD was craving this hearty sausage and potato soup, I bravely opened up my messy cookbook and found my own recipe.

3 Italian sausage links
3 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBS salt
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Remove casings from sausage and brown in skillet. Add onion, potatoes, broth, water, garlic and salt to a large pot. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add sausage, bacon, kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rachael Ray's Steakhouse Shepherds Pie

Sometimes when I watch Rachael Ray's show 30 Minute Meals, I think, "You've got to be kidding me." I mean, is she running out of ideas, or what? Really, who thinks of combining macaroni and cheese, beer, chopped up hot dogs, ketchup and mustard? That's a miss. A big disgusting miss.

But to be fair, she has some hits too. Like this recipe for Shepherd's Pie. I happened to catch it on her show last month and I've already made it 3 times. Add a side of green beans or corn and some bread and it's great family dinner. And even though I've made it 3 times, I still have yet to get it under 30 minutes!

Rachael Ray's Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie (original recipe is here, my version is below)

2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 TBS steak sauce

2 lbs ground sirloin
8 oz container mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped

3 large baking potatoes
3 TBS sour cream
3 TBS chives
4 slices bacon

Bring peeled, cut up potatoes to a boil in salted water.Add sirloin, mushrooms, and onion to a skillet and salt to taste. Cook until meat is browned and liquid is gone.In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt butter, whisk the flour into butter, cook 2 minutes then whisk beef broth into flour, add steak sauce and pepper, to taste. Thicken 6 to 7 minutes. Pour gravy over meat mixture, then pour into a baking dish.Drain cooked potatoes and add sour cream and chives. Add a splash of milk so it will be easier to spread. Mash and then spread over the meat mixture. Top with nuked, crumbled bacon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

So yesterday I posted a picture of my messy, unorganized cookbook. It's full of recipes I've torn out of newspapers, ripped out of magazines, and jotted down on envelopes. I've got dozens of recipes that are just waiting to be made. Recently, I decided to go through them to see if I could thin out my collection a bit and I ran across a recipe for Pumpkin Soup. I had torn it out of a newspaper (Irene Wassell's food column in the AR Democrat-Gazette) way back in December of 2005. And since soup weather has now arrived, I decided to give it a try.

And...it's a keeper! It's thin but creamy and delicious with buttered french bread. The flavor combination of pumpkin and onion is wonderful and the spices aren't overpowering like I worried that they might be. I can't wait for the weather to get even colder so I can make this soup again.

Let's see, that's one clipping down, 1185 to go.

Pumpkin Soup

1/2 cup minced onion
2 TBS cooking oil
1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp curry powder, or to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
1 (16-oz) can pumpkin
1 TBS brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, or to taste
2 cups half-and-half

In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil until translucent. Add flour and curry; stir until well mixed with the oil.Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar and nutmeg. Add broth and creole seasoning and whisk until smooth.Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add half-and-half and heat until hot. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Homemade Dog Treats

I've had dogs for 10 years now and throughout that time I've made several homemade treats for them. Carrot cakes, oatmeal cookies, cheese puffs, but my absolute favorite is the Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. They're easy, healthy, natural, crunchy and taste great. As a matter of fact, when LP and I made them for Lexie's birthday a few weeks ago, we ate 4 of them drizzled with a little honey!
Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit (original recipe from Sacramento & Co.)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup skim milk (I used 2%)
Mix dry ingredients. Mix milk and peanut butter, separately. Combine. Roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut shapes. Prepare cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Bake at 385 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool and store airtight in the refrigerator. Best if allowed to come to room temp first.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Someone needs to tell the tomatoes that it's almost November. My dad's 4 tomato plants are still producing even though they are far from pretty. But they're still edible. And if you just can't imagine dining on bruschetta or fresh tomato and mozzarella salad in October then go ahead and freeze up a batch of homemade tomato sauce before you pull up those tomato plants for good.

10 large tomatoes
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Score with an X and drop into boiling water. When the skins start to peel back, place tomatoes into an ice bath. Remove tomatoes from ice bath and peel off the skins.
Squeeze out the juice and seeds.
Put into a blender and add sauteed garlic. Blend till smooth. Pour into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. After 1 hour, add salt, sugar and Italian seasoning. Simmer for another hour uncovered. Makes about 3 cups of sauce.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

There's a drawer in the refrigerator that's full of nothing but Newcastles. That's WD's drawer. Then there's another drawer in the refrigerator that holds my treats: cheese sticks, cheese slices, parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, feta and cream cheese. I like cheese. Cheese just makes everything...better.

So instead of the usual pumpkin pie this holiday season, try this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese pie from Betty Crocker.

Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups lightly packed crushed shortbread cookies with pecans (16 cookies)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used a total of 12 oz)
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (didn't have 'em, didn't use 'em)
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients until crumbly. Press firmly on bottom and side of ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake about 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

2. In large bowl, beat sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and both packages of cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth; reserve 1/2 cup. Add all remaining filling ingredients except milk to cream cheese mixture. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.

3. In small bowl, mix reserved 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture and the milk. Spoon over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion. Turn pie plate one-fourth turn and repeat. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.

VERDICT: Mmmmmm! This is how I'm going to make pumpkin pies from now on! I would recommend storing it for at least 24 hours though--not just 4. The extra time hanging out in the fridge took away the overpowering pumpkin taste and made it taste more like a pumpkin cheesecake, which was the taste I was hoping for.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Soft Molasses Cookies

I can't decide if I like Autumn or not. I get taken in by the cooler temperatures, the reds and golds of the changing leaves, and a break on my electric bill. But then there's the spiders. Lots of spiders. And that weird dew/condensation thing happening with your windshield where you have to get the temp just right inside your vehicle to be able to see. I don't like that.

Oh, you know another thing I like about Autumn? The perfect Fall combination of molasses cookies and a hot cup of coffee or tea. I'll suffer through the spiders for that.

Soft Molasses Cookies (from recipezaar)
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream together shortening and brown sugar. Stir in egg and molasses and mix well. Fold in dry ingredients and stir. Cover and chill till firm (1-2 hours). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Leave on sheet 1 minute until set.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Four Layer Delight

Time for a classic! My mom used to make this for Thanksgiving every year when I was growing up. As a kid, it was the highlight of the meal. But then along came the early '90s. A time for change. A time to wear lots of flannel. A time for mom to put aside my beloved four layer delight and start serving a pumpkin roll. So now anytime I want this dessert I have to make it myself. And although it will always be Four Layer Delight to me, it's also known as Baskin Robbins, Robert Redford Pie, Mississippi Mud, and Texas Yum Yum Pie.

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish)
12 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 small boxes (3.9 oz each) instant pudding (I used chocolate)
3 cups milk
1 container Cool Whip

Mix flour, butter, and nuts. Press into a square baking dish. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Mix softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 of Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust. Mix pudding with milk and pour over cream cheese layer. Spread the remaining Cool Whip on top and garnish with extra pecans. Refrigerate for a few hours.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quiche Lorraine

Remember back in January when I told the story about my grandma hobnobing with Paris Hilton? I had mentioned how we had celebrated WD's birthday at a restaurant there in Altus, AR (where A Simple Life was filmed) and WD just went on and on and on about their onion soup. While he was raving about the soup, I was raving about what I had ordered. The Quiche Lorraine. Bacon. Cheese. Onions. You can't get better than that. Oh, wait, you can! When you make it into a pie!

Ready to bake pie crust
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese ( I used sliced)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper ( I didn't use any)

Bake pie crust in pie plate according to package directions.
When done, set temp to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion onto pie crust.
In a bowl, beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into pie plate.
Bake 45-50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chocolate Cake In A Mug

Have you ever wanted just one piece of chocolate cake? Not a whole cake where you would be tempted to eat the whole thing in 2 days--then feel guilty for the next 2 weeks--but just one piece of chocolate cake. Just a little something to keep you company while you pay the bills, or after you put the kids to bed, or while you watch your laundry pile up. Well, here's a recipe for a chocolate cake in a mug that gives you the 'chocolate-pick-me-up' you may need to tackle that load of laundry.

3 TBS all-purpose flour
2 tsp cocoa
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar
2 tsp veg. oil
2 TBS water
1/4 tsp vanilla
latte mug

In a small bowl, sift first 4 ingredients together. Then add last 4 ingredients and mix well. Spray the inside of mug with cooking spray; add cake batter. Put in microwave for 2 minutes. Top with frosting, a homemade chocolate glaze, or chocolate syrup.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Corn Relish

Mmmmm...corn relish. I look forward to this stuff every summer. One bite of this sweet, fresh relish makes me want to slap my grandma. Figuratively speaking of course! My grandma is the cook that hands out jars of this relish to my mom, sister, and myself every year so slapping her would not be a very polite thing to do. Especially if I'm expecting to get anymore next year. There's quite a bit of ingredients and chopping involved but it does make a lot (8 pints) and is totally worth it.

2 quarts fresh whole kernel corn
1 quart shredded cabbage
2 cups sugar
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbs dry mustard
1 tbs mustard seed
1 tbs celery seed
1 tbs tumeric
1 tbs salt

Mix all ingredients in a big ol' pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour into jars. Store in refrigerator. And when you take that first bite, please refrain from actually slapping your granny, okay? That's just an expression.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crockpot Chili

My last 4 food posts have been desserts so how 'bout a little protein, okay? How 'bout a big bowl of chili? I know, I know, chili recipes are like blogs--everybody's got one. But this one's my favorite. It's chunky with just the right amount of spices. And there's no standing around a hot stove since it's fixed in a slow-cooker. A definite plus this summer. Enjoy!

Crockpot Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can water

Brown ground beef. While beef is browning add rest of ingredients to crock pot. Add cooked beef and stir. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blackberry Brulee

What's better than creme brulee? Creme brulee with fruit!

Our house is surrounded by blackberry bushes. As the berries began to ripen, I wondered what I could do with them this year. Blackberry cobbler? Naw, yummy but too...predictable. Pan Roasted Venison With Crushed Blackberry-Ancho Chile Sauce & Sweet Potato-Toasted Pine Nut Polenta? Um....no. I'll leave that to Bobby Flay. I need something that's easy and inexpensive. Something like Blackberry Brulee!

Although picking blackberries can be a little bothersome, the chiggers and thorns are totally worth it when you taste this sweet fruit combined with rich, creamy, warm, vanilla custard.

Blackberry Brulee

1 cup blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp packed brown sugar

Place blackberries evenly in bottom of four 10-ounce ramekins.
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in half-and-half. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick. Stir in vanilla. Spoon over blackberries. Sprinkly 1 tsp brown sugar over mixture in each ramekin. Broil a few minutes or just until brown sugar is melted.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sour Cream Coconut Cake

The last time I had made this cake was for WD's birthday a couple of years ago. I've really been craving it lately so Father's Day was the perfect excuse to make it again. This cake needs to be prepared a couple of days in advance. That way, the sour cream has time to mellow out and not taste so 'sour creamy'. Which means, if you have a 4 year old like I do, you get to hear "I want cake! I want cake!" for 2 days straight.

Sour Cream Coconut Cake

1 box white cake mix (plus ingredients on back of box)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (16 oz) container sour cream
1 (8 oz) container extra creamy cool whip
3 cups coconut, divided use

Bake cake according to package instructions using 2 (9 inch) cake pans; cool.
In a bowl, mix by hand powdered sugar, vanilla, sour cream and cool whip. Save a small amount of coconut for sprinkling on top of cake. Stir remaining coconut into icing. Spread between cake layers. Sprinkle reserved coconut on top. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember 1992? End of the Road by Boys II Men was #1 on the radio, Aladdin was the top grossing movie of the year, Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson as host of the Tonight Show, and a little show called The Real World made its debut. It was also the year I moved away to college and had pancakes for dinner every night. But let's not dwell on that.

1992 was also the year that Hillary Clinton (in)famously said, "I've done the best I can to lead my life. I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas." Well, the Republicans jumped on that quote like me on a pancake and accused her of belittling stay-at-home-moms. So in order to make amends, Hillary agreed to a chocolate chip cookie bake off between her and Barbara Bush. And, unlike her bid for the democratic presidential nomination, Hillary won. Here's her winning recipe:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking sheets lightly with cooking spray.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
Beat together shortening, sugars and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy.
Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and then chocolate chips.
Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till golden. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

VERDICT: We loved them! Although they were thin, they were very chewy and ooey and gooey. I left out the oats because I didn't have any on hand. The next time I make these I probably won't add any either. Very yummy and dare I say, better than the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I posted a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Triple-Crust Peach Cobbler

When this recipe from Betty Crocker popped up on my igoogle homepage, I had to try it. After all, what is the best part of a pie or cobbler? The crust--that's what! Below are the directions just as Betty has them but I will tell you right now that I cheated and used pre-made pie crusts. And I'll do it again, dadgummit.

3 packages (11 ounces each) Betty Crocker® pie crust mix
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 cans (29 ounces each) sliced peaches in syrup, undrained

1. Heat oven to 350ยบF. Stir 1 package pie crust mix and 1/3 cup of the cold water until mixture forms a ball. Flatten ball; roll into rectangle, 11x8 inches. Cut into 4 strips, 11x2 inches each. Place strips on ungreased cookie sheet; bake 18 minutes. Set aside.

2. Stir 1 package pie crust mix and 1/3 cup of the cold water until mixture forms a ball. Flatten ball; roll to fit bottom and sides of ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Place in dish; set aside.

3. Stir together sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon extract and peaches in large bowl. Pour half of mixture in baking dish. Arrange the 4 pastry strips on top. Pour remaining half of peach mixture on top.

4. Stir 1 package pie crust mix and remaining 1/3 cup cold water until mixture forms a ball. Flatten ball; roll to fit on top of mixture in baking dish. Cut several holes or slits in crust. Place crust on top of mixture in baking dish; seal to edges of dish.

5. Bake about 1 hour or until crust is golden brown. Store covered in refrigerator.

It turned out great except next time I'm definitely going to drain the peaches. There was way too much liquid in the finished product. I'd say this was a keeper. Behold, the crust:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pasta With Vegetables

The only vegetable (fruit?) I've ever grown is tomatoes. Which is kind of selfish because WD abhors tomatoes. So this year I decided to add his favorite vegetable to my little garden: squash.

That's right. He ABHORS tomatoes. As a matter of fact, there was one time when we got take out from Taco Bell and when we got home we discovered that his tacos had tomatoes on them even though "NO TOMATOES" has become a natural, instinctive, habitual add on to everything he orders. Well, he refused to eat the tacos because the tomatoes had the audacity to touch the cheese and honestly, it's been a while since this incident happened so I'm not quite sure how it was resolved. I'm sure a hissy fit was thrown and maybe a trip back to Taco Bell was made where they hid behind the counter, picked off the offending vegetable (fruit?) and gave it back to him as "brand new" taco with NO TOMATOES. And I'm sure he ate it.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, squash. Right. WD's favorite veggie is squash and I look forward to fixing this pasta dish with my own home grown squash this summer.

2 cups uncooked penne pasta
Sauteed vegetables (zucchini, squash, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, etc.)
1 cup chicken broth
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS cornstarch
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp salt

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Add sauteed vegetables to cooked pasta.

Mix together broth, lemon juice, cornstarch, dill, and salt until smooth. Microwave uncovered for 3 minutes and stir. Pour over pasta and vegetables and toss to coat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Big pup's school had a "Water Day" yesterday where they played on those huge, inflatable water slides. Little pup was so sad that he wasn't able to participate. I wanted to make the day special for him too, so we made some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Besides, everyone knows that you drown your sorrows in food, right?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter (I use creamy natural pb)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light.
Add the egg and mix until fluffy.
Blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together well.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture.
Add the chocolate chips.
Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Key Lime Pie

This is supposed to be a sweet potato puff.

I spent 2 days last week trying to make the perfect sweet potato puff but each day I wound up with orange gloop all over my kitchen. I want a puff you can pick up! Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, while I was trying to decide what else I could fix, Little pup asked me if I had any eggs. I had no idea where he was going with that line of questioning so I answered him truthfully and said yes. "We can make chocolate chip cookies then!" And although I didn't make any chocolate chip cookies, I did make a very quick and simple and delicious dessert.

Key Lime Pie

1 ready to fill graham cracker crumb crust
8 oz cream cheese, softened
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (I used about 14 key limes)
cool whip (optional)
lime zest (optional)

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and lime juice; mix well. Pour mixture into pie shell, garnish with cool whip and lime zest, and refrigerate for several hours.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Last Thursday was a rainy, dreary day here at the home of the lazy dog. WD was at work and Big pup was at school. It was just me and Little pup. Home alone and hungry. Not a good combination. Little pup suggested that we make chocolate chip cookies and I suggested we make Mexican Wedding Cookies. And I won. Because I'm the mommy and I said so. (And because we were out of eggs but that's beside the point.)

As I shaped the dough into a log, Little pup licked the bowl clean, and I told him what it is about these cookies that makes them so good. "I love how the salt in the butter--and the extra you add to the dough--pairs up with the powdered sugar. I love that sweet and salty contrast of the cookie. It's so good. It's perfect with a cup of hot tea. And, you know, The Barefoot Contessa says under no circumstances should you ever use imitation vanilla, but unless she wants to personally deliver vanilla beans or pure vanilla extract to my house, I'm using imitation vanilla. And I bet Jeffrey can't even tell the difference..."



"Are you talking to yourself?"

Hmmmph. A 4 year old just doesn't appreciate good conversation.

Mexican Wedding Cookies--also known as Russian Tea Cakes

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus extra for rolling cookies in)

2 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, salt and pecans together, set aside. Beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Gradually mix in dry mixture. Shape into a log and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cool. Dredge cookies in powdered sugar.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Did you know that broccoli can be served without velveeta cheese? I didn't. And did you know that broccoli served without velveeta cheese can still taste great? Well, no, I had no idea. Until I came across this recipe for Lemon Garlic Broccoli. You might just never use velveeta again. Okay, maybe not never. At least a month. Or two--it's that good.

1 (14 oz) bag frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup water
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt

Microwave broccoli and water for 6 minutes, covered. Drain when done. Mix together the rest of ingredients and pour over broccoli. Cover and let sit for a couple of minutes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches

My Granny B turned the big 9-0 on March 20th. She's lived by herself for over 30 years now, still gets around good, is in fairly good heath, and has a great sense of humor. We all got together a couple of weeks ago at a restaurant to celebrate her birthday. Everything was going great until, well, someone asked her what she and Grandpa B did for fun when they were dating and she said, "We always told momma that we were going to church and well, (looks around) sometimes we made it there and (lowers voice) sometimes we didn't (wink wink implied)." My mother and I simultaneously began stuffing cornbread into our ears because, seriously, we did not need to hear that.

Growing up, we had dinner at Granny B's house every Sunday. One of my favorite desserts that she made was Ice Cream Sandwiches. Besides being so yummy, I think part of their appeal is that they're individually wrapped. They're just so darn cute. Cute enough to eat.

4 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
vanilla ice cream (softened)

Blend corn syrup and peanut butter well. Add cereal and stir. Press mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Put into freezer for 15 minutes or until firm. Cut into 12 squares. Make sandwiches. Wrap with aluminum foil. Store in freezer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Baked Pork Chops

Here you go, meat eaters. A big ol' plate of pork chops. No fancy smancy recipe this week. No squeezing or whisking or drizzling here. Just your basic, run of the mill, everyday pork chop.

It's also the most mouthwatering, delectable, tasty pork chop I've ever eaten. And with only 2 ingredients, this is very easy dish to make. So go make it! Right now! Chop chop!

center cut bone in pork chops (I only prepare 3 chops since Big pup doesn't eat them)
1 box Lipton dry soup mix (I like the beefy onion flavor)

Cover both sides of pork chops with the dry soup mix. Wrap pork chops in foil and place on a baking sheet. You might want to spray the foil with a nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reuben Casserole

Nothing says Ireland like potatoes, corned beef, and cabbage. I fixed a Reuben Casserole yesterday for our St. Patrick's day dinner and it turned out great. Well, maybe it was a little runny because I might not have let the potatoes absorb all the liquid and maybe I didn't squeeze out the sauerkraut as much as I was supposed to but as far as you know, internet, it turned out great. As a matter of fact, everyone ate 2 helpings, put away their own dishes, gave me flowers and chocolate, and picked up their shoes from the living room. As far you know.

3 cups hot water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 TBS mustard
1 box roasted garlic mashed potatoes
6 oz. sliced corned beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) sauerkraut, rinsed well and drained (next time I might use more)
2 cups (8 oz) shredded swiss cheese ( I used sliced)
1 TBS caraway seed, optional (I didn't use any)

Heat hot water, milk, and butter to a rapid boil in saucepan; remove from heat. Stir in mustard. Stir in 2 pouches of potatoes just until moistened. Let stand about 1 minute or until liquid is absorbed. Whip with a fork until smooth.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of potatoes in a greased square baking dish ( I used a lasagna dish). Top with corned beef. Spread sauerkraut over corned beef. Spoon remaining potatoes over top; spread gently. Top with cheese and caraway seed.

Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. I bet this would be delicious with warm, buttered rye bread.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Southwestern Smothered Fries

What is it about watching sporting events on tv that makes you crave food covered in cheese and sour cream? For Sunday's race I dug out a recipe that I had ripped out of an All You magazine last summer. It's called Southwestern Smothered Fries and it is delicious. And so much easier than fixing potato skins, too. Plus, the health benefits from the black beans completely cancel out the fat and calories from the cheese and sour cream. Yep, that's right.

1 (24 oz) bag frozen steak fries
1 tsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 tsp chopped garlic (I used minced)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese blend
sour cream
green onions

Bake fries according to pkg directions. In a saucepan, warm oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin, and chili powder and "cook" for 30 seconds. Add beans with their liquid. Simmer until liquid is thickened and reduced by about half.

Transfer baked fries to a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with beans and cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Top smothered fries with salsa, sour cream, and green onions.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spinach Roll-Ups

Have you seen the commercials for The Olive Garden's new Lasagna Rollatini with Chicken? I have. And everytime I do I curse the fact that we live an hour and a half from Little Rock. Actually, the first thing I do is drool. Then I sob. Then I curse. WD is one lucky man, huh? Since it is unlikely that the town I live in (population 511) will ever get an Olive Garden restaurant, I have had to improvise.

One of my favorite recipes is Spinach Roll-Ups with Parmesan Sauce. Now, to copy The Olive Garden's new rollatini (like I did in the picture above), just add chicken, some reserved sauce, a chopped sun dried tomato, and parsley. But, trust me, you really don't need all that froufrou stuff, the spinach roll-ups are perfect by themselves.

8-10 lasagna noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz cottage cheese
4 TBS Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper

While lasagna noodles cook, mix together remaining ingredients for filling. Spread a few TBS on each cooked noodle, and roll up end to end. Stand up in a 2-quart casserole dish.

3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
2 cups milk
6 oz pkg Parmesan (minus the 4 TBS for the filling)

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and brown. Add milk and whisk until there are no lumps. Add Parmesan and continue to stir until cheese is melted.
Pour over roll-ups and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Triple Chocolate Mess

Who knew that a cake made in the crock pot could be so moist? In fact, it is so moist that there's no cutting this cake into squares, it just falls apart. Hence, the "mess" part of the cake's name. The "triple chocolate" part is chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips.

Although making this cake is extremely easy, deciding on what cake mix to get is not. I must have stood in the baking aisle for 15 minutes trying to decide between chocolate fudge, dark chocolate, devil's food, german chocolate, milk chocolate, and triple chocolate fudge. Why must Betty Crocker make this so hard? It's like having to pick which of your children you love more. I love them all! I grabbed a box of devil's food and quickly found the chocolate pudding mixes. More choices. I chose chocolate fudge. Really, I don't think any of them would have been a bad choice.

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 box (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pint sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients with a mixer in a large bowl. Pour into a greased crock pot. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. I did 6 hours on low and it was perfect.

P.S. Pups still sick, no school again for Big pup.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wiederkehr Onion Soup

Did you know that my Granny B is a TV star? It's true. She made a small appearance in season 1 of The Simple Life. She and the other ladies of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Altus (Arkansas) belong to a quilting group and one day Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie just happened to drop by. With a camera crew. And what did these church ladies think of these Hollywood celebrities? Well, not much, apparently. My grandmother mentioned that they were filmed by a tv show but she couldn't remember what it was called or the names of the 2 stars.

Besides being the setting for The Simple Life, Altus is also home to Wiederkehr's Wienkeller Restaurant. While dining there with family one Sunday evening, WD raved about their onion soup. It wasn't until halfway through the meal that I remembered I had cut out a recipe for Wiederkehr onion soup several months ago. Jay Harshaw of the Fort Smith Times Record had printed the recipe in her column. So last week when our heat went out, I got out the space heater, piled extra blankets on the bed, and fixed up a pot of this delicious, creamy soup.

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can water
1 can French onion soup
1 can chicken broth
6 TBS flour (or 3 TBS cornstarch)
1 can milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat chicken soup and water over medium heat. Add onion soup, chicken broth, and flour. Whisk until lumps of flour are dissolved. Add milk. Melt in mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Corn Chowder

Okay. Forget that it was 70 degrees outside last week. Arkansas momentarily forgot that it is the middle of winter. This week, the temperatures have dropped once again and they are even calling for a chance of snow over the next couple of days. That's more like it. Perfect time for another yummy soup recipe. And you can't get more yummy than Angie's Corn Chowder. Or more simple.

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
1 can (15-1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14-3/4 oz) cream style corn
8 oz velveeta, cubed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Saute onion and red bell pepper in melted butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour and stir into a paste. Add milk and cream and whisk until thick (don't give up! It will thicken!) Then add the 2 cans of corn, velveeta, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted. Top with crumbled bacon, if desired. And, boy howdy, do I desire.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Brrrrrr.....it's cold out there. With high temperatures in the 30's and 40's for the next few days, it's a perfect time for a bowl of soup. My favorite is broccoli cheese soup served with a loaf of french bread to soak up all that creamy, cheesy goodness. Forget the snickerdoodles, forget the greek spinach bake, if you try only one recipe from my "cookbook" let it be this one. After all, anything with a pound of velveeta in it can't be bad.

1 lb frozen chopped broccoli
1 pint half & half
2 cups water (I use 2 cups of the water that I boiled the broccoli in)
1 lb velveeta
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cornstarch with 1 cup cold water

Cook broccoli until tender; drain and set aside. In a large saucepan, add half & half and 2 cups of water. Then add velveeta, salt and pepper. When cheese is melted, add broccoli. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir into hot soup to thicken. Ladle soup into a bowl, salivate, get out camera and take 36 pictures of said bowl of soup and hope that there's one picture good enough for posting.