Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pineapple Cream Cheese Dip

We had this yummy dip at our family Thanksgiving dinner. I recreated it at home for a fun holiday weekend dinner. It is so delicious. The perfect blend of creamy and salty sweetness!!

Pineapple Cream Cheese Dip

  • 3 (8 oz) blocks of cream cheese (I use reduced fat kind)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • Dash of salt
Soften cream cheese and whip with electric mixture in medium sized bowl. Once whipped, stir in pineapple, green onions and salt. Serve with wheat thins or celery sticks.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

These are a delicious and easy alternative to chocolate chip cookies. Just like chocolate chip cookies, you can't just eat one. Perfect for the holidays, tea parties and showers. This recipe comes from the Pillsbury cookbook and makes 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 square of unsweetened chocolate melted (or an ounce of unsweetened cocoa mixed with water to take on the appearance and texture of melted chocolate)
  • 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz package (1 cup) chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookies sheets. In large bowl, cream butter and 1/2 cup of powder sugar. Blend in vanilla and melted chocolate. At low speed, blend in flour and salt. By hand, stir in chocolate chips. Shape into 1 inch balls, place on cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup powder sugar and cocoa. oll cooled cookies in mixture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Five Star Cranberry Sauce

I created this cranberry sauce as a last minute idea for my mini pre-Thanksgiving dinner. It is the most delicious cranberry sauce I have ever had and could even make a perfect pie filling. For the cranberry sauce haters, this will change your mind. It's free of bitter, tart, traditional cranberry flavor. Instead sweet, juicy, berry bliss!

Be careful when removing seeds from the pomegranate. The red juice splatters everywhere and looks like a crime scene. It stains too. It was my first time ever purchasing a pomegranate so I was unaware.

Five Star Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 can Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 bag frozen blueberries
  • 1 pomegranate
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
Place cranberry sauce and blueberries in saucepan. Heat on medium high. Remove pomegranate seeds from pomegranate and add to pan. Dissolve cornstarch into 2 Tbsp of water. Once dissolved add to pan. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve as soon as sauce thickens. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blue Ribbon Chili

I created this chili eight years ago. I improve it a little bit every year. It is my absolute favorite chili - other chili just doesn't compare. It's sweet, meaty, tangy, savory and chunky. It makes a lot, we use the leftovers as an enchilada filling. So yummy!!!!

Blue Ribbon Chili
  • 5 cups dry pinto beans
  • 20 cups water
  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 lb bacon (I use turkey bacon)
  • 2 cups chopped red, green and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 4 cans tomato paste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash of ground red pepper

(Tip: If in a hurry it's okay to use canned pinto beans. I will use 4 cans of pinto and 4 cans of kidney beans. Also for a smokey flavor add 1 tbsp liquid smoke - found on the BBQ sauce isle)

Soak dried beans in 20 cups of water over night or for 24 hours. Drain. Bring 20 cups of water to a boil and boil beans for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile cook ground turkey with 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp cumin and 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Cook bacon until crisp. Chop bacon. Add to crock pot with beans and ground turkey. Add tomato paste. Add a little water 1/2 can at a time if chili is too thick. Remember the chili will simmer and liquid will cook out. Add ketchup, brown sugar, tomatoes, onions, peppers, salt, chili powder, red pepper, 1 tsp cumin ans 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

Simmer in crock pot on high for 2 hours. Top with crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Winter Berry Cider

This is a delicious change from the traditional apple cider. It's a little more tart but nonetheless delicious!! My told me to make a cider from cranberry-apple juice. Here is what I came up with!!

Winter Berry Cider

  • 1 jug of apple juice
  • 1 can frozen cran-apple juice
  • 2 cans water
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
Mix together juice, water and spice. Simmer in crock pot on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to warm 30 minutes before serving. Add raspberries just before serving. Serve with gingerbread or ginger cookies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

I am all about easy recipes. This is a great way to make semi-homemade pancakes. You could use your own from scratch buttermilk recipe instead of the pancake mix, but I found that this way tastes just as good and saves more time. I created this after seeing an add for pumpkin pancakes at IHOP. I was tempted to treat out the family until my son said, “Mom, you could make that.” He was right.

The banana adds the perfect sweetness to the batter and these pancakes are very heavy and filling. I think they would also taste great with chocolate chips in them – for a fun twist.

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • · ¼ box buttermilk pancake mix
  • · 1 can pumpkin pie puree
  • · ½ banana mashed
  • · ½ cup brown sugar
  • · 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • · Milk
  • · Water

Blend pancake mix, banana and pumpkin together. Add brown sugar and spice. Add equal parts of milk and water 1 cup at a time until mixture is runny like pancake batter. In a hot skillet add batter ¼ cup at a time for medium sized pancakes. As soon as pancakes bubble they are ready to flip. Serve with a drizzle of carmel sauce and maple syrup. Whipped cream, banana slices and pecans are optional.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

I created this cake for my husband's 30th birthday. I combined his three favorite flavors - vanilla, raspberry and orange in to one delicious desert. It's luscious, creamy and dreamy. My mom said it is the best cake she has ever tasted and demanded it become a regular treat at family parties. Enjoy!

Orange Dreamsicle Cake
  • 1 box Golden Vanilla cake mix
  • 1 16 oz container of cool whip
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 10 drops red food coloring
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 envelop Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup apple juice divided
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
Make cake mix according to directions on box. Remove 1/4 of cake mix into separate bowl. Add food coloring and 1 tsp of orange extract.

Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan. Pour 3/4 of the remaining white colored cake mix into pan (this will later be sliced into two halves) Spoon half of orange cake batter in large drops over top of batter. Take a butter knife and slice through horizontally and vertically to make pretty swirl design. Bake according to directions on box. Cool and remove. Take remaining batter and do the same. Cool and remove.

Once cakes are cooled take a string and use it to carefully slice through the larger cake into two even halves. Shave a little of the top as well so that is is flat. Take smaller cake and shave off the top as well. You should have three even sized cakes now.

Beat together cream cheese and powder sugar. Add 1 tsp orange extract and gently fold in cool whip with a spoon. Spread over each layer of cake and stack. Use remaining spread to frost cake. Smooth out rough edges with a wet butter knife.

Take a cookie cutter mold (circle or heart) and center on top of cake. Press down slightly. On stove bring 34 cup of apple juice to a boil. Take 1/4 cup of cold apple juice and dissolve envelope of gelatin over it. Once dissolved add boiling apple juice. Place in fridge for a few minutes to begin setting. Meanwhile decorate inside of cookie mold with berries. Then pour semi-solid gelatin over berries. Decorate top of cake with oranges. Place in the fridge 4 hours before removing cookie cutter. Serve chilled.