Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Orange Chews

While experimenting for a yummy new cookie to make for a cookie exchange, I came up with this! If you love those chocolate oranges or orange sticks, you'll love those flavors in a cookie! Also, you can use white chocolate chips and add shredded coconut for a real dreamy treat!

Chocolate Orange Chews
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange peel
  • 2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 cups of white or milk chocolate chips
  • optional 1 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix until blended. Beat in eggs, oil, vanilla, grated orange peel and orange juice. Beat in flour a cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut.

Shape dough into 1 -1/2 inch balls. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes or until golden. 9 minutes in my oven is perfect. Cool for 2 minutes and serve.

Paradise Chicken

It was one of those nights when we really needed to go grocery shopping. I looked at what was in the freezer and thought "how am I going to make chicken and broccoli satisfy the take out cravings tonight?" Then I came up with this!

I love my chicken either sweet & tangy or creamy, so a combination of both was perfect! I will for sure be making this again!

Paradise Chicken
  • 6 chicken tenders, thawed
  • 1 bag frozen cut broccoli
  • 1 box of pasta shells
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
In a pan on medium high, fry chicken in 2 Tbsp butter until golden and tender in the center. Meanwhile boil pasta according to directions on package. Add broccoli and cook 5- 7 more minutes. Drizzle honey over chicken and broccoli and stir until evenly coated. In a small dish combine mayonnaise, brown mustard, salt and pepper. Blend well and stir into chicken and broccoli until all of broccoli and chicken is coated in the creamy mixture. Sprinkle tarragon over and stir well. Serve warm!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pineapple Whippy Floats

While at Disney Land this month we stopped by the Tiki Room to get in line and saw a concession stand where they were serving these fabulous floats. It was frozen whipped pineapple custard floating in fresh pineapple juice. It looked so heavenly. We were pressed for time so couldn't get any, but I promised myself I would recreate it at home.

Here it is!!

Pineapple Whippy Floats
  • 1 container of Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream
  • 1 bottle Dole Pineapple Juice
  • 1 bag frozen pineapple
  • 1 jar Maraschino cherries
Fill glasses half way with pineapple juice. Add one large scoop of ice cream. Top with pineapple and cherries.

Berry Jubilee

I made this up because I get tired of cranberry sauce and fruit salads overdone with whipped cream and jello at my holiday dinners. This is super refreshing with a hint of candied lemon and orange! It's sure to please!

Berry Jubilee
  • 1 large bag frozen mixed berries (blackberry, blueberry and raspberry)
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Set berries out to thaw an hour in advance. Place berries in large bowl. Stir in pomegranate seeds. Mix grated lemon and sugar together. Sprinkle half of mixture into berries and stir. Place kiwi and oranges on top and sprinkle with remaining lemon sugar. Serve.

Apple Streusel Pie

I created this without a recipe. For anyone who normally doesn't like apple pie, they will feel different about this pie. The sweet, buttery shortbread crust, the sugary, buttery, crumble on top and crisp apples in the pie are spectacular!

No soggy, mushy, apples in this recipe! It's all crisp, fresh and melts in your mouth!!

Apple Streusel Pie
  • 2 -3 cups sugar
  • 4-6 crisp, sweet apples
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
Shortbread Crust
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
Struesel Topping
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
Start by making pie crust. Cream together butter and powder sugar. In a separate dish blend flour and baking powder together. Add to butter mixture. Press into pie dish and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

In a large pot add 7 cups water, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, sugar and lemon juice and apples. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. In a small dish take remaining cup of cold water and stir in cornstarch. Stir until dissolved completely. Add to boiling apples. Stir until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat to a low simmer, while stirring for another 10 minutes.

Pour filling into pie crust. In a bowl, mix topping ingredients together with beaters. Should create nice pea sized balls. Crumble over top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It tastes best served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream however it will hold together better after refrigerated 4 hours or overnight. You can serve at room temperature.

Fall Roasted Vegetables

I got this recipe from my brother. It is amazing! I rarely serve vegetables any other way now. Not only is it fancy - it's easy and delicious!!

You can switch some out for your favorite veggies however I recommend you leave the butternut squash. For all the squash haters, it ends up not tasting like squash at all and adds a perfect sweetness to the dish. My kids love brussel sprouts because of this recipe.

Fall Roasted Vegetables
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup of brussel sprouts quartered
  • 3 large carrots peeled and cut diagonally
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees or on "broil". Put all veggies in a bowl and coat with oil and salt. Toss and coat well. Spread onto flat baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast until brown and tender about25-30 minutes. Stir every 10minutes while roasting to prevent burning. When done, transfer to bowl and toss with fresh parsley, vinegar, pepper and remaining oil and salt. Serve warm.

Crostini (with Pea Pesto and Corn Pesto)

Mmmmmm! This is super cheap to make and will really wow your guests!

Crostini are small Italian toasts usually with a pesto sauce on top. Here is a delicious ways to get your kids to eat peas. What I love about the pea pesto sauce is that it doesn't taste like peas. It has a very fresh, tangy, creamy taste. My guests thought it was guacamole. I think it would taste great on nachos and much cheaper than guacamole.

The corn pesto it also creamy and delicious! I could eat these every day for dinner!

Crostini (with Pea Pesto and Corn Pesto)

  • 1 sliced baguette
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
Baste bread slices with oil and grill 1-2 minutes on each side or bake in the oven at 350 degree for 5-10 minutes.

Pea Pesto
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Pulse together the peas, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Corn Pesto
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • optional 1/3 cup pine nuts
Blend in food processor until smooth.

Remove bread slices from the oven. Quickly arrange on a serving platter. Spread 1 Tbsp of pesto sauce onto each slice. Sprinkle tomatoes on top. Serve.

Poached Pear Mascarpone Pie

Oh my oh my how I love pie! Let me just tell you, this is the most delicious pie I have ever tasted and that's what my dinner guests told me as well!

Mascarpone is a delicate Italian cheese. It has the texture of cream cheese but a much different flavor. It's very silky and not as rich. I bought mine at Smith's in the deli. It isn't cheap so if you are on a budget, I suggest you buy an 8 oz mascarpone and then an 8 oz cream cheese. It isn't the same if you replace it with cream cheese.

It's not rich at all so you can eat slice after slice and not get sick. It's creamy with a delicious, sweet spiced pear syrup that you drizzle over the top. It has a heavenly spice fall/winter flavor to it and the soft, juicy poached pear on top just makes it a real treat. You'll also enjoy the flaky, buttery shortbread crust with the creamy filling.

I created this after seeing a show on the cooking channel that featured America's best deserts. There was a little bakery being featured and the woman made this. It was her prized desert. The recipe however was a secret - so I had to create it myself. I think I did very well!! You could try this desert with homemade apple pie filling on top, cherries or berries. But you really have to try the pears. It is out of this world!!

Poached Pear Mascarpone Pie

Shortbread Crust
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
Mascarpone Filling
(You may want to double this recipe if filling a deep dish pan - that's what I did)
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese (16 0z) I purchased mine at Smith's
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
Poached Pears
  • 4 ripe yet very firm red skinned pears
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half (or 1-2 tsp cinnamon)
Make Crust - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. In small bowl mix baking powder and flour together. Add to butter mixture and blend well. Pat into a pie plate or tart dish. Bake 12-15 minutes. Then cool.

In a large bowl beat mascarpone and sugar on medium speed until blended. Add cream and beat until stiff. Fold into cooled pie crust. Cover with plastic and refrigerate over night.

Poached Pears - Peel the pears and cut them in half from top to bottom, leaving the stems intact. Core each pear half by scooping out center with a spoon.

Add the water, honey, and sugar to a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved, then add the ginger, cloves, allspice and cinnamon stick.

Slip the pears into the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pears can be just pierced with a fork.

Transfer the pears and the poaching liquid to a smaller container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, remove pears from liquid and arrange onto pie. Boil liquid until it reduces into a syrup (place in a wide saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes or until syrupy and reduced by half).Drizzle over pears and pie slice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Non-Traditional Yams

I don't know about you but I get tired of the ever so sweet yam dishes that line the tables on Thanksgiving. It's enough to make me have no room for desert. Too much calories - too much sugar! My husband hates yams and sweet potatoes and especially will not eat them with sweet toppings on them.

A couple of years ago I created this for my husband and for our family Thanksgiving feast. He loved it! It was yummy and everyone appreciated it as an alternative to traditional yams. I like it much better and I hope you will too! Because yams are naturally sweet, salty flavors compliment them quite well. The last things you should do as add more sweet to sweet. Let me know what you think!

Non-Traditional Yams
  • 6-8 cooked yams, peeled and mashed
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 2 cups cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan
Mix yams, butter, 1 cup bacon, onions, salt & pepper, 1 cup Parmesan and 1 cup of Mozzarella. Pour into a 13X9 inch casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and extra green onions. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 23-35 minutes.

Harvest Hot Chocolate

I made this up for my kids and they loved it! It's a delicious sensation of cool chocolate mousse melting over warm pumpkin spice for a creamy treat!

Harvest Hot Chocolate
  • Stephens Instant Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
  • Milk
  • 1 large container of cool whip
  • 1 large box of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • orange and brown sprinkles
Mix milk and hot chocolate according to directions on can and as to how many servings you want. Mix cool whip and half of dry pudding mix together (can add more to attain thickness you like). Pour hot chocolate into mugs and top with chocolate whipped topping and sprinkles!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cocktail Salad

I created this on a whim. I gave it this name because of the cocktail onions and because it's a cocktail of great flavors! My kids hate onions but love this salad! It's a pleasant alternative to all the traditional and trendy salads that saturate your recipe books. It's very tangy and adds life to your taste buds!

Cocktail Salad

  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup red olives, pitted
  • 1-2 cups cocktail onions
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
Toss salad ingredients together in a bowl. Stir dressing ingredients together and toss into salad. Serve right away!

Pumpkin Pizza

I created this for a pumpkin contest but I never made it until yesterday. What a great way to serve pumpkin! It's so delicious and you can't detect the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pizza
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 10 breakfast sausage links cooked
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup red olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough
On a floured surface roll out pizza dough and shape onto round pizza pan. Mix pumpkin, garlic, salt and basil together. Spread over dough. Add seeds, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach, olives and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Oh how I love pumpkin crunch cake! I had some extra pumpkin yesterday and decided to make this cake but this time I added chocolate chips. It was so delicious!! All I can say is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies meets pumpkin pie. A bottom layer of pumpkin pie and a top layer of buttery, crunchy crust - with a twist of creamy chocolate! It's a little rich so be sure to have this desert after a healthy meal!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Crunch Cake
  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 13 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/2 sticks of melted butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed nuts
Mix together all ingredients except cake mix and pour into greased 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips over top. Sprinkle yellow cake mix (dry) over pumpkin mixture. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and crushed nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes until set. Enjoy warm or chilled. Top with real whipped cream.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider

For the first time in my entire life I finally experienced the caramel apple cider from Starbucks. I have heard about it for years and have always wanted to try it. The other night after ordering prescription medicine at the drive through window of a Walgreen's, I needed to kill some time while waiting for the prescription. I remembered that there was a Starbucks down the street and my husband had been saying all week that he was craving apple cider. So I went and picked some up. I was so sad that on the way home it tipped over and spilled all over the floor. It wasn't cheap so I didn't want to go back and get another. My husband loved the surprise even though there wasn't much left. The drink was so delicious, it tasted like liquid apple pie. I promised my kids I would recreate it and we'd have it all the time. So, I made it last night and everyone agreed it tasted exactly the same!

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider
  • 1/2 gallon of Musselman's apple cider (must be cider not juice)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Vanilla Caramel Creamer (Coffee-mate brand)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Whipped Cream
Heat cider in a large saucepan (avoid boiling point). Add creamer and cinnamon, stir well. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and cinnamon!!

Restaurant Onion Rings

Mmmm! My husband made these last night to go with our burgers. We make them all the time and I think they are super easy and super delicious!

For a fabulous fry sauce. Mix about 1/2 cup of mayo with 2 Tbsp ketchup and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder.

Restaurant Onion Rings
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, or as needed
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • seasoned salt to taste
  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
Separate the onion slices into rings, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated; set aside. Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork. Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping. The wire rack may be placed over a sheet of aluminum foil for easier clean up. Spread the bread crumbs out on a plate or shallow dish. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs. The coating should cling very well. Repeat with remaining rings.

Deep fry the rings a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vanilla Pear Butter

Oh how I love this! When I was younger my sister's friend had a pear tree and their family would make pear butter every year. We'd always get a jar and it was so yummy.

I found this recipe online and love it. It fabulous in toast but also is great as a sauce (like applesauce). It's smooth and velvety on the tongue!

Vanilla Pear Butter

  • About 15 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice to prevent browning
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp real vanilla extract)
In a large saucepan combine pears, water or juice and ascorbic acid. Over medium heat cook pears about 20 minutes, until they begin to break up. Remove from heat and using a hand held blender, purée the mixture until totally smooth.

Add sugar and vanilla bean innards and return to heat. Cook on low, stirring often, until butter has reached desired consistency, or mounds on a spoon.

Fill 250ml sterilized jars, screw on lids and process in a boiling water for 10 minutes. Makes 5 to 7 jars.

Variation: substitute 1 cup of the sugar with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a 1/2 cup of maple syrup for a Maple Pear Butter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Wontons

I had the privilege to participate in a pumpkin recipe contest. The only rule was - you had to make something you never made before. Well, the thought came to my mind to create pumpkin wontons. This recipe came to life in my mind pretty quickly and I think it was a hit.

I came up with a few other "pumpkin" recipes that I think you'll love. I'll make them next week.

What I love about this recipe is you can't really taste the pumpkin - so if you're a pumpkin hater, you're still going to be a lover of this recipe. The crispy fried wonton with the creamy, warm chicken center - infused with flavors of ginger, garlic and tangy teryaki and orange. You'll be in flavor heaven!

Pumpkin Wontons
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 small can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 1 bottle Kikkoman's Teryaki glaze
  • 1 bottle orange marmalade
  • salt
  • 4-6 cups canola oil
In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp of garlic and 1/8 tsp ginger. Add chicken and cover. Boil chicken breasts until centers are white. About 20-30 minutes. You made need to add more stock or a little water if liquid gets low. Once breasts are cooked, shred them and simmer in liquid another 5-10 minutes.

Empty pumpkin puree in small bowl. Add remaining ginger, garlic and a tiny pinch of salt. Blend well. Heat oil to medium high.

Lay out wonton wrappers (about 8 at a time so they don't dry out) on counter. On each wrapper spread 1tsp of cream cheese, piece of shredded chicken and 1 tsp of pumpkin mixture. Fold sides up and press together so your wraps look like garlic bulbs.

When oil begins to sizzle and pop, add wontons. Cooks just a couple minutes until all sides are golden and crisp. Do not leave too long in oil or on one side or they'll burn and turn dark brown. Place them on a dish lines with paper towels so the oil drains off. Cover with a lid and keep warm.

In a small dish combine 1 cup of orange marmalade with 2-3 Tbsp of Teryaki glaze. Heat up on stove or in microwave. Serve warm with wontons!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Orange Cream Fruit Salad

This recipe is from my sister. She made it for a baby shower I had three years ago and it was a hit! I haven't had it since then but I dream about it all the time. So, I finally made it!

It's not your typical fruit salad - it's much, much better. You have to try it to know what I am talking about.

Orange Cream Fruit Salad
  • 1 (15 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 can sliced peaches
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 (8 1/2 oz) can Mandarin oranges
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 large banana sliced
  • 1 large box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 apple cut into chunks
  • 1-2 cups grapes
Slice banana into pineapple juice let stand 2 minutes. Combine all fruits and mix lightly. Combine orange juice, milk, sour cream and pudding mix, it will be very thick. As it sits in the juice it thins out. Fold in fruit mixture, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caramel Apple Dumplings

Can it get any better for Fall? Nope.

When I was little my Dad would make the most delicious caramel dumplings. We requested them all the time. They were so good because they melt in your mouth and make you feel warm inside. This is his actual recipe that we have passed on to our kids. They love it just as much as we did then.

I added the apples for a pleasant change. They were picked fresh from my apple tree and I needed to use them. Such a perfect flavor combo. This must be served over vanilla ice cream for the full effect. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Dumplings
  • 1 quart of water (32 oz)
  • Bisquick dry mix
  • 3-4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 green or yellow apples sliced
  • vanilla ice cream
In a deep skillet bring water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil. In the meantime mix up a batch of dumplings from the Bisquick mix (using recipe on box). Add vanilla and stir. Drop spoonfuls of batter (spaced 2 inches apart) into boiling sugar water. Add apple slices. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cover with lid and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve right away, hot, over vanilla ice cream.

Garlic Shepherd's Pie

This dish has always reminded me of St. Patrick's Day or Britain. Apparently the British make a yummy dish similar to this using fish "fish pie". I'd love to make it.

A little history on Shepherd's pie from the Wikipedia:

In early cook books, this dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.

The term "shepherd's pie" did not appear until 1877 - prior to that this recipe was called "cottage pie".The term "shepherd's pie" should be used when the meat is mutton or lamb with the origin being that shepherds are concerned with sheep

My sister contributed this to our family cookbook. It is the best shepherd's pie I have ever tasted. Traditionally, Shepherd's Pie is not served in a pie crust. I made this change and I like it better. Also, it holds the pie together.

This dish is perfect for fall and winter. The combination of this baking with my recipe for Carmel Apple Dumplings makes the most heavenly homey smells in your house!

Tip: I added a little extra of everything and filled 2 pie shells using both Betty Crocker mashed potato pouches.

Garlic Shepherd's Pie

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups frozen baby green beans and carrots
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp. shredded Parmesan cheese (I also added cheddar)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 jar (12 oz) beef gravy
  • 2 Tbsp chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 pkg (1 pouch) Betty Crocker roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  • Frozen Pie Crust (thawed)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook beef and onion is skillet. Drain well. Stir in frozen veggies, mushrooms, tomatoes, gravy, chili sauce, basil and pepper. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until
veggies are tender. Cook potatoes as directed on package - using butter, hot water and milk.

Spoon beef mixture into pie crust. Spoon potatoes onto beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.

Best Blueberry Muffins

I saw this recipe on America's Test Kitchen. I made just a couple of changes. These were absolutely amazing and the best blueberry muffin I have ever had!! I served them to my family for General Conference. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the backyard.

Best Blueberry Muffins

Lemon-Sugar Topping
  • 1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • jar of blueberry jam
FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 se
conds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatu
la, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lu
mpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)
Spoon batter into muffin cups. Spoon teaspoon of blueberry jam into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry
filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.
Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from
front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Olive Toss

This is a delicious Italian dish that is sure to please! I got the idea from a World cookbook and then added my own little touch!

Olive Toss
  • 2 cups assorted olives (2-3 different types)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 lemon, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Marinate for an hour or longer at room temperature. Toss again just before serving. If you are not serving them the same day you make them, refrigerate and remove from fridge an hour before serving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cherry Marble Bars

Mmmm...these are a delight! I first found this recipe in an old work cookbook from 7 years ago. They are basically chocolate chip cookie dough (without the chocolate chips) with baking powder to make them rise like brownies. The cherry pie filling is the best part! What I love about these is that if you leave off the icing they are not too sweet or rich. You can eat 3-4 and not feel like you over did it. I make them that way and my family loves them. If you like your sweets, sweet - then add the icing.

I have doubled the original recipe. I found that doubling the recipe makes the perfect amount of dough for a sheet cake pan. If you want brownie pan or cake pan size just split the measurements below in half.

Cherry Marble Bars
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cans cherry pie filling
Cream sugar and margarine. Add eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture. Spread 3/4 of dough onto sheet cake pan. Top with pie filling. Drop rest of dough on top in small spoonfuls. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

  • 4 Tbsp margarine
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Mix until smooth. Pour over warm cherry bars and cut into bars.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Best Chinese Chicken Salad

I found this recipe online and it is the best Chinese chicken salad I have ever had. My husband complained that we were having just a salad for dinner and he is not a fan of chicken unless it is breaded and fried. When he had this salad he said, "Now that is how chicken is supposed to taste!" He loved this meal.

Best Chinese Chicken Salad
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or chicken seasoning packet from Ramen noodles
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced parsley
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 package (10 ounces) ready-to-serve salad or 4 cups torn lettuce
  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup chow mein or Ramen noodles
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
In a skillet, combine chicken, water, vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, soy sauce and bouillon. Cook and stir over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender and liquid has evaporated. Meanwhile, for dressing, whisk mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice, parsley, mustard, onion and remaining oil until blended. Arrange salad greens on a platter. Top with oranges, chicken mixture and chow mein noodles. Sprinkle with green onion and almonds. Serve with dressing.

Mexican Corn on the Cob

You can find this at summer fairs and carnivals and it sure is tasty! It goes great with barbecues.
Mexican Corn on the Cob
  • 4 ears of shucked corn
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Chili powder
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
You can boil or grill. Melt butter. Add lime juice and salt. Baste corn with lime/butter baste. Sprinkle with chili powder and place on the grill for 7-10 minutes. Roll in Parmesan cheese and serve. For boiled corn, baste corn after it has been boiled. Sprinkle with chili powder and roll in cheese.

Jalapeno Mint Glazed Ribs

This is sooooo delicious!! I had this feeling that the jalapeno mint jelly I had made would be a yummy glaze for ribs. I had just made some delicious boneless pork ribs the week before. I made them again with this glaze and it was plate and finger licking fantastic!!

Jalapeno Mint Glazed Ribs

  • 1 jar of Jalepno Mint Jelly
  • 8-10 boneless pork ribs
Follow instructions to make glaze at this link Jalapeno Mint Jelly. Place ribs in a covered casserole dish. Pour jelly or glaze liquid over top. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Place baked ribs on George Foreman grill and grill a minute on each side. Thicken glaze according to glaze recipe. Baste meat in glaze and serve on platter. Glaze also makes a great dip for ribs.

Jalapeno Mint Jelly

As a child my grandma would serve this at Thanksgiving dinner over cream cheese. It was a yummy dip for wheat thins. I have a huge mint bush in my garden and wasn't sure what to do with it all. So, I made lots of this and bottled it. I then made it as a glaze for meat instead of a jelly (see instructions below). It is yummy stuff. As a glaze it goes best with pork or lamb. I think it would also be great with meatballs!! By the way, it is not hot or spicy. My young children inhaled it.

Jalapeno Mint Jelly
  • 1 3/4 cups mint, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) envelope liquid fruit pectin
Glaze Instructions: Make jelly according to directions below but omit pectin. Pour over meat and bake in the oven. When meat is done, remove liquid and place in a sauce pan. Add 4-6 Tbsp of corn starch to 1/4 cup water. Stir into mixture and bring to a boil. Add a couple pinches of salt. After it is brought to a boil remove from heat and stir as it thickens. Glaze your meat and grill for 60 seconds on each side. Arrange on a serving platter.

Jelly Instructions:

Bring 1 1/2 cups mint and water to a boil in a small saucepan. When I am in a hurry I do not "finely" chop the mint at this point. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes to steep. Strain through a lined sieve pressing with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible; discard mint.

Combine mint liquid, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and peppers in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pectin and remaining finely chopped mint.

Ladle into sterilized jars and process in water bath for 5 minutes or pour into jars and invert for 5 minutes. Turn back and you should hear the seals pop close.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cod Benedict

I was in a hurry to make dinner last night and realized I needed to get creative with what was available - fish and hash brown patties (which were both sadly starring at me from the freezer shelf).

In an instant I saw the vision and began to create. This was a delicious meal that my kids and husband absolutely loved. It reminds me of eggs Benedict with the layering of meat, eggs and Hollandaise sauce over an English muffin. In my case it was codfish fillets and my own creamy sauce over a hash brown patty. I infused flavors of garlic, dill and lemon juice into my creation and it didn't disappoint!

Cod Benedict
  • 4 codfish or halibut fillets (thick cuts)
  • frozen hash brown patties
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • lemon pepper
  • dried dill
  • garlic powder
In a saucepan melt 2 Tbsp of butter and then stir in 2 Tbsp flour. Add 1/2 cup of milk and repeat the process one more time. As sauce begins to thicken, add remaining milk. Stir in 1/2 tsp of lemon pepper, 1/2 tsp of dill, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat, set aside and cover.

Bake hash brown patties in oven according to directions on package (about 15-20 minutes). Make sure they come out crisp.

In a skillet melt a slice of butter. Cook fish fillets until golden on both sides (be careful when turning fish that it doesn't flake and fall apart. Season them in pan with dill, lemon pepper and lemon juice.

Serve fish fillet on hash brown patty and smother with sauce. Serve with spinach or salad. Enjoy!!

Earthquake Cake

This recipe is from my sister in law and it's my favorite cake. It is rich and definitely satisfies the sweet tooth. The reason it's called earthquake cake is because it really looks like the result of an earthquake. The center of the cake sinks in and you see different layers (like in the earth) and there are even visible fault lines. It's the only cake that you don't need to frost because it is gooey and rich like a brownie or a chocolate molten cake. For our family home evening lesson on Monday night I decided to have a lesson on emergency preparedness and we went through each room in the house and talked about what to do if an earthquake happened if you happened to be in that room. Where were the safe places to take cover and where were the danger zones. Our kids really enjoyed it and afterward we had earthquake cake!

Earthquake Cake
  • 1 German Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 pkg cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
In a 9 X 13 inch pan, sprinkle nuts and coconut. Mix cake mix according to directions on box. Pour over nuts and coconut. Soften the cream cheese and butter, add powdered sugar and mix well. Pour mixture over the cake gently stirring it into the cake. Use a butter knife to make a pretty marble design.

Bake at about 350 degrees for 37 minutes or according to directions on cake mix box. Serve warm! It's great with vanilla ice cream as well.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tangy Tarragon Tuna Salad

I first tried this mild, creamy, tangy, sweet tuna salad at the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in Sandy, Utah. I could swear that it had cinnamon in it and for some reason it worked very well! Unfamiliar with Tarragon, I bought some and decided to recreate this salad. I went online and found that other people had done the same. They were missing the secret ingredient that was so minimal it was almost difficult to detect - cinnamon. Tarragon is now my new favorite herb. It has a sweet, mild root beer or black licorice flavor to it that works with the creamy dressing, fresh crisp peas and flakes of tuna.

the typical tuna salads are mushy and have pickles in them. This is nothing like that. You have to try it and you will be a fan!

Tangy Tarragon Tuna Salad

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Kraft made with olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup Kraft light sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp dried Tarragon
  • 1Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 cans tuna, drained
  • 2 cups frozen green peas
  • 1 box pasta shells
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash cracked pepper
Boil pasta and drain. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Fold peas and tuna into dressing. Pour over cooled pasta and carefully toss (try not to break up tuna too much. Keep it in large flakes). Chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Summer Squash Relish

I am addicted to canning. Okay, maybe "new hobby" is a better word. I had canning fever on Saturday and when I ran out of things to can from my garden I went to the store and bought cucumbers to make pickles.

One of the veggies I harvested in abundance from my garden was yellow summer squash. My husband and son hate the taste and texture of squash and zucchini. I had to find a recipe that they would like. I found this relish recipe online and tweaked it a bit and my hubby and son love it! Let me just tell you that the secret ingredient here is cinnamon. As you have seen in my recipes before I love adding cinnamon to non-desert recipes. The cinnamon enhances the flavor of the sweet relish. Don't be afraid to try this - it is addicting. I did not have bell peppers when I made this but I know they would just add more yumminess to the recipe. Try it in a pasta salad, on a hot dog or smothered over cream cheese with crackers. This is so sweet and zangy!! Is that a word?

Summer Squash Relish
  • 10 cups of chopped or diced summer squash
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pickling spice (as seen in pic above)
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pickling salt
Fill sterilized pint sized jars with relish leaving 1/2 inch head space. Stir with wood spoon to remove air bubbles. Screw on sterilized lids. Boil in hot water bath for 15 minutes. Set on counter until jars have sealed (they will make a popping sound). May take 1-8 hours. If lids do not seal try boiling again for a few minutes or place in fridge and eat the next day.