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!