Friday, March 28, 2014

White Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili & Sour Cream Sauce




Most white chicken enchiladas that I have seen include a can of cream of chicken soup, which I still like, but when I came across this recipe that included a green chili and sour cream sauce, I was sold (green chili's are seriously one of my favorite foods- hence all the Mexican recipes!)!
Simple ingredients and easy-to-follow directions make this an easy weeknight meal. My family basically INHALED them. I dare say this is now our favorite enchilada recipe

White Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili & Sour Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 8 soft flour tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chili powder (optional)

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan using non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix cooked chicken, chili powder (optional) and 1 cup of cheese together.  Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Add broth and whisk until smooth.  Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  4. Stir in sour cream, can of chilies, cilantro, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Make sure that you don't bring this to a boil- you don't want to have curdled sour cream!
  5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 20-22 minutes and then place under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

*I also added a little bit of medium cheddar cheese to the top of my enchiladas.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Southern Coconut Cake




The assembled cake is really beautiful, and I thought the coconut flavor in the cake was nice and subtle. The frosting was out of this world delicious and it wasn't coyingly sweet or rich...perfect!!

Southern Coconut Cake

Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 2 and 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (8oz.) at warm room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 ½ cups of sweetened flaked coconut for garnishing cake

Cream cheese buttercream frosting:
  • 12 ounces of cream cheese, slightly chilled
  • 1 stick of butter plus 6 tablespoons of butter (7 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted after measuring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 3 egg whites

Instructions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment circle and butter the circle.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the ½ cup of milk and the vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, beat dry ingredients well in order to break up any lumps. Add the butter and coconut milk on low speed and beat just to combine. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.

Add the egg white mixture in 2 or 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among the pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on an 8-inch cake round. Cover this layer with 1 cup of the buttercream frosting. Spread it evenly all the way to edge of the cake. Then sprinkle ½ cup of shredded coconut on top. Add the second layer and repeat the process. Top with the final layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake.

Place the remaining 1 ½ cups shredded coconut on a large baking tray. Pick up the cake and hold it on the palm of one hand over the tray. Using the other hand scoop up the coconut and press it to the sides of the cake. Continue with this process until the sides of the cake are covered. Set the cake on a serving plate and sprinkle any remaining coconut on top of cake. Chill cake for at least one hour to allow frosting to firm up a bit.

Cream cheese buttercream frosting:

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature while buttercream is made.

Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the softball stage 228 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, place the egg whites in mixer bowl and have the mixer ready to go. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on med-low and begin mixing the egg whites. Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites taking care not to pour onto the beaters, it may splash. When all the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed on the mixer to med-high and beat the egg whites until mixture has cooled and stiff meringue forms.

With the mixer on low, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.





Bread Cones



For this recipe, I stayed true to the original recipe and didn't change a thing! Ok, I admit that I didn't have the cream horn tubes that are essential for this recipe. I once saw an alternative for making cream horns without the tubes in a Cuisine at Home magazine. They used ice cream sugar cones and wrapped them in aluminum foil. Now, I wasn't going to go buy any ice cream cones to make this. So, I came up with using card stock paper... actually they were fliers that I received in the mail :)!I formed cones and then I wrapped them in aluminum foil. They worked like a charm... I was sooo happy! Make sure you grease the aluminum foil well and they will come right out with no problem. I had so much fun making these cute bread cones...they were delicious! I filled them with my own version of tuna salad...but you can fill them with whatever filling you like. You will need to stuff them well so they reach the bottom of the cone. I loved the bread flavor....an awesome recipe that I highly recommend! The recipe makes 8 large bread cones...I think next time I would like to make a smaller version...make 16 instead. Let me know if you try them.

Bread Cones

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour (I used only 3 1/2)

Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:

Pour the milk and water into a saucepan and heat to a scald.Pour this into a large bowl (I used my kitchen aid bowl since I was going to knead it using the mixer), allow to cool to lukewarm. Add in the oil, sugar and salt; mix with a wooden spoon till well blended.

Add in the beaten egg and 2 cups of flour; mix till smooth with a wooden spoon.

Add in the instant yeast and mix.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes uncovered. Now, start to slowly add in more flour. I added 1 1/2 cups...a total of 3 1/2 cups of flour. I used my Kitchen Aid to do the mixing...I kneaded the dough for 6-8 minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil to a clean bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Turn over a few times to lightly coat all sides of the dough with the oil.



Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest till the dough doubles in bulk, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising, make the cones. That is if you don't have any. If you do...ah, take a break:)
Make the cones out of card stock paper material or fliers that are a bit more sturdier.



Tape the cones and then cover them well with aluminum foil, so that no paper shows.



Set them aside.



Remove dough and knead a few time to release the gas. Now cut the dough into 8 pieces.



Use a scale to make sure each piece is equal in weight(I didn't do this since I don't have a scale). Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Take each piece of dough and roll into a 36 inch rope.



Roll the dough ropes around the greased 6 inch cream horn tubes.






Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg glaze. Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds(or both).





Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes in a warm environment.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 - 22 minutes or till golden brown(mine took about 18 minutes).



Place onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a couple minutes before removing the tubes.
Fill them with your favorite filling and enjoy!

Windy City Crescent Rolls




Served warm and gooey and stuffed with feta and spinach, it’s hard to eat just one,, These are simple to make and always a great addition to a meal. Enjoy!

Windy City Crescent Rolls

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
  • 2 tubes Pillsbury (or whatever brand) crescent rolls, 8 ct
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz fresh baby spinach (about half of a pre-washed bag), chopped
  • 2 oz black olives, finely diced (*this ingredient is optional)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • dash salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Begin by chopping the spinach and olives and putting them in a large mixing bowl. Add the feta, mozzarella, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Toss thoroughly and set bowl aside.

Unroll the crescent dough and divide into triangles. Using a spoon, place tiny heaps of spinach mixture on the wide part of the dough triangle.

Roll them up,,

Place on a greased cookie sheet. Before putting them in the oven lightly brush each roll with the egg white. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lemon Drop Cake





LEMON DROP Cake.  Who in this whole wide world doesn't love Lemon Drops? This is super duper yummy! :)

Lemon Drop Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Lemon Cake Mix (18 Ounce Box)
  • 1-¼ cup Water
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • ⅓ cups Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cups Fresh Lemon Juice From One Large Lemon
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 pound Tub Of Lemon Frosting

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the lemon cake mix as directed on package by adding the water, eggs and vegetable oil.

Pour batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center.

Normally I like to use 2 round cake pans, and that way I have 2 cute little round cakes, but please feel free to use the 9×13 pan instead. (Just check the bake time specified on the cake mix box for whatever size pan you use).

Now, while the cake is baking, take your fresh lemon, and squeeze enough juice to make 1/4 cup. Normally 1 large lemon does the trick, but I always buy 2 just in case. If I have half a lemon left over, I just use it for my ice tea or in my water glass.

Mix the fresh lemon juice with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Use a fork and mix mix mix it really well. You will have to be sure to mash up the little clumps of powdered sugar.

When cake is finished, take it out of the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes. When the time is up, gently poke some holes all over the cake with a fork. Don’t go too crazy, just a couple here and there will do. No need to aerate the entire thing.

Spread the lemon glaze goodness around with the back of your spoon. Now place the cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours.


Once the glazed cake is nicely chilled, now is the fun part. My little frosting SECRET. Take your tub o’ frosting, take off the lid and the tin foil thingy. Pop the tub into the microwve for 20 seconds. Take out and stir it all up. It should be soft, and just barely pourable. Pour only 3/4 of the tub on the cake and use the back of your spoon to frost the cake. Do that “wrist twist” to make the nice little swirls.

Now, take the last of the frosting, there should be 1/4 left, and pop it back in the microwave for about 12 seconds. It should be nice and runny now. Take your spoon and stir it up.

Now stand over the cake and keep dipping the spoon in the runny frosting and drizzle swirls all over the top of the cake. It should have a 3-D look to it.

Soooo pretty. All this beauty from a regular old tub ‘ frosting!

Quinoa Burger




So yummy!  If you want a change of pace that’s meat-free, yet full of protein, fiber, and very filling…this might be for you. Don’t be afraid of Quinoa.  It cooks just like rice – might even be a little easier! – and can be subbed almost straight across in most recipes.   I made Rice Burgers for my kids for years and this is the same recipe, with Quinoa instead.

Quinoa Burger

Ingredients:
  • 2 rounded cups cooked quinoa (see note below for cooking instructions)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed dry)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 green onions, including white parts
  • 1 /2 teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Olive oil for frying

To cook quinoa for the above recipe:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.


Instructions:

In a large bowl combine the 2 rounded cups of cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.

(To help them stay in patty form and not fall apart, I cook them on med-low slowly so they have longer to set-up without burning.  Makes them easier to flip, too.)  Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Mixture will be slightly sticky, so using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and lightly flatten to 1/2 inch thick.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.

Per burger:  Calories 132; Protein 8 g; Fat 5 g; NET Carbs 12 g; (Fiber 2 g); Sugar 0 g; Sodium 200 mg

Cheesy Spinach Crescent Rolls




The perfect appetizer or snack! Enjoy :)

Cheesy Spinach Crescent Rolls

Ingredients:
  • 2 tubes Pillsbury crescent rolls (8 ct. each)
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese *feel free to use an type of cheese(s) that are your favorite
  • 3 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped (about half of a pre-washed bag)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • dash of salt and pepper

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl mix together chopped spinach, cheeses, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Unroll crescent dough and divide into triangles.
  4. Using a spoon or your hands, place tiny heaps of spinach mixture onto the wide part of the dough triangle.
  5. Carefully roll up the crescents.
  6. Place on a greased cookie sheet and brush the tops with egg white.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Best Caramel Cake




We used to have an awesome shop here that made wonderful icing on their caramel cakes unfortunately they closed down. Haven't been able to find anybody's that tasted remotely like what I had. Until now!! I didn't even make the cake yet. Started with frosting to see what would happen,, Best frosting ever got it on the first try! Followed the exact recipe and came out well

Best Caramel Cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3¼ cups cake flour
  • 16 tbsp. salted butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6¼ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cups milk

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°. Making sure all ingredients are at room temperature, grease two 9" round cake pans with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter; dust with 1½ tbsp. flour, tap out excess, and set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside. Beat remaining unsalted butter and 2½ cups sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beating smooth after each addition. Divide batter between pans. Bake until golden, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; remove cakes; let cool completely. Slice tops off cakes to level them.

To make icing, cook remaining sugar and salted butter in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 7–8 minutes. Carefully stir in evaporated milk; reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, 8–10 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing registers 240° on a candy thermometer, about 1½ hours. Remove from heat; beat with a wooden spoon until thick, glossy, and spreadable, 20–25 minutes. (A dollop dropped on a plate should ooze only slightly.) Ice bottom layer of cake; top with second layer and ice the outside. Chill cake until set.

Oven Roasted Potatoes





This is a great, tasty, quick side dish and healthier than mashed potatoes or loaded baked potatoes,,

Oven Roasted Potatoes

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic




Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, marjoram, dill weed, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated.
  3. Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites




Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites

Servings: 24

Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs chicken tenderloin or boneless skinless breasts
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Ingredients:

I prefer the tenderloins. Take the chicken and cut it into ping pong ball sized cubes. Mix the dry ingredients and put into a bowl to dredge the chicken. Cut the bacon slices into 1/3’s. Roll the chicken piece in the dry mixture. Wrap with the bacon. Secure by stitching the bacon into the chicken with a toothpick. Roll again in the sugar mixture. Grill for about 25 minutes until the bacon is cooked and crisp. If you don’t have access to grill, bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes until bacon is crisp. I find that it is too smoky in the house because the sugars tend to smoke. Also, cover with foil while cooking indoors so as not to dirty your oven!

Serve with Ranch dressing or Blue Cheese for dipping sauces.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake





This is a little bit of a cheat coffee cake. It has all the bells and whistles of a coffee cake, but it’s made with a boxed cake mix and has more of an gooey butter cake feel. It’s less traditional coffee cake, but still totally and ridiculously awesome. The addition of the pumpkin puree really takes it over the top for me. I would highly recommend making this if you need a dessert in a hurry. It comes together very quickly and what’s even better is that you don’t even need the mixer, just a fork and a wooden spoon.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix (18 Ounce Box)
  • ⅓ cups Water
  • 1 can Pureed Pumpkin (15 Oz)
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until just combined.

Grease a 9×13 pan with butter and pour batter into pan.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour and melted butter. Use your fingers to sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the glaze, combine the other 1/2 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved.

When cake is finished baking, poke holes in the top with a toothpick. Pour glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls




Texas Roadhouse Rolls ~ This is EXACTLY Like Them :)

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts all-purpose flour (7-8 cups)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm


Directions:

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a tsp of sugar; let stand until frothy.

Combine yeast mixture, milk, ½ cup sugar and enough flour to make a medium batter (about the consistency of pancake batter).

Beat thoroughly.

Add melted butter, eggs, and salt. Beat well. Add enough flour to form a soft dough.

Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto counter and let dough rest.

Meanwhile, grease a large bowl.

Knead dough until smooth and satiny and put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. (I used the dough hook on my Kitchen-Aid to knead this for about 4-5 minutes).

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Punch down.

Turn out onto a floured board. Divide into portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes.

Shape dough into desired forms.

Place on greased baking sheets.

Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350°F. for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Baste immediately with butter.



Cinnamon Honey Butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened


Whip together with hand mixer until fluffy.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls



Texas Roadhouse Rolls ~ This is EXACTLY Like Them :)

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts all-purpose flour (7-8 cups)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm


Directions:

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a tsp of sugar; let stand until frothy.

Combine yeast mixture, milk, ½ cup sugar and enough flour to make a medium batter (about the consistency of pancake batter).

Beat thoroughly.

Add melted butter, eggs, and salt. Beat well. Add enough flour to form a soft dough.

Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto counter and let dough rest.

Meanwhile, grease a large bowl.

Knead dough until smooth and satiny and put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. (I used the dough hook on my Kitchen-Aid to knead this for about 4-5 minutes).

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Punch down.

Turn out onto a floured board. Divide into portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes.

Shape dough into desired forms.

Place on greased baking sheets.

Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350°F. for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Baste immediately with butter.



Cinnamon Honey Butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened


Whip together with hand mixer until fluffy.

Asparagus Phyllo Appetizers





These are such a fab idea for a party! Delicious and pretty

Asparagus Phyllo Appetizers

Ingredients:
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons whole seed mustard
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish
  • 1 Package phyllo dough, defrosted (you will not use it all)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon capers, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

If making immediately, preheat your oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, horseradish, capers and mustard. Taste and adjust seasonings. Reserve until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Toss in the trimmed asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes, or until bright green. Drain into a colander and shock in a large bowl of ice water. Pat with paper towels and set aside. (This can be done a day ahead)

Remove phyllo from package and place a barely damp towel over it to keep it from drying out. (If the towel is sopping the phyllo will get mushy. And that is no good.).

Remove one sheet and lay it out on your work surface. Brush with a thin layer of melted butter, then sprinkle on some parmesan and then pepper. Place another layer on top and repeat with the butter and cheese, until you have 3 layers.

Divide the phyllo into 5 equal strips and then down the center so you have 10 rectangles.

Position a stalk of the asparagus on the bottom edge of a rectangle and roll it up. Brush the tips and outside with more butter and place on a lined sheet pan, seam side down.

When ready, bake until golden brown, approx. 15 minutes. Serve hot with the sauce.

Note:

Filo (also spelled phyllo) is very thin sheets of pastry.

White asparagus has been grown without letting it emerge from the soil, thus preventing exposure to sunlight, and stopping the color from developing. The smae technique keeps Belgian endive white.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Caramel-Popcorn with Marshmallow




Quick & Delicious! For the amount of time and effort I had to put into this recipe,, I was thrilled with the result! Marshmallows make this caramel popcorn stay soft and grand,, Completely, totally amazing caramel popcorn!

Caramel Popcorn with Marshmallow

Yield: makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 23 large marshmallows
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages microwave popcorn, popped
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup (such as Karo®)
  • 1 cup butter

Directions:
  1. Cook and stir the marshmallows, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla extract together in a pot over medium-low heat until the marshmallows are completely melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Put the popcorn in a large bowl; pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and gently stir with a big spoon to coat.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars





Once again I bring to you one of my favorite flavor combinations: Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal. I found today’s recipe on a fellow blog and the description and pictures tempted me to the point that I finally caved in and decided to give them a try. I am sure glad I did! I changed up the recipe a bit as reflected in the ingredients and recipe below and in my opinion, they changes were a success.

These bars are just wonderful! The crust and topping has a subtle caramel flavor thanks to all that butter and brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar, which intensifies and deepens the caramel flavor). The filling has a nice light peanut butter flavor without being too overpowering or sweet, almost like creamy peanut butter fudge.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars

Ingredients:
  • 1 King size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup candy bars, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used Dark brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups Quick Cooking oatmeal (NOT instant)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup melted butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and spray lighlty with PAM.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar, soda, oatmeal, flour & salt until it’s crumbly.
  4. Set aside about 1 cup or a little more.
  5. Press the rest of the crust into prepared pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. May 118
  6. While crust is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Once crust has baked, evenly pour and spread peanut butter filling over the baked crust.Be gentle so you don’t pull up the warm crust while you spread the filling.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top of the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk mixture. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle the chopped candy bars and chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven to bake for another 5-10 minutes or until topping is light golden brown and candy bars/chips are melting.
  10. Allow to cool to make cutting and serving easier.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake III





This is a heavy, dense, extremely good pound cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake III

makes 1 - 10 inch tube pan

Ingredients:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs two at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the flour all at once and mix in. Add vanilla.
  4. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check for doneness at 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into center of cake will come out clean.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Apple Pie Cupcakes





Don't let the "apple" part of this recipe fool you; these are not—in any way, shape, or form—healthy. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm gaining weight just by ogling the picture and thinking about eating one again :D  Make these. Your taste buds will thank you.

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs


Apple filling:
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon


Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting :
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • up to 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

 In a medium bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract; mix well to combine. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, filling about 2/3-3/4 full. Bake until golden; about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from oven; cool for 5 minutes in pans. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.

Apple filling: heat butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon and sugar; cook for a minute, until mixture begins to bubble. Lower heat to medium; stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While apple mixture cools, use cone method to remove a chunk from center of each cupcake, leave a rim around the top of cupcake. Fill holes with cooled apple mixture.

Frosting:

Beat butter in a stand mixer until smooth. Add 4-5 cups confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat until sugar disappears. Add more sugar, by 1/2 cups, until desired consistency is reached. (For a stiff buttercream, use close to the max- 7-8 cups). Beat in cinnamon.

Broccoli-Stuffed Sole




Broccoli-Stuffed Sole

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4-ouncefresh or frozen skinless sole, flounder, or other fish fillets, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen cut broccoli, thawed
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 8-ounce container soft-style cream cheese with chives and onion
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix


Directions:

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. For stuffing, drain broccoli, pressing out excess liquid. Combine egg, half of the cream cheese, and the Parmesan cheese. Stir in broccoli and stuffing mix. Spoon one-fourth of the stuffing onto an end of each fillet. Roll up, securing rolls with wooden toothpicks. Place fish in a greased 2-quart square baking dish. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and stuffing is hot.

Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan cook remaining cream cheese, milk, and wine until heated through, stirring often. Serve sauce over fish.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread





Absolutely amazing! Made this last night and it tastes wonderful. It was my first time making any type of bread and I have to say that it turned out perfect.. I have good memories of eating a variation of this (which we called "monkey bread") in high school.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

Bread:
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk


Buttered Rum Glaze:
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rum *
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


Directions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through.**** Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.** Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20×12 inch rectangle.*** Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes (mine took 37 exactly) or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

*The recipe I used called for just a 1/4 tsp of rum but I really wanted to be able to taste the rum, so I upped it to a full tablespoon. It was just right for my taste, adding a nice warmth to the glaze. If you’re not into rum you can sub a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

**Of course I didn’t properly read this section of the directions… I was supposed to melt the butter and brush the dough with the butter then adding the sugar on top of the butter (instead of mixing it all together and sprinkling) but it worked my way so that’s how I am listing it. It’s really your call!

*** If dough is difficult to roll out, cover with a towel and allow to relax for a few minutes then try again.

**** My milk was room temperature. Adding it cold to the butter can result in clumping. Willow Bird Baking called for removing the butter from the pan, then heating the milk, then adding the butter back to the milk. I was lazy which is why I skipped that step. You can also heat the milk separately in the microwave if you’d like.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake




this absolutely made my mouth water. Rich and creamy,,!

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake

Ingredients:

CHEESECAKE:
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs


TOPPING:
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
  • Caramel ice cream topping (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed milk chocolate-toffee pieces
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


CRUST:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" springform pan with cooking spray and place on baking sheet.

FOR CRUST: Combine cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

FOR CHEESECAKE: Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven.

FOR TOPPING: Combine sour cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake. Sprinkle with milk chocolate toffee pieces. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan on wire rack. Gently run a thin knife between cheesecake and pan and allow to cool completely. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving.

Chicken, Spinach and Cannellini Bean Quesadillas




This recipe started out as a quesadilla filling,, I enjoyed it as is, mounded in a bowl with a hefty dose of freshly cracked black pepper. First some basics on the chicken. You can use any type of cooked chicken you can get your hands on, but I prefer to take a package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts (a little over two pounds this time) and poach it in some boiling, salted water for about 20 minutes. I remove the breasts from the boiling pot to a cutting board and tent them with foil to keep them moist while they cool for a bit. Then I dice them and season them with a generous handful of Montreal grill seasoning. I use what I need for the specific recipe I'm making, and then I freeze the rest in one cup portions for future quick-fix meals. Cannellini beans remind me of potatoes. They're so creamy and blend so well with other flavors and textures. You can sub in great northern or black beans for this recipe if you desire, but you'll forfeit a bit of the creaminess factor.


Chicken, Spinach and Cannellini Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 banana pepper, diced
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (heaping) TBSP all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Cooking spray
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination of the two works well here)
Avocados, diced
Fat free sour cream

Instructions:

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper and banana peppers. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to combine. Cook while stirring for several minutes so that the flour loses its raw taste. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir until bubbly and smooth. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking for another minute or two or until spinach has wilted. Stir in the cooked chicken and cannellini beans and remove from heat.

Spray a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and spread cheese over tortilla. Spread chicken, bean and spinach mixture over one half of the tortilla. Check underside of tortilla and when browned a bit, flip the half with just cheese over the half with the chicken. Remove from heat and cut into slices. Top with diced avocado and sour cream, if desired.

Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna





Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients:
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces of button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Half & Half
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP basil pesto
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese (I used slices)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8" X 11 1/2" baking dish with cooking spray.

In a separate baking dish place lasagna noodles and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes while making the sauce.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and egg. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent, 6-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms lose their moisture, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for two minutes. Add the milk and half & half, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup pesto. Taste to see if salt and pepper are needed.

Drain lasagna noodles.

Spoon 2 TBSP of the pesto on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay three noodles on top of the pesto. Top with 1/3 of the basil cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups) and spread to cover noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce, then top the ricotta with 1/3 of the cheese slices. Repeat layers two more times. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place dish in oven. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover, then bake for another 25 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let dish sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

This recipe has proven to produce thee best pot roast I've ever made.  Every component is pure perfection.  The meat is juicy and fall-apart tender.  The vegetables are cooked just right and are full of flavor.  The seasonings are simply spot on and the broth yields a fabulous gravy-like sauce that is divine when poured over everything prior to serving.


We usually have leftovers of this, so we often make hash the following day.  The leftover roast is, also, fabulous utilized in a hot roast beef sandwich for lunch.






Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

Ingredients:
  • 1 chuck roast (mine was 3 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoons corn starch

SEASONING MIX :
  • 2 tablespoons steak seasoning (mine is store-bought and has a blend of peppercorns, garlic, paprika, parsley and salt)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine together seasoning mix in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Coat both sides of meat with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a third of the seasoning mix onto each side.

Sear both sides of the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer roast to slow cooker.

Place the vegetables in a large bowl.  Drizzle on a little olive oil to coat vegetables.  Sprinkle on the remaining seasoning mix.  Add the vegetables to the same skillet that was used to sear the meat. Sauté for about five minutes - stirring occasionally.

Transfer the vegetables to the top of the roast in the slow cooker.  Pour in the beef broth. Cover with lid.

Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Using a turkey baster, retrieve most of the cooking juices from the slow cooker.  Transfer juices to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stovetop.  Whisk together the cornstarch with a little water.  Blend into the pan juices while whisking.  Bring back to a simmer until thickened.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Transfer the roast and vegetables to a large platter.  Ladle the gravy over.  Serve immediately.

Apple Pie Filled Cupcakes





Cupcakes are a fun addition to any party. These cupcakes are stuffed with apple pie filling and oh so very delicious!

Apple Pie Filled Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium-size apples (peeled, cored and cubed)
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold water


Directions:
  1. Prepare cake mix according to box directions and divide mix into 24 lined cupcake tins. Follow box directions and cook until a toothpick comes out clean.
  2. While cupcakes are baking start to prepare the filling. Add your cut apples to a sided pan and add brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Cook till apples are soft and the sauce starts to cook down.
  4. In a small bowl add the cold water and stir with cornstarch. Add to hot apple mixture and cook till it starts to get thick.
  5. Take off the heat and let cool before you fill cupcakes.
  6. Cut a small cone shape out of the middle of the cupcake and fill with cooled apple pie filling.
  7. Top with cinnamon buttercream frosting.



Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Directions:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer add butter, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Beat until combined and start to slowly add powdered sugar. Once the icing starts to become fluffy slowly add in heavy cream a tablespoon at a time. Beat until desired consistency is reached. Add more heavy cream to thin out icing if necessary.

Pecan Pie Bars




There’s no more southern of a dessert than Pecan Pie, but I wanted to make something I could pack easily in lunches. The solution? Pecan Pie Bars. They were quick and easy and almost as good as the real thing.

Pecan Pie Bars

Crust:

Combine the following in a bowl until well mixed and then spread on the bottom of a 9/13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.



Filling:

Cream together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Add:

  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 stick of butter (melted)

When well mixed, pour over the baked crust and put back in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pecan Pie Bars





There’s no more southern of a dessert than Pecan Pie, but I wanted to make something I could pack easily in lunches. The solution? Pecan Pie Bars. They were quick and easy and almost as good as the real thing.

Pecan Pie Bars

Crust:

Combine the following in a bowl until well mixed and then spread on the bottom of a 9/13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.



Filling:

Cream together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Add:

  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 stick of butter (melted)



When well mixed, pour over the baked crust and put back in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes





I first encountered these quirky little cakes on the eclectic (and ridiculously extensive) menu at Shopsin’s in the Essex Street Market on Mahattan’s Lower East Side. I thought they were a little off-beat but I liked the idea.

Even so, I had no desire to make them at home.

That is until I came across them in a magazine. I was baffled to see them again: Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes.

So I went for it. Why not? I’m a fan of sweet and savory. I’m a big fan of pasta. And cheese. And pancakes.

I know it seems strange. But you must try these pancakes at least once. They are different and just plain tasty. And they are fun. We got a big kick out of preparing, eating and talking about them.. They just taste good

Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1⅓ cup buttermilk (*Note: the original recipe calls for 2⅓ cups buttermilk, which I felt was a little heavy. Here, I’m cutting it down with whole milk for a milder taste. But feel free to use all buttermilk and no whole milk!)
  • 1½ cups grated cheddar
  • Maple syrup and hot sauce for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2½ cups cooked macaroni, preferably elbows or small shells, drained and cooled



Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, whist the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milks, eggs and butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (the batter will be slightly lumpy) . Fold in the macaroni and cheddar.
  3. Pre-heat and lightly grease a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Scoop batter onto the griddle to make pancakes. Cook until undersides are golden brown and slightly stiff, about 5 minutes.
  4. Flip and cook until second side is golden brown.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter and serve warm with syrup and hot sauce (if desired).