Friday, November 26, 2010

Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms

Hershey's Kisses (I used the meltaways, but the milk chocolate will work fine)
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
extra granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375 F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in extra sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Butter Mint Candies

1 stick (1/2 c.) salted butter, softened
1 lb. confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. mint extract
2-3 liquid food colors

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. With mixer on low, beat in sugar, cream, and extract until creamy and smooth. Turn sugar mixture out onto a work surface lightly dusted with confectioners' sugar; knead until smooth and satiny. Divide mixture into thirds. Tint each a different color with the food coloring; if you want, you can leave one portion white. Cover each portion with a towel or plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Lightly dust work surface with confectioners sugar. Working with one color at a time, roll out 1/4 cupfuls of the mint mixture, using your fingers, into a 1/2-in thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2-in candies. Transfer mints to baking sheet with a spatula (be careful, they squish easily). Repeat with remaining mint mixture.

Let air-dry at room temperature for 1-2 days until firm enough to handle. Transfer mints to covered containers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beef Stir-Fry

2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
Beef Stir-Fry!
1/4 c. white wine
1 lb. boneless round steak, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh ginger, minced (however much you like)
3 c. broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 package (6 oz.) frozen pea pods, thawed
fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, and wine until smooth. Add beef and toss to coat; set aside. In a large skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in oil for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broccoli, cilantro, and pea pods, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes. In a different skillet, stir-fry the beef and marinade until meat reached desired doneness. Combine with the vegetables; toss to coat. Serve over rice.

I didn't have broccoli on hand, so I used a green pepper instead. I also added peanuts at the end. It was tasty!

From Quick Cooking Magazine

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Picnic Chicken Pitas

1 package frozen broccoli florets, cooked and drained (I used fresh broccoli)
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. mustard
Picnic Pita!
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
4 pita breads, halved
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (optional)
avocado, sliced into bite sized pieces (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, chicken, and cheese (avocado, if you want it). In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper; pour over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Spoon about 3/4 c. into each pita half; top with bacon if desired.

Adapted from Quick Cooking Magazine circa 1999

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Banana Bread

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs, beaten
3 large, very ripe bananas
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Grease a bread pan. Set aside.

Cream sugar and shortening together. Then add eggs and bananas. Stir, and then add the flour, salt, and soda. If you want nuts, add them last. Stir, then pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 55-75 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Recipe courtesy of Trudy Lund

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

6 medium unpeeled potatoes, baked
1/4 tsp. of salt
pepper (the more the merrier!)
1 lb. sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 c. sour cream
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 green onions, chopped

Cut baked potatoes into 1 in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13 in x 9 in x 2in baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper, and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with onions.

Ready to serve!
If you want directions on how to bake the potatoes, I just used 6 small-medium russet potatoes, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 F. I use a gas stove, so it heats quicker. For an electric stove, it will probably be about 50-60 minutes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef marinating
6 oz. round steak, sliced thick
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2-3 bunches of broccoli, cut into florets
1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. oyster sauce (more if you want)
fresh ginger, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
ground black pepper (lots and lots!)

Beef and broccoli cooking
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add beef to the marinade and let sit about 10 minutes. Heat oil in wok or frying pan on high heat. Add meat, cook until mostly done. Remove from pan and set aside. Add more oil to the pan, stir-fry broccoli and onion until cooked but still crisp. Add beef and perhaps a bit more oyster sauce. Stir to coat. Add more black pepper to taste. Serve over hot rice.
Ready to serve

When I make this, I will marinate the beef, but then put the marinade in the frying pan with the beef when I'm cooking it, which means it may have to cook a bit longer to cook the juices off. I think it's worth it.

Broccoli Beef

*Very quick and easy recipe!

1 bunch fresh broccoli, washed, trimmed, and cut into bite size
1 lb top round steak, thinly sliced
1/4 c. oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 green onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sherry (or wine)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger (or fresh!)
hot cooked rice

Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a wok or skillet. Add beef and saute; remove beef and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil to the skillet. Saute the garlic for about 2 minutes, then add the broccoli and onion. Saute for 5 minutes. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water, soy sauce, sherry (I use a cream sherry), and cornstarch; add sugar and ginger (if you use fresh ginger, saute it with the garlic). Pour mixture over vegetables; add meat and  bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Cover the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until the broccoli is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Courgette Soup

Courgette = zucchini in British language

I'll post the recipe as it is in the cookbook, and then I'll write about the changes I made. It was delicious.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
5-6 rashers, diced (or if you live in America, then bacon will have to do)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium zucchini, sliced, and a few reserved for garnish
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 c. chicken broth
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2/3 c. half and half
ground pepper to taste (that means a lot!)
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (I used cilantro)

In a stockpot or large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until nearly crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove a few pieces and reserve for a garnish. Stir in the onion, zucchini, and potatoes. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion and zucchini are soft but not browned. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the cheese and half and half, and season with pepper. Simmer until heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved bacon and zucchini slices, and the parsley.

Okay, I do not usually puree my soups, and I don't boil the bacon because I think it tastes better crispy. So... I cook the bacon separately, and then set it aside. I cooked everything else the same as directed in the first few steps, except that I put the cilantro in with the zucchini, potatoes, and onion. And instead of letting the soup cool in order to run it through the processor, after the potatoes are tender, I skip ahead to the adding of the cheese and half and half. It turned out pretty well.

From The Irish Pub Cookbook

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken with Lemon and Capers

I love this recipe! And it's fairly easy too!

olive oil, for cooking
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
3/4 oz. of butter
1 lb chicken, cubed
rind of 1 lemon, grated
2 Tbsp. baby capers, drained (I usually use a little more)
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. basil, dried
salt and pepper to taste

Heat wok until very hot, then add 2 tsp. of oil and swirl it around to coat the side. Add the red onion wedges and stir-fry until softened and golden. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Reheat the wok, add 2 tsp. of oil and half the butter, and stir-fry the chicken in two batches until it is browned, adding more oil and butter between batches. Return all the chicken to the wok with the onion.

Stir in the lemon rind, capers, and lemon juice. Toss well and cook until warmed through. Add the basil and season with salt and black pepper.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Honey Chicken

oil, for cooking
1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 c. cornflour
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, cubed
2 carrots, julienned
3 1/2 oz. snow peas, sliced
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. almonds, toasted

Heat wok until very hot, add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of oil, and swirl it around to coat the side. Dip half of the chicken into egg white, then lightly dust with cornflour. Stir-fry over high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and just cooked. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken, then remove all the chicken from the wok.

Reheat the wok, add 1 Tbsp. of oil, and stir-fry the sliced onion over high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the green pepper and carrot, and cook, tossing, for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the snow peas and cook for 2 minutes.

Increase the heat, add the honey and toss the vegetables until well coated. Return the chicken to the wok and toss until it is heated through and is well coated in the honey. Remove from the heat and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkle with almonds.

You can serve it over rice or just on its own.

If you don't have a wok, use a frying pan, just reduce the heat and cook longer.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Zippy Potato Soup

3/4 lb. sliced bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
8-10 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium carrot, grated
5 c. water
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion; drain and set aside. In a large pot, cook the potatoes and carrot in water for 20 minutes or until tender (do not drain).

Stir in the remaining ingredients and the bacon mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through.

If you want crispy bacon, you can cook the onion and bacon separately, and when you add all the ingredients to the soup, just leave out the bacon until you're dishing up the soup. Then garnish each bowl with the bacon. That's what I did because I prefer the crispy texture of bacon.

Adapted from Taste of Home Big Book of Soup