Thursday, December 29, 2011

Macadamia & Coconut Caramels

Butter for greasing
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil, and grease the foil with butter. Set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reads 244 F (firm-ball stage).

Remove from the heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared dish. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
Using foil, lift candy out of dish. Gently peel off foil. Cut caramel into 1 inch squares. Wrap individually in wax paper; twist ends. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Chocolate Fudge

2 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
7 1/2 oz. marshmallow creme
3/4 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (if you want them)

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In large saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add nut (if you want them). Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Here is a link to the recipe I used. It also has the soft ball test instructions for how to tell when your fudge is done boiling.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peppermint Creams

Pretty fun and simple. Here's a link to the recipe:

I used pink instead of green food coloring because I ran out of green.

Also, if you need a conversion of the confectioners sugar, it's about 3 3/4 c.

Enjoy! Fun for a party!

Recipe courtesy of Deborah Nugent

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

Vegetables (a mixture of several kinds; I used cauliflower, asparagus, and red potatoes)
Olive oil
Spices: Garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, curry powder
Bacon, cooked, chopped (optional)
Feta, crumbled (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish.

Chop up the assortment of vegetables into bite sized pieces. Layer in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with spices; I was more liberal with all of them but the curry powder. Cover with aluminum foil, and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, you can chop up and cook the bacon if you want it.

After 30 minutes, pull out the vegetables, stir around and check to see if they are soft. If they are ready, sprinkle with bacon and feta (or any cheese if you want it). If you use different spices, perhaps a different cheese would work better, i.e. Italian seasoning and garlic powder with Parmesan cheese. It's up to you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lemon Cranberry Scones

Flour and cranberry mixture
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Before baking

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour (I had to continually dip the cup back in the flour after cutting out each scone) cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

If you want to see the original recipe, here is the site where I found it: Lemon Cranberry Scones

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stove Top Swiss Casserole

Here is the link to the recipe I adapted:

2-3 chicken breasts, seasoned with garlic, thyme, pepper, coriander, and red pepper flakes
Chicken cooking, noodle mixture
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
8-10 oz. ziti noodles
1 c. sour cream (I used lite)
1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing
1-2 cans cream of chicken soup 

Cook ziti noodles according to package directions. Drain. Set aside. Shred the rotisserie chicken.
Stir together shredded chicken, soup, and cooked noodles.
In a separate bowl, mix together the stuffing (uncooked) and sour cream.
Spread chicken mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish. Cover with a thin layer of sour cream mixture. Then layer slices of Swiss cheese on top.
Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Ready to bake!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1/3 c. butter, cubed
1 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 c. boiling water
Chocolate pumpkin base
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cheesecake Batter:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 egg
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Before baking
In a microwave oven, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, dissolve coffee in water. Stir in the pumpkin, eggs, and chocolate mixture. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture. Transfer to a 15x10x1 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (I used a 13x11x2 inch baking pan, which meant a longer baking time).
For cheesecake batter, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, and spices. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined. Spoon over chocolate batter. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl the cheesecake portion. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Traditional White Bread

6-7 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening
4 1/2 tsp. regular or quick active dry yeast
2 1/4 c. very warm water (120 - 130 F)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted, if desired

Mix 3 1/2 c. of the flour, sugar, salt, shortening, and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans with shortening (the last time we made this recipe, we just shaped the dough and placed them on a cookie sheet. It worked well)
Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into a rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at the short side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place. 35-50 minutes or until double.

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425 F.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; cool.

Recipe from Betty Crocker Cookbook

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Banana Bread

This turned out quite well. Here is a link to the recipe I used:

1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
Cranberry banana batter
2 eggs
2 bananas, sliced
1 c. cranberries (I used fresh)
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a bread pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition. Add in the cranberries, banana slices, the water, and the vanilla extract. Mix again until blended, but not too much.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients into the batter, mixing until just combined - do not overmix. Since I only have an 8 c. food processor, before adding the dry ingredients, I poured the cranberry banana mixture into a large bowl and then stirred in the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 55 minutes or until the top of the cake is nicely brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes, then run a knife around to loosen the sides. Turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Here is a link to the recipe I used:

Cranberry Filling:
Boiling the cranberries and sugar
2 1/4 c. fresh cranberries
2/3 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. water

2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. cornflour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9x9 baking dish.

Shortbread base with filling
To make the filling: In a saucepan, place all the filling ingredients. Over medium-high heat, cook the ingredients until boiling. Continue to boil the filling until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.

To make the shortbread: In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornflour, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

Evenly press 2/3 of the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared dish. The evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch border. With the remaining shortbread dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. While still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Carmelized Onions

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

I am halving the recipe here because that is how I made it.

Onions caramelizing
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (or more!)
3 slices smoked bacon, chopped
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. thyme

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Toss the sweet potato chunks, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, and spread the sweet potatoes out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until browned and tender, about 30-40 minutes; stir after the first 20 minutes. 

Ready to eat!
Cook the bacon until crisp and brown in a large skillet over medium heat, about 10 minutes; transfer bacon to a bowl, but leave the grease in the skillet. Cook the onions in the bacon grease until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low, and cook the onions until very soft, brown, and sweet, another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often. Mix the onions with the bacon in the bowl, and set aside. 

Pour the maple syrup into the hot skillet with the thyme, and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the syrup until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Place the roasted sweet potatoes and onion-bacon mixture into the skillet, and stir to coat the vegetables with maple glaze. Transfer to a serving dish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

*Plan ahead... needs to chill

Halloween oreo crumbs!
1 1/4 c. cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. white chocolate, melted and cooled (the original recipe calls for vanilla chips, but real white chocolate adds way more of a rich flavor)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. each ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
White chocolate curls, optional

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan (don't use larger than a 9-in. or the proportions will be off!) on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Press cookie crumbs onto the bottom of the springform pan; set aside.

Ready for baking!
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted white chocolate.

In a small bowl, combine pumpkin and spices; gently fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325° for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set and the top of the cake looks dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.

Ready to eat!
The original recipe didn't say when to remove the foil, but you should probably do it after it cools for 10 minutes, and make sure no water has seeped into the pan.

Garnish with white chocolate curls if desired. I made a whipped cream topping before adding the white chocolate (I beat together heavy whipping cream and baker's sugar). Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cauliflower and Cheese

Basically macaroni and cheese, but with cauliflower instead of pasta.

Cooking spray
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into pieces
Cauliflower with sauce
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
Dash of chipotle tabasco
1/2 c. Cheddar, grated
1/2 c. Parmesan, grated
Salt and white pepper
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. Cheddar, grated, extra

Spray a 1.5 litre baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the cauliflower in lightly salted boiling water until just tender. Drain. Place in the dish and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, or until golden and bubbling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, mustard, and chipotle. Return to heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt and white pepper, and pour over the cauliflower.

Ready to eat!

Mix together the breadcrumbs and extra cheddar cheese, and sprinkle over the sauce. Bake at 350 F. for about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Adapted from The 1000 Best Recipes

*Update - I've also made this with cauliflower and broccoli mixed. I also added black pepper and garlic that time. =)

*Another update - last time I added Polish sausage. I cooked it separately, then added it to the cauliflower before pouring the sauce over it. I added black pepper and garlic powder to the sausage while it was cooking. This was an excellent addition. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheesy Potato Bread

3/4 c. water
1/2 c. potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. cheddar, shredded
2 tsp. butter
3 c. bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. onion salt (you can substitute onion powder, but then also use 1/2 tsp. salt)
1/4 tsp. dried chives
1 tsp. active dry yeast
melted butter (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine the water and potato. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until the potato is very tender. Do not drain. Mash potato in the water. Measure potato mixture. If necessary, add water to equal 3/4 c. mixture. Discard any excess potato mixture. Cool slightly.

Add the potato mixture and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix together to form a dough (I had to add a bit more water at this step; just enough so that it will form a dough). Knead on a lightly floured surface about 10 minutes. Grease a large bowl, and place the ball of dough into bowl, making sure to grease the sides of the dough. Cover and let rise 40-60 minutes or until the dough has almost doubled in size. Knead again for several minutes, then roll out and shape into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan; cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (I checked mine at 40 minutes and it was done). Before you take it out of the pan, spread melted butter on the top of the bread with a pastry brush. Let bread cool a few minutes before removing it from the pan and placing it on a cooling rack.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Orange Chicken

1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. green onion, green
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes  
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag (or deep bowl). When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 20 minutes - 2 hours. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a second skillet add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot white rice.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cream Cake

Here is a link to my friend's recipe that I used:

It turned out pretty well, though it does take a bit of time.

6 eggs
2/3 c. caster sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder (it's actually supposed to be slightly less than 1/2 cup, so just don't fill the cup to the top)

200 g. white chocolate (a little less than 8 oz.)
1/2 c. cream (again, slightly less than 1/2 cup)

1 c. cream (it's actually 7/8 c. or 13 1/2 Tbsp., or just shy of 1 cup)
50 g. dark chocolate, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grease two 8 inch round baking tins and line with baking parchment (if you only have one 8 inch baking tin, like me, then you can just divide the cake ingredients by two and bake one cake at a time).

To make the cake: Start by separating the eggs, place the white in a clean bowl and whisk till stiff. With the yolks beat them with the castor sugar until pale and thick, then add in the cocoa powder to the yolks and beat this lightly.

Gently fold egg whites into the chocolate yolks in three parts, use a metal spoon. Once combined, pour the mix into the prepared tin/s and bake for 10-15 mins. They should be slightly shrunken and springy to the touch. Leave to cool slightly then strip off the paper base.

While waiting for the cake to cool make the filling.

To make the filling: Break up the white chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil then immediately pour over the chocolate, leave for a min then stir till melted. Leave to cool slightly then spread on one layer of the cake to 1 cm away from edge.

(optional) Add berries to the ganache filling e.g. cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries…

Place the other cake on top of the filling. Whip the cream until it is firm then spread all over cake, sprinkle all over with grated dark chocolate.

Recipe courtesy of Miss Deborah Nugent

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lentil and Sausage Soup

1/2 c. onion, chopped
28 oz. chicken broth
1 1/4 c. water
1 c. brown lentils
1 c. carrots, sliced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. coriander
6 oz. Polish sausage, cooked and sliced

In a large saucepan,  cook the onion in a small amount of oil for about 5 minutes or until soft. Combine chicken broth, water, lentils, carrots, thyme, red pepper, and garlic, basil, and coriander in the saucepan with the onion. Bring to the boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in sausage. Heat through. Enjoy. This soup is delightful.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing

Here is the link to the recipe I used:

For the icing, I cut the recipe in half because it was over double what was needed for the batch. But if you want to make the full recipe, just click on the link above for the measurements.

Pumpkin Cookies:
1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour

Caramel Icing:
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. confectioner's sugar
To make the cookies: Cream shortening, sugar and pumpkin.  Add eggs and mix well.  Sift together the baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt and flour.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Drop from spoon to cookie sheet. The original post had no temperature or bake time, so I baked them at 350 F for about 15 minutes.

To make the icing: Cook butter, milk and brown sugar until dissolved.  Cool and add confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Spread over warm cookies. But really let the icing cool before putting it on the cookies. I only let it cool a little before spreading it on, and it soaks into the cookies. Which is not bad at all! They taste great, but they don't get the icing look.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

3-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 c. canned pumpkin

Throw it all in a bowl and mix it up really good - maybe a couple minutes. Grease bread pans. Fill them until about 2/3rds full. It grows quite a bit while baking. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. When it's fully cooked on the top it's ready to come out. Let sit in pans about ten minutes then turn out onto rack to cool. Eat warm or wrap tightly in foil.
Recipe courtesy of Robyn Fox

Friday, October 14, 2011

Enchilada Casserole

Here is a link to the original recipe:

And here is the recipe with the alterations I made. =)

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
4 oz. can diced green chile peppers
1 can whole kernel corn
Cilantro, chopped
Spices: cumin, coriander, pepper
6 corn tortillas
16 oz. Enchilada sauce
Black olives, sliced
Cheddar, shredded
Pepperjack, shredded
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking dish.

I prefer cooked onions and garlic, so I cooked them in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Combine beans, garlic, onion, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and corn. I sprinkled the spices over the mix. Stir it up.

Pour the enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl. Dip 3 tortillas in the sauce, then place them on the bottom of the baking dish, covering the bottom of the dish as completely as possible. Layer half of the bean mixture on top of the tortillas. Repeat the process. Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the casserole. Sprinkle with black olives and cheese.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese is melted. I served it with sour cream because sour cream is delicious.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper

Toss together. Layer on a cookie sheet. Roast at 425 F about 20 minutes. Turn once.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apple Muffins

Here's a link to where I found the recipe:Apple Muffins

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, divided
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
2 apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 450 F. In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the butter, the white sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Add the egg and beat until fluffy (I used a hand-held mixer for all of this until I mixed in the buttermilk, then I switched to a wooden spoon so as not to over-mix the buttermilk). Mix in the buttermilk gently. Stir in the flour mixture gently and fold in the apples. Pour the batter into 12 muffin cup liners (I greased my muffin tin with Crisco), sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar and bake at 450 F for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 400 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry-Pumpkin Cookies

Here's a link to where I found the original recipe I adapted: Cranberry-Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. fresh cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into pumpkin mixture until well blended. Stir cranberries into mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Sage Butter

Generous 2 3/4 c. type "00" pasta flour or all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
semolina, for dusting

Rolled out pasta
1 lb. sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. honey
salt and pepper

Sage Butter:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 bunch fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

To make the pasta, sift the flour into a large bowl or food processor. Add the eggs and bring the mixture together or process to make a soft but not sticky dough (I had to add about a tsp. of water just to make the dough stick together). Turn out onto a counter lightly dusted with semolina, and knead for 4-5 minutes, or until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Raviolis before boiling
For the filling, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not colored (at this point, I added the minced garlic and a dash or two of thyme, and cooked for another minute). Stir the onion into the mashed potatoes, and add the garlic and thyme (unless you've already added them!). Drizzle with the honey and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll the pasta out to a thickness of about 1/32 inch (this takes forever and is really really hard! And I rolled out a little at a time). Cut the pasta in half. Place teaspoonfuls of the filling at evenly spaced intervals across one half of the pasta. Brush around the filling with a little water and cover with the second half of the pasta. Press lightly around the filling to seal the pasta, and cut into squares with a sharp knife or pastry wheel. Lay the ravioli out on a sheet of wax paper that has been lightly dusted with semolina.

Sage butter
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and drop in the ravioli. Cook for 2-3 minutes (I cooked mine longer because my pasta was a little thicker than what it was supposed to be), until the pasta rises to the surface and is tender but still firm to the bite.

Meanwhile, for the sage butter, melt the butter with the sage in a small saucepan over low heat.

Drain the ravioli and toss with the sage butter. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking School Italian

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken in the Crock Pot

2 lbs. chicken (I used white and dark meat), diced
16 oz. can chopped pineapple with juice
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 c. water
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
6 small colored bell peppers, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
Black pepper (lots)
Sesame seeds

Teriyaki Sauce (1/2 c.):
1/8 c. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 2/3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 - 2/3 Tbsp. honey
Capful of white vinegar
2/3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 c. cold water

To make the teriyaki chicken: Mix all ingredients together in the crock pot minus the sesame seeds, but including all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce except the cornstarch and cold water. Mix those together in a small bowl and then add to the crock pot. If you want to make the sauce separately before adding, you can do that as well. My friend suggests: To make it even easier, buy Trader Joe's "Island Teriyaki" sauce in a bottle and just pour the whole bottle in. It's teriyaki, soy, sesame seeds, and pineapple juice already mixed together.

I cooked it on high for 2 hours, then low for 1, then back on high for 1 more hour. It was a bit more liquidy than I wanted, so I added a bit more cornstarch during the last hour. Serve over hot white rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Recipe adapted from Lindsey Ismailova

Twix Bars

I used this recipe to make a giant Twix bar rather than normal sized Twix bars. 

Shortbread and carmel
Shortbread Cookie:
 1 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk

Carmel Filling:
15.5 oz. soft carmels (for the giant one, only about 20-25 carmels were used total)
2 Tbsp. milk
Dash of salt

Chocolate Topping:
12 oz. milk chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tsp. Crisco, if needed to make the chocolate softer (I did not use this)

For shortbread cookie: Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this to the butter mixture. Finally, at low speed, add the milk and vanilla. Separate the dough into halves and wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until the dough is as firm as a stick of butter. 
Now is the time to preheat your oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Once your dough is firm enough to work with, either roll it out onto the sheet pan or press with fingers to about 1/2-3/4" thickness. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the baking sheet front-to-back halfway through the baking time. 
For carmel layer: Unwrap and place your carmels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until nice and melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). Pour carmel over the baked shortbread. Put in the refrigerator to harden and set. Cut the shortbread/carmel layer into Twix size pieces or whatever shape you desire. Chill them in the freezer to firm them up before dipping.  
Giant Twix Bar
For chocolate coating: Microwave the chocolate at 1 minute intervals while stirring till melted or use a double boiler method to melt. Dip the bars into the chocolate and place them on waxed paper to set (if you make a giant bar, pour the chocolate over the top, chill, then flip over and coat the bottom then turn upright on wax paper). Chill in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up setting. Once they are set, you are ready to enjoy them!

Recipe courtesy of Jill Hanses 

Mounds Candy Bar

14 oz. coconut, shredded
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
24 oz. dark chocolate chips

Mix coconut, milk, and sugar. Chill. Roll into bite-sized pieces (or one giant one if you're daring) and place on wax paper. Refrigerate. Melt half the chocolate chips until they are 75% melted, and barely warm to the touch.  Then mix in the other half of the chocolate chips, stirring rapidly.  When the other chocolate chips are close to, but not 100 percent, melted, pour it all over the coconut. The chocolate will need to set before you can turn it over and coat the bottom.

Giant Mounds

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I love the Pioneer Woman. She has such great recipes! And she loves food. =)

Here's the link:

I don't even think I altered anything. Oh wait, I added cilantro. And I used diced tomatoes instead of roma tomatoes because I never have raw tomatoes on hand.
Veggies and chicken in cajun sauce

Veggies and Garlic