Monday, September 30, 2013

Potato Pancakes

(originally made 11/2012)

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.    Jake's back to school today and Tim's off helping a friend and I decided that I was going to treat myself to brunch and also clear out the last of the leftovers by making some potato pancakes. 

My potatoes are mashed with butter, sour cream and a splash of heavy cream.   Little bit of salt, fresh cracked black pepper and about a 1/2c of shredded cheddar cheese.   Sometimes bacon, but not this year.  

For the pancakes, I took about 2c of leftover mash, added 2 eggs, a little more pepper and 2 tablespoons of flour.     Stirred together and then heated some olive oil in the skillet.    I used a cookie scoop to get similar size cakes and flattened them with the back of a sprayed spatula.     About 3 to 5 mins per side, they are VERY delicate so you want to make sure they've got a good crust and you flip them gently.      Topped with a little more salt and some dried chives.   YUM!   :)     I'd say I got about 12-14 patties, will freeze the remainder on a cookie sheet and then pop them into a bag for quick reheating at a later time.

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

(originally made 11/2012)

Weather has turned chilly, comfort food is on my mind.   Tim and I love stuffed shells, but usually I make them with sausage and Jake can be persnickety about it.   Salsa shared the link to this one a while back, and I loved the idea of making them with chicken.

I used Penzey's Italian Seasoning in place of the parsley, garlic powder and oregano.    And I never measure  cheese, just eyeball it.   I had no cooked leftover chicken on hand, so I put some olive oil in a skillet, added some thin cut chicken breast and when they were cooked through I tossed them into the KA and let it do the shredding.   I added in the cheese mixture and when it was throughly blended I used a cookie scoop to fill the shells quickly.

I never cook my lasagna noodles, just add 1c of water and bake for longer, and I'll definitely be giving that method a try with this recipe too!   These were a huge hit here, and definitely will be going into the menu rotation.    Thank you so much Salsa and be sure to go check out the blog for more good stuff!

 Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/2           cups  ricotta cheese
  1                     egg
     1/2          tsp.  parsley
     1/4          tsp.  garlic powder
     1/8          tsp.  oregano
     1/8          tsp.  pepper
     3/4           cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  2               cups  shredded Mozzarella cheese -- divided
  2               cups  cooked -- shredded chicken
  16                    jumbo pasta shells -- cooked and drained
  2               cups  spaghetti sauce -- (2 to 3)

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, garlic powder, oregano and pepper; mix well. Stir in Parmesan cheese, 1-1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese and chicken.

2. Preheat oven to 350º.

3. Pour half of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of an 9x13-inch baking dish. Evenly fill shells with chicken mixture and place in dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells; sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella cheese.

4. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4-6 servings.


Baked Potato Grilled Cheese

(originally made 10/2012)

Running out the door to get Jake, but this was my cheesy experiment this week-  I am not an american cheese/reg bread kind of girl at all.   This sounded interesting so I gave it a try while Tim was out with a friend today.

It's from the Bs in the Kitchen Blog.    I used mozzarella-provolone slices instead of the cheddar, dried chives.   I cooked the bacon, removed it, then did the potatoes in the same pan. Quick wipe, then grilled the sandwich in there too.    Delicious!

Horrible pic, I was more concerned with eating than photography!

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2             Strips  Bacon
  1                     Potato -- peeled and sliced
  2               tbsp  light Sour Cream
    2                   mozzarella provolone slices
                       dried chives
  2             Slices  Bread, used Freihofers Country White
                        olive oil
                        Salt & Pepper

Peel potato and slice on mandolin.    Fry bacon on griddle pan.   Remove to towel to remove excess grease.   Cook potatoes on pan until golden brown, adding olive oil if necessary.     Remove them to towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Wipe out any excess grease if desired.

Spread both slices of bread with light sour cream.    Sprinkle with Penzey's dried chives.   Place slice of cheese on each piece.     Top one slice with potatoes and bacon, flip other slice of bread onto it.     Butter one side of bread, add it to griddle butter side down.   Butter other slice of bread.    Cook until golden brown and enjoy.


Beef Empanadas

(originally made 6/2012)

Our lives have been sort of scrambled since June.  Having Tim home has totally messed with my routine and forced me to come up with a lot more meals than before.    We got into a rut of the same old things, and then we started eating out/getting takeout far too much.   With the shift in weather, I've started going through my files for new dishes to try, and I thought this would be a nice use for ground beef.   This was a Foodgawker find, from the JoCooks Blog.  

Up front, I am not a huge fan of cumin so that got cut back.   The guys are also wimpy about heat, so I cut back the hot sauce.   I'd use a full tablespoon next time.    Tim felt that these needed cheese, so next time will add some to half of the batch.    I thought they needed more kick- so leftovers today will be eaten with Taco Bell Bold and Creamy Jalapeno sauce.

No one offering to hold flashlights tonight, they were too busy chowing these down  :)

 Beef Empanadas

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 package puff pastry- rolled out and cut into 4 squares each sheet.
  1                 lb  ground beef
  1              large  onion -- chopped (used dried)
  3                     garlic cloves -- minced (used jarred)
  2               tbsp  olive oil -- (used a drizzle)
  2               tbsp  Frank's hot sauce -- (used 2t)
  1                tsp  ground cumin -- (used about 1/2t)
  1               tbsp  brown sugar
                        salt and pepper to taste -- (omitted salt)
     1/2           tsp  dry oregano
  1                tsp  smoked paprika
     1/2           cup  beef broth -- (used low sodium)
  1                     egg for egg wash
Preheat oven to 425.   Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Heat oil in skillet.   Brown ground beef and dried onions until no longer pink, drain.   Add hot sauce, cumin, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, oregano, paprika and beef broth.   Stir to combine and cook until the broth is almost completely evaporated.
Fill each square of puff pastry with a few tablespoons of meat mixture.    Fold and press to seal.   Crimp with fork.   I fit 8 on a half sheet pan.    Brush top with egg wash.     Bake for about 20 mins or until golden. 

I served mine with salsa and sour cream.  


Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble

(originally made 5/2011)

I saw this on TOH's Facebook page last week and couldn't wait to give it a try. The farm had local rhubarb and I've got tons of frozen berries. I baked mine in an oval corningware dish and ran the topping ingredients through the food processor. Awesome! Some of the topping sunk down, but it was still delicious.

 Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble (TOH Aug/Sept 09)

6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter
Whipped cream -- optional

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
For topping, in a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit mixture.
Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm; dollop with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Editor's Note: Cobbler may also be grilled. Place fruit mixture in a disposable foil pan; cover with foil. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Carefully remove foil and sprinkle topping over fruit. Replace grill cover; grill 15-20 minutes longer or until topping is golden brown.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (calculated without whipped cream) equals 305 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Blueberry Pie Bars

(originally made 8/2011)

I'm going to put these with my favorites, but the jury is still out.    I had one for breakfast this morning and I loved the base crust.   The filling layer was stiff as a board in the mixing bowl and I had to add the remainder of the 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk to get it sort of spreadable.      The texture looks sort of odd, but the taste is good.      Waiting on Tim and Jake's opinion   :)

 Blueberry Pie Bars

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
                        FOR THE CRUST:
     1/2           cup  Granulated Sugar
  1           teaspoon  Baking Powder
  1 1/2            cup  All-purpose Or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  1           teaspoon  Lemon Juice
  1              pinch  Salt
     1/2           cup  Cold Butter
                        FOR THE FILLING:
  1                cup  Sweetened -- Condensed Milk
  1 1/2     Tablespoon  Vanilla Bean Paste Or Vanilla Extract
  1                cup  All-purpose Or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
     1/4          cups  Melted Butter
  3               cups  Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 9×13" baking pan.

In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, stir the first five ingredients together (sugar, baking powder, flour, lemon juice, salt). Cut the butter into 8-10 pieces, then use the processor to work the butter into the flour until the butter is in pea-sized chunks.

Savvy Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour.

Evenly press the dough into the prepared pan, and bake at 375F for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Then remove from the oven.

In the meantime, blend the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, 1 cup flour, and melted butter until smooth. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour the blueberries over the crust, spreading the filling evenly over the top of the crust. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the top begins to firm up. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


** MUCH better chilled and on Day 2.   Taste is good, not 100% sure I would make them again.


(originally made 10/2012)

There's a local casual Italian place we love, and the owner is always offering us samples of new things on the menu.   A while back Tim came home with some arancini, and it was amazing.    He's had a tough time of it this summer, and I've wanted to surprise him with some for weeks, but the rice held me back.    I cannot make rice.  It comes out wrong every time.   But yesterday I bit the bullet and managed to pull off what has been one of our favorite meals in a while. 

There are tons of recipes out there for arancini- some use peas (blech), some have a cube of cheese in the middle, but the common denominator is rice mixed with cheese and egg, then coated in more egg and crumbs and fried.   I put out a yell for help on a Facebook group, and was given some great advice from Peter Battaglia, a food blogger.    He makes lots of outstanding food, and it brings back tons of memories of food 'up the hill' at my grandmother's house.

The trick to these is the rice.   I used Carolina Long Grain White Rice, prepared as directed, made first thing yesterday morning.  It has to be cooled.     He uses pecorino, I had a 3 cheese blend this time around.   He recommended saffron, but I did not have any on hand.   Using a cookie scoop made quick work of forming them, roll through the egg, then the crumbs and then into a plate to wait their turn in the fryer.    I went about ping pong ball size, and 3 were incredibly filling for a dinner portion.   You could go smaller and do a pile as an appetizer, or go bigger, like the restaurant does and serve one.   

These were a huge hit for us.   Jake loved them, and after watching us eat them with sauce, he asked for some on his  plate too.   VICTORY!     The recipe makes A LOT.    I am going to freeze any leftovers on a baking sheet and then move them to a ziploc bag.   I'll reheat them in the oven.
 No plated pic, I was having a hard time with the light in the kitchen (even Tim jumped in and helped) but this is a pic as they sat on the towels draining.    Will see if I can get one later of the interior. 


  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
3 cups cooked long-grain rice, cooled
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan, asiago and romano blend shredded cheese
dried parsley, or fresh, to taste
3 eggs, separated
1 cup bread crumbs, plus additional for coating
salt and pepper, to taste
oil for frying
Marinara sauce

Combine rice, cheeses, yolks, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.   Chill for at least 1 hour.    Roll into walnut size balls.  Dip into egg whites, then roll in crumbs.   Fry at 375 until golden brown, drain on paper towels.  Serve with marinara and additonal sprinkle of cheese.

  "adapted from advice from P Battaglia"

  "25 balls"

Buttermilk Bread

(originally made 9/2012)

I earmarked a bunch of bread recipes over the weekend.    This one made the menu today due to it's ease of prep.    I do fear my bread machine is on it's last leg, while this rose and tastes amazing, I have a horizontal loaf pan and it should have risen a bit higher.   

I brush the top crust with butter then wrap the loaf in foil to keep it warm until meal time.    I always seem to have a little bit of buttermilk leftover from other recipes and this was great to use that up.   I'd definitely make this one again, maybe even just using the dough setting and then forming it and baking it in the oven.

 Buttermilk Bread

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2  cup plus 2 tablespoons  water -- (70'-80')
     1/2           cup  warm buttermilk -- (70'-80')
  1           teaspoon  lemon juice
  2        tablespoons  butter or margarine -- softened
  2        tablespoons  brown sugar
  1           teaspoon  salt
  3               cups  bread flour
  2 1/4      teaspoons  active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).

  "Taste of Home 's Quick Cooking (May/June 2003)"

NOTES : If your bread machine has a time-delay feature, we recommend you do not use it for this recipe.

Doritos Locos Nachos

(originally made 9/2012)

Tim and Jake have an addiction to Taco Bell.   It was bad, but since they've introduced the new Doritos Locos Taco shells, it's gotten worse.    Tacos were a twice monthly meal here, but they kept begging me to find a way to make the shells out of Doritos.       This was as close as I could come, and since I actually remembered to snap a picture this time, I thought I'd pass the idea along here as well  :)

They sell Taco Bell brand taco seasoning now, but we prefer the Old El Paso Mild.

 * Exported from MasterCook *

                           Doritos Locos Nachos

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              pound  ground beef -- browned and drained
  1            package  taco seasoning mix
                        water -- per pkg instructions
                        Mexican blend cheese -- shredded
                        shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, jalapenos -- optional

Prepare taco meat as directed on the seasoning packet instructions.   Place Doritos in an oven safe skillet or microwave safe plate.   Top with shredded cheese.   Place under broiler or microwave in 30 sec intervals until the cheese is melted.   Sprinkle with meat.    Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and jalapenos, if desired. 

NOTES : Inspired by the Doritos Locos Tacos sold by Taco Bell.

Homemade Pretzel Bites

(originally made 5/2011)

A little birdie told me that yesterday was "Eat Whatever You Want" day and I thought on it for a while and decided what I wanted was pretzels.    I've been cleaning out my FoodGawker favorites file, and I've saved about 10 pretzel recipes  :)  I liked this idea because big pretzels seem to be a lot of work for something that disappears so quickly!  

The idea for the minis comes from the Dine & Dish blog, from a recipe that she got from, which actually is the same as the Soft Giant Pretzels.  I've made this recipe before and I love that the dough is made in the bread machine, especially since I didn't get started on these until 3:45.   There isn't specific instructions on making them bite size, I rolled out my ropes and then used a pastry scraper to cut them into bite size bits.   They will puff a bit in the baking soda/water solution  :)   Mine took almost 15 mins to get to a nice crispy golden brown and then we tossed half with butter/cinnamon sugar and half we brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt   :)  

Soft Giant Pretzels

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1       cup plus 2 tablespoons  water -- (70'-80')
  3               cups  all-purpose flour
  3        tablespoons  brown sugar
  1 1/2      teaspoons  active dry yeast
  2             quarts  water
     1/2           cup  baking soda
                        Coarse salt

In bread machine pan, place the first four ingredients in order selected by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into eight balls. Roll each into a 20-in. rope; form into pretzel shape. In a saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels into boiling water, two at a time; boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Place pretzels on greased baking sheets. Bake at 425' for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Spritz or lightly brush with water. Sprinkle with salt.


  "8 pretzels"

Roasted potatoes with bacon and parmesan

(originally made 9/2012)

We had leftover grilled chicken for dinner, so to change it up I wanted to add a new side dish.    So easy and so good, you could definitely do this in a disposable pan out on the grill as well.    Recipe is from Tasty Kitchen .   I added garlic salt, paprika, and a little rosemary.

Roasted potatoes with bacon and parmesan

Ham and Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Calzones

(originally made  9/2012)

Yeast doughs scare me.   Whenever I have to make one, I usually lean heavily on my bread machine.   I can never seem to get the dough to rise in the time frame given if left on my own.     I flipflopped on making these a few times- should I use a T&T pretzel dough recipe for the bread machine?   Should I make the recipe as stated, but put another into the bread machine as backup?   

I jumped in and just did it.    Worst case, I could run to the store for a ball of pizza dough if I crashed and burned.     I mixed it up, and put it in the oven with the light on and walked way.    To my surprise and delight, an hour and 15 mins later the bowl was full of risen dough.    Tim thought I was nuts, standing in front of the oven, cheering. 

I assembled the calzones as directed by the recipe, and I can't stress enough- do not roll the crust too thin, or overstuff the pockets.     I lost TWO in the baking soda bath, they just disintegrated and I had to scoop out the cheesy meaty melted mess and toss it.   

The guys were made per the recipe, I used the Oscar Mayer Cutting Board ham and shredded cheddar.  I omitted the roasted broccoli.    I also made some with pepperoni and mozzarella.     I used kosher salt because I'm out of pretzel salt, and it was ok, but I'd prefer the pretzel salt next time.      Jake and Tim both gave these a 9 out of 10, and I have to agree.     I'll definitely be putting these on the menu again, and I'd like to test how they reheat after being frozen.

I found the recipe via Pinterest on   Amazing site with tons of recipes, check it out!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

(originally made 8/2012)

Before Tim met me, he lived on a combination of take out, Hamburger Helper and Kraft Mac N Cheese.   I've bought him the boxed HH before, but would much rather make him a homemade version.   Stacey (Cinbarra) shared this recipe on her blog, This Just In, and I made it for the guys the other night.   Both of them loved it which was awesome, because Jake normally is not a fan of foods touching.     He ate 1 1/2 bowls, and asked for more yesterday for lunch! 

I only had 1 1/2lbs ground beef, and I added the whole box of pasta.   I had about 3/4 of a pound of bacon, and I had 3 slices on a BLT for my dinner, so I'd say I used about 1/2 a pound, plus a little more for garnish.   This made a lot, but it reheated well and it's easily scaled up or down.

Big thanks again to Stacey !    Be sure to go check out her blog, lots of good stuff there :)

 Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2  lbs.  ground beef -- seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and drained (used 1 1/2lbs)
  1  box  Barilla Piccolini penne pasta  (13oz)-  I used 1lb med shells and increased water by 1c per Stacey
  5                 C.  water
  1                 C.  ketchup
  1               tsp.  garlic powder
  1                can  cheddar cheese soup
  8                oz.  American cheese (used deluxe slices as suggested)
  1                lb.  bacon -- cooked and chopped into medium large pieces (used 1/2lb, plus more for garnish)
                        Shredded cheese for garnish

1. In a large Dutch oven or 8 quart pan, combine cooked ground beef, water, ketchup, pasta and garlic powder.  Cook over medium high heat until water boils, stirring often so pasta doesn’t stick.  If you’re using piccolini, the pasta is miniature and will cook much faster, so keep an eye on it.  Cook mixture until there is about a cup and a half or so of liquid remaining (you should see the liquid when you stir the mixture).

2. Turn heat down to simmer.  Add cheddar cheese soup, stirring thoroughly.  Tear the American cheese slices into quarters and add them, a few at time to the pot.

3. Stir until all the cheese is melted.  At this point, you should have a very creamy, cheesy mixture.

4. Add bacon to taste, setting some aside to garnish the top of each serving.  We like ours pretty bacony, so I added 3/4 of what I had cooked up.

5. Top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and a sprinkling of bacon and enjoy!

Serves 10.

Source: Posted with Stacey's permission

Orange Infused Grilled Green Beans

(originally made 8/2012)

Really been enjoying weekly trips to the farm stand this summer.     Yesterday I was making a quick lunch of NancyNJ's Kielbasa Maple Bites and Jasmine rice, and I wanted a veggie to go with.   Since I'd be out at the grill, I didn't want to be running the oven inside too, so I modified this recipe from Eating Well-

I prepped the beans and put them into a foil 13x9 pan.   I drizzled in some olive oil, the zest, and salt.   Because the guys won't eat peppers, I tried to use some of the dried Penzey's red&green bell pepper flakes instead.   Covered the top of the pan with foil and gave it a shake every minute or so, grilling them on med-high heat.     I added the crushed red pepper flakes to mine on my plate.

The result?   Good, but not awesome.   The orange smell was much stronger than the orange taste.   Next time I would add the juice from the orange along with the zest.      While the beans were done through, they lacked that pretty green color you get from boiling them.    The texture was just how I like them, crisp/tender.  The bell pepper flakes burned rather than rehydrating.   Next time I'd soak them in some of the oil or water before tossing them with the beans.

             Orange Infused Grilled Green Beans

Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              pound  green beans, ends trimmed
 pinch Penzey's Red and Green bell pepper flakes
  1         tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
                        Zest of 1 orange
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
     1/4      teaspoon  crushed red pepper flakes- I added these at the table

    Heat grill to Med-high heat.   Toss green beans, bell pepper flakes and oil in a large bowl. Add orange zest and salt.    Cover with foil.   Spread on a large baking sheet.   Grill beans until tender, shaking pan occasionally , about 15 minutes.

Adapted from:
EatingWell:  December 2005/January 2006, EatingWell Serves Two"

BBQ Ranch Chicken Quesadillas

(originally made 7/2012)

Crazy day yesterday, and needed something fast to throw together for dinner.   I had baked chicken with bbq3000 seasoning on it and there was plenty leftover, so I decided to make quesadillas.   I used buttermilk ranch and Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle.    I omitted the cilantro, not a huge fan.    I also diced up 4 slices of crisp bacon and added it to the filling.      I had mozzarella on hand, so that's what I went with.   I did butter the skillet before adding the quesadilla to it, and used a press to help it heat through quickly and evenly.

Not the best picture.   My camera lens must be dirty or have moisture in it... struggling to get in focus pictures.

 BBQ Ranch Chicken Quesadillas

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2  Fajita size tortillas
  1         tablespoon  BBQ sauce per quesadilla- used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey chipotle
  1         tablespoon  Ranch dressing per quesadilla- used Buttermilk ranch
Grilled Chicken (cajun or plain) -- cut into strips -- used baked bbq3000 chicken
Sprinkle of dried cilantro (use fresh if you have it)- omitted
     1/2 cup  cheese per quesadilla (more or less if you’d like)- used mozzarella

    Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat.
    Start with the bottom tortilla and sprinkle half the cheese on it. Next drizzle ranch and bbq sauce on top of the cheese. Then add cooked chicken, and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle a dash of dried cilantro over the cheese and chicken, then place the remaining tortilla on top.
    Carefully place the assembled quesadilla in the pre-heated skillet. When the bottom is nice and brown after a few minutes, carefully use a spatula to flip the quesadilla so that the other side can cook. When the entire quesadilla is heated through and the top and bottom tortillas are crisp, remove from the pan.
    Cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve.


Ooey-Gooey Pancake S'mores

(originally made 7/2008)

Got kids?  Love S'mores?   Looking for something fun and yummy?  This recipe shared by Rosie is for you    :)     Jake has recently developed a love of Fluff, and then factor in chocolate chips and he looked at me like I'd flipped my lid!   In a whisper he said, we shouldn't tell Daddy we had dessert instead of dinner    LOL      I made a few changes to make it a little more healthy (snort), and 1 serving was more than filling enough for me.     Thank you Rosie!

 * Exported from MasterCook *

                        Ooey-Gooey Pancake S'mores

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  Original Bisquick® mix -- used Heart Smart
  1 1/3           cups  milk -- used fat free
  2        tablespoons  sugar
  1           teaspoon  vanilla
  1                     egg
     1/3           cup  graham cracker crumbs
  7        tablespoons  marshmallow creme
  7        tablespoons  milk chocolate chips -- used minis

1. Heat griddle or skillet; grease if necessary. Stir Bisquick mix, milk, sugar, vanilla and egg until blended. Pour batter by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle.
2. Cook until bubbles break on surface. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon cracker crumbs over each pancake. Turn; cook until golden. Remove from griddle.
3. Spread about 1 tablespoon marshmallow creme over the crumbs side of each of 7 pancakes; sprinkle about 1 tablespoon chocolate chips over marshmallow creme on each. Top with another pancake, crumbs side down.   (Total time will vary; cook or bake time is per batch.)

Nutrition Information
1 Serving: Calories 280 (Calories from Fat 90 ); Total Fat 10 g (Saturated Fat 4 g); Cholesterol 35 mg; Sodium 530 mg; Total Carbohydrate 41 g (Dietary Fiber 1 g); Protein 6 g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2 %; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 12 %; Iron 6 % Exchanges: 2 1/2 Starch; 2 Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Source: Rosie, TOH

Chocolate Totos

My great aunt used to make these and when she passed away, the recipe was lost. I found this on the internet and it's very close. Making these brings back lots of good memories.  

                             Chocolate Totos

  3               cups  all-purpose flour
  4          teaspoons  baking powder
     3/4           cup  sugar
     1/2      teaspoon  allspice
     1/2      teaspoon  cinnamon
     1/2      teaspoon  nutmeg
     1/4           cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  2             sticks  butter -- softened
     1/3           cup  milk
  1           teaspoon  vanilla extract
     1/2           cup  chopped walnuts
  2            squares  unsweetened chocolate -- (1 ounce each)
  1         tablespoon  butter -- softened
  1           teaspoon  vanilla extract
  2               cups  powdered sugar
     1/4           cup  hot milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sift 3 cups flour twice. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cocoa. Cream 1 cup butter or margarine; blend into flour mixture. Add 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and nuts. Mix thoroughly with hands until well blended. (Dough should be the consistency of pie crust, but not sticky.)

 For each cookie, pinch off about 1 teaspoon dough. Roll by hands into balls, each about one-inch in diameter. Place on greased baking sheets. Do not flatten. Bake about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks. When cool, drizzle each generously with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle with crushed nuts.

To make Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate squares over low heat. Cream with 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 cups of confectioner's sugar. Gradually add hot milk, beating until smooth.


Jalapeno Popper Pizza

(originally made 6/2012)

Jake and Tim spent Father's day at an amusement park, so I was free to make whatever I wanted for lunch  :)   I had marked this to try during last week's Challenge, but never got around to it. 

I used my go-to crust, the Soft Garlic Breadstick dough.  My shallots were dried, so I let them soak for a little while with the jalapenos and oil.    I used the odds and ends of the cheese I had on hand, which was a bag of Mexican blend and some sharp cheddar.     I brushed the crush with a little oil before baking. 

Really enjoyed this one and definitely will be making it again.  I froze a few pieces to see how it will reheat, but it's pretty simple to scale the recipe back on the days that one of the non-heat loving guys are home and we do individual pies. 

I've seen this around the internet in a few places, but the recipe I used came from here

 * Exported from MasterCook *

                          Jalapeño Popper Pizza

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
                        Olive oil
  4  slices  bacon -- chopped (I nuked mine and chopped with kitchen shears)
  2    jalapeños -- sliced (used jarred)
  1   shallot -- sliced (used Penzey's dried)
     1/4  cup  semolina or yellow cornmeal -- (used cornmeal)
  1 ball Fail-Proof Pizza Dough -- (used TOH's Soft Garlic breadstick recipe)
  6 ounces  cream cheese -- softened
  1 1/2 cups  grated jalapeño monterey jack cheese -- (used mexiblend, cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with olive oil.
    Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
    In a small bowl, combine the jalapeños and shallot with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil.
    Working on a surface that has been sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal, roll out the pizza dough into a 10-inch-diameter round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or pizza pan.
    Spread the cream cheese evenly over the top, leaving a 1-inch border.
    Top with jalapeño monterey jack, jalapenos, shallots and bacon.
    Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top.
    Cut the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.


Jalapeno Grilled Chicken

(originally posted on Taste of Home's blog, Love & Homemade Recipes 6/2012)

Sunday is our day to roam. Sometimes we have a destination in mind, others we are just enjoying being out of the house and together. Today’s ride took us along a stretch of road in Southern New Hampshire that is made up of farmland. The fields are tilled for corn to be planted. The farm stands have opened and signs boast the local wares that are ready. Today what drew me in was “OUR OWN ASPARAGUS AND RHUBARB”.

Those found their way into my basket pretty quickly, along with some honey sticks for my son, scallions, and strawberry milk from another local farm. We keep a cooler in the back of the truck so after a quick stop for ice, we were on our way, the sunroof open, windows down, talking about what we could make with our bagful of goodies.

At home, I decided on a tried & true, family favorite for dessert- Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch . I put that together and got it into the oven, then went to work on some mashed purple potatoes. After they were fork tender, I drained them and moved them to a glass bowl, keeping the water simmering on the stove. The rest of my meal was going to be cooked outside, and putting the bowl of finished potatoes on top of the simmering water would keep them warm while I was finishing up

I’d marinated some chicken in the morning. I used half lime juice, and since I’m the only heat lover, I split the mixture so that one bowl had jalapenos and one didn’t. I marked the “hot” ones with toothpicks so I could keep track of them.
With about 20 mins to go, I grilled a combination of the asparagus from the farm and red bell pepper, tossed with salt, pepper and olive oil on a foil liner.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                         Jalapeno Grilled Chicken

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  4               to 8  jalapeno peppers (or one 4-ounce can chopped green chilies) -- seeded and chopped
     2/3           cup  lemon juice -- divided
     1/4           cup  minced fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes)
  6              to 10  garlic cloves -- minced (used jarred)
  2          teaspoons  dried rosemary -- crushed
  2          teaspoons  dried thyme
  8                     bone-in chicken breast halves
     2/3           cup  chicken broth
  2          teaspoons  pepper
     1/2      teaspoon  grated lemon peel

In a bowl, combine the peppers, 1/3 cup lemon juice, parsley, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Gently stuff pepper mixture under the skin of each chicken breast. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the broth, pepper, lemon peel and remaining lemon juice; pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Place chicken skin side up on grill. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 45 minutes or until juices run clear, turning once.


NOTES : omitted jalapenos from Tim's.    Used toothpics to mark the "hot" ones.

Strawberry Banana Ice Pops

(originally made  6/2012)

Had a few bananas left over from last week's challenge and had seen this idea on Foodgawker-     I blended the strawberries with some honey, and since my bananas were not very firm, I also blended those with the yogurt.   I poured them into the molds and some stayed nicely layered, and others swirled a bit, which was also nice  :)

Love my Tavolo molds, and definitely need to order a second set !

 Strawberry Banana Popsicles

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1                cup  strawberries
1T +1t honey (from a wonderful friend in Maine who is a beekeeper!)
     1/2           cup  yogurt (used greek Lemon flavored)

     1/2                banana

Blended strawberries and 1 Tablespoon honey in food processor.
Mashed the banana with the yogurt and added a tiny bit of honey (1t)
Poured in mixtures, alternating the strawberry and banana.   Some remained layered, others we swirled.
Freeze until solid.   

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

(originally made 5/2011)

A little while back Jill posted a recipe for a jalapeno popper grilled cheese that looked out of this world.   Today was rainy & miserable and I thought it would be a good time to take a run at it.    Thought I'd copied it into MasterCook, but I hadn't and with the search down and Tim whining about being starving, I grabbed one from my Foodgawker file instead. 

The version I made came from the Spabettie blog,
and it was awesome!   The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been a thin layer of the raspberry-habanero dipping sauce that Pizza Hut used to give out with their poppers.   

 One side of the bread was spread with warmed cream cheese, the other covered with shredded cheddar and then a layer of sliced fresh jalapeno down the middle.     I made the sandwiches in my ridged grill pan and used a weight to press them so they browned nicely and cooked through quickly. 

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

(originally made 6/2012)

Jake once told MIL he liked string cheese.   Now every time she sees us, she brings an industrial size size box of them.    Since I had oil heated to 350º and some extra time, I decided to give this a try.  It's been all over Pinterest and Foodgawker and seemed simple enough.

Standard breading rules- into the seasoned flour, then beaten egg and then panko bread crumbs.   Then pop them into the freezer for 20 to 30 mins.  DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS STEP!   I did, and we had some cheese loss.    Fry until golden brown and then drain on a rack or paper towels.   The end result of the ones that made it was a crispy, yummy exterior and a nice melty cheese middle.    We don't fry often, but definitely would do up more if I had oil going.     Or work on a baked version. 

Kielbasa Maple Bites

(originally made 6/2006)

Made these up for lunch today, very very good! I used real NH maple syrup that we got during Maple Weekend. I kept the leftover dipping liquid and basted them with it a few times during the grilling.

I'm betting these would be good done in the crockpot with little smokies also! Thanks so much to Nancy for the recipe :)

Kielbasa Maple Bites
6 servings

12 oz Kielbasa (I used Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa Links, left them whole)
2 tblsps Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Maple syrup
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut Kielbasa into bite-size pieces. Dip pieces into a mixture of maple syrup whisked with mustard. Thread kielbasa on skewers and grill over medium heat, about 3 minutes per side or until browned and heated through.

Can add veggies if you prefer.

Source: NancyNJ, TOH

Coconut Crumbed Bananas

(originally made 6/2012)

Last night was a true experiment.   Jake had asked if we could fry bananas (he watches too much Food Network with me) and I said I'd hunt down a recipe.   I found this one via Foodgawker.    Simple as it gets.   Standard breading technique- flour, egg mixture, panko, fry.    

Overall I liked these.   I cut my banana into chunks and when you got through the crunchy, coconuty exterior, there was the warm creamy banana.    Jake was a fan of the outside- he doesn't really care for bananas once they've gotten past the "firm" stage.   It was a gamble, and I probably wouldn't make them again just for myself.

Coconut Crumbed Bananas

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
                        About 3 large ripe but firm bananas.
                        Plain flour
  1              large  egg beaten with about a tablespoon of coconut milk
     1/2           cup  breadcrumbs (Japanese Panko is best)-  used panko.
     1/2                dried shredded coconut
                        Canola or Sunflower oil (I only had veg oil)

Mix the breadcrumbs and coconut until combined in a dish and set aside.

Peel and cut the bananas in half and set aside. ( I chunked up the bananas)

Place oil in the pot about 1.5 – 2 inches thick and heat up to  (approx 350F).

Coat the banana halves with the flour, patting off the excess. Then dip it in the egg mixture before dropping it on the crumbs to coat. If you wish to double coat it for extra crunch, dip it back into the egg wash and crumb it again.   (single dipping was fine)

Drop it gently into the hot oil and deep fry, turning it once until it’s golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue with the remaining bananas.


Banana Doughnuts

(originally made 6/2012)

I came across this one on Foodgawker for banana donuts.    Friday was National donut day and I'd hoped to get them made, but time got away from me and I made them Saturday morning instead.  

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I love my donut pans.   I've got both the full size and minis, Norpro is the brand.    Jake and I have had a blast trying out different recipes!
To make filling the pans easier, I always put the batter into a pastry bag or ziploc with the tip cut off.

Since I didn't have any lemon or anything acidic in the house, I skipped the banana frosting because I was afraid it would turn brown and unappealing.  Instead, I made a plain glaze (powdered sugar and milk), maple glaze(powdered sugar and maple syrup), chocolate glaze (semi sweet chips, with a tiny bit of veg oil).  I also took some of the plain glazed ones and while they were still wet dipped them into some of the coconut I had leftover from a previous challenge.

Very happy with how these turned out.  Even the 'plain' ones are delicious, but the banana flavor comes through on the glazed ones as well.     :)

 Banana Doughnuts

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/4           cups  flour, plus more for dusting)
  2          teaspoons  baking powder
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
  1 3/4      teaspoons  ground cinnamon (I cut back to 1t, Penzey's is very strong)
  1                cup  granulated sugar
  2                     eggs -- at room temperature
  1 3/4           cups  mashed ripe bananas (4 bananas)
  4          teaspoons  pure vanilla extract
     1/2           cup  vegetable oil (+1t for choc glaze)
     1/4           cup  shortening -- at room temperature- omitted
  2 1/4           cups  confectioners’ sugar (used less)
     1/4      teaspoon  fresh lemon juice- omitted
(1-2T milk)
(1-2T maple syrup)
(1/4c semi sweet choc chips)
(1/4c shredded coconut)

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 2 nonstick, 6-count doughnut pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas, 2 teaspoons vanilla and the oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon the batter about three-quarters full into the prepared pans. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out dry, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool completely on a rack.

    Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the shortening, confectioners' sugar, the remaining 1/2 cup banana, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the lemon juice. Glaze the doughnuts with the frosting.


Chicken Fra Diavolo

(originally made 6/2012)

Miserable weekend here in the Northeast.   Cold, wet, icky.   Jake and Tim headed out for guy time yesterday, so I took advantage and made this spicy chicken for myself for lunch.     Sooo good!   Nice heat.    I coated the chicken with fine breadcrumbs with some red chile powder because I wanted some texture to it.   Next time I would process the tomatoes and the broth, I didn't love the big chunks.     This was another Foodgawker find, from the Poormet blog- lots of good stuff there!

 Chicken Fra Diavolo

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              pound  Chicken Breast (egg wash, coated in fine bread crumbs/chile powder)
  2               tsps  dried crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  3        tablespoons  Olive Oil
  1             medium  Onion -- sliced
  3             cloves  Garlic -- chopped
  1                can  diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes -- (14 ounce)
     3/4           cup  dry White Wine (used chicken broth, low sodium)
  1               thin  Spaghetti -- (12 ounces)
     1/4           tsp  Oregano
  3        tablespoons  Parsley or Basil -- chopped (used less dried)

Slice chicken into thin strips and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and saute until cooked. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside.

Add the red pepper flakes and onion (and additional oil as needed) to the same skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

Cook the pasta according to directions on box.

Return the chicken (and juices) to the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat in the sauce. Stir in the parsley, basil, and additional salt to taste.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine


Chocolate-Coconut Graham Crackers

(originally made 5/2012)

This is a warm up recipe, something fun Jake and I could do together this morning    :)   We also dipped and sprinkle with mini choc chips and sprinkles.    I added a tiny bit of veg oil to the chips to keep them melty.

 Chocolate-Coconut Graham Crackers

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2           cup  sweetened shredded coconut
  4             ounces  semisweet chocolate
  6                     graham crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast coconut until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
    Meanwhile, place chocolate in a medium bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water; stir frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat, and stir until completely melted.
    One at a time, dip one short end of each cracker into chocolate, coating about half of cracker. Place on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle chocolate with coconut. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened, about 10 minutes. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

 march 2007 Everyday Food Martha Stewart

Lattice Top Blueberry Pie

(originally made 8/2011)

Tim has been begging me for a blueberry pie for a few weeks, but I've hesitated because I've made some soupy messes in the past.   I put out a call for help on Facebook and got some great responses.    A recipe posted by Swtcakes led me to a very similar Martha Stewart recipe, and that was what I went with.

My gram tried for many years to teach me to make a pie crust.   I just did not have the knack for it.    For this pie, I used a deep dish frozen crust for the bottom and refrigerated crust cut out with a cheater lattice cutter for the top.     For the filling, I kept everything as is, except that I'd frozen my zested/juiced lemons in ice cube trays, so I defrosted one and used that.     I used fat free french vanilla creamer mixed with the egg yolk since it was what I had on hand, and sprinkled turbinado sugar over the top. 

The filling set up beautifully and the crust came out perfect.    Next time I may even get brave enough to try the crust from scratch  :)

 Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie

adapted from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
                        AP flour for dusting
                        Pate Brisee- used frozen/refrigerated
  2                 lb  fresh blueberries -- picked over and rinsed
     1/2           cup  granulated sugar
     1/4           cup  cornstarch
     1/2           tsp  ground cinnamon
  1               tbsp  fresh lemon juice - used zest and juice to equal 1T
  1              large  egg yolk -- for egg wash
  1               tbsp  heavy cream -- for egg wash- used fat free french vanilla creamer
                        Fine sanding sugar -- for sprinkling- used turbinado

1. Preheat oven to 400.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a 13-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick.  Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate.

2. In a large bowl, toss together berries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice until combined.  Pour mixture into pie plate, piling in center.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk of dough as in step 1.  To make lattice, cut dough into ten 1-inch-wide strips.  Lightly brush edge of dough in pie plate with water.  Carefully arrange dough strips on top, weaving to form a lattice.  Trim dough to a 1-inch overhang.  Fold edges under as desired and crimp with a fork.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cream for egg wash.  Brush on top of dough strips and edge of pie shell.  Generously sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Refrigerate or freeze pie until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Transfer pie plate to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust begins to brown, about 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350.  Continue baking until crust is deep golden brown and juices bubble, 55 minutes more.  If crust browns too quickly, tent pie with foil.  Transfer pie to wire rack.  Let cool completely, at least 3 hours before serving.

Makes one 9-inch pie

Sweet 'n' Spicy Roasted Corn

(originally made 7/2011)

Corn is just rolling into the farms around here, and I grab 6 ears whenever I see it.    I love doing the ears on the grill, and I shuck them and wrap them in foil.     The butter mixture is exactly as the title states- sweet and spicy!   A little too spicy for Tim, but Jake & I absolutely loved it.     Super easy and delicious!

Sweet 'n' Spicy Roasted Corn

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  6         large ears  sweet corn in husks (I wrapped mine in foil)
  2        tablespoons  butter
  4                     garlic cloves -- minced (used jarred)
  1           teaspoon  brown sugar
     1/4      teaspoon  crushed red pepper flakes
     1/4      teaspoon  chili powder

Carefully peel back husks to within 1 in. of bottom; remove silk. Rewrap corn in husks and secure with kitchen string. Soak corn in cold water for 1 hour. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Remove string before serving. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and chili powder. Brush over grilled corn.

  "Light & Tasty Magazine (June/July 2006)"

NOTES : Nutrition Facts: 1 ear of corn equals 163 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 62 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Coconut Cake

My sister made this for my baby shower. I substitute vanilla for the almond extract because my husband and son are allergic to nuts, but it's great with either.

Coconut Cake
Pampered Chef

1 package white cake mix -- plus ingredients to make cake
1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting and filling
3/4 cup cold milk
1 package white chocolate instant pudding
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces Cool Whip® -- thawed
1/3 cup cherry jam
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325. Cut circle of parchment paper to fit bottom of springform pan. Spray pan with Pam, place parchment paper in pan. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding vanilla with water. pour batter into pan. Bake 60 to 65 mins or until center tests clean. Cool on rack 10 mins, run knife around edge and release from pan. Cool completely.

Place cooling rack over top of cake, invert, remove bottom of pan and parchment, invert cake onto serving plate. Cut cake in half. Combine milk, pudding mix and powdered sugar. Whisk 1 to 2 mins or until pudding begins to thicken. Fold in cool whip.

To assemble cake: spread jam over bottom half of cake. Spread 1c frosting over jam. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting. Gently pat coconut over cake. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Hawaiian Waffles

(originally made 5/2012)

Jake and I are big fans of breakfast for dinner.   Since I already had commercially made pineapple ice cream topping in the fridge, I didn't make the topping listed, just added coconut to ours.     Due to nut allergies, I subbed rice krispies for the nuts.   They give a nutty flavor and crunch.     I made Belgian waffles, and got 4 nice sized ones.      Tropical and fun, and they definitely are going in the keeper file!

Hawaiian Waffles

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1       (20-ounce) can  crushed pineapple -- undrained
     1/2           cup  sugar
     1/2           cup  flaked coconut
     1/2           cup  light corn syrup
     1/4           cup  pineapple juice
  2               cups  all-purpose flour
  4          teaspoons  baking powder
  1         tablespoon  sugar
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
  2                     eggs -- separated
  1                cup  milk
     1/4           cup  butter or margarine -- melted- used butter
  1       (8-ounce) can  crushed pineapple -- well drained (didn't drain)
     1/4           cup  flaked coconut
     1/4           cup  chopped macadamia nuts -- (used rice crispies)
                        Additional chopped macadamia nuts -- toasted, optional

In a saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken; set aside. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Combine egg yolks, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in pineapple, coconut and nuts. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter (batter will be thick). Preheat waffle iron. Fill and bake according to manufacturer's directions. Top with pineapple sauce and additional nuts if desired.

  "2001 Taste of Home Annual Recipes"

  "16 4-inch waffles"

Orecchiette Pasta with Chicken in a Creamy Rosemary Lemon Sauce

(originally made 3/2012)

This was another Pinterest find, both Jake and Tim love pasta in creamy sauces, so I thought I'd give it a go.   I only had a bag of Wacky Mac on hand and in the end, the colors helped the dish to be a little bit more attractive.    Next time I would put some color on the chicken before adding the lemon juice and I think it would add a little more texture to the dish.    We are not goat cheese fans, so I used a heaping tablespoon of ricotta.     I also added a few twists of fresh cracked black pepper to my plate.  Overall, the guys loved it and it was a nice addition to our menu.
Be sure to go check out the blog, Adventures in Cooking, I saw quite a few other recipes that I think would go over well here!

 Orecchiette Pasta with Chicken in a Creamy Rosemary Lemon Sauce

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  3                     Garlic Cloves -- minced (used jarred)
  1              Large  Chicken Breast -- cut into 1-inch cubes
                        Juice from 1 Lemon
  1                     and 1/2 Cups Dry Orecchiette Pasta -- (used wacky mac lol)
     2/3           Cup  Milk
     1/3           Cup  Chicken Broth
     1/4           Cup  Olive Oil
  1         Tablespoon  Goat Cheese -- (used ricotta)
  1         Tablespoon  Flour
  1         Tablespoon  Grated Parmesan -- Asiago, or Romano cheese (used shredded parm)
  2          Teaspoons  Fresh Rosemary -- chopped- used dried
     1/2      Teaspoon  Grated Lemon Rind
     1/2      Teaspoon  Salt
                        Water (for preparing the orecchiette)

Heat the olive oil and minced garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breast pieces and lemon juice and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked all the way through, (this should be checked but cutting one of the larger cubes in half to peek inside). Remove the chicken from the pan using a slotted spoon so that the olive oil and garlic remain in the pan.

Lower the heat. Stir in the chicken broth, milk, grated lemon rind, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Once the mixture is hot, but not boiling, sprinkle the tablespoon of flour over the mixture and whisk it in. Continue whisking the sauce until the flour is fully incorporated and there aren't any flour chunks. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the pasta.

Prepare the orecchiette pasta according to the package directions. I recommend adding a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water you boil the pasta in. While the pasta is cooking, add the chicken pieces and goat cheese to the lemon sauce and stir until the goat cheese is completely melted and incorporated into the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. Once the orecchiette is cooked all the way through, strain it and drizzle some olive oil over it, stirring it a bit in the strainer, to help keep the pasta from getting stuck to each other.

Pour the orecchiette into a large bowl and add the lemon sauce and chicken, garnish with the grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary. Serve immediately