Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Recipe Round Up

Every year I challenge myself to try one new recipe a week.     I average about 65 new recipes a year.   This year was slightly less because I was recovering from thumb surgery for almost 4 weeks, but I'm still very happy with my list.     :)

  1. Maple Bacon Dijon Chicken
  2. Banana Cinnamon Chip Bread
  3. Hamburger Pie
  4. Spicy Lemon Basil Chicken
  5. Chocolate Glazed Donuts
  6. Mozzarella sticks
  7. Fried Chicken and Waffles
  8. Meatballs in Cream Sauce with Garlic Butter Pasta
  9. Strawberry & Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
  10. Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders (with honey yogurt dip)
  11. Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs
  12. Crispy Chicken Caesar Club with Melted Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese
  13. Chicken Simon and Garfunkel
  14. Iced Oatmeal Cookies
  15. Chicken Cordon Bleu Roll-ups
  16. Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffle Sandwiches
  17. Baked Crispy Coconut Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce
  18. Tennessee Burger with Bourbon and BBQ Sauce
  19. Grown Up Rootbeer Floats
  20. Bacon Wrapped Beer Brats
  21. Corn Dogs
  22. Jalapeño Rainbow Veggie Bagel Sandwiches
  23. Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Melts
  24. Chicken Caesar Salad Bagels
  25. Herbed Tomato-Cucumber Salad
  26. Old-Fashioned Chocolate Fudge
  27. Buttermilk-Brined Chicken Breast Salad
  28. Meatball Patty Melts
  29. Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet
  30. Citrus Couscous
  31. Cheesy Crispy Potato Skins
  32. Caramel Glazed Apple Bread
  33. Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous
  34. Cheeseburger Quesadillas
  35. Chinese Orange Chicken
  36. One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake
  37. Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies
  38. SURE.JELL® Concord Grape Jelly
  39. Lasagna Rolls
  40. Cider Bacon Chicken
  41. Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake 
  42. Jack O' Lantern Cheeseburger Pie
  43. Cheesy Garlic Crescents
  44. Apple Slab Pie
  45. Baked Gingerbread Mini Donuts 
  46. Bacon Cheeseburger Pie
  47. Honeybun Cake
  48. Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 
  49.  Mounds Brownies 
  50. Christmas Crack 
  51. Jello Lemon Bars
  52. Blueberry Lemon Crumb Bars
  53. Puff Pastry Pinwheels 
  54. Bacon Wrapped Kielbasa with Brown Sugar Glaze
  55. Pizza Biscuits

Monday, December 29, 2014

Snacky Sunday- Bacon Wrapped Kielbasa with Brown Sugar Glaze and Pizza biscuits

We took down and put away Christmas this morning, and ended up eating a late breakfast.   Last Pats game of the regular season today, and I thought I'd make some things that would be easy to snack on in front of the tv.

These go together quick if you do them assembly line style, and it's a good payoff in the end.   Sticky, meaty, sweet deliciousness.    I make sure to do the clean up right away before everything hardens. 

* Exported from MasterCook *

Bacon Wrapped Kielbasa Bites with Brown Sugar Glaze - What the Fork Food Blog

  1                lb.  kielbasa- used Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa Links
10 slices center cut bacon
  1                  C  brown sugar -- packed
  3               Tbsp  dijon mustard
  3               Tbsp  rice wine vinegar
  1/2 Tbsp fresh cracked black pepper

Heat oven to 375.   For easier clean up,  line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.   Top with a baking rack lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut each kielbasa link into 1" pieces.   Slice bacon into thirds.  Wrap one piece bacon around each kielbasa coin and secure with a tooth pick.

Over medium heat in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and pepper.   Stir until sugar is dissolved and keep warm. 

Dip or brush glaze over kielbasa and put onto prepared rack.    Bake for 35 to 40 mins, basting with the glaze about every 15 mins.

Serve immediately, or keep in a low warm oven so that glaze doesn't harden too much. 


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This is about as easy as it gets.   Preheat oven to time specified on the can of Grands biscuits.   Split each biscuit in half.   Add a pinch of cheese and some mini pepperoni to the bottom half.   Add sauce if desired, but we prefer ours on the side.    Replace top of biscuit and press lightly with your fingers around the edges to seal.    Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.  Bake according to package directions.     When they came out of the oven, I brushed them with some melted butter that I added some Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle to.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Baking 2014

Because I'm just getting back into the kitchen after hand surgery, my usual cookie baking bonanza wasn't going to happen this year.    We have a gathering on Christmas Eve of about 15 people and I bring a tray to pass.   I figured the best way to get a good variety was to focus on recipes that I could bake in 13x9 pans. 

Here is the finished tray, minus the Mounds Brownies, which stayed in their own pan:

First up, Honeybun Cake:
I prefer Betty Crocker cake mixes, and those have now been reduced to 15.25 oz.   My friend Carol shared a cake mix upsizer and it worked perfectly in this recipe.   Thank you to Serve at Once for sharing the recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                              Honeybun Cake

  1                box  Yellow Cake Mix --  Betty Crocker 15.25 + 3oz Cake mix upsizer
  4              whole  Eggs
  1                cup light Sour Cream
     3/4          cups  Vegetable Oil
  1                cup  Light Brown Sugar
  2          teaspoons  Cinnamon
  2               cups  Powdered Sugar
  6        Tablespoons  Milk
  1           teaspoon  Vanilla Extract

Heat the oven to 325.    In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, upsizer, eggs, sour cream and oil together.   In another bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.   Pour in half the cake batter, and sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture over the top.    Add the remaining cake batter and smooth until it's even.   Sprinkle the last half of the brown sugar mixture on top.    Swirl a knife through the batter.

Bake for 40 to 50 mins or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

For the glaze- combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla with a whisk.      Pour glaze over the cake when it comes out of the oven.    You can tilt the pan to get even distribution or use an offset spatula.     Glaze will set up in a few mins.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source "http://serveatonce.blogspot.com/2010/11/show-stealer-honeybun-cake.html"

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Next were Mounds Brownies.    Doesn't get much easier than this.  I used a Dark Chocolate Brownie mix and milk chocolate frosting, but would have preferred the dark chocolate.  Thank you Katerina!  I missed getting a photo of these, be sure to go check out the ones on her blog  :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Mounds Brownies

 Family Size (9x13) box of Dark Chocolate brownies, plus the ingredients to make them.
  5 1/3           Cups  shredded coconut
  14oz                Can  sweetened condensed milk
  1 1/2           Cups  powdered sugar
  1                Can  chocolate frosting

Make brownies according to the package directions and cool completely.

Mix together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk and powdered sugar until well combined. Spread over the brownies with an offset spatula.

Remove lid and foil topper from frosting.   Heat in the microwave in 5 second intervals until it is pouring consistency.  Pour over the brownies, spread to the edges and let set. 

Source "http://www.inkatrinaskitchen.com/2011/11/mounds-brownies.html"

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Chocolate Chip cookie are usually the big hit of the party, so I wanted to have some form of them this year.    Thank you Lori!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                    Gooey Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars

                        GOOEY CHOCOLATE FILLING:
  2               cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips
                        One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  2          teaspoons  vanilla extract
2               sticks  butter, at room temperature
  1                cup  light brown sugar
     1/2           cup sugar
  1              large  egg
  1              large  egg yolk
  1         tablespoon  vanilla extract
  2               cups flour
  1                cup  quick-cooking oats
  1           teaspoon  baking powder
  1           teaspoon  baking soda
  1           teaspoon  kosher salt
  3               cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.      

For the filling-
Combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk over low heat in a small saucepan.   Stir until melted and thickened, about 3 to 5 mins.    Remove from heat, add vanilla, stir until smooth.   Let cool.

For the dough-
Cream together butter and sugars.   Add egg, yolk and vanilla.   Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.   Add slowly to creamed mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl.   Stir in chocolate chips.

Spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment and butter it.  Pour half the cookie dough into the pan, pressing to spread it evenly.    Pour the filling over the dough and spread evenly.     Add the remaining cookie dough over the top in small pieces.  I like to use my tiny cookie scoop for this.

Bake about 20 to 25 mins or until slightly browned.     Cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted slightly from the Cookies for Kids' Cancer Cookbook) "http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/09/29/gooey-chocolate-chip-sandwich-bars-cookies-for-kids-cancer-cookbook/"

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I have a problem, and I'm admitting it here- I have a cabinet full of Jell-o.  I don't make it nearly enough to support my buying habits, but I get to the store and I see new flavors, and into the cart it goes.    One of my New Year's resolutions is to try and use up the overstock I've got going, and this recipe gave me a headstart on it  :)   Thank you to Six Sisters Stuff!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Jello Lemon Bars

  1            package  yellow cake mix- used Betty Crocker 15.25 oz + 3oz cake mix upsizer
  1                     dry package of lemon Jell-O gelatin -- (3 ounce)
  4                     eggs
     3/4           cup  water
     3/4           cup  vegetable oil
  2               cups  powdered sugar
  2                     lemons -- juiced (about 6 tablespoons)- I used the zest too.
  2        tablespoons  melted butter

Heat oven to 350.  

In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, upsizer, Jello, eggs, water and oil.    Spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray and batter.   Bake for 35 to 40 mins, or until a tester comes out clean.

For the icing, combine butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest.  

Remove cake from the oven and poke holes in it.   I used a wooden spoon, but next time I'd use a fork.   Pour icing over the hot cake.   Let cool slightly or completely.  Both ways it was delicious.

Source  "http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2014/04/jello-lemon-bars.html"

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I managed to acculumate several boxes of puff pastry.  I've been working my way through it, and this recipe caught my eye on Pinterest.   It's a little bit fussy, but there's a nice payoff.    I used lemon pie filling and seedless raspberry jam.  I only rolled my pastry out a bit and cut each sheet into 9 squares.    Thank you Jonna!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                       Puff Pastry Berry Pinwheels

  1            package  Puff Pastry Sheets -- (17.3 ounces) thawed
Lemon pie filling and seedless raspberry jam
1 egg, slightly beaten

For glaze-
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2T melted butter
Teaspoon vanilla
Milk as needed for drizzling consistency

Heat the oven to 350.   Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour your work surface.    Unfold the puff pastry gently.   Roll out slightly and cut into thirds, and then each into thirds (18 total for both sheets).

Place squares on baking sheet.   I used a 1T cookie scoop to add filling to the center.   Cut lines from the corner of the square to within 3/4" of the filling (Jonna has great pics on her blog of this).   

Brush the points with egg wash, and fold up every other one, pinching it together to seal.    Brush lightly with egg wash.   You can also sprinkle with raw sugar at this point, or glaze later.

Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown.   Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Whisk together ingredients for the glaze.   I drizzled mine on using a fork because my plastic squeeze bottles have gone missing.   You could also add it to a ziptop bag and snip the corner off, or make a paper cone. 

Source "http://www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com/puff-pastry-berry-pinwheels/"

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I've seen Christmas Crack floating around the internet for years.   So simple, so good.  Both my guys are allergic to nuts, so I topped mine with some grated Nestle Holiday Swirled Morsels.   Is it still toffee if you don't add the nuts?   I don't know, but I do know that I couldn't stop breaking little pieces off and eating it.   Thank you Julie!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                               Easy Toffee

  1                     sleeve saltine crackers
     1/2             c  butter
  1                  c  brown sugar -- packed
  1                bag  miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
 Grated Holiday Morsels

Heat oven to 350.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.   Lay out the saltines with the edges touching.  

Combine butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring.    Bring it to a boil.   Pour over the saltines carefully and spread out with an offset spatula.   Pop into the oven for 5 mins.

Sprinkle the top with the mini chocolate chips.    Let sit for a minute or so, then spread the chocolate out with your spatula.  Top with grated morsels.

Cool completely and bust into pieces.

Source "http://julieblanner.com/easy-toffee/"

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This summer we spent a warm afternoon picking blueberries at a local farm.   I froze them on cookie sheets when I got home, then moved them to ziptop bags in varying amounts.    I knew I wanted to use some of them in this recipe, but went back and forth about defrosting vs. not.    In the end, they were probably half defrosted, and the resulting bars turned out delicious.    A taste of summer in December.   

This was my last item for the day, and I was a little loopy by then.  I zested my lemons into a bowl and then juiced them on top of it.    As a result, I didn't add any lemon to the crust, but I did add both zest and juice to the filling.  Thank you Audra!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Blueberry Lemon Crumb Bars

  1                cup  sugar
  1           teaspoon  baking powder
  3               cups  flour
  2 sticks cold butter
  1                     egg
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
for the filling-
                        Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  4               cups  fresh blueberries (I used frozen, partially thawed)
     1/2           cup  sugar
  4          teaspoons  cornstarch

Heat oven to 375.   

In a food processor, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.   Add in butter in chunks and 1 egg.   Pulse until crumbly.    

Spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick spray.    Add half of the dough to the pan, pressing it lightly into place.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.   Stir in blueberries.   Pour over the crust.   Top with remaining dough, crumbling and distributing it evenly.

Bake for 40 to 50 mins or until slightly browned on top.   Cool completely.

Source "http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2011/07/blueberry-lemon-crumb-barsgiveaway-winner-announced/"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

There are just some nights when you shouldn't attempt a new recipe.   Last night was one of them, but I stubbornly clung to my planned menu.   .

My first problem- I couldn't find refrigerated hashbrowns, so I bought the frozen ones, a 30oz bag.   I eyeballed 20oz and defrosted them in the microwave.    Next issue- despite having a dozen pie pans, none of them are deep dish.   I went with a Pyrex.    When I put the crust into the oven, a major homework meltdown occurred and I was distracted and forgot to set the timer.   I am guessing that I shorted the time the crust should have baked by about 5 mins based on how long it took to cook through in the end.

In the filling, I used minced dried onion, which is the only way I can get it past the people I live with. A quick count made me realize that I couldn't use the eggs without compromising my Christmas baking, so I omitted them, along with the panko.   I meant to put Penzey's BBQ 3000 in for my 'steak seasoning', but with all the chaos I forgot.    Then there was the cheese.   I thought I'd picked up a 4 cup bag, but it was only a 2 cup.    I decided that it was more important to have the cheesy top,  so that's what I went with.   Oh and the pickles.   I'm the only one that eats them, and I meant to throw a few on my serving, but it just didn't happen.

Since I shorted the time on the crust when it was empty, it took 45 mins to get golden after I'd filled it, and the cheese on top was pretty browned.    What made it to the table was a hit, despite all the changes.   My husband had two helpings and polished off another large chunk as a midnight snack.   My son can be weird about layered foods or foods touching each other, but he ate most of what was on his plate with no complaint. 

I am not going to post my 'version' of the recipe here.   Just go to Melissa's blog.    Check out her beautiful pictures and the recipe  :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Baked Gingerbread Mini Donuts

It's beginning to look a lot like DONUTS!  :)   Struggling a bit with my Christmas spirit this year.   I decided to play some cheerful music and bake a nice treat for breakfast.   I knew I wanted donuts, but I couldn't decide on a flavor- eggnog?  peppermint?  Nope, I wanted gingerbread and I had these on my donut Pinterest board from Pinch of Yum.

No changes to this one, except that I cannot remember adding the maple syrup.  The minute I stepped into the kitchen, I was swarmed with people needing answers to urgent questions that apparently I only possess the answer to.   I know I did, the lid was off and I had a measuring spoon with remnants in it, but whether I added it to the batter or the glaze, I have no idea.    

I let the kid go a little nuts with the sprinkles.   And they turned out delicious.  It's the holidays, and calories don't count til January, right?     Thank you so much to Lindsay at Pinch of Yum for the recipe, and for helping my Grinchy heart grow three sizes today  :)
* Exported from MasterCook *

                      Baked Gingerbread Mini Donuts

  1                cup  flour
     3/4      teaspoon  baking powder
     1/4      teaspoon  baking soda
  1           teaspoon  cinnamon
     1/2      teaspoon  ginger
  1              pinch  allspice
  1              pinch  cloves
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/4           cup  brown sugar
  1                     egg
     1/4           cup  applesauce
  1         tablespoon  milk
  2        tablespoons  melted butter
  2        tablespoons  butter
     1/4           cup  brown sugar
  2        tablespoons  maple syrup
  2        tablespoons  milk
     1/2           cup  powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt.   In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, egg, applesauce, milk and melted better.   Stir the wet into the dry until just combined.    Put a gallon ziploc bag into a tall glass and open it over the sides,.  Pour the batter in and zip it closed, getting the air out.  

Spray the donut pan with nonstick spray.   Clip the tip of the ziploc bag and pipe the batter into it, going about 1/2 full.   I got 24 mini donuts.    Bake for 7 to 8 mins.    Cool on a wire rack for a minute or two, and then turn out to cool completely.

For the glaze- melt butter with brown sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan.    Slowly combine and bring to a boil.   Boil 2 minutes.     Add 1 tablespoon of the milk and the maple syrup and return to a boil.     Whisk in the powdered sugar, and add another tablespoon of milk if necessary to get dipping consistency.    Leave the pan on low heat, and stir occasionally to keep it from setting up in the pan.   

Dip each donut into the glaze, then invert it onto a wire rack.   Hit it with some sprinkles if desired. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

Apple Slab 'Pie'

So happy to be getting back into the kitchen a little.  I've been recovering from hand surgery and though I was prepared with frozen and quick fix meals, I was unprepared for how much I'd actually miss cooking.   The guys have done a great job helping out and yesterday I decided they deserved a little treat.

I've accumulated four boxes of puff pastry and had a half dozen Cortland apples, and turnovers were on my mind.    I saw this Apple Slab Pie from Natasha's Kitchen on Pinterest, and it was easy to throw together.    I know my family and took Natasha's advice about doubling it up and making both sheets of puff pastry.   My apples were a bit closer to the edges than hers, so I didn't get as nice of a puff on the pastry, but it is still delicious.   The first one disappeared very, very quickly.     I packed slices in both of the guys lunches today and will be enjoying a piece myself shortly for breakfast.  What? It's fruit, so that = breakfast, right?  I also had a little syrupy apple goodness leftover, and I packed it into a container for later use over ice cream or pancakes.    

Thank you Nastasha! Can't wait to see what other finds I can score on your blog   :)  It is dreary here today, and I'm not handling the camera so well, so be sure to swing by the blog and check out her great pics.

Apple Slab Pie

6 medium Cortlands, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/3"
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp Penzey's ground cinnamon
2 sheets Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting the board
1 beaten egg
Raw sugar

Heat oven to 400˚.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.    Add the sliced apples.   Saute in the butter until light brown, about 7 mins.    Turn the heat down to low, add in brown sugar and cinnamon.    Stirring occasionally, simmer over low heat until the apples are soft and the syrup is thickened, (about 5 to 6 mins).

Dust your rolling surface with flour.    Roll puff pastry sheet gently to approximately 9 1/2 x 10 1/2".  Cut the sheet down the center.    Repeat with other sheet.    Move two halves to a parchment lined sheet pan.  

Add apples in a line down the middle of the puff pastry, leaving a 1" border on all sides.    Pour over a little of the syrup.   Brush the edges of each with egg wash, then top with the remaining two sheets of puff pastry.     Seal the edges with your fingers.   

Cut slits in the top, about 6.   Brush the entire top with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar.    Bake for 15 to 17 mins, or until puffed and golden brown.

Source:  http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/09/30/apple-cinnamon-slab-pie/

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cheesy Garlic Crescents

I needed a side dish to go with pasta and had a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls kicking around the fridge.    I knew that I wanted to stuff them with cheese, and have seen lots of recipes around using a cheese stick.   I didn't have any on hand, so I used shredded mozzarella (part skim).    For the topping, I combined Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle and melted butter.      They came together quickly, baked up quickly and were delicious.    I did have some cheese oozing issues, so next time I may give the cheese sticks a try.   

Cheesy Garlic Crescents

Cooking spray
1 tube refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Shredded mozzarella or string cheese 
1 to 1 1/2t Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle*
3T melted butter

Preheat oven to 375º.   Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.   

Unroll the crescents and separate into triangles.   Place a string cheese stick or a large pinch of shredded mozzarella on each triangle and roll from the wide end.     Place on prepared sheet.

Stir together Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle and melted butter and brush over the top of the rolls.    Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.    

*Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle is a combination of romano cheese, garlic, green peppercorns, basil, salt and Parsley

I find it to be a little salty, so I go light and add more to taste.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jack O 'Lantern Cheeseburger Pie

This was Jake's first year not Trick Or Treating, but I still wanted to make him something special.   I spent a week or so browsing Pinterest, and this recipe from Southern Living caught my eye.    Cheesy beef in a pie crust?  I'm in  :) 

I swapped the onion for dried onion and jarred garlic instead of fresh.   I also decided to add the mustard in with the beef mixture.  He's not a huge fan and if it was visible he might have balked.    I used a sharp shredded cheddar for my cheese.   Easy, fun and the grownups enjoyed it too! 

* Exported from MasterCook *

                     Jack O' Lantern Cheeseburger Pie

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              pound  ground beef
  2T             dried minced Onion
  2t               minced jarred garlic
     3/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/2      teaspoon  pepper
     1/4           cup  ketchup
  1           teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  1            package  refrigerated piecrusts -- (15-ounce)
  1         tablespoon  yellow mustard
  3               cups  shredded sharp cheddar cheese --  divided
  2        tablespoons  water
  1              large  egg
                        Red and yellow liquid food coloring

Heat oven to 425º.   

Brown the ground beef, dried onion, garlic, salt and pepper over medium heat.   Break it up and cook until no longer pink.   Drain off excess grease.   Stir in mustard, Worcestershire and Ketchup.  Stir in 2 1/2c cheese.   Set aside to cool slightly.

Unroll the first crust onto a parchment or foil lined baking sheet.   Top with the beef mixture, leaving a 2" border.    Unroll out the second crust onto a cutting board, and "carve" your features.   I removed the whole mouth and then added back teeth with small triangles.   Carefully lift crust and place over the beef mixture, and crimp the edges.  

Combine water, egg and food coloring.   Brush over the face of the Jack O' Lantern.    spoon onto center of crust, leaving a 2-inch border.Unfold remaining piecrust, and cut out a jack-o'-lantern face, reserving pastry cutouts to use as a stem. Place crust over meat mixture; crimp edges of crust, and fold under.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.   Remove, and fill the eyes, nose and mouth with remaining cheese.  Brush with the egg mixture.    Bake another 5 to 10 mins or until desired color.  


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

We're having unseasonably warm temps in New England the last few days.   I saw this recipe on Pinterest and despite that fact that it was going to heat up the house, I couldn't resist.  

Instead of boiling the brown sugar/butter mixture on the stove, I put both into the cake pan and into the oven while it preheated.   By time I'd mixed the batter ingredients and sliced the apples, it was ready to go.    I had 2 nice sized honeycrisp, and I sliced them about 1/4" thick and overlapped them in a pretty design. 

My cake baked in exactly 50 mins, and and some point I realized that I'd forgotten to grease or spray the sides of the pan.    I got lucky, I ran a knife around the edge and I only had minor sticking.  

I did not make the whipped topping, it was a fantastic cake without it.     Thank you to Alyssa at The Recipe Critic, this one is "I don't care if it's nearly 80 degrees out, I have to bake this cake" good.  

* Exported from MasterCook *

            Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/4           cup  butter
     2/3           cup  packed brown sugar
     1/2      teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  2             medium  apples
  1 1/3           cups  all-purpose flour
  1           teaspoon  baking powder
     1/2      teaspoon  ground cinnamon
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
  1                cup  granulated sugar
     1/2           cup  butter, softened
  2                     eggs
     1/2      teaspoon  vanilla
     1/4           cup  milk
Spray a nonstick 9" cake pan (square or circular) with cooking spray.   Add butter, brown sugar and 1/2t cinnamon to the pan.   Place pan in the oven while it preheats to 325º.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, 1/2t cinnamon and salt.    Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed.  Scrape down bowl, add eggs and vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating until smooth.   

Peel and slice apples into 1/4" wedges.   Remove pan from oven and lay in apples in overlapping circles.  Spread batter evenly over the apple slices.    Bake 50 to 60 mins, until the cake tester comes out clean.   

Cool on a rack for 10 to 15 mins.   Run a knife around the edge of the pan.    Place serving plate upside down onto cake pan, and flip it over.    Leave the pan for a few seconds to let the cake release.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cider Bacon Chicken

Fall is my favorite season.   Apple picking, cider, cozy sweaters, comfort food.  But this is New England, and today summer decided to make a comeback.    I had this meal on the menu and it turned out to be the perfect choice- it tasted like fall, but was quick and easy and didn't heat the house up.  

I buy thinly sliced chicken breasts and that saved me the trouble of pounding and plastic wrap.   I only had a 1/2 cup of chicken broth, so I upped the amount of cider to make up the difference.   I used minced dried onion and dried herbs, it's what I always have on hand.    For a side, I made couscous, replacing the recommended amount of water with cider, and finishing it with some thyme.  

This was a big winner here, even my picky kid ate it and asked for seconds.    Thank you Simply Scratch for this new family favorite!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Cider Bacon Chicken Dinner

5 thin sliced chicken breasts
                        Kosher Salt
                        Ground Black Pepper
  5            pieces   Bacon -- diced
 3T minced dried onion
 3/4 teaspoon  dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage leaves
  2        tablespoons  flour
2           cups  local apple cider
  1/2  cup  chicken broth (low sodium)

Cook diced bacon in 14" deep sided skillet on medium heat until crispy.   Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook in bacon drippings until both sides are golden brown and no longer pink inside (3 to 5 mins per side).  Add to plate with bacon and cover to keep warm.   

Add cider, minced onion, thyme and sage, deglazing the bottom of the pan with a whisk.   To the broth, add flour, whisk to combine and add to the skillet.   Cook for about 6 to 8 mins, until the liquids bubble and the mixture thickens.   Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired.

Return chicken to the skillet, tossing to coat with sauce.   Plate chicken, spoon sauce over top and the sprinkle with reserved bacon.   Garnish with some additional thyme if desired.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lasagna Rolls

This is very similar to a dish I made a while back.   I changed up some of the ingredients based on what I had on hand.   Measurements are estimated, I rarely measure shredded cheeses or sauce.  I used about 1/2 of a 26 oz jar.    Italian Herb Mix from Penzey's is my go to for this type of dish, you can certainly sub Italian seasoning or your favorite blend.   This also would be great with some browned ground beef or Italian sausage! 

A lot of the pictures I see out there show the majority of the roll uncovered by sauce.   I am always afraid of winding up with crunchy pasta that way.

I ended up making sure that all of the edges were going to be covered by the sauce, and the result was perfectly cooked lasagna rolls, but not as pretty to look at lasagna rolls  :) 

* Exported from MasterCook *

                              Lasagna Rolls

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  9                     lasagna noodles -- cooked and drained
  16            ounces  ricotta cheese, part skim milk
  1              large  egg
8             ounces  mozzarella cheese -- divided
     1/4           cup  shredded parmesan cheese
 1       tablespoon  Italian Herb Mix -- divided
  2               cups  Ragú Old World Style Spaghetti Sauce -- traditional
  1         tablespoon  brown sugar

Boil noodles according to package directions, drain and let cool slightly.  Heat oven to 375.

Combine sauce, brown sugar and 1 1/2t Italian Herb Mix.  Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of your baking dish.

Combine ricotta, egg, 6oz mozzarella, parmesan, 1 1/2t Italian Herb mix in a bowl.    Lay out noodles, blot dry if necessary and spread a layer of cheese mixture on each.   Roll up and place into the baking dish.   

Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rolls.   Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.   Bake for 30 mins covered, then uncover and bake 15 mins more.   Sprinkle with parsley and allow to sit for about 5 mins before serving.

Concord Grape Jelly

We took my son out over the weekend to shoot his bow, and my husband stumbled across a treasure trove of Concord grapes.   Luckily we had a little cooler, and he filled it up pretty quickly.

I spent a while picking through, taking out the leaves, sticks, and critters, and then scurried to find a recipe.     I ended up going with this one from Sure Jell/Kraft.    It calls for a LOT of sugar, but  a good portion of the grapes we picked seemed to be underripe, so I wanted to make sure the resulting jelly was edible.

It was getting late, so I decided that I was going to get the grapes as far as juice, and then I'd complete the jam when I had some more time.      I added them to a large stockpot along with the water, mashing them with a potato masher.     It didn't take long for them to give up their juice, but I had no cheesecloth or jelly bag to strain them through.    I ended up using a very fine mesh colander, which worked, and is a total pain to clean.      I let the juice cool to room temp and then stored the whole pot in the fridge.

After a run to the store the next morning for pectin (which was not on the aisle with the jelly as the clerk suggested), I reheated the juice through and followed the recipe from there.  

* Exported from MasterCook *

                      SURE.JELL® Concord Grape Jelly

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
 3 1/2 lb. fully ripe Concord or other loose-skinned grapes) -- (need 5 cups or 1 1/4 qt. juice)
  1 1/2           cups  water
  1                box  SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
     1/2          tsp.  butter or margarine (used butter)
  7               cups  sugar -- measured into separate bowl

Start by preparing necessary equipment.    Fill canning kettle 1/2 full of water, place on stove and bring it to a simmer.      Sterilize jars and bands  (I run them through the dishwasher and leave them inside on the heated setting).    Add a small amount of hot water to a bowl and add the lids.   Leave them in the water until needed.

Pick over grapes, removing stems, leaves, etc.   Place in a large saucepan, crushing them thoroughly.   Add water and bring to a boil.     Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.     Separate juice by using a jelly bag, cheesecloth or strainer,pressing gently.    Measure 5 cups (1 1/4qt) of juice into a large stockpot.

Add pectin and stir.   If desired, add a teaspoon of butter to keep the foaming down.    On high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil.     Stir in the sugar and return to a full boil.   Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.    Take off the heat, and with a metal spoon, skim off foam.

Immediately ladle into jars, using funnel if desired.   Fill to 1/4" of the top.    Wipe the rims and threads well.    Cover with the flat lid and place the screw band on, turning until tight.   Using tongs, place into the canner.   If using a rack, elevate the rack, load it up and then lower it carefully into the water).    Make sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1 to 2".     Cover and bring the water to a gentle boil.    Process jars for 5 minutes.    Remove jars with tongs and place upright on a dish towel to cool.    Pinging and popping is normal.     Once jars are totally cool, press on the center of the lid with your finger, if it bounces, then the seal is not good and you must refrigerate or freeze that jar.


  "8 (1-cup) jars"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tiramisu Treasure Cookies

This one is a blast from the past!   I submitted these as my entry in 2007 to the Derryfest Cookie contest.   I was narrowly beat by a very common cookie, and when I realized how much 'politics' was involved in the judging, I stopped entering.   

I pouted about it for a while, and then I lost the recipe when my MasterCook program crashed.  The cookie came up in conversation today, and I put a call out on Facebook to see if anyone had saved a copy of the recipe, and my friend Lisa still had it!    The pictures aren't great, these were from a trial run and I went real light on the filling.       Thank you so much Lisa, I can't wait to make these again   :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Tiramisu Treasure Cookies

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              stick  butter -- softened
     1/2             c  powdered sugar
  1              large  egg -- beaten
     1/2             c  flour
  4                 oz  cream cheese
 3                  T  light brown sugar
     1/2             t  instant coffee
     3/4             T  dark rum
  2                  T  Cocoa powder for dusting and/or
  2                 oz  melted chocolate for drizzling

Prepare filling: Beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Dissolve instant coffee in rum and beat into cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 375º.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg, mix thoroughly. Beat in flour, mix to make a smooth batter. Spoon into pastry bag or a Ziploc with the corner cut off.  Pipe 24 rounds onto parchment lined sheets (approximately the size of a half dollar). Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool one minute on sheets, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble, pipe or spoon filling onto 12 cookies. Top with remaining cookies. Dust tops of cookies with cocoa powder for traditional tiramisu taste. Or drizzle with melted chocolate. Or both!  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies

I have been craving chocolate for a week, but we had a sudden surge in temperatures that killed any desire I had to bake.   Finally, the temps today were nice and I assembled my ingredients to make these amazing looking cookies.   FOUR kinds of chocolate?  Oh yeah, I'm in.    I doubled the recipe, cookies disappear fast around here and 17 didn't seem like a lot.     I ended up using Hershey's Special Dark chips for the dark chocolate and I didn't chop them.    I used a cookie scoop to keep them all uniform, and I flattened them with the glass after I pulled them from the oven.

So deliciously, chocolatey good.  Both myself and my husband both think they'd be fantastic as an ice cream sandwich with some vanilla bean ice cream.    Thank you so much to Averie for satisfying my chocolate craving! 

* Exported from MasterCook *

              Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
 3 sticks butter -- softened
 1 1/2           cup  light brown sugar -- packed
     1/2          cup  granulated sugar
4              large  eggs
  1T+1t    vanilla extract
  2           pkgs  instant chocolate pudding mix -- about 3.7 to 3.9 ounces
     1/2           cup  unsweetened natural cocoa powder (used Penzey's)
4              cups  all-purpose flour
  2           teaspoons  baking soda
large pinch salt -- optional (I used it, kosher)
  1 1/4 cups Hershey's Special Dark morsels (next time I'd use the whole bag)
12oz Nestle Semi Sweet Morsels

Cream together butter and sugars.   Add eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium speed about 4 mins.   Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is well mixed.   Add pudding mix and cocoa and beat together on low speed for about 1 minute, just to combine.

Scrape down sides of the bowl again.   In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and large pinch salt.    Add to pudding mixture slowly on low speed.    Add chips, and beat on low about a minute to distribute them throughout the batter.

Scoop dough onto a parchment lined sheet with a large cookie scoop ( about 1/4c).   I got 34 cookies.   Cover and chill dough for about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350º.    Bake cookies 8 at a time on parchment lined sheets for about 10 mins.  Flatten slightly with a glass when you remove them from the oven.  Let cool on sheets 10 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.    Do not overbake!  


Friday, September 19, 2014

One pot Pizza Pasta Bake

Tim keeps craving pasta, I keep craving pizza and I ran across this recipe from Damn Delicious that was going to cover both of those cravings perfectly.     My husband doesn't eat breakfast and barely eats lunch, so I wanted to make sure that dinner was sufficiently hearty enough for him.    I used the entire package of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage (19oz).   To account for the increased volume in the pan, I also added a second can of tomato sauce.   This led to increasing the spices, and I always toss in a pinch of brown sugar with any red sauce.    Life is too short to measure cheese, I just put a nice handful over the top.    After I took the dish out from underneath the broiler, I gave it a sprinkle of Penzey's Italian Herb Mix and on my own serving I used some crushed red pepper flakes.

This is easy, filling and my changes made for plenty of leftovers.   Damn Delicious is absolutely the right name for her blog and most definitely this dish.     Thank you so much Chungah!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                         One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1         tablespoon  olive oil
19             ounces  sweet Italian sausage -- casing removed
     3/4           cup  mini pepperoni -- divided
 2                cans  tomato sauce -- (15-ounce)
     1      teaspoon  dried oregano
     1      teaspoon  dried basil
     1/2      teaspoon  garlic powder
Large pinch brown sugar
  8             ounces  rotini pasta ( I didn't measure, just poured in half a box)
                        Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
  1  cup+  shredded mozzarella cheese
  1t Penzey's Italian Herb Mix (for garnish, optional)
Crushed Red Pepper flakes (optional)

Heat broiler.     Brown sausage in olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium heat for about 3 to 5 mins.   Break sausage into crumbles, and drain excess fat if needed.     Add 1/4c of pepperoni, and stir until heated through.

Add tomato sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, brown sugar, rotini and 1 1/2 cups water.   Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.    Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover.   Simmer for 13 to 15 mins or until the pasta is cooked through.     Top with mozzarella cheese and about 1/2c pepperoni.   Slide under the broiler and cook until the cheesy is melty and golden brown.     Sprinkle with Italian Herb Mix and serve. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chinese Orange Chicken

At the moment, chicken seems to be the most affordable protein out there.   We've always eaten a lot of it, but now it can be as much as 2x a week.  Unfortunately, Jake's school has seemed to come to the same conclusion, and it's on the menu there 2 to 3x a week also.  I've got zillions of chicken recipes saved, and when I went looking for a fried Chinese style dish, this one popped right up. 

Few minor changes to the ingredients- dried onions for the fresh, fresh ginger for the dried.    My orange juice had been squeezed a while back and frozen in ice cube trays, and the zest was long gone, used in another dish.   I used Penzey's dried zest instead.

I made a critical error with this, trying to save myself time-  I dipped all the chicken in the egg, then added it to a resealable bag with the cornstarch and gave it a shake.    The problem was, as the chicken sat waiting it's turn in the hot oil, the pieces all clumped together and the egg seeped through.    I had to remove them a few at a time, unclump them, and then give them another dust of the cornstarch.   This made the coating on mine very very thick and they took a little while longer to cook through. 

The end result was I loved the entire dish, sauce and chicken.   My husband thought the sauce was good and the chicken coating was too heavy.    Jake ate the chicken, tried a tiny bit of the sauce and declined to use it (not surprising though, he doesn't like many sauces).     I definitely would make this again for a Saturday date day meal.      I had the leftovers for lunch today and it reheated well.

Thank you so much to Jaclyn at Cooking Classy for this great meal.  Be sure to go check out her photos, and the rest of her site, I've got at least 10 more recipes on my to-try list from there.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Chinese Orange Chicken

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/2            lbs  boneless skinless -- chicken breast halves, diced into 1 - 1 1/2-inch pieces
  1                cup  low-sodium chicken broth
  1               Tbsp  finely grated orange zest (used Penzey's dried)
     1/2           cup  freshly squeezed orange juice- used storebought
     1/3           cup  white vinegar
     1/4           cup  soy sauce
     2/3           cup  granulated sugar
     1           tsp  fresh grated ginger
1Tablespoon dried Penzey's minced onion
  2             cloves  garlic -- finely minced- used jarred
  1                tsp  Sriracha hot sauce (optional- I used it)
                        Freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
  1 1/4           cups  + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  2               Tbsp  cold water
  2              large  eggs
                        vegetable oil -- for frying

Combine broth, orange zest, juice, vinegar, soy sugar, ginger, onion garlic, hot sauce and fresh black pepper to a medium saucepan.   Whisk to combine.   Place chicken into a resealable bag.   Remove 2/3c of sauce ingredients from saucepan and pour over the chicken.   Push all the air out of the bag, seal and then squish the chicken around to distribute the marinade evenly.    Refrigerate for 30 mins. 

Heat remaining sauce over medium heat until it just reaches a boil, stirring frequently.   Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water.   Stir into the sauce mixture.   Reduce the heat and cook about 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until sauce is thickened.    Take the sauce off the heat.

Heat 2" oil for frying in a large dutch oven to 350 degrees.   In a cake pan, beat eggs until well blended.   In a second cake pan, add 1 1/4c cornstarch.    Drain and discard marinade from chicken.  Dip about 1/3 of the chicken pieces into the egg, dredge in the cornstarch and then fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown.   Let drain on towel lined platter.    Repeat with the remainder of the chicken.      Toss chicken with sauce in a large bowl until well coated.    

Source:  "http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/02/chinese-orange-chicken/"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Meals have been a challenge since my son started back to school.   I think we've finally gotten into a groove now, going over the school lunch menu and my home menu and making sure there is some variety.    This week's menu had been planned, but wasn't quite right when my friend Sue shared she'd be making these Cheeseburger Quesadillas for dinner.     That was my missing piece!  

A few tweaks.    I had a little over a pound of ground beef.    The guys will not eat real chopped onion, so I used Penzey's dried and added to the beef while it cooked.    The recipe doesn't say to drain off the grease, but I did since mine had a pretty high fat content (85/15).     I used real bacon, microwaved til crisp.  

When the hamburger mixture was complete, it was a lot.   I ended up doing two large quesadillas, and plan on freezing the leftovers for a quick lunch or snack.     I did not bake mine in the oven, I heated 2 griddle pans and lightly buttered them.    I browned them with a weight on them, and when they were golden, gave them a flip to do the other side. 

They looked amazing, tasted great and when I asked my husband what he thought, he seemed confused.   He said that they good, I'd made them before.   I insisted he was nuts.   I took a look back, and it is somewhat similar to these Cheeseburger Wraps.     Oh well.  

Thanks to Sue for the inspiration and to Nicole for the recipe!  

* Exported from MasterCook *

                         Cheeseburger Quesadillas

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1.25               lb.  ground beef
  1            tablespoon Penzey's minced dried onion
  2              tbsp.  Worcestershire Sauce
     1/4            c.  ketchup (eyeballed, I hate measuring ketchup)
     4 slices cooked, chopped bacon
                        Pepper to taste
  2               tsp.  onion powder
  2               tsp.  garlic powder
  4   c.  sharp cheddar cheese
  4              large  soft flour tortillas
Butter to coat the pans

Brown ground beef and dried minced onion in a skillet over medium high heat until no longer pink.   Drain grease, and cook for another minute or so.     Add the worcestershire, ketchup, chopped bacon, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.   Stir and simmer for about 5 mins.  

Heat 2 flat griddle pans or large skillets over medium heat.   Melt about a teaspoon of butter in each.    Layer tortilla, 1/2c cheese, 1/2 of the ground beef mixture, another 1/2c of cheese, then a tortilla on each pan.    Weigh it down (I've got heavy cast iron presses).   Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until golden brown.   Remove weights, spread a little butter on top tortilla and then carefully flip.    Cook until the second side is golden brown and all the cheese is melted.   Move to a cutting board, slice with a pizza wheel and serve.

Source "http://bsugarmama.com/cheeseburger-quesadillas/"