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/"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous

My uncle's garden is going gangbusters with the tomatoes this year.    I've been looking forward to the start of school and being able to fix myself nice light lunches.    A little while back I made some Citrus Couscous and I froze the leftovers.    Combined with some ideas from a recipe from the Florida Tomato Committee, it made for a perfect meal!

My couscous already had the herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper.   I don't have mint, so that was omitted.     I drizzled the inside with sriracha and olive oil, and next time I'd put a drizzle over the top as well.    I mixed the citrus couscous with some minced jarred garlic, the tomato pulp and orange bell pepper, diced very small.   After it was well combined, I filled the tomato shell and enjoyed my lovely lunch!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                      Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
6            large  tomatoes
  1  tablespoon  olive oil
Drizzle of Sriracha

 Citrus couscous
  1T minced jarred garlic
1/4           cup  finely chopped orange bell pepper
 1/2        tablespoon  olive oil
additional dried chives for garnish

Prepare Citrus Couscous as directed, chill.

Cut a 1/2 inch slice off the top of each tomato from the stem end. Discard seeds, remove pulp with a spoon, and chop pulp into small pieces. Set pulp aside for the filling. Lightly sprinkle tomato shell with salt and place upside down on a cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes to drain its liquid. Mix together olive oil, and Sriracha sauce.  Turn tomato shells upright and drizzle them with olive oil mixture.

When couscous is cold, toss with peppers, reserved tomato pulp, olive oil, and garlic.    Add additional salt and pepper if desired.    . Spoon filling into each prepared tomato shell.  Sprinkle with dried chives if desired.

  "Florida Tomato Committee"

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Citrus Couscous

  1 1/4 cups  water
     3/4 cup uncooked couscous
     1T dried chives
1 tablespoon dried parsley (divided)
  2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan,  bring water to a boil.   Slowly stir in couscous.  Remove from heat.   Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.    Stir in the remaining ingredients, reserving a little parsley for sprinkling on top after it's plated. 


  "4 "

Caramel Glazed Apple Bread

Summer has wound down, school has been in session here for over a week.   The temperatures are still high, but that is not deterring my craving for fall foods.    For lots of people, it's all about pumpkin everything, but for me, it means apples.   I follow my favorite orchard on Facebook and countdown to opening day and wait patiently for my favorite varieties to be ready.      We made an impromptu stop by there last and came home with a beautiful bag of Jersey Macs.   Most got eaten as is, but there were 3 lonely ones left and I thought I'd bake them into something.

A quick search of my Pinterest boards gave me this one from Pass the Sushi.    Absolutely perfect, I had all the ingredients on hand.     I only made one substitution, omitting the nuts, due to allergies.   Sometimes I replace them with some crushed up Rice Krispies to make up the volume, but this time I let it go.   

My second 8x4 pan seems to have disappeared, so I ended up using one 9x5 and one 8x4.    The 8x4 I tested and pulled at about 35 mins and the 9x5 at about 45 mins.     The smaller loaf was virtually gone before bedtime, just one end on the plate.    I threatened lives if anyone broke into the other loaf before I got pictures and was told, take them fast!   LOL    

This is a great bread and I'll definitely be making it again during apple season and stashing some in the freezer.     Thank you so much to Kita @PasstheSushi for this fantastic recipe!   Be sure to go and check out her blog for more great finds!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Caramel Glazed Apple Bread

  1 1/2           cups  shredded peeled baking apples (used 3 medium Jersey Macs)
  1                cup  packed brown sugar
     1/2           cup  buttermilk
     1/2           cup  vegetable oil
  4                     eggs -- lightly beaten
  3               cups  AP flour
     1/2           cup  chopped pecans (omitted)
  2          teaspoons  baking soda
  2          teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  1           teaspoon  salt
  1           teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  2        tablespoons  butter or margarine
     1/4           cup  packed brown sugar
  1         tablespoon  milk
     1/2           cup  powdered sugar -- sifted

Preheat oven to 350 and spray the bottoms only of 2 8x4 pans with cooking spray.   

Shred apples into large bowl and add the brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs and oil.   Stir to combine, but only until the ingredients are moistened- do not overmix!   Pour into prepared pans.   Bake for 45 to 55 mins or until cake tests clean.    Cool about 10 mins before loosening loaf from sides of the pan with a knife.   Remove to rack to cool completely. 

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.    Stir in brown sugar.    Stir constantly and bring to a boil.   Continuing stirring on low heat for 2 mins.     Add milk, and return to boiling.     Pull off heat and let cool for about 30 mins.  Slowly stir in powdered sugar until it's smooth and able to drizzle.   Add additional milk in 1/2t increments if needed.    Drizzle over loaves. 

Source: http://passthesushi.com/caramel-glazed-apple-bread

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cheesy Crispy Potato Skins

Confession time-  I've never baked a potato from start to finish in the oven.    Either I fail to plan ahead, or I'm too impatient, or in the case of yesterday, it's just too darn hot.    Summer weather has returned to NH, and the AC was working overtime.    The thought of cooking outside with the sun and the humidity didn't appeal to me either.  I pulled some chicken tenderloin strips from the freezer because they'd cook quickly.     I looked through my potato side dishes, and this one cooked for the same amount of time and temperature as the chicken dish I was making.

I had smallish potatoes, so I used 6.   I microwaved them until they were cooked through and then scooped out the insides as directed.    I subbed dried chives for the green onions and dried parsley.    I filled the potatoes and put them on a foil lined sheet.   In addition to the cheese inside, I sprinkled some over the top before putting them into the oven to bake.

I thought these were a nice spin on the potato skin, my husband thought they needed bacon (he thinks everything needs bacon).    I served them with some more sour cream.     Thanks to Katerina at Diethood for this fantastic recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                   Cheesy Crispy Potato Skins

  6 small russet potatoes
                        salt and fresh ground pepper -- to taste
     1/3           cup  sour cream (used light)
 1T dried chives
  3        tablespoons  fresh parsley (used dried)
     1/4           cup  shredded fiesta blend cheese, plus more for topping
     1/4           cup  shredded parmesan cheese
     1/3           cup  shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  2               cups  caesar croutons -- crushed, divided

Heat oven to 375.  Scrub potatoes well and pierce all over with a fork.   Microwave on high heat until the potatoes are cooked through.   Cool slightly, then cut potatoes in half.    Scoop the insides into a bowl, leaving about 1/4" inside the shell.     Mash together with the sour cream, chives, parsley, salt, pepper, cheeses and 1 cup of the croutons.    Fill shells with mixture, then sprinkle with some reserved crouton crumbs and cheese.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.