Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Stroganoff

Do you have any leftover cranberries? If you do, or before they leave the store for the season, you must try this recipe. It's melt-in-your-mouth amazing. It's this perfect combination of sweet and sour. You may think that beef with cranberries sounds strange...but then you need to change your thinking. It'll become a tradition every year. Cutting the cranberries is slightly labor intensive but a  necessary step so give the right flavor. I served this over mashed potatoes because it sounded really good. But you could also use noodles and do more of a traditional stroganoff.I adapted this recipe from Cooking During Stolen Moments.

1/2 bag of cranberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of bottom round steaks or cubed beef for stew (I used beef that was cubed at the store)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 container of mushrooms
1 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
mashed potatoes or noodles

Cut the cranberries in half. Toss with the brown sugar and flour. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the butter in a stock pot. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours (to make the beef melt in your mouth tender). 

Stir in the cranberry mixture. Cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grandpa Wahlen's Breakfast

This breakfast is amazing! It'll be a family tradition for sure. My Grandpa use to make this for us, hence the name. I personally, like to use maple flavored sausage, but you could use any type you like. Maple is my favorite because I love the flavor it adds. It tastes delicious with any other flavors too, just not as yummy. It comes together really quickly too. While the sausage cooks, I put all the rest together and then add the sausage at the end. So it's perfect for a busy morning when you want something quick.

1 pound sausage
1 - 8oz cream cheese
1 regular size ricotta cheese
9 eggs, well beaten
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 container of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook the sausage. While it's cooking, combine the cheeses and mix well. Stir in the eggs and baking powder. Add the mushrooms and cooked sausage, stir gently. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese (as much as you like) as soon as you remove it from the oven. Give the cheese a few minutes to melt and then enjoy! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Candy Cane Shortbreads

Ohhhh, these cookies are amazing! They are the most favorite of all the cookies I made for this year's Goodie Plates. Maybe because I'm slightly bias towards peppermint and mint, but really, they are melt in your mouth yummy. I got this recipe from the Cooking During Stolen Moments blog and I'm one happy girl for finding it. Although, I think she called them snowballs - but mine didn't turn out like balls at all. So I figured they needed a new name. I was worried they would be too pepperminty, but they aren't at all. It's a perfect mixture. You know you want some. So go ahead and make some!

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box of peppermint candy canes, crushed - set 1/2 cup aside for the top
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 - 3 Tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the powdered sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, peppermint extract and egg. Mix until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix well. Stir in the remaining crushed candy canes, just until mixed.

Place by the teaspoon on cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Cool completely before frosting.

Once the cookies are cooled, mix the powdered sugar with enough milk to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over the top of each cookie. Then sprinkle the cookie with crushed candy canes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Frosting

I searched everywhere for a good Eggnog cookie recipe. When I made this one (I found it on goodcooks.com), and tried it, the dough had the most amazing flavor. The first batch I made was delicious! Then I doubled them to use for my Christmas Goodie plates, and they lost some of their flavor. So, when you make these, don't double them. The flavor is soooo much better in a single batch.

1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks, mix until combined. Add the nutmeg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until just combined - do not overmix.

Drop by the teaspoonful on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown. Cool completely before frosting.

EGGNOG FROSTING

1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup eggnog
4+ cups of powdered sugar

Cream the butter. Add vanilla, eggnog and enough powdered sugar to form a thick frosting. Once cookies are completely cooled, frost.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cuckoo Cookies

 These are a favorite cookie from my childhood. We had these every Christmas growing up. I have no idea why they are called Cuckoo Cookies, I've seen them named many other things, but I'm keeping the name. For these cookies, you will bake them almost all the way, add a marshmallow and then continue baking. So I have a couple of tips. First, don't let the marshmallow get too brown, or it will melt and loose the yummy marshmellowness. Second, if the cookies are overcooked, shorten the time before adding the marshmallow. Other than that, they come together quickly and disappear quickly around my house.

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 bag of large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non stick cooking spray. Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the milk alternately with the flour, soda, salt and cocoa. Mix well.

Drop on the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 6 minutes. Top each cookie with 1/2 a large marshmallow, pressing gently. Return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the marshmallows are slightly brown. Cool completely, then top with glaze.

GLAZE
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
6 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons hot water

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until completely combined. Glaze the top of each cookie. Then don't eat too many!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Easy-Chaquesy Turtles

My sister discovered these last year and she loved them. So, of course, I had to try them out this year. Funny thing is, I do NOT like pecans (or walnuts for that matter) but I actually liked this little babies. I grew up with an amazing Mom who made her own turtles, including making caramel from scratch, hand dipping each one - let's just say delicious beyond words. I dream of one day making my own but that will have to happen once I don't work all day long. Until then, these little guys are easy, quick and quite yummy.

2 bags of rolos
1 bag of pretzels (I used square pretzels, you could also use the traditional shape)
1 bag of pecans

Bake the pecans in a 350 degree oven until you can smell them cooking. That takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. While they are cooling, fill a cookie sheet with pretzels, in a single layer. Place an unwrapped rolo on each pretzel. Put in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the chocolate starts to shine. Immediately place a walnut on top of each rolo, pressing lightly. Let them cool completely before removing them from the pan. Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate Blossoms with Candy Cane and Mint Kisses

This year for Christmas cookies I decided to make all new cookies. Well, new meaning they would work great for Goodie Plates and the recipe wasn't on my blog yet. Every year, for Christmas, I make peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses but this year I put a little twist on it. Chocolate cookies with candy cane kisses and mint kisses. Yummy! This recipe does require the dough to refrigerate, so plan some extra time.

2/3 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
mint and candy cane kisses

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and water. Stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Add the egg. Stir in the flour and baking soda until combined. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough is ready to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop the dough by Tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes. The cookies will come out puffy and as they cool, they will settle down. Wait to put the kisses on until the puffy has gone down but the cookies are still warm. If you put the kisses on too soon, they melt to small puddles on the cookies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

My hubbie LOVES cheesecake. And we had a little cousin get-together, which in my mind is a great excuse to bring something yummy to eat. And there is no way I'm going to make an entire cheesecake for just me and my hubbie to eat, so time to pass the calories onto to the rest of the family! Although this cheesecake is easy and quick to prepare, the cooking time, cooling time and refrigeration time makes this process a long one. Make this baby at least a day ahead of when you need it or start first thing in the morning.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 - 8oz packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 oz sour cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
11 oz package Reese's peanut butter chip and milk chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon shortening (not butter)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, going 1 1/2 inches up the side. Bake for 8 minute. Cool slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 340 degrees. Beat the cream cheese, the remaining 1 cup of sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add the sour cream and beat on low until blended. Add the eggs and blend just until combined. Do not overbeat. Pour two cups of the filling into the prepared crust.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the chips for the drizzle. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cup of chips evenly over the filling in the pan. Carefully spoon the remaining filling over the chips.

Bake about 1 hour or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven. Using a knife, loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan. Cool on a wire rack for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and cool for 1 hour.

Combine the shortening and reserved 1/4 cup chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to heat in 15 second increments, stirring each time, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

We love shrimp at our house and I'm a fan of risotto so why not combine the two? And the flavor is amazing because you make your own shrimp broth that adds the greatest taste to the dish. Stir in some peas, one of my favorite veggies, and you've got an amazing meal. You have definitely got to try this if you like shrimp.

1 pound of medium shrimp (peeled and deveined, but with the tail on)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup cooking sherry
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Put the shrimp, water, chicken broth, parsley and oregano in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the shrimp and pull their tails off.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and saute for 2 minutes. Do not allow the rice to brown. Deglaze the pan with the cooking sherry, stirring until the liquid evaporates. Add 1/2 cup of the warm shrimp stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time until all the stock is used and rice is tender. This takes about 20 - 25 minutes.

Stir in the peas and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more, or until hot. Stir in the salt, cayenne, and cheese. And then enjoy the mouthwatering yumminess!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Malted Milk Bars

I was expecting a very different taste when I made these squares. I don't know what it was. I guess I thought using malted milk powder would make the squares taste like malted milk balls. But it didn't. I took these to a cousin weekend. We all thought it had a different flavor then we expected, but we couldn't stop eating them. I'm not trying to turn you off, they are quite delicious, just expect something a little different when you eat them. And then eat some more. And then go back for thirds.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 carton of malted milk balls

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the flour, malted milk powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Press evenly onto the bottom of a 9 inch square pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Immediately scatter the chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften, then spread them evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the malted milk balls over the top. Cool completely before serving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ice Cream Peach Pie

My sister and her amazing family came to drop their daughter off at college. I love any excuse to cook and 8 extra mouths doesn't scare me. Typically, when trying to impress company (even family) I go for dessert with some type of chocolate involved. But not this time. Peaches and ice cream all wrapped up in a pie sounded too good to pass up. And even my sister said she usually doesn't love dessert if it doesn't involve chocolate. But she loved this. And so will you!

2 cups ground macaroon cookies
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups finely chopped peaches (I left the skin on and you couldn't tell when you ate it)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a springform pan with non-stick spray.

Combine the crushed cookies, sugar and butter. Press into the prepared pan, going 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

After 2 hours, drain the juice into another bowl and return the peaches to the refrigerator.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time and whisk until completely blended. Pour in the cream and milk, whisk to blend. Add the peach juice and blend.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Just before the ice cream is done, add the peaches.

Wrap the springform pan with tin foil (the ice cream will leak a little). Pour the soft ice cream over the cooled crust and spread evenly. Immediately put in the freezer and let freeze for 4 or more hours. Make sure the ice cream is completely set before serving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Surprise

 Happy Thanksgiving!! I am not a fan of pumpkin pie - at all. But Pumpkin Surprise is melt in my mouth amazing. This is the dessert you make for anyone and everyone who doesn't like pumpkin pie. And I posted it soon enough you can still make it for your big feast today. I was introduced to it back in college. We had a potluck dessert meeting for one of my classes and a classmate brought this. I've made it every year since then. Thank you to whoever you are that gave me this recipe!

1 yellow or white cake mix (I've used both successfully and couldn't tell the difference)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 30oz can pumpkin pie mix (not the plain pumpkin)
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Take out 1 cup of the cake mix and set aside. With the remaining cake mix, combine with 1/2 cup melted butter. Add 1 egg and mix until smooth. Spread in the prepared pan. Set aside.

Mix the pumpkin pie mix with the milk and 2 eggs. Pour into the pan.

Mix the 1 cup of cake mix (that was set aside) with the sugar, butter and cinnamon. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over the pumpkin mixture. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can't go through this time of year without pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Seriously! I think it would break a law somewhere, somehow. This is my favorite recipe I have found and tried through the years. My friend Christiana gave it to me after I sank my tastebuds into the amazingness of her cookies. They always turn out perfect for me and have the perfect pumpkin flavor. So enjoy!

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cup plain pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips (okay, I'll be honest - I use an entire bag)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the brown sugar and shortening. Add the eggs. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg until well blended, the dough will be crumbly. Add the pumpkin and mix until completely blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by the Tablespoonful onto non-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 or 8 minutes, or until small cracks form on the top.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Layer Cake

 Looking for some amazing pumpkin recipes for Thanksgiving?? I have some great recipes this week to share with you. So check back if this one isn't your style.

YUMMY! I forgot how delicious this cake is. It's perfect for this time of year too. The only thing I wish I would have done instead, that I did last time I made this cake, is ice only the middle and the top. Then melt caramels and drizzle it over the top so it runs down the sides. Not only does it look beautiful, but the caramel really brings out the pumpkin flavor.

1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray. 

Stir the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Add the pumpkin, mix until well combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes and then remove from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Then frost.


BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
6 cups powdered sugar

Blend together until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if needed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Southwestern Cream of Chicken Soup

I love soup. I mean, really love soup. I would eat it all the time, at least multiple times per week, but then my hubbie might not stay married to me. He is not a soup fan. It's a shame. But as long as I have yummy bread or something to go with it, and don't serve it too often, he never complains. With this soup, I gave him tortilla chips (one of his most favorite foods ever) and he was one happy man! Yeah for soup!

1 Tablespoon butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
6 Tablespoons flour, divided
3 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup quick cooking white rice
3 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I totally used canned chicken - I work full time)

Melt the butter in a large stockpot. Stir in the bell pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the peppers soften, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in 3 Tablespoons of the flour to coat the vegetables, cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the rice and simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine the cheese and the remaining flour in a resealable plastic bag, toss to coat. Add the cheese, one handful at a time, stirring to melt completely before adding the next handful. Add the chicken, cook for 3 - 5 minutes more. Enjoy with bread or tortilla chips!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lemon Streusel Bars

I made these little guilty pleasures when my hubbie's family was in town. They were gone by breakfast! Or was it before we went to bed that night?? Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. There was a constant flow of people heading to the kitchen to get another bite or two all night long. Or was that just me headed back again and again? I think I'm going to have to add these to my menu this week.

1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 cups (12oz package) white chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats (you can use regular or quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon shortening (not butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray.

Combine the condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon peel. Measure out 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup white chips; set aside. Add the remaining white chips to the lemon mixture. Set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Set aside 1 2/3 cups of the oat mixture. Add the egg to the remaining oats mixture, blending until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Gently spoon the lemon mixture on top, spreading evenly.

Add the reserved 1/3 cup white chips to the reserved oat mixture. Sprinkle over the lemon layer, pressing down lightly.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Place the remaining 1/4 cup white chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the top. Once they are cool, cut into squares and then give them all to your neighbors. That way you won't eat them all by breakfast.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheesy Spinach

I'm always on the look out for new things to try with veggies. I'll admit, I totally need to eat more but sometimes veggies can be a little boring. And, even though I love squash, I can only get my hubbie to eat it so many times in a row. Then I was cleaning, or more organizing, my freezer and I found some frozen spinach. Hmmm...wonder what I originally bought that for? Well, I couldn't remember and my thoughts kept going to spinach artichoke dip. Well, that wasn't going to work for dinner, so I came up with this instead.

1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups cheese (I used Jack cheese)
1 - 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest, salt, and cayenne
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 2 cup baking dish with non-stick spray.

Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer the sauce for 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, a little at a time, until it melts and becomes smooth. Remove from the heat.

Add the spinach, Parmesan, zest, salt and cayenne. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Top the spinach with the mixture, pressing them to adhere. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nutter Butter Ice Cream

Arctic Circle, a fast food restaurant, has these Nutter Butter shakes that are to die for. But then they stopped making them. Rude! So I made my own version at home. I must admit, it wasn't as yummy, but we are comparing hard ice cream to soft serve that Arctic Circle had. The recipe is still totally worth sharing though.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
crushed Nutter Butter cookies

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended. Take out about 1 cup of the mixture and whisk the peanut butter into it. Add the peanut butter mixture to the first mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the crushed cookies. Add as many as you like. That's how it rolls around here at least!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta

I could not take a good picture of this dish to save my life. Too many colors and items all mixed together. But, it does not taste too busy, it's yum, yum, yummy! And a great way to eat some delicious veggies. Pancetta is Italian bacon and can be found in the deli. If you can't find it, you can easily substitute bacon in its place.

12 ounces of fettuccine or penne (I used tri-colored fettuccine)
3 ounces of pancetta
1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 Tablespoon basil

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to some paper towels to drain. Add the asparagus to the skillet, saute for 3 minutes. Add the peas and garlic, saute until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add all ingredients together and toss to coat evenly. Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mini Cream Puffs

I forgot how easy cream puffs are to make. They seem so intricate and fancy to me. Not easy, whip up in just a few minutes. But trust me, they are. I prefer to fill cream puffs with pudding. To speed prep time up this time, I used box pudding, but, personally, I think they are even better with homemade pudding. I pipe the pudding into the puffs, rather than cut the top off and fill them. You can buy an injector attachment in the same place as decorating tips and then it's a snap to fill each one.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Turn the heat to low.

Stir in all the flour at one time, cooking over low heat, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. This takes about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth and velvety. Drop by scant teaspoons (the amount of dough should be quite small) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before filling. Once the puffs are filled, freeze until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cookie Monster Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

I just can't handle all of this adorable-ness!! These cookies turned out so cute and were loved, loved, loved at the birthday party. And the best part?? My hubbie decorated each and every one of them. Sugar cookies really are so versatile and can be made into pretty much anything. When I was thinking of what desserts I could make and incorporate the Cookie Monster theme, these cookies just had to be made. Plan in advance for these cookies though. They take one hour of refrigeration and the time of rolling out and cutting.

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 cup of sour cream with 1 teaspoon of baking soda stirred into it
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
5 1/2 cups flour
buttercream frosting (recipe below)
mini marshmallows

Cream the butter, shortening, sugars and sour cream until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough onto a flour surface and cut with a circle cookie cutter. (I actually used a glass as my cookie cutter!) Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely before decorating.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 sticks of butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
blue and black coloring - the gel kind

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Make 2/3 of the frosting blue. Make the rest black.

Cover each cookie in blue frosting. Immediately push two mini marshmallows onto the cookie for eyes. Dot each marshmallow with black frosting to make googly eyes. Continue using the black frosting to make a mouth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Snicker Cookies

Don't ever make these cookies. They are just too delicious. They were the first thing gone at the birthday party. And when I say gone, I mean in the first few minutes. They are simple to make yet so sinfully wonderful. They just take one extra step - once you have the dough for one cookie, you wrap it around a mini Snicker candy. Then you bake it just like normal. Easy, quick and oh-so-amazing.

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 bag of mini Snicker candy

Unwrap all the Snicker candy. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients, except the candy, until completely combined. Take enough dough to make one cookie and wrap it around one Snicker candy. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. And then don't eat any. Not one. Cause you won't stop.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mini Cookie Monster Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Aren't these little guys adorable! I used this recipe to make the Cookie Monster head for the cake, and the left over batter for these guys. I experimented with different ways to do the icing and found that starting in the middle and circling out was my favorite. You could either use black icing for a mouth or use cookies. Since I had leftover vanilla wafers from the cheesecakes, I used those. They were a huge hit at the birthday party.

1 1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
buttercream frosting (recipe below)
mini vanilla wafers (or you can use black frosting for the mouths)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time. Add the oil and buttermilk, mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until combined.

Pour into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 17 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean.

Cool completely before decorating.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 sticks of butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
coloring, if desired

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Separate the frosting and make 2/3 of it blue, half of what is left white and the remaining black.

Starting in the middle and circling outward, cover each cupcake in blue frosting. Then put two small mounds of white frosting for the eyes. And top it off with two black dots for the googly eyes. Break a mini vanilla wafer in half and push into the cupcake for a mouth or make a mouth from black frosting.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

These little cheesecakes are wonderful!! They whip together super fast and melt in your mouth. The only problem is, once you eat one, you keep on eating them. And honestly, I'm not a huge fan of heavy tasting cheesecake. There has to be some other kind of flavor with the cheesecake. But these little guys, I could eat them plain the flavor is so wonderful. But then top it with yummy pie filling and it gets even better.

2 - 8oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can of pie filling
3 dozen mini vanilla wafers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the mini cupcake papers in the muffin tins. Place one mini vanilla wafer in each paper.

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Fill each tin almost full and bake for 15 minutes.

While still hot, top with a dollop of pie filling. I used cherry and blueberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cookie Monster Cake

Be prepared for LOTS of dessert recipes coming your way. I did a dessert buffet for a birthday party with 100 guests. The theme was Cookie Monster. I just love the way the cake turned out. Especially since I originally wasn't suppose to make the cake. I got a call about an hour before the party was starting, so I improvised. The sheet cake is from Costco because there was no way I could make a cake that big and be ready in time. But I did the entire top and that is what makes it so cute!

For this cake I used a vanilla cake recipe, but you could use any flavor. (I have several choices on my blog.) After making the batter I poured it into a Big Top Cupcake pan and baked it according to the pan's directions. You will not use all the batter for the big cupcake. Use what is leftover to make mini cupcakes. You will need them for Cookie Monster's arms.

While it was cooling I made Buttercream Frosting and colored it with blue gel. The liquid food coloring won't give you the right color. Make a small amount of the frosting black.

Put the bottom of the big cupcake on a plate. Spread the top with buttercream frosting and place the top layer of the cupcake on top. Cover the entire cupcake with the buttercream. Using a fork, gently pull the buttercream up, creating a hair-like look. Place in the fridge so the buttercream will set. (I did it this way because with white frosting on the cake and a darker colored frosting, you only have one chance. If you drop some of the blue on the cake, you have to redo the white frosting.)

Once the frosting is set, gently move the cupcake to the top center of the sheet cake. It shouldn't be right in the middle but slightly higher. Place mini cupcakes along the sides to form the arms. (This may sound silly, but if you used cupcake papers, make sure you remove them BEFORE placing the cupcakes on the cake!) This required us to cut some of the cupcakes to get the right shape. Cover the cupcakes in the buttercream, making the fingers out of frosting. Using a fork, gently pull the buttercream up to create the hair-like look.

Cut the head to make a mouth, filling with black frosting. Put a small amount of frosting on the back of two marshmallows, adhere to the head for eyes. Using black frosting, make googly eyes on the marshmallows. Put some cookies in Cookie Monster's mouth and around his hands. My hubbie did this part and he put cookie pieces and crumbs around Cookie Monster, which was perfect! Now Cookie Monster always ate chocolate chip cookies but with such a time crunch, I used what I had - little oreos.


Place cookies around the side of the cake and write the birthday message on the cake.

This cake was SO white ( I would have make the frosting a color if I had time to make it myself) that we continued to decorate and dull the overwhelming whiteness. We placed more cookies and then crushed cookies and sprinkled them over the top.

And wha-la! A marvelous Cookie Monster Cake!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cookie Monster Birthday Party

Last weekend I baked my little heart out for a dessert buffet for a 1st birthday party. There were 100 planned guests and the super fun Cookie Monster theme. It was SO fun!! This is the end result. (Click on the name of the food to be directed to the recipe.)

Here is the Cookie Monster Birthday Cake! Didn't it turn out so cute?
The entire cake was a team effort. I created Cookie Monster's head and Brian did the hands and all the cookie decorations. I think we are pretty amazing!!

This is the amazing spread on the dessert buffet. You know you want to dive in!
The middle had Homemade Oreo cookies with Cookie Monster blue frosting, Mini Cheesecakes and Mini Cookie Monster cupcakes.
These cupcakes were not only adorable...they were delicious too! And so easy to make. I actually just used the leftover batter from the Cookie Monster head for the cake.
Any good dessert spread must have something chocolate. And who can turn down Sheet Cake Brownies?
This tray was filled to the brim with Peanut Butter Snicker cookies and Jubilee Jumbles.
We needed a little more Cookie Monster in the spread, so I made Cookie Monster Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. Well, I made the cookies and my hubbie decorated every single one of them! I just tinted frosting blue, and black and used marshmallows for the eyes.
And topped everything off with Mini Cream Puffs.Everything turned out great and I loved baking my heart out! Give me an excuse, and I'm in heaven. I LOVE this kind of stuff!! And I'm totally available for your next event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Root Beer Baked Beans


My sister, Wendy, and her family were here visiting and I, of course, invited them over for dinner. And then I turned them into guinea pigs. I love trying new things and usually am not afraid to try them when people are over. So for this dinner I just had to try beans made in root beer. As I was mixing all the ingredients together, I wondered if these beans could really look like baked beans because they were white. But my fears were wasted and we all enjoyed some delicious baked beans.

4 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 ½ cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 15-ounce can cannellini beans (they are the white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups root beer
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons molasses
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the bacon in an ovenproof pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Add the onions to the pot, cook until just beginning to brown (about 8 minutes). Add garlic and stir. Add the beans, root beer, vinegar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the bacon and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mint Chocolate Pie

My friend, Karey, sent me this recipe that she got from Better Homes and Gardens. I am so glad that she did. It's so yummy! I took it to work for a meeting, and we ate the entire pie. At first we all got one piece, and then another and another. But who doesn't LOVE chocolate and mint?? It's perfect to make when your time is limited and you still want to impress.

1 1/2 cups milk
1 package (3.9oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 3/4 cups whipped topping
1 - 4.67 oz Andes candies, chopped (or you can buy the pieces in the chocolate chip section)
1 chocolate crumb crust
1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Whisk the milk and pudding for 2 minutes. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes. Fold in 3/4 cup of the whipped topping and 3/4 cup of the candies. Spoon into the crust. Fold the extract into the remaining whipped topping. Spread over the pudding and sprinkle with the remaining candy. Let set for 4 hours.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Orange Glazed Carrots

These carrots are so amazingly delicious! And this is coming from a non-carrot fan. You would think that orange and carrot don't go together, but then you have never tried these carrots. I got this recipe from my friend, Crystal, who brought these to me for dinner one night. Friends are the best! I honestly only ate them to be polite and then I LOVED them! We have enjoyed them several times since in our house.

1 pound baby carrots
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel (much yummier if you use fresh)
1/8 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon

Combine all ingredients together until well combined. Cook in a sauce pan until crisp tender, stirring often to prevent burning, about 12 minutes.