Friday, December 05, 2014

Bake this holiday special with Lucky Leaf

Cherry Pie Cookies

It is that time of the year again, you know, the shopping, the rushing, the family get togethers and the tables laden with delicious goodies for all to enjoy.  Plus, the homemade baked goods.

I love Lucky Leaf, I have used the pie fillings for so many years I've actually lost count, and I know that anytime I want a quick dessert, I can turn to my trusty Lucky Leaf Pie Fillings.

The recipe I bring you today couldn't be any easier to prepare, but it is so yummy and it would make wonderful homemade gifts this holiday.

Cherry Pie Cookies

Cherry Pie Cookies.  Oh my!

Have I ever told you how I am not a fan of cherries?  But the only pie filling that is cherry based and I really enjoy is actually the Lucky Leaf?  Go figure.

Anyway, let me show you just how simple these are.  The kids and I are trying to hold off on eating them, or rather eating ALL of them before my husband gets home from school this evening.  I don't know if we'll be able to hold off, but we're sure going to try.

By the way, tomorrow I am going to make the Chocolate Blueberry Pie cookies and I am so excited to try those, but I'll come back and let you know if I do get around to making them and how they were, and obviously share the recipe too :)

Cherry Pie Cookies
Cherry Pie Cookies
Source:  Lucky Leaf

Ingredients
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup margarine, softened
2 cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 (21 oz.) Lucky Leaf®
Cherry Pie Filling
½ cup white or milk
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix butter and margarine until fluffy. Add flour, powdered sugar and vanilla just until combined and a soft dough is formed.

Roll the dough into two-inch balls. Place on greased baking sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of cookie to make a well. Place cherries into each cookie.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool.

Melt chocolate according to package directions. Drizzle over cookies. Let chocolate set and serve immediately or store in an
airtight container.

Cherry Pie Cookies

What are you baking this holiday season? And how do you use Lucky Leaf in your recipes?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Food historians trace the history of bread pudding to the early 11th and 12th centuries, as frugal cooks looked for ways to use stale, leftover bread instead of letting it go to waste. In 13th century England, bread pudding was known as “poor man’s pudding,” as it was a popular dish with the lower classes.

While bread pudding is still a way to use up leftover bread, it has gained a reputation as a comfort food and is a featured dessert item in trendy establishments, having shed its humble roots.

I absolutely adore bread pudding. Ever since I was a little girl, my stepmother and grandmother would make bread pudding and it was one of those special desserts reserved for certain occasions, so when it showed up on the dinner table we considered it a treat.

It has been quite a few years since I've made one, but a few weeks ago I gave it a go again and whipped up a Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding.  The recipe, from a vlog I was watching.  I just followed her video and I think she said the recipe is from Nigella Lawson, but I could be mistaken.

Anyway, another very easy dessert and so delicious.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding


4 slices of stale bread, cut into cubes
Chocolate chips, I added in about 1/2 cup of dark and 1/2 cup white chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups milk
3 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a casserole dish, add the bread cubes to it.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bread.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

In a measuring jug, add the cream and milk.  Whisk the 3 eggs in a small bowl and then add 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Combine the cream and milk mixture with the egg mixture, give it a good stir.

Pour over the bread then push the bread down to soak it all in.  Let stand for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

After the 20 minutes have gone by, sprinkle on some more brown sugar over the top and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until nice and brown and puffy.

Once it's cool down, I like to sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Best part about this bread pudding is that it's not overly sweet.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Nutella No Bake Cheesecake

Ohhhh Nutella how I love thee.

I was watching one of my favorite vloggers, catching up on very old videos of hers and she had made a Nutella No Bake Cheesecake, which is actually a Nigella Lawson recipe.  It looked so easy and so yummy that I immediately bookmarked it to try.

What better day than Thanksgiving to put this beauty on the table?

I am sharing this recipe tonight so that if someone out there is still looking for a simple but yet decadent dessert for tomorrow, they still have time to do it.

I don't have a picture of the sliced cheesecake as it's still in the refrigerator, but I will snap one tomorrow and come and edit this post :)

Nutella Cheesecake

Nutella No Bake Cheesecake
Source:  Nigella Lawson

10 oz graham crackers (I used a sleeve and a half)
5 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 x 13 oz jar Nutella (at room temperature)
¾ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 lb cream cheese (at room temperature)
½ cup confectioners' sugar (sifted)


Break the digestives into the bowl of a processor, add the butter and a 15ml tablespoon of Nutella, and blitz until it starts to clump. Add 25g/3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts and continue to pulse until you have a damp, sandy mixture.

Tip into a 23cm/9inch round springform and press into the base either using your hands or the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.

Beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the cream cheese mixture, and continue beating until combined.

Take the springform out of the fridge and carefully smooth the Nutella mixture over the base. Scatter the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top to cover and place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. Serve straight from the fridge for best results.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Ajo Chicken

Ajo Chicken

When we lived back in Arizona, I picked up a little binder cookbook called A Taste of Arizona.  I was supposed to try out some of the recipes but never got around to doing it.

Two weeks ago when I was organizing my pantry and cookbooks, I came across it again and set it aside for my menu planning.  This chicken dish was one of the first that caught my eye and now I'm so glad I made it.

My husband and kids devoured it, had seconds and thirds and couldn't stop talking about it.  I even had it for lunch the next day and wished I had more.  It's on our favorite list, for sure. 

Ajo Chicken
Ajo Chicken
Source:  A Taste of Arizona

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 chicken, cooked and boned
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 cans diced green chiles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Salt and pepper the chicken and place in a casserole dish.  Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet and saute the mushrooms.

Scatter the mushrooms over the chicken and pour 1/2 up of the chicken broth over over all.  Cover and bake 10 minutes.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons, butter and saute the onion.  Add chiles, garlic, and flour.  Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove the chicken, from oven and drain off pan drippings.  Combine drippings with the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth to equal 1 cup of liquid.  Stir liquid into the onion mixture.  Mix in yogurt and heat gently.

Spoon sauce over chicken and top with cheese.  Bake another 15 minutes. 

Ajo Chicken

Friday, October 31, 2014

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge, such a simple treat but amazingly tasty.  I'm not a huge fan of cake, and especially cake with tons of very sweet frosting.  BLECH!

But what exactly is the Victoria Sponge, where did it come from, who first baked it?  Here's a little history for you:


Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one of Queen Victoria's (1819-1901) ladies-in-waiting, is credited as the creator of teatime. Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs into her dressing room.

Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields. The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

Queen Victoria adopted the new craze for tea parties. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies were in formal dress for the afternoon teas. This simple cake was one of the queen's favorites. After her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the Queen Victoria spend time in retreat at the Queen's residence (Osborn House) at the Isle of Wight. According to historians, it was here that the cakes were named after her.

I do love a good sponge cake, there's nothing better than a thick slice with a hot cup of coffee.

I had been craving a Victoria Sponge for a few weeks but just never seemed to have the time, and truth be told, I haven't always had the best of luck with sponge cakes, some have been super flops, much to my dismay.

However, this recipe is one that I have had nothing but success with, and it's now my go to Victoria Sponge.

As for the filling, I like to use homemade whipped cream, but in a pinch whipped topping from the store will work too.

Give this one a go and let me know how you liked it.

Victoria Sponge
Victoria Sponge
Adapted from:  Keep Calm and Bake

1 1/4 cups self rising flour, sifted (if you don't have, just use plain flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft margarine
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp strawberry jam (you can use blackberry or raspberry too)
Whipped Cream (you can use whipped topping)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and line two 8 inch round sandwich pans.  Put all the ingredients except the jam and powdered sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer.  Beat the living daylights out of them.  You can also use an electric hand whisk.

When the batter is very pale, fluffy and almost mousse-like, divide it between the prepared pans and smooth out.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack.  When they are cold, sandwich them with jam and the whipped cream and dust the top with powdered sugar.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wendy's Copykat Chili

How cool are those Copykat recipes?  I have been a huge fan of the site for so many years now, I just love knowing that if I want to recreate a specific favorite dish from a restaurant, I can do so at home.  Love that!

With the weather cooling down around here I start craving stews, soups and chili's, and I do enjoy Wendy's Chili.

Wendy's CopyKat Chili
Copykat Wendy's Chili

2 pounds fresh ground beef
1 quart tomato juice
1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder (you may want to use less, as some people find this is too much)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (if you like real flavor, add more)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a skillet, brown the ground beef; drain. Put the drained beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot; let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

Wendy's CopyKat Chili

Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots

Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots

These were SO good.  I've been trying to use my cast iron skillet more, researching recipes and finding yummy treats to make.

I recently made a Foccaccia that was to die for, so when I saw these Garlic Pepperoni Knots, I knew my boys especially would love it, and they did.

It's so easy to make.  I adapted it slightly by using my own pizza dough and it turned out really well.


Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots
Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots
Adapted from: Serious Eats


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 ounces pepperoni, cut into 1/4-inch squares
Pinch red pepper flakes
6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Flour for dusting
My Homemade Honey Pizza Dough
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Pizza Sauce


Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until butter melts and foaming subsides. Add pepperoni and cook, stirring, until pepperoni begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add parsley and chives and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese. Do not wipe out skillet.

On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into two even pieces. Working one piece at a time, roll or stretch into an oblong about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. With a bench scraper or knife, cut crosswise into 12 strips. Repeat with other half of dough.

Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots

Tie each strip into a knot and transfer to bowl with pepperoni/garlic mixture. Toss and fold with your hands until every knot is thoroughly coated in mixture. Transfer the knots to the skillet in a single layer. Drizzle with more olive oil, cover tightly with plastic, and set aside until doubled in size, about 4 hours. Alternatively, refrigerate until doubled in size, 12 to 16 hours.

Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°F and adjust oven rack to center position. Unwrap garlic knots. Sprinkle with Romano cheese. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately brush with more extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle lightly with more Parmesan. Serve right away with warmed sauce on the side.

Pull Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole

Here is a really yummy casserole for those who enjoy Teriyaki Chicken.  It was a bit time consuming but only because I made the Fried Rice too, if you already have leftover fried rice I think it would work pretty well in this dish.

It got a big thumbs up from the recipe and I even enjoyed it the following day for lunch.

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole


Teriyaki Chicken Casserole


3 cups fried rice
1 breast of chicken
1 small package (found in produce department) stir fry vegetables including broccoli, sprouts, carrots and snow peas
teriyaki sauce
3/4 cup LOW SODIUM soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small garlic clove, minced fine
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water


Make the fried rice per the link above.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Teriyaki sauce
in a medium saucepan, stir together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, honey, ground ginger, sesame oil, and garlic. bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
in a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. add 1 teaspoon of the hot soy mixture to the cornstarch mixture and then slowly pour everything into the boiling soy mixture, whisking until it begins to thicken. set aside.
Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour 1 cup of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and shred.
Steam the veggies and then add the veggies, rice and chicken to an 8x9" baking dish. Add 3 tablespoons of the leftover teriyaki sauce and stir to combine. Place the dish back in the oven for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with a little more sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes
Using low sodium soy sauce is a must! It's less salty!

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Zucchini and Squash Casserole

I am a huge fan of Zucchini and any kind of Squash, and  if I can pair those up with some cheesy goodness, then I'm one happy girl.

This is such a quick and easy casserole to throw together, makes a perfect side dish when you're looking for something quick.

I use Zucchini and whatever Squash I can find at the store, this time it was yellow squash.  I don't have a set amount of either to use, it just depends on what I am in the mood for.  If you prefer Zucchini certainly add more of that in, or if you prefer the yellow squash then add more of that one.


Zucchini and Squash Casserole

Zucchini and Squash Casserole

4 zucchini, washed and sliced
2 yellow squash, washed and sliced
Fresh basil, chopped
Green onions, sliced
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Flakes
Oregano
Shredded cheese
Olive Oil

In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients, pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until zucchini and squash are tender and cheese is melted.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spinach Turkey Burgers

Spinach Turkey Burgers

Usually burgers, for us, means Summer....but you know, when the Fall weather starts coming around, as much as I love it, sometimes I yearn for a juicy burger straight from the grill.

It so happened that last week I was craving burgers, and I also got some reduced price meat at my commissary so burgers went on the menu plan.

I have tried so many different variations of burgers, cheesy or bacon, barbecue, spicy, mild, you name it.  I do however really enjoy Turkey and decided to go with that, I will use the other ground beef for something else later on in the week.

This recipe comes from one of my Taste of Home cookbooks, and I don't have to tell you how much I love Taste of Home, if you've been following my blog for a while you will know that to be true.

These were SO good, and I made double the recipe which yielded me some extra burgers for us for lunch and for my husband to take to college today.

Spinach Turkey Burgers
Spinach Turkey Burgers

1 cup stuffing mix, finely crushed
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 pound ground turkey
4 sandwich buns, split
Cheese slices, lettuce leaves and tomato slices, optional

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix, broth, Italian seasoning,
salt, pepper and half of the spinach (save remaining spinach for
another use). Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into
four 3/4-in.-thick patties.
Grill, uncovered, over medium-hot heat or broil 3-4 in. from the heat
for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads
165° and juices run clear. Serve on buns with cheese, lettuce
and tomato if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

Spinach Turkey Burgers