Friday, December 15, 2006

12 Days of Baking!!! *DAY 5*



I know that during the holidays a lot of us bake cookies, and cookie bars, fudge and pies and all that yummy goodness, so I thought it would be a neat idea to have the 12 Days of Baking.

Today's recipe is for Easy Candy-Bar Treats!!!



EASY CANDY-BAR TREATS
Makes about 2-3/4 pounds (64 pieces)
Prep: 10 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Cook: 7 3/4 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 30 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate pieces

Directions

1. Line a 9x9x2-inch or 11x7x11/2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; set pan aside.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl microwave the butter, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in cocoa powder, brown sugar, and milk. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil, stirring once. Stir again; microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread in prepared pan.

3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine caramels and water. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power (medium) for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once. Stir in peanuts. Microwave, uncovered, on medium for 45 to 60 seconds more or until mixture is softened. Gently and quickly spread peanut mixture over fudge layer in pan.

4. In a 2-cup microwave-safe glass measure combine semisweet and milk chocolate pieces. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power (medium) for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring once or twice. Spread over peanut layer. Score into pieces while warm. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until bottom is firm. Use foil to lift candy out of pan. Cut into pieces. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 2-3/4 pounds (64 pieces).

Stove-top directions: In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cocoa powder, brown sugar, and milk. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread in prepared pan. In another saucepan melt caramels with water over low heat; stir in peanuts. Gently and quickly spread over fudge layer in pan. In a small saucepan melt semisweet and milk chocolate pieces over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over peanut layer. Continue as directed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

12 Days of Baking!!! *DAY 4*



I know that during the holidays a lot of us bake cookies, and cookie bars, fudge and pies and all that yummy goodness, so I thought it would be a neat idea to have the 12 Days of Baking.

Today I'm going for pies...who doesn't like pie huh??? Caramel, pecans and pumpkin all in one pie...YUMMY!!!



Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 45 minutes

Ingredients

* 1 Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
* 2 slightly beaten eggs
* 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
* 1/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 2 tablespoons butter, softened

Directions

1. Prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Trim; crimp edge as desired. In a large bowl stir together eggs, pumpkin, and half-and-half or milk. Stir in the granulated sugar, flour, lemon peel, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Pour pumpkin mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Cover the edge of the pie with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the brown sugar, pecans, and butter until combined. Remove foil. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over top of pie. Bake for 20 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and topping is golden and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12 Days of Baking!!! *DAY 3*




I know that during the holidays a lot of us bake cookies, and cookie bars, fudge and pies and all that yummy goodness, so I thought it would be a neat idea to have the 12 Days of Baking.

For today's recipe I picked some Toffee.....mmmmmm yummy.



TOFFEE BUTTER CRUNCH

Makes about 1-1/2 pounds (48 servings)

Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted
* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons water
* 1 tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
* 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted

Directions

Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts in pan. Set pan aside.

Butter sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan melt butter. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till thermometer registers 290 degree F, soft-crack stage (about 15 minutes). Watch care-fully after 280 degree F to prevent scorching. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into the prepared pan.

Let candy stand about 5 minutes or till firm; sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts. Chill until firm. When candy is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered. Makes about 1-1/2 pounds (48 servings).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12 Days of Baking!!! *DAY 2*




I know that during the holidays a lot of us bake cookies, and cookie bars, fudge and pies and all that yummy goodness, so I thought it would be a neat idea to have the 12 Days of Baking.

Who doesn't like cake?!?!?! WE all love a big slice of yummy cake don't we??? Especially during the holidays, I always have some cake at the house and I thought this one was a perfect one to share with you all. How does White chocolate sound??? You up for it???


WHITE CHOCOLATE SNOWDRIFT CAKE
Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: Several minutes less than package directions




Ingredients

* 3/4 cup whipping cream
* 8 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped
* 1 pkg. 2-layer-size white cake mix
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, cut up and softened
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* Sugared Rosemary and Cranberries (optional)
* Crushed Purchased Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

Directions

1. For frosting, in a medium saucepan combine whipping cream and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl; cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, grease and flour two 9x1-1/2-inch or 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions using egg whites. Spoon about 1-1/2 cups of batter into each cake pan. Sift cocoa over batter remaining in bowl; stir until blended. Spoon on cake mix in pans; swirl gently to marble and to spread batter evenly. Bake according to package directions except check cakes several minutes before minimum time indicated on package.* Let cakes cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

3. Add cream cheese to chilled white chocolate mixture; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until sugar is completely combined. (Mixture should hold soft peaks; do not overbeat.) Use immediately.

4. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Frost with about 3�4 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake.

5. Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving time (up to 4 hours). To serve, garnish cake with Sugared Rosemary and Cranberries and crushed biscotti, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Sugared Rosemary and Cranberries: Lightly spray several rosemary sprigs and cranberries with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle granulated sugar on rosemary; roll cranberries in a small amount of granulated sugar to coat. Place on waxed paper for at least 1 hour before using. This is a decorative, not edible, garnish.

NOTE: The added cocoa makes the cakes bake in a shorter time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

12 Days of Baking!!! *DAY 1*

Starting today, I'm going to post a baking recipe everyday, for the next 12 days until Christmas. How does that sound??? I know that during the holidays a lot of us bake cookies, and cookie bars, fudge and pies and all that yummy goodness, so I thought it would be a neat idea to have the 12 Days of Baking.


If you like Brownies as much as I do, then this recipe is definitely a MUST TRY, they are so good!



BROWNIE BOMBS
Credit: Midwest Living


Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Directions

1. In a saucepan, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove the mixture from the heat.Stir in 1-1/3 cups of the sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cool the mixture for 15 minutes. Beat in the 3 eggs and the 3/4 cup flour.

2. In a mixing bowl, mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the cream cheese, the 1 egg, the 4 teaspoons flour, and the 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Coat an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 2/3 of the chocolate batter in the pan. Spoon cream cheese layer over batter. Dollop with remaining chocolate batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Bake for 12 minutes more. Cool. Cover; store in the refrigerator. Let the chilled dessert stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to serve. Makes 16 servings.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Favorite Ingredients Friday



I haven't had a chance to participate in this for so long, but I wanted to be sure to do it today.

This is what I have sitting on my counter right now, it's such a wonderful dessert, brings back great memories from my Greatgrandma, and this is her recipe too, enjoy :)

For more Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes, run on over to Overwhelmed with Joy.




Arroz Doce
(Portuguese Rice Pudding)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 quarts of milk
1 1/4 cup of uncooked white rice
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cinnamon stick

Over high heat, combine cinnamon stick, sugar and milk. When bubbles form at edges, stir in rice and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook 60 minutes, stirring often, until rice is tender. Do NOT allow to boil.

Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick and vigorously stir in beaten eggs, a little at a time, until well incorporated. Pour into serving dish, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve warm.
Refrigerate the leftovers.

Now, in my family we let it cool down a bit and then eat it warm, but I have to say that the next day, it tastes just as good cold out of the refrigerator.

This makes a great dish for a get together, church potluck etc.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I love these, they are easy and quick to make and taste wonderful....and the smell of that orange and cranberry coming from the house, is enough to make anyone salivate :)



CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS
Yield: 1 dozen


Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 tbsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. butter, melted
2/3 cup orange juice
3 eggs
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1/3 cup dried cranberries or 6 oz. fresh cranberries
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges

Instructions:

If using dried cranberries, soak overnight in juice from mandarin oranges.

Combine dry ingredients. Melt butter and whisk in eggs. Stir in orange juice and orange peel and beat well. Stir liquid into dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Add drained cranberries and mandarin oranges. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Menu Plan Monday!



Well it's monday and time to share our menus. Thank you Laura, my sweet friend over at "I'm an Organizing Junkie" for hosting this each week, I've come to look foward to seeing everyone's menus :)



Will post the recipes as I make them, if there is one in particular you want, just let me know and I'll come back and post it :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

MELKTERT (MILK TART)

This is another of my favorites and boy does it bring back memories of that beautiful country.



MELKTERT

INGREDIENTS


* 3 tablespoons butter, melted

* 1 cup white sugar

* 3 egg yolks

* 1 cup cake flour

* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 4 cups milk
* 3 egg white

* 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar


DIRECTIONS


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Coat a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with vegetable oil cooking spray.


2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and salt, and stir until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer. Fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared pie plate, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top.

3. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is set when you gently jiggle the pie. Serve h
ot or cold.

KOEKSUSTERS *Cook-Sisters*

Are you ready for some wonderful treats??? The day you taste these you will be hooked, and don't say I didn't warn you ;)

They do take a bit of time to make, but they're well worth it :)




KOEKSUSTERS

The syrup - to be made the day before and left in the fridge to cool.
Boil 3 cups of water with 24g of root ginger. Remove the ginger and add 3 more cups of water. Bring to boil again. Add 2.5 kg (12 cups) of sugar and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and store in fridge.

For the pastry:

6 cups plain flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
125g of margarine
2 eggs
125ml evaporated milk
312ml lukewarm water
A pinch of salt

Mix all the above together and knead well, then leave to rest.

The method:

Roll the dough flat into an oval/square until it is 5mm thick. Cut the dough into strips 2.5cm across. Then cut these strips into lengths of 6cm so that you are left with rectangles 2.5cm x 6cm
Make two cuts along the length of the rectangles so that you can braid them – you are aiming for a braid similar to a 3-strand hair braid! When you have plaited each one, press the tree strands together firmly at each end so that they do not come undone.
Deep-fry each koeksuster in hot oil until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and dip the whole cooked koeksuster immediately into your cool syrup. Remove from the syrup and allow to cool on a paper towels before eating.



Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hay and Straw!!!



I know, the name is catchy isn't it??? But it's really just a pasta dish with ham and some peas, it's yummy :)

It's one of those fast meals you can make when you're in a hurry, but still tastes wonderful ;)


HAY AND STRAW

1 package (16 ounces) linguine
2 cups julienned fully cooked ham
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whipping cream

Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saute ham in butter for 3 minutes.

Add peas; heat through. Drain linguine; toss with ham mixture, Parmesan cheese and cream.

Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Monterey Chicken

So have you ever gone to Chili's...well I'm sure you have, but anyway, have you ever gone there and ordered the Monterey Chicken??? You know the yummy one with the chicken breast covered in bacon and cheese and then topped with green onions and it's served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes??? (at least mine always is lol)

Well it's my favorite Chili's dish, it's what I always have, so when I was looking through my new "Fix it and Enjoy it" cookbook and I saw the recipe, I just knew I had to try it.

Try I did, last night, and there were a few mumblings around the table, not in a bad way, because I set the chicken down and said "Don't touch it, I need to get a picture for the blog" and before I came back with the camera, the chicken was almost gone.....YEAH, it tastes JUST like Chili's and OH.MY.WORD is all I can say.

So here you go, try it, you might be lucky and have your hubby say what mine did...."Sandra, you ROCK, from now on whenever you serve chicken in this house, THIS is how I want it". LOL

Monterey Chicken

MONTEREY CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lbs. total
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce
4-8 slices cooked bacon, according to your taste preference
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced

Heat oven to 350 ยบ.

Place chicken in a single layer in a greased baking dish.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon on the barbecue sauce.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until all pink is gone.

Monterey Chicken

Top each breast half with 1 or 2 slices of cooked bacon. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake in oven 5 more minutes.

Top each breast half with fresh scallions.

Monterey Chicken

Monterey Chicken

Makes 4 servings

Monday, November 06, 2006

Menu Plan Monday!!!



Well it's monday and time to share our menus. Thank you Laura, my sweet friend over at "I'm an Organizing Junkie" for hosting this each week, I've come to look foward to seeing everyone's menus :)

So here is mine, enjoy, well....I'll enjoy LOL You know what I mean :)




Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chunky Chili

This is the chili I made yesterday, it's pretty good, the kids and hubby really enjoyed it.

I got it from one of my new Crockpot cookbooks, enjoy!!!



CHUNKY CHILI

1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 cans (16 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 diced onions

4 teaspoons sliced black olives

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and onion, cook until beef is browned and onion tender. Drain fat. Place beef mixture, chili powder, tomatoes, beans and salsa in slow cooker; stir.

Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours or until flavors are blended and chili is bubbly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheese, onions and olives.



NOTE: I changed a few things in mine, I used ground pork instead of beef and I also used 1 can of diced tomatoes and one can of diced tomatoes & green chilies. It's really good :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Menu Plan Monday!!!



I know I'm a day late, but I really wanted to participate.

Been having some muscle pains lately and haven't been on the computer much, that is the reason for this late addition to Laura's "Menu Plan Monday".

I will post the recipes as I make them.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Ravioli Lasagna!!!

A couple of you asked for the recipe, so I'm going to share it with you.

What I love about this dish is that it's just like lasagna but instead of using the lasagna noodles AND cheese, you already have that in the Cheese Ravioli...cuts down on time and prep, which when you're a mom you KNOW is a precious thing.

I serve this meal with some Garlic Cheese Bread and a simple salad.




RAVIOLI LASAGNA

Ingredients:

2 cups light chunck style spaghetti sauce
1 ( 9oz) pkg. refrigerated meat or cheese filled ravioli
1 beaten egg
1 ( 15 oz) carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup romanot or parmesan cheese
1 ( 10 oz) pkg. froz. chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Directions:

I 10 inch skillet combine spaghetti sauce and 1/3 cup water, bring to boiling. Stir in ravioli, cover, cook over medium heat about 5 min or till ravioli are nearly tender, stirring once.

Stir together the egg, ricotta cheese, and romano or parmesan cheese. Dot ravioli with spinach. Spon ricotta mixture atop. Cover and cook over low heat about 10 min more. or till ricotta layer is set and pasta is just tender.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fettuccine alla Carbonara!!!


One meal that I make quite often is this one. A few years ago when money was really tight, it was one of those dishes that I could throw together with the ingredients I had on hand.

This recipe that I'm sharing is from the Better Homes and Garden "New Cookbook Special Edition" and slightly different than my version.


6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

6 ounces dried fettuccine or linguine

1 beaten egg

1 cup half and half, light cream or milk

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley

Coarsely ground black pepper


Cook bacon until crisp. Drain.


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.
Meanwhile, for sauce, in a saucepan combine egg, half and half, and butter.

Cook and stir over medium heat until egg mixture just coats a metal spoon (about 6 minutes); do not boil. Immediately pour sauce over pasta; stir gently to coat.


Add cooked bacon, Parmesan cheese and parsley; stir gently to combine. Season with with pepper. Serve immediately.

FROSTING AND ICING!!!



Mother Dearest from the great blog "Home Sweet Home" asked me if I had a recipe for homemade frosting.

Well I have a few, and actually growing up I remember any kind of frosting was made from scratch, there were no such things as frosting in a tub, and quite frankly to me it's a bit too sweet.
So here are some great frosting recipes:




Buttercream Icing

6 tablespoons butter, softened (no substitutions)
3 tablespoons whipping cream, unwhipped (35%)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups icing sugar


1. In a bowl, beat together the butter, whipping cream and vanilla until smooth (about 3 minutes).


2. Add in icing sugar; beat very well until smooth, adding more if necessary to achieve desired consistency.


3. Note: In order for the icing to have a creamy texture, only whipping cream must be used.


The Perfect Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup Crisco Shortening
1/4 stick butter (2 tablespoons), slightly soft not mushy

1 TBSP to 2 TBSPS (1/8 cup) heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp. clear vanilla

1/2 pound (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure than sift)


In your mixer bowl, beat the shortening until it's smooth, add the butter and beat together until smooth and light and fluffy. Add smaller amount of the heavy cream indicated in the recipe and the vanilla and mix well. Add half the powdered sugar and mix for 5 minutes on low-med. speed. Add remaining sugar and mix well. Add more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to adjust the consistency.


One Bowl Buttercream Frosting

* 6 tablespoons butter, softened
* 2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

* 1/3 cup milk

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In medium bowl, beat butter. Add confectioners' sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla.


Thick Vanilla Frosting

1 cup shortening 2 teaspoons vanilla 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted) 4 tablespoons milk

Beat together shortening and vanilla for 30 seconds medium speed with an electric mixer. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar a bit at a time while beating. Then add 2 tablespoons milk. Slowly add in the rest of the powdered sugar and the rest of the milk until you get the right thickness for your frosting.




Those are just a few of the recipes I've used before, and when I want to make a chocolate frosting I just add cocoa to the ingredients. Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Menu Plan Monday!



Morning ladies, it's monday and you know that means it's time to take out our menus and then go share them over at Laura's Blog.

Even if you don't have a menu to share, I encourage you to go over and take a look at all the wonderful meals being made across blogland, who knows, you might be inspired to use one of the meals for your own menus this week.

As always, I will share the recipes on the same day that I'm making them.





BEEF AND ONIONS

12 oz. lean ground beef
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
1/2 tsp. bottled mince garlic
1 12-oz. jar beef gravy
2/3 cup dairy sour cream
1 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or sage or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme or sage, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups hot cooked rice or noodles
2 TBPS. snipped fresh parsley

In a large skillet cook ground meat, mushrooms, onion, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

In a medium bowl stir together beef gravy, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and pepper. Stir sour cream mixture into meat mixture. Cook and stir until heated through.

Serve the meat mixture over hot cooked rice. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, October 22, 2006

APPLE CIDER CHICKEN!!!

The name itself makes me salivate, so when I first saw this recipe on a Rachael Ray show, I knew I had to try it.

It's so easy to make but so good, and it looks like you've been in the kitchen all day long, which I LOVE because I can spend time with the family and then within a few minutes have this wonderful meal put together.


APPLE CIDER CHICKEN


6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 whole chicken breasts, 4 halves, bone-in and skin on
Salt and pepper
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, 7-8 sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
3 tablespoons honey (eyeball it)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plus apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil, skin side down. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and reserve. Add another 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, the onions, thyme, honey and the garlic. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently for about 20-30 minutes or until the onions are really brown.

Add cider vinegar, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble.

Once at a simmer, return the chicken to the pot with the liquid and onions. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, flipping the chicken over in the sauce about halfway through. Remove lid, check to make sure the chicken is cooked through by cutting a small slit in the thickest part of the breast with a paring knife to have a look inside. If it is cooked through, no pink meat, remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat up to high and simmer until the sauce thickens up slightly, about 4-5 minutes. You can serve the chicken right away topped with a big spoon full of sauce and the onions or you can return the chicken to the pot, turn the heat off and cover with the lid until you're ready to serve it. Once you are ready, add 1/2-3/4 cup additional chicken stock and turn the heat back on to heat everything back up.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a salad.

Sandra's Sausage Biscuits!!!

One thing my husband loves are sausage biscuits, so I knew I wanted to come up with a homemade version that was quick and tasty.

I had leftover ground meat from Portuguese Meatballs and I thought it would be perfect. I gave it a try and it was a huge hit, it made great Sausage Biscuits.

SANDRA'S SAUSAGE BISCUITS




For the meat filling, follow the recipe for the Portuguese Meatballs.

Shape into round small flat patties, and fry them until done.

For the biscuits I used a can of buttermilk biscuits that I had on hand, serve warm. They are SO good, and you can also add a slice of cheese or egg if you wish, though we prefer them plain.

Enjoy!!!

PORTUGUESE MEATBALLS!!!

I remember my greatgrandmother and grandmother making these quite often, I loved them and they're so versatile that you can use them for hamburgers too.

What makes it so tasty is the ingredients that go into seasoning your ground meat. It can be beef or pork, and turkey would be tasty too.

PORTUGUESE MEATBALLS

1 lb ground beef or pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp dried parsley or fresh one if you have it available
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine

COATING:
1 egg, beaten
breadcrumbs

In a bowl, mix all ingredients together just until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight or for a few hours.

Shape into balls, dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs. Fry on medium heat for a few minutes on each side until brown.

Remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain the grease.

Serve with homemade fries and a salad.


For Hamburgers:

Shape into hamburger patties and grill until done. Serve on warm hamburger buns, with lettuce, tomato and onion slices.


Sandra's Sausage Biscuits!!!

One thing my husband loves are sausage biscuits, so I knew I wanted to come up with a homemade version that was quick and tasty.

I had leftover ground meat from Portuguese Meatballs and I thought it would be perfect. I gave it a try and it was a huge hit, it made great Sausage Biscuits.

SANDRA'S SAUSAGE BISCUITS




For the meat filling, follow the recipe for the Portuguese Meatballs.

Shape into round small flat patties, and fry them until done.

For the biscuits I used a can of buttermilk biscuits that I had on hand, serve warm. They are SO good, and you can also add a slice of cheese or egg if you wish, though we prefer them plain.

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Ultimate Spaghetti and Meatball Supper!

This is a recipe that I got from Rachael Ray, it's so easy to make and really really good.

Hubby and the kids LOVE spaghetti and what's better than some meatballs too huh??? Will also give me a chance to try out my new Spaghetti Bowl set.



INGREDIENTS


2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
4 cloves garlic

1 small onion

1 28-ounce can chunky crushed tomatoes

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper

3/4 pound ground veal

1/4 pound pork

A generous handful of flat-leaf parsley

1 egg

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 beef bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf

1 pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons butter



PREPARATION


Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Add EVOO to a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onions and half of the chopped garlic, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, make the meatballs. Place the ground veal and pork in a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining chopped garlic, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper. After thoroughly combining everything with your hands, roll the mixture into balls the size of a large walnut and drop into the simmering sauce.

While the meatballs are simmering in the sauce, add the beef bouillon cubes and bay leaf to the boiling water for the pasta. Once the cubes are dissolved, add the spaghetti. Cook to al dente. Right before draining the pasta, reserve a ladle of pasta water for the sauce.

Once the meatballs are cooked through, add the reserved starchy beefy pasta water and the butter to the sauce. Drain the spaghetti, discard the bay leaf and transfer to a large serving bowl. Top with the sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano. Pass more grated cheese at the table.

Yields 4 servings

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pudim Flan (Caramel Custard)

This is one that brings back childhood memories too, and memories of Christmas with all the family around the table.

I LOVE this custard, actually the word love doesn't even describe it, it's just sooooo decadent. If you've never tried it, you just have to, and it makes a great dessert for when you have company over. Go ahead and try it and let me know what you think!!!

I always make it for Christmas Eve, it's part of the Portuguese
Tradition.

PUDIM FLAN



1/3 cup plus 1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
Zest of 1 lemon, grated fine

Melt 1/3 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns golden brown. Carefully pour the caramel into a 1-1/2-quart casserole dish or divide it among eight individual ramekins (or custard cups) and set aside. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350°. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until pale yellow. Stir in salt, milk, and lemon zest; mix well. Pour the mixture into casserole dish or divide among ramekins. Next, pour boiling water into a 2-quart (or larger) baking dish.

Set casserole dish or ramekins into this larger pan and place in the oven. Bake 50 to 55 minutes at 350°, until centers no longer jiggle when tapped. Let cool. To serve, invert pan on a plate and let the carmelized sugar sauce ooze over the flan.


I always make mine in one big dish, but a lot of people will do the individual ramekins. The reason I make mine an individual big one is that I find it's easier for when you have company over, that way I don't have to worry about making enough or having to make 2 or 3 etc.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

GRANDMA'S GINGERSNAP COOKIES!!!



"This melt in your mouth recipe from my grandmother has been in my family since 1899."
Recipe courtesy of : Marie Ayers

What is better than ginger anything during the Fall season??? It's rainy here today and dark and cold and I always love being in the kitchen cooking or baking with the kids.

I wanted to bake cookies this afternoon, and I was trying to think of a go
od recipe that included either pumpkin or molasses or ginger......and then I remembered that a while ago, Vicki from "Turkey Feathers" had posted about these great Gingersnap cookies. I knew I had to try them, so I followed her link to the recipe.

This is what the kids and I will be baking this afternoon, and I'll come back and post our pictures once the cookies are done :)


Just like Vicki, I plan on slathering some vanilla frosting in between them...oh goodness, I'm salivating at the thought :)


Picture courtesy of: Turkey Feathers

GRANDMA'S GINGERSNAP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

* 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon ground ginger
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup shortening
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup dark molasses
* 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (275 degrees C).
2. Mix and sift the first 5 ingredients. Sift a second time and place the mixture back into the sifter.
3. Beat the shortening until creamy. Add the 1 cup of sugar gradually and continue beating. Beat in the egg and the molasses.
4. Sift into this about 1/3 of the flour mixture, stirring and blending well. Repeat until all is added. Roll the dough into tiny balls by hand, rolling each in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
5. Place 2 inches apart on a ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes until the tops are rounded and slightly cracked. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.

Yield: 5 Dozen

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sausage Rice!!!



Now this is one recipe that I remember from my childhood. When I was going to school in Portugal, I had afternoon classes, so every day my greatgrandmother would make us lunch, which was always yummy stuff.

This rice dish was by far one of my favorites, it was good but also filling. It's one that I make nowadays and my kids enjoy.

So here goes, now remember though that I'm not a chef and I don't like cooking according to specific measurements and methods etc....I cook from the heart and I would say with my eyes....hence the eyeballing of ingredients at times :)

SAUSAGE RICE

2 tbps olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb sausage, sliced (now here you can use ANY sausage you like even sliced hotdogs)
1 1/2 cups of rice
3 cups of water


In a pan over medium heat, add oil, bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and onion. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender....add the sausage and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the rice and the water to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is done.

I usually check often to make sure that there is still enough water or if needed I add just a little more, I want the rice to be cooked but I also want a bit of the sauce to stay, so I don't want it completely dried up.

Remove the bay leaf and serve, along with a salad or some veggies.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Menu Plan Monday!!!



This week's menu is simple because hubby is still gone until Sunday. The kids have enjoyed all these Breakfasts for Dinner and their favorite meals, me on the other hand, enjoyed it but I'm more than ready to start cooking again.....I miss my stove!!!!

If you want to share your own menu, be sure to drop by Laura at "I'm an Organizing Junkie" and add your name to the list, there's tons of other wonderful ladies sharing their family menus too, I'm sure you could get some great ideas :)

As always, if there is a specific recipe you would like to see, just let me know and I'll post it :)




I'm going to post the recipe for the Strawberry Stuffed French Toast. It's one that my family loves and it's super easy to make.

Photo courtesy of: la.foodblogging.com

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup chopped pecans
French or Italian bread

Batter:
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
(beat together)

Directions:
Mix cream cheese, jam and nuts. Cut Italian or French bread into diagonal pieces about 1 inch thick. Cut pocket in each slice. Stuff with mixture. Dip into batter, coating both sides. With skillet on medium heat, brown both sides in margarine.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

RED LOBSTER CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS!!!



2 C. Bisquick

2/3 C. milk

1/2 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese

1/2 C. butter or margarine, melted

1/4 tsp. garlic powder


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cooking sheet.
  2. Bake 8- 10 min until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder.
  3. Brush mixture over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

This is an extremely easy recipe and it always turns out good. Now I no longer have to wait until my next visit to Red Lobster, to enjoy these wonderful biscuits. Go ahead give them a try :)


Saturday, October 14, 2006

CARNE A BRAZ!!!

This next dish is also great for leftovers, and you can use meat or chicken, even fish, it's just delicious with either one.

It's a great filling meal because it includes scrambled eggs.

Beef Braz Style

Leftover chicken, beef or fish
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium potatoes, sliced into thin fries
1 garlic clove, crushed
6 eggs
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish

In a large skillet add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until it starts to brown. Remove garlic and add the fries.

Cook fries until done, and lightly browned, remove with a spatula to a dish and set aside.

On the same oil, fry the onions until tender, remove them to a dish and set aside too, next put in the leftover meat and cook until warmed through. Remove skillet from heat and add the fries and the onions. Mix everything well.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs until well blended, add salt and pepper to taste, and then add the eggs to the skillet.

Return to the heat and stir constantly until the eggs are done (they should look like scrambled eggs), incorporating all the ingredients. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.



ROUPA VELHA!!!





The translation of the name of this dish, is one that usually makes people go "WHAT?!?!?!", because it means "Old Clothes". Yeah, Old Clothes, but really don't be afraid of the name because it has nothing to do with the wonderful taste.

It's nothing extravagant or difficult to make, it's pretty simple and the dish is usually about using leftover meats and veggies from a previous meal, though a lot of people use it for the leftover Christmas Meal, which means codfish, potatoes, cauliflower etc.

This is so simple:

ROUPA VELHA


In a large skillet pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil and tons of finely chopped garlic. Now if you don't like that much garlic, just use one clove, finely chopped....my family and I LOVE garlic so I use a lot.



Next you add one large onion, finely sliced. Toss together with the garlic and olive oil, then add the leftover meat, shredded or cut into bite size chunks..



Add potatoes or leftover veggies and stir together over medium heat until it's warmed through.
A great idea is to use some Potatoes O' Brien. I always have them on hand, and when the leftovers didn't have any veggies, I add about a half a package of the Pototoes, it's great because they already have peppers included.



That's IT!!! It's a great way to use leftovers especially if you have a big pot roast sitting in the fridge :)


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