Tuesday, December 13, 2011

June Blinn’s Chocolate-covered Cherry Cookies

1 ½ c. flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp soda
½ c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries (about 48)
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate pieces
½ c. Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

Stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and soda. Cream butter or
margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add dry
ingredients to creamed mixture; beat till well blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls;
place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press down center of dough with thumb. Drain
maraschino cherries, reserving juice. Place a cherry in the center of each cookie. In small
saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk; heat till chocolate
is melted. Stir in 4 tsp of the reserved cherry juice. Spoon about `1 tsp frosting over each
cherry, spreading to cover cherry (thin frosting with juice if necessary). Bake in 350 oven
for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Candied Yams and Apples

6 yams
4 apples
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 tablespoons conrstarch
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and cut yams into desired size pieces. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water; cook until tender. Peel and core apples and cut into wedges. Arrange yams and apples in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium saucepan combine orange juice, orange peel, cornstarch, melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour sauce over top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until apples are tender.

[note: when I made this I made 1 1/2 times the amount of sauce b/c my yams were pretty good. The proportion worked well.]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brazilian Limeade

A friend made this for a baby shower I hosted recently. It was delicious.

Serves 4

2 limes
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (I never really measure this. I just taste it)
3 cups of cold water

Wash limes thoroughly. I wash mine in a little dish soapy water to get all the wax and bacteria off. Cut off the hard ends and slice each lime in to 4-8 wedges (it depends how much you trust your blender). Place limes in a blender with the sugar and water, pulse 5 or so times. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or remove rinds. Then add sweetened condensed milk to taste. Serve over lots of ice.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Key Lime Cake

2 limes
1 pkg white cake mix
1 small pkg instant coconut cream or vanilla pudding
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
approximately 1/2 c. milk

Juice and pulp the limes and then add enough milk to measure 1/2 cup. Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes and invert onto a serving platter. When completely cool, top with lime glaze.

Lime Glaze:
1 lime
4 Tbsp butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 to 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in juice and pulp from 1 lime. Add powdered sugar until right consistency and pour over cake.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Flour Tortillas

I needed a change in tortillas, for some reason I just can't stomach store-bought tortillas any more.  As luck would have it I've found it quite simple to make them at home.  I use a recipe from the Food Wishes blog.  You can watch a video of how to make the tortillas here.  They are surprisingly easy even without a tortilla press.  I put a little flour on the counter and roll out the dough like I would a pie crust, but as thin as possible.

8 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cup), more as needed
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup hot water (about 105 degrees F.)
Mix dry ingredients together, cut in shortening then add hot water.  Knead for a few minutes then cover and let rest for 20min.  Cut into eight pieces for fajita sized tortillas.  Roll out dough as thin as you can then cook in frying pan about one minute on each side.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Ranch Dressing

(This isn't the same the recipe I used at the reunion but similar. I used tomatillos instead of green salsa.)

Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
ignore directions on the packet
1 C mayo
1/2 C milk
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa
hot sauce

Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender. Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice. Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend ‘er up. Sample it and add hot sauce to taste. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

Easy Tomato Sauce with Fried Egg

This is as easy as tomato sauce gets! I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Serves 4.

1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
salt to taste

Parmesan cheese
4 eggs

Put the tomatoes, onion, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat and keep it at a slow simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes and breaking them apart with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion (weird, huh?), add salt to taste.

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions; fry the eggs according to preference. Serve the sauce over the noodles topped with Parmesan and a fried egg.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bowtie Spinach Salad

Salad--Mix in a large bowl:
8 cups spinach torn
8 oz. Bag of bow bowtie pasta cooked and cooled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
¼ cup parsley chopped (can use dried)
¼ cup salted sunflower seeds
¼ cup red peppers, chopped
¼ cup yellow peppers, chopped

*Marinate chicken and dressing the day before serving.
Boil and shred 4 chicken breasts and marinate in a large storage bag with dressing. (The recipe says to boil, but I've always just cut the chicken into large pieces and sauteed it in a covered frying pan with a little olive oil.)

½ cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sesame seeds

Directions:  Pour chicken mixture over all salad ingredients when read to serve.

My friend Tonya gave me this recipe to make for Naomi's baptism lunch.

Orange Fruit Dip

1 container vanilla yogurt (I usually use Yoplait)
1/4 c. sugar
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
2 c. thawed cool whip (regular sized carton)

Whip first four ingredients together until sugar is dissolved, add cool whip and refrigerate.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Pasta

A friend made this for us after Isla was born and I thought it was so good. It's easy to make the sauce and chicken ahead of time. (In fact, I make a large batch of the sauce and freeze it in 3/4 cup containers to make half the recipe at a time.)

4 tomatillos, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh baby spinach (6 oz)
1 cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

12 oz dry pasta (penne or bowtie)
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatillos, garlic cloves and oil in a baking dish; stir to coat. Roast for 30 minutes.
2. Place roasted tomatillo mixture in a blender or food processor; add spinach, basil, broth, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar, and cheese and process until blended.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions (al dente). Drain and set aside.
4. Mix pasta, tomatillo sauce, chicken and Parmesan cheese and put into a 9x13 baking dish.
5. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted slightly from here.

Yellow Curry

My brother and his wife brought this recipe back from a cooking class they took in Thailand. Don't be afraid of the fish sauce! It adds a nice salty flavor without being fishy at all. Makes enough for 2-3 servings.

1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
2 potatoes (I use Yukon gold), peeled and cut into cubes
handful of baby carrots
2 cups coconut milk (I use one can and add water to make two cups)
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste (our favorite brand is Mae Ploy - carried in most Asian markets)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Bring small pot of water to boiling; add potatoes and carrots and cook until tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat coconut milk over medium heat.
3. Add curry paste; cook 1 minute.
4. Add chicken; simmer until done, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the cooked potatoes and carrots.
6. Add fish sauce and sugar; simmer everything for three minutes.
7. Remove from heat and serve over jasmine rice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cajun Alfredo

I ordered an amazingly tasty cajun alfredo dish while I was in New Orleans and attempted to recreate it at home (with a few lower-fat changes). It came out tasting pretty close to the real deal.


4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 (8 ounce) container of tofutti

2 c. milk

2 tsp crushed garlic or garlic paste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp onion powder

1 c. corn
1 c. finely diced carrots
1/2 diced red bell pepper

5-6 c. cooked pasta


Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add tofutti and stir with wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Add milk a little at a time while stirring with whisk. Stir in spices (garlic, parmesan, the three ground peppers, paprika, and onion powder).

Continue stirring over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add corn, carrots, and bell pepper. Toss with hot pasta and done.

My pasta was served with grilled chicken.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pizza Dough from Rachel's Blog

Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough (makes 4 - 10 oz pizza doughs)
5 cups bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, room temperature

Directions: In a standing mixer, stir all ingredients together.  Switch to dough hook and knead for 4 minutes.  Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick a little to the bottom. Add more bread flour or water as necessary. (I have successfully done this by hand as well - just use a spoon or your hand to mix/knead the dough and add a couple minutes to the kneading time.)

Divide dough into 4 pieces, round into balls, and brush with olive oil.  Place into ziplock bags and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.  If you're using it in the next day or three, just remove from fridge 2 hours before shaping and baking.  You can also freeze it the next day and return it to the fridge for defrosting a day before you want to use it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

5 T. fresh lime juice
1t. salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 t. cumin
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 t. pepper

1 1/2 c. quinoa (uncooked)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. corn
1 chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped green onion

Combine all ingredients in blender and set aside.

Wash quinoa and cook according to package directions, I pretty much cook mine like rice.  Boil water in medium saucepan (2 water to 1 quinoa) and add quinoa.  Cook on medium for fifteen minutes with lid on then remove from heat, fluff, replace lid and let sit for 15 min.

Combine the rest of the salad ingredients in a bowl then add quinoa.  Toss gently with the dressing and serve.  Tastes even better the next day.

This is my variation on a recipe I found on the Tasty Kitchen blog.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ben's Lit'l Smokies

1 pack Lit'l Smokies
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice (or 1/4 cup concentrate)
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp vinegar

Combine in crock pot and heat for 2 hours on high. Or low. Or whatever.

Perfect appetizer for New Year's Eve! (And reheat for breakfast in the morning!)