Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • a few tablespoons of extra white sugar

  • 48 hersheys kisses

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.

    In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.

    Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Then take the balls and roll in the white sugar and put on the tray.  Bake for 10 minutes.  As soon as they come out of the oven, press a chocolate kiss right in the middle.  Enjoy!

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    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Chocolate Walnut Fudge

    Here is a great gift to give to people during the holidays or to serve on your holiday table! It is so easy to make and absolutely delicious!

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 10 large marshmallows

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • Directions:
    Butter an 8x8 inch dish. Place butter, chocolate chips and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk and marshmallows. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook 6 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

    Pour marshmallow mixture over contents of mixing bowl. Beat entire mixture until it thickens and loses its gloss. Quickly fold in nuts and pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate several hours until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Fettucine Alfredo

    As you know I am a huge fan of Disney!  One of their former restaurants, Alfredo's, had the best fettucine alfredo I have ever tasted!  It was actually the original fettucine alfredo and it differs from its competition because it actually contains no cream!  This recipe is so simple and absolutely delicious!

    2 sticks of butter
    1 lb fettucine
    2 cups parmesan cheese

    Bring water to a boil and salt.  Then cook your pasta for about 10 minutes.  Right before draining reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 

    In a small bowl mix together the 2 sticks of softened butter and parmesan cheese.  I used a fork to mash the two together. 

    Once the pasta is done cooking and the water has been reserved in a separate bowl, drain the pasta.  Then add the butter and cheese mixture in the bottom of the pot and melt for a minute or two.  Then add the pasta back into the pot with the butter and cheese.  Toss together with tongs until everything is melted.  Slowly add a few tablespoons of the water until a sauce forms.  You may end up using the whole half a cup, but don't pour it all in at once.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Pot Roast

    I am a huge fan of Disney World for many reasons, one being the food of course.  One of the restaurant, The Liberty Tree Tavern, has some of the most tender, juicy, flavorful pot roast you will ever eat.  I sought out to create a recipe that tasted just like it and here it is!

    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 pounds boneless beef shoulder roast
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    2 cups large diced carrots
    2 cups large diced celery
    2 cups large diced onion
    1/4 cup chopped garlic
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup Burgundy wine
    6 cups beef broth

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy pan and brown the meat on all sides. Make sure this pan can also go in the oven and is deep enough for a lot of liquid.  A dutch oven works best.
    Remove the meat and add butter. After butter has melted, add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and fresh thyme. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Stir in the flour, and continue cooking until everything is brown
    Stir in Burgundy wine and beef broth. Add the meat back into the pan. Cover and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until meat is fork tender.

    Here I have served my pot roast with mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

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    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Disaster Averted: Thanksgiving Edition

    So you have done all of the prep you possibly can and everything is organized and ready to go.  But obviously the day comes and something is bound to go wrong.  Here are some quick fix tips to solve any major Thanksgiving disaster!

    1. Turkey
    Either the turkey is underdone or overdone, neither of which is good for Thanksgiving.
    If your bird is underdone: Most of the time the turkey breasts cook faster than the dark meat on the bird.  If you find this happening while you are cooking, cover just the white meat with aluminum foil and uncover the dark meat.  If the bird is already out of the oven and you notice your dark meat is pink, here is the best cover up.  Put the whole bird on the table so everybody can see it and thinks you made the most perfect turkey ever.  Bring it back into the kitchen and cut off the breasts, slice them up and serve them.  While everybody is eating the white meat, have the dark meat cooking in the oven until it isn't pink anymore.  Slice that up and serve it.  Then nobody is waiting for the turkey to be done and you aren't killing anybody by serving raw poultry!
    If your bird is overdone: The best way to avoid this disaster is to keep basting the bird.  If you find the turkey has been left in the oven too long and has turned dark, just peel the skin off.  Nobody will notice missing turkey skin when it is all sliced up on a beautiful platter.  If it is dry on the inside, after it has been sliced, pour all of the leftover pan juices over the sliced turkey.  They will look shiny and moist and absorb some juice.  And to be honest, there is so many things on the plate already the turkey will probably get mixed with 5 different other things and nobody will notice its dryness.  And another quick tip: Gravy makes everything delicious and moist.  Use this to your advantage!

    2. Stuffing
    There are always so many problems caused by stuffing the bird with stuffing.  Either the stuffing is overdone while the bird is raw, or the turkey is done and our stuffing still has not come up to temperature.  Here is some advice: Don't stuff your bird.  The raw juices soak into the stuffing, and even though heat can kill the bacteria, since the stuffing is all the way inside your 15 lb turkey, it is the last thing to get hot.  If you must have a stuffed bird, cook your stuffing separately and put it into the bird after everything has been cooked (and no raw bacteria can contaminate the food).  But honestly, make things easy and just serve your stuffing on the side.

    3. Gravy
    So I have already said that gravy can really cover up any kind of disaster, but what happens if the gravy is a disaster itself?  If you notice your gravy gets lumps once you add flour or constarch, quickly shut the eat off and continue whisking.  Then run it through some kind of sieve without pressing anything through.  What happens if you burn the gravy? Again quickly shut off the pan and pour it into something else without scraping anything off the bottom.  Most of the burnt part will be left in the pan.  And here is another little gravy secret: Keep some store bought gravy and packets on hand.  No harm in making a semi-homemade Thanksgiving.  These store bought alternatives do the same thing as the homemade version.  Moisten anything that has been made dry and fulfill the once a year gravy craving.

    4. Mashed Potatoes
    So mashed potatoes are usually everybody's favorite, so messing these up isn't the ideal situation.  To avoid lumpy mashed potatoes, use a ricer or food mill.  If your mashed potatoes get gluey add some sour cream and cheese, put it in a baking cheese with bread crumbs on top and bake them in the oven.  The dry heat of the oven will take the gluey texture out and then your guests think they got some new fancy potato dish.  Same thing goes for mashed potatoes as the gravy: Have on hand some store bought option.  These are always creamy and fluffy and can be made in the blink of an eye if a disaster strikes at the last minute.

    5. Pies
    So pies can be difficult to make.  Especially Thanksgiving ones like pumpkin and pecan pie.  I am sure everybody has made a soupy pecan pie or a cracked pumpkin pie.  For the pecan pie, always have lots of ice cream on hand.  Spoon ice cream into cups and scoop the filling on top with whipped cream.  Then crumble up the crust for an additional crunch and call it deconstructed pecan pie.  For the pumpkin pie, if you find that is has cracked.  Pipe pretty mounds of whipped cream on top.  Now you look like a fancy cake decorator and I am sure nobody will complain about additional whipped cream. 

    So hopefully none of these disasters will happen to you, but if they do here are some quick fixes.  Some of these fixes I might just do from the beginning (Pecan pie sundae sounds pretty good to me).  Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Pin It Now!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Roasted Turkey

    Since Thanksgiving is coming up I thought I would post my Dad's delicious Turkey recipe. 

    20-25 lb turkey (You don't have to get one this big, my family just does everything in excess)
    2 tablespoons salt, plus a few extra tablespoons to wash
    2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons sage
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons parsley
    1 stick of butter
    1 apple
    5 sprigs of rosemary

    So this may sound odd but my dad washes the turkey with salt.  Basically when you are washing the turkey just sprinkle a lot of salt over it and rub it in and then rinse it off.  I guess it is kind of similar to brining.  Then put the turkey in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt, paprika, sage, garlic powder, and parsley.  Evely disperse this on the outside, and also on the inside of the turkey.  Put an apple inside the turkey.  This will absorb any excess fat.  Then put in the rosemary sprigs to infuse flavor. Now comes the best part.  Literally just put a stick of butter right on top of the breast bone of the turkey.  This will melt throughout the process and baste the whole bird.
    Then cook the bird in a 325 over for 5 hours.  That is about 15 minutes per pound.  Cook the bird with the foil over it, until the last half hour.  Baste the bird every hour with the pan drippings.  For the last half hour, turn the oven up to 375 degrees and allow the skin to brown.  That means the total cooking time is about 5 1/2 hours.  Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Thanksgiving Prep Guide

    Here are 10 things you can do to make this Thanksgiving stress free! My family has been having Thanksgiving at our house for many years and let me tell you, it has taken almost all of those years to have it run smoothly.

    10. Review your Recipes- You may think you know your grandmother's stuffing recipe by heart, but I am sure under the time constraints and stress of preparing so many dishes you are going to make a mistake.  Have all of your recipes organized a few days before hand and review all of the ingredients you need. Maybe even consider cutting back a few recipes that really weren't that popular the year before. (My family tried this but we somehow created more recipes)

    9. Make out your grocery list- List all of the ingredients you will need for your recipes and go around your kitchen checking off the ones you have.  Also make sure that if you need 2 cups of flour for your pumpkin pie crust that you don't have 1 1/2 cups.  The last thing you want is running out to the store 5 minutes before the guests are about to arrive to buy a forgotten ingredient (My dad is usually the one that fixes the mistakes I make in this department).

    8. Clean your oven- Since I am the sloppiest cook ever (nicknamed the wild chef) the amount of cheese I let spill over in the oven all year long is ridiculous.  Clean your oven a few days before so there are no smells of cleaning supplies and you won't have burnt food stuck on the oven smoking while your delicious turkey is in there. 

    7. Learn the Bird- Make sure the morning of Thanksgiving you aren't handling a frozen bird.  Turkeys take a while to defrost.  If you immerse it in cold water it will take 30 minutes per pound, if you leave it in the refrigerator about 1 day per 5 lbs.  Don't forget to take out the packet in the cavity with the gizzards and such.  You don't want this stuff to cook inside your bird.  And although it may look fancy to stuff your turkey, it honestly isn't very sanitary.  Save your stuffing for side dishes, not IN side dishes.  And never forget to let your turkey rest for at least a half hour after its cooked.  After all of the labor and time you put into this turkey, don't ruin it by cutting open a hot turkey so all of the juice runs out.

    6. Prep the fridge- You may think there is plenty of room in your fridge for all of the food, but when you have a bunch of sides, guests bringing desserts and enormous containers, and appetizers you are looking at a full fridge.  Plan ahead of time to avoid cleaning out the fridge 5 minutes before dinner will be served. 

    5.  Set the table early- My family usually sets the table the night before.  When we all help it gets done fast and then the next day all we need to focus on is the food.  No worrying if we have matching forks, plates, and cups the day of Thanksgiving. (Usually we give my dad all of the mismatched stuff)

    4. Clear your countertops- You would be surprised how much counter top space you need for Thanksgiving dinner.  Take away the toasters and coffee pots just for a few hours while prepping is going on.  And plus the last thing you want is turkey juice getting all over your appliances.  Also clean the countertops as you go.  My parents taught me this trick a while ago, and I recently figured out that cleaning as you go is so much better than at midnight when you have been preparing the meal since 6 am that morning.

    3. Review your pot and utensil inventory- Obviously everything will probably need its own pot or dish, so make sure you have enough.  My family even makes post it notes of everything we will make and puts it on the assigned dish.  This way when the mashed potatoes are out of the pot, they have some place to go!

    2. Develop a strategy- Look at the things that can get done in advance and be frozen.  Plan things in order or cook times and importance.  Some Thanksgiving we left making the cornbread last cause honestly there are so many more delicious things, and if we forgot it it wasn't a big deal.  Also things cook at different cooking temperatures so cook everything that has the same cooking temperature at the same time.  Also try to prep as much in advance.  Do all of the chopping first and put things to the side so you can assemble it later. 

    1. HAVE FUN- I never understood why the holidays are notorious for being stressful.  They are about fun, food, and family, not stress.  The worst thing that can happen is you go to Boston Market and get an already prepared meal for your guests.  But honestly do you think things will get that bad that you will need to do that?  If the turkey burns call it cajun turkey, if its under cooked throw it back in the oven.  Thanksgiving happens every year.  If you make a mistake this year, then fix it next year.  My family plays Christmas music while we cook and all of us are in the kitchen together pretty much the the entire day before Thanksgiving. It is a lot of fun when everybody helps out. Give everybody a job to do.  My brother is the taste tester and my dog cleans up any food that we drop. I used to be stressed about making the graham cracker crust perfect or having the creamiest mashed potatoes, but honestly it will all work out in the end.  And if something goes really wrong then you just laugh about it and you can tell that story for years to come!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Pin It Now!

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Hashbrown Casserole

    Have you ever tasted the Hashbrown Casserole at Cracker Barrel? Well here is the recipe that tastes almost identical to it.  Best part is that it only has 5 ingredients and takes almost no effort to make. 

    1-32 ounce bag frozen hashbrowns (let them defrost for an hour on the counter or put them in the microwave for a minute or two)
    2- 10 3/4 ounce cans cream of potato soup
    8 ounces sour cream
    2 cups sharp cheddar
    1 cup parmesan cheese
    (do not add salt to this recipe, the soup contains enough salt)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl mix the soup and sour cream together.  Then add the hashbrowns and stir until combined.  Then add the two cheeses and stir until everything is incorporated.  Put into a greased baking dish and bake in the oven for one hour or until top is golden brown.  Serve hot and enjoy!

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    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Spooky Halloween Punch

    This is so fast, it looks so cool, and it tastes delicious. 

    2 liters ginger ale
    1 gallon any flavored sherbet (I used rainbow which had raspberry, lemon, and orange)

    Fill a large bowl with the two liters of ginger ale.  Don't worry about not creating bubbles, the more bubbles the spookier.  Then using an ice cream scoop, scoop spoonfuls of sherbet onto the punch. Do it gently so you do not pop any bubbles.  Keep doing this until you use up all of the sherbet.  Do not stir.  Serve with a ladle and punch glasses.

    For an extra spooky treat, we took a surgical glove, filled it with water and froze it until it was solid.  Put this in the bowl before adding the ginger ale.  Not only is it spooky but it also keeps the punch cold all night long!

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    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Mummy Dogs

    Since today is Halloween I thought it would be a great idea to make something with that theme.  These are really easy and a lot of fun to make and eat.  There is a quick demo too!

    1 can crescent rolls
    12 hot dogs, cut in half
    mustard for eyes and dipping

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

    Cut each hot dog in half and set aside.  Then using a pizza cutter, cut thin strips of the crescent rolls out.  Now take each half hot dog, rounded edge facing up and begin to roll a piece of crescent dough starting from the bottom to make it look like a mummy.  Leave a small spot for a face (we can add mustard eyes later with a toothpick)

    Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dough is golden brown.  When they are out of the oven you can serve them with mustard, or using a toothpick put two mustard eyes. Enjoy!

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    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 sticks butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup cocoa powder
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    12 oz white chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

    In a large bowl beat the butter and the two sugars together until creamy.  Then add in the vanilla and one egg at a time, beating in between additions.  Then add the cocoa powder and beat until combined.  Add the flour, 1 cup at a time mixing in between.  Then add the baking soda and salt and mix again.  Finally add the white chocolate chips and stir until combined.

    Scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  After they are baked allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the the cookie sheet and serve. Enjoy!

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    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/3 cup milk
    1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    14 oz dark chocolate chips

    Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add soymilk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated.

    Stir in chocolate chips.

    Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

    When dough is firm enough to handle (it may help to lightly flour your hands), form dough into 1" balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or foil. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.

    Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or in microwave according to package directions. Using forks or a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Tap fork on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to lined baking sheets. Chill until set.

     Serve and enjoy!

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    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Steak with Herb Sauce

    4 large steaks (any kind you would like, I used New York Strip steaks)

    Herb Sauce:
    1/2 cup basil
    1/2 cup parsley
    1/4 cup mint
    2 garlic cloves
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
    3/4 cup olive oil
    1 lemon

    Season steaks with lots of salt and pepper.  Rub the seasoning into the meet and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  While the steaks are resting, begin heating a large grill pan or outdoor grill on high.

    Rub the meat with olive oil right before it goes in the pan.  Then place the steaks on the grill at a slight angle.  Cook for about 7 minutes, and rotate about 6 degrees to create grill marks.  Grill for another 7 minutes or until the first side is very brown.  Then flip over and repeat on the other side. 

    While steaks are cooking you can make the sauce.  Finely chop the fresh basil, parsley, and mint and put in a large bowl.  Crush two garlic cloves and mince very finely and put in the bowl with the herbs.  Sprinkle in a few crushed red pepper flakes.  Zest the lemon into the bowl and then juice the lemon.  Mix the ingredients together.  Now add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir again.  Finally stir in the pecorino romano.  There is no need for salt because the cheese is very salty.  Allow to sit for at least 5-10 minutes, stirring every so often.

    Once the steaks are done, take off the grill and put on a plate.  Cover with tin foil and allow to rest for at least 12 minutes.  Once meat has rested, slice on a angle and serve with the herb sauce.  Enjoy!

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    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Fried Pork Cutlets

    12 pork cutlets, pounded
    2 eggs
    1 cup flour
    3 cups bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons parsley
    1 tablespoon paprika
    lemon wedges for serving
    oil for frying

    After you pound the pork about 1/4 inch thick, set aside for the breading station.  First, season the flour with salt and pepper and stir.  Then beat the eggs in a bowl as the second part of the station.  Finally mix salt, pepper, parsley, and paprika in with the bread crumbs as the third part of the station. 

    In a large skillet, put about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and heat on high.  While the oil is heating begin breading the pork.  Start with the flour, then go into the egg, and finish with the bread crumb.  Remember to shake excess off after each step.  Then place the pork in the hot pan.  If it does not sizzle, the pan is not hot enough.  Cook about 6-7 minutes on each side or until outside is golden and crispy.

    After all the pork has finished cooking serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

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    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

    1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box or homemade crust
    (you will only need a bottom crust)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg
    6 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart apples

    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup cold butter
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

    Heat oven to 400°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
    In large bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.  Peel each apple, core them and slice thinnly.  Then add to the sugar mixture. Gently stir in apples.  Pour filling into crust-lined pie plate.

    In small bowl, mix topping ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and walnuts until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie.  Loosely cover pie with sheet of foil and bake 1 hour. After an hour uncover the pie and bake 10 minutes longer or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Enjoy!

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    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Loaded Mashed Potatoes

    6 yukon gold potatoes
    1 cup milk
    4 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup sour cream
    4 slices bacon
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp garlic powder

    Peel and cube the potatoes and put into a pot filled with cold water.  Then turn the heat on high.  Don't boil the water first and then add the potatoes, they cook unevenly and it's also hard to drop potatoes into a boiling pot of water. Once water has boiled add the salt. Cook for about 20 minutes or until fork tender.  In the meantime, cook the bacon either in the oven for 5-7 minutes or on the stove top.

    Drain the potoatoes and put back into the pot.  Then begin to mash the potatoes.  Add the butter and keep mashing until they begin to get creamy.  Then slowly pour in the milk.  Sometimes it helps if the milk is slightly warm or at least room temperature.  Continue to mash until your desired consistency.  For extra creamy potatoes use an electric mixer.  Now add the sour cream, pepper, and garlic powder.  Stir until combined.  Then chop up the bacon and add to the potatoes.  Finally add the cheddar cheese and stir until combined.  Enjoy!

    Photo taken by Emily Barbo. Pin It Now!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Spinach Salad with Fried Goat Cheese

    3 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried
    10 strawberries, washed and dried
    10 oz fresh goat cheese
    1 egg
    1/2 cup panko bread crumb
    1/2 cup flour

    Balsamic Dressing:
    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, pressed
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pepper

    Cut the spinach into 1/4 inch slices and put on a sheet tray to chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

    Place the spinach in a large bowl once it has been cleaned and dried.  After the strawberries have been cleaned and dried, cut the stems off and slice into thin slices.  Toss these in the bowl with the spinach.

    Set up a breading station.  The flour goes in the first plate, then beat an egg in the second bowl, and the panko bread crumbs are put into the third bowl. 

    To make the dressing whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until after the goat cheese has been fried.

    Take the goat cheese out of the freezer and put it through the breading station.  First the flour, then into the beaten egg, then into the panko.  Set back on the baking sheet to freeze for 15 more minutes.

    Heat a large skillet with canola oil just to cover the bottom.  Once the goat cheese is done freezing, take it out and put it in the pan.
    After 3 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown, flip over the goat cheese.

    Now you can dress the salad with the dressing.  I served the salad and goat cheese separately.  But either way, after 3 minutes on the second side, remove from the pan and set aside for the top of the salad.  After salad is plating, add the goat cheese on top.  Enjoy!

    All photographs were taken by Emily Barbo!
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    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Lemon Whoopie Pies

    Cake batter:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil

    In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, lemon juice and vanilla, mixing until blended, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add half of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Mix in the buttermilk. Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until just combined.

    Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 3-inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely. 

    Once cool, make the filling. In a large bowl, on low speed beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice until thoroughly blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. (If the filling is too soft to hold its shape, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.)

    Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down, flat side facing up. Drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie,  leaving a 1/4-inch plain edge. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all cookies are used. Place whoopie pies into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up before serving. Serve and Enjoy!

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    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers

  • 5 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Cookie Dough Layer:
  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • Cheesecake Layer:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degreees.

    To Make Crust:
    Crush the graham crackers in a plastic bag with your hands or a rolling pin until fine crumbs.  Then melt the butter and mix with the graham crackers and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Grease the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan and press the crumbs into the bottom a little up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 8 minutes in the oven.

    To Make Cookie Dough:
    In a bowl beat 1/4 cup butter or margarine with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the white sugar. Stir in the water and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat in the flour and the semisweet chocolate chips. Stir until combined.

    To Make the Cheesecake:
    In a bowl beat 1 cup of the white sugar, and all the cream cheese. Add 1 cup of the sour cream, the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix well and pour half into the crust.

    Drop cookie dough in 2 tablespoon portions evenly over the top of the batter, then top with the rest of the cheesecake batter. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cake will jiggle slightly in center.

    Let cake cool and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  I served it with a little caramel topping on top.

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    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Stuffed Zucchini

    3 large zucchini
    6 white button mushrooms
    5 garlic cloves
    5 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cups bread crumb
    2 tablespoons parsley
    1 cup parmesan cheese

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides.  Then cut them 2 inches across.

    In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Leaving the garlic cloves whole put them in the warm olive oil.  If they start to burn lower the heat.  After about 10 minutes or until garlic turns brown take the cloves out and set them aside.  Then toss in the mushrooms that have been finely chopped.  Saute for about 7-8 minutes or until they turn brown. 

    Then allow the mushrooms to cool and transfer to a bowl.  Chop up the cooked garlic and put it in the bowl with the mushrooms.  Add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Stir until combined.  Then add the chopped parsley and 2 more tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and stuff inside the zucchini.  Drizzle the top with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

    Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until zucchini becomes soft and the stuffing browns.

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    Tuesday, September 13, 2011


    These are the ultimate dessert, a combination of cookies and brownies.  What's better than that?  If you are short on time use your favorite brownie mix and your favorite store-bought cookie dough.  Don't forget to serve them hot with vanilla ice cream.

    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

    In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in eggs one by one until the ingredients are completely combined.  In a separate bowl combined the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Add a little bit at a time and stir after each addition until all has been completely combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

    Line a 13 by 9 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Then pour the batter in and set aside while you make the cookie batter.

    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

    Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

    Using your hands, drop little dollops of cookie dough all along the top of the brownie batter.

    Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until set.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes and remove them using the aluminum foil.  Then cut the bars and serve with vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

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    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Triple Berry Struesel Muffins

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 stick unsalted butter, melted
    1 egg, slightly beaten
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup fresh blueberries
    1/2 cup fresh blackberries
    1/2 cup fresh raspberries

    Struesel Topping:
    1 cup flour
    1 cup brown sugar
    3 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
    In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and sugar.  In another bowl combine the melted butter, egg, and milk and mix well.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. 

    Spoon the batter into the muffin tray, filling each cup about 2/3 full. 

    For the struesel topping, in a separate bowl combine the flour and brown sugar together and mix.  Then add the 3 tablespoons of cold butter and mix together with your hands so that you get small pea size amounts of butter running through the topping.  Then add the cinnamon and continue to mix with your hands. 

    Sprinkle each muffin with the topping and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing.  Enjoy!

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    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Creamed Corn

    2 lbs frozen corn
    1 8 oz block cream cheese
    1 stick salted butter
    3/4 cup whipping cream
    4 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Cube up the butter and cream cheese.

    Add the corn, butter, cream cheese, whipping cream, salt, and pepper to a crock pot.

    Cook on low for 4 hours stirring after 1/2 hour.  To speed it up cook on high for 2 hours, but you won't get the same consistency.  Enjoy!

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