Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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 to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock

1/2 pound fresh broccoli, cut into flourets
1 cup carrots, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a large pot on medium, low heat.  Melt the 1 tablespoons of butter.  Toss in the chopped onion and saute. Put in the 1/4 cup butter and melt on low.  Toss in the flour and whisk together until it thickens for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half.  Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrots to the pot. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now.  Keep over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve warm. 

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

1 box caked mix
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Coca Cola (For the cake mix, use the coke to replace the water and oil)

2 tablespoons butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coca Cola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together the boxed cake mix and the coca cola.  Use how ever much coke as the water and oil would be.  Mine called for 1 1/4 cups of water and 1/2 cup oil so I used 1 3/4 cups coke.  Then stirs in the miniature marshmallows very well.  Make sure they are evenly distributed amongst the cake mix.  Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish and pour the batter in and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes. 

While the cake is baking make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, put the box of powdered sugar.  In a saucepan, heat the butter, coke, and cocoa until it boils while you are whisking constantly.  Once it has boiled, pour the mixture over the powdered sugar in the bowl.  Stir with a spatula.  If desired, add the chopped nuts once it has been completely mixed.  Set aside until the cake is done.  Once the cake comes out of the oven, Put dollops of the frosting all over the top of the cake and allow to melt slightly.  Then you can spread it all over the cake.  Make sure it is hot when you do this.  Serve warm and enjoy!
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired. Serve and enjoy!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Serves 4 (I doubled the recipe when I made it to make 8)

6 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or use your favorite 70% dark chocolate bar)
6 oz. Butter (diced, room temperature)
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
Butter and flour for muffin tins
Preheat oven to 350°F
Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals for about 1-1/2 minutes. When melted, stir in the butter until it melts.

In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, until it starts to whiten. Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour. Butter and flour 4 regular sized muffin tins and pour in ¼ cup of chocolate batter.
Cook for about 10 minutes.

Let cool for about 15 minutes.  Run your knife around the outside to loosten the edges.  Then turn them out onto a dish.  Warm them for 15 seconds before serving if not serving immediately after baking.  Enjoy!
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pecan Shortbread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the flour, salt, and powdered sugar to a bowl and stir with a fork. Add in the vanilla, the butter and the 1 teaspoon of water. Using the fork or yours hands, mix the dough together just until a dough is formed. Add the chopped pecans and mix. Put the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 5 inches long. Tightly twist each end of the wrap in opposite directions. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Arrange on nonstick cookie sheets. Bake until the edges are just light brown, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans half way through the baking process. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Tansfer to wire racks and cool until room temperature. 

In the microwave melt the chocolate chips.  I do about 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  Usually it takes 1-1/2 minutes.  Then dip half of the cookie into the chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes just so the chocolate can harden.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

1 lb spaghetti
20 shrimp, cleaned and deveined
juice from half of a lemon
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Boil a large pot of water in order to cook the spaghetti. 

In another large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  While it is heating, chop the garlic cloves very finely.  Then add them to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes on low heat or until garlic begins to turn slightly brown.

The water should have boiled by now.  Salt the water and toss in the spaghetti.  They will take about 8 minutes to cook. Once the garlic has browned, turn the pan to high heat and pour in the white wine.  Let the wine reduce by half.  One it is reduced, put in the shrimp and cook 2 minutes on each side.  Squeeze in jucie from half of a lemon and stir.  Right before the pasta is done, take 1/4 cup of the water from the pasta pot out and reserve it. 

Drain your pasta and add it to the skillet of shrimp and toss.  Drizzle in a little of the pasta water and continue to toss until a sauce forms.  Then toss in chopped parsley and a little pepper.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cream Puffs

1 stick butter
1 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup flour

2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 pints heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

In a small pot on the stove, boil the water and butter until the butter melts and begins to bubble.  Once it boils, shut off the heat and stir in the 1 cup of flour.  Once it begins to pull away from the sides, add one egg at a time, stirring vigorously in between each egg.  Once the dough has formed, drop tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes or until brown. 

In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream until peaks begin to form.  Then beat in the two boxes of vanilla pudding until they become fully incorporated. 

Once the cream puffs have completely cooled, cut them in half and stuff the inside with a tablespoon of filling into each one and put the top back on.  Some of the cream puffs I filled with lemon curd instead of the vanilla filling.  Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and enjoy!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

English Muffin Pizzas

4 English Muffins
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pizza seasoning or oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Split each english muffin in half and toast them in a toaster, toaster oven, or in the regular oven until they are lightly toasted. Each english muffin makes two "pizzas".  Then spread on a few tablespoons of tomato paste on each side of the english muffin. Lay 2 or 3 slices of cheese or a handful of shredded cheese on each side. I used sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, but grated mozzarella is fine too.  Then sprinkle with the pizza seasoning or oregano and a little salt.  Drizzle with a little olive oil.  Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Goat Cheese and Avocado Burger

1 avocado
1 lb ground beef
12 oz goat cheese (amount can be varied)
4 burger buns
1 lemon
1 tablespoon oil

Form the ground beef into 4, 1/4 lb burger patties.  In a large grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.  Season each patty with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the pan is hot, drop the patties in.  Don't touch them so you can allow them to get brown on one side.  They should cook about 4-5 minutes minutes on this first side with the heat on high. 

Meanwhile, slice up the avocado.  Push your knife into the side of the avocado so it comes in contact with the pit.  Rotate your knife around to make one line.  Twist the avocado open and remove the pit with a spoon.  Then using a large spoon, scoop it out of the shell in one piece.  Put it on a cutting board and slice it very thinnly.  Then sprinkle with salt and squeeze with a little lemon juice. 

Now you can flip your burger.  Cook them on the other side for another 5 minutes or until they are completely brown.  Once that side is completely done, flip them over again and put however much goat cheese you want on top.  I like a lot of cheese! Then put a lid or tin foil over the burgers to allow the cheese to melt for 2-3 minutes.

While the cheese is melting, get the hamburger buns ready.  Whatever bun you like is perfectly fine.  I lay 2 or 3 pieces of avocado on the bottom bun. 

Once the burgers are done, take them out and put them on top of the avocado.  Then place another 2 or 3 pieces on top of the cheese.

Then put the tops on your burger and serve!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mushroom and Onion Flatbread

1 onion, thinnly sliced,
1 pizza dough, homemade or storebought
8 small mushrooms, cremini or white button, thinnly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mozzarella chese
1 garlic clove

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

In a large skillet, add the chopped garlic clove and the thinnly sliced onion. Saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with salt about half way through to help pull out the moisture from the onions.  Then toss in the thinnly sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are soft and brown.  Add the balsamic vinegar and stir.

Meanwhile, roll out your pizza dough about 1/8 inch thick.  Put on an oiled baking sheet and bake in the hot oven for about 5 minutes or until it browns.  Then flip the dough over and put in the oven for another 2 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and place the mozzarella cheese on the dough.  Then put the mushroom and onion mixture on top.  Put back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Cut and enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Corn Bread

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups milk
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar. In a small bowl beat the eggs with the milk. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt until they are combined. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture alternately with egg and milk mixture.  Gently stir in the corn kernels.

Pour into a greased 13 x 9 in baking pan or a loaf pan. Bake  for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares or slices and serve!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cheeseburger Pie

I know this recipe sounds so bizarre but it is absolutely fabulous! It tastes exactly like a cheeseburger but is much less messy to eat! 

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch pie pan.

In a large skillet, cook the beef and the onion.  Break up the beef so there are small pieces.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Beef should be completely browned and onions should be translucent.  Drain off any excess oil.  Stir in the salt and put in the pie plate.  Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese.

In a large bowl, stir together the bisquick, milk, and the 3 eggs until they are fully incorporated and there are no lumps.  Slowly pour this over the top of the beef and cheese.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  Serve hot and enjoy!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

1 ½ cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cups plus 3 tablespoons of sugar
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 pint raspberries for garnish
½ cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line standard muffin wins with paper liners.  Stir together the crushed graham crackers (I crush mine in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin), butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar.  Press 1 tablespoon into bottom of each cup.  Bake about 10 minutes or until set and beginning to color.  Let cool.

With mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  On low, add remaining 1 ½ cups sugar in a slow stream.  Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each.  Spoon 3 tablespoons of filling into each muffin tin over the crust. 

In a small bowl, put the raspberry jam and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Then put a teaspoon on top of the filling of each muffin tin.  Using a tooth pick, swirl the raspberry jam through the filling, without completely mixing it in.  Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.  Cool completely and refrigerate for 4 hours.  If you want, put one raspberry on the top of each cheesecake for decoration.  Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mocha Fudge Brownies

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
¾ cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup chopped toasted almonds
1 cup milk chocolate chips, divided
1 cup heath chips or toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 inch baking pan. 

Melt semi sweet chocolate in top of double boiler or in the microwave.  In the microwave, put it in intervals of 30 seconds to be sure not to burn.  After each 30 seconds stir the chocolate for another 30 seconds. 

Beat sugar and butter in bowl and beat with an electric mixer.  Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.  Add melted chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla and beat until well blended.  Stir in flour, almonds, ½ cup chocolate chips, and heath chips.  Spread the batter evenly into the greased pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until just firm.  Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips. Let stand until chips melt.  Then spread it evenly over the brownies.  Cut into squares and cool completely. Enjoy!
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Scones

2 c. unsifted flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. buttermilk or milk
1 lg. egg
1 lemon
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Grease baking sheet. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter with pastry cutter or a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In small bowl combine milk, egg and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Then add in the blueberries. Zest the entire lemon and add the zest to the batter, reserving the rest of the lemon for later.  Dough will be sticky and elastic.  Using a large tablespoons, drop spoonfulls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
While the scones are baking, you can make the glaze, in a bowl stir the juice of one lemon and gradually add powdered sugar to it until it becomes a little runny, but not too liquidy.  If it is too liquidy add more powdered sugar.  Once the scones have come out of the oven let them cool completely before drizzing the glaze on.  Once they are cool spoon the glaze over the top and allow to set a little before serving.  Serve and enjoy!
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