Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Crack


If you've ever dreamed of being addicted to something both gooey & chewy you've come to the right place!
Christmas Crack, aka: cracker candy, toffee bark or ghetto toffee is made with crackers & is addictive like crack, or so I've been told.
It is also so easy you won't even need the dreaded candy thermometer!
First thing you'll need in some heavy duty aluminum foil.
Line a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan with foil, over the sides.
Now cram as many club crackers as you can in a single layer onto the foil-lined pan.

If using a jelly roll pan combine 1 cup of butter & 1 cup of brown sugar in a saucepan.
You'll need to double that if using a half sheet pan.
Heat butter & brown sugar over medium heat to a rolling boil. Stir constantly for 5 minutes.

Carefully pour over crackers and bake at 350 for 6-10 minutes.

Remove from oven & sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Let chips set for 5 minutes and then carefully spread until smooth without moving the cracker base.

Top with anything from toffee chips to nuts to peppermint pieces.

Cool for a couple hours & cut or break into pieces.
*The Crack will be easier to cut into uniform pieces before it is completely set.
It will be very difficult to not eat every piece, you've been warned!
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie and Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

These recipes have nothing to do with each other other than they are both new trials and delicious!
I'm just too lazy to write 2 blog posts. Don't judge me just be happy that I'm finally updating my blog.
And I think they are both keepers.
And the pie is of the non bake variety so no need to raise the temp of the kitchen but it will cause a rise on the scale!
And you're welcome.


Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Pie
Yield: 10 servings
Source: recipegirl

Ingredients:
24 Nutter Butter cookies - crushed into crumbs
5 T butter, melted
1 c hot fudge
8 oz cream cheese - softened
3/4 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 T vanilla extract
8 oz Cool Whip - defrosted
1 c chopped peanuts
additional hot fudge & peanuts for garnish - optional
Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter.
Press the mixture into a pie plate.
Drizzle the hot fudge on top and smooth it out.
Place in the freezer while you're preparing the filling.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese and powdered sugar.
Mix in peanut butter and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Beat in about 1 cup of the Cool Whip.
Fold in the rest of the Cool Whip until well combined.
Remove pie from freezer and sprinkle chopped peanuts over fudge topping.
Spoon the peanut butter filling into the frozen pie crust, smooth the top, and place back into the freezer.
Freeze for at least 3 hours, or until set enough to slice easily.
Drizzle additional hot fudge and sprinkle additional peanuts on individual slices, if desired.


Strawberry Shortcake Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Source: seasonsandsuppers
Ingredients:
2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c butter - cold and cut into cubes
1 egg
1 c heavy cream or half & half or milk
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c diced strawberries
pwd sugar, whipped cream & sliced strwberries - optional garnishes
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar.
Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender (or two knives) until it is in small pea-size pieces.
In small bowl mix the egg, vanilla and cream.
Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir with spoon until just blended.
Gently mix in the diced strawberries.
Spoon into muffin cups, making sure each muffin has some strawberries and bake for about 25 minutes.
Cool completely in pan before removing.
Sprinkle with pwd sugar or top with whipped cream & strawberries once cooled.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Monster Marshmallow Cookies

These cookies may try your patience unless you don't expect as much from your cookies as I do.
I like my cookies to behave nicely in the oven & come off the pan easily. These cookies will not unless you hide the marshmallows inside the dough. It takes a little extra time but well worth the lack of aggravation when you try to pry the sticky, gooey mess off your cookie sheet. Another hint: if you happen to be the lucky owner of a Pampered Chef large serving spatula you should definitely dig it out of the drawer.
I should mention, in the cookie's defense, that these are some of the best cookies I have ever made!
Food Network Photo:

My Photo:

Yield: 4 dozen
Source: Food Network
Ingredients:
Cookies
2 c flour
1 t baking pwd
1/2 t baking soda
1 c unsalted butter - softened
1 c sugar
1 c br sugar
2 lg eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 c quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 c crispy rice cereal
1 c milk chocolate chips
1 c pecans - coarsely chopped
1 c miniature marshmallows
Topping
1/2 c milk chocolate chips
1/2 c miniature marshmallows
2 T half-n-half
1/3 c pecans - finely chopped (optional)
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the first 3 ingredients, set aside.
Beat the butter & sugars in large mixing bowl until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients until combined.
Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets, about 3 inches apart.
Make sure no marshmallows are visible in dough balls.
Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet for one minute.
Transfer to racks to cool.
Topping:
Combine all the topping ingredients except the nuts in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in the pecans.
*Topping will be smoother & easier to drizzle without the addition of pecans. (duh!)
Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the cookies and let set, about 4 hours.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 5367kcal; Protein 81g (162%); Total Fat 311g (479%)(Sat. 131g (655%)); Chol. 911mg (304%); Carb. 585g (195%); Fiber 37g (147%); Sugars 256g; Calcium 337mg (34%); Iron 24mg (134%)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mint Cookie Cupcakes

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Oh goody, another holiday, another excuse to eat chocolate!
I found this delicious recipe last year at Pleasant Home (I love the name).
I wish my home evoked pleasant instead of loud!
I baked these marvelously minty cupcakes last year about this time and last night.
Not sure why I don't make them more than once a year because who doesn't like chocolate & mint or chocolate & anything??

Mint Cookie Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 pkg Mint Chocolate Cookies Like Grasshopper Cookies or GS Thin Mints
Chocolate Mint Buttercream Icing

Directions:
Make cake mix as directed.
Place one mint cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner in a muffin pan.
Fill cupcake liners with approximately 1/4 cup of cake mix.
Bake according to directions on the box.
Let cool.
Frost with chocolate mint buttercream icing.
Simplicity and so yummy!
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Helpful tip: Don't forget the cute cupcake liners but bake the cupcakes in plain liners because they are quite sticky on the bottom after baking and need to be sat in another liner. You're welcome!

Chocolate Mint Buttercream Icing

Ingredients:
1/2 c solid vegetable shortening
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares - melted
1 t mint extract
4 c sifted confectioners' sugar - (approximately 1 lb.)
3-4 T milk

Directions:
Stiff Consistency: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Yield: 3 cups

Chocolate Mocha Icing: Substitute cold brewed strong coffee for milk in Chocolate Buttercream recipe.

Darker Chocolate Icing: Add an additional 1/4 cup cocoa (or one additional 1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate, melted) and 1 additional tablespoon milk to Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

For Thin (Spreading) Consistency Icing: Add 3-4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup


Spring may be on it's way but I was craving some yummy soup.
I found this recipe awhile back during my multiple hours of blog surfing at Back to the Cutting Board.
I enjoy visiting her blog even tho it makes me feel quite inadequate. I wish I was a web designer but I was born in the 60's.
Emily has two different colored eyes, just like my girl and we both heart tumeric.
But I'm really not a stalker!
And her photo is better than mine.
Someday I may need to learn how to blog like the pros.
But until then I will cook/bake & share with you.

Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients: .
16 oz cherry/grape tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes, with chilies if you like things spicier (I use both)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, diced
3 t olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 T chili powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t dried oregano
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t tumeric
1 t salt
1 t pepper
4 c low sodium chicken broth
1 c water - (plus more if needed)
12 oz. frozen corn
1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
3/4 c fresh cilantro - divided
1 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
tortilla chips
avocado
1 lime - cut into wedges
Directions:
Add tomatoes, carrots and green pepper to a food processor and pulse until blended, but still chunky. Set aside.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the cubed chicken and cook until it's completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from pan and shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat another tsp. of oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook about 5-8 minutes.
Add chicken and all the spices and cook over medium heat for one minute.
Add in the tomato mixture, chicken broth, water, corn and beans and 1/2 cup cilantro. Simmer, partly covered for 30-60 minutes.
Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a handful of tortillas and a couple of tablespoons of cheese & avocado. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro. Squeeze a wedge of lime over it just before eating.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

RAOK


In case you didn't know, today is a National holiday (sort of).
I'm not sure Hallmark even acknowledges this day but none the less,
it is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Hooray!!
To celebrate I baked brownies for the neighbors.

I love my neighbors.

And I love my family.

Win Win!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas/leftover empanada filling

This post is not so much of a recipe as it is a product promotion.

Let me just say...when did Campbells start making cream of onion & why wasn't I notified immediately??
I've always used cream of mushroom for sauces but silly boys in my house don't like mushrooms.
They have no choice on onions, I put them in everything. Almost everything.
OK, so the "recipe" is:
Place about 2 T of empanada filling on flour tortilla, fold up burrito style, place in baking dish.
Mix 1 can cream of onion soup with 1/2 c sour cream.
Spread on top of flour tortillas. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.

And the boys chose to eat leftover baked potatoes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Empanadas Anyone?

This is what I made instead of watching the super bowl.
The End.

Chicken Empanadas with Chili Con Queso Dip
Yield: 12 servings
Ingredients:
3 c chopped, cooked chicken - about 4 to 5 chicken breasts
8 oz shredded colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 green onion - chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
Empanadas Pastry
Water
Chili Con Queso Dip
Directions:
Prepare pastry as directed below.
Combine filling ingredients.
Prepare and fry as directed below.
Top with con queso dip.
Note: Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month.

Empanadas Pastry
Yield: 1 dozen
Ingredients:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 c shortening
2/3 c water - or as needed
1 quart oil for frying - or as needed
Directions:
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
Cut in shortening using a pastry blender, or pinching into small pieces using your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Use a fork to stir in water a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture forms a ball.
Pat into a ball, and flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Form the dough into 2 inch balls.
On a floured surface, roll each ball out into a thin circle.
Lightly brush edges with water.
Place teaspoon of the meat mixture onto the center, then fold into half-moon shapes.
Seal edges by pressing with fork.
Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F.
Place a few pies into the fryer at a time.
Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.

Chili Con Queso Dip
Ingredients:
1 lb Velveeta
1 (16-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
2 t hot sauce
Directions:
In a medium sauce pot, slowly melt Velveeta over medium/low heat.
When cheese is fully melted add tomatoes, chiles, and hot sauce, stirring with spoon until combined well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Minestrone

We've been trying with a capital T to eat more healthy this winter.
You can't get much healthier than this soup.
And mama likes her health food spicy!
Choose low sodium canned veggies & broth if you must.
And you can eliminate the sausage but I don't recommend it.
A little animal fat never hurt anyone. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb Italian sausage
1 lg onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 lg carrot, diced
1/3 lb green beans - trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
6 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 15 oz can kidney beans - drained & rinsed
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans - drained & rinsed
1 c pasta (I used mini bow tie)
1/3 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 T chopped fresh basil
Directions:
Brown sausage in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes.
Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the broth to the pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan and chopped basil.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 29kcal; Protein 1g (2%); Total Fat 0g (0%)(Sat. 0g (0%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 7g (2%); Fiber 2g (8%); Sugars 2g; Calcium 34mg (3%); Iron 1mg (3%)