Pin It button on image hover

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Wilton Cake

This week was the final class of the first Wilton Cake Decorating Course. This week we learned how to complete the Wilton rose (yay I can now work at a grocery store bakery!) and leaves. I'm hoping to start Course 2 next week but as of now, I'm the only person who signed up so it will most likely be cancelled and I'll have to wait until next month. I'm having fun in the classes and really want to get farther along so hopefully its not delayed too long.

For this class we had to bring in another layer cake, so I decided to try out another new recipe. I was a little limited on the ingredients I had on hand, but I found a classic pound cake recipe in my Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything cookbook and decided to make a lemon pound cake with a lemon curd filling from Martha Stewart.

The cake came out a little dry - I think I over-beat the egg whites a little and should have added a simple syrup. I would also have liked the cake to be a little taller as the layers were quite thin even when baked in my 8" pans so next time I think I would make 1.5 times the recipe and add a 3rd layer. The lemon curd filling turned out to be fantastic and I will definitely be using this recipe again in the future.
Lemon Pound Cake
Recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups (9 oz) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans (I used 2 8" round pans) but the traditional recipe uses a 9x5 loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream butter until its smooth. Add half the sugar and beat well. Add the remaining sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in each egg yolk, individually. Mix the dry ingredients in by hand, just until smooth.

Whisk eggs whites until soft peaks form and fold into batter gently. Batter will be thick. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake. In a loaf pan, bake about 1 1/4 hours, for 8" pans it took about 30 minutes. Remove cakes when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes and then remove from pan to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Lemon Curd Filling
Recipe from Martha Stewart

3 large egg yolks
6 T sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 T unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and setting a smaller bowl inside.

Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (about 7-10 minutes).
Remove sauce from the heat and add in butter, piece by piece, stirring with a wooden spoon until each addition is incorporated. Strain finished mixture through a fine sieve into chilled bowl. Stir occasionally until mixture is cooled, about 7-10 minutes. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on top of mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least one hour.

After mixture is cooled, level cakes and brush off any crumbs with a pastry brush. Smooth on lemon curd with a spatula, leaving a 1/2" space around the outside edge empty. Top with 2nd layer and frost as desired. I used the Wilton buttercream recipe again which can be found here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Another quick and easy appetizer recipe that's perfect for a low maintenance party.

Chicken skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup apricot preserves, divided
4 T soy sauce, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground mustard
3 T olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Cut chicken lengthwise into 1/2" thick strips and place in a gallon size plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup preserves, 2 T soy sauce, garlic, mustard, oil, and vinegar. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. When marinated, preheat grill and thread chicken onto skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water at least 30 minutes prior to skewering chicken.) Grill approximately 2 minutes on each side.

Prepare dipping sauce by combining peanut butter, remaining apricot preserves, remaining soy sauce, lime juice and crushed red pepper flakes in the food processor. Combine until smooth.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

In the spirit of Saturday football parties, I decided to put some of my new cake decorating skills to use. I picked up a cute football helmet pan at Michaels with a 40% off coupon and thought I would try to impress the hubs by making him a Louisville cake. I think it came out pretty well for my first attempt.

I was able to trace a picture of logo onto parchment paper with piping gel and then transferred it to the cake to fill in.
The cake was actually a little too much batter for the pan so it overflowed in a couple places and was a little undercooked in the center. But it tasted good and it looked cute.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and use shortening to grease pan (use 2 9" pans, 9"x13" pan or specialty pan if desired) and dust with approx. 2 T flour. Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of mixer. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in boiling water, mix to combine and pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Increase baking time as necessary for single pan cakes.) Cool for approx. 15 minutes and remove from pan. Continue cooling on wire racks until completely cool and frost as desired.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms

These little mushrooms were a big hit yesterday. They were gone in about 10 minutes!

Stuffed Mushrooms
Recipe adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 pkg white button mushrooms (approx 25-30)
1 T olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
5-6 sun dried tomatos, packed in oil, chopped, reserve 1 tsp of soaking oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems from mushrooms and place caps face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approx. 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop mushroom stems and saute with olive oil, shallots and garlic in a small skillet until shallots are soft. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, tomatos, herbs, and most of the parmesan (reserve approx 1 T to sprinkle on top). Add mushroom mixture and egg yolk. Stir to combine. Drain off any liquid from mushrooms. Turn mushrooms over and stuff with prepared mixture. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese and return to oven for approx. 15 minutes.

Pigs in a Blanket

1 sheet puff pastry
1 pkg Lil' Smokies
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 egg
1 T water
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cheese into small thin slices approx. 1" x 1/4". Cut a small slice in each sausage link. Stuff cheese slices into meat. Roll out thawed puff pastry on a well floured surface to approx. 12" x 12". Cut into strips approx. 1" wide and 3" long. Roll each sausage link into a strip of puff pastry, place seam side down onto prepared baking sheet. Beat egg and mix in water and garlic powder. Brush tops of each roll. Bake approx. 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve with spicy mustard.

Hot Spinach Dip

The addition of goat cheese adds an unexpected depth of flavor to a fairly standard appetizer recipe. Add Red Hot or Tabasco to spice it up according to your preferences.

Hot Spinach Dip

1 10 oz. pkg chopped frozen spinach
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
1 pkg cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat)
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup mayo (I use FF)
1/4 cup sour cream (I use FF)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
Approx 1 T Frank's Red Hot (adjust to your taste)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp herbs de provence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute spinach, garlic and onions in a skillet over medium high heat. When onions are soft, add red peppers. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture into an oven safe dish or 8x8 pan. Cook about 20 minutes until bubbly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Apple Mustard Pork Chops

Such a good fall meal and quick and easy for a weeknight dinner. Todd said these were the best pork chops I've ever made! The mustard and apple flavors go together so well.
Apple Mustard Pork Chops
1 pound boneless pork chops
1 apple, diced (I used Granny Smith)
1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
1 T plus 1 tsp dijon mustard
1 egg
1/4 cup plus 1 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/4 all purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cut pork chops to about 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat with 1 T olive oil. Mix together egg and 1 tsp dijon mustard in a shallow bowl. Combine flour and garlic powder on a plate. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet into egg mixture and then into flour mixture and place in pan. Cook approx. 3 minutes on each side until browned. Meanwhile mix together remaining mustard, vinegar and honey and slowly whisk in olive oil to form a vinegrette. Pour over pork chops and reduce heat to low. Melt butter in a small skillet and add apples and brown sugar. Cook approx. 7-10 minutes until apples are softened and carmelized. Pour apples over pork chops and serve.

I added a side of baked sweet potatos with a little butter and brown sugar for a nice fall meal.

Wilton Class 2

We learned a few new tricks and techniques this week... star flowers, swirl flowers, shell borders, and clowns. Since I made cupcakes from a box and used the Wilton buttercream recipe (sorry its been a very busy week), I'll just leave you with a couple pictures...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Quick Bread

Adapted from: BrannyBoilsOver


5 T sugar
1 T all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs unsalted butter, softened

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
15 oz can solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Granny smith apples, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9" loaf pans. Coarsely grate 2 apples (think zucchini bread). Cream together applesauce, pumpkin, sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in grated apples. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Combine topping ingredients, working butter into mix with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of loaves. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a skewer or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 15 minutes and then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.

This bread is great plain or topped with a little apple butter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best Baked Mac and Cheese Ever

Seeing as I made this exactly as PW suggested, with the exception of subbing 2 cups 1% milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream for the 2 1/2 cups whole milk, and whole wheat shell pasta for the elbows and I'm super short on time today, I'll just give you the link to the recipe.
P.S. I promise the macaroni isnt really green, that's what happens when I take pictures in the kitchen after dark.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Easy Weeknight Paninis

Need a dinner that takes 15 minutes or less to prepare? Paninis are one of my go-to meals for busy nights when I dont feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen but still want hot food.

Cheddar Chicken Panini with Roasted Red Pepper Spread
8 slices of French Bread (about 1/2" thick)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 jar roasted red peppers
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayo (I used light)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally and cut into 4 peices. Pound to equal thickness. Generously salt and pepper both sides and sprinkle with ground mustard. Add chicken to the pan, cooking about 3 minutes on each side until cooked through. While chicken cooks, crush and peel garlic clove, add to a food processor with red peppers and mayo. Pulse lightly until combined and mostly smooth. If you have a panini press, heat it now. Spread onto each peice of bread. Top 4 peices of bread with cheese, breaking the slices so they fit. Add cooked chicken and top with remaining bread. Place sandwiches on a panini press and cook until bread is golden and toasty (about 5 minutes).

If you dont have a panini press, you can use a grill pan with a slightly smaller heavy lid to press down the sandwiches. Alternatively if you dont want to dirty another pan, wipe out the pan for the chicken with a paper towel and use it.

Golden Layer Cake

I signed up for Wilton cake decorating classes a few weeks ago at my local Michaels. I thought it might be fun to learn some decorating tricks and tips rather than just always slathering on icing with a knife. This week was the second class in Course 1, so I actually baked a cake, frosted it and took it in to class with me to decorate. I had to make 4 different colors of icing this week in 3 different consistencies (although we didnt even use 2 colors but oh well). The first class you just sit and watch the instructor. She showed us how to prepare the icing in different consistencies and some basic piping bag techniques and skills. We learned some pretty basic decorating stuff this week, star tip patterns and zig zags, dots, and pattern transfer. Practiced writing a little bit and that was about the extent of it. The first course isn't too challenging but its nice to learn the basic tips and techniques properly from someone who has been doing it for years.
So far I have invested about $60, $25 for the class plus supplies. I bought more than I needed to because I plan to take Course 2 as well, so I bought a 50 piece decorating kit that had more tips in it, a tackle box to carry all my supplies in, a turn table, lots of piping bags, gel coloring, piping gel, meringue powder... Luckily I always have a Michael's coupon so I was able to get most everything at 40% off.
For the cake this week, I decided to experiment with a new recipe. I wanted something basic that would easily stack and mix with the buttercream frosting. The Wilton buttercream isnt exactly gourmet (or even really good) but it definitely wouldn't stand up to a really elaborate cake. I found this recipe for yellow cake in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
and it worked out great. It was very light and tasted great. This one is going to be a go-to recipe for basic cake/cupcakes. (Sorry for the bad picture, this is the "extra" 3rd layer because I sent the decorated cake to work with Todd and forgot to tell him to take a picture when he cut into it.)

Golden Layer Cake
10 T unsalted butter, softened
9 oz (2 cups) cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (I used skim)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour 2 9" pans or 3 8" pans (I think in the future I will just use 2 8" pans - 3 resulted in 3 very thin cakes). In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth and gradually add the sugar. Beat until light, 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the egg mixture by hand in parts, alternating with the milk. Stir just until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (to get your cakes to be the same thickness, divide batter evenly by putting in 1/2 cup cake batter into each pan, alternating until you've used all the batter). Bake for about 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans in the oven so each cooks the same amount of time in each position (this will help keep them level).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cheesy-Beer Bread

Adapted from Katie at Good Things Catered

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 oz bottle of beer (I used Harvest Moon)
2 T unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray loaf pan with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, and cheese, stir to combine. Slowly add beer, mixing until combined. Knead dough gently until well mixed. Pour batter into prepared pan and pour melted butter over the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oktoberfest Dip

Todd loves beer and cheese so when I was thinking about what to make for our tailgate on Saturday, I decided to make a cheesy beer dip and combined the two. I had some cream cheese on hand and I found this recipe on Brown-Eyed Baker that I thought would work. My minor adaptations are below.

Oktoberfest Dip

1 pkg cream cheese (I used FF)
1 pkg shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
2 T spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup Sam Adams Oktoberfest (or similar)
2 T heavy cream
2 tsp dried parsley

Blend all but the beer in a food processor until well-combined and add beer and parsley and pulse until smooth. Tastes great served with pretzels. Can be refrigerated up to 4 days.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Southwest Spicy Chili

When the weather starts to get chilly and football games become our regular Saturday entertainment, I always want chili. The hot, spicy soup is the perfect thing for a lazy Saturday or Sunday. Throw everything in the crockpot and let it cook. The longer it sits, the better it gets. (The hotter it gets too - so be careful when you're adding the spices up front!)

Southwest Spicy Chili
(Serves a whole bunch of hungry people)
3-4 cans diced tomatos
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 small can tomato paste
2 lbs. ground turkey
2 jalepenos, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can chipotles in adobo
2 small cans green chilis
1-2 T chili powder
1-2 T ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cayenne pepper to taste
4 green onions, diced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Brown ground turkey over medium high heat with garlic. Add 1 T chili powder and 1T cumin. Drain any excess grease when browned and add to crock pot.
Meanwhile dice bell peppers and white onion. Remove ribs and seeds from jalepenos and finely dice. Add to crock pot.Add 3 cans of tomatos and beans. Stir to combine. Remove chipotles from adobo sauce and chop. Add peppers to crockpot with 2 T adobo sauce. Reserve any remaining sauce and add later if desired. Add corn, green chilis, cinnamon and tomato paste and stir to combine.
Cook on high for 2 hours. Taste for seasoning, add additional cumin and chili powder if desired. If the chili is too spicy, add remaining can of diced tomatos. Turn heat to low and continue cooking an additional 2 hours. Add additional chili powder and cayenne pepper if desired. Add shredded cheese and green onions, stir gently and serve.
I always serve mine over Fritos corn chips with a spoonful of sour cream.
NOTE: I make this in a 6 1/2 quart crock pot, you will have to adjust the quantities above if you wish to make it in anything smaller than 6 quart capacity.

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Again)

So my 2nd attempt at a pumpkin cheesecake was much more successful. The addition of real pumpkin made it so.much.better. That should have been a given, I guess.

This recipe was adapted from Joy of Baking, but the changes were minor (mostly due to what I had on hand).

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(Serves 10)

1 1/2 cups graham crackers
2 T sugar
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 T butter, melted

Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground, add sugar, ginger, cinnamon and melted butter and pulse until the mixture is combined and crumbly. Press into a buttered, 9" spring form pan, using a smooth glass or measuring cup to uniformly press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pan. Refrigerate crust while you prepare the filling.

2 packages cream cheese, room temperature (1 pound) - I used 1/3 less fat
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on low speed until smooth (about 2 min). Slowly add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and beat until smooth and creamy (1-2 min). Add eggs individually, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla and pumpkin and beat lightly (about 30 sec). Pour the mixture over the chilled crust.

Place springform pan on a jellyroll pan in oven. Place a cake pan, filled halfway with water on the bottom shelf of the oven to moisten the air. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue baking for 10-20 minutes (I only did 10) until edges begin to puff but center of cheesecake is still wet and jiggles. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Run a knife gently around the edge of the pan to help prevent cracking.

1/2 cup sour cream (I used FF)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I used FF)
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Dusting of cinnamon

Whisk topping together and pour over slightly cooled cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quick Snack

Apple Chips

2 large apples

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 large jellyroll pans with parchment paper or wire racks, I used parchment paper. Core apples and peel if desired. Thinly chop apples, try to get them as thin as possible. I used a mandoline set on 1/8" and it worked great, but they could have even been thinner. Lay apples on prepared pans in a single layer. Bake about 2 hours, flipping half way. After flipping, dust lightly with cinnamon. Chips will get slightly crisper as they cool but you may have to adjust baking time depending on the thickness of your slices.

Baked Ricotta Penne

It's cold and raining here so baked pasta seemed like a great idea for dinner. This is such a quick and easy recipe and you can really throw in whatever you want and have on hand.

Baked Ricotta Penne
(Serves 6)

1 box penne (I used whole wheat)
1/2 pound ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1/2 cup ricotta (I used part-skim)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Prego Heart Smart Traditional)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Bring water to a boil in a large pot for pasta. When water is boiling, add salt and pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to over med-high heat. Add ground turkey and crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. After about 5 minutes, add minced garlic and roasted red peppers. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. Add ricotta cheese and stir until melted and combined. Lightly chop spinach and add to skillet. Cook until wilted and combined. Drain pasta. Add a ladle of sauce to the prepared baking pan. Add pasta and remaining sauce in layers to make it easier to combine. Mix well to ensure all pasta is coated with sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake approx 20 - 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. I served it with garlic bread but it also works well with steamed broccoli or a caesar salad if you want a lighter meal.

Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

As I walking through Target on Monday night, I came across a bag of Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses. I've never had them, but have heard good things, so I bought a package. On the back of the package was a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake Pie. I was planning on making a pumpkin cheesecake this week anyway, so I thought I would give the recipe a try. Although it was good, it didnt really satisfy my desire for a pumpkin cheesecake. So I'm still planning on making some real pumpkin cheesecake too. I wanted to make the cheesecake in my springform pan, I got a set as a wedding present and haven't tried them out yet, so instead of making this in a pie plate as the recipe suggests, I made it in an 8" springform pan which worked great. The recipe below contains my slight modifications.

Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake

(Serves 8-10)

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
4 T butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar

2 pkgs cream cheese
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
30 Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses
1 tablespoon milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 T sugar
8-10 Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter pan. Mix crushed graham cracker crumbs and sugar and add melted butter until well mixed. Press into pan, using a smooth glass or measuring cup to press evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Bake crust in the oven for approx 10 minutes.

Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add each egg, beating well after each addition. Remove 1/4 cup of batter, and pour remaining filling into crust. Heat kisses in the microwave for approx 30 seconds. Stir and continue heating in 10 second intervals as needed. Mix in 1/4 cup batter and stir well. Drop spoonfuls of the candy mixture into the cream cheese filling. Swirl with a knife as desired. Bake for approx 30 minutes until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack until completely cool and then refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, pour heavy cream in a bowl and beat, slowly add sugar, and beat with whisk until light and fluffy. Top cheesecake with whip cream and garnish with remaining kisses as desired. Dust lightly with cinnamon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple-Banana-Applesauce Bread

I had 2 overly ripe bananas and bunches of apples and wanted to make something sweet that wasn't too bad for us. A couple minutes of searching and I came across this quick bread recipe from Sara's blog, The Piggly-Wiggly.

I made a couple changes, subbing unsweetened applesauce for the majority of the butter and adding in an extra apple and pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and cloves to match what I had on hand. I also baked the bread in 2 loaf pans and reduced the cooking time as necessary. Below is my recipe.
Apple-Banana-Applesauce Bread
(Makes 2 loaves, 8 slices each)

2 T unsalted butter
2 T dark brown sugar
3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8" loaf pans. Melt butter in a skillet with brown sugar over medium-high heat. Add apples, vanilla and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, until apples are tender. Remove from heat.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 cup orange juice
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar and applesauce in bowl and mix until creamy. Add in eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Add bananas and mix until smooth. Slowly add in dry ingredient mix, mixing on low until well-combined. Gently fold in apple mixture. Divide batter evenly between both pans. Bake for approx 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan, continue cooling on wire rack at least 15 more minutes before slicing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ground Turkey, Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Calzones

I'm still searching for a great whole wheat pizza dough recipe and while this one is good, it turned out a little dry. As a pizza it is fine, but the double crust of the calzone made it more obvious. I would brush the top of the crust with olive oil before baking and add a little more sauce next time. This recipe is off the Hodgson's Mill flour package with a couple modifications.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
(Makes 2 calzones or thin crust pizzas)
1 pkg active yeast
1 cup water, heated to 110-115 degrees
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 T olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

My adds:
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Combine yeast and water and let stand approx 5 minutes. Add wheat flour, olive oil, sugar, salt, and spices. Add 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix until just combined. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead in additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a deep, oiled bowl, turning once to grease top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a well-floured surface. Let rest about 10 minutes before baking.

Ground Turkey, Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Calzones
(Makes a large calzone)

1/2 pizza dough, rolled out thinly
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup pizza sauce (increase to 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 T grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees along with a pizza stone. Brown ground turkey with garlic and fennel seed in a small skillet. Add onions and roasted red peppers and remove from heat. Remove hot pizza stone from oven and dust with cornmeal. Spread pizza sauce over rolled out dough, leaving a 1/2" border around the edge. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour meat mixture onto half of the dough, spreading evenly. Cover with mozzerella. Fold empty half of dough over the filling, sealing the edges by folding and crimping the dough. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil. Transfer calzone to hot stone and return to oven for approximately 30 minutes until dough is lightly browned and crisp. Sprinkle top with parmesan and serve.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yesterday, we got U-Verse installed at our house. It took about 6 hours from start to finish since they had to run new cables and figure out some issues. So basically I couldn't watch football or use the internet for 6 hours, but I had to be home. Bored, I decided to make a crockpot of soup. I was originally thinking chili but I had the ingredients for tortilla soup on hand.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Serves 8-10)

1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used leftover chicken from this recipe)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 large can Ro-tel (use regular diced tomatoes for a milder soup)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (if desired, depends on how hot your jalapenos are)
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
Corn tortillas or tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot (I used my 6 qt and had plenty of room), starting with soups, tomatoes and stock, stir until well mixed and add in vegetables, beans and garlic. Add chicken, cumin and chili powder. Cook on high for 2 hours. Taste and add cayenne pepper if desired. Reduce heat to low and cook an additional 2 hours. Add shredded cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Brown tortillas in a small skillet with a small amount of oil, sprinkle with garlic salt (I use Lawry's) and cut into small pieces. Ladle soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips or crushed chips and more cheese if desired.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pretzel Rolls

I love soft pretzels, with salt, with cinnamon and sugar, dipped in cheese sauce, it doesnt matter, I love them. So naturally, pretzel bread seemed genious. Any time that I'm at a restaurant that serves a sandwich on pretzel rolls, I always order it. Definitely one of my favorite things.

After experimenting with a couple other yeast recipes, I found this recipe at Big City Cooking and decided to make the rolls for our tailgate last night. I baked them on Thursday night and they were fine for Friday afternoon but I do think they are best served warm.

The recipe makes 8 hamburger bun-sized rolls and was very easy.

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup and 2 T hot water (approx 120 degrees)

Combine all ingredients except water in bowl of a mixer, slowly stream in water until dough comes together to form a smooth, elastic dough. Knead for approx. 1 minute and transfer to a greased bowl. Turn dough once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise approx. 30-45 minutes until doubled in size. Turn dough out onto a floured work space and knead until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide into 8 peices and roll into balls. Place balls on a floured surface and cut an "X" into the top of each roll with a serrated knife. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

8 cups water
1/4 baking soda
2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan and dust with cornmeal. Heat water over high heat in a large saucepan, when boiling add baking soda and sugar, the water will foam up. Add rolls in batches of 2-4, cooking 30 seconds per side. Transfer rolls to prepared pan with slotted spoon, "X" side up.
1 egg white, beaten
Course salt

Brush the tops of all rolls with egg white and sprinkle with salt. Bake approx 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

We made spicy chicken and cheddar sandwiches with the pretzel rolls. I thinly sliced about 1.5 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breasts and marinated overnight. The marinade is similar to a jerk marinade.

Spicy Chicken Marinade

Juice of 2 limes
3 T dark brown sugar
3 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
3 cloves garlice, minced
1 jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground mustard

Add all ingredients to a gallon size plastic ziploc and add chicken. Put ziploc inside a bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Grill chicken until no longer pink inside. Serve on cut pretzel rolls topped with cheddar cheese slices and spicy mustard.

Crunchy Apple Coleslaw

(Serves 6)

1 bag shredded coleslaw mix (green and purple cabbbage and carrot blend)
2 tart green apples (I used Granny Smith)
2 T sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup miracle whip (I used light)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

Grate apple into bowl, toss with lemon juice. Add shredded coleslaw mix and onions. In a small bowl, mix sugar, nutmeg and vinegar. Whisk in miracle whip and sour cream. Pour dressing over coleslaw mix and toss well to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Cover and refrigerate until serving. (I think its better if you refrigerate at least a couple hours or overnight.)

Red Velvet Cookies

Seriously, easiest cookies ever. Only 3 ingredients, you can make these in 2 minutes.

I needed a dessert for our tailgate last night and since I was going to cheer for Pittsburgh and my husband is a huge Louisville fan, I decided I wanted team cookies, normally that means I make sugar cookies and decorate them in school colors but that was more work than I had time for. Red and white cookies seemed like a great answer.

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from Pineapple Grass
Makes about 24 cookies

1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines which is approx an 18 oz box, if your cake mix is smaller, reduce oil slightly)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet lightly. Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together until well combined. Roll cookies into balls and place on cookie sheets, flattening slightly. Bake until tops start to crack, about 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks and frost when completely cool.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Walnut-Crusted Chicken and Gnocchi with Brown Butter Cream Sauce

Walnut-Crusted Chicken
(Serves 3)

3 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin, or 6 chicken tenders
1 T olive oil
4 oz chopped walnuts
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 T buttermilk
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil. Combine buttermilk and egg in a shallow bowl and add salt and pepper. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine walnuts, flour, mustard, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper on a plate. Bread chicken by first dipping both sides in egg mixture, then in walnut mixture. Add to pan. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat.

1 pkg gnocchi (I used sweet potato-whole wheat gnocchi)
4 T unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream (I substitued FF half and half cause that's what I had)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Salt and Pepper

Boil water for gnocchi, salt before adding pasta. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions in batches, generally about 3 minutes. When they float to the top, remove them with a slotted spoon. In another pan, melt butter over med-low heat. Cook until butter turns a light brown color, do not burn. Whisk in cream and add chopped sage. Add cooked gnocchi to pan and cook until heated through.

Related Posts with Thumbnails