Monday, February 28, 2011

Queso Blanco Dip


I made this amazing cheese dip to go with our Carne Asada Tacos.  I also made some homemade tortillas for the tacos and for dipping.  This is an easy dip that does not start off with a roux as the base.  It's so good and addicting!

Ingredients:

1 T canola oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 can mild Rotel tomatoes, drained
2 T pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups white American cheese (found in deli section)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4-3/4 cup milk
3 T cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the Rotel tomatoes and jalapenos.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese with 1/4 cup of the milk.  Stir until melted.  Add more milk as needed to get sauce to the right consistency.  Note:  The cheese dip will thicken quickly as it cools, so start off a bit thinner.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.  Serve immediately with tortilla chips and flour tortillas.  This can be reheated in the microwave as needed.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Annie's Eats

Friday, February 25, 2011

Apple~Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze



It's no secret my girls and I love anything with cooked apples and cinnamon.  I even created a new category for Apples/Cinnamon recipes.  I was trying to think of a recipe to use up some huge Granny Smith apples from the fridge.  I originally was thinking of incorporating them in a Snickerdoodle bundt cake, but the recipes I found did not look as moist as a Spice cake.  So when I'm not sure what to make, I google it.  Google is my friend and I enjoy looking at the images first, then choosing from there. 

This recipe is adapted from a favorite recipe site...marthastewart.com!  I did make some recipe changes.  I substituted some of the white flour with whole wheat flour, and used apple pie spice and cinnamon instead of just cinnamon.  I also added cinnamon apple sauce to make sure it stayed moist.  I used apple juice and cinnamon in the glaze for even more flavor.  It was amazing, my kids told me so, and who can argue with 3 picky little eaters!

To give you an idea of what this cake tastes like, think moist spice cake, apple pie, and apple fritters all mixed up.  This cake is best served warm with a little extra glaze drizzled over top.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp apple pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon apple sauce
4 large eggs
5 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T apple juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the white flour, whole wheat flour, apple pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, apple sauce, and eggs until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the apples.  Pour batter into a 12-cup Bundt pan and smooth top

Note:  The batter will be very thick and just barely coat the apples.  The apples with release their moisture and the batter will become cake.  Don't worry!

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, stir together powdered sugar, apple juice, and cinnamon.  Spoon over top of cooled cake.  Enjoy!


Grilled Chicken Sliders~2 Ways


Yesterday was another warm and beautiful day.  My hubby and I decided to grill on our outdoor patio and enjoy the sunshine.  I have been wanting to make another slider ever since I made these cheeseburger ones last week.  At first it was about finding an excuse to enjoy King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls again.  In the end, all the flavors just worked together to make the sweet rolls even better than I remembered.

I made our grilled chicken sliders and topped them 2 different ways.  My hubby wanted his topped with mayonnaise, swiss cheese, bacon, tomato, and jalapenos.
 

I topped mine with mayonnaise, bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon, and jalapenos.  We had some creamy sweet cole slaw on the side.  They were so good!



Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Weber Kickin Chicken seasoning
Allegro original marinade
King's Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls


Toppings of Choice:
mayonnaise
mustard
bbq sauce
cheese
bacon
jalapenos
pickles
lettuce
tomatoes
onions

Place chicken in a gallon zip lock bag and pound to 1/2 inch thickness.  Remove to a plate and season both sides with Weber Kickin Chicken seasoning.  Pour 1/4 cup Allegro marinade into zip lock bag, add chicken, and seal up the bag.  Place in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 2 hours.  

When ready to cook, drain off the marinade.  Grill chicken on an outdoor or indoor grill pan until cooked through.  Let rest for a few minutes.  Cut chicken into slices and place on rolls.  Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Any leftover chicken is great on a mixed salad the next day.  And you won't feel so bad for eating all those King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls the day before!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies


I have been wanting to make these cookies for a very long time. I found a recipe in my Taste of the South-December magazine for a simple homemade version. Most of the others I have seen use a boxed Red Velvet cake mix. I will be making these again as I'm sure they will be gone before tomorrow night with 5 of us in the house. This recipe made 11 sandwich cookies.

Red Velvet Cookie Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sugar, reserved for rolling
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
Red gel food coloring
1 recipe cream cheese filling (recipe follows)

In a large stand mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the cream mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue until all flour is incorporated. Add desired amount of red gel food coloring, and mix well. Remove from stand mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened slightly
2 T unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until just combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat just until all lumps disappear and mixture is nice and creamy. Do not overmix. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup granulated sugar into a small bowl. Use your hands to roll dough in 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll around in the sugar. Place on parchment lined baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until cookies just start to crack around the edges.

Let cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Pipe or spread cream cheese filling on half of the flat side of cookies. Place another cookie on top of the filling and press lightly. Enjoy!

Note:  My cookies did not bake up a tall as the ones pictured in the magazine. But they tasted amazing! Maybe next time I will add either 1 tsp baking soda, or 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Any other suggestions?



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Garlic Studded Italian Pot Roast~2 Meals


This is definitely a comfort Sunday meal.  The leftovers are even better the next day on a fresh roll or sandwich bread.  You can prep everything early in the day and let it braise in the slow cooker all afternoon.  Your house will smell divine!  I cook potatoes, onions, and carrots with the roast, mostly for flavoring the gravy.  My picky family has to eat mashed potatoes with their pot roast, and can't eat mashed potatoes without corn.  My kids pile their corn on top of the mashed potatoes and gravy, just like I used to do when I was little.  Now, I take a forkful of mashed potatoes and gravy, then dip it into my corn...some things never change!

Ingredients:

Chuck Roast
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt
black pepper
1 T Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 white onion, cut into chunks
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 can reduced sodium beef broth

Cut several deep slits in the top of roast, and insert sliced garlic.  Season both sides liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. 


Place the cut up vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Sprinkle the Italian seasoning, dried thyme, and minced garlic over top, then pour in the beef broth.  Place the roast on top of the vegetables.  Cover and let cook on high for 6 hours, or until fork tender and easily shreds.  You can also cook it on low for 8-10 hours. 


When the roast in ready, remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Strain the cooking liquid (gravy) into a small sauce pan, and either serve the flavorful veggies or discard.  Make a slurry to thicken the gravy by stirring together about 3 T corn starch + 3 T cold water in a small glass, then pour into the gravy.    Cook over medium low heat until thickened.  Taste and adjust seasonings. 

My Italian pot roast sliders the next day were oh so good!  That's why they are pictured 1st above.  I slathered the King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls with mayonnaise, topped with warm pot roast and gravy, then sprinkled on some shredded monterey jack cheese.  I could seriously eat these every day!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vanilla~Blueberry Cupcakes


I made these cupcakes as a "Thank You" to my parents-in-law for standing in line to get my book signed by Ree Drummond.


The fresh blueberries at the grocery store were my inspiration for these cupcakes.  I used my vanilla cupcake recipe as the base, added fresh blueberries to each individual cupcake, leaving the center without blueberries.  Then after they were baked and cooled, I filled them with a creamy mixture of natural blueberry spread and cream cheese.  They were topped with a chilled blueberry cream cheese frosting.  Another fresh blueberry on top for garnish lets you know who is the star of the show.


These should be kept in the refrigerator or the cream cheese frosting will melt off the cupcakes.  They were so fresh and flavorful!  I plan on using this same method to make vanilla~strawberry cupcakes when they are in season. 

Vanilla~Blueberry Cupcakes:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
fresh blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with 16 paper liners. In a large stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl to thoroughly combine all the ingredients together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the cream mixture, along with the milk, and mix until a smooth batter is formed. Use a large ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, about 2/3 of the way full.  Push 3-4 blueberries around the perimeter of each cupcake batter, leaving the center open.



Bake for 14-18 minutes until golden brown and the cupcakes spring back to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Filling:

2 T cream cheese
3 T natural blueberry fruit spread

Use a hand mixer to cream together ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to fill cupcake.

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, fill them with the blueberry cream cheese mixture. You can either pipe in the filling, or hollow out the center and spoon it in.



Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
14 T cream cheese (use the rest of the cream cheese leftover from earlier)
3 T natural blueberry fruit spread
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and blueberry fruit spread just until combined.  Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar.  Beat just until incorporated.  Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and top with a fresh blueberry.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Caramelized Onion, Swiss, and Avocado Beef Sliders



The weather has been absolutely perfect this week in Texas.  We grilled up these delicious little sliders on my hubby's day off.  You can top them any way you like.  Our other favorite way is with cheddar cheese, bacon, and pickled jalapenos (pickles for the kiddos).  Any way you make them, I guarantee they will go good! 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 T Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 T A-1 steak sauce, or your favorite
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg 12-count dinner rolls (I used King's Hawaiian sweet rolls)
caramelized onions
sliced avocados
Swiss cheese

In a large bowl, add ground beef, steak seasoning, garlic powder, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.  Use hands to mix, but don't overwork the meat.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, making a slight indention in the top (this helps burger to not puff up in the middle). 

You can either cook them on a hot grill outside, or use an indoor grill pan or cast iron skillet.  Cook to desired doneness.  Assemble and enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Ruffle Cake


When I asked my hubby what I should make for our Valentine's Day dessert, he said "cheesecake!"  I politely told him, that I don't really like cheesecake, and asked what was his 2nd choice.  Without hesitation, he said "strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting!"  Oh, this brings back memories.  This is the cake I made for him when we were dating, and is so easy.  It's a boxed strawberry cake mix and tub of cream cheese frosting...pretty easy, huh?  And since I didn't have to spend any time making the cake or frosting from scratch, I might as well make the cake look pretty. 

This was my attempt at decorating with the ruffle design I saw over at Leslie's The Hungry Housewife, which was the most beautiful cake I've ever seen.  I used this video tutorial to learn about piping this ruffle design. 

I baked the cake using two 8-inch cake pans, and then added a layer of cream cheese frosting between them.  I used another tub of cream cheese frosting to decorate the sides and a tub of strawberries and cream frosting to decorate the top and cake pedestal.  Practice makes perfect, and I need more practice.  Next time, I will use homemade frosting, probably Leslie's swiss meringue buttercream.  It looks so satiny smooth and delicious!

German Chocolate Cake



I made this German Chocolate Cake for a friend to celebrate his birthday.  This is a very rich 3 layer German chocolate cake, layered with a sweet coconut and pecan filling, then frosted with a chocolate ganache.  I refrigerated it overnight to help it set up, so hopefully, it didn't fall apart too much when they cut into it.  This baby was heavy when it was assembled.  I sure wish my hubby would have remembered to bring me a piece home to try.  They said it was good and very rich!  Well, it's supposed to be rich...how could it not be with all those layers of goodness!  Just take a peek at the ingredient list.

I found this recipe over at David Lebovitz, so I knew it had to be good.  His recipe says to use two 9-inch pans, and to cut each layer in half before layering and assembling.  I just used the three 8-inch pans that I had, and changed the baking time.  Watch the cakes closely as they do bake up fast.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted (I used sweetened)

For the syrup:

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 T dark rum

For the chocolate icing:

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

To make the cake:

1. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

8. Divide the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 22-26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Watch them closely.

Cool cake layers completely. 

While the cakes are baking, make the icing, the filling, then the syrup.

To make the icing:

1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.

2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

To make the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans. 

Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread 1/3 of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 1/3 of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.  David says:  It may seem like a lot of chocolate icing, but use it all. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.

Note:  I did have some of the syrup left over.  Just use enough to moisten the cake, not drench it.

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whopper Ice Cream Pie


I found this recipe over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen that she posted for her Cookbook Sundays.  I made it the next day, and didn't change a thing...it was absolutely perfect! My family ate the entire ice cream pie within a day, and I wish I would have made another. 

I saved this recipe to share with you when the weather was nice and warm again, and today was the day!  It was so beautiful in Texas, with a high of 78 degrees with a great breeze.  My girls enjoyed playing outside when they got home from school.  My little J even jumped on the trampoline with her big sisters.  They played soccer, pulled flowers from the yard, played with our dogs, hoola hooped, dribbled the soccer ball, and played on their swingset and fort.  For dinner, we grilled cheeseburger sliders for dinner.  I wish we had this dessert afterwards, but as I said, this was made a while ago.  I hope your day was as fun as ours! 

Ingredients:

Keebler graham cracker crust
1 - Pint vanilla ice cream, softened (I used Blue Bell)
8 oz container Cool Whip
8 oz Whoppers malted milk balls, more for garnish

In a large bowl, stir together the softened ice cream and Cool Whip. Crush Whoppers and stir into ice cream. Spoon mixture into graham cracker crust and freeze for 4 hours. When ready to serve, top with more Cool Whip and garnish with more Whoppers.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Healthier Oatmeal~Cinnamon Cookies


These cookies are "healthier" because they were made using Splenda Sugar Blend and Brown Sugar Blend products.


I made these as a diabetic friendly dessert for my Nana and Grandad.  My girls and I tasted a few, just to make sure they were good, and they were so good!  I made another batch for us the following weekend.  They were chewy, moist and delicious!  These were adapted from a Squidoo recipe I found when googling.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Butter flavored Crisco shortening (1 stick)
1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp honey
3 cups Quaker old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large stand mixer, beat together the shortening, Splenda sugar and Splenda brown sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and honey, beating until completely blended.  Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat on low speed until well blended.  Stir in oatmeal.

Spoon by very large rounded tablespoons onto non-stick baking sheets.  (I ended up with 20 cookies). Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and just slightly set in the middle.  Remove from oven and let sit on the hot baking sheets for 5 more minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!


These are the special treats my girls are giving their friends at school today. 


Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate ~ Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layered Cupcakes



It's no secret that I'm obsessed with chocolate and peanut butter desserts.  I bookmark every one that I come across, then wait for an excuse to make them.  Yesterday was another ice day and my girls were home having fun.  So while my little Jordyn was taking her nap, I decided to make these cupcakes I found on the Pillsbury website.  We all enjoyed a warm cupcake for an afternoon snack.  I sent several to work with my hubby for him to share, and so I wouldn't eat them all! 

These cupcakes are delicious with layers of moist chocolate cake and creamy peanut butter cheesecake filled with peanut butter chips, then topped with milk chocolate chips.    I will definitely be making these again.  Don't let all the steps keep you from trying these...they are worth every effort!  And these would be the perfect Valentine treat.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s baking cocoa
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 T white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 package (8 oz) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
1/4 cup Reese's peanut butter chips, for topping
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups.

In large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add oil, water, vinegar and vanilla to flour mixture, stirring just until smooth (do not over mix).

In another large stand mixer bowl, beat egg, cream cheese, peanut butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter chips.

Spoon 1 level tablespoon chocolate batter into each cup; evenly spread 1 level tablespoon peanut butter filling on top. Repeat layers. Top with milk chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Bake 23-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not over bake). Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy! 

Update: Out of all the sweet treats in the world,  my friend chose this as his birthday dessert.  They are THAT good!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Apple Pie



Warm apple pie has to be the most comforting dessert when it's cold outside.  I made this the day we played outside on our snow day. 



This pie can be made quickly by using refrigerated pre-made pie crusts.  Just a few simple ingredients, about 45 minutes in the oven, and you will be able to enjoy a piece of warm apple pie...a la mode if you please!

Ingredients:

1 Box Pillsbury pie crusts (2 crusts)
6 large Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pie)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3 T flour
egg + 1 T water, for egg wash
sugar and cinnamon, for top crust garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove your pie crusts from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. 

Prepare your apples by peeling, coring, and slicing them into thin strips.  Add them to a large bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice as you are slicing them to keep from browning.

Press a pie crust into the bottom of a deep dish glass pie pan.  Drain and pat the apples dry.  Place them back into the large bowl.  Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, apple pie spice, cinnamon, and flour to the apples and stir to coat them evenly.

Pour the apples into the pie crust and mound slightly.

Now, you can either use a cute shaped cookie cutter for the top crust, or just place the crust on top and cut slits to allow the steam to escape.  I used our Valentine heart shaped cookie cutters to decorate the top crust.  Use your fingers to crimp and seal the crust edges together.

Brush the top and edges with egg wash.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Cover crust with foil, and continue to bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown and apples are tender.  Let cool slightly before cutting so it will set up.  Enjoy with a big scoop of ice cream! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff


Beef Stroganoff is one of my hubby's favorite dinners.  It's one of the dishes I would make for him on special occasions when we were dating.  I have not made my man his stroganoff in quite a while, so I thought it would be perfect for our Sunday dinner. 

I normally use stew meat, which takes a few hours to get nice and tender.  I recently viewed a recipe over at My Baking Addiction that uses Chuck Roast and takes about an hour to cook.  That's my kind of Sunday dinner! 

My hubby enjoyed his beef stroganoff and even took the leftovers to work the next day!  He doesn't usually eat leftovers, so I must have done something right.  My girls ate every bite too!  Serve this up with a salad, and you have an amazing meal!

Ingredients:

2 pounds Beef Eye Roast
kosher salt
black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, green and white, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1 T unsalted butter
2 T olive oil, divided
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 white onion, sliced into half moons
4 T flour
2 cans beef consomme
1 T Dijon mustard
3 T worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup regular sour cream
sliced green onions, to garnish
1 lb egg noodles, cooked per package directions

Remove most of the fat from roast and cut into strips 1/4 inch thick by 2 inches long.  Season beef with kosher salt and black pepper, and place into gallon size zip lock bag.  Pour in the red wine, garlic, and green onions.  Seal shut and place in the refrigerator to marinade for 30 minutes. 

Remove the beef from the refrigerator.  Use a large slotted spoon to remove beef from marinade, and set on a paper towel lined plate and pat dry.  Reserve the marinade for the sauce later.  In a large deep skillet over medium high heat, melt the 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil.  Add the beef and cook for 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.   

Add the mushrooms and white onions to the pan, and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the other 1 T olive oil and whisk in the flour, cooking for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the beef consomme and reserved red wine marinade.  Stir in the Dijon, Worchestershire, garlic powder, and thyme.  Add the beef back to the pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and and simmer until beef is tender, about 30-45 minutes.  When ready to serve, turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Stir in egg noodles.  Serve up and garnish with sliced green onions and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Super Bowl Party

I just wanted to share some of the tasty food from our Super Bowl party.  My girls did an amazing job decorating our home with homemade posters for both teams.  They even made a sign for each team, and asked for everybody to sign their name to show which team they wanted to win.  It was a split decision, so there was plenty of playful conversation going on during the day.  Now if our Dallas Cowboys could show up for another Super Bowl, that would be fabulous! 


Green Bay Packers Vanilla Cupcakes

Kid Friendly Snack Table

Triple Chocolate Football Brownies

Double Chocolate Heart Brownies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dip - from Brown Eyed Baker
Fruit Platter with Green Bay Packers Fruit Dip

Margarita Layered Jelly Bites - from Mommy's Kitchen

I prepared the filling for these Jalapeno Egg Rolls, but ran out of time to assemble them..  There was already way too much food to be eaten, so they got scratched from the menu! 

Jalepeno Popper Egg Rolls


Also on the Super Bowl menu (not pictured):

Spinach Dip with French Bread Dippers

Rotel Dip and Tortilla Chips

Sun dried Tomato and Roasted Pepper Guacamole - prepared by Matty Jones

Fresh and Tasty Guacamole - prepared by Matty Jones

Steak and Chicken Fajitas - prepared by Matty Jones

Spanish Rice - prepared by Molly

Jalapeno Pinto Beans

Now, I need to rest up until next Football season!

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Valentine Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting


Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite!  I made some last night to snack on while watching The Bachelor...don't judge...I can't help it.  I've watched every single Bachelor and Bachelorette, even the ones that drove me nuts.  These cookies are the perfect little treat to help console me after seeing all those itty bitty women in teeny tiny bikinis.  And yes, I am jealous!

I wanted to dress these cookies up a bit, and what better way than peanut butter frosting!  Simple and delicious...it's hard to eat just one.

Make a batch of your favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, but make sure they are big enough to fit your cookie cutters after being baked.  Cut the cooled cookies using your Valentine cookie cutters or a sharp knife.  Pipe on some homemade Peanut Butter Frosting, then decorate with heart shaped Butterfinger candy or Valentine sprinkles.  Oh so good!

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
3 T milk, as needed

In a large stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until combined.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Mix and add milk as needed.  Mix for 3-5 minutes until thick and fluffy.  Transfer to a piping bag with large tip.  Pipe onto cookies and decorate with Valentine candy or sprinkles.  Enjoy!


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