Monday, March 31, 2008

Yummy, Creamy, EASY Pie

This is one instance in which the simple things are just so good. This is a basic pudding pie that Jeff made. I'm pretty much putting the recipe here just so I have an excuse to post the pictures.

Chocolate Cream Pie
1 9-inch pie shell, baked
1 box (4 servings) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 3/4 cup milk
About 2/3 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip
2-3 tbsp. coconut

Whisk together pudding mix and milk according to package directions for pie filling. Pour filling into pie shell and chill until firm.

Top pie with Cool Whip and sprinkle with coconut.

There, wasn't that easy?

Pepperoni Lasagna Roll-ups

I subscribe to the Taste of Home magazine, and eagerly look through the pages of each issue for the hide-and-seek item. Each issue has a specific item (it used to be a toothpick, now they vary from issue to issue) that is hidden somewhere on one of the pages. A fun game I like to play is that I decide to prepare a recipe from the page on which I find the item. I was a bit unlucky at one point, because for two issues in a row the hidden item was on the page where they feature a remodeled kitchen. How am I supposed to cook that?

But with this issue I hit the jackpot. Sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone, but I found the little taco on a page that included two delicious-looking recipes. One is a Feta Asparagus Frittata, but I chose not to make that since I rarely buy asparagus and never buy feta. The Pepperoni Lasagna Roll-Ups, however, looked fantastic, so I decided to make them. And make them I did!

The recipe is downsized to feed only three people, but we had more lasagna noodles than that, so I doubled it, thinking I would want to eat two roll-ups. Well, we'll have leftovers, because one was so large and filling it was totally enough.

Here's the recipe the way I prepared it:

Pepperoni Lasagna Roll-Ups
6 lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tsp. chives
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
48 slices pepperoni
1 oz. Swiss cheese, in 6 pieces
2 oz. mozzarella cheese, in 12 pieces (the recipe originally called for all Swiss. We didn't have enough, and besides, using all Swiss would have given the roll-ups a VERY strong Swiss flavor, disagreeable to some)
1 cup meatless spaghetti sauce (I didn't double the spaghetti sauce, though I doubled everything else - it would have been too much sauce)
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Combine ricotta cheese, chives, oregano, and basil; spread 1/4 cup over each noodle to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with pepperoni and cheese (1 slice Swiss, 2 slices mozzarella per noodle); carefully roll up.

Place seam side down in a greased shallow baking dish; top with spaghetti sauce. Cover (I forgot to cover mine; they turned out great, but the edges would be softer if the pan were covered) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Uncover; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serving size: 1 roll-up, though hearty appetites might be able to squeeze in two.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ham a la King with Baking Powder Biscuits

I asked Jeff what I should make for dinner as we came home from shopping today. After thinking long and hard, all he could come up with was, "Something with ham." At first I was frustrated because that wasn't a very detailed answer. But then I realized that it gave me plenty of leeway to come up with something fun and creative, while giving me a general direction to take. I ended up altering a recipe for chicken a la king and serving it over Betty Crocker's Baking Powder Biscuits. I seriously thought of renaming them Mile-High Biscuits because they rose so well while they were baking. They're the kind that practically split themselves right in the middle - delicious!

Ham a la King
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups broth (I used water and 1 cube chicken bouillon, 1 cube beef bouillon)
2 cups cubed ham
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Baking Powder Biscuits

In large saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onion in butter, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender.

Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk and broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in ham; cook until hot. Serve over biscuits. Garnish with parsley.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or criss-crossing 2 knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4-inch round cutter (I used the lid ring for a wide-mouthed mason jar). Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Blueberry Sauce for Pancakes

I was feeling blue this morning. Blueberry blue. Normally I'm not a blueberry person - I prefer strawberry or raspberry if I'm going to have berries at all. But this recipe was calling to me, and I had to answer.

Blueberry Sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
2 tbsp. maple syrup

Combine fruit and syrup in a small saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Allow to cool. Use as you would maple syrup.

This sauce is neat because as the blueberries cook they release their own juices and it makes a nice, not too overly-sweet, syrup. It's great served on pancakes, but can also be used as a dessert sauce to go with ice cream or a simple cake.

I served this with my whole wheat pancakes, adding 1/4 cup blueberries to the batter before cooking. Zaylee loved these! Of course I had to put her in a white shirt this morning... but she didn't get it too badly blueberried, since she was wearing a bib. Her face and hands - well, that's a different story.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quote #2

"Because of media hype and woefully inadequate information, too many people nowadays are deathly afraid of their food, and what does fear of food do to the digestive system? ... I, for one, would much rather swoon over a few thin slices of prime beefsteak, or one small serving of chocolate mousse, or a sliver of foie gras than indulge to the full on such nonentities as fat-free gelatin puddings."
~Julia Child

Dinner Rolls

I made these rolls for our Easter dinner. They were a hit. The recipe made 24 rolls, and we came home with only 6 or 7.
This recipe is designed for being made in our bread machine. Non-bread machine instructions are after the original recipe (and hopefully they work!).

1 egg plus enough warm water to equal 1 1/3 cup
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups bread flour (we had fine results just using all-purpose)
2 tsp. active dry yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. Run machine on dough setting. If machine does not have dough setting, remove dough after first rise.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Divide into pieces and shape (it helps to let the dough sit covered for about 10 minutes to rest, makes it not so elastic so it won't spring back when you try to shape it).

Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until double in size.

Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes, or until done (I changed the recipe here and baked at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, to make a softer, lighter roll).

I shaped these in the butterfly shape, described in this article. At the point where he said to divide the dough in half, I divided it in thirds, so it would make 24 rolls instead of 16.

To make without bread machine:
Combine egg and water, lemon juice, oil, sugar, and salt in saucepan. Heat just until tepid (about 95 degrees). Pour into mixing bowl. Add yeast and stir. Add flour, one cup at a time at first, mixing well. As the dough thickens, add flour more slowly, stirring until the dough is kneadable.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour sparingly to keep the dough from sticking (too much flour will make the dough too firm and the rolls brick-like). Cover and allow to rise in an oiled bowl until doubled in bulk. Follow shaping, rising, and baking instructions above.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cherry Pie

I used this recipe (from Better Homes and Gardens) to make pie at Thanksgiving, and found that I absolutely love homemade cherry pie filling. The canned stuff is no comparison whatsoever. So when we volunteered to bring a pie to our family Easter dinner, this one came to mind right away. For Thanksgiving, I had already made about 8 pies already, all double-crust with homemade pastry, and was all pie-crusted-out. So at that point we just used that cheap storebought pie crust from the freezer section of the grocery store. Not this time - we went completely homemade and it makes such a difference! By the way, this was my first lattice crust ever. I think I did pretty good!

Cherry Pie
2 16-oz. cans pitted tart red cherries (water pack)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Dash salt
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
3-4 drops almond extract
10 drops red food coloring (optional)
Pastry for Double Crust Pie
Milk and sugar (optional)

Drain cherries; reserve 1 cup liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and salt; stir in reserved cherry liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the cherries, butter or margarine, and almond extract. If desired, stir in food coloring. Let stand while preparing pastry.

Prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate with half of the pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Turn cherry filling into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut remaining pastry into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Weave strips atop filling to make lattice crust; flute edge. Brush top of pastry with some milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or till crust is golden. Cool pie on rack before serving.

Pastry for Double-Crust Pie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
6-7 tbsp. cold water

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle water, 1 tbsp. at a time, over flour mixture; gently toss with fork. Keep adding water and tossing with fork until all is moistened. Form dough into 2 balls. Continue with pie recipe for rolling and baking.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Julia Child Quote

I was foodie-blog surfing, and came across this wonderful quote that just says it all:

It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it. ~Julia Child

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

Here's a little recipe in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Yum!

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (as I type this, I suddenly realized I left out the salt in my loaf - oops!)
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup golden raisins (I used regular)
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I used milk and lemon juice - 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and enough milk to make 1 3/4 cup)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add raisins. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; gently knead 6-8 times. Place on an ungreased baking sheet; pat into a 7-inch round loaf.

Using a sharp knife, cut a 1-inch cross about 1/4 in. deep on top of the loaf (once again, I notice a mistake I made - my cross was a lot bigger than 1 inch). Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Edible Birds' Nests

Another fun recipe on the back of the Sacrament Meeting program. Is my ward awesome or what? This is another neat Easter/springtime treat to make with the family, and was really cute and fun to do. Here's what it says on the program: "This fun craft is not only adorable when done, but it's tasty too! Sit the kids down to make this fun spring project. Be sure to make extras for friends and family."

You will need:
Chow mien noodles
Chocolate chips or brick chocolate
Jelly beans and/or candy coated chocolate eggs
Marshmallow Peeps (chicks)
Peanut Butter
Wax paper
Paper plates (colored plates optional)

Place squares of wax paper onto individual plates.

Put chow mien noodles in a large bowl. If using brick chocolate, break into pieces. Melt chocolate chips or pieces in the microwave, or over low heat on stove, just until melted. Pour melted chocolate over chow mien noodles, mix together to coat. Place mounds of chocolate/chow mien mixture onto several plates (on top of waxed paper). Form the mixtures into nests. Be sure the chocolate has cooled, but don't wait too long or it will harden!

Using peanut butter as an adhesive, "glue" down the jelly beans and candy coated chocolate eggs inside the nest cavity.

"Glue" marshmallow chick on the edge of or inside of the nest.
To make our four nests, I think I used about 1 cup each chow mien noodles and chocolate chips. That's approximate - I didn't measure.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

New England Clam Chowder

Soup is so nice. A classic comfort food, is is often low on calories, but high on flavor. This chowder recipe from Betty Crocker is no exception. A nice, brothy soup with lots of clams, lots of potatoes, and a great taste. It's a bit on the thin side, so if you want to thicken it up, just add some flour or cornstarch (maybe 2-3 tbsp) to the milk before stirring it in.

1/4 cup cut-up bacon or lean salt pork
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cans (6.5 oz each) minced or whole clams
1 medium potato, diced (1 cup)
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
2 cups milk

Cook bacon and onion in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is tender; drain off fat.

Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add enough water, if necessary, to clam liquid to measure one cup.

Stir clams, clam liquid, potato, salt, and pepper into bacon and onion. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until potato is tender.

Stir in milk. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until hot (do not boil or soup may curdle).

Yield: 4 1-cup servings
Calories: 190 (150 if made without bacon, like we did tonight)

Easter-y Red Velvet Cake Balls

Red Velvet Cake Balls, from Bakerella, were the inspiration and basis for this recipe. I've been wanting to try this recipe ever since I discovered her blog. All I had to do was figure out how to add some Easter candy to the recipe so I could use this as my entry for the Master Baker baking challenge. I think what I came up with is pretty yummy! My additions to Bakerella's cake ball recipe are in italics.

1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
1 package Mini Robin Eggs
wax paper
1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into 1-2 inch balls, enclosing 1 Mini Robin Egg into each ball. This can be pretty messy to do, but I say the messier, the funner!
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.) Store in refrigerater - this is optional but I think they're much better cold.
I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It's easier to work with when it's hot.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Foodie Blogroll

I've been looking at other recipe blogs every day, and it's so much fun! I recently discovered something called the Foodie Blogroll, which is a blogroll connecting over a thousand other blogs, all dealing with food! My kinda thing! So I got myself added to the blogroll. If anyone else wants to join, click here or follow the link on the side of my page, under the Foodie Blogroll banner. Fun stuff!

Decorator Buttercream Frosting

This is Michelle's fabulously famous frosting recipe. I'm posting it here so I can have it easily available when I want to use it.

1 cup solid white shortening (I like to use the sticks so I don't have to measure)
1 tsp butter flavor/extract (McCormick or Watkins have this, so does Wilton)
1 tsp other extract (vanilla, carmel, raspberry, vanilla nut, almond... have fun)
2 tbsp milk
dash salt
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar (sifting is recommended but necessary. Sift after measuring.)
1 tbsp Wilton Meringue powder if it is a really hot day or it will be in the car for a long hot drive.

In a bowl, cream together the shortening, milk, salt, and extracts/flavors. Add the sugar and meringue powder (opt.) and mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined. I then whip on medium high until really creamy and kind of fluffy. It takes about 2 more minutes in my kitchenaid.

This makes 3 cups of stiff buttercream. You would use this for roses and sweet peas. If it cracks coming out of the tube it is too stiff, add a couple drops of water at a time.

To make medium consistency, add an additional 1 tbsp milk or water to the whole batch, or 1 tsp per cup. This is for stars, borders, and all other flowers. Also for figure piping, like clowns or faces.

For thin, add an additional 2 tbsp milk or water to the whole batch, or 2 tsp per cup of frosting. Thin is what you will need for frosting a cake, doing vines and leaves, or for writing on the cake. For writing, leaves and vines, you can mix in a little corn syrup, but it will work fine without it.

Delicious Whole Wheat Pancakes with Thin Maple Syrup

This recipe makes six hefty, hearty whole wheat pancakes. These pancakes are not for the wimpy or weak-minded. They're healthy and filling, and taste so good!

Whole Wheat Pancakes
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
4 tsp. cooking oil

Stir flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. Combine egg, milk, and oil, and stir into flour mixture. Pour batter onto hot ungreased griddle; turn when slightly browned.

Thin Maple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. maple extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Boil water in saucepan. Add sugars; stir and heat until sugars are dissolved. Remove from heat and add extracts.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shredded Beef and Swiss Enchiladas

We have this recipe for enchiladas that we use all the time, and we never end up making it the same way twice. We've come close a few times, but always vary it enough that it's an entirely new dish every time we make it. The original recipe calls for a filling of ground beef, cottage cheese, olives, and parsley, and a sauce made of dressed-up tomato sauce. We've substituted chicken for the beef, done fillings with crab and cream cheese (oh, that one was good!), and this one has shredded beef. I had to completely change the sauce on this one when I realized that we had no tomato sauce in the house (at least, if we do, it's hidden extremely well behind all our other canned foods and is currently unavailable). Here's how I did the enchiladas tonight:

Shredded Beef and Swiss Enchiladas

1/2 pound shredded roast beef (great use for leftovers)
2 oz. shredded swiss cheese
2 oz. shredded colby jack cheese
1 (6.5 oz) can mushroom pieces, drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (This makes it pretty spicy. If you're sensitive to hot foods, just use plain diced tomatoes instead.)
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
12 corn tortillas

To make filling, combine beef, cheeses, and mushrooms. Mix well. Set aside.

To make sauce, combine tomatoes, soup, cumin and chili powder. Mix well. Stir about 1/2 cup of sauce into meat and cheese filling. Set sauce aside.

Assemble enchiladas: Heat one tortilla in microwave, about 15 seconds (it takes longer, but if you do more than one, they don't get soft enough and they'll tear. Mine did.). Spoon about 2-3 tbsp. meat mixture onto tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side down in 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining tortillas and meat mixture. Use as many tortillas as necessary to use up meat filling and fill pan. Spread sauce over enchiladas.

Cover pan and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven, cook 5 minutes more until cheese is melted.

Here is the original recipe that we love just as it is, but rarely make just as it is, because we almost never have all of these ingredients at the same time. Give it a try! As you can see, I changed it so much tonight that it's not really even recognizable. Oh well, both recipes are great.

Beef Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef (we usually use 1/2 pound and it comes out fine)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 can (4.25 oz) chopped ripe olives, drained
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 flour tortillas (7 inches)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain. Combine with cottage cheese, olives, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place about 1/3 cup filling on each tortilla; roll up. Place tortillas, seam side down, in an ungreased 9x13 pan. For sauce, saute the onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add tomato sauce, green chilies, chili powder, sugar, and garlic powder. Pour over tortillas. cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

To make it with crab and cream cheese:
Substitute 1/2 to 1 pound shredded imitation crab meat for the ground beef, and 8 oz softened cream cheese for the cottage cheese. Do everything else just the same. I highly recommend this one for anyone who likes the crab/cream cheese combo.

To make it with chicken:
Substitute 1/2 to 1 pound shredded chicken (white meat tastes best) for the ground beef.

If you don't have canned chilies:
Substitute several dashes hot sauce for the can of green chilies. This is what we usually do, since we almost never have green chilies.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oatmeal Cheeseburgers with Bacon and Onion

Sorry, no picture on these because we were too busy eating them to take any. Just picture a homemade bacon cheeseburger, only with more stuff in the meat and sauteed onion with the bacon. And it's really good. As written, this recipe made three burgers, two large and one smaller. The smaller one was for Zaylee. Adjust the ingredient amounts and whatnot according to your needs.

1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 cup quick oats
1 medium egg
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 slices bacon, cut in thirds
1/4 cup diced onion
Sliced cheese
Burger stuff - buns, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc.

Squish together beef, oats, egg, sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Form into three patties. Cook in skillet over medium-high heat until done. In the meantime, cook bacon and onion together over medium-high heat.

To serve, put burgers on plate. Top with cheese, then top each burger with two pieces bacon and some onion. Let that sit and melt the cheese for a while. Assemble burgers as desired.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mommy/Daughter Baking Adventure with Zaylee

Zaylee was in need of some Mommy time, so I decided that we would get together in the kitchen for some baking fun. We made Rocky Road Brownies. I'll put the recipe at the end of this post.

This is Zaylee stirring the eggs. She had fun breaking the yolks with the spoon! (p.s., don't you love her little apron?)

Zaylee took a while to warm up to the electric mixer, but after a while, she was excited to be able to guide my hand while I mixed the ingredients.

Zaylee proved to be an excellent helper, stirring the dry ingredients while I melted the butter.

Here is our delicious-looking batter, ready for the pan, which Zaylee enthusiastically greased for me.

She really enjoyed brushing the shortening into the pan. I had to make sure she didn't put in too much because she was having so much fun. Dip it in the shortening, brush it on the pan, repeat!

After putting the brownies in the oven, Zaylee lost no time in cleaning up. She was such a great helper!

I cleaned up a bit too. Can you blame me? Brownie batter is just so dang good!

They're out of the oven! Now for the hardest part - waiting for them to cool. They're impossible to cut properly if they're still warm; the topping is too gooey.

The finished product, in all its gooey, chocolatey, delicious glory.

Now for the recipe:

Rocky Road Brownies

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan.

Beat eggs in large bowl until foamy; gradually beat in sugar. Add butter and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture, beating until blended. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 22 minutes. While baking, stir together chocolate chips, marshmallows, and nuts. Set aside. After the 22 minutes of baking, sprinkle chocolate chip mixture over top of brownies. Continue baking 5 minutes or until marshmallows have softened and puffed slightly. Cool completely. With wet knife (necessary to keep the marshmallows and chocolate chips from sticking), cut into squares. Enjoy!

Master Baker Blog Event

I recently discovered something called a blog event. I'm not sure how to describe it, it's basically a challenge-type thing that bloggers participate in together. Master Baker is one that was just started last month, and looks like a lot of fun. Basically, the author of the Master Baker blog selects one ingredient each month, and everyone who wants to participate bakes something with that ingredient. March's ingredient is Easter Candy. So I will be heading to the store within the next few days to check out the Easter candy stash and get my creative juices flowing. I will post whatever I come up with here once I've come up with it.

Resurrection Rolls

This recipe was on the back of our Sacrament Meeting program a few weeks ago. We just made these for Family Home Evening, as a lesson on Easter. They taste great, and teach a special lesson at the same time.

Crescent rolls (the kind in the little popping canisters)
Large marshmallows, cut in half
Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake papers in muffin tin.

Give each child (and/or adult heehee) a triangle of crescent rolls. The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in. Give each child half a marshmallow, this represents Jesus. Have them dip the marshmallow in melted butter, which represents the oils of embalming. Dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar which represent the spices used to anoint the body. Wrap the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside). This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death. Set rolls in paper-lined muffin tin (We didn't have cupcake papers, so we just put the rolls on a baking sheet. Grease the sheet first, or any marshmallow that leaks out will stick like crazy to the pan).

Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The oven represents the tomb.

When the rolls have cooled slightly, the children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there; He is risen.

This is a fun activity for an Easter Family Home Evening, or just an activity to do sometime on or around Easter. It's a lesson, activity, and treat all rolled up into one!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stuffed Potatoes

This is another low-calorie dish that I found in the Better Homes and Gardens Calorie-Trimmed Recipes. Jeff made chicken pie last night, and we had leftovers for lunch (do you know how many calories are in a piece of pie? It's ridiculous!). This was after eating a calorie-rich breakfast of fried potatoes and cheesy eggs. So I was excited to find this recipe. It's so low-cal, I even have calories left for dessert!2 large potatoes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp. skim milk
2 tbsp. snipped chives
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Dash pepper
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Scrub potatoes; prick with a fork. Bake potatoes in 375 degree oven for 70 minutes or till done (Actually, I just microwaved 'em. Much faster!). Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out inside, leaving shells intact. Mash potatoes (the inside, not the shell). Add yogurt, milk, chives, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Beat till fluffy. Spoon or pipe to potato mixture into each potato shell. Sprinkle the top of each potato with cheese and paprika. Return to oven (still at 375); bake 10 minutes or till heated through. If desired, place under broiler to lightly brown tops.

Makes 4 servings.
70 calories per serving

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tuna Chili Mac

I made this up tonight for dinner. I started with a basic tuna noodle, then added tomatoes and seasonings. It turned out really yummy.

8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tuna, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, partially drained (leave some of the juice with the tomatoes)
1/2 cup cooked lentils (or canned corn, drained)
1 tsp. each chili powder, cumin
1/2 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder
1/4 cup french fried onions
2-3 oz. shredded cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, then return to pan. Add soup, tuna, tomatoes, lentils, and seasonings. Heat through. Sprinkle with french fried onions and shredded cheese. Cover and heat until cheese melts. Great served with tortilla chips (or crackers).

Curried Rice

Jeff found this recipe in our Betty Crocker cookbook. We both enjoy curried foods, so found this to be quite delicious.

1 cup uncooked regular long-grain rice
2 cups water
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1/2 to 1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat rice and water to boiling in 2-quart saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff rice with fork; set aside.

Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper. Stir onion mixture into hot rice.

If desired, sprinkle with 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, and 1/4 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed or ripe olives.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Quick Coffee Cake

This is a recipe from a Quaker Oats recipe booklet that focuses on making inexpensive meals using oats and/or cornmeal. We fell in love with the coffee cake the first time we tried it. It's like a sweet cornbread with a cinnamon-streusel topping. Yum!

Cinnamon Topping:
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

For topping, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter; set aside.

For batter, sift together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt (I didn't sift, I just stirred it with a fork). Add milk, oil, and egg; stir only until dry ingredients are moistened.

Pour 1/2 of the batter into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of cinnamon topping. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining topping.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

When serving, it comes out of the pan easier if you let it sit for several minutes. This gives the butter in the topping a chance to harden a bit, making the pieces hold their shape better. Learned that one the hard way:)

Coconut topping (pictured above): Add 2/3 cup flaked or shredded coconut to topping ingredients.
Raisin topping: Add 2/3 cup raisins to topping ingredients.
Nut topping: Add 2/3 cup chopped nuts to topping ingredients.