Saturday, May 23, 2009

Off to Maui!

The wait is finally over! We are leaving for 2 weeks on Monday - flying out to MAUI!! Wooot I can't wait :) No posts until I get back...this is because I will be so busy stuffing my face with-



Can't wait to try out the local cuisine and friut stands!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reese's Pieces PB Cookies

Two of my favorite things combined and making some magic together...hmmm I seem to say that alot, I guess I have a lot of favorites! Food in general is my favorite I suppose :P

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese's Pieces

Mix both sugars, peanut butter, and butter. Separately - mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine both sets of ingredients and add Reese's Pieces. Bake at 350 for ten minutes, or until edges are slightly starting to brown. REMEMBER! A cookie that looks done is an over cooked cookie! So don't be afraid when the middle is slightly doughy, it'll finish baking while they are cooling off.

Chicken and Spinach Calzones

Mmmm these looked so yummy - the only thing I would change is to make your own alfredo sauce (find the recipe HERE) instead of buying a jar of store bought stuff. It's yucky and gross and the homeade sauce will just knock your socks off.
*photo courtesy of Christy's Kitchen Creations.

Chicken Spinach Calzones

3 chicken breasts, chopped
1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 (16-ounce) jar prepared Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) package sliced provolone cheese, diced
1 (8-ounce) package fresh basil
About 1 cup cooked mushrooms (I omitted)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 (13.8-ounce) cans refrigerated pizza dough
Prepared marinara sauce and pesto sauce (optional)
Garnish: fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, spinach, Alfredo sauce, cheese, basil, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper.

Unfold one can of dough onto prepared baking sheet. gently stretch or roll into an 11-inch square; cut in half diagonally, forming two triangles. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture in the center of the triangle, leaving a 1-inch border on each side. Fold 1 side of triangle over filling, rolling up edges of dough to seal. Cut a small slit in top of calzone to allow steam to escape. Repeat with remaining dough and chicken mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce and pesto sauce, if desired. (The marinara was fantastic with these!!) Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whopper Bars

Found this recipe here. Baking Cakes Galore is a really fun baking blog chock full of yummy desserts. It is a UK blog, so I tried to convert all the ingredients accurately. I'm going to try this one if not tonight then tomorrow, I have been totally craving Whoppers lately and I definitely wanted this one to put in the vault.

Chocolate cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup (6 oz) good quality baking chocolate, broken up into squares
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Malted Milk Topping:
1/2 cup malted milk powder
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
3/4 cup whoppers, roughly chopped

Use a 13x9 baking pan lined with foil (over lapping at each long side with foil) grease foil. (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F

For the chocolate base: In a small bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder set aside for later.

In a large saucepan melt the butter and chocolate stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs until blended in and then lastly the flour mixture until it’s fully combined. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking tin levering the top with a spatula. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For the malted milk topping: In a small bowl stir together the malted milk powder, milk and vanilla extract until combined into a smooth mixture. In another bowl, add the butter and powdered sugar and beat together until blended, add to the malted mixture and beat together.

When the chocolate base is nearly cold spread all the malted topping over with a spatula until fully covered and then top with the chopped whoppers. Let set and slice into bars.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I know it's not Mother's Day...yet, but I won't be posting until Monday, we have a full 2-day Mother's Day fiasco going on out here...busy busy busy! This is what I am bringing for dessert for my mom on Sunday. I can't think of a more perfect dessert on a HOT spring (although it already feels like summer) day lounging by the pool with my mom and family.

You can find my own adapted homeade ice cream recipe here.
I'll serve it with this pie which is seriously sooo yummy. To lighten it up a bit I'll use Neufchatel cheese, fat free milk, and light whipped topping.

Strawberry Pina Colada Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (whirl around until fine in food processor)
3 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. completely melted butter

Mash together (I just use my hands) until blended and mold into a 9 in. pie pan. Cook for 8 min. at 350. Let cool.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
1/4 cup coconut, toasted (throw in oven at 350 for a couple minutes. Keep watching so it doesn't burn, just let it get nice and light toasty brown)
1-1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

BEAT cream cheese and milk in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add dry pudding mix and pineapple; mix well. Gently stir in 2 cups of the whipped topping; spoon into crust.

REFRIGERATE 3 hours or until firm.

TOP with coconut, strawberries and remaining whipped topping just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Smashed Potatoes

I make these babies up at least twice a week or more (it's what I get for buying a gazillion pound bag of potatoes at Costco) So good! (Pictures courtesy of Mrs. Fabulous herself, The Pioneer Woman)

What you need: Red potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese (optional)

Take however many red potatoes you want to make (I usually do 6 for the 3 of us), put them in a deep pot of water. Boil them just until they can be pierced easily with a fork (20+ min??)

Place hot potatoes on a cooking sheet and smash them with a potato masher.

Generously brush the tops of smashed potatoes with olive oil. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. That's it! Easy Peasy - now just put them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until they look crispy and golden. Then I put a sprinkling of cheddar cheese over each one, but they taste great without cheese too.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Garlic Rice

So I made cream cheese chicken two nights ago...dang that stuff was GOOD. I served over garlic rice and I just wanted to include that recipe here.

Garlic Rice

1 cup long grain rice (not instant)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (although any cooking oil will do)
1 tsp minced garlic packed in olive oil (approx. 2 cloves minced)

Love this stuff! Ultimate time and smelly hand saver!

Put rice, oil, and garlic in a large shallow saucepan and saute on med/high heat for about 5-7 minutes stirring frequently, until rice starts browning. Add-

1 14 oz can chicken stock/broth
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter

Put a lid on it and turn heat on low. Cook for about 20 min or until liquid is fully absorbed. Try not to stir it until it is completely done to avoid sticky rice. Optional: Serve with chopped green onion

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Fav CCC Recipe

I posted this a while back on my family blog. It's my adaptation of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I know, I know - these CCC recipes are everywhere!! Everyone claiming to have the BEST recipe. I'll just say this cookie does not disappoint. You can check out my previous post here on how to adapt your fav CCC recipe too!

{Original Post}
Everyone has a favorite chocolate chip recipe...and this is mine.They are my absolute fav because they are very moist and chewy (and they stay that way!) as chocolate chip cookies should be and they don't go flat after you cool them. Let me know what you think if you happen to whip these little babies up. Happy Baking!

1 stick (1/2 C) butter (room temp.)
1/2 C. butter flavored Crisco (room temp.)
1 1/8 C. brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1 1/2 C chocolate chips (more or less depending on how much you prefer)
*(Ive tried different chips and the Ghirardelli semi sweet ones taste the BEST!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, and Crisco, both sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs and beat for about a minute. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a large spoon. Fold in chips. Spoon onto cookie sheets and bake for 6-7 minutes. The cookies will not look entirely done in the middle but take them out anyways! Cool and serve

This is also excellent made with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts!

Cream Cheese Chicken

Making this one tonight. I think I'll serve it with some garlic rice. We'll see how it goes, I'll return and report (and hopefully have a pic if I don't forget) While your surfing you can check out another great cooking blog here.
Oh yeah, you may see some recipe repeats... what can I say, she makes good food so I steal her secrets!! Thanks for all the great recipes Lettie :)

Cream Cheese Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup water

Cook these ingredients for 4 hours on low in your crock pot.
Then add:

8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup

Cook one more hour on low or until sauce is bubbly. If sauce is too thick add more water!
Serve over Rice, Mashed Potatoes, or Noodles

Must Try Cheesecake

I found this recipe here, this is not my picture but doesn't it look absolutely amazing?? Now wipe up the drool from your keyboard, and let's go get our cheesecake on! The Bryce-man always asks and bugs me about why I don't make cheesecakes anymore. And I kindly said "Sweetheart, the man that I love, I'll tell you why!" There is only 2 of us around here you know. 2 sweet toothed foodies + 1 giant cheesecake = The reason I gained 10 pounds the first year we were married. Helloooo, why do you think I don't make them anymore? Are we not going to Maui this month and you want me to make what??? Sigh...but he is so cute when he begs and I'll most likely give in to my own cravings anyways... and I think this is the one I am going to try next, you know to get some peace and quiet around here. Momentarily that is.

She has topped hers with a chocolate ganache, you can whip your own up with good chocolate, heavy cream and butter.

20 Oreo cookies or similar chocolate sandwich cookie, crushed fine
1/4 cup melted butter + 2 Tbsp.

6 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each, room temperature
2 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. melted quality dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Add melted chocolate to remanding batter and mix until fully blended. Pour into the middle of the pan, on top of the plain batter. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, in the shallow water bath, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.