Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Dinner


Oh it's so great to be back to having our dinners! Our September dinner was hosted by Christina and Lindsey and they did a fabulous job! The food was yummy, and the desserts were to die for!! I'll be making them soon! It was so fun meeting our newest members too! Looking forward to the rest of the year!




Sesame Chicken Skewers

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Cut each thigh into long, thin pieces and thread the chicken onto bamboo skewers. Place the skewers in a slow cooker, layering them as flat as possible. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Pour this sauce over the skewers. Marinate overnight for better flavor (or you can cook them immediately, too). Cover; cook on low for 3-4 hours. Turn the skewers over and cook for another 1-2 hours (4-5 hours total).

Thai Coconut Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped (both white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t. sesame oil
1 t. fish sauce
2 t. mirin
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 t. Thai red curry paste
2 t. brown sugar
2 t. lime juice
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, green onions, garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce, and mirin. Mix well with your hands and form into meatballs. Brown the meatballs in the oven (I usually put them in for about 10-12 minutes on 425). Place the meatballs in a slow cooker. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, curry paste, and sugar. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. Add the lime juice and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water, stirring until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add this mixture to the slow cooker and stir until well-mixed. Cook on high 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the meatballs.


Napa Cabbage Salad

1 pkg. uncooked Ramen noodles, crushed
1/4 c. butter
4 oz. sliced almonds
4 oz. sunflower seeds
1 large Napa cabbage, shredded
6 green onions, chopped


1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. oil
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. soy sauce

Brown the crushed noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds in butter in a skillet. Remove and cool. Mix the shredded cabbage and green onions. Pour the dressing over the cabbage up to 15 minutes before serving. Mix well. Just before serving, toss in the noodle mixture.


Nanya Fried Shrimp

8 to 10 oz. rice vermicelli
8 oz. cooked, peeled shrimp
2 T. peanut oil
1/2 white onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 T. soy sauce
1/2 c. water
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 to 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Heat oil in wok until hot. Add the onions, lemon grass, and garlic and stir fry until the onion is cooked. Remove the lemon grass pieces. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, water, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Add the vermicelli back to the wok. Pour the sauce over the vermicelli mixture. Toss and stir until the sauce is absorbed. Add the shrimp to the hot mixture and let the heat of the noodles warm the shrimp through. Add white pepper to taste.

Ham Fried Rice Cook

rice a few days ahead and keep it in the fridge -- fried rice is what Chinese people make with old, leftover rice. Chop up ham and green onions into little pieces. Mince garlic. Beat a few eggs; add salt and sugar to taste. Heat oil in a wok until hot. Add the eggs and cook them like you would scrambled eggs. Remove the eggs from the wok and set aside. Heat additional oil in the wok, enough to coat all of the rice you previously made. Add the chopped-up ham and stir it around until you can smell it. Add the chopped green onions and garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add the rice and stir until all the rice is coated in oil and heated through. Add good-quality soy sauce, stirring and tasting until the rice is salty enough. Add the eggs back to the wok; add frozen green peas. Heat through and serve.

Sweet and Sour Pork Sorry guys -- this one is a Mom Chou secret recipe and I've promised not to share it! But if you'd like to have it again, call me and invite yourselves back to my house!


Strawberry Cupcake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix

1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin (I prefer using half a package)

1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed

4 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 cups confectioners’ sugar

Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, or prepare cupcake pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting:In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

Yellow Buttercake cupcake with Fresh Raspberry Frosting

Yellow Cake
1 box Yellow Cake Mix
4 eggs
1 large box vanilla instant pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
Mix well and bake according to cake box directions.

Fresh Raspberry Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
Note: Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry raspberries before adding to frosting. I also added a capful of Raspberry extract. I felt it gave it a stronger raspberry taste.


Chocolate Caramel Cupcake with Snickers Frosting

Chocolate Caramel Cake
1 Box German Chocolate Cake Mix
4 Eggs
1 large box chocolate pudding
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Water
Favorite Caramel Sauce (homeade or store bought)
Mix well and bake according to box instructions. Once cooled and just before serving inject cupcakes with caramel sauce.

Snickers Frosting
1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Combine butter, cocoa and salt. Then add milk and vanilla. Mix in sugar until smooth. Frost cupcakes then add snickers pieces and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

May Potluck

This month was our Gourmet BBQ Favorites of the USA! Lots of thanks to Jennifer who helped find all the fabulous recipes and let us take over her home for few hours. And thanks to everyone who contributed with the food and the clean up!!

Hot Beef Dip with Sourdough Bites
12 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces diced green chilies
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 1/2 ounces chipped beef (glass jar found near tuna and canned meats)
Round sour dough bread loaf
8 ounces sour cream
3 green onions
Mix together all ingredients (except bread). Chill for 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Serve in hollowed out bread loaf. Use inside of bread for dipping and/ or serving with crackers

Summer Salsa
1 can shoe peg (or white) corn
1/2 c red bell pepper, diced
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 mango, diced
1/2 to 3/4 bunch cilantro, minced or chopped finely
4 tsp rice vinegar (may use regular also)
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c green bell pepper diced
3 to 4 tomatoes, chopped
1 to2 fresh limes, squeezed
1/4 to 1/2 c red onion chopped finely
Mix together all ingredients. Serve with colorful red and blue corn/tortilla chips.
Paula Deen's Red Potato Salad
6 cups cubed red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 ounces bacon (2 or 3 strips)
1 c chopped bell pepper (any color or a combination)
1/4 c minced red onion
1/4 c sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1 T mayonnaise
Freshly ground pepper
Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water just to cover and season with 3/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.Meanshile cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and finely chop.In a large bowl combine the potatoes, chopped bacon, bell pepper, onion and scallions. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayo, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Pour over teh potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refridgerate or serve at room temperature.
Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
Dressing-1 1/2 c packed fresh cilantro
1/2 c good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lime juice
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Salad-4 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
2 medium avocados, diced
Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender, using 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste, process until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or cover and refridgerate for up to 4 hours. Serves 8

Cheyenne Burger
Crisp bacon strips
Sharp cheddar cheese slices
Onion Rings
Homemade BBQ Sauce (recipe below)
LA Burger
Avocado Relish
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Dallas Burger
Dill Pickles
Coleslaw - whisk 3/4 c mayo, 1/2 grated white onion, 2 T sugar, 2 tsp celery seeds, 3 T apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Mix with 1 small shredded head cabbage and 1 shredded carrot. Let sit for 15 minutes
BBQ Sauce - 2 T canola oil 1 Spanish onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 c T ancho chile powder 1 T paprika 1 heaping T dijon mustard 1 T red wine vinegar 1 T Worcestershire sauce 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped 2 T dark brown sugar 1 T honey 1 T molasses kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in saucepan, add onion, cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Add the ketchup and 1/3 c water, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper). simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, pree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl, cool to room temp. Will brush patties with BBQ sauce while cooking and add to the burger after.
Watermelon Berry Lemonade
8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
3 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
2 12 oz cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
8 cups water
In blender, combine half of the watermelon, strawberries and lemonade concentrate. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to serving container. Repeat with remaining. Add water. Chill up to 2 days.Serve over ice with floating watermelon wedges and strawberries (opt).
Raspberry Limeade
On the Border Margarita NON-ALCOHOLIC Drink Mix (I feel a little weird when I buy this-but it’s so much cheaper and with no pulp than frozen limeade J)
2- 2 liters Sprite (lemon-lime soda)
¼ can frozen limeade concentrate (do not add water)
¾-1 cup Torani Italian Raspberry syrup (Crest-in hot chocolate/coffee aisle)
¼ cup raspberry puree (puree fresh or frozen raspberries; strain seeds) (Can omit this and add more raspberry syrup, but it gives nice color)
Lots of crushed/cubed ice
Fresh raspberries and a few limes – too many will turn drink bitter) for color
(I doubled this recipe for our group)
Cinnamon Brownie Dessert
Homemade Cinnamon Brownies
1 cup butter or margarine (melted)
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups plain flour
Add ¾ cup- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream margarine and sugar. This works well with a mixer, but you can do it by hand.
After the creaming stage, switch to a spoon for mixing. Brownies tend to get tough if worked too much.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix just until smooth.
Pour in cocoa and flour and cinnamon. Again, mix until smooth and lumps are broken up. But, don't go to wild on the mixing.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Bake for 18-20 minutes in 2 pans size 8 inches by 8 inches. You can use a larger pan like the 9 x 9 and cook for a little longer-25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. If you use a single pan, then the Scratch Brownies are thicker.
˜ OR for Semi-Homemade: Use Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (w/chocolate syrup pouch) or Duncan Heines mix; Add ¾-1 cup chocolate chips and ¾-1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and don’t over-bake.
Hot Fudge Sauce
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (use a good quality chocolate)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt, and half of the chocolate in a 1 1/2-quart heavy-based saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate, whisking until smooth. Cool sauce slightly before serving. Sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week; reheat before using. Makes about 2 cups. OR Quick version: Buy Archer Farms Belgian Chocolate (Target) – remove lid and warm in microwave (about 30 seconds).

No Weep Whipped Cream
1 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons dry vanilla instant pudding mix (fold over paper envelope it comes in and keep for future use (1 box does about 3 batches of whipped)
1 teaspoon powdered sugar, more to taste for sweetened whipped cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
· Whip all ingredients together until firm peaks form.
· Cover leftovers tightly, preferably in an air-tight plastic container.
· This stays the same consistency until used and will keep for a week in the fridge without deflating.

Caramel Sauce
· 1 cup white sugar or organic evaporated cane juice
· 1 cup heavy cream
Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (Do not use a nonstick pan.) After several minutes, you’ll see clear patches of melted sugar beginning to appear. Continue heating until about half the sugar is melted. Stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the sugar is melted and the caramel is deep golden-brown.
Meanwhile, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Cover and remove from heat.
While whisking the caramel vigorously, add about 2 tablespoons (a small splash) of cream. The mixture will bubble and sputter. Continue whisking and adding the cream in a steady stream until all the cream is added and the mixture is mostly free of lumps. Turn off heat and strain the caramel sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a metal or ceramic bowl.
Use immediately or cool to room temperature and refrigerate in a glass jar. Leftovers may be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop. OR Quick Version: Buy homemade Caramel sauce (gourmet store) & Archer Farms (Target) Chocolate Caramel sauce. Mix 2 T. Chocolate Caramel Sauce to 8-12 oz. of caramel sauce – melt in microwave (about 30 seconds).
· When making caramel, don’t use a large pot that hangs way over the edge of the burner. The sugar around the edge won’t melt well.
· You can add a little coarse salt and vanilla extract to the cooling sauce if you like; the salt balances the flavors and the vanilla adds complexity.
· (Attain caramel mastery after reading Matthew Amster-Burton’s column on cooked sugar at
Mile-High Brownie Sundae Assembly
· Drizzle caramel sauce generously on plate
· Add brownie to plate (on top of caramel sauce)
· Add 2-3 scoops vanilla bean ice cream; (Add another brownie on top-optional)
· Drizzle hot fudge sauce over ice cream and top with lots of whip cream
· Shave chocolate sprinkles on whipped cream (add nuts if desired).

Monday, May 4, 2009

April Dinner

Hosts, Megan Taylor and Kristen Christensen, put on a gourmet breakfast for dinner this month! It was lots of fun!

Breakfast Lemonade
1 12 oz can frozen lemonade
2 cups cold water
1 ½ cups mango juice
½ cup green or red grapes (or both), halved
½ cup fresh pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup fresh mango, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup fresh strawberries, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup fresh raspberries

Combine the lemonade, water and juice in a large pitcher. Stir in the fruit, taste and add more water if desired. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 1 hour ahead of serving.

Carrot Muffins
2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tb cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 C canola oil
2 C sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pound freshly grated carrots
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. In your mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high until light and fluffy. Decrease the speed to medium, add the oil, sugar and salt. Decrease speed to low and gradually add flour mixture. Remove bowl from the mixer and fold in the carrots with a rubber spatula. Divide batter evenly among the cupcakes. Bake for 25 minutes and cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 C butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tb brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
4 ½ tsp (or 1 ½ Tb) milk
2 ½ C powdered sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in an electric mixer. Be sure they are room temp or your frosting will be lumpy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add 2 C of powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low speed and allow to incorporate. Add milk and remaining powdered sugar. If you want a thinner frosting, add more milk or thicker, add more powdered sugar. Garnish with chopped walnuts.
Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins (base for Cinnamon Streusel Muffins too) -Ina Garten

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems (or cinnamon and brown sugar, just sprinkle on top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean
Rhodes Roll dough (loaf)
Let dough raise for 8+ hours. Tear off pieces and drop in hot oil. Flip over when underside turns golden brown. WHen boths sides are golden brown place on a paper towel to cool. Serve warm with syrup, jam or butter of choice.

Raspberry Sauce - Better Homes & Gardens
1 12-ounce package frozen lightly sweetened red raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice In a food processor bowl or blender container combine raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Using a rubber spatula press sauce through a sieve; discard seeds.
Cinnamon Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup half and half
Add sugar, corn syrup, water and cinnamon to a saucepan, bring to a boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes, or more if you want it thicker. Cool for 5 minutes, then stir in half and half. Makes 1 2/3 cup.
Orange Honey Butter
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
1/4 c honey
zest of 1/4 orange

Summer Fruit Soup - Emeril Lagasse
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups chopped pineapple
1 1/2 cups chopped mango
2 pieces lemon peel
2 pieces lime peel
2 pieces orange peel
4 cups water
1/2 c to 1 1/2 cups sugar (depends on the ripeness of your fruit)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup blueberries
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Saute the ginger in a medium pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes (no oil is necessary.) Add 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and the lemon, lime and orange peels; cook for another 2 minutes. Add water, sugar and fruit juices and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then transfer in batches to a blender or food processor. Puree and strain into a large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and blueberries. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with mint sprigs for garnish.

Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach and Feta Quiche
3 large eggs
1 1/2 c half and half or whole milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
5 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed drained and squeezed dry
1 c grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 c sun-dried tomatos (not oil packed), soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained, dried and chopped (with kitchen scissors)
1/4 c sliced green onion
crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, half n half, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach, grated mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and green onions. Mix well. Pour into into prepared crepe bowls (make crepes and then push gently into muffin tin holes to form a crust). I spooned the cheese, tomatos and onion into each one first and then poured the rest of the eggmixture over it. Then sprinkle feta onto each one. Bake until firm, and tips of crepes are golden brown, about 21-23 minutes. Pop each one out with the help of a spoon and place on plate to let stand for 5 mintues.
Crepes (Alton Brown)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.
*Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.
*Sweet Variation Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sweet Potato Hash - Better Homes & Garden

8 slices thick-sliced bacon
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper In 12-inch skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble half of bacon. Drain all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Meanwhile cook sweet potatoes in boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until just tender; drain.In skillet, cook onion in hot drippings until tender. Add sweet potatoes and cook until potatoes begin to crisp and brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper; transfer to bowl. Stir in crumbled bacon.

White Hot Chocolate w/ Raspberry Drizzle (Paula Dean)

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Stir continuously until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in the half-and-half, and vanilla extract. Stir occasionally until heated through. Pour into mugs and top with Raspberry sauce (recipe listed above) and garnish with a fresh raspberry.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

March Dinner

Well this meal was worth the wait! Our Italian experts Devon Leone, Regina Alexander and Stacey Braghini, put on a feast for us! We all felt like we had gone to Italy and back that night!

Anti-pasta Tray
Pepperroni, Salami, Provalone, Fontina, Motzzarella, Any kind of olives that you like, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, marinated veggies

Italian Bread

Use a bread machine to mix on dough setting. I divided the dough and shaped for 2 medium loaves but you can make one large loaf.
Baked at 350 until hard brown crust was formed. 30 to 45 minutes.
1 cup warm water
3 TBS non fat dry milk
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 cups of flour
21/4 tsp of active dry yeast

Salad dressing

provolone cheese
sun dried tomatoes
black olives
lemon pepper
balsamic vinegar
add amount you want of each to total about 2 cups
cover with olive oil and soak over night


1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/3 cup grated provolone
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/4 cups Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Zucchini alla Paesana (Country style zucchini)

1 lb zucchini
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
11/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1T chopped fresh basil
4 fresh mint leaves chopped
Preheat oven 350 F. Cut ends off zucchini and cut lengthwise. Beat egg with a little salt. Dip zucchini in egg and then in breadcrumbs, Melt a little butter in a pan with some oil and fry zucchini until golden . Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Butter baking dish, put in a layer of zucchini cover with a little tomato sauce sprinkle with parmesan, basil, and mint and continue the layers like this until all ingredients have been used up. End with sauce and bake for 15 minutes. This dish can be served hot but is also delicious lukewarm or cold.

Pesto and Gnocchi

This is my pesto reciepe-you can add it to just about anything. Gnocchi-in this case we bought them at the store (you could also use Angel hair pasta, whatever, get creative)

Leaves from 2 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, untoasted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and blend to a puree. Add the cheese, salt and pepper, and blend again. Add the pesto to whatever you like and toss. Taste for salt and pepper, and add a drizzle of oil, if you like.

Pear and Gorgonzola

Peach and Berry Cobbler

For the fruit mixture:
6 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 5 cups)
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups boysenberries or raspberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the pastry and toppings:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, tapioca, sugar, and salt. Gently mix in berries and vinegar. Taste for balance and add more vinegar, if desired. Spoon mixture into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and baking powder. Work in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture forms large pea sized lumps. This can also be done with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or with brief pulses in a food processor. Slowly mix in 3/4 cup heavy cream until just combined.
Gather dough together into a ball and knead gently on a lightly floured board until it holds together. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round or star cutter, cut dough into shapes. Place them decoratively on the fruit mixture. Brush pastry with 1 tablespoon of cream and then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake until pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly, about 40 minutes. Put cobbler under broiler for a few seconds to brown pastry, if necessary.
Beat remaining 1 cup of cream in a medium bowl with a whisk or electric mixer on high. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat until it holds soft peaks, and then add the vanilla. Serve with cobbler.

Italian Cheesecake

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 lb. cream cheese (2 8 oz. packages)

1 pt. sour cream1

1/2 cups sugar

3 TBS. corn starch

3 TBS. flour

4 eggs slightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup melted butter

Beat cheese until well blended. Beat in sugar, the eggs. At slow speed beat in corn starch, four,lemon juice and vanilla. Add melted butter, sour cream. Beat until smooth. Grease 9 inch spring pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour and 10 min. then turn off oven and leave in oven for 2 hrs. with door closed. Cool and the refrigerate

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January Dinner

Another amazing night!! Well done hostesses Celeste Ward and Danielle Johnson!!!! Pure delight from start to finish! Loved the Country Living theme! The food was divine!

Cranberry Cider

1 cup of fresh Cranberries
6 cups apple juice or cider
2 cups cranberry juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup of Tang
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
3 cinnamon sticks
4 orange slices
Place cranberries in food processor and pulse just until coarsely chopped.
Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes.
Strain cider through a fine-wire strainer; discard solids.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

1 c. finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 medium navel orange, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium kiwifruit, peeled and finely chopped
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. sugar

10 flour tortillas
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

In small bowl, combine first 6 ingred. Cover and refrigerate until serving. For crisps, brush tortillas with butter, cut each unto 8 wedges. Combing sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over tortillas. Place of ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-10 min or just until crisp. Serve with salsa.
Yield: 2 1/2 c salsa, 80 crisps

Orange Corn Bread

1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 c. egg substitute (or just 1 egg)
1/4 c. orange juice
2 tbsp. oil

In large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In small bowl, combine milk, egg, OJ, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined (batter will be thin).
Pour into greased 9" square pan. Bake 400 for 18-22 min or until fork comes out clean.
**if doing muffins, reduce temp and bake time
Yield 9 serving.

Classic Spinach Dip

4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 tbsp. water
2/3 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/3 c. mayo
1/3 c. sour cream
4 tsp. vegetable soup mix
1 green onion, chopped
Assorted crackers

In micowave-safe bowl, combine spinach and water. Cover adn microwaveon high for 45-60 seconds or until wilted, drain. Cool and squeeze dry. In small bowl, combine water chestnuts, sour cream, mayo, soup mix, onion, and spinach. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve with crackers.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Grapefruit Winter Salad

4 cups mixed greens
1 sectioned grapefruit
2 pears, thinly sliced
¼ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans
¼ cup blue cheese
Citrus Dressing:
¼ cup grapefruit juice
2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp. Sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Sesame and Feta Cheese Rolls

2/3 cup water2 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon anise seeds2 tablespoons sesame seeds2 tablespoons sugar1/2 teaspoon salt2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Filling:4 ounces crumbled feta4 ounces grated mozzarella1 eggDissolve yeast in water. Mix in the rest of the bread ingredients. Let rise in an oiled bowl until double, about one hour.
Mix the three ingredients for the filling and set aside. Divide the dough into two equal halves and roll each out into a circle big enough to cut eight triangle shaped wedges (pizza style). Put a spoonful of filling in the middle of each wedge then roll the dough up from the wide end to the point. Let rise for 30 minutes. If desired you can brush the rolls with an egg wash that you make from 1 beaten egg and a tablespoon of milk before sprinkling with more sesame seeds and bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until they're golden brown. Best served warm

Creamy Carrot Soup

1 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter, cubed
4 1/2 c. sliced fresh carrots
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
1 tsp. ginger
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In dutch oven, saute onion in butter until tender. Add carrots, potato, broth, and ginger. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 min. or until vegetables are tender. Cool for 15 min. Transfer to a blender or food processor in small batches; cover and process until smooth. Return all to the pan, stir in cream and rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook on low heat until heated through.
Yield: 10 servings

3 Everything Bagels
½ cup of garlic butter
Cut bagels into 1 inch squares and dry on a cookie sheet for about two days. Mix with garlic butter and spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes, turning at 7 minutes

Flank Steak Pinwheels

8 bacon strips
1 beef flank steak
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 jar roasted sweet red peppers, drained

Cream cheese sauce:
1 package (3 0z) cream cheese
1/4 c. milk
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese

Place bacon strips on a microwave safe plate lined with papertowels. Cover with another paper towel, microwave on high for 2-3 min or until partially cooked.
Meanwhile, cut steak horizontally from a long side to within 1/2 in. of opposite side. Open meat so it lies flat; cover with plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/4 in. thickness. Remove plastic.Place spinach over steak to within 1 in. of edges, top with peppers. With the grain of meat going left to right, roll up jelly roll style. Wrap bacon strips around beef, secure with toothpicks. Slice beef across the grain into 8 slices. Grill, covered, over med heat for 5-7 minutes on each side.
In small saucepan, combine cream cheese, milk, butter, and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in blue cheese. Serve with pinwheels
Yield: 8 servings

Linguini with Bacon, Baby Spinach, and Sage
1 pkg. linguini
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package. In large skillet over med heat, cook bacon until desired crispness. Add onion and saute 5-6 min or until tender. Stir in stock and sage, simmer 1-2 min. Add spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss linguini with sauce and serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Devils Food Cheesecake

Please visit for instructions-
The directions look intimidating but it is so easy because the steps can be done on different days!
I make the devil’s food cake layers a week before I intend on putting the cake all together.
I just let the devil’s food cake cool on wire racks, then I wrap them in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze them. Freezing for a week also helps to make them extra moist.
I make the cheesecake one or two days in advance and also freeze it too.
Then on the day of serving I make the frosting and put it all together. Frost the layers while still frozen, don’t thaw them first or you will lose the moisture in the cakes.

Take home treats:

Pomegranate Jelly

4 cups pomegranate juice (either pressed from real fruit or 100% bottled juice)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
5 c. sugar

Also need 6-8 eight oz. canning jars or about10-12 baby food jars

1. Make juice...or buy it:)
2. Prepare jars with hot soapy water, then boil to sterilize.
3.Measure pomegranate juice and lemon juice in 6 qt. pan. Add pectin, stir and place over high heat. Bring to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Reach a full rolling boil (can't be stirred down), and add sugar. Boil hard for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand for a minute, and skim off foam.
4. Fill jars to 1/2" from top, wipe rims and choose manner of canning.

for canning the jelly there are lotsa options.
a. put on lids and put in fridge
b. pour 1/4"inch of hot wax on top, then add another 1/4" when cooled, put on lids
c. Place jelly jars in boiling water, not touching, fully covered, for 5 minutes. Let jars cool. Check seals. Don't do this is using baby jars, lids most likely won't seal twice.