Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Campbell's Welcome Home Party


Cheeses, meats, and olives with crackers

citrus vinaigrette, apples, walnuts, blue cheese

My husband made the vinaigrette. I know it had fresh squeezed orange juice and a few tablespoons balsamic, tablespoon honey, a few tablespoons olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.

Sadly no photo of this salad. It was time to get the dinner rolling!

mac n cheese

My husband made the mac n cheese. I have typed up his recipe before but he keeps changing it up every time to make it better. This time he added some mustard for bite

Sour Cream Crescent Rolls

Moms sour cream crescent rolls
Southern Living recipe

8 oz Commercial sour cream
1/2 c Warm water --105 to 115f
2 pk Dry yeast
Butter or margarine; melted
1/2 c Butter or margarine
1/2 c Sugar
2 Eggs; beaten
1 ts Salt
4 c All-purpose flour

Place butter in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and sugar.
Cool mixture to 105 to 115F.
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl;
let yeast mixture stand 5 minutes.
Stir in sour cream mixture and eggs.
Combine flour and salt; gradually add flour mixture to yeast mixture, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Punch dough down, and divide into 4 equal parts.
Roll each into a l0-inch circle on a floured surface; brush with butter.
Cut each circle into 12 wedges; roll up each wedge, beginning at wide end.
Place on greased baking sheets, point side down.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85F, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 4 dozen.

Standing Rib Roast
(thanks Martha Stewart)

After my meat was scored and it was time to salt and pepper. I threw black peppercorns into a ziplock baggie and whacked them with my meat mallets. I rubbed the black peppercorns all over the scored part of the meat and did not use salt. This was inspired by The Pioneer Woman who has a fabulous blog. She used black peppercorns on a beef tenderloin though, not a prime rib.

The meat with the rub on it

The meat after 3+ hours of baking. Not bad for over 10 pounds of meat

The meat platter

2 Vegetable Sides
Creamed Spinach

(Tyler Florence recipe)

We did not add cheese. Since this part was so close to the holidays and we served mac n cheese we not only stayed away from potatoes but stayed away from cheese laden side dishes too.

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

This recipe was from Betty Crocker!
My husband thought these were a little sweet for him but everyone else gobbled them up. It was a great recipe as is. If I changed anything I think a little of the orange juice would be nice to add to the glaze instead of just orange zest.

Cranberry Cheesecake

This is my basic cheesecake recipe with a cranberry topping. Its the same cheesecake base I use for all my flavored cheesecakes. They all start with the same 3 packages of cream cheese and the heavy cream :)

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Cranberry Sauce
2 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cheesecake filling:
3 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 cup whipping cream

Combine crust ingredients to make crust; press into bottom and up sides of a greased 9 inch spring form pan. Chill 1 hour or until firm.

In a sauce pan add cranberries, 1 cup water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened. Refrigerate sauce. When it's time to serve, reheat sauce! I put mine in a gravy boat and we passed it around the table. People could top their cheesecake if they wanted with how much they wanted.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until fluffy. Add egg whites; beat on low until just blended. Stir in cream.

Pour all of the filling into the crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is nearly set. Refrigerate overnight. Spoon reheated cranberry sauce on top when ready to serve.

The dinner table minus my husband who took the photo

You can see the bowl of fried onions on the table. There were actually two bowls on the table, one at each end. I wanted something crunchy with the dinner for texture so fried onion straws were a condiment for the meat. He soaked his onions in a milk and egg mixture. Then drained the liquid out and put a tiny amount of seasoned flour in a ziplock and shook the onions to lightly coat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quick and Easy Treats?

So I have two quick and easy recipes to share for those who are looking for something to make for the holiday last minute ;)

Chocolate Fudge

1 8 ounce package cream cheese
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 square semi sweet baking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat. Add the melted chocolate. Pour into a square pan and stick in the fridge for several hours. Slice up your fudge and eat. This is a soft fudge recipe

Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Inspired by this recipe.

2 packages Pillsbury simple peanut butter cookies
Mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cups
Christmas sprinkles

Take the peanut butter cookie and rip in half. Roll each half into balls.
Take the ball of cookie dough and place in a mini muffin tin, ungreased.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 8 minutes
Take out and immediately press an unwrapped PB cup into the center.
Leave them in the pan on the counter
When the PB cups look melty, add your Christmasty sprinkles
Let these cool completely!
I stuck my mini muffin tins in the fridge before popping the cookies out.

This will make 48 cookies because we are pulling each cookie apart doubling the number of cookies. Enjoy!

Christmas Trees

I bought these Christmas tree molds on sale at Michaels after Christmas
I used sprinkles, white chocolate candy coating and pretzel rods
They were super easy and my nieces and nephews enjoyed them

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mongolian Beef

Thank goodness I had planned in advance for this meal. We already had our ingredients before it snowed two feet this weekend. Last night we put together Mongolian beef, with jasmine rice, vegetable egg rolls, and slaw. Anthony thought this was one of our better stir frys

Mongolian Beef
We used this recipe with a few slight changes

Mia Cucina-Marisa

We put some fresh ginger through the garlic press, had snowpeas instead of green onion, and we have this spicy pepper oil we use to stir fry instead of using peanut oil. Also we bought fajita meat that was already cut into strips. It was still flank steak, we just didn't have to cut it ourselves :) shortcut!

Asian Slaw
We bought some shredded cabbage and shredded carrot and pine nuts.
I wanted to recreate a thai lime sauce but I was missing quite a few essential ingredients like LIME and fish sauce! An Asian sesame ginger salad dressing was what we ended up using.

The Cookie Swap

I did not have a camera at the cookie swap but the host took a few. I wanted to share how impressive the spread was! I really loved a lot of the cookies we tried this year. I wish I had more of the recipes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Rainbow Cake

I was invited to a work happy hour party at a coworkers house yesterday.
I asked if I could make something and the reply was to make a cake.
I didn't have a lot of time so this is a white cake mix, but I did color the batter so it was Christmasy :) Next time I would have even less white batter. I split the mix evenly into three bowls but I'd rather have more red and green batter than equal amounts.

Creme de Menthe Brownies

I went to a very large cookie swap party last weekend. There were 30 RSVPs! I tripled this recipe in order to pack 6 brownies into each container and still have extra for snacking during the party. I went to the dollar store to buy the to go containers and I bought the tags from Michaels. I printed the recipe out and cut and pasted it to the inside of the holiday labels.

This is the recipe my mother uses every year

Creme de Menthe Brownies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened and divided
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 (16 oz) can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tbsp crème de menthe
1 (6oz) pkg semisweet chocolate morsels

Cream ½ cup butter; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition

Combine flour and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternatively with chocolate syrup, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes.

Cool completely. (Brownies will shrink from sides of pan while cooling)

Cream ¼ cup butter; gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, crème de menthe and 1 to 2 tbsp of milk if mixture seems too thick to spread.

Spread evenly over brownies; chill about 1 hour.

Combine chocolate morsels and remaining ¼ cup of butter in top of double boiler; bring water to a boil.

Reduce heat to low; cook until chocolate melts.

Spread over brownies; chill for at least one hour. Cut into squares.

I cut mine into very small bite size squares

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top Chef Party

We invited some friends over to watch the Top Chef finale and of course we made food :) my husband wanted everyone to make a twist on childhood favorites but not everyone did that.

Here is my twist on Tacos

Square wonton wrappers
1 can of black beans drained
Shredded mexican cheese
green onion, the white and green parts chopped
taco seasoning
ground turkey sausage (I buy the links that say HOT and break them apart)

Place wonton squares into mini muffin tins and bake at 350 until the edges are brown
Brown the sausage with the seasoning and garlic
Stir in the black beans, cheese, and chopped green onion
Spoon the mixture into the baked wonton shells and put back in the oven.
Remove when the cheese looks melted

I serve these with salsa and sour cream on the side.

Here is my twist on Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 stick softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 c miniature chocolate chips
12 oz of Chocolate Almond Bark
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Soften your butter, place in mixing bowl with the sugars, vanilla, flour, condensed milk and then chocolate chips.

Scoop mixture into small portions on a wax covered cookie sheet.
Put into freezer for 30 minutes.
Take out and roll mixture into 1 inch balls.
Put back in freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt your chocolate bark in a double boiler system on the stove.
Remove balls from freezer and dip each one in chocolate using a toothpick.
Tap to remove excess chocolate and place on wax paper.

My husband did a twist on burgers. He made mini burgers with brie on a triangle of ciabatta bread. He made his own ketchup with a tomato paste and roasted peppers, splash of balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic and onion sauteed with olive oil, chili flakes, thinned with some liquid from the red pepper jar. This was all processed together in the food processor.

Instead of french fries, my husband made a batter for hashbrowns and fried them. He wanted a sort of nest look to the fries. They were awesome!

In the background of this photo you see a guests' chocolate chip cookies. She made them with bacon. The maple flavor of the bacon mixed with the brown sugar of the chocolate chip cookies was actually good. I'd rather have a regular chocolate chip cookie but it wasn't gross to have the bacon in it.

and lastly, another guest made sliders. They had a wonderful chunk of soft seasoning cheese in the center and she made a great garlicy aioli sauce.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

8 ounces velveeta cheese

3 small heads of broccoli, cut into small pieces

half a large onion or 1 small onion chopped

2 cups hot, almost boiling, water

1 cube chicken boullion

a handful of shredded carrots



1 stick of butter

dash of hot sauce

splash of milk (if needed)

Melt your butter in a soup pot and add the onion. Sautee until soft

Add the hot water and chicken boullion breaking up and melting in the boullion cube.

Add in the broccoli next and let it soften up

Once the broccoli is partially cooked add in the rest of the ingredients

We added a splash of milk because the ours was a little thick

We pureed a small portion of the soup and left some of it chunky and stirred the two together. This made 4 full bowls of soup

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Cookies

My niece spent the weekend with us and to entertain her I decided we would make and decorate sugar cookies together. I think we did a pretty good job :) DH helped when we ran out of steam too. My niece told my sister-in-law that I wore her out.

I used Martha Stewart's Sugar Cookie Recipe which I have blogged before

The Royal Icing recipe I used was Katie's from Good Things Catered. Her iced sugar cookies are beautiful and you should check them out!

15 Bean Soup

This recipe was from Fix-It and Forget it Lightly
We had a ton of leftover ham to use up so this is what I found looking for ham and soup recipes. This was a good recipe to split into individual tupperware containers and reheating for lunches.

1 lb dry 15 bean mixture We looked at the beans in the mixture and bought the cans.
2 quarts of water
2 cups of ham, choppedWe used much more ham
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cups canned low sodium diced tomatoesWe probably used flavored diced tomatoes, one with garlic.
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablspoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Hot SauceWe add hot sauce to most soups

1. Soak beans in water overnight and drain
2. Mix beans, add water, and ham in slow cooker
3. cover and cook on low 8-10 hours
4. add remaining ingredients
5. Cook on high another hour

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

Baking Potatoes
Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Wash potatoes
Add butter to the skins
Poke a few holes in the potato with a fork

375 for about an hour
They should be soft to touch

Scoop out the insides and put it in the mixer.
Add milk and butter to potatoes and mix
Add salt and pepper
Add handfuls of cheese BY HAND, dont use a mixer or it will all goop together
Put filling back in the potato
Add cheese to the tops

Bake potatoes again for 10-15 minutes