Monday, December 30, 2013

Jalapeno Pillows


Quick and easy semi-homemade appetizer from Pillsbury!

Let your imagination be the guide to ingredients like changing the type of cheese used, add some chicken or whatever meat you like, change the jalapeno peppers to roasted red peppers, etc.



Ingredients

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 
(6 oz)1/2 cup diced fresh jalapeño chiles (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Flaky Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 egg
Water

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, chiles, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well combined. Set aside.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. With rolling pin, roll out each biscuit into about 1/8-inch-thick round. Spoon about 1 tablespoon cheese filling onto center of each. Bring up dough around filling; pinch to seal tightly. Place seam side down on ungreased cookie sheet.

To make egg wash, beat egg with splash of water. Brush tops of stuffed biscuits with some of the egg wash. Sprinkle tops with additional salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Serve warm.

Source:  Pillsbury website



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cheesy Crab Poppers


Gotta try these real soon!

There are a few things I would change in this recipe aside from adding some hot peppers or hot sauce.  I would saute the vegetables first since I hate biting into crunchy raw vegetables in this type of appetizer.

This one is a winner!



Ingredients

1 package (10 oz) of lump crab meat
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
½ cup milk
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
Canola oil, for frying



Directions


Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.


Roll the mixture into balls, just slightly smaller than the size of golf balls. Set on parchment paper or a baking sheet.

In a large, high walled pot or a wok, heat oil over medium-high. You want to make sure there is enough oil to cover ⅔ of the crab balls.

Test the oil to see if it’s ready by dipping the end (handle-side) of a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil begins to bubble, it’s ready. If not, let it sit a bit longer.

Once the oil is ready, drop in 4-5 crab balls. Reduce the heat slightly and let them cook until a deep orangey-brown, turning occasionally. Remove the poppers from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel.

Once they’re cool enough to handle, cut a ball in half to check. If the inside is cooked well, then continue to cook the poppers in the same manner. If the inside seems to have cooked less than the outside, then reduce the heat of the oil and try again, leaving the poppers in for slightly longer until they reach the proper color.


Serve the poppers warm with dipping sauce of your choice!

This recipe makes about 30 poppers.


Photo and recipe source: Host The Toast


Friday, December 27, 2013

Hawaiian Sliders




These little sliders are awesome!  We got to try them at a party and honestly, I could not get enough, but didn't want to make a pig of myself when there were so many other things to eat.  They went fast anyway!  Guess you could say they were the star of the show.

 The ones we had were overstuffed with ham and cheese (maybe double of what the recipe calls for), which made them even better, but the topping is what makes it so special with a blend of delicious tangy sweetness.  The crunchiness resulting from the sauce baked on the bread was also very nice. Outstanding!

I would love to make some with smoked turkey and swiss cheese too.  

Not only did they make the perfect appetizer, they would be great for a quick lunch with some chips.

Awesome discovery!

UPDATE:  We have made these sliders twice and propose the following changes:  No onion.  Cut the sauce recipe in half.  For some reason, our sliders did not come out crispy, but somewhat soggy.  We added 10 minutes to the baking time in the oven uncovered . . . it still wasn't enough time to make them crunchy enough for our taste.  Next time we will bake them 20 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

We love this recipe and will continue to tweak it until they are perfect for our taste.  I must say that the sauce is awesome, like a sweet barbeque sauce, and would be great with some shredded chicken in place of ham and cheese.

I really can't say where this recipe originated since it has been posted all over the place.  It is like, what came first, the chicken or the egg?







Ingredients


    • 1 package Original Hawaiian 12-pack dinner rolls 
    • 1 small sweet white onion, minced or grated 
    • ½ cup (1 stick) butter 
    • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard 
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
    • 3 teaspoons poppy seeds 
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
    • 1 package deli sandwich ham, cut into 12 small squares 
    • 6 slices Swiss cheese, each cut in half 


Instructions

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and brown sugar. Allow to sauté for a few minutes, until onions are translucent and tender. Remove from the stove. 

Cut the rolls in half horizontally, removing the tops and placing the bottoms on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place a spoonful of sauce on each roll, followed by a slice of ham and piece of cheese. Place a roll top on each. 

Move the sliders closely together. Slowly pour the remaining sauce right over the tops of these small beauties. 

Cover with aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Bake at 350F or place on an outdoor grill over low heat, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and bake for another two minutes until the tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve immediately.




Hawaiian Sliders




These little sliders are awesome!  We got to try them at a party and honestly, I could not get enough, but didn't want to make a pig of myself when there were so many other things to eat.  They went fast anyway!  Guess you could say they were the star of the show.

 The ones we had were overstuffed with ham and cheese (maybe double of what the recipe calls for), which made them even better, but the topping is what makes it so special with a blend of delicious tangy sweetness.  The crunchiness resulting from the sauce baked on the bread was also very nice. Outstanding!

I would love to make some with smoked turkey and swiss cheese too.  

Not only did they make the perfect appetizer, they would be great for a quick lunch with some chips.

Awesome discovery!

UPDATE:  We have made these sliders twice and propose the following changes:  No onion.  Cut the sauce recipe in half.  For some reason, our sliders did not come out crispy, but somewhat soggy.  We added 10 minutes to the baking time in the oven uncovered . . . it still wasn't enough time to make them crunchy enough for our taste.  Next time we will bake them 20 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

We love this recipe and will continue to tweak it until they are perfect for our taste.  I must say that the sauce is awesome, like a sweet barbeque sauce, and would be great with some shredded chicken in place of ham and cheese.

I really can't say where this recipe originated since it has been posted all over the place.  It is like, what came first, the chicken or the egg?





Ingredients
  • 1 package Original Hawaiian 12-pack dinner rolls
  • 1 small sweet white onion, minced or grated
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 package deli sandwich ham, cut into 12 small squares
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese, each cut in half

Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and brown sugar. Allow to sauté for a few minutes, until onions are translucent and tender. Remove from the stove.
  2. Cut the rolls in half horizontally, removing the tops and placing the bottoms on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place a spoonful of sauce on each roll, followed by a slice of ham and piece of cheese. Place a roll top on each. Move the sliders closely together. Slowly pour the remaining sauce right over the tops of these small beauties.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Bake at 350F or place on an outdoor grill over low heat, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and bake for another two minutes until the tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Honey Lemon Chicken


Simple, economical and tasty chicken!!

This chicken dish would be great
 with rice and broccoli :)






Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs or breasts with skin
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
juice and zest of a lemon 

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or dried oregano



Preparation:

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Heat the garlic, honey, lemon juice and zest, oregano and olive oil in a pan.

Place chicken in a casserole dish and pour heated lemon and honey mixture from pan over the chicken.

Bake 40 minutes, basting the chicken occasionally.  Place lemon slices on top a few minutes before taking chicken out of the oven.


Recipe from the book "Le meilleur du poulet"  Ed. Larousse
Image Credit:  Chili & Tonka

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marvelous Cannoli Cake



WOW . . . what a presentation and awesome cake concept!

I like the option of making this semi-homemade by using a box cake mix, but it would probably be extra special if a rich butter cake recipe were used for the cake.  The filling sounds divine!

TIP:  Don't forget to drain the mascarpone and ricotta cheese to avoid runniness.  I let it drain for around an hour before using.

The recipe comes from Taste of Home, where many of my tried and true recipes came from through the years.  I used to buy their yearly cookbooks regularly and still go to them when looking for something special.  The link to the original post follows the recipe.  

Check out Taste of Home's website for more awesome recipes!




Ingredients

1 package French vanilla cake mix (regular size)

FILLING:
1 carton (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

FROSTING:
2 cartons (8 ounces each) Mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Diamond of California Sliced Almonds
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips



Directions


Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions, using two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon and extracts; stir in chocolate. In another bowl, beat the Mascarpone cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk and extracts on medium speed until creamy (do not overmix).

Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup filling. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining filling over top of cake to within 1 in. of edges. Frost sides and top edge of cake with 2 cups frosting.

Press almonds into sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Refrigerate until serving. 

Yield: 12 servings

Marvelous Cannoli Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Recipe Source:  Taste of Home


Friday, December 20, 2013

Cherry-Cream Cheese Coffee Cake






This coffee braid 
looks bakery-fancy, 
but Pillsbury® 
crescents make it 
flaky, delicious
and easy.



I'm the first to admit that although I love cooking and baking from scratch, semi-homemade cooking is so convenient when you are short on time or motivation.  Through the years I have learned many little tricks to make cooking and baking faster and easier . . . the use of awesome convenience products like Pillsbury Crescents is one of them.

The Pillsbury website has lots of these type of recipes . . . this one comes from the section "Morning Favorites."




prep time 20 min
total time 1 hr 15 min
ingredients 8
12 servings



Ingredients

1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk


Directions


Heat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening. In small bowl, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in almond extract, almonds and cherries; set aside. 

If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; press into 13x7-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.

If using dough sheet: Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; press into 13x7-inch rectangle.

Spoon cream cheese mixture lengthwise down center 1/3 of rectangle. On each long side of dough rectangle, make cuts 1 inch apart to edge of filling. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling and cross in center to form a braided appearance; seal ends.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth; drizzle over coffee cake. If desired, garnish with additional sliced almonds and cherries.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spicy Creole Crab Balls and Creole Tartar Sauce



One of my favorite blogs to visit when I'm in the mood for some spicy cajun food is Cajun Delights.  Marguerite weaves wonderful stories of her culture and happenings at her home in the Cajun Country.  

Not only does she provide awesome recipes, but she lays out a whole themed party, like her Cajun Christmas Party Preview that this recipe comes from.  She includes appetizers, salads, sides, bread, main meal and dessert ideas.   The link to the blog post follows the recipe.





1 lb. lump crab meat, picked over
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
1 large egg
1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard
2 tbs. chopped bell pepper
2 tbs. chopped green onions
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg mayo, Creole seasoning Worcestershire sauce, and Creole mustard. Add crab meat and mix gently. Add cracker crumbs evenly. Stir in the peppers and green onions. 


Form the mixture into 3 inch balls and place on a large cookie sheet and chill for 1 hour. 

Deep fry at 350 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. 

Drain on paper towels and transfer to a serving platter. 


Serve with Marguerite's Creole Tartar Sauce . . .

1 cup light mayo
1 tbs. Creole mustard
1 tbsp. each, green onions and fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Few shakes Tabasco

Combine all ingredients in bowl and chill.



Click here for Marguerite's Cajun Christmas Party Preview 



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dorito Chicken Casserole



Frugal cooks can never have enough chicken recipes!

You could even use it as a dip with a
 bowl of Doritos on the side.

Thank you to BlogChef.net for the photo and adapting this recipe from Jam Hands!  Check out their websites for more awesome recipes.







Ingredients:


    • 2 to 3 cups diced cooked chicken 
    • 1 cup sour cream 
    • 1 can cream of chicken soup 
    • 1/4 cup finely minced onion 
    • 1 tsp. chili powder 
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
    • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese 
    • 1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese 
    • 1 bag (medium size) bag of Doritos, crushed



Preparation:
Grease or spray a 2-quart casserole dish. 
Cover bottom of casserole with half of the crushed Doritos. 
Mix all other ingredients, except cheese, and place on Doritos. 
Put remainder of crushed Doritos on top of this. Add cheese on top. 
Ready to bake! 
Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes.

Holiday Cookie Recipes from the Food Network



Need inspiration for your holiday cookie baking?  

Whether you give your holiday cookies as gifts, make them for your holiday parties or just want some new cookie ideas, Food Network has prepared an awesome holiday cookie section on their website.  I could not pick a favorite to feature . . . there are too many to choose from!

Click here to go there!





Saturday, December 14, 2013

Smothered Chicken Casserole



Since we buy lots of chicken, I'm always looking for good chicken recipes.  This recipe looks delicious, quick and easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

The photo and recipe comes from Amy at Mom Spark . . . you will find the link to her blog after the recipe.



ingredients:

1/2 C. prepared caesar salad dressing (I used an Asiago dressing)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices bacon
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 C. onion, diced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
1 C. Gruyere cheese, grated (I used a mix of Mozzarella and Smoked Cheddar)
2 C. fresh tomatoes, diced
1/4 C. fresh parsley, minced
1 lb angel hair pasta

directions:

1. Marinate the chicken breasts in Caesar dressing for at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350-f. Cook bacon until crisp, remove from pan and drain off all but about 2 tbsp of the fat. Heat pan to medium-high heat.
3. Remove chicken from marinade and cook in bacon fat until well browned. (You don't have to cook the chicken through, just get some color on it.) Remove chicken from pan and place in casserole dish.
4. Drain off all the bacon fat from the pan and add 3 tbsp of butter. Once melted stir in the onion and mushrooms. Cook until soft and starting to caramelize- 5-7 minutes.
5. Stir 3 tbsp of flour into the onions and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.
6. Stir broth and cream into the flour mixture, bring to boil -constantly stirring- for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. Stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice, cheese, and parsley and pour over the chicken in the casserole dish. Top with fresh tomatoes and bake, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and chicken is cooked through.
8.While the chicken is baking, cook 1 lb angel hair pasta on the stove-top and drain. Remove chicken from the oven, stir pasta into the sauce and serve topped with crumbled bacon and more fresh parsley.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Green Bean Casserole from scratch




Call me silly, but I still love the classic Green Bean Casserole . . . it is one of my favorite comfort foods.   It is one of those dishes that is delicious and goes with so many meal combinations, but for me it also brings back memories of my childhood sitting around the table with family.  Funny how just the aroma and taste of the food can take you back to certain times in the past.

Although the classic semi-homemade version is awesome and easy, this recipe caught my attention since just about anything prepared from scratch is much better.  

I'm looking forward to making this version with fresh green beans . . . I have always used the version with canned green beans.  That one thing has to make a huge difference in taste.




Ingredients

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half



Directions

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Source: The Food Network/Alton Brown



Photo source and another variation with photos


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Easy Homemade Peach Cobbler




Peach Cobbler is one of my husband's favorite desserts, so I went on a search to find the best cobbler recipe I could find.  This is it, from one of my favorite food blogs, Willow Bird Baking.




Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 6 servings

This is the easiest cobbler known to mankind and also happens to be my favorite. It’s cakey and spongey in texture (not biscuity), which is why my family called it a “peach cobbler cake” when I was growing up.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
Dash of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 large (or two regular) cans peaches in light syrup

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or 12-inch cast iron skillet) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Melt the stick of butter and pour it unceremoniously into the prepared baking dish. Mix the milk into the dry ingredients, whisk until the lumps are gone (the batter will be very liquidy), and then pour this batter over top of the melted butter in the prepared dish.

Pour can(s) of peaches over top of the batter, syrup and all. Do NOT stir this — just let the peaches fall where they falls! Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and almost set. Serve hot with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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