Friday, October 29, 2010

Football Fridays: Oatmeal Cream Pies



Since this is a Football Friday recipe and my team happens to be Alabama…has anyone seen the commercial on ESPN with Saban and his Oatmeal Cream Pie? Apparently he eats two Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies every morning for breakfast. I find the commercial quite humorous and honestly, who can resist an oatmeal cream pie?!?

Growing up my mom always stocked our “snack cabinet” with Little Debbie’s, so I grew up on Little Debbie’s version of Oatmeal cream pies. Every day after school I went straight for a Little Debbie. I couldn’t tell you how long its been since I had a Little Debbie, but I can tell you that this Oatmeal Cream Pie is irresistible. The cookies stay nice and soft and the marshmallow cream filling in the middle has just the right amount of sweetness without being overly sweet. This is another dessert/snack that is perfect for game day football and hopefully it will bring some luck to my team!

Have a great Friday and a safe and relaxing weekend!

Oatmeal Cream Pies

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For the Cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons boiling water

For the Filling:

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/2 packets)

1/3 cups, plus 1/4 cup water (divided)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

8 oz vegetable shortening

To Make the Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture. Add the cinnamon and oats. Mix well.

In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiling water, and then stir the mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix well.

Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until the cookies are firm and just starting to turn golden around the edges, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack or on a plate.

To Make the Filling:

In a small measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Let stand, stirring once or twice until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

In a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup hot water until well blended. Continuing to stir, raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Continue boiling for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves completely.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the vanilla.

With a mixer on medium speed, beat for 20 seconds. Gradually raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is stiffened, white, very fluffy, and cooled to barely warm, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.

Add the shortening and beat until completely smooth.

The filling will set up as it sits, so wait until it is thick enough to spread or pipe before filling the cookies.

Source adapted slightly from: Beantown Baker, originally from How to Eat a Cupcake

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Curry and Spice Chicken



I might be the only one that this happens to, but I have a feeling I’m not alone on this one…have you ever made a new dish and halfway through you think, “I think I’ve made some variation of this before?” This dish looked, smelled, and tasted an awful lot like the Braised Chicken recipe I posted back in May. So why I am sharing this recipe if it’s the same thing? Because I think it’s a better variation on the recipe! I love cooking with curry. It not only adds a depth of flavor to the dish, but the aroma fills up your kitchen as you are cooking. I thought the addition of golden raisins worked really well, in fact, I think I might add more than the recipe called for next time. I was a little mad at myself because I purchased the slivered almonds to sprinkle on top of the dish, but I forgot about them. The crunchy bite of the almonds would have added another texture component that would have made it even better. Just looking at the picture as I write makes me want to make this recipe again!

Curry and Spice Chicken

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1 1/2 cups uncooked white or brown rice

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used chicken thighs)

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 medium-size sweet onions, chopped

2 medium-size green bell peppers, chopped

4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons cilantro

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Prepare rice according to package directions. Keep rice warm.

Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside.

Sauté chopped onions and bell peppers in 2 teaspoons hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, sauté 1 minute.

Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, curry powder, cloves, cinnamon stick, and golden raisins. Wipe skillet clean.

Cook chicken in remaining 2 teaspoons hot oil in skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes on each side or until browned. Pour tomato mixture evenly over chicken. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and chicken is tender. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Stir in cilantro, and top with almonds. Serve over rice.


One Year Ago Today: Sausage Pinwheels

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies



This is another recipe that requires you to look past the picture! These cookies aren’t exactly easy on the eyes, but one should never judge by looks alone! Last year I made pumpkin pie bars and discovered just how well pumpkin and butterscotch go together, so I was happy to find a cookie version that combined the two flavors together again. They win the prize for ugly, but the cookies themselves are very soft, almost cake-like, with lots of butterscotch and pumpkin flavor in each bite. My husband really enjoyed them and I must say I had several myself! I sent the cookies off with my brother-in-law and his friends for a movie night…all studious college kids….and the plate came back empty with compliments to the baker, so I would say the recipe is a must for Fall baking!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

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2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and light in color, about 1 minute. Blend in the oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Gently fold in the butterscotch chips with a spatula.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them a few inches apart. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the tops feel set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 14 to 16 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Joy the Baker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo



This dish might look like a whole lot of brown, but don’t overlook it because it is another favorite of mine. There are so many versions of gumbo out there. A lot of recipes include shrimp or crawfish, but I happen to prefer gumbo without the shrimp. I am also a fan of the okra in this version. The recipe is all about quick and easy. The roux is a rather quick and the recipe also calls for purchasing packages of ready to serve Cajun rice. Not everyone prefers to take shortcuts with rice, so if you have a favorite Cajun rice recipe or your grocery store doesn’t carry the rice, it could easily be substituted. The andouille sausage and the Cajun rice together offer you a little slice of Cajun comfort food and a good recipe to have on hand this Fall.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

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To Make Gumbo:

1/2 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth

1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices

4 cups cooked chicken

For the Okra Pilau:

3 bacon slices

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 (16 oz) package frozen sliced okra, thawed

2 (8.5 oz) packages ready-to-serve Cajun-style rice

To Make the Gumbo:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until flour is chocolate colored. (Do not burn mixture).

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in onion, bell pepper, celery, cajun seasoning, and garlic stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in chicken broth and sausage. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare okra pilau. Stir chicken into gumbo; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Serve with okra pilau.

To Make the Okra Pilau:

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.

Sauce onion and okra in a hot drippings over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Prepare rice according to package directions. Stir rice and crumbled bacon into okra mixture in skillet.


One Year Ago Today: Baked Bars

Monday, October 25, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap

  • Pears are another Fall favorite, so the combination of pears and ginger together in a Caramel Pear and Ginger Cupcake form Joelen’s Culinary Adventures really caught my eye.
  • Caramel apples are something you always hear about this time of the year, but I prefer the less messy Apple Bundt with Caramel Sauce version from The Food Librarian better.
  • Just because the weather is getting cold, doesn’t mean ice cream is a thing of the past. I made s’mores bars a couple of weeks ago that were so good, but I never thought about having it in ice cream form. Elly Says Opa posted S’mores Ice Cream that made me want to take out my homemade ice cream machine one more time!
  • I am still being tempted with new pumpkin recipes. Baking Banter posted a recipe for Pumpkin Scones sprinkled on top with cinnamon and sugar that I can’t wait to try on my own.
  • The Curvy Carrot celebrated her birthday with a Triple Butterscotch Cake complete with a Butterscotch buttercream and a butterscotch sauce. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one that makes my own birthday cakes!

One Year Ago Today: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Friday, October 22, 2010

Football Fridays: Praline Cookies



A lot of the Football Friday recipes posted so far have been for appetizers, but every Football weekend also needs a good dessert and cookies are the perfect treat to grab and go. I never imagined that a praline cookie would be so good. My sister-in-law introduced me to praline cookies a few years ago. She brought the family a sample box to try from a restaurant in her town. They tasted similar to this recipe, only the icing was twice as thick, making it so rich I could only eat half a cookie! In my opinion, this recipe has the best balance of sweetness. This is another cookie that holds a spot in my top three favorite cookies! My only note about this recipe is, once you make the icing, you must work very fast, otherwise the icing will dry and harden before you are done frosting all the cookies!

Praline Cookies

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For the Cookies:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

For the Icing:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (the amount depends on preference)

In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating well. Cover and chill until dough is easy to handle (about 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Form dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with fingers. Sprinkle each cookie with pecans. Bake 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

To make the icing, combine brown sugar and cream in saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and immediately sprinkle with pecans.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen, March/April 2007

One Year Ago Today: Baked Apples

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Roll



I have been on a pumpkin roll lately (no pun intended)! This recipe has been saved away for a while and I thought it was finally time to try it. Even though I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I still make mistakes frequently. I know the importance of reading a recipe all the way through before starting to make it and I will be the first to admit my mistake when made.  I misread this recipe and purchased two 8 oz package of cream cheese instead of two 3 oz packages of cream cheese…yikes! When I was rolling up the cake, I was a little disappointed it wouldn’t roll as tight as I wanted it to and when I sampled the cake, my first thought was…that’s a lot of cream cheese. All that to say, next time I will know exactly how much cream cheese to use, but even with all the cream cheese, the cake turned out to be really good. It reminded me a lot of a carrot cake, only with pumpkin!

Pumpkin Roll

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Vegetable cooking spray

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

2 teaspoon lemon juice, divided

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided plus more for dusting

6 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coat bottom and sides of 15 x 10 inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and line with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until combined. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add to egg mixture, beating well. Combine pumpkin, pecans, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice; gradually add to mixture, beating well. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sift 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a 15 x 10 inch rectangle on a clean,dry dish towel. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake and turn cake out onto prepared towel. Peel wax paper off cake. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; place,seam side down on a wire rack to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture on cake, leaving 1-inch border around edges. Re-roll cake without towel, and place, seam side down, on a serving platter. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Garnish, if desired.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ginger and Orange Chicken with Broccoli



I’ve been having fun looking for Chinese take-out dishes and re-making them at home. I have found that the chicken is tender, moist, and juicy as opposed to some take-out where the chicken might as well be cardboard. All the ingredients are fresh, with no added preservatives and they are fairly easy to re-make at home. This particular recipe is something that I’m sure you could find on a menu, but what really caught my eye was the words “ginger and orange” chicken. All the ingredients work well together and are quite good for you too. The recipe calls for cutting the chicken into thin strips. I took some chicken out of the freezer and let it sit out for a couple of hours (until it was semi-frozen). I used my mandolin slicer to cut thin strips of chicken and it worked out great. If you want some added texture, I’m quite certain cashews would add an extra crunch that would also work really well in the dish.

Ginger and Orange Chicken with Broccoli

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4 (6 oz) skinned and boned chicken breast halves, cut into strips

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pound broccoli, cut into florets

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Vegetable cooking spray

1/2 small sweet onion, diced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup orange marmalade

2 large oranges, peeled, sectioned, and coarsely chopped

Place chicken and soy sauce in a shallow dish or heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Cover or seal and chill for 15 minutes.

Cook broccoli in boiling water 3 minutes; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the  cooking process; drain. Set aside.

Drain chicken, reserving soy sauce; dredge chicken slices in cornstarch.

Brown chicken, in batches, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 minute on each side or until done. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving the drippings in skillet; keep chicken warm.

Add reserved soy sauce, onion, ginger, orange rind, red pepper, sesame oil, and garlic to reserved drippings in skillet, sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add chicken broth and marmalade stirring until marmalade is melted. Return chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil; stir in broccoli and orange sections and serve immediately.


One Year Ago Today: Shrimp Burgers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

French Onion Soup



French onion soup is the one request my husband has made over and over again, practically begging me to make it. I have had an eye out for a good recipe for a while and I’ve also been waiting for the weather to get a little cooler before setting out to make the soup. I have actually never had French onion soup from a restaurant before. I think I was always afraid I would make a mess of myself with all the gooey cheese! The soup itself is a labor of love. The recipe is not demanding, but it is time consuming. Due to the time needed to caramelize the onions, I made the soup on a Sunday night (knowing that I had the time), placed the whole pot in the fridge and heated it back up on Monday evening before ladling into soup bowls and finishing off with toast and cheese. The end result was a satisfying soup that my husband and I both loved. The layers of the soup start with a cheesy crust that forms on top, followed by the crispness of the baguette, and then you reach the flavors of caramelized onions and broth that brings you pure comfort.

Henri’s French Onion Soup

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3 pounds yellow onions

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1 pinch sugar

8 cups water, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 baguette

8 oz Gruyere cheese (or Swiss cheese)

Cut the tips off the onions and slice them in half lengthwise pole to pole. Peel off the outer layer and the skin and cut each half in half lengthwise. Slice each quarter crosswise into 1/8 inch slices. As you get close to the roof, flip each piece onto the other flat side and continue slicing. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once it has stopped foaming, add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Toss to evenly coat. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Remove cover, and cook stirring frequently until the onions begin to brown lightly (this took about 30 to 45 minutes). Now stir every 5 minutes and add a couple tablespoons of water whenever the bottom of the pan crusts over. Continue to cook as directed until the onions are an even dark walnut color, an additional 30 to 45 minutes longer.

Add the flour and stir for two minutes. Add eight cups of water and thyme sprig to the onions and bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add white wine and simmer 10 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning adding salt as needed. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 degrees and adjust a rack to the upper middle position. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch slices and arrange on a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until the bread is dry, crisp and very lightly colored at the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove bread slices and set aside.

Heat broiler and place 5 or 6 heatproof bowls in a baking sheet. Feel each bowl with 2 cups soup. Top each with two baguette slices and evenly distribute grated cheese over the bread. Broil until well browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Cool for five minutes before serving.

Source: The Curvy Carrot, Originally from Cook’s Illustrated

One Year Ago Today: Pumpkin Muffins

Monday, October 18, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap

  • On our visit to the apple orchard a few weeks ago, we tried hot apple cider donuts with a cinnamon sugar coating. The Craving Chronicles posted a recipe for Bake Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes that look just as good as what we sampled.
  • I have tried a few recipes with butternut squash and I’m hoping to try a few more this season. Simply Recipes posted a recipe for Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla that is roasted in the oven and seasoned with grated ginger, vanilla extract, lemon juice and thyme.
  • My Baking Addiction posted an Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake recipe that made me want to reach into the computer and grab a slice! A gingerbread crust filled with cheesecake and topped of with cinnamon-sugar sautéed apples.
  • I have my go-to pancake recipe, but in the spirit of Fall and all things pumpkin, I would love to try the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes posted by Pennies on a Platter.
  • Another donut recipe that also caught my eye is the Baked Caramel Apple Donuts posted by Shutterbean. Baked apple donuts topped with a caramel sauce sounds a lot more tempting than a caramel apple!

One Year Ago Today: Sticky Buns

Friday, October 15, 2010

Football Fridays: Spiced Pumpkin Dip



My family loves ginger snaps and pumpkin, so the thought of both of them together sold me on this dip. Our football Saturday was a little rough last weekend. I tend to head right for the food when games start going down this dip became my comfort food this past weekend. I don’t know if the dip complimented the ginger snaps or if the ginger snaps complimented the dip, but together they matched up well. The dip had all the flavors associated with pumpkin, with the added benefit of cream cheese and powdered sugar! The recipe yielded enough dip that we ran out of ginger snaps first…so next time I will make sure to buy two bags of gingersnaps, just in case!

Spiced Pumpkin Dip

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1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

In a large mixing bowl, combine canned pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. Serve with ginger snaps.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Fresh Market

One Year Ago Today: Sloppy Joes

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Spice Drop Cookies



I promised everyone last week I would be posting some recipes with the apples we picked last weekend. I would like to introduce to you my favorite fall cookie, and quite possibly my favorite over-all cookie! The cookies are delicate and soft, filled with chunks of apple and walnuts. The frosting is a simple butter frosting with a few drops of apple juice to complete the over-all apple flavor. My mom introduced me to this cookie several years ago. It is one of those cookie recipes that you typically want to make in the Fall, due to the abundance of apples,but can be made any time of the year. Everyone that has tasted this cookie has loved it. They are quite simply hard to resist!

Apple Spice Drop Cookies

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For Cookies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/4 cup apple juice

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup peeled tart apple, finely chopped

1 cup walnuts, chopped

For Frosting:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons apple juice

To Make Cookies:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and apple juice and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Fold in apples and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

To Make Frosting:

Cream butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and enough apple juice to achieve spreading consistency. Spread frosting over cooled cookies.

One Year Ago Today: Barbecue Rice

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moo Shu Pork Pockets



This is another take-out food, re-made for the home cook. My mother-in-law sometimes orders take-out Moo Shu Pork from our local Chinese restaurant. It comes with tortillas that look almost rubber-like. The pork is generally in the form of strips, which can be packed in the tortilla, similar to a taco. This version provides a more ease for the eater. The pork is shaped into a patty, wrapped in a tortilla, and complimented with hoisin sauce and topped with some veggies. You would never know it, but the pork patty contains a special ingredient of ginger snaps too! I don’t typically go back for seconds, but I enjoyed this so much, I had two and couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers.

Moo Shu Pork Pockets

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1 pound ground pork

2 cups shredded cabbage (1/2 a 16 oz package cole slaw mix)

A few pinches of cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 gingersnap cookies, ground in a food processor

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

6 (12-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup hoisin sauce


2 cups shredded cabbage

Shredded carrots

Bean Sprouts

Scallions, thinly sliced

Combine the pork, cabbage, cayenne pepper, garlic, gingersnaps, and soy sauce in a bowl. Form mixture into six patties. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil to the pan. Cook patties 7 minutes per side.

Heat tortillas on a nonstick surface over high heat for 30 seconds on each sid. Paint the tortillas with hoisin sauce, leaving a 1-inch rim from edge. Pile shredded mixed toppings in center of tortilla and top with the cooked pork patty. Fold the tortilla up on all four sides and wrap burger in a square package. Invert pork pocket and cut on diagonal.

Source adapted from:

One Year Ago Today: Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spicy Chicken-Rice Bowl



I was very excited to try this recipe. The reviews on it were great, except to say that it was really spicy. To each his own has far as heat goes! I went ahead and followed the recipe exactly and was surprised to find that it wasn’t spicy at all. Everyone has their own tolerance to heat, so that is not to say some won’t find it spicy, but I think next time I make it I will add in some red pepper flakes or more curry paste. The meal reminded me of a variation of gang panang, which is my favorite Thai dish. It was easy to make and the leftovers were great for lunch the next day. We shared the meal with family and my brother-in-law requested that I make it at least once a week!

Spicy Chicken-Rice Bowl

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1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup coconut milk

3 tablespoons red curry paste

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded, cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups fresh steamed green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup cilantro

Lime wedges, to taste

Prepare rice according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, milk, and coconut milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly. Stir in curry paste, lime juice, ginger, and salt. Stir chicken, green beans, and red bell pepper strips into curry mixture; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Serve chicken mixture over rice. Serve with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

Source adapted from:

One Year Ago Today: Apple Crumble Bars

Monday, October 11, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap

  • Growing up during the Holidays, I would always look forward to my mom making homemade caramel popcorn so ever since Culinary Concoctions by Peabody made Turtle Caramel Corn, I have been craving one of my favorite holiday treats!
  • It’s been a while since I’ve baked with Nutella, so after seeing Recipe girl post Chocolate-Nutella-Thumbprint cookies, I have added Nutella to my grocery list and placed the cookies in the “must make” category.
  • Sweet Peas Kitchen posted a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Scones that left my mouth watering. If the scones taste half as good as the picture, I might be in trouble!
  • There are a lot of fall baking recipes floating around and pumpkin seems to be the main ingredient. I did not expect pumpkin to be found in garlic knots, but Handle the Heat posted Pumpkin Garlic Knots that have left me curious to try.
  • I thought I had a go-to pumpkin muffin recipe, but after seeing Annie’s Eats recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, I might have a new favorite pumpkin muffin.

One Year Ago Today: Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Friday, October 8, 2010

Football Fridays: Pretzel Bites



I have been wanting to make pretzels for a long time, but was a little intimidated. When a saw a recipe for making pretzel bites, I thought that sounded a little simpler to attempt! Not only was my first attempt a success, it was also hard to practice self-control! I made the bites on Friday night, knowing that I would be in class for most of the day on Saturday. In doing so, the pretzels sampled right out of the oven were addicting. On Saturday, after warming them a bit in the oven, they were still good, but the salt had somewhat set in the pretzels and they weren’t quite the same. So my advise is, if you have the time, make and serve immediately! I also only had kosher salt on hand. I thought that would be course enough, the salty flavor was there, but it turns out that you can’t even see it on the pretzels. I will have to do some searching around for a courser salt to use next time.

Happy Friday and enjoy some game day food!!

Pretzel Bites

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1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (or instant yeast)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, divided

1/4 cup warm water (110 to 155 degrees)

1 cup warm milk ( 110 to 115 degrees)

2 1/2 to 3 cup flour

6 cups water

4 teaspoons baking soda

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 to 2 tablespoons course salt

Combine yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If using instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add it to the flour). In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.

Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into four equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12 inch rope. Cut into 12, 1 1/2 inch pieces and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of the dough.

Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If using instant yeast, skip this step).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring six cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.

Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Pennies on a Platter, originally from Gourmet

One Year Ago Today: Maui Zaui Pizza

Thursday, October 7, 2010

S’mores Bars



This is yet another recipe that I have had on my list of things to make for over a year. What in the world took me so long? S’mores are typically a hands-on, gooey, sticky, messy labor of love. This recipe gives you all the flavor of a s’more, without having to start a fire, burn a marshmallow, and make a mess! This is the answer for a rainy day, for anyone that can’t make a fire pit, or for a quick dessert that everyone will love. Layers of graham cracker on top and bottom, sandwiched in between gooey marshmallow crème and chocolate. The only note I have made for myself regarding this recipe is to double it next time! The bars were so good, it was hard to share!

S’mores Bars

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1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 sheets)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 to 5 (1.5 oz) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars

1 cup marshmallow crème

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 x 8 pan with foil.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat until combined. Press half of dough in the pan, spreading evenly. Lay chocolate bars on top of dough, breaking apart as needed to create an even layer of chocolate. Spread marshmallow crème over chocolate bars. Spread remaining dough over marshmallow crème and chocolate bars. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen (March/April 2007)

One Year Ago Today: Triple Chocolate Scotcheroos

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grilled Chicken with a White Barbecue Sauce



I’ve mentioned before that my husband loves what we know as “Alabama white sauce.” After making the Alabama smokehouse burgers with white sauce, which we loved, I have been searching for a few more recipes that incorporate the sauce. After reading good reviews on this particular recipe…I knew I had to make it for the hubby! While I was prepping the recipe, I was a little skeptical. I have made a few recipes before that call for a lot of dried spices that don’t exactly deliver in flavor, but I went with it and after grilling the chicken I was happy with the end result. The chicken was moist and flavorful, and after dunking in white sauce, it was even better!

Grilled Chicken with a White Barbecue Sauce

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For the Chicken:

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

10 chicken thighs

For White Barbecue Sauce:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons horseradish

To Prepare Chicken:

Combine all seven spices. Rinse chicken and pat dry; rub mixture evenly over chicken. Place chicken in a zip-top bag. Seal and chill 4 hours. Remove chicken from bag; discarding bag.

Grill chicken, covered, over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 180 degrees.

To Prepare White Sauce:

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Serve with chicken.


One Year Ago Today: Bacon, Tomato, and Linguine Pasta

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Muffins



I haven’t met a single person that doesn’t like blueberry muffins, and believe me, I have had my fair share! This is my all-time favorite recipe. The crumb topping takes the muffin from your average blueberry muffin to a special treat. I have shared this recipe with a few people before and they always get rave reviews and requests for more!  The crunch from the crumb topping, the moistness from the batter, and the sweetness from the blueberries is what makes this blueberry muffin my all-time favorite!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

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For Streusel Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

For Blueberry Muffins:

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

2 cups blueberries, fresh or thawed

To Make Streusel Topping:

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt until pea-size bits of streusel form. Set aside.

To Make Blueberry Muffins:

Place paper liners in a twelve mold muffin pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla at high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat on medium speed to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture at low speed just until combined. Add milk and mix until combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners. Spread 1/4 cup of streusel on top of each. Bake 22 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.

Source: Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye and Liv Hansen

One Year Ago Today: Butterfinger Cake

Monday, October 4, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap


One of my favorite things about each day is when I fix myself a cup of coffee and turn on the computer to see what wonderful recipes await me from all the food blogs I love,courtesy of Google reader. Google reader has been one of the best things my husband has ever recommended!! Every week I star so many recipes that I want to go back and try…so much so that I don’t know if I will ever get around to making everything! I decided that I would recap some of the most promising recipes that I read and starred each week. Hopefully by sharing, you will also see something that you want to add to your list of things to try! If you happen to make it before I do, please share what you thought about it!!

I am really excited for apple season. My husband and I spent yesterday at an Apple orchard, picking apples and eating homemade apple cider donuts…so I am stocked up and ready for some of baking. II have several recipes marked to try and the recipes listed below are just a few on my list. Besides the apple theme, there also seems to be a theme of glazes that accompany each recipe!


Easy Apple Cake from Bakerella – Fresh apple cake, baked in a sheet pan with a brown sugar glaze.

Oven-Baked Apple Donuts from Chocolate Shavings – Donuts baked in a mini muffin pan and covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Apple Crumble Muffins from Friday Delights – Muffins topped with an apple pie mouth is watering!!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from The Girl Who Ate Everything – Cheesecake bars topped with apples, streusel, and caramel.


One Year Ago Today: Sugar Cookie Bars

Friday, October 1, 2010

Football Fridays: Aloha Meatballs



I’ve decided to designate Friday’s as Football Fridays, featuring recipes perfect for tailgating and munching on all day while enjoying some football! This is yet another year when I am stuck in class from 9 to 5 on Saturdays, missing some of the best college football games of the season. I am happy to say that I am only 12 weeks out from being done with classes, but until then I’m counting on good food to get me through!! Consider this my amuse-bouche for game day football. One pineapple and one meatball served on a toothpick provides the perfect one-bite appetizer. The sauce itself  is similar to a teriyaki with just the right amount of sweetness. The pineapple gives the meatball the perfect jolt of flavor. To keep the meatballs warm, I like to place in a Crockpot on warm, so that they can be enjoyed all day long…or until they are gone!!

Aloha Meatballs

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1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef

2/3 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/5 teaspoon ground ginger

20 oz. can of pineapple chunks, juices reserved

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ground beef, saltine cracker crumbs, onion, milk, egg, salt, and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well. Shape beef mixture into rounded tablespoons (I used my cookie scoop).

Bake meatballs on a foil-lined pan for 15 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking, drain pineapple, reserving 3/4 cup of juice. Combine reserved juice, brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl and mix well.

Pour the juice mixture into a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the cooked meatballs and pineapple chunks to the juice mixture, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Source: TheBrookshireFam

One Year Ago Today: Shrimp Po’ Boys