Sunday, May 31, 2009

Orange and Nut Squares


When I first made these cookie squares I wasn't sure whether or not I would post them. I had followed the recipe exactly as written but realized that the cookie dough really should not have been baked as long as it was. It really needed to be slightly underbaked. The dough was very hard and just as I suspected was difficult to slice. I did have a feeling though that the jam would soften the dough by the next day and all would be fine. That is exactly what happened. Evidently the jam soaked in the dough overnight and they were very easy to slice the next day and much softer also. They are very good and tasty and you can really use any flavor jam or combo that you would like. They are not the most delicate looking bars but are really quite tasty and you can definitely be creative with them. They're also so easy. Just remember to undercook the cookie dough a little and try to wait to slice them for several hours.....if you can!!!! This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

1 package store bought sugar cookie dough
1 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the cookie dough out on a cookie sheet to 1/4 inch thickness (about 9 inches by 12 inches) using your fingertips. Bake for 25 minutes (I would check after 20). Let cool.
Spread the marmalade over the cookie. Sprinkle with nuts.
In a double boiler over very lightly simmering water, melt the chocolate. Dip a spoon in the melted chocolate and drizzle on top of the cookie. Let cool. Cut the cookie into 12 bars or squares. Serve or store in airtight container.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Cake


This recipe comes courtesy of Emily of Sugarplum. I absolutely love her food blog. It is one of the best ones out there. She is one creative and talented young lady and has even been a competitor on the Food Network! Please check out her blog if you have not already. You will not be disappointed!

This recipe is Emily's own recipe and a great one. It is so tasty and moist. I had not had rhubarb in years and forgotten how great it really is. So perfect for this time of year.

Is the sun shining by you yet? We are still having tons of rain here. The sun actually peeked out for a little while yesterday and it is supposed to be a very nice weekend. I hope so. Have a great one everybody!!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1 cup sliced strawberries
2/3 cup finely chopped rhubarb

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 1 9 inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together 6 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in yolks (and a drop of yellow food coloring, optional) and vanilla until combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating wtih milk until combiined, about 1-2 minutes. Spread cake batter evenly into prepared pan.

Top batter with strawberries and rhubarb. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumb topping: Combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 5 tablespoons butter; knead together using fingertips or a fork until well combined and mixture starts to clump together.

When cake has baked 20 minutes, top evenly with crumb mixture. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into cake comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool for 30 minutes before running a knife around outside edges adn inverting. Invert again onto platter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins


This is a 5 star recipe that I found at Allrecipes. Mostly all of the recipes I have found at that site that have 5 stars are terrific. These are no exception. I have to say that this is the first recipe I have made where the streusel really stood out. A lot of the time the streusel topping ends up becoming somewhat flat and baking into the cake! Not with these. They are very, very tasty and easy to make. Great for breakfast or a snack....

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mama Neely's "Sock It To Me" Cake


Hope you are all having a nice Memorial Day Weekend. So far mine has been a busy one. I visited with my son and his wife on Friday. Went out to lunch and at a nice restaurant in the Farmville area where they live. The restaurant was very nice but the service.....lets just say it leaves much to be desired. I'm not a happy camper when I have to wait 10 minutes just to place a drink order. Get the idea? The food was ok. Nothing special. My daughter in law was with me along with her little girl, so I didn't want to cause a fuss. I normally would have complained about the service pretty quickly, but bit my tongue instead. On Saturday we went to a Strawberry Festival which our chuch has been having for probably at least 40 years every May! They also have a ham and oyster dinner in October and March every year and I found out that has been a tradition for over 100 years!!! I was floored.....100 years! Needless to say this is a very old church, an old country church, which I love very much. I grew up attending a traditional Catholic church along with the Catholic school, etc. This is not a Catholic church, so there is very little guilt involved if you miss a service. All you Catholics out there I'm sure can relate to the guilt thing when you miss mass, etc, etc...... Anyhow, it was great having strawberry shortcake with ice cream and a multitude of toppings!

I saw this cake on The Neely's show on Food Network. Grandma Neely makes this cake and it's great. Super easy and great with coffee! Enjoy!

Filling:

2 tablespoonns brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake:

1 package golden cake mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

For streusel filling, combine all ingredients and set aside. Blend glaze ingredients and set aside.

Cake:
Preheat over to 375 degrees F. Combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, water, sugar and flour in a large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes with electric mixer. Pour 1/2 of batter into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle streusel filling on top and swirl the filling. Spoon remaining batter evenly over filling. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 25 minutes; invert onto serving plate, cool completely.

Glaze:
Combine sugar, milk and lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Almond Danish Swirls


This is such an easy little pastry to make and is it ever tasty!!! They are very impressive also. No one would even suspect how easy these little babies are to make. Of course, this is another winner from Paula Deen. Again, one of the many recipes my husband has requested I try.

I am looking forward to a nice long weekend. Think we all need a break here! The weather here is cooperating also....let's just hope it holds out for the whole weekend. The pools here all open this weekend but I have a feeling they will be extremely cold! I'm not one to brave that but my 10 year old is. I don't know what it is but kids are just not bothered by how cold the water is! Maybe they are too busy having fun! Have a great, long weekend everyone!!!

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped fine
2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water

Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, almond extract and sugar until fluffy. Fold half of the chopped almonds into the cream cheese mixture. Separate one can of dough and assemble into 4 rectangles. Firmly press the perforations to seal. Press or roll each piece of dough to form a 7 by 4 inch rectangle, and spread each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Starting at the short end, roll each rectangle tightly into a cylinder. Repeat with the other can of dough and remaining filling.

Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, while the rolls are chilling.

Remove from the refrigerator and cut each roll into 4 slices. Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the egg white and 1 teaspoon water. Brush over the swirls. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds. Bake 1 to 20 minutes, or until light brown.

While the swirls are baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Cool the swirls for 3 minutes on wire racks placed over a sheet of waxed paper. Drizzle the icing over the warm swirls.

Note: The swirls can really be filled with any filling of your choice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wayne's Beef Macaroni and Cheese


I don't know what it is about Paula Deen's cooking but I am starting to become addicted to it. My husband has always liked Paula and has been watching her on Food Network for quite a while. He's been bringing home copies of her recipes often lately and even bought me a Paula cookbook for Mother's Day. Could that be a hint? If so, it's working!!! This recipe comes from Paula Deen's Kitchen Classics. I've made several of the recipes in the book and all have been really good. They've all turned out well. This is a very hearty dish that does go a long way and is great with a side salad and some thick crusty bread! Both my son and husband enjoyed it! I would definitely say this is kid friendly.

One 1 lb box elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 lbs lean ground beef
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon each dried basil, cumin and dried oregano
2 - 3 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Cook the macaroni according to directions; drain and set aside. Heat the oil in the skillet; add peppers, onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the ground beef and saute until browned. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and basil, cumin and oregano. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni and the beef mixture. Spread this mixture in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Ground turkey or chicken can be used in place of beef, if desired.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Strawberry Muffins


This recipe comes from the Woodlawn Plantation Cookbook published back in 1979. Woodlawn is a historical plantation near Mt. Vernon, Virginia not far from where we live. Mt. Vernon was the home of George Washington. This cookbook is comprised of recipes dating back to the early part of the 19th century. Many of these recipes are based upon foods that would have been available in Virginia in the first half of the 19th century or their modern equivalents. Anyhow, I think you get the basic idea. I have found several recipes in this book that I want to try and will be posting.

The strawberry muffins are very good but are basically a breakfast muffin. Their sweetness comes mainly from the strawberries. This is not a sweet or sugary muffin. I really liked them and I'm sure you could easily use any fruit you would like. I made the basic muffin recipe and just added strawberries. I will also post the recipe that they suggest usiing when using fruit. It might be a little sweeter since it uses brown sugar but I'm not sure since I haven't made them that way yet. They would also be very good warmed with some butter.

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup milk

Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Grease one 12 cup muffin pan. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Beat together the egg, melted butter and milk and fold into dry ingredients quickly and lightly. DO NOT OVERMIX!!! Spoon into the muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular size muffins or 24 tiny size ones.

Alternative when using fruit:

Subtitute brown sugar for plain sugar

Substitute sour cream for milk

Add 1 cup halved or quartered fresh strawberries or 1 whole cup blueberries

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jamaican Banana Bread


I found this recipe recently from a newspaper. I have absolutely no clue as to which newspaper though. My pile of recipes that I want to try has grown from a few to a stack that are bulging out of a folder. I don't know when I will ever find the time to try them all. And of course, I add more all the time! Seems every day I want to try something I have seen on someone else's blog so I don't get around to making anything from my pile! Oh well......I did make this! It is a very, very good banana bread. I didn't have any of the oil the recipe calls for so I just used vegetable oil and the bread turned out great. It has a wonderful flavor and the next time I make it I might try using some coconut. I also used the lemon juice instead of rum, but I might try the rum next time too.

1 1/2 cups flour, plus another tablespoon for coating the nuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut, grape-seed or light peanut oil, or a mixture of all three (I used vegetable oil)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3 or 4 tablespoons dark rum or lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan or a 6 cup ring mold pan or cake pan, and dust lightly with flour. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Combine eggs, oil and sugar in a large bowl, and beat vigorously with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer for a few minutes until well blended. Add the mashed bananas, rum or lemon juice, and allspice and beat until just smooth.

Stir in the flour and leavening, mixing only until blended. Coat the walnuts all over with the 1 tablespoon of flour and stir into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and shake the pan gently to settle the batter.

Set the filled pan in the middle of the oven and bake the bread for 55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, but still moist. When done, set the pan of bread on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Then turn the bread out of the pan and serve warm, if desired.

(I never have banana bread warm and I always let it cool off 90% and while it is still very slightly warm wrap it in plastic wrap and then tin foil and have it the next day. It has always tasted much better this way.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quiche


I recently made this delicious quiche. Unfortunately no one here at my house cares fo quiche so it was just me eating this...that's ok. I can easily eat this for lunch and dinner! It's very easy to make and versatile. I found this recipe over at use real butter. If you have never been to Jen's site you just have to go there and check it out. I have been following her blog for just about a year now and it's one of my favorites and one of the best on the net. Her pictures are terrific, her recipes are wonderful but the best thing is her writing. She is a brutally honest person and you can pick this up right away when you read what she writes. So go check out her blog and this quiche!!! (Only changes I made to the original recipe is that I used swiss cheese and a store bought pie crust since I was pressed for time.)

By the way, the sun is finally shining here in Virginia again!!!!

1 pie crust
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium onion, minced and sauteed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1 head broccoli, chopped and blanched
1 1/2 cups gruyere, shredded (I used swiss)
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt

pie crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening or lard
3-4 tbsp cold water

Mix together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening until it is in pea sized pieces. Sprinkle 1 tbsp water over the mixture and toss with fork. Repeat until all is moistened and form dough into a ball. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface, rolling from center to edges until about 12 inches in diameter. Press and form into a 9 inch pie plate.

Quiche
Line the pie crust with foil and bake at 450 degrees F for 5 minutes. Bake another 5-7 minutes with the foil off. Remove from oven. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, onion, bacon, broccoli, mushrooms and salt. In a separate bowl, toss the cheese and flour together. Add the cheese to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake 35-40 minutes. Let quiche rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream



Hope you all had a very nice weekend. I had a wonderful, huge surprise. My youngest son Zachary had entered a contest in his school which was sponsored by a local jewelry store. The children had to write an essay on what made their mom special to them. The mother of the winner would receive a white gold heart with a key pendant and chain. Well oh me oh my......would you believe my son won!!!! My husband received the call from the jeweler on Saturday and went to pick up the necklance. When I came back from Richmond on Sunday after visting my mom and older sons I checked the message machine. I was thrilled! My youngest son had known he won and kept it to himself so I could be surprised on Sunday!!!! What a special surprise and what a special son. The jewely store also included the letter my son wrote and I am having it framed. It is beautiful and touching and made me realize that our children take mental notes of what we do for them. They may not always express this when they talk to us...but they do appreciate what we do for them. I am a lucky mom.....

Back to the food now. My husband recently purchased an ice cream maker but I have not gone near it. He has been making ice cream for us and I never realized how delicious homemade ice cream is. Way better than anything we could buy at the store. Once I start having a bowl full I really find it hard to stop. And I'm not even a big ice cream person either. These are recipes of two flavors he made recently. Both were equally delicious. I've written the ingredients below and just simply follow the instructions for your own ice cream maker.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

1 pint fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

My husband said that he used about 1/2 lb of strawberries that he pureed in a blender and some chopped up strawberries. He also used approximately 2 - 3 tablespoons of Hershey's stawberry syrup. From there follow instructions according to your ice cream machine.

Pina Colada Ice Cream (my favorite)

1 can well drained crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract

Follow instructins according to your ice cream machine.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!




I will be away this weekend down in Richmond and I just wanted to wish all of you mom's out there a very Happy Mother's Day. Above are picture of my 3 sons...Evan (24), Brandon, with Bosco (22) and my youngest Zachary (10). They have driven me crazy over the years and are the cause of all my gray hairs, but I wouldn't change a thing. They are all wonderful sons and I am a very lucky mom!!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pancakes


This is basically a very simple pancake recipe. I love pancakes. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In fact, I had them for dinner last night! My son requested pancakes so how could I resist. A great excuse for an easy dinner. I only wonder how many calories they have. Oh well, they were delicious. When my husband saw me taking pictures of the pancakes he said "You're going to put them on your blog?" I told him sure, why not? I feel that food blogs are mainly about cooking all different types of food. I know I have gone on other blogs looking at times for the simplest of recipes. And I've searched for pancake recipes too. My blog has many more baking recipes than cooking but that's because that is what I enjoy the most. I love baking cakes and cookies probably because that is what I enjoy eating the most!!

To be honest, I cannot remember where I found this recipe since I had it written on an index card. More than likely it came from Allrecipes. Enjoy and try to keep dry...it is STILL raining here!!!

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tbs melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients. Preheat electric skillet to 380 degrees F. Lightly oil skillet. Add milk, melted butter and vanilla to eggs. Add to dry ingredients. Stir just enough to dampen (not too much). Adjust milk (if needed) so that it is thin enough to pour.

I pour approximately 2 or 3 tablespoons per pancake. This recipe will make approximately 9 medium size pancakes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts


This recipe comes with a warning - you eat these at your own risk....They are highly addictive! My husband ate 5 last night and that was right AFTER dinner. He kept coming over with one each time he would have one and give me bites. I couldn't stop either. Really, they are that good. Paula Deen has prevailed once again! I'm telling you that woman has never let me down yet! The only thing odd about these is that while they are baking they look beautiful, all puffy and rounded over, but about 5 minutes after you take them out from the oven, the middle sinks! I don't know why or perhaps that is supposed to happen? Who knows. It doesn't matter since you add filling to the middle anyhow. I'm sure any filling would be fine but they really are good with the blueberry. I would imagine you can also use fresh berries if you would like with some whipped cream on top!

Is it raining by any of you? Oh has it been raining here. Days of it. We are expecting a bit of a break today but then it will start again tonight. Rain depresses me. I've had enough. We need some sunshine already. Hard to believe the pools here will start opening in only a few weeks. I'm ready for summer!!

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 vanilla wafers
1 (21 ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.

Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at at time, beating well after each addition. Place vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

White Chip Raspberry Bars


These bars are great! I found them over at Cookie Madness. Anna has wonderful recipes for all kinds of cookies, bars, cakes, etc. I've been following her site for about a year now and am amazed at all the wonderful and creative cookies she makes. I made these last week and they were gone pretty quick. I followed her recipe exactly...didn't need any changes. Anna also states that you can used any jam you would like in these bars. I, personally, think the raspberry is perfect. My husband loved these but my youngest son passed on these since he's not a big fan of jam filled cookies or bars. Oh well, more for me!

1 stick salted butter
1 12 oz. package of white morsels
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with foil and sray the foil with cooking spray. Melt butter in a medium microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute. Add 1 cups morsels; do not stir, let stand. Beat eggs in mixing bowl until foamy. Add sugar and beat about 5 minutes until lemon colored. Stir in morsel mixture, lemon zest and almond extract. Add flour and salt. Mix until combined. Spread 2/3 batter on pan and bake 15-17 minutes.

Remove from oven to wire rack. Heat jam in microwave 30 seconds; stir. Spread over warm crust, stir remaining morsels into batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto jam. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack and cut into bars.