Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

This recipe comes from Jenn's Food Journey. She has a wonderful food blog with tons of great recipes. Hope you will check her site out! I had seen this on her site a while back and kept wanting to make it and finally got around to it. It is soooo good! It's perfect with this warm (hot, humid) weather we have been having here the past few days. Hey, I'm not complaining. This is way better than all the rain last month and the month before that! This recipe is so easy to make and of course, kid friendly (adults will devour this too)! Needless to say it didn't last long around here. My son packed it away in no time but my husband and I did get a chance to have a slice too!

1 1/2 cups cold milk

1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peanut butter cups, divided

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 chocolate crumb crust (8 or 9 inches) I used a graham cracker crust since I already had one

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 1 cup chopped peanut butter cups. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer 15-20 minutes before serving. Garnish with the remaining peanut butter cups. Yield 6-8 servings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Farfelle with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream

I am so glad the weekend is finally here! I am even happier that I am not sitting on I95 right now in a ton of traffic. Holiday weekends in northern Virginia spell one thing - Major Traffic! We usually head to the beach on holiday weekends but not this year. Instead we'll probably go in a few weeks when there is no traffic. Makes a lot more sense to me.

This recipe comes from the January 2006 issue of Bon Appetit. It is exactly the kind of dish I love to make and eat. I love one dish meals and my favorites always have pasta in them. This goes a long way and is very versatile. You can add some of your own extra ingredients if you like or just have it the way the recipes states. It's a winner and one I will make again and again.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and lots of fun!!! Let the sun keep shining!

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (I omitted this since my son doesn't care for spicy food)

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-0unce can crushed tomatoes with added puree

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used dried)

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Saute until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; saute until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooked liquid. Return pasta to same pot. Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Sprinkle with basil. Serve, adding cheese.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

These delicious bars are courtesy of my husband who made them last week. Needless to say, they were very, very good! It's always a treat to come home and find a nice surprise like this. I printed out the recipe but cannot find the source of it. I believe this is a Betty Crocker recipe though. All I can say is that if you like cheesecake and chocolate then this is the dessert for you!

I think summer has finally arrived. We have had several days of warm, humid weather and I am not complaining. I hope it's here to stay this time but the rain can definitely stay away! Anyone out there watch Amercian Idol? I am addicted to that show and have been since it first aired years ago. I won't even guess who might win since my favorite was already voted off. I really liked James and was shocked that he was voted off and not even in the top 3. Oh well, I guess you just never know.


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


10 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2 inch pan with foil, leaving extra foil extending over edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake 6 minutes or until set; cool on wire rack. Decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until smooth. Beat in egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla just until blended. Pour filling into crust.

In same large bowl, beat 5 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt at medium speed 1 minute or until blended. Beat in flour at low speed just until incorporated. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonsfuls of dough over filling. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until top feels dry and looks set when shaken slightly. Cool completely.

Dip fork into melted chocolate chips; drizzle chocolate over top of bars. Let stand until set.

Using foil edges, lift bars from pan; peel away foil. Cut into 16 pieces; serve at room temperature. (Bars can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Citrus Garlic Shrimp

I think I am slowly getting back in the groove of posting more regularly. I'm also baking and cooking more regularly too. I think I went into a blogging and baking slump there for a while........This recipe comes from the Taste of Home Annual Quick Cooking cookbook. I found two of these in a thrift store and love them! I think that Quick Cooking has become Simple & Delicious but I liked it better when it was Quick Cooking. Way less advertisements!

Anyhow when I came across this recipe, I realized that my daughter in law had just made it a few days earlier. It's very, very good. The lemon flavor comes out the most. If you're not a serious lemon lover you may want to reduce the amount added to this dish. However, if you love lemon then this amount would be fine! It's so simple to prepare and pairs off great with a salad and crusty bread (dripping in butter, of course!). I used jumbo uncooked frozen shrimp and they were so good....I will definitely be making this one again!

1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (I used olive)

1/2 cup orange juice

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

5 teaspoons grated lemon peel

4 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 package linguine (1 lb) I used thin spaghetti

1 pound uncooked medium (I used jumbo) shrimp, peeled and deveined

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Fresh parsley

In a blender or food processor, combine the first 8 ingredients; cover and process until blended. Pour into a large skillet; heat through. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Add shrimp to garlic mixture; cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Thicken if desired. Drain pasta; top with shrimp. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Best Strawberry Bread

The name of this recipe says it all. It is not only the best strawberry bread but the very BEST quick, sweet bread that I've ever baked. A hands down favorite. I know that I bake lots of banana breads and have tried other sweet breads but this is so good that I hope you try it. I made this last week and will make it again this week. It didn't last long here. The original recipe (which I am posting) states that this makes 2 large loaves or 6 small ones. I halved the recipe since I didn't know if I would like it or not and it made one 9 x 5-in loaf pan. It baked for slightly under 60 minutes and only filled the loaf pan halfway up. Next time I am making the full recipe. What I also did was add a teaspoon of sugar to my sliced strawberries and let them sit out for about a half hour so a small amount of syrup formed from the sugar added to the berries. I then cut down slightly on the sugar the recipe called for. This time of year I seem to always have strawberries on hand so this recipe is perfect to have so you can use them all up. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sugar (use slighly less if you add sugar to your strawberries)

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)

2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray loaf pans lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients except strawberries and mix together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the berries.

Place the batter in the prepared pans. Bake 35 to 45 minutes for small loaf pans or about 60 minutes for large loaf pans. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Schaum Torte

Well Blogger deleted this post that I first blogged about yesterday. I certainly hope it publishes it this time and it doesn't disappear! Would you believe that I tossed the recipe away since I figured I now had it stored on my blog! Oh well, just click here for the recipe. This is not my type of dessert but my husband loved it. I like something a bit more cakey. This is a meringue, so if you enjoy that type of dessert you will definitely like this. I'm not writing much more because I don't trust Blogger and don't want to end up seeing this disappearing too!!!! If you do make this dessert however, I would only use 6 egg whites and cut back on the remaining ingredients also. It made way too much and did not fit in the pan. Had to toss a bunch of it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

I was looking for some pound cakes recipes last week since I hadn't made one in a while and came across this one on allrecipes. It fit the bill since I had a container of sour cream I needed to use. The difference in the cake I made however is that I used almonds instead of pecans. So good! I also added some almond extract. My glaze did not turn out as thick as I would have liked but it worked out fine. I also used all purpose flour instead of cake flour and I think you can really use either. I've made tons of pound cakes before and never used cake flour. Definitely try this one but I can tell you that mine took about 15 minutes longer to bake than the recipe states so be prepared for a longer bake time.

Would you believe that I went to another amusement park this weekend? This time to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virgina. That makes 3 amusement park visits since the middle of April! Even though I don't go on the rides I had a fun time watching my oldest son (26) taking my youngest son (12) on all the coasters. They had a blast! At least my legs are getting a good workout!

1/4 cup chopped pecans (I used almonds)

3 cups cake flour (I used all purpose)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter

3 cups white sugar

6 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(I also used 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt or tube pan. Sprinkle pecans (almonds) on bottom of pan; set aside. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Pour batter over pecans in prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 75 to 90 minutes (mine took close to 2 hours), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

To prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, orange juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Drizzle over cake while still warm.