Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I made this dish about two weeks ago and we all enjoyed it very much.  You can find the original recipe here. I'm not going to retype the recipe since I made it exactly as it was written - no changes.  My son loved it so we can categorize this one under "kid friendly" also. 
The big news around here today is that I have finally learned how to text! Yes, text!   Believe it or not I had it blocked on my phone but have finally given in and have found that I really enjoy it.  Maybe because it's new?  I don't know but for right now I am having fun with it.  My youngest son was given a cell phone for Christmas and we now have a family plan with the whole texting package and all. So my 12 year old showed me how to text....It's amazing what a 12 year old can teach you these days!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!

Here's to wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!!!! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Coconut Fudge Cookies

This will probably be my last post before Christmas for the "starter" cookies.  The original recipe from Betty Crocker calls for using a butterscotch topping and hot fudge topping but I used melted down chocolate chips instead. I omitted the butterscotch completely since I'm not a big fan of it.  These are definitely for coconut lovers out there.  I will be baking more Christmas cookies today but don't think I will have any more time to post them so I may be posting more cookies after the holidays.  Enjoy these cookies!

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1 to 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
3/4 cup hot fudge topping or (1 cup chocolate chips, melted)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In large bowl, stir cookie mix, melted butter and egg until soft dough forms.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll balls in coconut.  On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and coconut starts to toast.  Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to waxed paper.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave hot fudge (or chocolate chips) uncovered on high 15 to 30 seconds or until spreadable.  If using chips, microwave for 30 seconds and stir and keep microwaving at 30 second intervals and stirring until chips are melted and spreadable.
Carefully spread on top of each cookie.  Serve warm or cool.  Store loosely covered.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red Velvet Rich and Creamy Cookies

Here's another starter recipe that is easy and delicious!  These are just so easy to make and they're guaranteed to disappear as soon as you put them out too!  I don't think I've ever used so many Betty Crocker mixes as I have lately.  I do have to say that every recipe I've made from this cookie mix has been delicious and easy. I also find this a much more economical way to make cookies.  I think this is a great way to cut costs without sacrificing that home baked taste. 

School here let's out early tomorrow and the kids don't go back until Jan 3rd.  My son is very excited to be off from school and I am very happy to have some time off from work. 
1 pouch (1 lb. 5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional (I used colored sugar)
Cream cheese frosting (You can use the canned from Betty Crocker or your own.)

Heat over to 375 degrees F.  In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, cocoa, butter, sour cream, food color and egg until soft dough forms.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set.  Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
Frost cooled cookies with frosting.  Sprinkle with nuts (if using) or colored sugar.  Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Makes 36 cookies (approximately).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shrimp Cocktail Tree

I was going to post another "starter" cookie recipe but remembered I had been wanting to post this since Christmas and New Year's are right around the corner and I thought some of you out there might be interested in making this.  My husband had worked for 20 years in the catering business and can make a mean watermelon basket - turns out he can also be creative using shrimp!  This caught his eye in a magazine and he decided to give it a go.  It is soooo festive and pretty and the bonus is that it uses shrimp and is delicious!!!  You use a stryofoam cone that you can buy in your local arts and crafts store.  Listed below are what you will need for the tree and instructions.  I'll be back again next week with more "starter" cookie recipes!

1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup creamy horseradish sauce
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 yellow pepper
12" tall Styrofoam cone
Round wooden toothpicks, broken in half
2 lbs. cooked extra large shrimp, peeled, tails left on
1 1/2 cups red and/or yellow grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves (or parsley)

Mix mayonnaise , horseradish sauce, onion and lemon juice; cover and reserve.  Using 2" star-shaped cookie cutter, cut star from pepper; cover and reserve.

Wrap cone with plastic wrap; place on serving plate.  Insert 1 toothpick piece into each shrimp; insert into cone.  Repeat with tomatoes.  Tuck basil (or parsley) leaves in between shrimp and tomatoes.  Serve with dip.  You can also place tree on top of bed of lettuce and surround with lemon wedges.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Linzer Cookie Tarts

This is another Betty Crocker "starter" recipe.  I thought I would post a bunch of these recipes until Christmas for those of you out there that would like something about as close as you can get to a "from scratch" cookie that just doesn't take that much time or effort.  These are really good and I've made several varieties of these "starter" cookies.  I think this one is my favorite!  These really taste like true linzer cookies. No one would ever know these were started from a mix, believe me!

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted, finely chopped
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup dark of semisweet chocolate chips
*Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and almonds.  Stir in melted butter, almond extract and egg until stiff dough forms.

On floured surface, roll half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut with 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter.  On ungreased cookies sheets, place cookies 2 inches apart.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set.  Cool 5 minutes;  remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.  Cool completely.

Meanwhile, on floured surface, roll other half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut with linzer cutter with hole in center, OR cut same 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter and use small 1-inch cutter or bottle top to cut round hole out of center of cookie.  On ungreased cookie sheets, place cookies 2 inches apart.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.  Cool completely.

Spread 1 teaspoon jam on bottom of each whole cookie;  top each with cutout cookie to make sandwich cookie.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minutes, stirring after 30 seconds, until melted and stirred smooth.  Using tip of fork or knife, drizzle chocolate lines over cookies.  Let stand until chocolate is set, about 45 minutes.  Store between sheets of waxed paper in tightly covered container.

*You can also just sift some powdered sugar over cookies instead of drizzling chocolate, if you prefer.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Here's a really easy cookie recipe for someone who wants a great cookie but wants to keep it simple.  This is what's called a "starter" recipe.  It starts with a mix and you simply add to it.  My husband made these the other evening and they were gone in no time at all.  I really have to start watching how much in the sweets department I eat. I have a major sweet tooth and lately have been indulging way too much. It doesn't look like it's going to get any better either over the next month with Christmas coming up!  I'm already starting a list of Christmas cookies I want to bake and the list is growing by the day!!! Have a great weekend everyone!

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softenend
1 egg
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup white vanilla baking chips
red or green sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, egg and flour until dough forms.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls; place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Using thumb or handle of wooden spoon, make indentation in center of each cookie.  Spoon about  1/4 teaspoon jam into each indentation.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are ligh golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips on High 1 or 2 minutes or until chips are melted; stir until smooth.  Spoon melted chips into small resealable plastic bag; cut small hole in corner of bag.  Squeeze bag gently to drizzle melted chips over cookies.  Sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.