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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Party Dip (Wowie!)

This is a hearty dip with all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings without all the grease. It’s got a lot of strong flavors so people either LOOOOOVE it or hate it. This is a great recipe for a houseful of guests, but it makes a lot, so cut it in half for smaller gatherings. Not your average dip! From Tiffany Johnson.

3 cups of shredded cooked chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
1-2 packages (8oz) of light or fat-free cream cheese
1 bottle (about 16oz) of chunky bleu cheese dressing
1 bottle (16oz) of Anchor Bar chicken wing sauce
1 (12 oz) package of Mexican 4-cheese blend

Sautee chicken in a pan over medium heat with the wing sauce until all the absorbed, stirring occasionally. In a 9x13 pan layer the cream cheese, the chicken and sauce mixture, then the bleu cheese dressing, then the shredded cheese. Bake at 375 degrees or until bubbly. Serve with hearty tortilla chips or crackers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Medallions with Pecans and Goat Cheese

Roasting the sweet potatoes turns them Marshmallow-y sweet and delicious with no added sugar.  I'd eat this any day over candied yams!

1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, scrubbed, unpeeled, in 3/4- to 1-inch coins
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup toasted and cooled pecan halves
2 tiny or 1 small shallot
2 stalks celery
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
2 ounces firmish goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Lay sweet potatoes in one layer on the oiled sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops.

Meanwhile, prepare your salad. Chop your pecans well, mince your shallot, chop your celery and parsley, mince cranberries if using them. Crumble your goat cheese. In a small dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon dijon. Pour half of the dressing over salad.

When the sweet potatoes are done, lay on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salsa over each round. Pour remaining salad dressing over top, to taste. Eat immediately.  slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lemon Fresh Cranberry Scones

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Accompaniment: creme fraiche or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a vegetable peeler remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

Using a pastry cutter, blend flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture. If using dried fruit, add to flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

Note:  These are quite easy to make in advance.  Roll them out and cut them before flash-freezing them separately on a tray, and sealing them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to bake them. You can bake them right from the freezer, just add 3 to 5 extra minutes baking time. Scones are always best when they’re baked.  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tollhouse Pie

This is super yummy!  Any chocolate-chip cookie fan should love this pie!

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°.

Beat eggs in large bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 15-30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice-cream, if desired.

Note: If using a frozen pie crust, use deep-dish style. Thaw crust completely before filling. Bake on baking sheet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower has never been my favorite.  But I would eat it roasted any day.  So yummy!   Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Published January 1, 2007.

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
2 T canola oil
2 T olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to second lowest position and heat oven to 475 degrees.  Pour oil onto a 11x17 rimmed baking sheet.  Put in oven for a 2-3 minutes while it's heating up, and until the oil is hot and glistening but not smoking.  Remove from oven and let it continue to preheat.
2.  Trim leaves of cauliflower and cut stem flush with bottom.  Cut into 8 equal wedges so that the core and florets remain in tact.  Place wedges cut side down on foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.(Alternatively cut the cauliflower into "stakes" about 1/2-1 inch thick with the core in tact).  Put on baking sheet and coat with oil.  Then flip over and coat other side.  Drizzle with extra olive oil* if needed and and sprinkle with salt and pepper; gently rub to evenly distribute oil and seasonings.
3.  Carefully cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until bottoms of cauliflower pieces are golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, and, using spatula, carefully flip wedges. Return sheet to oven and continue to roast until cauliflower is golden all over, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

*Note: The recipe also suggests you can make spiced versions made with either curry powder or chili powder. Simply stir 2 teaspoons of either spice into the oil before drizzling it on in step 2.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oven Baked Chimichangas

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice (or quinoa) and chicken.  And it soooooo good.  Baldy especially likes it with leftover Mexican chicken.

14/ cup canola oil
1 onion, chopped extra fine
1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice (or quinoa)
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (note this can add a lot of heat, to lessen the heat remove the seeds and only use on chile.  Since there are several in a can, I freeze the rest to use later).
1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
6 large burrito-size flour tortillas (we like whole wheat)

Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  While the oven is heating, in a large 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.  Cook the onion until it is just softened about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in beans, rice, chicken, and chipotle pepper and cook until the mixture is heated through about another 3-4 minutes.  Take it off the heat and add the cheese and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 t of each).

Warm the tortillas in the microwave until soft and pliable (cover with a damp paper towel and cook about 30-60 seconds).  Top each warm tortilla with some of the chicken mixture leaving about 2 inches from the sides.  Tuck in both ends and roll up tightly.  Brush the wrapped tortillas with the remaining oil and arrange them seam side down on the hot baking sheet in the oven.  Bake until the chimichangas are golden brown and crisp about 7-9 minutes.  Serve with a side of lettuce, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, and/or salsa.

Note: The chimichanga filling freezes really well.  So sometimes I only make up 2 or so chimis and then freeze the rest to make at another meal.

Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas

This is one of my favorite recipes to use leftover chicken in. You can marinate the chicken, salsa, and bean mixture 2-3 hours before cooking, but I think it still tastes really good as a quick last-minute dinner w/o any marinating.  My favorite part is the crunchy tostada.  Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.

4 whole-wheat flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup green salsa (salsa verde) plus more for serving  (we like the Goya brand)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, etc.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the tortillas on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tortillas, bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, salsa verde, 1/4 cup cilantro, beans, and cumin (this can marinate all day if you like). Spoon mixture evenly over the tortillas and bake until heated through about 8 minutes.

Top warm tostadas with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream and other toppings as desired.  Serve immediately with additional green salsa if desired.

Enchilada Style Chicken Burritos

Another favorite leftover chicken recipe.

2 cups cooked chickehn, chopped or shredded (we like the Mexican chicken or lefttover rotisserie/roasted chicken, canned chicken also taste good just rinse it first)
1 package Vigo black beans and rice, cooked
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups Colby-Jack or Cheddar cheese
10 tortillas
1 small can red enchilada sauce

Prepare the Vigo beans and rice according to package directions.  Mix chicken, beans and rice, and canned beans.  Add 1 cup of cheese and mix together.  Pour a little sauce on bottomo of 9x13 pan.  Fill tortillas with chicken mixture, place in pan, pour remaining sauce on top and then sprinkle with cheese.  Cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Note this can be made ahead and frozen.  Just cover enchiladas with aluminum foil and freeze.  Remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for about 1-2 days, then bake a little longer.

Mexican Chicken

A super easy crock-pot recipe to cook chicken.  We don't love this chicken by itself, but prefer to use the chicken in other recipes (like the chimichangas).  But you can serve it over steamed rice with cheese, tortilla chips, and green onions for a meal if you like.

3 large chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
16 oz. jar of salsa (mild or medium according to your taste)
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix together the soup, salsa, and sour cream in a bowl.  Grease crock pot.  Put chicken breasts and black beans into crockpot.  Pour soup mixture on top.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (less if chicken is already thawed).  When done, break apart and shred chicken.  Measure in 1-2 cup intervals to use for other recipes (I like to freeze it in 2 cup sizes in quart size ziploc bags).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Salsa Couscous Chicken

from my sister-in-law, who I believe got it from her sister-in-law. The spices in this recipe really blend together well for a super-tasty, unique dish.

3 C hot cooked couscous (prepared according to package directions)
1 T olive oil
½ C chopped almonds
2 minced garlic cloves
8 skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 C chunky salsa
¼ C water
2 T raisins (optional)
1 T honey
¾ t cumin
½ t cinnamon

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook almonds 1-2 minutes until golden; remove. Add garlic. Cook 30 sec. Add chicken. Cook 4-5 minutes or until browned, turning once. Mix in a medium bowl: salsa, water, raisins, honey, and spices. Add to the chicken. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Add almonds. Serve on couscous. Prep time 30 minutes, 4 servings.

Tortilla Pie

This is a favorite vegetarian recipe.  It’s great because you can use to turn leftover fresh salsa and guacamole into something new. But you can also use prepared salsa (from a jar) and *guacamole (frozen) and easily have all the ingredients “on hand” for a last minute dinner—Preparation time is only 10-15 minutes, baking time 25 minutes. From Easy Weeknight Favorites.

• 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
–OR- drained black beans
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
• 1 cup chunky salsa (fresh will work—just drain extra juices) mild or medium according to preference
• 2 (4-6 oz) cartons of *guacamole or about 1½ -2 cups fresh guacamole
• 1 (8 oz) package of shredded Mexican cheese blend cheese or cheddar cheese
• Garnishes: sour cream, chopped lettuce or spinach, additional salsa or guacamole

1. Combine beans with chili powder and cumin, set aside (I prefer black beans over refried beans). Line a 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
2. Place 1 tortilla on the bottom and spread with half of the bean mixture, top with another tortilla. Spread with ½ cup salsa, and top with another tortilla. Spread with half of guacamole, and top with another tortilla. Sprinkle with half of cheese, and top with another tortilla.
3. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients, except cheese. (Pan will be quite full).
4. Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered an additional 3-5 minutes until cheese melts. Cut into wedges to serve. Garnish, if desired. Yields 6-8 servings.

*Note: you can make your own guacamole, but I prefer to buy “fresherized” guacamole for this recipe that is available at grocery stores in the same section as baby carrots. It tastes great, has no preservatives, and can be frozen (thaw before using it in this recipe). Also it is usually the same price or cheaper than buying avocados! I’ve found it both at Wegmans and Aldi.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

These not too sweet and healthy muffins don't sacrifice on taste.  Make about 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins. 

1 1/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ginger
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
Dash of cloves
3 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar OR Honey
1 Egg*
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Medium Apple, peeled and grated (Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji or Golden Delicious are good choices)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and mix.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Grease muffin tins or line them with muffin cups and fill each cup 3/4 full with the batter.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Serve.

*These turned out great egg-free.  For the egg substitute I did two things.  First, I increased the baking powder to 3 tsp. and mixed that in with the dry ingredients.  Then in a small bowl I combined 3 Tbsp of warm water with 1 Tbsp of milled flaxseed and microwaved it for about 20 seconds.  Stir the water and flaxseed together until the mixture starts to bind and then pour into the wet ingredients.  The milled flaxseed helps bind the muffin together and the extra baking powder helps with the leaven.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Speedy Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a recipe from my mother.  It's a great recipe to use shelf-stable ingredients and it literally can be ready in 15 minutes.

Time: prep & cooking time 15-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

• 1 can cream of chicken
• 2 cans of water
• 1 chicken bullion cube
• 1 16 oz. can of Veg-All canned mixed vegetables
• 1 cup of cooked chicken (or 8-12oz. can of canned chicken)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Thyme
• Basil
• Egg Noodles (can use whole wheat, just adjust cooking time)

1. Mix water and cream of chicken soup until smooth in a pot.
2. Add bullion cube, chicken, vegetables, and spices.
3. Bring to a boil and then lower temperature and simmer for three to five minutes.
4. Add egg noodles as desired and cook for another 10 minutes on low. (Longer to make a thicker soup).
5. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dinner in a Pumpkin

*Note this is one of my husband's favorite traditions and recipes that his mother always made. She said that she loved to fill the kids up with something fun & hearty before they went out trick-o-treating.
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 T oil
• 1-2 lbs. ground beef
• 2 T soy sauce
• 2 T brown sugar
• 1 4oz. can mushrooms, drained
• 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
• 1½ cups cooked rice
• 1 8oz. can sliced water chestnuts.
• 1 small pumpkin, cleaned thoroughly & with a painted face.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large pan, sauté onion with oil. Brown the ground beef. Drain off grease.
3. Add mushrooms, soy sauce, brown sugar, and soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts.
4. Spoon mixture into pumpkin, put lid on, then put the pumpkin on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender.
5. Serve on Halloween for a hearty yet festive meal before trick-o-treating.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Boiling the seeds first in the salty brine produces amazing results!

One medium pumpkin
Olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 if using a dark pan).  Cut open and clean out pumpkin.  Separate seeds from stringy core.  Rinse the seeds well.
2.  In a small saucepan, add the seeds to the water (about 2 cups of water for every half cup of seeds).  Then add half a tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier).  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off.  Remove from heat and drain.
3.  Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan.  Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer.  Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown 10-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  When browned to your liking, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack.  Let the seeds cool completely before eating.  Sprinkle lightly with extra salt or other spices to your taste.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boo-Nilla Milkshakes

One of our favorite fun Halloween treats.  From Martha Stewart Kids.

Ghost Face:
4 tablespoons chocolate chips

2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

For the ghost face: Melt the chocolate either in a double-boiler or in the microwave. With a toothpick or paintbrush (or even your finger), paint a ghost face on the inside of a clear glass. Put the glass in the fridge to chill while you make the milkshake and whipped cream.

For the milkshake: In a blender, combine ice cream, milk and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. We added a few oreos (5-6) for a cookies and cream milkshake.

For the whipped cream (we usually omit this step): Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until cream holds peaks. Put into a piping bag or ziploc and cut off the corner.

Take the glass out of the freezer. Fill with the milkshake. Top with the whipped cream. Serve with a spoon and a straw.

Note: I think you could use pumpkin ice-cream and paint jack-o-latern faces, black raspberry (purple) ice-cream and paint monster faces, or mint chocolate chip ice-cream and paint witch faces or frankenstein faces. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

This recipe is from one of my former students.  Not one of my elementary students, one of my adult computer students.  The description she included is perfect, "A soft cookie with a candy frosting."  The penuche frosting is really amazing.  It actually makes me prefer these cookies over pumpkin chocolate chip cookies--and for a die hard chocoholic like myself that's saying something.  The simple frosting with caramel flavors compliments the pumpkin beautifully.  This frosting would pair well with any pumpkin baked good--drizzle on pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins.  Delicious!

1 C shortening
½ C packed brown sugar
½ C white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1C chopped walnuts (optional)

3 tbsp butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
¼ C milk
2 C confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper).

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, ½ cup brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter and ½ cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Cool slightly, then stir in the milk, and beat until smooth. Gradually stir in 2 cups confectioners’ until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread on cooled cookies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

A super yummy warm breakfast with all the flavors of fall.  Slightly adapted from Good Life Eats.
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, not quick cook
  • 1 Tbs whole flax seeds, optional (I used milled flax seeds)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest (I've usually omitted this because I didn't have it on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (half a small can)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 4 individual sized ramekins*. Set aside.
Combine the oats through salt in a medium sized bowl with a wire whisk.   In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, butter, pumpkin, and milk. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oats. Stir until combined.
Divide mixture evenly between 4 individual sized ramekins. Place ramekins* on a baking sheet (this makes it easier to move in and out of the oven.). Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 10 minutes, remove and divide topping mixture evenly between the ramekins. Bake and additional 7 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

*Note if you don't have ramekins I think you could probably bake this in a small 8x8 glass pan.  I would increase the baking time slightly.

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll 
Source: Spencer Robinson’s mother
Time: (per roll) 15 minutes prep, 12 minutes baking, 30 minutes cooling
Serves: (per roll) 8-10

(for 3 pumpkin rolls & filling)
• 9 eggs
• 3 c of sugar
• 2 c of pumpkin (1 small can)
• 3 t Lemon juice
• 2¼ c of flour
• 3 t Baking powder
• 6 t Cinnamon
• 3 t Ginger
• 1½ t Nutmeg
• Dash of cloves
• 1½ t Salt
• Chopped pecans (optional)
• 12 t Butter (aka 4T)
• 3 (8oz.) packages of cream cheese
• 3 c powdered sugar
• 1½ t Vanilla

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Line jelly roll pan (15½ x 10½ x 1 inch) with waxed paper (you can also use aluminum foil or parchment paper); generously grease waxed paper with shortening. Set aside.
2. Beat eggs until fluffy and thick. Gradually add sugar, stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Stir with a fork removing any lumps. Fold into wet mixture;
4. Pour one-third (≈2½ c) of the batter into jellyroll pan. Sprinkle nuts on top.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. While the pumpkin roll is cooking, generously sprinkle powdered sugar onto a clean tea towel.
6. Take the cake from the oven and loosen the edges. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Turn it upside down onto the towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Then immediately remove wax paper pulling gently. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary with a sharp knife.
7. While still hot, carefully roll cake and towel from the narrow end. Then cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Repeat steps 4-7 for other 2 pumpkin rolls.
8. Make filling by beating the cream cheese and butter until smooth, slowly mix in the powdered sugar, and then add the vanilla. Set aside.
9. Unroll jelly roll and spread one-third of the cream cheese mixture staying about 1 inch from the edges. Roll up (w/o the towel). Trim any uneven edges with a serrated knife.
10. Wrap in waxed paper or saran wrap and cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator. Also excellent frozen.

Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake

Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake 
Source: Kraft Philadelphia® Cream Cheese Classic Recipes Cookbook
Makes: 12 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes plus refrigerating
Bake Time: 55 minutes

o 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
o ½ cup finely chopped pecans
o 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted


o3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (you can use neufchatel cheese)
o ¾ cup sugar
o 1 teaspoon vanilla
o 3 eggs
o ¼ cup sugar
o 1 cup canned pumpkin
o 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
o ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
o Dash ground cloves


Mix crumbs, pecans and butter in a bowl then press firmly into bottom and 2 inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

Mix cream cheese, ¾ cups sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, mixing on low speed until blended. reserve 1½ cups batter. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, pumpkin, and spices to the rest of the batter mixing well. Spoon half of the pumpkin batter over the crust; top with spoonfuls of plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through batter with a knife several times for marble effect.

Bake at 325F for 55 minutes or until center is almost set if using a silver springform pan. (Bake at 300˚F for 55 minutes or until center is almost set if using a dark nonstick springform pan.) Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool on the counter or in oven with door ajar for about 1 hour. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach

1 package (about 20oz) of pre-cut cubed butternut squash, or a medium size butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 T Olive Oil with 1-2 T fresh herbs mixed in or 1-2 t dried herbs (I like rosemary and thyme)
3 to 6 oz baby spinach
1/4 dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop squash and onion.
2.  Combine squash and onions in a large shallow pan; drizzle with olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Toss lightly.
3.  Roast for 55 minutes, until tender and brown.  Add spinach and dried cranberries.  Toss to serve.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

The flavors of the finished dish are simple and subtle but definitely combine to be very tasty with just a faint hint of heat.  from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
*Serves 4
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons curry powder (yellow)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 medium red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (by seeding the jalapeno you lose most of the spice/heat but retain great flavor)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked rice
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Stir together curry, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and chili powder. Sprinkle over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
In a large nonstick frying pan, stir onion, basil, garlic and peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chicken and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.
Combine coconut milk and cornstarch and whisk well to combine. Carefully add to skillet, whisking vigorously. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in ginger. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve over hot rice, quinoa, or couscous.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apple Puff Pancake

Oven Puff Pancake

2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 large eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt butter in 9-inch pie plate, in oven; brush marginer on side of pie plate.
  2. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except lemon juice just until mixed (do not overbeat).  Pour into pie plate.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffy and deep golden brown.  Serve immediately sprinkled with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Apple Puff Pancake
Prepare the Puffy Pancake batter as above.  Except sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a ¼ teaspoon cinnamon on the melted butter in the pie pan.  Then arrange 1 cup thinly sliced, peeled baking apple.  Pour batter over apple.  Bake 30-35 minutes.  Immediately loosen edge of pancake and turn upside down onto heatproof serving plate.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Velvety Squash Soup

Two types of squash offer a fuller, more rounded flavor, but you could just use one type if you prefer.

1 (3 lb) butternut squash
1 (3lb) acorn squash
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 teaspoons canola oil
5 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2/3 cup half and half

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Cut each squash in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes.  Place squash, cut sides down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.
3.  Combine onion and oil in a bowl tossing to coat.  Spread onion mixture on pan around the squash.  Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until squash and onion are tender.  Cool slightly.  Scoop out squash pulp from skins; discard skins.
4.  Place onion and squash pulp in a heavy soup pot.  Stir in broth.  Add cider, molasses, curry powder, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.
5.  Place half of squash mixture in a blender.  Remover center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender .  Place a clean towel over opening in lid (to avoid splatters).  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.  Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in half-and-half.  Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Garnish with thyme, if desired.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Drink

2 cups milk
2 large bananas
4 cups packed fresh spinach
1 T honey or agave

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix well.

Note:  The super green color of this drink makes it fun to serve at Halloween.  You can call it witch's brew or serve it up in a spooky cup.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amazing Apple Dumplings

This will be a new MUST at every fall apple party.  The perfectly soft apples wrapped in the most heavenly buttery sweet crust.    Adapted from All of Our Twists who took it from The Pioneer Woman. 

2 whole apples (I use whatever firm apple I have on hand--granny smith, golden delicious, empire, cortland, or ginger golds)
2 cans (8 oz. Cans) crescent rolls,  (Pillsbury seem to taste significantly better then generic for this recipe)
2 sticks real butter (trust me, margarine just isn't the same for this one).
1-½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 oz.) Sprite soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9x13 glass pan.

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in two rows filling the pan. 

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour about 10oz of sprite around the edges and down the middle of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Let stand about 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Carolyn’s Danish Apple Fritters

Time: 30 minutes prep time, 5 minutes frying
Serves 8

· 2 c flour
· ¼ c sugar
· 1 t salt
· 1 t nutmeg
· 3 t baking powder
· ¼ c oil
· 1 egg
· ¾ cup milk
- 4-6 apples, peeled, and diced into small pieces
- frying oil

1. Heat frying oil to 350˚F.
2. Mix together all the ingredients. Stir in apples. Dough will be sticky.
3. Drop teaspoon size pieces of dough into oil when oil is ready. (You will know it’s ready if the oil fizzes with a drop of water).
4. Around the dough the oil will start to form small bubbles after a few minutes, turn over and fry the other size. They should be golden brown.
5. Let cool on paper bags or paper towels (to absorb oil). Serve warm.

Initially  Kevin and I make these fall conference weekend. The girls would together and make them while the guys go to Priesthood session. When they came back we enjoyed the fritters and talked about what they learned.  But lately we make them in conjunction with our fall apple party, usually in mid to late September.

Cheese-Buttermilk Fondue

This is one of our favorite fondue recipes.  The buttermilk adds a great tang and helps the cheese melt beautifully.

·          2 T cornstarch

·          ½ t salt

·          Freshly ground pepper to taste

·          1 1b. swiss cheese, grated

·          2 cups buttermilk

·          1 loaf crusty French bread, cut into bit-size pieces (each with some crust)

Toss grated cheese with cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Over medium to medium-high heat, heat buttermilk and gradually add cheese.  Stir constantly until mixture boils and become smooth.  Put cheese mixture in fondue pot and serve with bread pieces.  (Kevin and I both really liked this fondue with apples and veggies too).  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Jammers

I seem to make these every fall during back to school time.  Yummy!

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (better to avoid natural peanut butter for this recipe)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup jam, any flavor  (we like peach)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  In medium size bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter; set aside.
2.  With mixer, beat butter in large bowl 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar and baking soda; beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour and oats adding a little at a time.
3.  Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the oat mixture on the bottom of an ungread 15x10 baking pan.  Carefully spread the peanut butter mixture over.  Drop jelly in small dollops (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each) evenly over peanut butter.  Dot the top with the remaining oat mixture.
4.  Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  Store covered at room temperature.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

The blueberries help hide the spinach color, so even the pickiest eaters love this smoothie.

1-2 ripe bananas
1/4-1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen work great)
1/2 cup yougurt (if using plain add about 1 T honey or agave nectar)
1 1/2 cups of liquid (you can use milk, juice, and/or water and ice-cubes)
1 cup of fresh baby spinach (I usually just put in a big handful but you can adapt to taste)

Put all the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth (ideally until you no longer see little green flecks from the spinach and everything is well incoprated) about 2 minutes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bacon, egg, and toast cups

This is our latest favorite breakfast-for-dinner food (okay, let's be honest we've eaten this at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks).  I think it would also be perfect to serve at a brunch--because it's so self-contained and tasty.  I think it would also work well for serving breakfast to a crowd...just double or triple the amounts.  And tomorrow I have an early meeting, but I'm excited to take my little bacon, egg, and toast cup for my on-the-go breakfast.

3 T butter, softened
8 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
coarse salt and ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter 6-8 muffin cups (I use a standard size dark non-stick cupcake pan, and I can always get 8 egg cups with this recipe).
2.  Cook the bacon in the microwave until almost crisp since it will finish cooking in the oven.  (Alternatively you can cook it in a large skillet on medium heat for about 4 minutes, turning it over once).
3.  While the bacon is cooking, using a rolling pin flatten the bread slices.  Then taking a knife cut the bread into a rough circle removing the crusts.  (You can also use a 4.5 inch cookie cutter).  Cut each round in half.  Press the the 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to the edge of the cup.  Use any extra bread from the scraps to patch any gaps.
4.  Tear bacon into rough size pieces and sprinkle half of the bacon into the muffin cups.  Then crack one egg into each.  Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and salt and pepper.  (The original recipe had you lay a whole slice of bacon in each up, with it  hanging over the edges.  This makes for a beautiful presentation.  But we preferred the more consistent bacon-in-each-bite option.  Also by cutting cup the bacon, you can get by with using less bacon which means saving money and calories.)
5.  Bake until eggs whites are just set 20-25 minutes.  Run a knife around cups to loosen toasts.  Serve immediately.

adapted from Everyday Food, September 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Berry Pie

This pie is amazing!!!  It tastes like the essense of berries!  Definitely best with freshly picked berries. Makes one 9-inch pie.  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated July 2003.

Graham Cracker Crust
9 graham crackers , broken into rough pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

Berry Filling
2 cups fresh raspberries (about 9 ounces)
2 cups fresh blackberries (about 11 ounces)
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red currant jelly (seedless)

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (cold)
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In food processor, process graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add sugar and combine. Then add warm melted butter in steady stream; stirring until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch glass pie plate; form crust using 1/2-cup dry measuring cup to help pack down and mold crumbs to the pie plate. Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely while making filling.

3. FOR THE FILLING: Combine berries in large colander and gently rinse (taking care not to bruise them); spread berries on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.
4. In food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about 1 minute. Strain puree through mesh strainer into small nonreactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups). Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl to combine, then whisk mixture into puree. Bring puree to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon; when mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to consistency of pudding, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.
5. While puree is cooling, place remaining berries in medium bowl. Heat jelly in second small saucepan over low heat until fully melted; drizzle melted jelly over berries and toss gently to coat. Pour slightly cooled puree into cooled pie shell; top with fresh berries. Loosely cover pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and puree has set, about 3 hours (or up to 1 day).  (Note: We found it tasted better when it had chilled at least 5 hours, but best eaten the same day so plan accordingly).

6. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: Just before serving, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, nearly doubled in volume, and forms soft peaks, about 30 to 60 seconds.
7. Cut pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Autumn Pear Salad

I look forward for perfectly ripe pears every late summer into fall just so I can make this salad!



5 T olive oil
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T chopped green onions
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
1/2 head red leaf lettuce, washed and torn
2 ripe pears, thinly sliced
2 ounces Asiago cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler or grated
1/2 cup unsalted chasews, toasted

Mix dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well and refrigerate.
In salad bowl, combine greens and 3/4 of the dressing.  Arrange pears, cheese, and cashews on top and drizzle on the remaining dressing.

Notes:  I have used baby spinach with green leaf lettuce and thought it tasted good too.  Also spring mixes would be okay with this salad.  I would steer away from Romaine lettuce though.  Also I preferred the salad with only about half of the suggested dressing.  I've toasted the cashews usually, but if I don't have time it still tastes good.  Unsalted cashews can also be hard to find (and/or expensive) so I think the lightly salted ones work great.  And if you don't have time to make the dressing, Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinegarette works well.  I just added chopped green onions to that.  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nadia's Mandarin-Almond Salad

From Favorites and Nadia Richards.

1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sugar

1 head green leaf lettuce
1 head iceberg lettuce (or another green if desired)
1 cup finely chopped celery
3 green onions, chopped
1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/2 t dried)
dash of pepper
dash of Tabasco

Carmelize slivered almonds by mixing with sugar in a small skillet and stirring constantly over low heat until lightly browned.  Cool on waxed paper and break into small pieces; set aside.  Combine ingredients for dressing and mix well.  Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces and combine with celery, green onions, and mandarin oranges.  Toss with dressing and sprinkle with sugared almonds.

Note:  when in season, pears are a tasty addition too.

Orange and Romaine Toss

from Favorites

1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed and torn
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup halved pecans, toasted
3 ounces Bleu cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons orange marmalade (or orange juice)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine lettuce, kiwi, oranges, and red onion in a large salad bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving and top with croutons, nuts, and Bleu cheese.  (Note I prefer to toss the salad with only half the dressing and then people can add more to taste if desired).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

If I don't have buttermilk, then these are my next favorite biscuits. Tall, fluffy, flaky, and great with jam they're a bit lighter then buttermilk biscuits.

Time: 10 minutes prep, 12-15 minutes baking
Makes 8-12 biscuits

• ¼ cup shortening
• 2 cups flour
• 3 t baking powder
• 1 t salt
• ¾ cup milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF.
2. Cut shortening into flour, baking powder, and salt using a pastry blender or 2 knives cut in until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl. (Note: dough will be soft and sticky).
3. Then turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat ½-¾ inch thick Cut with floured 2½ inch round cutter (or used a glass). Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and serve warm.

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are my all-time favorite biscuits.   I like them with Crisco, making the biscuits very tender and flaky.  However for a bit denser biscuit with a nice buttery flavor, butter is also great.  Usually I end up using a little of each.  Perfect with a dinner of oven fried chicken, corn, and watermelon or served as a breakfast-for-dinner side. 

Time: 15 minutes prep, 12-15 minutes baking
Makes: about 6-10 biscuits

• 2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
• ¾ t salt
• ½ t baking soda
• 5-6 T Crisco or chilled butter  (or a combination, I like to do 3T of each)
• 1 cup buttermilk*
*(You can use 1 cup of regular milk with 1 T of vinegar added, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to sour or use powdered buttermilk. The amount of liquid also depends upon the humidity. So add it a little at a time. The dough should not be too sticky to handle.  I've also used powdered buttermilk in a pinch with acceptable results.  I do find I use less liquid usually with the substituted buttermilk).

1. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.
2. In a large bowl stir flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda with a fork.
3. Then using a pastry blender or 2 knives cut in the shortening/butter until coarse crumbs form.
4. Add the buttermilk gradually, tossing with a fork until dough forms. You may not need all the buttermilk, you want to add just enough so it sticks together and is not too sticky. Take care also not to over handle the dough.
5. Put dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly a few times until smooth. Do not overmix. (Dough can be made up to 2 hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated until ready to use.)
6. Pat the dough about 1-1½ inches thick. Then use a biscuit cutter or a glass dipped in flour to cut out biscuits. Gather trimmings and repeat.
7. Place the biscuits about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Strawberry Shortcakes and Cream

This is the perfect biscuit for strawberry shortcake--light, buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness.

3 pints fresh strawberries , hulled; 1 pint crushed with potato masher or fork, 2 pints quartered
6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups bleached all-purpose flour , plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), frozen
1 egg , beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1 egg white , lightly beaten

1 cup heavy cream , chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix crushed and quartered berries with sugar in medium bowl; set aside while preparing biscuits (or up to 2 hours).

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using large holes of box grater, grate butter into dry ingredients or cut butter into tiny pieces. Toss butter with flour to coat. Use pastry cutter to finish cutting butter into flour.

2. Mix beaten egg with half-and-half; pour into flour mixture. Toss with fork until large clumps form. Turn mixture onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.

3. Pat dough into 9- by 6-inch rectangle, 3/4 inch thick. Flour 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter; cut 6 dough rounds. (You can use scraps and make 1-2 more biscuits, though they will not be as smooth in appearance). Place 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush dough tops with egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours before baking.) Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.

Chill nonreactive, deep, 1- to 1 1/2-quart bowl and beaters for a handheld mixer in freezer for at least 20 minutes. Add cream, sugar, and vanilla to chilled bowl; beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds more. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds for soft peaks or about 30 seconds for stiff peaks. If necessary, finish beating by hand to adjust consistency.

Split each cake crosswise; spoon a portion of berries and then a dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with cake top; serve immediately.  Serves 6-8.  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated May 1997.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Icebox Cake

This cake is soooooooo yummy and so easy.  I can't believe I haven't posted it yet.  But when I came across this mint version (that we're now dying to try) it reminded me about one of our favorite easy desserts.  The wafers transform into amazing wispy thin cake layers as it sits overnight!  From Smitten Kitchen.

3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]
Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.