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Friday, March 26, 2010

Barbecued Chicken Pizza

We LOVE this pizza.  We'll skip the zuccini when it's not in season.  I like that its not overly saucy because you put the sauce right on the chicken.  From Martha Stewart Everyday Food 

Olive oil, for baking sheet
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pound store-bought frozen pizza dough, thawed or your favorite pizza dough recipe
1/2 cooked rotisserie chicken, (about 1 1/4 pounds), shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup store-bought barbecue sauce
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet; set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough to a 15-by-10-inch oval (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and barbecue sauce. Leaving a 1-inch border, scatter chicken mixture evenly over dough; sprinkle with cheese, then zucchini and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Restaurant Style Salsa

This is our new all-time favorite winter salsa.  Beware, it's super yummy!  Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: Servings: 12 (this makes a LOT)

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies), slightly drained
¼ cups Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin (she leaves the seeds and membranes in)
¼ teaspoons Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
½ cups Cilantro (or more to taste, up to a whole cup)
½ whole Lime Juice (or a 1 whole lime if it's a smaller one)

Preparation Instructions
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.  Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beef and Chipotle Burritos

This is one of our favorites...a super tasty and easy crockpot recipe.  Unfortunately it's also a recipe that's gotten a bad rap...but I still insist that if you follow the directions, the meat turns out tender and more flavorful then anything you'd find around here (we're hurting for good Mexican).  The secret likes in the canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.  Don't try and take a shortcut and dump in the whole can of chipotle peppers.  And don't try to skip chopping and seeding them.  You have been warned.

• 1-1½ lb. boneless beef round steak (cut ¾ in. thick)
• 1 (14 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
• ½ cup chopped onion
• 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped & seeded
• 1 t dried oregano
• ¼ teaspoon cumin
• 1 clove of minced garlic
• 6-9 tortillas (any kind)
• ¾ cup cheddar cheese
• fresh Pico de Gallo
• sour cream
• lettuce

1. Trim fat from meat. Cut into 6 pieces. In a crock-pot place meat, undrained tomatoes, onion, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, & garlic.
2. Cover; cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
3. Remove meat from cooker. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart into shreds. Add some of the juice to meat until desired consistency.
4. Spoon meat into warm tortillas and top with cheese, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, lettuce, beans, etc. Enjoy.

Note:  Leftovers make excellent Nachos Grande.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Key Lime Pie

From Cooks Illustrated, Published March 1, 1997.


Lime Filling
  • 4 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Graham Cracker Crust
  • 8 graham crackers , processed to fine crumbs 
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

Whipped Cream Topping, optional
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 lime , sliced paper thin and dipped in sugar (optional)

1. For the Filling: Whisk zest and yolks in medium bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes. Beat in milk until smooth, then add lime juice.  Cover and set aside at room temperature to thicken about 30 minutes.

2. For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process graham crackers in a food processor until fine, even crumbs (about 30 seconds).  Sprinkle the sugar and butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate. Pour mixture into 9-inch pie pan; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pan to form even crust. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack.

3. With the crust still warm, pour the thickened lime filling into crust; bake until center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 20 minutes. Return pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature about an hour. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (Can be covered with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap laid directly on filling and refrigerated up to 1 day.)

4. For the optional whipped cream: Up to 2 hours before serving, whip cream in medium bowl to very soft peaks. Adding confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe whipped cream over filling or spread evenly with rubber spatula. Garnish with optional sugared lime slices and serve.

Brownie Pie

This pie is best made at least one day in advance.  A great crowd-pleaser popular with kids and grown-ups alike.  from Iowa City Student Ward and Tiffany Olson

Brownie Mix (and 2 T water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs)
1 cup milk
1/2 package (4oz) instant vanilla pudding
1/2 package (4oz) instant chocolate pudding
1/2 tub (8oz) of cool whip

1.  Prepare brownie mix according to package directions.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease pie tin or 9inch cake pan with cookie spray.  Spread in pie tin.
2.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Do NOT overbake.  Watch carefully and when the sides look done poke the center with a toothpick.  The toothpick should come out with only a little mix.  Underdone is better than overdone.
3.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  This takes a few hours so plan accordingly.
4.  Scoop out center of brownie, using a spoon, leaving a 1-inch crust around the edge and a layer of brownie on the bottom.  Put the brownie scraps in an airtight container for later.
5.  Pour cold milk into a medium bowl, add pudding.  Beat with a wire whisk until blended.  Gently stir in half of the whipped topping until blended.  Then fold in 3/4 of the brownie scraps (reserving the remaining scraps for garnish).  Spoon pudding mixture into the center of the crust.
6.  Cover tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and place in the freezer.
7. Take the pie out of the freezer and put the remaining cool whip on top and sprinkle on the remaining brownie bits.  Put pie in fridge to thaw a little about 2-3 hours before serving.

Crumbly Apple Pie

This is one of Baldy's Favorites!
Time: 45 minutes prep, 30 minutes chilling, 35 minutes baking
Serves 8

• 1 cup flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup chilled shortening
• ¼ cup ice water
• 7 medium baking apples (I like to use a variety--some Granny Smith & Macs or Cortlands & Ida Reds or Macouns) peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 t cinnamon
• ¼ t ground nutmeg
• ¼ t salt
• ¾ cup dark brown sugar
• ¾ cup flour
• ½ t ground nutmeg
• 1/3 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1. Place oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. To prepare crust, in a medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour mixture forming coarse crumbs.
3. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, until dough forms. Shape into a disk, wrap in saran wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out dough to make a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim excess dough, leaving 1-inch overhang; make a decorative edge.
5. To prepare filling mix all ingredients in a large bowl until apples are evenly coated. Spoon into crust.
6. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and nutmeg. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle apples evenly with topping.
7. Bake pie until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbly (35 minutes). If pie is overbrowning, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Dust crust edges with powdered sugar or cinnamon if desired.

Maple Pecan Pie

(Daddy’s award-winning recipe!)

Time: 20 minutes prep time, 40 minutes baking
Serves 8

• 4 eggs
• 2/3 cup sugar
• ½ t salt
• 6 T melted butter
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1-1½ cups of pecan halves
• 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell, chilled  [Note: I have also used a parbaked crust with fantastic results]

1. Shape a pastry shell and chill it in a pie pan.
2. Beat eggs, blend in sugar, salt, butter, and syrup.
3. Place pecans on the bottom of the pie shell until the entire bottom is covered in a monolayer.
4. Pour in syrup mixture.
5. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes. Then lower temperature to 350˚F and bake 25 minutes longer (or until center is almost set but still soft).
6. Cool on a cooling rack before serving.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Easy Oreo Truffles

from of Kraft Foods Magazine

• 1 package Oreo cookies, divided
• 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
• 2 packages (8oz) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
• 2-3 Tablespoons of shortening

Reserve about 8 Oreos. Crush the remaining Oreos to fine crumbs and put in a large mixing bowl. (I prefer to use a food processor or blender so the crumbs are uniform). Then crush the remaining 8 Oreos, putting aside for later (or let your helpers eat them!)

In the large mixing bowl add the cream cheese to the crumbs; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.

Dip balls in melted chocolate.* Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs immediately. Then transfer to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in the fridge.

Substitute Mint Oreos for Oreo Cookies or Trader Joe’s Candy Cane JoJo’s. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a minty holiday touch.  Some people like to scrape off some of the mint filling since they are double-stuffed.

*To melt chocolate, put chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a double boiler. I like to use a clear glass bowl on top of a small saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water. (Water should not touch the bowl). I heat the pan on medium, watching and stirring the chocolate so it doesn’t burn. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of shortening. This will help the chocolate bind to whatever you’re dipping. Continue stirring until no lumps remain and chocolate is starting to be liquidy. Lower heat and continue to stir intermittently.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quick Pizza Crust and Quick Rolls

This recipe is my go-to recipe whenever I want rolls in less then an hour...just like this moring when I didn't remember until 8am that we were having rolls for snack at preschool "R" day.  The recipe is orginally for a quick thick, chewy pizza crust, but it easily adapts to rolls with a short second rise and lower baking temperature.

Pizza Crust
Nadia Richards
Time: 15 minutes prep, 15-20 minutes rising, 12 minutes baking
Makes: 1 pizza crust

• 1 c milk
• ½ c water
• ¼ c butter
• 3 T sugar
• 2 packages yeast
• 3½ c flour
• Corn meal

1. Melt butter in microwave. Add milk and water and warm up in the microwave until lukewarm (about 30 seconds).
2. Add sugar and yeast and let sit for a bit (about 2-5 minutes).
3. Knead in flour (can use kitchen aid dough hook).
4. Let rise 15-20 minutes in warm place, covered. (Meanwhile prepare your toppings and grate cheese).
5. Roll out dough on pan sprinkled with corn meal. Put sauce, cheese, and toppings on.
6. Bake at 450F for 12 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

*Note this recipe also makes a great quick rolls recipes. You can also add butter, cinnamon & sugar and make cinnamon rolls.  Do steps 1-4.  On step 5, shape rolls in desired shape and place in a greased 9 x13 pan or baking sheet.  You can roll the dough out in a circle and cut cresents, roll them in balls, or roll it into a rectangle to make cinnamon rolls.  I use about 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 a cup of cinnamon sugar for this recipe.   Let rise for an additional 10 minutes.  Then bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lasagna Sandwiches

This is like a grilled cheese sandwich but fancier.  The seasoned sour cream really blends all the flavors together.  From Jenissa Sealy.  

• French or Italian bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick (8-12 slices depending on the size of your bread)
• 2 T butter
• ¼ cup sour cream
• ½ t oregano
• ½ t basil
• ¼ t seasoning salt
• 2 T dry chopped onion (I usually omit this)
• 8-12 slices of tomatoes
• 8-12 slices of bacon
• 4 slices of mozzarella or a small handful of Italian blend shredded cheese

1. Butter one side of each slice.
2. Mix sour cream, oregano, basil, seasoning salt, and onion.
3. Spread sour cream mixture on the insides of the slices of bread (the non-buttered side).  Then top with bacon, tomatoes, and cheese.
4. Grill sandwiches over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes on each side.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Here's the recipe for one of our favorite FHE treats:

Chocolate Covered Bananas
(from Favorites cookbook)
-6 ripe bananas
-1 (11.5) package semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate)
-3 tablespoons shortening

Peel bananas. Cut in half crosswise. Insert a wooden stick into the flate end of each half. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for 2 to 3 hours.

Melt chocolate morsels and shortening over hot (not boiling) water in double boiler. When chocolate is smooth, dip frozen bananas in chocolate. Bananas can also then be coated with nuts, sprinkles, or coconut, just after they are dipped.

Cover bananas loosely with foil and put back in freezer until ready to serve.

Note: One variation my family did growing up was my mom would cut the bananas into about 2-inch slices and insert toothpicks before freezing. We would then dip the bite-size banana pieces in the hot chocolate and other toppings and eat immediately. We did not refreeze them. We did let them cool for a minute or so if the chocolate was too hot. But the chocolate should harden a bit in that time, since the bananas are frozen. This works better in a time pinch. And young helpers really like dipping, eating, dipping, eating, etc. Click here for Curly's demonstration! :o)