Friday, April 24, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa powder

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a simmer., then pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Let it stand for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth. Cover the mixture and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla. Now beat with a hand mixer until the mixture has lightened in color and holds a soft peak, about 3 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sift the cocoa powder over a baking sheet. To shape the truffles, use 2 spoons (I used 1 tsp measuring spoons) to measure out small lumps of chocolate just as your would drop cookie dough, and drop them onto the cocoa-lined baking sheet. Rub your hands in some cocoa powder to keep the chocolate from sticking. Them pick up one of the lumps of chocolate and lightly roll it between the palms of your hands to a form a ball. Put the truffle back on the baking sheet and roll it in the cocoa powder until it is entirely covered. Do the same with the rest of the truffles. Put all of the truffles on a plate and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve. They will keep for up to a week. Take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you serve them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

They taste pretty close to the real thing!
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
First, make the crust.Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Soft and Chewy Caramel Corn

1 cube butter
1 cup karo syrup
2 2/3 cups brown sugar

In a heavy pan melt butter and coat sides of pan, then add karo and brown sugar. Over medium-high to high heat bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
As soon as it boils add:
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
Stir well, turn down heat (medium to medium high), so that it keeps boiling but doesn't scorch. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
Pour over 3 gallons of popcorn
***I put the popcorn in a paper bag and then add the carmel. Close the top and start to SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE. By putting it in a paper bag, you can move the popcorn around without getting burned.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is what Sandra's Lee's pizza looks like. Mine, on the other hand, looks slightly different but the taste I am sure was still the same. YUMMY!!!I was watching one of my favorite cooking shows this morning...SANDRA LEE and was inspired to make this pizza. It was super easy, DELICIOUS and fun to be outside barbecuing.
In picture: honey BBQ, bacon bits, pizza dough, green apples, green onion, and mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound chicken cutlets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza dough (recommended: Pillsbury)
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup green apple, sliced
1/4 cup real bacon bits
2 green onions, sliced
Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking.

Brush chicken with vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper. Place chicken on the grill and cook until done, about 2 minutes per side. When done, slice into 1-inch pieces, reserve.
Spray a perforated disposable cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray (I didn't have one so I just used a regular cookie sheet). Carefully remove pizza dough from can. Unroll dough and place on cookie sheet on the grill. Let cook 2 minutes and turn pizza over.

Spread BBQ sauce over pizza leaving a 1-inch border. Next, top with mozzarella cheese, diced apples, chicken, and bacon pieces.

Cover with grill lid and cook 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve hot, topped with green onions.

This is what my pizza looks like...I put BBQ sauce, then layered it with bacon, apples, chicken, green onion, and then cheese (a little different then the directions but the out come is still the same). YUMMY!!!

This is a healthy lunch/dinner treat that is great to make on a warm spring day. It was super easy and quick!

Cook's Note: Cooking indoors: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Carefully unroll dough and place on prepared baking sheet. Press out dough with clean hands to form 13 by 9-inch rectangle. Use oven mitts to place baking sheet in preheated oven. Bake in for 7 minutes or until crust just begins to brown. Use oven mitts to remove crust from oven and top as directed. Use oven mitts to return to oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted and has begun to bubble.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Butter Cracker Chicken Nuggets

2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers (there are about 36 in each sleeve)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
5 chicken breasts
4 eggs
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water

Set the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the crackers, Parmesan, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the crackers are crumbs. Pour crumbs into a shallow dish, like a pie plate. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, honey and water. Whisk until well combined and set aside.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise. Then cut the chicken into strips lengthwise. Repeat with all chicken breasts.

Set up a dredging station by setting the chicken on the table first, then the egg mixture and then the crumbs. At the end, set down a lightly greased cookie sheet. Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture and then into the crumbs. Put the chicken back in the egg mixture and then back into the crumbs (double dip). Place the chicken on the greased cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once half way through. Serve with ketchup, mustard, fry sauce, barbeque sauce or honey.

Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

This soup has such an amazing smell and flavor! It is one of my favorite soup recipes! It says it serves four, but I think it serves more like six. It's a lot of soup.
6 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 leek bulbs, white and light green parts only, chopped and well washed
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 Tbls. fresh parsley or 1 teas. dried parsley
5 Cups water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1. preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Place potatoes, leeks and onions on prepared sheets and spray veggies lightly with more cooking spray.
Roast veggies, turning frequently, until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.
2. Place roasted veggies in a large saucepan. Add garlic, carrots, celery, bouillon cubes, parsley, and water. Bring to a boil over med-high heat; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add melted butter and evaporated milk to saucepan; stir. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

send your husband out to KFC to get popcorn chicken or buy frozen popcorn chicken from Costco.
Pictured: frozen popcorn chicken from Costco

½ cup white vinegar(I do a little less)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup water
2 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. soy sauce
Bring to a boil

(Add 2 Tbs. corn starch to water and slowly add into sauce as a thickening agent.) It usually takes 20 - 30 minutes on medium/high heat to get a good thickness so be patient.

Added Extra’s:
Stir fry: carrots, bell peppers, onions, sugar snap peas or what ever you like.

Once the sauce gets thick, add your chicken, pineapple and any extras that you want to the sauce.
This is a picture of Pineapple on the cutter (in case you couldn't tell).
The final product! Enjoy!!!