Friday, April 29, 2011

No-Bake Cookies

Found from the following blog:

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooling Time: 30 minutes

½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1. Add the first four ingredients (through the cocoa powder) to a 4-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.
5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Let cool until set.
(Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Carmel-Pecan Brownies with Whipped Cream Frosting

Basic Caramel Recipe

The caramel will harden quickly upon cooling. You want a medium amber color-so keep an eye on it while it's cooking.
Yields 2/3 Cup

1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup cold water

Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystalization. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice and water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brusing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5-8 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and preven the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more.

Ingredients for the Brownies

6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces-softened for the pan
4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (could substitute Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks/Chips)
4 Large eggs
1 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 3/8 ounces (3/4 cup) unleached all-purpose flour
3/4 ounces (1/4 Cup) natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

Ingredients for the Topping

Basic Caramel (Recipe listed above)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the Garnish

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Make the Brownies

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Put the butter and chocolate in a heavy medium -size saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Gradually whisk in the sugar and then whisk vigorously until well blended. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture, banilla and salt. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in the pecans and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 20-22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and if necessary, gently press down any puffed areas with a spatula to make the top level, Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Make the Topping

While the browines are baking make the Basic caramel. Remover the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream-the mixture will bubble furiously. When the bubbling has subsided add the butter and gently whisk until completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Pour the caramel topping over the browines using a spatula to spread it evenly over the entire top. Let the brownies cool on the rack for 45 minutes and then refigerate until the caramel toppping is set, at least 1 hour.

Garnish the Brownies

Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat and sti constantly until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate into a small piping bag fitted with a 1/8 inch plain tip (or pu it in a small zip lock bag seal the bag then snip off a bottom corner to make a small hole.) Drizzle the chocolate over the brownies in a zigzag pattern. Sprinkle the chopped pecanse over the top. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Cut the brownies into 36 rectangles. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (well covered, these brownies will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting/Topping (Optional)

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (This is my own add in-it's optional)

In a chilled large bowl, mix chream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in whipping cream and powered sugar with electric mixer on high speed, scrapping bowl occasionally, until soft peasks form. Frost Brownies and referigerate.

Chicken Primavera Pasta

1 LB Boneless skinless chicken breasts but into bite size pieces
2 Cups frozen stir-fry vegetables (I used fresh and stirfried them before hand)
1 Tub (10 oz) Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb Cooking Creme
2 cups hot cooked fettuccine (or any other noodle)

Cook and stir chicken in nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 7 min or until done. Add vegetables; cook 2 to 3 min or until heated through stirring occasionally. Add cooking creme cook and stir 3 min. Add in cooked pasta and enjoy!!

Sooo good!!

Chocolate Eclaires

1 Cup water
1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 Cups cold milk
1 PKG (5.1 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups powered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons hot water

1. In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour and salt all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

2. Using atablespoon or a pastry tube with a No. 10 or lare tim form dough into 4 in. x 1-1/2in. strips on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove to a wire rack. Immediately split eclairs open; Remove tops and set aside. Ddiscard sort dough from inside. Cool eclairs.

3. In a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix according to package directions. In another bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar and vanilla; fold into pudding. Split eclair; Remove soft dough from inside. Fill eclairs (Chill any remaining filling for another use).

4. For frosting in a microwave melt chocolate and butter; Stir until smooth. Stir in sugar and enough hot water to achieve a smooth consistence. Cool slightly. Frost eclairs. Store in refigerator.

(I made ganache to go over the top rather than the frosting).

Emerils' Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Emerils’ Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Mesclun salad mix or favorite greens, for accompaniment
Assortment of salad ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes, chopped carrots, sliced red onion, chopped celery, diced cucumbers, walnuts
Blue cheese, for garnish
Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and desired salad ingredients, top with blue cheese and serve immediately.
If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.
*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.

My Modifications
I added 1 Tablespoon more Balsamic vinegar
Only 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Only 1/2 Cup Olive Oil (instead of 3/4 Cups)
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Oregano

Shake well and referigerate. Don't need very much on salad-drizzle by spoonful.

Broken Spaghetti Risotto with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

I mixed acouple of recipes, and came up with my own combo. Listed are the original recipes then my own.

Rachael Rays' Wild Mushroom Broken Spaghetti Risotto with Arugula and Hazelnuts
Cook Time:
25 min
4 servings
Recipe Tools:
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1 package dried mixed wild mushrooms or porcini mushrooms
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few handfuls
4 cups arugula
1/2 lemon, juiced
Place mushrooms, stock and water in a sauce pot and heat, keep warm on low.
Heat a medium saute pan or risotto pan with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic to pan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until tender 4 to 5 minutes. Add pasta and toast until deeply golden in color and very nutty in fragrance, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine and let it cook away, 1 minute. Ladle in stock every few minutes, stirring for a good minute with each addition of stock to develop starches. Evaporate almost all of the liquid before each addition of stock. Pasta will cook up quicker then rice. Start tasting after about 8 to 9 minutes of cooking time once you begin to add stock. When you are down to the last cup of your liquids, remove mushrooms, chop and add to pasta.
While the pasta cooks, toast hazelnuts in a skillet until fragrant.Peel nuts by rubbing the skins off in a clean kitchen towel.
When pasta is cooked to al dente, stir butter into the pan then stir in the cheese.
Dress arugula with lemon juice, a drizzle olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve risotto in shallow bowls topped with greens and nuts.
NOTE Oven Roasted Chicken Tenders Saltimbocca may be sliced and served atop or as a first or second course to meal.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Prep Time:
10 Min
Cook Time:
10 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 20 Min

Original Recipe Yield 3 servings

3 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tresa's Notes

I used wheat spaghetti-toasted it with butter. Then added a cup of water with one beef bullion cube. I added crushed corriander seed, parsley, minced garlic, salt and pepper, a touch of red pepper, parmesan cheese, cilantro, half an onion-diced, rosemary-let that simmer down. I then added some red cooking wine and let that deglaze the pan. Serve with the grilled mushrooms-yumm!

Betty Crocker's Homemade Cherry Pie

40 Min
3 Hr 25 Min

2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
6 cups sour cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, if desired

1Heat oven to 425°F. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
2Gather pastry into a ball. Divide pastry in half; shape into 2 rounds. Wrap flattened rounds of pastry in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable.
3Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate; or roll pastry loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Unfold or unroll pastry and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
4In large bowl, mix sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Stir in cherries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over cherries. Cover with top pastry that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.
5Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

Strawberry Peeps Cupcakes

I'm mixing two recipies -look for my personal notes at bottom of the note.

Easter Peeps Cupcakes
Found On:

- pkg peeps, bunnies or chicks, or both
- 1 bx moist chocolate cake mix, made into cupcakes
according to package directions
- cake frosting, any flavor (i like cream cheese for
this one)
- toasted coconut
- jelly beans or whoppers mini malted milk eggs for
decoration (optional)
1. Make cupcakes according to package directions on cake mix, you can use any flavor cake mix.
2. When cupcakes are cool, frost them and sprinkle edges with toasted coconut or green food colored dyed coconut. Place a few jelly beans or whoppers mini malted eggs. Voila, you just created a Peep Cupcake!

Paula Deen's Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake
Found On:

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
Strawberry cream cheese frosting, recipe follows
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar
Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.
Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.

Tresa's Notes-I used one pound of whole frozen strawberries-put them in a saucepan with about half a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of leamon juice and mashed them up until they were more like a sauce mixture. I made just a regular batch of cheesecake frosting. Also-instead of using a white cake mix-I used Pillsbury's Ultimate strawberry cake mix. Yum-and adorable!

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

Recipe found in:
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 cups hulled strawberries
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar

In a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blad, puree strawberries until smooth. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan as completed. Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine. Heat to 190 degrees F. over meduim-high heat, stirring occassionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water or ginger ale; adjust concentrate to taste.

Tresa's Notes: I made half the recipe with frozen strawberries. I had to add one cup of water to the blender so the strawberries would blend. Lemon juice from a bottle. I mixed it with 10 cups of water-not sure how big my pitcher is, but it made quite a bit and tastes good!