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Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

2 - 8 oz pkgs  cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve with graham crackers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sauces and Marinades

I made this teriyaki sauce to go with the pork tenderloin eggrolls I made the other day! Delicious!

Teriyaki Sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Mix all but the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water, in a sauce pan over medium heat. Mix cornstarch and water. Stir til dissolved. Add to sauce pan. Heat until thickened.

Steak Marinade

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons A1 steak sauce 
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix together well, and use to marinate your favorite meat.

Baja Sauce

1/4 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons diced onion

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Place jalapeno pepper, and onion in the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Stir together 4 teaspoons of this puree with the mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl. Season with pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Dill Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings; mix well. Chill for 1 hour.
Great on burgers and sandwiches.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Quick and Easy Egg Pasta Dough
(Makes about 1 pound)

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 3 tablespoon lukewarm water

Put the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse several times to blend the ingredients.
Add the water,1 tablespoon at a time, just until dough starts to come together. Gather the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface. Knead lightly, just until the dough is smooth. Divide in half and keep one-half covered while you work with the other.

Three Cheese Filling
Makes 1 1/4 cups filling (enough for about 80 to 90 ravioli)

1 cup, ricotta cheese - drained
1/4 cup, grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup, shredded mozzarella cheese
16 ounces, pasta dough
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for sealing ravioli

With an electric mixer, beat the ricotta cheese until it is smooth. Blend in the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Cover and refrigerate filling for 30 minutes before using.

Spinach Ravioli Filling

1 (8 ounce.) container ricotta cheese
4 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
1 cup chopped fresh spinach or frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Fill rounds of ravioli dough. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Crabmeat Ravioli Filling

1/2 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 (6 ounce) can lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2-3 tablespoons cream cheese
Salt and pepper

Sauté shallot and garlic in butter and olive oil. 1-2 minutes. Add crabmeat and basil. Stir to combine. Remove from heat. Stir in goat cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Fill ravioli.

Potato, Leek, and Bacon Ravioli

12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 small potatoes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
2 medium leeks, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Peel and cube the potatoes. Cook in boiling water until cooked through. Drain and mash the potatoes with a fork. Heat the oil and bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the bacon has rendered its fat but is not crisp. Add the leeks and cook another 3 minutes until the leeks are wilted. Add the bacon and leek mixture to the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crispy Cereal Treats

Rice Crispy Treats

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows
6 cups Rice Crispy Cereal

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool and cut into squares.

Cocoa Crispy Treats

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows
6 cups Cocoa Crispy Cereal

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool and cut into squares.

S'mores Crispy Treats

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows
6 cups Golden Graham Cereal
1 cup mini chocolate chips, or more if you like
2 cups mini marshmallows, if desired

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Add mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuscan Soup

My guys don't eat soup. One night I was making this soup for my step-mother who wasn't feeling well. My son and husband were in the back of the house playing the play station. They came into the kitchen asking what the terrific smell was... Needless to say, I had to make another batch of soup!

Tuscan Soup

6 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
3 (3.5 ounce) links Johnsonville Italian sausage
3 large potatoes, cubed
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1/4 cup evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from sausage and crumble into frying pan. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Place meat in a large pot; add stock and potatoes. Boil until potato is cooked.
Add spinach. Continue boiling until spinach is lightly cooked. Remove soup from heat, stir in evaporated milk, and season to taste.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Banana Bread

‎1 1/4 c A/P Flour
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t soda
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 c banana puree

Combine dry ingredients. Add butter, mix with fingers until crumbly. Add eggs and banana puree, mixing well. Spoon into a greased and floured 8x8x2" pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
I serve mine with cream cheese icing :-)

Summer in the Kitchen Blog Party... Grilled Shrimp over Baby Spinach

My friend Laurie at challenged us foodies to break the winter blues and have a Summer in the Kitchen party yesterday. So, I went to the grocery store Friday and mulled around looking for some "summery" items... This is what I came up with to chase away the winter blues.

I marinated the shrimp in 1/2 of a prepared package of Garlic and Herb Salad Dressing, then grilled it on my stove top grill plate. I also grilled the corn on the cob. I tossed the baby spinach with the other half of the dressing and topped with grilled shrimp, soft boiled egg quarters, two strips of bacon and tomato. I finished it off with a side of corn and fresh pineapple. Actually, I finished it off after I took the picture :-)

Craig took his shrimp and made Shrimp Scampi:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reuben Soup

Could you get anymore twisted than Reuben Soup? This sounds so weird, but the flavor is outstanding! Unique and delicious!

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups water
4 cubes beef bouillon
8 ounces shredded corned beef
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
3 cups half-and-half cream
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
8 slices rye bread, toasted and cut into triangles

In a large saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until tender; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in water and bouillon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in corned beef, sauerkraut, cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Cook and stir for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 ovenproof bowls. Top each serving with a slice of bread and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese on top of each slice of bread. Place in oven under broiler until the cheese melts and lightly browns.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Great Appetizers For Any Occassion!

Parmesan Thins

1/2 all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg yolk
2/3 parmesan cheese, freshly grated
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne

Work the butter and flour together in a bowl with your fingertips, then work in the egg yolk. Add the parmesan, salt and cayenne. Shape the dough into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap. Put it in the frig for about 10 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the log into 1/4 inch pieces and place on a baking sheet. Flatten with a fork to give a criss-cross pattern. Bake for about 10 minutes. Don't let them brown or they'll taste burnt.

Spicy Olives 2 ways

2 2/3 cups green olives, pitted

Spicy herbal marinade:
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
pinch cayenne
pinch cumin
2 tbsp olive oil, 3 if necessary
3 tbsp lemon juice

Hot chili marinade:
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
1 red chili, seeded and sliced
1/4 preserved lemon, cut into thin strips

Divide olives between two jars. Mix the ingredients for the spicy herbal and add to one jar. Add extra oil and lemon to cover if necessary. Mix the ingredients for the hot chili and add to the second jar. Store both jars in the frig for about a week, shaking occasionally.

Roasted Veggie Tartlets

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 eggplant
1 zucchini
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp butter, chilled and diced
2-3 tbsp cold water
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 egg
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Switch oven to broiler. Place veggies on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes, turning occasionally until blackened. Cover with a towel and let sit for 5 minutes. Peel away skin and discard seeds. Cut into very thin strips.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in enough water to make a firm, not sticky, dough. Roll the dough out thinly and cut rounds to fill mini muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Divide the veggie strips between the pastries. Whisk cream and egg in a bowl. Season and pour over veggies. Sprinkle each tartlet with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until firm. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

Marinated Mushrooms

1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c oil
1 sm onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar

Boil, then add 2 - 6 oz cans button mushrooms. Simmer 5-6 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Best if marinated overnight... If you can wait that long!

Chorizo Pastry Puffs

8oz puff pastry
4oz chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pastry onto a floured surface. Using a 3 inch cutter, stamp out 16 rounds. Put chorizo and cheese in a bowl and toss together.
Place a little of the chorizo and cheese mixture in the center of a round of pastry dough. Fold over and pinch the edges of the pastry together to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds. Place the rounds on a non-stick baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and dust with pinch of paprika.
Bake pastries for 10-12 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cheesecake Pizza

1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

Press dough onto a 14-in. pizza pan. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs and sugar; beat until combined. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips and peanuts. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over pizza. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 slices.