Friday, March 30, 2012

Creamy Garlic Pasta

I will be the first to admit that side dishes are not my strong point. I have grand intentions of beautiful salads, fresh fruit in a beautiful display, even just steamed veggies. Some days we get there others are pretty poor.
 So I'm excited to tell you about this yummy noodle dish we made today. The entire dinner took only 30 minutes. First we cooked frozen Costco Chicken tenders sprinkled with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning, this took about 15 minutes. The spinach steamed in a micro cooker for 2 minutes. The noodles were quick and perfect.
We will make this again often--maybe tomorrow, it was that good. We may add roasted summer squash, mushrooms, onion, pepper etc, add diced meat and it turns into a meal. Oh we do have plans for this dish.
This recipe came from the Cheese Pusher, we made it as written today but we do have plans!

Creamy Garlic Pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 garlic gloves, pressed
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces thin spaghetti
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Heat olive oil and add garlic. Stir about a minute until fragrant. Add the butter, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Bring to boil and add spaghetti. Cook amount of time stated on package, ours cooked in about 5 minutes, stir often so it doesn't stick. Add Parmesan cheese and stir till all melted. Remove from heat and add cream, stir. Add parsley, stir and serve immediately. Enjoy! This is one yummy quick dish--trust me on this one.
Even the baby loved it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creamy Baked Taquitos

I've come across recipes similar to this all over blog land. I needed to make taquitos for a party so I combined a few recipes and came up with one yummy taquito. I used a rotisserie chicken from Costco. I got 5 cups (that's after my son ate a chicken sandwich). So I adjusted the ingredients for 5 cups of chicken. I added extra cream cheese and green salsa because I don't like remnants hanging out in my fridge--they get lost. I also like cilantro so I added extra.
The end result was delicious! It made a big batch of filling. Plenty for our party and extras to put in the freezer. I love having a few delicious meals tucked away in the freezer for busy days.  I have used both flour and corn tortillas. They are both yummy, corn tortillas may explode if overfilled (I just may have overfilled a few).

Creamy Baked Taquitos
8 ounces softened cream cheese
7 oz can green salsa
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
5 cups cooked chicken, shredded or finely chopped--canned chicken works well in this recipe
2 1/2 cups Mexican Cheese, shredded
small flour or corn tortillas, about 2 dozen
melted butter
kosher salt

In a large bowl mix the cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic. Once it is mixed stir in the green onions and cilantro. Add the chicken and cheese, mix thoroughly.

Wrap tortillas in a couple moistened paper towels. Microwave until the tortillas are soft enough to roll, 30-45 seconds.

Scoop 2-3 Tbsp of the chicken mixture into the tortillas. Roll as tightly as you can. Avoid the temptation to overfill the tortillas, they will burst when cooked.

Place the rolled tortilla seam side down on the baking sheet. Make sure the taquitos are not touching each other . Brush lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

Need to make ahead?
The chicken mixture can be chilled until ready to assemble.
Assemble taquitos, chill, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Freeze. To bake a frozen taquito cook at 425 for 20 minutes (no need to thaw).
Inspiration from Pennies on a Platter

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Orange Rolls to Die For!

We have had fun making rolls from the blog How Does She. This blog has excellent photos and helps. It really is the easiest recipe we have ever made. No kneading required. That's a good thing because kneading scares people and we don't want to scare anyone! This recipe makes a large batch of rolls. We often make one pan of dinner rolls and another pan of sweet rolls.

We have made rolls to eat with Sunday Dinner, with the same dough we have made Cinnamon Rolls and Orange Rolls. They all were delicious.
The cinnamon rolls were rubbed with soft butter, sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon. If you liked raisins you could add them too. We don't. I like to frost cinnamon rolls with Caramel Frosting
Orange rolls are made much the same, spread with butter then rub the zest of 2 oranges into a cup of sugar. Sprinkle the orange sugar over the buttered dough and roll and cut. Bake and frost with:
 Orange Cream Frosting. This will be the best thing you have ever eaten.
1 package cream cheese, very soft
1 cup powdered sugar
zest from two oranges
dash salt
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
Beat together the soft cream cheese, powdered sugar, zest and juice.
In another bowl beat 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks appear.
Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. What you have here is something close to heaven. Swirl it onto your warm orange rolls and enjoy the deliciousness!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Heart Shaped Coconut Tea Cake

My sweet sister in law gave me a fun heart shaped bundt pan for my birthday. She knows just what I like, one can never have too many cake pans, or bowls or serving dishes etc.
So when her daughter got married this cake was a perfect addition to the dessert table at her shower.
This cake looked great and tasted delicious. It is a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's, Baking From My Home to Yours. This is probably my all time favorite cookbook.
This coconut cake is moist, full of flavor and a perfect texture. I love glaze or frosting on most anything but this cake needs nothing. It stands on its own.
Serve it for breakfast, brunch or an afternoon snack. If you really want to dress it up fill the middle of the cake with fresh berries and top it with whipped cream. Dessert doesn't get much better. This cake keeps for several days, it improves with age (like me!)
Dories book has several variations but here is the recipe I made. It really is a winner.

Coconut Tea Cake
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (stir well)
4 tablespoons butter, cut in 4 pieces
2 tablespoons orange juice
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
zest from one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger. Pour the coconut milk in a saucepan, add butter and orange juice, heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Remove from heat but keep warm.
Rub the orange zest into the sugar, it will smell wonderful! Working with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed until pale, thick and almost double in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients just till mixed. Add the coconut then steadily add the hot milk and butter. Mix just until smooth.
Pour the batter  in a 10-12 cup bundt pan that has been sprayed with Pam for Baking. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted deep in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack for 10 minutes before unmolding.
The ginger is optional, I just love orange and ginger together. Lemon or lime zest/juice can be substituted for the orange.

Monday, March 19, 2012

SRC Pistachio Cherry Ice Box Cookies

Being a member of the SRC gives one a chance to discover a new blogger. We get to 'stalk' their blog all month and then the difficult part; make just one recipe from their blog.
I had the honor to get to know Mindy from The World in My Kitchen. What a fun blog. Mindy has lived all over the world, this is definitely reflected in her dishes. Mindy also travels to France with her husband, a teacher. She shares posts about food she eats as she travels. Since I probably won't get to France I enjoyed the virtual experience.
I narrowed the recipes down to three; Crock-pot French Onion Soup, Dorie's Apple cake or Pistachio, Cherry Ice Box Cookie. No surprise, the cookies won--but the other two will be made in the near future!
I do love a good Ice Box Cookie, I think they have gone out of vogue in the cookie making circle. It's that 2 hour fridge time that stops many. Cookies are often instant gratification for me; I really want to cook them now!
But this little gem is certainly one worth waiting for. There is a hint of Orange Rind that plays perfectly with the Pistachios and Dried Cherries. I subbed Dried Cherries for the dried cranberries. I had a bag of KAF Dried Sweet Cherries--they are more than delicious!
The recipe comes together quickly, chill for two hours and then you are rewarded with the best cookie imaginable.Thanks Mindy, these, are excellent!

Pistachio Cherry Ice Box Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
Zest from one orange
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup sanding sugar
In a small bowl mix together flour, cinnamon and salt. In mixer beat butter, orange zest and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add flour mix in three batches. Add pistachios and cherries, mix gently. Divide dough in two. Form each half in a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate 2 hours.
Brush chilled cookie log with egg, roll in sanding sugar. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Bake on parchment lined sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars

There is nothing like an old friend. Linda, Sara and I go back too many years, we were college roommates. Luckily we have all found our way to the same county. We enjoy monthly lunches together, sometimes they are therapy sessions. we know each other, we care about each other and we feel safe with each other.
 Linda and Sara have been there for me thru good times and difficult times. Everyone needs such friends. I'm lucky!
We went to lunch last week, we don't often order dessert so I thought I would bring them a treat. My intentions were great; I just didn't give myself enough time! It's that little phrase 'let cool' that gives me heartburn.
I made the treats--they were delicious. I'll try again next month completely cooled!

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars
This is another awesome recipe from The Modern Baker Cookbook. It contained all the elements I love in one delicious bar. But please let it cool completely--I even put it in the refrigerator. It was beyond delicious.
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups sweetened coconut
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
12 ounces bittersweet/semisweet chocolate chunks, cut in 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1 9x13 inch pan, buttered and lined with foil, buttered again.

1.  Set a rack on the lowest level, turn oven to 350 degrees.
2.  For the dough, dtir together the flour, baking powder and salt. set aside.
3.  Beat the butter with the sugar in an electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed. Beat about 3 minutes till light and soft.
4.  On the lowest speed add the flour mixture, continue to mix until dough is smooth
5.  Scrape dough in the prepared pan. Press the dough down evenly, without compressing it too much. Bake the dough aout 15 minutes until it is puffed and set.
6.  Set the pan on a rack. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Place the broown sugar in a bowl, use a rubber scraper and work in the four eggs, one at a time. Stir in the granulated sugar and vanilla, fold in coconut.and pecans. Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips.
7.  Scrape the topping onto the prebaked dough, using a small offset spatula.
8.  Bake until the filling is set and nicely colored, 25-30 minutes.
9.  Cool in the pan on a rack. Lift the slab of baked dough out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cool completely before cutting--refrigerate if necessary.
10.  Prepare to be amazed, these are one awesome treat!
11.  Buy The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri it is a cookbook that you will learn so much from.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Jill

Our youngest daughter had a birthday today. It was a very busy work day for Jill, she was conference calling, fielding texts, calls and e-mails all day. I'm amazed at how she does it all. We managed to find a quieter hour and take her to our favorite Thai Restaurant. Nothing beats good Thai food, and this is as good as it gets!

She worked late but we managed to eat a slice of homemade Ice Cream Cake. Rich chocolate cake, premium vanilla ice cream topped with Chocolate Ganache. It was delicious!

So happy birthday Jill. Jill is a wonderful mother, she has the voice of an angel, she is the most optimistic person you will ever meet. Jill has a lot going on in her life right now and she handles it all with grace.
We love you Jill.

A big thanks to Auntie Candise for taking Jill's kids for a few days so she can focus on work. Our children are all so kind and willing to help each other out.Whether it is time or means they really are there for each other. This gladdens the heart of the Mom! Thanks Auntie Amber!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chicken Tetrazzini

 I'm always looking for new dishes to serve for dinner. We had a crowd here this weekend so it was the perfect day. This delicious pasta has a light cheesy sauce, mushrooms, chicken and fresh asparagus. The crushed croutons and cheese made a tasty topping. Everyone love it. It fed 6 adults and 4 children for dinner and there was a nice size dish for lunch the following day. This meal has won a spot in my regular dinner rotation.

 Chicken Tetrazzini
3-4 medium chicken breasts
salt and pepper (seasoned salt)
7 Tbsp Butter
1 lb. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 cups grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 pound pasta
1 bunch asparagus--cleaned, sliced and cooked in the Pampered Chef Micro Cooker for 2 minutes
1 1/2 cups seasoned croutons, crushed

Preheat oven to 375.  Season chicken breasts and bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes until cooked through.  Once chicken has slightly cooled cut into chunks and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  In a large saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter;  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.  In the same large saucepan, melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter.  Add flour, cook, whisking for about 1 minute.  Continue whisking and gradually add milk and broth.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan cheese. 

Cook pasta just shy of al dente.  Drain and return to pot.  Add sauce, chicken, asparagus, and mushrooms.  Toss well to combine and place in desired greased baking dish.  Mixture can be baked in one 9x13 dish, or divided and baked in 2 or 3 smaller dishes.  In a small bowl combine crushed croutons and remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the top of pasta. Bake at 375 until browned and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

The recipe also says that a portion can be frozen to bake at a later date.  We saved what was left and ate it for lunch the following day. 
Inspired by Amber at Sugared Whisk


Friday, March 9, 2012

Caramel Crumb Bars

This delicious treat came right out of  'The Modern Baker' by Nick Malagieri. Caramel Crumb Bars are a bit more dressy than the ordinary bars I usually make. I think it is the delicious Caramel Filling. Whatever it is this bar is one you want to make when you have company for dinner or to take to a new mother or someone who has just had surgery. It will be appreciated. I know.
So here are the directions from Nicks Cook Book.

 Caramel Crumb Bars
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups AP flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 16 ounce sweetened condensed milk
 Butter a 9x13 inch pan, line with parchment and butter again, makes 24 bars about 2 inches square.

1. Set rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350.

2. For the dough, beat the butter with the sugar and salt in an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes Add vanilla.

3. On the lowest speed beat in 2 1/4 cups of the flour, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix until the dough is smooth and the flour is absorbed.

4.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape 3/4 of the dough in the prepared pan. Press the dough down evenly without compressing it to much. Chill the dough lined pan. Work the remaining 1/4 cup flour into the remaining dough with your finger tips so that it forms 1/8 to 1/4 inch crumbs. Set aside.

5. For the filling, in a medium saucepan bring the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk to a simmer, stirring occasionally (says Nick). I burnt the batch I stirred occasionally. The second batch I stirred almost continuously, it worked much better for me. Allow the mixture to boil gently, stirring often until it starts to thicken and darken slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a stainless steel bowl to cool for 5 minutes.

6. Remove the dough lined pan from the refrigerator and scrape the cooled filling onto the dough, using a small offset spatula. Scatter the crumbs on the filling.

7. Bake until the filling is bubbling gently and is a deep caramel color and the dough and crumb topping are baked through about 30 minutes.

8. Cool the pan on a rack until lukewarm, 15-20 minutes. lift the slab of baked dough out of the pan and onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely. Cut into 2 inch squares.
I think when I make these again (like tomorrow) I will add some chopped pecans on top of the caramel.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TWD/BWJ Rugelach

Can I just tell you how proud I am! When I first looked at Rugelach I decided it would be the recipe of the month I would skip. I knew Irish Soda Bread would be no challenge. But if this baking group is to be about challenge and putting myself outside my comfort zone I better make Rugelach.
The reason I make so many cookies is the instant gratification factor. Rugelach contains no part of instant!
But I did enjoy the process once I realized it was just that a process.
I made cream cheese pastry.
I chilled.
I chopped nuts.
I toasted nuts.
I chopped fruit.
I plumped fruit.
I made prune lekvar (I didn't even know there was such a thing as prune lekvar).
I made brown sugar mixture.
I made nut topping.
I rolled pastry out.
I filled pastry.
I rolled pastry.
I chilled rolls.
I egg washed.
I sliced.
I rolled slices in nut mixture.
I baked.
I ate, and ate and ate. They were delicious!

I kind of feel like Melinda Mae in the poem by Shel Silverstein.
                   Melinda Mae

User Rating:
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Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.

And everyone said,'You're much too small,'
But that didn't bother Melinda at all,
She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a little girl should...

...and in eighty-nine years she ate that whale
Because she said she would!!! 

And I made Rugelach--because I said I would!
For complete recipe and instructions please check Jessica's blog My Baking Heart.

Sunday, March 4, 2012



I had a bad experience with Snickerdoodles when I was very young. It was my first year in 4-H and I was excited to enter a baked good in the fair. At my house you always double a recipe, 7 boys eat a lot of cookies.  All was going well, I had creamed my butter and sugar. I was mixing my dry ingredients when I mistakenly added 2 tablespoons of salt instead of 2 teaspoons!
Now my mother was very frugal--she figured out if we 3 times the double recipe it would work. And it did work and I was making Snickerdoodles forever!
Needless to say I have not made Snickerdoodles in 40 years! But hubby loves them and it's a fun cookie to make with the grand kids and I must have had a weak moment.
But the cookies turned out great and I enjoyed them. Try this cookie and make your family happy. But I only ever make single batches--because I can.
This recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker

2 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (1 cup) softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350. Put a silpat or parchment sheet on your baking pan--put in refrigerator.
Whisk together the first four ingredients.
Cream softened butter and sugar for 3 minutes, add eggs one at a time, add vanilla.
Slowly add dry ingredients on low.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Roll in balls, I used a medium Pampered Chef Scoop. Then roll balls in mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
Put chilled dough on chilled cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes, remove to cooling rack.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rustic Artisan Bread

My daughter Jill made the best loaf of bread. It requires just a few ingredients and stirs together easily. The only difficult part is waiting the 24 hours for it to raise. But it was more than worth the wait because this bread was delicious. We enjoyed it warm with butter. Next time (like tomorrow) we want to make Paninnis with it.

 Hop on over to Anna's Table--she has great step by step photos.
 Jill spends most of her time raising these three cute kids!