Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Almond Joy Brownies

This baby is something I made on a whim when all I had was a brownie mix on my brain and a table full of guests sitting around after dinner on father's day. (I had planned dessert but ran out of time)  So I got creative and improvised; and it worked!

I used:
Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge brownie mix

Prepare and bake in 8X8 pan per package directions; let cool. (or don't if there's no time, in my case)
reserve the frosting for later

In a sauce pan combine:
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
Stir on medium heat 3 minutes or so until sugar is dissolved

Take off heat and add
2 tsp of vanilla

Stir in:
2 cups flaked coconut (like this! the big flaky kind the size of pieces of gum - I get mine from Nuttyguys.com - or the old standby shredded will work)
and 1/2 cup chopped almonds
Spread over brownies.

Melt your frosting packet in the microwave and drizzle over coconut mixture.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cooking Weekend

We went to Cedar City and enjoyed some relaxing time there and at Bryce Canyon during Memorial Day Weekend with Kevin's parents. 
As you know I love to cook but I love to cook there more!
Kevin's mom has an amazing kitchen with all the gadgets and tons of space (including a very large granite-topped island)
She loves the break from cooking, and I love cooking for vacation; so we're a perfect match.
The best part is that Carol graciously buys all the ingredients for me (and I can get kinda nuts with the  ingredients for the new recipes - fresh ginger, fresh basil, snow peas, flank steak this time plus 50 more...)

The other best part is that she just cleans up after me as I move around the kitchen creating new and exciting things to eat while making new and exciting messes along with it. 
Carol will quietly clean up right behind me so when my tornado self destroys the kitchen, she becomes Utah Disaster Kleen-up... and round and round we go, happily (I hope) all weekend.

So all I get to do is create! No shopping, No Cleaning! (YES!)

This weekend I made:

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf - a sweet AND tangy moist bread made with yogurt and fresh lemon juice and zest, make sure you use a LARGE loaf pan or two smaller ones.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta - this needed some tweaking but it was okay; next time I will use shredded parmesan not grated.  - So the texture was off, but it tasted great!

Chocolate Silk (Mousse) Pie - cookie crust piled high with fluffy creamy mousse; it was so good and Kevin's new favorite

Nathan made Crepes for breakfast with fresh fruit - he did a great job!

Monte Cristo - We made this for Brunch and it was a hit!

Fresh Orange Rolls  - again with real fresh squeezed orange juice and zest - the whole batch went in one meal!

Pot Roast - tender, juicy, pull apart with your fork

Raspberry Cream Pie - so sweet and creamy - it can be served frozen or chilled

Cherry Chocolate Cake - moist and chocolatey with the perfect fudge frosting

The recipe's are linked; I got them from Pioneer Woman Cooks, or The Sisters Cafe

I also got inspired by this blog post from IHeart Organizing to start a project this same weekend and move and re-organize all my recipes from my old smaller binders, which are 6x8 all inclusive with 15-year old food smears; all over them - to my new and bigger 81/2 x 11 binders; I'll be able to have new tabs that work and are custom to me! New sheet protectors with 4X6 pockets and bigger ones for larger recipes too etc; and a place to store my weekly menu plans and recipes I want to try; I'll show you the finished product soon as well; but here's the old binders.....

Complete with fingerprints and food particles

And the new!
(Wipe able surfaces too)
With way cute designs to match my kitchen!
I'll have 3 recipe binders; one for Breakfasts and Main Dishes,
one for Breads, Veggies, Sides, & Salads,
and one for Snacks & Desserts.

 (If you're wondering why 3 binders...it's because I'm usually making 2-3 things at a time
and don't want to flip back and forth in one book for 3 recipes.)
 This way; I'll have three books open and ready for me to cook;
unless my recipe is on this blog, then I'll have my IPad open too!

Wish me luck!

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

This bread is sweet and tangy and moist and amazing! It didn't last the day at my parents' house and it wont last long at yours either. Be sure to use a LARGE loaf pan.
Picture and Recipe from The Sisters Cafe

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 extra-large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 1 lemon)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed (“miniature wild blueberries are great for this, and pose the least risk of sinking”)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. (I use DoughMakers pebbled loaf pans when I make sweet breads, and they always take about 25% longer to bake, but it bakes evenly – no burned edges! Hallelujah!)

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

Grilled Chicken and Lemon Basil Pasta

Picture from and Recipe Adapted from Pioneer Woman

■4 whole Grilled Chicken Breasts, Sliced

■1 pound Penne Pasta, Cooked Until Al Dente

■½ sticks Butter

■3 whole Lemons, Juiced

■¾ cups Heavy Cream

■¼ cup Milk

■1-½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (or Romano)

■Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste

■10 fresh whole Basil Leaves, Chopped into strips

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta, reserving 1 cup of hot pasta water when you drain. Set pasta aside in a colander.
In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Squeeze in the juice of 3 lemons. Whisk together. Pour in cream and half-and half and-heat. Whisk until hot. Dump in cheese and whisk until melted. Add salt and pepper. Check consistency, adding some of the hot pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed.
Pour pasta and sauce into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle remaining basil all over the top, then add sliced chicken breasts. Serve immediately!

Serves 4

Orange Rolls

Picture and Recipe Adapted from The Sister's Cafe
These will make a lot of fresh yummy, gooey, sweet rolls, you will love them!

1 recipe dinner rolls (below)

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice

Grated orange rind from two large oranges

Orange Glaze:

Mix together 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, 3 T. freshly squeezed orange juice and ½ tsp. grated orange rind.
Follow directions below for dinner rolls. Combine butter, sugar, orange juice and orange rind in a small bowl and mix well.

When dough is ready to shape into rolls, punch down and divide in thirds. Roll each portion into large rectangle about 9×13 inches, ¼ inch thick. Spread each rectangle with one-third of the butter/orange/sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll up jelly roll style. Seal edges well, then cut with dental floss into 1-inch slices.

Place on a greased baking sheet (I fit 15 on a sheet – three rows of five). Let rise away from draft until dough doubles. (Today that took about 1 hour.) Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. (Mine were done at about 16 minutes, so check early.) Remove rolls from pans and cool on wire rack. When rolls are cool, drizzle with orange glaze.

The BEST Rolls (adapted from Lion House Rolls)

2 T. dry yeast

2 cups warm water

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup softened butter
2 1/2 tsp. Salt

2/3 cup nonfat dry milk

5-6 cups flour

1 egg

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add 2 more cups flour, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 more cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time until well mixed. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and satiny.
Return dough to an oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap; let rise until about triple in size about 1 1/2 hours.

Use last of the flour as needed on the board for rolling and shaping the dough. Let dough rest on board for 10 minutes so it will be easier to manage if you roll it.

For Cinnamon or Orange Rolls: roll dough out in one large rectangle ; spread filling; roll up long ways; jelly-roll style and slice into 2 inch thick rolls; set individual rolls to rise.

For regular rolls - separate dough into three portions. Roll out each portion into a circle and cut into 8 pie-shaped pieces. Roll up crescent-style and place on baking sheet. Let rise.

Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Makes between 3-4 dozen rolls.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Raspberry Cream Pie

From Pioneer Woman (LOVE HER!)


■25 whole Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

■4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted

(Or I used Graham Cracker Crust this or Oreo - Store bought are awesome!)

■1 cup (generous) Raspberries

■3 Tablespoons Sugar

■2 containers (6 Ounce Each) Raspberry Yogurt

■1 package (3.4 Ounch) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

■1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

■Extra Raspberries For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

To make the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crust cookies in a food processor (or smash in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin). Stir in melted butter until all combined. Pour into a regular pie pan and press crumbs all over the pan and up the sides. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes—just long enough for it to set. Cool crust completely.

Place raspberries on a plate or in an empty pan. Smash them with a fork, then sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir together and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine raspberry yogurt with the instant vanilla pudding mix (just the powder itself.) Beat on low until combined, about 1 minute. Pour in heavy cream and whip on low for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn mixer on medium-high speed and beat for two minutes, or until mixture is thick.
Turn off mixer, then fold in raspberries until just combined. Pour into cooled pie pan and spread evenly. Freeze for two hours, or until very firm. Cut into slices and top each slice with cookie crumbs, dollops of whipped cream, and extra raspberries. Keep in freezer, allowing time to thaw before serving.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Cake

This is SO easy! I got this recipe from The Sisters Cafe

1 box of devil’s food cake mix
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, cherry pie filling, eggs, and almond extract. Stir by hand until well blended. (Using an electric mixer will break up the cherries.) Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
Fudge frosting:
1 cup white sugar
5 Tb butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and milk. Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Immediately pour over partially cooled cake.