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Posts tagged “Food Blog

Homemade cheese crackers

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I’d share this with you. While I was cleaning out my refrigerator the other day, I saw some smoked gouda left over from last month’s party.  I was getting ready to throw it away but I checked it out and smelled it.  It was still ok.  So I decided to use the pie crust in my freezer (God knows how long it’s been there!) and experiment with the cheese.  I got lucky with this one!

Cheese crackers2   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Ingredients:  1 box Pie crust dough (2 crusts) and 2 tbsp finely shredded cheese (I used smoked gouda).  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Use a standard cookie sheet to bake with.  Spray it with butter flavored cooking spray (or you can use parchment paper to line it with).

Cheese crackers   - Copyright Christine SternfelsCheese crackers3   - Copyright Christine SternfelsUnroll the pie crust dough and lay it on a flat surface.  Using a pizza cutter, I sliced it in 1.5 X 3.5 strips.  Carefully place the cut pieces on the cookie sheet,  it’s ok if the sides touch.  Sprinkle the cheese then place it in the oven.  Bake on the bottom rack for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Take it out of the oven when done and transfer the strips onto a wire cooling rack.  If you want to try it while it’s warm (which is what I did cause I couldn’t wait and it just smelled so good), just make sure to give it at least a couple of minutes to cool down.

Enjoy!  I was thinking next time, I should try sprinkling cinnamon and sugar!

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

Once again, my friend Patty has outdone herself.  I’m not a fan of cheesecake, but I love anything red velvet so I thought I’d give this a try.  WOW was all I could say!  This would be a great dish to bring if you were assigned dessert for the holidays or if you just want to spoil yourself.

Thank you Patty for sharing this recipe from www.myrecipes.com

Red velvet cheese cake  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Description: If you love both red velvet cake and cheesecake, this recipe is for you. A red velvet filling is spiked with cocoa, topped with a creamy cheesecake layer, and baked in a dark chocolate crust–making a wickedly delicious combination.

Servings: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Time: Recipe Time Prep Time: 20 Minutes Bake: 1 Hour, 25 Minutes Stand: 1 Hour Chill: 8 Hours Total: 10 Hours, 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Directions:

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

Beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Beat 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of springform pan. Garnish, if desired.

Credit: myrecipes.com
Reviews: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/red-velvet-cheesecake-10000001023804/ratings/


Lazy French Toast

Why “Lazy”?  It’s usually how I feel the next day after a party the night before.  While grabbing milk for my coffee and wondering what to eat and feed this hangover, I found leftover baguette from last night’s wine extravaganza.  There was about a loaf and a half left (I used it to accompany my spinach dip last night).  You can also use french bread.

Ingredients:  1 to 2 loaves baguette.  3 eggs.  1/3 cup milk.  2 pinches salt.  1 stick melted butter.  1 tsp. vanilla.  2 tbsp. cinnamon  (Quantity on the following depends on how much you want) – Craisins or raisins, sliced almonds and maple syrup.

Prep:  I used a 9X13 pan.  Melted the butter and spread it on the bottom and sides of the pan, then chilled the pan in the refrigerator while I sliced the bread 1/2 inch thick and set that aside.  In a bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk, salt, vanilla and 1 tbsp. cinnamon.  Get the pan out of the refrigerator and assemble.  In a honeycomb pattern (see picture) place the sliced bread in the pan.  Pour the egg mix evenly over the bread.  Sprinkle craisins (or raisins) and sliced almonds in desired amount.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp. cinnamon over everything.

Cook: Set oven to 400 degrees, pre-heat.  Place pan in the center (Center of the rack, set in the middle).  Cooking time 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve:  As soon as you take the pan out of the oven, drizzle maple syrup in desired amount then serve.  My family is casual when it comes to eating so I just put the pan on the table for everyone to serve themselves.  I also leave out the cinnamon and maple syrup – the husband usually likes to add more of that stuff.

Enjoy!


Snack Wrap

I haven’t blogged a recipe lately, so I thought I’d share one of the family favorites.  You can do this for an afternoon snack or even for a meal.

Ingredients: Patties (Beef or turkey), Buttermilk ranch dressing, green leafy lettuce, parmesan cheese and medium soft taco flour tortilla.

Prep: Boil or grill the patties, add spices and seasoning to flavor.  Cut in half and set aside.  We use the sun-dried tomato flavored turkey patties so no extra seasoning is added.  Wash and dry the lettuce, then cut off the bottom so all you have left are mostly leaf.

To make:  Lay the tortilla flat on a plate.  Place two pieces of lettuce on the tortilla.  on top of it, place the two halves of the patty.  Drizzle some ranch dressing.  Sprinkle some parmesan cheese.  Roll it up and enjoy!

You can get creative, it’s a very simple dish to make and is one of those dishes that can be healthy and the kids will still love it!

 


Fudge Squares

Why wait til the holidays for fudge squares?  Yes, this is the original Fantasy Fudge recipe from the back of the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar. We’ll never know why they changed the recipe on us, but we’ve preserved the recipe for you right here.

Makes about 117

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Traditional method:
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

Microwave method:
Microwave margarine in 4-quart microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) 1 minute or until melted. Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 minutes. Mix well; scrape bowl. Continue microwaving on HIGH 5-1/2 minutes; stir after 3 minutes. Stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Makes 3 pounds.

Note: Can be made in a smaller pan for thicker squares (yield will be reduced).

Thank you christmas-cookies.com for the recipe.


Buttercream Cheese Icing

A few weeks ago, I made red velvet cup cakes with buttercream icing for a surprise baby shower for my sister.  I attempted to make blue velvet because she was having a boy.  The cake batter looked like something I would rather not describe here, but when they were baked, it looked just like a chocolate cupcake.  Using the buttercream icing recipe, I decided to change it up a bit and added whipped cream cheese.  It was a successful experiment.  It was light, fluffy, a bit buttery with a hint of cheese.  You can use this with any boxed chocolate cupcake mix and even on brownies.  Enjoy!

Buttercream Cheese Icing

Servings: 36

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 vanilla bean OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (add a 3rd cup if you like it sweet)
2 tablespoons milk
1  8oz tub whipped cream cheese

Directions:  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.  Taste if sweet enough and add the 3rd cup of confectioner’s sugar if desired.  Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.


Red velvet cupcakes with buttercream icing

I made few dozen red velvet cupcakes for a surprise baby shower for my baby sister and thought I might share the recipe, since it was very much liked.  The hardest part was refusing to dip my fingers in the batter while mixing the ingredients and sampling them after.  Thank goodness for my daughter and her friend for being my victims testers, although eventually I gave in and had some myself.  I know traditionally, the preferred icing for red velvet is cream cheese.  I paired it with my favorite buttercream and it actually turned out great.  Enjoy!

I got this recipe from a good friend of mine, which she found on www.allrecipes.com

————————————-

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 160 | Total Fat: 5.5g | Cholesterol: 34mg (By ESHA Nutrient Database)

Servings: 20.  Prep Time: 30 Min.  Cook Time: 20 Min.  Ready In: 50 Min

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 fluid ounce red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.

Link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/red-velvet-cupcakes/detail.aspx

Buttercream Icing

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 181 | Total Fat: 9.8g | Cholesterol: 12mg (By ESHA Nutrient Database)

Servings: 20.  Prep Time: 15 Min.  Ready In: 15 Min

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Directions:  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.

Link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttercream-icing/detail.aspx


Chicken with asparagus in wine & butter

I love cooking with wine.  Most of it makes it in the pan.  Here’s another dish, great for entertaining or just dinner.  This took me about 20 minutes to make and five seconds to eat.  You can make a healthier version by grilling, but we’re talking spring in the Pacific Northwest people.  It’s in the 40′s out there!  For today, we are pan searing indoors.

Ingredients: 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed.  2  cups white wine (I used pino grigio, but any white wine will work, even riesling). 4 tbsp butter.  1 tbsp olive oil.  1 bundle or about 1 lb. asparagus.  About 1 tsp salt.  About 1 tsp pepper.

Wash the asparagus, cut the bottom off.  To know how much to cut off, take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks.  Discard the bottoms and cut asparagus in half, place in a dish where you can soak it in 1/2 cup of wine.

Cut up chicken in strips.  Size and shape is up to you.  The smaller the pieces, the quicker it cooks.  Set heat to medium high.  Place chicken and 1 & 1/2 cups wine in pan and cover.  It should start boiling in about 5 minutes.  Mix it around and add salt and pepper.  I don’t measure.  I use rock salt and peppercorn and crank the grinder over the pan to sprinkle some on the chicken.  So 1 tsp. of each may not be enough, or too much.  Use your best judgement according to your taste and health requirements.

Mix, then cover for another 2 minutes.  Chicken should be cooked by now and wine should be almost gone (if the pan is dry and the chicken is not yet cooked, add another cup of wine for the chicken to cook in).

Increase heat to high.  Add the butter, olive oil and asparagus (with the wine it soaked in).  Mix around and cover for about 2 minutes.  Take lid off.  Sauté to mix flavors around and burn off the wine while charring parts of the chicken and asparagus (takes less than 5 minutes).  That’s it.  Plate, serve and manja!

I’ve used this as an appetizer, but I’ve also used it as a main dish with some pasta, pesto and marinara.  Either way, everyone enjoyed it.


Turkey Sliders

If you’re like me, when someone says “Turkey” I immediately think thanksgiving or too healthy to be delicious.

Well… I just found a way to make Turkey more appealing in flavor, while still keeping it somewhat healthy.  These are great for lunch or dinner and best for entertaining.  Another bonus… Kids love to make it and “gobble” it up.  Okay, enough with the puns… here we go!  We have three types of Sauces.  Italian, Asian and Mexican turkey sliders.

Serving Size: 16 sliders

Bread:  Use Ciabatta or dinner rolls, not exceeding 2.5 inches in diameter or on all sides.

Meat Patties: 2.5 lbs. lean ground turkey.  1 tsp. kosher salt.  1 tbsp. magi seasoning.  1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce.  1 tsp. parsley (chopped or flakes) and 1 tsp. cilantro (chopped or flakes).

Preparation & Cooking:  Mix all together (Make sure meat is thawed).    After thoroughly mixing all together, roll into 1.5 inch balls.  Flatten to 3.5 diameter patties.  Use a skillet or frying pan to cook.  Heat should be set to medium high.  Drizzle a tsp. of olive oil and cook your patties.  Set aside patties on a plate and keep the frying pan going.  We’ll need the pan and grease for the sauce.

Sauce:  Using frying pan and grease from cooking the patties, turn the heat up to high.  Mix in 1 tbsp. crushed garlic and brown.  After garlic is brown, add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and mix for 10 seconds, then see below for following steps:

For Italian turkey sliders in a bowl, put together 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese.  3 tbsp. mayonnaise.  3 tbsp. Caesar salad dressing.  3 tbsp. Ranch dressing.  1 tsp. freshly crushed peppers.  Mix all ingredients.  Pour the sauce from the frying pan over this and continue to mix.    Spread on both top and bottom insides of bread.  Layer: Bottom bread, turkey patty, 1 slice tomato, basil leaf, top bread.  Serve with freshly tossed salad.  Enjoy with a glass of Syrah!

For Asian turkey sliders using the same frying pan after the garlic is browned and the balsamic vinegar mixed in, put 8 to 10 cups shredded cabbage (You can buy a coleslaw mix at the store and use that).  Add 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tsp. magi seasoning.  Mix all together until the cabbage is more than half-cooked.  Use 2 tbsp. or a scoop to put on your patty before placing the top bun.  Serve with some mini lumpia.  Enjoy with cranberry vodka tonic!

For Mexican turkey sliders using the same frying pan after the garlic is browned and the balsamic vinegar mixed in, thinly slice gold (yellow) sweet onions.  Brown it, add a tsp. of cumin and put on your patty, then place some spicy jalapeno potato chips before placing the top bun.  Serve with some tortilla chips, salsa and pico de gallo.  Enjoy with cold cerveza!  


Roasted Chicken with Chili and Corn bread

Sometimes you want to get creative but have no time to do everything from scratch.  I have several “semi home-made” methods with store-bought roasted chicken.  Here’s what I did with it today.

My daughter and I would play “Top Chef” at home.  She would pull ingredients from the refrigerator and the pantry, then I have 30 minutes to come up with a meal… not just a dish, but a whole meal.

Unlike Top Chef, my ingredients are pretty normal.  I don’t normally have eel, black licorice or exotic mushrooms around the kitchen.  Today, she pulled these ingredients, along with some left overs from the roasted chicken we had the other day.

For those who don’t know my food blogging style, I am not as detailed as a real food blogger.  I just slap things together most of the time but feel free to ask me anything if you need more detail.  The ingredients are, corn bread mix, 2 cans of chili, 2 tbsp steak sauce, 4 tbsp bbq sauce, Baja mix veggies and roasted chicken (I normally get the herb flavored roast, but you can choose any type that will go with the sides).  Let’s get started!

  1. Cook the corn bread following the package instructions, but add 1 cup of the Baja mix veggies for every 7 oz bag of corn bread mix.
  2. Follow heating instructions of chili, adding the steak sauce and bbq sauce – depending on how you like your chili, adjust the amounts of steak sauce and bbq sauce you add.
  3. Heat up your roasted chicken in the oven, microwave or pan.
  4. Plate it up.

My favorite was how the corn bread turned out.  That was a pleasant surprise and that I was done plating under 30 minutes!  Have fun with it if you try this!  Happy cooking.

For this recipe,


No-Bake Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

While trying to eat right, I am constantly in search of foods I can still enjoy in flavor and volume to please my palate, my tummy and my figure.  This snack is so far my favorite and I just had to share it with you guys.  Follow the recipe below with a side of 2 tbsp. (chilled) old-fashioned creamy peanut butter.  What I do is dip my crunch bar into it and mm mmm mmmm!  Did I say mmmm?  Makes 24 bars.  129 calories, 3g pro, 23 g car, 1g fiber, 4g fat.

Thank you Woman’s day magazine for this recipe!

For an easy on-the-go treat, try these slightly sweet bars that are full of texture, thanks to crushed whole-grain flake and puffed rice cereals, unsalted peanuts and dried cranberries.
Active Time: 10 minutesTotal Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Recipe Ingredients
2 cups slightly crushed whole-grain flake cereal (we used Kashi)
2 cups whole-grain puffed rice cereal (we used Arrowhead Mills)
1 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup unsalted cocktail peanuts
1⁄2 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1⁄2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1⁄2 cup honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Recipe Preparation

1. Line a 13 x 9-in. baking pan with nonstick foil (let the foil extend about 2 in. above pan at both ends).

2. Mix cereals, cranberries and peanuts in a large bowl.

3. Mix peanut butter, sugar, honey and butter in a 2-qt saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; simmer for 1 minute.

4. Immediately stir into cereal mixture, tossing to evenly coat. Coat hands with cooking spray, then use them to spread and press the mixture in prepared pan. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

5. Holding foil by ends, lift from pan onto a cutting board. Carefully cut lengthwise in 4 strips and then cut each strip in 6; remove foil.

Enjoy!


Chocolate cake in 5 minutes

The most dangerous cake recipe!

I got this recipe from my former boss.  I’ve made it several times since with my kids for a midnight snack while giggling over boys and nail polish colors.  I’ve served it on occasion while entertaining… making the cake was the main event.  I must say it is good with some coffee ice cream with a drizzle of Bailey’s or with some old-fashioned vanilla ice cream and a dallop of whipped cream.  You can have fun with it, use your imagination!

Ingredients: 
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons real cocoa – not hot chocolate mix
1 egg 3 tablespoons half & half – or milk
3 tablespoons butter – melted
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract

You’ll need a large coffee mug.

Add dry ingredients in the coffee mug and mix well.   Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  Pour in the half & half and melted-butter, mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, mix again.  Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes at 1000 watts (high).  The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!   Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.   EAT! (this can serve 2).

“A recipe everyone should know!”

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?   Because now, we’re only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time.  Enjoy!


The new chocolate chip

This is one of those “You have to try it at least once” kinda things… like dipping french fries in vanilla ice cream or sprinkling sea salt on you caramel coffee.

 

Ingredients: Nutella  and Sweet Maui Onion chips

To make: Simply grab a chip and dip it into the chocolate.  The result… chocolate chip!

When I first tried it, I was like “Hm… crunchy, salty, sweet and oh my…”.  It tasted strange at first bite, then as I chewed, I began salivating.  I know, it’s a strange pairing but like I said before… just try it.  I wonder what I can dip my Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips into?


“Make your own pizza” night

For last Friday’s girls’ night, we decided to get creative.

My guests brought their own toppings and drinks…

I provided glasses…

two dozens 8-inch pizza crust and a gallon of pizza sauce (both purchased at Cash & Carry) .  I had my oven set to 425 degrees and covered the bottom grill with foil.  We were able to cook 6 at a time (directly on the top grill, placed mid-high) and took about 12 minutes for each batch.  Keep it in an extra minute or two for a crunchy crust.  The cheese dripping to the foil was burning and produced smoke in my kitchen, which added a “wood fire” flavor so I just kept the vent on high and had the windows open to stop my fire alarms from screaming.  Here are the ones I was able to photograph (before the wine kicked in).  Drum roll please….

Margherita pizza – Pizza sauce, pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil leaves, crushed garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Chicken BBQ pizza – BBQ sauce, chicken sautéed with red onions in bbq sauce, 4 blend cheese and parsley.

Turkey pizza (Voted best) – Pizza sauce, ground turkey pre-cooked, turkey bacon, sliced smoked  gouda, shredded cheddar and cilantro.  I don’t like turkey that much, but I will eat this combo any day!

Classic Hawaiian – Pizza sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple, Colby & jack cheese and green onions.

Garden Pizza – Marinara, Italian squash, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots and Asiago.

We ate, we drank and we were very merry!  Clean up didn’t take long.  At the end of the night, this was all that was left…


Moist & Tender Chicken Ranch BBQ

Flaming Chicken1 whole chicken (Large).  Cut it up in 10 – 12 pieces.  Marinade Sauce: 1 cup Ranch dressing  and 1 cup Italian dressing (Do not use fat-free dressing).  2 TBSP sea or kosher salt.  2 TBSP garlic powder.  2 TBSP onion powder.  2 TBSP Paprika.  2 TBSP Mesquite seasoning liquid smoke.

In a pot, put all ingredients of marinade sauce and use a hand egg beater to mix well.  Piece by piece, dip chicken piece and massage in the sauce mixture until all pieces are well coated.  Now put all the chicken in the same pot and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes, covered.

Use smoking hickory chips on top of your charcoal right before placing the chicken on the grill.   Best results if charcoal is about 5 inches away from grill and if grill has a cover.  Make sure the grill’s air vents are closed before placing the chicken.  Immediately cover your grill and keep closed for at least 8 minutes.  Manage your flames to ensure you don’t burn your food.  Bring the pot you cooked in with you so you can use the juices to brush on while you BBQ or dip the chicken in there every time you turn it.  Best with the chunky & moist corn breadand a spinach salad with tomatoes and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing topped with glazed walnuts and candied cranberries.  Enjoy!


Curry Potatoes with Garlic Pita

This dish is not only easy to make, but is also a party favorite!

Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than an hour!

Ingredients for Curry Potatoes: 1 can coconut milk (approx 13.5 fl oz), 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (1 whole is better, but not if you’re watching your weight), 2 lbs. red potatoes (cut each potato into 8 pcs, leave skin on), 1 bunch spinach (cut stems off and then into 3 strips), 4 stems of fresh thyme (each stem about 5 inches), 1 cup chicken broth, 4 cubes curry paste (See samples of curry paste below).  You can choose the spice level.  I usually get the mild one and offer spices to my guests to add the extra kick.  Medium is also safe.

Now let’s cook!  Wash everything (Potatoes, spinach & thyme… not the butter).  Set heat on medium high, use any kind of pan that will hold your ingredients.  Start with the butter and thyme.  Once butter is melted and the thyme has been swished around in it for a minute, add the potatoes.  Mix it around on high to coat the potato, then pour in the chicken broth.  Your kitchen should start smelling good.  Cover for 5 minutes, leaving it on high.  Make sure it does not burn, adjust your heat down to medium if needed or slide the pot back and forth over the heat while keeping it covered.  We are trying to infuse the flavor of the stock into the potato.  Next, add the coconut milk.  Every time you add a new ingredient, mix everything around.  If the thyme leaves have fallen off by now, carefully pull the stem out of the pot, if not then it’s ok to wait till the end.   Cover for 5 minutes, leaving it on high.  Next, add the 4 cubes of curry paste.  They usually come with 8 cubes.  Scatter the 4 cubes in the pot and push it under the sauce.  Cover and leave on medium for 15 minutes stirring every now and then.  Now add the spinach, stir then cover and leave on medium for 5 minutes.  Let it simmer for an additional 20 minutes on low.  Best served hot off the stove.  Make sure all curry paste cubes have dissolved and stir very well to ensure good distribution of flavor.

Garlic Pita Recipe
Ingredients: A pinch of sea salt, Pita bread (5 pcs of the 7″ rounds), 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin is best), 3 cloves of garlic (freshly peeled, not the bottled kind) and 5 big leaves of fresh basil.

Let us begin!  You can do this while cooking your curry.  Crush garlic (a good way to get your aggression out) and put in a small bowl.  Add the pinch of salt and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix around.  Now fold the basil in half and cut off the its spine and stem, then slice it up into little strips (no thicker than 2 pennies).  Add basil to the bowl, mix it around ad let it sit for a few minutes.  Then spread it on the pita using a spoon or marinade brush or even with your hands.  Pre-heat oven to 325 once you set your stove to low for your curry to simmer. On a cookie sheet, place the greased pita and let sit while the oven is pre-heating for 10 minutes then cook it in the oven, middle rack for 10 minutes.  To serve, cut into 8 pieces (like little slices of pizza).

You can pour the curry in a bowl and place it on a bigger plate so you can spread the pita slices on the plate for easy dipping access.  Enjoy!

PS… I will not be held responsible, if your friends start to frequent your house for this app…. just a warning!


Caprese Skewers

Serving size
24 skewers

Ingredients
24 Mozzarella balls.  24 Grape tomatoes.  Basil leaves.  (Optional) Traditional Basil Pesto Sauce & Spread.

Tools
Bamboo skewers (Can be found in most groceries, at least 4 – 5 inches in length with a knot on one end.  You can use long toothpicks or regular 6 inch skewer sticks) and sauce brush.

To make
Take a skewer and stick one mozzarella ball, followed by a basil leaf (poke on one end of leaf, one tomato, the other end of the same basil leaf and a mozzarella ball.  Lightly salt with sea salt.  (See picture)

OPTIONAL:  If you do not use a basil leaf, brush with the pesto sauce (Enough that all surface is coated) and no need to salt.   Plate, serve and enjoy.  Best served cold.  You can prepare during your party or before your guests arrive.

Have balsamic & olive oil on the side.  This is so easy to make!  Great with my Garlic Cheese Bread and Bad Salad!


Flourless Chocolate Cake aka “The Black Beast”

A friend of mine (Great baker by hobby) brought this to one of my cocktail parties and after my first bite melted in my mouth… it was love at first taste.  I was always partial to milk or white chocolate, as I found dark chocolate to be too bitter for me.  There have been two other exceptions, this would make the third.  Thank you Patti for this yummy dessert.  Please make me more!

This recipe was found on Epicurious.  It went great with red wine for me in the evening, strong coffee with a heavy cream in the morning and a glass of cold milk in the afternoon.  Yes, I had to sacrifice my diet to make sure I experimented well to be able to share with you what drinks go well with this delicious beast.  Enjoy!

Makes 16 servings

La Bete Noire

Bon Appétit  | September 2006
by Jason Aronen
Wilde Roast Café

INGREDIENTS
Cake
•1 cup water
•3/4 cup sugar
•9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter,
diced
•18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet
chocolate, chopped
•6 large eggs

Ganache
•1 cup heavy whipping cream
•8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet
chocolate, chopped
•Lightly sweetened whipped cream

PREPARATION
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter
10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter
parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil
to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil
over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from
heat.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate
and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add
eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into
prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to
roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.

Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently
shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool
completely in pan.

For ganache:
Bring whipping cream to
simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and
whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to
distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until
ganache is set, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and
keep refrigerated.

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release sides.
Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream.


Chocolate Trifle

Once again, my friend Patti came through with an awesome dessert for last week’s cocktail party.  It was more like a dance party since that’s what we did most of the evening besides drinking and devouring this yummy treat.  With “Make it yourself” personal pizzas in the oven, wine in our glasses and Disco on Pandora, this was icing on the cake for a fun-filled evening with the girls.

Here is the recipe she sent me:

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 25 Min
Ready In: 8 Hrs 55 Min

Ingredients:

1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix 1/2 cup water
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 ounce)container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (12 ounce)container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy

Directions:

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.

In a large bowl,combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.

In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping.  Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

For a smaller size, maybe try in martini, brandy glasses or shot glasses.  Have fun!


Filipino Pork Lumpia

Lumpia are pastries of Chinese origin similar to fresh popiah or fried spring rolls popular in Indonesia and the Philippines. The term lumpia derives from Hokkien lunpia (traditional Chinese: 潤餅; pinyin: rùnbǐng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: jūn-piáⁿ, lūn-piáⁿ), which is an alternate term for popiah. The recipe, both fried and fresh versions, was brought by the Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular where they settled in Indonesia and the Philippines.

In the Netherlands and Flanders, it is spelled loempia which is the old Indonesian spelling for lumpia and has also become the generic name for “spring roll” in Dutch. A variant is the Vietnamese lumpia, wrapped in a thinner piece of pastry, in a size close to a spring roll though, the wrapping closes the ends off completely, which is typical for lumpia.  Taken directly from Wikipedia.

There are many ways to make lumpia.  You can get creative and use other meats, even fruits!  This is one of the easiest way I make mine.  Enjoy!

Makes 60 lumpias

Ingredients:  5 cloves garlic (crush).  1 whole yellow onion (dice).  1 pound ground pork.  3 tbsp. olive oil.  3 tbsp Magi seasoning.  1/2 cup oyster sauce.  2 cups Mung Bean Sprouts.  6 cups peas and carrots (About 32 oz).  1 tsp. black pepper. 2 packs Lumpia wrapper (I use Menlo 8X8 wrapper – see picture below).

How to cook the filling:  On high heat, use a frying pan and add oil.  Brown crushed garlic and diced onions.  Once browned, add pork and sauté until cooked.  Add Magi seasoning while sautéing.  On medium heat, add peas and carrots.  Mix every now and then while adding the oyster sauce, then cover for 5 minutes.  On low heat, add bean sprouts and black pepper.  Cover for 10 minutes.

Once the filling is cooked, either let it cool down completely before wrapping or  refrigerate for one day – which is what I do because the wrapper does not tear as easily.  If you wrap it the same day, drain the liquids from the filling first, then refrigerate for about an hour.

To wrap, follow the instructions on the back of Menlo’s packaging.  To cook, fry in 2 inches of oil at 375 degrees until golden brown.  For dipping sauce, the most popular in the United states is the Thai sweet chili sauce.  A true Filipino lumpia sauce (Called sawsawan) is made with vinegar, soy sauce, crushed black pepper and crushed garlic.  I use 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tsp crushed black pepper.  Eat over steamed rice with adobo (CLICK HERE to check out my pork adobo recipe!)

Enjoy your meal… don’t forget to say grace.


Refreshing Salsa Chicken Salad

Ingredients:  2 cups Chicken strips (1/2 X 2 inch – Baked, grilled, fried or roasted chicken breast), 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 cup chopped yellow onion, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 lime, 1 romaine lettuce, 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (Not finely crushed) and ranch dressing.  In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onions and cilantro.  Squeeze the lime over the mix and add 2 pinches of kosher salt.  Mix and set the salsa aside.  Cut up the lettuce in 1/2 inch strips, wash to clean and put in a bigger bowl.  Put in 1/4 cup ranch dressing (Depending on the size of the lettuce you may need less or more.  But use enough to coat the lettuce lightly).  Add the chicken strips and drizzle a bit more ranch to very lightly coat the chicken.  Add the salsa, and mix everything together.  Before serving, add the crushed tortilla chips and mix/toss.  Serve and enjoy!  This goes great with the garlic cheese bread.

The picture shown is a variation of this recipe.  The ranch dressing was blended with pico de gallo instead and was served without the tortilla chips because of this no carb diet I’m on.  I bought an 8 ounce tub and slowly added the ranch dressing (about 1/2 a cup).  I used a whole roasted lemon pepper chicken, de boned and cubed the meat.  I cut 2 whole romaine lettuce in 1 inch strips.  Cut up a lemon into 8 wedges.  I put all the ingredients in its own bowl and set up the assembly line.  Took less than 10 minutes to prepare, made 10 servings.


Easy Oriental Noodle Recipe

Picture by CJ Sternfels

This took me 20 minutes to prepare, using left over grilled steak.  Servings 6-8

Inspired by the Filipino dish called Pancit lomein (I think I spelled that right).  Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack.  Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked.  Follow the instructions on the package on how to cook the noodles.  I just boiled some water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 3-5 minutes and placed the cooked noodles in the strainer.  I used two forks to spread them out a bit.  Still in the strainer, I put about two tbsp Maggi seasoning, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp sesame oil and mixed it around.  Because the noodles are still hot, it sucks in the flavors.  Set aside uncovered.

If you don’t have cooked meat, you can stir fry some chicken pieces.  I’ve used de-boned and skinned thighs and used 4 to 5 thawed and fully defrosted thighs.  Slice it in stir fry size (1/2 x 1/2 X 1 inch).  Heat 1 tbsp. sesame oil on high.  Sauté 3 cloves (crushed) of garlic. 3 chives chopped (in 1/4 inch pieces) with the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until meat is cooked and browned.   Flavor with 2 tbsp oyster sauce.  Then mix in 3 bunches of bokchoy or one small Chinese cabbage (Cut in 1 inch strips) and stir for a minute.  You can use any meat and add more vegetables.  This recipe is very forgiving.  While sautéing the meat and vegetables, slowly add the noodles in until all are in the wok or pan.  Add Maggi as needed, scoop some up in a bowl and enjoy!

If you have cooked meat, prepare the same way, just takes less time to cook.


Sausage in Raspberry Vinaigrette Sauce

Servings: 6.  Prep time 15 minutes.

Ingredients: 10 smoked sausage links (Regular hot dog size).  1 pound broccoli florets.  1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.  1/2 cup water.

Cut sausage diagonally, each link into 4 pieces.  Boil in water covered on high for 10 minutes, or until water is reduced.  Add salad dressing, cover on high for 2 minutes.  Add broccoli (Cut and washed clean) florets, mix and cover for 2-3 minutes.  Cooking on high the entire time.

The time to cook depends on the intensity of your heat.  Ensure sausage is fully cooked and slightly browned before adding the broccoli.  Broccoli should be half-cooked.  Serve and enjoy!


Chunky & Moist Corn Bread

No Low fat/sugar free substitutions 2 sticks butter 1 cup white sugar 1 can evaporated milk 4 eggs 16 OZ sour cream (1 tub) 1 package each – Marie Calender’s corn bread mix and Krusteaz corn bread mix 2 cans whole kernel corn drained 2 cans cream style corn.  See below for dip ingredients.

To prepare: Soften butter, mix sugar in until syrup like then add everything else one at a time in the order listed above – while hand mixing. Mix until somewhat like a brownie mix – a little softer than brownie mix. Pour into two 9X13 greased pan. Pre-heat oven at 325 – cook for 50-60 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

For corn bread dip: mix some whipped salted butter and add honey until it is sweet & buttery enough for you.

For chili dipping corn bread: Reduce the above ingredients to 1 can whole kernel corn & 1 can cream style corn. But you can keep it at 2 cans each if you want your cornbread packed and filling. This recipe is very forgiving… just have fun with it. To the batter, add 1/2 cup red pimento, 1/2 cup green chili (Ortega mild), 1/2 cup chopped yellow cheddar (to the size of half a raisin). mix all by hand. Cooking time may be 55-65 minutes. Right before serving, sprinkle some finely grated cheddar on top, put back in oven until cheese is slightly browned & melted.


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