Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have a Very Betty Christmas!

      Brett and Rachel         Dave and Nat          Terry and Lana             Ryan and Holly              Ryan and Jen

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
FROM OUR KITCHENS TO YOURS

*Betty contributors not pictured:  Jade, Bonnie and Megan

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Herb Box

We love to try new restaurants.  And lucky for us, we have some friends that share our love of good food.  Mary Jo (who also introduced us to Sweet Republic and changed my life forever) heard about The Herb Box in Scottsdale and suggested we give it a try for dinner.  So we tripled up with another couple (who is about to have baby #7 any second now!) and found a night in December to go on a date (Christmas miracle).

The Verdict:
Food:  Off the charts.  Everything we tried was beyond delicious.  We got sweet potato chips as an appetizer and I don't even like sweet potatoes that much but I loved these chips.  All the girls ordered butternut squash enchiladas, which were amazing, and all the guys ordered Thai baby back ribs, which were the most tender ribs I have ever seen/tasted.  And don't even get me started on the desserts we tried.  S'mores creme brulee and crack pie (appropriately named because it could easily become an addiction).  The desserts were both out of this world and I would go back in a heartbeat.


Atmosphere:  Super cool and modern.  Not too casual, not too fancy.  If you go, be sure to check out the bathroom sinks.

Price:  Not cheap.  You're looking at about $30-$40 a person if you want the three courses.  Totally worth every penny.  They do have a cheaper lunch menu (that I can't wait to try) and a happy hour menu from 3pm-6pm.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Creamy Italian Noodles

I got this recipe years ago out of a magazine and kind of forgot about it until just recently.  It's nothing fancy, but very kid friendly and easy to make.  A nice side dish for an Italian meal or a quick dinner for those busy December nights.
1 package (16 oz.) bowtie pasta
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

*Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter and mix until butter is melted.  Add cream and Parmesan and mix well.  Add seasoning and mix again.  Serve right away while it's creamy and hot.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alber's Corn Bread

We have been having some chili-and-cornbread weather around here.  Rainy and cold (I know it's a relative term) for a couple of days this week.  I realized that there is a reason I live in the desert...I love the sun!  After two days of rain, I start to get a little cranky.  But we did love the chili and cornbread we had the other night and this is the recipe off the Alber's corn meal box.
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg

*Mix dry ingredients together.  Add the rest and mix well.  Pour into an 8 inch square baking pan and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Recipe can be doubled for a 9x13.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I usually eat Craisins in my salads but tonight I decided to try them in cookies.  I got the recipe from the back of the Craisins bag.  I was intrigued by the fact that they have no white sugar in them, just brown.  When I told my husband what kind of cookies I was baking, he said, "Vomit."  Then he proceeded to eat 3 in a row.  Vomit?  I think not.  Fabulous?  Indeed!
 

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter, brown sugar and eggs.  Add vanilla, baking soda and salt.  Mix in oatmeal and flour.  Then, add Craisins and chips.  Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375.  Cool on cooling rack.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Vegetable Soup

So far the winter hasn't been too bad here in NY.  Thank goodness!!  But this weekend it was pretty chilly.  Warm, homemade soup was calling my name.  I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com.  The whole family loved it!  It makes a lot so we ate it for a few days with crusty bread.  I loved it because it's full of veggies and not too heavy.  Perfect soup for the cold winter months!



Vegetable Soup
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (I used 2 cans diced tomatoes)
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed(I used 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I didn't have this so I left it out)
 Pour oil into a large stock pot and heat over medium heat.  Add chopped leeks, garlic and a pinch of salt and saute for about 7 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, potatoes and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes.  Then, add the chicken broth and turn stove to high heat.  Bring to a simmer, then add tomatoes, corn and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about 25 minutes until veggies are fork tender.  Remove from heat and add parsley and lemon juice and more seasoning if needed.  Serve immediately. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

I saw this recipe a few months ago on The Girl Who Ate Everything, and I have been meaning to try it ever since.  I finally remembered to buy some chicken thighs (my new favorite kind of chicken!) and the dressing that I needed.  Talk about easy and yummy.  Perfect for this time of year when there are recitals/concerts/parties/family activities every night of the month.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup (or more) Caesar dressing (I used Cardini's)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper (I used more)
Romaine lettuce
slider buns or rolls

*Place chicken in crock pot on low with a cup or two of water.  Cook 5-6 hours until done.  Take out chicken and drain water from crock pot.  Shred chicken on cutting board and then put back in crock pot.  Add dressing (as much as you like), Parmesan, parsley and pepper.  Mix well and cook for another 30-60 minutes.  You can turn it up to high if you need it to heat up quick.  Serve on warm buns/rolls with a little more Parmesan and some lettuce.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paula Dean's Chicken Noodle Soup

I found this recipe for Paula Dean’s chicken noodle soup online and I knew it had to be good, because lets be real, anything Paula makes is delicious!  I had tried different chicken noodle soup recipes and they were ok, but this one is life changing!  My 2 year old even ate a whole entire bowl.  So, I suggest if you don’t have all of the ingredients then you go to the store so you can make it for dinner tonight….you won’t be disappointed.

(I did make a few changes when I made mine...I used regular lemon pepper, I did not use any sherry, I didn't put any mushrooms in it, I didn't put any parmesan cheese or heavy cream and I didn't use any season salt. Even with these changes it was still as good as ever)

Ingredients

4   bay leaves
3   chicken bouillon cubes
1   onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Paula Deen Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3   cloves garlic, minced
1   2 1/2 to 3-pound fryer (chicken), cut up
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 1/2 quart water
kosher salt and pepper to taste

For Step 2:
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Paula Deen Seasoned Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
crusty french bread, for serving

Directions

For the stock: add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside. 

For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Add Parmesan and cream, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper. Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French bread.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Taco Pasta

 I made this taco pasta dish last week and it was delish!  It was a fun change to regular 'ole pasta with marinara sauce.  I loved the addition of cream cheese and sour cream.  And it tastes just like a taco!  Another great recipe from this blog.


Taco Pasta

1 pound ground beef
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes, cooked and drained
1/2 cup pasta water
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained (if making this for kids, you might want to use just plain diced tomatoes)
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper



In a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet.  Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.  Toss in the cilantro right before serving.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and serve.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pizza

My friend, Lisa, brought me a big bunch of basil that she grew in her garden.  If I had to choose a favorite herb, it would be basil.  Wait, is cilantro an herb?  It might be a tie.
Anyway, what better way to use fresh basil than to make it into pesto?  And what better way to use pesto than to spread it on a pizza?  They serve a similar pizza to this at Sauce and I love it.  Here is our homemade version.

Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)
Pesto (I used about 1/2 cup)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Chicken, cooked and shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Pine nuts

*Roll pizza dough out on a pan or pizza stone.  Spread pesto over dough.  Sprinkle with cheese, chicken, parmesan and pine nuts.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

*I like to bake the dough for about 5 minutes before adding toppings because I want to make sure it gets totally done all the way through.

*Also, the pizza at Sauce has diced tomatoes on it and I totally would have done that if I had had any.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

 This year, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at our friend's house.  My friend made the turkey, corn, yams, and an Oreo pie. I volunteered to bring the mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and rolls.  3 things I never make.  3 things that are very important sides in a Thanksgiving meal.  Not sure what I was thinking when I offered to bring them but I was ready for the challenge!  Luckily, all 3 things turned out and we had a delicious Thanksgiving meal.  Moral of the story, if I can make these rolls, anyone can.  They were actually easy, you just have to give them time to rise.  I got the recipe from my friend Stephanie, then saw it on Mel's Kitchen Cafe too.  Go to either blog for detailed instructions and recipe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple-Cranberry Sauce

I have always been grossed out by cranberry sauce. At Thanksgiving growing up everything was made from scratch except the cranberry sauce in which my Mom would open a can of oceanspray cranberry sauce and dump it on a plate. It always really grossed me out. That big clump coming out of the can. So I never even tried it. A couple of years ago my sister in law Tiffany brought this homemade cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving. I wasn't going to try it until my brother told me I had to. I loved it! It was so good with the turkey and even better the next day with the leftover turkey on sandwitches. Yum
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1. Sort the cranberries, discarding all soft ones and removing all stems. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, apple, water, sugar, salt, cinnamon and clove; stir together. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, partially covered, until thickened, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Transfer to a bowl to cool before serving. (May be covered and refrigerated, but should be room temperature before serving.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pioneer Pudding

This is a recipe out of The Friend magazine that my kids get.  They always have one recipe in each issue and I get so excited to see what it is each month.  
I am a big fan of rice pudding and this one looked so easy that I couldn't wait to try it.  When I first took it out of the oven, I thought it was a major fail, but then it came around and we ended up really liking it.
2/3 cup rice
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg (I did both)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup raisins (I left these out)

*Put all ingredients into a 2 quart glass baking dish and stir together.  Bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours. Take out and let cool for 15 or so minutes, then stir really well before serving.  Or refrigerate and serve cold.  It looks super duper soupy when it comes out of the oven, but after it cooled a little and I stirred it real good, it thickened up.  I liked it warm but I think I even liked it better today out of the refrigerator.  It's not custardy, because there are no eggs in it, but it has a great flavor.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Brownies

 Lets' talk brownies.  Brownies and ice cream are one of my favorite desserts.  It's the perfect combo.  I've tried a few homemade brownie recipes but always go back to the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies from the box.  Rich chocolatey flavor with chocolate chunks mixed in.  They are perfect in every way.  Well, I might have found some competition for my fave.  I googled "best brownies" and came upon this recipe from food.com.  I had all the ingredients and they were super easy.  Sadly, I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand to throw in.  Don't worry, I'll do it next time!  These brownies were amazing!!!  They taste just as good, if not better, as the Ghirardelli ones.  My dream come true!  Best brownies is right.


Best Brownies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix sugar and oil.  Then, add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, baking powder, salt and flour.  Pour into wet mix and stir until smooth.  Pour into a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hot Corn Dip

 I am a corn lover.  I love cornbread, corn tortillas, and corn chips.  And I love canned corn.  I know, weird.  This warm corn dip is so good!  It would be perfect for an appetizer at a party or gathering.  Serve it warm with tortilla chips and you've got a delicious combo!

I know my picture is horrible.  Sorry.

Hot Corn Dip
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears fresh white or yellow corn) or frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise  (I only used 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack or cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Tortilla chips, for dipping
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with corn, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes then transfer to a bowl.  In same skillet, add rest of butter and onion and bell peppers.  Cook until wilted then add garlic, jalapeno, and green onions.  Let all the vegetables soften  then add to the bowl of corn.  Mix in mayo, cayenne, and half of both cheeses.  Stir to combine then pour into an 8x8 baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

*Next time, I will substitute sour cream for the mayo.  It tasted great but I have mayo issues.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Potpourri in a Pot

I made this the other day and my friend asked if she could eat it because it smelled so good.  This is the best way to make your house smell like the holidays. 

Potpourri

2 cinnamon sticks
5-8 whole cloves
1 apple cut up
a few shakes of cinnamon
water (or apple juice)

Throw everything in a small pot and fill it up with water (or juice).  Bring to boil then turn your stove down as low as it goes to a simmer.

Watch to make sure your water doesn't all evaporate (it isn't fun cleaning your pan and the burned smell defeats the purpose of the potpourri).  This works the great if you have one of those little crock pots that is used for sauces. My mom just bought an old little sauce pan from a thrift store that she doesn't care about.   Just keep adding more water throughout the day.
You can do lots of variations of this.  This is my fall version.   At Christmas time, I use orange peel and/cranberries instead of the apple and I always throw in fresh pine.  Honestly, this is so much better than any candle I have ever used.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lone Star Chicken Enchiladas

I got this recipe from one of my Taste of Home magazines.  I LOVE when that little gem of a magazine arrives in my mail each month.  So many good recipes that are tried and true!  This one is actually an award winning recipe.  And I'm all about trying award winning recipes!  Especially enchiladas.  My fave.  These were soooo good and did not disappoint!  I will definitely be making these again.  Soon.


Lone Star Chicken Enchiladas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chilies
3/4 cup salsa verde
1 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 tsp. salt
12 to 18 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese

Put chicken, diced tomatoes, green chilies, salsa and cumin in crockpot.  Cook on low for 4 - 6 hours.  Shred chicken.  In a bowl, mix whipping cream and salt.  Dip tortillas in whipping cream then top with about a 1/4 cup of chicken mixture.  Roll up and repeat until pan is full.  Pour remaining cream on top and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

PUMPKIN BUTTERMILK BUNDT CAKE


Are you tired of all things pumpkin yet? I found this recipe in an old cookbook I was looking through--it doesn't even have a cover on it anymore. I love any kind of cake or bread that is made with buttermilk. I made this and it was a hit--even to my husband who is not a "cake guy". He is basically a pie lover!!

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
For glaze:
2 T butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-3 T cream or milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan. Combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.
Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.
Spoon batter into pan. Shake a few times to be sure to remove any bumps then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.
To make glaze, heat butter until melted. Stir in sifted powdered sugar. Mix in cream or milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Drizzle over cake while it is on a wire rack so excess falls through.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

caramel apples

we made caramel apples one weekend after spending the day at the pumpkin patch. such a yummy fall treat and pretty easy. but kind of messy!



what we used-
fuji apples
kabob skewers
2 bags cubed caramels
1 bag melted ghirarrdeli milk choc chips
crushed candy

Melt caramel over stove top according to instructions on bag (it will tell you to add some water). Scrub apples with soap to get wax off. Stick apples with skewers. Dip apples in caramel, use spatula to help cover apple entirely. Place on wax paper to harden. At this point you can drizzle chocolate, roll in candy or do whatever with your apple. Once you are done, place in fridge or freezer to harden. Keep in fridge overnight!
**we did not and woke up to a puddle of caramel around our apples.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Caramel Crunch Bars

I got this recipe from the back of the Caramel Bits bag.  It sounded like the perfect salty/sweet treat.  These bars were so easy to throw together and I had everything in my pantry.  I love that they are crunchy, chewy, salty and sweet all at the same time!!  I keep finding myself back in the kitchen for just one more bite!

Caramel Crunch Bars

4 1/2 graham crackers
1 bag Caramel Bits (found in baking isle by chocolate chips)
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup pretzels, crushed
1/2 cup marshmallows
4 oz. chocolate, melted

Line 8x8 pan with foil.  Grease.  Place graham crackers on bottom of pan to fit.  Might need to cut or break them to fit.  Melt caramel with milk in microwave for 2 minutes.  Pour over graham crackers.  Top with peanuts, pretzels and marshmallows.  Drizzle melted chocolate on top.  Put in refrigerator for 1 hour.  Cut into squares and serve.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Here is another recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It originated on a cute blog called, "Stick a Fork in it."  We really liked the sauce and of course I love any meal that can be cooked in the crockpot.  
Chicken breasts or chicken tenders (I used frozen tenders)
1 small bottle of bbq sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder

*Place chicken in crockpot.  Mix up sauce with other ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low for 3-5 hours depending on how big your chicken is.  I used about 12 chicken tenders and it was perfectly done in 3 hours.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nutella Fruit Dip

I found this recipe (is two ingredients considered a recipe?) on Pinterest.  I kind of feel like Pinterest is taking over the world.  What if Pinterest and Facebook got married?  They would be the richest couple that ever lived.  I'm not complaining, though, because Pinterest has opened up a whole new world of recipes to try and food pictures to drool over.  When I saw this fruit dip on there, I went right to my kitchen and whipped some up.  Then I got out an apple, some strawberries, and a banana and dipped like there was no tomorrow.  Then I got a spoon and ate the rest.  How can something so simple be so delicious?  Oh yeah...because it has Nutella in it.
Nutella
Plain Greek yogurt (I like FAGE Total 0%)

*I didn't measure but I think I used about half as much Nutella as yogurt.  So maybe 1 cup yogurt and half a cup of Nutella.  Or maybe even a little less Nutella.  Just mix it up until you like it and then start dipping!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

Remember the days of Pampered Chef parties?  Do people still have those?  I haven't been to one in many years but I used to love those parties because you got to eat free food.  Plus, I really do love their kitchen tools.  Everything I bought from them back in the day is still in my kitchen and gets used regularly.  Anyway, one of the gadgets I have is a salad dressing mixer/container and it has recipes on the sides.  This Italian dressing recipe is one of them and I tried it on Sunday and loved it.
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt

*Mix or shake really well and serve over salad.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dark Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Ever since I ate that legendary cookie from the Levain Bakery in NYC, I haven't stopped thinking about dark chocolate and walnuts.
A food marriage that is sure to last.
I looked at a few different cookie recipes that I love and came up with this one.  It's practically healthy, minus the butter and brown sugar.  My husband and I loved them, but the kids were less than impressed.  They don't appreciate dark chocolate or walnuts yet, but I'm not giving up hope.
1 cup butter, softened to room temp
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used hard white wheat flour)
2 cups oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 bag dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup walnuts, broken into small pieces

*Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add chocolate chips and walnuts and mix to combine.  Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes at 350.  I take mine out when they still look a little gooey and then I let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 more minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Baked Potato Soup and Homemade Croutons

My mom gave me a bunch of red potatoes from her garden this year, and oh they are so good.  I have been trying to get creative with potato meals to make sure they all get used.  They were so good in this soup, but really you can use any potato in this soup.  I think the best part about this soup was the homemake croutons, cause you know, I gotta have my carbs.  My friend Kate made these croutons for a salad at play group and I haven't been able to stop thinking about them.  You must make these! 

Baked Potato Soup

4 good sized red potatoes baked and diced. I left the skin on mine (Bake these at 350 for an hour.  You will want to cover with foil so the skin doesn't get to crunchy.)
1/4 cup butter
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 milk
1 14.5oz can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
5 strips bacon chopped
5 green onions chopped

You will want extra cheese, bacon, and green onions for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
Homemade croutons (recipe below)

Melt butter in large sauce pan, add garlic and saute for a min or so.  Stir in flour then slowly whisk in milk. Next, stir in your broth.  Continue stirring on medium heat until the soup starts to thicken and heats up but don't let it boil or the milk will curdle (if this does happen or if the soup is all all lumpy at this point just throw the soup in a blender and pulse until smooth).  Now add the cheese; when that is melted throw in the potatoes, bacon and green onions.  Let the soup simmer all the yummy flavors together for ten minutes. Serve and then top with more cheese, bacon, onions, sour cream and don't forget the amazing croutons.  This is not a low calorie food :)

Homemade Croutons
Half a loaf french bread (even better if it is a day or two old)
2 T melted butter
2 T olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut up the bread into little crouton sized squares and put them into a large bowl.  Mix the butter and oil together.  Now the fun part, with your hands toss the garlic with the bread.  Once you feel like the garlic is evenly dispersed pour the oil/butter mixture over bread while you toss with the other hand.  Then do the same thing with the garlic salt (do 1/4 to 1/2 tsp to taste).  After the bread is evenly coated with all of its goodness, spread it out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  You'll wanna keep a close eye on them as they will burn fast.

Costco Pesto Sandwich

I named this the Costco sandwich because I bought all of the ingredients at Costco.  If you don't live by a Costco, you can still find these ingredients at most grocery stores.  Good pesto is hard to find, but it's also easy to make.  Don't you just love the smell of Pesto?  I can't get enough of it.  It's right up there with baby lotion and new car smell.
I really love hot sandwiches...especially when they involve pesto and melted mozzarella.  I made these for lunch one day and then dinner the next day.
Torta sandwich rolls
roma tomatoes, sliced
BelGioioso fresh mozzarella
Kirkland fresh basil pesto
Tellicherry pepper

*Cut sandwich rolls in half and lay on a cookie sheet.  Spread pesto generously on each side.  Put a layer of tomatoes and then grind pepper over them.  Slice off some mozzarella and layer over tomatoes. Broil in oven until cheese is melted and bread is toasty.  You can do all open-faced sandwiches or use the other half of the roll on top.  Serve while nice and hot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars

Chances are that you already have a favorite pumpkin bar recipe.  And chances are that it's a lot like this one.  They're all pretty similar, give or take a few measurements.  But in case you are still searching for your favorite, here is the one I like the best.  Just the right amount of everything and the frosting that came straight from Heaven.  I wish Paula Deen was my next door neighbor.
4 eggs
1  2/3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

*Beat the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  Then add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until batter is smooth.  Spread on a cookie sheet (with one-inch sides) and bake for about 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp.
1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
little bit of milk if needed

*Beat cream cheese and butter until really smooth.  Slowly add powdered sugar, then vanilla and a dash of salt.  If it's too thick, add a little milk until it looks spreadable.  Spread evenly over cooled pumpkin sheet cake and then cut into bars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 I got this recipe from my beautiful friend, Diane.  Probably the nicest person I've ever met!  If you ever feel down about yourself, just hang out with Diane for 1 minute and she'll give you 50 compliments.  So nice.  She brought this soup to a church function and everyone was raving about it.  I got the recipe from her and made it last week.  Definitely a keeper in my recipe book!!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 fresh diced garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can tomatoes, diced   
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies, diced
1 (1 1/4-1 1/2 ounce) packet taco seasoning, low sodium, no msg
1 (10 count) package corn tortillas     (broken or cut into small pieces)
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 cup milk
12 ounces monterey jack cheese or 12 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded
corn tortilla chips, broken into small pieces




Put all ingredients, except corn tortillas, milk, cheese and chips, in crockpot.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. One hour before serving, add corn tortillas, milk and cheese to soup.  Stir.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eating in NYC

BC and Me with Rupert at the Hello Deli in NYC


We are back from our New York trip and I am still dreaming about the amazing week we had there.
We spent two days in Palmyra, three days in Albany and two days in New York City.
I loved all of it and can't wait to go back!  Now onto the food...

I had a list of places that I really wanted to eat at in NYC and we made it to almost all of them.  We also hit a few places that were not on the list because we were hungry and lost.  My husband knows that I am serious about food and did his best to find everything using his phone and a map, even though neither one of us had ever been there.  

Monday
Breakfast:  Starbucks
*We broke our rule of not eating anywhere that we can eat here, as soon as we got off the train.  We were so hungry and had no idea what we were doing so we walked into Starbucks and got some breakfast sandwiches.  They were ok.
Lunch:  Shake Shack
*Amazing burgers and delicious custard.  Well worth the long line we waited in.  I highly recommend eating there.
Dinner:  Mesa Grill
*This is Bobby Flay's restaurant and the food was really good.  The prices were high, so we shared, but we loved all of our food.  My favorite thing was some corn that we had as a side-dish.  It had all kinds of amazing things in it.
Tuesday
Breakfast:  Toasties
*This wasn't on our list but we saw it while we were walking and it looked so good.  Really clean and modern inside with lots of fresh ingredients and a yummy menu.  The food was delish and I would definitely go back there. 
Snack: Magnolia Bakery
*We ordered banana pudding because a lady in line recommended it and I am not kidding you when I say it was life-changing.  Best thing I ate the whole trip.  Please go there and get that.  We also got some cheesecake and it was super tasty.  Such a cute bakery, too.
Another snack: Levain Bakery
*We had to try their huge cookies and man were we glad we did. Hot chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.  Melt in your mouth.
Lunch: Hot dog stand in Central Park
* I was still full from our "snacks" but BC tried a hot dog and said it wasn't that great.  Nothing special.
Dinner: Bella Vita Pizza
*We really wanted to try pizza from Lombardi's but never found it so we tried this place and it was good but not great.  I have had lots of pizza here in Arizona that I liked better.
Dessert: Pinkberry
*My favorite yogurt place because of their original tart.  It's the best.  I really wish we had one here.  

So that is what we ate in NYC.  So many places to try and so little time!  I still want to try Serendipity's, Lombardi's, Pret A Manger, Chopt'd, Cafe Habana and The Donut Plant.  What are your favorite places in NYC?  Do tell!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies


 I love the Fall.  I love pumpkin.  I love pumpkin spice Hershey Kisses.  And I loved these cookies!  I couldn't wait to get my hands on these kisses this year!  I knew they would make their appearance come October, so I waited patiently and hurried to Target to buy some as soon as I could.  Last year, I made pumpkin cookies with the pumpkin spice kisses.  This year, I wanted to try something different.  My friend, Stephanie, had the idea of adding them to your basic oatmeal cookie with a few spices thrown in.  Genius!  I used my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe as the base.  I think these are the perfect fall treat!!


Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 bag of Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, quartered

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Pour in spices then oatmeal and flour.  Mix then add chocolate chips and kisses.  Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.  Cool on cooling wrack. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP





Here in AZ we are pretending it is getting to be fall (last week 75 degrees, this week 92--go figure). However, I do love it when it gets a little cooler so we can have soup; my favorite. There is something about a steaming hot bowl of soup and some good crusty bread that just makes me feel safe and secure.

I got this recipe from my dear friend, Mary who is a fabulous cook and most of the time she makes her own chicken stock! This recipe makes a lot and for those with smaller families, you can certainly 1/2 the recipe.

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices
4 cups celery, diced small
1-2 T. Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
4 quarts of chicken broth
16 ounces cheese tortellini (packaged in the refrigerator section at the store)
4-5 cups cooked shredded chicken
2-3 T. chicken bullion granules (or **Better Than Bullion)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, Italian seasoning and the bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes until vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bullion. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add more bullion ahnd Italian seasoning if you like. Add the tortellini and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve in bowls sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


**I use Better Than Bullion instead of cubes or granules. It has a better, more rich flavor--probably due to the fact it has some of the fat from chicken in it. Sounds gross--but really makes soups and stews taste good!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sour Cream Beef Enchiladas

 First things first.  Please don't stop looking at this blog because of this gross picture.  It's obvious that I have a lot to learn about food photography, and believe me, it's on my to-do list.
Also, I am in New York at Holly's house and tomorrow morning I am taking a train with BC to New York City and I can't remember the last time I was this excited about going somewhere. 
Not to sound dramatic, but I've pretty much been dreaming of going to NYC my whole life.
I have a long list of places I want to eat and only two days to hit them all...so wish me luck.
Now about the enchiladas.  They were really easy and really good.  It was fun to try a different spin on the traditional beef enchiladas that we usually eat.
 


1 medium onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1 (10 oz.)  can hot enchilada sauce
1 (10 oz.) can mild enchilada sauce
1 cup frozen white corn
12 corn tortillas
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

*Brown ground beef with onion.  Add sour cream and corn.  Mix well while heating over medium heat.  Add half the can of hot enchilada sauce.  Stir to combine.  Warm up tortillas.  Spoon some meat mixture into each tortilla.  Top with a little cheese.  Roll up and place in a 9x13 pan.  When the pan is full, mix the remaining enchilada sauces and pour over top.  Cover with cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

MAORI BREAD




We vacationed in San Diego a few weeks ago with my brother and his wife. My brother's best friend of 20 years and his wife came along too--and were we lucky because his wife is the MOST FABULOUS COOK (thanks Marty)! She brought this delicious bread with her and we made it twice on the trip! It is so delicious and the easiest bread I have ever made! So easy--we made it on vacation. It has a sweet flavor and is delicious as toast or peanut butter sandwiches. I have used brown sugar instead of white sugar also.

MAORI BREAD
5 c. Lukewarm water
1 c. Sugar
2 1/2 T. Yeast

Stir together with a wisk. Let stand for 20 min.

10 c. Flour
1 1/2 t. salt

Place flour in large bowl. Make a well in center. Pour yeast mixture in well. Mix until all flour is combined. Will be lumpy. Let stand for 20 min.

Dump dough on heavily floured counter. Knead about 10 times. Dough is very sticky. Form into 3 regular loaves or 4 smaller loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and let raise for 20 min. Bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

A new girl, named Stephanie, moved into our branch, which is always exciting!  And what's even more exciting is that she loves to bake AND has a recipe blog!  I know, too good to be true.  About a week ago, she sent me a text saying she had made cupcakes for a business dinner(she's legit) and had some leftovers and asked if I wanted them.  Please, I would take leftover cupcake crumbs.  She even gave them to me in a cute cupcake box!  She made vanilla and turtle and they were SOOO good!  Those cupcakes didn't stand a chance in our house.  Anyways, you will have to check out her recipe blog.  I got these peanut butter cup bars from her and they were finger lickin' good!!

jkln,
Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Base:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Topping:
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter in saucepan on stove.  When melted, remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar.  Stir until smooth.  Add peanut butter and crumbs and mix well.  Pour into an 8x8 pan lined with foil and greased.  Melt chocolate chips and pour over peanut butter base.  Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes until chocolate has hardened.  Cut and serve.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cinnamon Muffins

Dessert for breakfast you ask? YES! Worth it? YES!
These sweet and delicious muffins are from my husband's family and have become a Conference tradition in our house. Get a big glass of milk or water ready before you eat them because they are super sweet and rich, but that cinnamon taste is soooo good. Don't forget the sauce- its the best part!!

Muffins...
1/2 Cup butter
3/4 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 Cup flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 Cup milk

Sauce...
1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 Cup milk
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs; combine dry ingredients and gently blend into creamed mixture. Stir in milk. Spoon into lightly greased or paper-lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
For sauce, combine sugar and cinnamon, then add all other ingredients. Cook on stove until thickened. Serve over top of warm muffins. Makes 1 dozen.
(I keep the burner on low or med-low. I don't let the sauce boil. Once you stir it on the stove for 5-10 minutes and take it off, the sauce will thicken as it cools)



Friday, September 30, 2011

     A few years ago, my husband and I lived in Wisconsin while he was going to medical school.  We made life-long friends during this time, one of which was a girl named Jamie.  When I think about Jamie, I think hot mama!  She's always done up with the latest fashions and stylin' hair.  She keeps a spotless house and has the decorator's touch.  She is one of those skinny girls who eats chocolate chip cookies for lunch.  Jamie is as strong as they come.  She beat cancer for heaven's sake!  Twice!  In fact, when I met her she had recently finished chemo and a bone marrow transplant.  Like I said, this girl is strong!  She's been cancer free ever since.  Jamie has since adopted a darling girl and moved to Missouri for her husband's residency.  She started a design blog called Kreyv.  It's fabulous and so fun to look at and get ideas from!  Thanks to Jamie for giving Becoming Betty the Versatile Blogger award!  Go check out her fun blog ASAP!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Sticky Wings

I got this recipe from my sister in law and it did not disappoint.
I love how you can make it and then put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours,
so if you are having a party you can make them ahead of time. Even though it
has cayenne pepper in it, it is not too spicy at all. My 2 year old even loved them!



Slow-Cooker Sticky Wings

1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds chicken wings, halved at joint and wingtips removed (or just buy the already-cut pack in the freezer section)
¼ cup water
¼ cup tomato paste

1. MAKE RUB Pulse ginger, garlic, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper in food processor until finely ground. Add mixture to slow cooker insert. Add chicken and toss until combined.

2. COOK AND COOL Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Using slotted spoon, remove wings from slow cooker and transfer to clean large bowl (discard liquid in slow cooker). Let wings cool 20 minutes (or cool briefly and refrigerate up to 24 hours).

SAUCE AND BROIL (The oven rack should be 10 to 12 inches from the broiler element. Don’t wander off while the wings are in the oven.)

3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Set wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and spray rack with baking spray. Whisk water, tomato paste, remaining sugar, remaining soy sauce, and remaining cayenne in bowl. Add half of sauce to bowl with cooled wings and toss gently to coat. Arrange wings, skin side up, on prepared baking rack. Broil until wings are lightly charred and crisp around edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Flip wings, brush with remaining sauce, and continue to broil until well caramelized, about 3 minutes. Serve with ranch!
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Gooey Butter Cake Variations

I posted a recipe for Gooey Butter Cake a while back and just recently, I found out that there are lots of variations to this rich and delicious dessert.  
We had a Relief Society meeting last Thursday and they passed around a sign up sheet the Sunday before asking for women to help make the desserts.  One of those easy gigs where they bring you all the ingredients and you just have to make it.  Don't you love organized organizations?  I was excited to try out a new dessert recipe, so I signed up for the peanut butter version of the gooey butter cake.  Here's the sad part of the story...I made it and smelled it baking and couldn't wait to try it, but then ended up not being able to make it to the meeting.  So I had no idea if it was even good, although my nose told me it was.  Well, I couldn't stop thinking about it so I went and bought the ingredients and made it on Sunday for our dessert.  Here's the happy ending to the story...it tasted so good and gooey and we loved it!  Hooray for happy dessert endings!
Original Gooey Butter Cake:
Crust
1 package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 cube butter, softened to room temp
Filling
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cube butter, melted
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar

*Combine ingredients for crust and press into a 9x13 or a round, spring form pan.  For filling, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add butter and mix again.  Add powdered sugar and beat really well.  Spread the filling over the crust.  Bake the cake at 350 until it is golden brown but the center is still jiggly.  This takes about 30-40 minutes for a 9x13 and longer for a spring form pan.  Cool for at least an hour, but it's even better if you can refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight.  Top with fruit and whipped cream or just enjoy it in all it's buttery glory.

Variations
*Peanut Butter:  Use a chocolate cake mix for the crust.  Add 1 cup peanut butter and 1 extra egg to the filling.
*Chocolate:  Use a chocolate cake mix for the crust.  Add 2 Tbs. cocoa and 1 cup nuts (optional) to the filling.
*Lemon:  Use a lemon cake mix for the crust.  Add 1/2 cup lemon juice, zest of 2 lemons, and 1 extra egg to the filling.
*Coconut:  Use a white cake mix for the crust.  Add 1 cup unsweetened coconut to the filling.  You could also add a little coconut oil flavoring or extract to the filling.
*Pumpkin:  Add 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin and 1 extra egg to the filling.  Top with pecans and whipped cream when serving.
*Carrot Cake:  Use a spice cake mix for the crust.  Add 1 cup chopped nuts and 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots to the filling.
*Chocolate Chip:  Use yellow or chocolate cake mix for the crust.  Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup nuts on top of filling before baking.
*Banana:  Add two ripe bananas and 1 extra egg to the filling.

***Thanks to my friend, Marie, for passing on these fun variations on such a great dessert!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple


1 cup dry white rice, cooked in 2 cups water
2 Tbsp real butter
Juice from 1 large lime, or two smaller ones (taste as you go, I add a lot)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

½ – ¾ C chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. As soon as it’s done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add lime juice, pineapple, and cilantro. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

* You’ll want to serve this right away, if you don’t, the flavors tend to mellow a bit and you’ll probably need to add more lime juice because the rice kind of sucks it up. If you’re not quite ready to eat when your rice finishes cooking, just toss in the butter and keep a lid on it so it stays warm. Then right before you serve it, toss it all together.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Peach Cobbler Debate

Ever since I canned peaches a few weeks ago, I've been on a peach cobbler kick.  I've made 3 different recipes in the last 2 weeks and have been analyzing them to decide which was in my favorite.  Nerd alert!  I know.  But I'm a foodie, what can I say?  I posted the first recipe just over a week ago.  It had brown sugar and cinnamon and the crust was like a sweet biscuit.  The 2nd recipe, which I will post, is more of a cake-like cobbler.  My husband liked it better than the first one.  I thought it was good, but even better when I ate it the next day.  Almost like a bread pudding.  Finally, the 3rd recipe I tried was from my Favorites cookbook.  The cobbler was good but way too sweet for me.  I know, I can't believe I just typed that.  Nothing is ever too sweet for me!  But it was so rich.  And it needed cinnamon.  So, the debate is over and I don't think I am going to make peach cobbler for a while.  I think I'm good for the year!  
And the winner is...... Peach Cobbler #1.  I loved the brown sugar, cinnamon and biscuit-like topping.  It was the perfect sweetness and went perfectly with vanilla ice cream.  Although, the 2nd one was good too!  Such a hard decision!  


Peach Cobbler (#2)

1 29oz. can sliced peaches or 4 cups
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, combine peaches with juice, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Dissolve cornstarch in water then add to peaches.  Set aside.

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In another bowl, combine milk, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Melt butter in 9x13 pan.  Pour batter over butter then spoon peaches over the batter.  Sprinkle with the teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4tsp. of nutmeg.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE TRIFLE




I took a Paula Deen recipe and made a few changes to make this delicious trifle. We had it yesterday for my sister's birthday dinner. It is REALLY rich, and so delicious. My son said he just wanted to "put his face in the bowl". And it looks pretty too! I always have left-over fudge sauce and it's great on ice-cream.


Ingredients
• 1 box chocolate cake mix (add an extra box of chocolate pudding-make according to directions)
• 2 cups fudge sauce, recipe follows
• 3 chocolate covered toffee candy bars, broken into pieces (Heath bars)
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream whipped and sweetened with 1/3 cup sugar
Directions
Prepare the cake according to the package directions for a 9 by 13-inch cake. Cool thoroughly.
Cut or tear the cake into 3 inch pieces.
Line the bottom of a large glass bowl with a single layer of cake. Pour 1/4 of the fudge sauce over the cake, top with 1/2 of the candy bar-bits then 1/2 of the whipped cream. Repeat again, topping off the cake with more Heath bar bits.
Note: Assemble the trifle shortly before serving or it will get soggy.
Hot Fudge Sauce:
• 1 (4-ounce) bar German chocolate
• 1/2-ounce unsweetened chocolate
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
• 3 cups powdered sugar
• 1 2/3 cups evaporated milk
• 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
To make the sauce: Melt the German chocolate with the butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir in the powdered sugar, alternating with evaporated milk and blending well. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Cool before using
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