Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamburger Dip



Someday when you are not in the mood to cook or are pressed for time, make this dip and serve it with baked potatoes with a bit of lettuce on the side with salsa and sour cream or with some cut up veggies of your choice.

Today I'm not really in the mood to cook anything difficult...or clean for that matter...or do the leaves...or clean our part of school tonight. Sigh, all I really want to do is go outside and walk till I'm tired then come inside and sip something hot and maybe take a nap or read. Do I sound lazy to you at all? :)

 But you all know that with a family coming home from school and work with growling bellies, not having supper prepared is not an option. And with company coming Sunday evening, not cleaning isn't an option either. So I thought I would make this easy, and very yummy, dip for supper. I think I will serve it with tortilla chips and cut up veggies for a simple, quick meal. Maybe throw in some hot chocolate or tea since it's a little chillier outside today. It really takes very little time to prepare.

                                                             1 pound ground beef
                                                             1 small onion, chopped or
                                                             1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
                                                             1 can (10 ¾ oz.) cream of mushroom soup
                                                             1 can (10 ¾ oz.) tomato soup
                                                             ½ teaspoon chili powder
                                                             ½ package taco seasoning
                                                             1 cup sour cream
                                                             1 pint salsa
                                                             1 pound Velveeta cheese

Brown ground beef and onions in a saucepan. When no longer pink transfer to a colander to drain off fat.



 I like to rinse it with HOT water then drain thoroughly. Transfer back into the saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients-



-and heat slowly until cheese is melted. If the cheese is cold and you wish it to melt faster,grate it into the ground beef mixture. Today I put everything into the crockpot and just cut the cheese into chunks. Stir it occasionally until cheese is all melted. Since I think the lid of the crockpot creates too much condensation and I don't like for all that water to run into the dip I covered it with foil-



-and left one side open a little so the steam can escape and the dip won't be runny and the flavor not diluted.

 Enjoy your easy supper!



Linking to:
This Weeks Cravings

Be Blessed!
                                                            
                                                            
                                                           

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monster Cookies

 Love these things!! Fresh and warm with a glass of cold milk. Aahhh, irresistible!


About thirteen years ago we traveled to Indiana and took a friend and one of her young children along. She brought some of these cookies along and I've never looked at Monster Cookies quite like I used to. I always thought the were kind of dry and the M & M's were definately their most redeeming feature. Well I was hooked as soon as I tasted these wonderfully chewey treats. They are chock full of goodies, too. And no flour to boot!

                                                             Here's what you'll need:
                                                             6 eggs
                                                             1 cup butter
                                                             2 cups brown sugar
                                                             2 cups white sugar
                                                             2 teaspoons vanilla
                                                             4 teaspoons baking soda
                                                             1-1/3 teaspoons salt
                                                             3 cups peanut butter
                                                             9 cups oatmeal
                                                             2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
                                                             2 cups M & M's

Mix in order given and drop on cookie sheet with a size 40 cookie scoop. You can flatten them slightly if you want to but I almost never do. They sort of take care of that themselves the last few minutes of baking. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't overbake these! I like to take them out of the oven just as they are starting to brown slightly over the top. They don't really look finished but if you let them sit on the pan for a few minutes before tranferring them to a wire rack, they will set up and be perfect.

This makes approximately 8-1/2 to 9 dozen. Kind of depends on the amount of dough your kids eat when your back is turned. Around here it doesn't really matter how many dozen a recipe makes, if they like them they'll be gone in a few days. :)



Linking to:
Wicked Awesome Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday
Be Blessed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to make Gnocci (Italian Potato Dumplings)

Here are the dumplings you will need for the soup in my last post.
                                 
                                             2 lb. Russet Potatoes
                                             2 egg yolks, beaten
                                             1 cup flour
                                             1 tsp. salt
                                             Boiling salt water

                                             Potato Ricer
                                             Slotted spoon

Bake potatoes uncovered on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet @ 350 until fork tender. A little more than an hour. Let cool a little then peel them or scoop out the pulp and discard skins. Press through potato ricer.


Add beaten egg yolks, flour, and salt. Mix lightly with your hands.



Overmixing will make them heavy. Roll dough by hand on a floured surface into 3 quarter inch rolls.



Treat dough lightly with fingertips and without compressing them. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Using your little finger make an indentation in each piece.



Cook in small batches in gently boiling salt water till they rise to the top and float.
It only takes a few minutes.

Remove with slotted spoon.

  Drain and put on a lightly sprayed (non-stick spray) sheet of parchment paper until ready to use.

If I would be an Italian...or a pro, I would own a little wooden gadget that has grooves in it that they use to shape these babies but since I am neither of these I just make a dent in it and pop it into the water. Good luck if you try them and enjoy!

Be Blessed!

Chicken and Gnocci Soup

A couple of months ago my MIL and both SIL's that live in the area went to Olive Gardens and I was introduced to Chicken and Gnocci Soup. There was one of us along that knew how to pronounce the word but we had great fun imagining what it COULD say in several different languages. Haha, good times, it was a day meant for laughing! :)

I had some leftover roasted chicken hangin' around in the refrigerator and I was trying to figure out how I could creatively disguise the fact that it is left over when I thought again about the soup that made us act like teenagers at the restaurant. So I went on a hunt and found what I thought sounded about right. With a little bit of adding and subtracting I made it for our supper tonight. Three of us liked it a lot and three did not. So I count that a score, wouldn't you?! :) So here goes:



                                                         1-1/2 cups chicken breast,
                                                         cooked and diced
                                                         4 tablespoons butter
                                                         4 tablespoons flour
                                                         1 quart half-and-half
                                                         1 pint chicken broth
                                                         1/2 cup diced celery
                                                         2 garlic cloves, minced
                                                         1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded
                                                         1/2 - 3/4 cup onions, finely diced
                                                         1 cup fresh spinach, coursely chopped
                                                         1 tablespoon olive oil
                                                         1/2 tsp. thyme
                                                         1/2 tsp. parsley
                                                         Salt, to taste
                                                         Garlic and herb seasoning, to taste
                                                         1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
                                                         Freshly shredded parmesan cheese, for garnish
                                                         1/2 - 3/4 lb. potato gnocci - can be bought
                                                         in the gourmet section of most supermarkets

I couldn't find the gnocci in the local market so I ended up making them myself. Not hard to do, not many ingredients, but my first attempt failed so I tried again. They were okay but I still need some practice.

Saute' the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and oil over medium heat. When the onion turns transluscent, add the flour and make a roux, let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding the half-and-half. Once the mixture thickens add the broth.



 Once the mixture thickens again add the chicken, carrots, spinach, gnocci, and seasonings. (Prepare the gnocci according to package directions).



 Simmer until soup is heated through.



Delicious served with garlic toast and ceasar salad or the Olive Garden signature salad. Enjoy!

Be Blessed!

Linked to: Sharing Sundays

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apple Dumplings



Somehow with the onset of Fall weather I usually start thinking about these with their delicate crust and delicious apple flavor. The sauce is divine and when served warm with ice cream and coffee or tea they are truly hard to resist. 


For the crust:                
2 cups flour                   
  1/4 tsp salt                       
1/4 cup butter, softened  
2/3 cup sour cream        
         
6 medium apples            
          
       For the stuffing:                    
1/2 cup sugar                  
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter,       
softened
2 Tablespoons pecans or
walnuts, optional

milk and egg,
for brushing
white sugar,
for dusting    

Sauce:                            
1/2 cup brown sugar       
2 Tablespoons butter      
1/2 cup whipping cream 
1 Tablespoon vanilla      

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture forms course crumbs. Add sour cream and stir gently with a fork until it forms a ball. 
 
The ball isn't formed yet, but I'm adding the sour cream :)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to make a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Cut into 6 squares.



I like to take each square and roll it out some more for a thinner, more delicate crust. Place a peeled apple in the center and stuff the center of the apple with sugar and cinnamon mixture. I also like to peel the apples with a peeler/slicer because I don't like a big, solid apple chunk in my pastries.




Fold dough up around the apple and seal the seams. Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking pan. Brush with beaten milk and egg mixture and dust with white sugar. Prick with a fork and bake for 35-45 minutes.



When these are about done baking the juices start running out of the crust. To avoid a soggy crust I usually take them out of the oven at this point and transfer them to another pan lined with a fresh piece of parchment paper, but by all means don't throw the juices away, add them to the sauce ingredients. It adds a wonderful flavor! Return them to the oven and continue baking until they are done. If the juices still run out, I put them on another clean sheet after they are done baking, to cool them. I know, sounds like a pain but I hate a soggy crust every bit as much as I dislike a big, solid chunk of apple!


Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Add the nuts.



 Serve over warm dumplings. If you want to get fancy you can add the leaf garnishes but I can assure you they are just as delicious without.


                              
Be Blessed!
                                                
 
  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Dessert

 
 
Read on for some rich and creamy deliciousness! A simple dessert that goes together without much bother and always yummy!

Part 1:


3/4 cup cold butter           
1 chocolate cake mix        
1 egg, slightly beaten         

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut cold butter into cake mix with a pastry cutter or a fork until you have reasonably fine crumbs.



 Add the egg and mix well. Press gently into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.


 Bake 15- 18 minutes.
      Cool completely on a wire rack.

Part 2:


                                                             1/3 cup peanut butter
                                                             8 ounces cream cheese, softened
                                                             1 cup powdered sugar
                                                             4 cups cool whip, divided

Place the first three in a mixer bowl and blend well. Add cool whip and mix gently.



If you whip cool whip too much it gets runny so you might have to finish folding it in with a spatula. Spread over cooled crust and refrigerate.



Part 3:

                                                              2pkg. (3.9 ounce each)
                                                              instant chocolate pudding
                                                              3 cups cold milk

Combine and whisk vigorously for about 2 minutes. Pour over second layer and refrigerate again till completely set.


Top with remaining Cool Whip and garnish with Chocolate Curls.
                                                               
Be Blessed!         
                                                                                                                                               

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Discovered this delicious dip a few months ago! So easy! So delightful! Only three ingredients! Perfect for a lot of occasions. And I found the perfect little fondue pot to serve it in at the Reuzit Shop!

Don't let the scale fool ya, I was doubling the recipe so I could share with a friends from church that I was preparing dinner for. Here goes: 

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 
broken into squares, (I use choc 
chips,it's easier)                         
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream                     
                                                       Assorted fruit of your choice 

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl (aka. double boiler) with butter and cream. Set on top of a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.)


Keep stirred until melted and make sure the water doesn't boil. Enjoy!



Linking to:
Crazy Cravings
Cupcake Apothecary
Home Sweet Home


Be Blessed!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Streusel Topping

I saw this bread sometime ago when I was looking around for new things to try and thought it looked yummy so I decided to try it and was favorably impressed. The original recipe does not call for the topping, I just added it because I thought it would be good. It is pretty crusty and crumbles easily when it comes out of the oven but if you bag it for a day or two the crumbs turn moist and all the flavors have blended for a scrumptious pumpkin treat! You will need the following:
                                                     
                                                      For the Filling:
                                                     1 cup sour cream
                                                     1/4 cup sugar
                                                     4 ounces cream cheese,softened
                                                     1 egg
                                            
                                                     For the Bread:
                                                     3 cups all-purpose flour
                                                     2 teaspoons baking soda
                                                     2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                                                     1 teaspoon ground ginger
                                                     1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                                                     1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                     2 cups sugar
                                                     1 cup butter,melted
                                                     1/3 cup water
                                                     1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
                                                     4 eggs

                                                     For the topping:
                                                     3/4 cup brown sugar
                                                     3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                     2-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
                                                     1/2 cup pecans, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 (4-1/2 x 8-1/2) loaf pans;set aside. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until well mixed. Set aside.


Combine flour,baking soda,cinnamon,ginger,nutmeg,and salt in another bowl.

In a mixer bowl; combine 2 cups sugar,melted butter, water, pumpkin, and 4 eggs. Beat on low speed, scraping sides of bowl often, until smooth. Continue beating, gradually adding flour mixture and scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Spoon pumpkin batter (approx. 1-1/3 cups) into each prepared loaf  pan.Carefully spread filling (approx. 2/3 cup) mixture over batter in each pan.


 Top each evenly with remaining pumpkin batter (approx. 1 cup) .Carefully spread to the edge of the pans. Cut through batter with  knife to create swirled effect.    


Sprinkle with Streusel topping (or leave plain) and press down into batter gently.

                                   


Bake 50-60 minutes in convection oven (conventional ovens may take longer) or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans. Cool completely.

I think this would also be yummy with a drizzle of cream cheese icing or a glaze over top of the streusel but I haven't done that yet. Can't quite get myself to keep piling on the sugar.  :)




Linking to:
Cupcake Apothecary
Be Blessed!
    
                                                                                         


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homemade Croutons


I love these simple croutons.They are easy to make and go well with a variety of soups and salads.They make a pretty good little snack on their own too if you care to eat them plain.I used to try and figure out what kind of seasonings to put on until my sister Karen told me she keeps it simple and gave me this recipe.All you need is three ingredients:
                                                     1 loaf Italian wheat bread
                                                     1 stick butter,melted
                                                     Garlic Salt
Cut bread in cubes,pour some of the melted butter over them and sprinkle generously with garlic salt,stir.Then add the rest of the butter and another generous application of garlic salt.Stir again.I add salt until I'm satisfied that they will have plenty of flavor.



Then put them on a large baking sheet in a single layer and bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes or till browned and crisp.

mmm,yummy!I think we'll have a salad for supper!

Be Blessed!

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirl




It has only been a several years since I fell completely in love with cheesecakes.We never had them at home when I was a little girl and I didn't think I really cared for cream cheese.(my older sisters would eat it plain and I would roll my eyes and think they had lost their marbles) One day I was looking through a magazine,'Cuisine at Home',that had somehow found it's way into our house.One of those free previews where they hope you will subscribe to yet another mag you don't have time to read.Anyway I came across this cheesecake recipe and was impressed and decided I'm going to try my hand at making it.Prior to this I had minimal experience with making these delights.So I went out and bought some Springform pans and set to work.The result was pure love from the beginning.Linford loves this one too and a few of the children have learned to appreciate it as well.I have made many of these since for special occasions or as gifts or Thank You's for someone who may have watched our children for a weekend and everyone that has eaten it has asked for the recipe or expressed delight over the creamy texture and the delicious flavor.So...on to the recipe.
                                                         
Preheat oven to 300 degrees with rack in the center.Coat a 8 inch Springform pan with nonstick spray.
                                                       The ingredients you will need:

                                                              For the sauce:
                                                    2 cups frozen or fresh red raspberries
                                                    3 tablespoons white sugar
Process berries in blender until smooth.(If using frozen berries allow to thaw before processing.)Press through a sieve and discard the seeds. Add the sugar and set aside.



                                                              For the crust:
                                                   7 chocolate wafer cookies,crumbled
                                                   3 whole graham crackers,crumbled
                                                   2 tablespoons sugar
                                                      Pinch of salt
                                                   3 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted

Process cookies,crackers,sugar,and salt in food processor,or you can do it like I did and put it into a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin,less dishes to wash.

Add the melted butter and mix well.Press into bottom and up the sides a little of your prepared pan.


                                                              For the cheesecake:
                                                   8 oz. white chocolate,chopped
                                                   3 pkgs. (8 oz.each) cream cheese,room temperature
                                                   3/4 cup sugar
                                                   3 eggs
                                                   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                   2 tablespoons lemon juice
                                                   6 teaspoons sauce

Melt white chocolate in double boiler or microwave.Set aside.In a mixer blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth,scraping sides of the bowl periodically.Add eggs one at a time,mixing after each addition.IMPORTANT: Do not overmix after the eggs after you add the eggs,this will result in a cracked cake top.Blend in melted chocolate,vanilla,and lemon juice.Pour batter into prepared crust,then put 6 teaspoons of sauce on the top,one in the center and five around that and swirl with a wooden skewer or something of that size.



Place cheesecake on a shallow baking sheet and bake until edges are set and puffed but center is still jiggly,60-70 minutes:DO NOT OVERBAKE! This also will bring an end result of a cracked cheesecake top.I have an electric and a propane oven in my kitchen and I always use the propane one and bake it 55-60 minutes.Turn off oven,crack door open with a wooden spoon handle,and cool cake inside for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool completely.Cover with a towel and chill overnight.Remove from pan,slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Try it and let your taste buds sing! :))

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Be Blessed!