Saturday, December 31, 2011

FUN AND EASY INDOOR S'MORES

8 Graham cracker squares
2 tsp Nutella
1 banana, slice into 1/4-inch slices
4 large marshmallows

Spread the Nutella over 4 of the cracker squares; set aside.

Arrange the remaining 4 Graham cracker squares on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Arrange 4 banana slices on each of these cracker squares.  Place one of the marshmallows atop each of the banana covered crackers.  Broil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until the marshmallows are toasted (watch carefully to prevent burning).  Remove from broiler and top immediately with the Nutella crackers, Nutella side down.  Press lightly to mash the marshmallow onto the bananas.

Friday, December 30, 2011

CHILI SPICED PECAN PEANUT MIX

2 cups pecan halves or large pieces
2 cups roasted peanuts
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an ungreased 9 x 13-inch baking pan, combine the peanuts and pecans.  In a small bowl combine the egg white with the butter, chili powder, red pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce, stirring to combine well.  Pour the butter mixture over the nuts in the pan, stirring to coat all the nuts well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the nuts are toasted.  Remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack.  Cool nuts completely in the pan.  Store in an airtight container.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

TACO SLOPPYJOES

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5-oz) tomatoes
2 tbsp catsup
2 tsp taco seasoning mix
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 to 6 hamburger buns
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
shredded lettuce for garnish
diced tomatoes for garnish
black olives for garnish
taco sauce, if desired

In a large skillet saute the ground beef, onion, and garlic together until the beef is browned and crumbled.  Drain off excess fat.

Add the tomatoes, catsup, taco seasoning, salt, and Dijon mustard.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until mixture is dry.  Spoon the mixture onto the buns and top with the lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, olive, and taco sauce if desired.

LAZY COOK'S LASAGNE

6-oz lasagne noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
1/4 tsp oregano
1 can (15.5-oz) spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
1 pkg (6-oz) sliced Mazzarella cheese

Blend the oregano into the spaghetti sauce.

Spray a 10 x 6-inch baking dish, that has 1 1/2 to 2-inch sides, with nonstick cooking spray.

Layer half the lasagne noodles topped with half the cottage cheese, followed by half the sauce and half the cheese.  Repeat the layers with the remaining halves of the ingredients.  Bake in a moderate 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

For a complete meal serve with a salad and crusty whole-grain bread.

MEATBALLS AND VEGETABLES

1 bag frozen meatballs, partially thawed OR your own cooked meatballs you have made ahead
1 can (10 1/2-oz) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 pkg (9-oz) frozen French-style green beans
1 pkg (10-oz) frozen corn

In a large skillet, stir the soup and milk together until smooth.  Place the frozen beans and corn in the skillet; add the meatballs.  Place lid on skillet and heat to boiling over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and cook 5 minutes.  Stir and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until heated through.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GREEN BEAN-BELL PEPPER SAUTE

1 lb fresh green beans, cooked until tender OR 2 cans green beans, drained
1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 small red onion, cut into thin slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet; add the green beans, pepper strips, onion, and garlic.  Saute the vegetables, stirring frequently for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender.  Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with the black pepper.

Serves: 8
Per serving: Approximately 45 calories, 2 g pro, 6 g carbs, 2 g fat, 25 mg sodium

Note:  This is a great side dish for diabetics.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

EASY ALMOND CLUSTERS

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1 pkg (18-oz) creamy frosting mix
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter in the milk.  Remove from the heat and stir in the frosting mix. 

Cook mixture over low heat for a couple minutes until smooth and glossy, while stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and allow to stand until firm.

NOTE: You can make with chocolate frosting mix, if desired.  You will need to use 2 more teaspoons of milk with the chocolate fudge frosting mix.

TOASTED ENGLISH MUFFINS WITH PECAN SPREAD

1 tsp grated orange peel
3-oz cream cheese
2 tbsp low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans
6 English muffins that have been split and toasted

In small mixer bowl combine the orange peel, cream cheese, and milk; beat until smooth and creamy.  Stir in the chopped pecans.  Spread the mixture over the toasted English muffins.

To serve as appetizers cut each muffin half into 4 edges for a total of 48 appetizers.  Can also serve each half as a breakfast or brunch item.

Monday, December 26, 2011

BLUE CHEESE-WALNUT WAFERS

I have listed this recipe in my Quick Fix files because it only takes minutes to put together and only 12 minutes to bake.  The dough does, however, have to chill for an hour.  Remember that when planning to make this appetizer!

1 pkg (4-oz) blue cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
couple dashes of salt
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Place the blue cheese, butter, flour, and salt into a food processor and process until blended.  Scrape down the sides, once during processing.  This mixture will be sticky.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped walnuts until well blended.  Divide the mixture in half.  Shape each half into an 8-inch long log.  Wrap in heavy-duty plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator and slice each log into 1/4-inch slices.  Place the slices on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Yield: approximately 54 wafers

Saturday, December 24, 2011

SPICY PORK STEW

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tbsp canola oil
20 to 24-oz frozen mixed vegetables of your choice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp (depending on taste) cajun seasoning
1 can (4 1/2-oz) diced green chiles
1 tsp cumin
1 cup water
fresh cilantro for garnish

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Lightly sprinkle the meat cubes with salt and pepper; add to the oil and cook 4 to 5 minutes until browned.  Stir in the vegetables-except for 1 cup you reserve, cajun seasoning,and cumin. 

Place the reserved vegetables, garlic, and green chiles into a blender container and blend until smooth; pour mixture into the Dutch oven.  Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the meat is done and the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls and top each with a couple sprigs of the fresh cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Note:  Yummy served with crusty, lightly toasted bread.

Friday, December 23, 2011

QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN PRIMAVERA

1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 to 1 lb boneless skinless chicken strips
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 carrot, julienned
1 small red onion, chopped
1 can (14 1/2-oz) chicken broth
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked minute brown rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken strips and cook, stirring, until browned.  Add broccoli, peas, carrots, and onions; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender-crisp.  Stir in the broth, basil, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and stir in the rice.  Return to a boil and reduce the heat to low.  Cover skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SNICKERS BAR COOKIES

1 large roll of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
5 to 6 Snickers candy bars, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

Preheat the oven to the temperature on the chocolate chip cookie dough package.

Press the dough onto the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  Bake according to directions on the dough package.

Remove from oven and immediately arranged the sliced candy over the top of the baked layer.  Return to the oven and bake only until the candy is softened enough to spread.  Remove from oven and spread the candy over the top of the crust.  Cool completely before cutting into 24 squares.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BROCCOLI WITH ORANGE TARRAGON SAUCE

2 lbs fresh broccoli
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/4 tsp tarragon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup orange sections

Separate broccoli into serving-size spears.  Place spears in saucepan with a small amount of water to steam.  Cover and cook up to 10 minutes until crisp tender.

In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the flour, stirring constantly to blend.  Add the orange juice and cook until thickened, continuing to stir constantly.  Stir in the orange rind and the tarragon.  Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Drain the broccoli and arrange on a serving platter.  Spoon the orange sauce over the top.  Garnish with the orange sections.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Samantha & Santa's Lip Smackers

20 large marshmallows
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups crispy rice cereal

Combine the marshmallows, butter, and chocolate chips in a microwav-proof mixing bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Marshmallows will puff up.  Stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.  Return to the microwave and microwave for another 30 seconds until marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted.

Remove mixture from the microwave and stir in the cereal, one cup at a time.
Grease a cookie sheet with butter.  Then butter your hands.  Shape mixture into whatever shapes you prefer and decorate if you desire.

To store, if you have any left, keep in an airtight container or bag in cellephane bags to give as gifts.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BUTTERSCOTCH-APPLE-WALNUT MUFFINS

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 12 muffin tin cups or line 12 cups with paper liners; set aside.

In a bowl mix the flours, cinnamon, and baking soda together; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat the eggs and add the canola oil, both sugars, vanilla extract, and apples mixing well.  Add the flour mixture and mix just until moistened.  Stir in the butterscotch chips and walnuts.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Muffins are done when a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.


DECORATIVE WHITE CHOCOLATE CRUNCH

1 box (14-oz) Honeycomb cereal
1 pkg (12-oz) thin pretzel sticks, broken into halves
12-oz pecans
2 lbs white almond bark
decorative candy sprinkles

Mix the cereal, pretzels, and pecans together in a large heat-resistant bowl. 

Melt the almond bark in top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring frequently to smooth.  Pour the melted candy over the cereal mix in the bowl.  Stir well to be sure all the cereal, pretzels, and pecans are coated.

Spread the mixture out on a large sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle with the decorative candy sprinkles.  Use colors and shapes to fit the occasion.  For example, red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, favorite colors for birthdays or other celebrations.  All to cool completely then break apart into bite-size pieces and store in a airtight container.

Note:  Bag up in cellophane bags and tie with pretty ribbons to give as party favors, class treats, etc.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SNOWFLAKE FUNNEL CAKES

4 eggs, beaten
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
powdered sugar for dusting

In a mixing bowl combine the eggs and milk.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the egg mixture and using a rotary mixer, beat until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a pitcher and chill.

Heat the canola oil to 360 degrees in a deep fryer if you have one or a large skillet.

Remove batter from refrigerator and stir with a large spoon and test to see if it flows easily through a funnel.  If too thick, add a small amount of milk.  If too thin, add a little flour.

Cover the end of a funnel with your finger and pour 1/2 cup batter into funnel.  Hold over the hot oil and release your finger and drop batter into the oil while moving funnel to form a snowflake shape.  BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH HOT OIL!  Oil will splatter when batter hits it! Cook snowflake approximately 3 minutes until a golden brown; turn and cook approximately 1 minute on other side.

Remove from the oil and drain on paper toweling.  Transfer to a paper plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar 'snow'; sprinkle with sparkle or colored sugar, if desired.

Yield: 8 large snowflakes


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WINTER SALAD WITH TOASTED ALMONDS AND RASPBERRY DRESSING

DRESSING:
2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
2 cups wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Puree raspberries in blender or food processor; strain through a sieve and discard seeds. Pour into a jar.  In a jar with a tight filling lid combine 1/3 cup of the raspberry vinegar with the olive oil, honey and garlic; shake vigorously until well mixed.

SALAD:
8 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 large red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup seedless grape halves
1/4 cup toasted almonds

Arrange the salad ingredients on individual salad plates or in a large salad bowl.  Serve with the above raspberry dressing.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PARMESAN CHIVE BISCUITS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
6 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3 garlic cloves, crushed
cayenne pepper to suit your taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix flour, Parmesan cheese, and the baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add the oil, honey, eggs, milk, chives, and garlic mixing well.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield:  Approximately 18 biscuits.

ICE CREAM SANTAS

All the ingredient quantities will depend on the number of people being served.  For each person being served you will need:
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream (or chocolate, depending on your Santa's skintone!)
sugar ice cream cone*
canned whipped cream
M&Ms
small heavy duty paper plate or a dessert plate

Note:  Children love making their own and the directions are very simple:

Place scoop of ice cream on plate. 
Place a cone upside down atop the ice cream to make Santa's hat.
Use the whipped cream to make Santa a beard and to trim the bottom of the cap as well as a blob on top.  Use the M&Ms to make Santa's eyes, nose, and mouth.

*The sugar cones with the chocolate coating inside add a bit of extra flavor and make the cone a little more sturdy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

CANDIED FRUIT COOKIES

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup assorted chopped candied fruit
1 cup chopped pecans
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients mixing together well; let stand for 5 minutes.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 1-inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Baked at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden. 

Remove cookies to a wire rack t cool completely.

Yield: 60 cookies

Friday, December 9, 2011

SPICY CARROT SOUP

4 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

Saute carrots onion and garlic in butter in for 5 minutes in a large saucepan over high heat.  Sprinkle the chopped parsley, curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper; stir in the chicken broth.  Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Puree the mixture in blender then return to saucepan. 

Process the cream, egg yolks, and orange juice in a blender until smooth.  Add this mixture to the saucepan mixture and stir constantly.  Heat until slightly thickened and heated through. 

To serve ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle the chopped green bell pepper.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Thursday, December 8, 2011

LACEY ALMOND COOKIES

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour cookie sheets; set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan combine the almonds, butter, sugar, flour, and milk; cook over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring constantly.

Using a teaspoon, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets putting only 4 to 6 cookies per sheet (depending on how big your cookie sheets are).

Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 6 minutes or until the cookies are light brown and the centers are bubbly.  Let stand on the cookie sheets for 1 minute.  Remove gently to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 60 cookies

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CREAMY PECAN CHICKEN SALAD

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (great use for leftover chicken)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (more if desired) mayonnaise
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
salt to taste, optional
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

In a mixing bowl combine the chicken, celery, and pecans.  Add the mayonnaise, whipped cream, and salt, if using; mix together well (adding more mayo if needed).  Drizzle with the lemon juice and mix gently.  Chill until serving time.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

This salad is great to use as stuffing for tomatoes, on breads for a sandwich, or on a lettuce leaf with tiny breads or crackers.

SWEET TEA CONCENTRATE WITH LEMON

2 cups boiling water
3 tea bags
2 cups sugar
3 lemon rinds
juice of 3 lemons

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a teapot.  Steep, covered, 20 minutes.  Remove the tea bags.  Add the sugar and lemon rind, stirring to completely dissolve sugar.  Allow to stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove the lemon rind; add the lemon juice.  Mix well.

To serve, combine 1 part concentrate with 3 parts water in a pitcher.

May be served over ice or hot.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DELICIOUS COCOA FROSTING

2 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Beat until combined, creamy, and of spreading consistency.  Use to frost brownies or cake.

Yield: 2 cups.

Note: Add powdered sugar a dab at a time, if frosting is too thin for your use.  Add milk, a teaspoon at a time until thin enough for use, if necessary.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

TRI-COLOR ROTINI SALAD

1 pkg (8-oz) tri-color rotini pasta, cooked according to pkg directions, drained
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1 small bottle (8-oz) your favorite Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1/2 cup ripe olives

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.  Chill until serving time.

Yield: 8 cups

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

1 can (8-oz) cocoa (I use Hershey's)
2 lb powdered sugar
8 cups non-fat evaporated powdered milk
1 container (18-oz) non-dairy powdered creamer

In a large bowl combine all the above ingredients.  Store in an airtight container or put in pretty jars for gifting.  To serve put desired amount into a cup and add boiling water.