Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

1 1/2 cups cold milk, divided
2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 pkg (4 servings) chocolate flavored instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, divided
1/2 cup fresh raspberries or blueberries

In a large microwave-proof bowl, combine the chocolate with 1 cup of the milk.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes then stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in the remaining milk.

Add the dry pudding mix and beat with a wire whisk for a couple of minutes or until well blended.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes then gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of the whipped topping.  Spoon mixture into 6 individual dessert dishes.  Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

To serve, divide the remaining whipped topping evenly between the 6 dishes placing a dollop atop each.  Garnish with the fresh berries.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

QUICK & EASY ZUCCHINI-CHERRY JAM

Yes, even busy cooks can make homemade jam to give as gifts or to enjoy with family and friends.

1 large zucchini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 can (20-oz) crushed pineapple
6 cups sugar
1 pkg (3-oz) cherry gelatin

Peel and shred the zucchini.  In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the zucchini and lemon juice to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Stir in the pineapple and the sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Cook for 5 minutes; remove from the heat.  Stir in the gelatin until dissolved.

Ladle the hot jam mixture into hot sterilized pint or half-pint jars; leave a half inch of space at the top.  Seal with hot two piece lids.  Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.


Yield: 2 pints or 4 half pints

Saturday, February 25, 2012

FRESH BANANA ICE CREAM SAUCE

This recipe goes great over ice cream.  Also good over pound cake.

3 large bananas, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the skillet and blend.  Add the banana pieces and cook about 3 minutes until caramelized.


Yield: 2 cups

ORANGE SECTIONS IN HONEY YOGURT SAUCE

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned

In a small bowl combine the yogurt, honey, and cinnamon.

Place the orange sections into 2 or 3 bowls, depending on the number of servings you prefer.

Spoon the yogurt sauce evenly over the orange sections and serve immediately.

This make a great breakfast treat!

MINIATURE APPLE PIES

3/4 cup - 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Place the flours in a large mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Stir in the sugar and baking powder.

In a small bowl combine the egg and the milk, mixing together well.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms.  Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside.

1 large Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Peel and core the apple and grate into a small bowl.  Stir in the cinnamon and ginger; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 16 X 8-inch rectangle.  Cut the dough into 8 4-inch squares.

To make the pies, place approximately 1 tablespoon of the apple mixture in the center of each dough square.  Brush edges of dough with the egg.  Fold the corners of the dough up over the filling and pinch together to seal.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet that has sides.  Brush the remaining egg over the tops of the pies and sprinkle with the sugar. 

Bake pies until lightly browned, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes.  If not serving immediately, allow to cool on a wire rack.


In a hurry?  Use this same dough and fill pies with prepared canned pie filling.  Hint:  Great for little cherry pies, too.

Friday, February 24, 2012

TEX-MEX MUNCH

2 cans (3-oz each) French-fried onions
4 cups Corn Chex cereal
2 cups Cherrios cereal
2 cans (4-oz) shoestring potatoes
2 cups chow mein noodles
1 1/2 cups Spanish peanuts
2 1/2 ounces slivered almonds
1/2 pkg taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large baking pan mix together the French-fried onions, Corn Chex and Cherrios cereals, shoestring potatoes, chow mein noodles, peanuts, almonds, and taco seasoning mix.  Add the melted butter and stir to coat well.

Bake the mix for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Yield: 16 cups

Thursday, February 23, 2012

HOMEMADE PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD

2 lb Velveeta cheese
small amount of cream
1 jar pimentos with juice
mayonnaise or salad dressing

Melt the Velveeta with the cream; add the pimentos and juice.  Stir in enough mayonnaise or salad dressing to make a smooth consistency for spreading.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PASTA PIZZA

3 cups fusilli pasta, cooked in unsalted water and well drained
1 lb ground beef
1 jar (15 1/2-oz) spaghetti sauce
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (2.8-oz) French Fried Onions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
toppings of your choice ie olives, mushrooms, bell pepper
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a medium skillet brown the ground beef and drain well.  Stir in the spaghetti sauce, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine the hot pasta, eggs, and half the can of French Fried Onions and the Parmesan cheese. 

Spray a 12-inch pizza pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray and spread the pasta mixture over the pan.  Top with the beef mixture and the desired toppings.

Bake pizza, covered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until heated through.  Top with the shredded Mozzarella cheese and the last half of the onions.  Bake, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.  Cut into wedges to serve.


Monday, February 20, 2012

EASY CHOCOLATE MILK SHAKES

4 cups (1-quart) cold milk
1 pkg (4-servings) instant chocolate pudding mix
4 scoops chocolate or vanilla ice cream

Pour two cups of milk into a bowl or a two-quart shaker or jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the pudding mix to the milk in the bowl or jar.  Beat slowly with electric mixer at lowest speed for about two minutes or until blended.  If using a jar, tightly screw on lid and shake vigorously until well blended.  Add the remaining milk and the ice cream.  Beat or shake until very thoroughly mixed.  Serve at once.


Yield: 4 servings

Friday, February 17, 2012

QUICK AND EASY TOMATO BEAN SOUP

1 tbsp olive oil (or canola)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (28-oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can  kidney beans, drained
1 can whole-kernel corn, undrained
1 can low-sodium condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried thyme
couple dashes black pepper

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan and add the onion and celery.  Cook, stirring, until tender.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook on low 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SKILLET ACORN SQUASH

1 large acorn squash approximately 2 lbs
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Trim the ends off the squash then stand the squash on end and cut half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds and discard along with the fibers.  Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet combine the juice, butter, and cinnamon mixing together well.  Add the squash.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn slices, replace cover and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the squash is tender.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WARM CHICKEN SALAD

Dressing:
1 tsp grated lime peel
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the above ingredients; shake well to blend.  Set aside.

Chicken:
2 tbsp frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the limeade concentrate and pepper.  Add the chicken strips; toss to coat.  Heat oil in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add chicken mixture and cook and stir 4 to 6 minutes or the chicken is lightly browned and no longer pink.

Salad:
8 cups torn leaf lettuce
1 can (11-oz) mandarin orange segments, drained
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Line 4 salad plates with the lettuce.  Top each with the orange segments, raisins, and walnuts.   Top with the cooked chicken and drizzle with the dressing after giving the jar a good shake.



Monday, February 13, 2012

MICROWAVE POTATO SNACKS

10 small new red potatoes, halved
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp sliced green onions
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
dash of black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
fresh dill for garnish, if desired

Place the potatoes, in a single layer cut side down, in a microwave-safe dish.  Add the water and cover dish tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap.  Microwave on high 9 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.  If you do not have a microwave turntable, rotate halfway through cooking.  Let stand for 3 minutes; drain and cool slightly.

In a small bowl combine the sour cream, green onions, and dill; mix well.

Turn the potatoes right side up, cutting a thin slice off the bottom if necessary to make stand upright.  Sprinkle potatoes with the pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Top each potato with a dollop of the sour cream mixture and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.  Garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

Yield: 20 appetizers.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

SHRIMP AND VEGGIE GRITS

1 1/2 lb (30 to 40) unpeeled, large raw shrimp
1 lb fresh asparagus
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt

Peel shrimp and devein.

Snap off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus.  Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

In a medium saucepan bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the grits and the cream.  Cook, whisking constantly, for 7 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter; keep warm.

Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the asparagus, mushrooms, green onions, and thyme; saute 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the salt and cook 3 more minutes or just until the shrimp turn pink.  Serve immediately over the warm grits.

Yield: 6 servings.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CHICKEN PARMESAN PIZZA

Chicken Parmesan Pizza
Easy side: Toss together romaine lettuce,
Fresly cracked pepper,, and grated Parmesan Cheese and toss with your favoirte bottled Ceesar dressing.  Sprinkle with croutons.

1 (10-oz) pkg frozen garlic bread loaf
1/2 cup canned pizza sauce
6 deli fried chicken strips
1 cup (4-oz) shredded Italian three-cheese blend
2 tbsp chopped bresh basil

Preheat oven to 400.  Arrange garlic bread loaf, buttered, and buttered side up, on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minues or until bread is lightly browned.  Spread pizza sauce over the garlic bread.

Cut the chicken strips into 1/2-inch pieces and arrange over the pizza sauce.  Sprinkle with the cheese and basil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Serve immediately.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

HOMEMADE BLUE CHEESE RANCH DIP

1 container (16-oz) sour cream
1 pkg (1-oz) Ranch dip mix
1 pkg (4-oz) blue cheese crumbles
2 tbsp fresh chopped chives

Stir the sour cream, dip mix, blue cheese crumbles, and chives together until blended.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Serve with fresh veggies, heavy chips, hot wings, or your favorite dippers.


Monday, February 6, 2012

SUPER QUICK CHILI WITH BEANS

2 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp cumin
2 cans (16-oz each) chili-ready tomatoes, do not drain!
2 cans (16-oz) small red kidney beans
2 cans (8-oz each) tomato sauce
Optional toppings:
shredded cheese
sliced green onion
chopped cilantro
sour cream

In a Dutch oven brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the meat is browned and crumbly.  Drain the meat well and return to the Dutch oven.

Stir in the chili powder, Creole seasoning, and cumin; and cook while stirring for about a minute.  Stir in the tomatoes with the juice, beans, and tomato sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

To serve, ladle into bowls and top with the toppings of your choice.

Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, February 4, 2012

CREOLE CHICKEN

2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 (1 lb total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 container (8-oz) mango or citrus salsa
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a resealable plastic bag combine the parsley, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper; shake to mix.  Add the chicken to the bag, be sure to seal, and shake well to coat overall.

Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken.  Cook until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with fork tines.  Should take about 7 to 8 minutes per side.

Top with the salsa and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Friday, February 3, 2012

KC STEAK STRIPS OVER NOODLES

1 lb lean round steak*, trimmed of fat
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 can (10-oz) mushroom pieces, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chili sauce
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cold water
1 pkg (9 to 10-oz) frozen green beans, cooked until crisp-tender and drained
3 cups dry noodles, cooked and drained
1 tbsp butter tossed with the hot noodles

Cut steak into thin strips. 

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion; saute until tender (a couple of minutes).  Using a slotted spoon remove from the skillet; set aside.

Add the other tablespoon of butter to the skillet and add the steak; saute 5 to 7 minutes until browned on both sides.  Add the chili sauce and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the meat is tender.

Blend the flour and cold water together and stir into the skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil; about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat and return the mushrooms and onions to skillet.  Add the green beans and mix well to blend.  Heat to a hot serving temperature but do not allow to boil.

To serve, place the steak mixture over the hot buttered noodles.

Yield: 6 servings

*Skinless boneless chicken breast may be substituted for the round steak if desired.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TOMATO-ONION-CHEESE CASSEROLE

1 lb onion, sliced thin
4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil
6 slices American cheese
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Lightly spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Cook the onion in a covered medium saucepan in 1-inch of boiling water for about 10 minutes; drain.

In the prepared dish layer half the tomatoes, half the onions, and sprinkle with half the basil, salt and pepper; top with half the cheese.  Repeat the layers.

Toss the bread crumbs in the butter and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the casserole is bubby.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

EASY HOMEMADE BISCUITS IN MINUTES

2 1/4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
wax paper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.  Stir in the milk and oil; using a fork, stir until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured wax paper and knead 8 to 10 times.  Roll or pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or glass.  Reroll scrapes until used up.  Place the biscuits about 3/4-inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.