Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chewy Ginger Cookies

I love ginger cookies.  The older I get the more I lean towards lovely ginger cookies instead of chocolate peppermint cookies for the holidays.  (I still love a chocolate peppermint cookie... make no mistake about it)

These are not ginger snaps.  These are soft and chewy... and delicious.


















Chewy Ginger Cookies:
(King Arthur Flour)

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Sugar for coating: I used regular granulated sugar but sparkling white sugar would be pretty

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until they're light and fluffy.

Add the molasses, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Mix well.  Add the eggs, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Add the flour and scrape down the sides again.

Scoop the soft dough into 1 ½" balls and roll them sugar.

Space the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 ½" between them.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. The centers will look soft and puffy.  Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Honey Ginger Chex Mix



It's the time for holiday parties.  I always make a large batch of traditional Chex Mix every year but this year when I was shopping for the ingredients I noticed this recipe printed on the side of the box.  It sounded really good so I picked up everything and tried it.

This is a really good mix.  I gave it out with Christmas gifts this year and everyone thought it was delicious.  It is also gluten-free so you don't have to worry about making something different for those with gluten allergies.


Honey Ginger Chex Mix:
(adapted from Chex)

Ingredients:
6 cups Rice Chex and/or Honey Nut Chex cereal
1 cup dried banana chips
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
1 cup flaked coconut
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup dried pineapple

Directions:
In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, banana chips and almonds.
In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter, brown sugar, honey and ginger uncovered on high for about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until mixture is boiling; stir.

Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered on High 4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl every minute. Stir in coconut and cranberries; microwave uncovered on high about 3 minutes or until cereal just begins to brown.
Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bourbon Baked Ham

We don't usually make a ham for holiday meals but this Thanksgiving we ended up having more people than turkey so I decided a ham would be the easiest way to fix the problem.

I already had a bottle of bourbon opened from the Derby Pie I made and thought I should find some more ways to use it.  Bourbon Ham was the answer!  This recipe is adapted from my late grandma's ham recipe.  She covered the ham in mustard and brown sugar and let it cook until everything melted together.  I added some bourbon and juice to the mustard and ham mixture and was really happy about how it turned out.

















Bourbon Baked Ham:
(adapted from my Grandma's recipe box)

1 ham- precooked, whole or spiral cut
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
Whole cloves- depending on how many scores you make in your ham

Preheat the oven to 350.

Take your ham and slice a diamond pattern on the top and put a whole clove at the point of each diamond.  If you have a spiral sliced ham you don't have to do anything here!!






















Spread the yellow mustard all over the ham.  If your ham is larger then use more mustard.  This is not exact science.  Spread 4 tablespoons (more or less) of the brown sugar on top of the mustard ham.






















In a bowl mix together the rest of the brown sugar, bourbon, orange juice, and salt and pepper together.  Pour a quarter of the mixture over the ham and place in the oven.  Continue to pour the mixture over the ham and cook until everything is warmed through.

Another option is to take the remaining 3/4 orange bourbon mixture and reduce over medium-low heat until nice and thick.  This can be poured over the sliced ham as needed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chipotle Kale Chips

I got some beautiful curly kale at the farmers' market this weekend and decided to make some kale chips.

I really love kale chips.  Part of the reason is that they are super simple to make. It takes longer to wash the greens then it does to prepare the chips.  One of the other reasons I love these chips is because of all of the different types of flavors you can choose to pair with them.

I decided to use chipotle pepper with this batch of kale chips and was pretty happy with how they turned out.


















Chipotle Kale Chips:

1 bunch of kale, cleaned and removed from the stalk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Rip the kale leaves into pieces and put them in a bowl with the olive oil, chipotle powder, and salt.  Toss the kale to make sure that all of the leaves are covered with the oil and the spices.

















Place the kale leaves on a baking sheet, making sure they don't overlap and bake for 20 minutes of until the leaves are crispy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jalapeno Pickles

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of pickles.  They are crazy gross to me and are the quickest way to get rid of my appetite.

However... my husband loves pickled jalapenos on just about everything.  I was on a canning spree and decided to try my hand at making some jalapeno pickles.  I really enjoyed making this batch of pickles.  They were easy to make and will last about a year in the pantry which gives me plenty of time to use them up on pizzas, chili's, and plenty of other things.





Jalapeno Pickles:
(adapted slightly from Food in Jars)

1 pound of jalapeno peppers, cut into slices
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Pack clean, hot jars with peppers and the red pepper flakes. Pour hot brine over top. Bubble your jars thoroughly by tapping them firmly on the countertop and using a wooden chopstick to release any stubborn bubbles. Wipe rims, apply lids and bands.

Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Store in cool, dark place for up to a year.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dairy Free Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

You made it through Thanksgiving!!  Congrats!  Before you jump into the mountain of leftovers in the refrigerator you'll want something for breakfast. 

My suggestion... PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS! These are easy to make, delicious, and believe it or not much lighter than having a piece of pie for breakfast (not that you would).

I made two trays of and froze the rest of the batter for future doughnuts.

















Dairy Free Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts:
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 
Coating Options:
3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar
Coconut


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don't have doughnut pans, use a standard muffin tin; they just won't be doughnuts.

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

Fill the the doughnut pans about 3/4 full.  I use about 2 1/2 scoops per doughnut.

















Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

I made my doughnuts two different ways.  One batch I tossed in cinnamon sugar. 

The other batch I used coconut.  Believe it or not, it was delicious.  All I did for the coconut doughnuts was put some coconut flakes on top of the doughnut batter once it was in the pan.  I stirred it around a little bit to make sure the coconut flakes would stick to the doughnuts.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Walnut Crisp

The pumpkin bug has bit me again!  I found this recipe on Pinterest and since it was super easy to make I decided to give it a shot.

I made this for Mr. T's work potluck last week and forgot to take an after picture.  I wanted to make sure I got the recipe out there before Thanksgiving was upon us.  I'll be making this again on Thanksgiving and i'll try to get a better picture then.

Pumpkin Walnut Crisp:
(Adapted from Rachel Schultz)

15 ounce can pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.

Pour the batter into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle the cake mix over the pumpkin mixture.  Arrange walnuts on top of the cake mix.

Pour the butter evenly over pecans, making sure all of the cake mix is moistened.

















Bake for 70-80 minutes, or until golden brown and allow to fully cool before serving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Apples have been on sale recently and I have been needing a mental break from life so I decided to dive into a weekend of canning.  I decided to go with some apple pie filling mainly because I've never canned pie filling before.

I always forget how much work it takes to make apple pie.  The apples turn brown so quickly and I feel like it always takes me forever to core the apples and get them sliced up.  This is the best part of canning.  I now have 7 pints of apple pie filling that I can use without having to do much work!!!

















Canned Apple Pie Filling:
(adapted from Ball Canning)

12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, treated to prevent browning and drained (about 12 medium)
Water
2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup ClearJel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/2 cup lemon juice
7 pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Blanch apple slices, working with 6 cups at a time, in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute.

Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl.

Combine sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and apple pie spice in a large stainless steel saucepan. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture. Before processing, heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.

Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool.

Check the lids for a proper seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

** When using this in a pie you might find that one jar isn't quite enough to fill your crust.  If this is the case just cut up a couple more apples and add to the whole mix.  When the pie bakes everything will come together perfectly.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Asian Peanut Noodles

I've been bored with my dinner options recently.  I've also been on a bit of an Asian food kick so I've been trying to find some new dishes that incorporate my needs.

I found this recipe from Cooking Light magazine.  I love this recipe.  I always have these ingredients on hand and I was able to whip it up really quickly.  I think that this could serve as a main meal or as a side dish, depending on what you're looking for.

The recipe doesn't call for the vegetable to be cooked at all which is fine, but since I did serve this warm I think next time I'll try to blanch the veggies a little bit.




Asian Peanut Noodles:
(adapted from Cooking Light)

6 ounces whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
1 teaspoon sirarcha
1 tablespoon reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup matchstick-cut green onions

Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain them well.

Combine the sirarcha, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine well. Add the noodles, carrots, and green onions; toss and serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fall = Pumpkin! I was in the fall spirit (even though it's still 90 degrees outside) and decided to make some awesome pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  It has to be the most homey cookie ever.

I like to make a big batch of these cookies and freeze the dough.  You never know when you're going to need a pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookie... and you need to be prepared.






















Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:
1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2  cup granulated sugar
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2  teaspoon sal
3  cups quick or old fashioned oats
1  cup chocolate chips
1 can pumpkin, not pie filling

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; mix well.

Add oats, chocolate chips, and pumpkin.  Mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Asian Tuna Nuggets

I went crazy at the grocery store this week and got some tuna nuggets instead of the usual tilapia.  (I know... pick yourself up off the floor)

I've been experimenting with Asian flavors recently and decided to try them out with this tuna.  It was a delicious and it was nice to have something a little different. This recipe uses some ingredients that I've bought for other recipes and haven't used all the much.

Mr. T really enjoyed this so I'm hoping that you will too!




Asian Tuna Nuggets:

1 pound tuna nuggets
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sirarcha
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
sesame seeds for garnish

In a small bowl mix together the scallion, garlic clove, rice vinegar, Sirarcha, sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, lime juice, and ground ginger.  Add the tuna and let marinate for at least half an hour.

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat.  Spray the pan with some nonstick spray and cook the tuna for about a minute on each side.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vacation!

Hey y'all!  Mr. T and I are currently sailing around the Bahamas on a much needed vacation.  I ran out of time to get a good blog update going so here's some of my favorites dishes to enjoy while I'm gone!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers














BBQ Red Bean Burgers


















Coconut Macaroons


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pecan Praline Cookies

I've been in a fall frame of mind and I needed to make some cookies for a friend's birthday so I combined everything and pulled this recipe out of my "need to try" box.  I'm glad I did because they were delicious!


















I think that I might go ahead and add these to my Christmas Cookie Exchange list.  I love the icing on top of these; it makes a lovely difference of texture on the cookie.

















Pecan Praline Cookies:
(My Own Sweet Thyme)


1 cup butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans
Brown Sugar Frosting (see below)
Pecan halves for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugars, mixing well. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, stirring after each addition. Stir in the chopped pecans and chill dough for 30 minutes.

When chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets or sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

After the cookies cool spread the brown sugar frosting over the tops of the cookies and top each cookie with half of a pecan.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


Brown Sugar Frosting:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup half & half
1 Tablespoon butter
1½ cups sifted powdered sugar (plus a little more if needed)

Combine brown sugar and half & half in a saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 4 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Add 1½ cups powdered sugar. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add a little more powdered sugar, if needed, to achieve a desired spreading consistency.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Rolls

Since it's October and I'm obsessed with Fall and pumpkin stuff I decided to finally get around to making some pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls.  I've only been talking about this for a couple of years.

















I will admit that I am no expert in yeast breads or cinnamon roll dough but I ended up using WAY more flour than this recipe called for.  My dough was really sticky and I had a horrible time getting it to a workable point.  I didn't use bread flour like the original recipe did so that could be it... or it could be user error.

















Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Rolls:
(adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour *you can use all white flour, but I had both so I used both

Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons brown sugar

In small saucepan, heat the milk and 2 tablespoons butter just until warm and the butter is almost melted. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger, and salt. Add the milk mixture and beat with a mixer until everything is well mixed. Beat in the egg and yeast.

Add half of the flours to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of bowl. Add the remaining flour and mix thoroughly.  This is a very soft dough.

Turn the dough out into lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise in warm place until doubled, for about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto floured surface. Knead it for  about a minute or until it forms a smooth dough.

Roll the dough into 12x10 inch rectangle and brush the surface of the dough with melted butter.

In small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the dough with the brown sugar mixture followed by the chopped pecans.

















Beginning with long side of the dough, roll the dough up like a jellyroll. Pinch the seam to seal it up. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into twelve 1- inch slices.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and then add the pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and pecans and stir well.  Pour the sugar mixture into the bottom of a well greased 11x17-inch baking pan. 

















Place the rolls, cut side up, in the pan, on top of the sugar mixture. Cover and let the dough rise until it has nearly doubled, for about 30 to 45 minutes.

















Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes and turn the rolls out to allow the gooey sugar mixture to run down the sides of the cinnamon rolls.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spinach Turkey Pasta Bake

Baked pasta dishes are a real comfort meal for me.  I love how versatile they can be and how easy it is to throw some veggies in there and pretend it's healthy.

















This pasta bake is something I made the other night using stuff that I almost always have in the house.  It made a huge casserole dish full and now I have lunches for tomorrow and frozen sections for dinner later.

















Spinach Turkey Pasta Bake:

1 box ziti, baked al dente
1 package ground turkey
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 container reduced fat ricotta cheese
2 cups reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 - 3/4 jar pasta sauce (or homemade)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt (if you like saltier things add more salt, I tend to under salt)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and heat a skillet over medium high heat.

Heat the olive oil in the skillet and add the ground turkey, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Brown the turkey and add the diced onion and garlic.  Once the onion starts to get soft add the spinach.

In a medium bowl add the cooked pasta, browned turkey mixture, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and top with the remaining shredded cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is nice and melted.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

I've been looking at a picture of these cookies for a couple of months.   I love the fact that these cookies only have a few ingredients and are a great gluten and dairy free option for people that need those options.  For the people that just like chocolate cookies... these are great for that too.

















Flourless Chocolate Cookies:
(King Arthur Flour)

2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but good
1 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-process (European-style) preferred*
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Or line with parchment, and grease the parchment.

Stir together all of the ingredients till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir again till smooth.

Drop the soft, batter-like dough onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 1/2" circles; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

Bake the cookies for 8 minutes; they should spread, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Coleslaw

I had some left over cabbage in the refrigerator a couple of days ago and decided to make some coleslaw to go with my BBQ Chicken. 





Coleslaw:

1 head cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips or shredded
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ranch dressing
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Take the shredded cabbage and carrots and put them in a bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and ranch dressing and stir to combine.  If it looks a little dry add some more.  

In a small bowl mix together the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Stir together until the sugar and spices are dissolved.

Pour the vinegar mixture on top of the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.  Let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or over night. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Spiced Fig Cake

I made fig jam this weekend and had some left over figs.  Figs are sweet and since I didn't have any bacon or prosciutto around I decided on a fig cake.

As I've said before chemistry is not my forte so I went looking for a basic cake recipe to use with my figs.  I came across this one on All Recipes and went nuts making to work for me.






















I used Brown Turkey Figs for this cake (I used up all my Black Mission Figs in the jam I made earlier that day).  I don't honestly know what the difference is between them;  Publix didn't have a good explanation on the picture.






















Spiced Fig Cake:
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped fresh figs

Frosting:
3 figs, finely chopped
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fig jam (optional, but it's super good)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with the two milks. Fold in vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped figs.

Divide into two prepared 8 inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.  Let the cake cool before trying to frost.














To make the frosting:

Using a mixer mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and jam (if using) together in a small bowl.  Fold in the finely chopped figs and the fig jam.  If you want the frosting to be thicker add more sugar.  If it's too thick add a couple teaspoons of water or cream, but be careful not to add too much.


This isn't going to be a frosting that comes out beautifully in a piping bag but it'll make a really pretty, homey looking cake (and it's delicious... so who the crap cares?!).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

I love jalapeno poppers.  There is just something about the pepper and the cheese that is amazing.  This recipe came from Skinnytaste, which is an amazing source for healthier recipes.

I made some changes to this recipe like not rolling the chicken up.  It's hard and I can never get my filling to stay inside... so I gave up.

Also, forgive my pictures.  I need a new camera like no one's business. (Santa, are you paying attention?!)




Jalapeno Popper Chicken:
(adapted from Skinnytaste)

Ingredients:
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 jalapeƱos, seeds removed and chopped
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar jack
8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeƱos, and bacon.

Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet.  Place the breadcrumbs in one bowl and the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture and then in breadcrumbs.  Cover both sides of the chicken with the bread crumbs and bake 22-25 minutes.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cherry Cheesecake Dip

I went to a football party recently and was in charge of desserts.  I decided to make another Pinterest recipe and went with cherry cheesecake dip. 

I made this recipe the night before and let it chill overnight.  It really took no effort and everyone loved it.

I don't know who the original owner of this recipe is but every recipe is basically the same. 

















Cherry Cheesecake Dip:

1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 package cream cheese
1 container cool whip
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling
Graham crackers for dipping

Mix together the marshmallow fluff, cream cheese, and vanilla extract.  Fold in the cool whip and spread out in your serving dish.  Top with the cherry pie filling and chill until you're ready to eat!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bang Bang Cauliflower

I have a confession to make.  I've been trying to make this recipe for months and have thrown away a decent amount of cauliflower in the process.  I throw it down in my veggie tray, eat everything else and then by the time I remember that I have cauliflower it's time to throw it away.

I finally remembered the cauliflower and made this dish. It was good and a nice thing to do with cauliflower but it's not a substitution for Bang Bang Shrimp.






















Bang Bang Cauliflower:
(Around the Table)

Ingredients:

1 egg, beaten
1 head cauliflower
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper
Green onion

Sauce:
1/4 cup lite mayo
1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar

Slice your cauliflower florets. Place the beaten egg in one bowl and mix the salt, pepper, and panko breadcrumbs in a different bowl. 

Dip florets into the egg and then coat with panko mixture.  Put them on a sheet pan and bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until brown

Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Coat your breaded cauliflower florets with the sauce, top with green onion, and serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fig Jam

I spent my Labor Day weekend laboring away in the kitchen making jam.   Figs have been on sale recently and I decided to take advantage of the good deal.  Plus, I don't really do much with figs so I decided it was time to fix that.

I think that this jam is going to be amazing when Christmas comes around.  I want to get some puff pastry, a wheel of brie, and pour a bunch of this jam on top before I bake it off.  It's going to be delicious!  (Now I just need to go to a party)














Fig Jam:

4 cups chopped figs (about 27 medium)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 3-oz pouch Ball® Liquid Fruit Pectin
6 cups sugar
8 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water
until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside. Prepare figs by
trimming stems and finely chopping them.

Combine prepared figs with lemon juice, water, and sugar in a 6- or
8-quart saucepan. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be
stirred down, over high heat, stirring frequently.
Add pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouch. Continue
hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam
if necessary

Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim.
Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for
altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid
should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fried Catfish

We had old school Southern Night last Sunday night.  I made a basic fried catfish and it was delicious!!

Cornmeal is the only thing to use when making fried catfish.  There are a million different seasonings that you can use with your fish but since I always have Old Bay on hand I just used it.  I love to eat this with lima beans and cheese grits. 





Fried Catfish:

2 catfish fillets
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I use Old Bay)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 eggs, beaten
Canola oil, enough to pan fry your fish in

Heat your oil in a pan to about 375.

Set up a breading station: flour in one pan, eggs in one pan, and cornmeal in one pan.

Season the catfish fillets with the Cajun seasoning and garlic powder.  Dip the fish in the flour and knock off the extra.  Dip the fish in the beaten eggs and then press the fish into the cornmeal, shaking off any extra.

Fry the fish in the oil for about 3 minutes per side.  The fish should be flaky when it's finished.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Turtle Cheesecake

We had an office birthday recently and I decided to make a cheesecake instead of getting a "normal cake".  I knew the recipient would like the cheesecake so I decided to go with it.

This is the same basic cheesecake recipe I use for everything but I cut it in half and added all of the things that make a turtle cheesecake wonderful.

Turtle Cheesecake:

3 packages of cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2-1 cup caramel syrup or ice cream topping
1/2 package Oreos
2 tablespoons butter

large spring form pan

 Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Take a spring form pan and grease it well with either non-stick cooking spray or butter.

Either process the oreos in a food processor or put them in a large ziploc bag and beat them with a rolling pin.  Add the melted butter and press the crust into the spring form pan.  Add more oreos or butter as needed.


Cream the cheese and sugar well. Add corn starch, flour, vanilla salt, cream again.

Add eggs, one at a time, add half of the pecans and mini chocolate chips.
 
Make sure cake is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pour into pan.  Pour half of the caramel sauce over the cheesecake and swirl with a knife.
 
Bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes and then sprinkle the top of the cheesecake with the remaining pecans and mini chocolate chips.  Continue baking the cheesecake until it's lightly brown on top and the center is solid to the touch for about another hour.  Remove from oven, spread the rest of the caramel on top and let the cheesecake cool. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Quiche

I love quiche.  It's delicious and is a great holding vessel for all types of wonderful things. I love quiche for breakfast and lunch.  It makes me feel fancy.

Since I love bacon and had an onion laying around I decided to make a quiche with those.  I cooked the onions low and slow until they were nice and caramelized to add a nice sweet flavor to the quiche.




Bacon & Caramelized Onion Quiche:

1 pie crust
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup swiss cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 large tablespoon greek yogurt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat melt the butter.  Add the onion and let slowly cook until it is translucent and a caramel color.  It'll take a decent amount of time, I think mine cooked about 15 minutes... but I should have let them go for 20.

Fry the bacon and hold the cooked bacon off to the side until the onions are finished and the custard it finished.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place your pie crust in a pie pan.

In a bowl beat the eggs.  Stir the corn starch into the half and half, making sure it is incorporated well, and add that to the eggs along with the greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix well and add the cheese, bacon, and onions.

Pour the egg mixture in the pie shell and make sure the bacon and onions are spread around evenly.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the quiche starts to turn golden brown.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Canning Basics... Part 2

It's finally time for part 2 of canning basics.  I got busy, sorry.  ;-)

Today we're going to go over the different types of jars out there.

I use Ball Canning Jars.  It's a brand that has been around forever and I know that they make a quality product.  Ball makes jars in a variety of sizes and shapes. 

The ones I use the most are:

  • The 8 ounce jam jars.  I usually get the quilted ones.  They're fancy looking and the easiest to find in my area.
  • The 8 ounce Collection Elite jars.  These jars are great if you're planning on giving them as gifts.  I like to use them for hot pepper jelly at Christmas time.  It seems like everyone uses pepper jam at that time of year for dips.
  • The 1 pint Regular Mouth jar.  It's the perfect jar to use for sauces and for preserving whole fruits (like pears).

Ball has many different jars so take some time to check out your options but make sure you know what your recipe recommends.  Different jars require different processing requirements.

The Ball jars are the basic 2 part lid jars.  There is a lid and a band that goes around the lid and jar.  There is another type of jar, one that I have no experience with.

Weck Jars differ from Ball jars mainly because they lack the metal lid and band that seal the jars.  I think they are beautiful jars but since I have never used them I would suggest reading Weck's FAQ to make sure that you know what to do and to expect with them.


















(picture from the WeckJars.com website)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Balsamic Mustard Dressing

I made salad dressing the other night.  I totally made it up too.  It's a nice and tart vinaigrette that still has some texture to it, so it doesn't run off of your lettuce... never to be seen again.

I hate it when that happens.

The recipe was inspired by looking in the refrigerator.  I wanted something simple and I thought that the mix of balsamic vinegar and mustard would work well together.





Balsamic Mustard Dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 large teaspoon grainy dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Add everything to a container with a tight fitting lid (I used a mason jar) and shake it like a Polaroid picture.  Store in the refrigerator for a week or so.