Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pink Yink Ink Drink

1/2 pint fresh or 1/2 c. frozen blackberries, thawed
1 c. milk
6 fresh strawberries
1 tsp. honey


Put the blackberries in a blender and puree them. Pour into a large glass. Put the milk, strawberries, and honey in the blender and blend. Strain the mixture. Pour the strawberry mixture carefully on top of the blackberries.
Silly Sammy Slick's Sodas

8 oz juice
8 oz club soda


Pour the juice into a 16 oz glass. Pour the soda in next and watch it foam.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Valentine Parfait Cupcakes




1 box Betty Crocker Supermoist devil's food cake mix
1 can Whipped Fluffy frosting
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. shortening
Decor Hearts

Heat oven to 350*. Place paper baking cup in 24 muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on cake mix box, using water, oil, and eggs. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups filling 2/3 of the way. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes;remove from pans to cooling rack and cool completely.
Pipe frosting on top of each. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on HIGH 1 minute, stirring once halfway through. Drizzle melted chocolate over frosted cupcakes;sprinkle with hearts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Candy Canes

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (1oz) square unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350*. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour and salt until dough is smooth,scraping down side of bowl. Divide dough in half. Stir in melted chocolate and powdered sugar into one half until color is even. Divide doughs in half again. Set aside half on each color dough, covered with plastic wrap. From remaining doughs make 15 (6inch) ropes of each color, using about 1 heaping measuring tsp. dough for each. Place pairs of dough ropes side by side, using one light and one dark for each. Twist ropes together and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets, curving one end to resemble a candy cane. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake candy canes 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cookies cool 2 minutes on sheets, then remove to racks and let cool completely.
Cheesecake Squares

1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. finely ground natural almonds
2/4 tsp. salt
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9-inch square pan. In a medium bowl, beat together powdered sugar and butter with a hand-held mixer on medium until well blended. Add flour, almonds, and salt. Beat on low speed until dough is smooth, scraping down sides. Turn dough into prepared pan. With floured fingers, pat gently against bottom of pan to make an even crust. Bake 10 minutes, crust will be partially baked. Meanwhile, in same bowl, on medium speed, beat together cream cheese, sugar, egg, and almond extract until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over partially baked crust. Return to oven, and bake 10-12 minutes longer, until top is set and lightly browned. Remove pan to a rack, cut into 16 squares, and let cool completely. Wrap well and refrigerate.
Caramel Chocolate Brownies

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
20 soft caramel squares

Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter and cocoa powder until well blended and smooth. Mix in sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. add flour and salt and beat until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Turn dough into a greased 8-inch square pan, leveling surface. In a microwaveable bowl, combine caramels with 2 Tbsp. water. Microwave at 50 percent for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramels melt. Drizzle caramel over dough in pan and swirl through, using a knife. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are set. Remove pan to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into 36 squares.
Macadamia Madness

2 Cups Flour
2 sticks butter softened
6 ounces cream cheese softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
Pinch of salt
64 whole macadamia nuts

In a medium bowl, beat flour, butter, cream cheese, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Scoop up level measuring Tbsp. of dough and roll into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. using a finger dipped in flour, make a deep indentation in each ball to form a bowl shape. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up dough. Preheat oven to 350*. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, sugar, almonds, chopped macadamia nuts, eggs, butter, lemon zest, vanilla, lemon extract, and salt. remove cookies sheets from freezer and fill each indentation with about 1 tsp. of sugar-nut mixture. Top each with a macadamia nut. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Makes about 64 cookies.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 (1oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until blended. Beat in egg, vanilla, and melted chocolate until well blended. Add flour mixed with baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350*. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Flatten with a fork. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set. Let cool on sheets 2 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Makes about 48 cookies.
Pinwheel Cookies

2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (1oz) square unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 tsp. lemon extract

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir or whisk gently to blend. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour to butter-sugar mixture and blend well. Divide dough in half between 2 bowls. Stir chocolate into one half; stir lemon extract into the other. Cover each bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour, until firm. Roll out each piece of dough between 2 pieces of wax paper into an 8x12 inch rectangle. Place 1 rectangle on top of the other and roll up from a long side into a 12-inch roll. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350*. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange about 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Makes about 48 cookies.
Rolled Sugar Cookies

2/3 c. sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour mixed with baking powder and salt until dough is smooth, scraping down side of bowl often. Wrap and refrigerate dough 2-3 hours, until firm. Preheat oven to 350*. Between pieces of wax paper, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. let cookies cool 2 minutes on sheets, then remove to racks and let cool completely.

Makes about 36 cookies.
White Chocolate Chunk Brownies Cookies

6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 (1oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375*. In medium bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Stir in melted chocolate and egg until blended. Add dissolved coffee and vanilla and stir until blended. Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chunks. Drop 1 inch apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until set. Let cookies cool 2 minutes on sheets, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Makes about 42 cookies.
Chocolate Banana Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. firmly packed born sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. mashed bananas (about 2)
1 4 oz bar sweet chocolate, melted
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400*. In a medium bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended. Stir in bananas and chocolate. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar mixture and stir until blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, just until edges of cookies start to brown. Let cookies cool on sheet 2 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Makes about 30 cookies.
Make-Ahead Whipped Cream Frosting

1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 Tbsp. cold water
1 c. whipping cream
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water. Set bowl in 1 inch of hot water in a saucepan. Let stand until gelatin dissolves. Remove and let mixture cool for 1 minute. In a small bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream until almost stiff, then add dissolved gelatin mixture, salt and vanilla, and sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill in refrigerator. Before spreading, beat with a spoon to blend.

Makes enough for 8-9 inch pan. Will last for 4 days.
Vanilla Frosting

3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream powdered sugar and butter. Stir in milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and the right consistency for spreading.

Makes enough for an 8-9 inch pan.
Strawberry Butter Cream Frosting

4-6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/3 c. mashed fresh strawberries
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in strawberries. Stir in the powdered sugar and beat until the right consistency for spreading.

Makes enough for an 8-9 inch pan.
Rocky-Road Frosting

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 c. mini-marshmallows, divided
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. butter or margarine
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped peanuts or walnuts (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine chocolate, 1 c. of marshmallows, water and butter, over low heat, stirring constantly until blended. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, then vanilla. Beat until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 c. marshmallows and the nuts; mix until well combined.

Makes enough for 8-9 inch pan.
Pink Lemonade Frosting

1/2 c. frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 1/2-4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 egg whites
Pinch salt

In a bowl with an electric mixer, combine concentrate, powdered sugar, egg whites and salt. Beat, on high speed, until thick enough to spread.

Makes enough for a 9x13 pan.
Easy Orange Frosting

2 egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

In the top of a double broiler over simmering not boiling water, combine egg whites, sugar, concentrate and syrup. Cook, beating constantly with an electric mixer, on high speed, for about 10 minutes, or until frosting forms stiff peaks. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Makes enough for an 8-9 inch pan.
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Base:
3/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/3 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Topping:
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. light corn syrup
3/4 c. strawberry jam

Base: In a bowl, beat butter, corn syrup and sugar until smooth. Blend in flour and salt until a dough forms. Press evenly into prepared pan.

Topping: In another bowl, beat cream cheese, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in syrup. Spread evenly over dough. Bake in preheated oven 325* for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned and topping is set. Place pan on a rack.

Stir jam until smooth. Spread evenly over hot topping. Cool for 30 minutes then chill 3 hours, or overnight, before cutting bars. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Use a 9x13 inch pan well greased.
Blueberry Graham Cheesecake Bars

Base:
1 1/4 c. graham wafer crumbs
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 c. sugar

Filling:
10 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Ground cinnamon

Topping:
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. sugar
1 1/2-2 19oz cans blueberry pie filling
4 Tbsp. lemon juice

Base: In a bowl mix together crumbs, butter and sugar. Press evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

Filling: In another bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Spread evenly over base. Bake in preheat oven 300* for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon over top and place pan on a rack to cool.

Topping: In a bowl mix together pie filling and lemon juice. Spread over warm cake. Chill thoroughly then cut into bars.

Use a 9x9 square cake pan ungreased.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake Bars

Base:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream

Topping:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
4 tsp. cinnamon

Base: In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In another bowl, beat sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Add eggs and beat until mixed. Stir in vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture, alternately with sour cream. Spread half in prepared pan. Set aside.

Topping: In a bowl mix together sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Sprinkle half evenly over base. Spread reserved batter over nut mixture. Sprinkle remaining topping evenly over batter. Bake in preheated oven 350* for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then cut into squares.

Use a 9x9 inch square cake pan well greased.

TIP: A wet knife does a smoother job of cutting fresh bars, squares or brownies.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars

Base:
3 c. flour
2 c. rolled oats
1 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, beaten

Topping:
1 egg
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. flour
3 c. blueberries, thawed if you use frozen

Base: In a bowl mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, powder, nutmeg, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set 2 cups aside. Add egg to remaining mixture and mix until just combined. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Topping: In another bowl, beat egg, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth and blended. Blend in flour and lemon zest. Stir in blueberries. Spread evenly over base. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375* for 40-45 minutes longer ir until lightly browned. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then cut into bars.

Use 9x13 inch pan well greased.

Tip: A cake will be less likely to stick to a pan if the pan is placed on a cold wet towel upon removal from the oven.
Apple Kuchen Bars

Base:
2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 c. butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Topping:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Base: In a bowl mix together, flour sugar and salt. Cut butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and mix until a dough forms. Shape into 2 equal balls; wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured work surface, roll out one portion of the dough to fit the bottom of pan. If necessary, cut dough to fit.

Filling: In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, butter, zest, cinnamon and apples. Spread evenly over dough. Roll remaining dough out as for first portion and place on top of apple mixture, cutting to fit the pan.

Topping: In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top of base. Bake in preheated oven to 375* for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then cut into bars.

Use 9x9 inch pan, ungreased.
Grasshopper Cream Cheese Bars

Base:
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/3 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Topping:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2-1 tsp. peppermint extract
4-5 drops green food coloring
1/4 c. milk

Base: In a bowl mix together flour, cocoa and sugar. Using 2 knives cut butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 c. of mixture and press remainder evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Place pan on rack to cool slightly.

Topping: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, peppermint extract, and food coloring until blended. Blend in milk. Spread topping evenly over baked base. Sprinkle remaining base mixture over top and bake 350* for 20-25 minutes longer or until crumbs are golden. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then cut into bars. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Use a 8x8 inch square pan, ungreased.
Rocky Road Brownies

Base:
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk

Frosting:
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Topping:
1 c. white mini marshmallows
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts
3 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Base: In a bowl mix together flour and soda. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring shortening, butter and cocoa to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

When mixture cooled, stir in sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk until just incorporated. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake in preheated 400* oven for 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frosting: In a saucepan over low heat, heat milk, butter and cocoa, stirring constantly, until steaming not boiling. Remove from heat. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Beat in vanilla. Spread frosting over warm cake.

Topping: Sprinkle marshmallows and peanuts evenly over cake. Bake 2-3 minutes longer, until marshmallows are slightly melted. Drizzle melted chocolate over top. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then cut into squares.

Use a 9x13 inch pan and grease well.

TIP: For fast, easy cleanup when food is stuck to pans, boil a little vinegar and water in the pan before washing. You won't need to do any scrubbing.
Cherry Cream Brownies

Filling:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
1/3 c. maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

Base and Topping:
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Filling: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg until incorporated. Stir in almond extract, vanilla and cherries and mix until blended.

Base and Topping: In a bowl mix together flour, powder, and salt.

In another bowl, sift cocoa into melted butter and mix until smooth. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until just combined. Blend in flour mixture. Spread half the batter evenly in prepared pan. Spread filling over top. Drop remaining batter, by spoonfuls, over filling. Run a knife through the batter and filling to create a marbling effect. Bake in preheated oven 350* for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, then cut into squares.

Use a 9x9 inch pan and grease well
Caramel Candy Brownies

Filling:
1 bag caramels, unwrapped (about 45)
2 Tbsp. milk

Base and Topping:
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c. butter or margarine
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. milk
1 c. flour
1 c. chopped pecans, divided

Filling: In a microwave safe bowl, on medium power, heat caramels and milk for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and stir until melted and smooth. Alternately, heat caramels and milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth and melted. Keep warm while preparing brownie batter.

Base and Topping: In a large saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. When mixture has cooled, stir in sugar. Add eggs and beat until just blended. Stir in milk. Blend in flour. Stir in nuts.

Spread half the batter evenly in prepared pan. Spoon filling over batter. Sprinkle 3/4 c. of the nuts over the top. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over nuts, then sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake in a preheated oven 350* for 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely, and then cut into squares.

Use a 9x9 inch pan greased well

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baked Stuffed Potatoes

6 large Idaho potatoes, pre-baked
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. green onions, diced
1/4 c. crumbled bacon bits
1 c. shredded colby jack cheese

Scoop out insides of potatoes, leaving enough to make a good shell for freezing and baking. Mash potatoes with butter, green onions, bacon bits, and cheese. Refill potato skins, then wrap each, and double wrap to avoid freezer burn, and label. To cook, thaw potatoes and warm at 400* for 30 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.

Serve with sour cream, broccoli, or any other toppings you like.
All-Purpose Dry Marinade

Fresh for Drying:
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 c. fresh oregano, diced
1/4 c. chives, chopped
1 orange
1 lemon
1-2 chili peppers

Remaining Base:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. paprika
1/3 c. kosher salt
1/3 c. coarse peppercorns
2 Tbsp. dry mustard
2 Tbsp. dry Worcestershire sauce powder

Place the onion, garlic, oregano, and chives, evenly spaced, on a lightly oiled baking sheet in the oven. Zest the orange and lemon peels; put them on a second layer or sheet. Finely dice the orange and lemon; place on a third layer or sheet. Carefully seed the hot peppers. Place on a fourth layer or sheet. Dry the herbs, fruit, and pepper in the oven at 150* until crunchy. The mixture will dry in about 2 hours, but make sure that everything is crunchy. Place all the dry ingredients in a spice grinder. Add spice to remaining base ingredients; mix well. Store in an airtight container located in a cool dark area for up to a year!!

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Garlic Honey Mustard

1/4 c. freshly ground mustard
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. whole dark mustard seed
1/2 c. malt or white vinegar
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard powder
1 Tbsp. finely ground garlic
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Taste test and adjust for personal preferences. To make the mustard thinner, add more vinegar; to make it thicker, add more mustard powder or honey. This mustard may be frozen, but canning offers a longer shelf life and better texture. Use a hot pack, hot water method, leaving at least 1/4 inch head space and immersing the jars for 25 minutes. Move to a cooling surface, leaving plenty of space between the jars. Check all lids when cool, tightening as needed. If any don't seal refrigerate or freeze instead.

Yield: about 2 cups
Elegant Oven Strawberry Jam

8 c. halved or quartered strawberries
4 c. sugar
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar or lemon juice

Combine berries and sugar in a very large saucepan. Let stand for 2 hours, stirring several times. Add vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Pour into 2 9x13 inch glass dishes and put in oven at 150*. Bake until mixture is thickened and will form a gel, about 3 hours for convection, and 10 hours for standard, stirring occasionally. Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 30 minutes.

Yield: about 4 cups
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

6 c. hulled strawberries
4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 c. sugar

In a blender or food processor working in batches, puree strawberries until smooth. Transfer to large saucepan as completed. Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine. Heat to 190* over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. DO not boil. remove from heat and skim off foam. Ladle hot concentrate into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim. Place jars in boiling water completely covered with water for 30 minutes. Remove. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Sweet Apple Cider Butter

6 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 c. sweet apple cider
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

In a large saucepan, combine apples and apple cider. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Working in batches, transfer apple mixture to a food processor with metal blade and puree just until uniform texture. Do not liquefy. Measure 12 c. of apple puree. In a clean large saucepan, combine puree, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Put band on. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Yield: about 8 8oz jars or 4 pint jars

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mint and Rosemary Vinegar

4 c. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 c. loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 c. fresh rosemary needles
1 sprig fresh rosemary for final bottling
1 spring fresh mint for final bottling

Heat together the vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan just to a boil. Place the mint and rosemary in a clean jar and lightly bruise with a wooden spoon. Pour in the hot vinegar and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap fastened with string or a rubber band. Store in a cool, dimly lit place for at least 4 weeks, swirling the contents of the jar. Strain through a strainer. Insert a fresh sprig of rosemary and mint.

Yield: 1 quart
Pomegranate Pancake Syrup

4 c. pomegranate juice
3/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Bring the juice to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan and cook until it is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes to dissolve sugar. Pour into a hot pint jar and seal with a new lid and metal ring. Process in a hot water bath for about 15 minutes. remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool dry place. Syrup will also keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 pint jar
Apple Cider Butter

7-8 lbs. granny smith apples, washed and quartered, but unpeeled
6 c. apple cider, fresh or bottled
3 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
dash freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the apples, 4 c. of the cider, and 4 c. of water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Puree the apples discarding the seeds and peel. Transfer to oven proof pan and stir in the remaining cider, the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 hours, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Preheat the oven to 250*. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven. Cook for 8 hours, stirring about once an hour, scraping the sides of the pan. The color will darken and a skin will form between stirrings. Remove a Tbsp. to a small saucer. Chill for 5 minutes in the freezer. The chilled mixture should be thick enough to mound and slide from the spoon. Taste and adjust the sugar and spices if necessary. Continue cooking for 3-4 hours more. Fill the jars. If you do not wish to jar the apple butter at this time, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then bring to a boil on top of the stove and ladle into jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp towel, and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 22 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in cool dry place.

Yield: makes about 6 pint jars
Peach Butter

10-12 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch slices (about 16 cups)
3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Stir all ingredients together in a large pan. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours. Place the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until peaches appear glazed and are soft. Preheat the oven to 225*. Pour the contents in batches into a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and puree. Pour the puree into the preserving pan if ovenproof, or into a shallow roasting pan and place in the oven. Stir every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours. The puree will turn dark amber and become very thick. It will tend to darken more rapidly around the edges of the pan, so be sure to thoroughly stir. Remove from the oven and pour into jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp towel. Seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 22 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool dry place.

Yield: about 4 pint jars
Spiced Peaches with Vanilla Bean

4 1/2 lbs. freestone peaches (about 14)
4 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. champagne or white wine vinegar
4 cinnamon sticks, about 2 inches each
12 whole allspice berries
8 whole cloves
2 vanilla beans

Score a very small x through the skin on the bottom of each peach. Drop into boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. remove to a colander to drain and cool. Starting at the x, peel the skin away without marring the flesh. Set the peeled peaches aside. Handle gently. Combine the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves in a large pot. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pot. Reserve the beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carefully add the peaches and continue to cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, basting with liquid if the peaches are not totally immersed. Turn off the heat and remove the peaches with a slotted spoon to hot sterilized widemouthed quart jars. Pack the fruit in as tight as possible without crushing or mashing. Cut a peach in half, leaving the pit intact in one half, if necessary to fill the jar. Slide 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 vanilla bean into each jar. Put 6 allspice berries and 4 cloves in each jar. Pour boiling syrup over the fruit, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp towel and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, and label before storing. Season for 4 weeks before using. The peaches will darken slightly over time.

Yield: 2 quart jars
Spiced Blueberry Marmalade

1 orange
1 lemon
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
4 c. fresh blueberries, washed and de-stemmed
3 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

Cut a thin slice from each end of the orange and lemon and discard. Score through the peel in 4 places and gently remove. Lay each piece flat and cut away half of the white pith. Cut peel into very fine shreds, 1/8 inch by 1 1/2 inches. Place the zest in a shallow pan with 1 1/2 c. of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the pulp of the orange and lemon from the membranes to extract any juice and add the orange and lemon juice. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes more. Add the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the citrus mixture. Bring the marmalade to a boil and continue cooking, uncovered, for 20 minutes. The blueberries will pop open and the mixture will begin to thicken slightly and appear glossy. Turn off the heat and remove a small amount of marmalade to a saucer and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. If the mixture wrinkles as a who when pushed to one side with a finger, it is ready to be jarred. This jam will thicken a great deal as it cools, so avoid overcooking. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe the rims clean with a damp towel, and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in a dry cool place.

Yield: makes about 5 half-pint jars
Pomegranate Jelly

4 c. bottled pomegranate juice
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
6 c. sugar
3 oz. commercial liquid pectin

Combine the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a deep saucepan or stockpot. Bring to a full boil, stirring. Pour in the pectin and bring to a boil again for 1 minute, stirring. Immediately remove from the heat and skim off foam. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp towel. Seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool dry place.

Yield: about 7 half-pint jars
Lemon Ginger Honey Jelly

2 1/4 c. clover honey
3/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3/4 c. fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. finely chopped lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped orange zest (about 3 oranges)
3 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger root, rinsed to remove the sugar
3 oz. commercial liquid pectin

Bring the honey, lemon juice, orange juice, and lemon and orange zest to a boil in a sauce pan. Stir in the ginger. When mixture comes back to a boil, add the pectin and return to a boil. Boil on high heat for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir for 3 minutes to distribute the zest and the ginger. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp towel and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 4 half-pint jars
Pear and Ginger Jam

5 lbs. small pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. minced candied ginger root, rinsed
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Toss the pears with the sugar, ginger root, zest, lemon juice, and vanilla bean in a large bowl. Let stand 3 hours at room temperature or refrigerate overnight. Pour the pear mixture into a large 6-quart nonreactive shallow pan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally. Pieces of pear will still be visible and jam will have thickened to a chunky applesauce consistency. Remove vanilla bean. Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars, and seal with new lids and metal rings. Wipe rims clean with a damp towel. Process in a hot water bath for 15-20 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label and store.

Yield: About 5 half-pint jars
Apricot and Honey Jam

6 lbs. ripe apricots (about 50)
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. clover honey
3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Wash the apricots. Cut them in half through the natural indentation and remove the pits. Slice each half into 4 lengthwise strips. There should be approximately 4 quarts. Gently combine the apricot slices, sugar, honey, and lemon juice in a large nonreactive bowl. Allow to stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours, stirring several times to keep the fruit coated and to help the juices dissolve the sugar. Pour the fruit mixture into a large 6-quart nonreactive shallow preserving pan and bring to boil over high heat. With a metal spoon skim off any foam that forms on top. Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes until the mixture is thick with a few chunks left and appears slightly glazed. Turn off the heat and skim any additional foam. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe rims clean with a damp towel, and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Remove, cook, check seals, label and store in a cool dry place.
Chestnut Spread

2 lbs. chestnuts
1 c. water
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

If you are using dried chestnuts, soak in fresh water overnight. Score the chestnuts top and bottom with a sharp knife. Boil in water to cover 10-20 minutes. Be sure to peel the dark inner skin too as it is quite bitter. After peeling the chestnuts, cover them with fresh water and boil until tender. Process in the blender or food processor to a puree. In a pot, make a syrup of the water, sugar and vanilla; add the chestnuts and cook gently until thick. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath. remove from the water bath and let cool completely. Check the seals, label and store in as dry a place as possible. This spread does not keep very well no more than 3 months.

Yield: about 4 cups
Blueberry Jam

3 lbs. blueberries
1/4 c. water
1-2 sticks cinnamon
grating a fresh nutmeg
4 c. sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Wash and pick over the blueberries; crush a few in the bottom of the pot. Add the water and spices; boil together gently until the berries have burst. Stir in the sugar and the lemon juice until dissolved. Boil gently until the jam sets, about 20 minutes longer. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars for a few minutes to complete the seal, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 6 cups
Strawberry Preserves

2 lbs. strawberries (2 quarts)
2 c. sugar
1 apple

Wash the berries gently and drain as dry as possible. Remove the stems and caps; cut the smaller berries in half and the larger into quarters. Place in a bowl, cover with the sugar, and let stand a few hours or overnight to juice up. Transfer the berries to a pot with the apple, which has been peeled, cored, and grated. Bring slowly to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, occasionally dragging a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot to make sure them jam is not sticking. Scoop out the berries with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the syrup briskly for about 15 minutes to reduce it, then add the lemon juice and return the berries to the pot. Continue to cook until set. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars for a few minutes, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 3 1/2 cups
Cantaloupe Jam

2 large cantaloupes
sugar

Peel and seed the melons. Chop and sieve, grind, or process the flesh to a pulp. Measure the pulp; for each 2 cups of pulp, add 1/2 c. sugar. Put pulp and sugar in a pot over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil briskly at first, then more carefully as the jam boils down, skimming as necessary. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When the jam begins to spit, begin testing for set, which may take as long as 45 minutes. Skim before ladling into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten them down. Invert the jars for a few minutes, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool dry place.

Yield: about 4 cups
Watermelon Preserve

2 lbs. watermelon flesh
3 c. sugar
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
3 oz pouch liquid pectin

Extract the pink flesh of the watermelon; weigh out 2 lbs. Cut into small cubes, discarding the seeds as you go. Place in a large pot with about 2 c. of cold water, bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then turn out on a clean dish towel to dry further. Return the watermelon to the pot with the sugar and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Boil rapidly for 4 minutes. Add one 3 oz pouch of liquid pectin, return to a boil, and boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, skim if necessary, then ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars for a few minutes, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 3 cups
Watermelon Rind Preserve

2 lbs. watermelon rind
2 Tbsp. salt
2 c. sugar
2 lemons
2 Tbsp. powdered ginger

Pare off the outer rind of the watermelon and remove all trace of the pink flesh. Cut the rind into cubes, place it in a bowl, and cover with the salt and 2 quarts of water. Let stand overnight. In the morning, drain the watermelon rind, rinse well with cold water, and drain again. Put in a saucepan with just enough boiling water to cover. Cook for 15 minutes, making sure the water doesn't all boil away, causing sticking. Add the sugar and 8 c. more water. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, then add the lemons, very thinly sliced, and the ginger. Cook until the rind is translucent and the syrup thickens, about 30 minutes longer. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Use a nonmetallic spatula to eliminate air bubbles. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: 3 cups
Heavenly Jam

3 lbs. peaches
3 lbs. sugar (6 cups)
3 oranges
3-oz jar maraschino cherries (about 12, with liquid to cover)

Peel, pit, and mash the peaches with a potato masher. Fine-chopping with a knife is also acceptable, but do not puree. In a bowl, cover the peaches with the sugar, put a lid on the bowl, and let stand several hours, or even overnight. When the juice has been released from the fruits, put the peaches and sugar in a saucepan: add to this the grated rind of 1 well-washed oranges; the pulp and juice of all 3 oranges, the cherries, cut into pieces but not too finely; and the maraschino juice. Bring slowly to a boil and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally as the mixture thickens to prevent sticking. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars for a few minutes to complete the seal, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 5 cups
Peach Jam

6 lbs. peaches, ripe but firm and unblemished
3 lemons
1 c. water
6 c. sugar

Wash the peaches, remove the pits, and dice the unpeeled fruit. Extract the juice from the lemons; make a few thin slices of the outer peel of 1 lemon, with no pith. Place the peaches, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a saucepan with the water and the sugar. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly until all the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook and stir very gently until set, about 20 minutes; this jam tends to stick and scorch as it cooks down so pay attention!!! When thick enough to set, remove the pieces of lemon rind and ladle the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars briefly, then return to the upright, shaking firmly to eliminate air bubbles. Let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry space.

Yield: 6 cups
Blackberry Nectarine Jam

1/2 lb. blackberries
3 lbs nectarines, not too ripe
2 apples
1 lemon
1 1/2 c. water
6 cups sugar

Wash the blackberries and set aside to drain dry. Wash and peel the nectarines; cut into pieces, discarding the pits. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Reserve the apple peel, tying it up in a muslin bag, and chop the flesh. Put the nectarines and apples in a saucepan with the water and the apple peel. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the fruit is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the muslin bag and mash the fruit with a wooden spoon. Add the lemon juice and sugar, a cup at a time, stirring until dissolved. Return to a boil; cook briskly until nearly set (about 15 minutes) before adding the blackberries. Continue to cook until set, stirring carefully from time to time. When ready to set, ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Invert the jars for a few minutes, then return to the upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 4 cups
Apple Butter

2 lbs. cooking apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
sweet cider

If you are using fresh apples, wash, peel and quarter them and place in a pan with the spices and enough sweet cider to cover. Bring slowly to a boil. Mash the apples with a wooden spoon and cook until you have a dark, smooth, buttery jam. Pot it in sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids in place, and tighten down. Subject jars to a 10-minute boiling water bath. Remove from the kettle and let cool completely. Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: about 4 cups

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Mississippi Mud

BROWNIE
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. unsweetened baking cocoa
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 c. mini-marshmallows

FROSTING

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1 1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar

With the rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 350*. Gloss an 8x8 inch pan with baking spray. Using a towel, remove the foam and spread the spray evenly over the pan.

Combine the flour with the salt and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and eggs until the mixture is well combined. Add the flour and salt and stir until mixed. It will be thick and gooey.

Scrape the batter into prepared pan. Strew chopped pecans over the top and from edge to edge. Bake 23-25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Increase oven temp to 400*. Strew marshmallows on top of the hot cake from edge to edge. return the cake to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the cocoa and the minimum quantity of cream or milk, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth and shiny, adding more sugar if necessary. Pour slowly over the hot cake from edge to edge and covering the marshmallows.

Cool the Mud completely in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled, cover with foil and let it sit overnight. Cut into bars the next day.

Makes 12 large or 16 medium bars.
My Very Best Sugar Cookies

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. salad oil
1/4 c. plus 4 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. packed powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla


With the rack in the highest position, preheat oven to 375*.

Combine the flour, slat, soda, and cream of tartar and set aside.

Cream the butter and oil, gradually adding 1/4 c. sugar and the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and light.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla, beating until pale yellow and fluffy.

With a wooden spoon, combine the dry ingredients. The dough will be soft.

Using heaping Tbsp. of batter as a guide, roll the dough into 13 balls. Rolls the balls in the remaining sugar and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Place a sheet of wax paper over the sugared cookie balls. Using the bottom of a glass, lightly flatten each cookie.

Bake for 6 minutes. Reverse the pan so back is in the front and bake 4 minutes more. The cookies will be golden and crackly on top.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutty Dollies

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chocolate ships
1/2 c. flaked coconut
2/3 c. chopped pecans
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. oreo crumbs
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. chopped lightly salted cashew nuts

GLAZE

1/2 c. chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter

With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 350*.

Melt the butter in an 8x8 inch pan in the preheating oven. Tilt the pan so the cutter covers the bottom.

Layer the remaining ingredients in the order liste, making sure they are evenly distributed from edge to edge. With your fingers press down on each layer to eliminate air.

Bake about 20-25 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt the glaze ingredients together and stir to combine. Drizzle over the Nutty Dollies before refrigerating overnight.

Cut into bars when cold. Makes 12 large or 16 medium bars.
Brownie Layer Cake

1 c. butter, melted
2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 c. flour
3/4 tsp. powder
1/2 tsp. salt
chocolate frosting
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix ingredients together with a scraper.

Add each egg one at a time, and mix.

In a small bowl, mix cocoa, flour, powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, and stir together.

Spray 2 9x9 cake pans with nonstick spray. pour half of the batter into each pan. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until the edges become crusty.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 1 hour.

Place one cake on a plate and frost. Then place the other cake on the frosted cake. Frost the top and sides, then add nuts.
Cookies and Cream Cake

1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
4 egg whites
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 pkg. oreo cookies
1 batch cream cheese frosting

In a mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar with a scrapper.

Add flour, powder, salt, and milk to the mixing bowl. Mix ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute. Mix 2 minutes on medium speed.

In a small bowl, separate egg white. Add egg whites and vanilla to mixing bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Place 15 cookies in a bag. Gently smash bag with a rolling pin until cookies crumble. Stir into batter.

Spray a 9x13 pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Pour half the batter into pan. Spread 18 whole cookies over batter. Cover with remaining batter. Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes.

Remove cake from oven. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour. Frost cake, and crumble 5 cookies and sprinkle on top.
Triple Chocolate Cake

1 c. butter
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 batch chocolate frosting
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips

Place butter into a saucepan. Add buttermilk and cocoa. Heat mixture on high until boiling, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat. Let mixture cool 30 minutes.

When cocoa mixture has cooled, add flour, sugar, and salt to the saucepan. Stir together with wooden spoon.

Crack eggs into a small bowl and throw away shells. Add eggs, yogurt, and soda to the saucepan. Beat ingredients with a whisk until batter is smooth.

Spray 2 cake 9x9 cake pans evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes.

Remove cake pans from oven. Allow cakes to cool 1 hour.

Spread frosting on top of one cake. Place the other cake on top of frosted cake. Cover sides and top with frosting, and sprinkle mini-chocolate chips on top.
Gooey Apple Dump Cake

2 (21OZ)cans apple pie filling
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 (18oz) box spice cake mix
3/4 c. butter
1 c. granola
1/4 c. powdered sugar

pour both cans of apple pie filling into a 9x13 inch pan. Spread out pie filling with a scrapper.

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and sugar. Sprinkle mixture over the pie filling.

Sprinkle dry cake mix over the spiced apples.

In a glass bowl melt butter, and pour melted butter evenly over cake mix. Sprinkle with granola on top.

Bake at 350* for 50-60 minutes or until brown on top and bubbly along the sides.

Remove pan from the oven. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake. Serve warm.
Cheesecake Cupcakes

5 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 (21oz) can cherry pie filling

To make the crust, place butter in a small bowl. Add graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and 1/2 Tbsp. sugar. Use a pastry blender or fork and mix together.

Put baking cups into a muffin pan. Press 1 Tbsp of the crust firmly into the bottom of each cup.

In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, and vanilla. Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes.

Crack eggs into a second small bowl and throw away shells. Add eggs to the mixing bowl. Mix on high for 3 minutes. Stop several times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a scrapper.

Fill each baking cup 2/3 full of batter. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until cracks start forming on the cupcakes. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door open. Leave cupcakes in the oven for 10 minutes.

Use oven mitts or pot holders to remove pan from the over. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top each cupcake with pie filling.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thick sweet and sour sauce for dipping
Ingredients

* ½ cup of chicken stock
* 4 tbsp of white vinegar
* 4 tbsp of brown sugar
* 2 tbsp of soy sauce
* 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
* 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp of water

Method

1. Mix the cornstarch together with the water until fully dissolved. Set aside.
2. Place the remaining ingredients into a saucepan.
3. Mix together and heat over a medium flame. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
4. Once the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat and add the cornstarch mixture whilst stirring continuously.
5. Continue to simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens.
6. Serve with deep-fried prawns, chicken or pork balls in batter.
GOAT CHEESE TURKEY BURGERS WITH AVOCADO MAYO



1 lb. ground turkey
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 c. bread crumbs
4 hamburger buns
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1 tomato, sliced thin
4 large lettuce leaves
8 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
MAYO:
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 avocado, skin removed
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to 375*. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. With cold water-dampened hands, shape into 4 patties. Place on tray. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. To make the avocado mayo, whip together the mayo with the avocado and add salt and pepper to taste. Lightly oil the grate and grill each burger 6 minutes per side or until evenly cooked through. Serve on a bun and garnish.

*Great to serve Sweet Potato French Fries on the side.
CITRUS GOAT CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese
2 c. sour cream
10 1/2 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. orange zest finely grated or chopped
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
1 c. strawberry jam

Bring the cheese to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform cake pan with butter or cooking spray. In a small bowl, blend cracker crumbs and butter, and press into the cake pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes to lightly brown crust. In a mixer, blend cream cheese only for 5 minutes. Add 1 c. of sour cream, goat cheese, and sugar, and continue beating for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, lemon juice, vanilla and orange zest, and continue beating for 1 minute. Pour cheesecake batter into a cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, reduce heat to 300* and continue baking 30 minutes or until the cake is set. Remove and allow to totally cool before the next step. Mix the Grand Marnier with 1 c. of sour cream and spread evenly on top of the cake. Mix the strawberry jam with some water for sauce. Cut the cake into 14-16 slices and pour sauce over the center of each slice.
GRILLED GOAT CHEESE PIZZA



1 12-inch whole-wheat pizza crust
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. zesty pizza sauce
1 fresh tomato
10 1/2 oz. fresh goat cheese, sliced into medallions 1/8 inch thick
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, cut into thin slices
1 tsp. fresh parsley, torn into small pieces

Preheat grill to 425*. The easiest method for grilling pizza is to partially bake the crust. Grill one side just long enough to firm up the crust so you can move it easily about 3 minutes. Take the crust off the heat and flip it over to arrange the toppings on the baked side. First, spread the olive oil over the entire pizza crust to the edges, then add desired amount of the sauce in the middle, leaving a half inch for the crust. Add tomato slices and the goat cheese, followed by the basil and parsley. Return to the grill and cook for 6-8 minutes on medium or until the crust is golden brown and the goat cheese medallions begin to melt. As an option, grill for 5 minutes then broil for 2 more minutes to brown the goat cheese. Serves 4-6.
BBQ CHICKEN WRAPS



2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
2 medium yellow onions- cut hprizontally into 1/2-inch thick slices
3/4 c. KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce
8 6-inch flour tortillas, wrapped in foil
2 medium ripe tomatoes, stems removed, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded lettuce

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill over charcoal together with the onion slices over medium heat on all sides for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Brush the chicken and onions generously with sauce and finish grilling until onions are crispy and chicken has reached internal temperature of 165*. Remove the chicken and onions from the grill and cover with foil and allow cooling. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and separate the onions into rings. Warm the tortillas over the grill for 2-3 minutes. When warm, fill tortillas with chicken and onions. Top with some of the chopped tomato and lettuce, and roll into a snug wrap. Serve immediately. Makes 8.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1.5 lbs. Fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 10.75 can cream of mushroom soup
1 10.75 can cream of chicken soup
1 7oz diced green chilies
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely diced
1 32 oz corn tortillas
1 16 oz sour cream

Place chicken in large saucepan and cover with water. Add oregano, garlic powder and 2 Tbsp. oregano, 1 Tbsp. garlic, and 1 tsp. salt. Boil about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from broth and shred. Mix soups, sour cream, and chilies in large pan. Simmer on LOW 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken and diced onion. In casserole dish, arrange 6 tortillas flat across bottom. Spoon in 1/2 the chicken and sauce, sprinkle 1/2 the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, sauce and cheese. Bake at 350* in the oven for 20 minutes.
Tuscan Beef Stew

1 10.75 oz Tomato soup
1 10.75 oz beef broth
1 14.5 oz diced Italian tomatoes
1 1lb baby carrots
2 lbs. stewing beef
2 15 oz white beans
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Stir in crock pot. 1 can soup, beef broth, 1/2 c. water and 1 c. diced tomatoes. Add 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, baby carrots and stew meat. Cover and cook on LOW 8-9 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours until beef is tender. Drain and rinse beans. Stir in the pot. Increase heat to HIGH. Cook for 10-15 minutes longer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gluten Free – Dairy Free Maple Pecan Scones

Summary: This recipe is from the cookbook “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-free Recipes”

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons Organic All Purpose Baking Mix from The Pure Pantry or 1 1/2 cups Elizabeth’s Flour Blend (see cookbook, Fresh from Elizaebeth’s Kitchen), plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup of gluten free oats
1/4 cup butter or butter alternative
3 tablespoons maple sugar or coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg or egg replacer
1/2 cup half and half or So Delicious Coconut Creamer
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 tablespoon milk of choice
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

In a food processor or blender, finely grind oats. Or, alternatively, you may use gluten-free oat flour.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, oat flour, and sugar.

Cut butter into small pieces and add. Blend butter with your fingers until resembles course meal. Add maple syrup, beaten egg, cream and maple extract, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in pecans. Dough will be sticky.

Lightly dust a work surface and hands with gluten-free baking mix or rice flour. Turn dough out onto work surface. Knead lightly and pat dough into an 8 inch circle shape and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Score top of circle with knife, creating 10 wedges but not cutting all the way through dough. Or, using a large spoon drop approximately ¼ cup dough onto greased cookie sheet, 3 inches apart.

Bake for 25 minutes or until scones are golden brown. Cool completely. If you created the 8 inch circle, cut into 10 scones.

Prepare frosting by sifting powdered sugar into medium bowl. Add maple extract and milk and blend with mixer. Spread glaze over scones and let set.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls by Paula Deen

Ingredients
Dough:

* 1/4-ounce package yeast
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1/2 cup scalded milk
* 1/4 cup sugar
*
* 1/3 cup butter or shortening
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
*

Filling:

* 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
* 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
* 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
* 3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional
*

Glaze:

* 4 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.
Park Avenue Strawberry Bread presented by A Park Avenue Mansion
A moist and flavorful loaf, perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.

1 10-oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed
2 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Puree strawberries in a food processor or blender; set aside. Beat together the eggs and oil. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, flour baking soda and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Blend in the strawberries. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 325° for approximately 60 minutes or until done. Cool on a rack in the pan for a few minutes, then turn loaf out of pan to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf
The Best Breakfast Quesadillas

Ingredients:

Quesadillas:

1 Tbsp. butter
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup shredded potatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped smoked sausage
2 green onions, sliced
4 eggs, beaten
Pinch paprika
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese or jalapeno cheddar
2 12-inch flour tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray

Tangy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:

3 Tbsp. salsa verde
2 Tbsp. minced red pepper or seeded red jalapeno
1/2 cup sour cream
Pinch cayenne
1 Tbsp. chopped chives

Directions:

In a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, add butter. Add the bacon and cook for 3 — 4 minutes until slightly crisp. Add the potatoes, sausage, and onions and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently until the potatoes develop some color. Add the eggs and paprika. Cook until the eggs are set. Remove the egg mixture to a bowl. Wipe skillet or griddle clean.

Spray skillet or griddle with nonstick spray. Place a tortilla on the skillet and fill one half of the tortilla with half of the eggs. Top with half of the cheese. Fold to form a half-moon and cook for 2 — 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut quesadilla into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.

To make the dipping sauce, mix together all ingredients and set aside. Serve with the quesadilla wedges.
Pizza Bake

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
15 oz. pizza sauce
12 oz. Wide egg noodles
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
26 oz. spaghetti sauce
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. pepperoni cut in halves
1 green bell pepper finely chopped

Brown meat and diced onion in frying pan. Drain grease and add pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. Cook noodles according to package. Put layer of noodles, meat mixture, cheese and pepperoni in crock pot. Repeat layers. Cook on HIGH for 30 minutes or on LOW for 3 hours until the cheese melts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Easy Kettle Corn Recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

*Special Equipment – A large pot with lid

Directions:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add popcorn and sugar giving it a quick stir and then cover with lid. Once popcorn starts popping, pick it up and give it a quick shake every few seconds until popping slows down, between 3-4 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and pour into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately. Do not make the mistake of removing the pot from heat without transferring to a bowl. Due to the high heat of the pot, if you don’t transfer the popcorn it will caramelize and perhaps burn. *Also, do not attempt to make a batch of this in a dutch oven. I made a second batch thinking it would work and it caramelized to quickly and burned.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sweet-&-Sour Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 1/4 cup water
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
* 8 chicken drumsticks, (about 2 pounds), skin removed, trimmed
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium. (No grill? See Broiler Variation, below.)
2. To prepare dipping sauce, combine orange zest, orange juice, water, honey, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and coriander in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar in a small bowl until smooth. Add to the saucepan and return to a boil, whisking until thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in mint.
3. Sprinkle drumsticks with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the drumsticks until crispy on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, about 15 minutes total. Serve the drumsticks with the dipping sauce on the side. Broiler variation: Position oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat broiler to high. Prepare sauce (Step 2). Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle drumsticks with salt and pepper (Step 3), then broil, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, about 15 minutes total.

Tips & Notes

* To oil the grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Don't use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Nutrition

Per serving: 255 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 93 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 1 g fiber; 389 mg sodium; 315 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (27% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv).

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1 other carbohydrate
BBQ Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

* 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (see Note)
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 2 large eggs
* 1 3/4 cups coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
* Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray

Preparation

1. Combine barbecue sauce, mustard and honey in a large bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken tenders in half lengthwise, then add all the tenders to the large bowl with the remaining sauce; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Coat each tender in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Place the tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat both sides of each tender with cooking spray.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each tender over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the tenders are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Serve with the reserved sauce for dipping.

Tips & Notes

* Ingredient notes: We like Ian’s brand of coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets. To make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. (To make fine dry breadcrumbs, process until very fine.) Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.
* Chicken tenders are the lean strips of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of chicken breasts. They can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”

Nutrition

Per tender: 67 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 28 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 8 g protein; 1 g fiber; 141 mg sodium; 7 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 lean meat
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

* 4 medium russet potatoes
* 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef, (see Variation)
* 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
* 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 3 scallions, sliced

Preparation

1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook on Medium, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or use the “potato setting” on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer’s directions.)
2. Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the pan, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat.
3. Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes; reserve the tops for another use. Scoop out the insides into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup Cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add scallions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine.
4. Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Microwave on High until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Prepare and stuff potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Microwave and serve.

* Vegetarian variation: Replace the ground beef with a soy-based substitute or omit the beef altogether and increase the broccoli to 1 1/2 cups and the cheese to 1 1/4 cups.

Nutrition

Per serving: 274 calories; 10 g fat (5 g sat, 4 g mono); 52 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 2 g fiber; 514 mg sodium; 740 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (42% daily value), Zinc (27% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Calcium (19% dv).

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 1/2 Starch, 3 lean meat
Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Ingredients

* Canola oil cooking spray
* 1/2 cup sliced almonds
* 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 large egg whites
* 1 pound chicken tenders

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
2. Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. With the motor running, drizzle in oil; process until combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.
3. Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and turn to coat. Transfer each tender to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side.
4. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Tips & Notes

* Ingredient note: Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”

Nutrition

Per serving: 174 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 1 g fiber; 254 mg sodium; 76 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (31% daily value).

Exchanges: 3 very lean meat, 1/2 fat
Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix, thawed and diced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
* 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
* 1 15-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 1/2 cups hot water
* 1 teaspoon dried basil or marjoram
* 1 6- to 9-ounce package fresh or frozen cheese (or meat) ravioli, preferably whole-wheat
* 2 cups diced zucchini, (about 2 medium)
* Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pepper-onion mix, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, water and basil (or marjoram); bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add ravioli and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add zucchini; return to a boil. Cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Thin with broth before reheating, if desired.

Nutrition

Per serving: 264 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 28 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 8 g fiber; 763 mg sodium; 762 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (40% dv), Iron (21% dv), Calcium (16% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 fat
Broccoli, Ham & Pasta Salad

Cream Herbed Dressing

* 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
* 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion or dried chopped chives
* 1 1/4 teaspoons dried tarragon or dill
* 1/2 teaspoon onion salt or celery salt or 1/4 teaspoon of each
* White pepper to taste

Salad

* 3 cups cooked whole-wheat fusilli or similar pasta (about 6 ounces dry)
* 4 cups chopped broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 large heads)
* 1 1/2 cups diced ham (8 ounces), preferably reduced-sodium
* 1 large red or yellow bell pepper (or a combination), diced
* 1/4 cup diced red onion, plus slices for garnish
* 1/3 cup raisins
* Freshly ground pepper to taste
* 4 cups spinach leaves
* 1 cup torn radicchio leaves

Preparation

1. To prepare dressing: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, onion (or chives), tarragon (or dill) and onion salt (and/or celery salt) in a bowl until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
2. To prepare salad: Combine pasta, broccoli, ham, bell pepper, diced onion and raisins in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until evenly incorporated. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
3. Serve on a bed of spinach and radicchio, garnished with slices of red onion.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Per serving: 306 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 31 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 19 g protein; 6 g fiber; 838 mg sodium; 696 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (167% daily value), Vitamin A (85% dv), Folate (24% dv), Potassium (20% dv), Magnesium (18% dv), Zinc (17% dv), Iron (16% dv)

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 2 vegetable, 2 lean meat
Broccoli, Ham & Pasta Salad

Cream Herbed Dressing

* 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
* 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion or dried chopped chives
* 1 1/4 teaspoons dried tarragon or dill
* 1/2 teaspoon onion salt or celery salt or 1/4 teaspoon of each
* White pepper to taste

Salad

* 3 cups cooked whole-wheat fusilli or similar pasta (about 6 ounces dry)
* 4 cups chopped broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 large heads)
* 1 1/2 cups diced ham (8 ounces), preferably reduced-sodium
* 1 large red or yellow bell pepper (or a combination), diced
* 1/4 cup diced red onion, plus slices for garnish
* 1/3 cup raisins
* Freshly ground pepper to taste
* 4 cups spinach leaves
* 1 cup torn radicchio leaves

Preparation

1. To prepare dressing: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, onion (or chives), tarragon (or dill) and onion salt (and/or celery salt) in a bowl until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
2. To prepare salad: Combine pasta, broccoli, ham, bell pepper, diced onion and raisins in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until evenly incorporated. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
3. Serve on a bed of spinach and radicchio, garnished with slices of red onion.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Per serving: 306 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 31 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 19 g protein; 6 g fiber; 838 mg sodium; 696 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (167% daily value), Vitamin A (85% dv), Folate (24% dv), Potassium (20% dv), Magnesium (18% dv), Zinc (17% dv), Iron (16% dv)

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 2 vegetable, 2 lean meat
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients

* 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufch√Ętel)
* 1/4 teaspoon honey
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
* 2 slices very thin whole-wheat sandwich bread
* 2 medium strawberries, sliced

1. Combine cream cheese, honey and orange zest in a bowl. Spread bread with the cheese mixture. Place sliced strawberries on 1 piece of bread, top with the other.

Nutrition

Per serving: 128 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 8 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 191 mg sodium; 63 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value), Vitamin C (90% dv), Folate (67% dv), Iron (20% dv).

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat
BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
* 1/4 cup shredded carrots
* 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
* 2 teaspoons light ranch dressing
* 1 small whole-wheat sandwich bun
* 1 leaf romaine lettuce

Preparation

1. Combine chicken, carrots and barbecue sauce in a bowl. Spread ranch dressing on the bun. Top with the chicken mixture and lettuce.

Nutrition

Per serving: 323 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 62 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 4 g fiber; 729 mg sodium; 456 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (100% daily value), Selenium (56% dv).

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 3 very lean meat, 1 1/2 fruit
Pizza Roll-Up Bento Lunch

Ingredients

* 1 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla
* 2 tablespoons prepared pizza sauce
* 12 leaves baby spinach
* 3 tablespoons shredded part-skim mozzarella
* 1/2 cup cucumber spears
* 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
* 2 tablespoons low-fat creamy dressing, such as ranch
* 1 cup small watermelon pieces
* 6 chocolate wafer cookies
Preparation

1. Place tortilla on a plate and spread pizza sauce over it. Top with an even layer of spinach and sprinkle cheese on top. Microwave on High until the cheese is just melted, about 45 seconds. Carefully roll the tortilla up. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces, if desired. Pack the slices in a medium container.
2. Pack cucumber and cauliflower in another medium container. Nestle a small, dip-size container among the vegetables and add dressing.
3. Pack watermelon in one small container and cookies in another small container.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the pizza roll-up for up to 1 day.

Nutrition

Per serving: 419 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 14 mg cholesterol; 65 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 6 g fiber; 679 mg sodium; 415 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv), Calcium (21% dv), Iron (15% dv).

4 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 carbohydrate (other), 1 medium-fat meat