Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peppermint Bark

I think this is one of the easiest holiday sweets to make. It also looks so cute wrapped up in a baggie with a pretty bow for little gifts. I made this candy last Christmas and it came back again this year by popular demand. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 lb white chocolate (you can use more depending on the amount you wish to make)
6 candy canes, crushed

Instructions
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Pour melted chocolate onto a non-stick baking sheet (with sides). Smooth the chocolate so the candy will have an even thickness. Top with crushed candy canes. Place in fridge till chocolate is hard. When the chocolate is ready remove from fridge and break into pieces. Store in ziplock or Tupperware.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it. I always like to try new combinations of flavors. While some are awesome and some are not so awesome it is always fun to experiment. I really liked this recipe! I reminded me or caramel corn, but had a smooth peanut butter taste. Enjoy!Ingredients
1/2 cup popcorn, unpopped (or 2 bags microwave popcorn)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
Pop popcorn. Bring sugar and syrup to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir until melted. Add vanilla. Pour over popped corn and mix.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oreo Truffles

I have wanted to make this recipe for awhile and decided to save the recipe for Christmas so I could share and wouldn't end up eating them all. I am not a huge chocolate person, but these are so yummy. In addition to being yummy, they are super easy to make and always a hit. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 lb Oreo cookies (3 sleeves)
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb milk chocolate

Instruction
Using a food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder. With a mixer, blend cookie powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese). Roll into small balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. In double-boiler, melt milk chocolate. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. I sprinkled Andes peppermint crumbles on top of the truffles before the chocolate hardened. Let cool. Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cornish Game Hen and Wild Rice Pot Pie

Last night my Dad made the yummiest cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice for a family dinner. So good. However, there was one left over. Unfortunately, these don't reheat too well. What to do, what to do.... I came up with this chicken and rice meets pot pie idea. It was so so yummy. The hens were stuffed with Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice and roasted in the over (make sure to baste the hens with a little butter and season with salt and pepper!) It will be hard to wait for the next time we make cornish game hens for this dish! Enjoy

Ingredients
Meat from 1 roasted cornish game hen, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
1 cup seasoned wild rice (I used Uncle Ben's from the hen)
1 can green beans
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn
8 stalks of asparagus, chopped
1 can health request cream of chicken soup
3 Tbl milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 t rubbed sage
1/2 t ground thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg white
1 can crescent rolls (about 8)

Instructions
Preheat over to 375. Lightly grease a medium skillet with PAM. Add meat, rice, onion, beans, corn, asparagus, salt, pepper, sage, garlic, and thyme to skillet. Heat on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Add soup, milk and water. Mix well. Add hen and rice mixture to a lightly greased 9x9 baking dish. Un-roll crescent rolls and stretch over mixture. Make sure the press the dough against the sides of the pan, and avoid making any holes in the dough. Brush dough with egg white and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Caramels Part 2

My second attempt at caramels with a new recipe. The previous caramels, while tasting great, were not as soft as I wanted. I did more searching and found this recipe. It had good reviews and I figured it was worth a shot. I liked these a lot more and the recipe was easier! Enjoy!
Ingredients
2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions
Grease a 12x15 inch pan. In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat. Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the caramel and roll. Wrap them in wax paper for storage.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Caramels

Holiday candy has begun! I have been wanting to make caramels for a really long time, but never tried. Since we are snowed in today I finally became motivated. I few weeks ago I ordered my candy thermometer in preparation and researched recipes. This recipe looked the best to me, and it got good reviews. The process was not difficult, but it certainly does take a careful eye! Look for more yummy candy recipes coming soon, Enjoy! Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup condensed milk
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut into small cubes

Instructions
Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm, but do not allow it to boil. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees. Add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture. When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel. Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1” squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary. Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut. Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Sticky Lemon Chicken in the Crockpot

I was recent a featured member on the site halfhourmeals.com and have been wanting to try recipe from one of my fellow members. This recipe for Sticky Lemon Chicken looked so yummy. However, I was feeling lazy yesterday and in the mood for something out of the crockpot. So, I modified this recipe and it turned out so yummy. My friend Dianna joined us for dinner and a bowling game on our new Wii! Enjoy!
Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt
black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
2 tbs dark soy sauce
3 tbs honey
1 tsp sugar
1/2 lemon, finely sliced
Juice from other half of lemon
1 1/2 cup water

Instructions
Grease crockpot with PAM. Place chicken breasts in crock pot. In a separate bowl mix all other ingredients besides the lemon slices. Pour mixture over chicken breasts and top with lemon slices. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 7-8 hours (this works better cooked on high). Serve with rice or potatoes and veggies of choice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

I love a good thick spicy gumbo. The restaurant I work at has the best gumbo ever. I wanted to recreate my own version to make and enjoy at home. In gumbo, roux is key and if burned or undercooked can result in not so good gumbo. Since my favorite gumbo from the restaurant is top secret, I searched around for something close I could follow. The finished product turned out really yummy and spicy. Enjoy!


A Classic Gumbo Recipe from Southern Living magazine

Ingredients
1 lb andouille sausage, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 medium onion
, chopped
1 green bell pepper
, chopped
3 celery stalks
, sliced
3 garlic cloves
, minced
4 cups hot water

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tbl hot sauce

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2
bay leaves

Instructions

Brown andouille sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove sausage, reserving dripping in pan. Set sausage aside. Cut chicken breasts and thighs into 1-inch pieces, and brown in hot drippings over medium heat. Remove chicken, reserving drippings. Measure drippings, adding enough vegetable oil to measure 1/2 cup. Heat mixture in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Whisk in flour , and cook, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until roux is caramel colored. Add chopped onion and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in water and broth; bring to a boil. Add chicken, Creole seasoning, and next 4 ingredients; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Add sausage and cook 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves; serve over rice.