Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mini Potato Casserole


Mmmm, potato casserole, it is a classic. This literally makes an appearance at almost all church gatherings and holiday dinners. I will surprise my hubbs with it every once in a while and he loves it, except for the fact that the original recipe makes SO much. So, I scaled it down to single-servings. That way, no one is over eating!

Mini Potato Casserole

1/2 cup cooked, shredded potato
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 Tbs. finely minced or shredded onion
1/4 cup cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and onion together. In a small baking custard cup, spread 1/3 of soup mixture. Top with 1/4 cup potato, and 1/8 cup cheese. For next layer, use 1/3 soup mixture, remaining potato, remaining 1/3 soup mixture, and remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling.

Makes 1 single serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Where o where to begin? This is the ultimate dessert to make if you want to impress. I am telling you...this takes like something that you would get in a super expensive restraunt. I took this to my work and it was an absolute hit! Everyone was raving about how delicious it was, and I seriously didn't know what to say. It was relatively easy, extremely rich, and sure to impress!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Printable Version

1 cup butter, melted, plus more for pan

1 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped mini Reese's peanut butter cups, about 15 pieces, plus more for topping

1/4 cup peanut butter, plus 2 tablespoons, heated in microwave at 10 second intervals for easy spreading

chocolate for shaving on top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter 2 (8-inch) circular pans and line with parchment paper, then butter parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the 1 cup melted butter and cocoa and stir until the cocoa is dissolved.

Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla, flour and salt and combine until the flour is no longer visible. Fold in the chopped peanut butter cups and divide the mixture between the pans. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Run a knife around the edge of each pan and turn out onto a work surface.

Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate or a round platter. Spread the 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. of peanut butter over the first layer and top with the second layer of cake.

For frosting: (Cody's Choco-Peanut Butter Delight Frosting)

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2.5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

In a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioner's sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue to beat on medium speed for 4 minutes.

Add peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Spread frosting on cooled cake, top with chopped reese's and shaved chocolate. Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 14-16.

Recipe adapted from Ultimate Recipe Showdown

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lemon Bar Cupcakes

The best cupcakes ever. I wish I could just stop at that. These are so, so good! Both hubbs and I love lemon and shortbread cookies, so these are perfect for us. The other day we were watching a Food Network Challenge and came across this recipe. He wanted me to whip it up, so I did, and I am so glad that I did! (Except for the fact that 5 pounds have now been added to my back side). Ha!

Lemon Bar Cupcakes

Printable Version

Lemon Bar Cupcakes

Recipe from Chelsea at www.mmmcafe.blogspot.com

For crust and topping:

33 Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookies

6 Tbs. granulated sugar

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

For the batter:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

1 small box (3.4 ounce) instant lemon pudding

1 (18.25 ounce) box lemon cake mix

2/3 cup lemon curd

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 26 cupcake liners; set aside.

Place shortbread cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl; stir until well combined; set aside.

In the mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time and mix just until combined. Add vegetable oil, water, and the box of lemon pudding. Mix until combined. Add cake mix and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Place a tablespoon of shortbread cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use your fingers or the bottom of a small glass to firmly pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining shortbread cookie crumb mixture for topping.

Drop a scant 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup.

Load the lemon curd into a small sandwich size resealable bag, removing the air from the bag before sealing. Squeeze the curd to 1 corner of the bag and use scissors to snip a 1/4- inch piece from corner of bag; set aside.

With a damp finger or the end of a wooden spoon dipped in water, make a shallow indentation into the center of each cupcake. Pipe 1 teaspoon lemon curd into each indentation. Sprinkle tops of cupcakes evenly with remaining shortbread cookie crumbs.

Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, until edges of cupcakes are lightly golden brown.

Serve cupcakes warm from the oven or at room temperature. Since the lemon curd will melt, additional curd may be used to top cupcakes after cooling.

Makes 26 cupcakes

Recipe from www.foodnetwork.com

Lemon Scones

O my heavens...these were delish. More than delish...delicious! My hubbs and I took a trip to Arizona a couple of weeks ago over his spring break. We were trying to escape the snow/no-sun in about 4 months in Nebraska, and it worked! While we were there, I had a Cherry-almond scone that I about died for! It was absolutely amazing. Upon returning, I knew that I could find a great recipe for a yummy scone on a food blog, and boy did I! Baking Bites blog sure pulled through on this one...

Lemon Scones

Printable Version

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar plus 1/8 cup sugar (plus 4 Tbs. for glaze)

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into 10-12 small pieces

8-10 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (plus 2 Tbs. for glaze)

1-2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but most should be smaller than a pea. (Instead of doing this, you may choose to use a food processor or pastry blender to mix in your butter.) Add 5-6 tablespoons of lemon juice and zest and stir dought with a fork. Add remaining juice until dough comes together into a not-too-moist ball. Divide dough in to two balls and flatten onto baking sheet to for discs about 1-inch thick.

Divide each disc into quarters and separate slightly. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.

For the “glaze”: Mix together a four tablespoonfuls of white sugar with two tablespoons of lemon juice to make a paste. Drizzle on scones when hot out of the oven. Let scones cool before eating.

Recipe adapted from Baking Bites

Makes 8 scones

Monday, March 15, 2010

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Yep! It is grill season, and we are so excited. My hubby is totally getting into it this year; we just bought him some new spices and an official "manly" meat tenderizer! I can't wait to see what he comes up with. This one was our first shot at the grill this year, besides some burgers, and it turned out great! Everyone that came over was saying how great it was...good job HUBBS! Keep it coming!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 lb. pork tenderloin
zest from 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 chipotle chile is adobo sauce
1 Tbs. adobo sauce
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin.

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt, and garlic powder in a 1-gallon resealable bag. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and move around to combine. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through the time.

Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the grill.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees F.

Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Serves 4
Recipe from: Alton Brown

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fried Scones

You can do so many things with fried scones...and they are all soooo delish! We always ate these in our home growing up. I would want to skip the "meal" part and go straight to the dessert, but my mom found some great ways to make the "meal" seem more appealing! Our favorite versions of scones are Pizza, Indian Tacos, Sloppy Joes, and Dessert.

Fried Scones

12 rhodes frozen rolls, thawed
6 cups vegetable oil

Toppings for Pizza:
alfredo or tomato sauce
canadian bacon
shredded chicken

Toppings for Indian Tacos:
taco meat
taco sauce

Toppings for Sloppy Joes:
Sloppy joe meat and sauce, THIS is a great recipe

Toppings for Dessert:
Cinnamon and Sugar
Powdered Sugar

Flatten each of the 12 rolls into a 1/4" thick circle, trying your best to have them even thickness all of the way through.
In a large saute pan or deep fryer, heat the 6 cups of oil to 360 degrees F. (I am not big into having the perfect temperature. What I do to test my oil is take a tiny piece of store-bought bread and drop it into the oil. If the bread absorbs the oil, it is not hot enough. It should sizzle and brown quickly if it is the perfect temperature.)
Slip the rounds one at a time into the hot oil, being careful not to splatter yourself. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until a golden brown, then turn and finish cooking. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining dough.
Add toppings to fry bread and enjoy! If making pizza, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add toppings and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 12 Scones.

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

Yummy, easy, yummy, enough said. Seriously, I loved this skillet dinner! Okay, so I usually love skillet dinners before I even make them, simply because of the connotation of the name: skillet. Not 8 bowls, 3 stirring utensils, 4 measuring cups, and a strainer. Skillet, as in, ONE dish to clean, ONE! WOo-hoO! However, the delish flavor of this meal made me like it for the entire 5 minutes it took me to devour my serving(s)!

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

1 Tbs. EVOO
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 red onion, pureed
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
2/3 cup honey BBQ sauce
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don't have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.

Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chocolate Tarts with Orange Mousse

These little gems are beautiful to the eye, and decadent to the taste buds! Not to mention the snap together time that they take! (About 10 minutes total!) Everyone at my Christmas party (yes, I am posting this 3 months later...) was loving the perfect mixture of dark chocolate with the slight orange creme pop at the end. (The orange 'pop' could be changed to vanilla, peppermint, almond, raspberry...) These little morsels are sure to impress!

Chocolate Tarts with Orange Mousse

2 pkg. (15 shells each) frozen mini phyllo shells
1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. semi sweet baking chocolate, cut into chunks
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 Tbs. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. orange extract (or your choice of flavor)

Prepare phyllo shells are directed on package for crisp, unfilled tarts. Cool completely.

Microwave 1/3 cup of the cream and the chocolate in a bowl on high for 1 minute, stirring after 3o seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minutes or until chocolate ganache starts to thicken. Spoon a heaping teaspoon ganache in to each shell. Cool completely.
Beat cream cheese and 2 Tbs. of sugar in large bowl until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat remaining 3/4 cream, remaining 2 Tbs. sugar and extract with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, this can take 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 of the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture; stir until well blended. Gently stir in the remaining whipped cream to create your orange mousse.

Spoon about 1 Tbs. orange mousse into each tart. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Food Magazine
Makes 30 tarts