Sunday, December 10, 2017

Candy Cane Bark

This treat is super easy to make and it's perfect for the season and a good way to use up candy canes.  I tried to find the ones that came pre-crushed but they were out at the store so with a large sealable plastic bag and my meat tenderizer...I had pieces within minutes.

Candy Cane Bark

1 package vanilla bark 
2 cups Rice Krispies
10 candy canes, crushed

Line a 10 x 13 pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  Melt the vanilla bark in a microwave safe bowl.  When completely melted, stir in the Rice Krispies and smooth out evenly on the pan.  Sprinkle the candy cane pieces on top and lightly press in so they stick.  Cool in the refrigerator for a half hour.  Remove and break up into bite size pieces.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Taco Bake

This taco bake will please those that like a milder Mexican dish.  It has some of the spices but sour cream and cream cheese both work to make it a creamier hot dish.  I use my own taco seasoning so if you use some from a package, adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.
Taco Bake

1# extra lean ground beef, seasoned and browned
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups cooked macaroni noodles
1 cup sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp milk
1 cup shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend

In your frying pan, add the taco seasoning, tomato sauce and sour cream to the browned ground beef and stir until completely mixed.  Put the cooked macaroni noodles in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Microwave the cream cheese and milk for 1 minute and stir until completely blended.  Spread over macaroni noodles.  Top with the taco beef mixture and spread evenly over the cream cheese.  Top with the shredded cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Peach Kuchen Bars

This was my first attempt to make a kuchen and it turned out very good.  Next time, I will be making the original kuchens that are popular here in North Dakota.  They make them sooo good out in the middle regions of the state.  If ever traveling through, stop in a small town and head to their grocery stores for kuchen and sausage.  I chose peach because it’s my favorite but you can use any of your favorite fruits. 
Peach Kuchen Bars

Crust –
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
Mix together and spread out over a greased 13 x 9 x 2 pan.  It’s easiest to lightly wet your fingers for spreading the dough.  Make sure to make an rim along the edges of the pan to hold the custard filling.

Thaw 1 package (16 oz) of frozen peach slices.  Cut each slice in half (lengthwise) and place evenly over the crust.

Custard –
4 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 cups whipping cream
Stir together and pour over the peaches.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the custard.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until custard is set

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nutella Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

What better way to brighten up a cold and snowy day than with a luxurious chocolate dessert….this one will definitely do that and it’s easy to make.  I had a fresh jar of Nutella on my counter so I decided to add that to my recipe.  I used dark cocoa since that’s all I have on hand but regular will work just as well.
Nutella Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Bottom layer ~

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp dark cocoa (I used King Arthur Flour Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup Nutella

Mix together in a bowl and spread into a greased 9 x 9 pan.

Top with ~

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dark cocoa

Combine in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter.  
Pour 1 3/4 cup of hot water on top.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Crock Pot Pasta e Fagioli

A chilly day here in the valley that started off with fog and still isn't above freezing.  It seemed like a good time to make something in the crock pot while watching college football and making Christmas greeting cards.  

Pasta e Fagioli

1/2# extra lean ground beef, cooked
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
3 oz pancetta
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz Cannellini beans

1 15 oz Light Red Kidney beans
 32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 cups Ditalini
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese freshly grated

Cook ground beef in a large saucepan.  Add in garlic, onion and pancetta and cook until soft and put in the crock pot with the beans.  Add in chicken broth, oregano and parsley.  Cook over medium heat for 3 hours and add in the Ditalini.  Allow to cook fully before serving.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cinnamon Apple Scones

Scones are a great way to start off the day or warm up the house mid-afternoon with the comforting smell of cinnamon.  I had one apple left and decided to make these scones with it.

Cinnamon Apple Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar

1 apple – I shredded it
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 large egg

Cinnamon and sugar topping

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the dough turns into coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together apple sauce and the egg.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined. Turn out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a circle that is approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 slices and put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are spread out since the scores will spread slightly.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  

Cinnamon Sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

I always keep an old salt shaker full of this on hand for lots of occasions.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blackberry Peach Jam

I took the opportunity to combine some of the best Fall fruits and make a delicious freezer jam to enjoy later this winter.

Blackberry Peach Jam

3 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups blackberries
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Chop the peaches and blackberries into small pieces in a food processor.  Place in a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Skim off foam from the top.  Continue to boil until it thickens.  Strain the jam to remove the seeds if preferred.  Place into containers that you can put in the freezer. Allow to cool completely before putting covers on containers and placing the freezer.